Monday, March 30, 2009

Opening Night and Conjugal Visit

This week has been SUPER busy with our grand opening night party, the end of previews and excessive rehearsals and a visit from Constantine! I don't like being away from blogging.. I think even if no one ever read my blog I would still feel like I want to do it. For me it is not only a journal and a record of my experiences, it is also a time for me to create something. Even if I just post a picture or video that I find interesting, it is still an entity that didn't exist before I created it. There is something so gratifying to me about the act of creation. And like everything, creation takes effort, time, and carries a piece of the person who created it. To me, that is something pretty spectacular that we can control in this world in which ultimately we have a lot of control in some ways, but in others absolutely NONE. Here are a few pics from the opening night of Mary Poppins National Tour, which I am currently a part of.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sweep that mess UP!

Today during our photo shoot for the souvenir program we got bored while waiting around and decided to make a calendar of "sexy sweeps". Step in time was never more interesting.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Sacred, Secret, or Both

Lately so many in the mormon community have been talking about this over the past few weeks: Big Love Season 3 Episode 9 "Outer Darkness." I just watched the episode and found all the parts that involved temple information to be 1) extremely accurate-- from my memory they missed one "or" but thats it, and 2) extraordinarily touching and beautiful. I know that these are things that mormons don't want people without a recommend to have access to, but honestly with the information superhighway being what it is today, it is impossible for the temple ceremony to be truly secret anymore. There are too many people who have been through the endowment ceremony too many times, and then separated from the church. I watched a one hour video on youtube where an ex-mormon goes word for word through the ceremony and even gives the people in his audience the signs and tokens as they are given in current endowment ceremonies. He even talks about the changes that were made in 1990 and also prior to that.

For me, this is not a time to express outrage or be incensed that everyone knows the secrets. Anyone who wanted to know what temple clothing looks like, who wanted to hear the rituals of passing through the veil, or who wanted to see the celestial room already has all of that at his/her fingertips. I think this is now a time for mormons to not be concerned about what outsiders know. They should be proud of the temple ceremonies. Making them public doesn't make them less meaningful. On the contrary. All of the basic saving ordinances in the church are public, and that doesn't diminish their efficacy according to the precepts of the faith. Why then this sudden outrage? For me it is because it is a situation that they are unable to control. The information came out not because they said it could. But like all secrets, when you share them, they will come out. I think TBMs should be VERY grateful that the information was not only accurate, but presented in such a way as to make these rituals seem meaningful, poignant, spiritual, and important in the lives of those who call upon them.

I no longer believe that the church is the only true and living church on the face of the earth, but I am supportive of people's journeys as long as they are loving, high vibrational, non-violent, and don't take away the agency of others to have similar loving and full sojourns on this planet.

If you are an active mormon and are reading this, I would like to challenge you to make a change today. Don't be a victim. Don't be someone who is being persecuted or exposed. Be proud of your faith. Embrace the beauty of what you believe in. Don't be afraid of information coming out. If you really believe it is the truth, then no unhallowed hand can stop it. Truth is truth and it needs no buttress. You can choose gratitude instead of offense. No one has taken anything from you or your faith. What is no longer secret can still be sacred. That's always been the temple watch cry: Its not secret, its SACRED.

Now is your chance to prove it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stealing Playgirl, Transparently

I don't often do "confessional" posts, but I am going to do one now, mostly because something from my past made its way into my consciousness today, and I am going to do now what I do best: be transparent.

Speaking of past transgressions, wasn't it funny how we were always encouraged not to discuss past transgressions? I never followed that advice, and certainly now is not the time to start. Get ready for all the juicy sins that I am about to lay forth.

But first, a note on transparency. Last night I had an extremely sexual dream about one of the guys in my cast who happens to be straight, and who is not someone I am consciously attracted to. Today when I saw him I felt so... I don't know, INTIMATE, with him because of my subconscious corporeal union with him, that I just had to tell him about it. I did it in front of the whole dressing room.. WHY? Because I can't help it. I'd rather be embarrassed than hide something. I told you: transparent.

Back in the ancient past when I was the wee age of 15, the sexual revolution inside my body was in full swing. As a good mormon in the teachers quorum, there wasn't a lot of permissible activities associated with human sexuality. I had never masturbated in my life, in fact I didn't really know how to do it, and I had never experienced an orgasm. But I sure knew that there was something spicy brewing inside my body.

