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23 Reasons to Love My Readers

Today on Alphabet City: As the countdown to the new Poptimistic blog begins, Jon Paul looks back at the 23 Most Popular Alphabet City Posts of 2010.

Thank you to the thousands of readers from around the globe who have spent time in Alphabet City.  You’re a diverse bunch with varied tastes—from eco-friendly travel to gay hook-up apps—there’s been a little bit of something for everyone in 2010.  And you’re always surprising me—I mean who knew there were so many Glee fans in Brunei?  In case you’ve missed some of the favorites, I’ve pulled together the Top 23 for you—a little primer on what your fellow Alphabet Citizens have enjoyed.  Why 23?  Because it’s a funny number.  Let me know—did your favorites make the cut?

#1 40, Love: Glee Bargain I’d like to think that my take on Fox TV’s hit show Glee and the producer’s difficulty in portraying Kurt in a more realistic light hit a nerve with the blog-o-sphere.  But judging from the Google searches that linked to the post, I honestly think folks were searching for pictures of cute gay high school student Blaine.  Maybe a channel dedicated to my thoughts on the show is in order?  I think I’d call it KurtiousGLEE.

#2 40, Love: Hello, Meat Grindr No surprise that sex sells, especially to gay boys on the prowl.  My humorous take using the hook-up site during jury duty is one of ABCityblog’s perennial favorites.

A chance encounter with photographer Jamie Beck lead to my favorite Alphabet City publicity shot!

#3 BizSavvyBlogger’s Peek-A-Blog: From Me To You Out of a chance encounter in the blogosphere—courtesy of Whole Foods—blossomed a fun friendship with phenomenal photographer.  The result has been spectacular pictures of me, Chef and our home.  This post gives a peek behind her stylish blog.

#4 Alphabet City’s Episode 1: Whoopi A crazy cat and a mishap with her Oscar, make my encounter with Whoopi a perennial favorite—and the perfect opening to Alphabet City.

#5 BizSavvyBlogger’s Peek-A-Blog: PerrinPost.truth.travel For years travelers have been religiously following the advice of Condé Nast Traveler’s Wendy Perrin.  In this post, I get my longtime friend to dish about how her print job keeps her from blogging 24/7 and what that means for PR folks.

Another Jamie Beck captured moment

#6 40, Love: Tattoo Police I’m an exhibitionist at heart, so I take every chance to show off my tattoos—even on the blog.  According to Google, many people are worried about being “booked” in this tattoo database.

#7 Alphabet City’s: One Night in Bangkok Okay, I’ll admit that I was pandering to my readers with, shall we say, more prurient interests by posting this scandalous excerpt from Alphabet City about a gay sex palace in Bangkok.  But it has one of my favorite comic lines, ever.

#8 Green Globe Trekker: Blue Bahama Mama Thankfully, my readers have rather diverse tastes—especially for eco-travel.  In advance of my panel at Condé Nast Traveler’s World Savers Congress in Singapore, I get the green scoop on The Atlantis.

#9 Kitchen Knightmares: Something Fishy Moroccan Halibut and Carrots from a Bon Appétit recipe is the star of this post—the top viewed recipe related story.

#10 Alphabet City’s Alpha-Beltway This entry is the most-read post related to the Alphabet City Book Tour. While in DC, I get an insider perspective courtesy of old friends, have nauseating John Boehner sighting, and wonder what happened to my favorite Rosalynn Carter outfit.

#11(tie) Tex and the City: Lela & BA Café MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts makes a guest appearance in this post, sharing a picture of his taxi driver’s name Ram Amandeep.  Read it aloud.  That name has become the #2 Google search directing traffic my way.  The first?  “Glee Blaine.”  There’s a joke there, but for now, I’m going to refrain.

AND

40, Love: Virgin Queen My first time with a woman—first time getting a tattoo, of course.  Next to sex, tattoos sells.  I guess they are related in a way.

#13 Kitchen Knightmares: Kiss My Grits After meeting Chef Marcus Samuelsson at a Kraft-sponsored event, I’ll admit developing a little crush.  Will his next restaurant be in Washington Heights?

#14(tie) Alphabet City’s Even Jesus Had a Publicist A rejection from a literary agent who thinks the general public won’t know what a “publicist” does provides an opportunity to excerpt from Alphabet City.

