Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Two Fingers of Scotch

After spending almost a week in Santa Fe for P’s celebration of life, I returned home to news of Mister G’s death.  G had been in declining death for a number of years and I knew the end of was near before I left for Santa Fe.

I met G at a neighbor’s summer garden party about ten years ago.  He was about to turn 70.  He didn’t come out until his children were married.  G was from one of the Denver old-money families.  He knew all the local oil heiresses and their secrets.  G was often the plus one at black-tie events for the divorced heiresses.  He was always entertaining.  At parties, one could always find G siting in chair with two fingers of Scotch neat in a tumbler holding court.  He was a master at storytelling and his tales were always most interesting.  That was part of his charm. 

G will be missed.  I’ll be meeting up with Sheila and Tom to have a final toast to G.  Top-shelf Scotch neat will be enjoyed.

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Friends Missing A Friend

I made a quick trip to Santa Fe to spend a few days with Mister D.  After I arrived, we had a leisurely lunch on the plaza followed by a little retail therapy.  Natalia came over for a glass of wine when we got back to the house.  We talked for a few hours often tearing up when remembering Mister P.  That evening, Cindi came over and cooked a delicious dinner featuring halibut caught on her cousin’s Alaskan fishing boat when she was part of an all-female crew last summer.  We spent hours after dinner sitting at the dining room table talking and reminiscing.  The next morning, D and I met Mister P’s ex-wife and her wife for breakfast at Counter Culture.  More conversation and reminiscing followed breakfast.  After breakfast, we picked up a few things needed for Mister P’s celebration of life before heading out to the wealth manager’s house in the desert.  She’s hired an LA interior designer to revamp her house and wanted our opinion on paint colors.  Her partner, the heiress, was printing photographs in town.  She was recently picked up by a gallery in New Hope, PA and had sold five photos.  The gallery was asking for additional stock given the popularity of her work.  Plans were made for the ladies to come over for salad and pizza that night.  Dinner was leisurely and once again followed by conversation and reminiscing. 

I drove home the next morning.  It was a warm sunny day.  The northeast New Mexican landscape was stunningly beautiful.  The newly paved highway dissected the parchment colored native high-plains desert grasses with strips of dark black.  Specks of dark green evergreens dotted the land.  The distant mountains were purple in hue beneath a cloudless light blue sky.  It was as if nature was comforting me after an emotional visit with friends missing a friend.

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He Will Be Missed

Mister P died on Tuesday two hours after getting home ending a 30-year relationship.  Mister D is devasted but is holding up.  I wish I could be there to take care of him.  Mister D took care of me when my partner died in 1988.  I stayed at his house for almost a week.

The women have taken charge of things.  They have cancelled all of P’s subscription services and notified social security of his death.  The wealth manager is reviewing P’s financial holdings and will offer suggestions on needed actions.  Cindi is helping with planning P’s celebrations of life which is a good fit given her many years of owning a special event décor company.  Mister P loved a good martini so they will be served at the celebration.  Cindi is also securing the bartender for the event which will be held in January. P’s family is in South Africa so it is doubtful they will travel to Santa Fe for the celebration.

I had two-hour call with D on Wednesday night.  It was a good call.  D talked and I mostly listened.  It was what D needed to do.

The guys were just starting to plan the final part of their lives.  It was only four months from retirement to death. 

I am so sad.  P was always the life of the party.  I will miss him. 

Mister P is on the left, Mister D is on the right. I think this was taken at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Dallas in the late 80’s.


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The End of a Life

Mister P is back in an Albuquerque hospital after a week at home in Santa Fe.  He was in the hospital for eight days when he had his second round of chemo.  Sadly, his tumor has grown and has spread to his kidneys.  He’s too week to get out of bed.  He’s not eating.  It seems he has given up.  It is doubtful he will ever return home.  Most probably he will be sent to hospice for his final weeks.  The women (his ex-wife, her wife, the wealth manager and her heiress girlfriend, Natalia the artist who lives next door and Cindi) have been providing emotional and logistical support along with caring for the dog.  His partner, Mister D, is managing but is severely depressed.  The guys have been together for over 30 years but are not married, which, seems to have brought on financial complications. 

