Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Advocate: December 15, 2008

Keeping It Real

MTV’s The Real World has been a reality television staple for almost 20 years. For its new Brooklyn season, the show is upping the LGBT ante -- a gay man, a trans woman, a girl who's dated girls but is now seeing a guy, and an allegedly straight virgin who pings the gaydar more than Ryan Seacrest at a Jonas Brothers concert.

An Advocate.com exclusive By Dan Avery

Keeping It Real

When it debuted back in 1992, MTV’s The Real World was truly groundbreaking television. Not only did it establish the template of thrusting disparate strangers together to live under the camera’s unblinking eye, but it introduced America to something rather unusual for the time: an out gay man (Norman Korpi) who was well-adjusted, popular, and upbeat.

Nearly 17 years later, gays and lesbians are a staple of reality television. In fact, it’s more noticeable if there’s not a queer contingent on shows like Survivor or Top Chef. So how could could Bunim-Murray Productions raise the ante for Real World: Brooklyn, the show’s 21st installment, debuting January 7? By including as cast members a gay man, a trans woman, a girl who's dated women exclusively ... until now, and an allegedly straight virgin who pings the gaydar more than Ryan Seacrest at a Jonas Brothers concert. Now, instead of a token gay roommate, the show has LGBTs representing a formidable faction of the house. But in the age of Lindsay Lohan and Clay Aiken, will such card-shuffling reinvigorate the somewhat stale Real World franchise?

Judging from the first episode, which was sent out to reporters for screening, it appears Bunim-Murray went back to the show’s New York City roots more than just geographically. Gone are the hackneyed “projects” forced on cast members in recent years (remember when the cast of The Real World: Las Vegas had to work at Palms Casino?). The eight roommates (yep, there are eight this time around) are encouraged to pursue their personal passions in the Big Apple -- singing, writing, acting, etc. And while there’s sure to be plenty of infighting and drunken shenanigans, the cast doesn’t seem as desperate for fame (or infamy) as in recent seasons.

Even the location of the Real World house is something of a departure -- rather than Brooklyn hipster haven Williamsburg or stroller-set capital Park Slope, producers opted for Red Hook, a slowly gentrifying neighborhood that’s still mostly industrial (the arrival of an IKEA earlier this year made local headlines). The house itself, a converted two-story warehouse that sits right on the Brooklyn pier, is to die for: We’re talking about a built-in gym, funky furniture, bold artwork, and staggering views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Being isolated in a region practically inaccessible by public transportation isn’t such an issue when you have cars to shuttle you into Manhattan. So who are the lucky 20-something queers who got to call this pad home for four months?

For the rest of this story, click here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brooklyn Paper: Dec 4, 2008

Author takes flight with jet pack revels.

for The Brooklyn Paper

That — and his rotund figure — has earned him the nickname, “The Rocket-Belt Buddha.” It also earned him a place in Windsor Terrace writer Mac Montandon’s debut book, Jetpack Dreams: One Man’s Up and Down (But Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention That Never Was (Da Capo Press), Montandon’s uniquely pop-cultural take on an engineering obsession.

Other high-flying pioneers profiled in the book include Wendell Moore, the Bell Laboratories scientist who built the first personal propulsion systems back in the 1960s, and Bill Suitor, a pilot who tested rocketpacks for NASA’s Apollo astronauts and jetted into the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Tuned In: Friday, December 12


Battlestar Galactica gets gay, but only in cyberspace.

By Dan Avery

Sci-fi fans have been clamoring for queer storylines since Mr. Spock first arched his eyebrow at a shirtless Captain Kirk. Well, they may have to wait a while to see same-sex shenanigans on the Enterprise, but at least one interstellar franchise is boldly going gay. A new batch of Battlestar Galactica webisodes, debuting December 12 on scifi.com, will include a makeout scene between Lt. Felix Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani, pictured) and communications officer Hoshi (Brad Dryborough). Set between seasons 4 and 4.5, “The Face of the Enemy,” sees Gaeta trapped on a Raptor with a group of strangers when someone dies suspiciously. The web-only episode has me bummed for two reasons: First, why is the gay love relegated to the Internet? And secondly, one of those spit-swappin’ space jockeys should’ve been Jamie Bamber! Galactica returns for its fourth and final season Friday, January 16, at 10pm.

