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April 2014

Thoughts About HBO's Gay Drama, "Looking"

LookingI don't subscribe to HBO so I came to its series Looking a bit late.  However, last month I watched the show's eight episodes in two sittings at my friend Tom's place.  I really enjoyed it and found it refreshing that storylines didn't revolve around circuit parties, hook-ups or children (which is probably why some found the show boring).  It's about three friends who live in San Francisco.  Patrick (played by Jonathan Groff) represents the gay Everyman, Agustin is the pretentious one and Dom's world revolves around sex and being desired. 


Richie.and.patrick.lookingMy favorite character is Patrick's boyfriend, Richie.  Besides being sexy as hell, he's loving and the most grounded of all the characters.  My least favorite character is Dom, who bores me.  As for Patrick's boss, Kevin, I liked him at the beginning (although I found his tiny, protruding ears distracting), but in the final episode my disdain for Agustin, who finally got his comeuppance, transferred over to Kevin because of his predatory nature.


I found it interesting that HIV was mentioned just once, during a discussion between Patrick and Richie, and it was a very simplistic chat at that, suggesting that in-depth knowledge about transmission has been lost to the younger generation of gay men.  Patrick displayed more naivete with his lack of knowledge about uncut cocks.  I found this unusual considering that he's supposed to be in his early 30s, plus his pals Agustin and Dom are pretty worldly.



  • The opening scene of the series in which Patrick is trying to have furtive sex in the woods but decides to take a call on his phone.
  • Agustin invites a co-worker home and he and his boyfriend Frank end up having a threesome with him.  It's just a 30-second scene, but very hot nonetheless.




  • Agustin meets sex worker CJ at a diner and becomes very intrigued by him and his line of work.
  • At Agustin's insistence Patrick buys a leather vest that he self-consciously wears it at the Folsom St. Fair.  Later that evening he goes into the office still wearing it, his gay boss stops by and the first sparks fly between them.




  • Weeks after their awkward first date, Patrick approaches Richie at a bar (while still wearing the harness) and their relationship is rekindled.
  • Lying in bed with Richie, Patrick wonders why guys assume he's the bottom.  In the course of the conversation they agree that Jennifer Anniston's character, Rachel, on Friends is a top.




  • At a picnic in Alamo Square Park Patrick gets kidded for having such a gay voice on his work voice message.
  • Richie shows up clean shaven and wearing a suit for Patrick's sister's wedding (which he ends up not going to).




  • Agustin's boyfriend breaks up with him and tells him to move out.
  • Patrick's chat with his mother (played by Julia Duffy of Newhart fame) at his sister's wedding reception shows how insecure and self-centered he is.




  • Patrick's lustful comment to Agustin about Richie's lickable, hairy armpits.
  • In the closing minutes of Season 1's last episode Patrick and Richie have a heartrending talk about the state of their relationship.  It happens out on the street right after Patrick got fucked by Kevin in the office - something Patrick hadn't let Richie do. 




Looking.trioOthers compare Looking to Girls and Sex & the City but I don't see that.  Instead, Queer as Folk is what I compare it to (or perhaps Tales of the City because of its San Francisco setting).  The characters on Looking aren't unbearable as those on Girls nor do they live lives of fabulosity like the gal pals on Sex & the City


LGBT History: A Salute to Our Gay & Lesbian Elders (Age 75+)

Stephen.sondheim Giorgio.armani Edith.windsorThis post celebrates nearly three dozen accomplished gay and lesbian individuals who are at least 75 years of age.  In their formative years, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s, life posed many challenges because of their sexual orientation.  However, they managed to excel in their careers even if it required hiding their true nature.  Most are now open about their orientation and are beacons of inspiration for young LGBTs.  What follows are some top-line findings.  (The list can be found at the end of the post.)


