Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I don’t know about you, but it happens to me every year, at just about the same time: around
now. Suddenly one afternoon I notice that the shadows are getting a little longer a little earlier in the day. When I wake up it’s darker out than it has been. Worst of all, the news guy on the local NPR station starts telling me when the sun will rise and set, including how many minutes less daylight we’ll be having that day, which drives me crazy.

Eventually the temperature goes down and stays down, a sure sign that autumn is here and
winter won’t be far behind. (Although at present the temperatures have been fairly mild, save at night when they tend to drop into the 40’s and 50’s – temps which will, soon enough, seem positively balmy.)

All of this, of course, heralds the onset of that curious malady known as SAD – Seasonal
Affective Disorder – in which one’s overall mood takes a nose dive, a general sense of ennui sets in and you don’t even want to get out of bed, much less get dressed and venture out. At least that’s how it is for me. Mind you, I can experience the old ennui at any time of the year, and I am not one to bound out of bed with a song in my heart and a smile on my lips. Getting up in the a.m. can be a challenge. It just seems tougher as the days grow shorter.

But there is something about this particular time of year that brings out a little melancholy.
Eventually you almost get used to the light fading before you leave the office, the need for
sweaters and down coats and gloves, all the bulky accoutrements of winter, and eventually the sinking feeling that it will never end: the snow, the cold, the SADness.

Some do manage to get away to some Caribbean hot spot for a week or so in the middle of it all, or go on a cruise, leaving me sad and a little jealous. But that doesn’t last long.

One thing that’s become true for me as I get older is the inescapable fact that time seems to be rushing by. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were getting ramped up for summertime – and look where we are now, going home in the dark and anticipating The Holidays. Already!

So my heart takes a little comfort in the fact that this too shall pass and soon enough we’ll be anticipating the first stirrings of spring. Just a little something to contemplate as the season of SAD approaches.

Monday, August 4, 2014

An Evening with Leslie Jordan

We recently made a trip to New Hope, PA, to the Rrazz Room supper club, to see Leslie Jordan’s one-man show “Show Pony”. Jordan is, of course, best known for his role as Beverly Leslie on TV’s “Will and Grace”, as well as the film “Sordid Lives” in which he plays Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram,  a mental patient  who’s convinced he’s Tammy Wynette. He makes his entrance in a clown’s outfit, complete with enormous yellow shoes, a red fright wig and the requisite red nose. The outfit comes off early in the show, but it serves to underscore the putative theme of “poor, sad clown”. (That and the loop of circus music that played pre-show and all through dinner.)

To say Jordan’s life has been interesting is to understate the case. Sober by his own admission for something like 17 years, it’s been the proverbial roller coaster. While the show chronicles his fascination and disastrous relationships with otherwise “straight” young men, it’s not as comprehensively autobiographical as the other show of his, “Like a Dog on Linoleum”, which I saw some years back. Still, it does give the audience a glimpse into his background in the South, his relationship with his parents, his early school days and anecdotes about his life in show business.

Jordan was born in Chattanooga, TN to devoutly Christian parents. His father was a lieutenant colonel in the Army who died when Jordan was still a child. For years he thought his father was ashamed of him and didn’t love him, until his mother told him of the Christmas eve, when Jordan was three, that his daddy spent scouring Chattanooga for the bride doll Jordan had pleaded for from Santa. His mother, proud of her son’s success, nevertheless wonders why he has to air his dirty laundry in public. “Why,” she asks, “can’t you just whisper it to a therapist?” His fascination with straight men began early, in junior high, with his attraction to a 19 year-old janitor named Elrod. Pulling no punches, he describes this first “relationship” in hilarious, if intimate, detail.

There are several of these relationships with straight men that Jordan goes through, keeping us laughing all the while. (And “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” with the reveal of each of the mens’ portraits, larger than life size, as though to prove they were all real.) Still, there was an undercurrent of regret there, over the fact that he’s apparently not been able to maintain a true relationship with a gay man for all these years. A touch of wistfulness crept in at a couple of points, not enough to bring the show to a melodramatic halt; just enough to let us know that the poor, sad clown is, in fact, flesh-and-blood.

By the way, the club itself is a very nice, very intimate venue where there’s a constant stream of cabaret acts week after week. The food was fine, if a bit pricey, as was the service. Depending on the headliner we might just go back.