March 30th, 2009

DON'T POSTPONE JOY

These are a few of my favorite things




Friday: Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D. It doesn't live up to the studio's hype but is still a lot of fun. "Real 3-D" is great, super sharp, super bright, and super smooth and natural looking -- no headaches. Female heroine -- along with Coraline and Bolt, has the zeitgeist finally changed? Surprisingly adult, even more so than The Incredibles, and won't engage younger kids (even though parents take them to just about anything that's animated) -- the first twenty minutes of the movie is talky narrative before they get to the silly-looking monsters. And it doesn't have any of the sentimentality or heart that Pixar's films are known for. It'll do just fine, but won't be a huge hit.

Almost as good were the coming attractions. A new animated film I hadn't even heard of slated for fall with a great premise and an even better title, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The coming attraction for Where the Wild Things Are, will be interesting to see what Spike Jonez and Dave Eggers have done with it, and the wild things design by the Jim Henson Creature Shop looks great. And a new expanded/extended trailer for Pixar's Up -- you now realize that everything so far has just been a teaser, you won't believe what happens, and it just keeps getting better and better.

Saturday: Finished my taxes.

Sunday: Poker & cigars with six fellow LJers and a Jeopardy champion. boymeat was The Big Wiener. I lost $2.40 but not bad for an afternoon's entertainment and enjoyment. Afterwards we strolled in the fog down to Whiskey Sunday's and gorged on roast pig, BBQ'd ribs, and beef brisket, and really good beer and baked beans and collard greens and dirty rice and cheese biscuits and whipped sweet potatoes and potato salad and applesauce and banana pudding and chocolate cake with milk.

taco love

Smokeout Roll Call




Getting my boots shined poolside at last year’s Smokeout


Heading to Las Vegas this weekend for cigars, sun, and fun with several hundred men. Smokeout is a casual but hugely popular gathering of gay men who enjoy cigars (and pipes) held each spring in Las Vegas. This is its tenth year! And I’ve been every year. It used to be held earlier in March and I used to use it as a reward and tonic for surviving another New York winter. I’d go and thaw out in the sun by the pool.

The event started by a suggestion to the “Cigar Studs” mailing list hosted by Roger/qnetter’s Queernet. Someone suggested a meet-up, and Las Vegas was chosen as an attractive destination, because back then you could get cheap fares from just about anywhere in the country. We had around 45 guys the first year, but thanks to the sponsorship of the Desert Brotherhood Motorcycle Club and a couple hard-working guys, it’s grown and grown every year since.

Guys come from as far away as Europe and Australia for this great weekend of fellowship and fun. One of the reasons for the event’s popularity – besides its location – is that it’s so unstructured, and there’s no big, mandatory all-inclusive-package registration fee. You want to attend? Get a room, either at the host hotel or elsewhere, or if you’re local, just show up. Everything else is à la carte. You want to attend one of the dinners or breakfast buffets? You just pay for that. You want a souvenir T-shirt? You pay for that separately. You want to go to the bathhouse play party, just pay for that, etc.

Hundreds of men attend – rumored to be well over 500. But because of the unstructured nature of the event, no one knows for sure. There are popular bar nights and beer/soda busts each night and Sunday afternoon, but you never see everybody together at one time. I still run into friends as late as Sunday afternoon that I haven’t seen the rest of the weekend! There’s always a good number of men hanging out by the pool, but many are off exploring Las Vegas’ many attractions, or in each other’s rooms < googie gomez > doing hee hee hee, boo boo boo, hah hah hah < /googie gomez >.

Speaking of hee hee hee, I know that I’ll see Patrick/mudcub and George/sfogreekbear and Bob/grymmbear and George/wet_in_sf and Drew/bootedintexas and sfbootdog and txbearwood and urso and Frank/ednixon there, as well as my non-LJ friends Dave from Dallas and Jeremy from London. And I think Steve/zbear20 will be there, too. bikerbearmark and John/subwoofr really should be there, and now that they’ve relocated to San Diego, maybe we’ll see them next year once they get settled in at their new home. One of the organized activities for the weekend is a bike run and this year they have 185 men registered for it. They ride out to and through various scenic destinations, including Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, both eye-popping. And sadly, Scott/sirpupnyc, naylandblake, Drew/bentwright and Steve/egbubba won’t be out there, but maybe next year.

And thanks to the advance planning and thoughtfulness of George/sfogreekbear, I’m going to get to see Bette Midler perform at the incredible Colosseum theater at Caesar’s Palace! Woo hoo!

Anybody else from my friends list who’ll be attending Smokeout?