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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Tuesday De-Briefing: Daniel Petronijevic

The way this feature goes, it may very well be retitled "Tuesday Talent." The initial post had to do with Alec Musser's photo shoot for an undergear catalogue. The opportunity was used to make another pitch to see more of him as an actor and, of course, in the meantime, the praise of many a male actor have been sung in these posts with the fondest of hopes being that someone important would take notice. There were a few other fond hopes as well and too obvious to merit discussion.

Column of Life does its best to laud as well as leer and ogle. It may not be its precise raison d'etre, but it's a large part of it. Brian Rodgers, the intelligent fuel behind BGR Design was a source of inspiration in the great work accomplished for Christopher Meloni's official site. His help was enlisted and Column was born.

Worshipping at the altar of male beauty is not a very difficult thing to do. It is important to understand that becoming a worthy object of that idolatry is very difficult. It is very satisfying to help those who work hard to achieve perfection in their chosen field, because that's what fuels creativity on both sides of the pedestal.

Throughout a fun filled relationship Mr. Rodgers and some folks around here have started up more than a few websites for those hardworking individuals that have caught notice. They are nicknamed the 'mooseketeers' after one of this site's mascots, Pookie the Gay Canadian Moose. Many of the sites are listed to the right and contain a good deal of creative focus. In the following weeks the Tuesday feature will be devoted to those whose sites have been constructed.

First up is Brian's fellow Canadian, Daniel Petronijevic, whose site merits a visit.

Two years right here, Brian wrote this:

"A name most of you will be unfamiliar with, but, trust me, one you should get to know. Daniel is only in his early twenties, but he has been in the business a while. Probably best described as a journeyman, he hasn't had many big roles – except a standout as Thad Guerwitcz in Playmakers, the one-season football drama that ran on ESPN in 2003.

The Guerwitcz character is in many ways a precursor to Battaglia's "Drew" on QAF. In the closet, dating women, sleeping with guys. But Playmakers takes you deeper into the macho, generally-homophobic world of professional sports. Petronijevic makes Thad Guerwitcz tough yet vulnerable, tender yet vicious, self-assured yet completely lost. After struggling through trying to come to terms with himself, being outed to his team-mates and realising how much he has to lose, he has a magnificent moment of triumph that Petronijevic plays perfectly. But, as in real life, a moment of triumph is just that and Petronijevic skilfully takes Thad from exhilaration to glum resignation.

Ultimately, how an actor gives a memorable performance is by finding a way to attune the character to his audience. The most successful portrayals don't leave you wondering how it was done. And that's where Daniel Petronijevic has succeeded. Gueriwitcz is a character you can love because he's gay, hate because he's knowingly self-deceiving, admire because he has guts, pity because he's never happy. Petronijevic makes him all that and more – he makes him completely believable. What else can you ask for. I only hope he gets future roles deserving of his talent so that he can delight me again."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Extended Weekend: The Sweetest Birthday Peaches

With all the great recipes presented on Saturday dessert was lacking. That deficit is made up today and in the sweetest celebratory way.

Ricotta with Warm Peaches

Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta, 500 grams
Hazelnuts, toasted, crushed 250 grams
Honey, one half cup
Orange juice, freshly squeezed, one quarter cup
Peaches, four fresh, pitted and cut into wedges

1. Shape the ricotta with an ice cream scoop, arranging two scoops on each of four plates.
2. Top with the hazelnuts and one quarter cup of the honey.
3. Warm the remaining honey; add the orange juice and cook until caramelized, c. three minutes.
4. Add the peaches and cook two minutes more.
5. Arrange the peaches around the ricotta scoops.

This time of year peaches are at their best. It is, after all, their season, which brings to mind a peach of a person whose birthday is today--the multi-talented and all the way through beautiful person, Ilene Kristen. There is much wished for her as she greets this new day in her existence. She is always at her best. May her abundant talent be appreciated. May she get everything she wishes for.

Let's hope she has awakened to beautiful things coming her way.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Songs of the Week: William "Smokey" Robinson

One of the most prolific songwriters of the second half of the twentieth century and definitely one of its more memorable performers. Bob Dylan declared him America's greatest living poet and there's merit to that hyperbolic declaration in that many of Smokey's songs are those that come readily to the lips after being recalled. His music is much more than "My Guy" and "My Girl" although those are two numbers that helped put Motown on the map. Suffice to say that early Motown is also much more than those two songs. There are very few artists that did not waver in their loyalty to Berry Gordy and the label, Robinson is foremost among them. There are very artists within Motown that were not touched by his musical magic.

