I was in a shitty mood and totally just wanted to sit and wallow in it. But then, of course, Josh and I had already committed to seeing Margaret Cho in her appearance tonight at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, so I bucked up and went with it.
When we got there, though, we almost bailed. Margaret Cho, the outspoken comedian, political activist, and actress, was supposed to arrive at 7 p.m. It was 5:30 p.m. when we arrived. We sat for a while but poor Josh K. is sick (some sort of fun sinus infection--I've nicknamed him "Sniffles") and I was feeling all poopy, and on top of that we were surrounded by some of New York's most annoying people, waiting for Lady Cho to show. We got as far as putting on our coats, heading for the exit, and almost leaving before Josh K. said, "You know what, wait, you've really wanted to see her for a long time. Let's do it."
So I sighed. I nodded. I still felt a little despodent, but I did feel relief that we hadn't completely ditched Miss Margaret. We nabbed fourth row seats and waited. Josh napped; I read The Hours.
Finally, at the prescribed hour of 7 p.m., Miss Cho herself appeared. The applause from the packed and standing-room-only crowd was deafening, and much longer than the woman giving the introduction had expected.
Margaret looked wonderful. I've seen all of her concert-style live comedy movies (I'm the One That I Want, Notorious C.H.O., etc.) and she looks better than she did in any of the comedy movies. She wore simple hip-hugging jeans, a white t-shirt under a green v-neck sweater, wore a complimentary and stylish green eyeshadow on her lids, and had her hair pulled back in a simple ponytail.
She started out her appearance just like you imagine she would.
"Well," she said, "things have been so busy with this new book. I've been running around doing morning shows and all of that and--well--I broke a nail." She held up the damaged nail for the audience to see. "And you'd think that since I'm Korean that I could take care of that, but..."
The audience nearly peed laughing.
Then she read an excerpt from her new book I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight and selected a missive on Ms. Ann Coulter. Margaret, of course, proceeded to rip Ann a new asshole in truly comic style, taking the bitch apart limb by limb.
Margaret joked that she's going to go as Harriet Miers, the failed Supreme Court nominee, for Halloween. "How am I going to do it? Well, I'm going to be very unprepared. [Considerable laughing from the audience.] And then, of course, when it comes down to it and it's Halloween and it's time to go out, I'm just not going to go out at all." More peeing of pants. Etc, etc. Of course.
One of the audience members asked what Margaret thought of Tom Cruise. "Oh, Miss Thang, Miss Cruise? She is crazy. I saw her with Matt Lauer, just going off about psychotropic drugs, telling him how he'd done research on therapy and drugs and I thought, 'Oh, girl, you may have done your research, but that don't mean you isn't crazy."
And then, classy as always, Margaret's thoughts on anal sex: "No, really I don't have anything against anal sex. It's sort of like the dentist, you know? Twice a year. And then you still need lots of anesthesia."
By the time she was finished I felt refreshed, invigorated. Still a little pensive? Sure. But much better. And then I took Sniffles home, 'cause he was sick, and we laughed about how funny ol' Miss Cho was, and, really, how great she looked.
Go, girl. Sell lots of copies. And keep up the good fight, Cho. It's gonna pay off. Just you wait and see.
A week ago I saw author Augusten Burroughs, who wrote runaway bestseller Running With Scissors, in an appearance at Coliseum Books. I went with my friend Matthew, excited to see what Augusten was like and what he had to say. He read two short stories from an upcoming collection of memoir short stories, due out in May 2006. The stories were, uh, fine. Really, they were. But they also didn't seem to quite sparkle like Running With Scissors.
The most interesting part, however, was more in seeing how surprisingly tall he was, how he wore a camel-colored cowboy jacket with lots of fringe, how he really does always wear a baseball cap and glasses. And somehow, just in his presence, it was clear to tell the man had been through shit in his life. (Running with Scissors is obviously evidence enough of that.)
But it was also fascinating to hear him talk about the writing process--about how he writes every day, sometimes only a few hours, sometimes fifteen hours. It's also interesting that he didn't start writing until he was in his 30s, after he'd failed rehab a few times and nearly died because alcohol was pickling his internal organs.
Augusten started writing and it literally saved his life. He stopped drinking, he even stopped smoking. He wrote constantly. When he finished his first manuscript (which ended up being Sellevision, a novel), he sent it to fifty literary agents he found in a book at the public library. Only one agent responded. That's the agent he still has to this day. My highest hope for Augusten is that he's able to find more of that magic that showed through in Running with Scissors and that he stays clean, sober, and happy, as he appeared to be at Coliseum Books, despite all he's been through.
Josh and I saw Dan Savage, the syndicated international sex columnist, novelist, and newspaper editor, at a Barnes & Noble in Chelsea a couple weeks ago. He was surprisingly sexy, very well-spoken, articulate, witty, and just ascerbic enough to make me sit up in my seat and lean closer, interested in what would come out of his mouth next.