AND

Alphabet City’s Episode 4: Tyra, And Nothing But the Truth Before she was America’s next top media mogul, she was grazing the breakfast buffet and quizzing me about my sexuality.

#16 Alphabet City’s First Excerpt from Episode 13: Happy Soul The online encounter that changed my life.

#17 40, Love: Justice Jo(h)n Paul Unearthing a letter from his father’s papers, I pay tribute to Supreme Court Justice John Paul.

#18 Alphabet City’s First Excerpt from Episode 14: And Baby Makes Three A heartbreaking farewell to a special cast member.  Pet lovers won’t be able to read without crying.

Outside Hanoi's Golden Cock

#19 Green Globe Trekker: iPho Vietnam—Motorbikes & Golden Cock While I’d like to think it’s my lovely description of Viet Nam that makes this post a standout, I believe the name of Hanoi’s gay bar is what calls out to many in their Google searches.

#20(tie) 40, Love: Share, and Cher alike AND Kitchen Knightmares: The Premiere The launch of my cooking show with a nightmare of rancid pork is as compelling to readers as my fighting with neighbors and their kids at the local CSA food pick-up spot.

#22 Tex and the City: The Parent Trap Confronting the question of “are you guys going to have kids?,” I turn to theater reviews for help.

#23 Green Globe Trekker: Costa Rican Eco-Luxe Many of the travel industry’s most pressing sustainability questions have been answered by the Costa Rican trendsetting company Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality.

Jicaro property

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A pOptimistic Christmas Note

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul’s Christmas note announces the end of the ABCityblog sitcom as we know it, but the launch of a new pOptimistic network.

2010 Christmas Card Wreath

Receiving Christmas cards is one of my great holiday joys.  I’m not one of those curmudgeons who complain about the cutesy pictures of kids posed in their holiday finest, or roll my eyes at the “year in the life” letters that could have used a deft editing touch.  In the age of Facebook, when you’re only one passive peek away from knowing the latest thought of your 389th best friend, I find Christmas cards wonderfully anachronistic.

Maybe it’s the sense of anticipation that has me addicted to holiday snail mail.  Will I make it back onto the Jewish Billionaire’s Christmas card list having run into him on book tour a couple times this year?  No, but his company sent me an e-greeting with a recipe for a trifle.  Bah-humbug. Will Tyra see her way clear to forgive a little out-of-context PageSix book publicity?  Unfortunately, no.

But then there are the true friends and family on whose cards I can always count.  Frida’s veterinary pet insurance kicks in the season early with a note that arrives right after Thanksgiving.  My 83 year-old Uncle Cleigh typically sends a picture montage card—usually posed with his dogs and sky diving on his last birthday.  My best gay Gareth chooses a homosexually charged fold-over.  Keith mails an artistic and intricate pop-up cut out.  Cathy manages to unearth yet another jokey Mexican theme featuring yet another Chihuahua, this year posed in a sweater with message, “Fleece Navidad.”  Which, by the way, has Chef in stitches—never underestimate the power of homonym humor to a non-native speaker.

Given my love of the card tradition, you’d think I’d get in on the action.  But no, I’m just a greeting voyeur.  And I don’t even feel guilty about it.  I suppose if you get right down to it, that’s what this blog is really: each post one big Christmas card note, a snapshot of my thinking at a certain point in time.

Here then is my (electronic) Christmas card missive:

With Chef in Mexico

Dear friends, family, fans and casual readers—

2010 has been a life-changing year for me, and I couldn’t have done it without the love of Chef, my partner of a decade (yikes!), not to mention all the encouragement and support you’ve given me along the way.  A year ago, the success of this blog in connecting with readers convinced me to muster the courage and independently publish my humorous memoir Alphabet City.  And what a joyous journey—both literal and emotional—with consequences I never anticipated.

On book tour, I had the opportunity to connect personally with so many of you who graciously opened your homes for book parties with friends.  Christine E., Cathy, Mandy and the ladies of Chi Omega in Dallas/Ft. Worth made my hometown welcoming again—and the reconnection with my stepmother Christine C. was an early Christmas gift.

