When a group of entertainers were creating an online fundraiser for the Triangle Club, a Washington, DC, facility providing meeting space for LGBTQ people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, I knew it was time for Anita Mann to emerge from the duffel bag in the back of my closet. The result is a little ditty recorded in my front courtyard.
How to describe a bearded, bewigged, bejeweled guy singing sincerely with his bango? Post-modern? Dadaist? Could we just settle on adorable?
I prefer to inhabit a world in which none of these labels really matter. What inspired me, actually, were the finger paintings of rainbows that have appeared in windows throughout my neighborhood. They have a hopeful innocence that makes me smile during my walks. And they remind me that finding a power greater than myself, as my recovery process has taught me, can mean looking no further than the earthly miracles right in front of me. Heaven, as another song goes, is a place on earth.
And so, with apologies to composer Paul Williams, I revised the lyrics to “Rainbow Connection” to muse about such things. And raise some money for a good cause.
Like many small businesses and non-profits, the Triangle Club meeting space in Washington, DC, is facing a substantial loss in donation income. Thankfully, virtual meetings are being held for those in recovery but, much like your favorite, darkened restaurant, there’s no guarantee these spaces will still be in business once life resumes on the other side of the pandemic.
I have climbed the stairs to the Triangle Club, located above a nondescript dry cleaner in Dupont Circle, many times. The meetings and events held there, and in so many other clubhouses just like it, have quite literally saved my life.
“I’m always reeling at what life’s revealing,” Anita sings. “I wonder what else I might see.”
Today, I see the promise and beauty of a rainbow. And that is, and must be, enough.
(No traditions were harmed in the writing of this piece, which makes no mention of any particular program or mode of recovery. I admire any approach that changes lives.)