Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together ...

I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh, or sing a song.
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, “So long".

So long brotha2Brotha.
Hello rod2.0:beta!

Everyone's in BETA now. Gmail, Gmaps, Yahoo 360, NTSF.4—okay, that was made up—but you know what it usually means. Something that is so fresh ... you owe it to yourself to try it now before anyone else. Here's your invite to test drive my new webzine, rod2.0:beta.

*Smoother Interface
*Cleaner, Linear Presentation
*Multimedia Capacity
*High-Resolution Thumbnails
*Expanded Content
*That's Tech-Speak for ... Offdahook!

Thanks for your support over the past 5 months. A special thanks to each of the 80, 000 visitors we've had since stats were collected in late January ... and every go-go boy who took time out of their busy schedule for "interviews"!

It's been big fun. Let's continue the party across the street ...

Now: Please change your browsers, favorites and links to Http://


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Why is Laura smiling like that?

Maybe she knows that Dick Cheney gets kick out of being Overeducated and Underemployed. So do we. Thanks Megan, for one year of some of the funniest pictures on the 'web!

We Interrupt This Broadcast

Major changes will happen this week. Expect a memo tomorrow.
We now resume our normal programming ...

Marky Mark Wahlberg Comes Clean

WEHT Marky Mark? Not Mark Wahlberg, but the thugged out-wannabe-rapper-Calvin Klein-posterboy?

He was hot. Now, the former Boston bad boy has morphed into a Lee Strasberg-Stella Adler disciple. Definitely he has more skills on the sound stage than on the mike—which doesn't say too much—but don't you miss that persona? And the abs?

Mark covers the new Details, and the accompanying verbal j/o interview by Aaron Gell sheds some light on his catapult into fame and revisionist history. This interview goes more into depth about Mark's homoerotic appeal, and his early sponsorship by Messrs Klein and Geffen of the Velvet Mafia.

The first part of the article sheds no new ground, and revisits the standard party line: "stealing cars, robbing people, slinging drugs, menacing whatever unlucky soul strayed to close to him." The editors gloss over Wahlberg's 1988 assault conviction for beating two Vietnamese immigrants, chalking it up to "a very bad night."

Don't worry. Stronger, more evocative material is forthcoming: "He's always played the rough trade pickup to Hollwwood's panting sugar daddy, " Gell writes. "Taking up residence in the pool house and letting us ogle him as long as we didn't try to get too friendly."

Apparently that was Wahlberg's MO to secure lucartive work from Geffen, Klein and photographer Herb Ritts. "An easy paycheck, a free lunch," it's described. Mark sez it was looky-but-no-touchy. How did he feel about the "panting sugar ddadies"? "I think it was always clear what I like, my sexual preference. So I wasn't threatened by it."

Once again photog Tom Munro lenses the pictorial. It's been noted before that Munro's B&W imagery is sharp, sensous and lush, but not here. The lighting is harsh and severe, very film noir. The stylists undertake some effort to integrate a 50s bad-boy Jimmy Dean look. It's certainly appropriate for the rebellious tone introduced in the copy. The presentation appears contrived, even more so than the Herb Ritts/CK Marky Mark circa 1992. At least he was interesting.

Mark Wahlberg Won't Take a Swing at You: Details
Mark's Calvin Klein Gallery

Monday, April 25, 2005

Let Amnesia Erase Your Worries

"But wait: There's more!" Remember those words from the late-night "As Seen on TV" commercials, hawking everything from Ginsu knives to Flobee hair cutting systems? There was always another knife set, salad spinner, 8-track—oh grow up!—or whatever that was included for the super low price of "$19.99 ... as seen on TV!"

That's the mantra of Miss Amnesia Sparkles: there's always more hip-trendy-trashtastic fun around the corner. Today's question: What happens when you put two blondes, a dog, and a handfull of pills in one room? Answer: An audio-blog with that train-wreck-waiting-to-happen Miss Anna Nicole Smith.

Amnesia is the alter ego of Adrian L. Acosta, also seen on TV and well known for her first season appearance on Fox's juggernaut American Idol ... "an ordeal that haunts her to this very day." She's a triple threat, a performer-gender illusionist-comedienne cut from the same cloth—silk, of course—as other faboo downtown types like Cashetta, Hedda Lettuce or Shequida.

New Yawkers also know Amnesia as NEXT Magazine's roving reporter. This week, check out her interview with Jim Verraros, AI's first—and only—openly gay finalist.

I said openly.

Amnesia Sparkles-Blog
NEXT Interview

A Word From Our Sponsors

Major changes will happen this week. Stay tuned for details.
We now resume our normal programming ...

Let's Rolle

Not sure what you were doing Saturday afternoon, but the editors here at brotha2Brotha—yes, there is a newsroom, staff, copy desk and company car—were busy watching all the draft picks down at the Javits Center. Well, we weren't there but it was on TV. You get the idea.

One of my faves: First rounder at number 8, supa-phine Antrel Rolle. The Hurricane CB had hoped to stay in his native Miami but instead heads west to seek fame and fortune with Arizona. Six foot, 201lbs (dayumn) many consider Antrel college football's premier cornerback. He's an excellent cover corner who has exceptional closing ability and is one of the team's fastest players.