Alphabet City themed cupcakes at sister-in-law Laura's party

My Mexican family—Isabel in S. Florida, and in-laws Laura and Miguel in Boston—thanks for trying to translate Mary Tyler Moore to a Latino audience.  Of course, the coastal gays jumped into action: Bryan K. for the first Manhattan gathering, Larry for LA’s Gay Pride, Chris and Tom for a weekend on Fire Island.  I had the opportunity to see dear friends blossoming in their new homes: Kara in DC, Dana in LA, and Jimmy in Madison.  Old friends like Shannon took me to new places like Lubbock where her sister Colleen charmed the boots off of me!  Even older friends (and family) introduced me to their new friends and family: sister Paige to the Whole Foods gang, Valerie to Austin’s Media Mavens, including Tammy and her gorgeously renovated historic abode.  Not to mention the reconnections along the way: Kathryn, Mila, Julia, and Diana.

The love I felt from you, your friends, and the fans I met along the way, made me truly believe that I have a unique, fun and optimistic voice that is connecting with readers.  And that is what has given me the courage to announce my next journey: following my passion and dream of being a writer, and doing so full-time.

An optimistic attitude, like Mary Tyler Moore

That means I bid a fond farewell to life as a marketing/public relations consultant, and say hello to the life of a writer.  While I anticipate many ups and downs, I’ve learned that my passion, creativity, hard work and optimistic attitude can take me far.  Already, my focus and energy landed me an important story for Condé Nast Traveler (watch for it in March 2011).  And I have many more exciting changes in store, including a complete redesign and relaunch of this blog.  The topics I write about are more than can be captured in a sitcom called Alphabet City.  With favorite shows like Tex and the City (culture), Green Globe Trekker (travel), and 40, Love (life), and soon-to-be-released shows like Service Entrance (food) and Biz Savvy Blogger (technology), I may just need my own network—like Oprah.  As the wise and wealthy media mogul says herself in promos for her OWN channel:

“What if I could take every story that ever moved me?  Every lesson that motivated me?  Every opportunity that was given to me?  All of my most special celebrations?  And shared them with you?”

Some might call that nauseating, others might call that Facebook and Twitter, but I’m calling the new JP network:

Watch for this fresh, frank, fun website-network to launch in the New Year.  I can’t wait to share this next part of the journey with you.  As Oprah says, “Oooh, this is gonna be good!”

Until then, wishing you a

Viewer programming note: To prepare for the Poptimistic programming change and to celebrate the season, ABCityblog will be going on hiatus—except for instances of breaking thoughts/news.

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Gave a Kid a Break

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul fondly recalls PageSix Richard Johnson’s role in his early career.

News broke yesterday that Richard Johnson, the cheeky editor of legendary gossip column PageSix for the past 25 years, is loading up his truck and heading to Beverly—Hills that is.  While many have been reluctantly caught in his inky crosshairs over the years, I have a fondness for Richard—he gave this young flack a break when I was struggling to climb the ladder of celebrity publicity.  Thanks to him, I’ve ended up as a Bold Faced Name in the column on at least three occasions—a mark of pride in the Big Apple.  Back in February, I sent him a copy of Alphabet City and marked the stories of our encounters.  He immediately contacted me to thank me for portraying him and PageSix in such a nice light, and ran a slightly sensationalized excerpt about Tyra Banks the next day that spun out-of-control across the Internet gossip land.  Even in this day and age of online celebrity rumor mills, PageSix—and Richard Johnson—set the pace for coverage.  Best of luck in the land of swimming pools and movie stars.

Here’s an excerpt from Alphabet City’s Episode 4: And Nothing But the Truth

For a few months now, I had been struggling to master the duties required to be a junior celebrity publicist.  Other than a brief and almost disastrous encounter with Whoopi, so far my primary job had been escorting the firms C-list clients to be the third guest on NY-filmed TV talk shows like Rosie.  These clients usually played the sitcom’s whacky next-door neighbor but had a dramatic movie-of-the-week to promote.  As a favor to the firm’s heavy-hitter publicists who promised to deliver their headliners, talent bookers slotted in our low-wattage names in the last few minutes of a show.

Each week, my responsibilities were explained long distance by my boss, BusyB—think blonde highlights of Ryan Seacrest with the easy attitude of Neil Patrick Harris.  He was Greasy’s partner in the firm, headed up the celebrity division, and had a reputation as the nicest and busiest entertainment publicist in the business.  BusyB was responsible for teaching me the public relations two-step dance I call “Spin and Cover.”

