Sunday, May 31, 2009
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 4:32 PM
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 2:42 AM
Friday, May 29, 2009
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 4:18 PM
On Tuesday, my friend and KIT212 contributor Frank Anthony Polito's second book, "Drama Queers," was released. I caught up with the Fresh Prince of Hazeltucky -- who made me laugh me ass off with his "Band Fags" debut -- earlier today to get all of details from backstage:
KIT212: Congratulations on the success of your first book, "Band Fags." Your follow-up, "Drama Queers," just came out this week. What can readers expect this time around?
FAP: Thank you! It’s been an incredible year since BAND FAGS! went on sale last June. With DRAMA QUEERS!, readers can expect more 1980s fun and frivolity in Hazeltucky, MI. This time around, the story is told from the POV of Brad Dayton, the secondary/best friend character from BAND FAGS!
When my editor at Kensington asked me for another book, I really didn’t have an idea for one. Then I gave it some thought, and realized there’s a chunk of BAND FAGS! where Brad completely disappears. He and his best friend, Jack, have a falling out during senior year, and since BFs is Jack’s story, we only see Brad a few times during those 100 pages. We learn that he’s got a part in the school play, and he takes a trip to New York City to audition for Julliard School of Drama, and that he gets busted hanging out at a gay bar -- but we don’t SEE it happen. Now in DQs, we do!
KIT212: Was it difficult to write a similar story from another point of view? Did you ever have to recheck your facts to make sure the stories meshed?
FAP: The original idea for BAND FAGS! was to alternate chapters between Jack and Brad, telling the story from each of their POV. But because I only had about a year to write the story, I didn’t know if I could actually do this. Much of Jack’s life is based on my own, so I knew him much better than I did Brad at the time. After finishing BFs and having time to think more about Brad, I found it easier to tackle telling his story. Since my background is in playwriting, I have a pretty good knack for writing in different “voices.”
And yes, there were many times I had to refer to BFs, to make sure I was “filling in the blanks” correctly. I think there may actually be one or two moments in DQs that don’t quite jive, but I don’t know if readers will notice -- unless they’re diehard fans, of course. Then I want them to call me out!
KIT212: Now you say "Band Fags" is a novel. But I know you pretty well so I know some of it is drawn from real-life experiences. What was the reaction back in Hazel Park? Didn't you attend your high school reunion right around the time the book came out?
FAP: I did attend my class reunion back in September, after the book had been on sale for about three months, and most everyone treated me like I’m some Big Star. (It was about time!) That June, I did a reading in Detroit and a lot of my high school friends who I based characters on were there. A couple, I hadn’t seen since the ‘80s, so that was awesome.
One in particular, “Luanne the Lesbo” I don’t paint a very nice portrait of, and she was there. Fortunately, she hadn’t read the book yet! But I did stress to her that it IS a work of “fiction” and that anything negative that Jack says about Luanne, is NOT a direct reflection on my feelings for her. I think she punched me and told me to shut up.
KIT212: What has been the highlight of being a published author?
FAP: I’ve made a lot of new Facebook Friends, and met some really cool people as a result. I get e-mails from readers who tell me they enjoyed the book, and accuse me of stealing their story. Which is totally cool, considering I thought my experience was so unique. It’s great to hear how many guys also had gay best friends while they were growing up, and what kind of adventures they had together. One of the highlights was walking past the (now-closed) Oscar Wilde Book Shop here in NYC and seeing MY book in the window!
KIT212: What surprised you most about the experience?
FAP: The fact that nothing really changes once the book hits the shelves. I mean, yes, I’m more “famous” than I was a year ago. I’ve been invited to appear on radio shows, and to attend book club meetings. There are people out there who know who I am now! But at the end of the day, I’m still the same guy working a part-time job, struggling to “make it.”
KIT212: Will we be hearing from Jack and Brad and the gang again anytime soon?
FAP: Fingers crossed! I’ve recently started working with a manager and an agent, and we’re hoping to develop both novels “for the screen.” One of the strong points of both books, I feel, is the characters -- not just Brad and Jack, but the supporting ones, too. I hope to be able to develop their lives more, and flesh out the world even more, either in a film, or even better, a TV series. (Calling all potential producers! If you’re looking for an ‘80s-themed show with a gay teen protagonist … Give me a shout.)
