Tuesday, March 30, 2010


So Ricky Martin is out of the closet -- oh gosh! Should I have warned you about the spoiler? -- and the Internet is abuzz with the usual combination of pride and condemnation.

No surprise that 97% of the condemnation comes from people named "hotguy4792" and "BigDaveinTempe." Because, since their names are so readily available in your local white pages, they have no fear that you'll call them on their bullshit.

(Also, these anonymous idiots are the first ones to fling the term "coward" at someone else who uses their real name. Remember our old friend Spewie? Yeah, bravely anonymous people like that, keeping in touch with the world from their mothers' basements. Oh... and I just made up "hotguy4792" and "BigDaveinTempe." I'm sure the real "hotguy4792" and "BigDaveinTempe" are fine, fine people.)

Oh yeah... Ricky Martin. My take? Glad you asked.

To each, their own time.

I have made no secret of the fact I came out in my very late 20s, and I know a number of other people who came out even later in life. That was when it was right for us to come out. Some of that, I hope, is generational and will change over time. Some of it is tempermental. Sometimes it's driven by individual factors we can't begin to understand.

In my case, no doubt there was an element of cowardice. More importantly, there was a lack of self-awareness and self esteeem. When I got that together -- and only when I got that together -- I was ready to move forward with my life. We're all better off for that time well spent.

It would have been great if Ricky Martin had come out 20 years ago. But he didn't, and he had his own demons to come to grips with. The important thing is... he's done it. He's out.

And now -- like those before him -- he can be a role model.

A few years ago, a very wise writer -- that would be me -- wrote a Lambda Literary Award-winning novel, When the Stars Come Out. In that brilliant award-winning novel, the main character -- Noah Abraham -- is a spoiled and proudly out young man who has never wanted for anything, including money and acceptance. He cannot understand why everyone's life isn't like his -- out and proud -- and though I, as the writer, want you to like Noah, I hope I'm somewhat successful in making him a self-righteous twit in the earlier chapters of the book.

As When the Stars Come Out opens, out-and-proud Noah is frustrated that he can't get a gay Republican congressional staffer to speak to him. He shifts his writing focus to an elderly actor who is gay but publicly closeted, and convinces him to tell his life story. As a result, a younger, more popular actor is encouraged to come out of the closet, and the young star gives the gay Republican the courage to come out long after he's forgotten self-righteous Noah.

It's a ripple effect. The stones keep getting tossed into the pond, and they disrupt things. In a sense, all of our stones -- mine, yours, Elton John's, Ellen DeGeneres's, even Clay Aiken's -- are part of the process.

And I don't care when Ricky Martin' s stones landed in the pond. As long it was the right time for him.

The important thing is he's now helping us make waves.

So let's keep splashing.

Monday, March 22, 2010


You already know that I have been a huge fan of the work of writer Donald E. Westlake for decades, and that his Dortmuder novels inspired Straight Lies, because you hang on my every word.

Drewey Wayne Gunn doesn't know that, though.

So imagine my surprise when I came across this review on the Lambda Literary Foundation website:
For years film star Romeo Romeo has been building his film career on his image of “the brave gay actor who has stepped forward when all the closet cases were [...] being closet cases.” But Jamie Brock (from Trust Fund Boys), using an outdated camcorder, gets the proof that the star is actually very heterosexual. Jamie is all set to blackmail Romeo, when he stupidly leaves the incriminating tape in a taxicab. He turns to long-time petty crime professional Grant Lambert, the antihero of the novel, to find the tape — for a cut in the proposed blackmail money. Soon Grant is pulling his lover, Chase LaMarca, and most of his friends into what turns out to be, as in all good capers, an accelerating series of comical mishaps. In the process Byrnes creates a memorable string of eccentric characters and gets to skewer various pretentious New York types. One leaves the novel dizzy from all the twists and turns the plot takes as Grant invents one ingenious scheme after another, only to have each one somehow blow up in his face. No doubt the spirit of the late Donald E. Westlake floats benevolently over the novel, but this is totally vintage Byrnes with his own signature writ large and clear.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The blog that no one reads -- that would be this one -- has had dozens of hits tonight. All because seven weeks ago I got pissed off and Twitter-baited some homophobic assholes.