Most teams don't throw his way—would you?—so Rolle often has to blitz from the CB position. Antrel will be a formidable opponent on the field; he's got the size and speed to confront bigger, faster receivers in the NFL. Check out the pre-draft diary he kept on Fox Sports.

Oh yea: and he's phine.

iCandy: Basic Instinct

Definitely check out the latest issue of Instinct. Spanish actor Aitor Mateo is the cover model, beautifully lensed by photographer Hudson Wright. Just recently Oh la la Paris gave us a sneak preview of the issue.

Open it up for another treat: A new campaign featuring former cover model Andre Henderson.

Andre is the gorgeous new face on the back issues page, various promotions and subscription cards. Did you catch his cover?

San Diego-based Dre graced Instinct's cover in February '04. (Yes, yours truly keeps all the back issues for the glossies ...) The lush pictorial was lensed at O Bar in West Hollywood by photographer Andrew Matusik. The model says he was approached by the magazine at San Diego Pride. Voila! a cover model is born.

The 26 year old grew up in rural Arkansas, and migrated west to Colorado, later Cali. Andre says that he is still a kuntry boy at heart, and still talks like one. "People think my accent is hot," he admitted in the interview. Yeah, that's not all that is hot.

Andrew Matusik
Hudson Wright

Saturday, April 23, 2005


The driver's license may say New York State, but yours truly is a kuntry boy at heart. That means holding open doors for women, giving up subway seats for others, mountain biking around Chicago or NYC, regularly attending Sunday services and an appreciation of soul-stirrin', ole time gospel music.

PrayzeHymn is a solid, slick e-zine that covers the gospel music industry from A to Z. Anyone who follows this weblog will appreciate the content; it's chock-full of interviews and reports on everything from American Idol's gospel connections to industry trends.

Gospel is a huge industry, raking in some $800 million in sales or more. The recent explosion in Tyler Pery's popularity, along with acts such as Fantasia Barrino, Donnie McClurkin, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Yolanda Adams have demonstrated gospel's universal appeal.

"Our focus has changed, but not our mission," says J. Matthew Cobb, the editor of PrayzeHymn. The Birmingham, AL-based entrepreneur, industry insider and music-writer has done a fabulous job in creating a new resource. It's great to see young people making moves and creating change. Plus he's a PhotoShop wiz, so the site just looks fierce! So this weekend's assignment: visit the site and his companion weblog the Prayze Report.

the Prayze Report

Friday, April 22, 2005

Nike Just Says No to Racism

Boogie mentioned this to me last week. Nike is running a series of European PSAs that plead for tolerance and just say no to racism. But does that mean yes to more profits? Manchester United defender Gary Neville and others accuse the sportswear giant of cashing in and gaining some cheap publicity with it's Stand UpSpeakUp campaign. The gospel according to Neville: "We don't have a big problem with racism in this country."

Huh? Apparently Neville's experience is far different than that of teammate Rio Ferdinand. Uber-gorgeous Rio and France Arsenal's Thierry Henry star in Nike's commercial and print campaign that preaches tolerance in sport. Their campaign also promotes inter-locking black and white wristbands to show solidarity. Nike is also a sponsor of the famed Manchester team.

Instead of standing up and speaking up, Gary Neville may want to sit down and be quiet. Nike is underwriting the campiagn as a public service awareness, so it's a donation. Sure, they'll probably get some mileage out of this, but the company makes much money money from being associated with the Manchester team. The wristbands are free, suggested donations are 2Euros, approx. USD$2.61. Those profits go to an anti-racism foundation in the UK.

Memo to Gary Neville: What community work have you done lately, mate?

Stand UpSpeakUp: Nike
Rio's Hot Ad for Ben Sherman

Ms. Wrong Never Looked So Right

The most dangerous place in the world is between Ann Coulter and a camera, because she will do or say almost anything for a soundbite. Among my favorites from the mistress of the microphone: "Congress should pass a law tomorrow requiring that all aliens from Arabic countries leave." "A cruise missile is more important than Head Start." "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

Given her history of histrionics, it's laughable that she is outraged by the current cover of Time. Coulter says the editors distorted her appearance, making her feet appear large and head too big.

Let's set the record straight: Her head is too big.

Aside from the small matter of her large feet, Ann Coulter is a reactionary demagogue that delights in throwing verbal Molotov cocktails. Whether she honestly believes these outlandish statements is immaterial; Coulter says them with uncompromising conviction. So it's sheer irony that Time's editors chose a dramatic treatment for her cover, and as usual, she went ballistic. The uncomprising, alleged Ivy League convictions dissolve into superficial concerns of hair, make-up and tacky boat-sized shoes.

The Time article is actually quite balanced in its presentation of such an unbalanced subject. "She is the bogeyman of politics, the figure that liberals use when reaching for the ultimate insult, the way conservatives use Michael Moore," the editors said, taking pains to treat her with kid gloves. At times they poke gentle fun at her neo-fascism, other times jokes with her and sometimes ... fawn with compliments.

Here is one of many references that liken the 44 year old pundit to a sex symbol on college campuses. "Wearing an ankle-length fur and a wide-eyed expression, Coulter had to be pushed through the crowd by a team of handlers. When she swept past the spot I was wedged into, the young men near me went aflutter."

Something tells me these boys don't get out very often.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

An Evening With ...

