Partying with Jimmy: Amid Bears And Pigs

That night. It happened. And I survived to tell it. I was seduced yet again by my unsatisfying curiosity for the new.  I'm glad to report I was not disappointed. Instead, I received an expected dose on reality in homo-factions. A couple of weeks ago I wended into unknown territory, a realm in which I had if not little knowledge of, but again, my undying curiosity provoked a sense of inquire for a different experience. (I use the term "different" here in the standard sense of unfamiliarity; for the slow ones). I made prior arrangements to meet with two distinct friends (though they both seem to delve in this peculiar type of divertissement) at Town, a two floor, partly composed of wood, college kids laden, super queer club right off U street (they call themselves "boutique", which I think, only makes them sound pretentious; it's a darn nightclub). 

On one special night out of the week, harry, robust men, some with protruding bellies congregate at the aforementioned locale. These burly homos are known, to the gay world and culture at large, as bears. This a subculture within a culture. What I would learn later about this subculture would frighten and intrigued me at the same time. I've found myself at the second floor surrounded by these types. It was "Bear's Night". The upper plant was decorated by glowing white balloons that randomly changed colors, similarly to the ones you'll see at an oriental restaurant. I still don't know what those fluorescent ropes suspending from the ceiling were alluding to, but it was recognized as part of the decoration. Gargantuan plasmas hanged on two walls, displaying the most random shit. It usually shows a distorted remix of visuals of whatever the DJ is playing, but in this instance the gay on duty was still waxing body hair somewhere. What stood out, but not necessarily for good, were these plates of cookies placed scantly around the venue. I'm not a misophobic, but the source of these treats looked dubious. I never touched one. They almost stayed intact the entire night. "They gotta feed the bears", a friendly bear told me later as I enquired about the sweets. Then I thought, "send me a pasta!". 

But then, there I was with a drink in one hand observing "the bear behavior". Picture this: If you were at a BBQ convention in Middle America. Now, think of all these greasy men groping each other dressed ready to go hunting or maybe S&M hunting. I was the pope at a sex shop. The sight was tantalizingly exciting enough for Peter Marino (who I love!) to come join the festivities. It was leather accruements, combat boots, and mesh shirts galore. Of course, with the exception of the stylish, non-bears ones. If for some strange reason you can't quite grasp the ethos of this community with my depictive descriptions, peep the wondrous shots below. Apparently, bears are not as intimidating as you might think. They are actually nice people. The gentleman right below was kind enough to pose for me. I thought it would be an interesting shot (whether you find it attractive, that's subjective; judge me by my novice photographic approach). The guy following looked like he could serve duties as my bodyguard and yet talk about the state of the economy (currently taking applications). I was loving his seemingly timid disposition. I thought of concealing his identity not because he told me so, but because I thought it looked Margiela-ish. 

I was working the room, hoping from one contingency to the next. I caught up with the two friends I arranged. It was pleasant seeing both. What wasn't quite unpleasant was what I unwittingly found out through one of them. I'm a very visual person, and it always works in my advantage. At one point during the night I noticed this 30-something unassuming bear-wannabe with a thin black band around one of his arms. I was curious to learn if there was any type of symbolism behind it. My friend confirms my doubt. He tells me the arm in which one wears the band, right or left, determines your sexual position, top or bottom (that's gay 101, google it). I needed more. He pulls out his phone to further explain his point, and before I know it, a graph bares on his screen. This pretty elaborate graph is categorized by color and side (left or right). The graph sure looks complicated, but I quickly reckon the main points. Colors here take more of an explicit literal meaning; a yellow band signifies urine, and whichever arms you choose to wear it, translates to what end your position plays during the "the golden shower". I'm sure you can conclude what the brown color meant, but my friend assured me that he has not seen anyone sporting that color in his bear-mingling career. (I saw another gentleman with a black tee that bear the word "pig", that's self explanatory). Who knew this whole bear thing could be so complicated? I suggested of using a verbal language when addressing these type of interests, which seems more practical than memorizing all these high school tricks, but the bears are like fashion people, they rather tell it visually. I came out of that conversation with an expanded mindset.  