I have no idea what that's about -- or why they even linked back to me, unless they felt that I was some sort of example of the evil that would befall the good people of Florida if the LGBT community was to, oh, be treated with some respect -- but I'll take the recognition.

This blog hasn't been this popular since "salad tossing" and "Lindsay Lohan's boobs" were all the rage. But we were all so much younger and innocent then...


This morning the finalists for the 2009 Lambda Literary Awards were announced. I was truly shocked to learn that Straight Lies made the cut in the Gay Mystery category, but -- while I thank the judges for this recognition -- I'm not writing an acceptance speech just yet. (Of course, I've stolen a Lammy before, and I can do it again...)

The complete list of finalists, all of whom deserve a round of applause:

LGBT Anthologies

Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris, edited by David Bergman (University of Wisconsin Press)
Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight Over Sexual Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt (NYU Press)
My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, edited by Michael Montlack (University of Wisconsin Press)
Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, edited by Ariel Gore (Lit Star Press)
Smash the Church, Smash the State! The Early Years of Gay Liberation, edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca (City Lights)

LGBT Children's/Young Adult

Ash, by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown)
How Beautiful the Ordinary, edited by Michael Cart (HarperCollins)
In Mike We Trust, by P.E. Ryan (HarperCollins)
Sprout, by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury USA)
The Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd (Penguin Books)

LGBT Drama

The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, by Kate Moira Ryan & Linda S. Chapman (Dramatists Play Service)
The Collected Plays Of Mart Crowley, by Mart Crowley (Alyson Books)
Revenge of the Women's Studies Professor, by Bonnie L. Morris (Indiana University Press)

LGBT Nonfiction

The Golden Age of Gay Fiction, edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn (MLR Press)
The Greeks and Greek Love, by James Davidson (Random House)
I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole & Beverly Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University Press)
Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences, by Sarah Schulman (The New Press)
Unfriendly Fire:How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, by Nathaniel Frank (St. Martin's Press)

LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror

Centuries Ago and Very Fast, by Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)
Fist of the Spider Woman, by Amber Dawn (Arsenal Pulp Press)
In the Closet, Under the Bed, by Lee Thomas (Dark Scribe Press)
Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valenta (Bantam/Spectra Books)
Pumpkin Teeth, by Tom Cardamone (Lethe Press)

LGBT Studies

Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities, by Julie Abraham (University of Minnesota Press)
Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP's Fight Against AIDS, by Deborah B. Gould (University of Chicago Press)
The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, by Kathryn Bond Stockton (Duke University Press)
The Resurrection of the Body: Pier Paolo Pasolini from Saint Paul to Sade, by Armando Maggi (University of Chicago Press)
The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America, by Margot Canaday (Princeton University Press)

Bisexual Fiction

Arusha, by J.E. Knowles (Spinsters Ink)
Holy Communion, by Mykola Dementiuk (Synergy Press)
The Janeid, by Bobbie Geary (The Graeae Press)
Love You Two, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Random House Australia)
Torn, by Amber Lehman (Closet Case Press)

Bisexual Nonfiction

Byron in Love: A Short Daring Life, by Edna O'Brien (W. W. Norton)
Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey (Alfred A. Knopf)
Leaving India: My Family's Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents,
by Minal Hajratwala (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Map, by Audrey Beth Stein (Lulu.com)
Vincente Minnelli: Hollywood's Dark Dreamer, by Emanuel Levy (St. Martin's Press)


Bharat Jiva, by Kari Edwards (Litmus Press)
Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show, by Lynn Breedlove (Manic D Press)
The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, by S Bear Bergman (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Transmigration, by Joy Ladin (Sheep Meadow Press)
Troglodyte Rose, by Adam Lowe (Cadaverine Publications)

