Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR folks!

I write this from Chicago as I'm here working on an assignment. As I am four days into the New Year, I'm still basking a bit in the past weekend in New York City, which I'm already missing. On Friday, I'm happy to report that Anthony did make it out of Denver to me. We hit the ground running with a weekend of good food, folly, and fun - most of which was a recap on things that have brought us social fulfillment from our last year together. We dropped his bags off and met his childhood friend Lonni at Kashkaval in Manhattan (Her selection. I had an inkling it wasn't my kind of cuisine). But in the spirit of adventure, I agreed and trusted I'd find something. First things first, though, we couldn't even find the Upper Hell's Kitchen restaurant (even though we had the address) as it gives "deli" at first glance with straw baskets in the windows and piles of meats and cheeses just beyond. But as we walked even farther into the spot, there was a bar, a restaurant, and Lonni. We collectively enjoyed a mix  of tappas (including hummus), fondue combos, and wine. I additionally ordered a chicken caesar salad as a shout out to familiar, but even its make-up was a hair more exotic than I'm used to. All good in the end as it was great to see Lonni. From there, we popped uptown (Harlem) to my friend Brian's bistro Native to have night cap. brian.gifWe also took the time to greet everyone I know from the neighborhood with love, hugs, and kisses as the New Year was getting ready to ring on in. Anthony and I were aiming to hit another spot downtown for some dancing, but chose to call it a night as it was only just the beginning and it gave us a chance to catch up.

By Saturday morning, we were refreshed for this historic day: My 12th and supposedly FINAL screening of "DREAMGIRLS" at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem. 1-3-2007-17.jpg But first, we did a quick lunch at HOUSTON's which Anthony has not been fond of since we met. Finally, however, I'm happy to report that he enjoyed his dish, the service, and the experience of HOUSTON's which finally means "I should keep him around". patrickathouston.jpgSMILE! Off to the movie (accompanied also by my Ernest, who experienced DREAMGIRLS #4 & #10 with me), Anthony and I (who did #5 together) were able to actually sit together this time, which meant we had lots of comments to share in each other's ears as we enjoyed the movie. Once it was all said and done (and obvious that my Harlem-ites were loving them some "DREAMGIRLS"), Anthony asked if I was done now (until maybe after the Oscars or perhaps when the DVD comes out). Without knowing what was getting ready to happen, I told him I was - for sure - done, unless I "stumbled" into a bootleg on the street (CAVEAT: I'm ANTI-BOOTLEG, but didn't see the challenge in buying one as I ----- HAVING SEEN "DREAMGIRLS" 12 TIMES ------ am CLEARLY going to BUY more than ONE [perhaps 12] of the actual DVD when it comes on the market with its extras and karaoke options, etc. ). To that, we walked out of the theater and did a promenade towards the car by some street vendors who - guess what? - were selling "DREAMGIRLS". Now, to maintain my integrity and protect the innocent, I will let you use your imaginations about what happened next. 1-3-2007-18.jpgFrom there, we hit BBQ Dallas for an additional evening snack. We did the one in Washington Heights and enjoyed a mix of vegetable tempura, fried shrimp, and frozen cocktails. Our waitress, named Diana, managed to card Ern and Anthony, but not me. Now, I'm clearly "over 21", but NOT TOO MUCH DIANA!!!! With that, Anthony struck this pose:



That evening, my friend Roderick and his friend Tony picked Anthony and me up to go to Montclair, New Jersey for a friend Derrick's "Eve of the Eve" party. We opted to go here instead of Jennifer Hudson's "One Night Only" concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom. jhud.jpgThough we LOVE MISS JENNIFER, I had an inkling it might be a little too "circuit"/"Queer-as-Folk"-ish for our taste. Not sure whether it was or not as all of our "fellow J-Hud-ers" too didn't go (as it also was a big social night in the city and some felt the ticket prices for Jennifer were too high). Still, I hear it was good (and you can judge for yourself via YOU TUBE):


Back to Derrick's place, we had loads of fun as I ran into lots of my friends and associates, like Dexter, Tony, Melvin, Mario, Brett, etc. Everyone seemed to have a good time. 1-3-2007-13.jpgAt one point, some of our friends began to act a bit strangely. But Anthony and I decided to chalk it up to enebriation. Still, whether that was the case or not, there was a lot of extra "emotions" going on with a couple of our fellow partyers. So, perhaps it was something even stronger. SMILE! But it was not enough to ruin our time which came to an end as Roderick was ready to go (and so were we!).

After a nice night's sleep, we got up the next early afternoon to enjoy Sunday brunch at Day O with Ern. This is where I went for my birthday brunch. Over good southern/caribbean fare and "rum punches", we had a nice time. 1-3-2007-05.jpg We tried to find a "Century 21" (discount department store) that I thought was in the area, but we couldn't Still, we stumbled into a PUMA store and my boo convinced me to buy a new bag. My freebie Kenneth Cole (with purchase) was imploding on me. So, I replaced it anew with a more suitable "murse" ("man purse"). He says he'll now carry it for me (Used to be embarassed).

