Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Next Generation of Event Decor

With the 4 city Macy's Passport Presents Glamorama fashion show tour only months away, we are in high event planning season. This is the time when some of the most creative and innovative ideas are suggested by vendors from around the world.

Below is a technology we were interested in utilizing in Los Angles to be projected on the face of the California Market Center. The images come to life in 3D -- imagine the possibilities!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The politics of growing-up

I recently approached a path in my life where I’m forced to choose a direction of which way to go next. Perhaps I grew up too quickly or it’s just that life truly is this complicated. Regardless of the reasons, I'm optimistic for the future and excited for the possibilities.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Academy of Friends 2010 Oscars Party


Last Sunday, during the Oscars, I had the privilege of attending another iconic event in San Francisco: The Academy of Friends Annual Gala. "Behind the Seams: A Salute to Fashion In Film" took place on Sunday, March 7, 2010 in the Festival Pavilion at the Fort Mason Center. AOF's annual gala is a black tie event that I was excited to finally witness first hand.

This is Derek volunteering to be a gold Oscars statue.


This is the group that I attended the event with. David Miranda, to the left of the women in the gold dress, was this year's Gala Chair. Well done David!


This was the entrance to the VIP lounge. Winslow & Associates (www.winslowevents.com) was the production company that executed the event on site. I don't know whose idea the zipper was...but job well done!


Consistent with the theme, mannequins in vintage clothing showed off different outfits used in films throughout history.


I don't who this person is, but he's attractive and worth capturing on a blog.

So glamorous!



Me with the Macy's team -- post and present. I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of these...



For more information and to donate to The Academy of Friends: www.academyoffriends.org



Monday, March 1, 2010

I’m gay, but I still want to go to church.

Why would a gay man attend church on a Sunday morning in San Francisco? Like the generations that came before us, I'm entertaining the idea of a possible higher power and hopefully a source of strength. I'm not sure exactly what "spiritual" feels like, but being the emotional thrill seeker that I am, it's worth exploring -- if anything for one hour on a Sunday morning. There's that, and also that going home with random attractive men you meet at a gay bar in the Castro is emotionally limiting at best.

This past Sunday I attended the morning worship service at Cornerstone Church on 17th Street. The religious experience at Cornerstone felt like a progressive high school social studies class. The sanctuary has movie theatre style seating, easy to read flat screens and fun lighting. The service begins with a five-person band (complete with a drummer) that sing contemporary Christian worship music. Singing is totally optional, but after a song or two, if you’re like me, you join the group because it's fun to sing out loud. What's more, the spiritual leader utilizes Google maps and satellite images of Israel to bring the whole interactive experience full circle.

It’s difficult to textualize where I am today in my spiritual walk with a higher power. However, I am trying, exploring, and looking for something that I can’t quite define. I’ll know when I’ve found what it is I’m looking for; until then, I remain open minded and open to suggestions.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The SF Ballet Opening Night Party






Amidst an otherwise dreary evening of San Francisco rain in January, I found myself at the opening night of the San Francisco ballet. Let me clarify, I wasn't at the actual ballet performance, I was at the after party -- looking at the decor. City Hall, where the party took place, is one of the possible venues that The Macy's Parade & Entertainment Group is looking at for the after party of the SF Passport Presents Glamorama fashion show. Macy's Inc., being my current employer, is why I was invited to the party.

The decor was stunning. The food: horrible. Having previously worked for McCall's (the catering company that put on the event) I was embarrassed that upon eating the sushi I contemplated what I would do if I got nauseous due to food poisoning. What's more, on more than one occasion I vogued for McCall's to replace Taste Catering as the Passport catering company – clearly my opinions were out of post-college pubescent loyalty to a good paying employer. 

To the defense of the catering world, it was 10pm and McCall's did put on a sit down dinner prior to the ballet performance. Therefore, food wasn't a priority at 10pm; alcohol was -- and McCall's effectively got the room intoxicated. After all, I did spend most of my catering days as a bartender for McCall's and it was an enjoyable work experience.

Aside from the food and decor of the event, the people in attendance: swanky. The dresses were over the top and Waspy alcoholic men were at every corner. My amazing date and coworker, Jen Lu, was quick to the dance floor where dancing in an overly decorated City Hall corner couldn't be more fun.

Consistent with my mission at any major event, I met a boy. I've always thought of high-end events as a filtering mechanism for the rif raf often found at douchebag bars. I went to the party to enjoy myself while expanding my knowledge of acceptable event decor schemes -- especially given today's grueling budget conscious event environment. The 29 year old boy, "Matthew", was an exciting addition to the evening -- let's hope something becomes of the phone numbers that were exchanged. Even then, I'm happy to say that I'm more optimistic of San Francisco's gay scene since having met a beautiful boy at the ballet opening night party. For those of you still getting to know me, realty is clouded as I attempt to live a hopeless romantic fairy tale called event planning.



