Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Beau: Joss Whedon and Mal

...I mean, Castle...I mean, Nathan Fillion!

Via Maybe It's Just Me...

I have actually wanted to do a book. I have one in mind. It's not on the front burner. You write enough lesbians and you start to realize: This is just a guy. This isn't feminism. This is Cinemax. I think it's time for a little equal opportunity. Besides, who doesn't love cock?

Joss Whedon talking about writing a gay male lead.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

This Week's New Books

“It’s safe to say your relationship is in trouble if the only way you can imagine solving your problems is by borrowing a time machine.”

In 2006 comic book dealer John Sherkston has decided to break up with his physicist boyfriend, Taylor Esgard, on the very day Taylor announces he’s finally perfected a time machine for the U.S government. John travels back to 1986, where he encounters “Junior,” his younger, more innocent self. When Junior starts to flirt, John wonders how to reveal his identity: “I’m you, only with less hair and problems you can’t imagine.” He also meets up with the younger Taylor, and this unlikely trio teams up to plot a course around their future relationship troubles, prevent John’s sister from making a tragic decision, and stop George W. Bush from becoming president.

In this wickedly comic, cross-country, time-bending journey, John confronts his own—and the nation’s—blunders, learning that a second chance at changing things for the better also brings new opportunities to screw them up. Through edgy humor, time travel, and droll one-liners, Bob Smith examines family dysfunction, suicide, New York City, and recent American history while effortlessly blending domestic comedy with science fiction. Part acidic political satire, part wild comedy, and part poignant social scrutiny, Remembrance of Things I Forgot is an uproarious adventure filled with sharp observations about our recent past.

Talismano is a novelistic exploration of writing seen as a hallucinatory journey through half-remembered, half-imagined cities—in particular, the city of Tunis, both as it is now, and as it once was. Walking and writing, journey and journal, mirror one another to produce a calligraphic, magical work: a palimpsest of various languages and cultures, highlighting Abdelwahab Meddeb’s beguiling mastery of both the Western and Islamic traditions. Meddeb’s journey is first and foremost a sensual one, almost decadent, where the narrator luxuriates in the Tunis of his memories and intercuts these impressions with recollections of other cities at other times, reviving the mythical figures of Arab-Islamic legend that have faded from memory in a rapidly westernizing North Africa. A fever dream situated on the knife-edge between competing cultures, Talismano is a testament to the power of language to evoke, and subdue, experience.

A grandson tries to buy the corpse of Lenin on eBay for his communist grandfather. A failed wunderkind steals a golden cross from an Orthodox church. A boy meets his cousin (the love of his life) once every five years in the river that divides their village into east and west. These are Miroslav Penkov’s strange, unexpectedly moving visions of his home country, Bulgaria, and they are the stories that make up his charming, deeply felt debut collection.

In East of the West, Penkov writes with great empathy of eight hundred years of tumult; his characters mourn the way things were and long for things that will never be. But even as they wrestle with the weight of history, with the debt to family, with the pangs of exile, the stories in East of the West are always light on their feet, animated by Penkov’s unmatched eye for the absurd.

The truth frequently hurts and rarely sets you free.

Ex-criminal Montgomery "Monty" Haaviko would prefer to be known as the friendly neighborhood daycare provider. Unfortunately, it's his criminal past (and his extensive bag of tricks of the trade) that brings him to the attention of Marie Blue Duck, a Canadian activist who wants Monty to set up a route to smuggle refugees into the US. Monty’s skeptical of her offer, but the money is too good to refuse. Even his wife, Claire, who ensures Monty stays on the straight and narrow, thinks he should take the job.

Marry the first person who doesn't publicly ask about the knife in your sock and the pistol in your waistband.

Monty's carefully laid plans quickly go off the rails when he squares off against local thug Samantha Richot, who tries to seize the route. Their power struggle rapidly escalates into kidnapping, torture, and a daring and highly explosive stand-off. Just when Monty thinks he might just have it all under control, his old jailhouse crony, Hershel "Smiley" Wiebe, shows up on his doorstep. Monty is more than suspicious of Smiley's motives, but figures if you should keep old friends close, you should keep old cons even closer.

