Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Keeping Up With GCL

Of course the minute I decide to do something nice for myself the economy tanks and I'm thrown into a spiral of guilt and (figurative)self-flagellation. Why did I buy a new couch and a new rug? Why did I let James pay for front row seats to Kathy Griffin's show in DC? Or for a ridiculous room at the Mandarin Oriental?

Cuz I'm effing fabulous, yo. Duh.

The past few weeks have been fraught with stress. To boot, my home looks like a flop house. Dainty, particular, neat-freak gays we are not - James and I - as our poorly timed redecorating project has our home stinking of turpentine. My efforts to turn our studio into Marie Antoinette's parlor as envisioned by Gianni Versace circa 1990 by way of ABC Carpet & Home are certainly, slowly, killing James and myself. At the moment I am living in a nightmare of gold trim, blue paint, and worn brown leather.

So we took the weekend off from things domestic and bolted down to DC where we set up a bunker at the Mandarin. Yes, sights were seen - but the highlight of the weekend was room service, watching Gossip Girl in the jacuzzi (our bathroom was huge!) and sippin maritas in the hotel bar overlooking the Potomac. I've been to DC so many times in the past three months that I didn't need to go out and explore, I just needed to be away from my apartment, away from New York, and left alone.

And how was Ms. Griffin's show? Amazing. Highlights: Michelle Obama is Blackie-O and Teri Hatcher either has to fess up to an obscene amount of plastic surgery or explain why she woke up looking Korean one day.

Pix from the trip:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Visiting the Soon-to-Be Ruins in DC

I spent the weekend in DC with James as it was my birfday and he (correctly) thought that I would enjoy seeing the pandas at the National Zoo and checking out some of the museums. Did I mention he got us tickets to see Kathy Griffin as well? We'll get to that in a minute.

With all the talk about our country being on the brink of serfdom to new world powers, I kept looking around at all the impressive monuments in our nation's capital and wondered: Is it really curtains for America? Are the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial all headed the way of the Colosseum, the Sphinx or the Parthenon?

When you think about the trajectory of ancient superpowers - Egypt, Greece, Rome - you realize that the story of U.S. might represents a minute or two in the grand scheme of history. If you believe that history does repeat itself, you have to ask yourself how long will it be before Mandarin becomes the world's official language of trade?

Something isn't right in our country and it goes beyond the ridiculous bail out that goes against the "pick yourself up by the bootstrap" ethos of the Republicans. It's the propagation of unnecessary war , it's stubborn foreign policy and it's eight years of inept leadership - and the complicity of an equally dim witted people - that have turned America into a punch line for the international community.

OK, I promise the next post will be more fun...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's Another $700 Billion?

Are we really just another couple of billion dollars away from restoring America's place at the top of world?

As Congress deliberates the possibility of doling out $700 billion in taxpayer money to "save the economy," I wonder if anyone is aware that 200 billion of our dollars are already tied up in saving the U.S. from annihilation? First it was the War on Terror, now it's the War on...reckless CEOs and financial institutions?

What we should be launching a war on is America's diminishing credibility and influence on the world stage. While China, India, Brazil and Russia are seeing their economies grow by leaps and bounds, we're at a standstill. Of course, here in the U.S. you won't see the crippling poverty that you will find in any of these countries for we know wealth, and opportunity, is more fairly distributed here. But the point is that the values that saw us preside over the course of world events in the 20th century are now all but useless. The rules of the game, overseas and at home, are changing and it seems that our industriousness escapes us and our sense of community is gone. In the mad dash for quick profit our leaders have compromised our nation's safety, the environment and our financial stability.

But who knew all of these things have a price tag? Today, for the low cost of $700 billion, you, too, can be proud to be an American again! Now fork over your $2,293share of the bailout and receive a free flag pin for your lapel.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What America Needs Is...Fidel?

According to Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, America needs a President who loves his people - you know, the way Fidel Castro loves his fellow Cubans.

Cue the Looney Tunes music and read her opinion piece for the UK's Guardian here.

Alice Walker, you stupid commie bitch, clearly you have as distoted and uninformed a point of view on world events as Sarah Palin.

