Sunday November 18, 2001

I woke up that morning feeling pretty horny. Granted I wake up pretty much ever morning feeling horny, but this time the jag was right there with me. He must have been feeling pretty horny too, because we wound up getting it on. Knowing that I was going to be getting together with Tigger that night I wanted to hold off on coming. But I was just to damned turned on that I couldn't help myself. I wound up blowing a major load.

After a while I got up and took a shower. The jag had a full day ahead of him, so I took off right away. On the way out he gave me a article on "Extreme Elvis" to read on the subway. When I stepped out of the jag's building I realized that it was a beautiful sunny day. When I noticed that the sun was shining directly on the jag's building I decided to stop and snap off a pic.

I went down into the subway and waited on the platform. Then I remembered the article that the jag had given me. It was quite bizarre. It was about this San Francisco performance artist who did an Elvis impression. But as part of the show he did things like piss on his audience (literally), and move his bowels right on stage. The first time he did stuff like that he got thrown out of the club. But when word caught on, promoters actually started asking him to perform.

Soon a train came along and I hopped on. I transferred to the cross-town train that brought me up around 14th street. I decided to walk down Avenue A to check out that skate shop I'd seen Thursday night. As I walked inside I made a conscious effort not to behave like an aging man desperately trying to cling to his own rapidly vanishing youth by feigning interest in a youth culture activity he knew virtually nothing about. Instead I acted as if I totally belonged there. The two kids working there took little notice of me.

I decided I wanted to buy something, if only as a souvenir. Most of their wares were skate board parts and equipment. That wasn't going to do me any good. They also had some clothing. I checked that out, but there wasn't anything that wouldn't make me look like an aging man desperately trying to cling to his rapidly vanishing youth by masquerading in the apparel of a youth culture activity he knew virtually nothing about. In the display case in the back of the store was a variety of video tapes. Just as I was checking them out one of the two kids said to the other, "Did you see in that CKY2K video when they were throwing dog shit at each other? Those mother fuckers are crazy!"

I remembered seeing CKY2K on a couple web pages when I did a search on Jackass regular Bam Margera. I figured that the tape was the kind of Jackass mayhem that was too extreme to show even on MTV. "Do you have any CKY2K videos for sale?" I asked the guy.

"Uhhhh..." he said. He fumbled around and found one. "This is the last one I have," he said as he held out a tape. "I can let it go for 15 bucks because it's already been opened."

"Sounds great to me," I said. I put it on my credit card and walked away with the souvenir I was looking for.

Once I got down to Tompkins Square Park I moved over to Avenue B. I popped in a local deli and got myself a fat ham sandwich and a pint of milk. Then it was back up to Howard's apartment. He was gone, so I made myself at home. I was starving, so I wolfed down the sandwich and chugged the milk. Afterwards I called Tigger. It wound up being a voice mail number. I left a message saying that if he wanted to meet me for dinner before my screening to be at the theater at 6PM.

I remembered Howard saying that he had taped an episode of the new Star Trek series "Enterprise." I was very interested in this show. I had the idea years ago of making a Star Trek prequel. I thought that it would bring a lot of the old excitement back to the show. Unfortunately "Enterprise" didn't air in Ithaca. I couldn't even get it on my DirectTV mini dish. It was almost as if UPN was making a deliberate attempt to limit its audience as much as possible. If I could find Howard's tape it would be a very rare opportunity to watch one of the episodes.

I fumbled with his VCR but couldn't figure out how to get it to play on his TV. Finally I called his beeper and left my cell phone number. A couple minutes later his phone rang. I picked it up. It was Howard. He said he assumed it was me because whoever beeped him didn't leave a number. I've never been good with beepers. I caught him just before a screening began. I asked about the VCR, and he explained that I had to flip the A/B switch dangling on the side of the TV. I thanked him and let him get back to his screening.

I watched the episode intently. I was rather disappointed. I felt that it failed to take advantage of the whole prequel angle. Except for a couple of details that were essentially irrelevant to the story, it might as well have been a TNG or Voyager episode. After the show was over I decided to take a nap.

