Tragic, but in a Judy Garland kind of way ...
A 45-year-old man was found dead Sunday, sitting naked on a toilet in the bathroom of a 24-hour bathhouse on the Upper East Side, a police source said. Cops said emergency responders found the man about 2:35 a.m. inside the bathhouse, which bills itself as “New York’s premier social relaxation club for gay and bisexual men.” A police source said narcotics were found and that the death appeared to be an overdose. Release of the man’s identity was pending notification of his family in the Philippines.
The X-rated website for the members-only club on E. 56th St. offers a “midnight express” coupon for $10 rooms from midnight until 8 a.m. on weekdays, and premier rooms for $36 with a $10 per-hour overcharge. The site says the club has been in operation since 1976.
Front desk worker Dexter Edwards insisted the man didn’t overdose and had died of a heart attack. “It’s not a sex club,” he said. “It’s a social club for men. We have steam rooms, saunas and showers.” He told a reporter she couldn’t go inside the club because of her gender. “We don’t get complaints,” he said from behind a partition. “We are quiet. We do everything within the law.”
A manager at Lips, a drag queen-themed restaurant located at the same address, declined to comment.
NYT fashion legend Bill Cunningham will brave the snow and ice even when his fingertips are so cold he can't feel the shutter on the camera.r
He's been out on the street in the recent 0 degree weather taking photos of the "mucho macho" men who are walking around with their coats open, and the skier wanna-bes with their fur trousers.r
And yes, one man, who, despite the fact that he is so cold he has frozen into a statue, still keeps on sewing outdoors.r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The elegant, savage poems of Randall Mann’s excellent third collection are filled with the unglamorous stuff of daily life, from a childhood of ketchup on quiche to the “Meat-Rack ambitions” of young adulthood in San Francisco. Mann is a rarity in current American poetry, a formal poet, committed to traditional structures of rhythm and rhyme. But there’s nothing old-fashioned in Mann’s mastery of old techniques, which he puts to use in poems that are moving and funny and vicious, and always electrically alive.r
The early poems in the book are full of the claustrophobia of gay boyhood in the suburban South. In a landscape of Supercuts and Pall Malls and Cinnabons, the speaker of these poems quickly stands out:r
Bloody, slick, and fierce,
I slid out of the womb.
My heart was underfed.
My mouth began to foam.
At six I bit my lip
and took to backyard voguing:
I struck a rigid pose
in vigilante leggings.
School is a minefield of dangerous crushes on unobtainable boys (“my fear—Smear / the Queer”), of used towels snatched from locker rooms. At 20, he’s found different dangers in the bars he frequents, “the gin-soaked dread / that an acronym was festering inside,” as well as the cast of his own desires, which lead him to anonymous, sometimes brutal sexual encounters.r
In the book’s title poem, a man holds a straight razor to the speaker’s ear as part of erotic play:r
wet in my mouth, wrists bound by his belt,
like the boy in a briny night pool, he who found
body, yet still somehow swam with an unknown joy.
The poet seems shocked by his own reaction, the inappropriate, “unknown joy” that comes in place of the fear he knows he should feel. As in many of the poems in this book, form is cunningly bound to content, the careful control of the rhyme and the alternating length of the lines allowing for a sense of off-kilter command, an equilibrium on the point of giving way.r
In his love of traditional form paired with decidedly untraditional subject matter, Mann recalls the great poet Thom Gunn, to whom he paid tribute in his second collection. (If you haven’t read Gunn’s The Man With Night Sweats, one of the finest books of poetry of recent decades and among the most powerful responses I know to the AIDS crisis, you should grab a copy right now.) But it’s to another gay poet, W.H. Auden, that he tips his hat in “Only You,” which transfers Auden’s marvelous “As I Walked Out One Evening”—rhyme and meter intact—to San Francisco:r
As I skipped out this morning,
skipping down Castro Street,
the queens upon the asphalt
were racks of hanging meat.
Mann finds a kind of sexual wonderland in San Francisco, but what had seemed to promise freedom in the Florida of his childhood is soon enough revealed as another trap, what he calls in one poem “The Lion’s Mouth.” “I am so sick / of pretending to be me,” he writes in “Larkin Street,” exhausted by the erotic marketplace, and in “Civic Center” he offers a biting satire of certain shapes of modern love:r
In bed, we only play together, because
this is the way we elude each other,
with the barback from Prague we’re thinking of adopting
by mail. We sometimes send our love.
