Look up to 5 Media Maven David Walker | Gay Life After 40. com

Media Maven David Walker

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Name: David Walker

Birth Place: Lancaster County, PA

Occupation: Retired from TV, Radio, Corporate internal media, ad writing, music director, professional sound designer and board operator for local theaters, front desk and librarian at local LGBT Center. Still very active as co-artistic director of a new choral group, River City Singers, in Harrisburg, PA.

Words that best describe you? Curious, untrained musician, bullshit intolerant

Who has been your biggest influence in your life?  My mother. She was an unintentional rebel who, along with a rather hot minister, taught me that questioning what people say is good. She never particularly ENcouraged me from pursuing my interests, but she rarely DIScouraged me.  For example, I was never sent outside to play if I were watching one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young Peoples’ Concerts. Living in the wilds of Lancaster County, PA in the ’50s and ’60s, I think that was a pretty good deal.

When did you become out to friends and family? I was never really in. People acknowledged that “there was something off with that boy,” and they were right. I always exercised my Broadway gene, listened to music all the time, loved movies, and ultimately got to love live shows, too. Although my father kind of didn’t know what to do with me, the rest pretty much took a “that’s our David” approach.

I would give anything to meet…Leo Forbstein. He was the first musical director at Warner Bros. Jack Warner wanted the world to think that he was the genius behind EVERYthing at Warners, but he was quite lucky to have hired excellent people in the various crafts. Leo had a Broadway career and went to Warners in the late ’20s. He was not an exceptionally gifted composer or director, but he knew what was good and hired musicians who were among the best in Hollywood. He was responsible for the first full-time orchestra at a movie studio and hired the great composers who fled Europe as the nazis took over. He also had a knack for running interference with Warner, getting what the musicians wanted. Stories are told of recording sessions being interrupted by Leo walking into the studio. The conductor handed Leo the baton, and soon Warner could be seen in the control room. When Warner left, Leo handed the baton back to the conductor in charge of the session. To me, that’s the highest sign of respect.

Your idea of a perfect evening is? A delicious meal followed by a show, preferably a touring show at the local playhouse. After that, letting nature take its course.

The last book I read was …. What Happened by Hillary Clinton and Sonneteria, a posthumous release of sonnets written by my late partner, Jack Veasey. It’ll be out in both hard copy and ebooks soon.

My favorite movies/plays are? Too numerous to single out. Movies range from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “Psycho” to “Shane” to “Pride.” Actually, I’ve become quite an admirer of non-porn gay movies. Well, porn too, but gay movies that tell our stories have become my special interest. Plays…geez. Including musicals, “Mame,” “All the King’s Men,” “Gypsy,” “Doubt,” “If,” “Come from Away” all score pretty high marks. Now that my aging process has settled in, you’ve shown me that it’s hard for me to come up titles as I used to.

Nobody knows that I …… fantasize and have written fiction about CBT and BDSM. It tends not to come up in polite society, which is what I’m stuck with.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Delaware Water Gap, the gap itself. I sense a spirituality there, a timelessness and joy, especially (and I mean this sincerely) when the buzzards are circling for food, or maybe just because they can stay up in the air without flapping their wings. Their use of updrafts is amazing. However, my favorite place in the entire world that no longer exists is Rocky Springs Amusement Park, the amusement park of my youth. It was an old park in the ’50s…bi-planes were the air plane ride, and it had the greatest carousel and Wurlitzer band organ ever. It’s also where I lost my roller coaster virginity. One never forgets one’s first time.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? During an enjoyable evening with a straight friend (we were constantly together during the ’70s), I remarked that a mutual friend assumed we were a couple. Although we laughed about it, one remark lead to another and pretty soon we were taking off each other’s clothes in my bedroom. I never thought that would happen; I was truly amazed when it did. Pretty spontaneous on his part, too.

What odd talent do you have? Even though I can’t give you movie or show titles off the top of my head, I can match nearly any situation with a line or lyric. It’s actually kind of embarrassing. I hang out at joemygod.com and way too frequently someone will say something that instantly brings a line or a song to mind, I’ll take a quick trip to YouTube, and then post it or, if it’s short, just quote it.

What had been your biggest setback or failure in life and how did you overcome it?  I was raped by a radio station manager and it was so upsetting (especially since I enjoyed the job and the location) that I had to leave. Obviously, he wasn’t about to go and I couldn’t deal with the aftermath. (I understand what #MeToo is about.) Although I felt humanity had come a long way during the ’60s, I still felt I couldn’t report the rape, and as a long-haired hippy freak, I knew the police wouldn’t care and the people I knew wouldn’t believe it. I mean, he was a pillar of civic society and I was an outsider who was already seen as an outsider. So I left and was incredibly depressed. I knew I couldn’t tell the parents (did I mention he and my father were besties during WWII?) and I had no idea what to do. A casual acquaintance just happened to mention that the local public TV station was looking for crew people, so I applied, was hired the day of my interview, and went to work that afternoon on a national teen talk show (featuring Kenny Rogers and the First Edition). I did ask the crew chief if my being gay was going to be a problem; I liked it there, but I didn’t want to settle in if being gay was a problem. He laughed his wonderful laugh, told me he was gay and that several people on staff were gay. I stayed for 35 years.

If I could meet my younger self, I would tell him…our people are out there and you’ll meet them. There will always be those who hate you, want to see you dead, and will raise money for their “ministries” off you, even though they don’t have any idea who you or any other gay person are. Get angry if you must, but try not to let it take up too much of your life.

What are the biggest challenges you have as a gay man after 40?  …… Dealing with the death of my partner of nearly 38 years. He died suddenly, so there was no preparation and everything had to be done NOW. The first year was pretty horrible, and I still miss him, but life does go on and at some point you have to get back in the game. My therapist deserves a lot of the credit. Otherwise, it’s the usual physical stuff…I’m 71 and think I’m still 45. 71 tends to win.

What would you like to say to the Gay Life after 40 tribe?  As the tribe of urchins sing in “Annie”: “It’s a hard knocks life.” I prefer the paraphrase of The Big Number, however: “Your son’ll come out tomorrow. Bet you bottom dollar that tomorrow, he’ll be gay.”

Where can our readers find you or know more about you ? You can start by finding me on Facebook (there are only about 200 David Walkers, so it shouldn’t be hard) and then getting in touch by messenger.

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