OpEd: Naked Journeys into Hedonism

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It's the summer.

You should be on a plane going somewhere. Or at least in your car or van on a road trip somewhere.

Welcome to the Mirror's Travel issue, where, like your ex-lover, we tell you where to go. It could be worse. You could be in Elkhorn, Indiana. I just don't see a large gay community there.

I was thinking, though. I had an epiphany, actually- and my editor tells me that is a dangerous thing. But where are gay venues across the world where gay men and women can find sanctuaries, security, and sanity?

I thought I would trespass across the generations of my own life, where I have been, and where I am going. I hope it's a place like Mykonos, Greece, where I was was in 1992, when Wayne Besen and I headed to the Factory together, with golden Adonis-like naked male bodies sweating profusely and dancing the night away, until 5 a.m., only to head over to the stunning transparent waters of Super Paradise Beach. Wayne now hosts a Chicago radio show, seeking a different kind of truth than we sought then.

I wonder where Constantinos is today. Or Spiros. Oh, what men I met there. Much better than at Bickford's Cafeteria in Manhattan, down in the Village or by the Christopher Street Pier. But that was no vacation. That was a ritual.

Lady Bird Johnson once said, "See America First." And I did.

So who amongst my readers has been to the Boom Boom Room in Laguna Beach, with the fish tank bar top? Or the boys cruising the night away in the rolling bushes on the side of the mountain leading down to the pacific beach?

It was the hotspot of the ‘80s for sure, eight days a week. And if he wants to let on to it, my travel buddy, Rodney Ely, owner of the amazing O-B House on Himmarshee Street, might give away some of my secrets. At least, maybe he will tell you how great of a volleyball player I was on their beaches.

I discovered Provincetown in the late 1980s. What a special spot for gay summers, if you are athletic.

It's a lot more than late nights at the Boat Skip or days on Front Street looking for your grandfather's antiques.

The fishing is great, the whale sightings are pleasant and the bicycle paths are secure and spectacular.

I don't think there was a time in my life I was healthier and more vibrant than those years in P-Town, when I could eat all the late night pizza I wanted at Spiritus and still have a 34 waist. Are they still there?

I used to drive up to P-Town for four weeks with my chocolate lab in the back seat, an annual soul-replenishing journey, where I met future friends and star entertainers from the 1960's, like Tom Paxton and Joan Baez. Now I can't get four days off. What's wrong with this picture?

Remember the old Catalog X on 13th street where the Pride Factory now is? Used to go up there with its now retired owner, best friend Mark Possien. Damn, I paid for him to go to law school and he opened up a million-dollar sex shop selling dildos and DVDs, oh, and T-shirts, too.

Guess I am running out of space and I haven't even talked about the dungeons in Amsterdam, or the club 'It,' or the vast venues that made Europe so inviting and open. It was a wide open world, Europe was, but it was in a theater near Piccadilly Circus in England that I met a beautiful young man from Amsterdam. We were watching “Trainspotting,” a must see film for anyone who has ever done X.

Today, Morgan is a freelance graphic designer surging his days way near Seal Beach in San Francisco, and we still hookup whenever I am in Harvey Milk country. Speaking of which, you can't write about the gay venues of the world without penning something about Castro Street, and the freedom it gave us to be us.

Today, we see liberties and our live spread in pride festivals from Sydney to Stockholm to San Diego. Our world is more open for sure, but even when there were only hidden bars, corner bookstores or dark alleys, we found a way to meet, didn't we?
We survived our would-be censors, and we will always, Mike Pence.

As George Segal said in 'Love Story' in 1972, life is a series of comings and goings, and for everything you take with you, there is something you leave behind.

My journeys have led to many spontaneous hellos and lots of sad goodbyes, but whether the surf has been rough or the sailing smooth, they have all enriched me. You just have to - like the Beatles wrote in Lady Madonna - listen to the music in your head.

Enjoy your summer. Make it precious. Every day is.


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