Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Friday: Britain's Next Bear Model

Get out! No really, get out!

I'm surfing Bearotic today and I stumble upon this youtube clip for Britian's Next Bear Model. I thought it was a joke at first but after watching the clip I realized this is the real deal. And it's totally beariffic!

I tried googling "Britians Next Bear Model" but couldn't find any official website for it. All I found were the episodes via youtube. However it does seem to be sponsered by a site called, a London based bear/cub entertainment-focused website.

Now, this isn't entirely safe for work- it's PG-13 bordering a R rating but it's definitely worth a look on merits of both camp and bearness.

Below is episode 1 - which establishes the series and introduces the characters:

Here is the episode I originally discovered, episode 5. "The Bear Underwear Photo Shoot" episode. ooooh!

I wonder if Tyra is going to drop by and coach them on woofing with their eyes.
"This is woofing. This is woofing with your eyes!"
By the way, I'm totally gunning for Raff and/or Sean.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blue Trap

Gay City News is reporting that police have been going to adult stores and arresting men on the basis of vague and bizarre prostitution charges.

Robert Pinter was looking for a DVD and perhaps a good time when he visited Blue Door Video on First Avenue in the East Village. He was approached by an attractive young Asian-American man.

"He is smiling, he's really a cute guy, very friendly," said Pinter, 52. "He initiated the conversation and drove the whole conversation."

Pinter said they agreed to have sex and the young man, who told Pinter he was 29, suggested they leave the shop and go to his car, which was parked outside. As they were exiting, the young man, who never told Pinter his name, mentioned money for the first time.

"He sort of threw in 'Oh, I want to pay you $50 to suck your dick,'" Pinter said. "When he offered me the money my first thought was he wanted me to pay him the money. When I realized that it wasn't that way I thought it wasn't logical."

Pinter said nothing in response and continued walking with the young man. Once outside, they were surrounded by a group of men who Pinter soon learned were police.

"At first I thought it was a gang because they didn't say anything, they didn't identify themselves as police," Pinter said. "They took my bag, started going through my possessions. I must have asked them four or five times, 'Why are you putting me under arrest?'"

Pinter, who has no prior arrests, was charged with prostitution. He was held handcuffed in a van for hours while officers made additional arrests around Manhattan, then photographed and fingerprinted at a Lower East Side police precinct, and finally arraigned on October 11, roughly 24 hours after his arrest, in the criminal courts downtown.
Sounds like entrapment to me. What's the deal here?

God forbid these cops should go into any one of New York's straight strip clubs, right? Right?

Donate to No On 8

So shit has hit the fan and the Yes on 8'ers, the people who support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and writing discrimination into our constitution, are pulling into a dead heat with those who support equality rights.

I don't have very much money in my bank account right now but I donated what I could. Please go ahead and do the same. They need as much help as we can offer!

The link to donate is here:

Send an email to your friends, family, coworkers and remind them that No on 8 isn't about same-sex marriage as much as it is about discrimination!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ignorance is [Sexual] Bliss

Oh, articles like this make me feel all warm and bubbly and pregnant right inside. I feel as right as an evangelical zealot!

According to an article from The New Yorker, entitled "Red Sex, Blue Sex" teenagers having more sex than any other teenagers are (drum roll please) evangelicals! To top it off, they're (drum roll please) less likely to practice safer sex techniques!

Aww, who would have thunk it?

During the campaign, the media has largely respected calls to treat Bristol Palin’s pregnancy as a private matter. But the reactions to it have exposed a cultural rift that mirrors America’s dominant political divide. Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.

A handful of social scientists and family-law scholars have recently begun looking closely at this split. Last year, Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, published a startling book called “Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers,” and he is working on a follow-up that includes a section titled “Red Sex, Blue Sex.” His findings are drawn from a national survey that Regnerus and his colleagues conducted of some thirty-four hundred thirteen-to-seventeen-year-olds, and from a comprehensive government study of adolescent health known as Add Health. Regnerus argues that religion is a good indicator of attitudes toward sex, but a poor one of sexual behavior, and that this gap is especially wide among teen-agers who identify themselves as evangelical. The vast majority of white evangelical adolescents—seventy-four per cent—say that they believe in abstaining from sex before marriage. (Only half of mainline Protestants, and a quarter of Jews, say that they believe in abstinence.) Moreover, among the major religious groups, evangelical virgins are the least likely to anticipate that sex will be pleasurable, and the most likely to believe that having sex will cause their partners to lose respect for them. (Jews most often cite pleasure as a reason to have sex, and say that an unplanned pregnancy would be an embarrassment.) But, according to Add Health data, evangelical teen-agers are more sexually active than Mormons, mainline Protestants, and Jews. On average, white evangelical Protestants make their “sexual début”—to use the festive term of social-science researchers—shortly after turning sixteen. Among major religious groups, only black Protestants begin having sex earlier.

