Category: gay TV

Queer Eye For the Straight Guy?? One Million Moms Go After Yogurt; Rainbow Detective Series Box Set on Amazon

Queer Eye For the Straight Guy??

Ted Allen, from TV’s Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, made a few comments about how he thinks the TV show helped change a generation of TV viewers. I’ll comment below, but read it all, not just the first part.

“When we made Queer Eye, we never saw ourselves as important or as activists. We were proud of being out. We were the first television show, that I know of, that had an entirely openly gay cast… I’ll never forget the first time I watched Matt Lauer try to say the word ‘queer’ on TV. I mean, it’s not a word people threw around a lot, and it was a very political word. I didn’t like the title at the beginning. I’ve come to realize I was wrong, because I think the provocative nature of it was balanced with the sweetness of the way the show ran most of the time. It worked out… The main thing about Queer Eye that I will say is that, in an era before the Internet was everywhere, we heard from hundreds, probably thousands, of gay kids who said, ‘Thank you for putting some gay people on TV that my parents can actually like. Firefighters liked us, cops, marines. I mean, it was a very good show.”

I actually do remember, and I remember it very well, the first time I watched Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. At first, I was excited/eager because it was a gay TV show, with gay people. There was nothing else gay on TV. Then I watched one episode and that was enough for me…and for Tony. We just looked at each other and shook our heads. When we mentioned the show to friends after that, our friends basically felt the same way we did. That’s because there was nothing at all to which we, as gay men, could relate.

However, I’m not knocking the show. I think it did help push gay people forward in its own limited way. And when you look at something collectively that way, that’s never a bad thing. I’m also sure there were many gay men who could relate to the show, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. So it did have an impact on gay and pop culture in some ways. 

As you would imagine, the comments are mixed, which shows just how diverse gay men can be. That’s the thing I’m always hoping people “get.” Not all of us care about fashion, fabrics, and accessories. Many of us care more about cars and baseball.  

The rest is here. 

One Million Moms Go After…Yogurt!!

The title is pretty self-explanatory. The anti-gay crusaders known as One Million Moms are now going after a yogurt company because the yogurt company featured lesbians in an advertisement. Lesbians in a bed, wearing wedding rings.

Within moments, that spectral organization known as One Million Moms rose up from the gulley in which it sleeps, instantaneously firing out a nutso press release that reads in part: “Chobani should be ashamed of their latest commercial for attempting to normalize sin by featuring two women naked in bed together… This commercial not only promotes same sex relationships by including two lesbians, but also same-sex marriage because the two women wear matching wedding bands.”

You can read the rest here. The comments are worth checking out here, too. I just wish they wouldn’t use ableist language so often…words like “nutso.” That’s wrong and I don’t think I’m being too PC about that. We don’t snark that way about cancer or any other illness and we shouldn’t be doing it to people who have emotional illnesses.

Someone in the comments also mentions that the “One Million” part of this group of moms isn’t accurate. I don’t know that for certain, though.

The Rainbow Detective Agency 

Box Set Series $5.99

Russell Tovey: Rimming on "Looking"; Dick Necklace Outrage; 10 Year Old Looking for Boys

Russell Tovey: Rimming on “Looking”

In this article out “Looking” actor, Russell Tovey, discusses his sex scenes with Jonathan Groff, and a cake that says, “Birthdays are like rim jobs you gotta get involved open up and get ready for another great year.” I guess commas don’t count in cake.

Tovey said this about the sex scenes:

“As the season goes on you’ll see where that comes from,” Tovey quips. “We were on a night shoot during our lunch and that cake turned up and I was over the moon. My mom and dad were like, ‘Oh, I love the cake. Not sure about the rim job. Yeah, not sure of the words — but the cake looks lovely!'”

As for the attention his well-sculpted derrière has gotten on social media, Tovey notes, “In the future, I imagine myself looking back and going, ‘God, I had a nice ass. Glad I got that out.’ If it’s there now, I’m getting it out because it’s not always gonna look like that … I’ve grown it myself, and I also have my parents to thank for it being well-received.”

He’s right, you know. It won’t stay that way forever. Smart man to realize that at 33 years old. After 40 the real struggle begins. I was born in 1970. You find yourself running longer each morning and jogging faster up more hills 🙂

You can read the rest here, where there’s another link to a full interview with Tovey.

Dick Necklace Outrage

Just when you think it can’t get weirder, you see an article where there’s controversy over a freaking penis necklace.

Tom Ford designed a $790 penis necklace in gold or silver that loosely resembles a cross. Frankly, I wouldn’t wear a dick necklace, nor would I pay $790 for anything dick related. THAT should be free. I probably wouldn’t have designed anything that declasse either. Shoot me; I’m more conservative about things like jewelry and good taste. I won’t wear Crocs either. In the same respect, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. Crocs never hurt anyone and they’ve been around for years now.