I adore full-stacked bars, not necessarily for the alcohol value, but I enjoy seeing all these bottles containing colorful liquids positioned next to each other. I find it alluring. In my mind, Zaha Hadid would be the one who will design my future bar, and George Clooney would be my bartender (a boy can only dream). Adding to the liquor conversation. As I was waiting to be served my drink, a bear, who I saw was gawking me earlier, slithered his way through the crowd, came close enough and uttered a "woof!". I though the man had a wolf complex, but then I realized I was in his world. I said, "What am I suppose to say to that?". I don't remember exactly what he replied, but our confabulation lasted close to 30 seconds. It came to a conclusion when I suggested he should buy me a drink, that ensued a negative reaction (I had already ordered and payed for my drink, which was about $8.00; this was only a friendly test). Red Flag! As he was walking away I noticed a big flashing sign festooned on his back, "Broke!, Broke!, Broke!"

As the gathering was coming to a conclusion, the bears decamped and headed to their caves. Needless to say, any of those caves were not in my agenda for the night. As I was coming down the steps, I immediately recognize uncountable legions of gay kids surrounding the stage. The drags queens were out. It was their time to perform and sing for their life, in true RuPual fashion. I seldom come early enough to catch the show, but this time I was there as the show was in its early stages. I was destined to club hop, so my time in the house was limited. I pulled the camera out and caught the above shot of this queen, whose name do not come to mind now, but her look is a hybrid of BeyoncĂ© meets Tina Turner meets Diana Ross, in case you couldn't tell. (The first time I saw him, I was bamboozled for a second. I thought he was actually a born-female; then I thought this is exactly how less experienced, borderline-sexually confused straight men get chicaned; As an advice, always check the merchandize before you buy it...literally). 

Before heading to Dupont, I stopped by Darnell's (Florida Ave. and W Street NW). The decor is unlike any other lounge in D.C. I love Darnell's motley collection of art, hanged on brick bare walls all over the lounge (he once told he there were bestowed by his artist friends). The lights dimmed low, creating an intimate setting. I don't think words do justice, thus your own observation is required for an accurate assessment. The lady holding duty behind the bar caught my attention. Her dress was reminiscent of what Stefano Pilati just shown for YSL resort 2012. The vintage find caught the nautical essence of Mr. Saint Laurent 1982's collection. She wore it belted and hair pulled back. I was loving it. The drink she prepared, a cold "sex on the beach", quenched the thirst, and actually started my night.  

 And don't worry, you'll see my handsomeness in future posts. 


Freddie Mercury

A couple of days ago the good folks over at Google released an animated Woody Allen/Mario Bros-esque clip commemorating Freddie Mercury's birth. The gaudiness. The mannerism. The artistry in motion. You can't fake that. Queen for ever. 



The wood-framed doors of the hotels open wide, droves of individuals with cameras held up to their faces point and flash insidiously. It quickly turns into an organized mayhem. Two adults with a bevy of kids in tow step out. The man, who couldn't look more incredibly handsome is wearing a bespoke Armani suit and a child in diapers resting on his arm, while holding another kid by the hand. His female counterpart, with a noticeably robust lips and long wavy black hair is wearing a tan trench coat under a white summer dress, struggling to keep three kids on her near vicinity preoccupied she's in a middle of a spectacle, starring her extended family. The two Herculean-sized men in black suits and dark shades are standing at each end acting as shields protecting the couple from the rabid crowd, frantically shouting, "Brad!, Angelina! Over here!".   

A young boy in Peru is standing in front of his television, rapt in bewilderment. His world is far from theirs, yet he has been fed with images of the couple in similar circumstances for years. He watches them appear on films, as protagonists and antagonists. And he gazes at he bacchanalia-like spectacles their presence bestows. He is just an infant, but he's perfectly aware of the term "movie star". 

