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By Jeff Fuller

 

“Burst down those closet doors once and for all and stand up and start to fight.”

–  Harvey Milk

 

Pride Is Protest

Pride has its origins in protest, the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a time when gay sex was a criminal act in much of the country and the “out and proud” were few and far between. These brave souls were able to find supportive and accepting communities of kindred spirits in major cities such as New York or San Francisco. Being “out” came with great risk and potential consequences – ridicule, job loss, police harassment, assault, or worse. Raids on gay bars were frequent; however, in June of 1969, the queers of New York’s Stonewall Inn fought back against a police raid. News of the Stonewall Riots galvanized gays across the country and eventually the world, resulting in annual Pride parades in major cities like Atlanta to demand LGBT rights. These protest parades have evolved into the Pride celebrations we know today.

 

Over the years, Pride has been used to protest Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade, the inadequate government response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, marriage amendments, anti-transgender bathroom bills, and horrific acts of violence against our community.  Pride has also been a celebration of our political and legal victories: greater visibility and acceptance of the LGBTQ community in the workplace, the elimination of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the landmark Supreme Court decisions of Lawrence v. Texas (decriminalizing gay sex); Windsor v. United States (mandating federal recognition of gay marriage); and Obergefell v. Hodges, (providing for marriage equality nationwide).

 

Pride Is Personal

While Atlanta Pride no longer coincides with the Stonewall anniversary, it falls on or about National Coming Out Day. Coming out remains an important ritual in our community and Pride often plays a major role in this process by offering a safe and accepting environment. For me personally, Atlanta’s Pride Festival was the first time and place in my adult life that I held someone’s hand of the same gender in broad daylight. I remember how powerful it was to observe hundreds of people who were queer like me and queer in other ways, out having fun in the bright sunshine. My coming out process was slow, but events like Pride gave me the courage to accept myself and eventually be open about who I am.

 

To those who live in parts of the country where there is no gay community to speak of, Pride is often one of the few chances they have to truly be themselves and connect with others. Pride is especially powerful to youth who may be outcasts in their hometowns but can feel like they belong somewhere when they visit Atlanta for a fun-filled weekend in October.

 

 

Pride Is a Party

Pride is also a season of rainbow flags, rainbow socks, rainbow cakes, and rainbow jello shots.  Glamorous drag queens present dazzling performances. Half-naked men gyrate on parade floats.  Pride parties can mean gathering in people’s houses for brunch, dancing to the wee hours of the morning to electronic music, congregating on the lawn by the Piedmont Park stage, connecting with old friends and making new ones, or witnessing the beautiful parade put on by our queer community. Pride provides enough events and excitement to keep one entertained all weekend long.

 

Some have argued that the meaning of Pride as protest has been lost in its party atmosphere, that it is just another excuse for excessive drink and debauchery. Some decry the commercialism resulting from sponsorship from major companies that once wanted absolutely nothing to do with anything gay but now promote a sanitized and de-radicalized event. Others feel left out, that their voices are not being heard and that Pride has more work to do to be more inclusive.

 

Amid all the sweat and glitter, it can be easy to lose sight of the political and personal functions of Pride that help build us up as a community.

 

Pride Is a Protest Again

While LGBT rights have advanced considerably since 1969, these times call for continued vigilance against forces that seek to hinder or reverse these gains. The Supreme Court justice who was the deciding vote and the author of the Lawrence, Windsor and Obergefell opinions has retired and may be replaced by an extremely partisan conservative, credibly accused of sexual assault. In Georgia, the outcome of the governor’s race will decide whether the state may once again attempt to enact a religious freedom bill that legalizes discrimination. Even in 2018, you can still be fired from your job here in Georgia for being gay. The current administration seeks to ban transgender people from serving in the military, demonstrates indifference to the continuing threat of HIV/AIDS, and fosters an environment hostile to LGBTQ rights. Pride is also an opportunity to keep these issues in focus as well as other causes that our community cares about: police brutality, racial justice, climate change, sexual violence, and international human rights. Celebrate this fabulous weekend, but also allow Pride to energize you to take action, whether that means voting, writing an article, organizing, serving the community, or raising your voice in protest.

 

By all means, enjoy the plethora of Pride parties, but also take time to reflect on how far we have come as a community in this half century since Stonewall as well as the formidable challenges affecting us today. Share your own coming out story and listen to others tell theirs. Make people feel included and encourage them to be who they are. Hold hands. Atlanta Pride grows more and more each year because it showcases the creativity, diversity, kindness, and love of the LGBTQ community here.

 

By Chris Azzopardi

 

Justin Theroux as “Drew” in THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME.

Photos: Lionsgate

 

No straight man has ever offered to make me a crop top, but Justin Theroux is no ordinary straight man. If you’ve seen him in all his shirtless, ripped, oiled glory in 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle or bore witness to all that was bouncing around in his grey sweatpants in HBO’s The Leftovers (I know you saw that; you haven’t stopped seeing that), you have likely wished him gay.

 

The vers 46-year-old actor is, at least, the closest a straight man can get to being gay, palling around with the new Queer Eye posse and portraying a deep well of gay characters during his two-decade career, from Marshall in 2000’s The Broken Hearts Club to an assortment of gay Englishmen in numerous New York theater productions. Significant gay cred aside, his acting instincts have resulted in an impressive mix of unpredictable career choices rooted in pathos and humor, David Lynchian mystery and Herculean ruggedness: from 1997’s Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion on through Mulholland Drive, Strangers with Candy, Sex and the City, Zoolander and, most recently, The Spy Who Dumped Me. Directed by Susanna Fogel, the action-comedy caper stars Theroux as Drew, an on-the-run spy who inadvertently gets his ex (Mila Kunis) and her best gal pal (Kate McKinnon) embroiled in his messy assassin-fighting mission.

 

Things are tamer in a hotel suite in New York City on the day Theroux sits across from me with his rescue pit bull Kuma. Theroux is not wearing sweatpants. But my mock disappointment isn’t sweatpants-related; it’s knowing that he made Queer Eye guy Jonathan Van Ness a crop top but didn’t bring me one. And do I let Justin Theroux wreck the shirt on my back? I do, right? “I would so do it,” he politely insists. “If you have a t-shirt and a pair of scissors, I’m happy to quickly fashion you one.”

 

Let’s talk about how you invented sweatpants.

(Laughs) I invented the grey sweatpants! I brought them back, I know! You know, I was the one who made a shirt for Jonathan. We were going to gay Pride and he was like, “Fuck, I gotta go out,” and so I made him a shirt. I was like, “I wanna make one of those crop top t-shirts with the tassels,” and he ended up wearing that.

 

Do you regularly make crop tops for your gay friends?

No, that was the first one I’ve done. It was just like, “It’s a perfect moment in time. I’m with Jonathan and I have a t-shirt and we have scissors and I think I could pull it off.”

We’ve become a good little clutch. Tan, Antoni and Jonathan have come over a bunch of times and we’ve gone back and forth, and I’ve disappeared into the bathroom with Jonathan and we’ve talked products.

 

Can a straight guy have a queer eye?

Keeping my fingers crossed. Season 3! Maybe we should do a whole thing where it’s like, “Straight Eye for the Gay Guy.” Find some gay guy who’s not got his shit together and I can go and help him out. I don’t know if I’d be that helpful.

 

I must say, you’ve got your shit together.

I put a little effort in sometimes. (Queer Eye guy) Tan’s trying to get me to wear some color. I’m pretty much blacks and greys. White is technically a color for me.

 

We need to get you in floral.

I don’t think it’s gonna happen! I just can’t pull it off. I keep looking for a Hawaiian shirt that’s 95 percent black with just a little pop of color in the flowers.

 

Recently, Jonathan was obsessing over your shirtlessness in Charlie’s Angels. Is that the role most gay men fangirl over when they meet you?

I mean, the first one was actually The Broken Hearts Club, which was a movie I did years and years ago. I remember being at gay Pride and people being like, “Oh my god, this is the guy from Broken Hearts Club!” (Playing gay) was kind of my bread and butter in New York on stage. I would do Joe Orton plays, or Shopping and Fucking. I’d do all these gay Englishmen. That was my thing, that was my calling card.

 

Why go for the gay roles?

It was something that just happened. It wasn’t like I was seeking them out. It was just something that presented itself. At the time, there was that kind of question when you’d go into the audition: “Are you comfortable kissing a guy?” “Yeah, of course.”

 

In 2000, some actors were being told not to play gay characters for the sake of preserving their careers. Was there any pressure on you not to play that role?

No. My agent at the time was gay, so it was never a discussion. It always boils down to, is the part good or is the play good? If the material is good, I’m happy to do it. If it’s bad, then I don’t wanna do it. But I wouldn’t want do it for a straight part either.

 

Did it feel like an important movie at the time for the LGBTQ community?

It didn’t, because it’s not necessarily my community. But it was one of those I was happy (about). It was the first (LGBTQ) movie that showed – at least that I had been a part of, or had seen – just a normal relationship. No one’s dying of a disease, no one’s fighting with their parents. It felt like a great episode of Thirtysomething or a great episode of This Is Us.  (Its gay themes were) just built into the fabric of the movie, as opposed to being the fabric of the movie. There weren’t big red arrows pointing at each character going, “Oh, and by the way, they’re gay!” They were functioning, normal people in their lives, which is reality. In a weird way, it’s normalcy was the thing that made it special and that felt like a good reason to do it.