Until next time: www.twitter.com/dsisson



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Missing You

There is no excuse for my absence from this blog. A lot has happened since May. Here's a quick list to justify my absence:

  • December 2008: I land my first full-time job. 
  • February 2009: The company I was working for (Macy's West) announces a mass lay-off of 8000+ employees nationally. A new organization chart is released and my job disappears.
  • March - April 2009: With May as the last day in my current position (Media and Press Relations for Macy's West), I hit the ground running and begin looking for a new job. Macy's went from 2200 people in the San Francisco office to around 170: welcome to the recession.
  • May 2009: A position opens up in the department I was originally interested in: special productions. Again, I moved to SF to pursue event planning. I get the job and back doing what I love -- putting on beautiful, exciting and powerfully branded events for the Macy's Parade and Entertainment Group. 
  • June - August 2009: From day 1 of my new job, I begin planning for the largest event that the West Coast SP team does -- the Macy's Passport fashion show and HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Consequently, void of a personal life, my blogging is put on hold.
  • June - August 2009: Without the time to blog, I explore Twitter: www.twitter.com/dsisson. I like Twitter, but I miss writing.
  • September 2009: The 4 shows in SF and LA are a great success. I now understand what my job is and excited for the future.
  • October 2009: I'm finally able to blog about my life in San Francisco.
  • Today: I'm making a point to blog again. No excuses. Join me as I push the envelope even farther.

Tell your friends, I'm back:

 www.OutAndAboutSanFrancisco.blogspot.com


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gay Beach at Dolores Park

When the sun shines bright in San Francisco, a whole lot of gays living close to the Mission District congregate to "Gay Beach" located at the Southwest corner of Dolores Park. I always knew that homosexuals worshiped the sun at the top of the hill. Still, to put myself in the middle of that hot mess, that was an experience I put off until only recently. 

Let's begin with what I was wearing: a V-neck white t-shirt, light blue shorts, Ray Ban sunglasses, tan messenger bag and light blue Haviana flip-flops.

What was everybody else wearing? Nothing. Well, at least as close as you can get to wearing nothing and being socially acceptable in the public eye. Seeing as we're talking about San Francisco's gay community, "socially acceptable" in the public eye has various interpretations.

The only reason I went to "Gay Beach" was because I was meeting a friend of mine from high school who was in town for the weekend. Immediately upon arriving I discovered I was horribly over dressed -- that means I wasn't wearing a Speedo or briefs. As I lay down my blanket on the grass, I was so flustered that I spilled my water bottle. After all, the guy sitting right next to me was in a Speedo with a waxed chest and inner thigh. (Inner thigh! That's like, well, really, really, really, really gay...)

While I could write an entire blog post about gay men and waxing, what intrigued me more was the kind of people that chose to come to this sacred place on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 

Like most people in San Francisco, everyone at the exclusively gay section of Dolores was friendly -- perhaps a little too friendly. First their was the group of guys in front of me (with a full bar in their coolers) drinking and pouring water on their bodies to reveal the outline of their penis. Then there was the skinny Asian, daring to wear a tight number, refusing to sit down so that everyone could observe his sexually suggestive state. (Remember, I'm fully dressed taking in the whole experience like I'm at some gay themed Disneyland.) 

Nevertheless, I'm intrigued at how a section of a public park is used as yet another cruising territory for gay men in San Francisco. It's almost as if the same people who go clubbing at night come to Dolores Park during the day to worship the sun -- while still trying to get laid. But if you're like me and looking to relax in the California sunshine, so long as you remember that the eye candy is simply that, there's a lot to experience on the Southwest corner of Dolores Park. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Independent Films at the SFIFF




The entertainment industry is saturated with crappy films that make money. It's not brain science, it's the entertainment industry and sex, violence and high-tech graphics sell a movie. The formula obviously molds to whomever you're targeting. The problem, however,  is that this equation (these days) rarely gets me excited to see a movie -- especially in the theatre at $10 per ticket.

The 52nd Annual San Francisco International Film Festival recently ended. Aside from the fabulous parties put on by Bay Area event planning company Winslow and Associates, the fifteen day festival introduced the finest examples of independent films from around the world.

A film festival like the SFIFF sifts through a plethora of independent films and determines what is different, creative, arguably brilliant and most importantly, worth our time and money. What interests me: how a low-budget independent movie can capture the attention of millions with a powerful and entertaining story. 

During the festival, I had the unique pleasure of attending both the opening night showing (and West Coast premier) of "La Mission" and the Centerpiece showing of "500 Days Of Summer". I enjoyed the films, but the traditional idea of an edgy independent film was lost in hopes of ensuring a national distributor. After all, what's the point in making a movie if it doesn't sell.

Peter Bratt's "La Mission" stars his brother, Benjamin Bratt, and is a story of a single recovering alcoholic father coming to terms with his son's sexual orientation. The film takes place in my very own neighborhood, San Francisco's Mission District, and provides a fresh lens into a complicated issue that all facets of society can relate to.

"500 Days Of Summer", directed by Mark Webb and staring one my all-time favourite independent films stars, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a romantic comedy deserving of a first-date movie. A low-budget movie, the film utilizes captivating dialogue and a creative timeline that ultimately brings new hope to hopeless romantics (like myself).

Overall, the SFIFF was a huge success. Where else can you walk a couple of blocks to the Castro Theatre, watch an unreleased film, and later attend a party with the cast and crew? And, while I love film, I love parties more -- so thanks again, Winslow and Associates!

In the end, the San Francisco International Film Festival was an excellent introduction to the film industry. Most notably, I learned that any creative film idea requires funding. Money, by its nature, denotes power which ultimately influences the film. For better or for worse, the power to sell a film is just as important as the message itself. Consistent with mainstreaming messages in order to ensure a national distributor, I predict that the future of independent films will be dumbed-down motion pictures that are inexpensive to produce.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A sign at a Gay Marriage rally


Slip-n-Slide in Dolores Park!

