Category Archives: Bo Young

WC70 – Opening Words – Editors

Opening Words from the Editors

If you meet the Buddha in the Baths…
Dan Vera & Bo Young

Dan Vera: A few months back we heard from a writer we’d published. A somewhat well-known writer who had a change of heart — to be charitable —  and no longer wanted to be known as a gay man.  Although he was duplicitous in his dealings with us, taking us around the block with many tales of woe and stalkers, before he came clean and admitted the truth.  The real reasons he wanted his material removed from our website was it was going to hurt his sales in Asia if he were known as a gay writer.   Now this guy was looked up to as a source of “wisdom” by his readers and a “guide” for living the right life. Behind the scenes he’d made the decision that it wasn’t lucrative to his career to be known as a gay man.

Bo Young:  When we asked around we heard from other people that this sort of thing has happened for years in magazine publishing.  The whole point of White Crane has been that the talking circle eliminates the need for leaders. If we share our stories, we can learn from the collective wisdom of the community. As Sheldon Kopp famously advised, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” I think I have just reached a point where I don’t buy into the whole “guru” thing anymore.

Dan: For some reason I’m thinking of “right livelihood” which is good and what we’re talking about here… how would we differentiate?

Bo: That’s a good question…because there are some people that I’m fine with and others that my bullshit detectors just go off.  It’s a difficult distinction, and it gets back to the idea of discernment, which is, in one way or another, the topic we’ve been dancing around for the last four or five issues…just calling it another name, or approaching it from a different angle…like calling it “healthy spirituality.”

Dan: There are always exceptions to the rule. Last issue we spent some time discussing the need for mentors, or guides for the path. This issue, in a way, seems like a guide for what to watch out for. What sets off bullshit detectors? I mean on the one hand people got to put food on the table. We don’t have institutions that would normally take care of people doing this kind of work.

Bo: Well we do have institutions, but some of them are also simply imitations of old style, hierarchal institutions…it’s just “daddy telling you what to do” all over again…

Dan: So, maybe what we’re not crazy about is another “priestly class” of gurus?

Bo: But there seems to be this gaggle of people who see the whole “gay spirituality” movement as a career opportunity and present themselves as having all the answers, when I sincerely doubt they’re even asking the right questions. All they’ve really done is read the “canon” as it were, then they repackage it with themselves at the center, and hope to book a few author’s tours and cruises. It always comes back to Bob Barzan’s genius for me. He always used to say he thought most people had a good pamphlet in them, but the publishing business forced people to produce whole books…stretching a subject beyond it’s need and the thing writer had to say. If I get one more book that promises me “Self-Transformation for Joyful Living” I’m going to use them for fire starters!

Dan: Yeah, but combustion is never a good idea with those types of books. Because they always come clad with a glossy cover emblazoned with a soft-core smiling models.  I can imagine the toxic fumes those glossy covers would give off in a fireplace.    But your mentioning of cruises and retreats brings up the disturbing issues of class that are likely to come up around that kind of programming. It enforces an idea that only the wealthy or connected can have access to wisdom – that you need a spa to transcend.

Bo: Or the “nobility” of poverty. Somewhere in that scale is “the noble Indian” too, for lack of a better term. Or all things Indian are, by definition, holier, Earthier, more spiritual.

Dan: Yes. It’s faddish almost. A good teacher of mine, I don’t want to name drop here, used to joke that in Indian communities they always qualified Indian time in terms of “B.C.” eras. “Before Columbus,” “Before Custer” or “Before Costner.” Many Indian scholars see new age interest in Indian Religions as a form of self-colonization on the part of Indian tribes in which their rituals become a spectacle or observed event, completely changing the communal power.

Bo: And again…we come full circle to discernment…how do we know when to say “enough”? The thing that keeps coming to me is our Be Your Own Guru t-shirt. “Snake oil” and “charlatan” comes down discernment…how to separate wheat from chaff, gold from fools gold? — or fools from their gold?

Dan: There’s a lot of pyrite in them thar hills. That brings up another bullshit warning. Beware a teacher who claims infallibility.  I love that old line from the Kena Upanishad: “If you believe you know, you do not know. If you believe you do not know, you know.”  It doesn’t mean there aren’t basic understandings, but absolutes are very tricky.

