Quantcast

Fire Island Memories: My Wonder Years (1996 - 2002)

 

Driftwood.sign.fireislandpines

 

 

Earlier this summer I wrote a post about my experiences at Fire Island in the years before I took a share there (1981-1995).  This post highlights experiences during my share in the Pines on Driftwood Walk between 1996 and 2002.  During these seven years four of us were housemates every summer while sixteen others had a share for at least one of these summers.  While not quite an expose like Hollywood Babylon (no names are named), nonetheless what follows is a bit dishy, a touch titillating.

 

LEARNING THE ROPES

What kept me from taking a share in Fire Island for so many years was my impression that getting out there was such a hassle, i.e., take a subway to Penn Station to catch a train; then change trains at Jamaica or Babylon; get off in Sayville, and rush to a van that took you to the ferry; and once off the ferry, a schlep to the house.  However, it turned out the 2-1/2 hour journey wasn't all that bad, especially since I often traveled with housemates. 

 

Looking back at it, what sticks in mind most is the acronym BIGOS, which helped in remembering the stations between Bay Shore and Sayville ('I' was for Islip, 'G' for Great River and 'O' for Oakdale).  At Oakdale I'd get up and make my way to the door so I could hop off at Sayville and get to a waiting van ahead of the other eager boys swarming off the train.

 

Another useful piece of information was that the walk from Pines harbor to our house took about eight minutes.  This was especially helpful when deciding what time to leave the house when heading to the ferry for the to the City on Sunday evening.

 

Sayville.station

 

 

In all my years, the worst travel experience was on Labor Day 1998 when a severe thunderstorm struck mid-afternoon, causing widespread disruptions on the Long Island Railroad.  After waiting for two hours for the train at Sayville, a group of us took a taxi up to Ronkonkoma where we got a train not affected by power problems.  I ended up walking into my apartment at 11:00 rather than 8:00.

 

In 1999 the LIRR started running double-decker (or bi-level) trains from Babylon.  However, despite their technical advance, the new cars had a pitiful lack of room for luggage in the racks above the seats.  Also, these new trains presented riders with a new decision - whether to sit in the upper or lower berth ("tops" or "bottoms" could sit in either, there was no segregation).  This was similar to the decision when boarding the ferry. 

 

DIVISION OF LABOR

My housemates joked that my primary role at the house was to be the eye candy who greeted visitors on our deck, where I'd be sitting on a chaise lounge reading Entertainment Weekly.

 

Rob.frydlewicz.fire.island.pines

 

Rob.frydlewicz.in.pool.fire.island.pines
Sometimes my welcome was extended from the pool.

 

RobFrydlewicz.FireIslandPines 

 

Of course, I took part in other house activities such as grocery shopping, cutting veggies for dinner and loading the dishwasher after dinner.  I also organized the house's photos.  And one summer I bought a manually operated ice crusher as a gift for the house.  Inexplicably, I was the only one who used it (I now have it in my apartment).

 

Ice.crusher
My unappreciated gift.

 

While my primary reason for spending time out at FIP was relaxation, some housemates loved to have projects.  I contentedly observed, from a distance, while they installed solar panels on the roof to heat the swimming pool, put in a sprinkling system to water the flowers during the week, and constructed a wet bar out on the deck. 

 

THE CALL OF THE WILD

The Meat Rack was just a three or four-minute walk from our house.  My first time there was in the black of night, and as I cautiously made my way through the sandy paths enshrouded in shrubs, and low hanging tree branches, the movie Blair Witch Project kept coming to mind.  However, on nights of a full moon there was no trouble finding your way around, and the place truly became a wonderland.  (As Olivia Newton John and John Travolta said so well in Grease, "Oh, those summer nights!")  However, as the summers went by I gravitated to daytime "walks" because I wanted to see the merchandise before touching it.

 

During these summers I went on dates back in the City with eight gents I met out in the Pines, six of whom I was "introduced" to in the Meat Rack.

 

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

On Labor Day weekend in 2000 I bumped into a fellow at Sip'n Twirl who I had dated briefly after we met on Labor Day weekend ten years earlier.  Magic happened and we ended up walking out to the moonlit beach where we had a passionate "reunion".  The next day I saw him and told him how much fun the night before had been, but he was very aloof and, poof!, the magic was gone.

 

A RAINY WEEKEND TAKES ITS TOLL

In May 1998, a boyfriend and I were the only ones out during a chilly and rainy weekend.  What should have been a romantic weekend turned sour.  John was agitated because our house didn't have a TV (at his apartment he had two that were always on, and tuned to different channels).  And he didn't help with cooking or cleaning up afterwards.  Tension flared, sex was withheld, and on Sunday we broke up.

 

RAISING THE FLAG

Like most houses on the Island, ours had a flagpole over the house and a flag holder in the entrance way by the door to the deck.  One of the duties for those who arrived first each weekend was choosing two flags from our extensive inventory.  My favorites were the flags of Barbados, Djibouti, Estonia, Panama, the Seychelles and Tanzania.

 

Barbados.Flag.FireIsland
Barbados

 

Flag.of.Djibouti
Djibouti

 

MOMENTS TO REMEMBER ...