First, I mastered the art of spin.  A few days after my job interview-date with Greasy, BusyB called with my first assignment—a very important daily mission involving Liza Minnelli.  By 7am, I was to read all the daily gossip columns, cut out and paste up any that mention Liza, and fax them to her manager, assistant and head publicist by 7:30am.  No earlier or later.

Liza’s entourage seemed awfully high maintenance, but that was fine by me.  As cliché as it is for a gay boy, I have been completely devoted to Liza ever since I was six years old and my father took the family to The Venetian Room at Dallas’ fading Fairmont Hotel for a live performance by the diva.  It was the waning days of 70’s hotel cabaret but I dressed as if it were the second coming.

For weeks, I pranced around the living room with a top hat and cane found in my stash of dress up clothes singing along to the cassette recording of Cabaret.  I was perfecting a heart-wrenching rendition of “Maybe This Time.”  At Liza’s performance, I quietly mouthed the words as I sat enraptured by her every word, note, gesture and sequin.

Twenty years later, and I couldn’t believe my good fortune to be traveling in her orbit.  Which is why I was so unnerved when after a few weeks of successful gossip column faxing, BusyB assigned me a more critical Liza task.

“I need you to call Richard Johnson at PageSix and deny that Liza is back in rehab,” he said.

“Richard?  He’s the most powerful columnist around.  I’ve never spoken to him.  Why me?”

“Because I’ve spoken to him a million times.  He won’t believe me.”

“But I wouldn’t even know what to say.”

“Anything.  Make something up. Like she’s going into the hospital to have a procedure.  Her knee or hip drained, something like that.  It’s called spin.”

Spin sounded an awful like lying to me.  Didn’t Greasy say something about my integrity landing me the job?  With no other options, I called Richard, but he wasn’t buying what I was selling.

“You’re honestly expecting me to believe some junior flack telling me that Liza is having her knee or hip drained?”

I paused, and then just tried to be as honest as I could.

“I know, but give a kid a break.  I’m in over my head here, and my boss is telling me I have to feed you this story.”

I could hear Richard typing away on his keyboard.

“That’s the most honest thing I’ve heard all week,” he said.

Next day, PageSix ran with the Liza-back-in-rehab story.  But Richard included at the end of the piece an obscure line about Liza’s reps claiming she was having a medical procedure.  I was heralded a hero in the LA office.  Greasy had told me the key to this business was keeping my integrity in tact, and surprisingly that is what charmed the most important gossip columnist.

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Beantown Book Tour

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!

My youngest fan and me in Aaron Krach couture

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.

Sister-in-law Laura makes me eat my words

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…

Task Force supporters!

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.

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Gary Does Dallas

Gary Does Dallas

back on book tour with tyra

Today on Alphabet City: JP’s alter ego Gary Tyler Moore does Dallas in a Big Way. Guest star: Tyra Banks (sort of)

Viewer programming note: Special Alphabet City tweeting project—follow #ABCity

Homecoming trips to Big D are always complicated affairs for me—add on book tour and I was one jumpy bundle of nerves.  I’d been practicing politic responses to probing questions about my father and our issues, while packing, unpacking and repacking my wardrobe—Mary taught me to always have on a cute outfit.  But a familiar face staring at me in American Airlines First Class calmed me down—although she did look paper thin and flat.  Tyra Banks eyed me from the cover of the American Way magazine, and I took that as an omen that things always work out in the end.

Stepmom knitted me a scarf!

First came the reunions.  One of the positive side effects of Alphabet City’s publication has been the surfacing of some new information as it relates to many of my life episodes involving Dad.  Dinner with my stepmother/friend was on tap for a much needed re-bonding, so I chose a spot that would let us take Dallas in style—the swanky Nana on the top of the Hilton Anatole towers.  The hotel is the site of some of the action in Alphabet City’s Episode 2—where I triumphed/floundered as the villain in a sticky sweet show Calling All Kids, that led to me meeting Tommy Tune and dreaming of being whisked right then to the Great White Way.

