Wednesday 01.01.2014

1535735_10202436329977051_1842024595_nHappy New Year, Internet.
Julia and I watched the New Year roll in quietly, nestled in our house with Bailey, sipping a celebratory champagne and being really thankful of the eight great months we’ve had as a couple and thinking about all the adventures that the rest of our lives has in store for us. We had discussed going out, but with me working in a bar-which is to say socializing for a living- the idea of a quiet ‘just us three’ night really appealed to us. As my new blog issued it’s first three scheduled posts (more about that later) we kissed and hugged and were all goobery with each other. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer night.

My 2013 had radical ups and downs.

My friend Shannon Larratt killed himself. There’s so much to that whole situation that I respectfully keep quiet about, but at the end of the day I often find myself missing my friend and sometimes enemy, and thinking about Rachel and Ari and how much worse it must be for them. Between the Stay Calm event we threw to support them/remember him and my TIFF visit that found me saying my peace at his old apartment I’ve found closure, but.. still a kick in the nuts.

Even more so losing Josh Burdette the same way. At the event, Josh and I were able to stand around and just bullshit about things, and his thoughts on Shannon’s suicide would have never given me cause to think he’d go out the same way. I choose not to dwell on how he died, but how he lived, and when I think back on my friendship with him the good memories far outweigh the bad.

And then Dennis Clegg. Dennis was a friend I made at the bar. Our senses of humor were eerily compatible, as was our love of cookies and Italian Greyhounds. I’d go months at a time without seeing him but could count on him leaving pleasant or sarcastic messages on my Twitter account, day and mood determining which it was. I saw him the night before he died, and in an uncharacteristic and possibly Jameson fueled bit of sentiment, he kissed me on the temple and told me that he loved me and my family. The next morning he left a note on my Twitter telling me I looked like a ‘Russian Serf’ and a few hours later died of a fatal heart attack at swim practice.

This year has served as a sombre reminder of the fragility of life and why I should enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did in 2013.

ggbridgeI started the year in Boston with my good friends Vee, Pat, Ed, Larisa and Dave. The rest of the year found me in San Diego where I got to hang out with Shain, Dustin, Ed, Heng, Chris and Pushead and then up to San Francisco for some touristing time with my friend Zoe who turned out to be an amazing hostess and tour guide. I got to have dinner with my old Florida friend Kristen as well as Hilary, Brooke, the lovely Kelly and Robin and her fella before braving Oakland for a latenight visit with Mr. Joyner. I made my yearly Vegas trip which was my best yet, spending time with Jenna and all of my amazing friends. I visited Toronto and not only saw JODOROWSKY’S DUNE at the Toronto International Film Festival but had the director dedicate the screening to me in front of the whole audience. I was able to visit Jennifer and Richard Stell at their great new shop in Tulsa Oklahoma, make friends with Jennifer Billig (who I’ve looked up to for years) and help roast a hog while hanging out with a lot of great tat-bros, had a crazy round trip visit to Providence, Rhode Island and finish off my travel season with a trip to Austin Texas where I was able to see Bethany for a second time this year as well as a bunch of other friends that I see way too infrequently.

That could have made for chaos, but all of the trips were perfect; cathartic, relaxing and full of adventure.

1507965_10202511466055406_1005943212_nMy greatest adventure in 2013, however, was breaking a promise I had made to myself earlier in the year. I made a pledge, as part of my health/fitness/mental health initiative, to stay single for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. To have fun. To not get serious and to go on a bunch of first dates. I had committed to it and even when Julia and I agreed that a first date was something she and I needed to do, I was still 100% behind my pledge. By the second date I was ready to propose. As I type this, she’s asleep at my side, curled into an adorable little ball of sass and long black hair and we’re about to celebrate our eight month anniversary. I’m happy to report that every day is still a first date and now that it’s 2014 I guess I can finally give up on the no dating thing and covertly make an honest woman out of her. The three years I knew her before our romantic relationship started couldn’t have prepared me for how we’d fit together as a couple and she continues to impress and humble me every day that I’m lucky to be with her. We know we’re “that couple”- and have the matching tattoos to prove it- but neither of us mind very much. And if you the pleasure of meeting her, I have no doubt you’ll find yourself understanding the smile that’s permanently on my face these days.