One day in a shopping mall book store, I discovered a stack of Playgirl magazines in the lower cubby of a small waist level shelf adjacent to the magazine rack. Just seeing the shirtless guy on the cover sent a cocktail of emotions rushing wildly through my entire body, and sent a lot of blood rushing directly to my, well, cocktail. Sitting on the floor indian style, and as subtly as an em-boner-ed teen could, I quietly leafed through the magazine without blinking, only turning my attention back to the bookshelf when I felt someone near me. Then I realized that if I positioned "Better Homes and Gardens" right in front of me, but had the forbidden fruit behind out of sight, I could just look at the pictures and read the magazine without too much risk. Over the course of the next year, things escalated, just like my priesthood leaders said they would.

In mormon culture, porn is really bad. I mean, marriages end because a man looks at porn. Families are shattered and hopes are dashed by those pictures, images, and sounds that are now so readily available. My priesthood leaders and my parents all seemed to share the same idea that pretty much all bad things start with porn. As an example, I remember once hearing someone say that somebody had been interviewed on death row. He had killed a bunch of people. When asked how his history of violence was born, he said that it all started with his first porn magazine. First it was just naked women, then he moved on to videos, then to videos featuring S&M, domination, then onto more violent porn, and of course after that he acted it all out. Porn made him the killer he is today, and now he's going to be hung for it, or shot at close range if he was in Utah. Looking at porn for a young man like me was a way of inviting all the evils of the world to take over my life. But I just couldn't help it. My curiosity and sexuality were too strong to resist.

Let me now explain the escalation I referred to just a moment ago. After simply looking at the magazines, I felt I needed to take something home with me so I could experience these feelings in more private quarters. So I started tearing out pages as quietly as I could, and folding them up and stuffing them in my pants pockets. Eventually it got to the point where I would just stuff the entire magazine into the top/front of my pants, cover the remainder of the magazine with my shirt, and then stroll out with a flushed, forced nonchalant expression on my face that I can only imagine now. Sometimes when I would get home, I would feel so guilty that I would just rush back to the mall and replace it. Once or twice I even left 20 dollars on the counter while the clerk was helping someone else just to try and satisfy my horrible guilt.

I remember once I kept a Playgirl for a few weeks and hid it.. WHERE? You guessed it! Under my mattress. I know. Real ORIGINAL. I kept having these nightmares that my mom might find it while changing my sheets, but I never moved it because I just didn't know where else to put it. Well one day I came home from school and the magazine was gone. GONE! I can't describe how panicked I felt, so I am just going to ask you to imagine. My world felt like it was crumbling. I may have been a professional bullshitter in English class writing about the theme of Heart of Darkness, but I knew I could never talk my way out of this. I was certain my mom had found it. I didn't know what to do next.

I walked down to see my mom, and to my further horror, she was acting COMPLETELY normal. This was either the most subtle attempt at a confession I had ever seen, or she was just not wanting to talk about it. Deciding that she knew but was choosing to just let it be, I slowly just allowed it to slip quietly into my private history. The truth of what happened to that stolen Playgirl never crossed my mind, and I would not find out about that until 8 years later. (I'm not making this up!!)

One Christmas break, my older brother Stuart, my younger brother Guy, and I were all taking a gentle stroll down memory lane. By now I am out to everyone in my family, and all my siblings are very comfortable with me being gay. "Hey Stuart, remember that time we burned Clark's playgirl in the parking lot of Doerre?" (a nearby jr. high school). "WHAT!?" I screamed. In truth I hadn't thought about that for so long, but suddenly all my fear and horror about my mom finding it now flooded back into my brain. "Yeah. We found it under your mattress because we thought you might be gay, so we searched through your room. When we found it we didn't know what to do, so we just burned it."

Ok let me just pause for a moment and do this justice. My poor brothers, 17 and 13 years old, burning their closeted brother's gay rag. I can't imagine what they must've felt, and how strangely righteous it probably felt for them to burn that wickedness into flames. Gay porn is obviously so much more reviling than the straight porn Stuart had been watching for the last 3 years. But I think more than judgement they were trying to protect me from something so alien to them.