Bo: Sure…and there’s another dynamic of seeing something or someone who once was a teacher for you but is no longer…someone is still going to need that kind of teaching even if YOU don’t. “Been there, done that” doesn’t necessarily mean it no longer has value.

Dan: Agreed. It once held value but doesn’t anymore. But there are some who never break from that. They never seem to move beyond that disciple stage or even know it’s a possibility.

Bo: There are people who never leave therapy, either…and there’s a connection. In therapy there’s the phenomenon called transference and reverse transference (from the therapist to the patient). It’s no accident that some of our most loyal readers are therapists. Doing your own psychological work is an inherent part of spiritual growth. So there’s a natural bent towards “self-help” work and therapists and “those from whom all wisdom flows” and I guess my own interest is where does that process end and when do we stand up and say “you know, I think I have the tools I need to make my own mind up”…that’s discernment. When do we start looking inside ourselves for the answers instead of outside? I’m tired of being told that the answers are “out there” and that we need some intermediary to attain it…one of the first things I ever wrote was my own declaration of what I was seeking and right at the top of the list was I was tired (as a recovering Roman Catholic) of intermediaries interpreting for me. I was willing to sit in student/teacher relationship, but only if I knew there was going to be an end to it and at some point knowledge and such would be passed along to me.

Dan: I think another thing to always watch for is our own penchant for placing teachers on pedestals. We forget their fallibility. And it’s not useful. We don’t need more hierarchies. We’re not maturing. We’re giving the authority, again, to someone else.

Bo: When I was trained as a therapist, one teacher suggested that therapy was like a boat that people take to get “the other shore.” But the problem was, most people never got out of the boat! And it’s the same with spiritual gurus and teachers. People either get lost in the myth or the myth-teller, it seems, and forget that it’s meant to be poetry and metaphor trying to explain something that is, in the end, unexplainable. It’s Dorothy and the Wizard. Eventually someone has to pull the curtain and see who’s pulling the strings. Learning that those imperfections — including my own — were part of the deal. That’s something I think people fall prey to…this idea that we can BE perfected.

Dan: When you say people fall prey, do you mean searchers or leaders? Or both? I’m guessing searchers because that’s the belief that can be preyed upon by a bad guru. A “buru.”  I think it’s the role of the mentor to be constantly checking his altitude. When you sense you’re floating too high, you need to step off the pedestal you’re being placed on. “Uh oh, the air is thinning. Crap. They’re doing it again.” [teacher steps down]

Bo: And I still think that’s putting the responsibility on the outside. At some point each of us has to know when to say “enough.” When to know when the learning has run its course and now it’s time to move on. Which is not to say we don’t value teaching. I just have reached a point where I think the ultimate authority has to be YOU.

Dan: There’s that great story in the Christian Gospels about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, which is enormously revolutionary.

Bo: Yes. That’s certainly a Christian image that sticks with me. The humility. You don’t see a whole hell of a lot of humility out there. It’s usually “I have all the answers.” Or I have the answers you need, at least…follow me.

Dan: Another warning sign is beware a guru who’s an angel in public and a mean S.O.B. in private. I’m sure we could tell stories.  For me it means that one’s public and private life shouldn’t be a Jekyll and Hyde production.

Bo:  And doesn’t that seem like it should go without saying almost?

Dan: Sure, but then you run into so many “private bastard/public angel” that you think that’s normal.

Bo: That’s why I love the idea of the “secret mentor” that Chris Bartlett writes about in this issue. The Jewish tradition has levels of mitzvahs where you do good deeds, with varying levels of public knowledge or awareness about it…ranging from everyone knowing you’ve done it to it being done in complete anonymity. Eric Rofes would talk about this…being a “secret mentor”…he would see someone who he believed was doing good work or had potential to do good work and he would support them. But he would do it without letting them know he was doing it…sending books, articles, making connections for them.

Dan: Look, I think what we’re talking about is another refraction of the last issue, which was all about mentors and maturity and transmitting gay culture. We’re all searching out and trying to make sense of this “one wild and precious life” as Mary Oliver puts it. We find guides, fellow travelers, who can point us in the right direction. Some of them screw us over and some of them honor us with their grace.

Bo: Occasionally, the screwing over is as valuable as the grace.  The “screwing over” is the grace.

Dan: Well, yeah. So, we do our own work knowing that we’re going to be called on to guide others after us. So this issue is as much a handbook for future guides as it is a warning to searchers.