Who: Novelist Rashid Darden, Lazarus
What: Reception, Book Signing, Autographs, Witty Conversation
When: Tonight, 7:30pm
Where: Georgetown University (White-Gravenor Hall), Washington
How: Tonight is Rashid's first event. If you can't jump on the Metroliner or Delta Shuttle, go to his site and drop a note. Or place an order. Or both!

Read Trent Jackson's interview with Rashid. Look for my review on Monday.

Beats: Eddie Boom

Where to begin? Let's see ... I fell in love with Eddie Boom late one night when we met on 66th Street. Okay, here's the backstory: Eddie is a fabulous DJ whose music helped me whiz through those long overnights at ABC News at 66th and Columbus. Sorry, just couldn't help but use that tease.

His music is a delight. A mixture of garage and deep house, with enough serious vocals to make me yearn for the old parties of my Chicago youth. The sound is much like NYC's legendary Body & Soul, where we'd go Sunday afternoons and lose our minds. Everyone was there from old-skool house heads to circuit boys ... and Yoko Ono. (Yes, we danced together. And yes, she wore those shades.) The memories are bittersweet; Eddie's music so takes me there.

Boom is Trenton-based, active on the East Coast and Candian circuit, but admittedly ... I've never heard him play live. The first mixes heard were at Spirit of House, that brilliant Swiss-based dance music site. Years later he was re-discovered on BtownSound, which books, manages and promotes DJ talent from Brazil to Baltimore. That's hot.

Choose from Eddie's mix collection in Windows Media here ....
Or take my advice and listen to his best mix, Phase 1. Dial Up Broadband

Eddie Boom
Spirit of House
Honey Deaux: brotha2Brotha

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mehcad Moves to Wisteria Lane

Last month you read THIS
Last week you read

Today =
I ♥ Mehcad on Wisteria Lane

Mama Said Knock You Out.
Again, Again ... and Again.

TKO ... then death
MSG March 1962

Many gay men grew up with taunts and bullies. Mine: Danny Cole in the eighth grade. His mission: to make my life a living hell. It worked for a minute, until yours truly—then nicknamed "stringbean"—began doing push-ups, fighting back and playing sports. Later we attended rival high schools, and Danny's anti-Rod aggression was channeled onto the gridiron and the hoops court. Our fights earned us technicals, fouls, penalties ... and warm seats on the bench. Some years later we bumped into each other over Memorial Day weekend at the old Traxx in DC. Surprise, surprise. But that's a different story ...

Tonight, USA will broadcast the extraordinary story of a gay man who was taunted and fought back ... with tragic consequences. Ring of Fire documents the story of Emile Griffith and his ferocious fight-to-death with Cuban fighter Benny Paret in March 1962. Griffith literally beat Paret into a pulp, and he died 10 days later. Why? "I got tired of people calling me faggot."

Last week in the Times', Bob Herbert interviewed the former champ who is still conflicted over his sexuality. Andy pointed out yesterday, that it was common knowledge that Griffith frequented Midtown gay clubs. Then, Griffith denied his sexuality and filmmakers Dan Klores and Ron Berger do not confront the issue that forced Griffith into becoming a modern-day gladiator.

In a BBC interview, the filmmakers defend their work, saying their goal was to document the fight, not make editorial judgments. "People want us to say what we think about boxing, which isn’t for us to make a judgment about, or for anybody. Is Emile Griffith gay? They want specific things."

[See the BBC report. Windows Media Player Low Medium High]

True, viewers often do want specific things ... like context, which is lacking. Boxing is a ferocious and violent sport and people sometimes die. On the other hand, gay men are often pushed into retaliation. Is/was Griffith gay? What have we learned since 1962? What does Griffith say?

Today the former champ has no apologies about the fight. In the Times interview, Griffith continues to say that he was sorry Paret died. But he adds, "He called me a name. So I did what I had to do." Griffith says Paret's death was tragic, but the names "touched something inside." It's a tragic story, and 43 years later the champ is still haunted by that night.

Attitudes in professional sports have not changed very much—especially in hard core games like boxing and football. Herbert sets the record straight and the boxer admits to a life on the deep DL. He says he is not gay, but admits to having relations with men and women. Today, the champ says he is tired of running, and hopes to ride in this year's Gay Pride Parade.

Thanks to Bernie for the heads up.

Ring of Fire: USA 9/8c
Boxer on the DL: Towleroad
The Haunting of Emie Griffith: New York Times
Film Focus: Ring Of Fire - The Emile Griffith Story: BBC

[See the BBC report. Windows Media Player
Low Medium High]

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It's here! It's Queer!
Do We Care?

With three new gay-themed cable channels prepared to fight for the pink dollar, it's time to play Econ 101. Will the competition force the 'nets to provide more options and higher quality ... or will the programmers saturate the market with low-quality, low-cost goods and services?

My best bet: door number two. We may have to prepare for an overdose of makeover and dating shows that do little more than build upon the lame minstrel formula established by shows like Will & Grace and Queer Eye.

Last week, an interesting column on After Elton compared the proposed onslaught of gay-programming to the lack of originality at BET and Telemundo. BET has faults of it's own, and some of the comparisons made me cringe. Brent & Michael noted that BET was "an endless stream of videos and sitcoms featuring the crudest of African American stereotypes: gangstas, pimps, and whores." NBC-owned Telemundo was described as "oversexed latinos ripping off their clothes and falling into bed with each other."

