39 posts categorized "BOOK REVIEW"

Oct 11 2014
Drawn To Him: Meeting Don Bachardy @ His HOLLYWOOD Book-Signing Comments (0)

Don BachardyDon at his book-signing

BOY CULTURE REVIEW OF HOLLYWOOD: **** out of ****

Last night, I was thrilled to have a chance to meet Don Bachardy, 80, who met the late, great English novelist Christopher Isherwood (August 26, 1904—January 4, 1986) as a teenager and Pagan-Love-Songsbecame his life partner. For 30 years, the men were together, and over time Bachardy established his own identity (no easy feat when you're perceived as the boy-toy of a genius) as a gifted portraitist.

I actually knew about Bachardy before delving into Isherwood; I bought Pagan Love Songs from Alyson or a similar publisher while in college, and was enchanted by the dreamy illustration of “Naked Poet” (and porn actor and writer and...) Gavin Geoffrey Dillard on the cover. I wrote him a fan note and we corresponded for a few years.

Don-Bachardy-Matthew-RettenmundMatt & Don

Don-BachardyBachardy signing for his fans

Don-Bachardy-artI would've offered to draw some of the attendees naked, myself.

Parker-Stevenson-Don-BachardyParker Stevenson (L) & Ryan O'Neal (R) by Bachardy

The illustration had been by Bachardy.

DonchrisIsherwood and Bachardy by Dillard, 1985

Hollywood-featuredNow, Bachardy's entire oeuvre of Hollywood portraits—Kate Hepburn? Of course! Parker Stevenson? Why not? David Hedison, Teri Garr, Natalie Schafer? The more the merrier!—has been collected in the posh tome Hollywood (Glitterati Incorporated, $75). It's a stunning document of his life's work.

Bachardy was deligthful in person, immediately asking me to come see him in Santa Monica. I'm there next week, maybe I should take him up on that! Years ago, an associate of him suggested he might like to draw me nude, but I never figured out if that was a come-on from a friend or a real offer. And I could also never figure out who on earth would want to see me nude.

I was also pleased to meet his associate Richard Sassin, a former actor and charming man who told me that he and Bachardy had recently watched In the Cool of the Day (1963), which is apparently a must-see, can't-believe-how-bad-it-is Jane Fonda film in which her hair was unnaturally dark. Bachardy drew her portrait (it was on display at the signing) for it. I told Sassin that as a movie, it sounds like it made a good portrait—he agreed.

Chris&doThe most famous portrait of Don (L) & Chris (R). See my take on the film Chris & Don here.

I'll keep you posted on that front, but until then, check out the lovely book here.

 
Aug 04 2014
I'd Still Say Yes: A Review Of Lee Grant's I SAID YES TO EVERYTHING Comments (0)

Lee-GrantGrant on CBS Sunday Morning today

“'Fuck the Pope!' I screamed in childbirth. And fuck the Taliban who behead their women for baring their heads, and fuck the crazy Orthodox Jews taking land away from a people so like themselves and for teaching nothing but myths. Fuck them for making proud Lenny Bruce crawl. Fuck them all!”—Lee Grant, I Said Yes to Everything (2014)

Lee-GrantLee Grant's (b. October 31, 1925, or maybe 1926?) new memoir I Said Yes to Everything (Blue Rider, $28.95) is as absorbing a read as I've had in years, a self-reflective, unapologetically feminist tour de force sprinkled with just enough Hollywood revelations to make you feel both enlightened and titillated without ever feeling preached to or guilty for craving gossip.

BOY CULTURE RATING: **** out of ****

Grant has always excelled at playing neurotics, so it wasn't surprising to me that she self-identifies as having...issues...in the book, but I was taken aback by just how frankly and intelligently she discusses the hang-ups that have limited her (especially her career) in several ways—her worries about her age (some sources put her at 88, others a few years younger), about looking beautiful enough for casting directors (she had a facelift in the '50s at age  31!), about being able to remember her lines (after the jump. watch her recall the incident that ended her celebrated stage career), about being a good mother, wife, person.

CHECK OUT MY ENCOUNTER WITH LEE GRANT HERE

Mulhollanddrive11Instead of being a linear cataloguing of every project she's ever done—no mention of Columbo (1971), The Spell (1977), Backstairs at the White House (1979), For Ladies Only (1981), Dr T. and the Women (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001) or her last-ever movie Going Shopping (2005)—the book instead is an intensely personal remembrance of how she Leegrantcolumbo71came to be the person she is, the things that gave her joy, the things that perplexed her about life, her embarrassingly short-sighted mistakes, her wise choices.