We just laughed our heads off after that, felt even more bonded to one another. Of course. Transparency does that to you. Its a possible side effect, so check with your doctor before taking Transparency. Other side effects include but are not limited to, serious rash, explosive diarrhea, cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, and of course, utter and abandoned vulnerability. (say the last sentence really fast.. its the fine print or the last 5 seconds of the TV commercial they hope you won't notice).

So I guess I have to add thief to my list of odd jobs. I probably stole a total of 8-10 magazines during that period of my life. I had never stolen anything before that, and I have never stolen anything since. If I had to do this the mormon way, I would probably pull out the five Rs of Repentance just to make sure I have covered all my bases.

Recognition: Wow I totally stole. Stealing is wrong. Stealing a Playgirl, priceless.
Remorse: I feel terrible about stealing that magazine, well, excited and terrible.
Restitution: Should I send some of my babysitting earnings to the Playgirl to pay them back? I hope they pay tithing on this!
Reformation: When I turn 18 I'll be able to stop stealing these and I guess I'll just commit a different sin and buy them.
Resolution: I'm gay.

As a final note, I would like to say that while I take an extremely Swiss stance on porn, I must decisively declare that porn has not made me become a murderer or a rapist. It just hasn't and so I guess the Mythbusters don't need to come in on this one. That myth is officially busted as far as I'm concerned. But I give you leave to hate or love porn as your heart desires. Like so many things in the world, you have to choose what you think is best for you. Take my advice, though, if you want to enjoy porn. Pay for yours. Stealing porn not only makes for a demeaning activity, it also makes for a truly mediocre blog post.

And for my final selection: Why did I sit down at 2 am and write this? I don't know. I just have to bear my nakedness to the world. It's my M.O. It's the song I can't get out of my head. It's me.

A Golden Reminder

I saw this on someone else's blog and I just had to steal it. I absolutely love this saying and this graphic that goes with it. Could any idea be more poignant and universal than the golden rule? And could any rule so well known be so ignored by so many because of other rules they would rather obey?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

People, Money, and Things

I watch the Suze Orman Show on CNBC every week. I love it. Hearing about people's lives as it relates to money is fascinating to me, and Suze is both a financial advisor and a sage advocate of human progress and happiness. One of the things I have learned from Suze is that the way people tend to run their financial lives is normally very similar to the way they run their emotional lives. If their finances are in chaos, so are their relationships. If they are honest about their financial lives, and live within their means, they tend to be honest and straightforward in other capacities. If they are stingy and greedy, they tend to be stingy and greedy with love as well. Every week Suze ends the show with this saying: "People first, then money, then things." I think most people if they had to say what is more important would probably put people first in the list as well, though I don't think many people do it. What I think is interesting is that money comes before things. A lot of times while growing up I felt that the objects in our house were worth more than I was, in fact worth even more than the money spent to buy them. I felt very guilty when I got careless and broke a glass or a plate. I even went through this phase where I tried not to spend any of my parents' money. I never asked for anything extra, no treats, no presents, nothing. In the midst of this attempt to get a martyrish sort of attention from my parents, I badly twisted my ankle. I remember my mom having to write a check for 20 dollars to rent the crutches. I made a huge fuss about how I didn't want the crutches because I didn't want my mom to spend any money on me. She stared me right in the face and said, "listen! I am your mother and I am going to take care of you and I sometimes that costs money!" Later, when I was 16, my dad bought me a $2000 Oldsmobile (boat), and 3 months later I got into an accident and totaled it. (ran into a coral reef-- j/k) After I realized that the car was totaled, I remember thinking that I would have rather died than wreck that car. I literally thought that. I CAN'T BELIEVE I thought I was worth less than 2000 dollars. It boggles my mind now, but I remember clearly feeling that way and crying inconsolably when my parents arrived at the scene.

Money is big for people. People sometimes use money, and their things to feel a certain way, to change their mood, or to define themselves. People saddle themselves with debt in order to live a lifestyle that they cannot afford. They literally agree to live a lie to have a life that they really shouldn't have. Nothing would be wrong with having less stuff, or a more affordable home, they've just decided that something IS wrong with not having that stuff and that home, so they get it even if they can't afford it. Suze started the year by telling people that in these tough financial times, the best thing we can all do is tell the truth about who we are financially. I loved that. She even made the audience on the Oprah Show all stand up and say how much debt they all had, and she also calculated the debt of the entire audience, which was a whopping number. It was a really powerful lesson about being honest about who you are, financially and otherwise.