Another key difference in behavior, Regnerus reports, is that evangelical Protestant teen-agers are significantly less likely than other groups to use contraception. This could be because evangelicals are also among the most likely to believe that using contraception will send the message that they are looking for sex. It could also be because many evangelicals are steeped in the abstinence movement’s warnings that condoms won’t actually protect them from pregnancy or venereal disease. More provocatively, Regnerus found that only half of sexually active teen-agers who say that they seek guidance from God or the Scriptures when making a tough decision report using contraception every time. By contrast, sixty-nine per cent of sexually active youth who say that they most often follow the counsel of a parent or another trusted adult consistently use protection.


The movement is not the complete washout its critics portray it as: pledgers delay sex eighteen months longer than non-pledgers, and have fewer partners. Yet, according to the sociologists Peter Bearman, of Columbia University, and Hannah Brückner, of Yale, communities with high rates of pledging also have high rates of S.T.D.s. This could be because more teens pledge in communities where they perceive more danger from sex (in which case the pledge is doing some good); or it could be because fewer people in these communities use condoms when they break the pledge.


But Carbone and Cahn argue that the red-state model is clearly failing on its own terms—producing high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, sexually transmitted disease, and other dysfunctional outcomes that social conservatives say they abhor.

So, let's bring this back to sex education and/or the No on 8 Campaign - or what I like to call, "No on H8." Cute, right? The proof is in the pudding - those who are most concerned with protecting the sanctity of marriage are breaking all of their own rules themselves. Therefore, preventing same-sex marriage or refusing safe sex education has nothing to do with protecting marriage or the children!!, but has everything to do with hating gays, perpetuating inequality and a long-standing tradition of being afraid to talk about sex.

Great now that this is out in the open when one of those Yes on 8'ers, let's call them, "H8'ers," shout from the sidelines, "you're destroying the sanctity of marriage!" You can either say, or simply keep quiet and know the truth, that, "Actually it's YOU and YOUR red states that have the highest divorce and teenage pregnancy rates, so sanctity THIS!" To which their only defending reply would be, "Yeah, but despite the facts, we still hate gays and the thought of comprehensive safe sex education."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Week Away

We are a week away from the election. I have told myself a million times, "I don't know what the fuck I'm going to do if McCain wins!?" I'm nervous and anxious and just last night I had two stressful dreams relating to the election.

If McCain and Palin take lead of this nation, if the worse case scenario becomes a reality, what am I and the millions like me going to do with all this built up hope? In my case, I suppose I'll just shrug, dig my hands into my pockets and berate myself for giving America the benefit of doubt. "How could I have been so foolish," I'll ask myself. "How could I have let myself become so dizzied by the idea of hope and change and progress in a nation so stuck on racism, ignorance and the almighty dollar?"

But then I'll remind myself that I am fortunate enough to exist in the year 2008 where millions of people and millions of voices screamed and pleaded for change. The year millions of people declared bullshit on modern politics and millions desperately yearned for progress. It would be the year where millions gathered and strived to make history. It would be the year that regardless of outcome, things changed.

We have all seen the video below. But as the assassination plots unravel and people cry out, "I would never vote for a black man" and as the days dwindle down I beg of you to take one more look at it. Look at it to remain inspired, to feel like you're not alone, to cry, to feel that we could all "just get along," to keep our voices heard, loud and clear, and to make sure that we never lose sight of the three words from which all history is made: Yes we can.

Dodgeball: And Black Will Bleed from Their Eyes

The Black Eyed Beat Down
(Tops L2R: Mehmet, Vat, Mandy, Robin, Tim, Zak
Bottoms L2R: Scott, some dude)

Last night David Barton's Bad News shut it down and got 'er done by blowing away both the G Lounge G-Strings and The Henrietta Hudson Hussies in 2-1 victories.

Beating The Hussies is a huge deal as they are BigAppleDodgeball's 1st place team and we're, well, not that. Not even close. But, winning the majority of our games against them last night may have knocked them down a few notches from 1st place. So take THAT! MF'errrrrs!

Our signature team flair, the make-up black eye paint, helps us center our rage and we become hard-throwing, slick dodging, ball catching monsters. You just wait until next week.

It's on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

They Shoot Homos Don't They?

I made it to the incredible NY Art Book Fair yesterday and found myself really digging the Queer arts and books section of the event. Go figure!

They Shoot Homos Don't They? is a magazine for men and their admirers but it isn't so much porn and nudity as it is a character study on the modern gay male. Each issue deals with a specific topic but it is up to the reader to decipher their own meaning out of it.

I found They Shoot Homos Don't They? to be loud and colorful and pop-gay but most of all I enjoyed their motto and stance:
Four men are involved in running the magazine. It began because they were dark about the convergence of homo culture with mediocrity - some call it the mainstream. Rather than flash their queer eyes or mount the barricades, they decided to ask different men: how are you doing, what are your motives, what are you making, and what kind of world are you creating?

TSHDT? contributors aren't just men (or men who bang men). The bottom line is that the magazine puts forward people who are prepared to take a stance. You don’t have to be gay to get this.