But try this: substitute "Latinos" for "queers or queens", and that's Queer As Folk, currently on life support. And the BET comparison had some merit, considering that much of their programming are music videos. That content is cheap and readily available .. just like gay makeover and lifestyle shows. Harsh as their words were, Brent & Michael had a point: Prepare for more stereoypes, a buffet of "Cher concerts and lots of talk shows with Carson Kressley wannabes being bitchy."

here! offers the best choice not to fall into that trap, but their formula is expensive and higher risk. The execs offer an ambitious development slate of scripted programming. It includes original series, movies and specials like a feature-length biopic on Bayard Rustin, the black gay civil rights leader. "We do things that are not appropriate for basic cable," CEO Paul Colichman says. Theirs is a multi-platform distribution strategy—video on demand, pay per view and premium subscriptions. You can buy programming over multi-hour or a 24-hour period. They've also amassed a library of over 1k LGBT titles.

Unfortunately the buzz isn't on that network. Because of its backing and cache', everyone is talking about Viacom's LOGO. The much-hyped and oft-delayed 'net will roll-out June 30, and offers two original series: Noah's Arc, the country's first black gay series and My Fabulous Gay Wedding, a comic makeover show.

As eagerly as everyone is awaiting the Arc, something tells me that LOGO may overdose on reality shows. Although some documentaries on gay sports are planned, the service will be advertising supported and "programmed to the sensitivity of a basic cable audience," notes Nicole Browning, president of MTV affiliate sales and marketing. In other words, it's unlikely that you will see two men kissing ... unless they're air kissing and giving high-fives after re-decorating some poor schmuck's apartment.

Tall, Dark and Handsome Please

Just days ago, we noticed that gay advertising is slowly featuring more black models. Most of these are inter-racial couples, not necessarily a social statement but more likely the advertisers' method to maximize impact. There are some notable exceptions: Look around, you'll be surprised to see a number of gay advertising campaigns that feature black and Latin and models. Solo. Not surprisingly, several promote dating and lifestyle services. Who wouldn't want to date a tall, dark and handsome?

The uber-phine Manjam man adverts can be seen on high-traffic gay sites such as Made in Brazil, Manchic, Oh la la Paris, One Stop Hot and Towleroad. The seriously cool, UK-based firm promises to work your assets to the max. It combines home, work and social life so members get housed, employed and laid all from one site. Now why didn't I think of that? Grant Mitchell—one of the site's promoters—told me via email that the advertising reflects the population. "There is no Manjam man as such. The initial idea was to reflect diversity." That's hot.

Another successful campaign can be found in the pages of NYC-based HX. For a few years, the "Totally Biased Politically Incorrect Party Paper" has run numerous spots that feature black, white or Latin men. The message is that sophisticated NYC gay men comes in all colors, and everyone can relate to the models. Here, here. Go to the weekly mag's demographic data for advertisers (PDF is here), where you'll see tons of lucrative data, complemented with cover models of both sexes and colors. BTW, that's gorgeous Corey at left and at top of the reader survey.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Down for Whatever

Down for Whatever
By Frederick Smith
Kensington Books; July 2005

By now, you've probably realized that this is not a politically correct weblog. So get your slingshots ready ... aim ... and fire at this one: Much of GBM fiction is like that old Budweiser commercial, Tastes great, less filling. Many of the plots are (a) derivative, (b) fantastic ... or often (c) both.

B=Millionaires, billionaires and moguls on the DL.
C=Unlikeable, celibate and prissy queens who are swept off their feet by men like this.

Frederick Smith's debut novel refreshingly avoids these cliches, and sets a new agenda. Down for Whatever is intensely enjoyable, a humorous, revealing story that follows four Angelenos in a town "where everyone is a ten, looking for a twelve." Each chapter is written from an alternating point of view, and the varied descriptions of the same events is often hilarious. Two of the friends are black, the other two are Latin, and the work is peppered with spanglish and sabor latino. The novel provides a much-needed glimpse into the sexual and racial politics within the LA's gay community. [Download first chapter at Fred's site]

Of the four buddies, Keith is the most accomplished, wealthiest and loneliest. The Stanford grad and Michigan transplant is frustrated that he "can't even get a black man to look his way." Roommate Tommie is a former R&B star who is down on his luck and on the down-low. Keith's best friend Marco Antonio is a social worker torn between his assimilationist yet traditional family, and a hot soap actor who could charm his way into Fort Knox. Then there's Rafael. Young and gorgeous in a town where "everybody loves Latinos." Retail queen-slash-go-go-boy-slash-serial heartbreaker who is trouble with a capital "T." Exactly my type!

"Everybody loves Latinos" is an omnipresent theme in Down, because it's the cultural norm in California. Keith embraces multiculturalism, at times to his detriment. He's frustrated that his value as a black man is discounted because:

No matter what people say, race matters in LA. In the ethnic hierarchy of gay LA, black and African American often finishes last.

Those are Keith's words, and as a black man it's easy to identify with his frustration. NYC gay politics are strikingly similar, except for stronger identification between black and brown. Most of the east coast brothas are not trying to compete with Anglos or Latinos for men, we've constructed our arena.

