Boulevard of Realized Dreams

Back in 1984 there was a rather popular poster of Gottfried Helnwein’s interpretation of Edward Hoppers iconic Nighthawks. In it Helnwein replaced Hopper’s characters with Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley. The poster was titled Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Gottfried Helnwein – 1984

Nighthawks – Edward Hopper – 1942

Earlier today as I strolled along the A1A, aka Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, I was taken back to my first trip to this special place. I was but a young gay buck of 20ish years in that year of 1984. The world was my apple and I was taking my first bite of it.

Oh the dreams I dreamt as we cruised the crowded street along the beautiful beach. Expensive cars, beautiful bodies, palm trees, sea, sand, luxury condos, stylish clothes, designer glasses, garish jewelry, massive yachts, love, sex, endless nights of dancing & debauchery, exotic vacations and an openly gay lifestyle. Shallow I know, but youth and inexperience often allows young gay bucks like I was to be led astray into dreams of superficiality.

Yes those dreams all flooded back into my memory as I strolled this beautiful boulevard.

Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard 10/26/2020

I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced this stretch of road and beach so empty of human activities in all the 100s of times I’ve strolled it. If there is any silver lining to Covid at all it’s the ability to experience such a moment at 11 am and 82 degrees F with a nice breeze. Such a quiet moment allows one to remember, contemplate and to dream.

Helnwein‘s interpretation of Hopper’s famous painting always gave me the empty lonely feeling of lives cut short and dreams not realized. Feelings of disappointment, loss, loneliness and sadness. As I strolled this empty stretch of typically busy avenues, I realized just how many of my 1984 dreams I’ve realized over the more than 30 years that have a passed. As I acknowledged my dreams, I started to sense how many of the dreams of those four souls in Helnwein’s interpretation had actually realized. Lives may have been cut short, tragedy may have struck, but dreams were realized and did come true for each and every one of them. My feelings about that poster which was so prevalent in 1984 shifted.

I never owned a copy of Hoppers painting nor of Helnwein’s poster. I did, however, own a copy of Michael Bedard’s interpretation of Helnwein’s interpretation. Bedard’s is entitled Window Shopping.

Window Shopping – Michael Bedard – 1989

Reflection of the 20ish boy’s somewhat shallow dreams as I strolled this morning revealed that the sheltered boy from small town Virginia has traveled the world, danced the night away on the open decks of cruise ships, met and conversed with rich and powerful people, lived and owned luxury & investment properties – even right here on this very  Ft Lauderdale beach – in various cities, found love that has even celebrated a 30 year anniversary, sex-lots of sex, lives an openly gay life as a married gay man with a husband, has owned expensive cars, worn designer clothes, has had and experienced beautiful bodies, can see the Pacific Ocean from his very own house including from it’s newly constructed guest apartment in his back yard, has a beautiful and growing family of nieces and nephews, has made lifelong friendships that deepened beyond that ever imagined, has a fulfilling career, rescues dogs, is a philanthropist, has owned loved captained and since sold his very own yacht, has the blessing of bringing his mother to live out her golden years with him as he is blessed with the ability to care for her, owns expensive beautiful art, is blessed with the talents to actually paint beautiful art, has some expensive watches and wears a Platinum Tiffany wedding band on his left hand, grows beautiful flowers in his yard, has been a drunk and found sobriety, helps his neighbors, is currently sitting sans clothing by a swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale on this 84 degree afternoon, so many dreams…many more… the dreams keep coming true.

Material and meaningful dreams really do come true.

Dare to dream.

What dreams have you realized?

Gay Anthems!

Is it possible to cry as one dances in the middle of a crowded dance floor? Yes.

John was the newly hired director of the newly established AIDS Foundation in my hometown. He was a handsome eligible bachelor, I was “on break” from my first lover relationship. He had invited me over to his place as we were on our first date and he was cooking for us. After he poured me a drink, he clicked on the stereo as we sat down on his sofa.

“This is the new release from Bronski beat” he said as I deeply inhaled the nostalgic antique smell of the large living room of his apartment on the second floor of a stunning old gingerbread Victorian home. I wasn’t yet familiar with Bronski Beat much less Jimmy Somerville. Jimmy’s voice enveloped us with a trancelike vibration. I was hooked even before the rhythms kicked in a couple minutes later. I remember wiping tears from my cheek as I listened to the lyrics that I understood all too well. John embraced me and I realized I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy – 1984

Above is the 12” extended mix that we danced many a night to in the clubs, below is the original 1984 video depicting the chilling story from the lyrics.

I don’t know what became of John. He sure was handsome. It was a confusing and scary time. We didn’t yet know how gay men were contracting AIDS and or who was going to be next. At that time it wasn’t if but when. AIDS in the 1980s was a death sentence and the deaths were miserably horrible experiences to live through. He was busy trying to set up the floundering new foundation to help area victims. I was young, scared and immature so I went back to the safety of my known lover. John continued his work and we drifted apart. However the memory is cherished.

Somebody Else’s Guy

Jocelyn Brown’s famous grove from 1984…

And she won’t no ‘no talent’ studio enhanced 1984 diva ‘cause honey she is still got it sum 30 years later…

Back in 1984 Fearsome was but a big fat dark brown porn star ‘stache and I a handsome lean blonde haired aerobics instructor. This tune in it’s original version was a staple for a killer abdominal workout grove. Honey her tune worked us and we worked her tune.

Today?

Well today we wonder if perhaps He’s Somebody Else’s Beard.

Toe Tappin’ Tune

This’ll get our weekend started!

1984 Jocelyn Brown Somebody Else’s Guy

1984…I couldn’t even legally buy liquor. My friend Kiki kept asking me to shave off young Fearsome because she liked my chin. I could be found every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening on the dance floor at my local gay disco, The Park. I was in an on and off again relationship with my first lover (usually off was with “somebody’s else’s” guy…sometimes the “somebody else” was another guy and sometimes a woman). I was an aerobics instructor and I made my first ever trip to Ft. Lauderdale Florida.

While criusing the A1A along the beach in Ft Lauderdale and listening to this very tune, in a black T-Top Trans Am mind you, I remember looking at the ocean front condo buildings thinking “My, those people must be rich”. Today we own a couple of those very condos.

Dreams, they really do come true.

The tune still makes me dance. Enjoy!