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Friday, May 06, 2005

America's Sweetheart

Once upon a time, I worshipped Courtney Love.

I’m talking 1992-1994 era Courtney. Before all the plastic surgery, suicides and murder conspiracy theories. The Courtney Love who co-hosted MTV’s “120 Minutes” with Kim Gordon in a semi-coherent state, rambling endlessly about each video before it played while Kim sat smiling.

The Courtney Love who sat in on Kurt Cobain’s interview with “The Advocate” and bitched out gay men in general because she wasn’t seen as a gay icon.

“I don’t get it!” she ranted. “I’m tragic! I had a drug problem! Gay guys should LOVE me!”

That Courtney was hilarious, witty, outrageous…the ‘90s Tallulah Bankhead – no filter, pure id.

So, when I got the chance to meet her years later in 1998, I was pumped. Sure, it was a more Hollywood Courtney…cut up, restructured, Golden Globe awarded…but it was still the woman who, along with her husband, made me feel okay to be gay and not into Madonna or Cher.

A good friend worked for a record store and scored us passes for a hurried meet and greet backstage at the Imperial Teen/Hole concert that summer at Nautica Stage in Cleveland’s Flats. The show was a hoot, with Courtney bitching out Trent (“More like THREE INCH NAILS!”) Reznor, Cleveland’s alternative God, from the stage and occasionally playing a song or two. After the show, we waited in line with a group of about 40 other people to go backstage and get an autograph.

I rehearsed what I was going to say to her over and over in my head. This was my one shot. My one opportunity to tell her what she meant to a young, confused man stuck in a redneck town. My only chance to show her that not everyone saw her as a negative, screeching, drug-addicted shrew.

Time raced in a blur as the line moved closer and closer. Finally, I was face to face, or rather, since I was standing and she was seated, crotch to face with



“Hi, Courtney,” I began. “I just wanted to tell you how much that interview you and Kurt did with the Advocate back in 1993 meant to me. I was really struggling with coming out then and I was afraid there was no one who would accept me for being a punk rock fan and gay at the same time. You two gave me hope and strength to just be myself and say ‘fuck everyone else’. And I just wanted you to know you made a difference in my life.”

She stopped signing my “Celebrity Skin” album flat and slowly looked up into my face, then my eyes. She took a second to take all I said in and then her lips slowly parted as she finally responded:


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Final Jeopardy

Part One.

Part Two.

Part Three.

We went to the final commercial break and again we were swamped by producers. While the other contestants’ producers huddled and talked betting strategy, mine just asked me if I wanted any water. Don’t mess with success, I guess.

As soon as the Final Jeopardy category “Supergroups” appeared, my heart sank. Classic rock bullshit. Fuck. There goes my dream of doubling my money for a house downpayment. “Supergroups.” Visions of Asia, GTR and The Firm filled my head. Gross. I did some quick math in my head – I had $9,400. Lynette had $4,400. If she answered correctly and bet everything , she’d double up to $8,800. And she admitted to liking Bon Jovi, so this was a very real possibility.

If I bet $590, I’d still have $8,810, enough left over to win if I got it wrong. So, that’s what I wagered. I wasn’t taking any big risks here. I also took the time to scribble a little all-purpose note to everyone at home.

Click here to see Final Jeopardy.

“J” referred to two people specifically, my ex and best friend Jim, and my little sister Jennifer. I spent more time trying to write that little message than I did writing my answer. As a result, my handwriting looks atrocious.

When I realized I had finally won, I was on another planet I was so happy. Jeff announced my final winnings and I did the unthinkable, something so shameful and horrific, something I could never imagine myself doing:



I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. I do, however, apologize profusely for doing it.

We stood by Jeff as instructed while the end credits ran. We were then ushered backstage while the next group of contestants took the stage for the next taping. A young, male production assistant congratulated me on my win and commented that my winnings was a significant amount for Rock & Roll Jeopardy, not the most ever given away, but up there.

“You should take me to dinner!” he chirped. Hmm.

I signed a few release forms, including one that stated I would be mailed a check up to six months AFTER my show aired. If for some reason my show was never aired (for example, if VH1 blew up or just merely canceled the show), I would not be getting my hard won cash. Yikes.

And with that, it was over. I was free to walk the lot back to my car. No escort, no family or friends to run up and hug me and congratulate me. They were all back in Ohio. Sort of anti-climactic.

But six months later, after the show had finally aired, that $8,810.00 check made it all better.

Fine Folks

"...and by hubris, I mean overweening pride!" - Johnny's Greatest Hits

25 Year Loop
Fucking Woof
David Live
The Night Before
Jobriath Was First
She's in Parties
She's in Parties Pt. 2
Tales From the Dragon Club
Tales From the Dragon Club Pt. 2
Okay, California...You Win
How to Sell Used CDs

Previously on "Johnny Is a Man"...

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