It was hot in Dolores Park...it's slip-n-slide time!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The gift of flowers


My mother taught me many things and the importance of flowers was one of them. Flowers are the perfect gift when attending a dinner party, going to someones home for drinks who will most likely be paying for your meal, meeting a friends mother or father at their home for the first time, or trying to live out ones hopeless romantic fantasy. They say thank you, I'm cultured, I have taste and so much more. Coupled with a bottle of wine, you have to do something really bad not to make an excellent first impression.

When purchasing flowers, try to think what colors/style the person you are giving them to might like. For example, if the person is more traditional, you might want to stick with blue and white flowers. If they are more progressive, a colorful organic combination of flowers might be best.

Bias due to my involvement in the wedding world, I try to purchase flowers that are in season. Certain colors are popular in different seasons. It shows excellent taste to have flowers that are both beautiful and in season.

If and when you do buy a bundle of beautiful flowers, be sure to ask the person selling them that you want them wrapped in paper/clear plastic and tied with a ribbon. Often times this is free of charge and adds a whole new level of decadence to the gift.

Below is a guide to purchasing flowers in season:

Easy To Get All Year
Baby's Breath
white and delicate, used to mix with other flowers.
Bachelor's Button available in white, pink, red, or blue, symbolizes hope.
Carnation available in a million colors, means you'll "love many".
Gardenia white and fragrant, this lovely bloom represents joy.
Gladiolus million colors, stands for sincerity.
Lily of the Valley white and pink, and symbolizes humility.
Orchid pink, white or purple orchids mean beauty.
Rose any color of the rainbow, almost, and will always mean, "I love you".
Stephanotis white and delicate, this flower symbolizes a happy marriage.


Winter Wonderland
Calla Lily
white, purveyor of purity.
Camellia lovely in pink and white, this flower represents gratitude.
Forget-Me-Not blue, stands for remembrance.
Holly luscious green with deep red berries, holly brings domestic bliss.
Ivy mostly green or variegated, with the true quality of fidelity.
Orchid pink, purple, and white, symbolizing beauty.
Poinsettia traditional holiday flower, comes in red, white, and pink.
Tulip many colors, means "perfect lover".


Spring Flowers
Anemone available in many bright, poppy-like colors, it means "forsaken many".
Apple Blossom soft, romantic, and white.
Calla Lily available in a few colors, but most popular in white, this elegant flower symbolizes purity.
Daffodil yellow, means unity.
Forsythia yellow, and symbolizes anticipation.
Geranium most common in red and pink, this traditional flower stands for unity.
Hyacinth purple, pink, or white, this flower stands for constancy.
Iris in many colors, this flower always means good health.
Jonquil perfectly spring pale yellow, means affection shared.
Lilac fragrant in violet or white, lilacs are the sign of new love.
Larkspur comes in blue, and means decidedly fickle.
Magnolia thick white blossoms, symbolizes love of nature.
Narcissus this white bloom represents formality.
Orange Blossom traditional white wedding flower, symbolizes happiness.
Tulip any color you wish, give this to your lover and tell them they're perfect.
Violetrichly purple, symbolizes faithfulness.

Summer Blossoms
Aster white, pink, and rose colors, means daintiness.
Calla Lily several colors, most popular white for purity.
Daisy bright and white with a touch of yellow, means you'll share your feelings.
Hydrangea purple, symbolizes understanding.
Forget-Me-Not delicate and blue, this is the flower of remembrance.
Peony get them pink, magenta, or white, and they'll symbolize a happy marriage.
Sweet Pea comes in many colors, perfect for someone you're just meeting.
Zinnia red, orange, or pink are most popular, and means "thinking of you".


Autumn Blooms
Aster white, pink, or rose Asters represent daintiness.
Chrysanthemum whether it's gold, red, or white, it means a good friend.
Dahlia tons of colors for this traditional autumn flower.
Marigold blazing gold/red, marigolds harbor sacred affection.
Zinnia red, orange, or pink, symbolizes "thinking of you".
Leaves and Foliage symbol of wedded love.
Dried Flowers represent sadness.

Source: "Choosing Flowers in Season" by Jennifer Baumann

The hipster gay? Hardly.

I'm not sure who is turned on to this homosexual personality. It sure as hell isn't me. However, if this is what turns you on, be sure to attend HYP at Club Eight in the South of Market district of San Francisco. Around 75% of the guests in attendance were gay Asian males...

Chicken & Rice in 30 Minutes


These days, I'm getting lazier and lazier in the kitchen. I often get home at 8:00 or even 9:00PM. Cooking alone is not on the top of my list of activities. (The single life...) Sure, two blocks away a plethora of $10 meals are available for my choosing, but even then, eating Mexican food gets old real fast.
Bored and alone a few days ago, I made this chicken and rice dish. Below are the directions for creating this simple and delicious meal in about 30 minutes.
Ingredients/appliances:
  • Chicken breast
  • George Foreman grill
  • Rice cooker
  • Jasmine rice
  • Onion salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Place one cup of rice in rice cooker with 2 cups of water. Hit the "cook" button. The rice will be cooked in about 10 minutes. Then it automatically switches to a "warm" function. Amazing.
  2. Take the Parmesan cheese and butter out of refrigerator.
  3. Heat your Grill (I use a George Foreman...I know, so classy).
  4. Once the grill is preheated (about 5 minutes) place chicken on grill. If the chicken is frozen it will take about 8 minutes longer to grill.
  5. Put as much rice as you want to eat in a bowl. Add butter, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Depending on what you like to taste, add garlic and onion salt. You can obviously use fresh garlic (SF food snobs...), but again, this is a 30 minute meal with limited clean-up.
  6. Once the chicken is done cooking, cut the breast into little pieces.
  7. On a large plate, sculpt the rice into a nice dome shape in the middle of the plate.
  8. Place the little pieces of chicken over the dome of rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add a flower for color. You can also add fresh parsley to the rice for color.

