Denver Sneak Preview- How To Survive A Plague

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GIVEAWAY: Enter to win an admit 2 pass to the advance screening of HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE!
IFC Films presents HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, the story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE opens at the Denver Film Center Colfax on October 12!

Be one of the first to see the film on Wednesday, October 3 at 7:00PM in Denver! Enter to win by texting the word CHANGE and your ZIP CODE to 43549. (Entry deadline: 10/1 at midnight; Example Text: CHANGE 80246). Winners will be notified on Tuesday, October 2. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Remember, movie companies overbook previews, so arrive early because seating is not guaranteed.

living the promises

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If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and selfpity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

throwing a party- or more accurately – a rally, takes some patience. it takes help, it takes attention, it takes money, and it takes time. i must say i have had quite a ride working on this event- 2012 Recovery Rally Colorado.
there have been so many steps- securing the venue, lining up speakers, recruiting volunteers, keeping volunteers busy, finding the right sound person, securing sponsors, engaging resource vendors, supporting the volunteers, securing funding streams, networking, and the one that probably makes my heart sing the most- marketing.

i have learned that i am enamored with helping develop a “look’ for these things and working to get the word out. now that the festival is tomorrow, all of this particular heart-engaging work has come to a close. i will get to share stories, test my courage by speaking to our participants (easy because i have a purpose- introducing  others). i hope and pray that i will not make an ass of myself- although i do realize that if i do make an ass of myself i will still survive somehow.

but the opportunity i have had to give a face and an image to this festival is one of the promises coming true for me in my life. i get to be useful and in the process, my heart gets involved. i don’t have to yearn for the approval that i used to need almost as much as i needed air to breathe.

so there are many last minute details to finish to ready for the party. pick up a guest from the airport, pick up the programs, finalize the water situation, answer a multitude of emails, find a balloon arch, find weights for the tents, troubleshoot a few last minute snafus.

it seems moot at this point to hope for a successful rally. it is already in motion. and i feel like i have already been part of a success. it feels fantastic. and i am completely grateful. many thanks to jena at rockethouse designs. and thanks also to afr for the opportunity to dance to my own music.

Colorado Recovery Rally 2012 program

Honor Guard

Advocates For Recovery Brochure

vicious pink…. cccan’t you see

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How did it happen? If I have asked myself that question once, I have asked it a thousand times, and I still don’t have the answer. By now you are probably asking yourself, how did WHAT happen? How did a reasonably intelligent, hard working guy like myself get hooked on drugs? More specifically, that nasty bitch we lovingly, at first, call Mz. Tina….

Oh, it started innocently at first when I stop and think back on it. Out for the weekend at a club and a friend says, here try this, it’s great you’ll feel like a million dollars and we can party on ALL night!!! And the sex is going to just be Fabulous…with a recommendation like that, I thought, I’d be a fool to not try it. At least once, I said.

I tried it, just a small “line” at first I mean its not like I was one of those “druggies”, or one of those low life homeless guys…I had a job and a car and a house. I wasn’t like them. That could never happen. Guess what? I DID feel like a million bucks and sex WAS fabulous…even sex with people I would not normally even speak to let alone have sex with!!! It just made me incredibly horny and sexual and I just felt like every one was my friend…there wasn’t always a cute guy around who was my type but with Mz. Tina around, I didn’t care…I’d just “snort” them pretty and go ahead and do the deed anyway…yes the standards definitely got lowered a bit…at first it was just once every couple of weeks or so…I was only partying on the weekends, Friday night and Saturday night. I had to work on Monday so I stopped partying Sunday so I was good to go on Monday morning. By this time Id been doing Mz. Tina for about 6 months, but only “recreationally”, meaning on weekends. I told myself it was okay because it was only 2 days a week and I did have a job and a car and a house…and it WAS the weekend I deserved to have some fun…

I managed to always get to work on Monday and get thru the week in good shape…. I soon found myself daydreaming and wishing that Friday would hurry up and get here…hey I was ready to have some more fun again, as so often happens with Mz. Tina, the weekends began to start on Thursday and end on Sun night…I started to show up at work looking like the wrath of God has been thrown at me. BUT I was still at work on Monday so how bad good it be I told myself…and I did have fun, I think, hmmmmm parts of the weekend are awfully fuzzy. I just did not always remember the whole weekend…I knew that Id had fun and id made some new friends…now if I could just remember what his name was. Did he give me his phone number? Did I give him mine?