Here’s what’s being said:

“A designer gets a little too cute with my religion at Christmastime, and uses sexual imagery to make a quick buck off of it,” he said. “Sounds like someone who is not exactly Catholic-friendly, and has some sexual hang-ups as well. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in Profiling to guess just who might be behind this sick gambit.”

Gay Star News reported that others took to Twitter to criticize Ford over the phallic pendant.
The 53-year-old fashion star debuted the necklace at his spring-summer 2015 show in London over the summer. At the time, Esquire noted the possibility that the penis cross may be an allusion to the phallus-shaped fascinus charms worn by ancient Romans.

It could have been designed much differently. It is in poor taste, both actually and theoretically. In fact, it’s painfully ugly. The testicles look a bit deformed…if that’s what they are…maybe they’re acorns. It’s hard to tell whether they were going for realism or that, you know, “artistic” quality that so often fails. Think Yoko Ono. You can see a photo at the site to which I’m linking.

Here you go. Dick jewelry at it’s worst.  

Side note for single people: I don’t think I’d go out with anyone that wore a gold dick around his neck either. But that’s just my opinion.

10 Year Old Looking for Boys

Here’s an article written by a really cool mom who seems to be doing all the right things. It’s about her 10 year old son taking Zumba, which is usually (but not always) for girls, and how she reacted to comments like, “I’ll bet your son loves that. He’s the only boy and has his pick of the girls.” You know, funny ha-ha straight humor that always makes us cringe.

As it turns out, her son isn’t interested in his “pick” of the girls. Her son is more interested in boys.

Yeah, I do know that that’s kind of ridiculous. In the past couple of years, we’ve dealt with our fair share of shock-and-awe reactions to our son’s orientation. We’ve also dealt with the “Is this still happening?” reaction as the years have gone by. But it never stops bothering me when people automatically assume he’s straight. I got so annoyed that I just started correcting people.

“No,” I’d say, “he’s not interested in girls like that. He’s gay. He says girls are for friends.”

Then the response came, and almost always the same response: “Really? How can he know that? He’s so young.”

These people failed to see the contradiction in their words. They’d just implied that my son had picked his after-school club so that he could get some fourth-grade-style action from the girls, but then they said he’s too young to know he likes boys. They assumed that he would be after girls, which means they assumed that he already knew he was straight, yet the idea that he might already know he is gay came as such a shock.

There’s so much simple common sense in that statement it’s hard to believe society has been brainwashed to believe otherwise. I knew at 3 years old. I don’t know when my brother first realized. I never asked him that question. We didn’t find out about each other until we were in our 20’s and ran into each other in a gay bar. But I do remember this conversation well with a relative at a wedding once.

Relative to my brother: Well, I guess the next family gathering where we’ll see each other will be YOUR wedding.

My brother: Or YOUR funeral.

You can read the rest here. It’s a great article for all parents to read just so we never have to hear the stupid question, “How can he know that?” again.

Chase of a Christmas Dream

Gay 8 Year Old’s Murder; "Ladies, Ladies Ladies" M/M Romance Post; "Looking" Character You Love

“Gay” 8 Year Old’s Murder

I don’t normally post twice on weekend but a few things have been sticking with me and I won’t be able to get them out of my head until I do post. First, this story about a guy who turned down a plea deal after murdering an 8 year old boy who was perceived to be gay sickens me.

Court documents made public in August revealed that Gabriel was doused with pepper spray, forced to eat his own vomit and locked in a cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams.

Testimony also indicated that Gabriel was beat with bats, a club which knocked out his teeth, was shot with a BB gun, and was whipped with the metal part of a belt over eight months.

His siblings said Gabriel was often called gay, punished because he played with dolls and was forced to wear girls’ clothes to school.

Does it get any worse than that? You can read the rest here. 

“Ladies, Ladies, Ladies” M/M Romance Post

There’s been an interesting discussion over at a review blog I’m not that familiar with about m/m romance. In short, a gay male author wrote a guest post titled, “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies,” and even though it was supposed to have been written in jest many took it seriously and the satire crashed.

Why am I posting about this at all? The majority of my hits here on the blog come from random google searches and I thought it would be interesting to share this with the ten thousand random readers I get each week through search engines. That’s relatively small compared to bigger blogs, and I’d prefer to keep it that way, but I also like to see other gay men made aware of things like this. So many gay men don’t even know there is a genre called m/m romance they often stand there gaping at me when I mention it at parties. 

In any event, the post I’m talking about contained a few “hot” topics about gay men, and men in general, that several people didn’t take well. Keep in mind that when I post on topics like this I’m doing it as a blogger and I try to remain objective.  Here’s one quote that seemed to spark more than a few comments:

So, ladies, quit trying to project your Venus side onto your Mars guys, gay or straight. We’re a totally different breed. And when you start to poo-poo that insta-love thing, just remember that men are pigs and go with it, but for god’s sake, quit complaining about it.