I awoke from what wound up being a rather deep sleep. When I finally got my ass out of bed and checked the time I realized that I had just enough time to make the 4:00 program. I got dressed in my "filmmaker outfit" which consisted of my skin-tight black Speedo shirt and black Levis. I threw on my motorcycle jacket and ran out the door. After I'd gone two blocks I realized that I neglected to bring my festival badge with me. I needed that to get free entrance to the screenings. I ran back to the apartment to fetch it.

Once back on the street I was hoofing it at high speed to the theater. While I was walking my cell phone rang. It was Tigger. He said that dinner sounded great and that he'd see me at 6:00.

I actually got to the theater a few minutes before the 4:00 show started. Howard was hanging out in the lobby. We went in and sat down. The program was called "Stealing To Subvert" and was a response to a suit by the Disney Corporation against an experimental filmmaker who used some Disney footage in his piece without permission.

The first video was what turned out to be my favorite of the entire festival. It was a 5 minute short called "Porno-Tubbies." It was footage from actual Tele-Tubbies episodes. Of course, Tinky Winky was the gay one. Through subtitles, the other Tele-Tubbies were saying things like "Faggots burn in Hell!" and other epithetical proclamations. It was quite hilarious. In the end Tinky Winky cast a spell making everything pink, and all the other Tele-Tubbies realized they were wrong and that homosexuality was good.

There was one other video that caught my eye. About half the footage was from a Japanese sitcom called "We're Always Making Trouble." It was apparently set in a high school. It was very risqué by American standards. A group of adolescent boys kept getting erections in embarrassing situations and discussed topics like how far their ejaculate would spurt. What caught my eye, however, was that these clips were interspersed with footage from an episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse. It was an odd coincidence that this was in the same festival as my animated spoof of the same show. But what was even more coincidental was that the episode from which the filmmaker took clips was the exact same episode from which I had sampled some audio. Combined with the coincidence of the disembodied rubber torso appearing in another video at the Gong Show, it was almost spooky.

After the screening was over I went down to the lobby to look for Tigger. There was no sign of him by the time the next screening started, so Howard left me to watch it. I picked up a magazine and began to flip through it. In a couple minutes my cell phone rang. It was Tigger calling to say he was on his way. I kept reading as I waited. My only concern was that we'd be able to get to a restaurant, have dinner, and get back in time for my program to begin.

A few minutes later Tigger showed up. He was as hot as I had remembered him. I was very curious as to how he'd be dressed. He had on a pair of bright orange jeans, a black t-shirt, and a glittery gold jacket. He asked where I wanted to eat. I told him that it was entirely up to him, citing my concerns that we be back on time. He suggested a small restaurant just across 2nd Avenue. It was a quaint little place with dark stained wood and a floor of small hexagonal tiles.

The place was almost empty. At first we weren't sure if they were even serving yet. We were seated and immediately looked at the menus. There wasn't a lot there that interested me. I finally decided to take a chance with the fried pasta. The waitress came by and took our orders.

With the menus no longer there to hide behind, we were left with no choice but to converse with one another. It was an odd moment. The only other time we'd been together we were having hot sex in front of a crowd. Now here we were. I fumbled for conversation. I was the star of the evening, with my screening and moment in the spot light that very evening. Tigger was my escort -- the exotic man I wanted on my arm to enhance my image as the intriguing filmmaker. Yet I felt like a shy school boy, anxious to please my date and fearful of disappointing him or embarrassing myself. I don't know what was going through Tigger's mind, but it seemed as if he felt similarly. Here we were, each of us was a handsome, self-confident individual, mutually assured in our respective artisthoods, acting like two teenagers on their first date.

Finally I asked Tigger about his work. Not only was it a good way to get the conversation started, I was indeed quite curious. He said that he was a burlesque and strip dancer. There was no mention of hustling. I almost think I was disappointed.

I asked him to go into more detail about the burlesque performances. Strip dancing I understood, but the whole concept of burlesque in 2001 was quite mysterious to me. He described some of the performances. By coincidence he told me of the same fire fighter performance that the jag had seen. He mentioned that it culminated in the spreading of ashes as both endemic of the fire fighter trade, and an homage to those who had died in the line of duty. That explained the whole Anthrax thing. I encouraged him to continue telling stores. He told me about the time he went to New Orleans to be part of an episode of Michael Moore's "The Awful Truth." It was an amazing and highly entertaining story.