Compared to other houses, ours was rather tame as far as drama went.  Still, if life in our house had been presented as a reality series, here are some of the moments that might have been highlighted:

  • A housemate was baking a cake in the oven and asked me to take it out when the timer went off.  However, although I was sitting at the dining room table, and another housemate was reading the newspaper in the living room, neither one of us heard the timer go off, and the cake was singed.  It turned out it was my birthday cake.
  • Pines celebrity Robin Byrd supposedly walked off with a box of our paper towels after they were unloaded from the ferry.
  • Here are just a few of the personal "slights" I suffered:  1. A housemate chastised me for pronouncing Long Island with a hard 'g'.  2. I was ridiculed for not knowing how to flick open a fan, and fan myself coquettishly.  3. A dinner guest asked me if anyone had ever told me I looked like Smithers from the Simpsons.  (The house was divided on whether it was a slight or an innocent comment.)  4. Finally, one summer my last name was misspelled in the Pines phone directory, jeopardizing my chances at being tracked down by someone I exchanged names with at tea, in the Pantry ... or elsewhere.  
  • After one of our housemates broke up with his boyfriend we learned that the ex had a brother in prison, convicted of murdering two strangers he thought were his parents.
  • Another housemate was a lawyer who had a gay couple who owned an architectural firm as a client.  After a lengthy litigation was decided in their favor, they had the audacity to claim poverty and refused to pay, but  expected to keep their settlement - which, as their attorney, our housemate had control of.  (Ironically, their lawsuit was against a client who didn't pay them!)  This couple had a house in the Pines and if any of us was seen saying hello to either one we were given grief.
  • During the last night of my first summer, I had a dream in which I was given my drag name - Collette Whatchoowant.  Obviously, a French Canadian Indian princess.
  • Two housemates were the primary chefs and they never met a piece of meat they didn't think could be enhanced by smothering with an apricot or prune compote.
  • During the 4th of July weekend in 2002 all of Fire Island was inconvenienced by "rolling blackouts" that lasted for 2-4 hours.  They began on Saturday evening, and after a few hours, one of our housemates broke the monotony by putting on a wedding dress he just happened to have at the house, and glided down Fire Island Boulevard in the pitch darkness, creating an eerie, spectral image. 
  • The "Wig Wall" was always there to liven up any dinner party.

 

HAT PARTY!

Houses held parties that were either charity events or parties with a theme.  Ours held the latter.  The Hat Party took place in the first or second week of August and was a late afternoon/early evening affair (5-8:00).  Guests wore a hat, simple as that.  Some used no imagination and came with a baseball cap (but if they arrived bare chested, no one noticed) while others put a lot of thought and creativity into their hat.  In general between 125 and 150 attended.  Raw veggie platters and cold shrimp were served.  The biggest debate would come weeks before when the design of the invitation was debated.

 

RobFrydlewicz-courtjester
Hat Party 1999

 

KingsCrown-RobFrydlewicz
Hat Party 2002

 

BEACH RECLAMATION

At the close of the 1999 season huge pipes were laid on the beach to bring in sand being dredged from the ocean's floor.  It attracted quite a crowd, probably because the season's big parties were over and this was the most excitement to be had in early October.

 

Beach.reclamation.fire.island

 

 

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY

The first few summers I was attached to my bottle of Skin so Soft to keep mosquitoes away.  Then, because of West Nile Virus, there was a major effort at spraying the island to eradicate the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.  From that point on I didn't need protection.  However, sand fleas still tormented me whenever I tried to lie out on the beach, biting my ankles.

 

Mosquito.control 

 

RIP

Just because it's a carefree weekend destination, doesn't mean FIP is immune from reminders of our mortality.  For instance, an ex-boyfriend of one of our housemates was found dead on his deck, a victim of a heart attack; he was only in his 40s.  Then there was the fellow who collapsed and died on the dance floor of the Pavilion (Aug. 1998).  One person drowned in the ocean in the vicinity of Fisherman's Wharf (Labor Day 1999), while another was found dead in a swimming pool at a house on Ocean Walk (4th of July 1999).  I was also at the house the weekends Princess Diana and John Kennedy, Jr. died in 1997 and 1999, respectively.  Because we didn't have a TV, and no wireless internet back then, we depended on the houses that had TV for updates.

 

SWIMSUIT COMPETITION

Since most of my time on the Island was spent in a bathing suit, it was an important purchase.  Every summer I'd buy one or two to add to my collection.  There were four in particular I favored (all square cuts).  One was a cotton, black/white checked number, a second had a blue-pink geometric pattern, another was a turquoise number by Raymond Dragon with a vertical white and metallic sliver stripe, and, finally, my favorite (seen below) was navy with a a vertical yellow-white-yellow stripe on one side.  One of my boyfriends went wild whenever I wore it.  (He asked me to give it to him if I ever decided to throw it out.  I haven't been able to find it, so perhaps he took off with it.)

 

RobFrydlewicz-BathingSuit2002
The most favorite of them all

 

 Swimsuit.on.display

 

Alas, after constant exposure to bright sun, chlorinated pool water and salt water from the ocean, they, like we humans, faded. 

 

UNTIL NEXT YEAR ...

And here is the final look at the deck of our house before we closed the door on the 2002 season ...

 

Closing.weekend.fire.island.pines
A fond farewell to the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Boy Crushes on Male Singing Stars of the 1960s & '70s

Dennis wilson beach boys

 

A number of years ago I wrote a post about male stars of TV shows in the 1960s and '70s who I fancied when I was a kid.  Now, in this post, male singers from that era who roused my innocent attention get the spotlight.  For the most part I watched these singers when they performed on popular variety shows such as Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams or American Bandstand.  As you'll see, I didn't have one type; some singers had masculine swagger, some possessed long-haired sexiness, while others exuded cool sophistication.

 

DENNIS EDWARDS (The Temptations)

The lasting memory I have of Edwards as lead singer of the Temptations was his performance of their hit song from 1969, I Can't Get Next to You, on the Andy Williams Show.

