Briefly: On civic duty

This guy in a "Give me back my country" shirt was very helpful as I looked for my polling place this morning.  Who knew you could vote in the back of the Walgreens!  I thought it was odd that the ballot was written in marker and they charged me $12, but I did get to keep the 3-D glasses.


"Live at Kelly Writer's House" recording

Kelly Writer's House posted the audio clips from the First Person Arts-themed reading on WXPN.  Clicking this link leads to the recording of my story Where Was I

Definitely check out the main page for the other great stories, including Tre Rials' guide to planning the perfect "evacu-cation" and Mike McCrary explanation of why he will never get fired.

A great night of stories!  Speaking of... I'm the guest storyteller at this Tuesday's StorySlam at L'Etage.  This is the last slam before the Fall Grand Slam at the Painted Bride Center and the theme is Faking It so there's sure to be a lot of desperate, enormously awkward over-sharing all night long!

And, finally, something completely inappropriate:

Prior to the radio show, I received an e-mail from the producer detailing the schedule, performance order and other details. At the end of this short, professional e-mail, she included what I can only assume is an obligatory warning concerning decency. It reads as the most foul, uncomfortably hilarious tirade of censored offensiveness.  It also sort of reads like one of those non sequitur-laden spam e-mails one gets from a Nigerian prince.  

I understand the necessity but I still find it so odd to think that a committee of people sat around saying and writing down words they found to be objectionable for public airwaves.  I would never say most of these words on the radio anyway... Well, without a good reason.  And sometimes just being on a radio is a good enough reason to say anything.  

So, without further ado... [I'm warning you, though, if you're not a fan of blue language I would not click through.  Taken all at once this will blow your wig back.  That's what she said.]


"1.21 Jigawatts" or On Doing The Only Thing I Know How To Do To Make It Better

It's getting to be about time for me to climb into a Delorean and travel back to the year 2000. When I was a sophomore at Columbia, slouching out of the closet and deeply depressed, I used to fantasize constantly about time travel. Though I had declared an English concentration, I was unabashedly majoring in Marty McFly Studies. I was, and still am, obsessed with the film Back to the Future, and its two sequels, particularly the dystopian digression in the second film. It seemed to me that all of life’s problems could be solved by exemplary skateboarding skills, a proliferation of manure, tech vests, and, above all, the ability to go back and right what once went wrong (apologies to Sam Beckett).


Briefly: On my neighbors

The women who live in the house behind me have at least 5 cats, an outdoor movie screen garden, an enormous pot-bellied pig they keep in the house and the most beautiful lighting in their kitchen. I am perplexed. I am enamored. I am obsessed.

I wrote a note on my bedroom window: "Dear Naybs, Les-be-friends! K? ♥ Eric. Ps: some pig!"


Is This Real Life?

I'm basically elbow deep in cake batter and trying to figure out how to film an "It Gets Better" video on my iPhone, so I'm re-running this essay because I love it. Unlike a lot of the stuff I wrote two years ago (when I was heavier, sadder, & sauced), it's actually pretty representative of how I feel so I only had to edit it lightly. Enjoy!

I've been plotting ways to get a baby. I don't want to father a baby; I just want to be around a baby. Sometimes. Today. Tomorrow I may want to be around a trapeze artist or a box of bagels. But today? Today I want a baby. I don't want financial responsibility for a baby; I do want to have the right to dote on a baby. Like a niece or a nephew. I don't want to have to change a baby's diaper; I do want to take a baby to New York for its 16th birthday. I don’t want to wake up to calm it in the middle of the night. I do want to post pictures of it on my Facebook page. I don’t want to change a baby’s diaper. Have I said that before? That’s because I really don’t want to do it. Diapers, I’ve been told, are like envelopes full of poop. I have no intentions of subscribing to that mailing list. I don't want a baby. I've been plotting ways to get a baby. I'd like to, maybe, Netflix a baby.


1,000 Cupcakes, 1,000 Crunches

I have a plan!

As is the case with most of my brilliant plans it involves carbs, unrealistic expectations and a costume!

I have a plan!

Okay, so here’s the deal: I need to get back into shape for Halloween. Because I’m going either as the Old Spice Guy or Craigery Morgan (that lip-synching viral superstar). The common denominator: shirtlessness.
The problem is I’ve let myself go a little bit over the past few weeks. Nothing crazy. I mean, I got a call from Celebrity Fit Club, but I politely declined. (And by “politely declined” I mean, screamed “Go eff yourself, Screech!” and threw my phone across the room.) I haven’t gone up a size, but my six-pack seems to be hiding behind roughly 76 oatmeal cookies, 112 Tastycakes (THEY ARE ALWAYS ON SALE!), 60 muffins of various flavors, and two slices of pizza. What? I was hungry yesterday.