Enjoy, your meal is done in less than 30 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Macy's 63rd Annual Flower Show: A Bohemian Garden

The 63rd Annual Macy's Flower Show begins today at the Union Square location. The show is FREE and lasts until April 18th. On Sunday the 19th, all the real flowers used in the store will be sold and the money will go to charity. This years theme, “A Bohemian Garden,” transports customers to a magical fantasyland of enchanted forests and storybook castles inspired by the historic countryside of Prague—the true Bohemian city.




For two weeks, Macy’s Union Square will be transformed into a captivating wonderland of enchanted forests, magical marshlands and settings inspired by castles and bright and pastel color palettes. Mystical creatures like fairies, unicorns, wood nymphs and fireflies play and hide in unconventional presentations of thousands of spring blooms, lush greens, and oak, maple and manzanita forests. Hand crafted bejeweled Easter eggs inspired by FabergĂ©, landscape murals commissioned by a local artist, rabbit topiaries and candy garlands complete the exquisite kingdom.


Fairies are everywhere!




Below is a chandelier that is inspired from a trees root system.


You'd think we were in a recession...not when it comes to corporate marketing!



The Macy's Flower Show takes place in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minnesota and San Francisco. Believe it or not, San Francisco has the best show. After all, we are the best when it comes to all things green!

The enchantment of “A Bohemian Garden” continues in Macy’s exterior windows on Stockton and O’Farrell streets. The heart of the store’s corner window is a spectacular tree that grows jewel-encrusted eggs. Butterfly rainbows, peek-a-boo fairies, richly colored peacocks and twinkling fireflies complete the captivating scene. Other exterior windows feature curious hideaways like a private marshland with a magnificent queen swan, a magical spider in a web, a gazebo covered in climbing vines of wisteria and jasmine, and roses, water lilies, orchids, azaleas and rhododendron.
(Exerts of this blog post taken from the Macy's West Flower Show Press Release available at: www.macys.com/pressroom)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pets: How much is too much?

Death is part of life and everyone has his or her own coping mechanism for dealing with such a tragedy. Residents of San Francisco take this to the next level: The Presidio of San Francisco Pet Cemetery. Don't get me wrong, I love pets like Kibble (see below) and I'm sure she made a great lap dog. Nevertheless, pets are not humans and in San Francisco -- as is the case in other places as well -- I'm flabbergasted at the degree to which humans treat their pets.

I've beaten to death the phenomenon of dog parks in San Francisco. Whether you're looking to get laid or hoping to fill some seats at a dinner party, you can always find a friend at a dog park -- right after they bend over and pick-up some dog shit. Pets are a great way to meet people; however, when pets replace the need to be in a relationship with another human, this is the slippery slope that makes me skeptical.

I'm not an animal hater. I like dogs and love to ride horses. (See, I'm not a hater.) However, sometimes I find animals serving as the glue binding an otherwise failing relationship or better yet, unlucky attempt at finding a compatible mate in this jungle called life. And yet, as humans, is it necessary that our soul mates be another human? My opinion: yes.

Humans bring to the table something that animals cannot. Life needs to be shared with somebody else -- a human whose level of appreciation stretches beyond tail wagging or licking its caretakers fingers. The problem that arises is that pets fulfill the emotional void in a human-to-human relationship faster, more economically and with less obstacles (potty training being the most difficult). I'm not referring to children here -- which is a whole different scenario -- but more the relationship between a single human and their pet.

Taking this one step farther, there are some people who argue that humans are capable of having an emotional and even physical relationship with an animal. Entirely avoiding the discussion of bestiality, I do think it's possible to have an emotional relationship with a pet, but nothing on the level that which can be achieved in a human relationship. Therefore, while I understand the need to mourn the death of a pet, I do think it's important to keep in mind that a pet is nothing more than a less evolved mammal that hardly deserves the attention it already gets in San Francisco: too much.

Wedding Photography on Baker Beach

I always knew that wedding photographers took photos of brides on Baker Beach. After all, with the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean right in front of you, what's not to love -- or be loved.

Seeing as deep down I aspire to be involved with the paparazzi, below is an incredibly unnecessary documentation of a wedding photographer taking photos of a bride blinded by the illusion of true love.

video

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A new adventure

March 2009 marks one year that I have lived in San Francisco. I created "Out & About: San Francisco" after experimenting with two previous blogs. I enjoy writing in this blog, documenting my adventures here in San Francisco as I experiment with different writing styles. However, it's time I transition into a new project: a television show.

I'm posting this on my blog because I'm hoping to utilize this form of communication -- an online community with an international perspective -- as I attempt to write something I've never done before. Writing in a blog is similar to writing in a journal; however, writing a television show, with characters and plots, this is totally different. I hope to continue posting pictures on this blog, but I also plan on using this page as a forum to share ideas. Hopefully, as I begin posting ideas about what to include in the television show (about San Francisco -- more on that to come soon), friends and followers of this blog can also provide their input. After all, the more opinions and different perspectives I garner in the brainstorming phase, the stronger the script. My ultimate goal is to discuss gay culture on a level that can be easily identifiable to any gender, demographic or religion.

