Went out on Saturday with my friend Jack and we traversed the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Charlie’s Bunion and back. The weather was awesome and the views were super fine. It was quite warm and there were several shirtless guys out enjoying the trail as well. So … BONUS VIEWS! Ha, ha.
One potential cure for ennui might be six moonshine tastings (plus moonshine laced jello shots) and a journey through the Mysterious Mansion. Yay, Gatlinburg!
So … a much needed weekend in the Low Country of South Carolina has come and gone. Charleston really is an awesome town. History, fun, food, beaches, and lots of drinks!
Here’s the view from Philadelphia Alley (aka Dueler’s Alley).
When downtown, you really need to stop into SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) on Bay Street for a Barn Raiser. It’s easily one of the best cocktails ever. It’s made from honey, house-made honey-infused bourbon, local spicy ginger ale, bitters, and an orange twist. Pure heaven! We’ve eaten here before and the food is on point too.
We also partook of Zombies at Cane Rhum Bar. It supposedly the strongest drink in Charleston. They will only sell you one and it comes to the table in a cool skull glass … and it’s flaming (though you can’t really see the flame in my photo).
And the best thing you can do late night on Friday or Saturday (10pm to 2 am) in Charleston is get a Chicken Biscuit at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on Upper King Street. Seriously! Go get one of these Chicken Biscuits when you are in Charleston. I love them so much went Friday AND Saturday. Yum!
What else happened?
– Uber rides in BMW’s and Audi’s. Swank.
– I didn’t buy any records at Monster Music. Willpower!
– Yummy brunches with David’s former cohorts.
– Drank too many Vodka Tonics at Dudley’s on Ann.
Speaking of Dudley’s on Ann. It’s apparently the non-gay gay bar. We went to the drag show on Friday night and the number of straight girls and bachelorettes was quite annoying. We ending up hanging out/chatting with one of the locals for most of the evening. We left the bar at the same time after the second drag show and parted ways on the street. I couldn’t decide if this guy was interested in something more or just being nice. Maybe he was waiting for one of us to make a move? I didn’t think he was putting out any signals … but then again, I was very drunk and (in general) am terrible at picking up on other people’s signals. It’s probably a sad commentary on gay culture that we can’t just meet a stranger in a bar and hang out without thinking there is some immediate desire on their part to hook up.
Sadly, I have already reached my four cookie per day maximum … and it’s only 3:00 pm. How will I ever make it through the evening?!
Things are rolling along. Got the ups and got the downs.
Saturday, JR and I got to trek through the woods on the Lakeshore Trail to Forney Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was an absolutely spectacular day. Sunny and 70° temperatures. Maybe Spring really is almost here.
A guy was on the other side of Forney Creek looking kind of lost. He forded the creek and it ended up being a guy we had passed earlier. He was out with five boys and they had taken a wrong turn and ended up on the far side of the creek from where they wanted to be. I tried my best to tell him to go back of the trail and get back on the official route.
He forded the creek again and he and the boys disappeared. They reappeared in about 15 minutes because some nice boaters decided to just shuttle them across to our side. I guess he decided not to backtrack (the smart thing to do) like I suggested.
After lunch, JR took a nap while I watched frogs jumping around in a marshy area caused by the drawdown of the lake. It really was an awesome day!
Sunday, I met up with Mary (who used to costume for the theater) and we had lunch and beer at Bearwaters. I hadn’t seen Mary in a long time and we spent four hours catching up. I need to be better about keeping up with people. It would have been nice if we could have sat outside at the brewery but a 70° Saturday gave way to a 45° Sunday. Grrrrrrr.
Then yesterday. My Dad’s dog, Mia, very unexpectedly had to be put down. I got asked to come up and bury her and it was a pretty traumatic experience … more traumatic than I though it would be. So, last night I was really down … thinking about poor Mia in the cold, dark ground. 11 years is too short a time for her to have been around. RIP, Mia.
Now the work week is well underway and I am just struggling … just working and waiting for Friday afternoon to get here.
[There’s only one link because I am tried and lazy and too later getting this posted.]
Random Things that have happened since Friday …
Speaking of …. I went to Biltmore and took in the new Vanderbilt House Party exhibit. It was really cool and the flower arrangements throughout the house were spectacular.
Finally watched Overlord. It’s B-Movie goodness and I enjoyed it!
Finally binged Bodyguard on Netflix and really dug it. The story didn’t go where I was expecting it to. Be sure to check it out.
