HBO’s Looking

rs_560x372-140116130225-1024.hbo-looking-1Did you watch the premiere of HBO’s new show, Looking, last night?  If so, what did you think?

I had high hopes for it only because there hasn’t been a good “gay show” since Queer as Folk. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.

In my opinion, this outside-looking-in type of set-up where the audience seems to be spying in on the characters’ lives and there is no direct story line to follow per show has already been done with Girls.  And Girls is so much better!

J got frustrated with the show and all of its gay stereotypes: the hook-up in the park, online dating, the Dolly tattoo, the threesome, the drug use, the pretentious dating, the sex…  To me, it hit the nail on the head.  The stereotypes are only agonizing because they are true!  For the majority, that is gay life.

The only things missing were a lesbian friend, a drag queen, AIDS, a fat straight chick with self-esteem issues, a leather daddy, a smartly dressed sissy drama queen, a Chinese baby adoption, the gym, a disco ball, a porn star, bisexual, a hate crime, some dapper throw pillows, and a sex club.  But again, this was just the first show, so give them time and I’m sure they’ll get to all that.

Now I’m going to judge (another stereotype!)… look at the way these men are dressed!  And what’s up with that moustache?  You’d almost think this was taking place in the 70s right?  Maybe it’s just VERY San Francisco?  I did think at first that this was meant to have taken place a few decades ago, and would have still thought that if the guy in the middle with the glasses didn’t use an online dating site in the show.

For me, this was a bit too much like reality!  And that’s not why I watch TV.  I watch to escape the reality of life, or to at least fantasize about what it could be.  This show was spot-on when it comes to what real life for a gay man is like.  I would have loved this show about 13 years ago when I was in my mid-twenties and either living this or trying desperately to. I would have related to it so well.

Sadly, in the long-run life was depressing back then and watching a repeat of it now on TV is still just as depressing and not something I care to partake in.  It hasn’t changed. So, this show was a strong reminder of past and present transgressions when it comes to sexuality. I don’t think I’m going to watch it anymore.

Sorry, HBO.  I’m not looking.

GORE1

Gore Vidal ~ Good-bye History, Hello Memory

Gore Vidal died yesterday. He was 86.

Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams

I have always been jealous of him. He ran around back in the day with all of my heroes: Isherwood, Capote (despite their public feud that ended up in the court room), Williams, and even JFK.  I would have loved to have been his neighbor, sat with him all day and picked his brain about all of them.

Sadly, I’ve never read a single book or essay by the man. But when I read all of his friends, he was always there. He’s in George Plimpton’s book on  Capote.

He wrote the screen play to Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer which I just recently watched.

I’m currently reading Five O’Clock Angels about Williams friendship with Maria St. Just.  Vidal is there too, including the picture of the two of them I’ve posted here.

Vidal was the friend I always ran into at the party, or at least in the books I was reading about all of his friends’ parties.  I always knew he’d be around and make an appearance.  And I guess since he was still alive, having outlived all of them, I never invested much attention on him.

That will change today.  It has to.  I have to at least pay tribute to him and finally read one of his books, don’t I?  It seems only right.

I posted on Twitter today that Christopher, Truman, and Tennessee probably greeted him today with “Hey Bitch, ’bout time you got here! Martini?”  Well, maybe Truman didn’t but I’m sure Tenn had something sassy to say.

Having read him or not, it’s sad to see another literary great gone. History becomes memory, and vice versa I guess.

While I can recall numerous quotes that I’m sure many are re-posting today, I’ve always kept this one in mind which I found years ago on his Wiki page: “It’s easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part & impossible, I have observed, when it does.”  Being a gay man myself, I can so relate to that. For more of his great quotes, go here.

Here’s another fav of mine: “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.”

And with that I say, who succeeded today, Gore?