You can read the rest here. As always, the comments are important to read in full to see what I’m talking about. I really don’t want to quote anyone because I’m not taking any sides. The line seems to be drawn down the middle with those who support the post and those who found it offensive.

“Looking” Character You Love

I think the thing I love most about the TV show “Looking” is that it breaks many of the old stereotypes. Yes, there are still a few, but sometimes stereotypes are real and they can’t be ignored. However, with “Looking” we’re finally getting to see how real gay men live, and how they think and feel. Even though it’s fiction, gay men like me finally have something with which they can identify, because I can tell you first hand I’ve never been able to identify with the gay characters on TV shows like Sex and the City.

This article wants to know which character in “Looking” you’d like to hang with, gay men:

Is there anything more comforting than chatting with a trusted friend over a frosty mug of your favorite brew? Well, OK, maybe we can think of one or two things, but let’s not digress. We’re huge fans of HBO’s Looking, yet we’re aware the dramedy has evoked polarizing opinions from viewers. (We’ve read your comments, folks.) Whether you love it or don’t, you have to admit that the series features one of most esthetically-pleasing casts on television. We’re wondering which character you’d most like to see peering at you from across a table for two in the heart of the Castro.

You can check out the characters here. I’m torn between Patrick and Lynn.

Ring My Bells by Ryan Field

.99 Gay E-book

No Gay Sex: George R.R. Martin; Sex Culture: Queer as Folk; Gay Texting: Mike Alvear

No Gay Sex: George R. R. Martin

George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, which is the book series upon which Game of Thrones is based, was asked why his books don’t have any gay sex scenes even though they are filled with straight sex scenes. His reply is actually about as professional as it gets. He writes each chapter from one character’s POV in the first person and he claims none of these characters are gay and it wouldn’t work for that reason.

“I’m not going to do it just for the sake of doing it. If the plot lends itself to that — if one of my viewpoint characters is in a situation, then I’m not going to shy away from it — but you can’t just insert things because everyone wants to see them.”

Fans have written him about having more m/m sex scenes.

“It is not a democracy. If it was a democracy, then Joffrey would have died much earlier than he did.”

I don’t follow his books or Game of Thrones, so I can’t comment on the content at all. But the article to which I’m linking isn’t too thrilled with his answer. And I take exception to this. As a gay writer who often writes novels where each chapter has a character with a different POV, I find that I have to remain true to the character.

But more than that, in my books I don’t see how writing straight sex scenes into any storyline I’ve ever written would help the book or move the story forward. And that’s what sex scenes are supposed to…add to the story and/or move the story forward. Frankly, I don’t even like the fact that a author of this article is asked Martin a question like this. It also shows how little this author knows about writing.

I find Martin’s answer plausible and honest and genuine. You don’t just write gay sex scenes for the sake of doing it, especially during a time when too many are already gay baiting, exploiting gays, and using gay content for monetary gain.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Sex Culture: Queer as Folk

Russell T. Davies who created the UK Queer as Folk is planning to do a new show called Tofu. It’s about sex culture and the premise sounds interesting.

Russell T. Davies, who penned the original British installment of “Queer as Folk,” has announced plans for “Tofu,” an eight-part series about modern sex culture, according to The Independent.

On Red Productions’ website, director Benjamin Cook describes “Tofu” as a “light-hearted documentary series” about “good sex, bad sex, real-life sex. Smut, basically.”

I remember watching the US version of Queer as Folk and liking it when it first came out. But then I watched the UK version and absolutely loved it. It’s hard to compare the two. They were both good and came around at just the right time in gay culture because gay men were desperate for it. Up until then, we had nothing but dark depressing stories. And there’s nothing wrong with dark depressing stories, but a little fun is okay, too.

You can read more here.

Gay Texting: Mike Alvear

I see articles all the time and pass on them because they are so stupid. But sometimes I come across one that is so colossally idiotic I can’t pass on it for that very reason…idiotic because it’s funny. In this case it’s a piece by someone named Mike Alvear. I think he’s being funny. I hope he’s being funny. I can’t imagine anyone taking this seriously because this stuff is so funny…and even a little warped.

Get this:

Of course, it isn’t you he’s testing; it’s your typing. Do your texts make him laugh or reach for the Rolaids? You are constantly being assessed by the content of your texts (just as you’re assessing his). In fact, your texts are pretty much your defining characteristic until you talk on the phone or hang out somewhere real.

Now THAT’S the kind of pressure we all want to hear in an already stressful situation.

But it gets better. He suggests you have pre-made, go-to texts for every occasion. In the article to which I’m linking he only gives a few examples, but there’s a link there where I found a few more.

I got kicked out of Barns and Nobles cuz i put all the bibles in the fiction section.

“Lose 5 Pounds in 5 days”. My upbeat view of abortion

I’m going to state the obvious again…I think. It’s supposed to be funny…I think. Unfortunately, someone who left a comment didn’t get the joke…which, of course, made it even funnier.

You can read more here.

