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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Beefcake

The photo is of one of the late Bill Costa's favourite subjects whom we only know as Sean. Wherever Sean is, it is hoped he knows that 12 or so years later he is still very much appreciated, much like a crispy fall day with something warm and toasty from the oven.

This American recipe for what is called Austrian Pancake requires a heavy cast iron skillet, about 10 inches in circumference, and an oven preheated to 375F. It's great on crispy fall mornings.

1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup light cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Confectioner's sugar
Apricot Preserves

1. Into a medium bowl sift the flour with the sugar and salt.
2. Beat the eggs adding the milk and cream until well blended.
3. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until smooth.
4. Heat the butter in the skillet until it sizzles and then turn the batter into it.
5. Bake it in the skillet in the oven for about a half hour until it is set and golden.
6. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon. Serve with the preserves. (Serves 6)

It might be the one thing on a crispy autumn morning to get a body out of bed. Of course, it might also be something delicious to return to bed with, i.e. the pancake and not the young man waiting on the front porch. Then again there's nothing stopping you from inviting him in to enjoy it with you. Actually, invite him in to enjoy both of you in the bed.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Lately it seems that ethnic refers -- mostly -- to being Black, but African American is only one of a long list of what being ethnic means in Post-Modern North America. Living in Queens emphasizes the multi-cultural nature of that fact. Today's New York Post -- no less -- published a critique from Lou Lumenick that points the general public, should it choose to go, in the direction, i.e. to what gritty, valid working class ethnic drama is. With a new Scorsese film being released next week, another new film that pays homage to his early endeavours is more than welcome:

September 29, 2006 -- Dito Montiel's A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, an autobiographical coming-of-age film, won the directing award at Sundance ...

This superbly acted, gritty little movie, which at its best recalls early Scorsese, very vividly portrays a time and place: the mean streets of Astoria, Queens, during the sweltering summer of 1986.

Astoria is a working-class community just 15 minutes from Midtown Manhattan by the elevated subway that serves as the community's spine. But for 16-year-old Dito (Shia LeBeouf of "Holes" in a breakthrough role), it might as well be 15 light- years away.

His father, Monty (Chazz Palminteri), a Nicaraguan immigrant with an explosive temper and a long-suffering Irish-American wife (Dianne Wiest), reminds the gentle Dito at every opportunity that he has greater affection for his son's pal Antonio (charismatic newcomer Channing Tatum), a borderline sociopath from a broken home.

Dito tries to earn the old man's love by hanging with Antonio and a tough crowd. That's when he's not flirting harmlessly with Laurie (Melonie Diaz) and sneaking into Manhattan with a classmate from Scotland (Martin Compston), where they occasionally work for a gay dog sitter (Anthony DeSando).

Violence and other tragedies overtake Dito's circle of friends as he plots his escape. But mostly it's bittersweet memories that are offered up by the contemporary Dito (Robert Downey Jr.), who in the framing story has returned to Astoria after 15 years in California - at his mother's request - to visit the dying Monty.

On paper, this may not sound like the most appealing scenario for a movie, and there are points where Montiel resorts to such first-timer gambits as having characters directly address the camera.

But mostly, you feel like you're eavesdropping on these characters, which Montiel has skillfully fleshed out - with not a little humor - from an impressionistic memoir he published a few years ago.

He and his gifted cinematographer, Eric Gautier (The Motorycle Diaries), make great use of such Astoria landmarks as the community's Depression-era municipal pool.

Montiel gets the best performances in years from Palminteri and Wiest, and there are pointed cameos by Rosario Dawson and Eric Roberts as the adult versions of two characters.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is deliberately paced, but hang in there - this is a gifted director who actually has something to say and knows how to say it. We'll be hearing from him again.


Wonderful first film.

Running time: 98 minutes. Rated R (profanity, violence, sex, drugs). At the Empire, the Lincoln Square and the Angelika.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sean Strub says:

This Friday evening, the grand opening of Bar Louis at the Hotel Fauchere.
Bar Louis will be featuring the photography of Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg; Christopher and Paul will be on hand to sign books. The Hotel Fauchere is an historic property that Sean and a business partner spent several years restoring prior to its reopening this past August.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Timothy Adams

Not your average Polar Bear

Rescue Me

From 365gay.com via Pookie:

Speaking of which, I learned that Rescue Me creators, Peter Tolan and Dennis Leary had so much fun messing with actor Mike Lombardi by making him play gay last season that next season his character, Probie, is going to think he's actually a polar bear. It's all fun and games when Probie just wears a polar bear suit, but it ends in tragedy when he climbs into the polar bear enclosure at the Brooklyn Zoo and is eaten alive. Sure, it's a ludicrous storyline, but that's never stopped Rescue Me before!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Do You Believe in Magic? Go to Prohibition

It would have been an enjoyable evening all the same but chatting with the magical Max Darwin made it a bit more so. Ilene Kristen was doing her own kind of magic on the stage and Richie, one of Prohibition's owners was his usual absolutely charming self.