I don't think Fidel Castro took over Cuba on the Love platform. I believe he toppled an existing government through terrorism, stole people's property, sent gays and other "misfits" to concentration camps and set his people on a course of blinding poverty. But according to Walker, we'd all be better off in America with a leader who has us cue up for bread and medicine.

"I remember seeing a picture of Fidel Castro in a parade with lots of other Cubans. It was during the emergency years, the "special period" when Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union had collapsed and there was little gas or oil or fertiliser; people were struggling to find enough to eat. It was perhaps Cuba's nadir, as a small Caribbean island nation considered a dangerous threat by its nearest neighbour, the United States - which, during this period, tightened its embargo. Fidel, tall, haggard, his clothes hanging more loosely than usual from his gaunt frame, walked soberly along, surrounded by thousands of likewise downhearted, fearful people: he, like them, waving a tiny red, white and blue Cuban flag. This photograph made me weep; not only because I love Fidel and the Cuban people, but also because I was envious.

However poor the Cubans might be, I realised, they cared about each other and they had a leader who loved them. A leader who loved them. Imagine. A leader not afraid to be out in the streets with them, a leader not ashamed to show himself as troubled and humbled as they were. A leader who would not leave them to wonder and worry alone, but would stand with them, walk with them, celebrate with them - whatever the parade might be.

This is what I want for our country, more than anything. I want a leader who can love us."

Funny, Fidel Castro makes me weep too. I weep when I think about the thousands of people who have drowned or have been eaten by sharks in the waters between Havana and Miami trying to escape El Comandante's loving embrace, or when I think about how Fidel's unique brand of citizenship inspired the FARC in Colombia to kill and kidnap thousands of innocents. I weep when I think that Fidel paved the way for Chavez, who is now, lovingly, jerking the international community around and forging alliances with Russia and Iran, those two cuddly teddy bear nations that no one should be afraid of.

It is shocking that an American in the 21st Century, one who enjoys the spoils of capitalism and the egalitarian spirit of our country more so than the average U.S. citizen, can bestow such lofty praise on a murderer - with impunity - and then dare to comment on our electoral process. It's a process that might not be perfect, but it's centered on choice, something that Cuba's people haven't had over the past 50 years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Love New York

now, always, and forever.

Election Glossary

Our political vocab is evolving as we approach November. Oh for the days of "change," "straight talk," hell, I'll take "nuke-u-lar" over today's "bridge to nowhere" and "maverick."

Alas, these are the terms that may make or break the election, depending on who's team you're on. And speaking of teams, I know I've flipped and flopped over this but I've made up my mind: there is no way in hell I am putting Lynn Spears one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

And now for a glossary of terms:

Bridge to Nowhere: (From Wikipedia) The Gravina Island Bridge, also known as the "Bridge to Nowhere", was a proposed bridge to replace the ferry that currently connects Ketchikan, Alaska, to the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina Island. The bridge was projected to cost $398 million.

But before Palin famously said "thanks but no thanks," in that sneery voice of hers that just screams, "my GOD why is my teenage daughter such a slut and embarassment?" , Governor Palin was all about the bridge to anywhere, "just gimme the money!" she said. Sort of.

From the Boston Globe:
The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They’re still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin’s subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects - and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

Lipstick: That which, according to Sarah Palin, separates women from angry dogs. If the GOP set out to make Hillary Clinton a bitch then Sarah Palin, by her own admission, is a ----. Though I wonder if Sarah is a Wet Slicks Fruit Spritzer, like the girls from America's Next Top Model.

Maverick: Of course, any commentary on John McCain needs to be prefaced with due deference to his outstanding military service. But really? Maverick is the best word he could come up with to describe himself and sell himself as a visionary leader? When I hear that word I think of Mickey Mouse in that cone hat with the stars in Fantasia, but I'm thinking John McCain would rather I associate him with Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

So, is a maverick a mouse or a closet-case Scientologist? Sigh. Here's how dictionary.com defines it:

1. Southwestern U.S.: an unbranded calf, cow, or steer, esp. an unbranded calf that is separated from its mother.
2. a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates.
3. (initial capital letter) an electro-optically guided U.S. air-to-ground tactical missile for destroying tanks and other hardened targets at ranges up to 15 mi. (24 km).