This past weekend we took our new friend, Colton, for some drunken fun in everyone’s favorite moonshine soaked town … Gatlinburg!
We made some new friends at the Ole Smoky Whiskey Distillery. They recognized us from around town earlier in the day. They spent 5+ hours getting to Gatlinburg. Thankfully, it only takes us 1-1/2 to get to the sweet, tasty moonshine town.
We also took in the view (and opportunity to sober up) on the Gatlinburg Sylift. It’s going to be much more fun this spring when they open the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the states. I can’t wait to check it out!
Back at home, I have counted the moonshine we have on hand and it added up to 50 bottles. Something tells me we need to get drinking! Who wants to come over for a sampling?
This past weekend, I finished up the first show I have done in two years. Dead Man’s Cell Phone (by Sarah Ruhl) went off pretty well and the cast had a lot of fun.
So, here another round of … Dressing Room Selfies! With only two men in the show that were on stage a different times, the dressing room was a pretty empty place. Apparently, the major takeaway from these is that I was either sleepy or cold on any given night. Enjoy!
And, whenever the photographer gets around to sharing the photos of the show, I will post those as well.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone opened Friday night. We had great houses for the first weekend and have been held over for this coming weekend. I warned all my friends that the show was weird (because it is). Even though we got a lot of nice compliments, I don’t think anyone really liked the show because of said weirdness. Oh, well.
Some Other Random Happenings:
– Took Kat & Greg to Biltmore.
– Bought the Indie Exclusive Blue Vinyl of The Twilight Sad‘s new album.
– Took a nap.
– Finally watched (and napped through) Kong: Skull Island. Meh.
– Had a potato Soup and Cornbread lunch with Carrot Cake for dessert!
– Went to the dentist for a cleaning.
One of the things I was on the lookout in Toronto was original pressings of certain Skinny Puppy albums. The original Canadian pressings (the band is from Canada after all) of certain albums have cool designs or features not available on the pressing readily available in the States back in the 80’s. The original pressing of Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse has an insert with the track names (none were listed on the back) and a lock groove at the end of side two so that Burnt with Water plays on until you lift the needle. The original pressing of Cleanse Fold and Manipulate has really cool A & B Side labels on the vinyl. These pressings tend to be expensive to get here in the States and I was hoping to find them cheaper in their native country. I did not find these two …
Which brings me to VIVIsectVI, Skinny Puppy’s masterpiece. I LOVE this album and it has my favorite-est sleeve art ever. Plus, it’s the original pressing I have been wanting the most. I have been trying to find it for quite a few years but this particular pressing seems to be scarce and expensive to buy. Hell … any pressing of VIVIsectVI from 1988 is expensive. The original pressing of this album features a gatefold sleeve and the A & B Side labels have art that was used as the 12″ sleeve art for the first single. Steven R. Gilmore has been quoted as saying this his favorite of the sleeves he design for the band and that it was always intended to be a gatefold presentation. If the internet is to be believed, only 500-1,000 of these were made before they switched over to a single sleeve with the inner gatefold art being used to make the front/back of a printed inner sleeve for the record.
So, I was absolutely gobsmacked to have found a copy at Sonic Boom Records. And, it was reasonably priced too! Needless to say, I am pretty beside myself to finally own this. Now I just need to find those other two and my Skinny Puppy Vinyl Wishlist will be almost complete.
So, yeah … the boyfriend (David loves it when I call him that) and I traveled to Toronto over New Year’s.
There was a lot of pre-trip craziness with work that had me in a near meltdown. It seems like vacations are always a pain in the ass in that respect. There always seems to be some last minute rush job that has you throwing things around your office, hyperventilating, and crying out of frustration. Yay.
We did eventually make it down to Atlanta for the overnight stay before catching out flight the next morning.
Friday morning we were at the airport at 6:00 am for our 9:00 am flight. I hate flying, so there was liquid courage flowing in the Delta lounge and on the airplane before take off. It’s fun to be buzzed at 8 o’clock in the morning.
The flight was (thankfully) uneventful. Yay!
Upon arrival, we Uber-ed over to Andrew & Kathleen’s place and hung out for a bit. Andrew is David’s best friend from high school. We walked around the neighborhood and saw Casa Loma. the Baldwin Steps, and the Artscape Wychwood Barns.
We also hit up the ATM for some Canadian currency. The bills are made of some sort of plastic and have clear, see-through sections running through them. Definitely a switch from boring old US dollars.
