Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gay whales at Sea World

This weekend I finally crossed San Diego's most visited tourist attraction off my list of fun things to do here.
And while the killer whale show certainly lived up to its hype even without the original Shamu as the star, it was a different group of whales that proved to be the most fascinating.

At the end of the day, we made our way through the Wild Arctic attraction and found a pair of Beluga whales completely immersed in a courtship dance. As the big white whales swam in unison belly to belly their tails nudged each other, prompting an instant erection to sprout from one of the animals. But the mating attempt failed with each pass.

This went on for 10 or 15 minutes, and some of us in the crowd of voyeurs started wondering why it seemed so difficult for the pair to complete the deed. That's when we noticed that the other whale was also sporting an erection, too. Silence broke out as we all processed what we were witnessing - homosexuality alive and well in the wild animal kingdom. Tragically, the lighting was too dim for photos.

This could be one more bit of proof that homosexuality is, indeed, a far more common occurrence in nature than some might be willing to acknowledge. Or it could just be the whales' way of celebrating gay pride week with the rest of us.
The amusement park has several areas where you can interact with marine animals, and I couldn't resist giving a starfish a belly rub.

We saw jellyfish.
And cuttlefish.
And piranhas.
Rex had his first official "senior moment" at the ticket booth when he discovered that he qualified for a discount because he's over 50. Could an AARP membership and weekly bingo nights be far behind?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I must be a lesbian

I saw the Indigo Girls in concert for the SEVENTH TIME last Thursday. They delivered a stripped-down acoustic show at Humphrey's, an amazing outdoor concert space along San Diego's waterfront. Kayakers actually pull up alongside the venue and watch shows from the water.

The Girls played a couple of songs from their upcoming album (set for release in February) but mostly stuck to their usual mix of tracks spanning their 20-plus-year career. I finally got to see them perform one of my all-time favorites,"Wood Song," but I'm still waiting for their rarely-heard acappella version of "Finlandia."

Here's a clip of the duo singing "Finlandia" with Girlyman last year during a show in Oyster Bay, NY.

Vonda Shepard, who lives in the northern suburbs of San Diego, made a surprise appearance at the Humphrey's show to promote the upcoming release of her own new album. She performed a couple of songs including "Baby, Don't You Break My Heart Slow," a number that she recorded with Emily Saliers (the blond part of Indigo Girls).

Here's a video of that song featuring a very dolled-up Emily.

I've been going to Indigo Girls concerts since the early 1990s. I saw them for the second time at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, where they made the video for "Joking." Several hundred of us stayed for about an hour after the show ended while they filmed stage and crowd shots. Much of the rest of the video was shot in my old Bywater neighborhood.

Those greedy bastards at Sony won't let anyone embed the clip of the video on Web sites, but you can watch "Joking" by going to this YouTubel link.

The Girls happily announced at the show on Thursday that they recently became independent artists after Sony has dropped them from their longtime contract with the label. Good news indeed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gay Marriage . . . the video

Joy and dignity at last

Ex-Marine Bob Lehman (left) and Tom Felkner became the first same-sex couple to wed outside the San Diego County Administration Center after the county clerk's office started handing out marriage licenses at 7 a.m.

Rex and I got up early to witness history. (No, we weren't one of the couples who got married today. But thanks for asking. You can say we're engaged but haven't set a date.)
This might have been my favorite couple. They were accompanied by their triplets and a fourth child. Guess that kills the gays-can't-have-kids theory.

These girls were very excited to show off their daddies' wedding rings to the crowd.

When I was in college, my friends and I dreamed of seeing East and West Germany re-united before we died. Even in 1987 in the midst of Glasnost, we couldn't imagine that the fall of the Iron Curtain was just around the corner - not decades away.

Today my version of the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, and once again I didn't have to wait until I was old and gray to see it happen. Makes me wonder what's next - astronauts landing on Mars?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Freedom rings in California


Not really a hard choice, is it?

(Rex and I are waking at the crack of dawn Tuesday to be at the San Diego County Administration Building to witness the first gay marriages here. So check back for plenty of photos and comments.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

It's the economy, stupid

There's still a week to go before same-sex marriage becomes legal here in California and already we've put more than eight homo weddings on our calendar for the upcoming months.

Nobody knows exactly how many couples will rush to tie the knot over the next five months before voters here have the chance to strip California's gay citizens of their newly won right to get married by amending the state constitution. The numbers could be huge, considering couples from some other states such as New York will be able to get married here and be recognized back home.

A study released today by the by the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law predicted that more than 50,000 California gay couples and another 68,000 out-of-state couples will wed over the next three years, if the amendment proposition is defeated in November.

That translates into a lot of cakes, rings, catered parties and registrations at Crate & Barrel. This article says the impact would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the state's economy.

Gorilla ball is officially back!

LSU beat UC Irvine 21-7 in the final game of the super regional in Baton Rouge to secure a spot among the eight-team College World Series field.

The massacre - as The Times-Picayune called the game on its Web site - took place in front of 8,173 fans, the largest crowd ever in Alex Box Stadium. It was a fitting farewell to the 70-year-old venue, which is being replaced with a new stadium next year.

The Tigers are headed to Omaha for the first time since 2004 and will be looking to win their sixth national championship.

Meanwhile, the men's and women's track and field teams are both ranked No. 1 heading into the national championship tournament, which starts Wednesday.

Combined with the football team's national championship and a trip to the Final Four by the women's basketball team, 2008 is shaping up to be a remarkable year for LSU sports - perhaps the best ever.

Haven't seen the man skirt yet

We've spent the weekend here in San Diego entertaining Paul, my famous opera director Scottish ex-boyfriend from Norway (formerly London). You might remember him from my posts during our trip to London just over a year ago.

Here he is soaking up the late afternoon sun on the deck of The Prado in Balboa Park.

Paul seems to like San Diego. He had this to say to a friend on the phone earlier today: "The Rape of Lucretia was spectacular!"

Makes you wonder what he's been doing with his time while exploring the city on his own.

Actually, he came here straight from the fabulously received opening of his production of Benjamin Britten's opera in Central City, Colo.

He's off to Santa Fe later this week where he'll work on "Billy Budd," another Britten opera.

He also was recently named artistic director of Norwegian National Opera, which is housed in this brand new theater in Oslo.
Here, Rex points to the spot where aliens drilled a hole during Paul's most recent UFO abduction drama.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Beach view gets covered up

Regulars at the nude beach at San Onofre State Park aren't too happy about a decision by park rangers to start enforcing public nudity laws.

This pristine stretch of coast located about 50 minutes north of San Diego has long been a favorite of those who disdain tan lines. Click on the map to view it full size.

The main problem seems to be with beachgoers who wander into the shrubbery and cuts in the cliffs for extra-curricular activity, according to this article in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune.

Rex took me to the beach for the first time in late April. Go here to see my blog about the trip. There were plenty of people enjoying full-sun exposure, and the landscape was the most spectacular I've seen so far along the Southern California coast.

One beach regular offered this photo as evidence that, rather than being sex-starved predators, most nudists at San Onofre are law-abiding citizens who bend over backwards to keep the beach safe and pleasant for everyone -- even when that means helping the park rangers who now will be handing out tickets for overexposure.

My favorite quote in the U-T article came from a guy who says he has been going to the beach since the late 1970s.
“It's amazing how friendly people are when they're naked.”
-- Andy Pollock

Words to live by, indeed.