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Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Continuing Story of ...

Soap Operas are an actor's genre. Those who have enjoyed watching since the beginning of time have learned to suspend belief more than any other group of fans.

There would be great futility in recounting the many plots that do not withstand scrutiny. It has also been said even by the most ardent supporters that ratings are lower than ever and it looks like they are not about to skyrocket anytime soon. It is a diagnosis by the way that can be applied across the board in Network TV Land. Even the biggest boat in this sea, The Young & the Restless, is not the giant it once was.

Still the viewers that remain are the most loyal, because it is an ocean navigated by actors in a character driven world. Those who continue to watch watch because the acting rises above the material.

This web log tends to focus on two ABC-TV shows; from that experience it is more than safe to say that the actors therein are among the very talented. There are very few exceptions that prove that rule.


There are characters and their portrayers that are forever memorable, most notably Susan Lucci's Erica Kane, but there are also Ilene Kristen's Delia, Ruth Warrick's Phoebe, Elizabeth Hubbard's Lucinda, Tony Geary's Luke.

All My Children once again has made lemonade out of the unlikely plots of Dixie's return and the replanting of an embryo that was to be aborted. The young Jacob Young once again proves his mettle amid the likes of Michael E Knight, Cady McCLain, David Canary et al. The evil Dr Madden's imminent demise resulting from his baby stealing ways has involved the acting chops of many. Finally the great talents of Julia Barr are once again on display.

Alec Musser's brief comedic turn as the conniving Del Henry declaring how great it would be to exploit Dixie's return, "... book deals ..." And while walking away, "... rewrites." It was classic AMC.

One Life to Live has played the multiple personality card again and again. Still it's a device that seems to work and bring out the best within the best. Bree Williamson, Forbes March, Kamar de los Reyes et al. are poised to enter the memorable annals of Soap Opera history.

Guiding Light walked away with most of the acting honours at the recent Daytime Emmy's and watching Ellen Wheeler standing to applaud her crew was a reminder that this is a show -- the Emmy's and all the shows together -- that belongs to actors. Wheeler, who is now the Executive Producer of Guiding Light, has two Emmy's of her own one of which was awarded for her portrayal of Cindy a heterosexual woman who dies after losing a struggle against AIDS.

It is important to point out that for all the skittishness attributed to the powers that currently be in daytime drama these shows have had powerful stories about AIDS and homosexuality. Mary Fickett's anti-war speech when her character learned of her son's death in VietNam earned her an Emmy. While the storytelling these days does leave much to be desired it has always been the actors, the fan favourites and otherwise that keep this one time huge moneymaker going.

Of course there are always those that don't need to act to get our attention, but it is easy to remember Ellen Wheeler's performance as Cindy, Jessica Tuck as Megan, Judith Light as Karen, Ryan Philippe as Billy, Gerald Anthony as Marco Dane, Julianne Moore, Kin Shriner among many others.

It should be pointed out that General Hospital has the only HIV+ major character anywhere on television now that QAF is off the air. Robin Scorpio's positive status has recently come to the forefront in a dramatic way now that she has a romantic interest. Kimberly McCullough plays the young doctor in a very positive -- double entendre intended -- way.

It's only a Soap Opera, but it's got some powerful characters going on with some powerful acting to back it up.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday BeefChecca

Only those who are Italo-American among the readers here would verily understand the above's play on words and meaning. Most who come here would also understand the inherent beauty of Italian athletes wearing Italian underwear.





Italian culture, especially that which continues to reside on the European Continent, has consistently had a love/hate relationship with the marginal elements in Society. It's evident in many ways, sometimes in the names given to notable dishes in the cuisine. This web log has already made note of Pasta Puttanesca. Suffice it to say that loose women, remunerated or not, have been revered in a way for centuries on the Italian peninsula, especially in Art, which always imitates life. One need only point to the likes of Musetta and everything the name and the characiter implies.

In a similar fashion the rich culture of the Italian peninsula even in the pejorative sense has much nomenclature applicable to those who practice the love that dare not speak its name. Only it seems that in Italy it has many names and has entered the vocabulary of cuisine much like the kindred loose women. Hey, spice is spice.

Day to day living in Rome will bring to light more than one warm weather recipe for pasta which will call for uncooked sauce one of which has made its way to this side of the Atlantic in more than one version. A tourist in Rome in the early 1980s might have heard it called something like Pasta Primavera probably because the wait staff was making an attempt to be polite. In most cases it is called Pasta alla Checca (Queer Pasta).

The word, Checca [pronounced cake-a, more or less] is what homosexual men are referred to in Rome and sometimes in the Milan area. Actually it's rather diffuse throughout the modern peninsula. It comes from a diminutive for Francesca or Francesco and usually objectifies a somewhat effeminate type although the more masculine term, Checco, does exist.

At any rate there is enough affection for the humanity that this slang and somewhat offensive term designates that there is a great pasta dish that bears its name.