Nana's duck breast with a view

The Anatole and I have both grown up since those days—and Nana sits like the crown jewel offering stunning views of the Dallas skyline.  Over a perfectly grilled Texas quail and tender duck breast, we dished on tales of behind-the-scenes life on the set of Courtside Manner (the name that I gave to my father’s courtroom drama of a life).  Turns out, he was “a much more emotionally complicated person” than even I knew—a sound bite I would starting using in my press interviews.  And while the new information doesn’t change the betrayal I often felt at his hands—in fact it makes it worse actually—it was tremendously validating and fulfilling to reconnect with a person who was one (the only?) pillar of stability in my confusing teen years.

That night, I slept soundly with another old friend—The Stoneleigh.  My history with the hotel is long and fun.  My father lived in an apartment for a week or so when my parents split up.  On assignment a few years ago for Condé Nast Traveler, I returned to the scene after the hotel was renovated, reviewing the property for the magazine’s Hot List (original review).  As a travel writer, it’s gratifying to revisit and find out if first impressions are ever lasting—and I’m happy to report that the hotel is still in fine style, with large rooms and a bright color scheme that I’m still trying to recreate at home in NYC.

David Taffet proves everything's bigger in TX, including coffee & bagels

Truthfully, my first media appearance on KNON 89.3 Lambda Weekly—one of the oldest gay and lesbian radio shows in the country—made me nervous.  How would the gay media react to revelations about my father, a public gay hero, but who privately wasn’t always supportive of his gay son?  I needn’t have worried under the skillful direction of host and friend David Taffet, a New Yorker who has taken to calling himself Rhoda to my Mary.  My experience so far is that folks tend to understand that often public figures are often much different at home—and that my father separated intellectual issues from emotional ones.  As David advised, one hour on air flew by and boosted my confidence for future appearances.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book tour is the personal events and parties that friends are throwing for me all over the country.  With a hectic sitcom life, I’ll admit that sometimes I’ve lost touch with those who early on made sure I would survive and ultimately thrive.  I love that the tour is allowing me to reconnect, like at the party that my high school advisor (the woman who raised and furiously waved the red flag about my teen troubles) hosted with fellow alums from The Greenhill School.

Like old times

My dear friend Valerie (who should get a credit for one of the photos on the book’s cover—17 year-old me coyly using a scarf to cover terrible acne) drove up from Austin, and took up her spot by my side like we were back in high school—corralling the group to listen to a reading, and then peppering me with questions like a good audience plant.  Bless her.  Even better, we had a chance to catch up more at dinner at Ocean Prime, a trendy new establishment in Dallas’ Uptown area.

couldn't capture dry ice!

Over a dramatic theatrical presentation of oysters featuring dry ice, we laughed about the good ‘ole days—driving to fancy Greenhill in her Dallas Cowboys van, later at UT-Austin making stealth round-trips in the middle of night to pick-up/steal coffee pots and fans from our unsuspecting parents.

But reunions always seem to end too soon.  Reluctantly, we parted ways early as the next morning’s appearance on Good Morning Texas started to weigh heavily on me.  Gary Tyler Moore definitely needs his beauty sleep.

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Reviews Are In!

Back in PageSix!

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul solicits criticism from his fans.

The reviews are in!  Well, not yet, actually.  That’s where you come in.  Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life is recruiting “citizen book critics” to post some comments on Lulu and Amazon.  Head on over to those sites and tell the world your thoughts on my journey.  Was there a moment that made you laugh?  Cry?  Something you wish I’d done more of?  Less?  (Semi-unrelated sidebar: currently at #4 on Amazon’s Hot New Release-Gay Memoir list–just above Rita Mae Brown?!)

Email me a link to your post or a copy of your tasty morsel from now through March 17 at nycbucky@gmail.com, and as a thank-you several chosen budding book reviewers will receive Alphabet City ephemera.  Maybe a Mary Tyler Moore DVD.  Or a Tyra “InsideOut” book (unsigned).  Sorry, no Whoopi Oscar available (currently).

And don’t worry.  I can take your criticism.  After the storm of controversy surrounding the Tyra’s Olestra intolerance, I’m pretty hardened.  In the midst of the craziness, Jamie at FromMe-ToYou.Tumblr.com reminded me what Andy Warhol said,

Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.

Words to live by, in so many situations.  My ruler is standing by, ready for action.

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Trouble in Tyra-dise

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul develops intestinal distress watching his Tyra “revelations”spread like Internet wildfire.