Most movingly, Grant reveals herself to be an expert at observing others (real people and characters on the page) and summing them up with breathtaking sincerity, sometimes humorously, sometimes unsparingly, but without cruelty.

Achingly, Grant recalls her mother, Witia, and her aunt Fremo as a pair of fun-loving kindred spirits who doted on her, who believed she was God's gift, and who taught her the beauty of being a woman, and of being herself, a lesson she would need to re-learn after a painfully restrictive early marriage to much-0lder control freak and Communist Arnie Manoff (April 25, 1914—February 10, 1965) left her ego decimated and led to her being blacklisted from working in film or on TV for a dozen years.

Lee-Grant-glamourGrant & raves

She writes glowingly of her gifted daughter, Dinah Manoff (b. January 25, 1958), but also reveals how rocky their relationship was for 15 years. Things were even worse with an adopted daughter, Belinda, whom she admits to outright buying, with her producer husband Joey Feury (b. circa 1936), in Thailand:

“The doorbell rang, and a shortish man stood in the doorway with what looked like a two-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, one under each arm. Joey checked them out and said, 'We'll take her. Let's have lunch!' We had met our daughter...The little girl's mother met us in a park near the hotel, bringing two fair-haired, fair-skinned sons with her...I asked her about [the little girl's] father. 'I don't know,' she said. 'I don't remember.' She was Dd645865fee7af50133690df54b40ee8pleasant and ordinary and matter-of-fact. We gave her five hundred dollars; she gave me Lindah.”

And in case you're worried it's all about Grant's family, there are unforgettable speed-portraits of everyone from Elizabeth Taylor (February 27, 1932—March 23, 2011) to “cunt!” Shelley Winters (August 18, 1920—January 14, 2006) to Bruce Willis (b. March 19, 1955) to “fish-headed” David Gest (b. May 11, 1953).

BroadwaybrawlerWillis screwed Grant over—big-time—when he pulled out of her film Broadway Brawler in the '90s.

Grant sums up her work impressionistically, and almost always to underscore a life lesson learned or to ruminate on her motivations as an actor, director, artist. The book is a must-read for thesps.

Airport-Lee-GrantThe camp classic Airport '77 (1977) takes flight in just a few lines:

“My character was a brittle rich woman married to Christopher Lee (of Dracula fame); she is not someone you want around in an emergency. Olivia de Havilland is traveling with a black female companion (whom she later saves, of course). My old friend George Furth was there, too, playing a cranky person.”

She doesn't give us all the behind-the-scenes details of the making of that (or any) film, but instead uses an anecdote about de Havilland's excitement at drowning on screen to make light of her own diva attitude (Grant sheepishly admits she'd demanded a body double). Our heroine wound up doing the drowning scene herself, having been shown up by the older Hollywood legend's professionalism and curiosity, even that late in her silver-screen journey.

Still-of-sidney-poitier-and-lee-grant-in-in-the-heat-of-the-night-(1967)With good pal Sidney Poitier (b. February 20, 1927) in In the Heat of the Night

08-shampooGrant's career trajectory was offbeat, starting like gangbusters with a raved-about stage debut and an Oscar nomination for her first film [1951's Detective Story, in which she could be playing the mother of Cyndi Lauper (b. June 22, 1953)], getting sidetracked by a long stint on the Blacklist for refusing to name names to the House Un-American Activities Committee, and then a mixture of high-class classics like In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Landlord (1970), Shampoo (1975) and low-brow dreck like Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981). Of the latter, she writes of young Michelle Pfeiffer (b. April 29, 1958) excitedly talking to a co-star about how her vegetarian diet was affecting her bowel movements.

Chan4Why did she do this offensive, inane piece of shit? She had a yen for paying her rent!

The ping-ponging from success to failure is relatable, and is related with warmth and with regret. Finding out she was still struggling financially in her fifties, post-Oscar, is illuminating, as is her recounting of how she re-invented herself whenever reality demanded it.

Most charmingly to me, Grant doesn't hesitate to say when she doesn't remember something, even things she could have Googled and pretended to remember perfectly. This is sorely lacking in so many other Hollywood memoirs. I mean, who believes that Shelley Winters remembered specific meals she had with people in the '50s? Okay, maybe.

