Entries Tagged 'Friends' ↓
April 8th, 2006 — Friends, Music, The Blogosphere
Oakland-based blogger and fellow jazz aficionado James Knox is gracing the Big Apple with his presence this weekend. While he and I have known each other via the Internet for years, this was our first face-to-face, and it was a pleasure to finally make the acquaintance.
Readers of his site know he regularly writes about the world of jazz. As that is also one of my passions, we made plans to catch the late, late, late show featuring drummer Louis Hayes and the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, who were performing at Dizzyís Club Coca-Cola. Dizzyís is a part of Jazz at Lincoln Center, one of several beautiful new spaces devoted exclusively to jazz at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.
After dinner at a quiet little Italian eateria Iíve come to know along Restaurant Row, both of us apparently observing the meatless Friday rule (he of the salmon, me of the red snapper), we walked off dinner for 13 blocks on our way to the club.
Rolling with a recognized name in jazz criticismóalthough heís quick to deny itóhas its perks. A relationship with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, a member of the band, got us Table #1 right down front, where we saw a wonderful show. In addition to Hayes and Pelt, Vincent Herring was on sax, Anthony Wonsey on piano, Gerald Cannon on bass and Paula West, who also greeted James warmly, was the featured vocalist.
Iím sure when he returns home heíll have a more detailed review of the eveningís program, including photos, but as far as this reviewer is concerned, it was just a joy to see artists who love their work, enjoy each otherís company (Herring and Pelt seemed to be sharing an inside joke the whole show), and who give the audience a great show in the process. Itís just a pisser that here are more great talents who are not household names or who donít have big recording contracts, while other far less talented beings in other musical genres ďget paidĒ by putting out crap. But I digress.
Some of my fellow NYC bloggers are scheduled to hook up for brunch in Brooklyn on Sunday and treat our west coast visitor to more east coast hospitality. Iím sure there will be pictures and stories on other sites soon.
August 7th, 2005 — Friends
I asked a friend if he had participated in any of this weekendís Pride in the City activities over in Brooklyn.
Not only had he not, he told me, but he had no intention. ďIím all fagged out!Ē He suggested he would however be attending another event in Brooklyn, aimed at the general population, where he felt more of a genuine community atmosphere, free of the ďtension that exists at most Ďgay-identifiedí activities.Ē
He is a contemporary of mine, age-wise, and I value the path heís traveled to arrive at his thinking. His comments are not unlike those I have heard expressed by others around our age–the 30, 35, 40 and older crowd–and not unlike feelings I have expressed myself. Activities we might have once flocked to with great urgency, now no longer hold an appeal. We want something more that isnít currently offered within the Black gay community, and in the absence of such events, feel no great connection. We have, in a term, ďaged outĒ of most of the social activities associated with our community.
But what does it mean to age out? Is it the same experience for everyone? Is it really about age or more about values, interests, personal goals, etc.? Is this a real or a perceieved problem? Is there a genuine disconnect between younger and older members of our community, and if so, is this a bridge that needs repairing? What are the long-range implications for younger and older members if the matter isnít addressed?
If you look at the artwork used to promote Pride in the City, you see young, hard bodies. Not unlike countless other products, sex is being used to sell this event. I donít look like any of those bodies. Even 20 years ago I didnít look like that. It is sending a message we get all too often in our community; show up looking fabulous and you might snag a hottie.
That message appeals to a certain group: those preoccupied with such frivolities. The ďtensionĒ my friend spoke of is sexual tension. If you fall into the right category, you arrive with a set of heightened expectations. If you are not in that category, you find yourself in the midst of those who may be making quick, snap judgements about your worth. ďHe looks like someone I want to talk toĒ or ďHe doesnít look like anyone I want to talk to.Ē Because many of us have never learned how to interact with one another in non-sexual ways, this puts up barriers between us and, for some, destroys that sense of community we seek. It is a humbling experience that can happen to anyone at any age, but which is particularly acute for those past the magical age of 30, when gay men first begin to disappear.
Aging out then may be the time when we not only tire of certain activities but outgrow the need to associate with people based solely on our common sexual orientation. Segregating our lives within such narrow boundaries can be limiting and not allow us to be exposed to a broader range of views, opinions and interests, or to be valued as the complete human beings we are.
