I Fell in Love with Johnny Rotten

Wow, I’ve just had the most schizophrenic weekend possible, I think. And I loved it.

Saturday night consisted of a rare and coveted trip to NYC to see a show with my mom and sister. I would do this once a month if I had the time/money/child care.

We saw the amazing Leslie Jordan in a one-man show, “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.” (You can still see it through July 3!!)

He was hilarious and we laughed until we cried, but his story was also so heartbreaking (just as you would expect). Very gay little boy growing up in Tennessee in the ’50s, shame, shame, gay bar music, shame, alcoholism and drug addiction, gay bar music, more shame, recovery, and fabulous acting career. And gay bar music.

But I was most touched when he spoke of his recovery and being treated with kindness and respect by other recovering addicts who were men, despite his femininity. All his life he had been abused by straight men, and he took this terrifying step to go to them for help, and they embraced him. He had never been accepted as himself before that moment. Wow.

His final speech was about being that terrified boy and growing up with no one to turn to for guidance. And how today, he was here willing to help. I think it was meant to be funny (mothers, hide your sons), but it was so true and heartfelt that it made me wish I was a little gay boy.

Rushed home on Sunday to see none other than Public. Image. Limited. I never thought I’d have the chance. And now that I have, I can cross it off my list of things I absolutely must do before I die. I’ll admit I went in there feeling somewhat terrified at the prospect of being yelled at by John Lydon.

And he did yell at some people in the audience but I guess they were being jerks and deserved it. (Throwing peanuts? Where did they get peanuts? And for what unknown reason would they be throwing them? I don’t get it at all.)

Instead I fell in love with Johnny Rotten, who spent the rest of the show wailing his lungs out (his voice sounded incredible) to give us all a good show, and demanded that we join in the fun. He told us not to be afraid to dance because someone would think we look silly. He said to forgive your friends because if you don’t have friends, you have nothing in life.

This, by the way, was not gay bar music. Well, it had the same pounding bass, I suppose, but this was the kind of bass that shakes up through the floor and all the way into your chest. Just the way I like my live music.

In the end, these men who are complete and total opposites, whose paths I’m sure would never otherwise cross except in my little blog, were actually so much alike. They weathered storms and came out with wisdom, wanting to help those coming up behind them in a gracious and respectful way. They were both one hundred percent dedicated to the idea of being yourself, your true self, no matter what. What more could you ask for?

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