179892_142463809146815_2502641_nI had a storytelling show tonight.  I just got home a few minutes ago.  I do these shows every couple of months and some go better than others.  Tonight, I talked about one of my blog posts, The Forgiveness Machine.  The goal with these stories is to be funny, but also share a real experience from your life.  From the beginning, I was a little off my game.  I was more nervous than usual, I didn’t feel like I had a strong opening to the set.  The arc of the set was supposed to be tell something funny (me being drunk at a luau in Hawaii) followed by something sad (talking about my dog Mandy’s last few days) then wrap up with something funny again (me overreacting to some stupid things I did a couple of days ago.)  Halfway through the show, before I hit the stage, a group of drunk people came in to watch their friend perform.  They sat at a table in the main room and talked during their friend’s set.  Then the emcee made a point to tell the room to be respectful of the performers and the people listening when he introduced the next performer.  They talked through his set anyway, despite people around them ssshh-ing them.  Then I got up.  Toward the top of my set, I heard them talking and I said from the stage, “Hey just so you know, there is a room in back where you guys can talk.  You don’t have to be in this room.”  They stayed in the room.  I got into my set, I couldn’t quite hit my groove, but I got a few laughs.  Then I launched into the sad part, talking about dealing with Mandy’s death. I heard that group laughing.   And that’s when I did something I have never done on stage before.  I went off.  I bellowed, “Shut the f@#% up. If you don’t want to be here, go in the back room.”  The ring leader responded, “I thought this was supposed to be a comedy show.”  And then the emcee said, “Actually it’s a storytelling show, it can be funny or serious.”  And then the guy muttered something and then I wrapped up my set, omitting parts of the story that may or may not have paid off anyway.  I got to my closing sentence about how we want forgiveness to be something instantaneous, but in reality it’s a process.  I got off the stage and decompressed while the next and last comic performed.  

Usually, after a show that does not go the way I hope it will, I have a tendency to beat myself up.  I replay all the missed laughs in my head over and over again.  For lack of a better word, I can be unforgiving. Tonight however, I felt exhilerated by what happened.  I’ve had people talk or heckle during my shows before, but it’s the first time I ever addressed it from the stage.  I was giving them the full Julia Sugarbaker and I kind of liked it.  

After the show, several people came up to me and told me how rude they thought that group was.  They were rude, but you, and by you, I mean I, you have to be ready for events like that to occur when you step up on that stage.  It’s what you’re signing up for.  Also after the show, the drunk ring leader came up to me and asked if he could have a minute of my time.  My friend Linda was there and as I stuttered with “uhhh” she told him that whatever he had to say, he could say right there to all of us.  Then he started to launch into something about how my words from the stage made him feel.  And then, Linda cut him off and said, “Minute’s up, you’re done.”  And then his friends pulled him away.  

I realized as he was standing there, that I wasn’t mad at him at all.  He hadn’t ruined my set, it wasn’t great to begin with.  Also, as I said, I was proud of myself for shouting out, in essence, “I don’t want to be treated like that.”  My daily life is filled with experiences where I have to nod and say yes when I want to say no, where the person I’m talking to deserves to be told no.  But tonight, it went a little differently. And somewhere in the midst there is a lesson in forgiveness, forgiving myself and forgiving others. Sometimes, usually, it’s a process, and every once in a while, it is instantaneous.

Neon City

When I first met Eric, one of the things we bonded over was a love of Los Angeles history. He told me he was a tour guide for the Museum of Neon Art‘s bus tours. Soon thereafter, I went on one of the tours, called Neon Cruises, and I must say it’s a magical experience, riding through downtown, Chinatown, Hollywood and West Hollywood, looking at neon signs and learning about Los Angeles signage and architecture and neighborhoods while drinking a glass or two of wine from the perch of a double decker bus. Now, when Eric works as a tour guide, I often come along as the navigator and wine pourer. Tonight we worked the Neon Cruise and I’m posting some of the pictures that I Instagrammed. I must say, I don’t think I’ll be getting professional work as a photographer anytime soon. That being said, our Lovely Lady Los Angeles still shines brightly in every photo.