The Sheriff and the Outlaw
by Ryan Field

Bareback Sex; Hit the Floor: Gay Basketball; Rick Santorum on Marriage

Bareback Sex

There’s a new survey out that discusses when guys are more apt to have bareback sex…risky sex without a condom. Evidently, it seems to happen after using drugs or alcohol. The survey was conducted by Gay Times.

“We set out to ask our readers to be as frank as possible about their lifestyle choices so that, at last, there would be some facts to either backup or debunk the many notions that are frequently alluded to,” Scott said. “What we found was fascinating, and sometimes upsetting, but if just one person now takes extra care when mixing sex with addictive substances in future, then we know we’ve done something right.”

It’s a difficult article to parse, because it sounds as if they set out to disabuse a few misconceptions the mainstream media was promoting and wound up shocked that some of these things are, in fact, true. Maybe I’m reading this all wrong, but that’s how it sounds to me. Out of all the gay men surveyed, three quarters use recreational drugs.

This alone is startling:

Two thirds of respondents said they had sex while under the influence of recreational drugs, and 60 percent said they were more likely to have sex with a stranger while on drugs.

You can read more here, where they list more results. I don’t like to comment on these things because I’ve been married for almost twenty-two years and I’ve been living a married, monogamous life. However, when I was single I didn’t use recreational drugs either. Twenty-two years ago I was too terrified to let my guard down to have bareback sex because times were VERY different.

Hit the Floor: Gay Basketball

There’s a new basketball drama on VH1 called Hit the Floor, and the star player on this fictional TV basketball team in LA is bisexual. According to this link, this star player is having an intimate relationship with his agent. He also had an affair with a woman.

Since Zero had been involved in an affair with a scheming cheerleader, the relationship with Jude came as a bit of a surprise.

You can read more here. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m going to put a DVR alert on. It seems to be getting more popular these days, adding a gay storyline. Or, in this case, a bisexual storyline. I wonder how long this will last.

Rick Santorum on Marriage

This is interesting to me because I have to wonder if Rick Santorum is really in touch with what’s happening out there these days with heteronormative couples…straight people. He’s always trying to push the argument that same sex marriage will cause marriage in general to devolve into horrors like polygamy. But yet he never actually addresses the issues with marriage that are going on with straight couples right now. For one, the divorce rate. Two, that young straight people aren’t getting married the same way they did twenty years ago. Most of the straight people I know between twenty and thirty are still single, still living alone, and have no plans to get married any time soon. Those who aren’t single live together and remain engaged indefinitely. They even buy property together without the legal benefits of marriage: a mistake. I don’t see how gay people can be held accountable for THAT hot mess. In fact, the gay people I know are far more conservative and traditional than the straight people I know when it comes to marriage in a general sense.

Yet Rick Santorum says things like this:

‘If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people, and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to the minds of a lot of Americans, if that’s all that marriage is well then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people or any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.’

Yeah, well, not in my marriage…or in my home. And not in the homes of the many other gay couples I know who’ve been together for the long haul. If anything, I worry more about the straight community and how they seem to view marriage nowadays. Tony and I have nieces and nephews who seem so stuck and terrified to make that move toward marriage they don’t know how much they’re actually missing. They don’t seem to realize they’re going to be young for a short time and old for a very long time…or that once that proverbial ship has sailed it’s not coming back again.

If Rick Santorum really cares about marriage as much as he claims he does, he should get his head out of his ass and address the real issues, none of which include gay marriage as a huge threat. Start working on the divorce rate with straight couples. Tell them what I’ve learned after twenty-two years of marriage: be realistic. You’re going to get old, you’re going to change, and you’re never going to be the person you were at twenty that you are at forty. And, you’re gong to die. If you think you can avoid any of these things, I wish you luck.

You can read more here.

Chase of a Holy Ghost
by Ryan Field
The Ghost and Mr. Moore
by Ryan Field

"Looking" is Renewed; Paula Deen on Michael Sam; Eric Himan on Arizona Gay Hate Law

Looking is Renewed

HBO gay TV show, Looking, was recently renewed, according to this article. As the show has progressed, the ratings have continued to rise…in spite of some negative reviews I’ll never understand. Sometimes viewers make the strongest statement, and in this case it’s with higher ratings. In my own small way I’ve posted positive things, and I’ve tried to pass it on to all the readers I know who love to read m/m romance. (I’m not sure how, but you can watch online, too.)

Nick Hall, the HBO executive behind the show, told GSN at the same event: ‘Each of our shows that we do are kind of designed to meet certain expectations. Of course you always want your show to be seen by as many people as possible but I do think it’s been really critically revered and it’s a show that people are talking about in a good way.’

You can read more here. It’s been critically welcomed by all the people I know. And I know I’ve said this before. But last week’s episode turned out to be another story with which I could personally relate in more than one way. They talk about engagement and marriage so casually now. It’s refreshing.

