Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beam me up.

So, here's the thing. I love NYC. I mean like, I love it. Like, totally.

Here's the dealio: last night I received my own personal tour of the great organ at St. Mary's. Above you can see a photo of the organ. While the instrument has been tonally finished in the past ten years or so, the case was never built due to lack of funds, so the pipes stand stark and exposed to the French Gothic church. I love the raw look of it.

We started in the basement, where the huge blower pumps air upstairs to be used in the pipes. It's a pretty huge and impressive piece of equipment and a critical piece of the whole works which is hardly ever seen.

Also in a room downstairs is a huge collection of old and currently-unused pipes and organ pieces. It's amazing! Full ranks that for whatever reason they're not using right now sit on shelves just waiting for their chance to blow again. All the works from the old console are set up--all four keyboards and all the stop draws, so you can see how it originally looked.

The basement itself is incredibly eerie--it's a giant open space filled with old furniture and other detritus, and the whole room is crossed at regular intervals by giant steel beams which give the pillars holding up the church extra strength against cross-winds. I'm told that various horror movies have filmed down there and I believe it.

Soon enough we proceeded on to the grand finale--playing with the beast. We headed up to the organ loft, where the giant console just barely fits in the narrow space. The addition of solid state electronics would probably allow for the console being half its original size, when everything ran on pneumatics. The air is piped up from the basement in conduits disguised to look like pillars, where it fills up various wind chests, which are basically giant bellows compressed with springs or weight. My friend took me through how the console worked, and about half of what he said I already knew or made common sense, and the rest was just Greek. I'm still not sure what the "Unison Off" knob does. And the couplers are still a bit confusing--I understand the concept, but I wasn't seeing the reasoning why any one of them would be on or off at any given time.

My friend the guide played some pieces for me, and he beat himself up for not playing well, not that I could notice. I was so happy to be so close to the magic! I have no idea how he or any organist can coordinate their hands and feet to make music like that. And playing a fugue is just crazy difficult--the artist must keep three or more phrases going at all times, and I don't know about yours, but my mind just doesn't work that way!

Hearing the organ in the loft was much different than being in the church. In the loft the pipes are directly above your head, speaking out into the room, so you get almost no direct sound from them, only the reflection from the walls of the church. Because of this, it seems like the church is actually making the sound, rather than the organ above you. The effect is quite dramatic--it's as if the high altar, rood beam, and stained glass windows are all singing at you in the most beautiful of voices. All the hard surfaces and the long, tall, narrow shape of the church give the room almost perfect acoustics. A loud chord on the organ will reverberate for several seconds; I counted at least five or six. The whole building seems to ring like a bell.

In a word, it's spectacular. I can't believe how lucky I am!

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Internet judged me and found me uncertain.

You are Agnostic

You're not sure if God exists, and you don't care.
For you, there's no true way to figure out the divine.
You rather focus on what you can control - your own life.
And you tend to resent when others "sell" religion to you.

Swiped from Word of Mike, thanks!

Frankly, I think I'm more of an agnostic theist. Sure, the concept is inherently contradictory, but then so am I.

I think the ability to admit both doubt and a lack of understanding requires a lot of strength. Having faith can sometimes be the easy way out. Accepting that which cannot be proved also means that at some point one gives up being analytical.

Or so it seems to me tonight. Ultimately I must admit I have nothing but questions.

Fortunately I enjoy omphaloskepsis.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

If I knew you were comin'...

Once again I failed to take any photos last night at our monthly bar party, so above is a photo of Spiky at the December party. It was the club's anniversary, and thus the cake. Spiky's looking a bit fey, right? It's the smile. He's new to the whole upturning of his mouth. Plus he usually only shows his teeth when he's about to bite, spike, or otherwise spill your blood. He'll get better at it.

Last night we had a great turnout for the leather-themed party. We raised $565 for the Leather Archives & Museum (located in Chicago, and serving the world). Coincidentally, this week (or was it last?) is National Library Week. Special thanks go out to International Mister Leather, The Leatherman, Greco Gear, Invincible Latex, Boy Butter, and LA&M itself for providing prizes.

Naturally, I have denim burns on my lips and nose today. Balls-to-boots for $10 is definitely the best deal for raffle tickets, especially if I'm the one measuring your inseam! Though I may consider only being thorough with the guys wearing leather next time, that way I can go to town without drying out my delicate complexion!

I know, right? Yes, I'm a big fag.

I smoked another cigar when I had a break from the party and I received good smoking advice from Thor and Badfaggot. I may actually get good at this! I enjoyed it very much, but this morning in church I found my voice to be strained. I hope it was all the talking last night and not the cigar, or it was the cigar, perhaps I can train myself to inhale less smoke.

It's a beautiful Sunday out there, so I'm going out into it! Cheers, queers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Resistance is futile.

I considered posting something sad or moving, but as is my habit, I am dismissing the negative and approaching a difficult topic with humor. So, now that I have you primed with my 'Puppy on a Bun with Stars and Stripes' ploy, here's the pitch:

HIV/AIDS is a plague. Y'all know it and there's no need to repeat the details here.