Smile. If nothing else it makes them nervous.

Not since the bestselling novel Beat The Reaper or the TV show Burn Notice has there been such a quick-thinking, smart-talking anti-hero who will keep you pinned to your seat. A gripping and aggressive thriller, Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal shows just how far a man will go to protect his family, home and neighborhood.

Set against the closing years of the Cold War, Constance Squires's debut novel introduces the family of Army Major Jack Collins through the eyes of his headstrong eldest daughter, Lucinda. Living on a military base, Lucinda feels displaced and isolated. Over time she finds her own tribe through rock and roll, and meets fellow Army brats, GIs, a ghost, and Syd, who knows how it goes. But after her father's final shocking betrayal, the only world she's ever believed in falls like the Berlin Wall, leaving Lucinda to chart a new path.

In spare, beautiful prose, Constance Squires offers us a rare glimpse into the experiences and sacrifices of an American military family. Along the Watchtower is a powerful story that reveals what it truly means to fight for the things we believe in and to defend the ones we love.

McGee Brown, the "emerging dean of participatory sports journalists," quits his job on a whim and finds himself in San Francisco. When he links up with his old friend Fillmore, a clinical psychologist/ bartender, Brown's life will never be the same.

Through Fillmore, he takes on a role as a bogus psychologist. As Dr. Brown, McGee meets with two patients: one is a troubled young woman who claims her filthy-rich financier husband is trying to kill her; the other is a former TV producer who has adopted the persona of his 1960s series superhero, DangerMan. Brown turns investigator when he's hired by the newly widowed financier to find his missing daughter. In exchange for a $50,000 fee, Brown agrees to do some private investigating, leading to a story packed with car chases, shoot-outs and other hedonistic delights to round out a novel cast with colorful and quirky characters.

Friday Beau

Via oh yeaaah

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the GOP's Inability to Save LGBT Kids

Dan Savage via AMERICAblog Gay:

It is interesting, though, that not a single GOP elected official can bring himself or herself to make a video, or participate in the creation of one. No GOP elected can risk being seen letting bullied LGBT kids know that life isn't high school and that it will get better for them. it doesn't require signing off on the entire gay agenda (the president made a video, and he doesn't support gay marriage). No GOP elected can back the seemingly radical notion that LGBT kids shouldn't kill themselves, that they should have hope for their futures.

No GOP elected official can do even that -- David Cameron, meanwhile, made a video months ago.

which tells us a lot about the noisiest part of the GOP's base -- lewd (have you seen their websites?) hate groups like focus on the family and americans for truth about homosexuality -- and how feared they are by even "moderate" senators like Scott Brown.

July NextReads: Fantasy

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Urban Fantasy. At 21 (centuries old), handsome, tattooed Irish druid Atticus O'Sullivan is the proprietor of an occult bookshop in Arizona, a place he's come to love due to its "low god density" and utter lack of faeries. He's got good reason to avoid both groups: Atticus has stolen the magical sword of Aenghus Óg, the Celtic god of love--who's willing to send as many fae assassins as it takes to get the weapon back. Hounded kicks off the fun, fast-paced, and darkly humorous Iron Druid Chronicles, which continues with Hexed and Hammered.

The Unremembered by Peter Orullian

High Fantasy. In the world of Aeshau Vael, the gods seek to maintain balance in all things...or at least, most of them do. However, one deity, Quietus, long ago created a race of monsters, a deed that resulted in his exile to another realm. Now he's back and bent on world domination, meaning that the fate of Aeshau Vael rests on the shoulders of young Tahn Junell, who sets out on an epic journey accompanied by his sister and his two best friends. If you enjoy heroic quests and epic battles between good and evil, such as those in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, don't miss this 1st book in Peter Orullian's Vault of Heaven series.

The Alchemist in the Shadows by Pierre Pevel; translated from the French by Tom Clegg

Historical Fantasy. In dragon-inhabited 17th-century Paris, the powerful Cardinal Richelieu maintains an elite fighting force dedicated to protecting the interests of the realm: the Cardinal's Blades, a seven-person, sword-slinging team led by Captain La Fargue. Acting on information from beautiful Italian spy La Donna, La Fargue and his comrades take on the latest threat to the nation: a Spanish secret society known as The Black Claw. If you've ever thought that The Three Musketeers would have been even better with magic, alchemy, and dragons, you'll enjoy this swashbuckling sequel to The Cardinal's Blades.