Will You Accept This Friend Request?

I read the following essay last night at the Queer Memoir salon at the LGBT Center in New York City and I couldn't wait to share it here as well. I love this story; I'm pretty happy with this essay. It's especially nice for me to sharing on National Coming Out Day because it's largely about a friendship from my freshman year of college that gave me the courage to be honest about who I am. It's also about making connections in an increasingly web-based world, but that's not too deeply explored. Maybe in another draft.

Anyway, I hope you read and enjoy the essay. If you have feedback--good, bad, constructive, indifferent--please feel free to share!


There's No Such Thing As A Rainy Day

Just a few sentences from something I'm working on...

Flying over the Midwest, we encountered a sheet of storm clouds. The plane rumbled for a moment, then rose higher. We were shocked by sunlight, cerulean sky and mountain peaks in the distance. The clouds frothed out benath us. My mother leaned into me. "Isn't it funny," she said, "down on the ground all those people are having a rainy day. But not here. Not for us."


Queer Memoir preview!

Less than 24 hours until Queer Memoir: Friends, Lovers and Exes at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan! The line-up is really fantastic and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. If you were planning on going, please note the venue has changed!

I put the finishing touches on my essay, Will You Accept This Friend Request?, last night and I have to say I'm really pleased. I'm very proud of this piece and I can't wait to get it in front of an audience. If you can't make it to the Salon, never fear--my piece will be published in its entirety here first thing Sunday morning. So, be sure to check back.

In the meantime, enjoy a different, short version of the story I feature in my essay in this story slam video.  And, after that, enjoy some great recommendations for other places to go in New York by that Craigery Morgan guy who is suddenly an Internet superstar. ;-)


"Where Was I?" -- New excerpt from the essay "Lost & Found"

I had the distinct pleasure of reading the following piece on an episode of the program "Live at Kelly Writer's House" that aired last night.   I read alongside some writers/storytellers whom I respect immensely, including Angel Hogan, Tre Rials and the inimitable Katonya Mosley.   It was a fun, special night.  I'm not altogether sure if a link is or will be available for the broadcast, but in the meantime I figured I'd share the text of what I read.

I called it "Where Was I?" and it sort of stands alone as a small rumination on actively engaging in the creation of memory and a disconnect created by hyper-awareness  of time.   Eventually, however, it'll be folded into the longer work-in-progress "Lost & Found," which is about memory, geography, and evolving familial relationships.   And taking pictures of food.

Mostly taking pictures of food.


Where Was I?


"Friends with Benefits"

Here's a heart-warming lil tale about a friendship I made in college that kind of changed my life. Speaking of which, I'm reading my essay "Will You Accept This Friend Request?" at Queer Memoir: Friends, Lovers & Exes on Friday in NYC, which is a different take on the tale. If you're in the area you should check it out!


A brilliant story about a cat.

Scolding the cat, I said "You know better, kitty!"  And he looked at me and said, "You know I don't know better. I am a cat. Stop anthropomorphizing me." Then I said, "How do you know the word anthropomorphizing?" And the cat said, "What? I can't read study for the LSATs while you're at work? Jerk."

And then I became that person who thought it would be a really entertaining idea to write a kitteh blog.



Stalkers! I'm talking to you!

So, I've been reading a lot of articles about the dangers of putting personal information on the Internet. You shouldn't put your location on foursquare because thieves will immediately descend on your house and start to rummage through your drawers while you're out; you shouldn't post pictures of yourself doing anything except praying because your employer and the Huffington Post will immediately download them and ruin your life; you shouldn't post your birthdate on Facebook because identity bandits will immediately become you and wreak havoc on your credit.

These are all rather sound suggestions and I would actually follow this advice save for one fact: I have nothing of worth to steal besides my ideas and I'm giving them away for free on this here blog. Too bad, so sad, shady Nigerian princes: my credit is in the toilet. Better luck next time, thieves: all you'll get in my house is a broken DVD player and a whole bunch of really small, too expensive underwear (that I bought on sale, natch).

