45 posts categorized "CHICAGO"

Jul 21 2013
Coming Out Of Somewhere: A Q&A With And Gay Pop Cultural Opinion Of Steve Grand Comments (49)

Steve-GrandConstant craving.

Steve Grand, 23, seemed to come out of nowhere earlier this month when he released his song "All-American Boy" and its accompanying video, an instantly iconic treatment of the oldest story in the gay world: falling for a guy who seems to feel the same way, but who ultimately does not. Like a microcosm of the reaction to Brokeback Mountain in 2005, the video was mostly enthusiastically received—1.6 million YouTube views and counting, national TV appearances—and yet has had its share of detractors, most of them gay.

At least some of the criticism of Grand is simply misplaced, resting squarely on the otherwise extremely helpful Buzzfeed piece that almost single-handedly got his name out to the world. In the post, Grand was tagged as "the first openly gay male country star," even though he was not the first, nor does he pretend to be a country artist, nor is he a star—yet.

But several other negative reactions made the Grand phenomenon more interesting to me than it might have been otherwise (readers of my blog know I'm rarely drawn to singer-songwriters, no matter how talented or cute). An inflammatory piece at The Bilerico Project (which was initially headlined in such a way as to imply the singer himself was a "sad, predatory drunk") accused Grand of trading on his looks, demonizing his "pouty lips and sculpted abs," while selling a Boys in the Band-like "self-loathing" message. It was even suggested that Grand's actions in the video could have led to "some serious gay bashing," the implicit message being that this bewitching Billy Budd would've had it coming. (The author of the piece later said his only regret had been maligning The Boys in the Band.)

Boys-in-the-Band"Oh, Mary, don't ask."

Fratmen-pornOn my own Facebook page, one person said I should ask Steve which thing about him did he feel made him more of a gay stereotype, the fact that he cries a lot (Grand's Good Morning America interview had a touching Johnnie Ray moment) or the fact that he's been through ex-gay therapy, as if either were something to be ashamed of. Still other armchair critics of the right way to be gay have sniffed at the video for making Grand's character seem powerless (love and lust are apparently signs of weakness...God forbid the character turns out to be a bottom!), have said it was wrong for Grand to work with [Work Unfriendly] an actor who did porn (it's apparently wrong to have anything to do with porn actors unless you're watching them fuck their brains out for too little money) and have complained that smoking is glamorized.

In short: Hey, pretty boy, how dare you not be the kind of gay person I want you to be?

Considering the self-aggrandizing, materialistic, superficially sexual, outright obnxious things that pop up in most every other enthusiastically adored music video today, I saw Steve Grand's achingly vulnerable song and video as honest. The most dangerous thing he does in the video is jump into that fetid swamp. But anything for love...

All-American-BoyBorn in the U.S.A.: Scenes from "All-American Boy."

What also interests me about Steve Grand is the fact that he didn't come from nowhere—no one does. His backstory is one many gay people can relate to: He fell for a camp counselor at 12, was outed to his conservative parents by an instant message they discovered and was sent to therapy to try to overcome "unwanted same-sex attractions." They were unwanted, but not necessarily by Grand. He has cycled through various identities—his days as a model and as cover artist "Steve Starchild" are readily documentable via Google—and has settled on being himself.

So forgive me if I take umbrage at the critics who think Steve is less than perfect, because it seems clear to me he knows he isn't. This "bad role model" has survived Catholicism, parental disapproval, ex-gay therapy and body issues to emerge as an unapologetically out performer, unafraid to be vulnerable, which in my opinion makes him a wonderful, if humbly relucant, role model for young people, gay and otherwise.

Everyone is so heartbroken when a troubled gay teen commits suicide, so why not cheer one on when he is able to rise above his struggles, embrace who he is and give back to the world in the form of art?

As I found over the course of three conversations, two on the phone and one during his quick visit to NYC for a CNN interview and some business meetings, Grand is the least marketed singer you've ever heard of, has no media training, has only a family friend as an advisor, isn't wholly comfortable with so much as profiting from his music (his YouTube account, as of this writing, seems to have no ads) and, unlike so many of the young performers I've spoken with in the past 15 years, cares more about making a personal connection with his audience than he does about scoring a merchandising deal or getting free clothes to wear from designers.

He's got talent, humility and sincerity—even without the abs, I think that's a good recipe for the right kind of gay...

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Feb 12 2013
Joint Statement Comments (0)

Lady Gaga has postponed both her Chicago shows, her Detroit stop and a Hamilton, Ontario, show due to a battle with "a severe inflammation of the joints." On Twitter, she says:

"I hope you can forgive me, as it is nearly impossible for me to forgive myself. Im devasted [sic] & sad"

Feb 05 2013
"Norton, My Friend, How Would You Like to F*ck Me Up The A**?" Comments (0)
Gay-HoneymoonersA site for gay honeymooners—if Chicago is your ideal getaway destination.
Dec 10 2012
Need To Know Comments (1)

Gay-straight-as-a-candy-caneFrom here: They better run!

