National: Arts & Culture

Tavis Smiley’s black union excludes gays

imageContributing blogger Darian Aaron is an Alabama native who now calls Atlanta home. He’s the creator of Living Out Loud with Darian, a blog that offers his take on social, political and religious issues that impact the LGBT community.

Journalist Karen Ocamb has penned a thought provoking piece on Tavis Smiley's annual State of the Black Union. During the 10th anniversary of Smiley's much lauded and well attended think-tank, the presence of openly gay black leaders and issues affecting the black LGBT community were once again the elephant in the room.

More after the jump.    READ MORE »

Your spark can turn wood into a spectacle

imageContributing blogger Mike Alvear is an Atlanta-based columnist, author and TV personality who rants on sex, dating and pop culture while living at the corner of urge and merge. Find more from him at his blog.

This question came from a letter to my "Need Wood" column:

You have to help me. You are my last resort. I am 25, and have the sex drive of an 18-year-old. My boyfriend of almost seven years is 32, and has the sex drive of a 60-year-old. It seems like the only time we have sex is when he is in the mood, or when I am almost “forcing” him to.

I can usually get him into the mood by doing different things to seduce him, but he is never the one to initiate sex. We have tried several different things, with no improvement. What can we do to get his sex drive up to where it should be?

The answer after the jump.    READ MORE »

And the Oscar for best kiss goes to ...

imageContributing blogger Mike Alvear is an Atlanta-based columnist, author and TV personality who rants on sex, dating and pop culture while living at the corner of urge and merge. Find more from him at his blog.

Why do celebrities kiss so beautifully in the movies and so badly in real life? In the cinema when the guy kisses the girl, we sigh. In real life, we groan.

It was only after writing an article about romantic chemistry and spending hours on Google trying to find pictures of passionate celebrity smooches that I realized just how bad they are. Google “celebrity kisses” and you’ll see what I mean. You hope for something that’ll make you lean forward but what you get makes you step back. How can so many beautiful people do such a beautiful thing in such an ugly way?

More after the jump.    READ MORE »

Perfect positioning for sex on Valentine’s Day

imageContributing blogger Mike Alvear is an Atanta-based columnist, author and TV personality who lives at the corner of urge and merge. Find more from him at his blog.

Is it, as comedian Lord Carret said, “her knees over my shoulders, with my wallet hidden where she’ll never think of looking for it?”

Or is it a little more romantic than that?

More after the jump.    READ MORE »

Robert Spano keeps his purse strings tight

imageRobert Spano, the openly closeted conductor of the Atlanta Symphony, opined about the orchestra he leads, the impact of the recession on the arts organization and the upcoming season in a new interview.

With the ASO announcing its 2009-2010 season and its 65th year, we sat down to talk with conductor Robert Spano. Always an intense, high-wire musician, Spano has mellowed in his eight years as music director. He arrived as an agent of change, with a penchant for contemporary scores and intriguing thematic programming.

More after the jump.    READ MORE »

Making Facebook work for your gay lifestyle

No doubt that by now, you've been tagged with the "25 Random Things About Me" floating about Facebook.No doubt that by now, you've been tagged with the "25 Random Things About Me" floating about Facebook.

Some folks take it seriously, spending considerable time on compiling their response, others blow through it in a few minutes and confirm that you really don't want to know. And others still just ignore it as a frivolous cost of being on Facebook.

The folks at Queerty added another twist, giving their 25 random tips on how to make Facebook work for your gay lifestyle.

More after the jump.    READ MORE »

Burger King’s got a new Flame for you

imageWanna smell like a (Burger) King?

The home of the Whopper has just the thing -- a new men's body spray for $3.99 that brings you "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat." This spray isn't for twinks.

Watch the video after the jump.    READ MORE »

Reflecting on the demise of Playgirl

Not long after Nicole Caldwell became editor in chief of Playgirl magazine, she realized that looking at photos of naked men all day was not everything she had imagined it would be. When she would meet them, there was often a curious vapidity to the men, who Ms. Caldwell took to describing as “mimbos.”