Whereas the east coast flava embraces black and African culture and celebrates black masculinity, LA does not. Fred Smith's observations on SoCal culture are Stinger missiles: basic black does not go with everything, unless you are mixed, thugged out, body beautiful or a snow queen.

Keith's character is none of these. It's hard for me not to like him, there's so much of myself there: the exhiliration yet isolation experienced at a prestigious university, the cross-country journey and re-invention, the dismay and fascination with the social landscape. He's a bourgeois, well-monied type (unlike me) that sometimes feels above others. Other times, his insecurities drive him to the opposite. At times he seems more partial to vatos and chulos than blacks, spending much of the book chasing after playa Cesar. Yet Keith yearns to partner with another brotha, and after ten years still carries the torch for a brotha he loved in college. But should he have to choose between black and brown? Does it matter?

Roommate Tommie feels that it does. "Keith's little crew is all Mexican," he says. "They always trying to get me to go to they little gay-ass salsa clubs." Tommie is a former R&B heartthrob whose career and bank account have seen better days. The silver-lining is his relationship with Tyrell, a UCLA hoops phenom. Both are deep DL, even though youngster Tyrell appears more confident about his sexuality. It's an interesting relationship; Tommie's intentions are good, but he can be triffling. He is unsure and unworthy of the affections of the young baller ten years his junior. Tommie loves Tyrell, yet is resentful of his success, a hip-hop A Star is Born. Their relationship is tested when Tommie hooks with Rafael, whom none can resist.

Mexicans only hook up with other Mexicans. It's one of those things we know but don't talk about. Anyone's fair game to me.

Rafael's whose motto is: "Sex with gorgeous people, wherever I want, whenever I want." That he does: in clubs, with married men, high school boys working at 7-11 ... why was his character so irresistible? Even when causing havoc—like losing his job or sleeping with Keith's Cesar—he does it with such panache that you secretly cheer him. Maybe because his character is the liveliest; possibly because we admire his scrappy spirit. Ultimately Rafael's self-destructive behavior almost destroys the bond among the four men, and endangers all.

Marco Antonio is the odd-man out. His character is not as conflicted as Keith or Tommie, nor does he have Rafael's chutzpah. He and Keith met at Stanford, and are both of the intelligentsia. Marco Antonio's family is assimilationist—"How many people of Mexican descent name their kids Chloe or Ross?"—and begrudgingly accepts his sexuality. But the family is far from liberal; a relative even makes a racial comment about blacks. They seem more impressed with him dating Alex, the novela star who later gets a job on an American soap ... and promptly dumps Marco Antonio. Or did he?

There's something here for everyone, and that's what makes Down for Whatever so enjoyable. Fred Smith is an LA writer and educator, possibly the first GBM writer published by Kensington, which has carved a niche in gay fiction. The author is equally adept discussing the lingo and customs of la familia or the down low. Fred's work is taut, engaging and more importantly, that most-precious commodity: clever. The characters are rich and lively, flawed yet sympathetic and passionately realistic. Down for Whatever is a delicious, all-you-can-eat brunch. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The New Boyfriend Pt2

Everyone knows that yours truly is a big boy that likes all things that are big, over the top and fierce. But here's a new love that cuts big things down to nice, small and manageable sizes: SnipURL.

Use this handy tool to snippety, snip, snip those loooong URLs, like this one:

Now it becomes or

The snip'd shortcuts are permanent, so it's great for IMs, emails, blogging and web publishing. You can also start your own account, store your snip'd URLs and download a snipping icon to your toolbar.

Big things do come in small packages!

Thanks Jonno!

Friday, April 15, 2005

iCandy: Milk Does the Body Good

If you regularly read these pages, you've seen this hottie before, way back in ... February when this was a new kid on the blog. That was months after seeing Body dancing at the Roxy, and several trips to the ATM.

Milk does the Body good. Check out the brand new FlavaMen to see why Body's milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Personally I’m a big advocate of proteins and carbohydrates, can’t get enough of them.

He can't get enough of them, we can't get enough of him.

Body is a stunna. Plus, I'm feelin' his new look without the locs.

FlavaMen's website was totally overhauled this week with many free goodies ... like these. And these. These, too. And of course, check the site or magazine for my new column.

While you're at it, head over to Fleshbot, the naughty site owned by our friends at Gawker. There's more flava-ful iCandy ... Brazilian lovely Cristiano, also in the new FlavaMen.

And remember: Milk does the Body good.

Brand New Flava in Your Ear: brotha2Brotha
Go-Go Alert: brotha2Brotha

Thursday, April 14, 2005

More Color in the Rainbow

Increasingly, advertisers are targeting more of their $1.1 trillion annual worldwide ad budgets toward gay consumers. Recently, those marketing campaigns are featuring more colorful consumers.

Inter-racial couples rarely appear in general advertising, which seek an "ideal" representation—largely defined as young, white, thin and attractive. Largely advertising directed toward gay audiences does not veer far from that formua: consumers are generalized as male, white and WeHo/Chelsea/Queer As Folk (including the bad haircut) type clones. But the messages are already non-traditional and are somewhat better at including inter-racial pairings. So if you flip through some of the more recent issues of Genre, Out and Instinct you'll see more Asian, black and Latin models in the sponsored adverts.

