Showing posts from 2018

World AIDS Day: Remembering Their Names

Wayne, Bruce, Troy, Greg, Marcus, John, Dominic … I remember their names. Beautiful men — mostly young, certainly too young to die. Today for World AIDS Day I remember them and the early days of the epidemic in a column in Philadelphia Gay News. You can read the article here.

Thanksgiving: A Minefield of Emotion and Stress

Let’s face it—despite its designation as the “Day of Sharing and Joy,” Thanksgiving can be a a minefield of emotion and stress. Perhaps that's why I like writing about it--all that drama and revelation in a relatively small window of time. 

To honor the day, below is an excerpt from my last novel, In His Eyes. In this scene, four old friends gather for thanksgiving. A fifth is added to the mix, upending traditions and leading to secrets being revealed. Hope you enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving! 
86. Thanksgiving 1991 Micah and Calvin had recently moved to a large stone house in a suburb, unremarkable except for its preponderance of sweeping emerald lawns, Maseratis, and trophy wives. Skye, who was staying the weekend, had arrived the night before and so was already there when Reid arrived with Odessa. She was dressed in an enormous pink wool swing coat with dolman sleeves trimmed with pink fringe, and a shawl collar also trimmed in pink fringe. She was all smooth planes and discreet curves…

A Ghost Unseen

My life: I have been a model citizen; a good son; employee of the year, year after year after year. I have lived in the shadows, a ghost, unseen. And now, as my life ebbs away, eternity like a black moon rising, I felt his hands on my body, efficient and cool. My chest was tight, and I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind, not really. I had endured worse, much worse. I wished I could scratch my nose. I wished I could move. “Does he not have any family—anyone we should call?” someone else was in the room with us, then. “No,” he said, his hands working. “I suspect he was gay,” he added, speaking of me as if I was already dead. “And you know,” he continued, his hands working, working, “He was of that generation that kept in the shadows.” I recognized his voice now; he was my day nurse. He was a fey young thing, gentle and outrageous, but much loved by patients and staff alike who treated him not as a curiosity to be pointed at and whispered about, perhaps even laughed at, nor as some exotic…

The Corporatorium: Headshots (Season 2, Episode 5)

Diana Prince-King @TAFKAP: I just gave the officers the headshots we had taken last week. *sigh*
Brooklyn Sudano @Brooklyn NY Let me guess, they now want you to Photoshop them into their vision of their perfect selves?
Diana Prince-King @TAFKAP Yep. Brett wants me to give him more hair.
Nigel Gale @MannequinMan If he wants more hair, let him get it the old-fashioned way!
Prometheus @Theus Let him join The Hair Club For Men!
Diana Prince-King @TAFKAP Wait is that was a thing?
Nigel Gale @MannequinMan Back in the day—it was.
Brooklyn Sudano @Brooklyn NY Sy Sperling was not only the president, he was also a client! BTW, it still exists.
Diana Prince-King @TAFKAP Ahem. TWO says the photos don’t do her blue eyes justice.
Prometheus @Theus #WhitePeopleProblems
Nigel Gale @MannequinMan You went there!
Brooklyn Sudano @Brooklyn NY Well somebody had to.
Diana Prince-King @TAFKAP Focus people! She wants me to make her eyes bluer, and Ivy is complaining the camera added 10 pounds making her look fat.
Prometheus @Theus I…

The Corporatorium: A Platinum Gay (Season 2, Episode 4)

Ask them?” I whispered fiercely.
“No! You ask.” Elvis practically whistled out of the side of his mouth.
“But you brought it up—”
“You agreed.”
The vet, who was the sort of woman who’d drunk Brandy Alexanders in her youth, and then later in life, divorced and resettled, had adopted a pair of Lhasa Apso pups and named them Brandy and Alexander, cleared her throat. Now, she asked, “Is there something else?”
Our dog, who just gotten a series of vaccinations trembled on the stainless steel table, her big brown eyes pleading for escape. She’d only been with us two weeks and didn’t fully trust us it seemed. At this moment, I can’t say I trusted us either.
“Um…yes…can you look at her um…her privates?”
“You mean her vulva?” The vet tech, young, blonde, perky with bright compassion, asked briskly. If not for her love of animals, she’d have been a stewardess: bubbly, unflappable, unmoored.
She rolled our dog onto her back and we all peered at her, squirming.
“What are we looking for?” The two wom…