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Noir Fantasy. "'Tis better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven," wrote John Milton in Paradise Lost--but serving in hell is another story altogether. Eleven years after being dispatched to the underworld, magician-turned-assassin James Stark escapes, seeking revenge on those who betrayed him and murdered his girlfriend. Fortunately for Stark, his stint as a monster-killing gladiator in Lucifer's infernal arena has given him a lethal new skill set. "Paced like greased lightning" (Booklist) and featuring a tough-talking, hard-brawling antihero, Sandman Slim (and its sequel Kill the Dead) will appeal to fans of classic L.A.-set crime novels (such as those of Dashiell Hammett) as well as urban fantasy fans.

In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez

Humorous Fantasy. Having recently bounced back from his 49th death, the aptly-named Never Dead Ned finds himself wishing he could stay deceased when his boss saddles him with an unwanted promotion. Formerly the top bookkeeper for Brute's Legion (the go-to guys if you're looking for magical mercenaries), Ned must now serve as the commander of Ogre Company, where management expects him to take charge of a band of monstrous misfits including ogres, orcs, goblins, and more. "Joyfully fast-paced and funny," this novel by the author of Gil's All-Fright Diner turns familiar fantasy cliches on their heads.

Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel by Seanan McGuire

Urban Fantasy. After 14 years' imprisonment as a pond carp in the Japanese Tea Gardens, former private investigator October "Toby" Daye returns to the real world, only to find that everything has changed. Half-human and half-fae, Toby belongs nowhere and avoids both sides--until the murder of a fae Countess forces Toby to confront her painful past. Set in a richly detailed supernatural version of San Francisco, Rosemary and Rue is the 1st book in the October Daye series, followed by A Local Habitation. Fantasy fans who also enjoy horror stories should know that author Seanan McGuire is also the author of Feed, under the pseudonym Mira Grant.

This is Me

Image and quote via The Closet Professor

I really can’t picture anyone at all having a crush on me. I can’t picture anyone daydreaming about me. I can’t picture someone thinking about me when they lay in bed before they fall asleep. I can’t picture anyone telling their friends about me. I can’t picture anyone getting butterflies because I hugged them, or even just because I made eye contact with them. I can’t picture someone smiling because my name lit up their phone. I just can’t.

Regardless of what guys who live hours and states away say (thank you), this is my daily truth. I don't mean to be pitiful, but I saw this, and I knew it as my truth.

Concussion Beau: Andrew Walker

Via Double Viking

You will fear Andrew Walker for reasons other than the fact that he plays Rugby all the time, despite being heavily concussed.

Thursday Beau: Brent Corrigan

Via Sozo's Blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hump Day With Brent Corrigan

Brent Corrigan as a top. That may be heaven.

Denim Beau

Via another country

T & A for Lunch

Via Iron Threshold Temple

Inside the Book Tunnel

Via Illuminations and Other Stuff

This is the inside of a book tower created in the hall of the main library in Prague. The tower includes a mirror in its bottom that gives the illusion of a deep well of books. (Click over for an image of the tower's outside.)

July NextReads: Fiction

Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

Fifteen-year-old Alice Bliss shares a love of gardening with her father, Matt, who teaches her how to care for her tools as they plan their garden together. She clashes, however, with her mother, and when Matt is deployed to Iraq they are unable to lean on each other for support. As they wait, agonized, for his return, Alice faces not only the experiences of growing up and falling in love, but the challenges of dealing with a mother who is falling apart and a younger sister who needs more help than Alice can give. This sensitive, heartbreaking debut, which is based on the author's one-woman musical, calls for having at least one hanky on hand.

