39 posts categorized "BOOK REVIEW"

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!

May 28 2012
The Greatish Pretender Comments (1)


BOY CULTURE REVIEW: *** out of ****

I'm working on a memoir, so I thought I'd give Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson a try and wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into at first. The housewife/mom/blogger/taxidermy fan suffers from a variety of unfun maladies (OCD, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety disorder, depression), yet manages to frame them all in ways that are fun to read about. Still, for the longest time while I read this, I felt increasingly anxious myself; her breathless tone and relentless pursuit of the laugh were almost overwhelming.

Then I warmed up to it and kinda loved it. She's just plain hilarious, and the episodic structure (it reads like a bunch of harvested blog posts) really suits her personality. (Personalities?) By the time I was reading her take on acupuncture, I was laughing myself to tears. I'd grown fonder of her Republican husband, ill-fated pooch, bewilderingly bizarre parents and of Jenny herself—the humor was far more affecting once I felt more attached to the subject and to the people to whom she feels most attached.

I'd recommend you read this. Like totally. I'm not kidding. Read it or I'll stab you with a chicken.

Mar 05 2012
Was It Good For You? Comments (11)

Madonna sexAfter Sex, Madonna was dead to many former fans

My pal Piotr has launched a Facebook page in honor of the 20th anniversary of Madonna's Sex book, which more than any other thing she's done creatively is a work that separates one part of her career from another. Was it good for you? Or was it like when the trick of your dreams shows up looking nothing like his picture? Or maybe it was both from page to page? Regardless, Sex changed how people perceived Madonna.

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Feb 26 2012
I Don't Vant To Be Alone: A Review Of Full Service By Scotty Bowers & Lionel Friedberg Comments (21)

PreviewScreenSnapz001Bowers then and today at 88 [right courtesy of People (March 5, 2012)]

For years, Hollywood insiders have known about Scotty Bowers, an ex-Marine and close confidante of Gore Vidal's who was said to have provided free and/or paid sex to some of the industry's biggest names. Over the years, Bowers has apparently been an anonymous source for film bios, but only in a limited way; he had said he would never tell his full story for fear of hurting people.

Scotty-Bowers-Full-ServiceX300Don't judge it by its hideous cover

As he approaches his eighty-ninth birthday and with most of the people he helped achieve orgasm dead and buried, he's changed his mind and collaborated with Lionel Friedberg on a tell-all that would make Shelley Winters blush—Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars (Grove Press, $25). It came out on Valentine's Day, but there's very little romance involved. Instead, the resourceful Bowers, who supported himself as a bartender and handyman all through the years he was tricking and dry-pimping, handily serves up hardcore sex with a cheerful lack of shame and not a little humor.

I say "dry-pimping" because, as Bowers stresses several times throughout the book, while he took money for sex countless times throughout his life, he never got paid for arranging what sounds like it could be tens of thousands of liaisons for men and women of all sexual persuasions. He's either the coolest dude ever or the stupidest; imagine the fortune he could have made considering so many of his clients were millionaires or better?

Tumblr_kvpl1fCWyq1qzlyyao1_400If you don't believe Katharine Hepburn loved the ladies, this book isn't for you. However, points off for misspelling her name in chapter five.

You might have read something about this book already—likely something dismissive as to its veracity, as to the probability that Bowers really and truly could have set up Katharine Hepburn with over 150 women—but the book has more to offer than just Scotty's Hollywood hijinks. One aspect of the memoir that is left out of most of the coverage is that Bowers, born into poverty in Illinois, has been turning tricks since his pre-teens. His stories of life as a shoe shine boy willing to polish the knobs of various priests and businessmen are just as compelling as his later tales of cornholing people you grew up thinking of as untouchable icons.

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Nov 06 2011
Boy Culture Turns 6: My Favorite Posts Comments (13)

IMG_7536Prove it!

As of midnight last night, it was exactly six years since my first post. It's been a tough thing to keep up with a dayjob and outside activities, and just when I think I might walk away, a valuable connection or interesting opportunity or a kind word comes my way. Thank you all for reading me.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef014e89143e3e970d-400wiOf whom are you more jealous?

