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.