 

Dennis edwards_temptations

 

LEVI STUBBS (The Four Tops)

Stubbs' voice is strongest on hits of the Four Tops such as Bernadette, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Baby I Need Your Loving and Shake Me, Wake Me.

 

Levi stubbs four tops

 

CAT STEVENS

The ethereal Stevens was a prototype for the 21st century's metrosexual.  I was attracted more to his looks than to his songs.

 

Cat stevens

 

JIM MORRISON (The Doors)

Like Cat Stevens, I liked Morrison's mop of unruly hair and his feline sexiness (Mic Jagger of the Rolling Stones was very similar, but he just didn't do it for me).  Favorite songs of his are Love Her Madly, Touch Me and Riders on the Storm.

 

Jim morrison doors

 

KEITH POTGER (The Seekers)

Potger was one of the three musicians of the Australian group The Seekers (biggest hit was Georgie Girl) who backed up singer Judith Durham.  Unlike Jim Morrison's brooding presence, Keith had a sunny disposition.  

 

Keith potger guitar

  Keith potger_seekers

 

LARRY RAMOS (The Association)

Ramos always seemed to have a kind persona.  Born in Hawaii, he reminded me of a former boyfriend of mine who was from Ecuador.

 

Larry ramos the association

 

TED BLUECHEL (The Association)

Even before he grew his hair long and grew facial hair, Bluechel's clean cut was equally appealing.

 

Ted bluechel_the association

 

EDWIN STARR

Most famous for his anti-war song from 1969, War (What is it Good For?), Starr had a club hit during the disco era with Contact.  Other songs of his that I like include Headline News, Twenty-Five Miles and HAPPY Radio.

 

Edwin starr_war what is it good for

 

MARVIN GAYE

His duets with Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross were especially beautiful.  His cool persona brings to mind that of Barack Obama.  Sadly, he died the day before his 45th birthday (shot by his father).

 

Marving gaye smiling in suit

 

Marvin gaye

 

MIKE NESMITH (The Monkees)

Nesmith was goofy-cute rather than debonair or sexy.

 

Mike nesmith

 

TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Pendergrass exuded sex.  By far his best song as a solo artist, in my estimation, was Close the Door.  He also had great songs leading Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (Bad Luck, Wake Up Everybody, Satisfaction Guaranteed). 

 

Teddy pendergrass

 

SAM COOKE

Another cool and debonair act in the Marvin Gaye mold.  And like Gaye, his life, unfortunately, was cut short by a bullet (at the age of 33).

 

Sam cooke

 

DENNIS WILSON (Beach Boys)

Wilson turned crazy as the years went by and he died young (39).

 

Dennis wilson beach boys early years

 

Dennis wilson bare chested

 

JOHNNY MATHIS

He eventually came out, but like Barry Manilow, it was no great surprise.  Besides Chances Are, his holiday song Sleigh Ride is high on the list of my favorite songs of his.

 

Johnny mathis in a tux

 

Johnny mathis_sleigh ride

 

NINO TEMPO

Nino was paired up with April Stevens; their one hit song was Deep Purple from the early '60s.  His appearance reminds me of the Italian fathers who lived in the town I grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.

 

Nino tempo


Recapping 2020's Oscar Telecast: Not So Gay

Stage at 2020 oscars

 

According to Nielsen 62% of the viewers to 2020's Academy Awards telecast were women, so since the Oscars are considered the gay Super Bowl should I infer that the remaining 38% were gay men?  The rating for the telecast dropped 20% from last year (6 million fewer viewers).  Perhaps it was due to the alienation of two viewing groups - those who were upset over the under representation of women and blacks in key awards categories, and those who become tired of the constant harping about this under-representation. 

 

Besides a dearth of women and blacks in the major awards categories, the same absence seem to apply to those of the LGBTQ persuasion. Unlike the previous three years (when we had Green Mile; Bohemian Rhapsody; The Favourite; Call Me By Your Name; and Moonlight), there were no Best Picture nominations with gay themes.  Furthermore, there weren't a lot of gay "moments" in general during the telecast.  So what gay moments were there?  

  • Janelle Monae shouting out that she's queer
  • Elton John performing and winning Best Original Song
  • A Verizon Wireless commercial with a coming out theme
  • Billy Porter in all his fabulosity  
  • Judy, the movie about Judy Garland, won the Oscar for Best Actress

 

And now for some highlights/observations:

 

  • As Janelle Monae made her on-stage entrance at the start of the show, she noticed that the middle button on her blouse had come undone and buttoned it as she sang without giving it a second thought.

 

Janelle monae's popped button

Janelle monae

 

  • Mindy Kaling and Kristen Anderson-Lopez stood out in their vibrantly colored gowns in yellow and green.

 

2020 oscars mindy kaling

 Kristen anderson-lopez at 2020 oscars

 

  • Bradley Cooper usually attends the event with his mother so I was curious about the fellow sitting next to him, but was unable to find any mention of him in news reports the next day.  It seems the only Bradley Cooper chatter was about him being in the presence of his ex, Renee Zellweger.

 

Bradley cooper and mystery man at 2020 oscars

 

  • I chuckled when I saw Diane Keaton's coat because it was similar to a lost glove I spotted on a fence in my neighborhood a few weeks ago.

 

2020 oscars_diane keaton and keanu reaves

 Lost glove

  • Timothee Chalamet "owned" his offbeat formal wear.

 

 2020 oscars timothee chalmet

 

  • Taika Waititi, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for Jo Jo Rabbit got my Oscar for Sexiest Man On Stage, with Oscar Isaac a close second, and Mahershala Ali third.

