Gay Dating in Sacramento: zero degrees of separation

Zero degrees of seperation

Zero degrees of seperation

A few days ago a friend of mine (we’ll call him Tom to conceal his identity) met a guy (we’ll call him Lorenzo) for their first date. They met online, both local guys from Sacramento. They met at a trendy coffee shop downtown (Starbucks) and as they sipped on their green tea infused drinks and smiled nervously at one another, their conversation dove into what a normal first date might lead into: the ex-factor. Not a big deal, right?

As they begun to discuss their dating lives and interject funny anecdotes about past loves or one-night stands, Tom’s date mentioned that his previous ex didn’t like to hold hands and had a weird last name. Tom recalled he had briefly dated (2 dates) someone with similar characteristics and asked Lorenzo to give more details about this ex. As Lorenzo trickled more details about this guy, Tom began to connect the dots. It was the same guy…Tom smiled widely with his lips twitching nervously and avoiding eye contact with Lorenzo at all cost.  Lorenzo caught on to Tom’s awkward smiling and nervous laughter.

Lorenzo asked if Tom knew who Lorenzo was referring to. Being the honest guy that Tom is, he said yes and told him they had ‘briefly’ dated. Lorenzo then asked if Tom knew him biblically, and of course, Tom knew him biblically. There was a moment of silence between them and Lorenzo finally said, “I need to move out of Sacramento because everyone has slept with everyone else or dated everyone else.”

Lorenzo words are exactly what you feel when you are gay and date in a small city such as Sacramento. The degrees of separation between someone you dated or slept with are zero to none. The gay dating scene is tough enough as it is and when a relationship ends, you want to start fresh and rid of whatever toxicity your ex might have brought you. But when you date in Sacramento or in small cities, it seems that the ex-factor will, in doubt, be right around the corner or, in this case, in the new guy you are trying to date.

There is no six degrees of separation in Sacramento’s gay dating world. You sleep with one guy and you might as well add the whole lot of gays you see every week at the same clubs in downtown. The scenery doesn’t change unless some poor soul is visiting or passing through and everyone wants to sleep with him too. I was immune to this clustered dating phenomenon in Sacramento as I was dating someone form a WHOLE different country. But after the relationship ended, and I started to date locally, I began to see that in one way or another, everyone was connected. It sort of freaked me out for many reasons: no fresh start, moving forward might be harder, seeing the ex at the club with another lover was likely to happen, rumors, and more importantly, STD’s.

This clustered dating phenomenon is not easily escapable in Sacramento. So what do you do in such circumstances? Not date at all? Date someone from a different country like I did? (Not recommend) If you really want to avoid such phenomenon, maybe try dating someone from a nearby town but you also run the risk of the same dating phenomenon such as in Sacramento. My advice is, if you really like the guy, it really won’t matter who he’s dated as long as in the end, he is faithful. And just in case you are wondering, Tom and Lorenzo are going strong and have moved on to a second date and survived that as well.

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Julieta Venegas concert review

Julieta Venegas at Ace of Spades, Sacramento

Julieta Venegas at Ace of Spades, Sacramento

It was all about the music on Sunday night’s Julieta Venegas’ concert for her Los Momentos tour at Ace of Spades in Sacramento. Venegas has always been a humble artist and never quite fit in with the other pop divas in the Mexican music scene and last night’s show proved, that for her, it’s the music that matters.

With a simple set up with her four musicians, she took to the stage and opened with “Hoy” from her latest album Los Momentos, an album she’s received critical praise but little air play especially on this side of the border. Los Momentos is a richly infused album with electronic pop and piano driven sound which is a departure from her signature pop and accordion style that launched her career in Mexico and much of Latin America.

The crowd was silent and a little stumbled when she opened with “Hoy” a synthesized piano driven song about letting true love in, which was most likely written about her new born daughter, and unless they were die-hard fans, they probably hadn’t heard this catchy tune, which is a shame.  Dressed in a simple pink dress, Venegas addressed the crowd after her second song and told the audience she would be performing more songs from Los Momentos.

With her quiet demeanor, she jumped right back into singing. To some this might be oft-putting, however, she is not one to bring a big spectacle show with outfit changes or backup dancers. She kept it simple throughout the night with the only major changes were her musical instruments from her guitar, piano, and her famous accordion.

The crowd finally started to get into a rhythm when she addressed her audience for “Despedida,” a song she said she wrote about acknowledging a relationship that didn’t work out but accepting and even toasting the end of the relationship just like how it started.

When she played hits from her 2006 album Limón y Sal, the crowed livened especially in “Eres Para Mi.” She let the crowd sing right along with her and smiled when her fans pointed at her when she sang “Tu eres para mi/yo soy para ti” (“You are for me/I’m for you”) and even rapped Anita Tijoux’s part.

