Oct 30, 2009

Werk It Ken!

I am shocked and appalled that many of my queer and queer-friendly bloggers failed to provide the complete image of the gay Ken. How is it that so many savvy good people did not create an image incorporating the accessories that come with gay Ken?

So, Mattel needs to make some coins. I can imagine in the product development meeting, the executives discussing the gay demographic, how they needed to give these "gentlemen" a little wink of appreciation.

Keep in mind folks these dolls are collector's items, and come at a high price point. It is obvious to me someone said he needs a pair of mandals. Sophisticated gay men of a certain age, do not wear flip-flops.

Oct 28, 2009

All That Is Oprah, Is Not Gold

I have loved ones near and dear to me that are LIVING with HIV. I get so fucking heated when people drag out hateful and ignorant ideas about HIV/AIDS. Let's move the conversation forward people! Damn!

Oh and here is further proof that Oprah and her people are well-intentioned dumb asses:

Source: Musto's Daily Blog

"​Jack Mackenroth, the HIV-positive guy from Project Runway, caught the recent Oprah Winfrey show about women with AIDS and found it to be a bit archaic, sensationalistic, and damaging to the cause. But otherwise, he liked it, ba dum pum.

Anyway, here's the very thoughtful letter Jack wrote to Oprah's peeps, hoping to enlighten them on how to better serve the subject:

Dear Oprah producers,

My name is Jack Mackenroth. You may remember me from season four of Project Runway. I was the designer who was open about my positive HIV status on the show and am very active in the HIV community around the country. I was very excited to watch the show about the women who were infected with HIV unknowingly because Oprah has the ability to influence the country in such a positive way.

Unfortunately, after the show I was left feeling disappointed and angry about the misleading information provided and the lack of followup regarding treatment and how the disease is transmitted. It really offered no hope for the over 1 million people who are living with HIV in this country-not to mention the millions of people all over the world.

My first issue with the show was that several of the women on the panel chose to wear disguises. I understand that there is a huge stigma about being HIV positive but if they wanted to remain anonymous then they should not have gone on national television! By appearing in disguise they only reaffirmed the idea that being honest and open about having HIV is NOT OK. That was a huge disservice to the HIV community...If we are taught that HIV is shameful then how can we expect people to willingly go get tested?

I had another issue about the vilification of HIV+ people. I understand that the man who knowingly had unprotected sex with these women should be punished but I also think referring to an HIV positive person as a "loaded gun" is an inappropriate analogy. Many of us take the necessary precautions and maintain an undetectable viral load in our bloodstream, which makes us much less contagious. However there was no mention of this by the doctor and it left the audience with the idea that every HIV+ person is a lethal weapon. It's a totally inaccurate, negative depiction.

I have to say I was shocked when two of the women mentioned that their daughters became suspicious because they told them not to use their toothbrushes or razors and even their mascara. Now I am not a doctor but I know you cannot get HIV by sharing a toothbrush or a mascara brush and I have never heard of even one case of someone contracting HIV by sharing a razor. I was appalled that the doctor in the audience said that not sharing razors was not an unreasonable safety precaution. It's this kind of faulty information that fuels mass hysteria. People believe what they hear on your show and it's just a tiny step away from not sharing eating utensils or toilet seats. In one minute you basically erased years of education about how the virus is transmitted and sent a national message that we, as HIV positive people are pariahs and hyper-contagious.

Oprah did make the important point that ANYONE can get HIV and that these women did not fit the profile of a high-risk person. However I feel like these women were portrayed a bit too much like victims. The woman in the audience who stood up and said the bit about always being responsible for using condoms was right. Each individual can only protect himself or herself. I understand that these women were lulled into a false sense of security and that they all said they would do it differently if they could do it over but at the end of the day we can only control our own actions. I have received countless emails from people who were infected because their partner either lied or didn't really know their HIV+ status.