Paula Deen on Michael Sam

In what sounds like it’s coming from an alternate universe because it’s hard to parse at a glance, Paula Deen is trying to make a comeback by comparing herself to Michael Sam. Sam is an openly gay football player who recently came out. Deen was involved in a scandal last summer where it was disclosed she used the N word. She doesn’t refer to Michael Sam by name, at least not according to this article.

Deen tells People magazine in a story out today: ‘I feel like “embattled” or “disgraced” will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out.’

There’s something convoluted about this. Michael Sam never used racist language or did anything wrong, at least not that I’ve heard. Michael Sam is not embattled or disgraced. If anything Michael Sam has become a hero to many. So how Deen could even compare her situation with his doesn’t even make sense. (Too much butter.)

You can read more here, where they go into more detail about the comparison.

Maybe Deen could make her comeback and change the negatives associated with her name if she became a gay activist.

Eric Himan on Arizona Gay Hate Law

Gay singer, Eric Himan, wrote a song about the discriminatory bill in Arizona that will allow business owners to refuse business to gay customers based on the owner’s religious beliefs.

 He quickly wrote a song called Not Going Anywhere Tonight, made a video and posted it on YouTube.

 ‘I couldn’t take it,’ he writes on the YouTube page. ‘I had to write this song and put it out there. I urge everyone to take it seriously. Bills like this could easily find its way across our country.’

‘In just a few short hours I wrote Not Going Anywhere Tonight, a soulful musical message to the Arizona Legislature.’

You can read more here, with links to where you can listen to the song.

The people affected by this law in Arizona are infinite.

Update: The Governor of Arizona vetoed the bill last night.

Amazon Alternate Universe; The Fosters; LGBTI Arrests in Russia

Amazon Alternate Universe

I’m not clear on this, so I’m just posting facts. The article to which I’m linking talks about how Amazon is having success with alternate universe fiction…which is like fan fiction, but not absolute fan fiction. (I think)

Here’s an explanation that might put all this into perspective. I’m not going to attempt to define it in a short post.

Also, the article to which I’m linking mentions author, Hugh C. Howey. I’ve posted about him before, here, with regard to alleged (keep in mind alleged is the key word and nothing has been proven by any means) paid book reviews and aggressive author promotion that includes influencers. He’s one of the alleged amazon .99 millionaires and works with literary agent, Kristin Nelson, in Denver. The Nelson Agency was one of the first to start an e-publishing service for its clients/authors, working with clients in partnership to self-pub digital books. NLA’s Digital Liaison Platform was mentioned in a post here, by Nelson, that discusses how literary agents are changing with the times.

And then opened a creative door for him (Howey). The book-publishing unit at the online retail giant created an imprint devoted to fan fiction, Kindle Worlds, last May. Fan fiction is often dismissed as mediocre writing by wannabe authors.

If there is a bottom line to all this, I think it has to do with the fact that readers want these books and they don’t always care as much about originality as they do about storyline. Readers want to be entertained. I know a lot of writers who have a problem with it. I don’t. If readers want this I see no reason why they shouldn’t get it.

Amazon is betting its alternative universe will succeed because its business model is different. The company doesn’t need blockbusters to offset the duds in its library. That’s because the lion’s share of the books it publishes are read digitally. Amazon doesn’t have to worry about printing costs, distributing books to stores and buying back unsold books from those stores.

You can read more here. It will be interesting to see if this really does take off. I have a few alternate universe stories I’d like to execute but I’ve been fearful of the review police who might try to shoot me down. And they do that, especially if you aren’t a promotion aggressive author like me who is willing to do anything to get reviews. I also have to make a point of actually reading one of Hugh Howey’s books to see what everyone’s talking about. When I do, I’ll post a full review here on the blog.

The Fosters

Friends of mine turned me on to a new TV show called, The Fosters. It’s about a same-gender couple fostering kids and it’s breaking many gender boundaries, educating people, and getting into topics we normally don’t see anywhere.

There are two people in the picture above. Callie is on the left. She is a young, straight woman who was born female and identifies as such (also known as ‘cisgender’). She’s bounced from foster home to foster home with her little brother, always with a protective watch over him. She is currently living with the Fosters, a same-gender couple, and is “in love” with one of her foster brothers. Unless you watch the show, how could you know such personal details? Is it visible? Can you just “sense” it, whatever that means? No? Ok.

You can read more here, and check The Fosters out on the ABC Family Channel. It airs Monday nights, 9/8c.

LGBTI Arrests in Russia

Unless you read publications that are LGBTI oriented you are not going to get all the news about what’s happening in Russia during the Olympics. On Friday, more than a dozen LGBTI activists were arrested in Red Square and why they were arrested is sketchy at best.

Police arrested 10 activists near Moscow’s Red Square who held rainbow flags as they sung the Russian national anthem just before the games opened. Authorities have released the advocates, but reports indicate police beat and threatened to sexually assault them while they were in custody.

I’ve read various comments about them being arrested because they didn’t have permission to protest. But even if that is the case an arrest is something completely different from sexual assault and beatings.

