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44 posts from September 2006

Sep 30 2006
Jacob & Joshua: Nemesis Rising Comments (7)

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Google "gay twins" and you might wind up with something unexpected—a new reality show from MTV's Logo called Jacob & Joshua: Nemesis Rising and starring the Miller Twins. Don't get too disappointed yet. They're not having sex with each other, or in the vicinity of each other, while leering at the camera. But still, the show, while bound by some of the seemingly unavoidable concessions all reality shows face (namely, tons of the situations are made up), should be as addictive as crystal meth to the gay community. Except, you know, way less bad for us.

7_2You've seen the promos for the show for weeks, and a music video for "#1 in Heaven" by the Millers' band Nemesis has been #1 on Logo's bizarrely static Click List (fending off evergreen clips from Jason & Demarco, God-des and Dangerous Muse) longer than "The Hampsterdance Song" has been on Radio Disney. But it's all build-up for the October 16 premiere of the series. Which, in turn, is all build-up for (finally) launching the career of Nemesis.

If you can accept these cynical commercial realities (did Logo's viewers really conveniently vote the song to #1?), the show is a treat.

2_4Jacob and Joshua Miller were raised in a strict Jehovah's Witness family in Montana. When Jacob discovered his sexuality in his first same-sex relationship, Joshua figured out what was going on and contemplated ratting his own twin out to the church, which would have kicked them out and forbidden all of its members from associating with them. Instead, he wound up being gay, too. Aside from manflesh, the brothers also craved fame and the spotlight and shared a love and respect for music. The latter led them to form their band, and their humorously adversarial relationship inspired the pithy name: Nemesis. They're even rocking opposite hair colors.

1160230360_lThe first episode quickly establishes their family history via some slightly forced conversations with Jacob's partner of six years, Nick, whose homebody pose in the show is balanced by his hardbody pose on MySpace (see image) and the unambiguously gay duo's power manager, Garry Kief (of Barry Manilow fame, natch). Along with witnessing some hilarious unscripted banter between Mr. Night and Mr. Day that at times is reminiscent of bickering hubbies, we're also brought up to speed that their record label Curb is ready to pour some dollars into their careers if they're willing to market themselves as openly gay, using the one reality that almost no one in Hollywood ever uses.

Blogonly_nemesis1_1Gay's okay, but Curb wasn't as flexible on the sex-appeal thing—they weren't born with bodies like that, their hair reflects careful thought and owing to a flaw in one of Jacob's irises, he wears blinding sunglasses throughout Gav01their first video. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder—they remind me of the famous Naked Poet Gavin Geoffrey Dillard (pictured with snake)—and homosexuality is not, so it's interesting that Curb would sweat the small stuff and embrace the 800-pound gay elephant in the room.

Years ago, I met Nemesis. They were working a rock sound that had a bit of a religious aftertaste to it (much like their new single, while secular and sexual, manages to reference "heaven"). They were perfectly nice guys, seemed smart and were more analytical than the usual aspiring musicians. They corrected each other in front of me with a Moonlighting-esque pace and they impressed me with their talent. Nice-looking then, they've clearly been working out every minute since—they appear shirtless at every turn in their show and Joshua disrobes right up to the point where Logo must shyly divert its gaze. As much as they've developed their bodies since I met with them, they've also clearly worked hard on their whole image and outlook.

5_2The constant refrain in the first episode is that this coming-out gambit could destroy them. It makes for dramatic TV, but I don't buy that. The way I see it, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by exposing themselves—almost, but not quite literally—to an enormous, curious new audience. Radio would never play some new duo on Curb Records. Radio still may not. But fuck radio when you've got your own TV show. Good music, whether it's deep and serious or just three minutes' worth of pure fun, can no longer wait around for radio to get over its singular obsession with hip-hop. Hip-hop was once the underdog. It's now the oppressor. So when you're a pair of white "faygs" (as they say it) from Montana with a snappy pop sensibility, what do you have to lose by letting it all hang out on TV? Not a thing.

