Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Lights! Camera! Disruption!


Despite living smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world, our apartment is situated on a dead-end block, meaning there's virtually no traffic outside -- vehicle or pedestrian. So it was perplexing when I was woken up by loud dialogue, dialogue that seemed to be repeated over and over in a loop. (I work evenings, so shoot me for sleeping till noon each day!) Turns out they were filming something directly below our bedroom windows -- something that looked rather dumb when I got a closer look, involving an older man running out of a rowhouse with a sword(!), chasing someone down the street. No idea what it was for. But in a year or so if you see something matching this description, let me know! 

UPDATE: Damian just sent me his photos and by piecing them together, it appears it’s “The Blacklist,” which apparently is a long-running series (I’ve never heard of) on NBC starring James Spader. The best part is that his “Pretty in Pink” costar Andrew McCarthy is a frequent director. Mystery solved! 

The irony, of course, is that the show is set in Washington, D.C., yet is filmed in NYC, which is normally a city that is faked by filming in cheaper locales such as Toronto.

Confessions of a Casting Director

Is this my next read? 

Joel Thurm -- a casting director who famously put John Travolta in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" then went on to cast everything from "Grease," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Airplane" to "The Bob Newhart Show," "Taxi" and "The Golden Girls" -- has a juicy new memoir out: "Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season."

In it, he details sexual encounters with both Rock Hudson and Robert Reed -- yet doesn't seem to have anything on Vinnie Barbarino ... who just happened to give him a blurb. (A quid pro homo, perhaps?) 

Page Six reports that Thurm writes that he and Rock Hudson locked eyes at an industry house party in the ’70s for the first full-length, big-budget, gay-porn flick called “Boys in the Sand.” The "Giant" star, who was one of Thurn's childhood crushes, beckoned him to follow him into a bedroom.

However, once they were alone, Thurm “couldn’t get it up” for Hudson.

“I was embarrassed and mortified … getting it up was a specialty of mine,” Thurm, now 80, explains with a laugh. “I couldn’t do it because he was Rock Hudson! It so intimidated me. Someone said, ‘Well, why didn’t you just blow him?’ I said, ‘Because I was too …’ I couldn’t do anything.” Thurm claims that the “Pillow Talk” star was unperturbed by the failed sexual encounter as “it had happened to him before.”

Despite the blip with Hudson, Page Six writes that the casting honcho claims to have had a more successful rendezvous with Robert Reed, who was best known for playing Mike Brady on “The Brady Bunch.” At the time, Thurm had cast and was producing the 1976 TV movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” starring a young John Travolta. He claims that Reed was irked at having to play second fiddle to Travolta and particularly incensed by having to have his hair kinked and then unkinked twice -- a laborious process -- in one day. In an effort to smooth things over, Thurm allegedly went to Reed’s dressing room.

“It was known [that he was gay],” Thurm says. “But I didn’t go in there with the intention of that. I went in there with the intention of just, ‘Hey, thank you for putting up with what we have to do … “And then, I don’t know, I just started rubbing his back. I thought, ‘Well that’s what you do in a situation like that.’ I had no intention of anything more than that. But he seemed to respond.”

Thurm notes with a laugh that after the assignation Reed “went back to being the same prick he was before.”

"Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season" is available HERE.

Ted Danson and Marilu Henner turned out for Joel's event last Friday at Book Soup in West Hollywood, where I had my book own signing in 2014!

Tennis Tuesday

My feeling is this: If you're going to post a status like that, you'd might as well just pose like THIS.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Cindy Williams, TV's Shirley Feeney, Is Dead at 75

Sad to hear about the sudden death of Cindy Williams. From "American Graffiti" and "The Conversation" to "Laverne & Shirley" and "Strip Mall," Cindy was a joy in every role she took on. As a young gay boy, "Laverne & Shirley" was my absolute favorite show on television. Although I desperately wanted to be a Laverne -- brassy and boy crazy -- I was such a Shirley, right down to my refusal to break the rules and love of cats, stuffed or otherwise. (Cindy was especially great in the episode about her alcoholic brother, played by Ed Begley Jr.)

I hadn't realized Cindy was about five years younger than Penny Marshall, so even though Laverne died in 2018 they both lived to be 75 ... which seems fitting given that at the height of their fame they used to count lines to make sure things were even! 