 

2020 oscars taika waititi

 

  • Disney chairman Bob Iger was in the audience, but may have been upstaged by another attendee, Amazon's Jeff Bezos.  (However, Iger's seat was much farther forward.)

 

Jeff bezos at 2020 oscars

  Bob iger at 2020 oscars

 

  • Did anyone else think that female conductor, Eimear Noone, bore a striking resemblance to actress Leslie Mann?

 

2020 oscars eimar noone conductor

 Leslie mann

 

  • A touching commercial from Verizon Wireless aired in the middle of the telecast.  It featured a young guy who said that he couldn't talk about his homosexuality face to face with his family, but after moving to New York his mother signed the family up for Group Chat, and now the things they couldn't say to each other in person were a lot easier to say when sent in a text.  He closed his story with, "I've never lived further away from my family, but I've never felt more connected to them."

 

Verizon wireless gay son

.

  • It was ironic that the best thing about the movie Rocketman, the performance of the actor who portrayed Elton John (Taron Egerton), was overlooked for an Oscar nomination, yet its bland song won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

 

Elton john and bernie taupin at 2020 oscars

 

  • Last week I was enthralled by the stunning 50-year-old J-Lo as she performed her physically demanding halftime routine at the Super Bowl, and a week later 82-year old Jane Fonda looked equally stunning as she closed out the ceremonies.  But why did she bring her coat with her - was coat check full?

 

2020 oscars jane fonda

 

Now, some final comments ...

 

  • King & Queen of the prom.

 

Scarlett johanssen and colin jost

 

  • Regal ...

Cynthia erivo  2020 oscars

 

  • Elton must have had a spare pair of eyeglasses.

  Billy porter at 2020 oscars

 

  • Where have you gone, Dolores Claiborne?

 

Kathy bates at 2020 oscars

 

  • The most touching moment of the night was actress Diane Ladd's reaction upon hearing the name of her daughter, Laura Dern, as winner of Best Supporting Actress.

 

Diane ladd and laura dern

 

 

  • Greta Gerwig vied with Mindy Kaling for most exquisite necklace.

  Greta gerwig at 2020 oscars

 

  • And lastly, as Salma Hayek so amusingly put it, she finally got to hold an Oscar on onstage.

 Selma and oscar 2020 oscars

 

 

 


NetFlix Sitcom, "Special" Adds Another Layer to the Gay Experience

Netflix show special

 

We've come a long way.  It appears gay story lines have become so commonplace that to make a show more unique an additional trait needs to be added to a gay character in order to gain viewer attention.  That's the case with the sitcom Special, in which the gay lead character, Ryan, has cerebral palsy; the show premiered this April on Netflix.  Ironically, revealing that he had CP is what causes Ryan angst, not the fact that he's gay.  Because of its premise I was afraid it might be too treacly for my taste, but I found myself quickly charmed by it its lead and the show's light and breezy sensibility - with touches of drama added to the mix.  Ryan has a wonderful shy smile and a quirky sense of humor.  Each episode is just 15 minutes long, so, like a bag of potato chips, it was easy to watch Season One's eight episodes in one sitting.  (Believe it or not, this was my first time binge-watching a show.)  Two of the actors in leading roles are openly gay, Ryan McConnell (the show's creator, who plays Ryan) and Augustus Prew (Carey).

 

 

August prew  netflix sitcom special
Augustus Prew as Carey



The show has somewhat of a Disney-fied sheen to it and brought to mind High School Musical in that it portrayed the world in an idealized way, e.g., Ryan is able to rent his own place in pricey LA despite having no income, the body-beautiful gay Hollywood boys are relatively friendly and approachable, and Ryan didn't seem to experience much discomfort the first time he had anal sex.  Also, his mother begins dating the next-door neighbor, a retired fire fighter who looks like he walked off the Silver Daddies website.

 

Patrick fabian  netflix sitcom special
Patrick Fabian as next-door-neighbor Phil

 

Happily, the show was recognized by the Emmy Awards committee, getting three nominations in the Shortform Comedy or Drama category: Best Show and two nods for Best Actress (Jessica Hecht, who plays Ryan's mom, and Punam Patel, who plays his best friend from work). 

 


Favorite Gay-Oriented SNL Sketches

Saturday night live title card

 

I've watched Saturday Night Live off and on since its first season in 1975-76 (when I was a freshman in college). Now finishing up its 44th season, the show is approaching 1,000 telecasts - which translates into more than 10,000 comedic sketches.  Despite this huge inventory I don't recall any sketches with a gay angle until the early '90s.  What follows are nearly two dozen that I get a kick out of, the majority being from the past ten years.  Some have an out-and-out gay storyline, others have a gay sensibility to them, or a character who's gay (or seemingly gay).

 

 

THE ACTRESS

From the latest season, guest host Emma Stone plays an eager actress who plays the role of jilted wife in a gay porn video.  The guy who plays her husband is a skeevy-looking character; the godson looks like Taylor Lautner (remember him?).  (Season 44, 2018-19)

 

Emma-Stone_SNL 2019

 

LAWYERS MEET BOSS'S 'GAY-FAMOUS' NEW WIFE

An established lawyer (played by Larry David) introduces colleagues from his law firm to his "gay-famous" new wife.  (Season 43, 2017-18)

 

Gay famous

 

OLIVE GARDEN

The director of an Olive Garden commercial shoot requests a lesbian kiss between Scarlett Johansson's and Leslie Jones' characters.  (Season 42, 2016-17)

 

Olive-garden-commercial-shoot-snl-bw0

 

