June 28, 2012

Welcome To The BEST SUMMER EVER--A New Movie!

I have some big news on the blog today....I'm working on a new feature film, BEST SUMMER EVER. It's the adaptation of my novel TALE OF TWO SUMMERS (Simon and Schuster) which I've been working on since last fall. I wrote the script based on the book and will be directing the film as well.  

In the book, two best friends spend their first summer apart from each other and, to keep in touch, start a blog...thus the title. The film is going to be the same story just told differently.  In BEST SUMMER EVER, Chuck and Hal send videos back and forth to each other to keep in touch. Of course, this is no ordinary summer (are they ever?!) and they both end up falling in love for the first time.  Awwwww. Hal meets a hot french teen at the mall and Chuck falls for one of his castmates at a summer theatre program.

I'm very excited about this project and getting another film going too.  Of course, all this costs money so today I am kicking-off the project with a little Kickstarter campaign, the oh-so-modern way for indies to raise funds these days.  Below is the cute little video I put together where we took the question "What's Your Best Summer Ever" to people here in NYC. We got some great answers about that and summer romance too, which is what BEST SUMMER EVER is all about.

So check out the video and click through to our Kickstarter home page and donate what you can. It's essential we make a strong start out of the gate, as it were, so that Kickstarter will feature us on their homepage and introduce the project to their larger crowd (the key to crowd-funding!).  Simply put, without your help, the movie will not be made. So help us make it happen! Like us on FB, follow us on Twitter, and check out our cool Tumblr too. Thanks for your support and here's wishing you the BEST SUMMER EVER! :)

June 27, 2012

4 World Trade Center Tops Out At 977 Feet

While all the focus on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site has been on the massive 1 World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower), another milestone was reached this week.  4 World Trade Center, a building that is on the southeastern corner of the site, topped out at 977 feet.  The building's design is not nearly as attention getting as number 1 and that was exactly the point.

The architects designed it to fade away into the sky and reflect the memorial and museum, which is located directly across from it's western entrance. There are some great pictures in the TIMES city blog where the building does almost become part of the sky as the panels are so sheer and reflective. It reminds me of another building in Boston, the Hancock tower, which also had the directive to disappear so as not to disrupt the city's historic skyline when it was built in the '70s.

June 26, 2012

Tired Of Destroying NYC, H'Wood Sets Sights On White House

Have you noticed the recent trend of superhero movies that always involve New York City bearing the brunt of some Hulk's (or alien's) destructive force?  Well, Hollywood is moving on to a new target to seek and destroy:  The White House.  

There is not one but two movies being prepped for next year that are DIE HARD-like scenarios set inside the White House as terrorists take over and/or destroy the President's stately home.  Though destroying the White House is not new (which was famously cheered on the INDEPENDENCE DAY trailer) setting a thriller inside of it is a novel twist, though given the fortress-like post-9/11 security perimeter which surrounds the Exeutive Mansion, highly implausible. Then again, it IS a movie....

Today, the Hollywood Reporter writes about the second of these films, called OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, which will star Angela Bassett.  And no, she's not playing a Michelle Obama-like wife but the sexiest head of the Secret Service this country will ever see.  Anyway, the destruction of Washington will hit theatres in late 2013.

June 25, 2012

Bears Are The New Memes, Including Cub Stuck In Garage

Over the last few months, "bears in the 'burbs" have become a popular meme. It started with a bear in Colorado who was stuck in a tree and when he was tranquilized and fell, he was immortalized by an intrepid still photographer on the scene.  That photo went viral and since then there have been more.

Today, we have a very cute video from CNN of a bear cub that got stuck in someone's garage. The cub is a little alarmed at first, especially when the garage door starts opening.  But then he turns out to be quite smarter than the average cub, utilizing a ladder to make his escape.