The latest gay-targeted ads by Bridgestone/Firestone feature more white-white and black-white couples of both sexes. The above ads were in the April issue of Instinct and at, respectively. In July 2001, Bridgestone became the first tire company in the gay market and their campaign has been well-received.

“A lot of brands are willing to go after these niche markets to grow their business, even if it’s just a two-percent growth,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, market research consultants. “They’re focused on the micro-lifestyles of the consumers, and same-sex families are a micro-lifestyle.”

Commercial Closet is a non-profit that tracks both negative and positive LGBT depictions in advertising. The archives record at least 62 inter-racial pairings; they found a total of 268 depictions of people of color in adverts. Anecdotally, advertisers appear more likely to pair inter-racial female couples than males, like the print campaign for Volvo at left.

While it's becoming more common to see GWM/F couples in advertising images and some inter-racial pairings, you will not see many pairings of persons of color. It would be great to see more, but the dearth doesn't necessarily bother me. The fact that it is already gay targeted with Asian, black and Latin faces speaks volumes.

Advertisers are trying to sell product; the ad campaign and models are just one factor in a buying decision. By merely showing gays and people of color, the brands are acknowledging that money comes in many more colors than green. Print ads and commercial spots should be more inclusive, but need not become a census or litmus test. As activists have learned, gay identification is less important for many black and Latin men.

Years ago, I was buying 2xist underwear because the ad campaign was hot, and the product looked good on my boyfriend me. It wasn't necessary to see a black face (or abs) on a billboard, but it would have been nice. Now, the 2xist ads feature models of color.

Adverts like those at left by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau are the exception, and address the micro-lifestyle. Two Labor Days ago, I remember getting off the plane at ATL-Hartsfield and walking up to the National Car rental counter. The esplanade featured a huge banner like the print ad at fright, welcoming all to the Black Gay Pride.

Tourism bureaus in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York and San Juan have become more savvy in attracting black and Latino gay dollars. For instance, Hertz and Air Tran are official sponsors of the 2005 Atlanta Black Gay Pride.

So while mainstream advertisers have far to go, it's still refreshing to open a mag or website and see people like us.

iCandy: Dwayne Wade

You can count on certain things coming from this weblog. News analysis, media ins and outs, all things Sticky Fingaz, stripperz an appreciation of dance, books and hottiez ...

Like Dwayne Wade.

The 6'4, 212 guard covers the recent Slam, and autographed copies are going for $50 on eBay. Not a huge fan of the Miami Heat, but he's just another reason to watch since Pat Riley bit the dust. Dwayne was a fantastic college phenom at Marquette—my dad's alma matter—and represented the stars and stripes at the 2004 Olys in Athens.

Oh yea: and he's phine.

Dwayne's World: Dwayne Wade Fan Site
Sophmore Jump: Slam Online
Yahoo Sports Stats

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Blame Canada

As two gay-themed networks—here! and Viacom-owned LOGO—prepare to compete for American gay audiences, they may want to consider recent developments in liberal, same-sex-friendly Canada. Gay and lesbian channel OUTtv has filed a complaint and accused two of the country's biggest cable and satellite services of discrimination.

OUTtv re-launched yesterday as a 24/7 GLBT channel. They've accused Shaw and Bell ExpressVu of blocking their distribution to a wider audience. Regulators have classified the 'net as a Categoy 1 service, and it should be bundled with other lifestyle networks such as Food Network and Fine Living.

Shaw and Bell ExpressVu continue to market OUTtv as a pay-per-view service, which costs subscribers an average of $8. OUTtv president Bill Craig says the price point "turns off many people."

Gay TV Channel Files Complaints: The Globe and Mail

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Wisteria Lane Finally Integrates. Sort Of.

Pop quiz. Tell me the name of this hit television show: A single black mother is trying to raise her son. She moves to the suburbs to give her boy a quality education and life. Would you say this was Julia, starring Miss Diahann Carroll in 1968?

No. Try Desperate Housewives next season.

Variety reports Alfre Woodard will join the hit series as a regular cast member. Woodard's character will be introduced on the season finale, a single mother who moves to the neighborhood with her son. The boy's father is out of the picture.

First, there's relief that ABC's programmers have finally decided to integrate the hit show. But integration is never equality, and tokens are even more irritating. At best, the concept to integrate Wisteria Lane is derivative and un-original.

At worst, it's politically expedient: If Alfre Woodard's character were married, the husband would undoubtedly have some sexual tension with his neighbors. That would never work—remember the outrage after the last time a Desperate Housewife appeared with a black man?

The role would become the four-time Emmy winner's first recurring television arc in almost twenty years. The last role was quite delicious, from '85 to '87 on NBC's St. Elsewhere as Dr. Roxanne Turner. Right now, you can catch Alfre at the cineplex as a poetry-spouting hairstylist in Beauty Shop.

Please let Alfre be a widow. If she was never married or her husband left her, the programmers in Century City need a serious reality-check.

So here's the bonus round of the pop quiz: Will Alfre's character be an asexual, Oprah motherly type who dispenses advice with sweet potato pie? Or, will she be a nubian temptress to entice the husbands?

I'm betting on the first. Or maybe if we'll see an inter-racial lesbian stortyline here ...

Alfre Woodard Joins Desperate Housewives: Entertainment Weekly

Monday Night Wardrobe Malfunction Football: brotha2Brotha

BET: Less News, More Chain Snatching

Why waste time watching a hit 'reality' show like NBC's The Apprentice when you can create your own rip-off? That's what programmers at BET have decided.