His best work, of course, was with The Miracles, but he also wrote and produced memorable recordings for The Temptations, The Marvelettes, The Jean Terrell led Supremes, Brenda Holloway, and Marvin Gaye. The magic didn't seem to work for the crown(ed)jewels of the label, The Diana Ross led Supremes (but they had H-D-H).

Richard Perry made a valiant attempt producing Ella singing some of Robinson's songs and, as truly inspired as that may have been, it didn't work. Wanda Rogers of The Marvelettes, on the other hand, seems to embody much of Smokey's creativity. Her slightly dissonant delivery gives his smooth groove a grown up edge and is at its best on the first of this week's trio of songs, "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game." Brenda Holloway is heard on "When I'm Gone" which is a finger snapper that might have been given justice by La Fitzgerald and the third is Wanda again on "The Day You Take One."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday Beefcake: Main Course

Once again the culinary treasures of Puglia are looted from the June/July 2003 issue of Italian Cooking and Living with a recipe requiring stuffing and stuffing, as you dear reader well know is a favourite pastime in these parts.
Stuffed Squid

Squid, one kilo, cleaned and separated into tentacles and bodies; choose squid about 4 to 5 inches long (not including tentacles) for this recipe.
Bread Crumbs, one half cup
Chopped parsley, two tablespoons
Garlic, one clove, minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, one half cup
Sea salt [or kosher salt]
Black pepper, freshly ground
Oven Pre-heated 350F

1. Finely chop the squid tentacles, and place them in a food processor.
2. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic and olive oil.
3. Process until a smooth filling forms, adding more olive oil if it is too dry.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon the filling into the squid bodies, then close the open end with a toothpick.
6. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat heat about two tablespoons of the olive oil
7. Add the squid; brown it in the olive oil; four minutes or so.
8. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes; until tender.
9. Plate the squid individually or on a large plate on a bed of lettuce.

Squid is an especially versatile source of protein which responds well to its surrounding flavours.

Side dishes nothwithstanding--a green salad does very well or research our archives for a simple broccoli di rape recipe. Mario Batali's is excellent, simple and tasty.

And speaking of side dishes and stuffing, the photos chosen are those of young men who know a lot about filling, viz. filling out a swimsuit or gym shorts.

Saturday Beefcake: First Course and Versatility

This easy summer pasta recipe is inspired by a traditional dish from Puglia called cajubbi cu' la rucola, usually made with homemade, whole-wheat pasta.

Rigatoni with Arugula

Rigatoni, 500 grams
Arugula, 300 grams or so, fresh, washed and dried
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Two tablespoons
Garlic, one clove peeled
Tomatoes, 500 grams ripe, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Peperoncino, crushed red pepper flakes
Pecorino cheese (Canestrato Pugliese), freshly grated
Sea [or kosher] salt
Black Pepper, freshly ground

1.Trim the stems from the arugula. Thinly slice half the leaves, and finely chop the rest.
2.In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic clove, and sauté until it softens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the garlic clove.
3.Add the tomatoes and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper, and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
4.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta, and cook until just under al dente.
5.Drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet along with the arugula. Cook another 2 minutes, toss and place in individual bowls.
6.Sprinkle with the pecorino.

The recipe came from Italian Cooking and Living June/July 2003. Italian Cuisine is nothing if not versatile and the recipe is posted with only a slight variation. The recipe itself is a variation of a Pugliese recipe which is generally found in versions with another pasta shape, Orecchiette, recchietelle in dialect, which is more typically from Puglia.

Orecchiette alla Rucola

Orecchiette, 400 grams
Arugula, 300 grams
Grape Tomatoes, ten
Garlic, two cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4 spoonfuls
Olio Santo
Black Olives, ten
Sea Salt

One difference in this recipe found in a site dedicated to the region’s rich cultural heritage from a Belgian immigrant to the region [www.laterradipuglia.it] has much in common with other recipes in that it adds black olives and suggests the use of olio santo, a condiment made with sautéing chopped peperoncini (sometimes with garlic)in a large amount of extra virgin olive oil and letting it marinate, which is kept on hand. Another difference is that the pasta is cooked in the water previously used for cooking the arugula. The third and final difference is the use of pitted black olives.