 

Growing up in Washington D.C., what was your introduction to the LGBTQ community?

God, you could argue it was probably Catholic school and noticing the priests. Not their behavior; I didn’t think anything nefarious was going on. I don’t think they were doing anything horrible to the boys of the school, but I remember thinking, “These men seem effeminate and they carry themselves in a different way, and I think these guys like other men, like other gay men I’ve seen.”

 

They didn’t fit the typical heteronormative archetype. 

Yeah, exactly. And it was an odd kind of thing, where I thought, “Oh.” I’ve since come to think maybe the priesthood is like an enclave for people who aren’t comfortable with their sexuality and they wanna shut it down and they think, “Please make it go away. I’m just gonna go to this place and go to seminary school and hope that this feeling leaves me,” which is a shame.

 

You strike me as the kind of guy who’s surrounded by gay men for various reasons.

Yeah, of course. I went to a very progressive high school that had gay boys in it. In college, it becomes quickly normalized. But you can’t live in New York and not be friends with every kind of person, whether they’re gay, trans, straight, whatever. When this sort of cultural shift started to happen, started to spread into the middle of the country in a way that became in the public consciousness…

 

You were ahead of the game?

Well, I think most people in the city or in pockets of the country were kind of ahead of the game. It felt like, “Wait, this conversation is still happening? Oh yeah, I guess it still is. I guess we do need to keep having this discussion.” (I) marvel at people who are still made uncomfortable by it. Like, how on earth? It’s like being made uncomfortable by a sofa; you’re like, “It’s a sofa.” It couldn’t be more normal.

 

You should know that you’ve been called a “gay men’s dream” by the National Enquirer, probably their most accurate reporting.

Cut to 10 years later: Ew, who’s that old guy? (Laughs)

 

No way. Our gay icons never age.

Oh yeah, that’s right!

 

So this movie: Was the title The Spy Who Dumped On Me ever considered?

(Laughs) It’s the James Bond they never made! Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, why wouldn’t you do that movie?

 

Susanna’s friends call her the “lesbian whisperer.” And, of course, Kate McKinnon is queer and one of two leading ladies in this film.

It’s so cool.

 

Did you get a lesbian read on Kate McKinnon’s character, Morgan, in the movie?

Yeah. But what I liked about her character: again, it wasn’t the focal (point). It’s kind of ambiguous. What she brought to the part was super hilarious. She works really hard on specific jokes, beats, alternate lines, trying to come up with other stuff that isn’t necessarily on the page or in the direction. Kate really goes in and scribbles on the sides (of her script) and it looks like A Beautiful Mind on her script. She approaches her work (in) really sort of (an) academic way.

 

You’re long overdue for a gay role.

What’s the last one I’ve done? Maybe (my character) Kevin Garvey from The Leftovers is, who knows. Don’t tell anybody. No, I’m joking. (Laughs) You could argue he was really put-upon and maybe that was the reason why, ’cause he was in a hetero marriage.

 

(Theroux’s handler peeks in to say, “One last question.” “Two more,” Theroux whispers, giving me two fingers.)

 

What would you look for in a gay role now?

I don’t know. It’s really always the story. I want the story to be good and compelling. I want the character to be good and compelling, and that could be anything. A la Broken Hearts Club, you do sort of hope that eventually these all become just the background to the characters, because it’s way more interesting just playing the relationship and playing the story than it is playing the orientation.

 

If you were to date any of the guys you have played in your career, which ones might you go for? Personally, I’d shack up with Joe from Six Feet Under.

Joe in Six Feet Under was a sweetheart. But if I dated Joe, he was straight, and so I think that would problematic.

 

He’s only straight till he drinks four beers.

Until he drinks four beers, then all bets are off! The bondage gear comes out. Like, we all know Joe liked being tied to the bed. (Laughs) I don’t know if there’s anyone I’d really wanna date. And it’s weird to think about dating yourself. Just visually awkward.

Actually, Matt McGrath’s Broken Hearts character was an adorable character. But I don’t know, I played some pretty fucked up guys, so they all seem like they’re not great relationship material.

 

As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. Reach him via his website at www.chris-azzopardi.com and on Twitter (@chrisazzopardi).

Justin Theroux as “Drew” in THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME.

By Joe Gauthreaux

 

To say I love Atlanta Gay Pride would be an understatement. Atlanta is one of those cities where you fall in love with it the first time you visit, no matter the weekend. But the energy and excitement of Gay Pride is very unique compared to others, with southern hospitality and a welcoming atmosphere abounding at every turn.

 

I’ve DJed many parties and events for Atlanta Gay Pride, each one always better than the last. I have so many memories with so many people I call not only friends but family. Memories that will last a lifetime. I’m incredibly honored to be DJing again this year, at Opera Nightclub on Sunday night. But my event is just one of many happening throughout the weekend.  I spoke to a few of my DJ friends who will also be performing throughout the weekend – three veterans to the occasion, and one first-timer – about Atlanta Gay Pride, and what they have planned for us. Here’s what they had to say.

 

 

For the full line-up on the DJs I interviewed, it’s at www.Future-Atlanta.com

 

TONY MORAN

 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Atlanta Gay Pride?” 

My first time, for Hotlanta, was in the late 1990’s.  Atlanta was the first city that I went to enjoy, fully accepting that I was meant to be in this community.

 

What is the song or track you always have to play at Gay Pride?

“Easy As Life” by Deborah Cox. I’ve remixed my remix hundreds of times.

 

Nothing is ever easy, Tony, including getting at #1 record. But you & Jason Walker, who is performing with you at Heretic on Friday night of Gay Pride, did hit #1 with a beautiful song called “So Happy.” So, what makes you so happy?

I do my best to tune in to feelings that I can express through songs. Some may be about sadness or about energy such as “Heartbeat” with Deborah Cooper. As I was writing “So Happy” for Jason at the artist and songwriter’s home in Atlanta, we started writing about things that we were grateful for, and that evolved into “So Happy.”

 

You know, one of my favorite remixes of yours is “Together Again,” by Janet Jackson. If you could be together again with any one person, living or dead, who would it be?

That would be a special friend that was not a lover. I was at a funeral the same week I was remixing this song, and my feelings were all over the place as I was working on this song. Listening to it and fine-tuning after listening to it over and over. I believe there no coincidences and that I was meant to learn more about myself via that experience.

 

Finally, give me three words that perfectly describe Tony Moran.

Grateful. Optimistic. Relentless.

 

 

ABEL

 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Atlanta Gay Pride?” 

Unity, Friendships, Love, chosen family, and a Celebration of who we are proud to be.

 

It definitely is a celebration of who we are. What is the song or track you always have to play at Gay Pride, to bring out the celebratory side of Abel?

Heather Small, “Proud”

 

You & Ralphi have made some of the most memorable club hits of the last two decades. My personal favorite is “Cha Cha Heels.” So, what is your favorite heel? Pumps? Stilettos?

I got a bad back, no more stilettos, or pumps, now it’s memory foam!

 

Memory Foam for the win, for sure! One of the best pieces of advice you ever gave me, about ten years ago, was to make my own music and not focus only on remixing, as people would remember me more for what came from inside. I took that to heart, and it gave me the confidence to start writing my own music. So, thank you for that. What advice would you give to new DJs or producers out there?

Stop trying to make it overnight and make it for the long run. Stop the copy and paste. Be original, and stop worrying about what others do.

 

So true. Originality always wins out in the end – I do wish more would remember that.  So finally, give me three words that perfectly describe ABEL.

Real. Honest. Original.

 

PAULO

 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Atlanta Gay Pride?” 

Good friends, community, and unforgettable times.

 

Speaking of unforgettable times, what is the song or track you always have to play at Gay Pride?

Some version of “Born This Way,” or an empowering song that reminds us of what we’re celebrating.

 

You have a new track out called “MEAT” with Alan T. So, I’m dying to know, how do you like your meat?

The irony is that I don’t even eat meat – at least not anything on four legs (seriously). I do treat myself a couple of times a year, like when I go to a Brazilian churrascaria.

 

Yeah, I love those Brazilian meat places. One of my favorite remixes of yours that you co-produced with Alain Jackinsky is Madonna’s “Living For Love.”  Besides love, what is something you can’t live without? 

That’s easy: music and dogs.

 

Speaking of dogs, I think Lucy (Paulo’s dog) needs her own Intsta! So finally, give me three words that perfectly describe PAULO.

Straightforward, honest, unique.

 

 

ISAAC ESCALANTE

 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Atlanta Gay Pride?” 

Believe it or not, it’s my first Atlanta pride. I’m sure it will be lots of fun.

 

You will love Atlanta Pride – it is absolutely one of my favorites. What is the song or track you always have to play at Gay Pride?

I don’t have any specific track.

 

I like that – keep us guessing! You have a new track out that I’m obsessed with called “Run,” with Erick Ibiza. What is one thing that comes to mind when you think “Run?”

Running out of time! I need more time in my life.

 

Don’t we all!  What do you run away from?

Corruption.

 

Finally, give me three words that perfectly describe Isaac Escalante.

Man, music, and fun.

