Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Don't Drop the Joke

Sure, we all loved "Powertool" and "Oz." But prison rape is nothing to laugh about. Read HERE.

Russell Tovey Is Sorry About Guardian Remarks

As predicted, Russell Tovey feels awful about THIS.
"I surrender. You got me. I'm sat baffled and saddened that a mis- fired inarticulate quote of mine, has branded me worst gay ever...If you feel I have personally let you down, I'm sorry, that was never my intention...I'm proud to be who I am and proud for others We're in this together, I want you to know whatever you think I meant, I didn't...I'm gonna ride this out, and one day we will all look back on this moment with a half smile of fascination and amusement...Until that day I'm gonna carry on being me ‪#‎lowersflag‬ x"
Let's move on to fighting our real enemies, shall we?

Boyfriend Material

Hard to say what I'm more excited about: That my photographer friend Greg Endries has a new book based on his old fanzine coming out -- Build a Boyfriend: Create the Cutest Guy Ever! -- or that Amazon says it's for fifth-graders and up. The original was a Build-a-Bear of sorts, but I'm guessing Johnny Hazzard isn't in this version!

Pre-order HERE

Follow Greg HERE.

On the Rag, Vol. 344

A weekly look at what's making news in the free gay mags:

Grab: Meet Barleque winner Brian, voted Chicago's most sexiest HERE.

Get Out: Briah Bettencourt joins season 30 of "The Real World" as his brother Bruno’s (a main cast member) skeleton / Read HERE.

(Editor's note: Do you remember the last season you watched?)

Next: Look out, "Rupaul's Drag Race": Here come NYC girls Miss Fame and Pearl.

Metro Weekly (D.C.): Local artist Scott G. Brooks unveils his first solo show in years / Read HERE.

Echo (Phoenix): Frank Marino’s Las Vegas-based troupe returns to the Valley of the Sun / Read HERE.

Rage (L.A./San Diego): The Art Issue is online HERE.

P.S. Sorry for the delay, I was away this weekend.

Song of the Day: 'Smalltown Boy' by Dido

This would have been a nice one for my post on Gender-Reassignment Cover Songs!

Morning Wood

Page 1 Consider (03/03)

Monday, March 02, 2015

Cornholers Rejoice!

Or do I mean Cornhuskers? Either way, great news from my mom's home state. Bring on the rest, Scalia ...

Natch Point

The Death of Chelsea's 8th Avenue

On Nov. 13, 1994, David Dunlap wrote in The New York Times
Gay Chelsea's role has solidified with the arrival of A Different Light bookstore, a cultural cornerstone that had been housed for a decade in an 800-square-foot nook at 548 Hudson Street, near Perry Street. It now takes up more than 5,000 square feet at 151 West 19th Street and its migration seems to embody a northward shift of gay life from Greenwich Village.  
Eighth Avenue, meanwhile, has supplanted Christopher Street in some people's minds as the main gay thoroughfare in New York. A map published this summer for gay and lesbian visitors highlighted 17 businesses on the five blocks of the avenue between 16th and 21st Streets.  
"The epicenter of gay life is at 18th and Eighth," said Pat Rogers, one of the proprietors of Food Bar, just south of 18th Street at 149 Eighth Avenue. This lively spot is the gay-oriented successor to a restaurant called Rogers & Barbero, which Mr. Rogers and Bob Barbero opened in 1983.
No longer is the epicenter of gay life at 18th and Eighth. Now I'll bet you're thinking this is another one of my posts bitching about all the Chase banks, Duane Reades and nail salons moving into the neighborhood. But it's really not. Some 20 years later -- 17 of which I have lived smack dab in the middle of it all -- I understand the migration of gay life to Hell's Kitchen. First the fabulous gays spruced up the gritty Village and the young gays fled to Chelsea. Then the fabulous gays spruced up working-class Chelsea and the young boys fled to HK. I get it. But now that I have to travel uptown to get my assless chaps and cutaway undies, what remains unclear to me is this: If the outrageous rent hikes drove out all the mom-and-pop hardware stores, coffee joints, funky card and home furnishings shops and bookstores -- and some chains have bombed in the 'hood that once thrived on one-of-a-kind stores -- what type of business can survive here? So far, everything that's attempted to move in has gone under, including two sushi restaurants, a tea/coffeehouse and a pizza parlor. Last week I took a stroll up Eighth Avenue from 14th to 23rd streets, and I counted a shocking 16 empty storefronts. Sixteen empty storefronts where Chelsea Boys once strutted their stuff at everything from the Big Cup, Bright Food Shop and Bendix Diner to 18th & Eighth. Rawhide, and the Break. 

