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Thursday, December 31, 2009

From the northern woods

In the New Year, may your right hand always
be stretched out in friendship, never in want.

Gay Thursday: Beecher, Keller, Oliver, Kyle and All That Jazz

OZ creator, Tom Fontana, holds Meloni and his committed work ethic in high esteem: “As an actor, Chris is passionate, daring and courageous. In the five years we made OZ he never once flinched at doing anything I asked for in the scripts. That included kissing co-star Lee Tergesen [Tobias Beecher]. Having kissed Lee Tergesen myself, he should have got hazard pay. The man is such a dedicated artist. He didn’t care if his character was likable or sympathetic. He never worried that his fans would confuse the real Chris with the guy in prison. What can I say about this man? Well, he literally stuck out his dick for me. His fearlessness inspired me to explore the depths of Keller’s soul and take bigger risks with Keller’s libido. More importantly, Chris’ fearlessness pushed me to write the Keller-Beecher gay relationship storyline as honestly and fully as I was able. He wanted to tell the truth, fuck the consequences.”

Back in the early years of this so-called decade and the latter years of the previous, when Tom Fontana's OZ was all the rage, Chris Meloni said that Beecher and Keller were the Luke and Laura of the 21st Century, referring to Chris Keller's (his character's) relationship with fellow inmate Tobias Beecher played by Lee Tergesen. Without disparaging the groundwork provided by As The World Turns' Luke and Noah, it can now be said that the heirs to Beecher and Keller, are without a doubt One Life to Live's Oliver and Kyle. It has not gone unnoticed that both couples had a milestone New Year's Eve in the telling of their stories. The first had theirs during a lock down, the current pair, denizens of Roxanne's boarding house in Llanview, are having theirs in television land as we speak. Well, in unreal time. So, the Tony Geary award for heating up the Soap Opera airwaves goes to Brett Claywell and Scott Evans for their respective roles as star crossed gay lovers, Kyle and Oliver with honorable mention to Nick Rodriguez for being what every good love triangle needs--the odd man out. Fortunatelly his character did not meet the same end that Brian Bloom's did for a similar role on OZ. Perhaps Donovan Patton can come back as the violent homophobe with a change of heart and develop a relationship with Nick--something absolutely in the Luke, Laura, Beecher, Keller tradition.

From Brett Claywell's Facebook:

"Back to NYC...Gonna be in the air when the final episode of the year airs...maybe there's a few of you out there looking forward to it??? ;) Been a blast this year guys, hope you loved the story, because we put everything we could into it. Hope we make you even happier in 2010!! All love, b"

And to all, especially, star crossed lovers, Column sends out appreciation for your presence here. Have a happy and fulfilling 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Word: Brian Gaskill

Main Entry: an·gel
Pronunciation: \ˈān-jəl\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English engel & Anglo-French angele; both from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos, literally, messenger
Date: before 12th century
1 a : a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence; especially : one in the lowest rank in the celestial hierarchy b plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
2 : an attendant spirit or guardian
3 : a usually white-robed winged figure of human form in fine art
4 : messenger, harbinger
5 : a person like an angel (as in looks or behavior)
6 Christian Science : inspiration from God
7 : one (as a backer of a theatrical venture) who aids or supports with money or influence

From Brian's MySpace Page:

Born in Hawaii and raised in New Jersey, Brian Gaskill graduated from the prestigious Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase. Upon graduation, Brian performed in The Lion in Winter at The Cleveland Playhouse, co-starring Tony Award winner Elizabeth Franz, who convinced Brian to head to Los Angeles, Soon after, Brian broke into television on Aaron Spelling's Melrose Place spin-off Models Inc. Next he landed the role of “Bobby Warner” on ABC's All My Children, for which he was nominated for a Soap Opera Digest award, and won a reader’s poll in Daytime TV magazine, as best younger actor.

While living in New York City Brian became the co-founder and producing director of The Rorschach Group...a theater company dedicated to bringing new material to the stages of Manhattan for the first time. Such as their first production…the San Francisco Hit XXX Love Act, which went on to become Clive Barnes pick of the week in The New York Post. Next up was the Manhattan premiere of Canadian Playwright Judith Thompson’s I Am Yours. Then the world premiere of the original play Mouthbook. Last before Brian returned to Los Angeles, was Radovan Ivsic’s play King Gordogan. This was the American Premiere of Radovan’s surreal play that was banned in Ivsic’s own country.

