Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

I [Heart] Governor Paterson

This guy is a gem. Yes, he has just announced his support and leadership in New York for recognizing gay marriage. But more importantly, he’s a funny guy. Last month, Governor Paterson was honored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. His acceptance speech begins with his characteristic dry wit, saying he’s being held against his will to do his administrative duties, and then goes on to lament not meeting John Waters.

As reported in the New York Times piece this morning, Paterson acknowledges growing up in Harlem with his Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald. The simple presence of a loving couple in his childhood seems to have liberated him from closed-minded, xenophobic thinking.

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Is Sigur Ros’ new song just Gobbledigook?

One of my favorite concert memories was drinking in the ethereal vocals of Jón Þór (Jónsi) Birgisson at a Sigur Ros concert in the opulent, crumbling digs of The Opera House (left) in downtown Boston one spring night with a bunch of friends. When Jonsi hit one of his high notes in an Untitled track from (), I remember getting chills down my spine. If I remember right, he’s more interested in the sound of the voice and sings nonsensical words, not lyrics in a foreign tongue.

Here’s their new video, kinda hippie, kinda folksy (as opposed to their last album, which my ex called funeral dirges). It’s called “Gobbledigook,” and the band is offering a free download of the song on their website. Good stuff. Not to mention that it’s a collaboration with the photographer Ryan McGinley, who I love love love. I learned about Ryan McGinley from a photographer friend Hyoungsun Ha, who I met while in residence at the Vermont Studio Center a couple years ago. Both McGinley and Hyoungsun are fantastic photographers, very different but sharing a common joy in the everyday.

 

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Gayborhoods are for Gays

Scott Cole and I used to joke that one of our friends was not just gay, but Super Gay. And this describes the Chicago hood that I’m visiting to a tee. I don’t know if this is a compliment or an insult; maybe more of a term of endearment. Super Gay, except lots of baby strollers and yuppies. Boystown, as my friends told me last night at Fire Fly, an intimate little bistro on Northalstead–that’s not a typo, Spellcheck, the locals have shortened the street name to a friendly little moniker–Boystown is the only official gay neighborhood.

“What about The Castro?” I asked.

That one stumped ’em.

Out and about in Boystown, May 08 (Thanks for the pic, Scott!)Many, many people much smarter than me have mused on gay ghettos. Gayborhoods. Great Gay Ways. Are these gay enclaves a boon for us? In a way, it seems that any place that is homogeneous risks dysfunction, xenophobia, banality. It happens on Capitol Hill and it happens on Wisteria Lane. I don’t think I’ll ever be content with one neighborhood with a single identity. All the folks in this coffeeshop are middle class whites. Literally. I’m the only person of color among 40 folks sipping lattes, talking on cell phones, writing on laptops. And it’s not just this neighborhood.

Here I am at left in a funny little shot snapped by Dr. Scott last night after a night of carousing.

 

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Strolling the streets of Boystown

Arrived in Chicago yesterday to visit my friend Scott and eventually attend the wedding of the great poet P.F. Potvin (he and his bride Honor are hosting a Roaring 20’s Reception that I’m looking forward to).

How young we look! Alden\'s house in Ptown, 2005Last night, Scott showed me around his hood, Boystown, and we had a fantastic dinner at this hipster place called Ping Pong. I love the fact that the place was hopping, and that there were as many lesbians as there were gay men. Scott and I noted that in the Boston gay community, everything seems more segregated and less friendly. Maybe this is a generalization, but seems to hold some truth. Are people as approachable in Boston as they are here in the Midwest?

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Graffiti art: Not just Banksy anymore

Yes, Banksy is great, but as my nephew Witt tells me, so last year. (He’s works at the Walker Art Center, so I believe in his art–and musical–taste).

I came across this graffiti art titled MUTO, by the artist Blu recently; from South America, I think, or just doing work there. What I love about his work is the sheer magnitude of it. What begins as a small, one-dimensional picture on a brick wall evolves into something that folds into itself, creeps into corners and dark passages, interacts with objects and passersby. Watch this video he made, it’s worth it. And post here! Let me know what you think

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU

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Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
May 2008
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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