Mister P retired in August and is now near death.  The last few months have been spent dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  He will not get to enjoy his retirement.  

Having a friend dying of cancer while dealing with my own cancer diagnosis is rather surreal.  I feel somewhat guilty that I have such a minor cancer while Mister P has the sarcoma from hell. Sadly, life is not always fair, and you have to play it as it lays. It’s a hand I wish neither of us had.

And then there’s Mike who was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic.  He was depressed so he bought a new Bentley.  Instead of exercising and changing his diet he dropped a couple of hundred thousand on a car.  Guess who’s picking me up at the hospital on Thursday?

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Round 4

The first two rounds were skin cancer.  The third round in 2008 was rectal cancer.  The fourth round brought colon cancer detected by a polyp biopsy after my recent colonoscopy.  A CT scan determined it is not stage 4.  My surgeon will remove a foot of my colon on the 20th.  The pathology report will determine if it’s stage 1, 2 or 3.  Stages 2 and 3 will require chemotherapy. 

I’ve been overwhelmed by offers of support from friends and family.  A few have volunteered to fly in for the surgery.  Cindi has offered to come up from Santa Fe for a few days post-surgery.

Not an adventure I wanted but I will make the most of it.

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Friday Night Gala

Jan van Hemessen, Portrain of Elizabeth, Cout Fool of Anne of Hungary, oil paint, 25 1/2 x 22, 1525.

Last night I attended the Denver Art Museum’s annual gala held in conjunction with the opening of Saints, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks.  The museum dropped the black-tie dress code in favor of cocktail attire.  There were a few men in tuxedos and a number of women in floor-length taffeta ball gowns, but most men wore suits or sport coats while the women chose cocktail dresses with sequins being a central theme. As expected, there were a few guys wearing jeans, t-shirts and sneakers.  Many of the high-end gallery owners were there along with the local oil heiresses and the usual suspects from the Denver art scene.

The exhibit offers a look into the specific subjects and styles adopted by artists in the Southern Netherlands between the 15th and 17th centuries.  Works by Hans Memling, Jan Gossaert, Jan and Catharina van Hemessen, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, and Anthony van Dyck are on display.  Almost all the art is on loan from the Belgium-based Phoebus Foundation.

My friend, Sharon, attended the event with me.  She’s an artist who shows at one of the high-end commercial galleries in town and teaches art history and print making at a local university.  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon’s view of the artwork.  She’s sees things in paintings I don’t see and she uses her knowledge of art history to set the social and political context of the time.

We spent two hours touring the exhibit before calling it a night.  I dropped Sharon off at her house before picking up glazed donut holes to celebrate my second week of retirement. After a little Netflix I headed to bed.

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Just When the Fun Should Begin

My guy friends in Santa Fe have retired.  One last month while the other retired last Thursday.  Today brings news that the one who retired last month has cancer.  The diagnosis is fresh, so stages and treatments are unknown currently.  I find it all rather sad.  He worked for 35 years and now must deal with cancer just when the retirement fun was to begin.

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Reuniting With Friends

On Friday night, I found myself standing in one of the high-end, commercial galleries in the Gold Triangle admiring an $11,000 painting.  I was tapped on the shoulder by Will, a photographer I had not seen since the pandemic started.  We got caught up while taking in the new offerings hung in the cavernous gallery space.  Will informed me our mutual friend, Brenda, was having an opening at a coffee shop on South Broadway.  Plans were made to check out Brenda’s new work after we visited with other people we knew in the gallery.  Soon I was in a conversation with Terry, who is a 78-year-old fashionista as well as a fixture on the gallery scene.  She was wearing a vintage, black Comme des Garçons jumpsuit over a long-sleeve, printed, sheer Vivienne Tam top which gave her upper body the illusion of being fully tattooed. As usual, Terry was stoned.  Our conversation was all over the board, from her first acid trip at age 30 to the five high schools her son attended.  If anything, conversations with Terry are always entertaining. Her husband, who always rocks a casual blazer over a t-shirt is a man of few words but evokes a cool downtown vibe.

