Tag Archives: Jet Watley

I Like America

For some reason I find myself thinking of something that happened about 27 years ago, it could have been around this time of year, give or take a few months. I was living in my first apartment in Hoboken with my dear friend Jet Watley. Jet was working at Tower Records in the Village at the timer and he always used to get free things all the time. Usually records, promo items, invitations to listening parties and tons of posters and all that. One particular time he got tickets to see Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden.

I had never been to the circus so it was somewhat exciting to me. I asked my friends Mike and Arrot if they wanted to go and they seemed into it. I had four tickets and Arrot explained that her sister April was coming in that night by train from Vermont and arriving at Penn Station, located right below Madison Square Garden. So it seemed to be working out perfectly. Mike, Arrot and I took the Path train into the city and walked one block west to Madison Square Garden where we met up with Arrot’s sister April.

Both Arrot and April were attractive young women and Arrot explained that before we go back to Hoboken we would be going to see the circus directly above us. Then April introduced us to two men she met on the train from Vermont. Klaus and Viktor were their names and they were in New York City for the first time. They had nowhere to go, and they only person they knew was April. I did not have any tickets for Klaus and Viktor so we didn’t know exactly what to do.

Since they were tourists, the three of them, why not do something that tourists do? So we walked to the pavilion at Madison Square Garden and found some kids who were looking to buy tickets for the evening’s performance. They asked how much we wanted for the tickets and I told them they were free, they could have them. They didn’t expect that and their faces showed an unbridled happiness that one doesn’t see too often, either then or now.

We walked over to the Empire State Building and wound up spending time on top of the world, looking at Manhattan at our feet. It was a beautiful sight and a beautiful night. But then again there are only so many things and angles that you can see at the top of the Empire State Building so we decided to head back to Hoboken. We figured out that April, Klaus and Viktor would stay with Mike and Arrot who lived around the block from the Elysian Café.

We dropped off their gear and made our way to the pub where it was crowded with quite a few friendly faces. We all talked to our friends and sat and drank and April being the new girl in town found herself on a barstool, surrounded by a few guys who wanted to know who she was and perhaps know her a little better than that. Arrot was with Mike and wasn’t paying much attention to what her sister was doing and I spent some time and energy wondering if Klaus and Viktor were gay or just European. All of a sudden Arrot came up to me as I sat and talked with Mike and told me she couldn’t believe it. There was April perched on a barstool, surrounded by men and having a few drinks. She had a problem with that since April was only 14 years old.

She wasn’t looking or acting 14 years old, she looked like a twenty something Audrey Hepburn. We decided to go back to Mike and Arrot’s apartment where we all got a little jazzy with something that Klaus or Viktor had with them. We lay on the floor feeling quite nice, Viktor’s head in my lap and still I couldn’t tell if it was the Gay or European conundrum. It turned out he was European. Still I was infatuated.

Infatuated enough to accompany Klaus and Viktor to Newark Airport the next day on a shuttle bus that I rode round trip. I probably looked disheartened when Viktor mentioned seeing his girlfriend when they got back to Germany. I came back to Hoboken, not heartbroken, just had a nice adventure with a pair of nice guys and a very sexy 14 year old girl. I never saw Klaus or Viktor again and I don’t think I ever saw April again, come to think of it.

Just a little something that popped into my head, triggered when I saw a Newark Airport shuttle bus this afternoon.

07 Born in Time [#] 1
Happy birthday Bob Dylan.

What’s In The Middle

Well so far today has been a very good Saturday. But first, last night. I actually went out last night after posting. I put down the knitting, the book and the broom. I admitted that between cradle to tomb isn’t that long a stay and got it together and headed out to McSwells.

Bill was getting ready for bed and I kissed him good night and went out. It was something I hadn’t done in a while. Walked up Washington Street, a few people out, going to bars, leaving restaurants, visiting friends. Saw Roda outside, he was surprised to see me and I was happy to see him. We chatted for a few minutes and then he asked if I wanted to see the band.

It was sold out, but being friends with the manager of the club for the evening got me an easy entry. The Budos Band were playing, and from I gathered, they are a funk band from Staten Island. Maybe about 10 guys on the tiny stage, when I walked in they were cookin’. I got myself a Guinness and Roda hooked me up with a shot of tequila.

Crowded room, with about 150 heads all bobbing in time for the music. They reminded me of one of my favorite bands from back in the day, Konk. Another group of guys playing funk, or attempting to at least. They approximated the funk enough to come up with something new and that’s what the Budos Band seemed to be doing.

Just laying down really funky grooves that lasted a while. I only saw Konk once and that was at a decrepit grammar school on the lower east side. I had an interesting history with Konk. I first heard them on WNYU, the 12 inch single, Konk Party. A killer tune with a “Latin” beat which is what they were trying to achieve.

My Spanish friends laughed when they heard it but I loved it and wound up getting a few copies of it. My friend Jet was living up in Inwood and told me about how he answered his phone one night and the caller asked if he was interested in a Konk Party.