1374075_709363687906_1460643889_nIt was a great year for other kinds of firsts, as well. I ran two 5ks in 2013. The first on almost no sleep the day of the STAY CALM event, the second on almost no sleep for the AIDS WALK PHILADELPHIA where our team raised well over $3000 for people in our area affected by HIV/AIDS. The first race I ran with Erin, the second with a team who all braved an early morning wakeup call to get our asses out and run for people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. It felt great. Every mile of it. I’m not sure if I’m going to do the charity portion this year; I think I pushed my friends and loved ones to the breaking point with my aggressive fundraising, but I’ll absolutely be doing more team runs. Hell. We even started a running club at APP in 2013, with folks getting up for a 7am run-time to run a few miles in already oppressive heat. Fun can be found where you make it.

I’m thankful for all of the good times that 2013 brought me, as well as the bad ones. I did things that in previous years I would have never thought myself capable of- running 5ks, maintaining a friendship with a former girlfriend (of course, Natalie is so rad that it’s pretty easy to adore her) as well as introducing her to Julia, having a healthy stable relationship, healthy stable friendships and a allowing a stinky dog that loves me unconditionally to stick around despite him forgetting how to behave from time to time.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 7.53.17 PMI ended the year by finishing up the final touches on a new project I’m working on that, as always, documenting and archives something. In this case it’s Body Modification History and the blog is called Sacred Debris. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you should check it out. Right now it’s light on content, but hell, it’s only four and a half hours old. As we move into the new year I’m going to be adding tons of content to make sure that a major part of my formative years won’t just disappear.

Thank you, so much, to everyone who made my year amazing, and I look forward to starting 2014 knowing that we’ll have more adventures to come!

Thursday 08.08.2013

birthdaylove

My friend Brian once said “Good or Bad, my friends are all I’ve ever had.”

I’ve spent the last few days surrounded by my amazing friends.
Having worked on my birthday proper, Julia organized an amazing get together at Fogo de Chao where friends from Norway, Massachusetts, Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, California and all over PA joined me to tell some stories, eat some meat and have a nice relaxing dinner.

The restaurant was incredibly tolerant of our chicanery, even giving the Sangria treatment to an ‘imported’ bottle of Hawaiian Punch that we brought in- mixing fresh fruit and fancy stemwear with cheap fruit juice because they got the joke. That kind of thing goes a long way with the Weirdos and we did our best to be entertaining customers. It paid off- as I was leaving one of the runners told his coworker “this was the most fun party we’ve ever had”.  I’m not sure if it was because I was taking pictures of a friend’s vagina under the table, or maybe Brian and I demanding twinkies after our Hawaiian Punch was delivered, but either way… great night.

We had a little post party good times at the ‘Stop, inviting everyone up to the theater where we set up the Popcorn maker Carm and Robert got me for my birthday, screening ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ and ‘Coming to America’ with fresh popcorn popping and most of us not wearing pants. Damn good capoff of an equally damned good night.

ddmmI also saw Jenna; quick airport trip to keep her company during a layover. I’ve been very spoiled this year; seeing her three times this year makes me want to shoot for four…  I feel like I never have time to visit friends despite having more free time than most of the people I know; it’s frustrating sometimes. I really need to work on getting a new roommate so I can book a few more three day trips before the year is out. My AirBnB bookings have been picking up this month so I have a little wiggle room for adventure, but it would probably behoove me to get a permanent resident in the other open room. Same story- all the time in the world but never time to visit anyone and a house with so much space but no one to fill it. Things will be more stable when Julia finally moves in. We’ve been talking a lot about that lately- the inevitability of her moving in and the little touches she’ll put on the house. I can’t wait to see how the house changes from ‘mine’ to ‘ours’ as she puts her personality into it. So exciting.

I think I’m s’posed to be all introspective and such with a birthday having just passed, thinking about my future and where I want to be in x years… Instead I’m going to take things as they come- planning new tattoos (22nd August with Robert Ryan) and adventures (Halloween in Austin with Julia!) and trying to see my loved ones as much as possible with dreams of Asheville in my periphery…

Photos: My #futuretrophywife and I; inset: DD/MM

Friday 08.02.2013

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(I forgot to click PUBLISH on this the other day!)