As Will and I were leaving the gallery, we ran into Phil, who is another friend I hadn’t seen since the pandemic started.  After a brief chat, we agreed to stop back at the gallery to rendezvous with Phil before heading to a party Terry had invited us to at a cannabis marketing firm’s office in the Arts District on Santa Fe.

Having an art opening at a coffee house is problematic at best.  The regular patrons were enjoying beverages and light fare while socializing with friends or working on laptops. The art patrons were trying to view the art.  It was an awkward mix.  Brenda had one piece in the group show.  Will and I sat outside with Brenda while she filled us in on her life.  In May, Brenda’s girlfriend broke up with her, she lost her job and moved out of her apartment all in the span of two weeks.  She packed four suitcases and hit the road.  Everything else was placed in storage.  Brenda has been to India for an art residency, New York, Portland, Mexico and a few other places.  She booked one-way flights as she never knew when she would return to Denver.  Brenda couch surfs with a friend when she’s in town.  She’s halfway through a year of nomadic art life allowing fate to take her where she needs to be.

Will and I left Brenda with other friends and headed back to the gallery.  Phil was just leaving as we arrived. We caravanned over to the party which had an interesting mix of people of all ages.  A local indie-type band finished their set shortly after we arrived.  Ten minutes later, Terry and her husband headed to another party in RiNo leaving us at party where we knew no one.  We hung out for a while.  Will and Phil talked about dating younger women as it’s too hard to date older women. It seems women their ages (53 and 49) are not willing to do the things they want to do.  It was an enlightening conversation.  I was intrigued listening to the challenges of being a straight daddy.  When the guys finished their second beer it was time to meet Brenda at the Art Bar back in the Golden Triangle.  The guys wanted me to come for a quick drink, but I knew better.  There’s no such thing as a quick drink with Brenda.  She would most probably arrive with an entourage who would start ordering food and drinks.  Brenda has a way of wanting you to stay at the party.  I bid adieu to the guys and headed home.

Once home, I settled in with Netflix.  I watched the first episode of Chef’s Table: Pizza. I learned Chris Bianco’s Phoenix pizzeria offers what critics deem to be the best pies in the world.  Who knew the best pizza is in Phoenix?  Next up was the first episode of my cousin’s new series, Phrogging: Hider in My House, which is a true crime drama airing on Lifetime.  Not the best thing to watch before bed but certainly compelling if you favor crime thrillers.

What at night! I thought I would have a quick look at a gallery opening but the universe had other plans for me.  Friday night turned out to be the highlight of my weekend.

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A Multimedia Evening

Miss Y texted on Friday afternoon.  I saw her briefly at the Pride Parade in June as her contingent marched by.  She said she would be in touch.  We hadn’t hung out in over a year. Life got in the way until Friday.  Miss Y wanted to accompany me if I was venturing out to the galleries.  I called her to firm up plans for meeting on her side of town.  In the brief conversation, I learned her transgendered niece committed suicide a few weeks ago.  Her family was devasted. Her niece was finishing her Ph.D. in a college town in Kansas and somehow lost the will to live.  I warned Miss Y I was planning on stopping by a gallery to see her ex-husband’s latest work.  She was up for seeing her ex. Time seems to have partially healed the wounds of divorce.

We met at the co-ops in Lakewood.  Our first stop was Core New Art Space to see Julie Vaught’s new show, which is a multimedia presentation mostly consisting of pictures taken by an iPhone and manipulated in a software program.  The piece is a commentary on abusive relationships and the journey to survive after one escapes.  A few of the photos feature a topless woman.  The artist is a single mother of 2 as well as a teacher in a local public school district.  Someone complained to the district superintendent because, in their misguided opinion, the piece was about supporting a BDSM lifestyle.  Clearly, the complainer does not understand what a BDSM lifestyle is because there was nothing in the presentation that represented BDSM.  The school board deemed Julie was simply exercising her First Amendment rights.  It’s a powerful display.  One needs to read the included text as there is no artist statement. 