There are a number of versions of the recipe that some research will identify. All of them are uncooked or raw. One has the sauce warmed up so to speak. All of them are delicious just like their namesakes. Is that backwards? Well, you know what we mean.

One reason to choose Alessandro Giuntoli's version from Osteria del Circo of New York City is that he provides a fresh pasta recipe with it. It also has other elements in common with the excellent recipes experienced in the now defunct restaurants La Nonna and Ribollita fresh bufala mozzarella which some recipes surprisingly do not include but are always included in European Italian recipes. Every recipe seems to call for a different type of pasta. Small, thin pasta for this recipe is called for very rarely. It will require at the very least spaghetti to "toss up" as it should.

Giuntoli's recipe has this homemade pasta:

One-half pound durum flour
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice from one-half lemon



Anyone who makes pasta at home knows to make a well with the flour and place all the liquid ingredients in the middle of it. (If you have a pasta machine this is child's play). Mix and then knead everything until it becomes a paste and then 'evolves' into something drier and capable of manipulating. Roll the pasta and cut by hand into tagliolini, long, paper-thin ribbon noodles, about 1/8 inch wide or less.

This is a good type of pasta to use because it cooks up very quicky and while hot it gets tossed up "cooking" the raw queer sauce.

All the recipes call for ripe, fresh tomatoes. It is important that the tomatoes are of a good quality. They can be sliced, blanched, seeded, but they mostly need to be tasty and ripe for the taking.


Pasta alla Checca

400 grams of pasta (Chef Alessandro's tagliolini are good)
200 grams of fresh mozzarella (imported fresh buffalo mozzarella is best)
100 grams of caciotta (a sheep cheese often with bits of wild mushroom or truffle)
4 large ripe tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves sliced into strips
Virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper




The caciotta, of course, is optional and while some recipes call for olives and capers (those belong in the whore pasta -- not that gay people can't be whores) and forget the mozzarella, in most recipes it's the mozzarella that makes it what it is.

One suggestion is that the ingredients aside from the cheese should marinate for a few hours.

The cheese should be cubed and, if you like, let it warm in double boiler fashion while the pasta is boiling above the pot.

The idea is this -- that the freshly cooked pasta is tossed with the raw sauce and "cooks it." If all the ingredients are fresh and care is taken to make sure they are of the best quality, this is an excellent taste treat.

This is the first course for 4 everyday people or two Italian men with great thighs in their underwear.

Song of the Week



This is Dionne Warwick's version of "One Hand, One Heart" from the Sondheim and Bernstein opus, West Side Story.

Make of our hands one hand,
Make of our hearts one heart,
Make of our vows one last vow:
Only death will part us now.

Make of our lives one life,
Day after day, one life.

Now it begins, now we start
One hand, one heart;
Even death won't part us now.

Make of our lives one life,
Day after day, one life.
Now it begins, now we start
One hand, one heart,
Even death won't part us no

With this heart I will sing to you,
Long as the stars have lost their glow
And with these hands I'll provide for you.
Should there be a stormy sea,
I'll turn the tide for you.

With one hand, one heart,
One hand and one heart.
Now it begins, now we start.
One hand, one heart,
Even death won't part, part us now.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Almost Saturday, Not Quite Cake Just Something To Spread Over It


Basic Butter Cream

1 stick/1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 lb confectioner's sugar
3 tbsps milk
1 tsp vanilla

1. beat butter with egg yolk in medium bowl until soft
2. beat sugar in alternately with milk and vanilla until
spreadable

Lemon or Orange Butter Cream: Omit vanilla, add 2 tsps grated lemon or orange rind and substitute 3 tbsps of the appropriate juice for the milk.

Mocha Butter Cream: Omit milk and vanilla and substitute 3 tbsps coffee in its liquid form

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mark Aaron James & 6 Degrees of Dean Cain ...




... and Freddie Mercury, eh?

So, last week I made the quip that the "Undercover" show was starting to sound like a drag night, (having covered Britney Spears, Pink, Madonna and Cher in the past months). I guess the comment stuck in some peoples' brains. No, I'm not doing another diva, thank God. (No offense, to you diva lovers, but if Cristina Aguilera or Celine Dion came up, I might have cried). This week features the music of Queen. Ok, there's still a diva element there, but I can handle it. (I don't know if Bohemian Rhapsody can be accomplished on the solo guitar, but Fat Bottom Girls definitely can). Hope you can make it out this Thursday (tomorrow) to Mr. Denehey's, Carmine @ 7th Ave, downstairs, 8:30 PM. ("Flash...AHH AHH, He'll Save the Universe!") Oh, and I will soon be featuring the video for "Kleptomaniac Girlfriend" on my Myspace page. AND The film Lost, starring Dean Cain and featuring my song "June 17th" is now available at Blockbusters nation wide and from Netflicks. Check it out! And last, but certainly not least: check out my CD Just A Satellite. Go here.