Dude Awakening
Love those flirtatious but sexually frustrating relationships between guys on reality shows? Then be sure to check out Bromance, debuting December 29 on MTV. Following a similar arc as Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, the six-part shows features a gaggle of (presumably) straight boys trying to make time with Hills star Brody Jenner and land a spot in his entourage (y’know, to fill the void left by oh-so-hetero Spencer Pratt). To win, the bros have to survive a series of challenges, like pummeling paparazzi, skydiving into Las Vegas, and chatting up the ugly friend so Jenner can make time with the hottie. During the solemn hot tub elimination ceremony, the ousted bro must slink away from the Jacuzzi in nothing but his Speedo. Did I mention Ryan Seacrest is producing?


Saturday, December 13
The Graham Norton Show (10pm, BBC America): Grammy winner Barry Manilow performs.

Sunday, December 14
Survivor: The Reunion (10pm, CBS): After the two-hour finale, relive the magic of Marcus and Charlie’s bromance.

Monday, December 15
In The Life (10:30pm, WNET 13): “AIDS is Still a Big Deal” addresses issues surrounding the pandemic and the people who continue to fight it.

Tuesday, December 16
Rick & Steve (10pm, Logo): In San Fran for Pride weekend, the gang discovers the city’s secret straight underbelly.

Wednesday, December 17
Guys and Balls (10pm, here!): A young German (pictured) forms a gay soccer squad to challenge his old teammates.

Thursday, December 18
Ugly Betty (8pm, ABC): Things heat up between Hilda and Coach Diaz (Eddie Cibrian).

Friday, December 19
Capote (2pm, Sundance): Philip Seymour Hoffman channels charismatic author Truman Capote in this riveting biopic.

For more Tuned In, click here.

Tuned In: Friday, December 5


A queer caped crusader lands at Showtime

By Dan Avery

Home to larger-than-life gay drama since Queer as Folk, Showtime is teaming up with comic book superstar Stan Lee to produce a new series about a gay superhero, based on Perry Moore’s Lambda Award-winning novel Hero. “It’s not campy…it’s not ‘The Gayest American Hero,’” Moore told New York magazine. “He just happens to be gay. ” Moore’s no Johnny-come-lately either: In addition to penning Hero, he executive produced The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and is directing the upcoming Sissy Spacek drama Lake City. It turns out Lee has experience with do-gooder homos too. His Sci Fi Channel reality show, Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, featured gay heroes in both of its two seasons.

For a guy who didn’t come out until he was old enough to cash his social security check, Uncle Saul (Ron Rifkin) on Brothers & Sisters sure is getting a lot of play. Dave Foley (NewsRadio, Kids in the Hall) made a recent cameo as a mismatched blind date, and now it seems out actor John Glover (Smallville, Love, Valor, Compassion) is coming on board as Saul’s latest love interest. “They work through their difficulties, but it’s only an arc so I don’t think it can last for long,” Glover told EW.com.

Italian transsexual Vladimir Luxuria can probably afford those size EEE Manolos she’s no doubt been eying. An actress and former member of the Italian parliament, Luxuria recently took home $128,000 as the winner of Celebrity Island, a European Survivor type reality series. She definitely outplayed her competitors: Ivana Trump’s soon-to-be-ex-husband Rossano Rubicondi got voted off the island after Luxuria gabbed that he was sleeping with another contestant, Argentine model Belen Rodriguez.


Saturday, December 6
East Side Story (6pm, Logo):
A closeted Latino falls for his new Anglo neighbor in East L.A.

Sunday, December 7
Brothers & Sisters
(10pm, ABC): A medical emergency reveals a Walker family secret.