Readers, Ms. Caldwell decided, deserved more.

So she and her fellow editors, all women in their 20s and all relative neophytes to the world of magazines — and pornography — resolved to fill Playgirl with something different. They aspired to bring Playgirl back to its roots, back to a time when the magazine covered issues like abortion and equal rights, interspersing sexy shots of men with work from writers like Raymond Carver and Joyce Carol Oates.

All the while, the editors juggled the demands of the publisher, Blue Horizon Media, which they said pushed to fill Playgirl with even more nudes and fewer words.    READ MORE »

Magazine asks if ‘Gay is the new black?’

The night before Election Day, a black woman walked into the San Francisco headquarters of the No on Proposition 8 campaign. Someone had ripped down the No on 8 sign she’d posted in her yard and she wanted a replacement. She was old, limping, and carrying a cane. Walking up and down the stairs to this office was hard for her.

I asked why coming to get the sign was worth the trouble, and she answered, “All of us are equal, and all of us have to fight to make sure the law says that.” She said that she was straight, and she told me about one of the first times she ever hung out with gay people, in New Orleans in the 1970s. “I thought I was so cool for being there, and I said, ‘You faggots are a lot of fun!’ Well, that day I learned my lesson. A gay man turned on me and said, ‘A faggot is not a person. A faggot is a bunch of sticks you use to light a fire.’ ”

The next day, Barack Obama was elected president, and gay marriage rights in California were taken away. At the same time, Arizona voters amended their state constitution to preemptively outlaw gay marriage. Florida went further, outlawing any legal union that’s treated as marriage, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions. Arkansas passed a vicious law denying us adoption rights.    READ MORE »

‘Naked Boys’ at center of lawsuit in Wisc.

A gay arts group has sued the city of Milwaukee in federal court for violating its free speech rights three years ago when officials shut down a musical revue featuring nudity.

The city temporarily shut down performances of "Naked Boys Singing!" in August 2005 while it considered the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center's application for a theater permit. The group later received a permit and reopened the show.

Larry Dupuis, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, which is handling the case, said the city's enforcement seemed unusually zealous, even given the musical's content.    READ MORE »

Lesbians face ‘double-glazed glass ceiling’

A new study into the experiences of lesbian and bisexual women in the workplace has revealed that many of them were more concerned about their gender than their sexuality.

Lesbians are far less visible in the workplace than gay men, and few women attend sexual orientation staff networks or events.

The research also found that out gay women see few if any role models or other out gay women in high-level positions.


Gay men feed surge in plastic surgery

Gay men in Britain are fuelling a surge in demand for plastic surgery, with a quarter admitting to having gone under the knife already.

Despite the current economic crisis, the cosmetic surgery industry in Britain is booming, and a rise in demand for procedures such as nose jobs, liposuction and male breast reductions has been attributed to a surge in male requests.    READ MORE »

Gay ? Straight? A model’s dilemma

Did you hear the one about the male model who didn’t like people looking at his pictures?

It seems like the set up to a bad joke. But in reality, it’s the premise of a lawsuit against Genre magazine that has models, lawyers, publishers, and gay fans of models in barely-there tighty-whities in a grand old tizzy.

Self-proclaimed straight model Benjamin Massing, who was featured in the March/April issue of Genre, is suing the publication along with photographer Rick Day. Shortly after a photo session with Day (done, Massing asserts, to acquire shots for his private portfolio), scantily clad photos appeared in Genre (whose gay-as-a-picnic-basket vibe and marketing strategy is undeniable). Shortly after that, Massing filed a lawsuit. It claimed personal damages in the form of being hit on by gay men as well as the perception that his presence in Genre implied Massing has lavender leanings. The resulting fallout has likely caused more damage to Massing’s reputation and viability as a professional model than the Genre photos ever could.    READ MORE »

Gay ‘Wicked’ author entertains crowd

imageGregory Maguire, the gay author of "Wicked," entertained a crowd of about 120 people on Tuesday with excerpts from his newest work and answers to a variety of questions about what it's like to be the author behind the hit musical.