  • The oldest of the group is gossip columnist Liz Smith, who is 91, ten days older than director Franco Zeffirelli.  Prolific composer Ned Rorem is 90.  (Deceased gay icons who lived beyond 90 include architect Philip Johnson, who died at 98; actor John Gielgud, who lived to 96; and artist Paul Cadmus, who was 95 when he died in 1999.)
  • Probably the most famous are composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim (84) and fashion designer Giorgio Armani (78).
  • Only four of the thirty-four persons on this list are women: Liz Smith; same-sex marriage activist Edie Windsor (84); director/producer Jane Wagner (79) and author Patricia Nell Warren.
  • Only one person on the list is Black, singer Johnny Mathis (78) and just one is of Asian heritage, actor George Takei.  None are Hispanic (the oldest is Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is 66).


Johnny Mathis


Edward Albee


Larry Kramer


Tommy Tune


  • This seasoned group has worked in sixteen different occupations, with fashion designers and playwrights represented the most, by four names each.  Arnold Scaasi; Valentino; Karl Lagerfeld; and Giorgio Armani are the designers (all foreign born), while Edward Albee; John Glines; Mart Crowley; and Terrence McNally are the playwrights.   In addition, there are three directors, three composers and three authors.  
  • Ian McKellen will join this group next month when he turns 75 on May 25 ) and Lily Tomlin on Sept. 1.  Three more will turn 75 next year: author Edmund White, fashion designer Bob Mackie and former Congressman Barney Frank.  The most recent death of someone in the 75+ group was pianist Van Cliburn who was 78 when he died in February of 2013.
  • If there lives weren't cut short by AIDS some well-known gay men would no doubt be part of this group, including choreographers Robert Joffrey and Alvin Ailey; athlete Tom Waddell; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; actors Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins, Larry Kert and Robert Reed; pianist Liberace; and French philosopher Michel Foucault.


(Ages as of May 1, 2014)
  Profession Age Best Known For
Franco Zeffirelli Movie & Opera Director 91 Worked with Maria Callas
Liz Smith Gossip Columnist 91 New York Post
Ned Rorem Composer 90 Prolific composer of 300+ pieces; Fullbright Scholar; Pulitzer Prize for Music  
Edward Albee Playwright 86 "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?"
James Ivory Director 85 Merchant Ivory Productions has produced 50+ films 
Arnold Scaasi Fashion Designer 84 Designed gowns for four First Ladies
Stephen Sondheim Composer/Lyricist 84 8 Tony Awards, 8 Grammys, 2 Oscars, 1 Pulitzer Prize
Jasper Johns Artist 84 "Three Flags"/Partnered with Rob't Rauschenberg
Edie Windsor Mathematician/Activist 84 Lawsuit led to Supreme Court striking down DOMA
John Rechy Author 84 "City of Night"/"Numbers"/"The Sexual Outlaw"
Martin Duberman Historian/Professor 83 Founded Center for Lesbian/Gay Studies at CUNY 
Paul Taylor Choreographer 83 Worked with Martha Graham 
Clive Davis Record Executive 82 Managed Whitney Houston
Jerry Herman Composer/Lyricist 82 "Hello, Dolly!"/"Mame"/"La Cage aux Folles"
Tab Hunter Actor 82 Blonde/"Polyester"
Valentino  Fashion Designer 81 Last name is Garavani/Documentary: "Valentino - The Last Emperor" 
Jim French Photographer 81 Founder of Colt Studios
James Hormel Diplomat 81 1st openly gay US ambassador (Luxembourg)
Richard Chamberlain Actor 80 "Dr. Kildare"/"Shogun"/"The Thornbirds"
Don Bachardy Portrait Artist 80 2008 documentary about life w/Christopher Isherwood: "Chris & Don:  A Love Story"
John Glines Playwright/Producer 80 Tony winner for "Torch Song Trilogy"
Karl Lagerfeld Fashion Designer 80 Chanel/Fendi
Jane Wagner Writer/Producer/Dir 79 Partnered w/Lily Tomlin for 40+ years
Mart Crowley Playwright 78 "Boys in the Band"
Larry Kramer Writer/Activist 78 Co-founded GMHC/"The Normal Heart"
Giorgio Armani Fashion Designer 78 Personal worth of $8.5 billion
Johnny Mathis Singer 78 "Chances Are"
George Takei Actor 77 "Star Trek's" Mr. Sulu
Patricia Nell Warren Author 77 "The Front Runner"
David Hockney Artist 76 Born in England, fell in love with So. Calif.
Tommy Tune Choreographer/Director/Actor 75 Nine Tony Awards/Twiggy/Known for his height (6'6")
Terrence McNally Playwright 75 "Love! Valour! Compassion!"/"Master Class"/"Ragtime"/4  Tonys
Rex Reed Film Critic 75 Lives in The Dakota/pals with Liz Smith
Jonathan Ned Katz Queer Studies/Historian 75 Created OutHistory.org website
Source:  Wikipedia      