LESBIAN MAKE-OUT SESSION IN KITCHEN

While her husband and his friends are watching the Super Bowl, oblivious to what's happening in the kitchen behind them, the sister of one of the friends (played by Kristen Stewart) seduces the dutiful wife who's preparing Totinos frozen pizzas.  (Season 42, 2016-17)

 

Lesbain totinos ad_snl

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF A DENTIST

This sketch, featuring Scarlett Johansson and Kenan Thompson, brought us to a memorial service for a dentist who, unbeknownst to his wife, composed deep club tracks.  (Season 42, 2016-17)

 

Keenan thompson and scarlett johnanssen

 

CHERRY GROVE LESBIANS

This sketch is a tune-in promo about a reality series on Logo about lesbians and their summer share at Cherry Grove.  And it contrasts life there with life in the Pines, the high-energy gay community next door.  (Season 40, 2016-17)

 

Cherrygrove

 

MICROSOFT'S GAY ROBOT

Human-looking robots are introduced at a trade fair and the audience is puzzled why they've been programmed to be overtly gay (played by Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney).  (Season 42, 2016-17)

 

Microsoft-gayrobots-sketch-snl-1200x675

 

SARAH'S DESIRE

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler played two actresses who get acting directions to be more over-the-top in the their reactions to each other during a lesbian scene in a movie(Season 41, 2015-16)

 

Tina fey and amy poehler

 

GLORY HOLE RESTAURANT

A New York couple (Peter Dinklage and Aidy Bryant) take out of town friends from Columbus, OH to a trendy restaurant in the Meatpacking District that in the '70s and '80s was a seedy club whose attraction was its glory holes.  (Season 41, 2015-16)

 

Snl glory hole restaurant

 

WHISKERS R WE

This skit has two lesbians showing the assortment of kittens available at their shelter.  Kate McKinnon is paired with guest hosts that included Amy Adams, Charlize Theron and Tiffany Haddish.  (Season 40, 2014-15)

 

Whiskers r we snl with charlize theron

 

"DYKES & FATS" COP SHOW

TV promo for the buddy cop show Dykes & Fats (Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant) that is likely a tribute to the '80s show Cagney & Lacey(Season 39, 2013-14)

 

Dykes and fats_snl

 

'TARGET LADY' MEETS HER FIRST LESBIAN

Kristen Wiig played the Target lady innumerable times and in this sketch she had her first encounter with a lesbian customer.  (Season 38, 2012-13)  

 

Target lady snl

 

GAY SUMMER WEDDINGS

This parody pharmaceutical ad for Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings is prescribed to heterosexuals attending weddings of gay men who become depressed thinking how uninspiring their ceremonies were compared to those of their gay friends.  The ad concludes with a disclaimer that the drug is not needed for lesbian weddings.  (Season 38, 2012-13)

 

Xanax for gay summer weddings

 

CLASSY SEXY ELEGNACE

This sketch is an ad for a CD compilation of vapid club tracks, with titles such as You're on Blast and This Is My Catchphrase (Spread It). And the sales pitch is, "So if you're a gay man looking to bring something you can make fun of to a party, this is the CD for you!".  (Season 38, 2012-13)

 

SNL_classy sexy elegance_kristen wiig

 

LIZA TRIES TO TURN OFF A LAMP

This sketch, featuring Kristen Wiig, is included because of Liza's position as a revered gay icon.  Of course, I found it hilarious, but as I watched I noticed there wasn't a lot of laughter from the audience; this lack of appreciation was probably because it had too few gay men in it.  (Season 37, 2011-12)

 

Liza-minnelli-tries-to-tutrn-off-a-lamp-660x329

 

A RANDY LIBERACE

A series of Vincent Price holiday specials featured a randy Liberace (played by Fred Armisen) who laced his remarks with outrageous double entendres.  And a few of these sketches had appearances by Judy Garland (played by Kristen Wiig).  (Season 36, 2010-11)

 

Liberace fred armisen

 

JUST TWO REGULAR GUYS

Fred Armisen and Bill Hader occasionally appeared on Weekend Update as two regular guys who happen to be a gay couple.  One time they were Maine fishermen, another time goombahs from NJ.  (Season 34, 2008-09)

 

Bill hader and fred armisen snl

Gay fishermen from maine

 

DATING ANDY SAMBERG'S DAD

Jonah Hill confides to Andy Samberg that he's dating Andy's dad.  (Season 33, 2007-08)

 

Jonah hill and andy sambergs dad
 

HOMOCIL

A parody ad for Homocil pitched a drug for easing parental anxiety disorder when they're confronted with the reality that their child is gay.  (Season 26, 2000-01)

 

Homocil for parents_snl

 

GAY SUPERHEROES

The Ambiguously Gay Duo, from the early 2000s, was a cartoon about two superheroes (voiced by Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert).

 

The-ambiguously-gay-duo

 

SCHMITTS GAY BEER

This commercial parody from the early 1990s for Schmitts Gay Beer had Adam Sandler and Chris Farley surrounded by Speedo-clad eye candy.  (Season 17, 1991-92)

 

Schmitts gay beer_snl

 

STUART SMALLEY

Although it was never established with certainty that he was gay, self-help coach Stuart Smalley gave off a strong gay vibe (he was portrayed by SNL writer Al Franken, well before he became a US Senator).  In his sketches from the early '90s he interacted with guest hosts, with his session with NBA legend Michael Jordan likely the best known.