TSHDT? is all about getting it. But this doesn’t mean you have to give it your best Butch Queen Vogue Fem Performance. There is a concerted effort in the editorial direction to encourage people to read between the lines and negotiate their own politics. This ambiguity should not be viewed as indifference. TSHDT? is suggesting several (sexual) positions.
I am very fond of this neo-gay au naturale art thing. Keep it coming!
See also: Pinups and Butt Magazine (NSFW.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Incredible Milk


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What We've Already Lost

A few years ago unsafe sex was called "unsafe sex." But now, with the emergence of the vastly popular Xtube and the heightened popularity of production companies like Treasure Island Media who make all-bare-all-the-time porn movies "unsafe sex" is now almost exclusively referred to as "bareback." No longer are people having unsafe sex, people now are having bareback sex.

Unsafe sex had an important context to the term itself. "Un" and "safe" as in, "not safe" or the sex that you're having is "unsafe." In my experience, in what seems like no more than two years, I've seen the rapid transformation from unsafe to bareback. Of course, this worries me.

Bareback has no connotations referring to unsafe or risky behavior. Despite the fact that bareback sex is defined as sex with no condoms, the word bareback shows no reflection of this. One might argue, "duh, the word bare is in it!" But bare is nowhere near as hard-hitting and exact as unsafe. In addition, the word bareback has inevitably gained a cultural fetish. Unsafe sex used to be just that, unsafe sex, but now bareback has become a type of gay sex. It's neither here nor there, rather it has become a way of having sex and thus the safe sex movement has already, with a rapid subtlety lost so much.

In our history there were two ways to have sex. Either safe or unsafe. But now there's bareback and it's a new way for gay men to have sex. It's almost as if bareback has created a third category. There is safe and unsafe and now bareback. In previous posts I made the distinction between those who occasionally engage in individual experiences of unsafe sex as people who have unsafe sex, and those who top or bottom, with no condoms whatsoever, as barebackers. But the line that differentiates the two is blurring and bareback is taking a strident lead.

It's gone from "we didn't have safe sex" to "we had bareback sex." Troubling? I thinks so.

The cultural fetishization of bareback asks the modern gay man to waver between what he knows is right and challenges him to tickle the idea of what is wrong. Bareback is successful in its allure. Like taking candy from a stranger, the idea of bareback causes us to tempt the idea of doing something we know is bad or wrong and to enjoy it in the against-the-grain notion of it all. If you don't agree with me then have a glance at some of the titles on the porn shelves. "Bad Influence," "Fearless," "Deeper," and "What I Can't See." All of these titles rather explicitly ask you to cross the line and even, I'll take it further, call those who have safe sex fearful, if not boring and clinical. These companies and films use our own protective nature as an enemy agent against ourselves.

Something is happening in our community and we're losing ground. Think about it - when was the last time you heard the word unsafe compared to the last time you heard the word bareback? Go on to Xtube, bareback is inescapable and the popularity, wild. I've seen comments like "fuck the condom queens" and in a film where an older top is banging away at a young bottom, "breed his ass." It's one thing if two young guys are having unsafe sex with each other, that is at least, in my opinion somewhat excusable but an older man, unsafely topping a younger man, is just sad. These men have the opportunity of mentoring the younger generation and protecting them. Instead its become the complete opposite. We are now celebrating the disregard for safety and welcoming in a fresh new batch of unhealthy recruits. Granted, 18 makes one an adult, but put it this way: Say an 18 year old gets a tattoo. When the 18 year old becomes a 22 year old, does that tattoo still mean what it meant to him at 18? Therefore, the decisions of an 18, 19, 20 and so-on year old would not be the same at 25, 30 or 35. Should these young men get HIV because at 18 they made a few foolish mistakes and let themselves trust the actions of an older man?

What has happened and why have we given up? When did protecting and caring for one another become this "I don't give a fuck who you are or what you do - go fuck yourself" laissez fair attitude?

It is dangerous for somebody like me to write this post because if there is anything I support it is freedom of speech and freedom of expression. In no way do I advocate censorship, which in this case, I could be easily mistaken for doing so. But I stand firm in the belief that HIV and sexually transmitted diseases would still be around if every porn, ever made had condom usage in it. The fact remains that people are going to do what they're going to do and there's nothing you can do about it other than try to influence people to make the right choices for themselves. People can argue all they want that bareback porn is the same as watching a violent movie. It will always come back to the idea that: Just because I watch a violent movie doesn't cause me to kill people just like watching bareback porn will not cause me to engage in risky behavior. Let's go even further and say that in some cases having bareback porn would prevent people from engaging in unsafe sex because they get their fill of the idea by just watching the films. Understandable, for sure. But be aware, my brothers, for this industry is not unlike Hollywood. They like your money and don't give a fuck about you. Don't come crying to them when shit hits the fan - in the end, YOU'RE the one who makes the decision and they will never be to blame. That's a key factor to their adamant, unapologetic success.