 

– Remembering Stonewall and Social Progress in the ‘Love Simon’ Era
By Tyler Scruggs

 

It was the first Sunday in June, and hundreds of vibrantly-dressed adults, teens, and children sat in the grass in the central park of Salt Lake City’s downtown gathered around to see a stage full of bearded drag queens evangelize emphatically about civil rights progress in the LGBTQ+ community in decades past. With glitter in their beard and their skin a distinctly darker hue than their audience, the queens on stage described Stonewall as the first Pride.

 

It was a riot with no big media coverage but was a queer shout heard round the world that enacted true change in how we saw gay liberation, and the first brick was famously thrown by a trans black woman, Marsha P. Johnson. Today, it sounds like an urban legend, and maybe parts of it are, we’ll never really know, but the sentiment is ringing true today, especially now that our liberation is under siege.

 

Pride month feels stronger than ever in 2018, even just a few days in. Last year, off the heels of the election, my partner and I flew out to DC Pride, where we marched to the capitol and celebrated as an act of frustration. Dissatisfied with the current political state (and no, it hasn’t gotten better), Pride at that time meant brashness, where our very existence on the LGBTQ+ spectrum was an act of protest and must not only be tolerated but impossible to ignore.

 

Though, that might be reaching a breaking point, no? Are you feeling it? The careless, brash outspokenness that was validated by the villains in our lives isn’t working for us normal folk. Screaming obscenities online and spilling tea all over the place isn’t exactly helping enact social change, but harsh rebuttals and ‘cancellations’ are even more abundant than ever, and worse, it feels like a prerequisite for being proudly gay in the first place.

 

So this year, my boyfriend Mark and I embarked on a different kind of mission this Pride month: to find an obscure but popular Pride to participate in, and experience a different reality than our own. That led us to Utah Pride, a state-wide LGBTQ celebration in Salt Lake City that in our urban city-slicker eyes, felt more Vanilla than Vanjie, and bubbling with red-hot conservativism.

 

We didn’t feel welcomed. Although there’s not much that’s abrasively queer or even kind-of flamboyant about how Mark and I present ourselves, aside from our pride-themed Apple Watch bands to spark conversation, the side-eye and hate we felt by pedestrians in Salt Lake City was…apparent, to say the least. In a city that heavily blurs the line between church and state, we couldn’t know who was at fault here.

 

It reminded me of Love, Simon, the fluffy, well-meaning romantic comedy from earlier this year that was boundary-pushing in its very existence, but faltered when pressed for more substance on its position on femme-shaming, race, and the gay people who, unlike me or Simon or the vast majority of Salt Lake City’s residents, don’t have the luxury to ‘just exist’ in these times. Where’s the bar though, in 2018? If queer existence is a form of protest, shouldn’t any representation be celebrated? Shouldn’t the fact that there’s even a Pride parade, march, and festival this large between the snowflake-white Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City at all be meaningful? Maybe, but it’s empty without knowing what came before it.

 

I’m reminded again of the bearded, glammed-up person of color on the stage, sharing the history of Stonewall and Marsha, and everything that got us to this point. No, our experiences aren’t the same, but they’re all worth sharing. Our experiences allow us to empathize with each other and with allies all the same; we find connecting points in the emotions we share. Thus, let’s lift each other’s voices up and give attention to those who don’t or can’t have the platforms they deserve. Salt Lake City is full of white people who don’t really know or understand Stonewall, because they’re just trying to exist, and that’s okay. Your existence is a form of protest when it challenges the status quo, and some can take on more than others. Let your voice be heard, but just as often listen to the voices all around you that can help shape and nudge you in the right direction; in the direction of progress, change, and freedom. That’s what Pride is, that’s what Stonewall was. We are queer children, begging for nourishment, love, and support. Let’s give it.

 

 

By Mikey Rox

 

This summer’s sticky-sweet summerwear obsession is a tropical treasure trove of fruity prints, patterns, and palates that’ll make you look good enough to eat. That’s what you’re going for, isn’t it?

 

Novel Navels

Sink your toes into the eye-catching Sonnige Orange slip-ons, designed by lawyer-turned-artist Anny Cecilia Walt for BucketFeet, powered by enough Vitamin C to chase down the Vitamin D. $65, bucketfeet.com

 

Pucker Up

Show off your arm UZIs – you didn’t load those guns for nothin’ – in Bonobos’ short-sleeve Riviera shirt in this all-over lemon-wedge print that’s as fun as it is fresh. Build a fabric fruit salad with additional styles in watermelon, banana, pineapple, and avocado. $88, bonobos.com

 

Zest Man

LINK UP’s cocktail-inspired lime-slice cufflinks, painted with rich pigmented enamel in a lip-puckering green, punch up your summer wedding attire and add a spritz of flair to sophisticasual white-party looks. $95, linkupshop.com

 

Low-Hanging Fruit

There’s an urban legend that says an upside-down pineapple in your grocery cart signifies you’re a swinger on the prowl, but you can skip a trip to the supermarket (if that’s your thing) in Mr Turk’s pinã-colada-in-your-pants Clyde Slim Trouser. $268, mrturk.com

 

Toe Jam

Can’t decide just how fruity you’re feeling today? Allow yourself options with Happy Socks’ Fruits Socks Gift Box, featuring four pairs of funky mid-calves in summer-ready watermelon, banana, pineapple, and strawberry. $42, happysocks.com

 

Chica Chica Boom Chic

 

You’re just asking for a kween to wig when you put on Swatch’s aptly named So Frutti wristwatch, reminiscent of Miss Chiquita (and Carmen Miranda before her), part of the watchmaker’s Beach Swing collection designed for fashion and function with its illustrated face, silicone strap, and three-bar water resistance. $75, shop.swatch.com

 

Seedless Slip-Ons

Fans of ABC’s Shark Tank may recognize chunky, customizable ISlide sandals – the shoes’ founders walked away from a deal on the Season 8 premiere – but even brand initiates will be intrigued by the watermelon Wave Gels that give the sensation of walking on water. (P.S. Ellen’s a fan, too!) $50, islideusa.com

 

Daily Rind

There’s no bitterness to Frank and Oak’s poplin grapefruit-printed shirt in dress blue that pairs just as perfectly with chinos as it does California-wash denim to create an out-to-dinner getup with zing. $60, frankandoak.com

 

Planting Seed

Smash or be smashed? That is the question when you show off the goods in MeUndies’ thrice-softer-than-cotton avocado-printed briefs, boxers, and trunks that are just waiting to be inspected for freshness. $24, meundies.com

 

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He spends his time writing from the beach with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.

 

DEVEN GREEN is an award-winning comedic chanteuse who will be playing live shows at the Art House in Provincetown July 23-27. You know her from the “Welcome To My Home” and “Welcome To My White House” parodies, portraying Betty Bowers and wearing kinky boots.

 

Dear Deven:

We visit my partner’s mother every month for Sunday dinner. There is something odd about how he fawns and coos over her. I know she is jealous of me. It’s a sticky situation.

Mamma Mia”

A lesson from nature: never come between a mama bear and her cub. That is how their relationship is whether you are there or not. A clever man would win her affection so he could enjoy twelve Sundays a year.

Dear Deven:

I got “Liza” from a kitten adoption 10 years ago. She recently had a seizure and now needs medicine four times a day on the clock. I’ve turned into a nurse and cannot leave the house. I love my little fluff-ball but I can’t really live a normal life. I am stuck at home because I love her so much. Help.

Cats”

I’m so sorry you both have to go through this. You need to find balance with your schedule by getting additional help. Show a trusted neighbor, close friend, or pet service how to administer the meds so you can get a physical / mental reprieve. It takes a very strong person to be a full-time caretaker of a human or a pet.

 

Dear Deven:

Remember when Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett? People didn’t think twice about commenting that she married an “ugly” guy. I married the best guy ever but I’m told he’s an “ugly” guy. Why do I have to defend him/myself that it isn’t always about looks?

Beauty and The Beast”

No need to convince rude people of anything – they happen to be ugly on the inside. Sometimes you get involved with someone and others just don’t “get it” at first. Well, it’s not for them to “get.” It’s for you to enjoy.

 

Dear Deven:

My colleague at work just started wearing make up and a wig. It has created quite the stir. How do we all handle it?

Hairspray”

By showing respect. Offer them a safe environment to discuss it with the group when they are ready. The only office gossip should be how you can support them.

 

Dear Deven:

I haven’t told anyone that I go to church. I zone out most of the time because I’m really just there to sing. Am I going to hell?

Jesus Christ Superstar”

Yes dear, and you are taking all of us down with you.

 

Dear Deven:

I got my boyfriend the specific gift he requested for his birthday. He said “thank you” but there was a sideways comment of, “was that the only color left?” Uugghh.

Oliver”

Gift. Card.

 

Dear Deven:

I get controlled by others and give up my will a bit. I always thought that was the “compromise” in a relationship. Am I too passive?

“The Wizard of Oz

You can only be hypnotized if you are willing. When you wake up, you will take better care of your brain and heart which will give you courage.

 

Dear Friends: I do not offer advice, only my worldly experience.  DevenGreen@gmail.com

PHOTO CREDITS:

Image: Ryan Forbes

MUA: Joseph Adivari

By Quinton Chandler

Photos: PR, Shutterstock

Select your best panties, lather up and jump into the sun! It feels like winter has lasted longer than RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I’m ready to party! Summer 2018 is cranking up, and there are cocktails to serve!  My name is Quinton Chandler, and I am here to help you with your basic cocktails.  Here are my votes for summertime greatness.