Lesbian Debut Fiction

The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (Spinsters Ink)
The Bigness of the World, by Lori Ostlund (University of Georgia Press)
Land Beyond Maps, by Maida Tilchen (Savvy Press)
More of This World or Maybe Another, by Barb Johnson (HarperCollins)
Verge, by Z Egloff (Bywater Books)

Gay Debut Fiction

Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington Books)
God Says No, by James Hannaham (McSweeneys)
Pop Salvation, by Lance Reynald (HarperCollins)
Shaming the Devil: Collected Short Stories, by G. Winston James (Top Pen Press)
Sugarless, by James Magruder (University of Wisconsin Press)

Lesbian Erotica

Flesh and Bone, by Ronica Black (Bold Strokes Books)
Lesbian Cowboys, edited by Sacchi Green & Rakelle Valencia (Cleis Press)
Punishment with Kisses, by Diane Anderson-Minshall (Bold Strokes Books)
Where the Girls Are, by D.L. King (Cleis Press)
Women of the Bite, by Cecelia Tan (Alyson Books)

Gay Erotica

Rough Trade: Dangerous Gay Erotica, edited by Todd Gregory (Bold Strokes Books)
Impossible Princess, by Kevin Killian (City Lights)
I Like It Like That: True Tales of Gay Desire,
edited by Richard Labonté & Lawrence Schimel (Arsenal Pulp Press)
The Low Road, by James Lear (Cleis Press)
Eight Inches, by Sean Wolfe (Kensington Books)

Lesbian Fiction

Dismantled, by Jennifer McMahon (HarperCollins)
A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (Bywater Books)
Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory, by Emma Pérez (University of Texas Press)
Risk, by Elena Dykewomon (Bywater Books)
This One's Going to Last Forever, by Nairne Holtz (Insomniac Press)

Gay Fiction

Lake Overturn, by Vestal McIntyre (HarperCollins)
The River In Winter, by Matt Dean (Queens English Productions)
Said and Done, by James Morrison (Black Lawrence Press)
Salvation Army, by Abdellah Taia (Semiotext(e))
Silverlake, by Peter Gadol (Tyrus Books)

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life, by Mary Cappello (Alyson Books)
Mean Little deaf Queer, by Terry Galloway (Beacon Press)
My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement, by Alix Dobkin (Alyson Books)
Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag, by Ariel Schrag (Simon & Schuster/Touchstone Fireside)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin's Press)

Gay Memoir/Biography

Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, by Reynolds Price (Scribner Books)
City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960's and 70's, by Edmund White (Bloomsbury USA)
Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division, by Jon Ginoli (Cleis Press)
Once You Go Back, by Douglas A. Martin (Seven Stories Press)
The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief, by David Plante (Beacon Press)

Lesbian Mystery

Command of Silence, by Paulette Callen (Spinsters Ink)
Death of a Dying Man, by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)
From Hell to Breakfast, by Joan Opyr (Blue Feather Books)
The Mirror and the Mask, by Ellen Hart (St. Martin's/Minotaur)
Toasted, by Josie Gordon (Bella Books)

Gay Mystery

All Lost Things, by Josh Aterovis (P.D. Publishing)
The Killer of Orchids, by Ralph Ashworth (State Street Press)
Murder in the Garden District, by Greg Herren (Alyson Books)
Straight Lies, by Rob Byrnes (Kensington Books)
What We Remember, by Michael Thomas Ford (Kensington Books)

Lesbian Poetry

Bird Eating Bird, by Kristin Naca (HarperCollins)
Gospel: Poems, by Samiya Bashir (Red Bone Press)
Names, by Marilyn Hacker (W.W. Norton)
Stars of the Night Commute, by Ana Bozicevic (Tarpaulin Sky Press)
Zero at the Bone, by Stacie Cassarino (New Issues Poetry & Prose)