Unfortunately, it might take months to find out what really happened. And that will be long after everyone has forgotten about how “exciting” and “heartwarming” the Olympic games actually are.

You can read more here.

Jonathan Groff to Critics; He Hates Condoms; Vintage Gay Art

Jonathan Groff to Critics

I posted my thoughts in a review of a review about the new LGBTI show, Looking, last week and most of my readers seemed to agree with me. It’s all subjective, which is important to take into consideration. But in this case what the critics of Looking who call it boring don’t seem to understand is that gay men like me and thousands of others aren’t sitting back anymore while only a handful get to voice their opinions.

In other words, the gay community is highly diverse and those select few in the gay community who have represented us in the past often find themselves being challenged now in ways that wouldn’t have happened ten or twenty years ago. No one challenged Truman Capote because no one ever admitted to being gay back then. In this case, though small when you think about all the issues we still face, it’s with the TV show Looking.

The star of Looking, Jonathan Groff, isn’t sitting back either, and he’s responded to a few comments about Looking that I think are highly significant with respect to many gay men and situations these gay men often find themselves in these days.

“The way that, potentially, this show is moving in the next direction, [is that] while all of the characters are gay, nobody’s sort of grappling with the fact that they’re gay,” he explained. “This show is about a group of gay men where their sexuality is kind of the least of their worries. Their problems are more their work environment or their love relationships or their friendships. Or they’re moving out of town, or you know, it’s about many other things in addition to being gay. Hopefully, its a reflection of where we’re at, which is where being gay is a huge part of who you are but it’s not the definitive thing about who you are.”

I think Looking, in a way, is a lot like Sex in the City, but with gay characters, and without the bad gay stereotypes Hollywood has been cramming down our throats since the beginning of film.

You can read the full article here, where there are vocal excerpts from the interview.

He Hates Condoms

The condom topic always creates highly charged discussion in any forum, but this article is a little different because the author, Matthew Ebert, discloses his HIV poz status in the first line.

I have always struggled with condoms. They remind me of something I hate, my HIV-positive status. My bad, you say? Nope. I just love barebacking. But I will not have anal sex without condoms. Which means I have not had intercourse in 18 years. But recently I met a younger guy who is HIV-negative, and I don’t want to risk transmission, so I decided to start loving the condom and learned to stop dropping those mind bombs that kept me down on the farm.

I can’t tell you how much I love this entire article.

You can read more here. It’s the first thing I think I’ve ever read that not only gets into the reality of condom phobia but also the reality that it doesn’t have to rule your life.

 Vintage Gay Art

During the ten years I owned my art gallery in New Hope I carried a number of newer artists who focused on gay art, but my favorite pieces…and those that usually sold the best…were always vintage. And this next article gets into not only gay vintage art, but magazine art.

In the 1950s, art admirers were hard-pressed to find images of gay male life adorning the walls of major galleries and museums. Instead, the beautiful work of photographers and illustrators like Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland were often exhibited within the pages of gay magazines. Diverse depictions of private male life — particularly erotic life — were thus made available only to the people who knew where to find it.

Knowing where to find it was an important phrase up until recently. For those gay men who were in the closet and had little access to large cities it was almost impossible to find anything even related to gay art.

You can read more here. There are also visual examples.

Photo attribution here.

Reviewing a Review for "Looking"

Reviewing a Review for “Looking”

Of course I would never review a review for a book. That would be downright blasphemy on my part! However, as a blogger who does not get paid by anyone to kiss any ass, I don’t mind reviewing a review for a TV show, especially if I don’t totally agree with it. In this case the review I’m talking about is for the new LGBTI TV show, Looking, on HBO. I watched it for the first time last night and my first impressions were a little different than this reviewer I’m linking to now.

First, if you’re expecting another Queer as Folk, you will be disappointed in Looking. And this has nothing to do with the storyline in Looking, and all to do with the fact that Queer as Folk was done years ago and a lot of things have changed since that time. And trust me, I was a huge fan of Queer as Folk. We used to leave tea dance on Sunday afternoons early just to go home and watch. This, of course, was pre-DVR days, and I was never very prolific with a video machine.

In any event, a friend sent me this review for Looking and I couldn’t help but comment on a few things. The title is what really floored me: “Why is Looking So Boring?”

Frankly, I didn’t find it boring. I loved it. In fact, the half hour passed so quickly I wished it had been an hour long. But a reviewer for Slate, J. Bryan Lowder, didn’t agree. And he began his review by personifying Looking and how one might feel about Looking if one were to come across it on Grindr. In other words, he states that if you saw a profile of Looking on Grindr you would get excited at first, and then be seriously disappointed once you learned more. In this case, Looking would be the equivalent to someone with “dull replies” and “as interesting as yesterday’s porn clip.” He also goes on to mention sex scenes in Looking. I think he liked them, but I’m not too sure toward the end of the review. In fact, I wasn’t certain where he was going until I reached the end.