There was more than a little charm behind the bar in the person of Tristan Colton who will be finishing his run in Far East when this month comes to a close. Tristan, too, is an actor plying his trade in the Big Apple. So, here is a picture of him in an earlier play as Pee Wee Reese as well as one of Magical Max, who has a great site of his own where you can make his acquaintance at least in cyberspace.

Below in comments will be found a review of Tristan's latest endeavour.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Song of the Week: Drivin' A Solid Plan

He's Sure the Boy I Love
I always dreamed the boy I loved would come along
And he'd be tall and handsome, rich and strong.
Now that boy I love has come to me,
But he sure ain't the way I thought he'd be.

He doesn't look like a movie star,
He doesn't drive a Cadillac car,
He sure ain't the boy I've been dreamin' of,
But he's sure the boy I love.
Let me tell ya now,
He'll never be a big business man
He always buys on the installment plan
He sure ain't the boy I been dreamin' of,
But he's sure the boy I love.

When he holds me tight,
Everythings right,
Crazy as it seems,
I'm his, whatever he is,
And I forget all of my dreams,
And everybody knows...

He doesn't hang diamonds round my neck,
And all he's got is an unemployment check
He sure ain't the boy I been dreamin' of,
But he's sure the boy I love.

This Phil Spector production was, like "He's A Rebel" before it, credited to the Crystals and believed to be The Blossoms with Darlene Love in the lead. Many suspect it is simply Darlene with back up provided by whoever may have been in the studio while Mr Spector worked his magic. Darlene's unique and powerful vocals were used often by Spector before he started focusing on other artists.

Darlene was a pleasure to behold when she performed. She knew when to let loose and when to hold back. She still is the consummate performer.

This song is memorable because Philly teenagers misheard the line with "installment plan" and translated it into "He always drives with me a solid plan." A "man with a plan" was an ultimately desired man.

It is also a memorable tune in that the production, while true to Spector's penchant for a big sound, is also quite primitive compared to subsequent recordings under his banner.

It's a feel good song without pretention. The vocal is up front and honest without needing to be buried behind a wall of sound. Besides, there's no burying Darlene. It drives a solid plan.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Broadway Cares: Equity Fight AIDS

It was a typical Sunday afternoon in Manhattan when actors from Broadway and Television gather to help raise money to combat a disease -- one that, in the past, devastated their ranks as well as those behind the scenes. Good people are still stepping up to the plate and many fans were there to support them.

An interesting aside to all of this is how much Broadway and Daytime Drama intersect and cross pollenate. Among the many there were the luminous Ilene Kristen who brings her special talent to Prohibition tomorrow evening in tandem with the Block Party and a recent addition to Guiding Light, Light in the Piazza's Michael Morrison. The light seems to follow this special man wherever he goes. The afternoon light also did complete justice to the beauty that is All My Children's Connie Fletcher.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Beefcake: Biscotti and Harmony

Evolved Libra is about harmony. Appropriately so: the sign begins with the Equinox. Libran faults are tied to its qualities in that indecision about which road to take can hold the individual back.

According to Michael Jay in Gay Love Signs, Libra seeks harmony through ideas and experiences but not emotions. It is a cardinal air sign. Love means beauty and balance in the extreme sense for this sign in the I-Thou continuum, Libra veers toward thou and what the other thinks and feels is very important. Approval and affection is important but with detachment and some casualness.

This is not to say that the Libra is bereft of passion. It's to say that while sex is one of those things that Librans tend to be very decisive about, it is never enough. Libran love is about a companion and a partner and not very much about self indulgence.

Although it is the Equinox, here is the most self indulgent part of the WebLog, Saturday Beefcake which is about flesh and culinary sustenance. Harmony and balance can be achieved with a sense of well being -- and there are so many ways to achieve that.

One way to start out the day with that sense is to enjoy a biscotto with a rich cup of coffee and here is a basic, classic recipe for the classic Italian biscotto.

Biscotti alla Giosi

120 grams of sweet butter
360 grams of sugar
6 eggs
720 grams of flour
Handful of baking powder
Lemon Rind, grated
Pine Nuts and/or Almonds, chopped
Small spoonful of vanilla extract

1. Cream butter and sugar together
2. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition
3. Add flour and baking powder mixing well
4. Add lemon and nuts [note: This is the part of the recipe can be altered to taste. Anise seeds and anise flavour can be placed here as well chocolate, almond extract as the harmonious heart desires.]
5. Three loaf pans are required here greased and dusted as evenly as possible.
6. Dust tops with confectioner's sugar.
7. Place them into an oven at 375F for thirty minutes.
8. Once finished, slice them and then toast them in the oven. Hence, biscotti -- meaning twice cooked.