The biggest problem I had with the show was the lack of followup information regarding safer sex practices and treatment options. Oprah kept stressing that we all need to get tested but who would want to get tested after that show???? The only take away was that if you know your status and have sex you can be put in prison. There was no hope or information given about the amazing treatments that are now available. There were no long-term survivors on the show to present a contrasting point of view and there was really no proper mention of how the disease is transmitted other than "use condoms". In fact there are numerous treatment options and many doctors agree that most people living with HIV that receive the proper health care can have full life expectancies. I have been living with HIV for 20 years and I have never been healthier.

Of course you did focus on each woman telling her sob story of when they were given their diagnosis because crying and shock factor makes for good TV. However it was not followed up by any sort of hopeful message. The viewer was left unsure of the fate of these women. It was even implied that they might not be around to care for their children. This was truly misleading and irresponsible.

I hope one day soon you do a show about the advances in treatment and people who are doing amazing things and making great strides in the HIV arena. Especially since HIV infection rates are climbing in almost every sector of the population. There are hundreds of thousands of HIV+ people around the nation who are not victims and who are empowered to educate the public and help combat the stigma and the disease. I have a deep and longstanding respect for the work you do on the Oprah show. Oprah reaches a huge audience and the show could have done a great service in educating people about the seriousness, treatment and realities of HIV. Instead it just highlighted the drama of one man's irresponsibility and focused on all the wrong things.


Jack Mackenroth

Oct 27, 2009

What I Am Craving

Back in the early 90s, there was a middle eastern restaurant on Atlantic Ave, in Brooklyn, called Moustache. My favorite dish was a pitza (yes, pizza made from pita), called a Lahambajin.

This pitza was made from freshly made pita, and on top was ground lamb with tomatoes, parsley and a lovely array of spices. It would come out of the oven steaming, with a thin, crispy crust. It was awesome. I want one, like, NOW!

I've heard there are still in business but relocated to the East Village. I plan on going there on my next visit to NYC. I'm hoping it will still be the same divine experience.

Oct 24, 2009

Everybody Is A Star

Michael Musto provided a slamming hook up today in his blog. Yoostar is brilliant! I'm going to see if I can find clips from All About Eve, The Women, and Empire Strikes Back, so I can flex my acting muscles. Damn, but I'm going to have to hit the stroll, so I can buy the $170 set up for my in-home studio.

Oct 21, 2009

A Rare Find

Okay good people, so here's the deal, as a teenager I mostly never, hardly ever posed for photographs. I was so wrapped up in self-hate and felt like I was ugly.

Then you throw into the mix the fact that I was struggling with coming out of the closet. There were some hardtimes to the tenth power, inbetween the many good times.

Recently, I reconnected with another friend from high school, and she had these snapshots (see below) from back when we were students at NYC's High School of Fashion Industries, aka, Fashion! Class of 1986!

I have to say, looking at them now, I regret not capturing more moments from those days on film. Do you know I have not one picture of my escapades on the Christopher Street Piers, kiking at the drag balls, and clubbing with Willie Ninja.

Ugh! It's amazing how we cheat ourselves out of enjoying life when we are grappling with self-hate and doubts about how we are truly beautiful.

Well, thank you Christine for holding on to these pics. It reminded me of how cute it was for us, and will continue to be for the Fashion alumni!

On the left is Christine that had the hookup with the pics. On the right is Joslyn, has become family-of-choice. We are all meeting up this weekend to attend a poetry slam. We be some cultured peoples!

This is me with Richie (far left) and Ralphie (center). People I had the most severe crush on Richie. I craved that boy to the point that I once became physically ill at school. I once even invited him over to watch porn at my neighbors so I can seduce him. Stupid me, left my neighbors apartment to let him in and I locked us out! Curses! Oh and I had gym with Richie. This Dominican brother was hung. I just lusted after him. It was only with Richie that I could imagine wedded bliss.

This is me and Julie. Always a clever, smart, and stylish woman. Because of her, I got to meet Tears for Fears at the old Tower Records in the Village. Notice that I am giving you Banji look. I rocked the leather bomber jacket with a Chams de Baron sweater. And, you know the laces on my Addidas were in a matching grey!