On the topic of honesty and being who you are, this recent academy awards ceremony was particularly moving to me. With Dustin Lance Black, the ex-mormon screenwriter of Milk, winning an oscar and giving a powerful speech about civil rights and progress for all people, and then Sean Penn winning for best actor and giving another wonderful speech along those lines, its been a big year for "being who you are." On valentines day, Suze gave shared this message on her show. It's worth posting here.

I hope we will all be who we are this year more than ever. That we will allow ourselves to thrive in the light of day, letting the TRUTH bathe our very bodies and minds. I hope that with our money, we will tell the truth about who we are, and not use currency to spin a sticky dangerous web that it will be difficult from which to extricate ourselves. We have the power to tell the truth, and with that truth we have the power to live in our bliss starting today.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I cry a little

My brother Zane has recently removed his name from the church records. Its been a hard road for him finding his identity within the church, and he is now searching in other ideologies for something he can connect to. He is doing really well lately; discovering a new sense of purpose and meaning outside of the Mormon paradigm. I am a firm believer that it doesn't matter what you believe in as long as what you believe helps you to connect in a positive way to your existence on earth. He seems wide open now, not depressed as he has been for some time. I am so proud of the progress he is making toward LIVING. His life now seems like a world of possibility and opportunity. Yesterday he left me this voice message:

"Hey Clark, I wanted to call because I just watched Milk and I really liked it. It was touching, tragic, and interesting. One of the things I thought was especially interesting was how he encouraged everyone to be out, and I thought that was interesting because it applies to my life. I just wanted to thank you for being out and for being a great person, and for saving most everyone in our family from being bigoted homophobes. Otherwise I think our family would be buying into the way Christianity or Mormon doctrine would consider homosexuality that its really wrong or really disgusting and that kind of thing. So I really appreciate that your a great person, and that you're gay, so that you could teach us something. I'll talk to you soon, bye."

You can imagine how I felt getting that message from him. To feel like my honesty and my choice to be who I am is something that benefited him and in his opinion, my family as well, just made me feel so much gratitude. My brother Zane is such a gifted and intelligent person, and I feel so blessed to be connected to him. The painting I have as my blog header is his. He painted it in 2005 and in case you didn't notice it, he painted me as the subject. I think he entitled it, "Finding his center". I still am Zane. Aren't we all? What a blessing it is to be sharing that opportunity.

Another Rachel Maddow Moment

When I posted the video below this one, I didn't even know who Rachel Maddow is, but now I know so much more about her, and you can too!!! Enjoy. I am so happy that she is out and proud.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Life via the Bachelor

Ever since I can remember, people have always talked to me about their relationships. Even as early as Jr. High school, girls would come and talk to me about their boyfriends-- mostly when they were unhappy and wanted things from their relationships that they were not getting. Consequently, I have thought more about relationships in my life than one would assume, looking at the fact that until 3 years ago, I was never really in one. As I have pondered the high divorce rate in modern times, the way people move in and out of marriages, I have always questioned WHY. Is the era in which we are living truly so different from the good ol' days when the majority of people stayed married until the day they died? Were those people who stayed married actually happier in their marriages than people are now? Or is it perhaps that people just stayed married to keep the status quo intact even if they were miserable?

In most cultures throughout civilization, marriage was a contract; an exchange of property so to speak. It could be a way to unite 2 families so that both could be more wealthy and influential. It could also be a way for a family to grow in political power, for instance if a family is able to marry off one of their daughters to a high ranking official or even a king. In more common instances, a bride was given in exchange for property, on in other cultures, given ALONG with a dowry so that there would be more incentive to marry. From the infamous 8 cow wife of Johnny Lingo to the heroines of Austen's novels, women have often been the currency of life: the trading and bartering of daughters and wives provided for the continuation of society at its most refined. And when it came to arranging a match, FEELINGS, EMOTIONS, or FALLING IN LOVE with someone were of absolutely no importance to the outcome.