I wrote it on a scrap of paper somewhere. Ill find it later. He liked me, I could tell…but what the hell did he look like? Did we have sex? Was it fun? Better yet, was it safe…?

No time to worry about it now Id tell myself…I’ll be better next weekend…..

quoted and reposted from

i was scrolling through an fb page for the club i used to manage back in the 80’s and savoring many of the songs that the dj/vj’s posted. bands like skinny puppy, nitzer ebb, front 242, and even rights of the accused. but then all the way at the bottom was a band i had nearly forgotten about- vicious pink.

ccccan’t you see was such a complete anthem in my eyes. it had so much of that quintessential crossover sound of that decade. and it opened up a floodgate of feelings and memories when i heard it.

at the same time i noticed that a friend was celebrating his birthday at the same time, so i posted it to him with a short and sweet (hopefully) note of good wishes.

i got back a quiet message which was a bit of a surprise. it was about his new relationship and how they have been slamming T a coupla times a week. Also detailed was how that part felt like it was getting outa hand and going south quickly. he wrote about shaking so much he doesn’t get a good hit, and maybe it’s a good day to say “done with it”.  the note was finished with a tender bit about me being a safe place to drop a random note like this because i could understand after having been through what i’ve been through.

quite a birthday note eh? and it does lead me to consider where my life has led. he is correct- i do understand. i have honed my understanding to include never going back. it’s odd that i have about 3 or 4 really close friends (from those days) who all continue to engage in serious dance moves with getting high. for  this one it’s iv crystal, for one it’s iv crystal and crack, for the 3rd its crack. they maintain (something i could never do) but i wonder if they grow. i know i feel my life has really opened up since throwing down the sword and walking away from the battle. and i also know i cannot live my friends lives.

there are not so many people left who hold my history in their hearts. it’s important for me to love them, albeit from a distance. too close would be toxic. perhaps for each of us.

when i was in a gala chorus in the 90’s here in colorado, i remember an introduction by one of the gala organizers describing lgbt people as those who said “yes” to pleasure in ways that others were afraid to do. that has resonated with me all these years and still does. there is a lot to be found in the idea that denied inclusion, acceptance, and visible demonstration for so long might just lead to a determination of having pleasure after the coming out process.

that day held some quiet and remarkable reminders about my life, my friends, my culture, and my journey. i numbed out for a minute after the note, but felt empathy almost immediately. i felt allegiance for the trust that was given me. i cannot help really other than hold good thoughts for my friend and the situation. it continues to be a twisted web we weave and it’s remarkable the challenges we traverse in the name of love.

breakfast of champions

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life seems to be suddenly picking up the pace. i got a call from the bank yesterday which informed me that the underwriters were going to make a decision on my loan modification. they requested that i take the place off the market – which i did. this doesn’t erase the flux my life is in, but it does create a sense of finish.

i had lunch with a colleague at parallel 17 yesterday as well. it was great to see her and we caught up quite a bit. i asked her to consider joining the board of afr for a year to collaborate on refocusing the mission and agenda for the organization. they have received several grants within the last month and they will need to do some fine-tuning on their efforts. i absolutely love the idea of making recovery a more visible option for everyone and so i have decided to work more closely with their efforts. i was surprised i asked her. and i am certain she was just as surprised.

my heater has not been working so i am waiting for a tech to come out and give it a checkup. it has dipped below freezing a couple of times this week and this morning my nips are a bit turgid.