After a tasty dinner of Pizza Pizza, it was off to our hotel (which was nowhere near as swank as the one in Atlanta) where, much to David’s chagrin, I crashed early. Old Fart Mode was in full effect.
Saturday, we kicked around in the morning and ended up at the Bata Shoe Museum. A&K had told us it was a cool museum. David and I were skeptical, but we had time to kill before meeting Andrew for lunch. For the record, you should totally check out the shoe museum. It’s really interesting and fun!
Then we met Andrew for a super tasty lunch at KINKA IZAKAYA on Bloor St. We had Sake and ate with our shoes off. Super fun!
After lunch, we met up with Kathleen and went up to Yorkdale to go to the Lego store, catch a movie, and get dinner. I don’t know that I have even seen a mall that big with that many people in it.
On the way back to the hotel, David and I stopped into Storm Crow Manor which claims to be the nerdiest bar in Canada. It is indeed pretty nerdy. I had Butterbeer and we rolled a 20-sided die for random shots. Pretty damn nerdy.
We also stopped in a Woody’s to check out Toronto’s landmark gay bar. Pretty cool place and somewhat nerdy that night too. They were showing Alien and Blade Runner on the televisions. We were bummed to find out we missed watching the Best Ass Contest by one day.
We beat it over to the Royal Ontario Museum and had a fun time checking out the special exhibition on spiders plus all their regular exhibits on natural history and ancient art.
We had planned to go to the Art Galllery of Ontario as well this day. I was pretty museum-ed out by the time we got done at the ROM. We had lunch wherein I tried poutine for the first time. It’s pretty damn amazing. We then went on a record store quest (more on this in another post). As a bonus, we came across a cool bookstore and video game store. We also made a quick through Eaton Centre. Yep. It’s another ridiculously huge mall with way too many people crammed in it. Afterwards, we went to Andrew and Kathleen’s to hang out with one of their friends. It was relaxed evening (with way too much gin) after a pretty hectic day.
On New Year’s Eve (Monday), I went and toured Casa Loma while David and Andrew ventured into Chinatown for lunch and a return visit to the video game store we had come across the day before.
Casa Loma was pretty sweet. I love grand old mansions. It would have been better had there not been 5,000 kids running around due to their holiday Nutcracker presentation that was still going on. One of the thing I had not realized was just how many movie have been filmed there.
After the tour, it was back to Andrew and Kathleen’s for a low-key New Year’s Eve with takeout Thai and junk food. It was this night that I tried All Dressed chips and fell in love with them. Canada really does rock! I really dug the Canadian New Year’s Eve celebration that was on the CBC. It’s much nicer than that overdone Time Square insanity. Nice thing too is that the TTC (Toronto’s mass transit system) was free from 7 pm until 7 am. So, we got a free ride back to the hotel.
New Year’s Day is apparently a bit of a crap shoot in Canada with lots of places being closed for the holiday.
While foraging for coffee that morning, I ran across some gay Pepsi at Loblaws. We were staying in the gayborhood after all.
The main tourist destinations were open for sure and we decided to take in the Art Gallery of Ontario. Along with the permanent exhibition, we saw the fascinating (and depressing) Anthropocene exhibit along with the Mickalene Thomas excellent solo show.
One of Mickelene Thomas‘ pieces …
We grabbed a delicious fried rice and dumpling lunch in Chinatown. The wind was particularly cold this day, so we beat it back to the hotel before meeting A&K for dinner near Yonge-Dundas Square.
After dinner, at the suggestion of A&K, we nipped into Eaton Centre for some Sweet Jesus. Holy Crap. This place has the BEST ICE CREAM EVER! I loved it so much I stole some spoons.
We said our goodbyes to A&K and beat it back to Woody’s for some final gayness before leaving the city. After Woody’s we ended up in the Church St. Garage because we some queens performing inside. We had a drink there, I tipped the performing queen and got a kiss … and then it was back to the hotel to finish packing for the return trip the next day.
The flight back was a bit bumpy but we landed okay and survived the 3-1/2+ hour drive back home in the rain.
Now Bowser is home, the work week is underway … and I am already ready to go on vacation again. Though I doubt David is up for another round of my travel craziness quite so soon.
And thanks to David for letting me use a lot of his photos. I was very lazy about taking pictures on this trip. Probably because I had gloves on the whole time.
Last week was a bit insane with Christmas, a work trip to Tennessee and then vacation to Toronto for New Years! I am a bit tuckered out this morning but will be back with some details once I get my work stuff caught up.