The reason I wrote those words all in caps is because those are the big catch phrases that are tossed around like butter in hot pan on every single season of the bachelor. Constantine and I watch the bachelor as our guilty pleasure. You're judging me. I know. We just love how involved these people seem to get with this "chance to find their soulmate" over the six week filming period. Lives go up in smoke!!! We sometimes joke about how those words are always being used regardless of who is talking. The other day Constantine posted this on my wall-- it was him writing down all the generic words one of the bachelor girls was saying in a confessional:

Feelings. Emotions. Falling for. Connection. Genuine. Hometown date. Rose. Relationship. Ty. Torn between. Sweet. Proposal. Getting serious. Confused. Final. Hot tub. Group dates. Romantic connection. Seattle. First impression. One-on-one. I think I am falling in love with. Another level. Care about. Affectionate. Let down guard. Walls. Scared. Nervous. Pick. Reality. This situation. Want to be with you. I REALLY think I'm falling in love with you. Open up.

I laughed really hard when I read this. Thats the bachelor in a nutshell. It's every relationship cliche squeezed into an hour of primetime TV. But on closer observation, this is probably almost every relationship in a nutshell. Now that we don't have arranged marriages (for the most part), people expect to be happy in marriage, especially since they were the ones to choose their partner! As a form of social control, marriage was probably a lot more "successful" when people didn't expect to be happy in marriage, because if they ended up happy it was a bonus, and if they were miserable, well what else can they expect when they were forced to marry someone they didn't know or love. If you didn't get to choose your husband, then what right do you have to divorce him just because you don't like being married to him? But today with all of us choosing our partners ourselves, why are we so often unable to choose someone who will continue to make us happy throughout our lives? Why are we often feeling trapped and detached from our lives within a couple of years? Whats going on?

I started thinking about this even more earnestly than usual because tonight I watched the 2 hour Bachelor Finale, and then the 1 hour "after the final rose" special. In the finale, Jason, the bachelor, chooses between the 2 girls, and sends the one he didn't choose straight to that limo in tears. Then in the subsequent special, he reveals that he isn't in love with the girl he chose, instead he wants to be with the other one. Yet in the finale that I watched just moments before, he seemed so sure that he was picking the right girl. To quote Wyatt-- "You guys. Whats up with life?!?"
Sometimes doesn't it seem like were all just grasping at straws or bobbing for apples when we choose a partner? We think we want and need one thing, only to find out that we REALLY needed something else in order to be happy.

Frankly I'm glad the divorce rate is high. You know why? It tells me that people are not staying in marriages that make them unhappy. I don't know what it is like inside the heart of each one of the marriages that ended. But I can assume that by ending them people are trying to pursue their bliss, and that they are trying to progress and move forward. Sure, maybe Jason looks like he has NO idea what he needs in a woman by choosing one and then months later changing his mind. But so what. We don't always know what we need at the moment in which we have to choose. We just do our best with the information we have and if it's wrong then we break up, we divorce, and we move forward. Additionally, as a society, we are new to choosing our own spouse. We should cut ourselves some slack.

This is what I personally believe about marriage. I think it has taken on a VERY different role in today's world and in our country. People in America usually aren't married anymore to unite families, or to secure powerful positions, and thankfully, women are no longer considered property by most. People are getting married because they think it will add to their personal happiness. Marriage means I love you and I want to be with you. Marriage means I want to share my life with you and for most people, it also means I want to build a family with you. To stay in a marriage or a relationship that is not making us happy does nothing for anyone. If the institution of marriage were a person, maybe it would get its feelings hurt to know that sometimes people don't choose to stay married. But its not a person. So why as a culture are so many people concerned with the high divorce rate? I think its better to stay focused on having the necessary self knowledge and experience to choose wonderfully fulfilling relationships. In order to gain that knowledge and experience, we have to sometimes try and see what does and does not work. If you can't really live with someone without getting married because of your religion or your family script, then there's a good chance that in your road to understanding what you need in a partner, there may be a few breakups. If you got married, then those breakups are called divorce.

Instead of worrying, lets all be like Jason, who is already a divorcee as well as a father. Lets keep shamelessly making those mistakes until we choose the person that not only makes our life happier than it was without them, but who also inspires us to be the most loving and caring person we can possibly be.

And you thought there was no substance in reality TV. Now I'm judging you.