Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Who'd have guessed that something as insubstantial as the common reed could cause such conflict? But thanks to Phragmities australis that's what we have now in Boston's fabulous crime-free Fenway {as WBCN FM used to call its location, tongue firmly in cheek). A standoff between cruisers and, well, cruisers.

Like many things in Boston, and the reeds themselves, the roots of the conflict run deep.

The Fenway Victory Gardens have been gay cruising grounds for as long as anyone now alive can remember. Cruising in fact probably preceded gardening, which dates from 1946 when the Victory Gardens were created to aid the war effort. For generations, day and night, men have been milling around the banks of the Muddy River to meet other men.

For sex with Mr. Right Now, of course. And on the spot, unlike most other public cruising areas. The thick stands of reeds have mazes of trampled paths leading to free, if damp on the knees, motel rooms.

Here's the rub. Public sexual activity is prohibited by law in Puritan Boston. And in a few other cities around the civilized world - a figure probably inching close to 100%.

This is where most of the action occurs, in the grassy cruising grounds and the reed sex rooms along the river, but it spills over into the rest of the park and the gardens.

Besides stumbling upon couples in flagrante delicto abundant circumstantial evidence exists. Condoms, popper bottles, KY tubes, feces, underwear and pants (how do they get home?) are strewn up and down the garden paths. Along with other party items - wine and liquor bottles, beer cans and drug paraphernaliia - needles, crack pipes, baggies and vials.

... To be continued.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wind Chimes | On the Cover . 6

Wind Chimes. The South End, Boston. This is the new cover of Roofscape Magazine for September 15, 2009.

The view is into a backyard off the alley that runs along the East Berkeley Street Community Gardens in Boston's South End. The willow tree is cut down, the giant phallus is gone, the wind chimes no longer sound, the whole elaborate devotional garden greatly reduced. It was the work, Sasha once told me, of a blind sculptor. Walk around the block and check the front of the house which is still fairly much intact.