Archive for November 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole and Mac and Cheese


Detailed recipe notes from my Mom

I love Thanksgiving and I had a really nice one. I spent it with my friends Kenn, Matty, Christian, and Cole. We each made different things that made Thanksgiving feel like Thanksgiving. I made my Mom’s sweet potato casserole and my Grandmother’s mac and cheese and to my surprise, they were pretty good. I cook at home a lot but never anything more than boiling pasta and grilling things on my George Foreman (and microwaving cookies).

Making these two major Thanksgiving sides seemed easy enough until I made my trip to the grocery store to buy every ingredient I didn’t already have (which was all of them). Suddenly the very notion of whipping things up in bowls, adding sugar, eggs, milk, CHOPPED PECANS?!…. all seemed terrifying and daunting.

It also didn’t help that I had no mixing bowls or any form of cookware whatsoever. The disposable, aluminum things from Food Emporium were passable in place of a casserole dish, like a matinee Evita on a national tour in Detroit that didn’t have a star in the part to begin with…. but when it came time for mixing, I ran into more major problems. Like how to stir things when I had nothing to stir them in. I found what appeared to be someone’s rice maker underneath the cabinet and took it apart, inside there was a square object with a deep base that could serve as a mixing bowl….. in this same cabinet was a pitcher, perfect.

After a daunting two hours I was pretty impressed with my work. The kitchen was a mess but both items looked like they were supposed to. More importantly, at one single bite, both items took me back to sitting with a full plate on my lap on my mom’s red rug in the den that we’d had since we moved into our house in 1991, with stains and hard spots married into it from years of spilt chicken noodle soup, spagehtti, milk….. surrounded by my cousins, with whatever played after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…. the dog show or TBS’ early shooter showing of “A Christmas Story”…. gobbling each bite as fast as I could and running into the dining room for more.

I missed my family a lot this Thanksgiving. I missed how we used to spend it. Nowadays, my Mom and Dad aren’t in town for the holiday, my sister and her boyfriend take my niece over to my Aunt and Uncle’s house, and there’s no leftover dressing to eat from my Mom’s refridgerator for a week after. Like so many things, and the subject of so many blogs I write, things change and it’s spooky.

But even sitting at Kenn and Matty’s on the Upper East Side, with my cast of wacky friends as far from the cousins and family that used to surround me on the red rug, one bite of my Mom’s casserole or my Grandmother’s mac and cheese was like an edible DeLorean…. whisking me back…. like Thanksgiving ought to do.


Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving.

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Hey. World.


I’ve been thinking a lot about my family today. I guess it’s that time of year. I just picked up groceries to make my mom’s sweet potatoe casserole and my Grandmother’s Mac and Cheese. Its also always a little strange not to see them on Thanksgiving (I’ve stayed here in New York for the past three years) but I was also thinking a lot about them after last night’s interview with Joy Behar.

My parents are really wonderful and supportive of me. They watch what I do even when they don’t get it, they praise me to their friends even they’re not quite sure what they’re praising, they’ve always been my biggest support system and continue to be so to this day but even still, I get a little spooked out by any sort of intimate knowledge they get of me.

Last night, when I watched myself on HLN, I found it insanely uncomfortable to watch…. all the obvious insecurities one gets when watching one’s self were there but also a weird sense of showing, talking, and being a honest side of myself that I usually reserve for my closest friends and strangers….. never my family.

We grew up not talking about things. Boyfriends, girlfriends, hurt feelings, nothing. Unless we were arguing and screaming at each other, or laughing at someone’s joke, feelings weren’t obvious around the Self house. And if they were obvious it was due to the skillful passive aggressive behavior I’ve carried into my near adulthood. Coming out to my parents was so weird and uneventful, it just sorta happened in both instances and was never spoken of again. We still don’t talk about it, and its not just them, its me too. I am scared to open up those scary details about my true self too much….. I know they love me, I know they accept me for everything I am, but just as in the case of my siblings (neither one queer) nothing is said and everything is felt.

Watching the show last night, fully aware that both my mother and father were tuned in, miles and miles away…. along with my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings, who knows who else…. I felt a little more exposed than I’ve ever felt. It was a weird feeling. A good feeling. And scary too. It felt, in some ways, again very classically passive. Telling stories we’ve never acknowledged on national television. I’ve thought about it all day today…. one day I’m gonna be open and strong enough to talk to them about how THEY feel and how I feel. One day that day is gonna come. And it’s gonna feel really good.

I don’t think coming out is the end of the journey. It’s a long one and its just beginning.

Jeffery and Cole present…. “The Turtle”


In case you missed me on The Joy Behar Show last night….


