Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Cure

When I first heard The Cure back in high school, I admit that I wasn't impressed. But ignorance can be fixed, and my ignorance was quickly changed into understanding, respect, and admiration, thanks to my friends Bonnie and Dave. For many years, I have counted The Cure among my favorite bands of all-time. So it was a real treat to see the The Cure perform live at the Allstate Arena on Saturday. Seeing Robert Smith and the rest of the band was a highlight of my many years of going to concerts.

With some of these bands whose careers peaked in the 80s, you wonder if they'll simply cash in a performance. But any fan of The Cure knows that they put on an amazing show with a great deal of passion and lots of hard work. Definitely not just cashing it in.

Set list:


prayers for rain


a night like this

the walk

the end of the world


pictures of you


the perfect boy

from the edge of the deep green sea

hot hot hot

sleep when i'm dead


friday i'm in love

in between days

just like heaven


never enough

the only one

wrong number

one hundred years


Encore: if only tonight we could sleep

the kiss

Encore 2: the lovecats


close to me

why can't i be you?

Encore 3: boys don't cry

jumping someone else's train

grinding halt

10:15 saturday night

killing an arab

Without question, the highlight for me was "Pictures of You." It's one of my very favorite songs by any band, and the live performance did not disappoint. I definitely appreciate moments in life when I experience real transcendence, and hearing "Pictures of You" performed live was a transcendent moment for me. Amazing. "There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more/than to feel you deep in my heart."
Other great songs for me included "Lovesong," (although the live version seemed a bit rushed) "Lullaby," "Hot Hot Hot," "In Between Days," "Just Like Heaven," "Disintegration," "Close To Me," "Why Can't I Be You?" and oldies "Jumping Someone Else's Train," and "10:15 Saturday Night."
The only song I was hoping to hear that they didn't play was "Fascination Street," but I'm not complaining since it was such an excellent show. While they played a number of tracks from their yet to be released 13th studio album, I was pleased that they covered pretty much every part of their career, particularly from what I think are their best albums: "The Head on the Door," "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me," "Disintegration," and "Wish."
Brad, Ryan F, and I had a most enjoyable evening. I'm very glad that I can now say that I've seen The Cure live.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Kids on the Block

I'm excited that the New Kids on the Block are back. I know, it's wrong, but I can't help it. I'm genuinely excited that they're back.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A really gay video

Lesley sent me this video from an NBC special in 1986. Um, Markie Post, Nell Carter (may she rest in peace), Charlotte Rae, Bea Arthur, Marla Gibbs, and 1986 all in one clip. Amazing! A gay guy's fantasy come true. Enjoy it.

Boyfriend update

I haven't blogged about Bobby in a while because I don't want to jinx this relationship. Plus I'm afraid that he might find these posts and who knows how he would react. I would be flattered, but I could see others being embarrassed. Suffice it to say that things are going very well. Is he perfect? Of course not. Am I perfect? Um, hardly! Are we both enjoying spending time together and getting to know each other better? Absolutely!

Last week I walked into my office to find a fruit and chocolate basket sitting on my desk. Here's the card: "Thinking of you has made me smile. I hope that you enjoyed Columbus. I'm looking forward to seeing you all next weekend. Love, Bobby" Yes, it was signed "Love, Bobby." Yes, that make me incredibly happy. Might I have finally found a man for the long haul? Yes!

Since I last wrote about this, we've had quite a few dates. This past weekend we made dinner together at his condo. The following day we did a charity walk, then had brunch with his parents. Then we headed to Milwaukee, hit wiffle balls with a plastic bat at Back Bay Park, and had dinner with my parents, Dave (brother), and Sara (sister-in-law) for my mom's birthday.