Now, here's an interesting graphic from the NY Times looking at the words most used by Dems and Republicans during their conventions.

Notice how the GOP wants to drop B-U-S-H from its vocab for good and replace it with "hockey mom." How about another two word description, and for kicks, use the words W and T to form a more appropriate description of Governor Palin.

Am I the New Gossip Boy?

Blind item about my chat with J-Lo at Fashion Week in yesterday's NY Daily News:

J-Lo Thrives on Efficiency

Jennifer Lopez couldn't be a prouder new mama.

Uma Thurman walked over to J.Lo in the W Hotels backstage lounge to congratulate her on the birth of twins Max and Emme.

"Thank you!," Jen screamed. "Two at once! I got it done in one shot!"

Next a smitten fan strolled by to compliment her on how beautiful her babies are.

She had her friend whip out her iphone and show pictures of the babies to him and other people in the room!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cuz I love Ricky Martin

...and it's been one of those weeks, here's something to get you through hump day:

Monday, September 08, 2008

James Wilkie for President

It's Fashion Week and I thought to myself, just because I'm not Anna Wintour doesn't mean I can't put together a little fashion spread on my blog. In my world of worlds I'd be a media powerhouse, with a blog, print magazine, snazzy office and duh, TV show. GCL, the magazine, blog, and duh, TV show, would be all things opinionated, controversial, glamorous and fun.

So here are some pictures I took while attending my friend's wedding in Puerto Rico last week. As I watched James, my boyfriend whose last name happens to be Wilkie, I know like Sarah Jessica Parker's son, get ready for the big event, I thought, "well doesn't he look Presidential?" And truth be told, I would trust James implicitly with our nation's safety and finances (ok, just safety...sorry Jimes, you did just buy an i-phone).

And now, James Wilkie for President:

"If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen"...or go to Puerto Rico. As the Democratic Convention threatened to bring forth the Rapture, James Wilkie - Everyman - jetted to the balmy retreat of Rio Grande, just outside San Juan, for a little sun, some pool action, and a wedding. You know, the usual backdrops for a candidate photo opp. It's from here, the Island of Enchantment (and a U.S. Commonwealth), that the boy-from-Jersey-cum-politico plays dress up for our camera while giving us his fourteen points (or none)on how to reshape America.

Is James Wilkie a maverick? Is he revved up on the audacity of hope? Does he dare to dream about change? "I'm really here to work on my tan lines which have gone to s*** after Ptown." The candidate ponders a question on energy policy moments before leaving his hotel room at the Gran Melia Golf Resort & Villas. "Solar energy? The sun usually make me tired. Huh, go figure."

As the candidate is escorted by his security detail (of one very handsome staffer)to a friend's wedding at the resort, it's only fitting to ask for JW's point of view on same sex marriage. "Same sex marriage? I believe in keeping your game different, I aint down with sex being the same time after time, you feel me?"

James doesn't have the sure footing of a Washington go-getter. Instead, he has a sort of shuffle, the JW shuffle, if you will. Arms firmly planted at his sides, teetering from side to side, he ambles along, past the palm tress and into the vanilla and honey scented lobby.

"Damn candles, no wonder there's so many bugs here."

While some political strategists might find it ill-advised to skip the Democratic convention to shake hands in a U.S. protectorate when anyone who is anyone in left-of-center politics is land-locked in Denver praising Obama and "crying their eyelashes off," our candidate sees every stretch of sun kissed beach here as vital campaign stomping ground. "What? It's still America, you don't even need a passport to come here, stupid. Now put on a hat!"

By now the festivities are well underway and the wedding has turned into a rowdy Carnival celebration. Perhaps the candidate, with his guard down, would like to talk candidly about the Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama?

"Barack and Michelle Obama are the most innnnnteresting people you'd ever want to meet. They do say and do the most innnnnteresting things and their lovely little girls are the most innnnnteresting creatures."

Night has descended and the lights have come up at the wedding reception. Shuffling back to his room the candidate ponders the flight back to New York. "Coach? Aw man!" And a palm tree is uprooted.