Oh and I was not at Prohibition's 10th anniversary bash tonight but I'll be there come May 17th for POZ magazine's fundraiser for AIDS Walk New York 2006.

MAJ

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Six Degrees of Gerald McCullouch


A drizzle of olive oil and a dash of wine goes very well as a condiment with a steaming minestra like pasta e fagioli straight from the authentic Tuscan kitchen at New York's La Cantina Toscana. It's even better sitting across from CSI's Gerald (the G is hard) McCullouch who acknowledges that the ritual inherited from a maternal grandfather is just right even for something as exceptional as a peasant dish served up just right.

Just right is Gerald's attitude about the many porjects he has ahead of him not the least of which is wrapping this season of the hit show of which he has a recurring part. He is refurbishing his new digs in Manhattan and looking forward to some very original film and theatrical work. It is just a small part of what makes him one of this life's better dinner companions.

Consider this in the meantime: one of his better known castmates, George Eads was a member of the short lived primetime serial drama Savannah along with Paul Satterfield who is a current member of the cast of One Life to Live along with fan favourite Ilene Kristen who became well known to viewers as the original (and for many the only) Delia Reid Ryan Coleridge on Ryan's Hope which also boasts Leslie Easterbrook as a cast member who also starred in Gerald's film The Moment After as well as Hard G's current castmate Marg Helgenberger.


Ms Kristen ties Mr. McCullouch into the POZ Event as does Michael Clay who has singer Ty Herndon's friendship in common with the hard G.

All of this information points to one very important thing ... well, not really, it points to absolutely nothing.

It's just an opportunity to talk about and point out a fine human being and find a unique way to thank him for coming to dinner and enjoying a peasant dish or two.

Monday, April 24, 2006

AIDS Walk NYC 2006 Fundraiser


The plan to have a nice tidy little fundraiser at Prohibition (84th & Columbus) is turning into something quite ... well, eventful. The very talented and fetching Mr. Clay is bringing his entire band into the Big Apple for that day. Their great sounds will fill the air augmented by the participation of old friend Mark Aaron James. Ilene Kristen will join in and it will be the initiation in a way of her weekly appearance at what has by now become a favourite place for many discerning folks. Ilene's weekly jam will be called Block Party. More about that in the near future.

here's the link
here's Mr. Clay's site.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday Beefcake



Pilfering the Internet for appropriate images can be an interesting task, especially when inserting more than one term into the search engine. This site is nothing if not consistent and it seems that themes just fall into place almost by themselves. Looking for Brazilian beefcake and such to go along with this week's recipe, which although discovered in Italy is referred to as Manzo Brasiliano, i.e. Brazilian Beef, brought up photos of young men from Hungary who are practitioners of Brazilian jiu-jitsu or grappling and where many more sights are featured on this site. And where there appears an article with this quote: JoJoin MatBattle.com guest writer Juliana Protásio for a unique female perspective on 'the powerful images of sensuality between men' which comprise the supremely homoerotic phenomenon that is Brazilian submission wrestling.

In the meantime it's time to serve up yet another dish:

Manzo Brasiliano

1 Kilo of Beef cut up for stewing
unsalted butter and/or peanut oil
4 quartered potatoes
1 fennel bulb sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 cup of coffee
1 small spoonful of ground cinnamon
cloves
1 glass of dry white wine
flour

1. Sear the meat in the butter and/or oil
2. Combine the remaining ingredients except the flour. It's best to add the potatoes and fennel perhaps a little later.
3. Simmer until the meat is tender. This will take from 45 to 90 minutes.
4. Use the flour to thicken the ensuing sauce. Add it gradually and from the side.

(For four normal people or one to two grapplers.)


Friday, April 21, 2006

Why is this man smiling?


Probably because he's got an enviable fanbase. Visit his site and check out the good people on the message board.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Almost Saturday, So Have Some Cake & Eat It, Too


Creamy Chocolate Cheese


• 8 ounces mascarpone, softened
• 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs, separated
• 1 cup melted chocolate or nutella
• 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 unbaked pastry shell, unbaked


In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel and salt; beat well. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the chocolate, milk, and vanilla. Pour into the unbaked pastry shell. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Chill before serving. Serve with whipped cream , if desired.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mark Aaron James' Weekly Thing


Hey,
So I've celebrated my freedom from slavery during Passover and now it's back to the grind. Tomorrow's, (Thursday), "Undercover" show will feature the songs of another diva, Cher. (These last couple of weeks have felt more like drag shows than songwriting celebrations). None the less, it's been an interesting batch of
songs.



I will be doing both "old school" and "new school." So, be prepared for "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," along with "Life after Love." Hopefully, I'll have you, babe, at Mr. Denehey's, Carmine @ 7th Ave, downstairs at 8:30 PM.

MAJ

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Decade Later

From last year's review "... a very inviting and comfortable locale, i.e. Prohibition, where every night of the week something is going on. When the music isn't live in the early evening, the speakers give forth with recognizable oldies that keep the customers at their tables and at the bar. The bartenders are friendly and accomodating ..."