I found the sex scenes realistic, but not too over the top. In fact, I wish there had been a few more detailed scenes…something that would have shocked me. But as they stand they weren’t bad, and, all were done with the thought of keeping it real. One in particular was interesting, where a couple of guys in what I assume is an open relationship are hanging around in a studio and a three-way begins. Of course there is the third who can’t wait to play, and the other two are a little apprehensive. All it takes is one look of approval and the games begin. Been there. Done it. They handled it well…to the point where I laughed aloud. That’s often how it works.

And that’s something I didn’t see at all mentioned in Lowder’s review. The humor. There aren’t tons of funny lines, but there were situations, and reactions, that made me laugh more than once. And done in an unexpected way I thought was interesting because I really didn’t see them coming. One of the things I think we’re missing these days all around is humor, and I think so many are lacking a sense of humor it’s hard to take some reviews seriously.

Looking is so boring, so utterly flat in terms of narrative or characterization, so in need of occasional pauses in which to perform a few jumping jacks to bring one’s heart rate up to resting, that I would opt out entirely if we gay men—or at least gay male culture critics—weren’t contractually obliged to watch.

I’ve only watched one show and I thought the characterization was better than most things I’ve seen recently. In that one half hour I figured each character out, knew where they were going, and even received a little surprise at the end that I had been hoping for all along. No spoilers. But I enjoyed the ending of that episode most of all. And I think my readership, the women who love gay romance, will agree with me on that one point alone. It wasn’t exactly HEA, but close to it. But more than that, I thought it was real. In real life, even in gay real life, you often have to lower your standards just a little if you’re going to get what you want. And I don’t know one single person in life who hasn’t been there at one point or another.

The only character I didn’t like was a throw away character and he was meant to be disliked. At least I think that’s what he was. He’s a doctor and one of the most pretentious, annoying gay men I’ve seen since a former “friend” I had once moved to Palms Springs for good. And even that had so much realism I found myself laughing again, because if you haven’t run across a pretentious gay man who thinks he knows it all, you’re missing out on one of the more amusing aspects of life.

Lowder does mention in his review that it’s all a matter of taste and that some viewers might find Looking “subtle and sweet.” I didn’t find Looking boring, or subtle and sweet. I found it real, and something to which many gay men and straight women can relate. I agree that it is a matter of taste, and I fully respect Lowder’s taste. But I don’t have to agree with it just as he doesn’t have to agree with mine.

Toward the middle of his review Lowder asks a few rhetorical questions I found interesting. Taking them all into consideration, he seems to draw the conclusion that Looking was meant for an audience of average taste, with limited knowledge, that is both gay and straight. He also doesn’t think it was shocking enough, yet never mentions that as gays begin to gravitate more toward heteronormative lifestyles this is exactly what is happening out there in the real world. I also think he fails to realize that not all gay men are the same, or should be expected to be the same. And this lack of recognition for the diversity within the gay community always gets me more than anything.

He goes on to mention something from Out magazine…blah, blah, blah. And then there’s a long self-indulgent diatribe about Scott Bakula and aging gay men. I’ve known more older gay men in my lifetime than I can even count. I’m a middle aged gay man right now, and I couldn’t agree with Lowder less. He really gets a little over the top at that point, and he takes a simple show that was intended to entertain more than it was to offer a graduate course about gay men to a completely different level. Sometimes, and you can quote me on this one, a TV show only needs to be entertaining. It doesn’t have to save the world and all the gay men as we know them.

The continued bashing of “campy gay men”—who despite being somewhat overrepresented in older media, are just as real as (and far more engaging than) Patrick—is grating but de rigueur at this point: Neither Looking nor its audience need fear the queen—she has already sashayed on over to the isolation of Logo.

You know what, for the first time I think what I liked most about Looking is that it represented a segment of gay men who have not been heard all that often. I have nothing against campy gay men and I now how real they are. But when I watched Looking I was surprised to see the characters depicted a different segment of gay culture this time, and one that isn’t represented often enough. I could identify with them to a certain extent and I’ve been married for twenty-one years to the same person. And most of all, I didn’t cringe once. And I think what Lowder fails to recognize in his quest to review Looking is that there is a huge segment of gay men that have never been heard at all. The ones living in the closet who haven’t figured out a way to come out yet. And a show like Looking offers them hope that not all gays are the same, and that not all gay life is what they’ve seen on TV or in films of the past. I loved Queer as Folk, and to a certain extent could relate to it, but it did NOT in any way remotely resemble my life as a gay man; just my fantasy life as a gay man.

At the end of Lowder’s review he comes to this conclusion:

For if the campy Stanford Blatches of old were, on some level, products of a culture that needed to see gay men as clowns, Patrick and his Looking companions are the product of a culture that doesn’t really want to see them at all.