As I begin this exploratory phase, I find myself looking back at the escapades I've had in my lifetime. Friends, we've had some wicked crazy rides. Now, I'm hoping to share those adventures, experiences and always entertaining outcomes. Join me as I embark into the unknown and attempt to make something out of nothing. After all, what the hell else am I supposed to do with my free time? I'm told we have one year before we get out of this recession. What better time to start then now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Serendipitous creativity

Idle hands are the devil's playground. Sure, this is true in some instances, but imagine what is possible when unexpected free time -- supported by severance -- comes knocking on your door?
Below is a New York Times article that entertains this serendipitous idea where free time can potentially lead to creative genius during a recession.

March 16, 2009

Big City
No Jobs, but a Wealth of Time, Creativity and Now a Film

By SUSAN DOMINUS

When Kirsten Major and three friends decided they were going to go ahead and make a short film she had written, she asked if they thought they might all be able to find some time to shoot in the next few days, even though that would mean taking time out of the workweek. The four collaborators looked at one another at the coffee shop and realized that, yes, as a matter of fact, they were all free the very next day, and every day after that for the foreseeable future.

Whatever problems unemployment may create, scheduling conflicts are not among them. Adam Lehman, a 27-year-old executive assistant who lately cannot even find temp jobs, was pretty sure he could squeeze in a meeting whenever it was convenient for everyone else, even if it cut into the time he and his roommate (also newly unemployed) were spending perfecting the moves to BeyoncĂ©’s “Single Ladies” dance. Josh Koll, who is also 27 and had been laid off from a lighting design firm a few months earlier, knew his regular Bravo reality television regimen could wait. Ms. Major, 42, whose previous day jobs had been with nonprofit organizations, and who had been looking for work for months, could give herself permission to take time off from the musical she was writing on spec.

The problem they had all expected, at first, was working around the schedule of Joshua Helmin, a 26-year-old assistant managing editor at Parents magazine, whom Ms. Major hoped would star opposite Mr. Lehman in the 15-minute romantic film, “Jonathan, Just Because.” But then Mr. Helmin lost his job to cutbacks, too. “When we found out, we were all like, ‘Awwwww,’ ” Mr. Lehman recalled last week as he sat with cast and crew at the coffee shop in Hell’s Kitchen where they frequently meet. “Then we were like, ‘Yaaaay!’ ”

The four friends take comfort in numbers, even as they watch certain numbers go down — how many weeks left of severance pay; how much in the savings accounts. But they take even greater comfort in getting one another out of their respective apartments, where each had been napping, despairing or hip-hop dancing in increasingly significant expanses of time.
Ms. Major had always wanted to write a film, and had always wanted Mr. Koll, who has some experience as a freelance videographer, to direct it. But it was not until she was seriously unemployed that she had the creative space to write the script, and the nerve to make it happen. “I would not have done this unless I’d lost everything,” she said.

CALLING themselves the W.P.A. Players, they worked on a budget of exactly zero dollars and zero cents. Yet from nothing came something: They lighted one scene with a floor lamp from Ikea, persuaded a cafe manager in the East Village to let them shoot there free — it’s not like there was much business there these days, anyway — and took advantage of the city’s familiar glory for sets. Shooting the skyline from the Brooklyn promenade, Mr. Helmin said, “made me realize how lucky we are to be in New York City. I mean, ‘Gossip Girl’ used that shot several weeks in a row, and now it is ours.”

Granted, that is probably not the reference that most of us have in mind when a glimpse of the skyline triggers strong emotions, but his point speaks to something enduring about the city: Even unemployment can feel burnished by the setting. To be an out-of-work artist in New York is to be part of a grand tradition, and that history no doubt helps fuel aspirants like Ms. Major and her friends, who might otherwise succumb to fear of failure.

Some of the artwork that will come out of all this free time for creative types is probably painfully bad, and some may be masterpieces that the world would otherwise never have seen, but all of it will do something for the people who make it. “Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, the major prize of this film is that we did it and now we know we can,” said Mr. Koll. “Unemployment gave that to me.”

There are also practical advantages that come with being unemployed in the media capital of the country — everyone knows something about how to promote themselves or knows someone who knows someone, which is how the four friends got Therapy, a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen, to sponsor a premiere of the film, scheduled for Sunday; persuaded a representative from the Logo cable channel to attend the premiere; and convinced a popular Web site, towleroad.com, to carry the film.

The plot, Ms. Major said, is simple: two men who take a chance on each other. The inspiration is pretty straightforward. “Both characters are heartbroken,” she said. “They have no money, they don’t have a lot to give. Everyone’s a little desperate.”
“And in the end,” added Mr. Helmin, “it all works out.”

Monday, March 9, 2009

Missed Connections

Anytime I'm walking around, no matter what the circumstance, it's an opportunity to meet somebody new. We can only gain from the experience of meeting someone new. Not everyone we meet delivers the kind of stimulation we desire -- like a homeless person asking for money. Even then, interacting with a complete stranger is exciting. After all, isn't the prospect of the unknown what keeps this sometimes repetitive and monotonous life entertaining?

In an effort to meet as many new people as achievable, I'm exploring every possible form of communication. The most standard way of communicating is through people we already know. For example, a friend introduces you to their friend and suddenly you've met somebody new. While the reasons we meet new people may vary, we are still utilizing human interaction to connect us with somebody new. Why limit ourselves to the methods of social interaction utilized by those that came before us? We have the technology, let's get out there and use it to our advantage.