Of course, the exceptionally beautiful young men of Puglia are the ones that should adorn this our weekly feature dedicated to the sumptuous male body and good food (not necessarily redundant) and the region is chock full of them. Appropriate images that are precisely regional are very difficult to find. On the other hand, this web log is nothing if not versatile. Therefore, find here pictures from other sources, the subjects of which seem like they would appreciate a plate full of Pasta alla Rucola among being served a plethora of other earthly delights.

Saturday Beefcake Appetizer

Some background: In Italy the word finocchio [fennel] applies to a number of plants belonging to the Ombrellifera family, and more specifically to Foeniculum vulgare. According to De Agostini's La Mia Cucina, the plant grows in the wild as a perennial or biannual, but is annual if grown as a crop. In fennel grown as a crop the bulb is the part used, which is rich in anise oil; in the wild varieties flowers and fronds, which contain a more powerful oil and are necessary for certain dishes, are used instead. In your market you will likely find the bulbs. They range from the size of a tennis ball to that of a soft ball (5-10 cm in diameter), and can be either spherical or taper towards the fronds; though there isn't much of a difference in flavor between the two I find that the spherical ones yield more. In any case, when you select fennel pick bulbs that are firm and blemish free; if they have brownish streaks or the outer layer looks somewhat deflated they are likely old or have suffered in transport.

If you are going to use them in a salad wash them well, quarter them, and rinse them again, checking to make sure than no dirt has worked its way in between the sections. Then slice them finely, or julienne them. They go especially well in mixed salads ... If your fennel bulbs still have leafy fronds attached, they too are a nice addition to the salad.

If you instead plan to cook your fennel, as a rule you will want to wash the bulbs, quarter them, and then proceed with the recipe.

Tomato and Fennel Bruschetta

Tomatoes, two large, seeded and diced
Fennel Bulb, trimmed and diced (be sure to clean in between the layers)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, about one half cup
Fresh Basil, chopped, one quarter cup
Thick Slices of Italian Rustic Bread, not quite an inch thick, four slices of whote or whole grain
Garlic Cloves, two flattened
Preheated broiler

1. Toss the first four ingredients in a large bowl, season with Sea or Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Place bread on cookie sheet, and broil until golden brown.
3. Rub both sides of the bread and transfer to serving plates.
4. The mixture is placed on top of the bread.
5. Enjoy with beverage and house guest(s)of choice. Simple and to the point. Perfect beginning for a great repast after a hard day at the beach, gym or in the bedroom, oh, and work.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Eventful Fridays: Doing Our Best

The East Coast fundraiser last May was a great success. Here's the most recent spread from Soaps In Depth with some shots of the good people who made it so. The Abbey of West Hollywood has graciously consented to let us replicate the good experience for AIDS Walk Los Angeles at their very special venue. Much gratitude is due to all who came out to Prohibition in New York and it is hoped that October will be a West Coast reprise! This event is being co-sponsored by POZ and Entertainment AIDS Alliance.

Love Out Loud
October 18, 2007
5:45 PM to 9:00 PM
West Hollywood, CA

A fundraiser for AIDS Walk Los Angeles with Ilene Kristen of One Life to Live, Jackie Zeman of General Hospital, Ashley Jones of The Bold and The Beautiful and Jeff Jenest of Playboy and Entertainment AIDS Alliance on the Thursday prior to the The Walk. RSVPs encouraged. $50 donor pledge.

The Abbey Food and Bar
692 North Robertson Boulevard

Go here for updates and more info

RSVP: pozteamwest@pozevent.com

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gay Thursdays: Life & Death

This week’s Gay Thursday takes us to Gay-TV inspired by Michael Jensen at AferElton. The following is his tease over there with CoL comments in brackets:

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Brothers & Sisters set where I chatted with Matthew Rhys who plays Kevin Walker, Ron Rifkin who plays Uncle Saul, and the show's executive producer Jon Robin Baitz. Friday's BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER! will have all the details, but right now I thought I'd share some news Baitz revealed during the set visit. We'd already heard that Kevin's first love interest on the show -- Scotty Wandell played by Luke MacFarlane [There is a new unofficial site for the actor--visit here--from our own BGR Design] -- would be back for an episode. But for all you Scotty lovers I have good great news -- Scotty will be back for seven episodes and Baitz told me a little more about the character. Here is everything I learned about Luke, plus a few other details.