Here are my favorite 100+ posts out of nearly 11,000. Please take some time to read (or re-read!) a couple and tweet or Facebook any you like.

xoxo Matt

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54ff027a28833-800wiThe pocket pool championships were intense this year



FROM BOY TO MAN: BC B.C. (2007): The entire history of my novell and novel Boy Culture as well as the movie version; might be my ultimate post.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54f5599878833-800wiJonathon Trent & Derek Magyar make an Allan Brocka sandwich

BOY ON FILM (2006): An account of the NYC launch party for Boy Culture as it played the TriBeCa Film Fest.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54f7f18238834-800wiI was left "Reeling" by the experience

FRIENDS AND "FAMILY" (2006): The movie version of Boy Culture hits Chicago.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54f5ebead8833-800wiNo one would've mistaken me for Taylor Lautner

RAPT PUPIL (2006): The final night of Outfest with Boy Culture; I was fat but on the other hand got to meet Bryan Singer.




PreviewScreenSnapz001Construction worker (shot this week) vs. James Dean

GUYDAR (since at least January 17, 2008) & ENDS OF THE WORLD (since at least January 13, 2008): Attractive men of the world—I got your backs. Your fronts, too.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef0120a5347f59970c-400wi11i-i-i (phone)

Img_0330Not totally built

6a00d8341c2ca253ef0120a58f680c970bUnaltered iPhone image that still blows me away

"Your pictures suck" (2008): An art critic attacks me, but not without sustaining some hits in return.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e551ff08528834-800wiLet's call it a draw

DRAWN TOGETHER (2008): How my desire to draw related to my secret desire. One of my absolute favorite posts.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01156faa215c970cThe shirtless one

LOST ANGELES (2009): My favorite photographic travelogue of L.A.

Img_0986_1Even then, New Yorkers feared 9/11 was the beginning of the end

ART IMITATES LIFE (2006): My 9/11 and my distaste for grief tourism.


6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54f435c1a8834-800wiDeath of the party—Jeff in high school, already halfway through his life

BURNING MAN (2007): Tribute to my late high school friend and first romance.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef014e862b4a41970d-400wiSigned, sealed (eventually) delivered

LOST BOY FOUND (2011): There is a book in here somewhere.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01538f1f464a970b-400wiBe Italian

CIAO HOUNDS: OUR TRIP TO ITALY (2011): Finally got José to Europe.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef00e54f10b4de8833-800wiDeath becomes here

ILLINOIS DEATH TRIP (2007): Ruminations on death while revisiting a past home, and the past.

Zehnders Life is short...and meaningful

PASSING BY (2008): Mourning the loss of a person I only met once.

Lots more...

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Sep 12 2011
Hooray For Hollywood Comments (2)

Boy Culture reader Alex Gildzen sent me copies of his (more or less) poetry books It's All a Movie (2007) and The Arrow That is Hollywood Pierces the Soul That Is Me Arrowcover (2011), both of which are impressionistic and nakedly heartfelt tributes to the author's obsession with film.

In spite of a clunky title, the latter has beautifully minimalist verses commemorating the kinds of events only cinephiles (and gossip) of a certain age will recall, such as "Ann Miller Loses Her Nose in 3-D":

MGM made her a fake one/after a bad nose job/but/in "Kiss Me Kate"/she twirld so fast/it flew off/straight into the camera

Apparently, Charlie Chaplin once paid for a used pair of Clara Kimball Young's underpants, too.

Clara2For the Clara Kimball Young at heart

51hBod--j-L._SS500_ I liked It's All a Movie even better, filled as it is with brief reminiscences of Gildzen's encounters with celebrities (remembering now the rumination about the word "celebrity" from the first edition of Richard Lamparski's Whatever Became Of...? series) like May McAvoy, Guy Madison and Leigh Snowden.