Nothing like a picture of two or three men achieving harmony.


23 September 2006 00:03 EDT

Friday, September 22, 2006

Men in Briefs

Viewers have been treated to what an editor at Entertainment Weekly calls the 'Butt Season 'over at Nip/Tuck and there will be no complaints from these parts. Special kudos to both Mr Mario Lopez as well as Mr Thad Luckinbill for providing two very fine perspectives from that end of the spectrum as special guests. Reviews for the main protagonists will wait until the end of the Season.

There is still much to be said, however, about men in skivvies as recently demonstrated by Calvin Klein's newest male purveyor of his undies. Swedish footballer, Fredrik Ljungberg, has joined the ranks of Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Sabato, Jr as Calvin's way of giving back to the community as it were. Many thanks to everyone involved. Gol!

Column has certainly made a humble attempt to fan the flames, so to speak, by maintaining a gallery of men in underwear, viz. Briefly -- visit. enjoy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thad Luckinbill on Nip/Tuck

How very non-Christian of Doctor Christian. Will the faithful understand?
Sean and Christian

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

O Come All Ye Faithful

Nip/Tuck: The Kiss of the Little Death

Andy Towle who has, if nothing else, a very enviable WebLog reports that an American Airlines flight was nearly diverted by an attendant because two men were kissing [here's the link] while the faithful are awaiting the arrival of Mario Lopez on the Nip/Tuck flight for tonight's episode where one can only hope that McMahon and Lopez might indulge the congregation bringing them closer to their own little death. That's not likely given the spoilers. What keeps the viewing faithful on the edge of their seats nevertheless is the possibility, the seduction, if you will, the domain of which Julian McMahon has proved to be a master by virtue of his recent excursion as the subject of an article in The Advocate. Go. Read. Buy it. Here's some condensation to keep your seat edgy and stay away from American Airlines where there seem to be only uncomfortable seats and ignorant employees.

On the wild side Julian McMahon has no sexual hang-ups, and he’s not afraid to say so. By John Griffiths

Excerpted from The Advocate September 26, 2006

It’s probably just a testament to his scalpel-sharp performance on TV’s naughtiest drama, Nip/Tuck, but the idea of meeting Julian McMahon on a street corner in Hollywood without a chaperone, even in broad daylight, seems a bit dicey. He’s more than convincing as Dr. Christian Troy, the caustic, womanizing man-slut half of the show—which, for the uninitiated, is a daring slice of kink about two sexy professional body carvers.

Luckily, the real McMahon is an open and playful sort. (Witness his sexy Advocate cover shoot, which was the gentleman’s own idea.) At a sushi joint near his hillside home he plops his 6-foot-2, 182-pound self down and orders a Popeye roll, named for its key ingredient, spinach. “I need to get myself some muscles,” he quips. The interviewer assures him he’s fine in that department. McMahon smiles. “That’s what I was fishing for.” Flirt.

Decked out in jeans, McMahon looks younger than he does on the tube, but he is a veteran when it comes to kinky on-screen action. Now entering its fourth season, Nip/Tuck—already brimming with LGBT story lines—is taking the sexy doc on a maybe-gay ride.

In the September 5 premiere, lonely Christian sees a therapist (Brooke Shields), who promptly tells him he’s in love with Sean (Dylan Walsh), his married business partner and best friend. Horrified, our hero hires an interior designer to revamp his Wallpaper-worthy pad and “butch it up.” Included in the makeover: a jutting bronze sculpture that, as Sean clues him in, looks like “a giant cock.”

McMahon is very much on the rise himself these days. Now that he’s notched TV stardom on his bedpost—thanks to Nip/Tuck and Charmed, a show he says he misses—his next conquest is big-screen leading man. He is about to film the sequel to last year’s comic-flick smash hit Fantastic Four, reprising his role as the nasty Dr. Doom alongside a heroic Jessica Alba and megababe Chris Evans. And in March he stars opposite Sandra Bullock in Premonition, a sort of spooky Groundhog Day. All that and Gay.com idolatry too (online fans have been known to marvel at the dimples toward the bottom of his back).

“No one is immune to his charms,” says the star’s Fantastic friend Alba, attempting to explain all the hubbub. “I think even straight men and gay women want to sleep with him.” While she offers no proof of that conviction, it’s worth noting that Rosie O’Donnell is one of many Nip/Tuck celebrity fans who have lined up to guest-star this fall.

Bullock has her own explanation for McMahon-mania: “Have you seen Nip/Tuck?” she asks, c’mon-style. “Enough said.” But wild story lines and McMahon’s dashing good looks aside, Bullock hints that camp is part of the alchemy. When both were bored during a lull on the Premonition set, she recalls, McMahon “did a wicked impression of Hitler’s hairdresser convincing Hitler to go from a handlebar mustache to the little patch he is famous for.” Bullock’s role? “I played the German hausfrau who swept up the salon.”

