Laura did this for her brother when he turned 21,
and I liked the idea enough to steal it for today, the 25th Anniversary of the birth of my dear friend and our third roommate, Johnny Blazes!
Happy Birthday, Johnny!
1. Johnny taught me to dumpster dive. Ze and I rescued about three huge bags full of donuts and bagels from the dumpster behind Dunkin Donuts in J.P center. We brought them to Boston Latin and set them up on the sidewalk as breakfast for students the next morning. Our (former) headmaster came outside and told us we needed a vendor's permit, but we told her it was our "alumni donation" to the school and she gave up.
2. Johnny was the first "freegan," I ever knew. Hir boyfriend David was the second.
3. In between high school and college Johnny and our friend Meghan went to Nicaragua to help build a library. They learned Spanish and raised all the money themselves.
4. For fun and money, Johnny and I co-starred in an educational video series that was used to teach English to children in Spanish speaking countries. One day ze left hir microphone on backstage and the sound guy overheard us talking about a new and very private piercing Johnny had just gotten. He brought it up later and it was extremely awkward for all of us.
4. Johnny founded and directed OCircus! at Oberlin College.
5. Johnny Blazes is well known in Boston's burlesque scene as well as the drag scene. I have always known ze was talented but every time I watch hir on stage I am amazed all over again. Ze is truly one of the most talented people I know.
6. One Christmas Johnny wrote a song for me. Ze produced it with hir father and two of our friends. It's called "Me and Judy Garland," and whenever I listen to it I am still floored by how amazing it is and how much love went into it.
7. Johnny and my boyfriend Tim brought me home after my father's funeral. They were not weirded out when I requested they just stay even though I told them I probably wouldn't talk. They just stayed. They were not surprised when I fell asleep. They did not leave even then. Johnny baked cookies and told me ze would be there whenever I was ready to talk. Years later when I was finally ready to talk about it, and thought I had no one to listen, ze was still ready.
8. Johnny is not only a performer but also is a certified massage therapist, a yoga instructor and a substitute teacher. Ze charges $40 an hour for a massage, so call now!
9. Johnny was the first person I ever wrote video sketch show with. We were 15 and both dating actors named Adam. The show lineup involved a monkey in a diaper, a cooking show about toast and a segment where we ran around in public in our underwear. We never produced it, but I still have the script somewhere.
10. Johnny played Puck back at Riverside Theater in Boston in 1999 and it was the best portrayal I have ever seen. My Dad saw it and could NOT stop talking about it, and how much he wanted Johnny to perform as Peter Pan on Broadway. I still believe that I live with Peter Pan.
BONUS: When Johnny was touring with OCircus! I missed their Boston show because I was debuting with N.X.T at Improv Asylum that night. We hadn't spoken in months. When we called to fill each other in on our successes we found out we were both looking for a roommate and we ended our search that very night.