"In warm weather there is outside seating. The key word is comfort and it seems that the two working owner/partners Rich and Ian do their best to make it so ..."

"The menu also serves up comfort food, such as fried calamari, chicken fingers, mini-cheeseburgers, tuna tacos and quesadillas that can be enjoyed at the bar and at tables. There is a full menu that can be perused at ... www.prohibition.net"

Prohibition has been around for an entire decade. Going there to celebrate will help you understand why.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter


Xtianity didn't invent the life and death and rebirth cycle. It's part of nature and because it is, that means it's part of just about every major religion. The myth of the death and rebirth of Osiris antedates that of Jesus by centuries.

Much of it has to do with humanity's desire for an afterlife. It varies from region to region, sometimes it means to be nothing and everything at the same time. It always involves -- of course -- some sort of transformation. Many Xtians, most notably Mr. Mel Gibson, tend to focus on the suffering of the Messiah. Even recovering Catholics know that Easter, the most important event in the liturgical calendar is a celebration of life. That's why its occurence is tied to the Vernal Equinox and the first full moon following it. How Pagan can you get?



Well, not necessarily Pagan but definitely all about Spring and new life. It is the cornerstone of Xtianity, which is why those Catholics run around denouncing both abortion and the death penalty.

What tends to get lost in the shuffle that those who are here and now need to be nurtured and supported. There are those in the Xtian mix who follow the basic tenant of the golden rule which is all about nurturing and life. The belief in resurrection in any religion or mythology points the way to what life, death and rebirth, which is the way of the world. The only thing different about Jesus after he died and came back to life was his glorified body, it's been said and the Eschaton, which is the fulfillment of time and not necessarily about goats and sheep and the Promised Land, is all about glorified bodies.




Some, it seems, are already there -- or close.












<< we stole this from Towleroad, maybe

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday Beefcake


Running around the internet to steal images for our Saturday feature can be very time consuming. There is a lot of available male pulchritude, i.e. in photographs and making a decision just to pick one is very difficult not to mention our committee meetings are pure mayhem with Pookie and Nurse Betty usually uniting on one opinion and, of course, Bernice coming up with cheesecake recipes right and left. Well, she may have a point -- many of the shots are rather cheesey. She still doesn't understand.

The older term is cheesecake, perhaps, referring to pictures to get lonely heterosexual men through whatever it is that lonely heterosexual need to get through, usually a war or two. If they were homosexual, they'd be wrestling. Oh, that was yesterday's post. The term beefcake has been attributed to a hollywood journalist's term for pictures of Guy Madison and his bare chest, a treasure to be sure. Anyway that's a post for another day.

Well, one discovery we made is that our European friends love to photograph rugby star Frederic Michalak and who can blame them? There is a plethora of his images and when there are that many a bit of cheese is bound to occur. We picked two without any cheese, one especially to show off his tattoo and we put all the cheese in one of Bernice's favourite cheesecake recipes below. These clips may be from Dieux du Stade which are highly recommended showcases for beefy male pulchritude.

Cheesecake Pie

For the crust:
10" pie pan
2 cups vanilla wafers or graham cracker crumbs (very fine)
6 tablespoons melted sweet butter
1/4 cup sugar

Filling:
12 oz mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup sugar
10 ounces of condensed cheddar cheese soup (1 can)
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Topping:
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. combine crumbs, butter & sugar, press into pie plate
2. beat mascarpone until smooth and add eggs and sugar alternately (3 times) and beating each time
3. blend in just one cup of the soup, lemon juice, rind & flavours
4. pour into crust and bake for 50 minutes in a 350F oven
5. in the meantime, fantasize about going to Europe to hook up with Frederic Michalak, and blend the sour cream, remaining soup, flavour and lemon rind. Spread on top (no, not Frederic) of the baking pie and then bake for five minutes more.


Friday, April 14, 2006

The Wrestling Closet

A strapping young man was once asked if he liked wrestling to which he responded, "No thank you I prefer heterosexual sports." Now that Chris Klucsaritis, a.k.a. Kanyon, has come out of the closet it continues to beg a question that used to get answered very clandestinely or as part of a gay joke. It's no joke to many gay people. It's practically a lifestyle.

In recent years Professional Wrestling played and preyed on the general discomfort with male homosexuality with varying storylines from Gold Dust to Lodi to Chuck & Billy and usually came down on the wrong side of everything.

When Klucsaritis decided to come out many fans thought it might be just another story line. It turns out that he's the real deal and spoke about his travails in an exclusive interview in Chicago's Windy City Times' March 29th issue. His story like other coming out journeys needs to be told, especially from the perspective of the macho world of "sports entertainment." He is to be applauded. There are other gay wrestlers. Yet, this grand revelation has happened with little fanfare.