Satire is one of Mann’s dominant modes, and he can wax cynical about both gay life and the literary world. But when the satire lifts what’s revealed (as in all good satirical writers) is serious, even moral feeling. In a book that lays claim to a huge range of tones, from high lyrical to queen-at-the-bar, repeatedly there occur lines that give voice to a finally tragic sense of the intrication of joy and pain. To quote again from “Only You,” Mann’s homage to Auden:r
“The night is falling soon.
And love is never love
without a tub of ruin.”
Also mixing with this satire, making it richer and more complex than mere ridicule, is a sense of others’ suffering, a compassion nowhere more evident than in “September Elegies,” one of the book’s finest poems. Dedicated to four gay boys who committed suicide in a single month of 2010, the poem is a pantoum, an extremely challenging form of multiple repeating lines. As the details of the boys’ lives reoccur—ages, towns, last words—an arbitrary formal scheme takes on devastating emotional force.r
Not least among the distinctions of Mann’s poems is that they aspire to one of the oldest ambitions of art: to fix the transient moments of our daily lives—in all their banality and beauty, their reverence and ridicule—in enduring forms. Mann is among our finest, most skillful poets of love and ruin. You should read this terrifically accomplished book.r
Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for both the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award. He is currently an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
The AP reports on a bad omen out of Vatican City, where two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture were quickly attacked by other birds.r
As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.r
One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove.r
It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off.r
New York quips, "Hopefully, they recovered and intend to continue to their avian fight for good. But, if something terrible happens somewhere in the world today, no one can say that there weren't any signs."r
Any thoughts on what doom scenario the seagull and crow might symbolize? Bonus points for creativity.r
Check out some more shots and footage of the attack, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
You probably missed it, but the Disney Channel passed a historic milestone last night with the introduction of the first openly gay characters to ever appear on the channel. The characters, a lesbian couple, were a part of the newest episode of Good Luck Charlie, which is currently on its last season.r
TV Guide reports on the episode’s synopsis:r
In the storyline, parents Amy and Bob Duncan (Leigh-Allyn Baker and Eric Allan Kramer) set up a playdate for preschooler Charlie (Mia Talerico) and one of her new friends. When the kid arrives, the Duncans learn that Charlie's pal has two moms. That's fine, but the potential new friendship is put to the test as one mom chats with Amy, and the other is stuck listening to Bob's dull stories.r
Check out a video of the characters' nonchalant introduction, AFTER THE JUMP...r
Back in June, Disney Channel announced its plan to feature the network’s first gay characters, saying:r
"This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors. Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.r
Unsurprisingly, American Family Association’s One Million Moms threw a fit about the company’s plans to “corrupt the children’s network with LGBT content.” The group launched an email campaign last year and warned that if Good Luck Charlie "goes through with introducing LGBT content, then the floodgates will be opened for all programs on the Disney Channel – a trend that will be almost impossible to stop.”r
One can only hope so!r
Unfortunately, because the episode will be a part of Good Luck Charlie's final season, the characters are only expected to appear in this one episode. Reruns of the episode are expected however.rr
Del Rey covers the classic Disney tune
When it comes to following hot Broadway performers, Off-Broadway actors and chorus boys, I wouldn't say I'm the most dedicated, but I'm one of the most literal—in fact, I tend to run into them on the street and say hello. [Most of the time, they're thrilled to be recognized and briefly chatted up by a fan, though one luscious blond(ish) boy has looked at me like I'm wearing a vest littered with bubonic plague-laced needles.]
My own Instagram is filled with sexy men about town, and probably a decent number of them are buff theater boys, sure to please all you theater buffs.
Without further adieu, and in no particular order, here are just a few of the nonsensically beautiful, occasionally ecstatically exhibitionistic men of the theater who you may want to get social with real fast...
This tall drink of water was a highlight of the most recent Broadway Bares, but I've had my eye on him since a previous production of the same nearly-nudie review. He's not only handsome as hell, this veteran of Broadway's Cinderella is also extremely nice, with the ego of a far less attractive person.