Widget boy cultureTHE SKIN CROWD: Boston's 12th Annual Santa Speedo Run.

Widget boy cultureKathleen Turner killing it in The Killing of Sister George?

Widget boy cultureSoledad O'Brien's been awesome, so of course must be replaced. Beekmans-Amazing-Race-gay-shirtless-Jason-Wu-Damiana-drag-aging

Widget boy cultureBeekmans make up for lost PDA time.

Widget boy cultureLady Gaga tour bombing—in South America.

Widget boy cultureMen denied marriage license in '70 still together over 40 years later.

Widget boy cultureGay retirement options looking up.

Widget boy cultureObama follows good news to MI.

Widget boy cultureIt's a Damiana & Tanya mystery.

Widget boy cultureMeet fashion superstar Jason Wu.

Widget boy cultureLesbian not guilty over her DOMA role.

Widget boy cultureChicago: False-confession mecca.

Widget boy cultureMore Matt Raimo than you can handle.

Widget boy culture"Most parents would prefer their children not to be gay."—Tory

Widget boy culture

Via Rod: I've never made dinner quite like this:

Nov 08 2012
Closure. Comments (1)

Obama-gets-bear-hug-by-pizza-shop-owner.-Photo-by-Saul-Loeb_AFP-e1347231698947Thank you, Florida!

Mitt Romney finally conceded Florida. The final election results:

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Nov 06 2012
Need To Know: An Election Lasting More Than Four Hours Comments (1)

Obama-tear-crying-cropped-proto-custom_28Tearin' it up

Widget boy cultureObama goes emo in Iowa: "It's up to you."

Widget boy cultureSpringsteen & Jay-Z hype up WI for the other Boss. Young-bigot

Widget boy cultureYoung bigots explain their views: It's the Bible.

Widget boy cultureThe candidates court the football crowd.

Widget boy cultureCNN on Obama today: "Hangs out" in Chicago, "lies low."

Widget boy cultureLittle girl supports marriage equality.

Widget boy cultureProtect Marriage Maine really hates the gays.

Widget boy cultureIrish bettor pays out on Obama bets two days early!

Widget boy cultureInTrade is also bullish on President Obama's chances.


Widget boy cultureFOX News is afraid of black men. Literally.

Widget boy cultureObama wins 23-9-2 in Hart's Location, NH, ties 5-5 in Dixville Notch.

Widget boy cultureChris Christie blew off Romney even worse behind-the-scenes.

Widget boy cultureMap always favored Obama—still does.

Widget boy cultureAll poll closing times.

Widget boy cultureMichelle Obama: Vote!

Sep 19 2012
Gay Hard-On For Obama Comments (5)

Barack Obama gay GLobe rumors Kevin DuJan
Kevin DuJan, who is called "a prominent member of the Windy City's homosexual community" by Globe (October 1, 2012) but who is really just an infamous, sour-grapes Hillary booster who claims he can't get a date because of his politics, tells the gossip rag the same story he's been repeating for ages, that Barack Obama is "100 percent gay." With zero evidence, DuJan simply asserts that Obama used to frequent bathhouses in Chicago. (Never mind that the clubs' owner flatly states that Obama was never there.)

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Sep 03 2012
Love Ball Comments (0)

Love equals love
Great Chicago graffiti via Boy Culture reader Dwight.

Aug 14 2012
Guydar: All Systems Chicago Comments (0)

Bulging biceps
Boy Culture reader Dwight took a trip to Chi-Town and shares with us these 14 hot shots from a Cubs game and from Market Days...

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Jun 30 2012
They Were Here Comments (2)

The AIDS Quilt has 48,000 panels and 91,000 names. For the first time in over 15 years, the entire quilt will be laid out in its entirety in public—it'll be on the mall in Washington, D.C. (Jesus, I hope it will be protected). The above project wants to photograph all of it and make it into what sounds like a fascinating app.

Img736It's only got $6,781 so far out of the $25,000 it needs. Please give if you can.

When I saw the quilt—which on my photos I referred to as "The Names Project," its official title—in October of 1990 in Chicago, I was blown away by it. So much so that it felt weird taking photos. (Considering how photo-happy I am, you must appreciate how overwhelming the experience was!)

I only snapped these two shots—one is of Chicago's artist Gabor, who I'd been aware of from the free gay weeklies, and the other (which shows a few panels) is of designer Perry Ellis's violet panel, taken because a friend of mine was obsessed with him.