In true Texas tradition, yesterday featured the Good, the Bad and The Ugly.

this pic gets cropped to an iPhone wallpaper!

The GoodVery Good.  Thanks to my interview with fellow Texan blogger Jamie of FromMe-ToYou.Tumblr.Com, this blog had its highest traffic day ever—by almost triple the next nearest one!  There’s something special about that Jamie, her photography and her followers—and I’m delighted they tumblr’d through here.  Ya’ll come back now, ya here?  And ABCitizens, hope you head over to FromMe-ToYou as Jamie morphed me into iPhone wallpaper!

The Bad.  My excitement over Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life being plugged by Richard Johnson in PageSix quickly turned to shock as I watched the blurb spread across the Internet.  If you’ve read the book, you’ll remember that Richard gave me a break when I was a young, struggling publicist—and when he read the passages about PageSix he reached out to me immediately again and said he’d like to do something.  What he chose about the lessons I learned from Tyra—including Olestra causing intestinal distress was only slightly out-of-context sensational—but again, if you’ve read the book, sort of funny.

Back in PageSix!

Unfortunately, like a game of telephone, each celebrity blogger picked up the PageSix story and reblogged it with their own twist.  I quickly became demonized as some kind of bitter ex-publicist with an axe to grind who had written a “tell-all” book.  Really?  And not just in the US, but around the world.  What’s up with all the gossip sites in India?  And I don’t even want to know what those German bloggers are saying.  Stateside,  Jeannie Jones from a radio station in DC started off her fuming post calling me some “jerk ex-publicist”:

“You know you’ve reached the bottom of the barrel when you decide to expose a celebrity’s intestinal issues in order to sell your book.  According to the NY Post, Tyra’s ex-publicist, Jon Paul Buchmeyer is exposing trivial tid-bits about the model-mogul’s life in order to advance his book sales.”

Wait a minute?  That’s what the Post said?  That I’m “leaking” out info to improve book sales?  Here’s the thing Jeannie and fellow gossipmongers, how about doing some actual reporting by contacting me, get another interesting and useful side of the story?  It’s not too hard—Google my name and you can pretty much be connected to me and the blog instantaneously. Read some sample chapters here about Tyra, see how nice they are!  Better yet, how about asking for a copy of the book?   Kudos to Rob Shuter at Popeater and Melissa Cronin at Star magazine for figuring that out and requesting to actually read the book before reporting.  Shout out to Jezebel for keeping it light as well—adding one of my all time favorite celebrity tabloid lines, “supermodels are just like us!”

I’ll also give some credit to FOX News National they actually went to the blog picked up more tidbits—and switched the story so that Tyra warns ME about fans brandishing teddy bears at book signings.  See how this game of telephone works.  Who cares right, as long as they spell my name right?  Except for some reason, the reporter began spelling my name wrong half way through the posting.  Oh well, at least they linked to my blog.

The Ugly.  What really became a hard to swallow were all the comments people began leaving on the blog posts.  Even further removed from the source—they haven’t read the book or even the original post—they feel compelled to attack me.  One reader on NYMagazine’s blog said I needed to have “my mouth taped shut” and another critiqued my public relations strategy.

None of this should surprise me, really.  After all, I’m a trained publicist and should know how quickly things “spin” out of control.  But the industry has changed dramatically since I stepped my naïve toes into the waters of celebrity publicity.  The Internet was just dawning—I had to clip stories out of the paper by hand.  Today, it was horrifying watching the speed at which my own participation in the gossip beast morphed into something ugly.  To my celebrity publicist friends I take my hat off to you, because your job today is much more complicated and stressful than was my brief time with wonderful folks like Tyra, Whoopi, Teri, Ashley and so many more.

To calm myself down after reading all the blogs and comments, I asked myself, “What would Mary do?”  After all, my TV guardian icon has guided me through some sticky situations.  Sure, she came unglued when her reputation was called into question.  But usually, she’d discuss the situation with Rhoda who would tell her to take it all in stride.  My own Rhoda, Susan, did exactly that.

“What do you care?  Shake it off.  As long as they spell your name right kid!” Susan teased.

In the end, things always worked out for Mary.  And she always had on a cute outfit when they did.  Sounds like I have some shopping to do.

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