Protease inhibitors have only been around for 12 years. It has only been 12 years that gay men have been living healthy with HIV. Why are we so myopic to think things will follow suit? Who is to say things will not change? And, if things stay the same, why aren't we preparing the next generation? Are we really that tired? Are we really that over it? Have the pros and cons really become the same thing?

It's like all the sudden everyone got healthy and bam! we're living in a new world. Really, it's quite the contrary. Nothing has changed. The infection rates are still relatively the same and HIV still exists. The only difference is we have lost the idea of unsafe and we are embracing the idea of bareback. So, you tell me, with what we've already lost - how bright is our future?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Play about Henry

On the morning of February 25, 2000 a young man named Henry Stuart Matis drove to the Mormon Ward House in Los Altos, CA, placed a gun to his head and ended his life. This is his story.

Missa Solemnis or The Play about Henry is written by my friend Roman Feeser. He asked that I shoot and edit this teaser-trailer for his play opening on October 30th.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dodgeball: Back On!

Good Game, Good Game, Nice Balls, Good Game
After the Columbus Day hiatus Big Apple Dodgeball returned for week 5 of the Season 3 playing. Our league t-shirts finally arrived and we couldn't be happier.

My team The David Barton Gym's Bad News Bodybuilders donned our war paint and left the night with a 4-2 win.

We lost 2-1 to Team Eagle who quickly showed everyone they may just be the team to beat and we won 3-0 against The View Bar Woofsters in a total "who's your daddy?" shut out. Our chant to defeat them was, "block their View...Bar!"

The DBG team will move up in our mediocre ranking and may actually be within the top 5 for next week.

Below are some teams complete with new shirts. Not all teams available for photographs.

The BoyButter Fisters

The Splasholes (some say they're the most handsome team in the league)

The consistently absent Masterbeaters

Team Logo's: The Down Lo-Gos: (My advice to them was to perform better than their network. Snap!)

The Henrietta Hudson Hussies

The Stonewall Riots

Killer Weekend

Stocks down, Brains up!
If you felt like things were a little dead this weekend you might be on to something.

This past Saturday marked the 4th annual NYC ZombieCon weekend where residents are encouraged to get in touch with their inner dead and don their best funeral suits and bashed-in heads. Those dressed up slug their way through the streets stopping in bars, high-end clothing stores and engage those of the living in spooky street theatrics.

I spotted this group of the undead in Astor Place. I was looking for coffee. They were looking for braaaaaaaains!

Friday, October 17, 2008


After centuries of being left out of American and world history the LGBT Community now has a key to our community's past. OutHistory.Org, the new website of LGBT history launches October 21st 2008., Innovative LGBT History Website to Launch October 21st, the new website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and, yes, heterosexual history, will make its official debut on Tuesday, October 21. The public is invited to celebrate OutHistory's launch that evening, from 6 to 8 pm, in the second-floor Cyber Center of the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13 Street, New York City.

The catered event is free and all are invited to attend OutHistory Director Jonathan Ned Katz’s inaugural remarks and to explore the site on the Center's computers.

Pioneering historian Katz describes as "a dynamic developing website that makes the history of sexuality accessible to a diverse audience. It has the potential to reach a wide new group who never before had access to reliable work on LGBTQ history." In its early stages the site will focus on the United States, but OutHistory is working to expand its geographic scope.

OutHistory contains two types of articles. Entries by named authors are marked as "Protected" and may not be edited by the public. "Protected entries provide the credibility associated with the naming of a particular author," said Lauren Gutterman, the website's Coordinator.

OutHistory also contains articles marked as "Open" to additions and edits by any logged-on users with data, documents, and citations. "These collaboratively created entries," says Katz, "are an innovative experiment in history by the community."

In addition to the postcard exhibit, protected entries include Ron Schlittler’s original photographic exhibit: “Out and Elected in the USA:1974-2004,” an exhibit on some of the first homosexual rights organizations in the US curated by C. Todd White, as well as several Blogs on History by Joan Nestle, cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

Several protected exhibits were jointly created by professors and their students. "Queer Youth: On Campus, in the Media, 1947-2007," was written by students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges, under the guidance of Professor of History Sharon Ullman.

“OutHistory is an ideal forum for teachers to get students involved with and excited about history," said Gutterman. Anthropologist Esther Newton also worked with her students at the University of Michigan to produce an exhibit on "Lesbians in the Twentieth Century."

A fascinating group of documents on transgender American history are republished from Jonathan Ned Katz's out-of-print books Gay American History and Gay/Lesbian Almanac. "OutHistory hopes to republish lots of authors' out-of-print but still valuable historical works," says Gutterman. Documents from Martin Duberman's out of print About Time: Exploring the Gay Past, will also be added to the site.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Eric The Roommate's band, Xylos, is playing the Mercury Lounge this Saturday October 18. If you're a fan of indie-electric pop this is a band you'll want to check out.

Give "Wrapped in a Page" a whirl - that's my favorite.

See you there!


A series of haikus:

Two men sit on stage.
In front of the world one seems
fresh, the other, old.