“I was Hitler’s image consultant,” McMahon later corrects with a sly giggle, as he downs a shrimp tempura and orders himself and his interviewer a second Coke.

But arriving at this shticking point with one of moviedom’s biggest stars hasn’t been an easy sprint for McMahon (and not just because he was nixed as the next James Bond). True, he and his two sisters were born into privilege in Sydney, but he has seen his share of sorrow and relationship woes.

His father, William, onetime prime minister of Australia, died when Julian was just 20. His 1994 marriage to pop singer and gay icon Dannii Minogue fizzled after just one year. And his 1999 marriage to actress Brooke Burns, which produced his daughter Madison, now 6, lasted only two years.

“I’m not even on the Richter scale of where I want to be,” McMahon says, adding that he relates to the journey many of his gay pals have faced: “They’ve had to travel to be where they’re at, and it’s not an easy ride.” The interviewer calls it the trooper mentality. “I find that intriguing,” he says, noting that he’s lost friends to AIDS and drugs, “and definitely, without a doubt, I feel like I’ve been on a similar journey myself.”

Like a lot of us, he has a penchant for stylish excess. McMahon lowers his white Hoven Ritz sunglasses, which reflect his latest obsession. “I buy six pairs at a time,” he says, rolling his eyes. He drives a 2007 Jaguar Super V8, favors Dolce and Gabbana suits, and gets off on the mind-blowing films of Michelangelo Antonioni. But these days the reformed—OK, “exhausted”—ladies man prefers to watch The Amazing Race with Madison. He’s even thinking of trading in his Austin Powers–worthy bachelor pad, a modern multistory palace with a gym and huge windows that frame the Hollywood sign. “I think about moving for my girl,” he says. “I wouldn’t mind a place with a little more grass.” Another revelation: “I just bought this tea set. I make my own ginger teas!”

Griffiths is the TV critic for Us Weekly and writes profiles for InStyle

Monday, September 18, 2006

Song of the Week: L'importante E' Finire

The music is another song from Mina's catalogue that addresses passion and, in more ways than one, la petite mort.

Death, Passion and Sex have been intertwined in a dark, beautiful and revitalizing way since the invention of all three. Sometimes the combination is not so revitalizing in the short run, but it's quite a ride. To make the point, Brian Bloom and Chris Meloni from their time in OZ.

Adesso arriva lui
Apre piano la porta

Poi si butta sul letto e poi e poi

Ad un tratto io sento afferrarmi le mani
Le mie gambe tremare e poi e poi e poi e poi

Spegne adagio la luce, la sua bocca sul collo
Ha il respiro un po' caldo ho deciso lo mollo
Ma non so se poi farlo o lasciarlo soffrire

l'importante è finire

Adesso volta la faccia questa e' l'ultima volta
Che lo lascio morire e poi e poi

Ha talento da grande lui nel fare l'amore
Sa pigliare il mio cuore e poi e poi e poi e poi

Ha il volto sconvolto io gli dico ti amo
Ricomincia da capo e' violento il respiro
Io non so se restare o rifarlo morire

l'importante e' finire.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The House of Usher Meets the Beatles

Those who were fortunate enough to attend shows from the Beatles American tour in 1964 for the most part can only attest to seeing them as opposed to hearing the by now classic tunes with all the relentless shrieking from the young females there. Female shrieking has since then become the indication of a celebrity's fame. It is that noise that makes awards shows and talk shows alike unwatchable and annoying. It is the reason that there were very, very few Beatles tours.

It is the noise filling the streets of New York's theater district near the Ambassador Theater on W. 49th St when Usher leaves his current place of employment. Witnessing it can only recall the hysteria that has accompanied the ascendancy of similar luminaries since the young Sinatra sang with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra. Usher's joining the cast has been the epitome of stunt casting but its the kind of thing that may be saving contemporary musical theater. There is a certain poignancy to witnessing it after being at Ellen's Stardust Diner where there is a gaggle of quite talented musical waiters and waitresses. Difficult right now to define the precise nature of the poignancy. Suffice it to say that there was more appreciative applause as opposed to shrieking for the unemployed actors -- very talented unemployed actors -- waiting tables. Discovering this article in the current New York Press was to the point. So, enjoy the latest pilfered journalism.

He Can Handle It
The rise of the House of Usher by Leonard Jacobs

What’s that cinematic fillip when someone smiles and there’s a little ping and then a little flash coming from someone’s front tooth? I’m sure there’s a name for it, and whatever it is, Usher Raymond has it. He smiles so often in Chicago—the long-running revival of the Broadway musical in which he’s now playing the role of Billy Flynn—that much of his performance is ping-ping-ping

In the audience, it’s ping-plus: his fans scream so loud each time Usher appears, they’re fairly creaming in their jeans just to see him stand there, ultra-dapper in a suit or tux. Truthfully, they’d be better off if they waited until he’s actually done something, like act (which he does, if stiffly), dance (which he does, bravely trying to foxy up the Bob Fosse choreography) or sing (which he does, terrifically).