Upon his return to Los Angeles, Brian was seen in Sony Screen Gems' The Broken Hearts Club, and the critically acclaimed short film Higher Grounds, opposite Ann Cusack as an angel who was a golden retriever in his previous incarnation on earth. In addition, he guest starred on numerous primetime series. In 2001, Brian returned to daytime television in the role of Rafe, a vampire slaying angel, on the ABC series Port Charles. At this point it seemed that angels started to become a theme in Brian’s life. On this Brian says, “I guess there are worse things in the world…ha ha”

It was while Brian was on Port Charles that he was asked by top producer Laurence Mark to co-produce Weetzie Bat and the Dangerous Angels based on Francesca Lia Block’s famous series of young adult books. This Film is still in development. In her Weetzie Bat sequel, Necklace of Kisses, Francesca even created a character based on Brian (the character is an angel…or he just plays one on TV)…this is a great honor and a personal highlight in Brian’s life.

Dedicated and hard working, Brian also finds time in his busy schedule to support causes for the well being of children, animals, and the homeless. Now Brian spends most of his time being a Daddy to his four year old little girl, Alabama Zoe. Brian also Is directing music videos, and is looking forward to directing in other formats... and also looking forward to any new challenge on the horizon.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday Talent: The Cast of One Life to Live

It is our fond hope that One Life to Live continues its creative spark in 2010 and for many, many years to come!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Muse: Van Hansis and the Massacre of the Innocent

For the Feast of the Holy Innocents a Van Hansis redux from 2006:

Soap Opera Weekly's latest had a blurb about Mr. Hansis and The Laramie Project, which pointed readers to SoapOperaWeekly.com to read it, but it's a bit difficult to find. This came up, was stolen and is reprinted here:

Luke and the Laramie Project

By Mala Bhattacharjee

As the World Turns' Van Hansis (Luke) took part in a special reading of Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project's play The Laramie Project in New York on Dec. 1. Here, he opened up to Weekly about the project and how Luke Snyder is helping carry forward the legacy of Matthew Shepard, whose 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyo., became a symbol in America’s fight against hate crimes.

"I'm shocked that I was asked to be a part of it," admits Hansis. "It's incredibly humbling. One of our publicists, Alan (Locher), called me one day and said, 'Would you like to do a reading of The Laramie Project with Moises Kaufman?' I was like, 'Uh, hell yeah, I would!'

Hansis is happy to explain his enthusiasm. "Kaufman, the director, and his theater company, the Tectonic Theater Project, went to Laramie after Matthew was murdered and interviewed hundreds of people. From those interviews, they formed a play. Everything that's said onstage is something that was said to them or something that was said on the news."

"This play is now the second most-produced play in America and it's one the most-produced plays in high schools now," cheers Hansis. "It's a testament to how art can change the world."

Those in New York that week had the chance to see an all-star lineup alongside Hansis at the Town Hall Theater in Times Square, including singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper, Ugly Betty's Judith Light (ex-Karen, OLTL), Weeds' Mary Louise Parker and Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson (ex-Pacey). “The whole event is being hosted by Tipper Gore," noted Hansis. "I'm really excited to meet Mary Louise Parker, because I think she's fantastic, and Weeds has been my favorite show," he grins.

But star power and critical acclaim are not at the heart of The Laramie Project. "Matthew Shepard's story is one of the stories that changed the '90s as a decade and changed the world," reminds Hansis. "It would've been his 30th birthday on Dec. 1. It's a poignant day and it's all to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which his parents set up to promote tolerance and acceptance, especially with the gay, lesbian and transgender community."

"One thing that Judy Shepard (Matthew's mother) told me when I met with her was that there have been hundreds upon hundreds of other hate crimes since Matthew Shepard and they never get national recognition. Without recognition, there's not going to be change."

Hansis does his own part to promote recognition by playing daytime's only gay male core character. "I really feel that Luke's storyline has been groundbreaking in daytime television," he shares. "From the response I’ve gotten, Luke has become a very loved character on the show despite his sexuality, which a lot of people might have problems with. They've gone forward in telling the first part of his 'coming out' story, and that has really opened up a lot of people's eyes. I hope they'll continue to show Luke as a full, rounded person."

And the significance of that is unmistakable. "A very important part of The Laramie Project, and ATWT does this as well, is that it shows a community. In everybody's community, there are gay people. It's a fact," states Hansis. "You can't turn your back or try to hide from something just because you don't like it. People need to find a way to embrace each other and find out that, as different as people are, everyone in essence is the same."