What have we come to
When our crumbling world rests
On Joe the Plumber?

The man who makes oil
A green opportunity
Sees a bright future.

Eye rolls and short fuse
Only makes you look one way:
Grumpy, grumpy, old.

Impatient and Curt
Are two mouths no longer fed
At Gaia's table.

Best line of the night:
"Parents turn off the TV."
Drink knowledge juice box.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Song is Dedicated to Dick Cheney/ Wednesday Mid-Day Wake Up Call:

Cheney's abnormal heart rhythm returns while Hilary Duff asks you to dance!

Oh have a fucking sense of humor!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Must End NOW

If you are supporting McCain you are helping the most uneducated, bigoted and horrendous people of this nation retain power.

It's Never Too Late

Standing with my brothers in Sheridan Square

This past Saturday, October 11th, was National Coming Out Day and I purposely waited to post something to make the statement that it's never too late, nor too right or too wrong to come out and say, "I'm gay!"

Oh and by the way just so everyone knows: I'm gay!

Happy coming out and having made it this far everyone!

For information on the statues I'm standing with visit this link.

Grandma Sarah is Voting Obama!

Obamarama Granny!
My Jewish 94 year old Del Ray Beach, Florida Grandma is voting Obama! Fulfilling my Great Schlep responsibilities I called my mother this past weekend to check in on Grandma's voting status. My mother said, "Oh- she's voting Obama. Once Sarah Palin was announced Grandma knew voting for McCain wasn't an option."

Rage Grandma!

Big thanks to Mommy and Daddy Leven, Sisters Rachel and Meredith and cousin Randee Riot for rocking the Jew-Blue.

It looks like this Great Schlep thing really seems to have taken off:
"Schlep." A Yiddish word meaning to pull, yank or tug, schlep is a good way of describing what it took for Mike Bender to persuade his grandparents to vote for Sen. Barack Obama for president.

Bender's grandparents, Kenny and Selma Furst, 90 and 87 years old, should have been an easy sell to support the Democratic nominee for president.

Like many of the estimated 650,000 Jews living in Florida, the Fursts are lifelong, passionate Democrats and a crucial vote for any Democratic candidate hoping to win the battleground state.

But when Bender -- who is not affiliated with Obama's campaign but supports him -- brought up the idea of voting for Obama over Thanksgiving dinner last year, he was met with an uncharacteristic silence.

"Their reaction was, as they said, 'I'm a little meschugah,' " Bender said, adding that the expression meant "crazy."

For Selma Furst, voting for an African-American for president seemed unthinkable.

"I grew up with Jewish people and Italian people, but I never lived in a neighborhood that was black," she said. "Somebody said to me, 'What do you object to about him?' I said, well, truthfully, our colors are different."

Overcoming the prejudices of his grandparents' generation would be difficult, Bender realized. But he was not going to be alone.


The Silverman video quickly became a Web sensation, garnering about 2 million hits in the two weeks since it was posted on, organizers said. Thousands of people pledged to call their relatives in Florida and more than 100 people volunteered to pay their own way to travel to the Sunshine State to campaign for Obama among Jewish voters, Wallach said.

Bender saw the Silverman video on YouTube in Los Angeles, California, where he works as a writer. Despite the humor of Silverman's call to schlep, the video's message resonated with Bender because of the difficulty he faced convincing his own grandparents.

"I thought it was brilliant," Bender said.

He decided to go to Florida and try one more time.

When Bender recently returned to his grandparents' retirement community in Tamarac, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale, he was greeted with several surprises. Months of telephone conversations and his trip had paid off: His grandparents told him shortly after he arrived that they were going to support Obama.

The next surprise was that his schlep had generated interest around their retirement community. A lot of interest. So many other seniors wanted to hear about Obama that the venue for a meeting on the subject had to be changed from the Furst's living room to a ballroom in the community's clubhouse.

An hour before Bender started to make his case about Obama on Sunday, groups of senior citizens were staking out space in the ballroom. Soon there were more than 100 people and no more chairs.

Sporting an Obama T-shirt with Hebrew writing on it, retiree Morty Brill said, "The economy, the war, you think you can trust Republicans to fix them?"

If there were any people in the room with reservations about Barack Obama, they kept those doubts to themselves.

As Bender told the crowd that Obama was not a Muslim and that Obama was a staunch supporter of Israel, he was met with heads nodding in agreement throughout the room.

However, Bender felt the need to drive the point further. If Obama was elected, he said, then Bender would not worry so much about politics and "would have more time to find a nice Jewish girl to marry."

Whether Mike Bender's schlep really changed any minds is anyone's guess, but the applause from the crowd was deafening.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Interview Sessions: Alfredo

I met Alfredo at The Hanger one Sunday afternoon while sipping on a Bloody Mary.

Alfredo is a 51 year old Black Cuban living with HIV. This is what he has to say:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Feeling the hope
You know in the movie Bye Bye Birdie when Conrad Birdie performs "You Gotta be Sincere" in the town center and everyone goes nuts and faints around him?