I was born 39 years ago today.
I don’t really remember it. I’m sure there was some crying.
Originally my name was going to be Shawn Patrick Porter. Somehow I got saddled with Kevin Shawn instead. Kevin.  Not a fan.
It’s been a super chill birthday so far. Woke up semi-late at Julia’s, walked Bail back south to my place and watched Hellboy 2 then met up with Julia for a quaint little picnic in Rittenhouse park where she had packed up figs, salami and a stinky cheese, an orangina and a kombucha and a chocolate bar. Perfect little mild winter treat. She got me the most appropriate present imaginable and we sat in the park making funny stories up about people walking by, watching out for cute dogs and being all smoopy and lovey all over instagram.

Couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.

Most days lately are like that; couldn’t ask for a better one but knowing that tomorrow will be better than the day before, no matter how rad the day before was. I miss therapy some days but have been super proactive about talking about what’s going on in my life good and bad with people I trust. When I was in therapy I waited for the little revelations to happen; breakthroughs that helped drive some sort of change and help me figure out some of the baggage I carry around with me. The other night, Movie Night with Erin (Red2) I had one, out of nowhere. We were walking down 4th street, Erin, Elvis the dog and I, and I realized that everything I was telling her, my ad hoc therapist, was good stuff. I used to look forward to movie night every week so I could bitch about the previous seven days; even when things were ‘mostly good’ there were still those petty annoyances that I just fixated on, let fester and grow toxic and allowed to weigh me down.

The other night was more about how rad things are around me.

So 39. One more year till 40.

If this is what it’s like… I’ll take it.

Photo: Picnic by Julia. 

Wednesday 07.31.2013

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A few updates ago I went off on a tirade about the lack of video stores in Philadelphia (and much of America, I’m sure) and how we have less options these days than we did five, ten years ago. Luckily for us, Philadelphia at least has Exhumed Films. I’ve been going to their shows off and on since I moved to Philly; sometimes in New Jersey, sometimes in the city proper- wherever they have a location. They’re a group of movie fans who screen rare 35mm prints of cult, horror and exploitation films, sort of like a less commercial Alamo Draft House save that they don’t have their own location. It’s moved around quite a bit and most recently has a home at the International House on Chestnut Street.

My schedule these days means that I miss most of their offerings, but when things line up I always try to make screenings, even if I’ve never heard of the movie being shown. Last night the boys hosted REMOTE CONTROL; a little seen 1988 horror flick from by BLUE SUNSHINE director Jeff Lieberman starring Kevin Dillion, Deborah Goodrich and Jennifer Tilly. Best of all, Jeff was on hand to introduce the movie, show a 16mm print of his first short, an ironically trippy antidrug PSA called RINGERS. The turnout was good; I always want to see more people at these screenings but there were at least 100 in attendance, so that was pretty rad. It’s always good to see these movies with a full and appreciative audience. Having seen ONLY GOD FORGIVES in San Diego with a packed house of people who didn’t realize they were seeing a weirdo art film a few weeks ago.. I really appreciate an audience that knows what it’s getting into. Jeff stuck around for a Q&A after the movie but I had to jet; missed out on that as well as picking up a poster/print for the screening. I always do that. I swear I’m going to start biking there with a poster tube in my bag.. I missed out on the TCM2 print a few months ago for the same reason. One day I’ll learn.

But all that aside.. it was a great night. The film was appropriately cheesy and worth seeing. I love when they do movies on my free nights. I was sad not to see my friend and fellow cult film nerd Rob at the showing, but as luck would have it, I randomly ran into him today and we had an in-depth movie nerd sidewalk conversation that ranged from old work stuff (Apparently Dave Clark, the biggest douchebag I met in all my years at Amazon- bigger than Paul Lysko, Jenna Owens or Fern) just shared the stage with President Obama in some Amazon PR crap. We had a lot of sport with that, then moved on to discussing 1980s porn, cut scenes, the death of the video store culture… all the stuff that makes life worth living. Rob and I have this weird friendship where we see each other in random spots. Been that way since we worked together and has continued the three plus years I’ve been out of the DFC.

So much nerdery.

Otherwise it’s a nice slow day. Haircut, finally. Gym time. Playing mediator between Bailey and
Mervin as they both fought to use me as a pillow. Built a bicycle for Julia and then m
ore Game of Thrones reading and gearing up for movie night with Erin at 7pm. Full day so far and it feels like it’s just starting.

In two days I turn 39.
Ugh.