In short, this memoir is dazzling. Don't miss it.

Keep reading for a clip of Grant talking about Peter Falk's inability to save her when she needed saving...

 Read More

 
Mar 26 2014
Paging Gracefully Comments (0)

EthelMerman300RGB-691x1024I don't have a lot of time to read, but I'm interested in two current books. First up is Tony Cointreau's memoir with a title that I doubt has been used before: Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa...and Me (Prospecta Press, $24.95). As I've dipped into it, I've been intrigued by Cointreau's troubled but colorful childhood, his career as a singer and his extensive contact with Mother Teresa. His work with Mother Teresa revolved around caring for people with AIDS, a syndrome too many gay men these days seem too eager to want to forget ever existed, let alone still exists.

My old pal Owen Keehnen has cooked up a hilarious novel in Young Digby Swank (Wilde City, $14.99), a comic, Catholic Catcher in the Rye filled with Keehnen's trademark wit and his gift for observation. YoungDigbySwank_cvr-210x330-190x300An area is described as being like what the Garden of Eden was "before Adam and Eve ruined it for everyone," and Digby's desire for teen heartthrobs is summed up thusly:

"Whenever Digby bought the latest issue of Tiger Beat, he'd wait until he was the sole customer near the checkout at the drugstore, and then rush to the counter. Mr. Lister would always clear his throat and say, "Well, um" and adjust his glasses."

What gay kid didn't go through that?

 
Feb 14 2014
X Marks The Spot Comments (0)

Maripol

My pal Jason and I braved an over-capacity crowd at Bookmarc, the chic, Marc Jacobs-branded Village bookstore on Bleecker, to support photographer and artist Maripol as she publishes her latest book, Maripola X (Le Livre, $90, 600 numbered copies). Little did I know, it would become a sitting!

Downtown types were packed in that place like roe in a mama salmon, but we did eventually get up to see Maripol, who was spending time with each well-wisher. Maripol, recall, was the architext of Maripol-Matthew-RettenmundMadonna's "Material Girl" look, a great friend of the icon's and a stylist who crafted looks for the Like a Virgin album cover and more. On top of that, she's French. In spite of being a Downtown designer, a Madonna associate and fucking French (just kidding, French people, mwah!), she's warm and cuddly and impish, a complete delight. And this night was no exception.

Maripol surprised me by grabbing my camera and shooting a picture of together, then blew me away by grabbing her Polaroid and snapping this shot of me, which she promptly signed.

The book is delicious, an erotic collection of writings and positively lush Polaroids from the '70s and '80s, including (but not limited to) several classics of Madonna. It's a must-own for anyone interested in photography or that era, and a well worth the price.

 
Jan 25 2014
Got Me Covered Comments (0)

Young-and-Horny-Matthew-Rettenmund-gay-erotic-short-stories-LGBT-sex

Boy-CultureTime for a reminder that my collection of erotic short stories (all from the '90s) is yours for 99 cents. I would also be grateful for reviews—I received one good one and then a comically phony bad one from a disturbed person who initially wrote me to rave about it and is going through some issues. Thanks for the 250 or so I've already moved!

I'm looking to release Blind Items: A (Love) Story and some fresh stuff next. Here was the original cover of Blind Items, which I loved almost as much as the one for Boy Culture (pictured at right):

Blind-Items

 
Jan 17 2014
Art-On Comments (0)

DryRun-1

If you're a fan of gay erotic art, check out Capolavoro Di Uomo: Masterpiece of Man, a $69.95 hardcover coffee table book showcasing nearly four dozen artists whose subjects are rather cocky. Every possible style and every body type of man is explored, along with bios of each artist so you can get to know them as intimately as the nude bodies of the dudes they're painting and drawing.

It was fun recognizing some artists from my days at the porn publisher I worked for. But the highlight for each of you will be different—and you'll likely see some art you can't stand, too.  But that's part of the fun, figuring out which images impress you, which make you roll your eyes...and which give you a raging appreciation for art.

Peradamsplash3

Also of note is drag queen Linda Simpson's first-ever book, Pages ($20, Peradam). The book is a slim, perhaps even svelte volume of images she shot of her trans friend Page in the '80s, '90s and early '00s. It's an offshoot of her "photographic time capsule" The Drag Explosion, but it truly stands alone, from its arresting cover to its final image, another snap of a serene Page with her Mona Lisa smile.