This is just an excerpt from this issue of White Crane.   We are reader-supported and need you to subscribe to keep this conversation going.  So to read more from this wonderful issue SUBSCRIBE to White Crane. Thanks!

White Crane #70 – FM3’s Buddha Machine (Music)

Buddhamachine Music
FM3 – Buddha Machine
Label: Staalplaat 2006 $22.99

Reviewed by Bo Young

FM3 is an electronic act based in China, an act known primarily for a (very) minimalist bent and, apparently, their ability to subdue live crowds into absolute Alpha-wave silence. As such, it only makes sense that they be the act to introduce Staalplaat’s Buddha Machine series. The Buddha Machine is a unique sound box, made in China (isn’t everything these days?) that comes with an integrated speaker, a volume control, mini jack-out…even two AA batteries…and a switch to choose between nine different loops stored on a small chip and can be directly played by…and only by…this mini sound system.

The Buddha Machine is ambient music. If you ever listened to flautist Paul Horn’s classic Taj Mahal recordings you are halfway there. It’s background music, but it is also art form in and of itself. The music, that never stops, relaxes you and stimulates you at the same time. And, it’s a nice little adult toy that you will like to hold in your hands, play with and carry it with you.

It’s a little plastic box that plays music. FM3 composed (constructed?) these nine drones (or so we are told…it’s kind of hard to count them, I keep drifting off or I go off into some creative jag when I am listening to it. I can’t swear to the nine) that vary from two seconds to forty-two seconds; they repeat endlessly in the listener’s ear until the "track" is switched to the next drone (or the two AA batteries run out).
The machine has (is?) its own built-in speaker, in case one would like to fill a room with the drones, but there is also a headphone jack for more personal meditative experiences. There’s a switch on the side that allows for traversal of the tracks, and a DC jack (no AC adapter) for those who would like the Buddha Machine experience be truly endless. In a way, it’s like the cheapest pre-loaded iPod you’ll ever be able to buy. It even comes in different colors, displayed minimally on the side of the lotus bedecked, blue box in which the box comes. Seven colors. (Mine’s a monkish saffron). Nine drones. Having only purchased one of these (well, two if you don’t count the one I had sent to Dan) I can’t verify that every Buddha Machine has the same content. Somehow I’d like to imagine they don’t. Collect them all!
At its minimalist little heart (see illustration), however, the Buddha Machine flies in the face of the downloading—if not the collecting—age. First: the entire point of the release is to have the little box.

Sure, theoretically you could download each of the drones (available in mp3 form on FM3’s website), set "repeat" in your media player of choice, and have something close to the original effect, but you lose much of the effect, the “aura,” if you will, of the work that way—evaluating the drones purely on the basis of their musical merit is entirely different than evaluating them as an aspect of an odd little artifact. Second: the sound of the drones via the machine is, in fact, very, very lo-fi; there is an audible buzz in the speaker as the volume gets higher, not to mention a fair amount of hiss that accompanies the drones at any volume. An argument could be made that the constant hiss and crackle is a part of the music (much as the point of John Cage’s 4’33" is not the silence, but the sounds surrounding that silence), lending a bit of entropy to the largely static drones.
All of this is not even to mention the idea that in an age where "how much have you got?" is at least as important a question as "how good is it?", an entire release that contains just under three minutes of unique sound is quite the rara avis.
The drones themselves are largely wonderful, whether carefully studied or relegated to the background. Most of the drones are (if my online translation skills don’t fail me) named after animals and musical instruments, with a couple given the nondescript names of "b1" and "b2", and the final drone named after the verb "To Dance.” The first drone, translated "Horse," is particularly lovely, two repeated organ-like tones that last about fifteen seconds each, which after a while create a lovely, moody, minor-key atmosphere. "Sheep" actually features a melody, that when repeated for a couple of minutes, becomes one of the most peaceful of the drones for its simplicity and use of empty space. Even "b1," (that’s “be-one”…or is it “bone?”) composed with a single, decaying chord only six seconds in length, could slow your heartbeat with its insistence on never, ever moving. The process itself is mesmerizing. I would listen to a drone—for who knows how long?—and then switch the little side switch, back or forth, switching from one drone to the next. Like I said…there are, reportedly, nine of them. I can’t quite count that high when I listen to this…this…box…

The Buddha Machine is more than a little novelty. That’s part of its charm. You can have a little pink (or red, or black, or orange) box that plays ambient music. You can display it. People will ask about it. It’s an icebreaker. But what’s truly special about it is what FM3 has done with a tiny bit of recording space on a little speaker. It’s mesmerizing. It’s portable relaxation. And if you’ve read this far, admit it—you know you want one.

