Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Finding Me

It has been said that Descartes said maybe in Latin,”cogito ergo sum,” or “I think therefore I am.” I wish I could think of some great line that people will prattle off for years to come either knowing or not knowing what the true or original meaning of the quote was about. But I am no great philosopher. I am not even a mediocre conjurer who can pull shit out of a hat, so for now you are going to be stuck with me saying, “Life is a series of learning events.” Over the weekend I learned something that I would not have been open to about 10 years ago. But let’s go back a bit even further.

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.


  1. Darius - You can look at a lot of things both politically and artistically. Political wise, this was a good effort, it showed people being people in search of who they are, and it was out there for all to see.

    Artistically, you had someone, a first time director who seemed to be too much in love with his own work and unable to edit it. The movie I think is 130 mins long and needed to be cut by at least 40 mins so that audience members wouldn't have to start scratching their asses or get up and leave which I saw plenty of times during the show.

    I believe the movie was self financed so I can forgive that shots were done with no lighting and sometimes the sound was poor, but the script needed to be rewritten and some of the actors needed to be told that they were going to be on a big screen so they should tone it down a little bit. But all in all, if you are looking to support the cause, whatever cause that may be for you (my cause is more blacks on film)you could do a lot worse than going to see this movie.

  2. nice pic
    baravo on the post
    tyson brings back memories
    great post folk, even better read

  3. First and foremost your Latin is good because I could not have remembered "Cogito Ergo Sum." Don't sweat it you will come up with that great quote of your own, but in the meantime we will quote "Life is a series of learning events."

    No you didn't take us for a stroll down Yesteryear; hey it is very interesting to learn that you feel the way you do about growing older and dealing with the Nora Desmond syndrome, get over it you are still making history so what folks may not know your name of give you that second look, fucka em! It is all part of the milieu (be more famous than the next when in public).

    I feel you there was a time when I would enter a club or party and the attention was all mine and I could throw shade with the best of them and was well respected and given my place among the people so I know exactly what you are dealing with no worries you are even more fabulous today that yesterday because you know exactly who you are while others are searching the universe for answers and praise.

    The right address, the perfect 10 boyfriend, the ultimate car and wardrobe to die for doesn't make the person, but there are people in the life that go out of their way to have these things and still they are not happy just popular.

    No more about being just the photographer it is time you be photographed. Living vicariously through others not!

    Great observation about the movie "Finding Me." Great picture, very handsome brothas (all of you).

  4. T - Thanks for the compliment for the pic of the boys. It was one of those times where I had to feel it rather than see it since I didn't have my glasses with me. It probably came out better because I couldn't see.

    Chet - LOL, Norma Desmond? I had just brought her up yesterday telling people that I am big, it's the picture that got small.

    BTW, the picture I took was of the 2 stars and a friend of mine who I had not seen in almost 4 years. Since I probably won't see the stars again, I will definitely tell my friend about your compliment, hopefully in less than 4 years.

  5. You have just inspired me, which means i just learned something else which also means yes you are more important than a bunch of pretty boys at least to me at this moment.

  6. 4gotten1 - Thanks for your comment but I have to warn you, you can find inspiration from so much better sources than me. I'm still trying to figure out who I am and why I turned right when I should have turned left.

  7. Nice pic of Halle. Is this a post baby pic? If so, she must be breast feeding.

  8. Nite - Oh that picture. That picture was something I saw and downloaded about 2 months ago, so I'm sure it was post pregnancy. But I just liked it because being a mother made her seem so sexy for some reason. Maybe it was the big titties waiting to be suckled, I don't know.

  9. That didn't sound corny at all.. Life is a series of learning, I've always believed that.

  10. Q - Yeah the line is true, but it's no Shakespeare. It's no "ask not what your country can do for you." There is no zing to it, and that's what's needed for a line to work for years to come.

  11. CURIOUS: I've enjoyed your comments on RDB for a while now and I'm sorry I've come so late to visit your gaff.

    You are free to steal my phrase. I'm never going to be famous so if the phrase goes viral, that's 2nd best. Since I was a little kid people have always asked me why I was so "crazy" or "how I could be so crazy and still achieve so much?" or "how could I be so into women and dope and still be able to concentrate on work or study or whatever?"

    I've always answered that by saying: MY MOTTO IS START LIVING OR CONTINUE DYING.

    The real reasons are A LOT more complicated having to do with the environment I grew up in, my parents putting the burden of being an adult on me at age 12, their expectations that I would be "the franchise," their expectations that I would be a top student AND part of the in-crowd in school and play at least one varsity sport and be a good public speaker and take care of my sister and make real side money -- with the gambling or whatever -- as a little kid...and so on...I'm not complaining, just explaining. In a way, I'm glad about all of that as stressful as it was because I DO have a monster appetite for life. And I have made them proud.

    The guy you're thinking of is FRANK Bruno and funnily enough I had written a boxing piece on my blog today and very nearly wrote about the BRUNO-MULTNOVIC fight in 1998.

    It was another of the UK/US Black/White arbitrages. If you bet Multnovic in England and Frank Bruno in the US you could lock up a free 17c-on-the-dollar.

  12. Kelso - Thanks for visit and the line. It's a really good one that reminds me of Auntie Mame, you know the "you've got to live! Live! live! and the "Life's a banquest but most poor suckers are starving to death". But if I were to use your line or anyone else's then I would feel like uncle Milty who was always known for stealing everyone elses stuff and not producing anything of his own. Which probably wasn't true, but you know what I mean.

    Frank Bruno huh? I don't think I would have come up with that name in million years. After the fight I pretty much remembered how the Brits sang about everything including Iron Mike's sexuality before the fight and when it was over, silence. Probably because they trying to get a flight back as soon as they could.

  13. I learned something from this post...now mind you, I ain't like the lesson...but I get it. It applies. I just have to convince myself that I'm still that sexy muthafucka...just older...and altho I ain't get what I had...I still get alot.
    Yea, I am thinking over here about how that touched me.
    Just sayin'...

  14. Blah Blah Blah - There is nothiing wrong with being older unless you are still trying to look like you're a teenager. Age should bring experience and there is a certain sexiness and joy that experience brings that youth will never know.


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