I have a new play starting previews in New York this Friday called
The Paris Letter. I’m sure I’ll write about it later. But I had other
blogging plans today. Today I was going to write about the
re-opening of my favorite taco stand one hundred miles from Broadway,
the location of which I shall not reveal, except to say the
operators of said stand close up shop and go back to Mexico for
the iron grey months from December ‘til now.
I was going to write something about posole and red chili and
perhaps the odd act of accommodation made by so many republicans
towards the Christian Rights’ toad-like absorption of their party.
I was going to write about how cool Jonathon Rhys-Myers is as Elvis,
and a recipe for a little quick pasta dish (green English peas,
chicken stock, garlic, red chili flakes, parsley, a
good dry aged goat cheese over flat noodles) which takes six minutes
to make when you get home from rehearsal and nobody made you dinner.
All that can wait. In the June issue of Vanity Fair, I mouth-off on
the subject of my play, which concerns the attempts of Sandy
Sonnenberg, a gay man of twenty-one, in 1962, to rewire himself,
as it were, into what his psychiatrist, Dr. Moritz Schiffman calls
“a sober heterosexual life”. The play follows the disastrous effects
of this torquing of his nature for the forty years that follow, and
the effects of those efforts on his family and ex-lover, now dearest
friend, Anton. Over a lunch in a very expensive Tribeca Restaurant
in 1998, the following exchange takes place between Sandy, an
investment banker, and his best friend, restaurateur Anton Kilgallen.
Sandy, drinking a stiff bourbon, has confessed some pain and confusion overtaking him lately, and Anton has heard it all before, and is less than patient.
ANTON:Let me ask you a question: Do you not regret the choice you made, Sandy?
SANDY: Never. That doesn't mean it wasn't hard. That it did not require rigor, expunging...self denial.
ANTON:Yes, it must be hard to kill a part of yourself.
SANDY:Which part? The sensualist? The bitch within? Please? No. Do you ever regret the choice you made, Anton? You've lived through your friends, all your best friends. Haven't you. And sex? Hustlers, and boyfriends now and then, with whom the sex life lists, and then sinks. And us friends. Christmas with us. Or the Buckley's or Kitty Hart, or the...whom-evers. What have you got aside from that?
No, I don't regret my "choice", as you put it. You've never had love,
have you? You've had facsimiles and replicas,
but all the alone-ness has gone unabated no matter how many
friends you collect, you are a curiosity, and an extra man...alone.
This life does not work, we're not allowed to say that anymore but
we all know it.
ANTON:Do we? I am not the one whose life isn't working. Have I missed anything? I've had loads of sex, boatloads of lovers, been entertained, have a little pin money, and so on. What else is there?
SANDY:A structure to life, a family! A family! You’re dying of loneliness.
ANTON:Only on Sundays. Listen to yourself "structure, rigor, expunging, self denial" -- listen to yourself! All those years of therapy, all those years of inculcation, and really, all you've got is what you were force-fed by some ghastly psychiatrists from the Eisenhower days! I wish they could see you now. I would love to show them; "here he is - your star patient - your prize pupil, adapted and well adjusted and spinning off into chaos."
SANDY: I never said my life was simple.
In the Vanity Fair piece, I talked a bit about the homogenization of
gay culture and its' absorption into the larger, anemic American
maw. I am quoted on the subject of gay marriage, where it seems
I opined that it “flattens out the great romance and tragedy and
complexity of what it means to be gay.” I think what got left out
was the part where I talked about equal protections and equal
rights, and Mr. Rove and Tallyrand and other shit, but I guess
that was dull and went without saying. On Friday I called one of my
dearest friends, Frank, who was married to his partner, Bill at the
Bronx Botanical Gardens last Fall on a lovely Saterday evening, with a few hundred friends in attendance,
to apologize for the quote. It just goes to show you, you can sit
and do a phoner and mouth-off, but you never know how it’s gonna
look on the page. And how dumb and Log-Cabin-esque you can appear. C’est la Guerre.