Caesar Leon, an outgoing and enthusiastic young man, had been waiting for this night for a very long time.
“I saw him before the movie,” Leon said, standing below the stage at the El Rey Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard. “I heard his lyrics and read them and fell in love with him. I’m his biggest fan.”
Caesar Leon, left, and his best friend, Alberto Siqueiros, at the Jay Brannan concert.
Leon, who wore a modified Mohawk and dressed in a red Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt with a dark vest and blue jeans, was talking about Jay Brannan, the singer/songwriter who also co-starred in the film Shortbus. Leon had travelled several hundred miles from Ensenada, a beach resort town in Baja California, to see Brannan’s solo show last Tuesday night.
“I had to get a permit to come here,” he explained. “Then I had to take two buses—one from Ensenada to Tijuana, then another one from Tijuana to LA.”
Leon is twenty-two—“It hurts me to say that,” he said, “I want to be twenty-one forever.” He studies at a culinary arts school in Ensenada and plans to be a manager at a high-end restaurant. His best friend, Alberto Siqueiros, who lives in West Hollywood and works for a fashionable blue jeans company, bought the tickets for the two of them.
“I wanted to give Caesar a big birthday gift,” said Siqueiros, with Leon hugging him. “He was the one who turned me onto Jay. I like the songs and everything, and I’m a fan, but not a huge fan.”
Bright lights at the El Rey Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard.
Siqueiros said he preferred the bands Phoenix and Death Cab for Cutie and went back to reading something on his Blackberry. Leon explained the beginning of his love affair with Brannan further.
“I had never heard a gay songwriter before,” he said, “and I was messing around on YouTube. Then I heard him sing something about his lover and I connected to it. I listened to him over and over and over. It was amazing.”
Some noises started coming from the behind the red curtain. Leon lifted it up and tried to sneak a peek. Brannan wasn't there.
“This is my first time seeing him live,” Leon said with a big smile. “I don’t know what his first song is going to be, but it’s going to be amazing. You know, I wrote Jay an email a while ago. I wrote that I really loved his words and they really touched me. I also said that when I first heard him, I just broke up with my boyfriend.”
Leon continued, “But I didn’t hear back from him at first, which made me kind of sad. But after two months, he got back to me and said what I wrote was really inspirational. That made me happy.”
Leon hoped Brannan would sing “Body's a Temple” and “Half-Boyfriend”—two of his favorite songs. “I also want to hear ‘Housewife,’” he said, “but I love everything.”
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Leon, the "biggest fan," looks on as Brannan sings his first song.
A few moments later, the red curtain was pulled away and Brannan sat on a stool with a guitar and sang his first song. Leon stared at the singer and smiled and Siqueiros hugged him from behind. Thirty minutes later, Brannan played “Housewife.” His biggest fan sang along.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.