When Doug Liman's Mr. & Mrs. Smith was approaching, W Magazine saw an opportunity for a cover subject. They commissioned master photographer Steven Klein to document Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and a couple of Caucasian kids in Palm Springs for the July 2005 issue. The shoot (which Pitt co-directed) resulted in a massive display of photography prowess by Klein, depicting "The Pitts" in a 60's (assumably it's 1963, the year Brad was born) domestic milieu. On the cover, Jolie is wearing a white swimsuit sprawled atop a beach chair hoisting a purple ball, while three kids are playing in a kiddie pool with Daddy. In other shots, she's wearing a Giambattista Valli ostrich feather and tulle dress wrapped in the arms of her man. In a more intimate setting, Angelina has a Bardot like coiffure, and Brad shirtless laying in bed. 

When W unearthed these relics on its website, the flashbulb lit. I was destined to have a moment. Since I was never part of any adoption agency in the middle of Kenya, they've never found me. Perhaps, if they were to look down in South America, I might've been more lucky (I guess I missed Madonna too). But what if I was christened Jimmy Pitt Jolie? How hot would that be? The photographs above might've just illustrate how my life would've been. Sitting in the lap of Daddy eating my veggies. Yup.


Food For The Soul

I've been raised with the principle of home cooking. Not that we lacked the means to eat out, but there was little desire to spend money on food that Grandma can easily cook at the convenience of home, even more tasteful than other places. She can whip out idiosyncratic Peruvian delicacies such as, ceviche, papa a la huancaina, lomo saltado and relleno, with the same deft and finesses as pizza, ice cream and hamburgers. It was her dedication and love for cooking that my mother carried on with her through the years. I guess it's genetics. There was a subtle misbalance or discontinuation of such genes when I came out of the woodwork. I'm not Mario Batali, but I will cook if I'm presented with Survivors-like scenarios. In my head, I'm the neglected latino son of Martha Stewart. 

Apparently, I've fallen into the trap of documenting what I digest. As ubiquitous as it is, I like this trend. Why not? If the majority of us can't afford a couture piece, it seems plausible that we find comfort in other places, food is not a bad source. I think the term "comfort", though, takes a slightly heighten expression in America. I'm not going to elaborate on the perilous obesity problems America is facing now, and how food contributes to that, just because this, sadly, is not a food blog nor bon appĂ©tit, but instead, underscore the opportunity I have to bring attention to this matter through this blog (shout-out to Michelle Obama). 

On a sunny, unsuspecting August day, I wended to Copper Canyon Grill in Downtown Silver Spring before heading to the cinema. I've never eaten there, but the outside decor looked welcoming. I believe there was a small bonfire display behind plexi glass, it caught my attention. Out of all the items I ordered (at heart, I'm a fat guy trapped in a slim's guy body - get me out!), the most visually appealing was this grilled chicken sandwich (above) accompanied by precisely cut tomato slices, delicious avocado, fresh pieces of lettuce and what I can only described as Chinese celery. It also came along a serving of slim cut potatoes sticks and a silver cup of good ol' ketchup. I'm not American, but I think this can be easily pigeonholed as an all-American meal. (The plate, by the way, made me feel like I was lunching at the Georgia O'Keeffe ranch, I was loving it). 

Just recently, I visited The Dupont Italian Kitchen on 17th Street. The locale has a nice looking patio filled with round tables and a few patches of greenery. Conveniently, it was a slightly breeze, cool night, making our experience even more enjoyable. Perfect weather to eat outside. I ordered a Caprese Salad, consisting of 3 vine-ripe slices of tomatoes, fresh thick slices of mozzarella and basil leaves surreptitiously hidden in between the two. Since then, I've been transformed. If I could have this salad every day, I would. For the serious meal, I ordered a Fettucinne Alfredo. As the waiter was approaching, I could easily see the smoke slowly rising and dissipating in mid-air. The creamy Alfredo sauce swimming with the delicate angel hair made for a compelling observation. When it's eaten with a piece of garlic bread, the experience in your mouth is yet more scrumptious. 