Sipping Recommendations

There are so many spirits to try and sometimes walking into a liquor store can be like trying to figure out the difference in 45 different types of noodles at the grocery store. Many of the times we go straight for what we hear is the well or call at our favorite local bar. After working in bars for quite a few years, these are the three that I find to be something that I really enjoyed while bartending that many may not know about. These three are simple to use and are good enough to sip on!  Enjoy!

Mount Gay XO
A blend of rums from 8 to 15 years old.  Easy to sip with a few ice cubes to bring out its dry banana sweetness and light spice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Gin is by far one of my favorites. Released in 2000, No. Ten added four elements to the mix of regular Tanqueray with fresh white grapefruit, fresh lime, fresh orange and chamomile flowers for a total of eight elements. Perfect for making martinis. Dirty with three olives, please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stolichnaya Elit Vodka
Definitely a top-notch vodka in my opinion. To appreciate the full flavors of Elit, serve it chilled, on ice or in a traditional martini. A little wobbly is ok.

Cocktails Impressions

Playing summer hits and getting fancy with your cocktail selection for pool parties or any summer event is one of the key elements. Having a great presentation makes sure your guests love what they’re drinking.  Calm down Becky, these drinks are delicious, not hard to make and will definitely make an impression when presented. I have included my Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic 2017 winning cocktail for Atlanta, The Violet Beauregard.  Have fun with these drinks.  They are going to be amazing!

 

 

Cucumber Mule

3 cucumber half moons

1/2 oz. freshly-squeezed lime juice

2 oz. cucumber vodka

4 oz. ginger beer

5 dashes celery bitters

Take cucumbers and lime juice and muddle into a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodka, ginger beer and bitters. Stir, do not shake. Strain into a mule mug.

 

 

The Violet Beauregard

2 oz. Stoli Blueberi

1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 oz. simple syrup

2 oz. Kevita pomegranate juice

1/2 oz. blue curacao

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice in a highball glass. Top with frozen blueberries and a lemon twist.

 

Georgia Pink Peach

2 oz. Stoli Peachnik

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 oz. simple syrup

2 oz. cranberry juice

Sprite

Mix ingredients except for Sprite into a shaker. Give a good shake and strain over ice in a highball glass and top with sprite. Serve with a lime and enjoy!

 

Green Tea Spritzer

2 oz. Makers Mark

1 oz. peach schnapps

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Sprite

Mix ingredients except for Sprite into a shaker.  Shimmy shake and strain over ice in a 8 oz. rocks glass. Splash of sprite on top.  Garnish with lime.

Mix It Up in New Ways

Mixers are usually soda, tonic, coke, and cranberry.  Try something new! Treat it like the first tattoo when you just pointed at something on the wall and got it. When you go into the liquor store look out for these three mixers that people usually look over but should always try.  Even in your usual cocktail.

Orangina
A subtle blend of different citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin) makes the recipe of this popular, lightly carbonated drink.  Shake well and serve!

 

 

 

 

Whynatte
This is a canned premium coffee drink that you can buy in a four pack and take on the go. This latte in a can is more than just a morning energy boost; while the drink itself does not contain any alcohol, it has been specially formulated to mix well with a slew of alcohols, which makes it the perfect pick-me-up mixer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regatta Ginger Beer
This is the ginger beer I have used many times in quite a few cocktails made over the years.  Regatta is a unique and zesty ‘ginger kick’ to any mixed drink, where ginger ale, club soda, or tonic might be used. Strong top notes of ginger with secondary notes of citrus, apple, and banana.

 

Always remember!  You’re never fully dressed without a smile!  

31st Annual HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner & Auction

The HRC Atlanta’s Gala Dinner & Auction is one of the largest fundraisers in the country for the Human Rights Campaign. The black-tie event on Saturday, May 5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta includes a live and silent auction and dinner. It is a celebration of excellence in the LGBTQ movement and of the successes in the pursuit of equality while putting a focus on the fight ahead. More info and tickets on hrcatlanta.com.

 

Shaky Knees & Shaky Beats Festival 2018

Get ready for two consecutive weekends of bigger and better music lineups at the new Central Park location. Shaky Knees on May 4-6 will feature a 50+ band lineup including Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, and The National, and Shaky Beats on May 11-23 highlights some the best EDM acts out there like Kygo, Zedd, and Marshmello. Check out the extensive schedule, and get your passes at shakykneesfestival.com and shakybeatsfestival.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Todrick Hall American: The Forbidden Tour

The singer, songwriter, dancer, Broadway actor, and multi-talent, Todrick Hall, is visiting Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on May 6 with his Forbidden Tour. The show will feature a brand new storyline with all-new songs, extravagant costumes, and over the top production and choreography. Tickets at foxtheatre.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Service with Vicki Powell, Brian Rojas & Chelsea Starr

The second installment of the popular Sunday Service on Sunday May 13 will feature DJs Vicki Powell, Brian Rojas, and Chelsea Starr that will spin a beat to make your mama proud and dance the night away on the eve of Mother’s Day.

 

Deep South presents Jasmine Infiniti

DJ Jasmine Infiniti – also known as The Queen of Hell – will play at the Music Room on May 19 for another edition of Deep South. The New York Native blends dark and industrial sounds with break beats to create a unique and highly danceable soundscape. Opening sets by Robert Ansley (Deep South/Cardio) and Beyun (Afro Acid).

 

 

The Championship Tour with Kendrick Lamar

The first rap artist to ever win a Pulitzer, Kendrick Lamar, is coming to the Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood on May 25 with his Championship Tour along with the whole TDE crew including SZA, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Lance Skiiiwalker, Sir, and Jay Rock.

 

 

 

 

Hamilton at the Fox

The Broadway mega sensation is coming to the Fox Theatre on May 22-June 10. The story of America’s Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, features an award-winning score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway. More info and tickets (if they’re not sold out!) at foxtheatre.org.

DEVEN GREEN is an award-winning comedic chanteuse. You know her from the “Welcome To My Home” and “Welcome To My White House” parodies, portraying the satirical Betty Bowers and enjoying trivial pursuits.  DevenGreen.com

 

Dear Deven:

My friends have a weekly TV viewing party but there is one magnetic personality who just uses the time to “hold court.” I’m so bugged by him. Why?

Monopoly”

You can’t have a king without jesters. Others are choosing to listen to him. Perhaps you like the spotlight and are jealous he is lording over your disciples.

 

Dear Deven:

I was slowly working on reducing my decades-long, outstanding debt. My new husband feels like I should continue to pay for it myself.

Can’t he help?

Uno”

You sound like you are shocked that he isn’t fixing your problem. Your past is your past and sometimes people will offer an assist but, baby, you need to know how to handle your business all on your own.

 

Dear Deven:

When we go out for drinks and socialize I have one friend who makes up facts and then gets upset when we look up the real answers on our phones. Why is he committing this easily verifiable unforced error?

“Balderdash”

He needs attention and wants to be perceived as being smarter than others. He has gotten away with passing off erroneous information before you called his bluff.  The scam is up and he feels attacked. It is ponderous when people choose to be willfully ignorant.

 

Dear Deven:

My former friend just said he wouldn’t accept my apology until I told him exactly what I had done wrong. Isn’t saying “I was wrong” enough?

Sorry”

Not today and not for him it isn’t. You had better come up with more words and actions to fix this mess. Then, you should both agree never to bring it up again.

 

Dear Deven:

My parents like my sister more than they like me. She gets their attention and praise while I have to beg them to be noticed. How do I change my fam?

Connect Four”

It’s meeting/therapy time because this is not about your parents. It is about your competitive relationship with your sister. Work through this so the four of you can really get along as a strong family unit. This needs a resolution or it will affect all your relationships.

 

Dear Deven:

My friend always has a scheme he is running. The last one was about investing money in a new product that was already on the market! I laughed, but deep down I am worried. How do I give him some direction?

Mastermind”

He has a get-rich-quick personality but lives as a paycheck-to-paycheck guy. Consider having him work for you legitimately…in the sales department.

 

Dear Deven:

A guy I kissed earlier in the night ended up making out with a girl later on! What is that about?

Taboo”

NO WAY! Honey, some people just like kissing and some people just like judging others. Guess which one you are.

 

Dear Friends: All of my delightful advice is for entertainment purposes only. DevenGreen@gmail.com

Image: Jasmin Mieles

Mua: David Marvel

By Mik Hyldebrandt

Photo: PR

 

Shaken and stirred greatness for your crafty cocktail game at home. Get ready to wow your guests with these items for individual cocktails with a personal touch.

 

 

Shaker

The standard shaker has a jigger cap for measuring, but if you want to show your advancement at the bar, go for a shaker tin.

Elyx Copper Cocktail Shaker, $69

Oxo Steel Cocktail Shaker, $30

 

 

 

 

Mixing Glass & Bar Spoon

Some drinks are better stirred and not shaken – like a Negroni or gimlet. An elegant mixing glass with a classic teardrop bar spoon will have you looking like a pro.

Spill-Stop Mixing Glass, $54

CB2 Brushed Gold Bar Spoon, $9

 

 

 

 

Muddler & Strainer

For Martinis or drinks with fruit where you don’t want ice or fruit in the glass, you need a strainer. And to get the flavors of the fruit or mint, smash them good with a muddler!