Could it be that "in the life" the homoerotic nature of wrestling both as an amateur/collegiate sport and as professional exhibtion, before Vince McMahon et al. sucked the life out of it and turned it into acrobatic cartoons with Soap Opera-esque story lines is considered a given? Could it be that it is difficult to acknowledge the obvious?

Early television wrestling performers like Gorgeous George and Ricky Star addressed effeminacy in their performances to engage the general public's love for spectacle. Ricky's performances were much more erotic. George's were flamboyant and egged the crowd on to hate him as they would hate an affected mincing man in the 1950s. Ricky tended to be more sympathetic as a persona. His schtick revolved around ballet and his skill as a ballerino.

Wrestling is considered the oldest sport and many opinions consider it the ultimately natural test of strength -- something like Sumo. By and large, however, most real wrestling is grappling and a very intimate experience. In both the manufactured storylines and the real life ones the gayest of sports is not acknowledged as such. There are, of course, the outright pornographic productions that play up on fantasies, e.g. the wrestling coach in the locker room, but those are not what the eroticism in wrestling is about.

There are such things as fight clubs and most of them are gay. Some have evolved into lucrative gay wrestling video vendors where often it is the wrestling in and of itself that provides the prurient interest. This is one of those elephants in the room that people want to ignore even when liberating one's self of the restrictive closet.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Typecasting


Gerald McCullouch plays a good guy on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and he is just that in real life. It is New York City's good fortune that he has increased the nice guy population here by one having recently set up digs making him bi-coastal like so many of his colleagues.

Having dinner with him at La Cantina Toscana on the Upper East Side last February drove that point home. Pookie and Nurse Betty were eager to point out that Gerald's (the "g" is hard) even more fetching in person (or at least in an Italian restaurant) than when captured on celluloid.

He finds time for new friends along with new projects, professional and domestic. His website is well worth the visit where the fruit of his labours, especially the movie The Moment After can be viewed: check it out.

For the moment we want to thank him a lot for helping us with the fund raising effort for AIDS Walk New York by donating a CSI collectable that we can put on auction on EBAY. Check out item: 7609840607

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Side Dish




About 5 years ago in TV Guide there was something delicious from South America from a fine Mexican American dish. Randy Vasquez ought to come back where he belongs or at least where we can see him on a regular basis. He did great honour to the Marine uniform he filled. Here's the dish he brought to TV Guide in June of 2001 along with a picture we stole from his pre-military days on JAG.


Peruvian Potato Salad


2 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, without skin
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup crumbled ricotta salata
[there must have been a Sicilian Peruvian in the kitchen that day]
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and quartered
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 1/2 lbs boiling potatoes -- boiled, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/3 lb grilled chicken, diced

1. Saute the onion and garlic in the peanut oil for five minutes.
2. Transfer to a blender
3. Add remaining ingredients except potatoes & chicken and blend until smooth
4. Spoon the sauce over the potatoes and top with chicken.

This is for six normal people or three unruly TV fans who love latin men. Pookie and Nurse Betty suggested that this might work with Rigatoni as a substitute for the potatoes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

AIDS Walk NYC 2006




The publishers and staff of POZ magazine and Real Health cordially invite you to an AIDS Walk New York fundraiser on May 17, 2006 from 6 to 8 pm to be held at

Prohibition . 503 Columbus Avenue . New York City . 212.579.3100

Rich and Ian of Prohibition have generously set aside some time for us and those who would come out to support us in this important effort. There will be a $10.00 donation at the door and a two drink minimum for the soiree which will include entertainment from Ilene Kristen, Mark Aaron James, Michael Clay and appearances from some well known people from around town, Alicia Minshew and Thorsten Kaye not the least among them.

RSVP at your earliest possible convenience to:

Giovanni Vitacolonna

Circulation and Customer Relations

212.938.2045

pozteam@pozevent.com

giovanniv@poz.com

This effort has been a labour of love for all involved. The staff of Smart & Strong and POZ magazine would like nothing more than to make their mark contributing to New York’s most significant fund raising event which just happens to coincide with their daily activity, the search for the cure and making life productive for the hiv+.

This is the moment. This is that annual event where we can make ourselves heard, when we can love out loud.

It’s about life. It’s about being who we are.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Mark Aaron James

Look for Mark in addition to his usual haunts to bring his versatile and unique talents to Prohibition (84th & Columbus) on May 17, 2006 for POZ magazine's AIDS Walk benefit. In the meantime Mark has this for us:



Hey,

Just a quick reminder, I will be doing a free, solo show at the Rockwood Music Hall this Tuesday night, (the 11th) at 7 PM. I am the first performer of the night, so I will be starting right at 7, so don't be late if you want good seats. I will be debuting a new song, so I hope you can make it. Look for the big glass window on Allen Street, between Stanton and Houston.

Also, remember there will be no "Undercover" Show this Thursday due to Passover. Two Thursdays from now I will be doing the songs of Cher. (Yes, they are trying to kill me). I will be having botox injections and I will wear a fabulous gown designed by Bob Mackie. Ok, that's not completely true, but still, it should be fun.