Our meal arrived and we began eating. The enigmatic "fried pasta" dish proved to be quite tasty. Tigger asked me about my video productions. I told him my history with MIX. When I mentioned G*I*J*O he said that he believed he'd heard of it before. Someone who'd seen it must have described it to him. That was one of those rare moments when I felt almost famous, in that someone I'd never met was actually familiar with my work.

The dinner conversation continued to be stimulating and entertaining. I found Tigger to be as expressive and well-spoken as I expected him to be. We were done in plenty of time for the screening. Tigger attempted to chip in, but since I had invited him I had none of it. A quick trot across 2nd Avenue and we were back at the theater.

There was a fair crowd in the lobby. Howard and the jag were there. I got the complimentary tickets for myself and my guest. I got back to Tigger to find him chatting with Raj. It turned out that Tigger knew a lot of the MIX people. In fact he probably knew a lot more of them than I did. He asked Raj if he knew me. Raj and I smiled again, and said that yes, we knew each other.

I was a bit anxious for the show to start. I'm always nervous before my screenings. I'm not sure why, considering that everything is out of my hands, and there isn't really much that can go wrong anyway. Over the years I'd come to learn that this is generally universal among filmmakers. I was actually less nervous than usual this time. Either it was because I had a high level of confidence in my piece or that it was all just becoming a bit more routine for me.

Ioannis came over to say hello. Making small talk I asked him if the filmmakers were going to be asked to speak before the screening. He said that he didn't think so, but that if I wanted to speak I should talk to Murry Hill who was hosting the event.

Soon it was time to go in and sit down. Normally I would have wanted to sit on the aisle in case they wanted me to get up and speak, but Ioannis didn't give me any reason to expect this to happen. We sat in about the middle of a row of seats. The theater wasn't quite as crowded as I expected, considering I had been told that the closing night gala is usually the hottest screening of the whole festival. But people continued to file in as we sat and waited for the show to start. By the time Murry Hill was dallying around the front of the theater a pretty good sized crowd had built up.

Murry got up and announced that (s)he would be embarrassing some of the filmmakers before the show began. So much for getting an aisle seat. (S)he called up the first filmmaker, C.B. Cooke. Mine was the second film in the program, so I assumed that I would be the second filmmaker called up. Rather than pay attention to how Murry was abusing C.B. Cooke I got my camera ready to hand off to Howard to capture my interview. I hit record, made sure it was actually recording, and dumped it off on Howard. A minute later Murry called me up.

The way that my skin-tight Speedo shirt accentuated my physique must have caught Murry's attention. She was like, "Whoah," as I was stepping up onto the stage. Her first question was, "Where do you work out?"

That caught me a little by surprise. I didn't know what to say. I wanted to be light-hearted and entertaining, but I knew that if I hesitated that (s)he would pounce on me. I figured that the truth was actually rather interesting. "I work out at Cornell University," I said, flexing one arm, "with all the collegiate athletes."

"What a fuckin' buzz-kill," Murry slammed back. "We're all very impressed that you're in academia." I thought (s)he slammed me pretty hard, but I played along and smiled. (S)he then dropped her attack and went on to my work. "Your film has a very provocative title. Would you care to tell us anything about it?"

This part I had rehearsed in my head while (s)he was still interviewing C.B. Cooke. "I just wanted to do something that would give Pee Wee's Playhouse the level of perversion and depravity it deservers." That got a round of applause from the audience.

Murry then moved on to her next victim. I was mostly concentrating on how to stand in front of an audience and not look like a dork. Putting your hands in your pockets, or crossing your arms over your chest are both bad form. As awkward as it felt to stand there with my arms dangling like an ape, I made sure I did just that.

I also started thinking about how I needed to be better at thinking on my feet in these situations. Spontaneity is a skill that must be developed and honed like athletic ability. The best way to deal with people like Murry is to go on the offensive early and knock them back on their heels. The best defense is a good offense. I started thinking of all the ways I could have responded. When (s)he opened by asking me about my physical fitness, I could easily have ripped on him/her for his/her portly stature. Alas, it was too late.

After Murry berated and belittled the rest of the filmmakers in the name of entertainment, (s)he let us go back to our seats. Tigger gave me a big kiss as soon as I sat back down. Soon they were ready to start the program.