Buddha Box is available one line at Jazz Loft or at Amp Camp at Amp Camp 

Bo Young is Publisher and Editorial Director of White Crane.

Gay Men’s Leadership Academy – Part Deux

Peter Lien is a friend, a photographer, a genius, a sweetheart and a faerie king.

When you click on that link, be sure to watch his film on HIV in Uganda: The Wisdom Keepers of Uganda: Effectively Responding to HIV in Africa. It is incredible.

Because that film is so lovely, it is even more exciting to tell you that he did a wonderful, short (41 minute) interview video of the White Crane Gay Men’s Leadership Academy.

Enjoy the beautiful men.

Enjoy the sweet stories.

See who we might be…

Gay Men’s Leadership Academy

My…haven’t we all been busy lately!? I’ve been trying to set down my thoughts on the most recent activities in which I participated and for which White Crane is a sponsor. Just a little over a year ago, I sat down with Eric Rofes to go over what turned out to be one of his last published articles, Gay Bodies, Gay Selves: Understanding the Gay Men’s Health Movement. Eric was one of those people who simply brimmed with ideas, and out of this conversation grew a new formulation of his Gay Men’s Health Summits that he wanted to call Gay Men’s Leadership Academy.

The more we talked, the more we realized that his definition of "health" was nearly identical to White Crane’s definition of the term "spirituality." And so the White Crane Gay Men’s Leadership Academy was born. As usual, Eric called in all of the talent he knew….Chris Bartlett and Kevin Trimmel Jones from Philadelphia…T. Scott Pegues from Denver…and they got started. Good thing that was how Eric did things, because half way between the first Academy (attended by 35 amazing men at the Wildwood Retreat in Guerneville, CA) Eric dropped dead of a heart attack.

But because of his brilliant way of delegating and organizing, this group never dropped a stitch (Chris, honey…that reference was for you, my sweet-faced knitter!)…The second Academy was equally well-attended by equally amazing men of every age, race and stripe, from Boston, Providence, New York City, Albany and Philadelphia.


Somewhere, Eric was smiling.

The idea always was to create an opportunity for leaders working in gay men’s health, to meet other leaders…from as broad a spectrum of fields as we could imagine and attract. The idea was to stretch, challenge and stimulate…to move people out of the old boxes of thinking, particularly the way of thinking of gay people in troubled, pathological terms…in HIV terms…in addiction terms. In what I personally think of as Stockholm Syndrome terms of attempting to show straight society that "we’re just like you except for what we do in bed"…when the bedroom is probably the only place we have in common. How do gay people begin to celebrate and embrace their unique differences, their healthy, different perspective on things? And how, as leaders, do we demonstrate what a valuable contribution to society, not hat in hand, but proudly showing off our "healthy psychic drag"!!!

This wasn’t Eric’s phrasing, but it comes to mind, again and again for me, and it seems clear to me that what we were asking anyone who was inspired to attend:

Who would we be without the struggle?

How might we be without a struggle?

How do we formulate what a healthy life is for gay people? What are the markers and milestones from which we might build and measure a healthy life as GLBT people? These are questions White Crane has been asking for almost two decades. These leaders gathered to continue that discussion.

When it is a given that perhaps 10% of our brothers and sisters may be struggling with HIV or methamphetamine addiction, doesn’t this necessarily mean that 90% of our brothers and sisters are leading lives of quiet — but healthy — isolation? How do we connect? How do we build on this? How do we capitalize on what Eric (and Chris and Scott and Kevin) term an "asset-based," rather than deficit-based, way of thinking? Is methamphetamine really worthy of being called "an epidemic"? Sure it’s a problem for some people…so is smoking in the gay community. There are probably a lot of people for whom sexual addiction and drinking are problems, too. But are we being stampeded into a panic? Is the fear-mongering that we see in the news on a nightly basis, being used to keep us as a community off balance? Is it possible that by strengthening  areas where we are successful, healthy individuals as a whole, that this will redound to those members of our community who need help?

