Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Finding courage

Last Tuesday night’s Open Love NY meeting was our best-attended ever, with about 65 people give or take, most of them fans of our speaker. She’s a blogger and contributor to Psychology Today, and she presented a lot of data and research about different relationship styles and the differences between sexes and orientations.

When I opened the meeting on Tuesday, I rattled off the usual privacy and safe space rules, and then I went off-script and rambled a bit on my thoughts about the Memorial Day shooting in UCSB, and how it relates to my passion for the national polyamory movement. I didn't have anything prepared, just an idea that probably came out of my mouth a lot better than it sounded in my head because when I finished I got a nice ovation from the audience. So I resolved to put the ideas down and this post on my public blog is the result. It’s gotten positive reviews on Facebook and it’s slowly spreading its way around the Internet.

Thursday Natalia and I finished up Season Four of Downton Abbey, and it was a marvelous ending, especially compared to the ending of Season Three. We had dinner at Larb Ubol, a Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, and we ordered a grilled tilapia, which is the first time in years for both of us to eat a whole fish.

Friday night I went with a group of friends to see Cabaret, which Puck has been raving about since they saw it. My friend Beth had four table tickets, so I got Lori and Andrea to buy in to see the show. We met up at a Vietnamese place called Cha Pa's Noodles and Grill around the corner from the theater for a bite, and then rushed over when it started to drizzle. The show was amazing and entertaining (Lori sang “Maybe This Time” from the show, and Cole Porter’s “So In Love” at her last recital I attended), although I felt Michelle Williams was a bit of a weak spot in the cast. Alan Cumming, who played Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United and was the pansexual emcee of the show, was terrific, as advertised.

However, the night was not lacking in star power because after the show Andrea spotted fellow X-Man star Hugh Jackman sitting at the table way in front of us near the stage and getting a stage tour as we all looked on. The night was also not lacking in drama from the audience, because during the quiet breakup scene a HUGE row erupted from the mezzanine as a couple got into a loud, nasty fight and literally screamed at each other all the way out the door without any regard for the performance going on. Andrea looked at me and whispered, “Is this part of the show?” and I shook my head. We all gave kudos to the actors for staying focused and in the scene while this kerfuffle was happening.

Saturday I had my picnic in the park with Illona. We had near-perfect weather and we had a long, relaxed conversation about friends, communities, religion and relationships. We discovered a fancy grocery store going from the park to the subway so I picked up a few things. This is a really good walk to do any evening when the weather is nice. There's even some art sculptures along the way, but they have a tendency to get moved around.

Saturday night Puck came to visit from Boston. I was working at my desk with my earphones on (because of all the sirens outside) when they came in, so they completely startled me and I let out a scream like I’ve never done before! And that is why I don’t watch horror movies. We continued our reading of "Matilda" before bed, and the next morning we went to Ess-a-Bagel for brunch. We came home and watched The Grandmaster before heading up to City Center to meet their family, who was taking them to a performance that afternoon before they head back to Boston. I took a leisurely stroll around Midtown before ending up back home for the rest of the evening.

Monday night was Shotz, but none of the usual crowd could make it. I had to work late, so I’m fortunate not to have made plans for the early show. I went straight from the train station to the theater for the 8:30 pm show – the theme was “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SHOTZ!” The conditions were 1) Something is in peril; 2) Someone has a secret identity; and 3) The line “Kapow” must be used.

My favorite for kitsch was the first one, about a pacifist superhero named Azure Mist being betrayed by the police commissioner who wants a more aggressive approach to crime. For laughs, the second play was the funniest, about two zebras, one gay, one lesbian, being asked to breed by their ingratiating zookeeper, who gets his comeuppance from a pair of undercover PETA activists.

The fourth play was an audience participation piece where people were asked to come up and “do something brave” with a cast member. The first pair did a shot of liquor, the second pair exchanged shirts (interestingly, they were both wearing black lace bras), the third pair exchanged a passionate kiss (two women, btw) and the fourth audience member got her face painted green.

The point was that we can all have courage in our daily lives (they all put on crusader masks at the end) and it wasn't lost on me since I feel like such a coward now for not raising my hand. I need to be better at letting art inspire me and not being just an observer all the time.