i begin work on the dually-diagnosed treatment groups starting this week. there are a couple of training sessions and a couple of coordination meetings as well. this is a new adventure for me and a new direction for my work. it’s titillating, to be sure.

i have become enamored with the “occupy” movement. things have been broken in our country for some time and the apathy surrounding that seems to be shifting. this is something to celebrate in my eyes. i am not naive enough to believe that this will change policies immediately, but i am genuinely relieved that citizens are exercising their right to participate. this seems to be what a democracy requires to remain. for my money (ha), there seems to have been a shift of financial and political power that took place when the twin towers were taken out in 2011. i have never felt secure that the ragtag al queda were capable of pulling that event off so deliciously on their own accord.

i got an email from a colleague who is a counselor with the mile high meth project. he wrote that he had heard good things about the stonewall huddle and was requesting that he come by and talk to my group about his group. i invited him and he came. there were 3 guys there who are currently dealing with meth issues and so hopefully it gave them a sense of options and hope. for me, it signaled a 360 degree revolution since i worked on getting mhmp going. and the resultant triggering of ptsd changed my life forever. i have grown enormously since then, and the visit by the program’s current (there have been several) counselor added an underline to this fact for me. it honestly felt good.

no need to kick tomorrow

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i have been acting chair for the planning committee for the afr (advocates for recovery) rally and will emceeing with my friend kisty tomorrow. i have come to understand that this thing called recovery is very underrated. so much money is spent on prosecuting people who use and people who have addictions. so much more money is spent on incarcerating people for using drugs and alcohol and for being addicted. but so very little resources are spent on promoting and supporting this thing we call recovery. i guess it doesn’t have quite the same glamour. for me, now, where my life has come, recovery is worth celebrating. it’s worth shouting about. it’s worth holding up to the light so that others might see.

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pre-pride parade fun

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It’s that time of year! RMRU PrideFest festivities in Denver’s Captial Hill neighborhood include an all fellowship meeting before the parade and participation on the RMRU Float.
Come grab a cup of coffee, a little breakfast and get a spiritual boost before the Parade with your clean & sober friends; then ride the RMRU float along the parade route, down to Civic Center Park for continued Pride festivities.

Where: Cheesman Park, Purple section (last group) When: Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Time: 8:00am – meeting,
9:30am – lineup for Purple section
What to Wear: comfortable shoes, solid colored t-shirt or shirt in one of the 6 Pride colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue or Purple)

Additional Information:

  • All entrances to Cheesman Park will be closed to traffic; if you are driving to the park, you will want to allow plenty of time to park on a side street and get to our section in the lineup.
  • Please remember that by participating in the RMRU group, you represent a Clean, Sober and Principled way of living – please be respectful or others, obey all PrideFest rules, as well as local and state laws.
  • Bring extra sunscreen and water for the day – you’ll need it!
  • Questions/more information contact Jericho at 720-581-2426
We look forward to seeing you all there!

summer remix

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there is a weekend festival in denver known as “people’s fair” which has traditionally been the kick-off for summer. i went one of the 1st years i lived here. i found then that my aversion to turkey legs was reality. i have since realized that although many outdoor festivals can be fun and innocent, there are many that seem to be a reason to over-indulge for some. and i can’t think of any more reasons not to attend.

i certainly do believe that summer is worth heralding in. i have planted some geraniums in pots outside my door as well as some supertunias on my little patio. i have splashes of bright color acting as sentry at both my front and back doors. and those little beefeaters (as it were) bring a smile to my face every day.

speaking of making me smile, this vintage modern romance tune does the trick. check out the hairstyles and the joie de vivre that oozes out of the totp performance. all those “new romantics” getups. and then the 2nd vid really illustrates the power of a remix. from that goofy outdoor festival sound of the 1st version to the slick, hip, and underground 2nd version. thank heaven for the remix

so long so long

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image credit… nick knight

i first met laura when i was doing advocacy for a small community based organization in aurora named “itav”. laura was a sex worker and smoking a lot of crack. i drove over to her boyfriend’s apartment in west denver and brought her to the agency so she could go to a women’s group, get something to eat, and get away from her life for a minute. i remember very well the conversations we had in the car on the ride to and from.

