Monthly Archives: August 2011

How Funny Is Rape? A: Not at All

It may come as a surprise, but I’m not a woman. However, I have no hangups about reading a woman-oriented website like Jezebel, which recently published a really interesting story and accompanying video titled Is This Comedy Monologue a Rape Confession?

jezebel

For her eyes only...and the occasional his eyes

The monologue cited in the story and captured in the video was delivered as part of an improv show in New York. The show occurred during one of the biggest annual improv events in the country, the Del Close Marathon, which memorializes a crazy drug-abusing theatrical genius whose death propelled him just a hair above unknown.

del close

Del Close: Forever less famous than Snookie

The gentleman who delivers the monologue is a former Chicago resident, Second City employee and improviser. I will preface my summary of his public display of confession by stating I do not know him, and I have never met the guy.

If you are too lazy or uncomfortable to watch the footage, here’s a quick rundown of the terribleness that ensues. In short, he tells the tale of how one time when he was a cook at Second City, he got a girl’s phone number and hotel room through dishonest means. That’s already a pretty shitty start to a story. But so far, no harm done, right?

He then actually fucking goes to her hotel room and surprises her by not being the guy she thought he was. We’ve escalated to creepy, but we still haven’t transgressed to rapey. When he refuses to leave after she tells him to go, he walks into the hotel room and closes the door behind him. Yeah. Now we’re getting “rapey.”

jaw drop

My expression exactly, Roger.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end here. He continues with his story, recounting how he continued to stay put after the young woman pleaded for him to leave multiple times. He then went in for a kiss, which eventually led to full on sex. Although we do not know whether the sex was completely non-consensual, I feel personally that it is safe to say based on his facts she was strongly coerced. And really, is there a difference between non-consensual and coerced?

Suffice to say, Second City has allegedly reported the employee to the proper authorities. Improv Las Vegas, which represents the improv community where the alleged attacker resides, has publicly banned the young man from taking classes or performing within the city limits. I’d say all this effectively ruined the guy’s improv career, but who’s kidding who. For 99.9999% of improvisers out there, there is no such thing as an improv career.

whose line

Making shit up has never been so lucrative. No really. It hasn't.

This monologue issue raises some interesting questions that directly relate to the art of storytelling, which I kind of know a thing or two about. Particularly, the fact that this young man finds his story of coercing a girl into having sex compelling and funny is both revolting and a sad commentary on what some consider a good comedic essay. Just because you act like a fucking turd does not mean a piece is interesting or that you displayed vulnerability. You have to express some degree of self-awareness that you acted like a fucking turd for a piece like this to work. You have to walk away a changed man, with some new knowledge about how to or not to live life. If you haven’t learned anything from your personal experience or changed because of it, then why the fuck do I care?

I think every story, no matter how horrendous, has a right to be told. We are all capable of doing terrible things. But you cannot tell the story until you have learned from the experience. I hope the next time this guy tells this story, he focuses on the part in which he tells it in front of an entire auditorium of people. Then the climax would not be the point in which he has sex with the girl but rather the point in which the audience starts booing. This is the critical point in which it (God willing) dawns on him that what he did was wrong and that retelling the story in front of an audience was a misguided and foolish thing to do. That is revealing. That is vulnerable. It doesn’t make me like the guy more. But it provides a context for which I can somewhat enjoy this story on a level that conveys people can acquire a new perspective on their mistakes, no matter how senseless those mistakes may be.

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Hollywood: The Chicago Gay Beach

When you think of the Midwest, what comes to mind? Corn. Cattle. Farmers. Tractors. More corn. Soy, perhaps? No wait. Corn.

One thing you probably don’t associate with the Midwest is gay men. But did you know that the center of the country has one of the largest natural deposits of homosexuals in North America? It’s true!

Midwest

The dots represent sites of significant gay ore deposits.

And did you know that one of the largest gay meccas in the U.S. is Chicago? Did you also know that “gay mecca” is one of the funniest oxymorons ever? It’s all totally true!

mecca

Not a gay mecca

Chicago was the first city in the country to have a municipally recognized gay neighborhood. It also is home to the Leather Archives, a museum solely devoted to chronicling the leather subscene of the gay community. And, of course, Chicago is home to one of the best gay beaches in the country…Hollywood.

gay beach

Hollywood Beach: Where one man's belt is another man's bathing suit

Each summer, hundreds of men perch themselves along the sands of Hollywood Beach in order to show off their summertime bodies. From freshly shaved twinks to hairy daddies, the beach attracts all kinds. Although bathing suits are mandatory, a lot of men skirt the issue by wearing swimwear that more closely resembles an eyepatch than a pair of shorts.