In a statement, Williams’s children, Emily and Zak Hudson, described their mother as “one of a kind,” noting their mother’s sense of humor and “glittering spirit.” They added, “We have always been, and will remain, SO proud of her.”


RIP, Cindy. And say hi to Laverne, Squiggy, the Big Ragu, Edna, Mr. DeFazio and Boo-Boo Kitty when you get to the big Pizza Bowl in the sky.

Who's behind those Foster Grants? 

Also sad to hear about the recent deaths of Television frontman Tom Verlaine and Lisa Loring (TV's Wednesday Addams). The hits keep coming and sadly always will.

And yes, I'm listening to "Laverne & Shirley Sing" tonight. πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”

Note: Michael McKean, aka Lenny/"This Is Spinal Tap"/Mr. Green in "Clue," wrote Track 2 ("Five Years On" and backing vocals were performed by Diana Canova (Corinne Tate on "Soap") and Melissa Manchester, among others! 

A Visit to Edward Hopper's New York


Have been an Edward Hopper fan as long as I can remember, so was excited to check out the exhibition over at the Whitney Museum with my friend Chad. Although not comprehensive -- Nighthawks wasn't flown in from the Art Institute of Chicago, nor did they borrow Chop Suey from its private owner -- it was thrilling to see many of his classic works in the flesh. I think I was drawn to Hopper as a boy because he seemed to be offering a voyeuristic view into the world of regular New York City dwellers, something I so desperately wanted to be. Viewing the paintings now with a quarter century of Manhattan life behind me allowed me to see them through a new lens, one that left me feeling very much at peace. More snapshots BELOW.

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Major events rarely turn out the way I want them to. This year's Australian Open was an exception. Keep reading BELOW.

Song of the Day: 'Baby Hold On' by James Hetfield

I stumbled upon an Eddie Money tribute concert on AXS last night, filmed in 2020 with an assortment of aged rockers (REO Speedwagon, Greg Kihn, Mickey Thomas, Tommy Tutone, Sammy Hagar) doing straight-forward versions of the late rocker's greatest hits. Being the diehard fan that I am, I was loving every second of it, and enjoyed watching two of Eddie's sons play in the band -- one cute, one built. (You may recall that I spent One Night in Paradise back in 2012.) But the highlight of the show for me happened near the end, when James Hetfield performed "Baby Hold On." Damian had to explain to me who Hetfield was, going on to explain that the Metallica front man became hot once he got a haircut at some point -- which made the unplugged arrangement by a heavy metal icon all the more spectacular. Have a listen below. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday Comics

I prefer to ruminate in bed, keeping me from falling asleep!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Hot Cat of the Day

Seen on Twitter:
I adopted Phil a week ago and he sleeps like this starting yesterday on me. Is this normal? I am a first time cat owner.
It's normal if your cat feels comfortable and you're the luckiest man on earth!

Still 'Koo Koo' for Debbie Harry

Chris Stein reports on Twitter that he just signed off on his U.S. book deal for his memoir -- this is going to be good! -- that the new Blondie album is terrific ("if I do say so myself) and the Debbie/Giger book with all the intel on their collaboration with him is out in April 

I joked to my friend that this was the book "dozens have been clamoring for" as I reached for my book about the film "Union City"(!). 

Exciting times to be a Blondie fan! Pre-order HERE.

Original Nine Honored in Melbourne

So nice to see seven of the Original Nine on hand to be honored last night at the Aussie Open for their contributions to women's sports. It's now been over 50(!) years since these courageous woman signed $1 contracts to play on the fledgling Virginia Slims circuit, in protest of the waning prize money being offered by the establishment. The women were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame last summer, but this was a fitting moment as one of the Australians, Judy Dalton, wasn't able to make it to the U.S. during Covid, so got to be part of the moment Down Under.

Stub Hub: Diary of a Concert-Crazed Teenager

As I mentioned on my recent Madonna memories post, I've been scanning and photographing concert ticket stubs I've saved over the years. To be sure, I didn't remember to keep them all. And because I was well under 21, I missed out on many great bands who played at nightclubs. But the decent collection I have does really capture a period in my life, a joyous time when discovering new music also led me to discover my "tribe," as it were, people with whom I am still friends 40-plus years later. My first concert was the Go-Go's -- but should have been Blondie -- followed by Missing Persons, Thompson Twins, Pretenders and B-52s, all of which is detailed BELOW

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Lance Kerwin, TV's 'James at 15,' Is Dead at 62


Sad to hear about the death of Lance Kerwin, best known for the TV series "James at 15." 