I wish someone would steal my identity. I'd buy that guy a coffee. With extra soy milk. And then I'd call Citibank Student Loans and be all, "Hey, there's been a change. You'll be wanting to harass this guy from now on. He probably won't be interested in paying you either, though. (Sucks to be you! Man did you miscalculate my future earning potential. Nerds.) Now... perhaps we can talk about a loan for a first time home-owner? I have a new Social Security number and a Facebook page that's so private no one can see it except the President and Oprah."

Anyway, I've got a couple of readings and storytelling extravaganzas coming up that I want to let my stalkers know about. You can come, too...

September 27 - Live at the Kelly Writers House
I'm simply delighted to join other First Person Arts Story Slam winners for this evening of storytelling and spoken word, to be broadcast live on WXPN (88.5 FM). I'll be reading a new essay called "Following the Maps" that I haven't finished writing yet. Erg.
Where: On your radio/internet situation!

September 28 - First Person Arts Story Slam: Friends with Benefits
I'm the guest storyteller for this slam, always an awesome time! I'm telling a story involving a first crush, lemon squares and Tehran.
Where: L'Etage // 6th & Bainbridge // Philadelphia, PA

October 9 - Queer Memoir: Friends, Lovers & Exes
I'll be reading my new essay, "Will You Accept This Friend Request?", which is an expansion of the story I'll be telling at the Slam. Queer Memoir is monthly salon with a whole bunch of exciting New York lgbtq writers, performers, comedians and raconteurs and I'm delighted to be included.
Where: Queers for Economic Justice Performance Space // 147 West 24th Street, 4th floor // New York, NY

October 26 - First Person Arts Story Slam: Faking It
I am the guest storyteller again and I am so excited to tell this story, which I'm also developing as a longer essay. It's about the biggest mistake I've ever made. Besides starting a blog and telling the world my every secret.
Where: L'Etage // 6th & Bainbridge // Philadelphia, PA

That's about all for the next few weeks. I've been very, very fortunate to get these opportunities and I'm always on the lookout for more. If you know somebody who needs some awkward boy to tell some tale of woe or woo for 5 to 12 minutes, lemme know!


"Put up something about chlamydia... but make it sexy!"

Hey kids!

Here's a little story I told last week at the First Person Arts Story Slam for the theme "Bad Company". It's about my experience working at the Columbia Sexual Healthy Education office. I use the phrase dental dam. Twice.


First Person Arts Summer Grand Slam

I've been totally remiss in posting this video! This is my story from last month's First Person Arts Summer Grand Slam. The theme was "Show & Tell" and I told a story about my recent West Coast trip with my wacky, super adorbs parents. Hope you enjoy!


Lost Boy reading tomorrow!

"When I see a bloodied black boy on a white college campus my thoughts go a thousand places and none of them is anti-gay hate crime." -Wendy from "Lost Boy"

Writing Man productions presents a staged reading of my play Lost Boy tomorrow night at 7 pm! A synopsis and details are below. This is the first public reading of this play and all feedback is needed and welcome!

Lost Boy
Directed by Daniel Student

Friday July 23rd
William Way Community Center Ballroom
1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA

LOST BOY is a startling new play that follows the fallout from the gay-bashing of an African-American student on a small, New England college campus.  Spanning both the political and the deeply personal, the play focuses on Michael, the injured, strident boy and his estranged mother, Wendy, who is convinced that her son is the target of something larger and more insidious than physical violence.  

Taking inspiration from J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan", Lost Boy envisions the relative Neverland of an ivy-covered campus, full of children fleeing the encroachment of adulthood's problems and adults fighting obsolescence and the error of youth.

The reading is free to the public.  A brief talkback follows.


Run, Girl! Run!

Many thanks to Queer Memoir and First Person Arts for hosting the Salon for which this essay was written.

I've just barely made it to the mouth of East Passyunk Avenue, two minutes walk from my apartment, and these cutoff jean shorts already seem like a bad idea. And so much more ridiculous than they had all day as I tromped around the Gayborhood. By ridiculous, I should say, I mean gay. It's an unhealthy paradigm, I know, but one that I can't really deconstruct at the moment because I'm very busy trying to will myself invisible to the group of 16-year-old boys sitting up ahead. Fitting snugly in all the right places, the shorts fall a good 2 inches above my knee. I actually have the temerity to consider them a bit conservative; it's not like you're going to accidentally see my balls. I only wear those shorts at Halloween. And to the gym. And to softball practice. And once, curiously, to a casual dress wedding. Still, while the jean shorts don't push the limits of good taste they seem decidedly, conspicuous on this South Philadelphia block. And by conspicuous I mean gay. One of the 14-year-old boys is playing a guitar at a microphone in front of a store; two others sit on either side of him. A fourth stands on the curb across from the rest. I instantly decide that he is the sidekick to the musician. In my head I dub him Ponyboy. It's he who spies me. And I can see in his eyes that he makes an instant decision about me as well. He crosses to the musician and whispers in his ear and though I am half a block away and almost 20 years older I immediately feel adolescently awkward again. And by awkward I mean gay.