RIP.

dancer from the dance

Dancing Again With Andrew Holleran

I first read Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance in the summer of 1995. I had just celebrated by 19th birthday earlier that Spring. Stretched across my single dorm room bed, having just broken up with my first serious boyfriend of only six months, I was at a cross roads in life.  I’d only been out of high school for a year. I’d also come out to my mother and my sister a year ago. And I’d just moved away from home that very semester, just 76 miles from home but it seem like I was half a continent away. Like Malone in the book, I was all alone in the city and I knew no one.

In some ways, the book became an anthem for me. I got out. I met people. I went to clubs where I danced the night away and didn’t go home until dawn. I even befriended my own drag queen. At first, I rarely went home with strangers, though I regularly cruised through the park looking for them. And outside of alcohol, I was never a drug user.  And of course the biggest difference would be AIDS, since the book celebrates a time when love was much more carefree. I don’t even think the word ‘condom’ is mentioned once.

Now, 16 years later, I have had quite a bit more life experience. More lovers. More relationships. At 35, the long nights of staying out dancing have gone, along with quite a bit of my hair and sense of fashion.  In fact, I rarely go out at all, especially since I’ve been in a long term relationship for almost 9 years. One glass of wine at home and I’m sound asleep just hours later!

Rereading the book now, it had a completely different tone. Instead of admiring Malone and wishing I could either be him or be with him, I felt sorry for him. I wanted to reach into the book and grab him by the collar, and

I once dated a guy who looked just like this!

tell him to stop being such a romantic. All the Shakespearean banter about love is the crap I said back when I was twenty!  I wanted to be in love, and be loved, so badly but the numerous nights I went home alone broke my heart every time.

Age is a gay man’s worst enemy. We lose our physical attributes that made us attractive, and also cursed us. Our race to find love, or at least in finding someone who finds us attractive enough to fall in love with us, is quickly reaching the finish line, as did the generation this book celebrates.

I still find it to be a remarkable piece of fiction. I owe much of my youthful thinking and joy to the words of one Andrew Holleran, no matter how angry the book made me at 35 as apposed to when I first read it at 19. But that’s the joy of a book that we’ve read at the right time in life. When rereading it so many years later, we get to experience it in a whole new perspective. And that’s the beauty of it. I may be a different dancer myself, but the Dance certainly hasn’t changed.

Out With The Out Magazine Sports Issue!

Umm…so Out Magazine put former Dallas Cowboys Michael Irvin on the cover of their Sports Issue and interviewed him about being a womanizer thanks to his gay brother.

Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin admits in the latest issue of a gay magazine that growing up with a homosexual brother might have led him to become a womanizer.

“I’m certainly not making excuses for my bad decisions. But I had to dive inside of me to find out why I was making these decisions, and that came up,” Irvin is quoted in the July issue of OUT magazine, in which he appears shirtless in several photos, including the cover.

Irvin touched on several topics in the interview, including equality issues, whether he would support an athlete who decided to come out and his brother, Vaughn, who died of stomach cancer in 2006.

Irvin detailed how he discovered his brother was gay in the 1970s — when he saw Vaughn walking down the street in women’s clothing.

“. . .  Just bringing women around so everybody can see,” Irving explained, “maybe that’s residual of the fear I had that, if my brother is wearing ladies’ clothes, am I going to be doing that? Is it genetic?”

Though Irvin redeems himself by saying he’d support other gay athletes, this article makes him sound absolutely ridiculous.  Let’s not forget that fact that he’s shirtless on the cover of a gay magazine!!!  And poses shirtless inside.  And he’s straight!  C’mon Out, Irvin!

I don’t know whose the bigger idiot here…Irvin for this ridiculous interview that makes him sound so stupid, or is it Irvin for posing like this on the cover of Out, or is it Out for actually publishing this crap, or Out for actually getting Irvin to pose like this because God knows they wouldn’t sell copy with him clothed?  Or maybe its any reader who actually pays for this crap!?

Shame on you, Irvin!  Shame on you, Out Magazine!  What a slap in the face to the gay community!  This is such a joke.  How feeble minded do you think your readers are?  Even worse, how moronic is the Out Magazine editor who approved this?  I repeat!  What a joke!!  How repulsive, not just for your black gay readers, but for any readers for that matter!!