Houdini Deluxe Strainer, $8

AHeirloom Muddler, $29

 

 

 

 

Ice & Bitters

Add a precise dash and swanky style with a dedicated bitter bottle with a splasher, and impress those who like to sip their alcohol with the sphere ice ‘cubes.’

Silicone Ice Sphere Molds, 2pcs, $13

Urban Bar Bitters Bottle, $20

 

By Paul Hutnik

Photo by Dima Bocharov

 

 

Russian Artist and Producer Alexander Abramov, Widely Known on Instagram as Abramov Lex, Releases First Two Volumes of a Five-Part Series of Revealing Art Photography Books.

 

Abramov Lex bares all in “Uncovered,” his coming of age story about a man who isn’t afraid to speak his truth, follow through with his vision and be exposed, both body and soul. The five-part series of art books tells the story of Alexander Abramov. The Russian artist and producer portrays different characters in unique worlds full of action and emotion. Through images and notes from his personal diary, Alexander explains to the world who he really is. “I started keeping journals 18 years ago. My diary is about awareness of my homosexuality, about my experiences and explorations of the world: first feelings, first love, first sexual encounter. It is also about human imperfection and struggle, drugs and fears, scars and past troubles. On the whole, it tells of becoming the man I have wanted to be: a man who is able to inspire others to makes changes for the better.”

 

Processed with VSCO with dog1 preset

In “Uncovered,” Alexander depicts five characters: a Wrangler, a Mercenary, a Woodsman, a Journeyman, and a Seafarer. He posed for more than 5000 pictures at multiple locations with celebrated Russian photographer Dima Bocharov. “I knew it would be a long process, but as a person who has never been a professional model and also never published a book before, I had no idea it would be this challenging.” “Uncovered” Vol.1 Wrangler and Vol. 2 Mercenary are available for pre-order on his website, www.abramovlex.com.

 

As a gay man who was born in the Republic of Kazakhstan and lived his young adult life in Russia, Alexander Abramov knows from experience the horrible situation with gay rights in these countries. For this reason, he is donating 10% of proceeds to the Russian LGBT Network, to help protect the gay youth of his native countries. The Russian LGBT Network is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Alexander developed the idea for “Uncovered” three years ago when he first moved to New York City from Moscow. He had three motivations: the first was his love and passion for photography. The second was his desire to share stories from his life that he thought a lot of people, especially the LGBTQ community, might identify with and would find interesting and inspiring. Lastly, he wanted to create; something he has loved to do his entire life. “I’m a man who is not afraid to open his soul,” he says. “Аfter all, I always remember, life only gets better when we are able to be honest, and when we are willing to give something to others, especially our spirits.”

 

Revealing his body for the book wasn’t as easy.  “I grew up a very sick child,” he reflects. “I had problems with my lungs, and at the age of 13, I underwent a serious operation on my intestines, which left me hospitalized for four months and put an end to my normal existence as a man. I was tall, 6’2, but very skinny, probably around 130 pounds.”

 

It wasn’t until Alexander was 20 that he started to think about going to the gym. It took over ten years to get to his current weight of 230 pounds. He is finally at a point where he feels confident with his body. Still, posing for nude photos was something he had never done before.  Alexander was careful and selective about using his nudity in a tasteful way.  “Because I have known Dima for many years and he and I have done many photo projects together, it was not hard for me to take my clothes off. What was hard was to be naturally sexy, appear relaxed and to not pose too much. Of course, it is very difficult to surprise people in the age of universal exhibitionism, but these nude images that we captured definitely deserve some attention.”

 

Taking clippers to his head for the second book, “Mercenary,” also required courage but he did it for the sake of the story. “I hope these beautiful images will resonate and inspire people to be the best versions of themselves, inside and out, as well as inspire them to travel to gorgeous places and live outside of their comfort zones.”

 

Alexander Abramov began his career in the media business as an assistant in a PR agency specializing in corporative events in his hometown of Karaganda, which is in Central Kazakhstan. After he moved to Moscow, he got a job at a magazine as a producer of photo projects. While there, he dabbled in fashion, creating a few collections that appeared on the runways of the Russian Fashion Week. Russia, however, experienced a financial crisis and Abramov was forced to leave fashion for a more lucrative career back in PR, again as a photo producer. It eventually led to an opportunity in TV where Alexander Abramov became an executive producer of a makeover reality show on one of the biggest entertainment TV channels in Russia. He remained in TV for five years until he decided to move to the USA.

 

“It’s been a long, winding road to where I am now but all of my past experiences in magazines, fashion and TV have contributed enormously to the making of this series. They are all part of the fabric of the man that I’m excited to reveal in ‘Uncovered’”.

 


Learn more at abramovlex.com and dmitrybocharov.com – and follow Abramo on IG @abramov_lex.

By Mik Hyldebrandt

 

With the better part of the year in front of us and the traveling season fast approaching, it’s time to take a look at what is up and coming in traveling. We’ve uncovered some cool trends and paired them with some really great destinations that will surely challenge the way you think about traditional tourism.

 

The Eco-Conscious Traveler

Even though you know you are bound to leave a larger than usual carbon footprint behind when traveling (planes, trains, boats, etc.), you make more environmentally choices while traveling. You also want to experience destinations that could be affected by changing global conditions in the near future. You want to leave the place better than how you found it because no one else seems to do so.

 

Destination – An Alaska Cruise

The ice caps are melting, and glaciers are deteriorating, so you better experience them in their full splendor while there is time. A cruise along the Inside Passage which is the network of waterways along the southeastern ‘panhandle’ area of Alaska, will put magnificent glaciers, islands, fjords, and coastal settlement on display for your viewing pleasure. For more info go to alaskandreamcruises.com.

 

The Luxury Lounger

The all-inclusive travel sector has evolved greatly over the last few years. With busy schedules and stressful work environments, people simply want to allocate the responsibility of just about everything to someone else, so they can truly relax. One does deserve a little luxury, and if it means paying a little extra for being taking care of from start to finish, then all the power to it.

 

Destination – All-Inclusive Resort

A truly all-inclusive resort will have you debating if you should leave the premises at all! With delicious food and drink options readily available, luxury amenities, and fun activities there is plenty to do at the resort alone. There are many all-inclusive options spread around the globe, but choose a gay-friendly one just to be sure. Like the Live Aqua in Cancún – liveaqua.com.

 

The Culturally Insatiable

You want to delve into a country’s history, art scene, and cultural highlights, but you are having difficulty choosing the destination because there is so much to see and do! A good choice is to turn your sights on Europe with is its many different countries and ample options for a packed cultural itinerary.

 

Destination – A European Cruise

The most difficult part is to narrow down where you want to go. A Mediterranean cruise gives you Southern European destinations like Spain, France, Greece, and Italy, while a Baltic cruise lets you explore Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. A combination of larger cities and smaller coastal towns is ideal to satisfy your cultural hunger. Check out royalcaribbean.com for their European cruises.

 

Tap In Tap Out Party-Goer

Work hard, but no time to play hard? Your vacation time is perfect for remedying your lack of socialization among like-minded individuals. A party cruise is an obvious way to go, but even though you may want to party a lot, it may prove to be overload for most. A nicely curated destination for a party or festival is ideal because you get to dip in and out of all the festivities and you get to immerse yourself in local culture too.

 

Destination – Gay Spring Break

This year’s Gay Spring Break in Torremolinos, Spain, does not only feature a nice lineup of incredible parties and DJs but it takes place on one of the best gay beaches in Europe. You can choose the full board option at one of the host hotels, or buy passes for individual events. Either way, you will have the best time frolicking among some of the hottest men from around the world. Check out delicedream.com for more information.

Ricky Rebel Redefines Masculinity In His Third Full-Length Album, “The New Alpha”

By Larry Olsen

 

Photo: Susy Miller

 

Glam rocker Ricky Rebel redefines what it means to be a man while exploring the themes of Power, Sex, Vanity, and Love in The New Alpha, his third studio album. Self-produced, the album is a sharp departure from his last LP, The Blue Album, that he admits writing during a low period in his life. Where Blue was a dark moon, The New Alpha is a bright sun, with a more powerful tribalistic sound that is meant to reflect both Rebel’s optimistic state of mind as well as the emboldened state of the USA. “The era of Political correctness is over,” proclaims Ricky Rebel.  “Some people today need to toughen up and stop playing the victim.” He urges fans to balance their feminine and masculine sides and remain sensitive to the views of others while also remaining firm in their own.  Ricky Rebel’s The New Alpha is available on iTunes and all major online retailers.

 

“My views are not defined by party lines,” continues Rebel from his Los Angeles home.  “I am a centrist who goes left and right depending on the issues. I am in the middle. A difficult place to be. It’s the same with my identity.  I am proud to be a man who happens to love makeup and women’s clothing. What is women’s clothing anyway? What is gender? I am both masculine and feminine.”

 

Along with the album, Ricky Rebel has released the rock ballad, “Time,” and its music video.  In the song, he sings how time is a precious commodity that shouldn’t be wasted on arguing and fighting with each other.  “It was important for me to include ‘Time’ on the new album because being a true Alpha means having the strength to express feelings of fear, regret, and sadness,” he continues.