Slammin' Deal & Blast From The Past

Planning on checking out yours truly going up against nine other storytellers, plus Sweet Lucy's BBQ and the band Peculiar Gentleman at the First Person Arts Summer Slam and BBG? You can get tickets for only $10 by following this link before midnight on Sunday.

And to tide you over, here's a video of one of the first stories I told for the "Do It Yourself" theme:


Have you noticed the atrocious Photoshop abortion that is my header? Look at the underside of my arm. It's like the spindly appendage of an elderly spider. Lackluster. Not that I mind so much. One, it's thematically appropriate and two, all evidence to the contrary I still believe I'm in expert Photoshop artist. Like, professional grade. Like could make 2010 Lindsay Lohan look like 2001 Lindsay Lohan.

I suppose I could take a course or something. At the very least, I guess I could buy a For Dummies book. I'm packing up my apartment this week and have been absolutely flabbergasted at the number of For Dummies books I have. Clearly, I'm an expert on everything.

Here is a partial list:
The Bible
Opening a Restaurant
Managing a Restaurant
Getting Fired from a Restaurant
Writing a Blog (haven't finished reading that one yet)

Let me know if you have any questions.

Shameless self-promotion (my bad, yo)

This post has no actual witty content. It's me advertising myself. Sorry. Get over it.

But, for real. You guys know how I like to get on stage at First Person Arts Story Slams and tell embarrassing stories about myself/people who have broken up with me, right? Well, one of those times won me prize:

In addition to said prize, that story also won me a spot in the First Person Arts Summer Grand Slam and BBQ, next Saturday July 24th. I'll be competing against 9 other people for the title of "BEST STORYTELLER IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE EVER TIMES INFINITY". I may be exaggerating.

In any case, you should come. Delicious food and drinks, 10 awesome/awkward stories, plus music by the band Peculiar Gentleman.

You can get more info here or you can enter for a chance to win a free ticket here by putting a story about me (any story at all) in the comments section!



So I'm going away for a week on vacation and I have no idea where I'll be or what I'm going to be doing. I'm exagerating. See, there's a very loose itinerary. By loose I mean we have a roundtrip flight with 8 days and four hotels in different cities in between. Ostensibly we'll be driving around Washington, Oregon and Northern California seeing what there is to see but that kind of open-endedness puts me in a tizzy. Are we going to a fancy party? Will there be a soccer game or debutante ball? Safari? Will I need my cowboy hat? What about my Water Wings? Is there a chance someone will be shot? This is a vacation. Anything could happen.

The biggest problem with this kind is ambiguity is, of course, figuring out how to pack appropriately. Finding an appropriate outfit for a quick run to Starbucks gives me heart palpitations and often ends with me throwing shoes across the room while wearing 8 ill-fitting tanktops, so a full vacation wardrobe is pretty much out of the realm of possibility. Last night, the concept upset me so much that by 1 a.m. I had dumped my entire closet on the floor and burst into tears. The only thing I had actually managed to pack was an empty can of Axe. And a book called "Croquet for Dummies" but that's neither here nor there.

In any case, I eventually got over it... after a lot of deep breathing and a very awkward breakdown in the middle of a late night showing of Toy Story 3 (I just ran in, screamed for about a minute, stopped and watched the scene in the trash incinerator, cried hysterically, and ran out, my empty suitcase rolling behind me). I managed to pack my bags (with clothes and not just emotions!) and I'm pretty proud of how economical and yet thorough my packing is. I have two suitcases and a carryon, inside of which I've shoved literally 30 outfits.

I know what you're thinking--30 outfits is a little conservative for 8 days away. Don't worry, I had the same thought.


R. Eric Thomas Live!

Friends! Come to the First Person Arts Story Slam this Tuesday at L'Etage where yours truly will be hosting and boasting, cutting up, carrying on and carousing. Sign up to tell a story on the night's theme: "Epic Fail" and you (YES! YOU!) could share the stage with R. Eric Thomas!

Also, watch this space for a brand, spankin' new blog, chock full of new essays, videos, and events!