C.B. Cooke's piece was called "Billy Gilman: Country Singer." It was heavily experimentalized footage of some kid being interviewed in a mainstream news program. I knew nothing of Billy Gilman at the time, but later came to learn that he was a pip-squeak country singer with a "skyrocketing musical career" after "exploding on the country scene." The interview as-is was a perfect self-parody. The audience was laughing and hooting at the "serious" interview. The kid was taking himself and his "art" way too seriously, and the interviewer was either similarly deluded or was happy to give him all the rope he wanted. At two minutes it was short and sweet and a very good video.

My piece was very well received. The video intentionally started off slowly, but still it was getting a good amount of giggles and chuckles. When it got into full swing the laughs flowed generously. One thing caught me by surprise, though. Whenever anyone in the video said the secret word, the live audience screamed along. It never dawned on me that that might happen. There were a couple of scenes where the whole playhouse was pictured engaged in funny behavior. I intentionally let those scenes play long because I knew there would be a lot of laughter. There was, but the nature of it was not what I expected. Rather than one long sustained laugh, it rather ebbed and flowed as people noticed new things in the scene to laugh at. There was an inside joke towards the end. After the first season of Pee Wee's Playhouse, King Cartoon was played by the same actor who played Dr. Richard Daystrom in the original Star Trek series episode, "The Ultimate Computer." I tossed in a line from that episode, but I think it went over everyone's head. When the credits rolled I got a big round of applause and Tigger gave me another big kiss.

The rest of the pieces ranged from not bad to pretty good. The "blockbuster" of the program was "Behind The True Biography: Björk." Björk was played by a height-challenged woman who either wore a corset or had a body abnormality that caused her chest to stick out about a mile. She was the ultimate choice for a Björk parody, but the director didn't take advantage of it. All the first shots were of her alone, and it was difficult to detect her distinctly short stature. Even when she interacted with others, shots of her were generally of her alone, again failing to take visual advantage of her situation. Beyond that the piece was pretty well-written and witty. The bulk of the story was "behind the scenes" footage of the making of "Dancer In The Dark." It was very funny, but it went on a long time, and a lot of the same gags got repeated many times. At 25 minutes, I felt it could have been trimmed down some.

The final piece was by MIX insiders Lynne Chan and Yvette Choy. It was a faux interview of Anne Heche by Bob Walters (played by Murry Hill). It had a public access look and feel, but it was pretty funny. At 10 minutes it wrapped up before it began to drag.

After the screening we all pretty much headed to the after party at The Slipper Room. As soon as we left the building I got a picture of my "posse."

Howard, the jag, Tigger, and Toaph

It was a short walk to The Slipper Room. Tigger was even more at home here because he performed there regularly. It was pretty quiet when we first walked in, but it filled up quickly. There were guys handing out Lucky Strike cigarettes again. One of them was the same guy I met on Thursday night. I still had 19 cigarettes left in my pack. The only one missing was the one I gave to the sketchy black guy on the subway coming back from Dumba. They were also giving away more of the disposable cameras.

As more people showed up, Tigger started promoting his upcoming Thanksgiving burlesque show.

Later on I was chatting with someone, and Raj wandered over. The person asked Raj if he knew me.

A bit flabbergasted by the number of people who continually introduced us throughout the weekend, he blurted out, "YES! I know him! I DISCOVERED him!" I think Raj had had a few cocktails. He ranted on a bit about G*I*J*O, and how he was astute enough to see it for what it was and put it in his program, and all the work I'd done since. Feeling a modicum of simpatico, and a desire to finish off my roll of film, I gave my disposable camera to the person to take a picture of us. Raj gave me a big kiss on the forehead.

I saw in the front of the space that they had a video camera and some really bright lights pointed at some girl in a booth wearing a prom dress. I wondered what it was all about. I found out pretty soon, because someone came up to me, said they were interviewing filmmakers, and would I be willing to be interviewed? I said I'd be delighted.

I slid into the booth and answered the young woman's questions. It was actually way cool. I think it was the first time I'd ever been interviewed. I concentrated more on being vivacious than witty, but I was pretty relaxed so it all went well. The only time I froze was when she asked me to do some of the playhouse character voices. Suddenly I couldn't think of a single thing that one of the characters might say. Finally I just quoted a line that Randy says in the video.