Is there a healthy forest beyond the pathological trees?  Just asking…

These were just some of the questions that inspired this undertaking. I was unable to attend the first of the Academies in Guerneville, but was able to get to Easton Mountain for the second.

First of all, what a wonderful place! If you haven’t gone to Easton Mountain,either for a workshop or a personal retreat, please do. Check out their programming. This is a marevelous asset in the community, run by a community of men with a really big vision of health, spirit and community. P1010002

For four days, absolutely wonderfully intelligent, sensitive and imaginative men…ranging in age from early 20s to late 50s…gold to gray…black to brown to yellow to pink… African-American, Asian, Latino, Caucasian…if anyone was left out it wasn’t from lack of trying to be as inclusive as possible…got to know one another, shared, confronted and otherwise debated, demanded and decided. Exercises in expanding thinking and challenges to old thinking were interspersed with and nourished by incredible meals in the idyllic setting that is Easton Mountain.P1010013

What did we learn? What did we decide? In all honesty I would have to say the answers to these reasonable questions are still formulating in my mind. I look forward to hearing from the colleagues I made that weekend. I know for certain that White Crane will continue with the Academy, on both coasts, with Chris and Scott and Kevin….and David A. and Tauheed Z. and Steven B., Pablo C., Matty H., Andres H., Tim C., Michael M., Marc M., Harlan S., Angel O., Eric K., Chris M., Bill J, Fred L., Brandon A., Peter L., Nayck F., Dennis H., Rexaford D, William K., and Michael D. Thanks gentlemen, for an amazing weekend.

A word on the "age range" mentioned above…as well as the focus on "health." I know of at least one, esteemed leader in the arts community here in NYC who opted not to attend because he felt he might be "too old." And I think he was struggling with how to connect his expertise in the field of theater and arts with the stated purpose of "gay men’s health."

This was a pity…and I plan on continuing the conversation with this friend. Because it was the very differences he would have brought to this weekend that would have made his contribution unique, interesting and valuable. Remember, the intent was to break out of the old boxes of thinking. So the differences of age, race and areas of expertise could only add to the mix and make it richer. A good deal of time was spent even defining the term "leader." Old accepted definitions were challenged, reexamined and, I think, a new seed of an idea… about how to lead, and who leads, and where we might be being lead…was planted. I mentioned that Eric’s definition of "health" was the same as our definition of "spiritual." That is to say, it is anything that provides you with, and nurtures in you, a deeper relationship with yourself, your community and the world. It is consciousness…of yourself, your community, the world. It is a form of  "deep ecology."  P1010014

The plan is to continue. A Gay Men’s Health Yahoo! group has been set up for attendees to continue the conversation…to continue the network…to plan for next year’s Gay Men’s Leadership Academy (coming soon to a link near you!).

We hope you think about coming. We hope you come.

Circle Voting

We wanted to call particular attention to White Crane contributor and Advisory Board member Murray Edelman’s newest project, Circle Voting. To quote the site:

    "The circle is an important symbol in the lives and ceremonies of traditional people as it refers to the connectedness of all life. When we meet in a circle we are all at the same level and interdependent.

    "The important policy issues of today are also about circles, living in balance with the environment and respecting circles of different peoples (human rights, education, social justice) and honoring the value of life (affordable healthcare); these can be called the "Circles of Life."   

    "In politics today, these issues are objectified and manipulated to be used as weapons for gaining power in a campaign, and the issues are often used for pitting one group against another. For politicians it is about getting elected and re-elected — raising large amounts of money and getting the right people to vote. But these are issues about our hearts and lives. It is no wonder many of us are alienated from politics today."


Murray Edelman is one of the innovating elders of the gay community, going back to his early work in gay bathhouses, as a faerie, his support of Arthur Evans’ seminal writings and many years of service and support with Clyde Hall, now as the President of the Board, for the Naraya Preservation Council. We urge you to check out Circle Voting.

A Brilliant Success!

Where 2 Start?!

