Oscar Fetish


-- चार हजार दो सौ और साठ-पांच --

I'm just coming off an unusually eventful weekend in a particular context: I spent it exclusively with Shobhit. No other socializing with friends or family. Shobhit was rather happy to get me to himself all weekend, and he openly said exactly that at one point. That didn't stop him from behaving like a complete dipshit at certain points, of course, but whatever. That just goes with the territory, I guess. I feel like he had a bit of an emotional roller coaster for some reason. At one point he's openly hostile; at another he's just down and depressed; at another he's acting elated just to have my company; at another he's texting me I love you -- which he sent right after I fell asleep at about 10:00 last night, so I did not see it until I looked at my phone when I woke up this morning.

We went out on both Saturday and Sunday, but not on Friday -- so, no Social Review point for that day. That was the day I walked straight from work to the Uptown Theatre on Lower Queen Anne, to take myself to see The Party, which was the sort of movie I enjoyed but wished I could have enjoyed more. A solid B, as always, means I don't regret going to see it, but feel no compulsion to recommend that anyone else see it. Unless you love Patricia Clarkson as much as I do -- she's fantastic as always.

I walked home afterward, and didn't even bother writing the review until Saturday morning. Shobhit had dinner ready when I got home, and we spent the rest of the evening at home either eating or watching TV or both.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और साठ-पांच --

Saturday was the first weekend day on which I had no plans whatsoever -- quite exactly: last time it happened was February 3 -- and so I suggested to Shobhit we just go for a walk, to the waterfront and back. He was up for this both as something to do and a means to get himself a Social Review point: I tend to count long walks for which the point is just to go for a walk (just running an errand is not the same). Also, I've been feeling lately like we spend too much time just sitting in front of our TV and it's starting to feel tedious to me; I want to come up with more things to do that are different from that and offer some variety of activity. Getting out of the house for any reason is always a good thing, and Saturday was a beautiful day.

We walked a total of 5.2 miles, round trip. Straight down Pine to Pike Place Market, next to which is Victor Steinbrueck Park, where Shobhit always wants to stop and stand at the railing that overlooks the Alaskan Way Viaduct -- set to be demolished next year -- beyond which can be seen Elliott Bay and the Seattle Great Wheel and, to the south, the sports arenas and, on clear days (which this was not, at least in that direction; skies were only blue above us and to the north), Mt. Rainier. It's going to feel rather alien for a while once that viaduct is gone, it's been such a prominent feature of the Seattle waterfront for so long. Since 1953, to be exact. The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake damaged it enough to have people urging for its immediate closure, and here we are nearly two decades later and it's still in full use. Not for much longer, at least. I never feared getting back on it myself -- and clearly neither did the rest of the city -- but I was always for the tunnel replacement, no matter what the many tunnel detractors have said.

Anyway. We went over to Cost Plus World Market, as we nearly always do when that close to it, although we don't always buy anything and we didn't this time. From there we decided to walk north up to the PCC Offices, via the waterfront, stopping along the way atop Pier 66 at the public park-like area they have there. I was out of town at the time, but Danielle stayed at my place, and actually used my camcorder to get a recording from that very spot of the implosion of the Kingdome, on March 26, 2000. It was also where she and her then-boyfriend Seth and I watched the Fourth of July fireworks on the waterfront when we took a trip to Seattle from Spokane that weekend in 1997. The area is often closed off to the public whenever I'm there these days, but on this day it was open.

We walked from there along the waterfront, and walked much of the way up through Myrtle Edwards Park. I took six photos along this walk, which I used to flesh out a photo set for the weekend, for both this walk and the Oscar telecast viewing at Central Cinema yesterday, which I'll get to momentarily.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और साठ-पांच --

We went out again Saturday night, which of course Shobhit would have loved to get an extra Social Review point for -- but he already got one for the day for going on the walk so in that context it was redundant.

CC Attle's, a Seattle institution of a gay bar, once located on the site now occupied by the uber-green Bullitt Foundation building on 14th and Madison -- all of one block from where Shobhit and I currently live -- closed that location in 2010 after being there for 17 years, and have had their new location at Olive and Boylston since early 2012. I had been to the old location a couple of times, many years ago; the only semi-recent time I can recall going to the new location was during my brief "Capitol Hill Bars Tour" in 2014 with Evan; I posted a review of C.C. Attle's in September of that year.

I had certainly never gone to one of their "Fetish Nights" they do every first Saturday of the month, and Shobhit wanted to go. I actually did not even know it was a themed night until we got in line; I was just up for going to C.C. Attle's when Shobhit suggested it. Then I heard, in the very long line we encountered when we got there somewhere around maybe 9:45, that there was a second line, the "Priority Line" for people in fetish gear. I literally have no fetish gear, and although I suppose certain types of underwear might count, Shobhit didn't either, so it was the regular line for us. It wasn't too terribly long of a wait anyway.