Hansis looked forward to joining the likes of Stockard Channing (The West Wing) onstage. "I can't wait to do it," he laughed. I'm going to be so nervous, but I'll play it cool. Soaps are a great teaching mechanism for when you get something handed to you and you've got to do it as quickly as possible. Maybe I'll have a leg up on all these non-soap actors!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Songs: Lentils and the New Year Once Again

Jacob who became the father of Israel by virtue of a bowl of lentils, which he'd been preparing, and used to buy his elder brother's birthright (and, by the way, went on to wrestle an angel) filtered that patriarchal event through many centuries so that the food became an Italian New Year's tradition: a required item on the New Year's menu -- Eve or Day, their shape brings to mind tiny coins and people eat them in the hope that they won't want for anything for the coming year.

Lentils are very versatile, and, not to mention, nutritious. Therefore, two recipes are offered -- one more traditional than the other along with young gentlemen who seem to be quite versatile themselves. While it wouldn't be right to refer to them as nutritious, it seems they may know a thing or two about nutrition and wrestling angels

Zuppa di Lenticchie (Lentil Soup)

2 tablespoons fruity Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup lentils, rinsed, etc.
2 teaspoons sea salt
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Heat half the olive oil in large pot.
2. Add garlic, onion and fennel. Saute until soft [5 minutes]
3. Add the broth and lentils. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender [about 45 minutes]
5. Serves 6 people. Drizzle olive oil over each serving and garnish with fresh basil.
[Romano or parmesan cheese]

Lentil Tapenade

One Cup Lentils
20 ounces of Broth
Chopped Garlic, 2 tablespoons
Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, dried and slivered
Aromatic Olive Oil
Anchovy paste
Capers, three tablespoons
Olives, any Mediterranean type, pitted, chopped, 1/2 cup
Fresh Lemon Juice, two tablespoons
Sea salt and ground pepper
Chopped Italian Parsley
One Lemon Slice

1. Rinse and drain the lentils
2. Simmer the lentils in the broth
with the garlic and tomatoes
in a large saucepan from 30-45 minutes
or until they are cooked
3. Place the saucepan ingredients
in a processor for about 30 seconds,
scraping the sides several times.
4. Add the oil, a couple drops of the anchovy paste,
capers and chopped olives, lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste.
Continue processing until smooth, once again scraping down the sides
5. Add 1/2 cup of the parsley; pulse several times to blend.
6. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with lemon and parsley.

This is for crostini, or fresh bread, or pita chips
and the recipe is a variation of Julee Rosso's
who probably knows a lot more about nutrition than wrestling angels.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday Beefcake and Nighty Night Foreplay

Saturday Beefcake Main Course

Sean Patrick is hardly an Italian name, but just like photographer Ed Olen, we know something exceptional when we see one and Sean Patrick is as good as any Italian main course.

Pollo Alla Canzanese
2 small chickens, about 3 pounds each cut into 6 to 8 serving pieces
1 tbsp of kosher salt
2 sage leaves
4 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
12 whole cloves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
24 black peppercorns, crushed
1 small diavoletto [“little devil”] – dried hot red pepper
two ¼ thick slices of prosciutto, diced
¾ cup dry red wine
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and cover with cold water and let stand for 20-30 minutes.
2. Rinse the chicken and place in a skillet into which the pieces can fit in one flat layer. Add the sage, bay leaves, garlic, cloves, rosemary, peppercorns, red pepper, prosciutto and wine.

3. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until the chicken is almost tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the lid from the skillet and cook until the sauce is reduced and the chicken starts to colour. If necessary add more wine or a little water. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Your Afternoon Slump Man: It's Tim Robards Once Again

Between the Holidays Beefcake Sweets

One can only hazard a guess regarding Anthony Catanzaro's Italian origins. Sicily may quite possibly be part of it. There's no doubt that many would like to call one thigh "Xmas" and the other "New Year's" and would love to come visit between the holidays.

Something Sicilian: Cucidati/Cucurreddi

Pasta Frolla:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs

Fig Filling:
12 ounces (about 2 cups) dried Calimyrna figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup candied orange peel, diced
1/3 cup whole almonds or pine nuts, chopped and lightly toasted
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup apricot preserves
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Egg wash:
1 large egg, well beaten with 1 pinch salt


Confectioner's sugar emulsified with orange juice

Multi-colored nonpareils for finishing before baking

2 or 3 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment or foil

1. To make the dough, in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse two or three times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until it it finely incorporated and the mixture is cool and powdery. Add the eggs, all at once, and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface, then place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a square about an inch thick and wrap it. Chill the dough while preparing the filling.