1005728_10151750988452755_1748725305_nI swear I am trying to write a blog piece that doesn’t provoke controversy.  I attempted to do that with my previous post about how we should all love one another, but even that had it’s detractors.  So…

I like fireworks.  Tonight, Eric and I watched the fireworks in our neighborhood, as we did last year and as I’ve done nearly every year since I moved to Larchmont Village.  A couple years ago, our first 4th of July as a couple, we were driving on the freeway from Playa del Rey to our home and the entire sky was filled with the fireworks going off in every Los Angeles neighborhood.  

Everybody knows that New Years’ is a time where we look at the year that has passed and we look at the year ahead.  But for some reason, every Independence Day, when I look at a sky filled with fireworks, I think about where I have been and what the future holds as well.  Two years ago, the year we were barrelling down the 710 to the 405 to the 10 to the 101, I thought about how lucky I was that I’d met this guy with whom I was building a new life.  Last year, my heart was heavy worrying about the surgery my Dad was days away from having.  And every year, there is a part of me that feels like a kid again, watching the Riverside Park fireworks from lawn chairs on Russell Road.  

One of our neighbors, a 90-something woman who used to be something of a, forgive me, firecracker was in her front yard tonight watching the fireworks.  When I first moved here, we would chat, she on her daily walks and me walking my dogs.  She’s wheelchair bound now, seldom ventures outside, and when we spoke briefly, it was clear she did not know who I was.  Still, when the fireworks were in full swing, I looked over at her and her mouth was agape and her eyes sparkled.  For a few brief moments, she was a child again. She wasn’t the only one.

Lead With Love

heart-love-ocean-wavesWhen I was in Bible college, there was a song that was popular called You’re the Only Jesus. The idea is that you might be the only Christian a non-Christian will ever encounter and because of that you bear a responsibility. And hopefully, that responsibilty, will affect the way you treat everyone with whom you interact.

Last Friday, I posted a blog stemming from something a childhood friend posted on Facebook. A lot of people read it and many people commented, both here on, on Facebook and in private messages. Several conjectured what Sarah would say or think if she saw the blog. I wondered about it myself. I wondered if maybe I had shared too much of her personal story. I wondered if I had overreacted to her original post. I want you to know that she did send me a message a couple days ago, apologizing for hurting my feelings and telling me she had a struggle with self-righteousness. If you know me, you know I have my own struggle with self-righteousness, just bring up the subject of people running stop signs and I can rant for an hour. I was moved by her response and I must say, she really did not have to respond at all.

Last week, when I was with my cousins in Vegas, one of my cousins was talking about religion. She was talking about Christians and how hypocritical some of them are and she brought up my parents and said, “But your parents, your parents are true Christians.” I agreed, because I feel in all their interactions, they always lead with love, whether it be with other family members, or co-workers, or church friends. And as a person who has known them for 45 years, I can tell you that’s how they’ve always treated me. When I came out to them over 20 years ago, it was not easy for them, in fact, it broke their hearts, but the first thing they did was remind me that their love for me was unchangeable.

In Friday’s post, I talked about how some friends say I should unfriend the people who post anti-gay things on FB. I said that the reason I stay is because I like hearing about their lives. I think that’s definitely part of it, but there is more. I sometimes wonder if I might be the only gay person, or one of the only gay people, some of these friends might know. Here in LA, I am surrounded by gays, you can’t even turn a corner without bumping into someone who claims to be “Cher’s Biggest Fan,” but I know that other parts of the country are a little different.

I was humbled by Sarah’s response to me, because though I try to lead with love, I often fail. Actually, I fail a lot. It seems I’m often saying or writing something petty or snide or sarcastic, both on the page and in person. What I need to remember, try harder at remembering, is that even though I am no longer that Bible college student, the things I learned at home and church and college, still apply. 1 John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” There aren’t any qualifiers in that Scripture about whether or not the lovers or lovees are straight or gay or something in between. The command is simple and pure: Love.