The Craig Report 4.23.17


Hey everybody. I’m back!

janet dubai

I’m coming to you once again from an Ethiopian restaurant. (Blog-only readers should note that the referenced last dispatch was for exclusive for email subscribers. Subscribe, yo! There are benefits and such.) Anyway, like I said, I’m waiting to tear into an Ethiopian feast again, only this time I’m coming to you, not from my hometown of D.C., but from BK, home of Biggie and Jay/Where niggas got Will Smith chips/Get jiggy all day/Bitches that boost in the city all day…

The restaurant is called Bunna Cafe, and it’s one of all time fave Ethiopian joints. It’s also vegan, so it has all the veggie options I crave. Right now, I’m here for the brunch. In fact, my food just came.
I got Dinch Azifa, a mix of potatoes, onions, and jalapeños, and Duba FirFir, a berbere -soaked mash of of injera bread, squash, ginger and garlic. As for what’s in my glass, don’t worry ’bout that.
O.K., so now I’m in an Uber to Newark airport and it is the most expensive Uber I’ve ever taken.
I swear, this driver better start burning some lavender oils and offering up a foot massage to justify this price.

But anyway, back to the story, which I now realize that I haven’t even begun telling you. It involves the reasons why I’m having my own miniature and decidedly solo “On The Run” tour.

I was in the D.C. to briefly touch base with family before heading to the way-outer-Bmore area and McDaniel College, where the wonderful Dr. Sara Raley teaches my memoir All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. in her Sociology of Sexuality class.

Every time I talk to the class, it’s interesting and engaging. The students always have lots of good questions. My only minor gripe is that the inquiries often have less to do with me than with my ex-boyfriend Seth, who figures prominently in the book. (More on him later.)

In the class, I  share some bts stuff, such as

1) My original photo of one of the clubs where I used to work. It eventually became the paperback cover. The photo now looks so retro that it’s like a still from The Americans.
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2) Vintage pics of me & Seth.
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3) An old stripper outfit.
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Laugh if you want, but I think both Bey & Rihanna copped my style for some of their past Coachella lewks.
All in all, it was a good time. And on a sidenote, if you ever happen to find yourself 40 miles outside of Baltimore, in Westminster, MD, you should check out the food at Tim Thai.

Anyway, after Baltimore, I went to NYC and stayed with Seth and his boyfriend Johnny, who exhibits one of my most admired qualities in a human person: he makes his own hot sauce.
Sidenote: When I got back home, I internet-ed a Jeow Som recipe. This was the first step:
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As soon as I read that, I was like

The main point of my NYC trip was to attend the “Headlines and Headliners” event sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. I used to be the Program Coordinator for NLGJA, which, as the mission statement says, “is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ issues.”

It was a really nice affair. Lots of journo celebs were in the house, including the night’s honoree CNN’s Don Lemon and NBC’s Willie Geist. My highlight was standing next to The View‘s Sunny Hostin as I ordered a Tito’s and Diet Coke from the bar.

(image egregiously cribbed from NLGJA email)

Apparently, Barry Manilow was up in the joint too. (You know, watching Barry’s “Coming Out” narrative makes me wish that my biography subject, Luther Vandross, had lived to have a similar media moment. I think it would’ve enriched his personal life and, perhaps, led to his greatest professional success. It would’ve given the larger public a chance to get to know the man behind the music.)


But that night,  I wasn’t really checking for Barry, because the food had my full attention. The cheese selection was on point, including this creamy mouthful this morsel of melt-in-your-mouthness.
But the real “what the actual tasty fuck” moment occurred when a server came out with a tray hanging around her neck.
At first, I thought she was like young Wilma from The Flintstones, back when she used to sling smokes at the Hollyrock Hotel.
But it turned out that the tray contained three different types of chips: parmesan, kale, and beet. The tray -lady made each person a bag with their own individualized selection of chips. Then she topped it off with a generous sprinkle of salt and truffle zest.


This was my bag.
I’m gonna need a truffle-strapped, human chip tray to be at every party I attend for the eternity of my forever.
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On the next night, which marked the one year anniversary of Prince’s death, Seth and I had dinner at Urban Vegan Kitchen, which was having a tribute to his Purpleness.




They even adorned the restrooms appropriately.




The musical selection was tight. DJ July spun many faves, which led to anxiety as Seth was running late.




DJ July also played a lot of dope Prince-adjacent joints like The Time’s “Get It Up,”  Apollonia 6’s “Sex Shooter,” and the soulful cover of “Do Me Baby” by Gotham’s own Meli’sa Morgan.

The food was great too. I had vegan chicken and waffles, which is interesting considering that the last time I ate actual chicken was at the legendary Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in LA right after Biggie died. I had just come from taking pictures at the Peterson Automotive Museum, where he was gunned down.


It’s funny how food can trigger memories.

Anyway, all this leads to now, which is me on the plane back to Miami, bumping through crazy turbulence, and promising to God that I’ll do better if only I’m spared the indignity of plunging to my death while watching Steve Harvey hammily interviewing children.
(Btw, if this was an authentically moving moment, all apologies. My TV audio is off. I’m actually listening to this.)

Usually, at this point, I start talking about some of my fave things of the week. But, honestly, I’ve been moving around so much that my favorite thing right now is just the idea of sleeping in my own bed. But I’ll be back with some freshness soon.

Until next time y’all…

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Be cool, be kind, be creative, be yourself. Love, Craig

P.S. If you know someone who might like this report, please do me a favor and ask them to subscribe. Thanks!


One of the other great places I ate while in BK was Buntopia. Seth and I split a delicious bulgogi-style, seitan bun burger.
And I got the Oyster Mushroom Ramen, which, in a genius move, was made with tofu shirataki noodles, cutting out like 300 and some calories. (40+ metabolism ain’t no joke!)
But one of my favorite things about the restaurant was this sign in the bathroom, which I thought was a good metaphor for life and keeping your house in order.


Who I Am:

I’m a writer whose work has been featured in The Washington Post, the Chicago TribuneEntertainment Weekly, Vibe, Spin, and other publications. I have a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

My Books:

Who’s Your Daddy

Providence-based photographer Michael Allen, a gay man on the cusp of 40, thinks he’s found love with a 19-year-old, mohawk-sporting artist named Ziggy, only to discover that the two may already share a bond that neither can imagine. This plays out as Michael’s best friends-Sidney, a 50-ish art dealer and Bruce, a cop in his 30s-deal with their own sexual trysts and romantic travails with dramatically younger guys. The result is a novel that explores the fragile yet enduring ties of sex, love, and friendship.

All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.

“Unafraid to bare it all…readers will feel they’re in the hands of an expert.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“…a bare-assed, neon-lit tour de force…” –The Bay Area Reporter

“Raunchy splendor…somehow both bawdy and sweetly nostalgic at the same time.” – Dallas Voice

FREE: Download the All I Could Bare audiobook read by me.

Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross

“Seymour’s brilliant book is like a great Luther song: elegantly written, effortlessly executed and eloquently delivered. A majestic tribute.” – Michael Eric Dyson

“Full of juicy anecdotes, fast-paced writing and interesting analysis, the book paints an intimate portrait of the beloved balladeer.” – E. Lynn Harris

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