Monday, June 26, 2006

dude. so proud (of you)

In honor of Pride weekend, though I didn't get to see any parades or strip down on a club dance floor to the intoxicating sounds of 80s Madonna, I got to see the almighty Alison Bechdel at the NYGLTQ center. The room was draped in floor-to-ceiling rainbows for the occasion and it just shuddered with anticipation as all the sensibly-clad audience members waited for the Dyke to Watch Out For herself to read to us.

She really is incredible, in case you don't know. When someone asked whether she bases her comic strip characters on a real life queer community in Vermont, she said, "No. It's just me up there. They're all my imaginary friends."

Her new graphic-novel memoir is a morbid, totally funny examination of her growing up butch in contrast to her distant, demanding dad who ran a funeral home, taught English literature, forced all of his children to become slaves to his fierce opinions about interior design, and -- Alison eventually learns -- had sex with boys. It's intense stuff done with a light touch.

Also in the spirit of the weekend, I met for lunch a boy I last saw ten years ago, when we were both at camp together. He found me via a mass email my new publishing company sent out, a sort of "let's welcome the new employees to the family!" thing, and he emailed to ask if I was the ester he remembered. (Existential question: Am I? Essential answer: Well, yes. Same height, too!)

This boy was one of my first in a short string of -friends, as well as my second kiss. Now he's gay. He looks about 30, which is more alarming, and he's really sweet. We had fun picnicing in Union Square, catching each other up on our narrative arcs from the past decade.

And what, I asked, does he remember of little ester from way back when? He pauses to think for a minute, then replies, "You were pretty cynical for a twelve year old."


Nate said...

Any thoughts on this crazy business?

Would love to hear 'em.

...If you're taking requests.

Nate said...

And...Oh the irony to be plumbed from the title of Lethem's last book! Eh? Eh?

Nate said...

Ok. I double checked that. Fortress of Solitude is nowhere near his most recent book. But still. Funny.
Or maybe not.