June 22, 2012

On The 43rd Anniversary Of Her Death, Is Judyism Still Relevant

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the death of gay icon and entertainer extraordinaire Judy Garland.  Over at QUEERTY today, they pose the question about whether gay worship of Judy (aka Judyism) is still relevant these days.  It's an interesting debate to read on the eve of Pride Weekend here in NYC (where it all began back in the summer of '69 with the Stonewall Riots). There is even the theory that Garlands' death just a few days before the riots added fuel to the drag queens fire that night.  

Anyway, QUEERTY asks a good question and the comments are piling up....more than 60 at last count which is a lot.  Some say Judy will always be a part of the gay cultural history while others debate the wisdom of worshipping a woman who lived such a tragic and drug addled life.  Joint the debate...and have a happy Pride!

June 21, 2012

PIC OF THE DAY: Rockslide On The Hudson

A few weeks ago, a massive slab of the Palisades over in New Jersey fell and crumbled to the ground. It was such a large mass of rock that the event was actually recorded at Columbia University's seismic station just a mile south of the point on the river (near Alpine, NJ).  The TIMES has an article today about this rare geological event, the large of its kind in more than 25 years.  This, along with today's heat wave, is a simple reminder of the power of nature.

June 19, 2012

Behind The Scenes At Broadway Bares

Sunday night I got to check out Broadway Bares, the 22nd annual AIDS benefit where chorus boys and girls take the spotlight for one night and put on a bawdy burlesque. I'd seen the show a few times  but this year I had a unique perspective. I got access to cover the event backstage for NEXT magazine's nightlife blog, the Nexus, which I sometimes write for. Here's the link to the story and below are some additional pix that I took too.  It was a fun night and I'm still finding glitter on me! :)

 Splash's Musical Monday host Emily McNamara
Evil Queen Grasan Kingsberry
Pinnochio and Friend
A golden dude

June 18, 2012

A Short History Of Gay Code Over 100 Plus Years

I got a fun assignment for this year's NEXT magazine Pride Guide issue. I was asked to write about the history of gay signifiers and how they have changed and evolved over the years.  The simple act of wearing an earring in your left ear used to be "code" for identifying publicly but silently as gay. Now these sort of signifiers have little meaning as gay culture has changed so much, especially in the 21st century. So I took a breezy look at the code from Oscar Wilde to Abecrombie....and beyond. Check it out and have a great Pride month! :)

June 15, 2012

Gay Pride At The Pentagon Is Not An Onion Headline

That's right...I had to do a double take when this story was first forwarded to me last night. But it's true, as CNN reports that the Pentagon, less than a year after "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was rescinded, will have a Gay Pride celebration for Department of Defense employees sometime this month.  Though there are scant details about what exactly that entails, it will be similar to celebrations for Black History month where the armed forces honor soldiers and civilians who have served. One doubts there will be a circuit party headlined by Martha Wash in the building's central courtyard.

The reason I find this story even more astounding is somewhat personal as well.  In a former life, I actually worked at the Pentagon for three summers as a paid intern in the DoD's Public Affairs office. Of course, there were gay people in the press office and in the armed forces at that time....particularly in the Air Force for some reason.  But it was all incredibly hush-hush. I remember one particularly flamboyant Army sergeant one summer who everyone talked about being gay, remarkably, without actually using the word "gay"; different, particular, cut-up, and yes....queen.

In my last year at the "Puzzle Palace", Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense and my boss. I only had a couple encounters with him and he was surprisingly nice. His press secretary was Pete Williams was rumored to be gay and that was considered beyond shocking. Now apparently people feel free enough to go on Grindr at work and celebrate Pride (btw which are NOT the same thing).  I'm sure the DoD is still not the friendliest environment for LGBT folks, but it certainly has changed a great deal since I was there. That is for sure.

June 14, 2012

NewFest Is Moving On Up...To The West Side

NewFest, the New York LGBT film festival which has been running for 27 years, is getting a big makeover this year with a move upon to Lincoln Center.  The festival, which recently partnered with OutFest, announced their lineup this week with screenings taking place at the lovely Walter Reed Theater on the Lincoln Center campus.  I have had give films screen at NewFest, including AUGUST last summer, so I'm excited to see the festival move to this new venue.