 
Dec 02 2013
Boy Culture Turns 8: My 100 Favorite Posts! Comments (0)

BoyCultureBlogYou need a little (Boy) Culture!

StripperIt blows my mind to realize that Boy Culture is now eight years old. I can still remember the joy I felt when I figured out how to post, how to upload an image and how to embed a video. I remember every time a post blew up, bringing in hits and new viewers. I remember the longtime commenters, the trolls, the spam and the never-ending (and validating!) pitches and free tickets and photographers' snaps of half- or all-naked male models. 

RuPaul-Drag-RaceShooting for my blog has never been a drag.

Cone-boyI've used Boy Culture to express myself, to help express others and to connect to people internationally.

I've also used it to show off my humor (both high and low), to flaunt my obsessions, to reality-test my sexual diversions and perversions, to laud the art I love, to lash out against the enemies of gay people and to broadcast my admiration for Madonna.

I want to thank you all for having read this blog over the years. It's a very hard thing to maintain, and it will not be maintained forever. But each time I get some positive (or even just meaningful) feedback, each time my posts are shared on social media, each time something I've written elicits a response, it keeps me going that much longer.

Madonna-stepmother-Joan-MDNAMadonna's stepmother was not impressed.

Thank you. Please enjoy my 100 favorite posts, please let me know if you're reading any old ones for the first time and are liking them and, most of all, please share this entire post far and wide to help get my work out there.

**2008 first one 6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54fdddbfd8833-800wiMy first "Guydar" post from 2008.

As always, you can find me on Facebook (personal and blog), Twitter, Instagram and YouTube (plus, here are my YouTube greatest hits). 

ALL ORANGE TITLES ARE HOTLINKS.

********************

#100

TOTALLY RANDOM LISTS (2011—2013)

I've gotten way into lists. Way. You'll find more of my lists higher up on, uh, this particular list. But the ones that are just completely random go here because I worked my ass off on them, because I love them and because—judging from Quantcast data—you like 'em, too.

********************

DuranMy favorite Duran Duran member.

POP QUIZ: VIDEOS THAT KILLED (2011)

Totally awesome '80s! Take this visual quiz to see how many classic music videos you can ID.

********************

Brando-DeanI wish sex tapes had existed in the '50s.

UNDER THE GAYDAR: 10 PEOPLE YOU MAY OR MAY NOT REALIZE WERE OR ARE QUEER (2012)

I got lots of feedback on this, mainly because nobody realized Nell Carter was with a woman at the time of her death.

********************

DazzlerI would've chipped in to get this one made.

WOULDA COULDA SHOULDA: 5 INCREDIBLE MOVIES THAT NEVER HAPPENED (2013)

I'm shamless for including Leda & Swan, a movie that was a bomb without ever even being made.

********************

Lizabeth-ScottGreat Scott!

IN & OUT: 25 STARS' FIRST & LAST PERFORMANCES IN FILM & ON TV (2013)

Being obsessed with nostalgia and with movies, this was fun—but so very taxing—to compile. I loved the randomness of it.

********************

PSBI hate that music has been sleeveless for 20 years.

20 7" SINGLE SLEEVES FROM THE '80S THAT BELONG IN A GALLERY (2013)

Just 20 from my massive collection of 45s. I got rid of my 12" records, but I've kept these guys because they're just too much a part of my childhood.

********************

Amanda-BlakeAmanda Blake's marriage was a mystery, with both spouses dying of AIDS.

GAY MARRIAGE: CELEBRITIES WHO MARRIED LGBT SPOUSES (2013)

It might've been more efficient to make a list of famous straight people who managed to marry other full-on heteros.

********************

Mark-MessierThe infamous Gary Coleman/Mark Messier two-shot seen 'round the world.

ODD COUPLES: 19 UNUSUAL CELEBRITY PAIRS (2013)

This post encapsulates my outlook on pop culture and my desire to twist it and play with it...except in this case, its participants are already doing the dirty work.

********************

Lake-GenevaHaunted House: The family home that haunted Jane and Bill's final years.

#99

A FIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (2007)

My late mentor's husband struggles to give away his family home.

********************

#98

POLITICS (2005—2013)

I'm a political person and I blog about it a lot. Some of the entries stand up over time, but many are so of the moment it was hard to pull the ones I like best.

******************** 

Kevin-James-Adam-SandlerWhere Kevin James goes, (unintentional!!!) homophobia follows.