Bathing suit

Aye, matey! I believe ye have my patch! Um...on second thought, ye can keep it.

There are all kinds of activities to do at Hollywood from drinking champagne to smoking cigarettes to swimming in the lake (watch out for discarded champagne bottles and cigarette butts). Plus, every gay man in the city is there, so it’s basically like going to an outdoor gay bar full of your friends, your frienemies and your enemies. This makes for some excellent lakefront drama.

seals

Oh no she didn't!

Personally, I love Hollywood Beach. It reminds me of one of those bygone gay fixtures of the 1970s, a time when I wasn’t even alive but which I romanticize like crazy. There’s a sense of liberation, like we’re all sticking it to the man by sticking it to men. The skimpier the bathing suit, the more outstretched our middle fingers.

So if you find yourself in Chicago during the fleeting summertime and you want to check out one of the best local sites, head north to Hollywood Beach. Just remember to wear lots of sunscreen and not much else.

Monkey Hate Write

It has been a busy week of writing. From juggling client projects to pitching new pieces to working on new essays, my brain is drained. So I’m going to just post a funny video and call it a day. Enjoy!

http://www.livevideo.com/video/E29BFB76390C4DD793BF50D15F2B2B12/the-bathroom-monkey.aspx

I Am in Dire Need of a Drink: Whiskey Edition

Makers Mark

Put it in my mouth!

Yesterday I wrote about the freelancer’s love affair with coffee. Today I am writing about my personal obsession with whiskey. Grab a tumbler and some perfectly squared ice cubes and pull up a stool.

First, let’s cut to the chase. I know shit about whiskey. I don’t know how it’s made. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t know the difference between whiskey, scotch and bourbon, and honestly, I don’t fucking care. Yeah, you can sit there all smug-like sniffing your Glenlevit 18-Year-Old Single Malt; I’ll be over here with the dirty collar and sweaty brow chugging something that would blind a lesser man.

Monocole

I say, ole chap! Is that Jack Daniels? Why you may as well be sipping pig urine!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not proud of my stupidity. But my brain just doesn’t have enough memory left to download more useless information. So instead I’m completely content getting blitzed in blissful ignorance. Hell, you could feed me fermented slug juice, and I probably wouldn’t know the Goddamn difference.

Slug

It's better than Malort.

What is it about whiskey that I like so much? I think it’s the burning. I like my sources of pleasure to hurt me. That’s why I’m a regular at the gym. I enjoy forcing myself to repetitively lift painfully heavy objects for absolutely no rational reason. I suppose you could say whiskey is the libation of masochists.

Gimp

Classic whiskey drinker

Now some people say it’s blasphemy to drink your liquor any other way besides straight up or on the rocks. These people lack imagination. Sure, I love a little bit of nothing in my potable, but I’m also a big fan of adding mixers, like Diet Coke, Ginger Ale and more whiskey.

Anyway, it’s been a real long day of writing. I’ve been writing pretty much non-stop since I woke up. And here I am writing still…for my own pleasure! (I told you us whiskey drinkers are masochists.) I need to turn my brain off. I can either zap myself with a cattle prod…or I can go out and grip that welcoming amber glass of whiskey.

whiskey

Oh sweet glorious relief...

Coffeeshop Etiquette (or How to Not Be a Raging Jerkwad in Public)

I’m a freelance writer. My people are nomads by nature. While you whittle your time away in your air-conditioned office with your industrial copy machine and fluorescent lights, we are roaming the streets, scouring for a reliable Wi-Fi connection and a quiet corner so that we can, perhaps, make a buck or two for a cup of coffee.

begger
Freelancer taking a nap

Speaking of coffee, us freelancers pretty much live off the stuff. Day or night, we dump that good ole java into our bodies, hoping that somehow this jolting elixir  will stir the muses into action. More often than not, it just results in a lot of trembling and bathroom breaks.

Just hook it into my veins!

So if we enjoy wi-fi connections, quiet corners and coffee, we naturally flock to coffeeshops. You’ve seen us before. We’re the ones that glare at your from across the cafe the moment you and your friend sit down for a good-natured “catch up” chat. We secretly want to dump a mug of boiling joe on your lap when you answer that cellphone call. We are the ones that type and type and type, nestled in a nest of napkins and cup cozies, a look of manic focus and a hint of soulless fatigue in our eyes.

evil eye
“The freelance stare”

We are a passive aggressive bunch. We’ll never tell you to shut up. We’ll just pray that you choke on your danish. And we’ll pray hard.