Ruminations on Home

Last Thursday, August 16, marked 11 years since we moved into our house. I have lived in this house longer than I have lived anywhere else since I left my parents’ home to attend Penn back when Ben Franklin was still on the faculty. The day we moved in, perhaps sensing I was home at last, I told my mother, who always wrote my addresses in pencil in her address book, to write this one in ink.

I used to dream of buying Lucy Ricardo’s farm house in Connecticut. Later, I dreamed of buying the Brady Bunch split level. As a kid, I‘d spend hours pouring over the Sears catalog imagining the kitchen in which I’d install Avocado Green—or perhaps, Harvest Gold—appliances.
In eleven years, we have battled contractors, mice, squirrels, termites, and floods. Yet, I feel safe—at home—here, in a place whose rooms are decisively painted—let’s face it, it takes commitment to paint rooms red or pea soup green or chartreuse—and hung with non-mass-produced art including local artist and good friend Brenda H…

The Corporatorium: 500 Below (Season 2, Episode 3)

It was my birthday. Actually, my birthday had been three weeks earlier, but Ivy, who was responsible for my birthday celebration, had forgotten, thus my actual birthday slipped by unnoticed. Until today, anyway.
We would be going to lunch at 500 Below, she informed us—a chic new eatery which reached new heights on the Richter Scale of pretension and snobbery. Imagine the St Regis recast in black rubber, copperplate and plastic. They did not take reservations, but when you arrived for lunch at 11:45, the maĆ®tre d’, would look down from his unreasonable height, over his glasses and down his beaked nose, and peck a message of unwelcome out of your flesh: “Unfortunately, there’ll be a wait of at least forty-five minutes. You can wait in the bar.” He would say this in a tone that was both haughty and mournful; he would say this despite the fact that you could see the restaurant was empty.
The other thing about the restaurant was it was “calorie-wise”—every item on the menu was five hundred …

The Corporatorium: Gala (Season 2, Episode 2)

ernest!, unrelenting in his criticism, and unwilling to bend, had accused the company of using money instead of true action to try and dissuade others from the veracity of his accusations. In response, Lizzy Borden started sponsoring all sorts of events combating discrimination of every stripe, sending an army of employees and leaders to parrot scripted messages of support and decrying white privilege while marching in lockstep, in flawlessly tailored suits, with Social Justice Warriors. Ted Talks, conferences galas and balls were financially supported indiscriminately and with equal zeal.
This worked relatively well until Lizzie Borden ended up sponsoring a high-profile gala for an LGBTQ social justice organization, Community Advancement Coalition (CAC), nicknamed Caviar and Champagne for their penchant for throwing $1,000 per plate fundraisers. Having sponsored the gala, and purchasing a table for 10, she had discovered, to no one’s surprise but her own, that scraping the barrel of l…

The Corporatorium: The Ernestness of Being (Season 2, Episode 1)

Nigel Gale @MannequinMan Have you seen ernest!’s column today?
Barbara @Harvard06 No, not before my morning tea!
Prometheus Jones @Theus I just read it. You may want to read it on an empty stomach
Just Plain Terry (JPT) @FierceQueen Honestly, ernest! is always seeing racists under the bed.
Prometheus Jones @Theus Well, in his defense, when your only tool is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail.
Barbara @Harvard06 Well, for someone with a degree in journalism, he doesn’t follow any of the rules of impartiality.
ernest! had gone to the same Ivy League institution as Barbara the first, but he’d managed to circumvent accusations of privilege and access by casting his undergraduate years not as a stroll through hallowed, ivy-covered halls, but rather as an unavoidable incarceration in a PWI—Predominately White Institution. Barbara wore her Harvard degree like a gold star; ernest! wore his like a Purple Heart.
ernest!’s eponymous biweekly blog, The Ernestness of Being, routinely triggered rash…