But, the experience inside was pretty anticlimactic, honestly. First of all, it was fucking packed. My first thought was that it had to be a fire hazard. What if an actual fire broke out? People were in there like sardines, and any rush to the doors would probably have resulted in deaths by trampling alone. That thought kind of gave me the creeps.

They had a clothing check-in for a dollar per item. I put my gloves and scarf in the pockets of my jacket to make it one item; Shobhit basically did the same with his jacket. Then he turned around and decided to check his pants too, thereafter walking around in nothing but his shirt, his underwear -- red boxer briefs with horizontal black stripes, nothing particularly outlandish -- and his shoes. It was so crowded it was hardly even noticeable he had no pants on, although I certainly noticed a lot of other hot guys in their underwear. Probably the next-most common outfit was wrestling singlets, and I was into that.

There was a number of interesting sights, though. When we first walked in I saw a fetish demonstration going on, of an overweight woman with her back exposed getting whipped by a guy in jeans and no shirt. They both appeared middle-aged to me, and it was fascinating to see what appeared to be a lesbian. The crowd otherwise appeared to be by far mostly gay men, and among the comparatively few women, straight women. Although these distinctions are less and less readily identifiable by sight these days.

We got into a semi-long line at the bar, and I told Shobhit to surprise me with what drink he ordered for me -- which turned out to be the rather boring Screw Driver, which I'm sure he ordered just to save both time and money. He ordered himself a Vodka Cranberry, which is an unholy disgusting drink as far as I'm concerned. Whatever; I guess he won't get a UTI. We took our cocktails to the north side of the building, in a section where it was a bit less crowded, and we actually found a table to sit at. And that's what we did the whole rest of the time we were there -- sit at the table and nurse our drinks, mostly in silence. Although he did leave me there alone at first so he could use the men's room.

Among the group at the table to my right was a young man wearing a "pup" mask -- "puppy play" being a relatively new kink as far as widespread knowledge of it is concerned. Now it's big enough to be a thing -- whole floats of "pups" are commonly seen in Pride Parades. I once declared it "fucking weird" at a Pride Parade I went to with Gabriel, who immediately shushed me, lest I be overheard. I rather doubt anyone within earshot was shamed by me that day, although I don't think I would say that in any kind of mixed company now, and certainly not in that crowd Saturday night. Whatever gets your rocks off, no judgement -- you go for it.

I actually saw another young man nearby, also with a pup mask on but otherwise in only a T-shirt and underwear briefs, getting himself tightly tied around his body with a thin rope. He disappeared soon after that was done. My favorite, actually, was the man -- not particularly feminine, which somehow made it more fun -- dressed as Wonder Woman: blue briefs with printed white stars; a Wonder Woman T-shirt, and a golden Wonder Woman crown on his head. He was chatting with a slender guy in nothing but small blue briefs and shoes on. I enjoyed looking at him.

I saw no need to undress myself. I honestly don't know to what degree fear might have played into that. I mean, shit, I go to a bathhouse on a regular basis, and there I walk around in literally nothing but a towel, sometimes less even than that. But it's also a radically different environment, in spite of them both being sexually charged, with different social cues and conventions. It may have been "Fetish Night," but it was still a bar.

We left as soon as we finished our drinks, and as we walked home Shobhit said, "You hated it there." Hate is not the right word; I was kind of indifferent. I don't feel like a place like that has much to offer me, although it was heartening to see a venue with such a varied clientele, especially in age -- unlike many clubs, this was clearly not catering exclusively to the twenty-something crowd. Plenty of young people were there, but I'd say at least half the people, if not more, were my age or older. I did like that about it. That said, while the music was actually bearable, the crowd alone made for a din so loud I literally wished I had worn ear plugs -- and hope I have the presence of mind to do just that the next time I go out on a weekend night.

Shobhit mentioned that all we did was sit at the table, and I said, "What else was I supposed to do?' He said, "Talk to people. Mingle." I would have been perfectly fine with him doing just that. He's truly welcome to go back on his own sometime too. "You know very well that I'm not much of a 'mingler' and never have been," I told him. So then we walked home and watched a couple episodes of Roseanne until surprisingly late -- it was 12:37 am before I went to bed, and it wasn't because we'd gone out. It was because we were watching 28-year-old episodes of Roseanne.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और साठ-पांच --


-- चार हजार दो सौ और साठ-पांच --

Yesterday was slightly disappointing in its own right, to be honest -- and, unlike our first experience with it last year, has me feeling like maybe we'll skip the viewing at Central Cinema next year. Maybe I'll finally try for an Oscar Party at home again, or we can just find another place to watch -- hell, even Poco Wine Bar downstairs in our own building had a free-admission viewing.

Anyway. We arrived last year at 4:39 -- or at least that's what time it was when I posted the picture of Shobhit and me outside Central Cinema. I posted a nearly identical photo yesterday -- at, guess what? The exact same time, to the minute! And here I thought we left earlier than we did last year; we must not have. Shobhit was right in getting us going earlier than I was thinking we might need to; there was literally just one booth left empty when we got there, which I caught sight of and we barely snagged.

