Celebrating Summer’s Dog Days

25 07 2015
Standing up Lady Gaga at Palm Beach Pride

Standing up Lady Gaga at Palm Beach Pride

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us. My first in Florida in quite a while. For Miami, the premier journey.

The political apparatus is beginning to churn and campaigns are assembling. My editors are asking for more notice and copy is examined with a fine tooth comb. I continue to be blessed with opportunities and grateful for the work while finally seeing the strength of my northwest Florida roots in the midst of tough and tumble southeast Florida trials.

It’s hardball down here, no doubt. The Democratic Party — while a small, yet cohesive minority in panhandle towns of Apalachicola, Port St. Joe and Panama City — is a large dragon-like beast in Miami, and particularly, Broward County — home to 1.8 million people and that’s just the ones willingly to be counted.

There’s a lot of people here. Immigration, not a topic one can turn a blind eye to in places like Little Havana or Liberty City. It’s also a topic not for the weak of heart or shrill to discuss either. These are lives. Black, brown, red, yellow and white. They all matter and they all are chasing the same sun.

In Miami summers the sun rises early and shines bright. The heat is intense and I have spent much of my hard earned money on upgrades to the Jeep, most importantly, the air conditioner. I can no longer get by with just rolled down windows in the intracities of South Florida driving. One could broil stopped in traffic with no cooling or cover. Additionally, my mechanic recommended tinting the windows to further help with the sun’s effect, but I have yet to take that step so it’s still life in the fish bowl for me.

And it is quite a warm experience. It’s a sauna down here during the day and many of the region’s older population do not dare venture outside during peak daylight hours. But, I digress and try not to complain too much.

Professionally, I have entertained thoughts of returning to the campaign trail, although my editor says I can make a bigger difference as a journalist. The interviews I have attained have been real coups for my career (see http://www.sfgn.com.) Miami’s media market is an A level stop for the stars and I have benefited greatly. Trading, the panhandle’s folksy charm for the New York influence of South Beach has not been an easy transition, but it is working. Interviewing celebrities is becoming a nice diversion from governmental affairs, as well.

David Bromstad, Lance Bass, Steve Grand are some of the celebs I have been privileged to interview. For a gay boy growing up in the South, this is a dream come true. David is back on the television making sure everyone’s house looks great. Lance just married his hot Jewish boyfriend on the beach in Fort Lauderdale and Steve is traveling the globe as the self proclaimed “Pride King.”

Meanwhile, I do miss the calming effects of nature and find myself often, late at night before bed, checking out friends’ posts from their respective National Parks. I have learned to cherish wide open spaces and long for return to the wild, but first certain projects must be completed and seen through.

Last week, I landed one of the most important interviews to date. A celebrated screen guild legend who suffered blacklisting for his political actions. At 85, he is ready to unload his demons.

To El Salvador we go.


Velvet Raging

28 03 2014
Miami Design District

Miami Design District

For about a month now I have been in a constant state of agitation, frustration, confusment. And, worst of all, depression.

South Florida — and all of her quirky games — is weighing on me. I recognize living in a metropolitan, urban area is no piece of cake and there are certain aspects of unpleasantness here that I have come to terms with. (horrible traffic, chief among them.) The attitudes of the gay community has been tough to get used to. For a community that craves acceptance, the judging it can dish out is down right devastating. There are certain pockets of Wilton Manors and Miami Beach I would dare not visit for fear of being ripped to shreads at first sight.

The irony here is I came to South Florida to experience and live in a free and open society. The idea was to relocate from a place where I was merely tolerated to somewhere where I could be celebrated. Dreamy stuff, I know, but, hey, why not? I’m afraid, however, I will leave the Sunshine State with a bitterness I have never held before.

But let’s look to the bright side, shall we. David says my cup is always half empty. He enjoys the difficulties that life throws at you much more than I do. Waiting around for a repair man, fixing a broken appliance or getting stuck in traffic for hours is nothing new to him. His health is also improving after another round with the prostate cancer. I wish I had his patience and caring.

But I do not. We are from different generations. I am driven. Driven by ambition to succeed. To conqueor.

And yet I do not know who I am.

It was the gays who bailed out my journalism career. Credit must be given there. I have reported largely about LGBT issues since arriving here in October and remain truely grateful for the work, the paychecks and the opportunity to return to writing. There are occasions when I am indeed, “gay” or happy as the old timers once referred to it. But I am not a homosexual. I am a bisexual and I am finding this out more and more about myself as I continue on life’s journey.

I miss Ann and what we had in Yellowstone. We chat only briefly via Facebook now. I worry I have broken her heart.

The agitation in my life seems to stem from a desire to do everything by the book, play by the rules and yet still come out ahead. This appears to be a fantasy. My strive for independence has been costly. I am nearly broke once again. Working freelance gives me the ability to set my own schedule and type away on a keyboard in my pajamas, but it does not pay all the bills. Thankfully, David is helping with that — and our partnership has never been stronger.

I suppose when you reach a certain point in life you began to set keener priorities. Getting out of Panama City was the right thing to do, that much is clear. I was blacklisted from working in the region and it was time to move on. It is remarkable I have been able to make such an impact in South Florida during just a six month period. Again, I am grateful to the publishers of SFGN for this opportunity.

I think the root of my depression can be found in my work. In writing about the move for equality for gays and lesbians I seem to be frustrated that I have not found my equal. I wonder if I ever will. I am not worried about making up for lost time and I do not dwell on mistakes of the past or relationships lost. I am not consumed by money, although I still seek a stable existence.

I realize now it is validation I am after. And soon I will travel across this great land of ours in that quest for answers.