TRUNZO IS DUNZO (2007)

Star Magazine implying gay people aren't quite right? Not normal! This took off on several blogs and GLAAD got an apology from Trunzo over it. Some people think it's being "oversensitive," but Jesus...how much clearer is "Man to man" with a huge "NOT" (NORMAL) stamped over it?

 ****************

John-McCainIf McCain calls, I'm not here. 

NEW YORK TO McCAIN: DROP DEAD! (2008)

The time I saw John McCain and showed him exactly how I felt. 

**************** 

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54fdcda278833-800wiThe Clintons practice some black magic 

WHITE MISCHIEF (2008)

When Bill and Hillary decided to use race in the race for the White House.

******************** 

Jason-WetheringtonCrist for the mill 

FLORIDA'S GOVERNOR ENGAYGED: DOES THIS COUNT AS "GAY MARRIAGE?" (2008)

Charlie Crist is gay. Really, really gay.

******************** 

Hillary-Clinton-guysThere's always 2016... 

HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE GAYS... (2008)

The gay affair with Hillary Clinton.

******************** 

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e554e2e7d28834Hail, Mary, full of disgrace

 SARAH PALIN = SPIRO AGNEW + HARRIET MIERS (2008)

Aw, she'll never last...

******************** 

Whoopi-Goldberg-Prop-8Whoopi-tee-doo & Kate, too! 

THE MARRYING KIND (2008)

That fabulously spontaneous anti-Prop 8 march in NYC.

******************** 

Barack-Obama"Fierce advocate" was once a taunt, and is now just true.

WITH US OR AGAINST US (2009)

A post from when the Obama Administration was considered almost openly hostile toward gay-rights advocates. I believe he's turned that impression around.

********************

OBAMA-DADTA good sign

IT GOT BETTER (2010)

The one where President Obama happily signed DADT out of existence.

********************

Sophie-B-HawkinsAs she lays her career down to sleep...

DAMN, I WISH SHE WOULDN'T DO THISI (2011)

Sopie B. Hawkins GOesProud. I wish she'd GOHome.

********************

Merv-Griffin-Tombstone_6I live for death!

#97

OBITUARIES (2009—2012)

I tend to write about almost every celebrity death I hear about, specializing in anyone from the Golden Era. These are two that really blew me away. You, too?

********************

Farrah-FawcettVery hazardous duties

AND JILL CAME TUMBLING AFTER (2009)

The death of Farrah Fawcett, a woman whose nips decorated my walls before I realized I had no use for them.

********************

Elizabeth-taylor-bathing-suitEnd credits

REFLECTIONS IN A VIOLET EYE: ELIZABETH TAYLOR DIES AT 79 (2011)

The biggest living star fades out. It's still hard to believe she isn't around anymore.

********************

Donna-SummerShe worked hard for the money.

LAST DANCE: DONNA SUMMER DIES AT 63 (2012)

I'd spent a long time hating Donna over her alleged anti-gay comments, but that rumor isn't the whole story on her life.

********************

Barbara-KentGood egg

MAKES SAD FACE, MOVES LIPS, TYPE APPEARS ON PANEL: "THE END" (2012)

I was surprised when no major news services noted the death of the last person to have starred in a silent film as an adult, Barbara Kent.

 Read More

 
Nov 25 2012
Need To Know Comments (1)

Matthias-Schoenaerts-shirtessThat shirt is the pits

Widget boy cultureMatthias Schoenaerts heads up a spread for Vogue.

Widget boy cultureYasser Arafat to be exhumed, tested for poison. Yasser-Arafat

Widget boy cultureAl Jazeera: Radioactive polonium detected on Arafat's belongings.

Widget boy cultureMuslim radio station fined for pushing "torture" for gays.

Widget boy cultureTRAITORS: Texans flirt with secession.

Widget boy cultureTRAITOR: Gay Tory sez LGBT people don't want marriage equality.

Widget boy cultureAmnesty International against "Kill the Gays" bill, says being gay a "choice."

Widget boy cultureParenting and being gay no longer mutually exclusive.

Widget boy culturePrison-sex crackdown.

Widget boy cultureWhat if names were farts?

Widget boy cultureFinally, a time-traveling cops Web series.

Widget boy cultureScratch That: Meet two men who own 50 tons of 78 records.

Sistine-chapel-records_optMust be some kinda record!