Thanks for the continued support. You guys rock.
MAJ
--
Check out the new CD "Just A Satellite" and please visit www.markaaronjames.com for tour
dates, pics, info and online CD purchases.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Building Dreams on A Kiss



There are more than one reason not to become enamoured of Adam & Steve. The good news is that it is an effort written and directed by an openly gay actor and it stars another openly gay actor, Malcolm Gets. Mr. Gets has the honour of being the most antipathetic romantic lead ever on a sitcom. Granted it was on the overwrought Caroline in the City, but that's no excuse. Eric Lutes' often loutish character was much more enjoyable and besides he had great legs, if only he'd kissed his sidekick Andrew Lauer. Not as much as a digression as you might think, but first things first.

Mr. Gets gets kudos for being out. Well and very good. The plot device of his character losing bowel control during a one night stand does not. A matter that goes above and beyond Philip Seymour Hoffman 'sharting' in Along Came Polly. Roger Ebert actually reviews the film, which is a fete in that he actually pays attention to an independent gay film. He says this:

" I liked, for example, the visit to Adam's parents, who are the nicest people in the world although they suffer from the 'Bernstein Curse' (mother in neck brace, father in wheelchair, sister bites tongue). I liked the deadpan way [Parker] Posey plays the formerly fat Goth who has become a slender stand-up comic who still tells fat jokes. The scene where Adam, leading a bird-watching tour in Central Park, meets Steve again after a tragic duck shooting. And Sally Kirkland as an AA group leader shouting, 'No cross-talking!' during a verbal fight.

But what can we make of other scenes that destroy any dramatic effect and all but shout, This cumbersome scene is being committed to film by ham-handed amateurs?"

click here for the rest of his review





Richard Knight of the gay paper, Windy City Times gives a more favourable review. He praises it because the leads are grown ups, i.e. over thirty-five or something like that and he praises the kissing. The sight of two men kissing which has been addressed here more than once is a true cinematic fete that can be done in so many different ways. Craig Chester, the film's writer, director and star, is of the opinion that straight male actors playing gay don't put the right amount of finesse into it. That's probably not true -- among many others, one of the best examples is Elias Koteas and James Spader in the original Crash (1996). Knight supports that view in his review which appeared in the March 29th edition suggesting while asking that Gets and Chester "are completely at ease with the physical intimacy and probably did it without thinking?" He calls it "instinctive chemistry." Perhaps. What makes a kiss of any kind enjoyable is, first, that the kissers be attractive and secondly, very often, the passion that comes from the tension of whether or not it's going to happen. As comfortable as these two guys may be, does anyone want to see them kiss? As much as the audience may have wanted Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt do the same in Interview With the Vampire? That scene certainly had the creative tension associated with an important kiss although it only seemed that it was going to happen. Maybe Brokeback should have had more 'instinctive chemistry" but that's not what it was about and -- it's gotta be said -- hot damn! it was Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

All that being said. Let's continue to build dreams.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

AIDS Walk New York 2006


Our auctions on EBAY where Chris Meloni has graciously considered to offer a customized autograph for his fans who bid on them have been quite successful. There are two more going on as this is being written. We are grateful to the wonderful fans who have responded and very grateful to Christopher for once again stepping up to help us and POZ magazine.

Saturday Beefcake

Colin Egglesfield is such a hard act to follow. It takes a village. Well, maybe not a village but how about ...?



And this week's primo piatto before that multiple course entree is a version of the Italian classic named for whores. Not a big stretch.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

400 grams of Spaghetti
50 grams of sliced black olives (spicy semi-bitter)(pitted and sliced)
50 grams of sweet butter
4 filets of anchovy (chopped and de-spined)
2 cloves of garlic (sliced)
spoonful of capers
spoonful of parsley
200 grams of ripe tomatoes (sliced into sections)
olive oil, salt

1. saute the garlic and anchovy in a bit of oil and the butter.
2. In sequence add the capers, the olives and finally the tomatoes and then let the mixture cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
3. Of course, the spaghetti has been cooking and when it's ready marry it well with the above sughetto.
4. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

See last week's first course for how far you can go with this.

Swimming against the current

from 365gay.com

After a thrilling gold-medal performance at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Canadian swimmer Mark Tewksbury should have been on top of the world.

He had both the gold and a bronze medal around his neck, he made the cover of Time magazine and he had dozens of lucrative endorsement deals.

But never had Tewksbury felt so alone.

"I felt like a fraud," he recalls in an interview.

The strapping swimmer with the movie-star looks had a secret. He was gay and very few knew about it, not even his family.

"Keeping up the image of Canada's boy next door, while feeling a lot like the girl next door wasn't very easy," Tewksbury writes in his new book, Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock.

The book recounts his childhood in the arm-punching world of jocks, through his first kiss, his ensuing effort to keep his sexuality secret and finally, as he puts it, "home sweet homo."