 

He also reveals the song was inspired by a horrific car accident he was in as a child.  “I nearly lost my mother in the accident. It’s my first memory. I learned the lesson early on that what you love can be taken away from you in an instant.”
Ricky Rebel burst on the music scene in 1997 as the lead vocalist of the boy-band No Authority. Signed by Michael Jackson to Michael’s MJJ Music label at Sony, he toured with 98 Degrees, Destiny’s Child, Aaron Carter, and Ashlee and Jessica Simpson.   In 2000, the band moved to Madonna’s Maverick label where they toured with Britney Spears and released their Billboard Top 40 chart hit, “Can I Get Your Number.”  Another No Authority song, “I’m Telling You This,” appears on the Rugrats in Paris soundtrack.

 

In 2004, No Authority broke up and Ricky became the lead vocalist of the band, Harlow. He also did voice-over work for films Apollo 13Anywhere But Here, and Anastasia, and appeared on television in episodes of American DreamsBoston Public, and Audrina.

 

He went solo as Ricky Rebel in 2012. Since then, he has released two albums, Manipulator, featuring the singles “Geisha Dance,” “Get It On” and “You Need a Woman” and The Blue Album, featuring “Star” and “Boys and Sometimes Girls,”  a song that climbed to #28 on the Billboard Club Chart.

 

This summer, Ricky Rebel released “If You Were My Baby,” the first track from The New Alpha.  Its message of self-assurance and self-love broke into the top ten on the Billboard Breakouts for Dance Club Songs.  Additional songs on the album include “Magic Carpet,” “Mean People” and the title track.

 

“The world needs Ricky Rebel,” reflects Rebel. “The world needs hundreds of us.”

 

“I want listeners to know that I am not a social justice warrior and yet I care tremendously for human rights. I am not a feminist. I care for men and women equally.  Skin color doesn’t matter to me.  I care about what’s in the heart.  I do not care about cultural appropriation.  I believe fear is poison. If you feel the same way, you might very well be one of The New Alphas.”

 

www.rickyrebelrocks.com.

 

 

By Mik Hyldebrandt

 

Photo: Tyler Ogden

 

It wasn’t just the stress of being deployed in Afghanistan and the constant threat of attack that threw Mark David Gibson into the throes of PTSD. The fact that he served under the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy forced him to remain a closeted, gay man unable to live his authentic life. His memoir, Served in Silence: The Struggle to Live Authentically, recounts his personal struggle and powerful journey to live a true life beyond discrimination and filled with authenticity and love.

 

It was during his second deployment to Afghanistan that the basis of Mark David Gibson’s memoir started. Mark found that writing his thoughts and his stories down gave him a much-needed release from the emotional trauma he was experiencing being in a high-risk war zone with a constant threat of being attacked. The act of writing struck a chord with the captain who worked as a communications officer for the U.S. Air Force and helped him deal with the challenging conditions of his deployment to a war zone.

 

But for Mark, there was an even more profound layer to his writing. A deeper struggle that equaled and even surpassed his most intense battles while being a service member abroad. His realization of being a gay man who served under the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was taking an emotional toll on him. The internal battle over the fact that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to ensure the liberty and freedoms of others, while he was far from enjoying those same personal freedoms were starting to fester in him and even question his identity. In fact, he called an emergency session with a senior officer to change his will, so that, given the possibility that he would get killed in service, he wouldn’t be buried in American soil, in a country that he felt didn’t accept him as an equal citizen.

 

His struggle and immense inner debate found at least partial release in writing, which started out as musings about his childhood, daydreaming, and reminiscing about his early years. Writing became a way for Mark to deal with the dehumanizing policy that effectively kept Mark in the closet for the entirety of his 20-year military career and beyond.

 

When he returned home, he was still profoundly marred by what he refers to as living in the shadows, and he struggled genuinely with the social structures that surrounded the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. His painful reality coupled with the onset of PTSD symptoms had Mark heavily medicated on prescription anti-depressants while his alcohol consumption started to reach dangerous levels despite seeming fully functional and capable to his surroundings.

 

So, when a doctor told him that he was rapidly killing himself with his alarming alcoholism, Mark realized that something drastic had to be done. And he also realized that writing was one of the vessels with which he could make profound changes in himself and the people around him.

 

 

Mark 2.0

After decades of shaming, hating, and loathing himself for what he was, Mark has learned to tell himself three words: I love you. The process of self-love was very much aided by his ability to write and express his feelings through words.

 

Upon returning from his second deployment as a highly decorated officer, Captain Gibson retired from active duty. Shortly after, Mark moved to Costa Rica where he underwent a dramatic transformation, which is unfolded with brutal honesty in his memoir.

 

First of all, Mark is five years sober, which has given him renewed focus and a resolve to make a positive difference every day. He has discovered the joy of life, love, and living which translates into him being an accomplished triathlete, working to help small LGBT businesses thrive, and giving motivational speeches across the country. And he has found meaningful love and partnership with his boyfriend, Aaron, whom he lovingly and often refers to as ‘Mr. Wonderful.’

 

Secondly, his writing has gone from reminiscing about his childhood to being a powerful narrative about his monumental struggle to live his life authentically. The book – Served in Silence: The Struggle to Live Authentically – recounts four phases of Mark David Gibson’s journey that starts in the early years, then moves onto the learning years and wonder years to end up in the living years finally.

 

And thirdly, as compelling a read this book is about pulling yourself out of the shadows, it brings the message of Served in Silence even further by donating portions of the proceeds to the Atlanta nonprofit Lost-n-Found Youth which is dedicated to ending homelessness for LGBTQ youth in Georgia.

 

Mark hopes that Served in Silence will not only enlighten and help others in their journey to live their own life more authentically by learning from his experiences, but also that it will help pull others out of the shadows in a much more literal way. Because his journey has shown him, that although there may be struggle, there is also an authentic life waiting for you, no matter who you are.

Learn more at markdavidgibson.com

 

Served in Silence: The Struggle to Live Authentically is available now on MarkonAmazon.com.

 

 

DEVEN GREEN is an award-winning comedic chanteuse. You know her from the “Welcome To My Home” and “Welcome To My White House” parodies, portraying the satirical Betty Bowers and enjoying a high ball.   DevenGreen.com

 

Dear Deven:

I am currently dating an older gentleman that talks Shakespearean when he is around his friends. How do I tell him that it’s mortifying to me?

“Old Fashioned”

Don’t worry! You won’t be dating him for long.  He is too good for you and your petty judgments.

 

Dear Deven:

I live with a “handyman” (my husband) who will watch a home repair program then think he can do it himself! It costs me more to fix it later. How do I get him to change the channel?

“Screwdriver”

I say, “put him to work!” Be a project manager and use his services for smaller more realistic jobs to do around the house/yard. Give him credit for trying.

 

Dear Deven:

I get a “free night” once a month outside the parameters of my relationship. Can you help me out?

“Hot Toddy”

1) I’m not a hook up site. 2) I’ll bet there is an online app for this type of activity. 3) Make sure your partner knows the nature of your relationship.

 

Dear Deven:

I had taken myself off the market last year for personal growth and found that it was more frustrating than anything else. Totally pointless.  What is the best way to make up for lost time?

“Absinthe”

I hope you learned that if something doesn’t feel right you need to change it pronto. Realistically you can never make up for lost time, you can only double up on your efforts moving forward.

 

Dear Deven:

I’ve recently moved from Atlanta to NY for work. I’m very enthusiastic about how much I love my home city but someone ends up taking offense.  How can I stop these “my city is better” comparison arguments?

“Manhattan”

You are homesick, honey. Atlanta is everything to you but there is something in your delivery that is making others defensive.  Find the beauty where you have to be until you can rest where you wish.

 

Dear Deven:

I’m in a long-distance love affair but I hate flying. Are we doomed?

“B-52

I’m sure you phone, text, and video chat, but the real test is the day-to-day experience.  It seems very fulfilling for what you need right now emotionally, but, if you want more you will ultimately end up drifting apart.

 

Dear Deven:

I’m a morning person. He is a night person. Will it ever work out?

“Tequila Sunrise”

Agree that you are both good for a nooner and everything will be just fine.

 

Dear Friends: I do not offer advice, only my excellent experience.  DevenGreen@gmail.com

Image: Reed Davis Photography

MUA: Joseph Adivari Hair: Miles Jeffries

Dress: Debakalis by John Sakalis / Eddie DeBarr

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 

Karamo Brown’s TV career launched suddenly and in full force in 2004 on The Real World as the first African-American out gay man on the show. Or on TV in general. Now, he is back on TV as the charismatic leader of a super-powered pack of gays on the reboot of Queer Eye which launched early February on Netflix. Goliath got a chance to talk to Karamo about his journey to become the man he is today – and how QE is shaping up to be a voice of reason in our time.

 

When Karamo Brown participated in The Real World in 2004, he didn’t expect the rollercoaster ride that was set off by him being the first out gay African-American on the show. Although he experienced immense support, he also let the sudden rise to celebrity get the best of him, so when the show stopped airing, he started partying like the best of them, and pretty soon his phone stopped ringing – because who would want to work with talent that had clearly lost his way? Now, Karamo is back on TV with the reboot of Queer Eye and is part of the new Fab Five; and after over a decade away from television, perspectives have indeed changed for Karamo. “This time, I have a clear purpose, and a vision of what I want to do,” he explains,”and I know that show business has two components – show and business. Last time, I forgot about the business and was all about the show. That’s certainly different now.”