Back in his room, the jewelry comes off, the scent of Prada for Men and Blue Sugar with a hint of Tom Ford lingers.

"It's been a long night. Am I President yet?"

Not quite, James.

" Oh well, maybe tomorrow."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

J-Lo, Te Ves Hermosa

...and that, dear readers, is how yours truly struck up a conversation with La J-Lo at the W Hotel lounge backstage at Fashion Week here in New York. Note to self: if you want to befriend a diva, compliment her in a romance language.

Rumor had it that the lounge had been cleared out for Jenny from the Block prior to the Diane Von Furstenberg show. But with the flowy, floral print spectacular well underway, my friends and I were able to perch ourselves in the sleek white-and-purple hospitality suite. With news that homegirl was breathing the same air as me, it was all I could do to contain myself, sitting with my boyz, feigning interest in Adam and Jay's trip to South America (uh-huh, uh-huh, steak and wine, right, where the hell is Jennifer Lopez? Is she really under this tent? Why am I not next to her? James go find her! Ahhhhh!!!!), I kept looking over my shoulder, jumping in my seat each time the door opened to reveal the snap of camera flashes.

I looked up at the plasma screens and caught DVF taking her bow - suddenly a sycophantic clap erupted in the lounge (we were out of the designer's sight and earshot) - and as I turned to poke fun at the silly fashionistas, Jennifer Lopez plopped herself on a couch in front of us.

Short, light-brown hair, patent leather booties and a slate-gray mini dress -- the makings of a forgettable hazard on anyone else trying to toter into the tents, but on divinity incarnate, it elicited a squeal, a gasp, and a splash of my Veuve Clicquot on James' lap.

And then she looked at me.

My posse huddled over me to contain what was certain to be my implosion, but being the baddest PR in PR that I am (that's Puerto Rican in public relations), I knew that by pulling myself together I would win Jenny's heart.

I looked over at La Diosa and we caught each other's eyes again.

"Te ves hermosa."

You look beautiful.

"Thank you!"

At this point J-Lo had put her i-Phone down and was chatting with another lovely, bejewelled Latina.

"How are the kids?" I asked.

She smiled, "they're great, show him the pictures."

Jaw drops.

Her friend, the lovely bejewelled Latina, pulled out her i-Phone and summoned me over. I'm now standing next to J-Lo and she's showing me pictures of her kids and her mom.

"Aren't they cute? You can't ask a mom about her kids and not have her show you the pictures."

"And how's their dad?" (Can I keep a conversation going or what?)

"He's fine, we're doing fine."

Now, I've played this scene, this encounter with Jennifer Lopez and the circumstances that would lead up to me chatting with her, so many times in my mind but it never once occurred to me that she would be so....devastatingly human.

You would think she'd be in a hurry to get away from me, but no, we were just chatting about her mom and her kids. But as the conversation was about to come to an end...

"I know you're busy but I just have to tell you a quick story. A few years ago when I started working in PR I called my mom to complain about my job and tell her how much I hated it, to which she said 'Davicito, do you think La J-Lo had it easy?'"

A devastatingly human diva could only do one thing: she laughed and said "No she didn't! That's so sweet. And it's true, it's not easy out there."

We nodded at each other in that knowing way of two Latinas who are doin' their thing and doin' it well.

She then reached over to grab her bag, "it was nice meeting you, enjoy the shows," she said as she leaned over and gave me a kiss...

...and then she posed for a pic with me:

I knew this day would come...

...but I gotta give a shout out to my boy Adam who made all of this happen. OK, doll, I'm all ears now, tell me EVERYTHING about Buenos Aires.

and James, thanks for staying up until 2am to rehash every last detail of this encounter.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

GOP Smackdown

Sarah Palin formally introduced herself to the American people last night as a pitbull with lipstick. While it's generally unseemly to take shots at a woman whose 19-year-old son is off to Iraq next week and whose youngest son has Down's Syndrome, Sarah Palin has entered the political fray with fists flying, for which she can expect Team Obama to return the favor. Watch your kids, Sarah.