I have yet to figure out how to embed a video on here but if you’d like to see part of my time on The Joy Behar Show from last night, click HERE.

Scrooge and Fan


Hey Bloggers! So as I keep reminding you/whoring out to you all over my Twitter, Facebook, and Blog- I am gonna be on The Joy Behar Show tonight talking with a few other gay writer/performers about coming out. So I’ve been thinking a lot about that sort of thing. So I wanted to share a little story from a book I’m working on. The story is about the first time I ever told somebody ‘I’m gay.’
I’ve blogged about this experience a couple times before so pardon if this story is old news to you….. but what with the HLN interview today, and the general need for more people to stand up and be honest to the world….. I wanted to share this story, I hope a lot of boys and girls out there have a friend like I had.

‘Scrooge and Fan’

Nathan Adler was a pretty good Ebenezer Scrooge but whenever he spoke he spit so much that you could literally watch it fly across the stage. By the end of the first act the stage looked like a kiddy pool of old man salvia.

“A Christmas Carol” at the Rome Little Theater was a fog machined fueled holiday extravaganza. I played Young Scrooge in the flashbacks to when he was a boy being left at school for the holidays. It was a large cast made up of many local regulars, all of whom delivered their Dickensian dialogue with the kind of southern drawls associated with characters on ‘Mama’s Family’.
“They sound like they’re from SOUTH London!” the director would constantly quip. No they don’t. They sound like they’re from Alabama, my rolling eyes would say.

Young Scrooge’s pivotal scene is when his sister, Fan, arrives at his boarding school…. the only family member who hasn’t forgotten about him. Playing the role of Fan was Jamie Barton. Jamie was a few years older than me, in high school, and she had a car. On top of that she was truly the most “fabulous” person I’d ever met. I don’t like the stereotype associated with that word but Jamie really iminated it. We’d done a few plays together over the years. Often times, after late night rehearsals…. Jamie would give me a ride home. We’d drive across town in her Honda Civic blaring cast recordings of “The Life” and “Rent”. Musicals I’d never heard of, about things I’d never thought about, cranked up at full volume, whizzing through the streets of Rome. Rebels with a cause. And that cause was contemporary musical theater.

Jamie was completely un-self concious. She had a sparkly bumper sticker emblazened on the back of her car that read: DIVA. She had to explain to me what the word meant but once she did, I couldn’t imagine anyone in the whole wide world being more of a diva than her.

Completely unrelated (I think) to my understanding the word diva is that around this time, I began to consider the possibility that I might be a homosexual… and by consider it, I mean…. I had begun fantascizing about boys 24/7, going into Chatrooms, and feeling a weird discomfort while watching ‘Will and Grace’ with my Mom on Thursday nights.

The year was 1999, and only two years prior Ellen Degeneres had come out and shook the world upside down, so I was…. pretty terrified. I wasn’t really scared of being a homosexual but I knew there was no possible way I’d ever tell my family, most of my friends, or the world around me. I couldn’t fathom that kind of honesty and conforntation…. but one night as Jamie was driving me home from play practice, “The Life” was blaring through the car speakers, and Jamie and I were singing along at the top of our lungs “I’m getting too old for the oldest profession!” and it hit me…. Jamie Barton and I had come from the same world…. we were somehow or other cut from the same cloth, the same tribe…. and dropped down in Rome, Georgia amidst a town of people not like us…. those people that made me unsure whether or not I’d ever embrace who I really was, but with Jamie, in that car, there was no need for embracing it…. I simply was myself, and I knew I wanted Jamie to be Oprah to my Ellen.

The next day at play practice was a dress rehearsal….. Jamie and I were standing upstage behind a large scrim, Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past (played by this thirty something sassy woman with a gold tooth that worked at the KFC across the street and who had played Rizzo a month before, giving a performance that was both off putting and heart wrenchingly real. You saw in her eyes that there really were worse things she could do) were on their journey to the past….. the lights would come up behind the scrim on his old school yard, and the fog would clear and there we’d be, Scrooge’s younger self and Fan.

I was standing next to Jamie in the pitch dark, I could smell the chemicals of the fog machine beginning to fill the stage with haze, my heart was beating so fast, and I knew I wanted to tell her. Now. I grabbed her hand in the dark, I squeezed it tightly, and I whispered….. “I’m gay.” Without even a passing of a beat, she squeezed back and said “I know.”

Right then, the lights came up, the scrim lifted, and Nathan Adler stepped into the scene. He moved upstage delivering his lines, spitting all the way. I looked at Jamie, we laughed…. about the spit, about Nathan Adler, about being gay, about my feeling like I ever had to tell her at all, looking each other in the eye and knowing…. somehow… we were special. Scrooge and Fan.




Listen here if you have nothing better to do.