Silver Sparrow: A Novel by Tayari Jones

Dana Yarboro's father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist. Though both Dana and her mother have always known this, James goes to great lengths to protect his other, first family from the truth. And despite her mother's tendency to spy on the other wife, Dana is kept from her half-sister by the simple rule that Chaurisse picks first (summer camp, summer job, college), and Dana gets what's left. After the two meet accidentally and Dana pursues a friendship with her unsuspecting half-sister, James' secrets inevitably unravel. Set in Atlanta's middle-class African-American community in the 1980s, this novel and its complex, believable characters are likely to appeal as much to teenaged girls as to their grown-up counterparts.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

Lucy Hull is an accidental children's librarian who routinely gives her favorite patron, 10-year-old Ian, books that do not conform to the rigid rules his overbearing, fundamentalist mother has set for him. When Ian's parents force him to attend behavior-modification classes that will "cure" his burgeoning homosexuality, Ian determines to run away--and Lucy decides to go with him. Though this set-up may leave you feeling incredulous, it's actually the start of a warm, moving, and frequently funny book full of literary references and paeans to the power of reading. "Smart, literate and refreshingly unsentimental," says Kirkus Reviews of this debut.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

At 29, Alice Love was a happy-go-lucky newlywed expecting her first child. Imagine her shock when she wakes up after an accident on a stationary bike to find she's 39 and the mother of three kids she doesn't recognize. She remembers nothing of the previous ten years, and seems to have become a totally different woman--one who is estranged from her sister and going through an acrimonious divorce with a man she last remembered loving fiercely. Figuring out who she's become, based on clues she picks up here and there, makes What Alice Forgot a highly captivating read.

The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

When Cold War diplomat Nick Fleming dies under suspicious circumstances, he is immediately suspected of treason and promptly declared a mole; to protect their children, his widow moves them to her childhood vacation home in Scotland's Outer Hebrides. While the two teenage girls deal with the death of their father differently (the eldest buckles down, the other acts out), the youngest, 8-year-old Jamie, doesn't really understand that his father is gone forever. When he sees an escaped bear wandering the island, he is sure that it is somehow connected to his father. As a tale of the stages of grief, The Summer of the Bear is "gently absorbing" (Daily Mail).

WOW: Britain to Expel Pro-Gaddafi diplomats

Via Al Jazeera:

Britain has officially recognised Libya's main opposition group as the country's legitimate government, and asked all diplomats belonging to Muammar Gaddafi's government to leave the United Kingdom.

William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, said on Wednesday that Britain was unfreezing 91m pounds ($150m) of Libyan oil assets to help the National Transitional Council, which the country now recognises as "the sole governmental authority in Libya".

"We will deal with the National Transitional Council on the same basis as other governments around the world," Hague said.

"In line with this decision, we summoned the Libyan charge d'affaires here to the foreign office this morning and informed him that he and other regime diplomats from the Gaddafi regime must now leave the United Kingdom.

"We no longer recognise them as the representatives of the Libyan government and we are inviting the Libyan National Transitional Council to appoint a new Libyan diplomatic envoy to take over the Libyan embassy in London."

CBO Bitchslaps Boner

Mainstream Media simply makes the assumption that Boner and the GOP want to save money. Well, I guess they

Via Politico: Reid savings trumps Boner plan

In the battle of budget scores, the Senate Democrats deficit reduction bill is the clear winner thus far over an alternative by Speaker John Boner, which had to be pulled back from a floor Tuesday night for retooling.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report Wednesday morning that credits the Senate bill with reducing budget deficits by about $2.2 trillion through 2021, nearly three times the $850 billion credited to the Boner bill on Tuesday.

Read It Before You Ban It

Via The Kansas City Star

This week a suburban Springfield-area school board bowed to the book banners after a yearlong fight that gained national notice.

And so it goes, Kurt Vonnegut might have said.

By a vote of 4-0, the Republic Board of Education yanked Vonnegut’s anti-war classic “Slaughterhouse-Five” and another novel from the high school curriculum and library.

As a kid, I read just about every thing Vonnegut wrote. So were he still alive, I imagine the author would be rolling his eyes at the thought that his 1969 book about young men dying for a cause they couldn’t fathom — its subtitle is “The Children’s Crusade” — was deemed unfit for young eyes in 2011.

Republic isn’t alone. While some Kansas City-area districts have the book in their curriculum, “Slaughterhouse-Five” is a fixture on the most-banned books list of the American Library Association.