Palin reiterated the Republicans' message that Obama is not ready to lead and that his superstar status on the campaign trail does not a President make. Listening to Palin, who was preceded by Rudy Giuliani, it's hard to imagine what the Dems' comeback can be to the arguments mounted against Obama: that he's inexperienced, that he's all words, that he's not taking the war on terror seriously, that he's a flip-flopper. You know, the things Hillary used to say during the primaries.

But beneath the logical points made by the Republicans last night (true, true and true that Obama has never lead a state, an army, a business), all Republican rhetoric is laced with an undercurrent of malice, xenophobia and isolationism that I just can't agree with. This is a party that would like nothing more than to see this country inhabited by Sarah Palins and nothing but; this is a party who sees every other country as an enemy and who thinks America's greatness is a birthright.

And it's on that last point that the real GOP and Democrat divide lies. Whereas the Republicans think greatness will come from looking inward, by focusing on "moral" issues and taking an adversarial stance with the world, the Democrats are at least open to the idea of dialogue and of engaging in a new international community that promotes American values. Well, for now they are...let's see what happens over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

All Kinds of Crazy at the RNC

I've never minced words about my love for John McCain, but the bag of crazy he's threatening to bring with him into the White House is too much for me. Watching last night's convention, which CNN anchors all but heckled -- incidentally, could the CNN team look any more bored and pissed off to be at this convention? Anderson Cooper had the uneasiness of a drag queen on the wrong side of a trailer park -- it occurred to me that not only is Laura Bush a lobotomized freak show who sounds like the Shake-n-Bake baby(and I helped!) but George Bush has the panache of a used-car salesman.

George W. Bush teleported to the convention as he was overseeing relief efforts in the Gulf Coast from Washington, so they beamed him up on a screen, in all his grinning, goofy, you-suckers-voted-twice-for-me glory.

Watching this spectacle of angry rhetoric, where the words fear and maverick were used interchangably, where Joe Lieberman nailed the final nail in his political career's coffin, was almost painful. But then I realized these people have been in power for the past 8 years because the American people willed it so and frankly, I don't think they want anything different.

America doesn't want to get excited, it wants to be told what to do. In Laura Bush and Cindy McCain's Xanax-ed stupor many people find comfort, the relief of not having to think, of knowing your man has his finger on the trigger and isn't afraid to pull it.

The narrow gap between McCain and Obama only speaks to that. As the Dems veer to the far left, McCain is going to stay Right where America has been for the past 8 years, and he just might win.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

While I Was Out

Note to self: political campaigns don't take a break for Labor Day weekend. While I was in Puerto Rico for an end of summer retreat (and a friend's wedding)with James, history was happening back in the States.


Thursday, August 28: Over 70,000 people (Oprah! Fergie! Jennifer Hudson!) gather at Invesco Field in Denver to watch Barack Obama accept the Democratic Party's nomination for President. Having read and watched the speech I'm actually impressed...I won't use the c-word just yet, but I'm finally understanding where Barack would like to take this country and I especially like this line: "America, now is not the time for small plans."


Friday, August 29: John McCain picks Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I wonder how Hillary feels about that: a relative unknown becomes the first woman to lead a major party's Presidential ticket. The pundits scramble to come up with an opinion on Palin before heading to the Twin Cities for the Republican convention until...

Saturday, August 30: Hurricane Gustav puts a damper on all things political and festive as it heads straight toward New Orleans, prompting concerns that the city's levees will not hold out. Again.
What will the Republicans celebrate now?

Monday, September 1: The family values party has a lot of splainin' to do when it is reveraled that Palin's seventeen-year-old daughter is pulling a Jamie Lynn Spears. The pregnant teen is keeping her baby and marrying the daddy a-la-Solange Knowles. Hey, life happens. Barack Obama, himself the son of a teenage mother, has put the issue, and the candidates' families, "off limits." Until November, at least.

This is the part where I usually put up a pic from my weekend, because I'm vainglorious like that, but unfortunately my camera deleted all my pix. Was it the humidity in Rio Grande that did my Sony Cybershot in? Fortunately, a friend caught a pic from the festivities at the El San Juan Hotel for the opening of Brother Jimmy's, a BBQ joint, on the roof of this landmark hotel.

Yeah, that's me with Lance Bass. And the neon sign up and to the left of us is priceless.