His appearance at Outwriite Bookstore & Coffeehouse was just a few blocks from the Fox Theatre, where a cast was performing "Wicked." Maguire was in town to promote "A Lion Among Men," the third in the darkly political re-imagining of Oz.

During his reading, Maguire delved into the rich fantasy world he's developed, giving fans more of what they came to expect from the author of "Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West."

Read more about Maguire and his new book in profiles form Southern Voice and a Q&A with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

View the Project Q Atlanta photo album from the event.    READ MORE »

Jerry Lewis under fire for ‘fag’ remark

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Australian Coalition for Equality have called for an apology after Jerry Lewis, who is in Australia performing a stage show, made the remark and mimed swinging a cricket bat effeminately at a televised press conference.

It is not the first time the comedian, whose big break came as the slapstick half of a double act with Dean Martin, has created controversy. During a telethon last year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which he has presented since 1966, he pointed out one of the cameramen and called him an "illiterate fag". He immediately retracted the remark and later issued a full apology, saying that, "I obviously made a poor choice of words. Everyone who knows me understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard. In the family atmosphere of the telethon, I forgot that not everyone knows me that well."


Halloween means more for gay Wicans

Ken Hunter was on a date with a nice guy at the posh Cafe Intermezzo in Midtown when he decided to share a bit about himself. He told his date he was Wiccan.

“He walked out on me. He dumped me on the date because I told him I was Wiccan,” Gunter says, shaking his head.

Being gay and being Wiccan — a religion that, in simple terms, celebrates nature — is sometimes a double-edged sword.    READ MORE »

Study explores why gays get hitched

A recently released Boston College study indicates that legal recognition and the opportunity to make a public statement are the prime motivators for Massachusetts gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The college conducted the study 13 months after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. (The state began marrying gay couples in May 2004.) Professor Pamela J. Lannutti surveyed 263 couples, including those who were legally married in Massachusetts and those who plan to marry. The average relationship duration was 7.5 years.

A quarter of couples said they were motivated to marry for legal protections, while 20% said they wanted to make a public statement of commitment, and only 15% cited feelings for their partner.

Others said they tied the knot to receive acknowledgement from family members (14%), legal protection for help in having children (13%), political reasons (4%), and religious reasons (2%).    READ MORE »

Gay website outs straight contestant

One of the finalists in a popular ITV reality show has admitted he is straight after an Australian gay website DNA declared him to be "openly gay."

Austin Drage, who is competing in the "The X Factor," turned to the Daily Star to declare his heterosexuality.

"I am sorry to disappoint but I am not gay," he told the paper. "But I am very flattered to have a gay fan base. And I appreciate all the support I have been getting while on 'The X Factor.'"    READ MORE »

Celeb boyfriends finding new openness?

Ah, celebrities! We just can’t get enough of ‘em. We adulate them, imitate them, fantasize about them, and sometimes, yes, even ridicule them.

And now that more and more celebrities are bravely coming out, we gay and bisexual men and our supporters have more celebrities to fixate on than ever before.

But you can’t obsess over celebrities forever. Eventually the time comes to move on to other things.

What’s that, you say? You think I’m talking about our own mundane lives?

Don’t be ridiculous! I’m talking about these celebrities’ boyfriends!    READ MORE »

Gay icons profiled this week

GLBT History Month continues this week by spotlighting a playwright, singer, pastor and photographer, among others.

The Equality Forum, a gay civil rights group based in Philadelphia, is spotlighting a gay icon each day in October. A video of the daily icon appears on the main page of Project Q Atlanta, while the group's web site includes detailed information about the person.

Read the line up for this week after the jump.    READ MORE »