2. For the filling, in a large bowl, stem and dice the figs. If they are hard, place them in a saucepan, cover them with water, and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Drain the figs in a strainer and allow them to cool before proceeding.

3. In a bowl, combine the diced figs with the rest of the filling ingredients and stir them together. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse to grind the filling mixture finely. Scrape the filling back into the bowl used to mix it.

4. When you are ready to bake the cucidati, set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°.

5. Take the dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a floured surface. Knead the dough lightly to make it malleable again and rollit up into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into twelve equal pieces. One at a time, on a floured surface, flatten each and make it into a rectangle 3 inches wide and 12 inches long. Paint the wash on the dough and evenly distribute 1/3 cup filling down its length. Bring the edges of dough up around the filling to enclose it, then press the edges of the dough together firmly to seal in the filling. Use your palms to roll over the filled cylinder of dough until it extends to 15 inches, then cut it into 3-inch lengths. Set the filled cylinders aside while filling, rolling, and cutting the other pieces of dough.

6. To finish shaping the cucidati, use the point of a sharp knife to slash six or eight diagonal cuts in the top of each filled cylinder of dough. Place each slashed cookie on one of the prepared pans, and curve it into a horseshoe shape. Leave about an inch all around between the cookies.

7. After all the cucidati are on pans, paint the outsides lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle them sparingly with the non-pareils.

8. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until they are a light golden color. Slide the papers from the pans to racks.

9. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.

Your Midmorning Slump Man: Tim Robards

Good Morning: Everyday Is A Holiday Beefcake

Time to look ahead and enjoy what's in store.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gay Thursday Xmastide Redux: Being Gay is A Gift from God

Here are two posts from the past:

Gay love is good because all Love is good in spite of what some of the ignorance on Oprah's message board purports. Go here. If you believe in a benevolent God, which is what the Xtian god is supposed to be, the smiting and the fire and the brimstone is of an unevolved era, a bygone era when Hebrews were slaves to the might Pharoahs. You may have noticed that it's no longer the case. Jesus Christ never mentioned it in the New Testament. The Old Testament writings come from another era. They are writings not unlike the thinking of terrorists. Yes, homosexuality is a gift from Creation. Homosexuals feel just as good about what they do as non-homosexuals, maybe even better about it, because we have learned to celebrate it.

In the days when one saw hope for conventional, global religions reaching out to real people and making an impact on the real world, there were two publications that were de rigueur for the progressive, professional Xtian: Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips and Malcolm Boyd's devotional poetry in Are You running With Me Jesus?

The Churches lagged far behind many forward thinkers of those times who had no choice but to pursue their paths outside the realm of those organizations.

It was with great pleasure to discover that Malcolm Boyd came out publicly with his sexuality and that he partnered up with an equally forward thinking spiritual gay person in Mark Thompson, the editor of an anthology first published in 1987, Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning. Go to his website to get more information on this and other books.

Gay Spirit calls gay people back to the Circle of Life as full participants in the dance of survival and joy…this anthology is like the rains of spring hastening our unique growth, flowering and fruition.” --Gay Community News

It seems that as we rapidly tumble toward another presidential election, that the issue of gay rights is upfront. It comes up all over the place in North America and gets put to a vote. Asking people to vote on it with their respective Churches looking over their shoulders puts the issue at a disadvantage. After all, Jennifer Hudson who apparently loves gay people still will declare that it is a sin. While, Europe seems to just allow rights for gay people, since unions there can be simply civil and the separation of Church and State is finally being taken seriously there after centuries of turmoil and persecution. Perhaps religion is being relegated to a less important role in daily living. Governments provide benefits for all their citizens, including those who love and live with members of the same sex. Religion does something else. It does not govern. It renders all of that to Caesar.

Religion in North America is paramount in peoples' lives if one were to believe what politicians seem to be acknowledging and pandering to. It seems that the latest Xtian crusade is to save the world from evil homosexuals.