Those of you who know me personally, I'm always asking friends of friends and everybody else in between if they know any single gay men. In my defense, while San Francisco is a city densely saturated with gay men, meeting new and interesting personalities on a level beyond a cordial exchange of information is rare. While my expertise lay in San Francisco's homosexual social scene, meeting new people (gay or straight) is challenging for everybody. Knowing this, how do we meet promising strangers in San Francisco?

Missed Connections is a feature on Craig's List that allows complete strangers an opportunity to communicate after the fact. What this means is that walking past somebody anonymously, looking at someone in the eyes with interest, these no longer need to be mere acts of expression. There is now hope for reuniting an otherwise missed connection.

Last week, running on the treadmill at my gym, it just so happened that the person running next to me was an attractive male whom I've seen before. How do I express interest with this person? Because we're both running on a treadmill and wearing headphones, the opportunity to get to know one another -- on a level beyond casual glances -- is limited.

Intrigued by the idea that I was humanly incapable of connecting with someone physically in my presence, later that night I went to Missed Connections on Craig's List. This is what I posted:

24+ male running on the treadmill next to me at Club One (Sansome) - m4m - 23 (financial district)Date: 2009-03-02, 10:34PM PST

You're a 20 something year-old male, muscular, you were running next to me on the treadmill. I never talk to anyone when I'm at the gym. Nobody does really. You seem like a quiet guy. I'd like to get to know you better.

My "Missed Connection" took place at 6:30PM and I posted on Craig's List around 10:30PM. By midnight, I received the following email:

hey -
i randomly searched for club one on craigslist and saw your ad - i doubt I'm your man but thought I'd give it a shot - i always wondered if anyone actually found anyone via missed connections!

so, i don't really want to tell you who i am just out of sheer embarrassment of being exposed on the Internet, but i AM a 25 year old male who sadly spends more than his fair share of time at club one... let me know your mystery man's stats and I'll tell you if i fit the bill :)

After a few email exchanges, this person (Chris) was actually a member of a different Club One in the city. Nevertheless, this attempt at reconnecting on a technologically evolved level is exciting. People, at least in San Francisco, are beginning to utilize more abstract forms of communication.

Like any form of digital communication, a learning curve exists for new users. As a result, advanced forms of communication and networking -- texting, Craig's List, online dating/chat rooms, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, etc. -- are only able to evolve as quickly as they become user friendly. Likewise, the social stigma surrounding progressive forms of communication, this is a sociological conundrum whose factual base is yet to be fully determined.

San Francisco is a relatively small city with a strong technological influence. The gay social scene is even smaller so reconnecting with a "stranger" can very easily become a new friend with enough degrees of separation. Craig's List, based out of San Francisco, is undeniably influenced by the city's social tendencies. Missed Connections, therefore, while it might seem odd in any other city, here in the Bay Area, it's hardly something that should be stigmatized. The sooner we embrace new forms of communication the faster our society will evolve into a more advanced culture. Of course, this is coming from somebody who considers a more "advanced" society as one where I'm not single.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kinky



I recently had the pleasure of attending a live performance of Kinky here in San Francisco. This five member band from Monterey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico formed in 1998. While the sound was a little off in the venue, the band itself is extremely legitimate and fueled with Latin America passion. What I want to know is what makes Kinky, so kinky?

Hot boots

I saw these boots on my way to work this morning. These boots are hot.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Shaved Head Phenomenon

If you're a twenty something year-old gay man (with good skin), when you start losing your hair, it might be in your best interest to shave it all off. It's no surprise that gay men shave their heads when their receding hair line becomes unattractive. And yet, is it just gay men or are straight men understanding the power of attraction that a smooth shaved head brings on?

My whole life I've associated balding with old age. Because I'm not attracted to old men, I've never liked a shaved head on a male. (Old men being of an age that I will not specify; 35 years-old is not old, persay.) However, a close female mentor of mine once said, "It doesn't matter about the hair. The person is either attractive or they're not. It's all in the face." Regardless if our face is still in tact, the fear of losing our hair, to be bald, as men this is hard for us to handle.

Some men grow a beard when they shave their head. Personally, I feel all the proportions are wrong when facial hair is paired with a shiny head. Seeing as this article is a reflection of my internal fears that one day I will be bald, I have come-up with steps men in their twenties can take to prevent or cope with natural balding patterns.
  • Propecia: A prescription pill that prevents balding and actually increases hair growth. While this drug sounds like a wonder pill, not only does it cause abnormal hair growth in certain areas, it decreases your libido. A decreased libido? I'd rather live with no hair on my body.
  • Zinc: Increased levels of Zinc in males is proven to reduce hair loss. Centrum Silver, rather than Centrum A-Z, actually has increased levels of Zinc and recommended on certain websites that obsess about premature hair loss.
  • Rogaine: An expensive but effective way to prevent hair loss so long as you have the kind of hair loss that it helps prevent -- the one that balds at the top of your head. Rogaine has no effect on a receding hairline. At $50 a bottle, the shampoo/foam is effective; however, the moment you stop using the product, your hair starts falling-out again.
  • A hat: Wearing a hat out is an excellent way to hide a balding pattern. However, if you're someone like myself, anyone wearing a hat more than once in my presence (socially) is automatically categorized as potentially being bald. While a hat might make you look younger, be careful that it doesn't label you as the bald man trying to hide the inevitable.
  • The comb over: My middle school band teacher was the master of this failed illusion. Never, I mean never, attempt to "successfully" pull-off the comb over. This is not possible. While you may be able to fool yourself in the mirror, everyone else knows the truth: you're bald.
  • The bald on top and hair on the side: This is what your hair looks like at it's most natural state. It's just okay. This is where the gay card comes into play and the hair is all shaved off. And yet, if you choose not to shave off all your hair, be careful when dyeing the little hair that you have on your head. Remember, when you dye the hair on the the top of your head, you should also color your eyebrows.
  • L'Oreal Vive Pro Daily Thickening Shampoo: I use this shampoo because it makes me feel better about my situation. I highly doubt this does anything, by the fact that I feel better after I shampoo -- every other day to prevent excessive drying -- is enough to make me a repeat customer for the $4.00 shampoo.
  • Hair dryer: Buddies, I know you think hair dryers are for women, but really, they give your hair body. It goes a long way when covering a receding hairline. You should blow dry your hair whenever you get out of the shower.