KIT212: Will you be doing any readings to promote "Drama Queers"?
FAP: I have two readings planned thus far: Monday June 1st, Barnes & Noble, 82nd & Broadway in New York City, at 7 p.m. and Thursday, June 18th, Barnes & Noble, 500 S. Main St. in Royal Oak, Mich., at 6:30 p.m. I’m also having a book party at “1984” at The Pyramid in the East Village (101 Avenue A, between 6th & 7th streets) on Friday June 5th. This will include a special screening of the 1978 classic “Ice Castles” starring Lynn-Holly Johnson -- the slut from “Where the Boys Are ‘84.” All readers of the (212) are welcome. And if you say the secret code at the door (“Robby Benson”), cover is only $5!
KIT212: Great. So I guess I'll see you at Monday's reading. Thanks for checking in.
FAP: No, thank YOU!!
For complete details about the book readings, click HERE.
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 3:47 PM
What's making headlines in community newspapers in the (212):
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 9:15 AM
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 8:00 AM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 4:15 PM
The only thing that makes me happier than one of my old friends beginning to enjoy the enormous success he deserves is when one of my old friends begins to enjoy the enormous success he deserves and gives an interview to Britain's Gay Times magazine in which I learn he was locked up in Belleview (sooooo Frances Farmer -- and they bought one of his paintings!) and once dated a guy who could suck his own dick. Love you, Scooter! Now when are we playing tennis again -- and bring you "talented" friend along, would ya?
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 3:52 PM
According to a review of Craigslist ads in ten American cities, New York City has the highest percentage of topmen in America. And while everything may be bigger in Texas, it probably won't do you much good:
“A whopping 73% of Houston's Craigslist-using inhabitants were seeking tops. Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles were also bottom-heavy with 69%, 63% and 61% top-seekers, respectively.”
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 1:43 PM
As my friends' Facebook horror stories continue to pile up (stalked by exes, nagged by geeky former classmates, outed to distant cousins), I added another happy ending to my list of social networking experiences. Came across my onetime really-close-friend and later roommate James' profile recently and sent him a note to which I got a warm and friendly response. There was some anxiety, you see, because James and I had one of those (I'm finally beginning to realize not atypical) crash and burn friendships that seem to only occur between single people in their 20s: We met when we lived in the same condo complex in Huntington Beach in the early '90s.
Both of us hated Orange County with a passion (he was from there, I had crash-landed at a friend's after getting my first job out of college at The Orange County Register), so would spend our days and nights plotting our escape to the City of Angels, where our lives were going to be way more glamourous. On my unconventional (Wednesday/Thursday) weekend, we'd trek up to West Hollywood in James' beat-up Datsun 240Z and bar-hop all night, longing for the day that we could do that and not have an hour drive home. I'll never forget the evening this hunky dark-haired motorcycle type approached me at Mickey's while his friend -- Dennis Stewart, aka Crater Face from "Grease" -- came up to James. (We both exchanged numbers with our "new guys" and were sooooo excited the whole ride home, and then played my double "Grease" LP all night when we got back to the O.C.!)
After much planning, plotting and saving, we finally made our big move in the spring of 1991 -- to a sparse two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on South Bundy Drive, just a stone's throw away from where Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman would later meet their tragic ending. Things started out great --there was always something exciting happening nearby and we were meeting so many new people. But eventually both our schedules changed (I was now commuting 55 miles each way to The Register in a beat-up '83 VW Rabbit) and James and I began to spend less and less time together. (No more EVERY THURSDAY at Newport Station or Hot Tub Wednesdays back at Sea Spray Condominiums.) It also didn't take long for us to realize that our decision to to live on the Westside -- "to not be total queens" -- was just stupid (we WERE total queens, total queens who had to drive through A LOT TRAFFIC to go to Rage every night), and decided not to renew our lease, one we had deliberately only signed for six months in case things didn't go as planned. At that point, we started looking in West Hollywood, sometimes together, sometimes solo, as things had grown more complicated when James tried to fix me up with a sexy coworker of his, only to (perhaps) regret his decision when Marc and I became good friends (he played tennis, too) instead of lovers.