Next time, find a gay athlete for your cover and for God’s sake, let them keep their shirt on.  Yeah, sex sells, but not from a straight black man claiming to be a womanizer because his dead gay brother was a cross dresser!

Doritos Made Me Gay

Isn’t it amazing that this Doritos ad didn’t get aired during the Super Bowl because people were afraid that America would be offended, but it’s perfectly okay to air those Groupon commercials that now have everyone in an uproar.  One step forward. Two steps backward.  As George W. Bush would say, “This is Amurica!”

You aren’t offended by Skins? By Jersey Shore?  By anything on HBO or Showtime?  By violence on cop and law shows before 9pm?  By cuss words on the TV? Nah, all that stuffs okay.  We just don’t want to see it when the highest rated television programming is on cause we’re having football parties and stuffing our fat asses with cheese dip and hot wings and drinking beer and slapping our friends on the asses when our team scores.  And someone should hang that Christina chick for messing up the National Anthem and teach her a lesson. I say do it out in public.  Let’s have us a good ole fashion lynching. This is Amurica!

But dees here two nelly shirtless thin boys eating chips by the pool while they neighbor drools is just downright tacky.  They might be kids watchin.  Hey did you see that beer commercial last year where that horse farted in that ladies face?  Dat shits funny!

First Person Plural by Andrew Beierle

I finished First Person Plural last night in record time.  322 pages in about 10 days.  That’s pretty good for me since I’m usually a slow reader.

I can honestly say this is one of the best, most well-written, books I’ve ever read.  I was captivated by the two lead characters right from the start, so much that I admit if they were real people I wish I knew them.  Beierle writes with such heart-felt emotion that it was hard not to fall in love with them.  They are Owen and Porter, two conjoined twins who are unique because they basically have one complete body (two arms and two legs), but have two heads and two hearts.  Two very different hearts, as Owen explains.  Porter is straight, and Owen is gay.

They grew up in a well-to-do family and we get a good glimpse at what their childhood was like.  Porter grew up as an all star, outgoing athlete in high school while Owen was more introverted and book smart. Given their unique condition, they become somewhat celebrities thanks to a music career and are treated with normalcy for the most part.  People are shocked when they come in contact with them and either want to laugh or cry from the experience.  Shielded from hatred throughout most of their young lives, they finally experience it “head on” at the beginning of college when Porter is forced to stop seeing his first true love girlfriend at the request of her father. But Porter soon meets another girl named Faith and asks for her hand in marriage.

The story is told from Owen’s point of view, and you can’t help but feel sorry for him even though he wouldn’t want you to.  Thanks to Porter’s dominant personality, Owen is often treated like a third wheel.  Being gay only makes it more difficult for him. The boys literally share the body, this means taking turns and having control of it every other day, including the one penis they have. Sounds odd?  Yes.  But the way it is explained in the book makes absolute perfect sense.  But it’s easy to see why others in the equation may not be able to accept Owen and Porter’s unique way of trying their best to be individuals despite their condition.

When Porter and Faith get married, Owen has to obviously share the marital bed. And when Owen finds himself falling in love with someone at last, it is Faith that stands to become between Owen and his demand for his share of privacy and individuality, ultimately making him choose between his own well-being and his brother’s.

The conflict at hand is pretty obvious.  It’s hard not to think that everyday would be complicated for them.  But the author builds upon it with such intensity and truth, right down to going into great detail about the boy’s sex life  and how each responds to the other. I was both shocked and intrigued. While Beierle steers the reader down a predictable path for the twins, he doesn’t always let you be right.  As a reader, you don’t always get your way and the author definitely kept you guessing which made this a fast page-turner for me.  I didn’t want it to end, but was eager to see how things would play out.

I fully admit it’s an odd little book.  I had trouble just explaining it out loud to others.  It’s one of those where you just have to read it to get it.  Think of how hard it must be to born a conjoined twin.  Beierle even relates to several real-life conjoined twins throughout the book. Then add to it one having to struggle not just for individuality, but for acceptance as a gay man while literally living in the shadow of his straight dominant brother. The emotion and feeling of reading it was unbelievable and will stay with me for a long time to come.  It is definitely a book that I will never forget.