As I get older and learn more about the male body, I'm forced to begin embracing that balding is a fact of life. Like everything else, it should be embraced. And yet, perhaps it's like the wrinkles that are potentially forming around my temples or on my brow line; I fear that old age is around the corner. Why is it that I fear ageing? These questions and so many more will keep me entertained for hours.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Expressing interest

Telling someone that you like them, expressing interest, making it clear that they're on your emotional radar, all these expressions are difficult and a calculated risk. It could be anyone: the cute guy checking you in at the gym, your yoga instructor, the dude at the Bart Station with the rad bike or perhaps your quiet (but extremely fashionable) neighbor.

Each day I come across someone I fancy. My coworker, Laura, thinks I'm boy crazy -- aka horny. Let's get one thing straight: I'm always horny. Now that we got that out of the way, let's get back to the issue at hand. When I meet someone random (and in person) that I like, how do I show interest? How do you engage with someone when you like them? And, when I say “like” I’m referring to interested in pursuing a relationship beyond hooking-up for one night. I wish I had the answer. Unfortunately, the only place I feel truly confident is behind a keyboard or on my Blackberry. I can formulate sentences until the day is gone; get me face-to-face with someone I like, suddenly I’m talking about how the weather in San Francisco is only fair today. It’s incredible, the power of emotion that is.

Even though I remain single, I’ve learned a lot about courting perspective partners. First of all, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to control the way they think. There’s a million reasons why someone doesn’t want to be with you, so don’t take it personally. Gay men are complicated and hardly rational. You can be the most amazing catch ever, but if the person is feeling bitchy, there’s nothing you can do. And trust me, gay men can be bitchy. Bitchier than a mean girl, well, the judges are still out on that one.

The best thing you can do is confront the person that you like. Take Jeffrey, the cute boy who checks people in at the gym. He always smiles at me when I talk to him – and in that way that says “I like you. Let’s go get drinks and have fun!” Each time he looks at me, I automatically look at the ground. It’s incredible how at such a crucial moment, a time where eye contact is key, I choose to look at the ground. Why do we do these things?

Another example is my amazingly attractive and incredibly built yoga instructor. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching me perform yoga, well, you’re not missing much. I’m not very good and I laugh at everything. Regardless, there was only 7 of us in the class and we were making eye contact. Amazingly, he ends up having the locker right next to mine. Fate, I know. What do I say? Nothing. I’m a deaf mute that begins wondering if the super gay yoga instructor is in fact gay. Then, when I convince myself that he’s gay, I shy away thinking that he’s clearly taken. This type of thinking, this over-analysis, it gets me nowhere. Nevertheless, each time I reflect on these experiences, I learn how pathetic we homosexuals socially interact.

When it comes to showing interest in one another, gay men are only good at expressing sexual desire. I spend more time dodging sexual advances from gay men who know what they want...SEX! However, when it comes to sharing emotional feelings, feelings about what makes us laugh, these are all lost. As gay men, all we’re good at is reverting back to being the sexual animals that we are.

I'm clearly commenting on how I see the world. However, the conclusions I've made are hardly based on only my personal experiences. Just look at the gay people you know out there, think hard on how they show interest in someone they like. In a strange way, I feel like we've reverted to being middle school girls. Of course, that's an entirely different bag of worms. Until then, the next time you see someone you like, make it count. For those of us like myself who continue to struggle with the physical world, need not worry, online communication is still very much alive.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Steaming Without Being Steamy

I love steam rooms. Always have, always will. There's something about that wet steam, the way it enters your lungs while soothing your aches and pains. It sounds, so, well, homoerotic. That's the point. Steam rooms, at private gyms in San Francisco, are a place where just about everything imaginable takes place. While I've seen a lot, I'm by no means a participant, persay.

Don't get me wrong, I'll enter the steam room. But when some guy is laying on his back, wearing a small white towel and looking at you with sexually suggestive eyes. This can be overwhelming for someone like myself, steaming after I shower, before I shave -- as recommended by the worlds beauty experts to prevent razor burn!

After weeks of looking at just about every gym in downtown San Francisco, I made the decision to sign-up with Club One. It's a wonderful gym, located right off Bart at the Montgomery Street station. Competitive in price with surrounding gyms in the area, Club One has some great features -- including a steam room.
What I've discovered in my two months at this gym is that more happens in the steam room than one would think. Literally. I always thought this was a place to steam; after all, it's a room reserved for steaming. However, behind the doors of the steam room, more happens than catches the eye.