Well, I was never that type of Barack Obama enthusiast. I'm a cynic. What can I say?

But as long as I have known about Barack Obama I have supported him. I haven't fainted over every word or been swept by him at every step but I believe in him and his ability to reshape this nation. I'm feeling the hope. I'm feeling the future. I am. I truly am.

I want this man to lead our country and when he does it will be a new day for America.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Fence

Sure. I was a restless, unfocused, could-not-concentrate youth, which my parents tried to cure by putting me on Ritalin twice a day, every day from the age of 7 to 17, but it wasn't so much misbehavior on my part as it was the inability to sit still.

My teachers all liked me. I wasn't known for calling out or disrupting class or bothering other children. Rather, it was my constant seat-shifting or "perching," as my second grade teacher Mrs. Wilson called it. To this day, even as I type this post, I'm sitting with one foot tucked underneath my tush and the other foot on the ground, pushing back and forth so that my swivel chair is in constant motion. When I stop to take a thought I instinctively take my hand off the keyboard, put my finger in my mouth and gnaw at my fingernail. Then, back to the keyboard.

"You're a smart kid, Eric. If only you would sit still for a little bit would you get out of these classes in no time," my 5th grade special education reading and math teacher, Mr. Cantalosi, said to me as I bit my bottom lip and looked down at the ground. But something that day clicked. For the first time I felt recognized, realized, noticed and was given encouragement opposed to instruction. It wasn't the "Oh Eric, would you just sit down and pay attention" mantra I had heard ad nauseum throughout my entire elementary school career. I felt like I could do this and immediately I got a sense of breaking out. It was a feeling of wanting to kick, of wanting to punch my way through and succeed. I wanted to prove people wrong. This is the same feeling that would visit me when my mother told me I'd be seeing a "special doctor" who wanted to "run some tests." It was around Passover when she delivered this news and despite her code words, at 10 years old, I knew exactly what a "special doctor" meant. I was going to a therapist! What? Did she not think that I watched TV for hours on end every day and knew what it meant when a kid was told he was about to see a special doctor? My family was hosting that year for Passover and because of this my mother was clearing out the cupboards to find the once-a-year fancy plates off which we eat. When she removed the giant stack of plates I crawled into the cupboard and slammed the door behind me and shouted, "I'm not going!" My Mother opened the door and said quite sternly, "You're going," and shut the door, leaving me in the cramped darkness. I remember the feeling, laying on my back, that I just wanted to kick. I just wanted to kick and scream and keep kicking until the walls of the kitchen island were split apart and broken. Of course, I did none of this but instead kept a feeling of rage very alive within the pit of my stomach. Therefore, it was no surprise on the first visit to the therapist when the doctor asked quietly and softly, "Well Eric, why do you think your mother brought you here today?" and I responded dryly and smugly, "She's sitting right next to me. Why don't you ask her?"

The Special Ed classroom I went to twice a day was located in a separate building on the school campus. When school started it was easy to hide the fact that I wasn't in any mainstream classes, but by the time winter came around, I could not keep it a secret any longer, for I had to wear or carry a jacket which inevitably told the other students milling about the hallways that I was one of those kids who left the building each day to go to one of those classes. Everyday I had to walk along side James, notoriously known for his semi-retardation and who caused a stir amongst the students each time a teacher would reprimand him for having his hands in his pants. I remember walking past a group of students waiting outside their class when one of them got out of line and said, "Eric is going to class with James? Boy, he must really be stupid!" Once again I felt the rage build up. "I am not stupid," I said to myself as if I were saying it to that particular student, "I have a learning disability!" Regardless, I remember wanting to punch the bricks at the entrance of the separate building.

The days carried on. Winter became spring and the support from Mr. Cantalosi continued. I had made a plan to sit as still as possible, to take my Ritalin, to do well and by next year I would be back in classes with the normal kids. However, being on Ritalin, seeing a therapist and walking with James everyday had afforded me the perspective of being on the outside of the fence looking in. Before the weather called for shorts I was carrying a sense of confidence about being different, about not being just like everyone else, and I had Mr. Cantalosi, a teacher nobody else had. My confidence grew. I began to like going to a therapist and being able to talk out loud about anything and play games and get to answer questions, not based on math or reading but about emotions and feelings. Through Dr. Elfenbein I had learned that I wasn't taking "stupid pills" and that I wasn't "dumb," it's just that my brain functioned differently from others. Soon enough I was explaining to other students and friends what taking Ritalin actually meant, and I enjoyed teaching them about how every one's brain works differently and James no longer was an embarrassment for me to walk to class with everyday. In fact, he made me laugh and became my friend. I stuck up for him when the other kids made comments. He was under my watch now and that made me feel good.

By 6th grade I was back in mostly mainstream classes. I was out about seeing a therapist and all my friends knew I took Ritalin. In fact, a new friend Matt was also taking Ritalin and we shared our thoughts and feelings about being on medication quite regularly. I had a big group of friends and we became famous for playing handball every day during recess. We played against a giant brick wall next to the exit steps from the gymnasium doors. Everyday that we played handball, a girl named Marsha would sit silently on the steps and read her books.