Once home, we had just enough time to get ourselves together for the special New Year's Eve hang that our friends Jason and Marqise were hosting at their lovely home in Jamaica, New York. Their usual suspects of good vibrations, food, and fun were all in place. Champagne (only the best) was flowing as well as other cocktails. There was lots of good food - from honey-mustard-glazed chicken tenders and shrimp cocktail (arranged and served on the rims of martini glasses). 1-3-2007-25.jpgJason made sure we all had a good time, even going so far as to play me "their" version of "DREAMGIRLS" (that's all I'm going to say) and though I promised my boo I would NOT see it again before the New Year, he excused it since it wasn't introduced by me. Technically, I didn't see it a 13th time (just 12 1/2 as we watched from beginning through to the "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" scene). Then, it was time to ring out 2006 and ring in 2007. As the clock struck midnight, we toasted and my boo kissed me. Then, we shared in the joy with all of the other guests at this intimate gathering of good, positive, forwarding people --- just what we had ordered.


AND LET ME TELL YOU: on New Year's Eve, we attended my good friend and Amazing Grace NICHOLE and her husband TONY's HARLEM RENAISSANCE-themed party (in New Rochelle). We rocked 'harlem renaissance' more contemporary. Anthony was a "paperboy" with a hip hop flair. I was a Harlem renaissance writer/poet/socialite with couture ascot to boot (a la D'AMBROSE). And I envisioned that one day I would come into New Year's with someone I liked to be able to kiss at the ring of midnight. It happened this year. Anthony planted the kiss of ALL kisses on me, after saying HAPPY NEW YEAR. And it was great!

Having loved and dated and now lost my KODJOE [who had died earlier in 2005], I can honestly say that I have NEVER been with a MALE DATE that I was REALLY feeling deeply to ring in the new year. Last year, though KODJOE did call me just after MIDNIGHT as I celebrated in NYC with Ern and Kim, he did not actually ring in the New Year with me as he didn't like to hang out and wanted instead to enjoy the New Year quietly (but wanted me to go on out and enjoy myself). Still, KODJOE did shift in a big way by spending the full NEW YEAR'S DAY into NIGHT (and into JANUARY 2ND with me) and that alone - for him - was a HUGE STRETCH - given the intimacy and socialness of the itinerary i..e. brunch with friends and dinner at another friend's home, and dessert and nightcap at my place.

But this ONE MOMENT IN TIME for Anthony and me --- inside of a month-old connection --- was a benign mythology realized. So, we'll see... ROMANCE I can do. Gotta stay GROUNDED though to build something that merits.

SO... LOVE IS IN THE AIR... for us ALL!!!!!

FAST FORWARD BACK THROUGH 2007 to a year of a NEW ROMANCE that turned into a LONG- DISTANCE ROMANCE that turned into a LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP that turned into a RELATIONSHIP of LOVING, SHARING, and CONNECTION that has transcended the miles between Denver and New Jersey, and that has carried us from Philadelphia to Chicago to the mountains of Crestone, Colorado to the island of Maui in Hawaii and - most exotic of all - to my family in Savannah, Georgia. And then, land on January 1st, just after the stroke of midnight 2007. Inside of this ride, I give THANKS for having had the chance to LOVE someone new and someone this long. I can never say what TOMORROW will bring because I've learned the HARD WAY that TOMORROW is NOT PROMISED, but I stand for ALL POSSIBILITIES and ABUNDANCE and CONTINUED LOVING to show up for us (and for us ALL). And I know that I am GRATEFUL for what Anthony and I have been allowed to SUSTAIN to this point. A BLESSING, I'll call it.

1-3-2007-02.jpgThe night capped off with Jason's friend Liz and her niece graciously taking Anthony and me back to Manhattan. We did a night cap at "NO PARKING", our little club in Washington Heights which too is owned by my friend Brian. After perhaps one too many shots of Patron, we made it on in to my home and slept through much of New Year's Day. Still, Ern prepared a lovely, "traditional" New Year's Day meal of fried chicken, black eyed peas, and collard greens. We watched "REFLECTIONS", the Diana Ross & the Supremes collection of TV appearances from the '60s along with ED SULLIVAN's box set of pop appearances, like Diana and "the girls", the 5th Dimension, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, etc. With Tata and Kimberly Jajuan in the house, we had a low-key, but "good ol' time" of laughing, eating, and watching TV like the days when all our folks would say "colored people on! colored people on!".  The_Supremes_Reflections_The1..._DVD_Front_Cover

After another night of good sleep, we had Tuesday to hang out in the city. Anthony and I went to "Century 21" finally, but didn't see much. We met up with our New Year's eve host Jason, who had to give me something I left at their home. From there, he took us to a cool new shopping locale for me, UNIQLO (www.uniqlo.com/ )at it's global flagship store on Broadway just below Houston. Anthony and I got some cool gear out of there and Jason, who used to be a personal shopper, hadn't lost his touch as he "styled" me in a few cute things. Taking a little too much time (by stopping in Ben Sherman, where I uncovered that I got a $190 hooded jacket for $35 from the designer's sample sale before Christmas), we met up with Jason's other half, our other New Year's Eve co-host Marqise at BAR 89 in SOHO. 1-3-2007-24.jpgWe - the two couples - had a chance to enjoy some good burgers and white wine/German beer as we anticipated the end of Anthony's New Year's trip. Anthony and I were reminded how nice it is to have our love reflect off of another couple that is in the throes of commitment (rings and all) and still taking it one day at a time through challenges, struggles, and the many things that we must manage in our daily lives. And then, land on love. Isn't that great????1-3-2007-23.jpg





Posted on Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 07:22PM by Registered CommenterTHE LIFE OF RILEY in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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