Monday, December 8
Privileged (9pm, CW): Gay chef Marco gets Sage to admit her true feelings for Luis.

Tuesday, December 9
Kiss the Bride (6pm, here!): A gay man tries to stop his old boyfriend from marrying a woman (Tori Spelling, pictured).

Wednesday, December 10
Law & Order (10pm, NBC): The detectives investigate the death of a gender-bending JT Leroy-like memoirist.

Thursday, December 11
Ugly Betty (8pm, ABC): Ignacio gets a job working for Betty’s old classmate Kimmie (Lindsay Lohan).

Friday, December 12
Alien Boot Camp (10pm, Logo): Catch an eclectic mix of queer animated shorts, plus gay-friendly sci-fi, horror and comic news.

For more Tuned In, click here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuned In: Friday, November 28, 2008

Material World

Sundance Honors World AIDS Day with Madonna Doc Because I Am

By Dan Avery

She might’ve thrown in the Kabbalah-blessed towel on her marriage, but Madonna has never stopped fighting against AIDS and HIV. At 9pm on December 1, World AIDS Day, the Sundance Channel debuts the soon-to-be former Mrs. Ritchie’s documentary I Am Because We Are, a riveting look at some of the one million children orphaned by AIDS in Malawi. “The suffering in Malawi is palpable, but so is the joy,” says Madge, who wrote and produced the film. “The people I met with in the course of making this film—from village headsmen to Nobel Prize winners to world leaders—have opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. If you want to change the world, you have to first change yourself.” In addition to the pop icon, the film features insights from leading experts like President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and global health advocate Dr. Paul Farmer.

Spring Time

Wouldn’t it have been awesome if High School Musical 3 was more like Spring Awakening? Well, we doubt we’ll see Zac Efron in a stolen gay kiss with Corbin Bleu any time soon, but here! TV has just wrapped production on The Awakening of Spring, an adaptation of the 19th century German drama that also spawned the hit Broadway show from 2006. The new version moves the story from Europe in the 18th century to the American Midwest in the early 20th, but still centers on a group of gay and straight adolescents struggling with their sexual desires and oppressive authority figures. Expect to see it air some time in 2009.

Out There
We’ve heard homophobes talking about exiling gays to some desert island, and it looks like that’s just what happened in merry ol’ England. The new season of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, a UK reality TV in which B-list celebs are sent to a remote jungle environment, features not one but three homo contestants: Newlywed Heroes star George Takei, tennis superstar Martina Navratilova and retired police offer Brian Paddick, who ran for mayor of London earlier this year. Ah, c’mon—we all know Martina will totally whip those boys asses!


Friday, November 28
Coffee Date (4pm, Logo): A straight bachelor is sent on a blind date with a gay man. Hilarity and sexual confusion ensues.

Saturday, November 29
Shelter (9pm, here!) A shy surfer boy is attracted to his friend's older brother.

Sunday, November 30
Brothers & Sisters (10pm, ABC): Nora recruits the family to tear down her charity home.

Monday, December 1
Rock the Boar (5pm, Logo): A team of HIV+ sailors compete in the 2,200-mile Trans-Pacific Yacht Race.

Tuesday, December 2
Rick & Steve (10pm, Logo): Rick and Steve's moms cross swords on Mother's Day.

Wednesday, December 3
The Rules of Attraction (9pm, IFC): Bisexual Paul (Iam Somerhalder) is one of the rich and amoral students at an elite college.

Thursday, December 4
Ugly Betty (8pm, ABC): Betty and Amanda spend an unforgettable night on the town.

Friday, December 5
The Starter Wife (10pm, USA): Chris Diamontapolous plays Rodney, Molly's gay best friend.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tuned In: Friday, November 21, 2008

Dyke to Watch Out For
Is America ready for Rosie O’Donnell’s return to television?