His Instagram has great backstage stuff, and just enough skin (even shots of his hot buddies—as seen at right) to make it a must for anyone not allergic to prettiness.
You can also find him at his personal website.
Callan, who fills out a swimsuit nearly as well as anyone you've ever met, narrowly missed winning the title of Mr. Broadway. No matter, he already wears a sash of physical perfection, the kind that can't be arbitrarily chosen by a panel of judges.
His high-kicking Instagram could easily slide into the kind of show-and-tell account we all look for, but until then, it's doing an excellent job of keeping fans posted on his whereabouts while throwing us a bone in the form of a shirtless shot every once in a while.
This handsome, gifted dancer—a Broadway Bares regular (who plugs the charity tirelessly, sometimes in his underpants) and one of the most famous gingers in all of NYC—has a full dance card lately, including two Web series. In one, Hustling, he is shown off to great advantage...and even gets to act!
But even without the benefit of the third dimension, Andrew shines—he's a favorite model for any number of physique photogs. His personal Instagram (while light on anything truly provocative) never fails to offer click-worthy snaps. He's also superbright, making his Facebook musings and Twitter tidbits must-reads for anyone he approves.
I first met Matt via Broadway Bares (are you sensing a pattern here?), have found him to be extremely nice in person whenever I've run into him at his day job and was unsurprised (though he was apparently shocked) when he was IDed by New York Magazine as one of a crop of so-called Instastuds, gorgeous young men who flaunt their assets on social media and who have legions of fans. Matt seems to show off his beauty more humbly, with an air of, "I know...I can't believe it either!" rather than, "You want this. Suffer."
Regardless, his Instagram (especially) and Facebook, combined, are an Old Faithful of pretty. He also is a wildly appealing model for various NYC physique shutterbugs, including Kevin Thomas Garcia but NOT including Matthew Rettenmund, has gotten tubular with Bethenny Frankel on her daytime talk show's '80s episode and—wait for it—can sing! It's enough to make even the most puritanical gay pray that he falls on hard times and into prostitution, but he seems to sweet one can't help rooting for him to be happy and successful instead.
Joshua Michael Brickman
How do you solve a problem like dancer and fitness model Joshua Michael Brickman? He's blond (and with hair follicles thicker than thieves) and in possession of a body that would make even the most hardcore gym nut jealous. I guess there's nothing to do but accept that it's his world and we're just living in it, especially when JMB is appearing on/in DNA, serving up swimsuit looks and cranking out eye-popping images on his Facebook and Instagram accounts faster than Rihanna cranks out hits written by others.
I first found him at Broadway Bares and he's apparently a great dancer. But I think I prefer him stock-still and clothing-deprived.
This good-natured guy absolutely killed it at Broadway Bares: Winter Burlesque, and his Instagram does not disappoint in the male pulchritude department. He's bendy, he's got a big smile that's never far from his also-noteworthy lips and his body is tight.
Plus, he sings!
Judah's got a kindness about him that might make you feel like a dirty perv for staring him down, but just remember that he has walked naked across a stage before so is well and truly braced for your worst, least polite gawking. Love that his eyes disappear when he smiles. If only his clothing did, like those naked-lady pens that used to scandalize us when we found them in our dads' desks as kids.
This hot hoofer has been Topic A among fans of biceps ever since that muscle landed him in the tabloids, which suggested co-star Mario Lopez was threatened by Nick's arm tricks in A Chorus Line. Though that kerfluffle is long forgotten, Nick's rep as a body beautiful is impossible to forget, especially if you follow him on Instagram, where even his least revealing photos reveal him to be a dream come true for sighs-queens.
He's been a Broadway Bares babe and made a splash in Priscilla, where his "masc" had to be tucked in order to bring out his "femme."
It's not even fair to include Guldan on this list—his big claim to fame on Broadway was Off-, a turn in something called Breaking Kayfabe—unless The Backlot made that up as an excuse to use sexxxy pics of Guldan in its wildly entertaining annual list of 37 hot theater types.
But he has tread the boards and so his far more prolific work as a fitness model simply can't disqualify him, especially with a (slow-on-the-content) Instagram and Facebook page that will get you producing testosterone even faster than those injections you get from your hairdresser once a week.