One of the first to ban it was a North Dakota school district that, in 1973, gathered up its 32 copies and fed them to the coal furnace.

Vonnegut was outraged, but surely appreciated the irony of burning a book whose narrative centers on the allied firebombing of Dresden during World War II.

“Slaughterhouse-Five” is also about time travel, space aliens and, well, if you haven’t read the book, get with it, Billy Pilgrim. Though I doubt it will take much coaxing for Republic High School students to pick up a copy now.

Mark Twain equated book banning to the temptation of Adam: “He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.”

Of course, Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is also on the most-banned books list, and what a great educational resource it is for parents having trouble getting their kids to read.

The list, I mean. Simply forbid your high schooler from reading the likes of J.D Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and other classics on it. Next thing you know, they’ll be reading under the covers at night with a flashlight.

I can’t speak for the other book banned in Republic on Monday night, “Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler, because I go by a higher standard than most book banners.

I read them before pronouncing judgment, rather than rely on a group like Parents Against Bad Books in School to guide me to “the dirty parts.”

However, what Superintendent Vern Minor said about “Slaughterhouse-Five” is true.

“The language is really, really intense,” he told the Springfield News-Leader.

But take it from a parent of a 16-year-old. You’ll hear worse on your kid’s iPod.

Though maybe the kids are more pure in Republic.


I'd imagine that if most people actually read the books they claim to know something about, the Bible would probably be one of the most banned books as well: afterall, it contains witchcraft, homosexuality, sexuality, incest, murder, war, massacre, violence, torture...yadda yadda yadda...

Kitteh of Marriage Equality v. NOM

Via i can has cheez burger

Electropop Beau: Frankmusik

Via MUZOPHILE: Frankmusik onboard Erasure's North American Tour

Visit MUZOPHILE, also, to win a date with MUZO to go to the concert in Hollywood!

Happy Hump Day

Via Nerd Porn

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Sarah Michelle Gellar Series

Via AfterElton

...[T]he plot, which has Gellar playing a dual role as estranged twin sisters Bridget/Siobhan, sounds intriguing enough.

Bridget is the recovering alcoholic on the run from the mob, who takes over wealthy, glamorous Siobhan's identity after the latter mysteriously disappears during a boating excursion. Soon enough, Bridget discovers there was much more to Siobhan than meets the eye. Twisty plot developments ensue.

"At its core…it's a tale of two sisters where one is driven by redemption and one is driven by revenge," said series co-creator Erich Charmelo. "We're also playing with the themes of identity and duplicity, so [we're] playing within the conceits of noir. You know, you don't know really who's the femme fatale and who's the mark. Everybody has two faces, and every single one of our characters on the panel has a duplicitous nature. So we love delving into that realm of moral ambiguity."

For her part, Gellar – who had some of the best lines of the hour and was a real audience-pleaser throughout – spoke to the challenge of portraying two different characters.

"Bridget's story is the story of redemption, which I think is something that everybody can understand and relate to, and I think Siobhan's story is the story of revenge, which I think a lot of us think about, often, maybe," said Gellar. "As long as that's in the back of your mind, I think you can make two really compelling characters at the same time."

Darn and drat me for not having even the channels afforded those who don't have a million and one channels!

Robyn Does Coldplay

Via MUZOPHILE: Robyn Does Coldplay's Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

i ♥ robyn too.

I ♥ Michel Gondry

And I ♥ Björk. And I ♥ OMGblog

Did You Miss the Orson Scott Card Boycott the First Time?

Well, thanks to a game-production company, you may have another chance. A company called Red 5 Studio is planning on releasing a "free-to-play team-based shooter" and a " flesh out the world's story...So who won the honor of being the scribe for this startup's first foray into the gaming marketplace?"


Orson Scott Card.


I generally try to go by the philosophy that you can separate an artist's works from his or her own personal beliefs, that I can enjoy what they produce while disagreeing with stances they have on most any other number of issues, though there are exceptions. If you exclusively consume from people who have your exact same belief set, then you are potentially depriving yourself of some quality works as well as confining yourself in an echo chamber of masturbatory self-righteousness. However, when one takes their personal belief sets, loudly make them public, and THEN tries to get laws of the land altered to enforce those beliefs on the general populace, all bets are off.