He read a hilarious excerpt from his new non-fiction book The Commitment : Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family and answered questions (including from a truly crazy woman who wanted to know if he "knew any Indian names" or had any theories on how "Scott Peterson and Terry Schiavo had things in common" or how Savage planned to "solve hunger in Africa"--needless to say, she was asked to leave).
I got to ask a question, and I asked how his son DJ is doing. I read Dan's book The Kid years ago, one of the most hilarious and honest accounts of gay parenting that I've read--a totally irreverent and compulsively likeable book--and it was cool to get to ask the guy who wrote the book that I'd read and enjoyed years ago how his son was doing. It's such unprecedented access. You've got to love New York City for that kind of opportunity.
About The Hours by Michael Cunningham
I finished The Hours tonight. It deserved the Pulitzer Prize it won. Cunningham's writing is phenomenal. I read A Home at the End of the World last year, which joins The Hours as one of my favorite books ever. The Hours rings with truth, crackles with clean prose, jumps off the page and slaps you into paying attention, into living and feeling and growing and listening and thinking. Like one of the reviews says on the back cover, if The Hours doesn't move you more fully to live, you must already be dead. This book, my friends, is everything. If you're looking for something fabulous to pick up and read, check this one out. You won't regret it for a second.
IN PRISON you spend the majority of your time in a 10X10 cell.
AT WORK you spend the majority of your time in an 8X8 cubicle.
IN PRISON you get three meals a day.
AT WORK you get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.
IN PRISON you get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK you get more work for good behavior.
IN PRISON the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK you must often carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.
IN PRISON you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK you could get fired for watching TV and playing games.
IN PRISON you get your own toilet.
AT WORK you have to share the toilet with some people who pee on the seat.
IN PRISON they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK you aren't even supposed to speak to your family.
IN PRISON all expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK you get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.
IN PRISON you spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
AT WORK you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.
IN PRISON you must deal with sadistic wardens.
AT WORK they are called managers.
Just in case you ever get these two environments mixed up, this should make things a bit more clear.
[Thanks, Chris, for passing that nifty little list along.]
On Friday night Josh and I attended the birthday party of another gay Josh at a Hell’s Kitchen lounge. (That’s Josh S. on the right. He just turned twenty-three, y’all. Did I mention that he’s smart, funny, adorable, in love with his boyfriend of more than a year, and living with him in Hell’s Kitchen? If Josh S. wasn’t so inherently loveable, we’d have to take his weave out.) At the party we met a ton of great guys, some of whom we plan to hang out with this week. And where would we be if Eric and the DP hadn’t invited us in the first place? (Always a pleasure, gentlemen. Truly.)
On Saturday Josh and I laid low at our apartment with our friend Matthew and did something none of us had done in ages: We ordered two large pizzas and watched a movie. Afterward Matthew and I went out to Starbucks and talked for hours about crazy shit we’ve done in previous lives before taking a walk in the rain to get midnight snacks at McDonald’s. (I know, we should be crucified for the latter crime, but what to do?)
On Monday night Josh and I hit Chelsea (in the pouring rain, nonetheless) where we met Juan (who writes Boozhy) and Oliver (who writes Thought Not) for dinner at The Dish. Juan and Oliver almost instantly and seamlessly seemed like old friends we could just sit and bullshit with over breakfast food served by an Eastern Block hunk. After dinner we walked to Oliver’s and met his impossible-not-to-love dog, Boo, and saw pictures of his soon-to-be dog, Booger. (And did I mention that Oliver’s apartment is beautiful? Because it is.) Much love, muchachos. We'd love to do it again any ol' time.
About Our Job
Remember how Josh and I work at Bigg Financial, a firm downtown in a towering skyscraper with fantastic views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island? Well, that’s about the only good thing left about the job—the view. Needless to say, the Joshes are hunting for something a bit more fabulous.
Game is on.
The Joshes are reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
The Joshes are watching Closer and the second season of Sex and the City.
In commemoration of our 100th post on the Josh & Josh Typepad blog, we've decided to post links to some of our favorite posts over the last few months. Consider this the equivalent of an episode on a long-running sitcom where the cast is trapped in an elevator (or some such plot device) and the rest of the episode is used for clips and flashbacks.
Roll it, bitches!
8. Morning Song
It happened on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. I walked out of the New York Public Library, a newly borrowed copy of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours tucked under my arm, and stepped out onto the street. After so many days of gray the sky was blue—a bright, clear, watery blue. The sun started to set, drenching the buildings and streets in the kind of perfect light that cinematographers only dream of.
