Thursday, November 21, 2019


Got to Portland and my friend Dax was already postering...:)
He's such a good supportive friend....
We've known each other for 25+ years and have stayed in touch even though both of us are all over the place...he's moved from SF to Virginia to Maine to Colorado to Portland...and he also went through Parkinson's with his dad....we drove together from Portland, ME to Montreal on one of my previous book we're sharing a long weekend in Portland

I love Dax a lot, one of my best and truest friends

Corny pop song reference, but this song has popped up several times, and did again in here goes.... it's always been special to me as it encouraged me to commit to writing a long time ago (1986) when I was in a dark place and didn't know where to go or how to proceed

The food in Portland aced out all other locales...beginning with pho right outside the airport....I had more vegan food here, more good food, more interesting food - and without even trying - than anywhere else....Portland does seem to have all of what SF once had... creativity, friendliness, good food without the affected foodie scene, that feeling that anything might happen....whereas Seattle was a lot like the new SF - corporate, moneymaking, cultural morbidity. Portland is also still relatively affordable, and I'd recommend it to young creatives

Dax and the DIY bed...we made it out of boxes of books, then pads and turned out to be quite comfortable...sleeping on literature :)

Off to Cricket the next morning to meet Donal ... looking for this mystic man :).....
love this photo, and no, I didn't take it....vaguely knew Donal in SF days, and we have a ton of mutual friends, so we reconnected....

 ...but we missed him at Cricket caught up with him later at Crush Bar for Happy Hour...wanted to scope it out before the upcoming reading....

Donal had recommended the golden goat at Cricket, but I took it to the next level and went vegan....

Next day, we went to Faerie Coffee at Triumph Coffee...hard to describe the radical faeries, but I found them soon after I came out (please read link!) of the healthiest queer communities going, without all the negativity and shame heaped on queers by religion, masculinity, ignorance, hate, etc. The Portland faeries have always been one of the best faerie communities, and nothing has been more positive and nurturing to my gay development than these people... a triumph indeed

vegan bagel!

Hector Hernandez from Mexico City who I met at faerie coffee...he's a muralist

This one I especially love since it features the Monarch Butterflies that migrate to Mexico and that figure majorly in two of the stories in Falling

Terry Cavanaugh, who I've known for years, was, like Dax, a tireless promoter for my visit and introduced me to the crowd at Triumph Coffee and then invited me over to his house for dinner. He's a community-builder, and his big house is something of a commune

The upstairs attic, perfect for yoga, writing workshops, etc.

Also committed to his Dad, Terry actually moved his Dad out to California from Michigan and they lived together for 18 years.
I need to do an anthology on all this, and Dax and Terry could be part of it...chapters 1 and 2

Leroy, Terry, G and Gregory

Another friend and artist I ran into at Faerie coffee was Jeffrey Bale, who some of you may remember from my Mexico City blog, when I ran into him there. He is a mosaic artist and his work is incredible.
I'd always wanted to see his house which is a work of art in off I went.
He believes in bright colors to combat the NW gloom and travels internationally every winter to warmer climes

Here's the backyard....

 note mossy, reclining Ganesha...remover of obstacles, I always carry a little one of him in my shoulder bag...

The beautifully-tiled bathroom...

 The below pic is no joke...this was a crackhouse, and Jeffrey lived next door for many years before buying this property. It's edifying to learn how people live in such a situation...the violence, prostitution, addicts living without electricity or water, one having a baby, rats, gun battles, threats...Jeffrey had to defend himself with a shovel once and laid down the law, letting them know he'd kill them if they called him a 'faggot' again...he's a tough guy, grew up with some pretty hardcore rural Oregonians....He also took on the city when they tried to fine him during the clean-up phase, and he beat them. No small feat. He's a good example of a fighter, who perseveres with reason and heart until justice is served. An inspiration. 

The faeries turned out en masse for the Crush Bar reading that night, which was a lot of fun.....Daniel Elder was a great co-reader and his writing is excellent...a new friend and colleague!

Henry partied...

After the reading, we all retired to the Montage, a New Orleans-style restaurant and really, chill, fun the locale, under the freeway bridge that heads over the river

I had veggie jumbalaya, of course...
left to right: Dax, moi, Ent, Terry, G, Q, Leroy, waiter, Jeffrey, Kirk Read! (up from SF), Michael and Eric Slade, who was also super helpful and kind and connected me to Shannon Brazil, a writer who connected me to Daniel Elder and suggested Crush, which turned out to be a great choice... Eric just completed a film on Mark Rothko, who grew up in Portland

Dax took me for delicious crepes here, where I practiced my very poor French and re-resolved to take on Montreal next year...

In other news, the National Book Awards were announced today and guess who got one...yes, my dinnermate from NYC back in October - Edmund White :)
His comments:


And some good news on the immigration front as we approach Thanksgiving, that holiday where we celebrate the kindness of native peoples who we are now detaining and abusing:

A couple weeks back, I posted an update (below) on facebook and my gofundme page ($300 has come in already):
In another coincidence - or is it all serendipity? - Brendan Fay, from my NYC blog, is in Mexico City now, presenting his documentary film on pioneering gay priest, John McNeill, at the Museum of Memory & Tolerance (which I visited in September), and he just toured the refugee house. So cool to see my book tour connecting to the immigration work once more :)

Brendan with Leonila (center) and one of the casa's legal aids

As we approach Thanksgiving, I'm happy to report that Victor and Sandra and her children will be receiving papers for permanent residency in Mexico thanks to your generosity, and Harlem continues with his treatments for leukemia in Chiapas. We are having an effect and every little bit has helped immensely. Last year at this time, I was with the caravan in Mexico City at the National Stadium when there was hope that the US would do the right thing (fyi: the amount of refugees apprehended at the border this year is less than half of what it was in the year 2000 [about 800k currently, 1.6 million then:…/what-we-know-about-illegal-i…/] - just sayin' since the misinformation has become so entrenched). As the caravan of native North American people arrived at the US border on Thanksgiving 2018 (a US holiday ostensibly giving thanks to the native people for helping the European immigrants survive the winter) we got this:…/trump-us-troops-lethal-for…/index.html
I've asked folks a lot this past year for help on this issue, and I'm amazed at the generous response, so I want to do an annual Thanksgiving ask as I think the best way to show gratefulness is by passing it along...and I just got an email from Mexico City that 3 pregnant women have arrived at the refugee house (one in need of a caesarean), and several small children have been ID-ed in Tapachula (…/rights-groups-slam-mexico-deten…) that we want to bring to Mexico City to start the asylum process for...I continue to support the refugee house's efforts to get asylum for Cen Am children and families, and those who are ill, in Mexico to avoid the U.S. border mess. Join me if you can and however you can...I'll start tomorrow night as I'm reading at a library in Minneapolis and I can donate my book sales to these people in need:
Happy Thanksgiving..make it count 

Headin' home to see Mom - and then LA!

Los Angeles

Nov. 22, Fri., 7:30 pm - Reading/Q&A
Skylight Books
1814 N. Vermont Ave.
w/ Alvin Orloff & Tara Jepsen
(323) 660-1175

Palm Springs

Nov. 27, Wed., 6–8 pm – End of Tour Book Party
Palm Springs Cultural Center
2300 E Baristo Rd.
(760) 325-2582


Dec. 5, Thurs., 7 pm - Reading/Q&A
E.M. Wolfman Bookstore
410 13th St, Oakland
w/Alvin Orloff & Brontez Purnell
(510) 679-4650

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