All bets are off with OSC. The science fiction author is, ironically, anti-science and has written screeds slamming evolution while promoting creationism and denies climate change. Both "issues" have mountains of scientific evidence to back them up, while the only thing against evolution is religious dogma and the only thing against climate change is... ornery contrary cussedness?

Then, there's the big pink elephant in the room: his rampaging homophobia. As a board member of the National Organization for Marriage - you know, that group that "protects" marriage by trying to deny it to us - he makes it quite clear that he thinks we are his abnormal inferiors who don't deserve to marry. That trying to fight for our right for equality under the law is "propaganda." We are "hypocrites" for saying we are who we are instead of accepting the lie that we are sinful abominations that his rose-tinted 1950's values say we are. The man's vileness can be dug up for days.

I've always found the whole OSC bullshit very troubling and very sad, mostly because I've read Ender's Game, which helped me immensely throughout a rather sad point in my life. And until I learned what a homophobic idiot OSC was/is, I would've happily handed this book over to any gay teen trying to find some strength in the world.

Fuck that.

July NextReads: History...

...or, That Could Have Gone Better.

The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War by Fred Anderson

British and French competition for North American colonial supremacy escalated in 1753, when the French increased military control in British-claimed territory near Virginia. Britain and France declared war in 1756 after early efforts in defense of British interests did not go well (a young George Washington was accused of killing a French diplomat, for example). The War that Made America is an "outstanding account" (Booklist) of the French and Indian War that followed. The role of Native Americans (often overlooked in other accounts) is given full treatment here. The author's trademark impeccable research and accessible prose make this a delightful introduction for those new to the topic.

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin

In 1927, Henry Ford wanted to secure a rubber supply for tire production, and decided to establish his own rubber plantation with a model factory town for his workers--in the heart of an unsettled Amazonian rainforest. Author Greg Grandin tells the bizarre true story of Ford's high-minded, utterly wrong-headed efforts to establish small-town America in a hostile jungle environment. From his failure to consult botanists (the land wasn't even viable for rubber cultivation) to his expectations that indigenous peoples would welcome American living (they didn't), this compelling narrative proves Ford's visionary ambition and arrogant folly were two sides of the same coin.

[Well, no shit, Sherlock! - Writer]

Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Dunkirk stands in WWII history as a terrible Allied defeat--but also an unforgettable testament to the valiant British Expeditionary Forces who defended an escape corridor with their lives, allowing 288,000 Allied troops to escape the Germans' onslaught. Many BEF soldiers knew they would die holding positions for the few precious hours their comrades needed to escape; the journalistic style of this narrative brings their plights vividly to life. Author Hugh Sebag-Montefiore marshals new primary sources (personal interviews, official reports, and previously unpublished soldiers' accounts) to add meaningful depth to the story of Dunkirk.

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir

Mining "thickets of evidence, hearsay and apocrypha” (Kirkus Review) from primary sources and later histories, author Alison Weir vindicates Henry VIII's second wife from popular negative perceptions. She offers a full account of Anne Boleyn's life but focuses on her final four months locked in the Tower of London. Weir contends that it was not Henry VIII who first tired of the young woman, but instead royal advisor Thomas Cromwell who saw her as a dangerous rival to his influence with the king. This "judicious, thorough and absorbing popular history" (Publishers Weekly) will appeal to fans of Tudor histories--and, of course, will be a hit among Weir's fiction fans who also like nonfiction.

Tuesday Beau: Joseph McElderry

Watch his performance on X Factor

or check out this performance - same song - from the live show

Oh, and here's him doing The Climb - fuck you, Miley!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Get Your Boogie On Before Bed

Thanks, WeYüMe

Congrats, Todd and Tim

Who married yesterday in New York! :)

It Gets Better...

...even for gay vampires.

Via Maybe It's Just Me...

Back When We Were Neanderthal

Via National Geographic:

According to a new DNA study, most humans have a little Neanderthal in them—at least 1 to 4 percent of a person's genetic makeup.