The outspoken athlete, who also won silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics as well as 13 national titles, is arguably one of the country's highest-profile gay activists.

He's been inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. This year he's co-president of the first-ever World Outgames, set for Montreal this summer.

But in the years after 1992, Tewksbury struggled.

"From the outside looking in, it appeared that I was living a dream life," he writes.

In real life, he had come out to his family shortly after the Barcelona Games and it didn't go well. Although his mother is now one of his most ardent supporters, it took time.

His first real relationship had fallen apart and he lived in fear of being publicly exposed as gay.

"That just terrified me," he says.

Then, in 1998, Tewksbury lost a six-figure deal as a motivational speaker for a financial institution because he was "too openly gay."

"That was kind of the final slap in the face," he says.

In December 1998 Tewksbury became the first Canadian athlete to voluntarily declare his sexuality as cameras flashed at a news conference.

The executive director of a prominent gay lobby group praises Tewksbury as a role model for gays and athletes.

"It's one thing to have a gay theatre director," says Gilles Marchildon of EGALE Canada. "It's sort of accepted.

"It's quite another to have an openly gay athlete. There are gay athletes and Mark is proof of that. We hear less about them because there is, still, a lower tolerance level in professional sports."

As for Tewksbury, the very thing that once caused him such fear is now seen in a different light.

"Who knows? If I hadn't been gay, would I have been so driven to have success in swimming?" he asks.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bill Frist is a Gay Pervert


First things first. Even New York City has its very own naked cowboy and as far as naked men go, he'll do. Even he, in spite of being an out and about naked man, doesn't go where other men have not ventured: actually where a majority of gay men do not venture. If he wanted to get our attention there were much less scary places to go, Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album notwithstanding.

The Washington Post's report follows:

Frist's Southern Hospitality

By Al Kamen
Friday, April 7, 2006

It was with some trepidation that we opened a most interesting card, which announced on a blue-jeaned cowboy's belt buckle something called the "5th Annual VOLPAC '06 Weekend" in Nashville on April 21-23.

Problem was you had to unbuckle the cowboy's pants and look inside to see what this was all about. Seemed a bit too "Brokeback Mountain."

Imagine our relief to find only that we were "cordially invited" to the event honoring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and "Mrs. Bill Frist, M.D." This is Frist's political action committee to raise money for other senators, making friends and positioning him nicely for his 2008 presidential bid.

Big-time donors can golf, ride bikes, tour a recording studio and have lunch at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Then, after a cozy cocktail reception, there's Saturday night at the Grand Ole Opry and breakfast at the lovely Hermitage Hotel on Sunday morning.

"Don't miss a celebration of southern hospitality," the invite says, "one-of-a-kind music and special friends . . ." though it's unclear who those friends are and what makes them special.



The back of the card shows the cowboy from behind with a red flowered handkerchief sticking out of his right pocket. Wait a minute -- wasn't there something about how this used to be some kind of code in the gay community years ago? A way to signal each other in crowded, noisy bars?

So we checked the GayCityUSA.com's Hanky Codes. Sure enough, there it was in the chart explaining what they mean: red hanky in right pocket. Oh, dear.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's not A Battle, But It's A Winner



It's not Saturday, but what the hell, have a little beef ...

A battle they can't win

from 365gay.com

Canada's new Conservative government said Wednesday that it is preparing legislation to repeal the same-sex marriage law.

The move follows a campaign promise to hold a free vote in Parliament on the issue.

The marriage bill was not mentioned in this week's Speech from the Throne - the government's outline of its agenda for the session - leading some LGBT advocates to wonder if Prime Minister Stephen Harper was abandoning his threat.

Wednesday, however, Justice Minister Vic Toews said the bill is being prepared and a vote would be held "sooner rather than later.''

Toews pointed to the party platform saying that if the equal marriage law is overturned the government would bring in a second bill limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Asked about the marriage issue Harper later in the day said that the bill would not be introduced this spring but likely in the fall.

Canadians for Equal Marriage called the Tory plan a mistake.

"All indications are that Canadians are opposed to re-opening this debate," Laurie Arron, the organization's national coordinator told 365Gay.com.

Two recent Environics polls show that two-thirds of Canadians are against re-opening the marriage debate. As well, a recent survey of Canada's top executives revealed a strong consensus against re-opening the issue.

In January, following the winter election that resulted in a minority Conservative government, a Canadian Press study of the new House of Commons suggested a vote on repealing the marriage law would be rejected. (story)

It would not be a total loss, however, the Canadian Press reported, noting that an honorable defeat on equal marriage would satisfy obligations to Harper's most right-wing supporters while defusing a politically explosive issue.