By Dan Avery

Hide the children and bolt the doors—Rosie O’Donnell is back on prime time! The outspoken comedian, who nearly came to blows with Elizabeth Hasselbeck on ABC’s The View, is testing the waters at NBC with a Thanksgiving Eve variety show tentatively titled Rosie Live. Airing Wednesday, November 26, at 9pm, the hour-long special features O’Donnell—a longtime fan of Carol Burnett and Mike Douglas—starring in comedy skits, kibitzing with celebrity guests and introducing musical acts. If the show’s a hit there’s talk of an ongoing series, but Ro’ would be wise to leave her more controversial soundbites to her blog. Consider this gem about Barack Obama’s victory: “i wonder if i will stop hugging every black person i see. archie kissed sammy davis jr.” Queen Latifah may need a restraining order.

Halloween is a distant memory, but that’s not stopping here! from debuting a new horror flick this week. Adapted from a story by H.P. Lovecraft, Cthulhu is the chilling tale of a Seattle history professor (Jason Cottle) who returns home after his mother’s death to discover his estranged father is leading a New Age cult linked to an aquatic terror. (Ain’t that always the way?) Expert source material and eerie cinematography give the film genuine chills, but it’s the steamy subplot between the prof and his childhood friend that really kept us watching. Of course, the appearance of gay fave Tori Spelling doesn’t hurt either.

German homos got some loving this month when the country’s first gay network, TIMM, launched November 1. The basic-cable channel currently offers American imports like The L-Word and Queer as Folk, as well as documentaries and international feature films.


Saturday, November 22
The Graham Norton Show (10pm, BBC America): Norton welcomes singer Tom Jones and queer comedian Alan Carr.

Sunday, November 23
Angels in America (10pm, Logo): A star-studded cast brings Tony Kushner’s riveting AIDS drama to the small screen.

Monday, November 24
Dancing with the Stars (8pm, ABC): We’ll still be watching even if Lance Bass has been ousted by now.

Tuesday, November 25
The Henry Rollins Show (9:15pm, IFC): Gay indie rocker Bob Mould performs.

Wednesday, November 26
Top Chef New York (10pm, Bravo): Richard Sweeney and Patrick Dunlea stir the pot for Team Gay.

Thursday, November 27
Mambo Italiano (7pm, Logo): A writer struggles with his closeted boyfriend (pictured) and immigrant parents.

Friday, November 28
Coffee Date (4pm, Logo): A straight bachelor accidentally goes on a blind date with a gay man.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tuned In: Friday, November 14, 2008

Making Out
TV stars shine in the Out 100

By Dan Avery

It seems like just yesterday we were clucking about Tilda Swinton’s garbage-bag Oscar dress, but awards season is almost upon us again. Getting a leg up on the competition, Out Magazine is announcing its annual Out 100 at a star-studded gala Friday night, with small-screen honorees including Christian Siriano, Candis Cayne, John Barrowman, George Takei, Ugly Betty producer Silvio Horta, Brothers & Sisters’ Luke MacFarlane (pictured) and MSNBC superstar Rachel Maddow (who we would totally switch for, FYI). Newly reformed disco divas Labelle will perform at the shindig, being held at Gotham Hall, but don’t expect it to be too glamourous. Professional potty-mouth Chelsea Handler is emceeing. (By the way, doesn’t “Chelsea Handler” sound like the name of a gay public-relations expert?)

Death Threats
I never thought there’d be a reason to watch Fox’s laugh-free sitcom ’Til Death, but never say never: According to EW.com’s Michael Ausiello, Nathan Lane will guest-star as Brad Garrett’s gay brother on the November 18 episode. Dumped by his longtime boyfriend, Lane comes to Garrett for solace and the pair bond over their common need for codependency. Gives you a warm feeling all over, don’t it?

Punch-Drunk Love
If you’re a boxing fan, you might’ve caught the Vargas-Titsworth bout on HBO’s Boxing After Dark last Saturday. If not, you missed a pretty queer sight: During the third round, Titsworth leaned over and kissed Vargas on the neck. (You can watch the liplock below.) I’d take a lover over a fighter any day, but the smooch cost Titsworth a two-point deduction and Vargas won the matchup 39-34.