As much as it may be a critic’s job to critique, it feels fundamentally unfair to criticize someone with such palpable stage presence who also is apparently under such palpable pressure—pressure of a kind that catapults itself over the footlights and lands in your lap. You don’t have to be jeans-creaming to notice that Usher is ingratiating and mad flirtatious. But at the same time, Usher’s really giving us the shaft, if you will, because he knows he’s tentative; he doesn’t own the part yet. It’s as if he’s extra conscious of wanting to play a character, not play an R&B music star playing a character. Good for him for knowing the difference.

Meanwhile, as Usher sizes and sexes up his audience to help mask something (maybe nervousness; maybe being 10 years too young for the role; maybe the fact that, smooth as he glides, he’s not perfectly executing those hip-and-ankle Fosse moves) he is also being used by the producers of Chicago, Fran and Barry Weissler. Insiders know the Weisslers perfected the idea of populating Broadway mega-hits with ever-growing lists of stars who sign on for short stints. In the ’90s, for their revival of Grease, they brought in: Jasmine Guy, Sheena Easton, Linda Blair, Debby Boone, Deborah Gibson, Lucy Lawless, Maureen McCormick, Mackenzie Phillips, Brooke Shields, Jody Watley and Joanne Worley.
Chicago’s replacement merry-go-round has been even nuttier. Usher is just the latest in a line of Billy Flynns that began with James Naughton, who won a Tony for the role, and has included Wayne Brady, Gregory Harrison, Huey Lewis, John O’Hurley, Kevin Richardson, Patrick Swayze and Tom Wopat. And that’s just half the list. The cold, hard difference now is that those names aren’t hot; Usher is hot. Those other guys are theater or TV actors; that sickly sweet meringue of not-quite-has-been pop star and not-quite-has-been boy-band star. Usher is in a different sphere; all seem aware of it. He holds in his hands the possibility of actually achieving what so many producers and self-proclaimed consciences of the theater talk about but rarely do: bringing new audiences to Broadway. It would help if the Weisslers weren’t acting like down-on-their-luck hobos and charging $100 a ticket for this cultural orgasm, but that’s another story.

Or is it? An idea struck me as I left the Ambassador Theater following Usher receiving, on salivary-gland cue, a standing ovation of a type that (I thought) was reserved for the return of Jesus Christ. On the train home, I wrote these notes: “The show doesn’t matter. What matters is sell, sell, sell.”

Then I read Ben Brantley’s review in the Times—which was an ejaculation of trivialization—and I was suddenly on the pop prince’s side: Who could blame Usher for not being as groin-stirringly magnetic and relaxed as this sultan of silk most likely will be when the critics go home? So I added to my notes: “In his bitchiest cynical-gay-man mode, Brantley daydreams about how else the Chicago producers could cast Billy Flynn: a silver Chicago starring Bea Arthur, a Scientology Chicago, yuk yuk yuk.”

Is the problem having an R&B star on Broadway? No, we should encourage that—after all, 50 Cent isn’t starring in Show Boat (or given his recent arrest, The Most Happy Fella) any time soon. Is the problem that producers are too eager to milk the cash cow, especially now that they’re abandoning the idea of replacement casting has-beens and never-weres in favor of very-hots? Well, who said producers were moral?

In the end, what may be lacking in Usher’s performance might be unhelped by the critics, who only care about cleverness. How sad that is and how ironic, too, when the scores of fans outside the theater, ready with their disposable cameras (a beautiful metaphor), only wish that they could croon along with Usher when he sings Billy Flynn’s signature song: “All I Care About Is Love.”
Frédéric Michalak & Clément Poitrenaud


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday Beefcake: Rice Makes the World Go 'Round

Rice recipes, much like homosexuality, exist in every culture since time immemorial and rice, much like homosexuals themselves, adapts easily literally absorbing its surroundings. Most civilized people have gay friends as well as a favourite rice recipe absorbing the surroundings. Here is a favourite standby rice recipe from someone's gay friend. Never let it be said that this WebLog doesn't touch all the bases.