For the first time in it's 25 year history, the cable net is developing an ambitious slate of original programming. But it may come at a high cost: sources say the network's lone remaining news program will quietly fade into oblivion to make way for more the slew of reality-based programming.

The plans are to debut an original series each quarter and the first show is scheduled to premiere next week. Blowin' Up! Fatty Koo is a joint production with Sony Music that will follow the grooming of a new band signed to the label. Sounds original, right?

Wrong. If you like the idea of seeing a the latest reincarnation of Da Band/Making the Band/The Road to Stardom ... you'll love BET's concept for yet another Apprentice knock-off, The Ultimate Hustler. The non-Mark Burnett produced series stars that ultimate hustla himself Damon Dash as the poor man's Donald Trump. Dash will test the business savvy of would-be moguls. The gimmick here: no roses, no cute roller-bags ... but each contestant is given a Roc-A-Fella gold chain. Here's where it gets really interesting: in the show's signature moment, instead of saying "you're fired" to the losers, Dash will snatch the chain off their neck.


Expect to see more bling-bling on the former black-owned cable channel. One project in development includes a celebrity-studded domin competition where iced-out contestants ante up their "bling" rather than money. Thankfully the winnings will go toward charity rather than Kimora Lee Simmons.

Recently the 'net has focused its programming budget on syndicated fare such as UPN's Girlfriends or award shows. But the station was encouraged by the success of reality series College Hill (Thursdays 2100 et/pt), currently in its second primetime season. It's probably the strongest original programming that the network has offered in addition to its afternoon ratings juggernaut 106th and Park. One of the better new shows is Style (Tuesdays and Thursdays 1930 et), a lifestyle and entertainment venture.

You'll recall in 2002, BET execs were criticized for funding syndicated acquisitions by eliminating 12% of its workforce and cancelling two of its three regular news programs.

BET Set to Make Originals: THR

"She Just Needs Her Hair Brushed"

Beyonce's To-Do List for Tuesday, April 12 2005

25. World Domination?
24. Fire Publicist?
23. Cash L'Oreal Checks
22. French lessons
21. Call Kelly ... "Michelle"
20. Call Michelle ... "Kelly"
19. ...

Beyonce's spin doctor Marcus Harris is sleeping on the job.

No real publicist of an international pop icon would allow their client's Hasbro-designed Barbie Dolls to sell on eBay ... for $2! The smart ones always hire interns to troll eBay and Yahoo auctions to drive up prices to increase their client's cache'. It's similar to how record label promotions teams pay people to request videos on VOD and music vid stations.

An even smarter-publicist would tell interns to Watch This Item in My eBay and seize any product that describes their client as "used, in good condition [and] needs her hair brushed as you can see."

Monday, April 11, 2005

"Hi, I'm Michael Vick for Valtrex ..."

"I've been outbreak free for nearly a year.
Just one Valtrex a day helps reduce the number of outbreaks."

Everyone's heard the commercial that touts Valtrex as an aid to reduce genital herpes. Apparently everyone beside uber-talented and uber-gorgeous NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

The Smoking Gun just released documentation that shows the Falcons star is being sued for negligence and battery after allegedly knowingly passing herpes. A 26-year-old Georgia woman, filed the suit. Sonya Elliot says that she was infected with the STD in April 2003 after unprotected sex with the star quarterback at his suburban Atlanta home.

After testing positive for herpes simplex 2, Elliot says she confronted the man who wears the lucky number seven for the Falcons. "I've got something to tell you. I've got it," the deposition claims. Vick wasn't talking about a catching a pass; he fumbled this one. The suit alleges that he had prior knowledge, and later admitted that he was aware of his condition.

This is just the latest volume in that long-running reality show, Brothers Behaving Badly. As a pro baller, Vick would routinely be subjected to a battery of physicals, tests and exams. It's difficult to imagine that Vick wouldn't know that he had herpes; the symptoms are obvious and painful.

"Let me just put the head in ..."

The action claims that plaintiff and athlete had an ongoing sexual relationship last spring, and Elliott routinely requested that Vick use condoms. Apparently one time he did not, and uttered the line every straight boy and top learns from birth: let me just put the head in. Wrong choice.

There is no cure for herpes simplex 2. Left unchecked it can cause sterility and other concerns. Valtrex is the only medication avaliable and it's expensive; low-cost 'net pharmacies sell a one-month supply of 500mg tabs for $222. But there are other costs associated with women: frequent ob/gyn visits are necessary and, of course, pregnancy risks. That alone should give Vick and his attorneys pause, but they want to fight this.

Elliott's action does not specify monetary damages. There's nothing for Vick to gain from litigation unless he is planning to say what every celeb cries when they are prosecuted or sued: it's all about the money. He has plenty, and can well afford expensive STD therapy and meds. Vick is one of the sport's marquee players. Last December he signed a ten-year, $130 million contract with the Falcons, the richest deal in league history.

Trojans would have been cheaper

But Vick is only 24 years old, and has many more years to learn that slipping on a jimmy always costs much less in the long run.