In his brilliant introduction to Gay Spirit, Mark Thompson wrote:

In a world so used up, where even hope has been betrayed as a disposable commodity, there stands a vision of the future as magnificent and shimmering as the silver sword plunged into stone. The sword is known by many names. For some people its name is 'gay,' and it has released them from a long buried past. Sustained by a sexuality as old as humankind but mired in the depths of Western consciousness, which has tried either to colonize or to destroy them (as it has so many others), these gay people finally stand at the edge of our time, resilient and resourceful, tending to the new life necessary for the future ... Gay Spirit, the psychic and creative energies generated by people we now call 'gay,' has always existed on the outershores of our culture's collective consciousness ... In creating new myths for themselves, gay people need to return to the questions ...: Who are we? Where have we come from? What are we here for?

They are questions that religion attempts to answer. Religion also attempts to help define one's identity in terms of one's beliefs.

Perhaps in the silliness evolved around religion in North America and its privileged status, it may be time for a gay religion. Institutionalizing homosexuality as a religion and forging a gay identity via that institution may be the answer in establishing gay rights.

Above and beyond the tax exempt status it will provide protection for couples and their households. It is not so absurd an idea as one might think. It would suffice to focus on the dogmas and tenents of the major religions as well as a few minor ones, in comparison to those that might be associated with a gay spirituality organized into a religion. Maybe not so crazy. Just a thought.

If God didn't create Adam & Steve (pictured), it's also very possible that he didn't create Adam & Eve either. If there's a belief in God as Creator, then that God created Adam, Eve, Steve and every other kind of being in the garden of humanity.

God bless us, everyone.

-- Tiny Tim

Have yourself a happy holiday

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Wednesday Word Made Flesh

Another annual post, more or less:

As Above So Below

As Without So Within

Peace and Merry Be,


Et Verbum Caro Factum Est et Habitavit in Nobis. And the Word was Made Flesh and dwelt among us. The Word that came forth from God was made Flesh. Exegesis of ancient philosophy and thought places much emphasis on the power of the word. The Word that came from God took form in humanity. That’s what Jesus is supposedly all about: God and humanity as one and the same entity.

John, the Beloved Disciple is the attributed author of the above quote which is essential to the Liturgy of the Word in Roman Catholic ritual, and is part of that ritual on Xmas. John was the one whose head rested on the chest of the Lord during the Last Supper. John was the one to whom the Lord entrusted his mother when he was dying. John is usually depicted as a young handsome man. He is the Beloved above and beyond the rest of the disciples.

A type of intimacy was attributed to and recorded about John's relationship to Jesus. Let it be said here and now that Jesus Christ, according to the accepted Sacred Gospels, one of which was accordingly written by John the Beloved, said absolutely nothing that directly condemned same sex relationships.

The theology that John’s writings exhibit has to do with the Divine inhabiting and becoming flesh and eventually overcoming the mortality of the flesh. It is the cornerstone of Xtianity.

It is John who is the only disciple who survived martyrdom and lived to a ripe old age. It is John who had numerable mystical visions that gave the world the Book of the Apocalypse, a.k.a. Revelations. It is John who points the way to overcoming the ravages of the Beast upon humanity. It is John and his relationship with the god-made-man that may very well point the way to acceptance of all human beings being exactly what God made them in all their glory.

John’s Feast is December 27th and celebrated during the Octave of Xmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Talent: Kevin Spirtas Redux

Loaded is the first play by HIV positive playwright Elliot Ramon Potts. Both of the characters in this very intimate play are HIV positive. Brandon Voss over at The Advocate seems to be quite unhappy with the characters Potts created. At least one of them is someone not worthy of rooting for, but his every move and numance is quite understandable. That's because Kevin Spirtas who interprets 47 year old Patrick in this play puts his heart and soul into it. This is a true post-modern work in a world after AIDS.

Not every gay character needs to be someone cut out of an after school special. Gay people are human beings. Potts and Spirtas bring Patrick to life informing us that there are many similar people out there. While the drama leaves the observer with nothing to hold on to, so to speak, there is a sense that if Patrick and Jude could be reached out to, a third person might help them understand or get across. That's a lot like real life. A good actor makes you want to enter the scenery and interact.

If only Voss had mentioned how good the acting was and how Kevin Spirtas left virtually no stone unturned in his unveiling of the very complicated, to say the least, Patrick.

Loaded is not perfect, but it does have something to say about living in the age of AIDS, barebacking and HIV positive sex. Hearts and flowers it ain't.

Props most definitely are needed for actors, especially those who can bring someone to light, even someone not so sympathetic.

Mr. Spirtas will be back in all his intensity after January 2, 2010.