Pretend you're worried for them, enjoy their witty skewering of each other (undermined just often enough by their obvious love) and check out their music when it comes out. Jacob and Joshua Miller are choosing a ballsy way around the usual path to fame by coming out. If you think their song is as catchy as I do, let's make sure they have a reasonably supportive fanbase to come out to.

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Sep 29 2006
By Alien Means Comments (0)

Maalien_1Madonna looks like she just jumped out of some guy's chest, startling the crew of a spaceship, on the latest cover of Madame Figaro. Could've been a great shot, but Jean-Baptiste Mondino—like too many otherwise great photogs—just couldn't stop PhotoShopping her. She winds up with giant cheeks and no nose. (Remember Out?) The real thing is so much more attractive. Q244_500_3Compare it to Q Magazine's latest cover (1 of 20 collectible variations in honor of its 20th year in the biz). This shot has been retouched, but minimally—the originals were visible on Art+Commerce's site before they realized every fan in the world had snatched them. Decent lighting takes care of most imperfections. Anything else and you're venturing into illustration. (Thanks to MadonnaTribe, where the tribe loves the idol, for the pictures.)

 
 
Sep 28 2006
Darryl Thing Comments (0)

Darryl_2Boy Culture star Darryl Stephens gives good interview. Funny when the interviewer asks, "In Boy Culture, you play a reserved yet multifaceted character, how did you prepare yourself for that role?" and Darryl replies, "I am a reserved, yet multifaceted character." It reminds me of when, this week on The View, Rosie O'Donnell brought up the well-documented story that she was her high school's homecoming queen, only to have Joy Behar bluntly ask what it was based on.

 
 
Clay Panic Comments (0)

Clay_yayClay Aiken visited Larry King—it was set up through traditional methods, not through BigMuscle.com. I don't see the personal appeal that Clay has to his fans, considering he is so arch and defensive. But my problem with him continues to be his stubborn refusal to do as Sir Ian McKellen feels gay stars should do—simply say, "Yes, I'm gay," and move on. This round, Larry needled Clay very unsubtly, but Clay very unsubtly dodged him. Though Larry made perfect sense when he said that (couched as "advice from an older person") Clay might consider simply saying yea or nay to questions of homosexuality or risk having the questions following him around forever, Clay stuck to his talking points—he's sick of tabloid reporters driving past his house, he's happy to be surrounded by people who "know the truth" and his Christian faith remains strong.

Clay_sp_nd_woman2On the latter point, Larry boldly pointed out that Southern Baptists are strictly against homosexuality and have strong "standards," but Clay simply said that was a generalization. It's actually not—it's what that church believes, strongly. Clay took e-mailed questions about faith, and his dishonesty's corrosive effect was displayed when one question asked him how he stayed true to his faith and what he wishes he could change about "the Hollywood lifestyle." See, this fan is assuming Clay is on the same page with her on the issue of Hollywood being this sleazy den of iniquity, while Clay is on a page showing naked men, their stats and IMs like "where are you?"

Clay's fans, many of them, believe he is not gay, and that suggestions he is gay are rude and even slanderous. But because Clay is gay—sue me, Clay—his refusal to speak out against that mentality is self-slander, and it is what makes the issue my business. He is floating along in a poisonous social atmosphere that he didn't create but that he is perpetuating.

Most annoyingly, Clay tells stories of being mercilessly teased as a child "for everything," and his list of offenses is unmistakably a recipe for a little gay boy: bad at sports, a singer, nerdy. How can Clay not connect the dots between why his childhood was tormented and why it behooves him to be more honest about his identity today, as an adult who is living a very safe, sheltered existence.