H9g6u62zgy9026ggFacing facts—a peek at Jetta Goudal at her peak

Best is his tibute to a time when he ran into Jetta Goudal, a former big-screen heartbreaker then reduced to an anonymous nonogenarian in "Femme Fatale":

the studios claimed she was/the daughter of Mata Hari/but she told reporters/"I was born on the moon/200 years ago."

the last time I saw Jetta Goudal/she was a 90 year-old/being liftd from her wheelchair/in a theater near Hollywood & Vine

no one there knew who she was/except me

I'd seen that face in "White Gold"/& wd never forget it/eyes that cd pierce marble/orchid nose lips that lure

hers was a short career/18 films in 10 years/she was directd by Griffith & Feyder/leading lady to Ricardo Cortez & Rod LaRocque/before marrying an interior designer/& becoming a society matron

on screen she'd been burnd/at the stake as a witch/even in old age & pain she possessd a face/that cd cast a spell

my thrill/that matinee wasn't what/was happening on stage/but peering back/at her magic eyes

Jetta Goudal  temptress still/tearing out my heart/with a glance

Lovely and unique stuff.

Sep 03 2011
Posing A Threat Comments (4)

203544_180327392031124_3439725_n I was pleased to be e-introduced to writer and model D.R. Hildebrand recently. Like me, he is a University of Chicago grad whose writing does not fall in the The Closing of the American Mind category—I did pop culture books and novels about hustlers and his debut novel is Walking Marina, a fictionalized exposé of the modeling industry.

Openly gay in real life, Hildebrand chooses to focus his story on a straight local yokel whose ridiculous skin and body and face land him on the fast track to becoming a working model in NYC. Danny shares an apartment with other male models (though the book says more than once that women are models and men in the industry are...something else) and immerses himself in the endless life of castings, yet finds time to form a romantic attachment to a girl also navigating the coke-fueled parties and hands-on photographers.

D-r-hildebrand-6 But the main focus of the novel is the relationship between Danny and Marina, an older socialite who hires him to walk with her—even if readers suspicious of her possible ulterior motives will be pleased with themselves for guessing. Marina is pretentious, pushy and knows how to emasculate young men whose looks and age should make them way out of her league and yet whose financial desperation makes them fair game.

I personally found Hildebrande's writing style to be verging on the purple—maybe let's call it lavender; some of the revelations in the book that are supposed to be shocking are not, or are somewhat melodramatically relayed. But the novel is consistently interesting, particularly knowing that the author was once a Danny Ward, so was probably privy to some of this stuff for real. And to his credit, Hildebrand did everything on his own, with no editor, publisher or publicist, making him a model of self-reliance.

If you check ou the book, let me know what you think. And keep reading to see a video with Hildebrand, who does indeed have a face for TV...

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Aug 18 2011
Hollywood Starfucker (UPDATED) Comments (24)


UPDATE: Dakota himself has been in touch with me! Through our correspondence, I have become convinced of something: He can SPELL. The first edition of his book had some crazy errors, but he's definitely working on fixing them. Also, and as importantly, he clarifies for me that James Dean was not a love-obsession, but a fan-obsession. His type was more John Derek and Tab Hunter.

I hate myself that I didn't write about this book when I first read it so it'd be fresh, 0m but for some reason, I set it aside, unable or unwilling to really address how I felt about it—The Gossip Columnist by Bill Dakota (pictured) is a completely gonzo account of what it means to be a fan and a fag, or at least what it meant in the '50s and '60s. I could not put this sucker down.

A perfect quote to summarize what you should expect arrives in the preface, which was written by Dakota in the third person:

"Bill Dakota was born in Flint, Michigan. He claims to have been gay all of his life but never came out until in his late teens." 

PreviewScreenSnapz001 Dakota worked at the Butterfield Theaters in Michigan but moved to Hollywood the first chance he got basically to find out everything he could about his #1 fave James Dean (who had died by then). He worked as a "secretary" for (the original) Nick Adams, who'd been a Dean confidante. The stories he tells about running with crowds who'd run with Dean (including Vampira) are like wish fulfillment for starfuckers everywhere, and make it sound like it was so easy in those days, before people became hidden behind a publicity paywall and before the word "stalker" was invented. Sample here.

198lNick Adams, James Dean's BFF and...

NickAdams1...an Elvis crony

SafariScreenSnapz001 Dakota was best known as the take-prisoners-and-pull-their-pants-down editor of Hollywood Star, which gleefully outed anyone and everyone. But like TMZ, as merciless as he could be, he never ran anything he knew or thought to be untrue. The paper's "150 Bi-Sexual Male Stars" story is remembed by Dakota as being "a long list but missed a few too!" It's reprinted in the book in its entirety, and Dakota says he did it so:

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