Meeting the parents is pretty serious, you say. True. My outlook is this: both of us are 34. It's not like you're 24 and you could be dating someone different next week. This feels right, so I'm going with that. I told him that I wouldn't introduce just anyone to my family, so that this was special. He appreciated that, felt the same way, and neither one of us was concerned or worried about meeting the respective parents. Bobby was a big hit with my family, and he tells me that I made a favorable impression on his parents. My mom was most impressed with how he treated me, and she was pleasantly surprised that Bobby gave her a birthday card and gift. That's just one example of how he is a thoughtful and sweet person.

I think that I'm going to be invited to spend part of Memorial Day weekend at his family's cottage, but am not certain yet.

I can say this: I have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do from my prior dating experience and my one 3.5 year relationship (that ended in 2004). I am grateful for that wisdom, yet I still worry about screwing this up. I also think that I'm hyper-conscious about looking for issues because of my prior experience. For example, I dated a narcissist for about a month in December 2006, and now I'm always on the lookout for narcissistic tendencies in a guy. Fortunately, I don't see those in Bobby. My ex could be really mean, so I'm especially aware of any meanness. Fortunately, Bobby isn't mean - just the opposite.

I'm enjoying this and appreciating it for what it is: a very special relationship that I think has a great deal of long-term potential. But I'm not worrying about the future and doing my best to smile, have fun, and enjoy it. Bobby makes that pretty easy.

I have to pinch myself because I haven't been this happy in a long time.

Barbie's game night

My fabulous friend Barbie and her Virgo man Chad had a game night at their house a few weeks back. Unfortunately, I only took two photos: (1) Jennifer E and Chad and (2) Michelle and Jennifer E. I wasn't very good with the camera that night.
As she always does, Barbie had a nice spread of food and drink for her guests. Then we played a VH-1 music video game. My favorite part is when you have to sing the lyrics of a song. Most of the songs were from the 80s, so I fared reasonably well, although Erika was the winner. Thanks, Barbie!

Boboli pizzas and Nate's family

Nate's brother, sister-in-law, nephew, sister, and brother-in-law all live in Columbus. I had met his brother and sister 13 years ago when Nate and I graduated from college, but only briefly. Plus that was a long time ago. So it was nice to meet his family. All of them were very nice. Nate has a new nephew named Luka who was 8 weeks old in the photo. And he will be an uncle a second time in September when his sister has her baby.
We made Boboli pizzas for his family. This was the third time we've done this, so we're experts now: (1) Orange County, January 2007, (2) Milwaukee, May 2007, (3) Columbus, May 2008.

first trip to the C-Bus

My friend Nate's life has come full circle. He was born in Columbus, then lived in: Batavia (IL), Milwaukee (where we met at Marquette University in college), Japan (5 years), Brooklyn, Manhattan, Orange County (CA), and now he's back in Columbus.

I made my first visit to Columbus earlier this month. Nate and his sister call it "the C-Bus." It's a nice city that reminds me in many ways of Milwaukee, but without Lake Michigan. Plus Columbus has the state capital and The Ohio State University. Even though Milwaukee is larger than Madison, Madison has the state capital and the University of Wisconsin. So maybe my comparison is off a bit.

In any case, Nate has a very nice new condo in a leafy inner suburb of Columbus. As always happens when we get together, we had a lot of laughs, gave each other a significant amount of grief, and had an all-around fun time. We've known each other for so long that neither one of us lets the other one get away with anything.
While I am pictured holding a bottle of Riuniti lambrusco wine, we did not purchase this bottle. But I wasn't aware that Riuniti was still in business. And I'm not much of a wine snob, so I would probably drink Riuniti lambrusco if someone served it to me. Alcohol is alcohol, right?

early May

My friend Erika's birthday was earlier this month. Unfortunately, I had to miss the dinner gathering she put together to celebrate the occasion. I wish that I could have attended, but I was visiting Nate in Columbus, Ohio. This reminded me of Erika's birthday a number of years ago when she put together a dinner at a Mexican restaurant near the Chase Avenue Target store. I can't think of the name of the restaurant right now. In any case, Erika's birthday always comes at a time of the year when I have a lot of work events such as lunches, cocktail receptions, dinners, etc. Late April and early May mean a lot of work-related events for me where I have to make small talk with people who I don't really care about.

