Today on Alphabet City: On book tour, Jon Paul takes Boston by storm.
I took it as a good omen when Vanessa Williams was in my room at Kimpton’s Nine Zero hotel in Boston. After all, Tyra had accompanied me via American Way on my first leg of the journey, and now Chef spotted Vanessa peeking at me from the cover of SpaFinder touting her beauty tips. I can tell you one of them—fresh honey, read Alphabet City’s Episode 8: As Bees in Honey Drown.
At that point in the day, I took any good sign where I could get it. Earlier, Amtrak moved down a notch on my fan belt when chaos reigned at Penn Station. A planned computer system outage left overwhelmed train customer service agents scrambling to help panicked travelers. If Amtrak has all of our purchase information and emails—why couldn’t they have alerted us to the problem in advance? Why couldn’t they have put more staff on duty? Even the exhausted agents were snapping pictures on their phones and emailing it to headquarters. Have I heard from anyone at Amtrak despite all my twittering? Adding insult to injury, the engine broke down just outside of New York City, and we waited—with no A/C—for over an hour for a replacement. The only thing that would have made the trip better was having Frida with me—oh, but wait, Amtrak doesn’t allow travel with pets. In just a few hours, Amtrak amazingly made the airlines look like customer service geniuses.
On arrival, Chef and I raced to Cambridge for the first Beantown stop on the Alphabet City Book Tour—a party hosted by my in-laws Laura and Miguel. They were the first members of Chef’s family I got to meet—and Laura has been a fan of my reading and blog, and now has the unenviable task of trying to translate some of the racier parts of Alphabet City into Spanish for our family back in Mexico! Como se dice “well endowed?” For the backyard gathering, the hurricane rains held off and I debuted my new Aaron Krach original t-shirt design!
Laura not only assembled a multicultural crowd—turns out Mary Tyler Moore isn’t as iconic South of the Border—but she also pressed into service a friend with a new cupcake business. The result had me eating my words—literally. The behind-the-scenes story was that the owner of The Yellow Cupcake was worried she might be going a little too gay with rainbow flags—my sister-in-law told her not to worry—wait until she met me! If you’re in Boston and would like your own image on a cupcake email gabs79(at)gmail.com.
In true Kimpton form, the Nine Zero hotel pulled out all the welcome stops thanks to the cute and clever concierge Thomas. Our room had been transformed into a Princess oasis—for Frida—with bejeweled dog collar and photo of Frida Kahlo. The only thing that kept me from missing the little goose was the spectacular view across Boston Commons to the Charles River.
The Nine Zero-hosted event was special in so many ways. It was the first time Chef accompanied me and he had the opportunity to re-shoot the previous evening Flipcam of my reading. Seems like I didn’t give good enough direction and ended up with video of me talking over close-ups of the cupcakes. You can take the girl out of the kitchen…
But it was the turnout that really made the evening so terrific. A range of supporters of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force turned out including Kathy and Patrick from Marriage Equality Rhode Island, who drove up from Providence (this is the next state to grant gay marriage, fingers crossed!). A new twitter friend Scott of onefoodguy.blogspot.com also attended and I interviewed him after for an upcoming Peek-A-Blog post. And Michael Hartwig and his partner Steve came. Michael is special in my life because for many years he was partnered with Don Baker, who passed away a few years ago. Don was the plaintiff in Baker v. Wade, the case challenging Texas’ sodomy statute, that my father ruled unconstitutional in 1982. Sitting in the courtroom, hearing the testimony at 13, I saw for the first time a wonderful gay role model in Don and knew that I, too, could grow up to be a loving, caring, smart, professional out gay man. Thank you Don for teaching me that, and how lovely to have Michael and Steve in my life.
Thanks for stirring up the Alphabet City pot, Beantown.
Note: flipcam videos of Jon Paul’s Boston appearance available here.