That was the very moment I realized it, the moment I really felt it and understood it and identified it: there is an inherent loneliness to living in New York City. It’s a strange moment to put that all together, but in a way, it makes sense. Really.
There’s something about a city where your subway stop gets bomb threats, where the train is so packed it looks like a cattle car, where people get in a fight on the ride home and end up bleeding from the neck after a knife fight (this really happened), in a city where everything is a luxury because it’s so expensive, where you see the body of man who has just jumped off a West 80th Street building, killing himself and lying in a pool of bright red blood (this happened, too).
There’s something strange about all that because at the same time this is the city where bright, bold, airy, dangerous, brave jazz music was born, where Starry Night hangs in a museum next to Picassos and Monets, where the best theater in the world unfolds, where celebrities walk down the street like ordinary citizens, where the epicenter of the arts makes it’s home, where families live in townhouses and children grow up playing in Central Park, and where some of the wildest dreams anybody ever dreamed really do come true.
There is a frightening amount of living going on in this little city (and I mean “little” in terms of square mileage flying in the face of astronomical population numbers). Everything is intensified here. It’s small and big at the same time, it’s loud, it’s expensive, and so much life happens in such condensed space. Maybe that’s why it feels like life moves faster, like everything is more urgent, like every day is that much more important, begging to be used completely until you return to your apartment exhausted, breathless, and entirely spent. This city demands your all, your everything.
And, among all that, there’s you. You who just graduated from school in the Midwest, let’s say, who has moved to this city with precious few dollars, no family in sight, and enough dreams to make any mover and shaker blush.
There are moments spent feeling like a drop in an ocean. But where loneliness somewhere else can feel terrifying or hopeless or stifling, it’s different here. Here loneliness has an entirely different taste. It’s less like the metallic taste of blood in your mouth and more like tasting something sour, with just the tiniest edge of sweet—enough to make you pucker your lips and really taste, really consider what flavors are lashing around in your mouth. The loneliness here is part and parcel of the game. It’s just that simple.
But this is why it’s different: just as I stepped out of that library, book under my arm, perfectly clear skies, golden sunshine, and not a care in the world, I found myself alone.
Here, I thought, alone. Big city, tons of people, and then me.
But then I look around, see the arching buildings, the people (oh, the people!), see that sunlight, that perfect sky.
Lonely in New York City is not a destination. It’s not somewhere you go and sit and dwell. Loneliness in New York City is a travel companion—sometimes getting on your nerves, sometimes awkward, yet somehow familiar and, well, sort of welcome all at the same time. It’s just part of the deal. There’s not a damn thing to be done about it, so you just go with it.
I walked down Fifth Avenue, grinning at the ground, watching my feet, feeling the sun warm the back of my head.
I let the taste of it all swim around my mouth.
It was delicious.
Josh K. turned twenty-four last week. (Happy birthday, biatch!) The Joshes, Brock, David (our roommate), Tarik (Brock's roommate), and Matthew (our friend) celebrated with a big dinner at Spring Street Natural in SoHo.
Josh H. is waiting and praying for a call from CNN to hear about a possible interview for a job with a happy salary and full benefits. There is a lot of finger crossing going on.
Josh K's twin sisters, along with their friend Rachel, came to New York City for a four-day visit. We showed them around town, went shopping, ate at kitschy restaurants, and had a good ol' time.
The Joshes are reading: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Josh K.: What would you do if Jake Gyllenhall called you and said, “Hey, I want to hang out with you.”
Josh H.: I’d say, “Okay, let’s hang out.”
Josh K.: Okay, then when you get there he says, “I saw that you have a blog and that you’re gay and I think I’m gay too and I wanna learn on you.” [Pause.] And then what would you say?
Josh H.: [Pause.] I don’t know. “Thank you?”
In case you didn't already know, the Ang Lee film Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall, comes out in December. The film has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike and has already won film awards.
Brokeback Mountain is based on the Annie Proulx short story of the same name, about gay cowboys in Wyoming, which first appeared in The New Yorker in 1997.
To read the full text of Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain, click here.
Wanna know everything else there is to know about Brokeback Mountain? Visit the expert.
Just for fun we thought we'd whip out our photo albums and give you a little Josh & Josh sneak peek. (And, uh, we got a little lazy, too. So sue us.)
The Joshes in Josh K.'s dorm room at Pioneer Hall on the University of Minnesota campus. We were both juniors in college. (We remembered it was our junior year when we saw this picture again tonight and gasped, laughing aloud. It seems like that was lifetimes ago.) As you may have noticed, this image is also used in our header. We took this bad boy almost two years ago. Meanwhile, aren't we purtee?
It takes a lot more than IKEA furniture to be rich and famous. You also need class, charisma, smarts, a sense of humor, and a blog in your name that states the obvious (or not-so-obvious). In our case, though, we couldn't afford the furniture. We settled for pretending that we could and imagined our lives in ten years with steady income and a dining set like the one above. Maybe then our blog's title will be a bit more than tounge-in-cheek.