One of the undeniably best areas in D.C. is Georgetown. On any day, you can find the best looking dressed gallivanting the cobble sidewalks of M Street and quite ordinarily you will find the most dreadful looking get ups all on the same place. All in all, it's a magnificent entertainment metropolis. I was suggested to eat at Ristorante Piccolo, right off 31st Street and M. The restaurant is unapologetic Italian, from the menu (which is all titled in Italian, but provides description in English) and the interior decor, to the manner in which the server go about their waiting duties. I was particularly overwhelmed with the precision and attention given to how the food is placed on the table and mannerism of staff. I've read the restaurant has been open since 1985 and is famous (or infamous) for being "a perfect spot for first dates and marriage proposals". Though I wasn't proposed, I knew why this family run business has been so successful in a very competitive market. 

The seemingly endless litany of choices was stunning; a dashing variety of poultry and veal, and well balanced salads, and succulent pasta dishes. I've opt-out from the obvious (pasta) and ordered something less obvious, chicken. The dish was dubbed, "Pollo all'Aglio", which basically consisted of a grilled chicken breast marinated in a subtle acidic concoction accompanied with a puree of baked potatoes and veggies, all served in a stark white squared plate. The chicken was tender, with a roasty, fumed aroma, and the veggies tasted as if they were just harvested. The whole spectacle did not only looked delicious, but tasted delicious. 

Not everything that I've digested lately is being documented within the premises of this blog, it would just take too long to elaborate. Let's keep it short and sweet. Though at times, it may seem, in my head, that I've been eating as if I was at The Last Supper, I've been just exploring "what's out there". It goes without saying, all this scrumptiousness was consumed with the help of good ol' wata!


Mcqueen As Background

Phones...what left is there to say? The world is in a constant search for the new, and it seems like each and every day we become more dependable on technology. It's scary. When the world comes to a standstill, in which technology fails to function, we will be doomed. But let's rejoice. Let's celebrate the advantageous features of technology now. Especially, relating to this post, my beloved iPhone 4 (No offense to Crackberry users). Thanks to Steve Jobs and company, I can hold a conversation, browse the net, look at pictures, utilize an app, and send an e-mail, all at the same time.  A quasi-uncanny luxurious practice, my grandmother and her counterparts would have never dreamt of occurring. It's a reality. Hopefully, the iPhone 5 would be equipped enough to perform laundry duties. 

Not too long ago I was in a conundrum, my iPhone 3 looked deficient (and functioned deficiently). During an ordinary day at work, I made the immortal error. My unprotected handheld insidiously slipped out of my hand, and hit the pavement. It cracked, along with my world. The following days were filled with slight embarrassment, apprehension and mea culpa. In order to uplift my morale, I wended to good ol' AT&T and purchased The 4. I must had to upgrade. I discarded The 3 (in case you're curious, yes - that's a picture of David Gandy wearing Dolce & Gabbana undies), and personalized my brand new acquisition. But I felt something was missing.

Whilst browsing a few art blogs, I came across an image that stopped me in my tracks. It was a pencil drawn sketch of Alexander Lee McQueen's face. It was unmistakably him. A McQ logo plastered over his forehand, a seemingly appropriate crown floating over his head, a portending skull to the left, a 3-D cross to the right, a cube covering part of his face, and heedless scribble written at the bottom, all attempt to create a story around the man. It's not only a tantalizing picture, but thoughtful. It belonged in my background.

Check out John Paul Thurlow's blog here (I later saw more of his work on Elle UK Collections with Kate Moss in Vuitton on the cover. Pure Talent!).