But, this is the thing. Last year they had hosts, with ballots, and cornball prizes. For whatever reason, Central Cinema had no hosts this year -- it was literally nothing more than watching the telecast. Shobhit and I argued almost the entire walk there about the chances it would run over three hours; he insisted there was no way it would. And guess what? It ran fucking four hours and fifty minutes! One of the longest telecasts ever, in fact. When I brought this up afterward, he just started talking about the things that made them run over, which were exactly what I said beforehand could make it happen -- instead of just fucking admitting he was wrong. That shit drives me bonkers.

I might not have minded the run time so much, except that having no hosts to make it more fun, of course, made it less fun. So did the winners being predictable nearly across the board. Last year, when they accidentally announced the wrong winner for Best Picture, it was arguably the most stunning and exciting moment in Oscar history -- especially since it meant the right movie actually won! None of that this year: The Shape of Water won, which we pretty much all expected. at least it wasn't the "worse-case scenario," as someone on a podcast I listened to this morning noted -- that would have been if Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri had won, thereby indeed making it this year's Crash. It still won -- more predictably than in any other category -- Best Actor and Best Actress, but the consolation there was that they were two great actors giving undeniably great performances in an otherwise very entertaining yet deeply problematic movie, and Sam Rockwell and especially Frances McDormand gave very good acceptance speeches.

One notable change, in these "#metoo" times, I quite liked: traditionally last year's Best Actor winner presents this year's award for Best Actress; and last year's Best Actress winner presents this year's award for Best Actor. They did keep this tradition for the Supporting categories, but it was nice to see them sidestep having Casey Affleck, who settled a case a woman brought against him for sexual harassment, come to present the Best Actress award -- a true misstep that would have been. Instead, they had women present both the main acting categories, among them notorious feminist Jane Fonda. Smart move.

I enjoyed Kimmy Kimmel returning as host; he really did nothing especially wrong, although taking stars to surprise moviegoers across the street with snacks was a bit of a rehash of a bit from last year. If that's the worst he did though, that's pretty good. The flip side is that few of his jokes or bits, while they all pretty much worked, were especially memorable, and I hope he doesn't keep coming back too often too soon, or he'll quickly become a truly boring choice. I love the idea of Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph co-hosting.

Otherwise, the biggest surprises, to me, were the two awards won by Blade Runner 2049 -- Visual Effects and Cinematography, which I did not especially expect, but am actually happy to see it win, although I actually don't think it's the most deserving in the visual effects department. But Cinematography, for sure. That said, if the Visual Effects and Cinematography awards were the only particular surprises (well, I was also rather surprised by The Silent Child's win for Live Action Short, and it was cool to see the writer sign her acceptance speech, as she promised the deaf six-year-old girl who starred in it), that does not make for a very exciting Academy Awards telecast -- especially if it runs four hours long.

I thought more than once about the four years Shobhit and I went to Grand Park in L.A. for the Independence Day fireworks. The first year, in 2013, was almost magical to me -- subsequent years, which could not possibly have the same novelty nor did they ever book musical acts that were as good, were always fun but still diminishing returns. By the time we were back in Seattle last year I was actually grateful for the change of scenery. The process occurred much more quickly with viewing the Academy Awards at Central Cinema. I was thinking last year it might be a new tradition. I'm thinking this year that twice was enough.

Shobhit even tried convincing me to stay home to watch this year just before we even left, which I found very, very annoying. He's known all this time this was the plan, and now he wants to change them? What the fuck? It may not have been as fun as last year but I'm still glad we went -- I feel it's always good to get out of the house. It would have been fun to see them with Gabriel but frankly I'm not yet interested in having Gabriel and Shobhit in the same room again any time soon. (He did text me yesterday asking how I was watching; I responded with "At Central Cinema" and that was the end of it.) I had budgeted $50 at Shobhit's suggestion, after I initially budgeted $30 -- after making the smart choice of pouring ourselves a stiff drink before leaving so we had no need to order cocktails, I spent $27 with tip. So that was a good part of it.

I have no idea what I'll do for the Oscars next year. I like to be around more than just one other person with interest for this, though. It's now been eight years since I watched with more than two other people I know personally; only one year since 2010 being with more than one. I don't think I've hosted what could truly qualify as a "party" (four or more people) since 2010, and I really miss that -- but I actually tried multiple times thereafter and could never get people to come. It was different when Barbara lived here; I could at the very least always rely on her to join Shobhit and me. I've now had more years with just one or two other people than I've had with enough to actually make a party. It's a big reason I like to go to a public viewing -- at least then it feels more festive, like a party, even if it is with strangers I'm not actually talking to. It's a vibe thing, still a communal experience. Last night there was even a woman dressed as Allison Janney from I, Tonya; she got a huge applause when Janney won Best Actress (which everyone knew would happen). I do still wish they'd had someone actually hosting the event last night like they did last year; it would have made all the difference.

It was well past 9:00 by the time we walked back home. We still watched one more episode of Roseanne before I went to bed.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और साठ-पांच --


[posted 12:17 pm]