The Joshes in Josh H.'s dorm room, senior year of college.
It had been a long night.
Need we say more?
--Josh & Josh
The good news? An online magazine hired me to be a columnist. I'll be writing a column for straight men, written from the perspective of a gay man, on drinking and dating (and, even more specifically, what to be drinking while dating).
It's a start. Cross your fingers for me, guys.
The adventure begins.
Towleroad owner, Andy Towle, left, Pink is the New Blog owner Trent Vargas, right
Last week Pink is the New Blog, a fun-and-fabulous celeb life blog with zillions of viewers, linked to us because of a post we did about Towleroad. Consequently, we had one of our biggest day of viewers on Josh & Josh, getting thousands of viewers from across the United States and around the world.
Kinda fun, hmmm?
On Thursday, we went out to dinner with our new friend Eric, the owner of We, Like Sheep, and his smart-and-handsome boyfriend. We had margaritas and nachos and talked late into the night. Seeing Eric and his guy together gave Josh and I renewed hope that you really can find a great guy, settle down, and make a true, honest life with someone.
We love ya, guys.
iChat AOL transcript from Josh H. and Ashley L., who is in medical school
Ashley L.: Sure. Anything.
Josh H.: For the last two nights I've had candy corn and Ramen noodles for dinner. That meets all my health requirements, right? Like, vitamins and food groups and stuff?
Ashley L.: LOL! Oh my God!
Josh H.: Okay, good. That's what I thought.
The Deal by Timothy J. Lambert and Becky Cochrane and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Tell me, how is it going now that Joshie K. has a boyfriend? What happens to the inseparable best friend Josh & Josh duo when one of them has a boyfriend and the other is single?
LOL! We're not conjoined twins, you know.
No, honestly, it's weird getting used to Josh having a boyfriend. He's gone a lot now. And while I'm sitting here reading my Jane Austen or running through the park or talking to you on the phone, he's down in the Village having wild monkey love or holding hands at a chic bohemian cafe. Which is awesome, because everybody should spend time and have monkey love with somebody they really like, but it's still weird. Especially since we moved to NYC with each other as our main points of contact, etc.
It takes getting used to. Luckily Brock (Josh's guy) is a really good guy. Oh, and did I mention that Brock is an actor and has been on soap operas? I'm not f&@cking kidding. As in, All My Children and General Hospital. So he's successful, sweet, handsome, and (as far as I can tell) totally into Josh.
Fucking a! Leave it to that kid to land a boyfriend the second he gets to New York City--and a soap opera hunk who's smart and is totally into him? Get out of town.
Your prince will come. No worries.
LOL! It's true: leave it to Joshie K. to land the guy ASAP. But they're good guys, though, so it's okay.
And my prince? I've got plenty of time.
In the mean time, I'm flying solo.
Later my sweet.
So, mister, how did your meeting go yesterday with that guy from Newsweek?
Uhm, well, it went alright. I mean, he was as sweet as can be and extraordinarily accomplished. He graduated a year ahead of me and he had six writing internships, a few in Minnesota, one in New York City over a summer, one in Arizona for a semester, etc.
We met at a cafe in Midtown (he expensed the meal to the magazine, which I felt sort of guilty about because, after all, he was the one helping me, but I digress) and talked for an hour. He looked at my resume, helped me with a few things, and then gave me the facts about working at magazines in New York City:
It's hard as shit to do.
First of all, his six internships weren't enough to snag the Newsweek job. He happened to meet a woman who really liked him who had connections, which eventually landed him at Newsweek. Magazines want to see internships, internships, internships.
I never had one.
Why? Because I thought I was going to law school, not writing for magazines. So I never had one.
So I have to get one now.
Only problem with that? They're, oh, almost impossible to come by. And when they do come by, there are a field of applicants who will fucking stab you in the back and steal candy from children, who graduated from Ivy League colleges and have already had internships, who are killing for those new positions.
Then, if you somehow snag the position, they usually don't pay. And you work as long as they want you to during the days that you're there. And you thank them for that and show your brilliance at all times because future job prospects absolutely depend on it.
Oh, and then? Then, if you do land a magazine job, they start at $24,000 a year. Sometimes no benefits. And you work hours out your ass. But usually, I guess, you get health and 401(k), some gym access (if they have one) and they're good about expensing meals.
So, anyway, bottom line? The guy was sweet and so helpful, but I think I'm fucked.
Does that cap it properly? ;)
Holy shit. Sounds like you're in for somethin' special.
What are you going to do now?
You know, I don't really know.
Ice cream sounds good, though. Lots. Preferably chocolate chip cookie dough.