Clay complains of panic attacks, a welcome admission of vulnerability. He's not sure why he's having them. He may be the only one in the dark about it. Come out of the closet, Clay, because it might be a simple case of claustrophobia.
Clayboy_1

 
 
Sep 27 2006
A Second-Chance Offer He Shouldn't Refuse Comments (0)

Dc8690
From Towleroad: A disgruntled eBay buyer, dissatisfied that the laptop he purchased didn't work, rescues the contents of its hard drive and posts them in a malicious blog to taunt the seller into refunding his money. Did I say Amir_1"malicious?" I meant "delicious." The adorable con artist had cute self-portraits of himself, embarrassing and intimate personal info, gay-ish pix of other guys and straight foot-fetish porn on his drive. Lots of straight foot-fetish porn. Some homemade. The police have been called in to investigate...the wronged buyer, 23-year-old Thomas Sawyer. (Like Rush, Scotland Yard thinks today's Tom Sawyer is a modern-day warrior.) All 19-year-old Amir Tofangsazan needs to do to get the faux blog pulled is refund the money. It would seem a small price to pay. Until then, here are some of Amir's greatest feats of photography.
Dc8530

 
 
Sep 26 2006
The Born Supremacy Comments (0)

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Wouldn't the world be a much better place without parents?

I'm not talking about mine or yours. And I'm sure the children lobby would be up in arms if we were to get rid of them. But I find it peculiar that people capable of being so infinitely loving and nurturing toward their offspring can be the opposite toward anyone who did not originate in their privates.

Previewscreensnapz005Parents are fond of saying, "As long as you live in my house, you will live by my rules." Easy enough, since the golden rule among parents seems to be: "Leave non-child behind." In my building, and in all buildings I've ventured into lately, children are allowed to do whatever they wish. They run screaming down hallways all hours of the day and night. Never past bedtime, of course. Theirs—not mine.

Previewscreensnapz004_1I never used to fear elevators, but now I think twice before getting on. This week, two women entered the elevator after me, preceded by their two little boys—each on bikes. The tots maneuvered in on their bikes and one of them shouted at the very top of his voice during our entire descent. It wasn't his fault—he was so young he didn't know about loud voice vs. soft voice. His parent didn't seem to grasp that concept either, blithely continuing her conversation over the picket fence (well, crammed in an elevator is as good as it gets in the Big City). When the elevator's run terminated, each parent waited for their respective child to back out. This is hard for anyone, let alone anyone who's only been walking for half of his life. I could not get around them, so speaking up would have been futile. Perhaps one of the parents would notice my predicament...? Nope.

I had been abducted by these children. Drag name: Amber Alert.

I did escape eventually, but without so much as a glance from either parent. They seemed oblivious to my inconvenience. You see, children are not the problem. Some of them can bring out the W.C. Fields in any of us, but it's really the parents I object to—they who should know better, by definition. I think parents got together and talked themselves into the idea that if their own wants and needs don't matter when it comes to their children's wants and needs, neither should anyone else's. They decided this and voted and just like those darn co-op meetings I sometimes miss, I voted yes by proxy.

Previewscreensnapz002When Hillary Clinton said it took a village to raise a child, baby, I was on board. It just didn't dawn on me that in the grand scheme of life, I was the equivalent of a barren villager and that as such, really didn't stand to gain from that proposition.

I'm 37 and don't have kids. Yet. I'm gay, so that would be the perfect out. Or it would have been the perfect out 10 years ago. Now, people conscientiously refuse to assume that gay = no kids. I don't know if I'll ever wind up having children. But I know this: If I do, I may become a dad or a daddy, but I will never allow myself to become a parent.

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Sep 24 2006
Bloated Question Comments (1)

Chris Wallace tells ABC, "All I did was ask him a question..." in reference to his insta-famous combative interview with Bill Clinton, aired today on FOX. Check out his "question"—it is in the form of a right-wing speech, a diatribe, really, about how Clinton didn't do enough to stop bin Laden and 9/11.

But in general, asking Clinton, "Did you do enough?" is more than fair. As Clinton articulately and passionately (the "You caused 9/11!" as a subtext would make anyone feisty) defends himself and yet also takes responsibility for his mistakes, Wallace's comments are openly antagonistic, smug and reveal he is not asking a question—he is attempting to prove his own point. When Clinton states that he failed, Wallace chirps, "Right."

But Wallace has no persuasive reply when Clinton repeatedly challenges him on the question of whether FOX News has ever asked tough questions of the neo-cons and of the Bushies. Because they have not. Because Fox News is a farce, and the public is slowly but surely realizing that. (UPDATE: How about quickly but surely?)