Venegas continued to speak throughout the night and told a story of a friend who asked if it was safe to travel to Mexico. “Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t take a chance on doing something,” she told the audience before performing “Vuelve.” Translated into “Return,” the song speaks about her concern with the recent drug-related violence that plagues Mexico.

She picked up her accordion several times throughout her set list including in the crowd pleasing “Me Voy” and “Sin Documentos.” It’s a heavy instrument but she played it so effortlessly even as she danced on the stage.

The show ended with an encore of 2 more songs “Algo Está Cambiando” and “Andar Conmigo,” which the crowd ate up. Although the show seemed brief, it was a modest yet pleasing performance of Venegas, one that not just her die-hard fans would enjoy. She is still on tour and I highly recommend catching her before she heads to South America.

Q&A with Ben Delacreme from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Ben Delacreme drag star from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Her name is synonymous to the best of the crop, the crème de la crème and so far Ben Delacreme is one of the top contestants to beat on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 6, and she’ll make her first appearance in Sacramento this Saturday at Badlands.

Her unique style is a throwback to the 1950’s pinup girl and her charisma and sweetness has made her one of the favorite queens this season. Delacreme, who has been performing drag for 11 years, attributes her style to burlesque and cabaret shows and old cartoon where women were idolized.

“As a kid, I was really into those older Warner Brothers cartoons where the wolf is whistling at the lady,” Delacreme said. “That kind of image of womanhood was the thing I was most excited about growing up.”

Delacreme has made a career out of this sexy bombshell image performing burlesque shows in Seattle where she lives and around the country. She is part of the “The Atomic Bombshells” burlesque troupe and a producer of the Seattle “Tuck” dance/drag event.

On Drag Race she is one queen who stays true to the style that has inspired her look for many years. So far this season, Delacreme has won two challenges and is praised by RuPaul and the rest of the judges for her dazzling style and charm. She’s also spent time at the bottom lip-singing for her life but surviving.

“I think it really shows a realistic range of what it’s like to be a performer and a human,” Delacreme said. “I work really hard; I do my darnest to put my art out there and be true to myself and also give the audience what they want and sometimes you falter and when you do, you gotta get back up and try your harder.”

But on this week’s episode she flew back up with her fly-inspired look on the runway and her personable interview with Chaz Bono and Georgia Holt (Bono’s grandmother).  Delacreme lived to see another week of Drag Race.

Below she discusses what to expect Friday, her inspiration for Delacreme and her current addiction.

Jorge Moreno: You have a unique style of drag, so what can your fans expect Saturday?

Delacreme:  Well I am a queen of many faces, so you can definitely expect comedy, something a little bit out of the regular form of what the other queens do. I’ll be performing live and possibly doing a parody I wrote myself or something a little bit more complicated but bringing you all on a comedic journey. [Laughs]

JM: Where did DelaCreme come from?

Delacreme: I grew up watching old MGM musicals who featured Ann Miller, the tap dancer, and she was one of my first female icons, and she’s always wearing those little showgirl one piece outfits. I also get a lot of drag inspiration from the burlesque and cabaret world since I was around women who were referencing that time period as well so a lot of my style is entrenched in that background.

JM: What is a moment that stands out from being on the show?

Delacreme: Well so far, since I can’t give out the rest, has been winning the Snatch Game. It was really phenomenal because I wasn’t expecting it. I was really nervous coming in to do an impersonation [She impersonated the great Maggie Smith] and of course Snatch Game this year was really hot and heavy because there were really good performances from the other queens. So that win was totally like a high for me.

ME: Which queens did you bond the most on the Drag Race?

I got a really close with Adore [Delano] and you don’t really get to see that on the show except for little moments like when I jump on her back or hold hands but she is someone I talk to pretty frequently. Also, Bianca [Del Rio] and I developed a good friendship as well.

JM: Have you felt any negativity since appearing on the show?

Delacreme: It’s been really positive and I’ve been overwhelmed by how awesome and positive the response has been. I get tons of letters and emails with people telling me how they connect to me and the character and they feel inspired. I’ve been working in this field for 11 years and getting this kind of response really makes it feel like it’s totally worth it. Like I am doing the right thing with my life

JM: You were compared by RuPaul to Michelle Vasage. Do you see the resemblance?

Delacreme: I’ve been hearing that for a couple of years now. At first I was like, no I don’t know what you’re talking about but of course now that I see us on TV I totally see it. [Laughs]

JM: How hectic has your life been since appearing on the show?

Delacreme: I had experience doing shows before but this has been insane. I’ve been going to parts of the country that I’ve never been to and the audiences are different, and you kind of have to be ready for everything. I’m also working on writing new material, and creating new shows that I’ll be collaborating with others in the future.

JM: Will these collaborations be with any of the other Drag Race contestants?

Delacreme: Well, there are some things in the works but nothing that I can really talk about yet, but I can tell people there are things coming they can look forward to.