Since having my revelation, my epiphany or whatever else friends like to use at moments like this in my life, I can confidently say that my visits in the steam room are now shorter. People get the wrong idea about individuals who stay too long in the steam room. Considering how long it took me to find a gym, I'm in no hurry to be on bad terms with the clientele. That is, even if I want to steam without being steamy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Preserving Your Luck on Friday the 13th

Luck is a chance happening, or that which happens beyond a person's control. On certain days, like Friday the 13th, luck is all relative and as concerned members of an inevitably superstitious society, we need to watch ourselves and play carefully. For others, Luck can also be a belief in an organization of fortunate and unfortunate events.

Seeing as today is Friday the 13th, I don't know what to expect. How will my "luck" be today? So far, things have been okay. I got to the Bart Station and bang: there was my train! This was not the case yesterday -- where I waited 10 minutes -- so today, regardless of it being Friday the 13th, just might be my special (and potentially lucky) day.
As humans, we consume ourselves with false social constructs. Because we assume that Friday the 13th is unlucky, everything on this auspicious day is plagued by the belief that it's not going right. I for one will not adhere to this false belief. Rather, I see obtaining good luck as a challenge, and while others might think I'm playing with fire, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that today will be glorious!
If you're one those people who live in fear that something horrible will happen because today is Friday the 13th, do not worry. Below are some guidelines for what to avoid and what to ensure is done correctly so that we have a prosperous and fortunate Friday the 13th.
  • Do not walk under any ladders.
  • Avoid black cats walking perpendicular to your direction. If the cat walks along a building, parallel to your direction, this is not unlucky.
  • Avoid opening umbrellas indoors. It's going to be a rainy weekend, but opening umbrellas -- in some cultures, like Ireland -- is considered bad luck.
  • It's best you don't touch any mirrors today. However, if you do break a mirror, run the broken pieces under water and you'll be saved from any potential bad luck.
  • Be sure to look the other person in the eye during a toast. If you don't, this leads to bad sex for the rest of your life.
  • Pick-up as many pennies as possible.
  • Horseshoes are wonderful.
  • Four leaf clovers are your best friend.
  • Watch Lindsay Lohan in "Just My Luck".


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sneezing etiquette

It's that time of year again. That glorious time of year when touching anything could lead in a horrible cold for the rest of the week. In an office setting, the sound of sneezing and coughing is all to common. When someone sneezes, it's proper etiquette to say "Bless you." However, what is the protocol when someone sneezes twice in a row? Luckily I have a lot of time on my hands, so allow me to elaborate.
  • Someone around you sneezes. Your response: "Bless You."

  • Someone sneezes for a second time around you. Your response: Nothing.

Just because someone is horribly sick does not mean they deserve a "Bless you" response to every germ infested blow of air. Unfortunately, some people say "Bless you" to every single sneeze. This is not only annoying, it's unnecessary.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the history of why we say "Bless You":

  • Preventing the soul from departing one's body and getting snatched by evil spirits lurking nearby.
  • Preventing possible impending death due to a lethal disease such as the plague pandemics of the fourteenth century.
  • Guarding against evil spirits entering the body through the open mouth of a sneezing individual.
  • Attempting to bring the sneezing individual back from the brink of death in the brief moment during the sneeze when the heart was -incorrectly- believed to skip a beat, leaving the sneezer momentarily in limbo between states of living and death.
  • The belief that the individual is sneezing out evil spirits which had taken residence within the body, and is thus in need of the blessing to prevent the exorcised spirits from re-entering the body.
  • The belief that the individual is sneezing out his or her sins, and thus is deserving of the blessing bestowed upon him or her by those around.
  • A polite way of congratulating the sneezer for his or her impending good luck as signalled by the sneeze.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Medical Marijuana Dispensary

At 1884 Market Street, medical marijuana is dispensed at convenient hours. A friend of mine lives close to this location, so I witness who walks in and out of this place regularly. Seeing as I'm from the Midwest, a marijuana dispensary remains an issue of interest. I don't care how long I live out here, it's going to take me a while before a dispensary of marijuana -- an otherwise illegal place, reserved for drug dealers in college -- becomes just another stop on the way home from work.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Underground SF

video

Video footage from "Drunk and Horny" -- the party that takes place every Saturday night at Underground SF.

Protest



This was a photo in the MoMA -- The Museum of Modern Art.

Interesting personalities

I ran into this character outside of Underground SF -- located at 424 Haight Street. He's an attractive guy...what's with the hat? What's more is that I've seen this guy out-and-about before. That means he dresses like this on a regular basis. At least he's confident.

White coals

While I've eaten at countless bbq's, I have less experience executing the whole process by myself. As a result, I have learned a few things regarding grills. Above is the grill located on the back porch/stairwell at my apartment in San Francisco. I made the mistake of lighting the coals too early -- and then going to Dolores Park to meet some friends. When I returned, the coals were white. Having already purchased charcoal at Safeway, I didn't have anymore to refuel the grill. So what is the moral of this story? Turn-on the grill about 30 minutes before everyone wants to eat. If not, you end up having to find more charcoal and spend additional funds.
White coals = charcoals are hot!

Sea Scallops

Sea scallops are my new favorite dish. Once you get over all the butter being used, these little gems of goodness are fantabulous! What's more, tear off a piece of French bread and the deliciousness keeps on going! I was not the chef responsible for the creation above; but rather, Andre Joffroy is the genius behind this work of love.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tunnel Top


I'm always looking for bars that are easy access post work on Friday evenings. Tunnel Top, located at 601 Bush Street (Nob Hill/Union Square), is a pleasant find. While the bar has a hole-the-wall vibe, the chandelier is not only clever, it's one of the most simple and creative uses of the otherwise tired wine bottle decoration I've seen in a while.