The only time that I have been to Las Vegas was in the mid-90’s when Mike Tyson was fighting Britain’s Bruno, forgot his 1st name. But it was one of those fights where the lead in to the ring by the opponents was actually longer than the fight itself. In fact the only thing I do remember about the fight was Tyson at the sound of the bell for the opening round, rushing towards the Brit, flailing away like some kind of mechanical harvester of death and knocking him down and out in less than 30 seconds.
The fight was held in what seemed to be the basement MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Vegas and there was this long gangway or maybe I should say runway that the ticket holders took to get into the arena. On either side of this were people looking on waving, cheering and screaming at the celebrities as they walked forward. I turned to the filmmaker and asked why were people screaming at us and he said that it wasn’t us but Halle Berry and her ball player husband about a yard in front of us. Who? He went on to say that she was in a Spike Lee movie and Different Strokes, or Different Life or Different something, I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. All I did care about was the trickle down fame and celebrity from the 2 in front of us would trickle back our way. So as people gaped, oohed and aahhed, I didn’t wave back but instead I gave them the jaw. You know, the up thrusted chin that gives you just a slight air of authority, power and may I say a little bit of glamour. I was famous by proxy, and I was loving it.
So skip to yesterday, before going to the Arts Bank for the movie Finding Me, I went to a reception by the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and the filmmakers at Ms Tootsies. It started at 5pm, so I showed up at 6 with my little entourage because it’s always best to have people see you come rather than you see them. I walked into middle of the floor of the restaurant and looked around and I realized that I knew absolutely no one there. But more than that, more than that, this was a Philly crowd and no one there knew me and no one cared. I was surrounded by young and good looking men and women and I wasn't part of it. My time was over and I was fine with it.
It’s not that I was ever famous or well known or even really given a damn about, but I was always the youngest in the room with the most potential. When that failed, I was always someone’s lover or someone’s friend. Knowing me meant that you were in the in-crowd, you had that chance of using me as a stepping stone to get to what you really wanted, your holy grail. Or at least that was the impression given since I probably gave and did nothing for anyone, but like the man said in the song, ”I never promised you a rose garden.”
This weekend, what I what I really realized was that all of that living vicariously through others was never important to begin with. That feeling of self produced importance was fleeting and really irrelevant when it came to just enjoying yourself. And if it was, well then it was time for people younger than I was with clearer skin and less receding hairlines to grab a little spot light for themselves. I had become the photographer and was no longer the photographed. And it was all good.
So to sum it all up, life is a just a series of learning....Alright, as a line it's corny, but one day I will find and build that quote that will define the age and explore new meanings of life and then we'll see who is more important, me or the pretty boys. You'll see, they'll be finding me.