So, if you want to avoid our hexes and stay on our pleasant sides (i.e., less agitated sides), you should follow these simple coffeeshop etiquette rules:

  1. Don’t talk to people. Not only does your conversation break our concentration, but your jovial chat is a sorrowful reminder that we have no social skills.
  2. Don’t talk on your phone. We are all listening to you and judging you…very harshly.
  3. Do not slurp, chew loudly or clink your ice. This will make us tear our hair out. And then we’d not only be miserable freelancers, but we’d also be bald.
  4. Do not sit by an outlet if you aren’t going to use it.Freelancers feed off of the electric grid. By denying us an outlet, you are basically starving us. And our measly paychecks already do a pretty good job of that.
  5. Sharing a table does not mean I want to talk to you. If you are at a large table, and I choose to sit at said table, that does not make us friends. It also does not mean I want to hear about you and your day and your estranged family and your lack of a life. I’m not your therapist or your caregiver. If you want a friend, buy a hooker. I’m here to work.
  6. Leave the baby at home. Babies hate coffee. That’s a fact. Don’t believe me? Pour coffee on a baby.
  7. Leave the dog outside. Your dog descended from vicious wolves whose lives were a non-stop battle for survival. Surely, Fluffy can be left on a pole in the middle of Lincoln Park for 10 minutes while you buy a cup of coffee.
  8. Clean up after yourself. We don’t want to have to touch your crusty napkin or used tissue. Please pick up after yourself. The staff will appreciate it as well. 

Tea Party Shenanigans

I snapped this picture the other day. It is rich in deliciously layered tiers of irony. The bumper sticker is an acrostic that reads: One Big Ass Mistake America

And feel free to share amongst your friends. Let’s make this thing go viral, shall we?

I Am Judging You and Your Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitation

Embossed roses? You're just asking for a divorce.

The world really does seem to be going to shit and fast. I think that’s why almost all of my unwed heterosexual friends are getting hitched this year. I suppose if global warming overtakes us or the Mayan calendar is right, they don’t want to be clutching their housecat with a ringless finger when the day of reckoning occurs.

Woman with cat

So this is goodbye...

By Dec. 31, 2011, I will have had five close friends take the marriage plunge. And so, in honor of your marriages, I’m offering up this insight. It seems that the moment after one takes a knee and the other says “Yes,” you pop a squat and begin shitting yourself. Because in that moment, once the elation dies down, you realize that you have just signed on for a year-long cannonball-run shopping spree that will bleed you and your loved one dry.

Homeless couple

Just married!

There is so much crap that must be bought if you want to do the marriage thing right. You must buy the right napkins, select the right place settings, get the proper runner, buy the wine glass trinket, get the little monogrammed M&Ms, select the save-the-date cards, grab the special wedding postage stamps, pick out envelopes, pick out a cake, pick out cake decorations, select flower arrangements, choose drink service, make catering choices, pick music for the service, pick music for the reception, hire a DJ, pick something to wear, pick something for your party to wear, find a venue, find a venue, find a venue…and more!

crying man

Make it stop! For the love of God, make it stop!

And what’s one of the most important decisions of all, the one that many soon-to-wed dread because it is one of the first things your wedding attendees will see? Because it is one of the first things they will judge? Because it denotes there is no turning back, that this financial avalanche is on a roll and has a momentum that not you nor any bankruptcy court has the power to stop? The wedding invitation.

Wedding Invitation

Glittery hearts? You must be marrying a 10-year-old.

Couples fret over their invitations. The design, the typography, the paper stock. I have a stack of invitations on my desk as I write this. And they’re all great. Each and every one of them. I’m going to hold on to them for a long time in my little shoebox of memories. But I’m not going to judge your relationship based on the quality of the print job. You could have mailed me a Post-It note that read, “Yo! We be doing the wedding thang. You in?” And I would have been like, “Hell yeah.” The fact they look nice, feel nice and smell pretty is cool, don’t get me wrong. And if sticking to tradition is what you want, then do it up.  I mean, shit. I want a wedding on the beach where everyone wears white linen pants and a Boston terrier officiates. Can you get more cliche gay wedding than that?

Boston Terrier

I now pronounce you man and rife! You may lick the bride.

I’m just saying relax. We love you no matter how lame the catering is or how smelly the block hotel rooms are. We don’t care that your extended family sucks and that the servers are pouring weak on the whiskey. I could give two shits that your music selection is crap or that your ceremony is too long. You don’t need to impress me. I’ve been here before you were a bride/groom and I’ll be here afterward. It’s not your taste in trifold invitations that drew me to you, it’s that you’re super cool, and I love you. So just chill the fuck out and get married.