 

Daily-Affirmation-Michael-Jordan---SNL-Image-2759998

 

LYLE, THE EFFEMINATE HETEROSEXUAL

From the early '90s came a spoof of a sitcom called Lyle, the Effeminate Heterosexual (Dana Carvey).  This turned the tables on the stereotypical fey gay man by ascribing those traits to a straight man (and we all have a few friends like Lyle).  (Season 17, 1991-92)

 

Lyle the effeminate hetero

 

 

Finally, perhaps you noticed that I didn't include Bill Hader's character Stephon as a favorite.  Although he was funny the first few times, I soon found his character tiresome, doing the same shtick (which included cracking up at what was on the cure cards) when he appeared on Weekend Updates.

 

Stephon snl

 


Remembering '30 Rock's' Gay Characters: Devon, and Jonathan, and D'Fwan - Oh My!

 

Jack and devon 30 rock

 

NBC's madcap sitcom 30 Rock aired for seven seasons (2006-2013) and won the Emmy for Best Sitcom in each of its first three seasons.  Starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, the show's cast of characters were neurotic and quirky New Yorkers, all of whom worked on a weekly sketch-comedy show that was similar to SNL.  And like any worthwhile show, a number of its characters were gay.  There were three:  Devon Banks, who was a thorn in Donaghy's side (Donaghy was played to perfection by Baldwin); Jonathan, Jack's highly protective executive assistant; and gay stylist/reality star D'Fwan.  Jack was the alpha male and the three were often in a tizzy over him.

 

DEVON BANKS - Jack Donaghy's arch-nemesis (played by Will Arnett) was always trying to usurp Jack's leadership position at the NBC-like conglomerate. There was a lot of sexual tension between the two, and their fast-paced dialogue was full of hilarious double entendres (enhanced by Devon's breathy voice).  My favorite is when Devon, during a heated discussion, tells Jack that "you're going down" and Jack responds, "No, Devon, I don't do that".  Devon's partner's name was Cashmere (he was never seen).

 

Devon banks played by will arnett

 

JONATHAN - Jack's fiercely loyal executive assistant, who Devon once referred to as "that fancy little fellow".  He brought to mind Mr. Burns' second in command, Smithers, on The Simpsons.  Although he was usually shown in the background at his desk and had a few lines each episode, he had the most screen time of the three gay characters.  (He was played by openly-gay actor Maulik Pancholy).

 

Jonathan  jack donaghy's assistant on 30 rock
 

D'FWAN -  In the show's final season, D'Fwan became the star of his eponymous reality show (played by Titus Burgess, who later became well known for his role as Titus Andromedon on Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).  Convinced that Jack was closeted, D'fwan changed his mind when he saw him dance.

 

Dfwan 30 rock

 

OTHER GAY TOUCHES

KENNETH PARCELL - An NBC page from Georgia, he was more or less asexual, and is perhaps the 'Q' in LGBTQ (aka "questioning").  In one episode Jack used Kenneth to try to seduce Devon, who had a crush on Kenneth.

 

Kenneth 30 rock

 

COLEEN DONAGHY - Jack's hyper-critical, self-centered, mom was played by gay icon Elaine Stritch.  Another icon, Patti LuPone, appeared in one episode as the mother of one of the writers.

 

Elaine stritch 30 rock

 

LIZ LEMON (Tina Fey's character) - In one episode Liz, fed up with her poor track record with men, tried to be a lesbian but was rebuffed by one she had befriended.

 

30-rock-season-1-3-blind-date-liz-lemon-stephanie-march-tina-fey-lesbian

 

GRETA JOHANSSEN - As played by SNL alum Rachel Dratch, Greta was an all-business cat wrangler who had a crush on Liz.

 

Rachel dratch 30 rock

 


Some TV Game Shows That Trigger My Gay Sensibilities

Devin goda price is right

 

Although my viewing of game shows is limited to the times when I'm visiting my mother, I find them mildly entertaining, especially The Price Is Right, Jeopardy, Let's Make a Deal and Wheel of Fortune.  Perhaps it's because they serve up a steady diet of eye candy, whether it's the on-screen "talent" or the contestants. It's a very different viewing environment from when I was a child.  Unlike the boyhood crushes I had on some of the actors from shows in primetime, hosts of game shows in the '60s and '70s were a rather bland lot, such as Jeopardy's Art Fleming, Dick Clark from The $20,000 Pyramid, Hugh Downs from Concentration, or The Match Game's Gene Rayburn.  (Let's Make a Deal's Monty Hall was the closest to being a bit cute.) 

 

Art fleming _jeopardy
Art Fleming

 

So what is it about the game shows I watch, that arouse my gay sensibilities?  Read on ...

 

LET'S MAKE A DEAL - Of the four shows, Deal's host Wayne Brady is the sexiest (with or without eyeglasses).  As for the rest of the show, I have no interest.

 

Wayne brady let's make a deal

 

THE PRICE IS RIGHT - In the fall of 2012 the show began featuring male showcase models.  The ones I've seen are Rob, James and Devin.  Occasionally they appear bare chested, but even fully clothed they're a pleasure to ogle.  I also like host Drew Carey, who's good-natured and cute in a stocky way, a LEGO™ character come to life.  I'm also dazzled by the colorful sets.  Lastly, the show has a lot of cute male contestants as well, some who are busting out of their t-shirts as they jump around.  And it's not uncommon to hear them shouting out to boyfriends and husbands.  (And when this is happening on a show as main stream as this, there's no going back.)

 

Price is right male model james
Price is Right model James

 

Price is Right Stud
Eye-candy contestant (sexual orientation unknown

 

Priceright7
Sexual orientation known as Anthony said hello to his boyfriend in the audience.

