Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Gay Rugby Player May Be About to Make History

Read what 6-foot-4 Keegan Hirst is slated to do HERE.

An 'UpStairs' View to a Kill

Taylor Frey and Jeremy Pope

Accompanied Damian to a preview performance of "The View UpStairs," a new production inspired by the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson attack in New Orleans that left 32 dead and 15 injured. Although the crime was the deadliest attack on a gay bar in U.S. history until the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., it has only recently been widely covered as the homophobic climate in the South at the time led news organizations and law enforcement to minimize or ignore the gruesome event. Although regular readers know I am allergic to musicals, Max Vernon has penned and scored an inventive and layered show that uses the setting of the tragedy -- and its colorful cast of regulars -- to examine where the LGBT community was and where we are now, a distinction that seemed monumental until Nov. 8, 2016. I abhor spoilers and reviews that give scene-by-scenes plot details, but I can say that this negative nelly came away from the show a fan, impressed by the cast (Frenchie Davis and Nathan Lee Graham shine at the bar's butch owner and resident diva, respectively) and direction (Scott Ebersold), which may well leave you taking stock of the LGBT movement as a whole. Tickets for the Lynn Redgrave Theater are available HERE. Damian's thoughtful piece for The Daily Beast is HERE.

Randy Redd

Tennis Tuesday

Slovakian player Norbert Gombos has never been ranked inside the Top 100, but he's definitely rising in the ranks on my list of hottest ATP players.

He and his friends look like they're on the set of a new Bel Ami film.

Now if I could just see what he has hidden in the locked-down Instagram of his!

Song of the Day: 'Free to Fall' by Debbie Harry

I remember picking up the 7-inch gatefold single of this on my first trip to London back in 1987. The second single from "Rockbird" failed to chart in the U.S. and peaked at No. 46 in the U.K., but I loved it just the same.

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (02/28)

Kudos to The Wall Street Journal for solving the the mystery of Oscargate. Now how about using those top-notch investigative reporting skills to figure out why Trump & Co. have such a hard-on for Putin?

NYPD commissioner reminds cops to ignore President Trump’s immigrant deportation orders / Read HERE.

My 10-year-old niece knew that health care was "so complicated," Don. Read HERE.

What Combines Iron Maiden, Dinosaurs and Play Dates? Hevisaurus, the Heavy-Metal Sensation for Children / Read HERE.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Headstones Vandalized at Philadelphia Jewish Cemetery

I'm sure this incident -- which comes after hundreds of headstones were toppled earlier this month at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri -- has nothing to do with the fact that the president's top adviser ran a "news" site geared toward white supremacists. Read HERE.

Is 'When We Rise' a Gay 'Roots'?

Dustin Lance Black's four-part miniseries about the LGBT rights movement premieres tonight on ABC, and Boy Culture has a preview of "Night 1" HERE.

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Dominic Thiem took home the title in Rio, defeating Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes at the Jockey Club Brasileiro.


No. 4 ranked Milos Raonic pulled out of Sunday's Delray Beach Open final in Florida, handing Jack Sock the title. (I'm guessing the American celebrated at the closest Chipotle.)

Elina Svitolina trounced Caroline Wozniacki to win Dubai. (If only the prize had been Crimea.)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga dismissed countryman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4 to capture the title in Marseille.

After playing each other in the final,  Tsonga and Pouille headed to the Velodrome for Ligue 1 game between Marseille and Paris SG. (So Serena and Caroline!)

And last but not least: Timea Babos claimed her second career title (after Monterrey 2012), this time in front of her home crowd in Budapest coming from behind to defeat Lucie Safarova 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3. Also on hand was Monica Seles, who paid a visit to the Hungarian Ladies Open in Budapest to reconnect with her roots and inspire the next generation of Hungarian tennis stars. Read HERE.

Monica gave private eating-disorder lessons to the girls.

America the Beautiful

From HERE.

Mack Beggs the Question: Where Do Trans Athletes Go From Here?

By now you've undoubtedly heard that Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old high school wrestler who is transitioning from female to male, took home gold in the 110-weight class of the Texas girls state championship. Beggs wanted to wrestle against other boys but the state refused to allow it, so he competed against people whose sex matches what was on his birth certificate. I'm gathering he chose to do this -- despite the fact that he's taking testosterone that undoubtedly gave him an unfair advantage -- to point out how ridiculous the state's policy is. (Some opponents complained about the doping, but the organization that governs school sports in Texas said the state's education code allows the use of a banned drug such as steroids if it "is prescribed by a medical practitioner for a valid medical purpose," which this obviously is.) 