The AIDS Walk New York benefits the Gay Men's Health Crisis and other AIDS service organizations. These organizations do good work and they need the money.

Please sponsor me in the AIDS Walk New York.

I don't care how much. $5 is great. $10 is better. $100 is insanity.

I'm walking with the team from my church, St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square.

You have my deepest thanks.

More requests for your assistance will follow.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Smoke it.

On my way home from work this evening I picked up cigars for Rare and me. There's a great little cigar shop around the corner from where I live, which I've often found full of cops and older Latino men, all puffing away. It's nifty.

Rare agreed to teach me how to smoke a cigar. Being Thursday, we were of course headed out to the Eagle for Code. I took to the whole procedure with gusto, and I'm told I did a fairly good job. I don't yet have a good appreciation for what I'm supposed to be tasting when I smoke them, but I think that will come in time.

As I was saying my goodbyes, a handsome gentleman with whom I had been flirting admitted that he could not often come from his home in Massachusetts (Edit: it was actually Rhode Island. I only had two beers, I swear!) to the city on Saturday evenings (when we have the NYboL bar party) because he is a church organist. He was a bit taken aback when I flung my arms around him and began humping his leg with an enthusiasm that belied my professed fatigue. Even more amazing, he may just be a top, as he took this proximity as an excuse to grab my butt. Fortune smiles upon me!

We flirted and made out and exchanged little bits of pipe organ gossip. I sternly admonished that he must email me so that we could continue. I think he just might do it.

So put that in your pipe an smoke it!

P.S. The above photo is the pipe organ in the new Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The facade, like the crazy stainless steel building which houses it, was also designed by Gehry. The instrument is by Rosales. I've yet to hear it, but I'm very impressed by its radical good looks, and I very much hope it will have the same effect on my ears as it does my eyes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pride, distilled and not paraded.

Okay, admittedly, the above photo is not from this evening. It is from LLC X, and it's NYboL posing with some Congressman. It's a pretty cool moment.

Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera this evening, so I don't have a pic of five of the boys attending the NGLTF annual awards and fundraising dinner at the Grand Hyatt. But boy did we attend! Rare, Bonfire, Spiky, Amber Waves, and I turned out our formal leather as if we had some idea what we were doing.

We were completely fabulous, five leatherboys in a room full of suits and power dykes. You should have seen the faces as they arrived at registration and saw all of us in our colors. Naturally we made quick friends with the Imperial Court of New York.

I'm very proud of my boys tonight.

And more than just a little proud that my boys, in the midst of a room full of individuals standing up to give thousands of dollars, led by Amber Waves (a candidate for Cruise Director status if ever I saw one), managed to pull our table together to give another $100. Empress XVIII Gefel Tefish, whom we had charmed at our table, took the mic and announced that the "New York Lords of Leather" had come together to make our gift. We, of course, shouted "boys!" in unison. It was flawless.

The A-list fags had no idea what was hitting them, but I think they enjoyed it.

Somebody pop me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Green is for new.

My nephew really is the cutest baby of all.

NYC has been drowned in a deluge today which can only bring more green.

Father Daddy said to me after church this morning, "You know, wool dries much faster than jeans." I love that he is now chastising me for coming to church dressed too casually. I say this without irony--I couldn't be more glad to have someone caring what I look like at Mass. However, I'm not yet sure whether I will allow it to work.

Robert McCormick, the organist/choirmaster at church, is one of the finest improvisationists I have ever heard. Both his prelude and postlude were improvised today and they were both very fine.

This weekend I fessed up to Scooter about some recent happenings and that felt nice. He seems very happy and very close to Juicy B, which makes me smile. He should never be without a co-conspirator.

I had a long and long-delayed telephone conversation with my father today. It was satisfying. I forget that I enjoy speaking with him. I spent too much of my life dreading it. At the end I even shared a little of my truth--something I am not accustomed to doing with him. He offered help with my recent financial difficulties and I explained that I would never, ever ask for his help. I think he understands a little of why, but I also think he missed the underlying message. Reiterating to someone who has just said they will never ask that they need only ask really doesn't get anyone anywhere. *le sigh* It was a very nice sentiment for him to express, and a marked departure from the rest of my life, so I am not complaining. I'm glad I finally called him back.

Rare brought over a large bottle of gin as the call was ending. We had a lovely, wandering, drunken conversation. One day I will understand how he and I can think so alike about some things and so differently about others. I have really wonderful friends.

All the world is green, wet, and new, all over again.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not really, but a bit.

I haven't forgotten that I have a blog. I've just been a bit busy and under the weather and holy...all at the same time.

This year I went to Passover dinner with Bonfire. There I believe I picked up a cold. I took lots of Zicam but it still sapped my energy last week. Then I finally joined my church, and then helped decorate it for the Maundy Thursday/Good Friday vigil, both in the same day. And then finally it was Easter Sunday. Bonfire came to church with me, where Mass was fantastically beautiful. I didn't tell him, but he was baptized a little during the service. Then there was a lovely brunch with the boys. And THEN there was more church...thirty minutes of organ recital and then Evensong with the choir.

See? Told you I'm holy.