Mike Henson). It was gradual, but within six months James and I -- once inseparable -- were no longer speaking. (Sadly, if there was a specific reason why I do not remember it.) Around the same time, I caught the flu for the first time in my life and literally thought I was dying, as one of my roommates now had pneumocystis pneumonia and I was no longer able to think rationally after I began to have hallucinations and bizarre dreams that I had insomnia. The same week I finally began to recover my transmission mysteriously fell out on the 5. All of this was beginning to be too much and with the realization that my two best friends in L.A. -- James, whom I adored and went through so much with to make our "L.A. dream" come true, and now, increasingly, Marc too -- were no longer going to be in my life, I decided it was time to make a fresh start. (I won't deny it: I was pretty devastated.) A month later -- in January 1993 -- I moved to Washington and have been an East Coaster ever since.
As it would happen, you may recall that my other favorite Facebook reconnection came with a D.C. friend -- also named James -- whom I had a falling out with at the end of '93. It's been so fun keeping in touch again (he looks exactly the same and is really successful) and if you're thinking what I'm thinking you're thinking -- how difficult is this blogger freak that he has all of these "fallings out"? -- I should say in my defense that all in all my track record is pretty good, with the same two best friends since 1978 and 1980, respectively!
L.A. James look great and appears to be doing really well too these days. We have been corresponding a little lately. and I surprised him with my cache of old photos, some of which he told me he'd never seen before. I have to say that it feels great to have healed these two old wounds, and I don't think either of them would have happened without Facebook.
Now, believe it or not, there's just one more of these lingering sore spots on my resume. And would you believe it's a boy from junior high ... named James?
The Bangles even wrote about my rocky relationships with these boys ...
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 9:00 AM
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 8:00 AM
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here's the text of the open letter from Lorri L. Jean, the chief executive officer of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, to President Obama, who is visiting the Golden State right now. With the exception of capitalizing "president" in all uses, I sadly agree with everything:
Dear President Obama:
Welcome to California, Mr. President. I welcome you with a heavy heart because of the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop. 8, relegating same-sex couples to second-class status and denying us that most noble promise of America, “liberty and justice for all.”
You are arriving in Los Angeles on the heels of emotional demonstrations throughout California and our nation and your silence at such a time speaks volumes. LGBT people and our allies have the “audacity to hope” for a country that treats us fairly and equally and for a President with the will to stand up for those ideals. From you we expect nothing less.
We know the country faces many serious challenges and we have strived to be patient. We’ve waited for the slightest sign you would live up to your promise to be a “fierce advocate” for our equal rights while watching gay and lesbian members of the armed forces, who have never been more needed, get discharged from the military. And so far you have done nothing. No stop loss order. No call to cease such foolish and discriminatory actions that make our nation less safe.
You pledged to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Mr. President. You promised to support a “complete repeal” of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and pledged to advocate for legislation that would give same-sex couples the 1,100+ federal rights and benefits we are denied, including the same rights to social security benefits. You said, “Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples.”
What of those promises, Mr. President?
Your commitment to repeal DOMA has been removed from the White House website. Your promise to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was removed and then replaced with a watered-down version. And in the aftermath of yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling, you have remained silent while your press secretary summarily dismisses questions about the issue.
We not only need to hear from our President, we need his action. And we need it now.
We need your words, Mr. President. But we also need your deeds. We expect you to fulfill the promises you made to us. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Do not delay, Mr. President. The time for action is now.
Lorri L. Jean
Chief Executive Officer
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 11:19 PM
OK, it's official: I'm now against gay marriage. Why the change of heart, you ask? Well, a friend pointed me to THIS compelling piece in The Weekly Standard that FINALLY explains why it is just so destructive to society. You see, legal gay marriage will lead to all girls becoming child-prostitutes. Why, you ask? Because the real purpose of marriage is to give girls something to save their virginity for, but since we gays don't care about protecting girls' virginity that's why we're OK with "destroying" the sacred institution. Makes sense to me. Get out your notebook, Michael Steele. And see you on the Sunday talk shows!
Posted by Kenneth M. Walsh at 2:37 PM
David Ferrer: best belly
Roger Federer: best legs
Fernando Verdasco: best everything
Rafael Nadal: pretty in pink?
Marat Safin: last hurrah?
Tommy Robredo: Mr. Handsome
Novak Djokovic: blue-suede tennis shoes?