Gay Celebrities & Their Twitter Followers

Twitterbird.rainbowRecently I wrote a post about overexposed LGBT celebrities based on how many Google search results they had.  This latest analysis gauges the popularity of these gay and lesbian "A-listers" based on the number of followers each has on Twitter.  Similar to the the Google analysis, I chose close to 450 gay and lesbian "personalities", 70% of whom have Twitter accounts; those with accounts have a median age of 50, with thirty over the age of 65 and thirteen younger than 30. 



EllenshowThe median number of followers is 25,000.  Twenty-two have more than 1 million, led by Ellen DeGeneres, who has more than 28 million (she also ranks in the top 10 among all celebs).  She is  followed by Ricky Martin and Neil Patrick Harris who have 10 and 8.4 million followers, respectively.  Four of the celebs with 1 million+ followers are over the age of 60, with George Takei, at 77, being the oldest.  Three are under 30, with British diver Tom Daley, at age 19, the youngest. 


The following chart lists the gay and lesbian celebrities with 1 million or more Twitter followers:


      # of
Celeb Profession Age (In Millions)
Ellen DeGeneres Comic/Talk Show Host 57 28.30
Ricky Martin Singer 41 10.00
Neil Patrick Harris Actor 44 8.39
Stephen Fry Comic/Actor 56 6.72
Perez Hilton Blogger 36 5.98
Anderson Cooper  News Anchor 46 4.91
Alan Carr Comic/TV Personality 37 3.96
Rachel Maddow News Anchor 41 2.87
Tom Daley Diver 19 2.62
Chris Colfer Actor 23 2.39
Adam Lambert Singer 27 2.25
Robbie Williams Singer 40 2.22
Michael Kors Fashion Designer 54 1.91
Jane Lynch Actress 53 1.75
Calvin Klein Fashion Designer 72 1.72
Samantha Ronson DJ/Musician 36 1.57
Suze Orman Financial Advisor 62 1.53
Marc Jacobs  Fashion Designer 51 1.53
Andy Cohen TV Executive 45 1.37
Michael Ausiello TV Journalist 42 1.16
George Takei Actor 77 1.12
Jillian Michaels Fitness Guru 40 1.04
(As of 4/7/2014)      



GusvansantAt the other end of the spectrum, 39 persons have fewer than 1,000 followers, including personalities such as director Gus Van Sant, New York Times theater critic Bill Brantley, designer Todd Oldham and author Kevin Sessums.



Stephen.fryThe biggest head scratcher, for me at least, is the wild popularity of British actor Stephen Fry, who has the 4th highest following, with 6.7 million.  Other surprises include British TV personality Alan Carr at #7; pop singer Robbie Williams at #12; DJ Samantha Ronson at #16; financial advice doyenne Suze Orman at #17; trainer Jillian Michaels at #22 and actor Ian McKellen at #23.  



Matt.bomerThe median number of tweets is 2,500.  This includes five who have yet to send their first tweet: Matt Bomer, entrepreneur Peter Thiel, Jason Gould (Babs' son), Ben Brantley and Cynthia Nixon.  Bomer's lack of tweets is particularly noteworthy considering he has 168,000 followers (akin to subscribing to a magazine that doesn't publish).  In addition to these five, there are eleven others who have sent fewer than ten tweets.   