fast forward to 2 years ago when i ran into her again. she had now become the house manager for a program for plwa’s in athmar park. she had slowed way down on the crack use and had gotten into medical care-even consistently taking haart medication. she was much more grounded and again we talked often and repeatedly about the direction of her life. she was with her boyfriend who was intermittently quite abusive. it appeared he had a mental health issue and refused to take medication reliably. when he would drink alcohol or use cocaine, his mean streak would especially arise and her physical injury rate would escalate.

shortly after i ran into her again, the two of them had a volatile altercation and he picked up a tv and threw it at her, breaking her leg and some of her spirit at the same time. because of her position at the housing program, a police report was filed and chargers were drawn. he ended up spending about 10 months in jail being released sometime late last fall. 

naturally, what followed were conversations around self-care and responsibility to the residents under her watch. she started to smoke crack more frequently, smoke pot more frequently, and engage in some other odd behaviors. but she was able to reel in it for the most part. many of the residents that she looked after had their own serious life issues going on and i will never really know if she was able to truly present for them because of her own internal drama. but certainly this is how it is with almost everyone. i somehow always felt that she was lost in a current that taking her somewhere quite a distance from here. but i also understood that she was doing much better than when i first met her, so harm reduction rules the day.

this morning i heard the first report of a small tragic story unfolding in the small neighborhood that she lived and worked. as the day unfolded, it became somewhat clearer that there was just a continuation of this same story. i have been both saddened and numbed most of the day. i wish i could have done more.

the following is from the local paper..

Police are investigating after a woman was killed last night at group living facility in the 2400 block of W. Wesley Avenue in Denver.
Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said officers called to the scene at 2:20 this morning found a woman dead of knife or stab wounds. Her identity was not released.
Neighbor Anita Rich said that around 2 a.m. a man who she knows only as Carlos came pounding on her door and screaming.
“He was saying, ‘…she’s dead, she’s not waking up,'” Rich recalled this morning. She said Carlos, who lives in the group home, was in a panic.
They went across the street to the single-story group living home, while Carlos called 911, Rich said.
“She was laying in the hall,” Rich said. “There was blood everywhere.”
Rich knew the woman only by her first name.
Rich took the phone from Carlos so she could talk to the paramedics.
“What do I do? How can I help her?” Rich said she remembers thinking.
Paramedics told her to put on gloves before doing anything, which she did.
Rich said she checked for a pulse and found one. She didn’t see any visible wounds, but said there was a lot of blood.
Emergency workers showed up a short time later and took over from Rich.
The coroner’s office and crime scene investigators were on the scene this morning.
Jackson said a suspect has not been identfied.

 written by kieran nicholson and reprinted from

Mary Tyler Wells

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When Thomas moved into the coach house behind me he hung a “w” next to his front door on the outside. It always made me laugh and I called him Mary Tyler Wells. He brought with him his own brand of “tales of the city”.

He was a heavyset guy with a pretty established relationship with alcohol. He used to get drunk 3 or 4 times a week with regularity, I didn’t notice much out of the ordinary at first, probably because I partied just as much. But I did notice the “w” next to his outer front door. I saw it every morning as I left my apartment and every evening as I came in.

All seemed normal in our uptown version of Barbary Lane, until one summer evening. It was like most evenings. My cousin from Illinois had been staying with me for a few months and we were watching “Showgirls” on my tv in the bedroom. We were laughing out loud at some of the bits- the Gina Gershon bitch rants, the Elizabeth Berkley naiveté, and the very flat and one-dimensional ” Keanu Reaves School of Acting” techniques that permeates the film. It was a spontaneous evening of delight.