Queer TV Highlights

Saturday, November 15
You Belong to Me (3pm, Logo): A gay architect is stalked by his eccentric landlady.

Sunday, November 16
Brothers and Sisters (10pm, ABC): The Kids in the Hall’s Dave Foley guest stars as a surprise love interest for Uncle Saul.

Monday, November 17
here! with Josh and Sara (6pm, here): The affable hosts chat with porn star/singer Colton Ford.

Tuesday, November 18
Blush: The Search for the Next Great Make-Up Artist (10pm, Lifetime): Reality TV scrapes the barrel as homos compete to be mascara-queen supreme.

Wednesday, November 19
Rick and Steve (10:30pm, Logo): The gang runs out of gas coming back from the hospital with the new baby.

Thursday, November 20
Ugly Betty (8pm, ABC): Designers Badgley-Mischka stop by Mode, where Betty and Marc are vying for a prestigious internship.

Friday, November 21
The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (6pm, Sundance): AbFab’s Jennifer Saunders stars as a vicious talk-show host in this satirical British series.

For more Tuned In, visit HX.com

Tuned In: Friday, November 7, 2008

What’s Cookin?
Gay gourmand Patrick Dunlea keeps it fresh on Top Chef: New York.

By Dan Avery

Viewers will find plenty of delicious drama on the NYC-based season of Bravo’s Top Chef, debuting Wednesday, November 12, at 9pm. And hopefully out contestant Patrick Dunlea will stand the heat and stay in the kitchen long enough to make it to the finals. Before the knives came out, though, I talked turkey with the single 21-year-old, whose currently a student at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.

You’re so young. Were you worried about facing more experienced chefs?
Being at the Institute, I’m really in the best environment for this show. I’m learning and using different skills every day. Some of the other contestants may be a little rusty in certain areas.

What was your relationship like with the other gay contestants?
I got along with everyone on the show. The other gays and I—Richard and [lesbian chef] Jamie—joined up to form Team Rainbow.

The new season is set in the Big Apple. What’s your favorite New York restaurant?
I really love Prune in the East Village. Gabrielle Hamilton cooks what she likes and doesn’t worry about trends. She has a whole Bloody Mary menu.

Are you a carb queen or do you indulge in rich foods?
I think food is made to be enjoyed, so long as it’s in moderation. It’s kind of ridiculous that people are scared of butter. If it’s natural ingredient, I figure it can’t be too bad.

What would you make for dinner on a first date?
I’d make a mushroom risotto. And serve a lot of wine. Dessert could be in the kitchen…or elsewhere.

Queer TV Highlights

Saturday, November 8
Sweeney Todd (8pm, HBO):
The demon barber (Johnny Depp) terrorizes London in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the hit musical.

Sunday, November 9
Summer Heights High (10:30pm, HBO): Mean girl Ja’mie (Chris Lilley) rises to the top of the “In” crowd.

Monday, November 10
Samantha Who (9:30pm, ABC): Mary-Kate Olsen cameos as a troubled young woman. What a stretch.

Tuesday, November 11
Rick & Steve (10pm, Logo): The happiest gay couple in the world (pictured) returns for a second season.

Wednesday, November 12
America’s Next Top Model (8pm, The CW): The girls party a little too hard back at the house.

Thursday, November 13
Ugly Betty (8pm, ABC): Betty needs Daniel’s aid to prevent a PR disaster at Mode.

Friday, November 14
Drawn Together (11pm, Logo): Captain Hero’s nerdy alter ego gets gay with
elfin homo Xandir.

For more Tuned In, visit HX.com

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Back in the saddle

I started this blog over two years ago, as a place to post stray thoughts and recent bylines. Ironically, I became so busy writing elsewhere that I cast it adrift some time in 2007. Now that I'm doing the freelance thing fulltime--and no longer have coworkers to subject to my quirky musings--I've decided to resurrect big words. Prepare for lots more verbiage.