Risotto alla Colonna

Virgin Olive Oil
1.5K Chicken
2 Large Onions, chopped
1 Clove garlic, chopped
2 Roasted Bell Peppers (red)
360 grams (1.5cups) of Rice (Arborio or Whole Grain for the ambitious cook)
Vegetable or Chicken Broth (3 cups)
Beer (a cup or so)
Artichoke Hearts (c. 250 grams)
Cooked chick peas and/or peas

1. Brown the chicken in the olive oil in a large skillet, sprinkle with sea salt and set aside.
2. Saute the onion, garlic and pepper in the same skillet until tender. Add the pepper last as it needs less cooking than the onion and garlic.
3. Add rice and saute it until golden, having absorbed the oil and the aromas.
4. Slowly add the broth and the beer, one at a time.
5. Add the saffron followed by the chick peas and artichoke hearts.
6. Return some of the chicken, cover and cook until the rice reaches the right consistency.
7. If the rice has absorbed the liquid too quickly. Add some warm water while it is cooking, or if there is more broth and/or beer, add more.
8. Variations: use Prosecco instead of beer and use fresh basil instead of the saffron.

Our beefcake subject is champion rugby player, Frederic Michalak, whose image is international in its accessibilty, its fame coming from his inclusion in Dieux du Stade -- it's not the first time it's been placed here. He seems to have a large dose of self security. The nature of his sexuality seems irrelevant in that he has universal appeal.

Not at all a bad quality for a man to have.

Friday, September 15, 2006

King of Queens: Vincent Irizarry

Of all the possible jobs in the entertainment history, the most difficult and most insecure is that of the actor. To be an excellent actor is quite an achievement in addition to the extreme difficulty in being a gainfully employed actor. That is no revelation.

Popular stars, celebrities, are treated like royalty whether they are good actors or not. Television and mainstream cinema treat them as if they were commodities or a product on the shelf. Many, if not the victims of the public's and producers' fickleness, become the victim of overexposure.

The Soap Opera actor's lot is no different and in many instances worse. They live between a rock and a hard place in that they are often held hostage by the very fans who claim to love and adore them whereby they get pigeonholed and stymied or get overused by the executive element to the extent of watching their craft get diluted and diffused. The other side of that is that they are enslaved by a system that writes stories by committee and rewards more than a few people with no real talent except knowing how to survive. The omniscient, omnipresent and omnivorous Carolyn Hinsey, editor and bar owner, writes about that today in her column in the Daily News.

In another incident, it is not earth shattering news that the very talented and charismatic native of Queens, Vincent Irizarry, has been let go from All My Children after nearly a decade of on screen chemistry with many of his castmates, both male and female. The news is that he was so disrespected after so many years of a job well done by being the last to know.

Fans knew about it before he did. It is now official. All My Children has been diminished once again.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mario Lopez Flopping Around

Not a scene from Nip/Tuck, just some preparation perhaps.

The Ghost of Nip/Tuck yet to come

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Facing the Demon on Nip/Tuck: Homophobia Can Be Fun

When Christian Troy is confronted by his psychotherapist that he may very well be in love with his plastic surgeon partner, Sean, she unleashed all the dormant same sex demons that lay in the deep recesses of the ID, that wonderful psycho/hypothetical construct either invented or discovered by psychonanalytical pioneers.

If Nip/Tuck holds true to the form initiated by the first two episodes in the current fourth season, viewers are in for an interesting ride through the funhouse in the recesses of Christian Troy's libido.

(It is hoped that the excesses of the third season will remain in the past. There is a way for a television series to have an edge without throwing it over the edge.)

The writing so far has been creative as well as maintaining that edge and the element of surprise essential to a show of this nature. The biggest issue of the last episode was the older gentleman's proclaiming that sexuality can be changed. Richard Chamberlain was appropriately fey in his interpretation which was Christian's invitation to bring the gentleman's young kept lover back into the fold of heterosexual lap dances -- a scenario Dr Troy himself lapped up as his young friend was getting serviced in eyesight.

Those demons were not to be denied their day in the sun. When the young man amply played by the hitherto unappreciated Thad Luckinbill shows up at Christian's apartment after being abandoned by his benefactor he is literally rebuffed by Dr Troy in a most un-christian manner and needless to say with a thoroughly politically incorrect attitude. Some gay men may find it offensive that this was depicted on screen, but it is obviously part of a journey that the fetching doctor is on.

He is facing the demons that were reawakened in therapy. There are good demons and bad demons depending on the perspective. The advent of Mario Lopez in a future episode may very well bring a little devil to life and dispel those destructive demons.

There are a number of subplots that may support this psychosexual journey in more than one of his ramifications ranging from a closeted lesbian investor to scientolgy and the value of therapy.

The catch phrase of Nip/Tuck is "Tell me what you don't like about yourself." Its plots revolve around -- needless to say -- what people want to change. As it happened the gauntlet was thrown down to Christian when he was confronted by his own sexuality in the form of the young man whose older lover wanted him to be transformed figuratively and literally into another version of himself.

So far so good, Nip/Tuck -- the only way to exorcise the demon is to face it. Bring it on.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tom Fontana

Reflections on the Manhattan of five years ago bring to mind those people who rose to the occasion during the times that followed the attack one of those good people is celebrating his birthday today. Tom Fontana is worthy of all the respect he receives on both the personal and professional level. There were more than one fund raisers for NY firefighters during that time at his behest. Simply put: he's generous and a man of his word..

