Michael The Realistic Mystic

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“You’re not as good as you think you are,” Michael The Realistic Mystic told me in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

I was in NOLA for a friend’s wedding. On the night before it, I’d drunkenly walked past Michael without noticing him in his beach chair on the sidewalk. I was lost in the humid, hedonistic spirit of the city, as well as the contents of my to-go cup filled with Coffee and Kahlua milkshake. But my friend Julia, who has an eye for mischief, saw Michael and tugged the back of my purple-beaded necklace to halt me. “Look,” she said, “It’s Michael The Realistic Mystic! Should you get a reading, Flybot?” Julesbot and I had known each other long enough to have robot nicknames for one another.

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How to Bathe to Robyn's Album: HONEY

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It’s cold out. Let’s take a bath to Robyn’s latest album HONEY:

  1. Procure and place the following items next to your bathtub: one waterproof speaker, one bag of your favorite scented Epsom salt, one towel of at least Wamsutta quality, one rubber ducky (ideally the one you’ve saved since childhood), and one jar of all-natural, local honey.

  2. Ensure you have nothing to do for the next 40:18 minutes. Light your bathroom appropriately with a candle, disco ball, or color-changing LED lights on a pre-programmed loop. Load up HONEY, Robyn’s latest album, on your streaming platform or musical library of choice. Remove your clothes.

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The Four Traps

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As an artist and a human being, I’ve found four emotions that trap me:

Pity: no one wants pity you. It’s seductive to want pity, to be consoled, to be told nothing’s your fault, and the world isn’t fair. But the truth is: no one really wants to feel sorry for you. And you don’t want someone to pity you, as much as you may imagine you want it. It’s humiliating. Pity is a useless emotion. Nothing comes from pity — no release, no catharsis. It just wastes everyone’s time.

  • What is the antitode to Pity? Anger. As a 65-year old man in a clown outfit named Lunatic at Burning Man told me once, Anger is a transformative emotion. You can do something with anger. You can write your anger, sing your anger, create from your anger. It transmutes your depression into something tangible, and whether or not you share what you create with the world, it leeches the poison out of you. Honoring your anger is part of honoring yourself — warts and all. Anger is valid and helpful and it’s part of your human dignity. Best of all: it can lead to something — it moves the pain and releases it.

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The Letter I Wrote To Myself The Day I Came Out

I went exploring through old drawers yesterday in my childhood house, and I found this letter I wrote to myself the day after coming out of the closet on Feb, 13, 2004. My mom kept it. She had such a difficult time accepting me coming out; even so, she had the wherewithal to keep this letter because she knew it was a big moment in my life.

I am struck by the words I wrote in this — I think it may be one of the wisest things I’ve ever written, and I wrote it 14 years ago.

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Chronic Drinking

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I worry I’m a border-line alcoholic.

I don’t know if I am. The worlds I socialize in — comedy and artists and gays — are notoriously full of heavy-drinkers.

But even in that world, I’ve always found myself having one more drink than my neighbor. I finish my pint about twice as fast as the rest of the table. I’m not even polite these days to wait for others to catch up — I go and get started on my second round. I’ve always assumed it was natural for me to drink more than others—justified because I’m a 6 foot tall, 180-pound guy —so I’m “meant” to drink more to feel the same buzz. I’m allowed to “ramp” up at the start of an evening, to “stay even” with my more lightweight friends. I did not attend a “Fraternity” in college, but I somehow got familiar with all these binge-drinking related “terms.”

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This Is Real

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I love horror films. As a ruthless Capricorn, I’ve always believed that I would be the second-to-last person to survive in one. Not the final survivor — no. My hubris at having come so close to triumph would doom me in an epic failure at the last second. But my pragmatic nature would get me very far along — I would do whatever it took to survive, including sacrificing others if needed.

I wanted to put this theory to the test and found the means to do so in a NYC interactive horror-themed experience called THIS IS REAL. The show is no longer running in NY, but for those who for some reason don’t want to have the actual details spoiled, do not read on!


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Wild and Untamed Berlin

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Berlin is the untamed city. It is harsh. The people are not people-pleasers. Their attitude is direct, the rejections from clubs brutal.

I have been to Berlin five times; it may be my favorite city on earth. I love that it is wild, that it resists gentrification, that it oozes weirdness, that it is full of insanity and inanity everywhere one looks. I love that no one thinks of going out Monday-Thursday nights but takes clubbing on the weekend dead seriously. You go hard —dancing from Friday-Monday morning. I love that an ‘expensive’ meal out with a beer might cost you 12 Euros. I love their falafel; it’s the best falafel outside of Tel Aviv. I love that German trains run on the honor system. Can you imagine the NYC subway surviving one day on the honor system? It would be anarchy. I love that German trains run on time. I love that there isn’t much to sightsee or many pretty buildings to look at in Berlin; the best spots are underground, meshed into the Post-war remnants and repurposed bomb shelters. I love Tempelhof, the World War II airfield that Berlin turned into an outdoor garden. Where else can you ride your bike down an actual runway and pretend you’re a 747? I love the beer garden Klunkerkranich, with a spectacular view of the city that someone set-up without signage on the fifth floor of a Kreuzberg parking garage. I love the Berliners themselves — the people I’ve worked with, played with, danced with, made love with, with with’d.

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