Christine is the divaesque young lady to my right. To my far left is Priscilla, who I always felt looked like a young Diana Ross. There's Julie serving it with Esprit!

Estie, is the young lady sorta crotched down. On my 16th birthday, Estie and I went hanging out in the Village and got drunk on 7 and 7. I later ended up alone, and met up with a man in his 30s and well you know the rest. I told him I was 18!

The scandals good people, the scandals I would get into!

Oct 19, 2009

Mangia, Marcos, Mangia

Okay, so I like to experiment in the kitchen. Marcos is my devoted taste tester. He has insisted I blog about an omelet I made for him the other day.

Basically, I seasoned some whipped eggs with salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder. I also added a touch of water to loosen it up. Into the frying pan it went. No big deal. Right?

As it cooked I spooned into the middle about a tablespoon of roasted red pepper hummus. What the hell. Why not? I then folded both ends of the omelet towards the center, and did a flip and let it brown a bit.

Marcos said it was a sublime creation. My only regret is I didn't take a bite to taste for myself. I know, bad chef! But, I had already had my breakfast. Next time!

Oct 18, 2009

Good Ol' SPAM

When I was a child, SPAM came to the rescue, through many a hard times, for my family. Picture it! NYC 1970s, single mother, raising three kids in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Which was a ghetto during that time.

She raised us on her own for the most part. Always having to think ahead, and anticipate the next set of challenges. Money was not only tight, it was often scarce. I recall my mother having to borrow $3 in order to have dinner on the table.

SPAM was an ingredient in her bag of tricks. It was always fried, and served usually with white rice and beans.

My favorite way of having it was fried with a tortilla (tortilla for Puerto Ricans means an omelet sauteed so that it has browned edges and center) in a sandwich made from crusty Italian bread.

I once posted about how my Titi Maria would saute cubes of SPAM and add jarred marinara sauce, which she served over pasta. I loved that dish.

So as a sometimes bougie foodie, I have to pause and give props to the blue can of meat that helped sustain my family during hard times. It sustained three young children that grew up to be a teacher, an admissions administrative coordinator at a law school, and a former Marine that served his country honorably.

Werk Colombian Mama!

Oct 17, 2009

I Smell Another Piece of Bullshit

Levi and his, ummm, manager

Okay, so far I am 1 for 1 on the foolishness of people. I called Balloon Boy. That was a piece of cake. Now, the one really hard to detect, is the pending drama with Levi and his manager. Here is the reality:

- Levi is getting ready to pose for Playgirl. Posing for Playgirl is only worth while if you are a star, got caught by the paparazzi, or want a future in gay porn.

- This is not good for Levi, who has expressed a desire to be a model and actor. Bad career move.

- He is posing for Playgirl because his manager advise him to do it. Why? Because his manager is a undercover lover of cute young men and wants to see Levi's valley of good and plenty.

- This will end with Levi appearing on Larry King, talking about how his manager made advances on him and revealed that he was secretly craving Levi all this time.

I saw this kinda bullshit all the time when I worked for a hot minute, as a booker in a modeling agency, in between jobs.

Oct 15, 2009

Smells Like A Stunt To Me

I'm going to be cynical and say this was a publicity stunt by the parents. With the demise of Jon & Kate, they saw yet another opportunity to get back on TV. This family was once on an episode of Wife Swap.

The child was never in the balloon, and Daddy knew it. He wanted to show off his balloon, and get the cameras on his camera-ready family. He even posted videos on Youtube, of his family chasing storms, and his boys rapping.

Mark my words, they will have a show on Discovery or TLC in the very near future. Whatever!

Oct 9, 2009

The Noble Nobel Peace Prize

I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results. - Alfred Nobel

If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

There never was a good war or a bad peace.

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”

The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open hand held out and waiting.
For we meet by one or the other.

If we are going to stop wars on this earth, we are going to have to make war on hunger our number one priority.

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict -- alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.