Marsha was a brainiac- she was socially awkward, chewed her hair, wore pink 4th grade-esque jump suits while we all wore jeans and shirts from The Gap. She didn't curse, she didn't know about making out yet, she didn't have any friends and all she did was read. She was an outcast. Too smart for her own good and too geeky to be understood. I would notice her more regularly than I wanted to and I tried to avoid looking at her because I knew, at this point, what looking at her would cause me to do: feel. And I also knew, if I felt, then we would both wind up disappointed. But I couldn't help it and so the day came that I approached her and invited her to play handball. She stood in line behind me. Our hearts both racing at the same speed just waiting for the inevitable outcry from one of my friends. Then there it was, said by none other than Sherry herself. Go figure. "No, she cannot play with us!" "There's too many of us already," was Sherry's excuse but all three of us knew the real reason was simply that Marsha wasn't cool enough and we were no United Nation accepting open applications for friendship. Marsha, used to this treatment, simply walked out of line, found her spot on the steps and resumed reading her Beverly Cleary. I remember the feeling that surged through me at this point. I related to Marsha. I knew what it was like to be on the outside of the fence. It wasn't fair! She deserved a chance just like everyone else. I wanted to rip Sherry's head off and make her feel the pain that we felt. It's been more or less 15 years since that incident and I still cannot forget how Sherry acted that day and how Marsha just assumed her role.

This feeling would continue to aid me through my childhood and up into my adolescence. The feeling of pride-as-an-outsider. It was the feeling I had when I picked up Punk Rock to sooth the relentless pain of the stress-related canker sores I would break out in when I was reminded of my same-sex attraction I so desperately tried to avoid.

The feeling would return as I read Jack Kerouac and learned that life doesn't have to follow a cookie cutter mold and that everyday can be its own special adventure. That life doesn't have to be an experience from one day to the next, but rather, an expansive journey with no end in sight.

The feeling would return when I was forced to grab my balls, suck it up and enter the LGBT Center at my college student union. It was the feeling that would force me out into the world, to ride my bike to IBT's, Tucson's premier gay club with my fake ID in hand, and just "do it!" This is the same feeling that would thrust me out into the world, meet people, shake hands, listen in and appreciate different points of view. To understand hippies and mushrooms and raves and music and goths and queers and punks and artists and people afflicted with disease. It would be this same feeling, which I would use as armor, to never again allow myself to return to that angst-ridden angry teenager with the painful canker sores and the plea to be just like everyone else.

It would be the same feeling when I would learn first hand of the thousands and thousands of deaths caused by AIDS and our government's slow response because the only people it seemed to affect were those on the "outside of the fence."

I've spent my entire life on the outside of the fence looking in and I would not have it any other way. So it was this same feeling that boiled up last night as I spoke with a gay man who is undecided, yet leaning toward McCain/Palin as his choice, because "gay is just one aspect of me." This feeling made me speak fast and point my finger in his face and shout, "They think they can pray away our lives! They don't give a shit about us! They would put us in camps! Don't let them put us in camps!" My friends pleaded for me to calm down. But I didn't want to. I wanted to kick and scream just like that little boy hiding in the cupboard because it isn't fair that they don't recognize our lives and feel like they can pray us away. They would put us in camps, I don't care how "radical" that sounds. Things like that have happened before, history will tell you, and I'll fight for my life to prevent myself from ever being on the inside of any of those fences.

Dodgeball: Bring Your Rage

Tops (L2R): Zak, Mehmet, Robin
Bottoms (L2R) Tim, Vat, Mandy, Capn' Rage, Scott

Trust me. My team knows rage and despite our 3-3 win/loss last night we were a force not to be reckoned with. We played hard and lasted until the last few seconds of every match.

We played The Stonewall Riots at 9PM losing 2-1 but kept them on their feet the whole time and eventually beat them in the last game during the time's up sudden death match.

At 9:30 we were up against the hard hitting GymNasties who we easily defeated 2-1 in the first two games but then swept us out before we knew what was coming. Our last man standing and MVP of the week, Zak, defended our honor by dodging balls like a knife through the air until four balls came at him once and he no other option than to get hit.

Good playing to both Stonewall and Gym Bar.

New standings will be posted later today on

Also check in with GossipGays, an anonymous and mysterious dodgeball reporter who never seems to miss a beat on what's going on behind the scenes of NYC's BigAppleDodgeball League. Less games and much more "playing." No everyone, it isn't me. Sanchez?

Decapatating Dom of the MasterBeaters proved to be one of last night's meanest players

Nikki leads her Pink Ladies of the G Lounge G-Strings in a pregame chant

Steven (AKA Monica: short for Monica Seles because of his grunting powerhouse throwing style) roaring the dodgeball anthem "We don't mess around! Hey!"

Post Playing Party at Gym Bar


This is my 420th post.