But here's where things get less clear to me. Remember back in 2010 when Kye Allums became the first transgender man to compete in NCAA division one basketball? He competed in women's basketball. This was greeted with applause by Outsports and trans activists, only it seemed to fly in the face of everything the LGBT community is fighting for in wanting transmen to be treated just like cisgender men, who are neither eligible for nor welcomed in women's basketball. In Allums's case, he was allowed to play because he had not begun to undergo hormone therapy, per NCAA rules, but I'm still unclear why Allums would have even wanted to have competed against women in the first place, and why anyone would have thought this was a good thing. (Couldn't it be argued that this helped fuel Texas' decision against Beggs?)  

Moving forward, I can't help but think about what trans pioneer Renee Richards said about her career in tennis. Although she fought for and won the right to compete in professional events in the United States, she now adamantly believes the New York Supreme Court ruling was wrong, and that the only reason she didn't blow away the competition is because she was in her 40s (and a smoker!) when she joined the circuit -- and that if she had transitioned 20 years earlier it would have been ridiculous. (Richards is admittedly a bit of a crank, but I think she's in a much better position to weigh in on these things than nearly anyone else is.) Obviously the opponents from Richards's heyday who thought low-ranked men would all start transitioning so they could become top-ranked in the women's game were scaremongering idiots, just as Republicans who claim men will "pretend to be transgender" to assault women in public restrooms. But that's not the issue here. I'm wondering about about the actual transgender athletes of tomorrow -- and now today, like Mack Beggs. I don't think anyone is that worried that trans men will wind up with an unfair advantage over cisgender men. But what about the other way around? 

Runner Caster Semenya has faced intense scrutiny competing just as she was born. If her breaking records like there's no tomorrow has people crying foul, are we sure we would be comfortable if a (trans) women in a higher-profile sport did the same thing? And then there's the uncomfortable question about body parts. Richards had sex-reassignment surgery, but what if a transgender player opted not to -- would she still be welcome in her sport? (German tennis player Sarah Gronert was born with both male and female sex organs then had surgery and was cleared to compete on the women's tour, winning nine ITF titles. Some did not think it was fair.)  I'm excited that this issue is coming to the forefront. But given the disparate rulings and reactions to Richards, Semenya, Allums, Gronert and Beggs -- where even LGBT people aren't in unanimous agreement -- I can't help but wonder if we have thought this through to its natural conclusion ... like what if a transwoman became the next Serena Williams, or even a solid Top 10 player?

Joseph A. Wapner, Judge on ‘The People’s Court, ’ Dies at 97

There goes Trump's second Supreme Court pick.

Trumped Up Charges

How many times do we have to go over this, Don? That's not what FAKE NEWS means and you (probably) know it..

Song of the Day: 'Kiss on My List' by Hall and Oates

I can still remember when it seemed like Daryl Hall and John Oates would rule the charts forever. 

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (02/27)

The only film I saw that was nominated for an Oscar won best picture!

About last night ...

Yes, let's be fiscally "conservative" by jacking up the national debt on military spending we don't want and don't need.

A Rabbi Strives to Make His Corner of Siberia Kosher Again / Read HERE.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mildred, Fierce

This is how you dominate the Oscars news cycle, kids. From HERE.

Actor Bill Paxton Is Dead at 61

Fans around the world are reeling from the news that TV and movie favorite Bill Paxton has unexpectedly died at 61, from complications of heart surgery. Although he would go on to star in numerous blockbusters -- "True Lies," "Apollo 13," "Twister" and "Titanic" -- and the HBO hit "Big Love," it was his turn as the world's nastiest older brother in "Weird Science" that is forever seared in the minds of Generation Xers like myself -- mainly the ASS SCENE

RIP, Chet.

Are You Gaga for "La La'?

Singer/actor Brendan Daugherty enlisted Emily Roff to duet with him on a cover of the "La La Land" tune “City of Stars,” a nominee for Best Original Song at the Oscars and the closest I will get to tonight's ceremony. (I only saw "Moonlight" of all the films this year!) Listen HERE.

Speedo Sunday

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stars Align for Southern Cross Coffee's East Village Arrival

Damian and I stopped by our friend Sergio's longtime-in-the-making coffee joint in the East Village -- Southern Cross Coffee -- which nods to Argentina (Sergio's native land) and Australia (his boyfriend's home country). The space is warm and cozy with a friendly staff -- their house blend is made in a percolator for maximum retro goodness! -- and I'd be raving about the flat white and chocolate croissant even if he hadn't given 'em to us on the house. Southern Cross is located on East 5th Street just east of Second Avenue, and got its first official press write-up in DNAinfo HERE. Congrats, Sergio and Adam, you really made it happen! 


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