I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes. It can no longer be of concern to great powers alone. For a nuclear disaster, spread by winds and waters and fear, could well engulf the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncommitted alike. Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

We are not going to deal with the violence in our communities, our homes, and our nation, until we learn to deal with the basic ethic of how we resolve our disputes and to place an emphasis on peace in the way we relate to one another.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

Who was it that said, "What if we had a war, and no one showed up?"

Oct 7, 2009

Loving The Madness Of It All

A spaceship landed on a Paris runway. On the mothership Alexander McQueen, the alien amazons that live in the deepest oceans of earth, came up for some air.

Get into the next mode of facial augmentations. The prints on the textiles remind me of pieces from Marcos' last show. As for the shoes, they are art that should be displayed but not worn.

Well, actually, the shoes should be worn on special occasions when one is entertaining at home, or needs a chocha moment. I know Alexander pranced around his flat in a pair just for the madness of it all.

Click here to see the video.

Oct 5, 2009

Where Have You Been All My Life?

Marcos will confirm that I can be a bit of a germaphobe. This condition goes into high-gear when I am creating in the kitchen. My biggest challenge is turning the water faucet on when I've been dealing with raw meat, and my hands are covered in germs, bacteria, and other nasties. I saw this commercial for a faucet that turns on with the simple touch of germ-free flesh. Genius!

Click here and be amazed!

Oct 4, 2009

Say It Aint So - Addendum

Here I am thinking I'm did a good thing by switching to soy milk some time ago. It seems that the wonderful benefits of soy for us and the environment are questionable. Once again trying to do the right thing is a bit more complex than you think. Get the scoop by clicking here.

Among some of the shocking claims in this article are that farming soy is depleting the Amazon rainforest, and that soy can give men boobs!

Thank you Kyle for sharing the following:

"Hey Allan, don't get disheartened. Sarah Irani doesn't seem to have science or medical credentials and EcoSalon is more of a online style/fashion rag than anything else. A would take everything she has to say with a grain of salt, as the article doesn't site references to scientific data and/or medical journals either."

Oct 3, 2009

Izzy Living Within His Purpose

Often the universe offers us opportunities to remember we are divine beings. We are at our most divine when we share our uniqueness honestly, without fear, and with the hope that we remind that person in front of us, that he or she is loved, because we are all connected.

No one prospers at the suffering of another. The natural outcome of that scenario is our eventual downfall.

When we share our gifts, we assist each other with our journeys. We are capable of offering sanctuary to each other. To provide sanctuary is divine.

In providing this divine act, we begin to build an inner strength. We realize that we are not alone. You and I are the true church.

We are capable of healing each other, understanding each other, guiding each other, and loving each other. We are capable of making molecules vibrate between us, so that we can communicate and connect.

My darling Izzy, who I have mentioned in previous posts, had another moment to solidify this lesson. Izzy has had a long career of sharing his light with others.

Take a look. He is referred to as Israel in the video. He was reminded by a young spirit that their meeting was divine intervention.

Oct 1, 2009

Lady Z Is Traveling On

Back in July, I had posted that my boss had been diagnosed with cancer. This past Friday she passed on. We were shocked because she was actually scheduled for surgery that day, and was hopeful that continued treatment would be successful. She never made it to the operating room.

She was such an interesting woman. She loved the arts, culture and community activism. She was also very spiritual and had a deep involvement with astrology and the mystic arts. Most of her rituals incorporated traditions based on her African ancestry.

I worked along side her for three years, and even when we butted heads, we always managed to get to a better place quickly. She worked really hard in her own way to make a difference. Today, at her memorial service, many artists and poets got up to express their gratitude for their time with her.

I also went up and talked about how she told me to never leave money on the table, which refers to taking advantage of opportunities. She also said in her last few weeks that a person thrives by living within his or her purpose. Amen to both of those words of advice.

I also shared a story of how she would engage us in very intriguing discussions on politics and culture while at work. When students would enter our room, she would say "Shhhh, we are in the cornfields. There are ears around us."

I wish her spirit a safe journey to what the divine has waiting for her.