The study uncovered the first solid genetic evidence that "modern" humans—or Homo sapiens—interbred with their Neanderthal neighbors, who mysteriously died out about 30,000 years ago.

What's more, the Neanderthal-modern human mating apparently took place in the Middle East, shortly after modern humans had left Africa, not in Europe—as has long been suspected.

Marriage Equality for Puppets in New York

Rod and Ricky from Avenue Q were also married yesterday in New York! :)

Your Mid Monday Music Break

Vincent Minor's The Trap. I'm assuming he's gay, but maybe someone else knows for sure. :)

July NextReads: Popular Culture

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke

You might know him from Mary Poppins, the movie that made him a global star, or from the much-loved Dick Van Dyke Show, or even from Diagnosis: Murder, but Dick Van Dyke's career in show business actually started off in local radio. From there, his amiable, likeable mien served him well, despite his struggles with alcoholism. Tales from years of success--and times of frustration--form the backbone of this memoir, and celebrity-watchers will enjoy Van Dyke's stories of working with Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner, and others. Fans should absolutely not miss his delightful stories.

Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop by Ben Westhoff

Reviewed in places as varied as Forbes magazine (which calls it a "must-read") and Rolling Stone ("packed with lively reporting and colorful social history"), Dirty South should not be missed by anyone interested in Southern hip-hop and how it overtook East Coast and West Coast rap styles. Whether you know nothing or are familiar with the sound, this is a fun, informative book that covers both better-known artists like Ludacris and Lil Wayne and lesser-known ones like DJ Drama and DJ Smurf. And as an added bonus, you'll no doubt also find mentions of new (or classic) tracks to hunt down and listen to.

He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back: The True and Glorious Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR's Feudin', Fightin', Good ol' Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map by Mark Bechtel

If you've already read Joe Menzer's history of NASCAR, The Wildest Ride, and still can't get enough NASCAR history, try this high-energy chronicle of the 1979 season, written by Sports Illustrated editor Mark Bechtel. It documents the fairly sudden elevation of stock-car racing to a major sport--thanks in part to a major snowstorm that blanketed much of the country and a dramatic finish to the televised Daytona 500--and the larger-than-life personalities that populated the sport's upper echelon. As colorful as the people and history he writes about, Bechtel's book is "an illuminating, informative, and entertaining read" (Publishers Weekly).

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy; illustrated by Wendell Minor

Bestselling author Pat Conroy has given readers hours of pleasure with such hefty works as The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, and Lords of Discipline, but he's as avid a reader as he is writer: as a high school student he was challenged to read 200 pages a day, and that's a goal he still sets for himself (and frequently surpasses). In My Reading Life, he acknowledges both the books and the people that have shaped his life for good or bad--such as War and Peace and Gone with the Wind, and his mother and fellow writers. For other authors' takes on how reading shaped their lives, try Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life or Michael Chabon's Maps and Legends.

[Michael Chabon's Maps and Legends is amazing! - Writer]

Listen to This by Alex Ross

Most of the essays collected here are adapted from author Alex Ross' work for the New Yorker, and it's an assortment that covers everything from classical music and popular hits to Bjork and music education in public schools (or the lack thereof). Music fans will appreciate Ross' critical eye for music of all types, while those looking to expand their musical horizons will enjoy the listening suggestions and articulate explorations of various musicians, eras, and genres. New Yorker subscribers who haven't already read Ross' bestselling, award-winning The Rest Is Noise could try Nick Hornby's Songbook for essays on popular music or Best Music Writing 2011, publishing this September and edited by Ross.

[Happily, Alex Ross is openly gay, and you can follow him on his blog The Rest is Noise]

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson

Readers who enjoy learning how social and cultural mores evolve will appreciate this book just as much as will fans of film history and the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany's and its gamine star, Audrey Hepburn. Many aspects of movie-making and social history are covered in this fascinating book, which also traces the separate strands (an "unadaptable" and provocative novel, a new actress, an arrogant male lead, a trend-setting composer) that came together to create an enduring film that changed not only the way movies were scored but also the options available to women in the 1950s. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. draws extensively on interviews with many of the principals and is "a page-turning delight" (Kirkus Reviews).