Early on he made his mark in TV Land writing and collaborating with his good friend Bruce Paltrow on the exceptional hospital show, St. Elsewhere, to which all other medical dramas can only aspire. Homicide: Life on the Street is also the product of his creative mind. Joseph Wambaugh's blurb on Tod Hoffman's treatise of the show says it all, " ... simply the best police show to ever appear on television. Tod Hoffman's book is a must for any fan of the show, and it's much more than that. It's a story of something rare, namely the creation of cinematic art by a talented company that refused to compromise."

Of course, there isn't much more that can be said on these pages about the groundbreaking OZ which is also Mr. Fontana's brainchild. To know him is also a unique pleasure because the smile is genuine, the wit is sharp and the aim is true.

TV Land is richer because of him. More Fontana for more better TV.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years ago today Mus, the Algerian owner of what was then Denizen, a restaurant in lower Manhattan’s Soho on Thompson St. was furiously cooking food in the locale’s tiny kitchen to bring down to the site of the by then destroyed World Trade Center. Earlier that day watching the destruction above the Arch of Washington Square from Fifth Avenue one could only imagine what was happening further south closer to the tragedy. Those who knew Mus and others in the area tried to get across Houston St. but the authorities would not permit passage to those who didn’t live there. What was happening was that a Muslim businessman threw caution to the wind and wanted to take care of those who needed it. The air south of Houston was difficult to see through with white particles filling it. For days thereafter a strange smell permeated much of downtown.

The one zone that seemed to provide a haven was the West Village. The Monster, The Duplex and even The Cowgirl Hall of Fame were all operating at full service. There was no traffic and the huge lamps lighting the path to Saint Vincent’s Hospital made Seventh Avenue South seem like a movie set. Many wandered around aimlessly but there was a notable absence of hysteria and rancor away from the site and in downtown neighbourhoods.

One crazy bus driver on the way to Manhattan from New Jersey that morning refused to turn back at the police barrier and drove through stranding a young woman named Patty who felt lost and frightened. She found that safe haven with the gay denizens of the West Village. It kept her sane. She had to sleep in her office at work.

One of the eventually moving sights was the home of Engine 18 on W. 10th where one could see the men on a daily basis at work and experience a sense of safety. Engine 18 lost seven of its members. There was no escaping the sadness for months following their loss as one continued to pass it. A shrine grew there with flowers photos and remembrances.

Those days following the attack saw the spontaneous erection of shrines that also served as a way to acknowledge and help look for the missing. Denizen would soon be the venue for a firefighters’ benefit as would another restaurant further up in Greenwich Village on W. 13th La Nonna. Many people, the famous, the nearly famous and the not so famous banded together in order to have the sense of doing something in response to what was the greatest tragedy witnessed in their lifetimes. New York would never be the same, still it has gone on. It was one of those unique moments when one could see what others were made of. Besides, Mus, Tom Fontana, Chris Meloni, Kirk Acevedo, Lee Tergesen, Christina Barbieri, Brian Rodgers, Davide Novelli, Maria Teresa Ienni, George Aguilar, among many others rose to the occasion.

New York lives and thrives as do those individuals. Denizen and La Nonna did not survive as businesses in post-September 11th downtown Manhattan but most everyone involved with those locales have moved forward. The Monster and The Duplex are still the beacons of Sheridan Square. New York City is still the Capitol of diversity -- something that religious fanaticism will never be able to destroy.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Song of the Week: Ilene Kristen's "Flesh and Blood"

In the 1950s the good sisters ran air raid drills with their shrill voices emanating from their coifed, wimpled and squashed features commanding the young ones in their charge to get under their desks. As the children got older the drill took the form of going into the deepest recesses of the school as a makeshift bomb shelter. Fifty years thence all are very aware that a school desk is little protection against the ravages of a nuclear blast or anything else for that matter unless one is strong enough to toss it at the sister who was attacking with a wooden ruler. Even in the ignorance of those years there was little to reinforce the sense of being safe. The good sisters also did their part with many – almost daily – warnings against godless communists who would surely come to persecute the godly. (Little did they know that years later on these shores more danger would come in the form of godless Russian capitalists.)

If concrete dangers did not frighten the little ones then fear of repercussions in the afterlife could serve up fear and anxiety. If communists were not crawling through the bedroom window, certainly Satan was well prepared to snatch the bold and brazen sinful child who was incapable of a perfect act of contrition. The fear and anxiety of the nuclear years reached its zenith during the Cuban Missile Crisis when it was very clear that cities could disappear in the blink of an atomic or hydrogen eye.

High school brought some much needed sophistication into the minds of hitherto frightened school children but the fear and anxiety was persistent. This time it expanded its boundaries to include the godly capitalists who waged needless undeclared wars well into the university years where the godly and capitalistic shot at demonstrators and sometimes killed them.