There was an unexpected pounding at the door. She and I looked at each other and wondered whether we should be frightened.  The knock repeated and we made our way to see what the matter was. Outside stood an unknown shirtless guy looking very nervous and saying that our neighbor had fallen and wasn’t responding.

I went over to Thomas’ apartment to see if I could assist. There he was laid out, eyes shut, on the 2nd floor with a green cast to his skin and what could be interpreted as a bit of foam slipping out of the side of his lip as it pressed against the carpet. I shook him a coupla times and called his name over and over. The shirtless guy was going on about pain meds and good intentions and I decided to call 911.

I went back to my pad to put some shoes on.  I waited about 15 minutes and the paramedics arrived. They struggled with carrying him because of his size and had to wait for backup to assist them in getting him out.  The 2 others arrived and I remember being in my house, looking out my back window and seeing the EMT’s hoisting the gurney up over their shoulders to carry him from the door to the truck. It looked almost like queen tut being transported at the end of a royal procession.

As I watched this impromptu parade, I knew I needed to be a good neighbor and deal with the next agenda item- the shirtless visitor. My intuition had me believing that the phrase “hustler” could best describe the mold from which he emerged. I went into Thomas’ apartment and spoke with him. He had put on a t-shirt by this time thankfully, and he displayed no intention of vacating the apartment. He insisted that Thomas had invited him to spend the night. I assured him that I believed him, but that didn’t affect the responsibility I had as a neighbor and friend.

He protested, and even presented his Driver’s License with the intention of verifying his authenticity. The Kentucky document had the name Johnny Outlaw printed across the front. I chortled a moment and proceeded to request that he go to the hospital where Thomas was and get the house keys from him directly. Johnny then asked if I could spare a piece of cardboard on my floor for him. Sadly, I was unable to comply.

beautiful darling

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last tuesday evening, jim and i went to the tattered covered theatre on colfax. there was a denver film society screening of “beautiful darling” which is a documentary about candy darling. i believe this is a companion to the warhol in colorado exhibit which is currently running at du. candy was a tranny with quite remarkable beauty who starred in several andy warhol films during the early 70’s. she was part of a small enclave of chicks with dicks that hung out at the factory, and included holly woodlawn, jackie curtis, and candy darling- candy being the most “passable” of them.

one thing that was highlighted for me by the film, was the incredibly hazardous lifestyle that transvestites and transsexuals experience, especially during those times. barriers like verbal abuse, police harassment, arrests, discrimination, blackmail, and much more horror. the very idea that individuals can and do endure such humiliating and hurtful lives to follow their intention to be “themselves” is humbling at least. this choosing to live as a gender other than the one deemed from nature is hard fought and even harder won. there is a staggering bravery in the boldness of their choices. it is painfully evident that their is much pain in following the heart or just as much in choosing to not follow the heart. candy died in 1973 of lymphoma which is believed to have been caused by injecting estrogen.

Candy says I’ve come to hate my body
and all that it requires in this world
Candy says I’d like to know completely
what others so discreetly talk about…. lyrics by lou reed and velvet underground

candy darling inspired so many of those around her. she had an adoring companion named jeremiah who fell in love with her at a young age and still cares for her ashes and memory all these years later. she caught the attention of warhol who captured the imagination of his generation, and she inspired many of those around her. the lou reed song “walk on the wild side” contains a stanza completely about her.

Candy came from out on the Island
In the backroom she was everybody’s darlin’
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, Hey babe….. lyrics by lou reed

this documentary is not ground breaking, although i believe that in some ways candy darling was. and this film will not be discussed in many circles. but its subject and the time and place it was born have penetrated my soul. the factory, the village of the 70’s, the velvet underground, bohemian chic, max’s kansas city have all come to represent atlantis to me. the germination of the idea imperfection is glamorous. and i know that the wave of change that candy rode was much bigger than just her life. that wave still glistens in my eyes, and sometimes i think i can even hear her giggle

i love this version of “candy says” by antony and the johnsons.