In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree…


Wow Jamie,

Where has the time gone. We’ve both been so super busy,  and complete shutdown from this depressing economy has got me, for one, feeling lazy. Too lazy to blog.

But I did manage to move my satin shorts wearing butt out the door long enough to catch the Chicago tour stop of Xanadu: The Musical.


I went with Brad’s HS BFF Cara and our pals Justin and Jake who have a disturbing knowledge of showtunes. But I’m sure my knowledge of every Prince song released and unreleased keeps them up at night as well. I’m not going to get into a review. You’re either going to get it or not. See it or not. No debate. But if you were a fan of the original 80’s film, definitely check it out. Everyone’s in on the joke and the music is great!  More than anything, seeing Xanadu really got me thinking back though to what I consider one of the biggest signs that I was going to be a big old homo.

I was obsessed. OBSESSED with all thing Olivia Newton John at the time. Starting from about age 7, when Grease was not only The Word, but my first album, I was hooked. The following year my aunt was taking me to the dentist while my mom worked. She bribed me with “anything I wanted” as long as I was good at the dentist. After a dental exam filled with ONJ dreams, I made my aunt stop at Venture and get me her new album Totally Hot. And it was. I wore that thing out. It was Olivia getting “dirty” and trying to wash away her pure Sandy image. It didn’t turn me on as with most young boys, it just made me lip sync her cover of Eric Carmen’s Boats Against The Current while my cousin Jeff played guitar on my badminton racket. Utterly gay. Sorry Jeff. You’re exempt.

Olivia in Xanadu

The grand gay finale was the next year when a shy farm boy (and his family) moved to the big city of Pekin Illinois. I was terrified for like a year straight like a home school kid dropped in the middle of the Fame school. But my breakout came one Saturday morning when I was reading the local Pekin Daily Times and saw a small add in the bottom corner for Olivia’s new movie Xanadu. I begged. Begged my mom to take me to see it but no one would budge. Finally she relented and dropped her burgeouningly queeny little boy off to see, who she thought was, his first crush. I saw my first movie alone at age 10 in Pekin Mall and it was bliss. 90 minutes of rollerskating, disco, Gene Kelly (who I even loved then), ELO, art deco and Olivia. I was in heaven.

I’m sure looking back, it was a bad judgement on my mom’s and my parts. And I do realize now its a shite movie at best, but it broke me out of my shyness and apparently closer to out of the closet 7 years later. I’ve since given up my leg warmers and white roller skates, but have not given up the joy that Xanadu holds. Seeing the play brought a huge smile to my inner gay kids. Thanks, Kira*.


*her character’s name in the movie, you big lug.


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4 Responses to “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree…”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I love the fact that your mom thought ONJ was your first hetero crush and in reality you were crushing on the spectacle of it all.

    Do you know I’ve never seen the whole movie? My Xanadu education begins and ends with sidetracks Sunday showtunes night and gay night at the roller rink. Just let me know if you don’t want to be friends anymore and I’ll pack my stuff. I totally understand.

  2. emma james Says:

    I LOVED this movie as a kid, had the album, and even thought the boy was cute.

    It does not hold up to adult viewing. Crushing.

  3. m000se Says:

    i absolutely agree, emma. but that’s not going to stop me from making Jamie watch it next time she’s in Chicago!!

  4. Trena Says:

    I too am a BIG ol’ ONJ fan…

    I have every album (yes LP) and know the lyrics to all of her songs. My girlfriends took me to Vegas when I turned 30 to see her in concert and I sang like a crazy woman with the asian girl sitting next to me… (We apologized after to the poor people sitting in front of us during the concert.) I also cried when she first stepped foot on stage… I’m not so in to her new stuff though… stopped at Soul Kiss… There you have it… big ONJ confession…

    Xanadu was the best… Do you think if I threw on my skates and b-lined for one of those murals in LA, I’d find it? 😉

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