BuckhollywoodEntertainment blogger Michael Buckley (aka Buck Hollywood) has sent the most tweets, 87,600, followed by porn director Chi Chi La Rue with 78,3000.  Then weatherman Sam Champion, journalist Glenn Greenwald and Boy George have each tweeted between 44,000 and 46,000 times (includes retweets).  In total, there are 52 LGBT celebs who have sent more than 10,000 tweets.


The following chart lists the 15 most prolific tweeters:


    # of
Celeb Profession Tweets Followers
Buck Hollywood Blogger 87,600 635,000
Chi Chi LaRue Porn Director 78,300 51,000
Sam Champion Weatherman 46,100 194,000
Glenn Greenwald Journalist 44,900 345,000
Boy George Singer 44,000 301,000
Bobby Rivers TV Personality 38,800 3,167
Anderson Cooper* News Anchor 36,500 417,000
Jonathan Capehart Journalist 36,300 92,300
Susan Powter Motivational Speaker 35,800 5,674
Andy Cohen TV Exec 35,400 1,370,000
Suze Orman Financial Guru 24,000 1,530,000
Alec Mapa Comic/Actor 22,100 27,600
Michael Ausiello TV Journalist 21,200 1,160,000
Chely Wright Country Singer 20,100 47,400
Samantha Ronson DJ/Musician 20,000 1,570,000
*for his show "Anderson Cooper 360"



Although the median number of followers gay A-listers have is 25,000, the number of persons they follow back is just 295, which works out to about one out of every hundred persons who follow them.  Neil Patrick Harris, who has more than eight million followers, follows just 69, or one out of every 125,000 of his followers; Ricky Martin follows one out of every 33,000 and Ellen DeGeneres follows one out of every 600. 


RyanmurphyNine can't be bothered to follow anyone, with the most arrogance (or is it chutzpah?) displayed by Ryan Murphy (who has 639,000 followers) and Matt Drudge (262,000).  However, there are 25 of the gliterrati who follow more than 2,500.  Ellen follows 46,500 but that's a tiny amount when you consider that she has 28 million followers.  Steven Fry has follows the most of any celeb, with 51,500.  That's 5,000 more than Ellen even though he has 21.5 million fewer followers.  And photographer Mike Ruiz also follows more than Ellen, with 49,000 - but has only 100,000 followers in total. 


New York Times advertising reporter Stuart Elliott stands out because he is the only person in this analysis who follows more people than his number of followers (27,700 vs. 27,200). 


The following chart shows those with the highest ratio of persons followed: to followers (of those with at least 10,000 followers): 


(Those with 10,000+ Followers)
  Profession Follow Followers Ratio
Stuart Elliott Journalist 27,700 27,200 1.018
Cazwell Singer 37,900 58,000 0.653
Mike Ruiz Photographer 48,000 109,000 0.440
Bruce LaBruce Filmmaker 8,164 19,400 0.421
Paula Poundstone Comic 36,500 88,900 0.411
Jerry Mitchell Choreographer 3,043 10,000 0.304
Jack Mackenroth Model 26,500 90,600 0.292
John Amaechi Former Athlete 4,532 18,500 0.245
Tammy Baldwin US Senator 5,010 24,700 0.203
Laverne Cox Actress 1,376 68,400 0.201
Dyana Nyad Swimmer 7,773 43,400 0.179
Average   295 25,000 0.012



Jonathan.groff.outmag30% of gay movers and shakers aren't on Twitter; their median age is 57, which is seven years older than those with Twitter accounts.  Rap singer Frank Ocean had an account until the summer of 2013 when he deleted it.  Chipotle CEO Steve Ells had one last week but it has since been closed.  And although actor Jonathan Groff has a Twitter account, he last tweeted in August 2011, so it's as if he didn't have one (to the chagrin of his 5,300 followers).