It turned out to be the wrong number but Jet was intrigued. He told me about it and I explained what I knew about Konk. A few years later, I’m living in Hoboken with Jimmy Lee. Nice guy, quite a muso on the guitar.

Jimmy had taken some guitar lessons from Vernon Reid of Living Colour and was looking for a band to play with. As fate would have it, Konk was looking for a guitarist and Jimmy Lee got the gig. He told me that Geordie Gillespie lived in Inwood which made me think that it was Geordie that might have called Jet a few years before.

A while after that Rand, Wolf Knapp and I drove into the city to see Konk. A good show, Jimmy Lee was excellent as was the rest of the band. The Budos band really did a great job and it was fun to be somewhere close to home, within walking distance and seeing a really good band.

I only stayed for the first set but I would check them out again if given the chance. I did tell them during their break down in the basement that they sounded great and they seemed to appreciate the compliment.

I really should get out and see Roda more often, and not just for a free show and the occasional cocktail. He’s a genuinely nice guy.

Today was very nice, waking up next to Bill, a bit chilly but a sunny day. I got back from Manhattan a little while ago and I’m feeling good. Maybe it’s because of spring, or maybe…

Oh yes, one more thing. I got a letter from the New Yorker, telling me my subscription was about to expire in a month or two and to subscribe again it would be $57.00. I checked one of the fly away cards in the magazine and the offer there was $47.00.

So I called them and asked what was up. They had no clear explanation. I then mentioned how my sister was subscribing for a cheaper rate than that. Well she was at one point. I was able to get a 2 year subscription for the price of one. Woo hoo!

Pictures of You

Well it was back to work today. I couldn’t fall asleep last night, wound up staying up until the ‘oh so late’ hour of 12:15. Not really that late but later than I am usually accustomed to.

Wound up sleeping until 6:45, which is way later than I usually get out of bed. Still I was in the office at 8:30. Second one in.

No crazy Asian woman with messages filling the mailbox, though she did call today and asked me why I haven’t married her yet. I told her I am gay- G-A-Y. Still she calls, still she cries and still she screams incoherently.

The day crawled somewhat. Vivek told me he had a rough weekend, he was acquainted with some people that were killed in Café Leopold in Mumbai. I was wondering if he was affected and here it turns out he was. I felt bad for him.

Here we are now in December, 24 days until I see my family in Hillsdale on Christmas Eve with Bill and his mother. And then it’s off to Garfield on Christmas day, once again with Bill and his mother. But that’s a few weeks away.

Today is World AIDS Day, a day of remembrance. I lost a few friends to that disease. But it’s all about celebrating their lives, not mourning.

Alphonso Portillo, who was Patrick Morrissey’s roommate/ex-boyfriend, was a designer. Did some pretty cool things. Made me a shirt type garment that hung down to my thighs with a paisley collar and cuffs and triangular buttons. I wore it once or twice and lost it during a move. That’s a bummer.

John Iserra was a waiter at McSwells and also worked in the Macys offices. He was a real sweetheart when I started working at McSwells. It was sad to see him go out like that.

Ricky Wilson, the excellent guitarist of the B-52’s, Cindy’s older brother passed away, went into the hospital on a Friday, and was dead on Sunday.

I remember I was still living with my family in Lodi when I went to a Gay Activists Alliance of Northern New Jersey (GAANNJ) and heard about GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency.

It was also known as the gay cancer. No one knew much about it in the early days, which added to the fear. I hardly ever had hook ups with anyone in New York City where along with San Francisco, most of the cases started to appear.

I lived with the fear for years, one time freaking out since I had a spot on my back. I could have sworn it was Kaposi’s Sarcoma. It was a pimple, which of course was a relief.

My dear friend Jet Watley also passed away from AIDS almost 20 years ago around the holidays. There’s a picture somewhere of me sitting on my parent’s couch, completely gutted with my mother standing behind me with a look on her face showing her concern for her youngest who never looked as bad as this before.

I wish they were all still alive, still around. They were genuinely good people.

It’s a damned shame that President Fucktard Reagan didn’t do a thing about the disease. So many lives could have been saved if only he would have released the funds for research, but he was of the ‘mindset’ that since it was only junkies and gay people dying from this disease, why say or do anything?

The disease is still here, millions lost partially due to the inaction of our then commander in chief and his cronies and his plans are still implemented to this day under the present fucktard in the White House.

Faith based initiatives, abstinence only sex education, life saving medications that ordinary people cannot afford while bastards like Rumsfeld sit on the boards of BigPharma making money off the suffering of people.

Now there is a chunk of a generation of gay people that are gone. Watching ‘Milk’ the other day I coldn’t help but wonder how Harvey Milk would have dealt with the AIDS epidemic. With that bullhorn he was loud enough to certainly have gotten attention on the matter.

It’s hard to believe that these friends have been dead for almost 20 years, sometimes more than that.

They say ‘get back, we say fight back!’