JM: You are also part of “DeLouRue Presents,” tell me about that?

Delacreme: It’s my production company with my two best friends, Kitten la Rue and Lou Henry Hoover, who are burlesque queen and a drag king, and the three of us have been working together in different ways for the past six years. We do shows that have cabaret and burlesque, and drag, comedy and social commentary and huge dance numbers. I like to think of it as a cross between an old MGM musical, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and a contemporary drag show.

JM: What advice do you have for anyone in Sacramento or anywhere who wants to do drag?

Delacreme: My number one advice is, and what makes the coolest drag, is when you just listen to your own head. If people just focus on the things they love the most that’s when they will come up with the most interesting things in drag.

JM: What drag accessory can you not live without?

Delacreme: It’s hard to just pick one thing but what feels the most like Dela is having the right hair. Like she always has like a big bump in the back no matter what the hairdo is. When I get the hair pined in and I can feel it squishing behind me, then I know I am her.

JM: What’s your addiction right now?

Delacreme: Oh my god, I have a lot of addictions! [Laughs] As I travel around the country I realize that my true Seattlelite comes out because I cannot seem to get enough coffee in my body. I feel like the coffee everywhere else is half the strength like the coffee in Seattle. Caffeine is my drug of choice.

You can catch Delacreme on Monday’s on Logo TV at 9 p.m.  She also has her own products and you can learn more here. Admissions into Badlands for the show starts at 8 p.m., and you can purchase tickets for a meet-and-greet here or at the door.

The Blackout Experience

The Hangover” was basically a movie about the every-man/woman experience of a drunken night out in Las Vegas and waking up the next day with out a trace of memory of what occurred.  I call it the blackout experience where you don’t remember what happened during a night of excessive alcoholic libations. When I watched the Hangover, I thought it was alright. It had some funny moments but I didn’t really quite understand what that experience of blacking out was all about.

Every time I drink or have been drunk, I have always been a responsible drunk who at least knows how to get back home (walking of course) and can remember exactly what happened during the night out.  I remember what was done and said including intonations. All that changed this weekend. I experienced the infamous blackout that was portrayed in “The Hangover.”  I was, of course, not in Las Vegas, but just celebrating my birthday in my town. I thought it would be like any of my other birthday’s or any other weekend I decided to go out. I’d get a few friends to go out to the bars and have a few drinks and come home and have the room spinning for a bit, possibly vomit (responsibly in the toilet) but I would know exactly what I did the night before when I’d wake up.

But that all changed at the ripe old age of 35! Yes 35! I know all who experience this do so in their twenties but like I had mentioned before, I have always been a responsible drinker. Always puking in the toilet and never in anyone’s car or carpet– always responsible.  However, this past weekend, I don’t remember pretty much anything from the night. I am not exactly sure how to feel about that. Should I be proud that I finally had a night of irresponsible drinking and managed to let loose? Or should I be sort of ashamed and worried that I let myself drink to the point of not remembering what I did during a night of drinking?Drunk Man Funny Sleep

When I woke up the next morning, I was in the bathroom (responsible puking still in me) but could not remember how I ended up there (not responsible). I tried to remember as hard as I could what had happened the night before and why there were so many leaves in my house: in the kitchen, the bedroom, the closet and the bathroom. However, my mind drew a blank to all of this and my pounding head wouldn’t allow me to think of much else but my pounding head. I remember the initial going out and meeting at a bar and having a few beers, but after that nothing. All memories wiped out by alcohol. Now if alcohol could only work to wipe out other memories one does not want to recall.

After waking up mid-afternoon, my friends, who I thought had spent the night, had left and I could not find my house keys. Details of the night slowly began to emerge since Facebook can now help with that by the many jokes my friends were posting about soda. I, of course, had no idea what they were talking about. I asked one of my cousins, where my keys were at, and I finally found them hanging on the door (the last place I would have looked). I asked a different friend what had happened and he sent me a picture since pictures speak louder than words. When I looked at the picture, I was still a bit drunk; I laughed, but then realized I was rolling around in the street. My friend not only told me that I rolled around in the street but also fell into some bushes and most of the walk home I crawled, not walked. He also said I fell asleep outside, vomited on myself (irresponsible puking), and I was cut off drinking at the bar, and he ordered me a soda.

I, apparently, thought this soda was the best alcoholic beverage ever! And this is where the soda jokes were coming from. Hey, I am a happy drunk, what can I say? I also woke up with bruises all over my body, probably from falling down so many times as I was told. Although this night may not have been quite the experience like “The Hangover” with no missing tooth or tigers in my bathroom, it was fun to see pictures on my phone that I don’t  remember taking and making it home without  losing my wallet or phone and dignity. The responsible drunk was still in me. Again, I am not sure how I should feel about the  experience, but I can say without a doubt it was a fun night out with friends celebrating and for once letting my inhibitions loose.