Here's what I found:

Roy's Pizza: This is the former home of my local newsstand -- 18th Street Magazines -- but I was OK with a mom-and-pop pizza joint. It didn't last. 

Boom Sushi: This opened and closed in less than a year. It's the former home of Paradise Cafe, which threw in the towel when the landlord doubled the rent.

Cola's: The intimate and always reliable Italian joint closed at the end of 2014. Word is an all-breakfast sandwich place is moving in, but for how long?

Teaffee: I had never even been in this coffee-tea joint before the owner decided it just didn't make financial sense to stay in business.

What made him think it would work is anyone's guess -- Chelsea Roasting Company and UR Cup were the two previous occupants and neither worked -- but its closing quickly reduced the area down to two Starbucks and not much more.

Rainbows & Triangles: Funny to read about the arrival of A Different Light in Chelsea -- long since shuttered -- and now realize we don't even have the books section at this card store, let alone the big Barnes & Noble on Sixth Avenue. With both Rainbows & Triangles and Universal Gear (now a Just Salad) gone, the Starting Line is the avenue's only remaining "gay" retailer.

Camouflage: The men's clothing store was a fixture in Chelsea for 38 years -- once occupying two storefronts -- before closing in 2014. The second shop is now a Subway sandwich franchise -- one if THREE in a few-block radius -- and the corner store remains vacant.

TomYum: Although it's hard to keep track of all of these restaurants, pretty sure this was the home of Cuba Libre back when I moved here in the 1990s. When the partners separated, I think it was rechristened Cuba Cafe. That lasted for a long time, but once it closed, it's never been the same. First it became a sushi place. And when that didn't work, it became -- like most other things on Eighth Avenue anymore -- a Thai restaurant, which has never caught on.

Tello's: This was the former seafood restaurant Mare -- which was a cute bakery when I moved here -- before the Italian place Tello's around the corner moved in. They claimed they were only closing for renovations, but clearly it's never coming back. 

Ditto for Trois Canards, where Tello's used to be housed.

This shop on the corner of 15th and 8th was a long-running bodega, which along with the pizza shop next door (below), recently closed. 

Ironically, it was the nearby Muscle Maker Grill that had its storefront literally ripped off it in Hurricane Sandy -- since relocated to Seventh Avenue -- yet neither of these businesses were able to hang on.

Niso's: This corner Greek restaurant used to be Sam Chinita Cuban-Chinese, but has been vacant for years. There's a rumor that a Chinese restaurant is moving in, but that remains to be seen.

Rainbow Station: This sex shop has had its window bashed in repeatedly by rough trade hookers out front, but that's not what got them to close. A rent hike put the nail in the coffin, although they were able to open again a couple doors down.

Rawhide: Just across the avenue is the former home of Chelsea's oldest gay bar, rumored to be reopening soon as a "high end" lingerie shop, whatever that means.

The real estate firm MNS came and went from this spot.

I can't remember what was there before it, but I do remember thinking this clever -- but straight -- ad did not bode well for the neighborhood when they moved in.

Walgreens: This specialty pharmacy moved into the place GNC just moved out of, but a prescription for the greed that Bloomberg's New York has infected Eighth Avenue with remains elusive.

Song of the Day: 'My City Was Gone' by the Pretenders

One of the best B-sides ever -- and a fitting lead-in to my blog's top story of the day.

Morning Wood

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday Snowday

Who remembers the blizzard of '96?

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