So when Erika had this birthday dinner at the Mexican restaurant, I was looking forward to an evening where I could be with my friends, not have to make small talk, and I wouldn't be working; I could just be myself. Unfortunately for me, more than 20 people came to the birthday dinner. I got stuck at work and arrived a few minutes late. By the time I arrived, all of my friends were sitting on one end of the table where there were no empty seats. I got stuck at the other end of the table with these friends of Erika's that I didn't really know. And I had to make small talk for a couple of hours with some people who were not my friends. All the while I could see my friends down on the other end of the table having a grand old time. I remember talking for what seemed like an eternity with this woman who had her hair in dreadlocks. She told me all about how she did (or I should say did not) wash and care for her hair in dreadlocks. I had no connection with these people and didn't really care to make one. Needless to say, it was a long evening.

I think that if this happened now, I'd move my chair over to my friends and force them to make room for me.

All of which reminds me of a song that my dad's side of the family always sings to the youngest member:

"Move over and make room for [Name]
He doesn't take very much space.
For [Name] is one of our favorite friends
We surely can find him a place.
Move over, move over,
As quick as a wiggety jig
We'll always move over for [Name]
For [Name] is not very big."

Nautica ad

What a mighty fine ad from Nautica. I'm glad that the are embracing models that look like men and not like 12 year-old boys with shaved chests. Summer is here! I wouldn't mind seeing this guy at the beach. Thanks, Nautica!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Yo Yo Ma

My friend Anne B. invited me to join her for this concert last night. This was the second time I have seen Mr. Ma. The last time he was in Milwaukee, I saw him play the Dvorak Cello Concerto. He is a truly amazing and collaborative musician. It was a wonderful evening.

Yo-Yo Ma gives inspiring and generous show
By TOM STRINIJournal Sentinel music critic
Posted: May 7, 2008
When Yo-Yo played along with the Milwaukee Symphony cello section, as he often did Wednesday night in R. Strauss' "Don Quixote," he made eye contact all the way to the players at the back stands. He leaned way around Andreas Delfs' podium to see concertmaster Frank Almond and the first violins when his solo cello line joined theirs. He swiveled nearly 180 degrees to lock eyes and interlock rhythms with frequent duet partner Robert Levine, whose bold viola played Sancho Panza to Ma's Quixote. Ma and Delfs practically danced to communicate their cues. When Ma wasn't playing at all, his ear turned to the winds or horns or whoever owned the moment.
Ma did not merely plug in what he always does to whatever Delfs and the MSO might do. He heard the totality of the music. He took in everything and applied it to an interpretation unique to this night with this orchestra in this city. Such behavior from your superstar soloist inspires an orchestra. The MSO played Strauss' vast, mercurial score with the communicative verve of top-drawer chamber musicians on a roll. The result was a miracle of musical storytelling.
In addition to expressive, beautiful sound and confident, even definitive, shaping of Strauss' tricky, gestural melodies, Ma brought an infectious love of music to bear on the evening. Playing an instrument well is difficult, and playing under pressure for pay before a sellout crowd at Uihlein Hall doesn't make it easier - unless you're Yo-Yo Ma. His supple bowing and graceful left hand look effortless. His face beams with such delight that he makes colleagues and patrons alike think: Hey, it's fun to play music!
As an encore, at Delfs' request, Ma played the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. The sublime, brisk, straightforward reading was just the right chaser for the overripe and frequently ironic Romanticism of "Don Quixote."
Ma did not sit in with the orchestra during Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, but his spirit did. The audience quite sensibly went crazy for Delf's thrill-a-second reading. Ma won't be back, but you'll have another chance at the Seventh at the orchestra's subscription concerts Friday through Sunday. Take it.