Riseupand_shout_2_1 Rise Up and Shout! was a glittering evening at the beautiful Barnsdall Theater next to the exquisite Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park. Seventeen wonderfully talented, young gay men and lesbians, ranging in age from 16 to their late-20s, danced, sang, read and otherwise entertained and regaled a packed house. Thai Rivera was the hilarious Master of Ceremonies. Already paying his dues across the country in stand-up comedy clubs, this young talent had a sharp and smart sense of humor that kept the evening moving. A year’s worth of work, headed by White Crane contributor and Advisory Board member, Mark Thompson (and his estimable partner, Malcolm Boyd) and the efforts of Don Kilhefner and the Los Angeles Men’s Medicine Circle, resulted in an inclusive rainbow of ethnicities and genders offering bright and shining acts that gave us poetry, opera, drag, the spirit of Tennessee Williams and dancing (that only made me wish my knees still worked that way!)

Let me see if I can recall it all (links are provided where available…some of the kids are so young and so new they don’t even have web pages….imagine that!)…musician, Richard Rocha, comedian Sandy Helen Bowles, actor Brionne Davis, folk singer Angie Evans, the Voices of G.L.A.S.S. (which, despite their name were dancers…G.L.A.S.S. is Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services, one of the most important gay and lesbian services organizations in Los Angeles, providing shelter, food, therapy and other nurturing support to outcast gay and lesbian youth), rapper JenRO, filmmaker and poet Steven Liang.

Singer/songwriter Dan Holguin was followed by tenor Greg Iriart, pianist Peter Kirkpatrick, the glittering and outrageous John Quale, poet Elliott Reed and of course, being L.A., a line-up of actors including Corey Saucier, who did a wonderful reflection on aging in the gay community, Derek Ringold and a garage band, sLoW…I’m running out of breath!  The panoply of talent was masterfully directed by Broadway and Disney movie veteran, Jim Pentecost. And, as if this wasn’t fabulous enough, the whole evening was a benefit for White Crane Institute.

It was wonderful. Watch for these young people…some of them are surely going to be the rising stars of tomorrow. But more importantly, as Don Kilhefner put it in his heartfelt introduction that evening, this was an opportunity for us elders to bless these young talents and welcome them into the community. In an era when transitions are rarely noted, (if not reduced to mere marketing) it was an exciting and moving evening of "Generation Conversation." A full length documentary, due out Spring 2007, is being prepared after months of following the performers and organizers up to their stellar debut at the Barnsdall Theater.

On a personal level it was my pleasure to sit for a series of portraits by noted artist P1010018(and White Crane winter issue featured interview) Don Bachardy.

Bachardy, pictured at the left, works with almost breathtaking speed; each portrait takes under two hours (though try holding one position for that length of time and you’ll see it’s grueling work for a model). He works in acrylics and his gaze is like a laser scanner you feel taking in every inch of your face. He has pots of paints and an enameled cafeteria tray as a pallette and at times his brush simply sweeps across the watery splashes of color he’s pooled on the tray and picks up an opalescent array of colors on the brush.

P1010029_1Here’s Bachardy in a self-portrait at left.

At the same time, while he is working very quickly, sketching on the paper with the colors as he captures you, on some level it would be nice to be able to smile…you know, give the world your best, friendly face? But it is physically impossible to hold a smile for that perP1010032_1iod of time, and you end up with this deep, serious gaze being recorded, to say nothing of the actual interaction between you as the subject and Bachardy as the painter. The effect is, I will admit, slightly unsettling when you finally get to see what he has created. One person called his vision "Bachardy’s eagle eye."

You can see one of the amazing acrylic portraits of me here. We did five! 

My friends Robert Croonquist, Robert Rigdon and I also did the grand architectural tour of the booming downtown Los Angeles, specifically to see the spectacular Disney Music Hall which is P1010034everything and more that it has been cracked up to be.  We walked in and around the hall, climbing into some of the swooping titanium forms themselves, and in and around the truly amazing addition to Los Angeles. Imagine our delight and amazement as we were leaving to walk Grand Street to see the new R.C. cathedral, to run into none other P1010044_1than Frank Gehrey himself being photographed on the sidewalk!

The Catholic cathedral, Our Lady of Angels, was interesting, an almost blank wall to the community in the style of the old Spanish plazas and the missions encP1010045_1losure of various businesses. Inside is a very beautiful set of tapestries depicting the congregation of saints facing towards the altar. The "mission plaza" was a-buzz with people that Sunday. The cathedral has it’s own "Hollywood" touches, with the late Gregory Peck entombed in the mausoleum and the grand and heavy bronze doors and sconces in the cathedral created by Angelica Huston’s husband, Robert Graham.