A Single Man

I watched A Single Man last night with Colin Firth.  Well, I didn’t “watch” it with him.  You know what I mean.  It’s a bit of an artsy film whose DVD cover will deceive most idiots.  Way to go, Hollywood!  But honestly, the DVD cover is pure representation of what the movie is actually about.

Colin Firth plays George Falconer, a teacher who loses his life partner, Jim, of seventeen years after he dies in a car accident.  George receives a phone call telling him what has happened and that he can’t come to the wake because the service is for family only.  Just like that, his entire world is taken away from him and he finds himself alone, unable to accept what has happened and unable to mourn the love of his life.

The movie shows flashbacks to loving moments in their life together, along with the night they first met.  While in present day, George “prepares his papers” and contemplates suicide.  The camera takes long looks into his eyes – blank and starring – which are so true and haunting that you can’t help but feel the pain he must be experiencing.  The music and the silence only aid in conveying the message.

Then there are conversations George has throughout the day with various people: a student of his who has taken up interest in him, a Spanish guido outside a market, a small child in a bank.  When these dialogues are taken place, the dull look to the movie sudden grows bright like a flower blooming, indications of happiness or truth that both George and the movie goer should be paying attention to.

While George is on the bed contemplating what position to lie in while shooting himself, a scene that will make you wince as he tosses and turns with the gun in his hand, the phone rings.  It’s his neighbor, Charlie (Julianne Moore) who is his best friend and all he has left in life as far as companionship goes.  He has a dinner date with her and while she longs for connection beyond their friendship, George refuses to accept their connection beyond what it already is.  He appreciates what she has given him, but she is bored with life too and eager to return to London.  He encourages her to go.  “What are you doing this weekend?” she asks him.  “I’m going to be very quiet,” he answers.  A sad moment between George and the viewer since Charlie has no idea what he really has on his mind.

After going home, George reminisces of the night he first saw Jim and decides to return to the bar where they met.  The male student from campus walks in and he and George spark up a conversation that just may give George hope to keep living.  They go for a swim and return to George’s place for the evening, but fate creeps in and reminds us we truly don’t have control of our destiny.

First, being a gay male, I related to this film in so many ways because I’ve been in a relationship with J for almost seven years now.  While both of our families are accepting of us and probably would not ban either of us from a hospital or funeral service, a lot of gay couples are not as fortunate enough to have such accepting and loving family members.  So, the pain that George is experiencing from such loneliness and loss plays out on the screen like a horror movie for someone like me, and Firth was very deserving of his Oscar nom that he got for it.

Second, the movie explores the thought of loneliness that sadly is a way of life for most humans.  We are so starved for attention or a connection with someone else, but we continue to deny ourselves of such pleasure because we are either too stubborn or too blind.  In the film, George connects with different people all day long, some willing to fill in the gaps in his life temporarily or more permanent, but he can’t see them because his mind his focused on only one thing.

Like I said, the conflict of color in this movie is so striking and certainly sets the tone.  It’s a constant battle between bleak and happy.  The music is trance like and numbing.  It is a sad reality for some of us that director Tom Ford feeds the viewer with shame and loneliness, like words of hurt that fall from our mouths before we can catch them.  It’s the silence in the room when we learn someone is dead, when we only hear our heart beats and question if even our ears are deceiving us.

What a beautiful and honest film!  Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, I’d love to hear what Chris would say about it.  He wrote it in 1964 but its underlying theme and message is more true today than ever.

Levi Sorry

So Levi Johnston apologizing to the Palins is what makes news this week?  Really?  REALLY?  Do we care?

Levi should apologize to all the closeted gay Republicans who bought the edition of Playgirl he posed in.  No frontal?  That towel sure doesn’t appear to be covering up much.

Did I just say gay and Republican in the same sentence without catching on fire?