Recently married ("Awww!" vs. "Aw, shucks.") Josh consistently provided show-stopping numbers every year he participated in Broadway Bares, and has worked steadily on Broadway, whether in Priscilla or Big Fish—that's a lot of fish for a slab of beef. He was also shown off to great advantage in West Side Story, and one can only imagine what the late, great Arthur Laurents thought of this total package's total package—even from a respectable distance, Josh cuts an impressive figure. (Speaking of distance, his appearance in a Grindr-based mini-musical is about eight inches way.)
If you check him out on Facebook, you will find he isn't as exhibitionistic as a boy with his gifts should be. Perhaps we can encourage him to be more generous now that he's committed the in-the-flesh stuff to his hubby.
Got any suggestions for who I should add to this list? I'm especially interested in any performers of color who have active Instagrams, Facebooks and/or Twitters that offer their fans glimpses of how the 1%-body-fat-ers live.
I later figured out that "Selfie-Absorbed" dude from yesterday is model Igor Stepanov. Enjoy this gallery—or guy-ery—of some of his more revealing moments from social media.
"Christian" contemporary artist Natalie Grant just couldn't with the gay marriage at the Grammys. Note to Nat: Watching people do something you disagree with doesn't make you less of a Christian, and walking away so you can't see it doesn't make you more of one.
I was absolutely shocked to read of gay journalist Randy Gener's assault, even more so that it took almost 10 days to make the news. I assumed the authorities would have no leads based on his fragile state and the early hour at which it took place, so I am heartened to see they have a lot of clues and a suspect. Please be on the look-out.
What the hell is going on?! Earlier this month, Martha Stewart was awkwardly plugging Pine Brothers cough drops in a commercial immediately following the Golden Globes. This week, Richard Simmons is endorsing the canned tuna company Bumble Bee in a bizarre commercial/aerobics Youtube video.
We’re really not sure how we feel about the whole thing. Is it weird? It is genius? Also, who exactly is Bumble Bee trying to appeal to? We certainly won’t be racing out to buy a can later this afternoon. But we still kinda love the video, even though it makes us feel uncomfortable.
What do you think?
Watch Richard Simmons dance for tuna and sound off in the comments feed below.
Erich Al Amin and Garry Danika.
'I hope the show does for other people what it did for me and my family, which is start a conversation.'
Chris Smith, the gay son of Representative Milo Smith, chairman of the Elections Committee that just passed HJR-3 on to the full House, spoke out in support of the Indiana LGBT community on Facebook last night, expressing disappointment about his father's actions.r
Wrote Smith to the Indiana Equality page:r
Hello everyone. I am the gay son of Representative Milo Smith, chairman of the Elections Committee that just passed HJR-3 onto the full House. I'm not here to badmouth my dad. I'm terribly disappointed in his decision and beliefs, but he's not going to change them now if he hasn't after all these years of knowing I am gay. I am here to support you and my friends who remain in Indiana. They are my extended family.r
On his own page, Smith noted that his stance "puts me in clear conflict with my own father" and pointed out some press he had received because of their relationship.r
One article from NUVO notes that the elder Smith failed to warn his son that he was pushing the measure:r
"I'm pretty familiar with what's going on," Chris said in a telephone interview Thursday. "Over the weekend, a newspaper quoted my dad saying he believed marriage to be between a man and a woman."r
His dad had not told him about HJR 3 or about the hearing or about his vote, Chris said, but "making the decision to vote for HJR 3 after having listened to all those people talk about love and family ... it boggles the mind."r
And NUVO's reporter spoke with Rep. Smith after the bill was passed:r
He confirmed his core belief that codifying a heterosexually exclusive definition of marriage into the constitution will protect what he sees as the proper configuration of a married partnership. As for the rest of it — the mandate that other configurations shall not be recognized — that's the part where he feels the voters should be able to cast the judgments.r
I asked him if he felt Chris left the state because of strong anti-gay streams in the atmosphere. He said he didn't think so, but that I'd have to ask Chris.r
Whenever he talks to Chris, the representative said, "I say 'I love you son.' And he says, 'I love you dad.'"