What? I'm just sayin'...


Monday, October 6, 2008

To Delete or Not to Delete

That is the question

Monday Wake Up Call: Groove is in the Heart

I was groggy but now I am:

By the way, how much do you love her dancing at 2:35?

It was either this or Le Tigre's Deceptacon but my friends are pissed off at me for singing it all.weekend.long! What?! It was stuck in my head! "Who took the bomb?" Dunn-dun-dun-da-da-dun-dun-dun (clap, clap, clap, clap!)


Friday, October 3, 2008


pal·in·drome –noun
1.a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, or Poor Dan is in a droop.
That's our Palin. She's the same thing frontwards and back. Yeah, I'm disappointed she performed "better than expected" but I'm glad the consensus seems to be that's all she has going for herself.

To me she seemed rehearsed, programmed and reciting sentences as if she memorized note cards but the critics and analysts seem to have given the win to Biden.

The race is still on and I suppose it's neither good nor bad news that these debates aren't going to change anything dramatically.

I don't know. Call me an asshole, whatever, but I was really hoping she'd sink like a ship. Despite her poise I still don't like nor trust her.

I am most fond of this quote
The fact that Palin made it through the debate without running off the stage shouting, "I can't do this!" should not obscure the fact that there was only one person tonight whom anyone with any sense—even John McCain, I imagine—would trust as President. Biden's performance was strong and, happily, gimmick free. He used no gotcha soundbites, no consultant-driven silliness—a fact driven home by the lameness of Palin's snark lines like, "Say it ain't so, Joe" and—pace, Gipper—"There you go again, talking about the past."

Palin's problem, and McCain's, is that the recent past is crucial in this election. Bush's decisions over the past eight years—to go to war in Iraq, to neglect the war in Afghanistan, to aggrandize the rich and neglect the middle class—created the dreadful moment this country faces right now, and people know that. Fearful for their futures and the nation's, they seem to be looking for something different—and that something involves steadiness, knowledge and some clear ideas about what to do going forward, qualities that Sarah Palin did not display tonight.

You betcha!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dodgeball: The Claws Come Out

The David Barton Bad News Bitches
(L2R: Zak, Mandy, Scott, Me a la The Misfits, Vat and Mehmet)
Scott Ryan, our teammate and MVP of the week, thought it would be a good idea to bring intimidating war paint to our game on Monday night in an attempt to psyche out our competition and pick ourselves up from our mucky playing last week.

Well, it worked! We came away with a 4-2 win in total. We lost 2-1 to United Shipping Solutions's Massive Delivery (they're an incredibly tough team) but won 3-0 against the Boy Butter Fisters!

The new standings haven't been posted yet on the Big Apple Dodgeball website but we should be back within the top five. Bring it!

Below: The new Logo TV: DownLo-Go's preparing for, and then celebrating, their 6-0 win.

L'shanah Tovah

Happy 5769!
This is Mom and her Brisket. Her brisket is beyond...It's Beyond.

Sister Meredith being all "Barukh attah Adonai..."

Apples and honey for a sweet new year

(Dinner Top: Asparagus, Kasha & bow ties, turkey. Bottom: Brisket (beyond,) Tsimis)

If I am leaving anything out, Little David, please back a brother up.

Mad Men's Bryan Bratt on Gay Roles

Bryan Bratt of AMC's Mad Men, which in my opinion, is quickly becoming the talks to CNN about the need for more positive gay role models in Hollywood cinema.

CNN: What would you like to see Hollywood do?

Batt: Continue to reward good work and put positive role models out there. The one thing about "Brokeback Mountain" -- it was a beautifully filmed and acted film depicting a tortured relationship. The reason I thought the movie was so great is people walked away thinking, "Why couldn't they just be together?"

The more positive or interesting the portrayal of gay and lesbian characters, the better. They should show people who are living their good, healthy, responsible, productive lives as role models who just happen to be gay.

What's your view of the character you play, Salvatore Romano, in "Mad Men"?

Batt: The character basically is clearly gay to a 2007 audience, but no one in the world of 1960 is suspicious whatsoever. What a great role to play. This season, I'm married. I get stopped all the time on the street, and I get asked, "When is your character coming out?" What is he coming out to in 1962?

I asked to get married this season. I thanked [series creator] Matthew Weiner, and he said, "You asked." It provides another wonderful level to the character. That is what happened then and unfortunately still happens today.

[In a recent episode, the "Gold Violin,"] the scene with my wife, it was just so poignant and painful, someone said to me that what she loved about the episode was that we clearly did love each other. We were like the gold violin, we were beautiful but we just didn't make music.

Bryan Bratt is speaking at the NYC LGBT Community Center on Friday October 24th as part of their Out Professionasl spearker series.

If you have yet to watch Mad Men I strongly recommend checking it out. First season is already out on DVD.

Lately it seems like Hollywood has picked up the slack on having gay characters in their programming. There are gay characters all over the place these days and I like how not all of them are healthy and happy characters, since our lives, just like anyone else, isn't always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.