I have never considered myself to be the typical Black gay man. You arenít likely to find me where everyone else hangs out (where ever that may be), but off enjoying the kinds of things I write about here. As a result, that often pulls me out of exclusively Black gay circles, into spaces with straight folks, a predominance of women, other ethnic groups, other age groups (at 45, Iím sometimes the youngster), even non-urban settings. Over time I have come to realize that my affinity group has wider parameters than ones I traveled in previously.
Iíd like to hear from other people on this subject, particularly if you believe you have aged out. What does that mean to you? What are you no longer doing and why? What activities are you doing now and with whom?
March 17th, 2005 — Action Alerts, Friends
by Mark J. Tuggle
Another Black life ends in tragedy.
On Sunday, March 13, around 10:00 pm, Marvin Page, a 52 year-old same gender-loving Black male, was found brutally murdered in his Bronx, New York apartment. He was stabbed in the back, his throat was slashed, and half of his body was doused in gasoline. The assailant fled with Marvinís car. Marvin lived directly across the street from the New York Police Departmentís 46th Precinct, yet no leads, suspects or witnesses are apparent.
Marvin was a long time associate of mine. He worked tirelessly at a substance use outpatient facility. He generally spoke highly of others. Marvin possessed a big heart, complimenting his large frame – he was never one to turn down a good meal. Mostly full of laughter, I was particularly grateful he reached out to me at difficult times in his life: it is a privilege to respond to a cry for help.
Early media accounts of Marvinís premature death trivialize his humanity. A New York Post snippet asserts, ďPage was gay and in the past, men had been seen going in and out of his apartment.Ē A Newsday briefing states, ďPolice are looking to speak to the manís gay lovers.Ē The ďauthoritiesĒ saw men ďgoing in and out of his apartment,Ē yet have no clues about the killer; a portrait of a slain homosexual with multiple sex partners remains.
Such reporting serves only to justify homo hatred, flaming the fears of religious zealots and political opportunists who are intolerant of same gender-loving Black people. Marvinís family members are, like myself, confused, distraught, outraged and wounded. Why did this happen? Where are our community leaders? What can we do to feel safe?
Marvin was born Black, male and homosexual, a three strikes offense in most states. Pending further investigation, his case may become a hate crime. Some people will conclude he got what he deserved. Others probably donít care. I do, and we should, as a society, care about a life cut short by hate.
Noted author and womanist Alice Walker lamented, ďAmerica needs to redress her history.Ē Poet and feminist Audre Lorde said, ďIn the service of my people, it becomes less and less important that I am afraid.Ē I feel a personal responsibility to use my pen to challenge bigotry, injustice and silence whenever it occurs. Marvin had an incredible spirit. He was a good-natured soul. I will miss him, and remember he made me smile.
Mark J. Tuggle is a freelance writer in Harlem whose recent credits include The CITIZEN, POZ, and PULSE. He can be reached at email@example.com.
January 19th, 2005 — Friends
I got an email Tuesday. A college friend of mine died Monday of a heart attack. His birthday is on the 27th of this month, exactly two weeks after my own. He too would have been 45.
The email came with dozens of ccís to other friends and college classmates, many of whom I havenít seen or spoken with in some cases, for more than 20 years. Ironically, one of them, with whom I do stay in touch, was himself featured in the January issue of Black Enterprise magazine. In a story on health issues, he revealed how his high blood pressure very nearly killed him. A chance medical examination caught it just in time. As well as I know him, I never knew his situation had been so serious. He is also 45.
All day and into the evening, our network of friends posted replies to the original message to share our grief, and in a strange way reconnect with one another. They always say you should never wait until something bad happens before you have a reunion. We may have waited too long in this instance but I hope we now make up for the lost time.
January 14th, 2005 — Friends
So I was idly surfing through my blogroll and realized there are some definite MIAs out in the blogosphere. Folks who havenít posted in a month or longer. I wondered what was up.
If you know anything about these bloggers, leave a comment. If you are the person in question, tell us whatís up, or better yet, post something. We miss yíall: Anfanee, Honey for Oshun, Hypnotiqone, Mermaidhips, Novaslim, and RenaissanceSistah.
Meanwhile, letís welcome back Ryan, after a short absence and a relocation. Charles also took time off before coming back but his move was only in cyberspace.
Finally, these three guys started blogs last year then just seemingly abandoned them with no explanation: Edge of Night, Darrellís Blog and GotNathan.