 

After auditioning alongside more than 10,000 candidates across the world, and after making it to the final top 100, Karamo was locked down with the other candidates for the equivalent of speed dating, so producers could determine what cast would work best together off and on screen. Karamo instantly became friends with Tan (fashion) and Bobby (design), and later they were introduced to Jonathan (grooming) and Antoni (food), and the group instinctively stayed together until they were all finally cast as the new Fab Five.

 

The show, which aired on Netflix early February, has already made plenty of waves and has received acclaim for their new take on the original concept of making over clueless straight guys (and even a gay one) in their own environment. But although the QE reboot, which has let the ‘for the straight guy’ go to be even more inclusive, follows the original’s premise, it is also wildly different. While the first version would focus almost entirely on the makeover, the new QE introduces a surprising and very honest emotional depth, not only for the ‘victims’ but also for the hosts. “I have participated in reality TV before, so I really wanted to put that emotional depth forward in the show”, Karamo explains, “I had conversations with myself, with the guys, and with the producers to make sure that when we approach our heroes we not only fix the outside, but we also give them the tools to fix the inside. We all wanted it to be as authentic and emotional as possible, not only for the heroes but also for us. It was important to all of us to build that deeper connection.”

 

The result is a reality TV show that boldly and quite surprisingly takes on issues like homophobia, religion, politics, racial tensions, and even police brutality; and does so in an honest and deeply emotional way that not only displays the feelings of the makeover victims but also lays bare the experiences of the hosts whose personal stories of religious upbringing, rigid family structures, and racial disparities serve not only as moments of personal growth but as learning lessons of perspective to the people that receive the makeover – and to the world.

 

One episode particularly displays the innate strength and transformative power of the show: The fab five are pulled over by a police officer as a prank on their way to see their next makeover guy. For Karamo, the incident takes on a highly personal and intimidating aspect that happens to spark a much broader conversation about race and police brutality in today’s America. The outcome is an incredibly touching moment between the two where mutual understanding and respect is suddenly the standard and not the exception for their interaction, and it even seems to create a possible pathway to a common ground. Who would have thought that of a makeover reality TV show? “Every week, we receive a piece of paper with an overview of the person’s background, and that’s it,” Karamo tells us, “so, we have to figure it out organically, and luckily, we were able to connect with all of them, so it happened very organically, and we could get to what was really going on.”

 

That connection and the ability to get to the root cause of things is also what will undoubtedly determine the legacy of the new QE. Tan (fashion) mentions in the first episode that the first version was about tolerance, about getting gays on TV, and now it’s about acceptance and tolerance. Karamo hopes that the show’s legacy will be about respect: “At the end of the day, you must respect your fellow man and woman. I get messages from people that are very right-wing telling me how impressed they are, and how they feel that the show is helping them have a better conversation.”

 

Karamo is also hoping that the same respectful conversation can be transferred to the current debate on gun control measures. As a former student of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Karamo was devastated to see the school where he attended 10-12 grade and graduated from was the scene of another horrific mass shooting. “I had my high school reunion there, and to see the hallways and school grounds where I used to roam now being a place where kids were in harm’s way is heartbreaking,” Karamo says and continues, “As a father of two boys, I can’t accept a world where schools have become war zones and need metal detectors. But I also think the conversation starts somewhere else.” Much like his own experience of being able to bridge a seemingly abysmal gap between people, Karamo thinks the solution is starting a sensible conversation that focuses on understanding both sides instead of just yelling your standpoints. As he says: “We need to wake our asses up. This is the point where we ask to see the manager and bring them in the room to have a face-to-face, and we hear both sides of the table. We’re the adults here.”

 

There is no doubt, with the overwhelmingly positive reception of Queer Eye, that the show is well on its way to garnering the same lasting impact as the original. And it is also clear that the impact could have a far wider reach than the original. Karamo hopes that there are at least three to four more seasons of QE in the future – and then he has his eyes set on getting a daytime talk show! “I think there is a spot for a gay black man in daytime TV right now – and I’d like to be the one to fill that,” he muses – and we would definitely be here for Karamo putting his makeover superpowers to work on daytime television as well!

 

 

Karamo’s 6in10.org nonprofit organization

Karamo is the founder of 6in10.org, an HIV awareness organization with a dedicated mission to eradicate the 6 in 10 HIV statistic plaguing gay and bisexual black men; a statistic that has sadly only worsened over the past years which now means that 1 in 2 gay or bisexual black men will be affected by HIV before 40. The organization provides tailored mental health support through viral campaigns and community engagement. Learn more at 6in10.org.

By Gregg Shapiro

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that Fischerspooner’s time has come. In addition to the release of the new album Sir (Ultra), Fischerspooner has been the subject of a museum exhibition and a book, and recently appeared in the pages of VogueSir, Fischerspooner’s first studio album since 2009’s Entertainment, is its sexiest and most personal effort to date. On Sir, out vocalist Casey Spooner’s long history of creative collaboration with Warren Fischer, expands to include Michael Stipe and Andy LeMaster, as well as Caroline Polachek (of Chairlift), Holly Miranda and Boots. I had the pleasure of speaking with Casey shortly before the release of the Sir album.

 

Gregg Shapiro: Casey, if you don’t mind I’d like to begin by talking about collaboration. The name of the band, Fischerspooner, combines your name with longtime collaborator Warren Fischer. You’ve co-written Fischerspooner songs with others, most recently including Michael Stipe and Andy LeMaster. What is it about you that makes you so good at playing well with others?

Casey Spooner: I tried to be a painter and it was too solitary for me. And I was an only child. I don’t know if that’s related, but I just love going to work, going to the studio, going to a rehearsal space and I love working with other people. I also think it’s the way I learned. I’ve always been kind of a bad student. I’m not really good at homework and doing stuff by myself. But, if you put me in a room with someone, I love learning how someone else is going to approach something or how they are going to do something. Right out of college, I worked with an experimental theater company called Doorika which was very collaborative. I’ve been making collaborative work now for 20 years. It’s kind of the way I get things done.

 

GS: In the 15 years since the release of the first Fischerspooner album, as well as the nine years between Fischerspooner albums, electronic music has become an increasingly dominant force. As one of the forebears of the “post-electroclash pop revolution”, what do you think of the current scene and Fischerspooner’s place in it?

CS: It’s cool! I’ve always loved electronic music. To me it’s just another tool. We live in such a digital world now. The thing that was exciting for us is that all of a sudden, we had access to these tools and to a network of communication and sharing music that was so easy. That’s been an amazing historical thing, to be a part of this huge cultural shift that’s now become kind of the way we live. I’m flattered. It’s so crazy. I would never have imagined that I’d be in that place. I thought I was going to be this performance artist/painter/fine artist. I never imagined I would have an impact on pop entertainment so extensively. My idols were people such as Grace Jones and Laurie Anderson. It’s cool that I got to be one of those people.

 

GS: The songs on Sir, such as “Everything Is Just All Right” and “Togetherness”, are intensely and unapologetically erotic and sexual, but also feel extremely personal at the same time.

CS: In gay culture there’s a schism between sex and emotion. I think that’s tied to shame. One of the things I wanted to do on this record is create a world where you can be very sexual and very emotional and you can have anonymous sex and it can be valuable and important and respected and romantic. Or you can have a more complex, long-term relationship and it’s equally valuable and romantic and respected. I tried to give value and respect to all kinds of queer relationships, whether they are one-night stands or romances or long-term relationships. To represent and respectfully let all those beautiful and amazing queer connections exist in one place and not against a heteronormative fantasy.

 

GS: The music video for “TopBrazil” is a perfect example of the brazen sexuality of the album. What can you tell me about the influences for the video?

CS: I actually met Tom Brown, the director, on the dancefloor at Fire Island. We started our conversation there. There were different things that I wanted to do. There was this idea of lasers that I brought in. There was the idea of these different queer spaces. I love the light on Fire Island, underneath the decks, when it comes through it’s super graphic. There were these different architectural and light spaces in which I was interested. The sauna scene felt kind of like where Tom and I first met. It was about representing these queer spaces with beauty and glamour. We were also concerned about having a cool, dynamic New York cast. There was a lot of debate about how there were so many men! In the end, the thing I like about it is that it’s kind of a classic cliché of a pop video. You would see women in a video displayed with the same kind of eroticism, but you would never see men objectified in the same way. To me, the thing that’s interesting is to put men in a similar situation as women. To see the reactions and YouTube comments alone has been fascinating.

 

GS: Especially at this point in time with what’s happening with the #metoo movement.

CS: Yes, exactly. I think it’s an interesting document of the double standard applied to men versus women. Also, the innate homophobia that exists in the culture. When we turned the video in, people were like, “This is so pornographic!” I was like, “What are you talking about? Have you seen a Rihanna video? Have you seen a Nicki Minaj video? There’s nothing pornographic here! Just because you’re used to devouring women, it’s strange that you’re not able to look at a man in the same way!”

 

GS: I was especially struck by the song “Oh Rio,” which features a spoken word segment, as well as guest vocals by Holly Miranda.