 

JEOPARDY - Has had its shares of gay contestants (or brainy types that give off a gay vibe) but they're usually not dressed that well, and can be a bit full of themselves (this applies to the straight contestants as well).  And despite aging, host Alex Trebek has always possessed a bit of sex appeal (although, befitting a show that celebrates book knowledge, he's a bit aloof).

 

John-presloid-jeopardy-winner-january-21-2019-300x258
Gay contestant John Presloid (Jan. 2019)

 

WHEEL OF FORTUNE - This one's all about Vanna.  Letter turner Vanna White is somewhat of a campy delight in her Cher-like gowns - and still looks amazing after nearly 40 years on the job.  Additionally, in episodes I've watched in the past 12 months, three contestants were members of San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus.  As for the rest of the show, the host (rodent-like host Pat Sajak) and the contestants are sort of a sad lot, shouting out "Big Money!" as they spin the wheel.

 

Vanna white

 

 

 

 

 

 


ESPN Magazine's Body Issue - For Those of Us Who Love A Man OUT of Uniform

Espn body issue 2015_kevinlove

 

2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of ESPN Magazine's first Body Issue, which celebrates the musculature of athletes across the spectrum of professional sports (male as well as female).  Despite the athletes being photographed in the buff, these photos have more in common with Michelangelo's sculptures than Robert Mapplethorpe's images.  And although I would have preferred seeing more body hair, it's refreshing that a major sports magazine doesn't have any hang-ups about putting the bodies of athletes front and center for readers to admire.  (And kudos to the athletes who participate.)  Finally, both 2017's and 2018's edition included openly gay male athletes: skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon

 

Although there were hundreds of photos to choose from (a challenge I happily accepted) I managed to narrow them down to my two dozen favorite:

 

Espn body issue - giancarlo stanton
Baseball star Giancarlo Stanton (2013)
 
 
Espn body issue - julian edelman
NFL wide receiver Julian Edelman (2017)

 

Espn body issue - rugby star Malakai_Fekitoa20170629_ODV
Rugby star Malakai Fekitoa (2017)
 
 
Espn body issue - javier baez
Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs (2017)
 
 
Espn body issue 2018 _adamrippon_bodyissue1406
Figure skater Adam Rippon (2018)
 
 
Espn-body-issue - kolin kapernick
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick (2013)
 
 
Espn body issue - Apolo-Ohno-Speed-Skating-2011
Speed skater Apolo Ohno (2011)
 
 
Espn body issue_tyler_seguin
Hockey player Tyler Seguin (2015)
 
 
Espn body issue - football player
Football player Julian Edelman (2017)

 

Espn body issue - matt harvey
Pitcher Matt Harvey (2013)

 

Espn body issue_TomasBerdych
Tennis player Tomas Berydch (2014)

 

Espn body issue - antonio brown 2016
NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown (2016)
 
 
Espn body issue-jake arrieta_013
Pitcher Jake Arrieta (2016)
 
 
Espn body issue - conor mcgregor
Mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor (2016)
 
 
Espn body issue - YasielPuigESPNTheBodyIssue6
Baseball star Yasiel Puig (2018)

 

Espn-body-issue - ezekiel elliott
NFL rusher Ezekiel Elliott (2017)

 

Espn body issue - gus kenworthy 2017
Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy (2017)
 
 
Espn body issue joffrey lupul
Hockey player Joffrey Lupul (2013)

 

Espn body issue - bryce harper
Baseball player Bryce Harper (2015)

 

Espn body issue - rob gronkowski
Football player Rob Gronkowski (2012)

 

Espn mag body issue - tennis player
Tennis player Stan Wawrinka (2015)

 

Espn body issue - omar gonzalez
Soccer player Omar Gonzalez (2014)
 
 
Espn body issue - ashton easton decathlete
Decathlete Ashton Eaton (2012)

 

Espn body issue - isaiah thomas
NBA star Isaiah Thomas (2017)

New Sitcom "The Other Two" - When a Straight Roommate Isn't So Straight

The Other Two - Comedy Central

 

A new sitcom premiered in the winter of 2019 on Comedy Central, called The Other Two.  Set in New York, it focuses on Cary and Brooke Dubek, the floundering twenty-something brother and sister of a 13-year-old YouTube singing sensation.  I decided to give the show a view because of its SNL/Lorne Michaels pedigree and was pleasantly surprised to find that Cary is gay.  What was even more surprising is that Cary's supposedly straight roommate, Matt, is always coming on to him.  An All- American type, with washboard abs and a great smile, Matt is amusingly nonchalant after each fleeting encounter with Cary.  While sitcoms with gay characters have become less of novelty, I can't recall one in which a straight character acts on his same-sex urges.   And the show isn't shy about showing them in a lip-lock or jerking off.

 

From the premiere episode, here they are "innocently" watching TV (remember, this is a sitcom, not a XXX video):

 

The seduction1

Cary's glance
The seduction2  The pounce

 

The roommate is played by Andrew Ridings who in 2010 was in an off-Broadway play Over the Top where he played a closeted gay man (in the role of his boyfriend was Tanner Cohen, who starred in the 2008 gay-themed indie film Were the World Mine).  Cary's co-worker, Curtis, is also gay.  The actor who portrays him, Brandon Scott Jones, played a bitchy bookstore clerk in the Melissa McCarthy movie, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

 

Gay brother  the other two
Drew Tarver plays Cary Dubek

 

Of course, the show has more amusing gay-oriented stuff going on than just the furtive relationship between Cary and Matt (whose story arc appears to have ended after Episode 3).  And while the show is funny, at the end of each episode I felt oddly diminished.  Perhaps it's because of how it depicts the vacuous, social media-centric world that Millennials and Gen Xers live in.  Also, Cary is somewhat of a "sad sack", who, despite being in his 20s, acts like someone much older in the way he cringes at his peers attachment to social media.    