The festival will be somewhat smaller in size/scope this year, running only five days. But the lineup looks great--and I have three friends who have films in the festival this year that I'm really looking forward to seeing: Josh Sanchez has his debut feature FOUR, based on Chris Shinn's play of the same name, Kieran Turner has a doc about the first out gay pop star from the 70s JOBRIATH A.D., and Adam Baran has a short film that I supported on Kickstarter called JACKPOT, set in the suburbs in the '80s. The festival takes place July 27-July 31st and tickets are on sale starting today!

June 13, 2012

NetPix: BBC's SHERLOCK Reboot Is Brilliant

Over the weekend, I got introduced to the new Sherlock....no, not Robert Downey Jr.  but a true British gentleman by the nam of Benedict Cumberbatch.  Yes, that's his real name.  It almost sounds like the name of a character who comes to Sherlock for help in one of Arthur Doyle's original novels.  But Benedict, who cut his teeth with a great deal of UK theatre (of course) and a surprising amount of radio dramas (don't you love that they still exist even?!), is a unusually articulate and oddly perfect choice for the detective of 221B Baker Street.

I only got to catch one of the episodes, "A Scandal In Belgravia" but it was brilliant.  I'm generally not a fan of crime procedural shows but this is quite far removed from the genre; sexy and literate and smart and funny.  These are not words that come to mind when thinking of, say, an episode of LAW & ORDER. So I was pleasantly surprised and a bit hooked too.  There are three "seasons" of this show which is really more like a mini-series as the episodes are feature length and there are only 3-4 per season.  A curious schedule but perfect for an equally curious show.

June 11, 2012

Playing Pong With Your Brain

Figment is one of my favorite arts festivals in New York City and it happened again this last weekend. It takes place on Governors Island and is entirely free, with all the art solely for arts sake (ie. none of it is for sale).  A lot of the art is interactive too, like a great mini-golf course which each hole designed and built by a different artist. 

This year, Figment took interactive to a new level though with a video game that was played with your brain. In a futuristic twist on the favorite Pong, player's brain waves moved the paddles as opposed to their hands on a joystick.  There's an article about it in the TIMES City Room blog today and it sounds like it was a hit.  This is actually one piece of "art" I would like to buy.

June 6, 2012

Career Trucker Provides Best Promo For Sunscreen

I saw this photo on weather.com in a sidebar story about sun damage. This is a career trucker who spent nearly 30 years on the road and, as you can see, the right side of his face which was often in the sun through the window of his truck shows the damaging effects of sun on the skin.

This photo is not part of an ad for a brand (though it certainly could be) but was actually in the "New England Journal Of Medicine" as the condition of this 69 year old man has a scientific name; unlilateral dermatoheliosis. Regardless of the source, it is a potent reminder to wear sunscreen as the summer kicks in.

June 5, 2012

God Bless America....Now If You Can Just Spell It

The Republican campaign for the nomination may be over with Romney hitting the magic number of delegates last week. But the campaign's endless silly season continues with this latest gaffe; a misspelling of the word "AMERICA" on Mitt Romney's iPhone app.  This appeared last week as "AMERCIA" and was quickly corrected.  Yet since then, there have been two other spelling errors on the campaign's website--"sneak-peak" and "2012 Offical Gear".  

There was a funny item on New York magazines' website today speculating whether the mistakes were intentional, as a way of generating press due to increased attention from Internet grammar nerds. LoL. A novel strategy, sure, but one that certainly has worked!  But, as it turns out, the problem for the Romney campaign is real.  They have actually posted an online ad for a copy writer/editor. 

June 1, 2012


My friend and fellow filmmaker Tony Osso is in the final days of an Indie Go Go campaign to raise funds for THE DEVOTION PROJECT.  This is a series of short films which I've featured here on the blog which portray a wide range of LGBT long-term, committed couples.  Tony has told some amazing and touching stories...and with your help he will be able to tell many more.

Below is the fourth installment of this series, about a transgender couple and their daughter. Another beautiful love story...