Bil Browning

Personal musings about last weekend

Filed By Bil Browning | March 01, 2010 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Angela Lansbury, comprehensive immigration reform, David Mixner, Matt Foreman, NYC, personal musings, UAFA

I was honored to co-host a gathering of top bloggers and print media editors with Paul Schindler of the Gay City News last weekend. The Four Freedoms Fund sponsored the gathering and we spent several hours on Saturday talking about comprehensive immigration reform.

I'm still mulling over my thoughts about the issue so I'll post on CIR tomorrow. For now, I wanted to put down some personal musings about last weekend. There were a lot of personally memorable moments - from flying to NYC during a blizzard and running out of fuel to Andrew Sullivan's armpit.

They're after the jump.

Some personal highlights in bullet form. Feel free to ask questions for more detailed descriptions. They're all good stories like you'd tell when you're sitting around having a drink or coffee.

  • Phil Reese and I flew together out of Indianapolis to La Guardia on Friday - in the middle of the blizzard that just hit NYC. We were the only flight to go out of Indy that day to New York and we left right on time. We made good time to La Guardia even if it was a little bumpy. Just as we were landing though, they shut down the airport and we had to circle until we ran low on fuel and had to be diverted to Baltimore. Once we landed, AirTran canceled the flight and hired buses to take us the rest of the way to NYC. We ended up paying the bus driver to drop us off at a rest area on the New Jersey turnpike where Jillian Weiss picked us up so we could make the opening reception for the CIR summit. We were over 8 hours later than we'd planned on arriving, but we were only 15 minutes late for the event.
  • Spending time with so many of my colleagues and inspirations was amazing - especially during the Q&A period. Think these people write well? Try watching them in action as they think on their feet and pepper presenters with questions. Here's who came: Adam Bink, Toni D'orsay, Chris Geidner, Prerna Lal, Joe Mirabella, Mike Rogers, Kerry Eleveld, Josh Lynsen, Mark Segal, Rex Wockner, Andrew Belonsky, Andres Duque, Joe Jervis, Ramon Johnson, Michael Jones, William Keck, Liza Sabater, Jillian Weiss, Paul, Phil and I. (Contributors Steve Ralls and Matt Foreman were both there as well, but not as bloggers.)
  • Phil and I spent some time with David Mixner on Sunday shooting some footage of Mixner recounting his part in the LGBT movement. It was a truly moving experience and I can't wait to post the video. Seriously. I think this was one of the best interviews we've ever shot.
  • It was Phil's first trip to NYC and after we had brunch with Mixner, we wandered around the city for a while. From Times Square to the Empire State Building, we saw it all. We even had our caricatures drawn by street artists. I don't get to spend personal not-blog-at-all time with contributors very often and Phil's cheerful personality made that afternoon a delight.
  • After I tweeted we were in Times Square, longtime reader Jerby shot back that he was working nearby. He works at one of the shows so we ran to the stagedoor and got a quick kiss. Back out on the sidewalk we just missed walking into Angela Lansbury. She was very regal looking but I wanted to beg her to use substitutiary locomotion and take me to Naboombu.
  • Funniest. Thing. Ever.: A few of us went to the Eagle on Saturday night. Phil spotted Andrew Sullivan across the bar and got the "New York greeting." Andrew grabbed Phil's head and shoved it in his armpit. Priceless.

I'm glad it all worked out. It was informational, it was good for the movement, and it was a helluva lot of fun. And it came with street food too. What else is there in life?

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I just want to say thanks, on a personal level, and then to note that some of those voices were truly amazing.

Ramon Johnson, Liza Sabater, Prerna Lal, Chris Geidner, Mike Rogers and Rex Wockner really did one heck of a job in separating the wheat from the chaff.

I'm still revved up from the amazing clarity of that weekend.


On another note, my face no longer smells like Andrew Sullivan's armpit. I am confident that it won't again for a bit! ;-)

If Andrew reads this: I've never been more honored to be covered in smelly sweat in my life!

Bil and Phil, I don't know if I left just at the right time, or should have stuck around. There are serious pros and cons to having you head smothered in Andrew Sullivan sweat. Oh well. Maybe next time.

It was a great trip, and I can't thank you enough Bil for including me. I'm looking forward to your visit to Seattle in May!

Mr. Popular | March 2, 2010 10:16 AM

Poor Andrew Sullivan. He never learns. He never quits. And there is no question in my mind that he will die a horrible death, one of his own eerily creative making and fully justified, of course. "The writing on the wall" is clear – it's just sad to me how few of us care to read and muse upon it.

Next time, you should invite me out to the Eagle! ;)