Be sure to leave comments at this YouTube posting—conservatives have posted their own versions with wildly misleading titles like "Clinton Blames Others For 9/11." Even Bush's supporters must realize that in no way, shape or form could Bush sit there and be asked the same tough questions and reply so eloquently and honestly...or even be coherent. Visit NewsHounds for moron FOX. I mean more on FOX.

 
 
Sugar & Slice Comments (0)

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I'm still remembering the words of a panelist at OutFest, who bemoaned the fact that responsible queer filmmakers feel a bit shackled when it comes to showing negatives in the community since the history of cinema has been nothing but a lack of exposure or a wealth of negative exposure regarding gay people and issues. Having a gay murderer, for example, would be a very risky proposition—would the community be angry since of all the murders committed so few are committed by queer people (just Sharon2based on the percentage of the population we make up), so why choose this story to tell? There is merit to that argument. Fiction or non-fiction, there are countless stories to tell—the only limit is the imagination. So when Basic Instinct came out and (not to mention its repeated, gratuitious linking of lesbianism with pathological bloodlust) its killer was a dyke, the argument, "Well, someone has to be the killer!" was just as irrelevant as it is today. Sure, someone does have to be the killer. But the filmmakers chose that story and that killer—made it up in their heads. Why? The "why" is the key to whether or not a film or filmmaker has deliberate or subliminal anti-gay intent.

Teddy_geiger_on_seventeenThe new issue of Seventeen Magazine, one of the last teen-lifestyle publications, is getting attention for using a boy on its cover for the first time since Justin Timberlake five years ago. Well, they say he's a boy. But that isn't the only way in which this particular issue screws girls.

The recurring "17 Drama" story is about real-life murderers Holly Harvey and Sandy Ketchum. It's okay that they weren't 17, as the magazine's title urges—it's an aspirational publication and all. The story is grotesque enough to warrant a "17 Warning." In a nutshell, Holly was a troubled girl whose mother was in jail on drug charges. A misfit, she fell into shoplifting and acted out against her grandparents, with whom she lived. She was using drugs regularly. During this time, she met Sandy and they began a romantic (for lack of a better word) relationship. Things came to a head when Holly's grandparents forbade her from seeing Sandy, Holly came out about her relationship and the grandparents stood firm. Holly stayed overnight with Sandy, her grandparents called the police and she was arrested and put on probation for a year. Shortly after this run-in, Holly and Sandy brutally stabbed Holly's grandparents to death (stabbings are often very personal killings, driven by deep hatred and feelings of betrayal). The girls were caught, Sandy expressed remorse and Holly did not. They're serving life in prison.

It's an interesting story for a teenage girl in many ways. There is the angle of Holly's tomboyish ways making her an outsider, the girls' lesbian relationship and how it was received by Holly's grandparents, the issue of having a parent in jail and/or being raised by your grandparents to begin with, drugs, shoplifting and, of course, the unthinkable—murder. I don't object to the story being in the magazine. Frankly, I'm shocked that all the country's rabid religious groups don't seem to care about the salacious things that appear in magazines, on TV and elsewhere that are geared toward minors—they're more upset about a 48-year-old woman hauling herself up on a cross for her 38-year-old fans.

But I think Seventeen failed its readers in this instance. And it's an issue of "why" just like I began this post with in relation to Basic Instinct. Not "why did you choose this story?" because I just laundry-listed the great reasons, and there are other stories they choose each month that cover other topics. But why, Seventeen, was the title of this story so irrefutably gay-baiting and gay-bashing? "Lesbian Killers." All it's missing is an equation: "Lesbian = Killers." It cuts through the nuanced story of Holly's (and Sandy's) troubles and pins the blame on their lesbianism. Why not..."Teen Killers," "Latch-Key Killers," "Misfit Killers" or, working the drugs they did, "Mushroom Killers?" None have the same sensationalist ring to them—enhanced by the photo caption "Fateful Relationship" and the purple-prose chapter title "Forbidden Love"—and the truth winds up yet another victim in this grisly story.
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Oh, and just because I don't like to hurl tomatoes without trying to balance it out a bit—kudos on that "17 Hottest Guys In America" story in the same issue.