And although Cary's roomie may be gone, for the time being at least, you might catch Andrew Ridings, in a much more chaste role, appearing in a commercial for Dunkin' Donuts which began airing in May/June.

 

Dunkin donuts

 

The Other Two airs at Thursday at 10:30 after Broad City.

 

Other posts I've written about gay characters in TV sitcoms:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Modern Family

Roseanne

Will & Grace


Renowned Greenwich Village Gay Bar Co-Stars in Movie "Can You Ever Forgive Me"?

Julius bar in can you ever forgive me

 

The Greenwich Village bar, Julius's, plays a prominent role in the true-life drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which stars Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant (both received Oscar nominations for their roles).  The bar is celebrated in the annals of gay history because it's where the famed 'Sip-In' took place in 1966 (three years before the Stonewall riot).  Throughout the movie Julius is where the main characters confide, plot and ultimately reconcile.  In total I'd say the bar has at least 15 minutes of screen time.  (Besides the bar, regular appearances are also made by a cat and a manual typewriter.)  Perhaps Hollywood might consider honoring Julius with a special Oscar for best use of a bar in a movie (after all, Judi Dench got an Oscar for less time on screen in Shakespeare in Love!). 

 

McCarthy and Grant play gay characters - biographer Lee Israel, and aging hustler/party-boy Jack.  And while the movie wasn't promoted as a "LGBT film", there is a steady amount of understated same-sex moments interspersed throughout the story.  For instance, Lee has a flirtation with a female bookstore owner and has a meeting with her ex, while Jack has a dalliance with a flirtatious waiter.  In addition, two other male characters who work at vintage bookstores give off a definite gay vibe (one of them is played by Stephen Spinella).  And AIDS rears its ugly head.  Although the movie is depressing, with shadowy interiors, gray skies and revelations about personal dysfunction, I enjoyed it a lot; Lee and Jack are two great character studies.

 

Can you ever forgive me
  

 

Now, back to Julius.  Located at the corner of Waverly Place and W. 10th St., it's a few minutes from my apartment as well as the Stonewall Inn and the Monster.  If I'm going to a bar the Monster is where I tend to go because it's just down the street from where I live (I've been known to run there without a coat in the wintertime) and it's much more spacious compared to Julius , so I can walk around its two levels and not feel conspicuous if I'm there alone.  Despite not going there all that often, Julius has a friendlier vibe (including the bartenders) and the drinks are cheaper.  (Although it's famed for its burgers I've never had one.)

 

Julius bar exterior

 

Finally, besides its role in this film, Julius appeared in another movie I've seen, 2014's  Love is Strange (starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a gay couple).  But there was just one scene filmed there (pictured below).  Thinking back to all the gay-themed movies I've seen (more than 100) I can recall just one other that had a scene in gay bar in New York.  It was 1999's Trick, and the main characters have an encounter with Miss Coco Peru, who offers advice while powdering her nose in the bathroom at the club Twirl that used to be on W. 23rd St.

 

LoveisStrange_Featured

 


  


LGBTQ News Headlines of 2018

 

2018

 

January 17 - The limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace (produced by Ryan Murphy) premiered on FX.  It starred Edgar Ramirez as Versace; Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan; Ricky Martin as Versace's lover; and Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace.

 

Versace in pool

 

February 7 - Bermuda became the first country to repeal its law that legalized same-sex marriage.

February 7 - A revival of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003-2007), now simply called Queer Eye, premiered on Netflix.

March 4 - James Ivory won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name.

March 16 - The gay teen romance Love, Simon opened in theaters and became the eleventh highest grossing film with a gay theme or prominent gay character, taking in $41 million at the domestic box office.

 

Love  simon

 

March 25 - 25 years after its first Broadway run, a revival of Tony Kushner's AIDS drama Angels in America opens.

April 27 - A documentary about former Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, The Gospel According to Andre opened in theaters.

May 21 - Although he didn't win a medal for the US in the Men's Singles Figure Skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics, openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon won Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.

 

Adam-rippon-jenna-johnson-dwts-5-21-2018-billboard-1548

 

May 31 - A revival of Boys in the Band opened on Broadway in the 50th anniversary year of the play's original Broadway debut.

June 4 - In a 7-2 vote, the US Supreme Court ruled that a baker in Lakewood, Colorado could refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

 

Gay wedding cake

 

July 9 - After a previous rainbow sculpture celebrating gay pride in Warsaw (the capital of Poland) was repeatedly vandalized, a new one was unveiled that is "unbreakable" - a hologram projected on a curtain of water, making it resistant to most forms of defacement.

 

Warsaw rainbow

July 20 - Eight years after his suicide, at the age of 40, a documentary about fashion designer Alexander McQueen opens in theaters.

July 25 - Cher is announced as one of this year's recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors.

July 30 - Land O'Lakes Inc. named Beth Ford as its CEO, making her the first openly gay woman to head a Fortune 500 company.

 

Land o lakes

September 18 - Sesame Workshop, the education organization behind the children’s program Sesame Street, issued a press release stating that the beloved characters Bert & Ernie “do not have a sexual orientation.”

November 6 - 43-year-old Jared Polis became the first openly gay person elected governor of a US state (Colorado).

November 22 - A same-sex kiss was aired on Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for the first time. The kiss was between two female characters during the conclusion of a number from the Broadway show Mean Girls.

 

Macys thanksgiving parade same-sex kiss