Gay Poetry

Breakfast with Thom Gunn, by Randall Mann (University of Chicago Press)
The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, by Brent Goodman (Black Lawrence Press)
The First Risk, by Charles Jensen (Lethe Press)
Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)
What the Right Hand Knows, by Tom Healy (Four Way Books)

Lesbian Romance

It Should Be a Crime, by Carsen Taite (Bold Strokes Books)
No Rules of Engagement, by Tracey Richardson (Bella Books)
The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin, by Colette Moody (Bold Strokes Books)
Stepping Stone, by Karin Kallmaker (Bella Books)
Worth Every Step, by KG MacGregor (Bella Books)

Gay Romance

Drama Queers!, by Frank Anthony Polito (Kensington Books)
A Keen Edge, by H. Leigh Aubrey (iUniverse)
The Rest of Our Lives, by Dan Stone (Lethe Press)
Time After Time, by J.P. Bowie (MLR Press)
Transgressions, by Erastes (Running Press)

Now go read a book!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


From this morning's headline roundup at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle website.

My question: why two separate stories? This newspaper does cover part of Eric Massa's district, after all.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Remember in 2005 when an owner of the Manhattan restaurant Quintessence was exposed (cough) as a subway flasher? I blogged about it here, writing:

By now, you've no doubt heard of the New York City subway masturbator, who was captured for posterity by his victim's camera-phone... Now, they say that the perp could have been restaurateur Dan Hoyt… Still, the man is innocent until proven guilty... so I will make no judgments. But I do have a question: When dining at his restaurant, is it a good idea to order the hand roll and the minced nut meat?

That was five years ago, which is why I was surprised to receive an e-mail late last night reading, in part:

Hi my name is [redacted]. I am working on a publicity / branding campaign representing Quintessence restaurant in NYC. I am contacting you about a post on your website that refers to Quintessence and some negative publicity about one of the owners back in 2005.

Quintessence is upon their 10 yr anniversary and now has four partners involved…their position in their market niche is highly respected and they provide a service to very needing and faithful clientele.

Some depend on Quintessence for their non chemical foods, some are very sick and some are changing their lives and Quintessence is also a huge part of the growing ‘green consciousness.’ Do [sic] to their need to expand and the growing number of searches online for Quintessence and Raw Food, it has become necessary to better serve the community if any negative post from so long ago be removed. It serves no purpose other than to slander the name of just one person where the company is a host of partners, family members, investors, employee...

It would be a wonderful gustier [sic] on your part to see the bigger picture of just who and how many people this post effects and promptly remove it. It is unfair to the community and the new partners of a growing business to have such negativity for so long ago connected to the uninvolved parties.

My response this morning:

I assume you’re joking. When you get Gawker, Gothamist, New York magazine, et al to delete their posts (and somehow make the cached past disappear) maybe you will have accomplished something. (That something is called ‘magic.’) Otherwise, you're just wasting your time. Do you bill Quintessence for these hours? If so, you've got an excellent scam going.

You need to learn what the word "slander" means. It does NOT mean ‘writing true things about people.’ If you're trying to get people to delete what they wrote about Dan Hoyt in 2005, you must have your work cut out for you. I think every blog and website wrote something about that incident. I also doubt any of them have deleted their original posts from 2005, because, well, DAN HOYT WAS AN UNREPRENTENT FLASHER!!! (<-- note: that is not slander.)

If you keep sending dumb e-mails, it will backfire on you. In my case, probably starting later this morning. I wish everyone associated with Quintessence who isn't Dan Hoyt the best. That being said, I have ridden the subway tens of thousands of times and always managed to keep my penis in my pants. It's not a difficult thing to do, and -- as we're seeing now -- saves one (and one's business... and one's associates) a lot of headaches in the future.

I didn’t mock her grammar or spelling, so – overall – I think I was fairly well-behaved.

Anyway, if you're brave enough to eat at Quintessence you can find their website here. Dan "Hot Stuff" Hoyt is still there, so maybe you'll be able to catch a floor show after your meal!

Oh, and PR lady? Did I do this correctly?