• The show returns Sundays at 10 PM starting September 30. [There had been some speculation that it was moving to another night]
• Eric Winters is only back for one episode, but that could change. He was actually on the set during the visit though I didn't have time to chat with him. I'm happy to report he is just as handsome in person as on TV. (And Matthew Rhys is better looking in real life. TV just doesn't do him justice!)
[Speculation in these parts is that Hugh Jackman’s show will not last—as loved as Jackman may be.]
When asked if Kevin and Scotty would get back together, Baitz said: "We're really interested in exploring what it could mean for these two characters to get to know each other even more than they have. Not just romantically, but truly as friends; as people who can talk to each other. So you're going to see that storyline evolve surprisingly. I don't want to tell too much. I think having him back is such a delight. Where we find him when we come back is a man trying to pull his life together and I take really special care with those characters -- Kevin and Scotty."
• When asked about whether Luke was back because of fan reaction and his chemistry with Matthew: "I always knew that it was extraordinary and they freedom they had is why it is working so well and they're such great strong actors. Everyone agreed. The studio. The network. The people who loved the show -- so it was a given."

This is a great spoiler for all the gay fans—actually all fans—of this great soap opera and while this would be filler in the television section for most mainstream newspapers, the concept that Baitz and company have given us a male homosexual character who makes very similar motions to his heterosexual siblings is noteworthy, and noteworthy that it is being supported by the network.

What gives it more import are the real life speculations regarding Luke MacFarlane and his alleged consort, Wentworth Miller, compliments of one Perez Hilton.

Of course, the good people who populate Datalounge have about nine discussion threads with reference to the story and the ensuing issue about whether an actor should come out publicly. Here’s a good sampling:

Regarding Miller: He did not go out of his way to lie. He has never said he was straight, just that he wasn't gay, and followed that up by telling people they were free to imagine him with a man (he said "man" first), a woman, or one of each. I would say that is less than a sturdy and resolute declaration of heterosexuality.

The response: You know, you can go out of your way to defend him, and that's admirable but at the end of the day if he's gay (or even bi in a relationship with a man) and he's hedging round a direct response because he's scared of offending someone, suddenly being seen out with girls and having his people rerun old quotes then I'm sorry, whatever way you want to dress it up, it's a lie.
Now I don't necessarily blame him, he's not the one that created a homophobic atmosphere and he just wants to work and be successful, I can understand that. But the fact is, when you enter the cult of celebrity at any level, people are curious about you and you choose to enter a lion's den of sorts. If the truth comes out about you it has ways of coming out. I do feel sorry for him, he seems a nice guy and I don't think anyone wants to see anyone get hurt but sooner or later someone's gonna have to march up to the plate and admit they are gay and fuck what the world thinks. How many more generations of people are going to have to hide away because of the notion everybody else "can't cope" with who they really are?

No, it shouldn't be up to Wentworth to carry everybody, but he is equally being dismissive, and evasive, none of which exactly helps. There are ways and means and maybe the best is to say nothing and let people think what they want until you are ready, whenever that is.

George Clooney has made a career out of saying ambiguous things and his appeal is still intact. I don't know whether Wentworth is just all at sea or is badly repped but they certainly seem to jump into PR mode when any hint of gay appears. No matter how you try to gloss over it, if it's not him, if it's not the real Wentworth, then it's not the truth = it's a lie.

The importance behind something like this is brought home especially with the current news story of a 26 year old murderer in Texas, Terry Mangum, who feels no remorse for brutally murdering a gay man to send him to hell, because he was chosen by God to do so. Whether or not this a ploy on his part to avoid Texan capital punishment—who knows there may very well be some God-fearing folk who would take his side—fact remains that that very attitude is nurtured by much dogmatic religious thinking from Ayatollahs to the country parson.

Living a lie, i.e. supporting the concept that homosexuals are not good people who should not be allowed the light of day, is death. AIDS activism taught the world that silence is death. Kevin’s recent romance with the Soap Opera actor was based, it has been said, on a real life experience of Jon Baitz.

What Baitz, Berlanti, Olin et al are doing with the gay fictional characters on a show like Brothers & Sisters is quite significant. Michael K. Williams as Omar Little on The Wire also quite important, as is much of the gay persona on Cable shows. However, network shows have a wider audience. Network television, remember, is the most accessible art in the world.