Far right social groups opposed to same-sex marriage have been making their presence known on Parliament Hill in recent weeks. The groups have been lobbying members of Parliament to support a repeal effort.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

As Constant As the Northern Star -- here's Mark


Hey,
I was surprised that Simon and Garfunkel didn’t bring out much of a crowd. So much for recreating the Central Park concert. The upside being, whenever it’s a small group, the audience usually conspires to make me do something bizarre the following week. Well, “Oops, they did it again.” Sure enough, I’m doing Britney Spears this Thursday. (Evil bastards!) So, if you’ve always wanted to hear me sing, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman,” now is your chance.

A heads up, there will be no “Undercover” show on April 13th due to Passover. Instead, I will be doing a set at the Rockwood Music Hall on Tuesday the 11th at 7 PM, Allen Street b/t Stanton and Houston. I will debut a NEW SONG at this show. (I might give a preview of it tomorrow to offset the Britney songs). I will also be doing my Passover song, “We All Have Our Own Egypts to Leave,” at both shows. It’s like a Passover Seder squeezed into 3.5 minutes without the food. (Doesn’t that sound appealing?) No, really, you’ll like it, even if you’re a gentile.
I hope you can make it out.
MAJ

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sir Tom Jones redux


Darlene Love & the Blossoms sang back up for the dark knight back in the day:

"... I was somehow never offended by his come-ons, maybe because he treated everyone with copious respect. He had nothing but the best around him: chateaubriand, Cuban cigars. I think he had the Dom Perignon on tap. ... I often sat right behind him on his jet, and that was where he gave me some fabulous foot rubs. I would stick my leg up from behind, and he would slip my shoe off then go to work. No words or eye contact would pass between us. When he was finished, I'd pull my rejuvenated foot back and then fall asleep thinking, 'This man has great hands'...

[Column's aside: gotta hear Tom sing "With These Hands"]

... and believe me, honey, it went beyond the kind of feeling you get with any good massage or physical therapy. He knew it too. It was almost as if he was playing with me, trying to bring me to a climax. A few times I had to yell, 'Hey, give me back my foot.' He let my toes slip through his fingers, waiting for his next opportunity. But other than these sessions on the plane, I left Mr. Jones' magic fingers for the pleasure of others, knowing that they wouldn't have to wander very far to find a willing patient."

Darlene does at some point end up in bed with the Knight but it goes no farther than Darlene simply being there temporarily. It seems he kept his hands in his pockets -- her heart belonged to Bill Medley...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Baby II -- Christopher Meloni


No need to reiterate every thing said here about Mr. Meloni. The Entire staff, Pookie, Nurse Betty, Giano and Bernice -- including her entire family, sisters Esmeralda, Bonita and cousin Bruce-- all adore him unequivocally. He shares his birthday with Billy Dean. They are a year apart. It's those Aries men and their springtime affability. At any rate, to another genuine unaffected and beautiful man -- Happy Birthday!

April Baby


Complete lack of pretense is not necessarily the best description that fits Billy Dean but it's there. Genuine. Friendly. Sincere. Accessible.

As a denizen of the Nashville music scene and a customer at Tower Records West End all those qualities were in evidence.

It is also evident in his music and songwriting. Certainly one of the tallest and best looking country troubadors Mr. Dean makes it easy to like him.


Performing on Philadelphia's waterfront during Country Music's Adult Contemporary heyday in the early 90s with the likes of Hal Ketchum and Michelle Wright among others on competeing stages Dean held his own and captured the crowd. He knew exactly how to combine his innate attractiveness with his innate talent. A great seducer in that the seducee doesn't realize it until it's a done deal.

He played more than one songwriters evening in the round which provided an opportunity to revalidate all of the above in Nashville. He works hard at his craft and tours consistently. "Somewhere in My Broken Heart" is his signature song and remains one of the sweetest heartbreakers ever written. It was righteously awarded song of the year. It gave Billy the Kid his momentum and he continues to be a rare pleasure in a large and complicated field.




He has a great website go visit and wish him Happy Birthday today.

Go here to find out about last year's endeavours and why he's not on the Ponderosa.

He also has some space in our galleries' music section.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday Beefcake

Doubling the pleasure.

But before the entree is served there is always a first course. Here's one.

Spaghetti al Brandy

400 grams of Spaghetti
100 grams of Ham cooked and sliced into strips
50 grams of grated parmigiano
50 grams of unsalted butter
a glassful of heavy cream, farmer style
1 small onion, chopped
one large slice granny smith apple (mela ranetta), chopped

some flour, brandy or cognac, salt, pepper

1. Over a low flame in a casserole with the butter slowly melting add a spoonful of flour and then add the apple and onion together cover and mix from time to time. Of course, you'll have to uncover to do so.

2. In the meantime, start the water for the spaghetti

3. When the onion is well on its way to being cooked spritz it with a bit of brandy. When the brandy is absorbed add the cream and grated cheese. Let it cook over a very low flame for a short time. Then salt and pepper to taste.

4. When the pasta is drained, it is then dressed with this amazing mixture and garnished with the strips of ham.

(It's for 4 people as the first course or for two people with big appetites or no time for the entree.)