Off to the Left Coast!

I’m off to Los Angeles today to attend Rise Up and Shout! the special event on Saturday, September  9th, produced by the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Medicine Circle to benefit White Crane.
I’m really excited about it and the opportunity to visit with Malcolm Boyd and Mark Thompson, sit for a portrait with Don Bachardy and, later, work with White Crane Institute Advisory Board member, Robert Croonquist to produce an oral history video on the San Francisco Hula Palace with bon vivant and activist, Lee Mentley.

L.A. is my old stomping grounds, so it will be good to see old friends. Now if I could only remember how to drive on a freeway!

Our Bad

Dan and I just want to let readers know that we are aware of the problems with the current issue of White Crane (and we’ve probably learned that we shouldn’t try to publish anything when Mercury is retrograde!) particularly with the important article by Don Kilhefner.

First of all, we want you to know that the full article, without the printing errors, is on line. And, finally, we feel this article, Gay Adults! Gay Adults Where Are You?, is so important, that we will be re-running it in issue #70 so readers can read it and see the missing text, and enjoy the full idea of the piece.

Many of you have written to us about this. Both Dan and I apologize to Don and to our readers for the errors. We are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again. (I feel compelled to explain it wasn’t in the copy editing that this error happened…it happened at the printers!)

Rhubarb and Glass Flowers

The heat, at least on the East Coast, has finally broken and it was like getting hit on the head with a hammer…it felt so good when it stopped! Saturday, all we wanted to do was get outside. We threw open all the windows, turned off the air conditioners and headed for the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza where it looked like most everyone else had the same idea. Along with some peaches the size of baby heads, I was surprised to find beautiful rhubarb! I know now I should have bought more, but I took two pounds of it, imagining my Great Aunt Stella’s rhubarb compote that she would pour over ice cream.

That’s what I made with it, along with a nice strawberry-rhubarb-orange pie. Just chopped up a pound of the red stalks (that my local grocer asked whether it was "red celery"…which should tell you something about my local grocery options) and added some candied ginger, the chopped up rinds of one orange and a little orange juice and some lemon juice and simmered it until the rhubarb just gave up and collapsed into this rosy red puree. Cool it off and find some vanilla ice cream and it’s summer in a bowl.

Speaking of bowls, we picked up our friend, Dr. Ron, his two toddler children, and headed up to the New York Botanical Garden to check out the Dale Chihuly show installed there. What a delight!

I live two blocks from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (note: which is called "Botanic" and the other is called "Botanical"…not sure if there is a difference or someone is just splitting hairs on us there) so I am sort of spoiled when it comes to gardens and botanic(al) ones, in particular. I couldn’t believe, first of all, how much bigger the NY Botanic Garden is. It must be twice the size of the Brooklyn one. Of course, the Brooklyn Botanic has the Brooklyn Museum sitting right in the middle of it, and directly across Flatbush which transects it on the north side, is Olmstead’s own favorite jewel, Prospect Park. So it’s all a matter of perspective, really. But the NY Botanical garden is a treat to behold. Blue_4

A tad more expensive, too, but I suppose if I was a member, like we are in Brooklyn, I wouldn’t have noticed. Entry fee was $6 for adults, but $20 a head to see the Chihuly, which, in retrospect, I don’t really understand since you could probably have just paid the $6 and still seen all the Chihuly’s as they are placed all through the park in the most public of places, as well as in the divine Enid Haupt Conservatory. Pink_chihuly_2

Nonetheless, the glass show is, after a while, an "Alice in Glass Wonderland" experience. We walked to the Rockefeller Rose Garden with a forest of blue glass balls and spires, and on to the immense greenhouses, with exquisite, floral bowls.

Then, five-year-old and three-year-old in tow, we went back through the old forest woods where we stopped to demonstrate the helicopter-esque aerodynamic properties of maple tree seeds by tossing them off the eyebrow bridge in the middle of the woods, and on back to the Conservatory. Mapleseed1_1

We ended up having to run through the Conservatory as it was close to closing time. But that was probably the most spectacular display, with huge blown globes of colored glass floating amidst the reeds and towering in the Conservatory among the palms. We were told that on Thursday nights, from six to nine, all the pieces are illuminated. Stunning. Sun1