If life were to imitate art, perhaps there might be some life before death.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Wednesday Word: Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum

Wherever one’s position lands in the perennial discussion regarding Matt Crowley’s The Boys in the Band on its quality and/or political correctness, there is usually agreement that there are memorable moments of dialogue not without poignancy. For example the following--

Michael: … Physical beauty is not that goddamned important!

Harold: Of course not. How could it be? It’s only in the eye of the beholder.

Michael: And it’s only skin deep. Don’t forget that one.

Harold: Oh, no, I haven’t forgotten that one at all. It’s only skin deep and it’s transitory too. It’s terribly transitory. I mean, how long does it last - thirty or forty or fifty years at the most - depending on how well you take care of yourself. And not counting, of course, that you might die before it runs out anyway. Yes, it’s too bad about this poor boy’s face. It’s tragic. He’s absolutely cursed! (takes “Cowboy’s” face in his hands) How can his beauty ever compare with my soul? And although I have never seen my soul, I understand from my mother’s rabbi that it’s a knockout. I, however, cannot seem to locate it for a gander. And if I could, I’d sell it in a flash for some skin-deep, transitory, meaningless beauty!

Crowley's dialogue alludes to another perennial discussion regarding the duality of being, or not as the case may be—as in materialism. Human beings tend to live as if this is all there is, even those with traditional dogmatic belief systems. Beauty or its reasonable facsimile, even the inner kind, drives day to day existence in some way, shape or form. It's pleasure.

When it comes to sexuality, both genders in the human race are equally superficial. Being superficial is in reality what materialism is all about, simply because from that perspective that’s all there is.

Hence, this week’s word:

Main Entry:
1 body Pronunciation: \ˈbä-dē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural bod•ies
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English bodig; akin to Old High German boteh corpse Date: before 12th century

1 a: the main part of a plant or animal body especially as distinguished from limbs and head : TRUNK b: the main, central, or principal part: as (1): the nave of a church (2): the bed or box of a vehicle on or in which the load is placed (3): the enclosed or partly enclosed part of an automobile2 a: the organized physical substance of an animal or plant either living or dead: as (1): the material part or nature of a human being (2): a dead organism : CORPSE b: a human being : PERSON.

Most of that definition is very much at home in this web log and site. A lot of that definition is very much at home as well in Catholicism, a religion that believes in the resurrection of the body in the fulfillment of time and also believes that an ordained minister can change material like bread into a god-man’s body that can be ingested by other bodies… okay, you get it. The difference is that here there is much emphasis placed on experiencing one’s self and others as a sexual entity and not necessarily in the reproductive sense.

Actually, the inspiration for this week’s word comes from DNA #90(“The Life and Death of Adonis”) where there is currently an article on the late model, escort and porn star Brett Mycles, a.k.a., Rob Sager, whom Gay Wired says had one of the most recognizable bodies in Gay America. The article publishes the last photos taken of this exquisite man. Here’s a quote:

“I told him I’ve always respected him physically and thought of him as a piece of fine art. He felt that his body was a work of fine art as well. Rob told me that he felt those ‘goodbye to modelling’ shots were some of the best work he’s ever done.” (the current issue)

[The image at the top is only one from the article photos shown here. The others have been culled from the internet.]

Sager had a body, or was a body that very few can attain, and the beauty and pleasure that was experienced either by him within it or others without it was all too fleeting. All of life’s pleasures are. Humans live going from one to another. If life must be brief let it be full of delicious pleasures like Mr. Sager, who--if he has a consciousness that has gone on--knows that, if he was not necessarily loved, he was consummately appreciated and obviously still are. Would that all of us were.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Tuesday De-Briefing: A Rose of a Bloom

Brian Bloom has been the source of many fantasies since his own adolescence and the good people on Datalounge have once again devoted a thread to his desirability. Those who have appreciated his appearance on OZ in tandem with Chris Meloni know what he can do.

He came on the scene as Dusty on As the World Turns--there are many treasures within the world of Daytime television.

Mr. Bloom matured into an equally desirable man. Inspired by the good posters at the Datalounge Forum, it is important to revitalize one's fantasy life with the fondest of hopes that Brian Bloom who was magnificently de-briefed with the King of De-Briefing, Mr. Meloni--continue to show up on screens and monitors everyhwere.