January 29th, 2005

the guyster show

It's the child who lives still in my eyes

Billy was sent to New York on business for a month in the autumn of ’96, our first time apart since we met. He was excited about going back to the city after we’d been gone for two years; too excited, I thought, complaining all the while he packed. Who was going to help me with Bob? How was I going to be able to sleep alone? What exactly were the rules of sexual engagement, hmm?

While he was there, we spoke several times a day, and with rapid escalation, Billy would talk about David. “David took me to this club called Twilo. You should see it. I never seen anything like it. David’s cool. He knows everybody!”

“Really?” I seethed when I heard David’s name. On and on it went, the praising of David, the coolest person to ever ever walk the planet, until I was certain they were having an affair. On top of David knowing everyone and being beyond cool, his family was in the fur trade.

“How’s the furrier?” I’d ask, Billy ignoring my sarcasm.

“We went to Twilo last night, and threw it down!” I imagined a handsome, young trust fund baby lusting for Billy, and worse, Billy returning the advances. I saw Billy finally finding a worthy dance partner, an area in which I always felt woefully inadequate. His circle of friends grew with rabbit rapidity. Soon, I was hearing about Atilla and Phillip and Phil and and and until my eyes went blank. “I feel excepted here like I don’t in LA.”

“I’m gonna miss these guys,” he said while readying to come home. I wasn’t. I was happy to see them stay right where they were in the dizzy lights of repetitive house music.

Billy built Club Bildoe upon his return, his own private dance club in our garage, a place he could mix and spin and dance with a newly discovered confidence. It was a homemade funhouse of found objects, refurbished to fit into a scheme that lived only in Billy's mind. His dance skills were honed, a whirling collection of moves that were unique, playful, sexually charged. Junior Vasquez became the soundtrack in our home.

I’d sit by the bench Billy built, watching him, horny, in awe. He enjoyed showing off for me, his homemade lightshow creating the kaleidoscope he missed so much. David came to visit several times, and I found myself liking him. I saw he loved Billy, not in the way I feared, but as a friend. He appreciated Billy, finding the infectious enthusiasm Billy had for everything.

I’ve tried for three years to find the words to describe Billy’s brand of dance. I only have one piece of video of Billy dancing; it’s a silly dance he did on Mickey’s TV show Call If You Dare. Wearing a pink wig, he danced with LA’s local street legend, Francine Dancer, an older homeless woman in a wheelchair.

David wrote a small piece about Billy’s dancing and posted it on the Yahoo site I created after it was all too late. David nailed his dance in a way I’ve yet to accomplish. Maybe I’ll never be able to describe what I see when I close my eyes and see him in wild abandon, or the sheepish ambivalence with which he’d describe his “fan club.”

I wish I had taped him dancing in our last month, the month of my new video camera. Now I’d watch that tape over and over, losing myself in his physical curlicues once again. I’d imagine future generations marveling at it just as we now look at Edison’s kinetoscope of two men dancing a carefree dance from a century ago.

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