After the interview was done I wandered around on an emotional high. I bumped into Tigger and we chatted a bit more. He as drinking Manhattans, and I think he was getting a bit tipsy. We reminisced about the Lusty Loft party. In a few minutes we were making out right in the middle of this party. A few people ran over with their disposable cameras and took pictures.

A little later I saw the cute young man that I'd been noticing all weekend at the festival registration table. Having missed my opportunity at the Gong Show after party to talk to him in a social setting, I was determined to introduce myself this time. He was again engaged in conversation, but the moment I saw a lapse I jumped in.

I tapped him on the shoulder. "Hi," I said. "I've been seeing you all weekend but haven't had the chance to say hello." He turned and shook my hand. "I'm Christopher Westfall."

"Oh, I know who you are!" he said. It blew me away. "G*I*J*O was quite a video. Was that your cock?"

That question floored me. I nearly fell on my ass. I mean, not only was it unbelievably forward, but who else's cock could it have been??? But finally I realized he'd asked me if that was my "cat."

"Yes, that was my cat," I said. "That was the first time she appeared in one of my videos. She later had a starring role in 'Eating Pussy.' So what's your name?" I asked.

"Lucas," he said.

Again, I was a bit floored. Lucas Westfall was my mythological fraternity alter-ego. I'd never met anyone who actually was named Lucas before. I had someone take a picture of us.

I was having a pretty good time, but it was starting to get late. I really wanted to go back to Howard's and crash. I knew Howard had to get up and work the next morning too. I found Tigger and told him I was heading out soon. As I expected, Tigger was hoping to get it on with me that night. If I hadn't blown my wad that morning I probably would have gone home with him. But as it was I was sexually and physically drained, and all my stuff was in Howard's apartment anyway.

Still, Tigger wasn't going to let me get away that easily. He took me downstairs to the bathroom. We went in together and locked the door behind us. We then proceeded to drop our pants and start sucking each other's dicks. I wasn't too drained to get it up, but then I'm never too drained to get it up. We went back and forth on each other for a while in the cramped little bathroom as people occasionally knocked on the door. Fortunately we were in one of two bathrooms, and each was designated as unisex, so anyone in need could still use the other one.

This went on for a little while. I was enjoying it, largely in that it was so dirty. My "romantic" image of NYC bars was dirty holes with dirty things going on in their dirty bathrooms. And here I was living out that fantasy.

The problem was that, as much as I was enjoying this, I knew there was no way I could come. Tigger could have sucked on me until my skin was raw and I still wouldn't have come. Finally I told him that I'd already come once that day, and it didn't look like I was going to be able to muster up another money shot. He wasn't too happy about it, but he accepted it. After a little more sucking for good measure he jerked himself off and came in the sink. We put our dicks away and walked out. I was a tad self-conscious coming out of a bathroom with another guy, but I was pretty sure that this was not an uncommon occurrence.

Howard and I said our final goodbye's and took off. I was fairly hungry and thought a slice of pizza would really hit the spot. What was directly across the street but a pizza joint! I went in and got a slice and started inhaling it.

On the walk home we passed a club that had some sort of situation going on. There was a big crowd of people out front, all of whom were black, and a couple of uniformed police officers were present. There didn't seem to really be anything going on, but there was a lot of tension. The only way this really impacted Howard and me was that it was difficult to worm our way through the crowd. I was concerned that a couple of white boys like us pushing their way through might cause the tensions to bubble over. But in a minute we'd gotten past.

Soon we were back up in Howard's apartment. As I was undressing he started grinding up some coffee.

"Don't tell me you're going to have a cup of coffee now???"

"No," he said. "I just don't want to wake you up in the morning when I'm getting ready for work."

"Oh. That reminds me," I said. "How am I going to get your keys back to you after you leave for work."

Howard looked a little perplexed. "Well... I thought you were going to leave when I did."

"Oh," I said. Now it was my turn to be perplexed. "That's fine, but then why do you care if you wake me up or not?"

It turned out that Howard took a really long time to get ready in the mornings (coffee being the first priority once his feet hit the ground), and he wanted to let me sleep as long as possible.

Soon the lights were out and I was dead asleep.

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