We stopped in all the galleries in the building.  Edge gallery also has a multimedia presentation.  This one stopped us in our tracks.  The gallery artists each contributed to the show which is a commentary on relentlessly escalating gun violence.  Part of the installation is a mockup of a classroom amid a gun violence episode.  Miss Y fled the gallery. I understood her action when I saw the classroom. Her niece shot herself with a handgun. This is very a powerful exhibit, but it will undoubtedly upset many people.

The final stop of the night was Pirate Contemporary Art for yet another multimedia installation.  Catalyst 2,000,000 is based on a previous installation and performance by the artist, Charles Livingston, which comments on how a repeated action is intended to create a meditative state.  The installation includes a series of stark mono-prints which are expertly done.  A sole performance will take place next Friday night.

After Pirate, Miss Y and I chatted in the parking lot.  Her relationship with T is going well.  They went through several rocky patches but have gotten into a grove that suits them.  Miss Y is happy.  She’s been unemployed for a year but has a promising interview next week.  We made the usual promises of staying in touch along with doing future gallery tours together.  We’ll see if life gets in the way again.

As I drove back into the city on the 6th Avenue highway, I was treated to a spectacular lightning show from an approaching summer storm which would soon consume most of the city.  The dark cloudy sky was continuously lit up by the lightning, which reminded me of an abstract fireworks display.  One last multimedia presentation for the night.  I managed to pull into my garage just as the first few raindrops began to fall.  The cat magically appeared by the French doors in the family room.  I let the cat in leaving the door open to enjoy a cool breeze from the downpour outside.  I continued to binge Kleo on Netflix.  The cat sooned joined me on the sofa after he refreshed himself with food and drink.

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On Sunday afternoon, I took Double A to the annual Summer Art Market hosted by the Art Students League.  I thought the art fair would be something fun to do.  We spent a few hours at the fair then headed for drinks at a bar on South Broadway. 

JP joined us soon after we arrived at the bar.  He has one last round of chemo before his next scan to determine if he will need radiation.  JP was in a good mood.  He’s looking for a second home in the high country and is planning on going on a cruise in 2023.  I have to admire his positive attitude.

Soon it was time for JP to leave for a dinner engagement.  Double A and I decided to walk down the street in search of dinner.  As we left the bar, Mike pulled up in his Bentley with Jed, a mutual acquaintance of ours.  The four of us headed to an Italian restaurant in Englewood for dinner. 

While at dinner, which was mediocre at best, Mike was texted by a friend letting him know Monkeypox vaccines were being given out at Trade, a local leather/fetish bar.  After dinner, Mike dropped Jed, Double A and I off at our cars.  Mike headed home to feed his dog while the rest of us went to Trade for vaccines. 

While Trade was packed, there was no line for vaccines.  Within a few minutes we filled out the paperwork and were vaccinated.  Kurt arrived just after I got my shot.  I hadn’t seen him for years.  He’s still handsome but in need of a good grooming as usual.  Kurt told me Carol, a friend who was a fixture on the scene for many years, has moved back to San Diego from Sidney.  A few years ago, Carol moved back to Australia after ending a bitter, years-long custody battle for her son.  I’m sure she’ll be visiting Denver soon.

After our shots we decided to check out the bar crowd.  The bar was hosting a fetish event with a robust crowd along with vendors selling a variety of goods.  We watched a guy getting flogged while another man was spanked with thick wooden paddle.  The bar patrons were attired in various types of dress or undress.  A number of men were simply wearing jockstraps, which is not unusual at Trade.

It was getting late for a school night, so we headed home.  What a day! We went from fine art to flogging in a matter of hours.

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