The people of America at large already a rather conservative bunch became ever increasingly so and the boundary between the secular and religious blurred. When the Soviet Union was declared an Evil Empire it was already in its death throes, and most people knew that it was more dangerous to the people who lived within its realm of influence than those outside of it. The saber rattling served to help the general population feel safe or so it was thought. What was discounted was the continuous stirring in the area where once stood the Ancient Persian and Babylonian Empires. It’s almost as if the dissolution of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe was there almost as a distraction.

Muslim yet secular Iraq battled Iran with much needed supplies from the United States. American businessmen did their best to increase their wealth by selling arms and food to both nations outside the U.S. Western Europe was already battling domestic terrorism for years. The UK had its IRA and Italy had overcome in a way its Brigata Rossa. The United States had its own form of terrorism at the time. It was called violent crime. Most people who have lived their lives in terror stricken areas, like Northern Ireland, will tell you quickly that most terrorists are not politically driven. They are criminals pure and simple. Much like Ann Coulter their principles are a smoke screen for money and/or power. Are the criminals of now non-communist Russia who have access to nuclear weapons any less dangerous than religious extremists who want to capture hostages? If only life were as simple as hiding under a little desk until the strange noise stopped.

In a perverted sense of reality allegedly religious conservatives tend to feel safer when the poor and the diverse are utterly disenfranchised, i.e. very quiet and powerless or at least very close to that. Most of the good sisters have discarded their wimples and coifs except in extreme cases, not unlike Moslem women covering themselves by the way. Most Clergy and Politicians have discarded their strident anti-communism, of course. Now their targets are Moslem extremists.

Perhaps it should be brought to mind that it is r-e-l-i-g-i-o-u-s extremism that is dangerous in all its forms. The suicide bombers that brought down New York’s twin towers were exploited by criminally minded leaders with the prospect of a celestial afterlife in the arms of lovely virgins, because the extremity of their perverted religious beliefs kept them from physical pleasures here on earth. Here in the heartland of America let us remember our own Pat Robertson who exhorts others to assassinate and rejoices in the death of Supreme Court justices. Who is the real criminal? The so-called New Orleans looter of whatever stripe or the man who encourages death and murder while exploiting his viewing public for their money?

While many hope and believe there is no guarantee of an afterlife, an eternal paradise. Both heaven and hell are readily available here which seems to end soon enough.

What we do know is that those who sought power by guaranteeing safety have not done so. An American city has recently disappeared under their watch. And the blame game will not cease no matter how much the idiots in charge repeat that mantra. This is the time to blame. This is the time to politicize the situation: anything to keep people alive and safe. Lest we forget the Twin Towers went down under their watch. The exploitation of the tragedy of September 11, 2001 not only kept the incapable in power, but it also was perversely used to attain the long standing non-isolationist conservative goal of controlling the Middle East. Do not permit extremists to demonize the poor and the diverse. The enemy is not out there. It is not communists or devils that mean to harm good people these days. It is those here and now who would have us quiet and weak.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Beefcake: Adaptibility

This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Zilah Bahar and has become something different, although the basic theme still exists. Would that the theme of adaptibility and pragmatism were more universally accepted. Cultures that have survived and thrived are those that have adapted to both internal and external influences. It's called history.

One might wonder about the history and culture that produced the subject of our current photograph that stares out from the pages of Men's Workout, a very entertaining workout mag indeed. There's no doubt that survival and adaptibility could help one such as he and his forebears thrive.

Here then is today's culinary contribution:

Lasagne Verdi al Pollo

Olive Oil
Chopped onion
Minced garlic, 2 cloves
Mushrooms, 750 grams
Carrot cut into julienne strips
Marjoram, basil (dried, combined, about a spoonful)
Peperoncino (crushed hot red pepper, just a little)
Saffron (a pinch)
Cooked Shredded Chicken (250 grams)
2 Eggs
Pecorino Cheese, grated
Marsala Wine (spoonful or so)
Cooked green lasagne, or fresh homemade
Ground black pepper
Chicken broth

[Oven = 350F]

1.Sauté onion in olive oil with garlic, mushrooms, carrot and spices, then transfer to a bowl.
2.Add chicken and wine. Toss. Coat with some of the egg and season with pepper. Set aside.
3.Whisk egg, cheese and chicken broth to combine. Make it frothy.
4. In a 11x7 baking pan coated with olive oil, place a row of lasagne on bottom. Spread ½ Chicken mixture.
5.Another layer of lasagne.Then remaining mixture.
6. Top with lasagne and pour remaining egg mixture over it
7.Bake 20 minutes
8. Brush top layer with a bit more oil to make sure the top layer doesn't get too dry. Bake ten minutes more.

Eight people could comfortably partake of this or four guys from the pages of Men's Workout.