Sunday, July 29, 2007

Back from La La Land. . . But Not for Long!

I'm back! At least for the next four weeks. Then I'll be away again on a camping/Burning Man trip. I haven't been to the Burn since 2002, so it should be interesting to re-visit this great art/party/society experiment in the Nevada desert. Of course being "old school," (I first went in '96 and made it out there about every 3 years since), I have had to shed my preconceived notions and expectations of how it should be.

It seems like whenever we have an amazing experience somewhere, we want to hold onto it, possess it and claim it as our own. We don't want it to change, and any change that does happen always seems for the worse. I have seen this happen over many cycles now with Burning Man. Different urban tribes fighting over the right to call Black Rock City their home. The Mission hipsters versus the glittery club kids versus the Mad Max goths versus the new age circus freaks versus. . . You see what I mean.

I guess I'm feeling more philosophical about it after having recently completed a 2-week-long silent meditation retreat. The idea of impermanence was the main focus of the teachings given. Alas, there would be no soft landing back in San Francisco where I could slowly integrate the realizations and clarity I experienced after so many days of sitting for hours on end observing myself. Instead I had to make a last-minute trip down south to take care of some family matters. Less than 24 hours after leaving the peaceful grounds of the meditation center, I found myself checking into a hotel in Hollywood. Ah well, I am sure that was somehow part of the lesson I needed to learn. The universe has a great sense of humor in its delivery of blessings - just when you think that you've figured it all out and can stay in that blissful zone, you're tripped up and humbled all over again.

What is it about my hometown that gets to me? It's the sheer and relentless negativity of the place. It's so rare to catch people in unguarded moments smiling down there. It's like a black cloud that hovers over everything. I realized when I was down there that it is possible to be a beacon of light amid this darkness, but I haven't gotten there yet. I'm a bit like a hothouse flower who doesn't do well in the extreme conditions of that land. But I am getting better at creating a shield of positivity around me. Maybe one day. . .

I went out one night to a dance club a few blocks from the hotel. Outside after hours it was a total scene. All the women wore really high stiletto heels and short dresses that looked like shirts. Cliques of people talked among themselves, yet you could tell that unlike the San Francisco club scene, nobody there knew anyone else beyond their little group. I think only the famous get to have a sense of community in the nightlife scene. In a way, they ruin it for everyone else. If you don't have money or fame, you are considered a peon. That's probably why LA has that distinctively Third World feeling to it.

The club had very attractive people - perfect hair, faces and bodies - but such harsh energy, not open or friendly. Nice cars in the lot - lamborghinis, bentleys, rolls royce. And lots of papparazzi. Oh, there must be celebrities here. Who's that in the chauffer-driven SUV they're all taking pictures of? Could it be? Damn, it is Paris Hilton. The windows are tinted but lit up by the strobes of the camera flashes. She is talking on the phone, tilting and turning her head every second to show a different angle to her face. Wow, I guess she's real and not a figment of our collective imagination. Though she could be a cylon, don't you think? ;-)

A few nights later I headed to TS-themed Illusions at Club 7969. There were three transsexual performers who danced, lipsynched and stripteased down to topless. My favorite is Yasmin Lee. It's always a bit strange to talk to someone you've watched having sex on your computer, but she is totally sweet and self-assured. I like it when a TS is completely comfortable and not threatened by me. That's as important to me as sexiness. Yasmin loves sex and tells me how she had a few gangbangs at Power Exchange back in the day. I asked if it was for a movie. She says no and I say "even better."

We also meet Bob from Bob's T-girls. At first I don't realize that he's the Bob from the well-known TS porn site, then I'm like "Oh you're that Bob!" It was kinda funny. He probably doesn't get too many genetic women who know who he is.

As soon as I walked into Illusions, I felt like I had come home. Sure, there was plenty of plastic and a superficial focus. But this was outsider's territory. People daring to walk outside convention to fulfill their dreams, despite the disapproval and discrimination. I felt giddy in there, excited by the uninhibited sexual energy of the TS performers and clubgoers, and feeling support for my own unconventional approach to sexuality.

Watching non-genetic women shake their booty had less emotional baggage and was more pure enjoyment for me. Real women are practically required to flaunt their goods in places like LA, which makes it no fun. You see that look in some real women's eyes: that tired, hungry, bored gaze that comes from perpetually putting on a show and waiting for validation. Hollywood's shadow turns every woman into a whore down here. It's pretty obnoxious and old-fashioned. But in Illusions, sitting there with my hair tied back, no make-up and glasses to show that I wasn't playing that game tonight, I just felt like I wanted to hold and protect this space where true sexual liberation was being exalted and celebrated. Now that was beautiful.

Well, it's good to be back! 4 weeks to play. . .