It’s interesting to read something like that, especially knowing how some gay men have always wondered why all they ever saw or read about in the mainstream were the campy Stanford Blatches. And as gay men we haven’t heard from yet gain more equality and louder voices and they become more integrated into the mainstream (Yes, there are gay Republicans.), I predict we’ll see the end of gay shows altogether and we’ll find gay characters being incorporated into all forms of entertainment, even in books. It’s already started, and if anything Looking could be considered a little behind in the times. And that by no means draws the conclusion that gay men are invisible. Far from it.

I would also bet Lowder knows nothing about the large audience of women who have come to love gay characters and gay fiction through TV shows and films like Queer as Folk and Brokeback Mountain. How could he? You don’t hear about it often anywhere. And in this case he’s not only dismissing a large segment of gay men, and understanding how gay men have been evolving, but he’s also dismissing all the straight women who find entertainment in any gay storyline, including those with campy characters.

I really do respect Mr. Lowder’s opinion. But I also think it’s time we start to hear from more gay men who haven’t had voices and can’t relate to Lowder’s personal reality of being gay. There seems to be this fear that we’re going to lose gay culture and I’m not so sure I feel as strongly about this as I should. There are reasons for this that go much deeper than I can get into in a post like this. I only hope Looking continues to entertain me the way it did last night, because right now that’s all I’m looking for, pardon that bad pun.

You can read Lowden’s full review here. So far most of the gay people I know have had mixed reactions to Looking. Some love it and some think it’s “not Queer as Folk ” but we’ll continue to watch.

Why One Gay Couple Hates "The New Normal"

I’ve posted several times about how I like “The New Normal.” I can identity with most of it, which is one of the reasons why I like it so much. I thought I would be in the majority on this, but last night I found out I was wrong.

Tony and I have two very good old friends, a gay couple who have been together since 1975. They were only in their very early twenties when they met, so they aren’t that old now. One is a retired English professor and the other has been working in publishing since the 1970’s. We don’t see them that often anymore because they live between NY, Key West, and New Hope.

We started a tradition about fifteen years ago where a group of us would get together and celebrate individual birthdays at different times of the year. The birthday group started out with about fifteen people, and now it’s dwindled down to just the four of us. Some moved; some passed away. Tony and I were always the youngest in that particular group and we’ve made a lot of new friends since. But it’s nice to get together with old friends you don’t see often. In this case, it’s like family. As a side note, when Tony was hospitalized in 2007, near death, with pneumonia, these were two of the very close friends who were there when I needed them. You’d be amazed at how you learn who your true friends are during a time of crisis. A lot of people disappear, which you tend not to forget.

In any event, we started talking about gay fiction first. My friend in publishing is always amazed at how straight women have embraced gay fiction in the past few years. He’s more concentrated in non-fiction and mainstream fiction, so anything LGBT oriented is a novelty to him. Then the conversation moved on to LGBT TV shows and I mentioned how much I love watching “The New Normal.” Both my friends looked at each other and made faces, and then they went into long individual reasons why they don’t like “The New Normal” at all.

While they spoke, Tony and I just listened because we both like the show. They seemed to think it’s just more stereotypical nonsense that doesn’t depict the way real gay male couples live. Again, we just listened without speaking. I found their POV interesting, not offensive. They were especially annoyed…the the point of frustration…with respect to all the talk about gay men having kids on “The New Normal.” And it’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Many older gay couples don’t want kids, never wanted kids, and can’t seem to understand why any other gay couples would want them. In fact, in this case, this older gay couple can’t stand kids in general and they will proudly state this to your face. I’m not exaggerating either.

I tend to think this is generational, and for a myriad of reasons I won’t get into in one short blog post. But it wasn’t just the “kid” aspect of “The New Normal” they didn’t like. They thought one of the main characters (can’t remember his name) was far too effeminate…which is also why they refuse to watch “Modern Family.” And, this part blew me away. My friends thought the gay bar scene in the first episode of “The New Normal” was totally fake. For those who didn’t see this scene, it’s basically centered around the two characters going to a bar, sitting there bored, and acting as if they are too old to be out in a gay bar. My friends thought it was a cliched spin on straight married couples, and they don’t identify with straight married couples…at all, not ever. They also thought this was completely unrealistic, especially since my friends are much older and they still enjoy going out to gay bars.

We eventually moved on to other topics, but I couldn’t help thinking about how different their reaction was to our reaction to “The New Normal.” Again, I think it’s generational. It was also difficult to argue the points they were making because I knew deep down they weren’t completely wrong. But it really is all debatable. The only reason I’m saying this is because Tony and I have thought about adopting a child more than once. And, Tony and I have been in that bar scene ourselves that was depicted on the TV show and we were both bored to death and we are only in our early forties. So I guess it’s hard to please everyone, especially in a community where people are all so very different. I’m also starting to wonder if it will ever be possible to please all gay people at the same time with anything. It will be interesting to see how “The New Normal” moves forward with future episodes. I’m going to be watching closely just to see if I feel the same way in the future as I do now.