Damian and I recently watched the TV movie and entire run (into his being "James at 16") -- it was an absolute favorite of my brothers and mine -- and it held up incredibly well, save for the time he slut-shamed Terri Nunn into becoming his friend after tricking her into coming over with the promise of taking her picture. (James Hunter was an avid photographer, at school and away.) Like other child stars, Kerwin's life had been plagued by drugs and criminal behavior -- so in a sad way I'm surprised he lived to be 62. (No cause of death has been determined yet. There was a sad GoFundMe for him that failed to catch on the way the one for Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island" did.) 

Condolences to his wife and children, and everyone who cared about him. 

My brother Terence's response to the news:

That is sad. Sounds like he had a pretty unhappy life once his sister became a Real Housewife.

Nailed It


As many of you are well aware, I find the names of some nail salons to be rather HILARIOUS. One of the catchiest of all is "Gorgeous Pretty Beauty Nail," which Miss Swan, of course, famously operated on "MadTV" for years. What I didn't know is that Alex Borstein, who played the hilarious character in a very different time in our nation, responded to claims of "yellow face" even back then by saying Swan was not poking fun at Asians, but was in fact based on her "Hungarian grandmother" and Icelandic singer BjΓΆrk.
“Ms. Swan is based on my grandmother, a spunky 85-year-old immigrant who toys with her ability to speak and understand English as it suits her. She’s been in this country for almost 50 years and we still can’t understand a word she says! (Unless, of course, she needs a favor--then she’s as clear as a bell.)” (Read Borstein's hilariously defensive L.A. Times op-ed HERE.)

Sure, Min! 

Wrestle Wednesday Six-Pack


You can only keep one hostage. Five more BELOW.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Meme Spirited


No comment on this one! As it would happen, my trip to Arizona for Thanksgiving gave me an opportunity to look through a cache of photos my mom recently received from her brother's widow. The photos had been given to my uncle after their mother died, so were primarily from my grandmother Annamarie's youth. These photos of her and then-boyfriend Tony -- later husband and father of my mother -- surprised me a bit. It's not that I didn't think people wore bathing suits in the late '30s -- I just didn't expect my grandparents to document it! 

Tony and Annamarie, circa 1939. Although he was from Shenandoah, Pa., and she from Omaha, Neb., they met after having both moved for work in Detroit, which is where these were likely taken. 

Kenneth From the (313)


I changed my (212) landline into a cellphone ages ago, but I do like this sentiment. And if not for my branding purposes, I'd get a kick out of having one of my childhood area codes, even if both my original hometowns -- 313 and 602 -- have since changed from when I lived there.

Tennis Tuesday


I'm not sure how many of these guys are "poised to take over" the sport. But it's nice to see players get attention from the mainstream media -- if Damian had a dime for every time I've regaled him with stories of the 1970s heyday of tennis -- even if some of these clothes are truly awful. (What have they put poor Stefanos Tsitsipas in? And do they think Taylor Fritz is going to bring back billowing chinos?) See BELOW.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Hello, Cruel World!

I've never been much of a music festival guy. (I'm still trying to find the Kickstarter-fueled Us Festival documentary that's out there to find out if I missed anything!) But with Siouxsie, Iggy, Billy Idol Echo and the Bunnymen, Adam Ant, the Human League, Gary Newman, Modern English, ABC and the Motels, Cruel World (May 20 in Pasadena, Calif.) sure has a lot going for it. Ticket info HERE.

Weekend Tennis Roundup

With so many upsets and a hampered Novak Djokovic, this year's Australian Open could suddenly be as wide open as Borna Coric doing what he has to do to receive free hotel accommodations. That and more BELOW.

Gay Rugby Star and Former Bobsledder Simon Dunn Is Dead at 35

Shocking news from Down Under about the sudden death of gay rugby star, former bobsledder and LGBT activist Simon Dunn. I must say the number of gay men who seem to “have it all” only to die young is really starting to add up. Condolences to those who cared about him. No cause of death has been given yet -- suicide seems likely -- but whatever the case it's terribly sad. Read HERE.

Meme Spirited


Indeed. I got one of these at the CN Tower on a trip to Toronto with my friends Mark and Brad in the summer of '85!

On the Rag, Vol. 735

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

See all the nominees for the 34th annual GLAAD Media Awards HERE.