CS: That song is a big thesis for the whole record. Actually, that’s the song that convinced Michael (Stipe) to produce the record. That kind of writing and performance is a little bit more of where I’m coming from traditionally as a performance artist. I didn’t come from music. I came from storytelling and performance and theater. That song is basically as it always was. Michael didn’t write on that one. It was one of the songs that stayed after he got involved. The title comes from a Bruce Weber book called O Rio de Janeiro. When I was growing up in the south in the eighties, there wasn’t a lot of access to anything homoerotic. There was a bookstore in the mall that had this Bruce Weber book. The first verse tells the story of me going to the mall and visiting this book. It was in the photography section. It never sold. I would pick it up, look at it and get turned on. I would get confused and freak out and put it back on the shelf. Because of the book, Rio became this erotic fantasy land in my mind. It was someplace I always wanted to go. I was never able to get to Rio until March of 2013. I was working on the record. I jumped through all kinds of travel and budgeting and scheduling hoops to get to Rio. When I finally got there, I got deathly ill. It was March and I was coming from a deep New York winter; fat, pale, sick. I finally got to my sexual dream come true, and it was not pretty. The second verse is about that moment on the beach where I’m sick and old and tired in a Speedo. It’s the end of summer there, and everyone in Rio is hot. They have amazing bodies. Athletes. What I had fantasized about. My dream came true, but it was a failure for me. There was this beautiful, amazing, sunga (swim trunks) salesman smoking weed on the beach who tried to pick me up, but it was the saddest moment, where I couldn’t even talk to or even pretend to be able to engage because my self-esteem was so crushed. I was just stuck on the beach, drinking cough syrup.

 

GS: “Hacking up a lung” as you say in the song.

CS: Yes, sick on the beach. I always visualized that scene a little bit like Dirk Bogarde at the end of in Death In Venice. The first half of the song to me is very Bruce Weber O Rio de Janeiro and the second verse is me as Dirk Bogarde in Death in Venice.

 

GS: I hope you get to go back again.

CS: I went back last month and I shot a video for the song. That beautiful video is going to come out soon.

 

GS: Finally, the cover art for Sir features you sticking out your tongue. A tongue was also featured prominently on the cover of 2002’s major-label reissue of Fischerspooner’s debut album #1.

CS: It’s funny; that (Sir) cover photo was taken in Madrid two summers ago by a fan named Vincent Claudio Urbani. I reluctantly went to shoot with him more as a personal favor than wanting to do a photo shoot. I just happened to be in Madrid. It was completely his idea. He was like, “I want you to do this, I want you to pose this way, I want you to stick your tongue out.” Vincent came up with that idea. I liked the idea that it connected to the continuity of the first record. There was a cool connection and it is kind of a great, classic, iconic image. I can’t take much credit for it. Vincent Claudio Urbani came up with that idea.

 

DEVEN GREEN is an award-winning comedic chanteuse. You know her from the “Welcome To My Home” and “Welcome To My White House” parodies, portraying the satirical Betty Bowers and as a nefarious

bon vivant.  DevenGreen.com

 

Dear Deven:

My nieces and nephew are monsters. Can’t I wait until they are in their 20s to spend time with them?

“Spoiled”

Dearest, all children are monsters, but they are not your monsters.  Be the fun uncle that always has to leave immediately.  Let them know they are loved in short, palatable intervals.

 

Dear Deven:

I just ate a whole sleeve of cookies. That is one serving right?

“Indulged”

Yes, of course!  But, sugar is not a reward and ultimately will not comfort you.

 

Dear Deven:

When I was younger I used to massage every whim and ego of my mentor. Now that I am older I find myself doing the same thing with my boss. 

Why am I like this?

“Pandered”

You were taught to be a sycophant from your mentor. When you raise your own personal standards of worthiness you will increase your confidence. You can admire someone without kissing their ass.

 

Dear Deven:

My parents are well-off so I have lived a pretty charmed life until I REALLY over- spent and they cut me off.  I can’t lead the lifestyle I am used to anymore. What do I tell people?

“Mollycoddled”

Boo. Hoo. Hoo. You were wasteful and self-indulgent when you could have created your own empire. Your parents have given you the gift of an amazing life lesson: To be able to tell people you are independently wealthy.

 

 

 

Dear Deven:

Is it weird that two grown men call each other baby names in public?

“Cosseted”

Oh sugar-muffin, poodle-head, peach bottom, of course it is! So what.

 

Dear Deven:

I think I am with a Momma’s boy.  We will be watching a TV show and he will ask me to get him something from the kitchen.  He’s not rude, it’s just that he EXPECTS me to just do it for him.  Should I?

“Catered”

Would it help if he called you sugar-muffin? If it’s bothering you that much then make a snack platter together before you both sit down.

 

Dear Deven:

I get my nails buffed and polished.  A “youth” questioned me on this practice.  How can they not get it?

“Pampered”

I know! “Youth” have so much to learn from you.  I’ll bet he was curious enough to try it himself.

 

Dear Deven:

I buy everything related to a certain musical.  I have to have it all. Stop me!

“Wicked”

You will never “have it all.” So just buy what you love. This applies to most areas of your life.

 

Dear Friends: I do not offer advice, only my experience.  DevenGreen@gmail.com

Image: Reed Davis Photography

MUA: Joseph Adivari Hair: Miles Jeffries

Dress: Debakalis by John Sakalis / Eddie DeBarr

By Tyler Scruggs

 

Are you as exhausted as me from constantly cruising Netflix’s and Hulu’s LGBT film and television section hoping to find something compelling, sexy, or just plain good? We’ve all done it. We scroll through their admirable but lackluster selection in hopes of seeing ourselves on screen. Not just people who look like us, but people who behave and engage in situations we can deeply relate to. Films depicting straight lust and romance and far more bountiful, and sure, we can identify with their struggles, but often it’s just not enough.

 

Luckily, Dekkoo is here to save the day by being the only streaming service that caters exclusively to LGBT content, and there’s a ton. Thankfully, there’s an app available for your Roku, Apple TV, and more. After browsing through for the past couple days, no, you won’t find many major studio queer films here like Brokeback Mountain or Call Me By Your Name, but you won’t really notice their absence. I’ve been impressed with the sheer amount of content they’re hosting, ranging from forgotten gay films from the 70s and 80s, and new releases from notable indie LGBT film distributors like Breaking Glass and Wolfe. Obviously, I haven’t been able to catch and consume everything Dekkoo has to offer, but I did manage to catch some of their offerings, and some of their exclusive Dekkoo original series. Though there are certainly some genres you won’t get to see from Netflix or Hulu, like ‘Affairs and Love Triangles’ and ‘Erotica’ Here’s what I’d recommend you check out:

 

The Gay And Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo / The World of Brian Jordan Alvarez

Perhaps my favorite Dekkoo offering is The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, a short-form series from acclaimed writer Brian Jordan Alvarez. Previously released on YouTube, Caleb Gallo follows the gay and wondrous titular character as he navigates life in Los Angeles. Pretty basic, right? It would be if it weren’t so sharply written and funny. The show uses jump cuts and phone calls that would be otherwise mundane and transforms t into the laugh-per-minute craziness that borders on 30 Rock level hilarity. Watch it for Freckle alone. Trust me.

 

Dekkoo also hosts The World of Brian Jordan Alvarez, a series of short films by him that basically amount to memes manifested in short film. They’re short, usually clocking in at under two and a half minutes, but carry heavy punches and huge laughs.

 

It’s Fine: A Dekkoo Original Series

Similar to Caleb Callo, It’s Fine also chronicles the tales of the tragically-West-Hollywood problems of a diverse cast of characters. I managed to binge the first season in one sitting, and I’m sure you’ll be too. You may be turned off by the hindered, low budget sound quality, but you’ll be surprised at how crisp and finely tuned the scripts are, and they only get better as the show progresses. It’s Fine released its second season this year, and you best believe I’ll be binging that similarly in hopes the budget got beefed up.

 

Home From The Gym

I wanted to mention this short film because it was the first thing I watched in the ever-alluring Erotica section, and it made me take note of a slight criticism I have for Dekkoo. You see, as hot and bothered as Home From The Gym made me, it was surpassingly short, only five minutes long. It’s kinda exactly as it sounds: it’s a short, erotic film about a sweaty, muscular, well-endowed man coming home from the gym and stripping his tight under armor clothes piece by piece. It was hot! But very short. Which led me to the realization that Dekkoo doesn’t list its content’s runtimes like any other streaming service. It’s an odd UI decision, but it might have something to do with the large amount of short films on the site. I generally don’t mind that some of the content is shorter than feature-length, but it’s important to list runtimes in the title splash screen, so people know exactly what the time commitment is for a given title. Just a small criticism!

 

Love is Blind: A Dekkoo Original Series
My last recommendation is the corny, but sweet Dekkoo original reality series Love Is Blind. And much like Home From The Gym, this title is similarly on-the-nose. It’s a reality show where gay men are set up on blind dates and are forced to endure strange-but-intimate group activities like wrestling, or sharing a dessert. It’s awkward, forced, and features an annoying host that merely makes fun of the couple on the date from the comfort of his green screen studio, but it has its charm. I look forward to more, and I look forward to Dekkoo maturing and growing into a strong player in the streaming realm. Give them a try; they cost no per month more than two random rentals from iTunes — a risk you know we’ve both taken in the past. Consider me Pro-Dekkoo.

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