The lawsuit has larger ramifications than the inevitable settlement that the star quarterback will be forced into. Elliot's lawsuit alleges that Vick used the alias "Ron Mexico" "for the purpose of herpes testing and/or treatment." In order to obtain that information, Vick's medical records will have to be subpoeaned; it seems that they already have. Georgia's laws allow full disclosure without consent in HIV and STD cases, as long as a willing judge signs the waiver.

To say the timing is bad would be an understatement. The league is already reeling from bad publicity over steroid use and the Vikings scalping scam. Unfortunately, the sex, steroid and scalping scandals are overshadowing some positives in the off-season, such as Vick's teammate Warrick Dunn recently attending the dedication of the USO's Pat Tillman Center in Afghanistan. The league donated $250,000 for the center. Vick could only pray for a settlement that low.

Lazarus Lives

Regular readers of these pages are well-familiar with my likes; admittedly, there is an infatuation with aesthetics. Beautiful music, stunning photography, clever advertising, seventies muscle cars, dark and lovely muscle boys, and poetic, gifted writing. I ♥ books, magazines and scripts like an addict looking for his next fix.

So here's the latest fix: Lazarus by Rashid Darden.

Rashid's debut novel is the story of love, desire and conflict inside the black frat system. The protagonist is Adrian, the new BMOC and a sensitive, handsome college brotha who is looking for look and also trying to find his place in the world. That may be with Savion, fellow student, a Dominiciano and poet. Adrian's determined to follow his father's footsteps and pledge the frat, but his newly found attraction to Savion may undermine his legacy, status on campus and relationship with his friends and family.

Rashid is a refreshing new voice in African American and gay literature, which sadly has become derivative and g-fab. He has an eclectic background: writer, poet, educator and has studied in London, Moscow and Georgetown.

Stay tuned for more information about Lazarus. In the meantime, visit Rashid Darden's website for a sample chapter, ordering information and more:

Old Gold Soul

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The New Boyfriend

We met last month, and it's been love at first byte sight.

Now we're inseparable. Flash travels everywhere with me—on locations, to the office or studio, at home.

He has all the qualities that one appreciates in a BF ... or flash drive. Good looking, sturdy, dependable and an incredible memory. Also, like any good boyfriend, the flash drive can keep secrets; it's password-protected. It fits comfortably inside my pocket (also a nice place for BFs to be), and a keychain means that we're joined at the hip.

These new flash drives are offdahook. 512MB of storage for less than thirty dollars. (That's like seven grande no-whip whatevers ... or the tip for two hot dancers at Stonewall.) It's great for work and travel, no need to lug around discs or worry about sending files to the home or office.

The Jump Drive Secure can be divided into a public zone and secure zone, and you decide what percentage of memory goes to each. So even if the flash were left in my office desktop ... none of your nosy coworkers would find anything like this.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Hotel, Motel, Holiday N

Who says Paris Hilton can be the only trust fund baby to cry "lights, camera, action"? Look out world, there's a new hotel heiress to conquer the red carpet. Introducing Miss Holiday N, a g-fab princess and her deliciously wicked new blog The Heiress Diaries. Her motto:

We'll dish about sex, entertainment, gossip, fashion and some serious shit too like sex—dat's hot right? And as long as you can get over me being gorgeous and spoiled we'll get along perfectly.

Finally, someone who understands me.

Her site has been around for about two weeks, and it's usually roflmao. Skip over to Holiday's page and check out her wrap of the Johnnie Cochran funeral ... and weigh-in run-in with Bridezilla. Dat's hot.

The Heiress Diaries

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Brand New Flava in Your Ear

Photos via

You've seen me on the streets and in the clubs of New York City, biking along Chicago's lakefront or in DC and ATL during Black Gay Pride. Some of you have even seen me behind the scenes in television newsrooms. But here's somewhere new to find me: the phat and fierce new issue of Flava Men.

Nope, I'm not taking it off—but writing a regular column. Turn to page three of the new Spring 2005 issue and learn the "8 Simple Rules of Dating a Stripper."

Luckily, it's at the very front. Finish the article, and then you can dive into the hottest new magazine featuring brown and black men. Here's an exclusive peek into the brand new Flava Men:

Cover model Heat

This is the magazine's sophmore issue, and it's come a long way, baby. Ninety glossy pages that cater to lifestyles, websites, events and men. Many, many gorgeous young men. Count on nine fresh faces in this issue, including cover boy Heat. He's got it, alright ... including a smile that could melt a glacier and (sigh) tats on abs. Why do I always fall for that?

Flava Men is produced by the same company that brought you Cocoboyz and the go-go boy "big brother"-style Cocodorm. They're probably the leaders in providing hot, fresh Blatino faces. It's a buffet of flavaz ... from young tenderonis to strapping brothaz who look fresh outta Rikers. Hmm. Y'all know that's what I'm talkin about.

Had to save the best for last, right?

The glossy is hot-ta-def. The photography is crisp and tantalizing. The photosets are all-original, unlike some of the other mags. There are behind the scenes peeks at photoshoots and videos and interviews with most of the models; several of the hot boyz also double as correspondents. Besides cover model Heat, look for the delish spread on chiseled ebony go-go god Body who was profiled on these pages in February.

The glossy is $7.95, but for less than double that price you can join Have complete access to all of the photoshoots and see your fave boys in high-resolution, vivid color and action.

For the complete experience visit:

Flava Men