Tag Archives: gay

Nocturnal and Fog City Pack’s Alpha Party

Had a great afternoon nap on the floor (does anybody else do that?) and a pizza is on the way so I can take a little time to detail the dynamic duo of events we attended last night.

First up was the Alpha party.

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Alpha was produced by the Fog City Pups ‘pack’ at a seedy basement club in a deadend alley near Jessie and 6th. It would take a whole other essay to talk about the conventions of pups/alphas as an intentionally created culture (and I’d probably need to interview a few friends to get the full gist). Anyway, Alpha’s pedigree rests in a regular private party that outgrew it’s origins to becoming a public event. DJs Adam Kraft, Kevin O’Connor, and Jim Collins kept a sexy sensual spare beat bouncing and the club environment was darkly lit.

The occasion for the party was the birthday of pup Turbo and one year anniversary of the founding of the Fog City Pack. The party had promised “hot guys, low inhibitions” and certainly delivered with a clothes check encouraging minimal clothing (lots of leather and jockstraps) and a “red light room” outfitted with three sex slings and cushioned couches that most likely took a beating over the course of the night. We’re friends with a lot of the pups, so Ron and I stopped by as we headed out for the evening. And so did everybody else. Even though Alpha was targeted towards the pups and related sub-culture, the party had amazing buzz and everybody was there.

In all honesty, this kind of event isn’t really our cup of tea – and that is completely fine. But what Alpha was intended to be, what attracted people to it, and what it was were all perfectly aligned for a crowd ready to revel in it. The Fog City Pups did a fantastic job creating an event that was uniquely theirs but also brought in a broader crowd.

Can’t wait for the next one!

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I probably talk about DJ Jack Chang too much. I first discovered him on Tribe.net back around 2006 and found the hours upon hours of music he made available on his website, changmusic.com.

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Lucky enough to have brunch with DJ Jack Chang at Catch. Thanks, Jack!

Even before we ever went to circuit parties we always enjoyed Jack’s dark, harder edged mixes. And so when Ky Martinez told us he just got off the phone with Jack’s manager and that he was coming in at the end of February for the Nocturnal event, Ron immediately started moving his schedule around so we wouldn’t miss the evening.

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Gogo Thomas Julio Rodriguez commanding the box at Nocturnal.

Nocturnal was at BeatBox, a frequent venue for many of these types of events and so it can be a challenge to design the environment of the club to be different and fresh each time. Ky and the gang had moved some platforms around, added some stairs up to the gogo boxes and had some scenic elements that hung from the ceiling which gave the space more height. Expert lighting design from William Brown reinforced the space to keep it elastic and changing shape.

Local favorite Russ Rich opened. He is always spectacular whether it’s prime time circuit, Sunday Funday cocktails, tea dance, or afterhours-y. Always glad to see him at the helm.

Then around midnight Russ’s set ended and Jack came on with a breathless overture with William activating even more lasers and lights in the space and then launching into an expertly constructed four-hour set. The crowd went nuts and enjoyed every minute of it. At around 3:50 or so, Jack’s set eased off as the crowd made their way to coat check and out the door. Ron and I were literally the last two patrons to leave the club.

Ky, Juan, Mohammad, and Cecil put together an amazing evening with Nocturnal – the first of four events this year so stay tuned for the next one.

Update: Jack released the full four hour mix from Saturday.

How Lesbians Cared For And Fought For Gay Men During the AIDS Crisis

From a powerful Reddit thread conveying what is was like to live as a gay man during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s-90s:

“Lesbians who came to the aid of gay men at that time would be acknowledged as every bit as heroic as soldiers on the front lines of any war. … I can tell you now is that these women walked directly into the fire and through it, and they did not have to. And that they did it even as some of the gay men they took care of treated them with bitchiness, scorn, and contempt. …

When the AIDS crisis struck, it would be many of these same women who would go straight from their jobs during the day to acting as caregivers at night. …

These women walked directly into the fire. They came to the aid of gay men even when it was unclear how easily the virus could be transmitted. Transmission via needlestick was still a concern, so they often wore two or three layers of latex gloves to protect themselves, but more than once I saw them, in their haste and frustration, dispense with the gloves so that they could check for fevers, or hold a hand that hung listlessly from the edge of a bed whose sheets they had just laundered.

They provided aid, comfort, and medical care to men withering away in hospices, men who’d already lost their lovers and friends to the disease and spent their last months in agony. They’d been abandoned by their own families, and were it not for lesbians – many if not most of them volunteers – they would have suffered alone. And when there was nothing more medicine could do for them and their lungs began to fill with fluid, it was often these same women who’d be left to administer enough morphine to release them, given to them by the doctor who had left the room and would return fifteen minutes later to sign the certificate (a common practice at the time).

I knew a woman around that time who’d had at one point been making bank in construction. But at the outset of the AIDS crisis she had abandoned her career to pursue nursing instead, and was close to her degree when we were hanging out. She was a big, hearty drinker, and fortunately so was I. We’d been utterly thrashed at a bar once when someone whispered a fairly benign but nonetheless unwelcoming comment about her. Middle fingers were exchanged, and afterwards, furious and indignant, I asked her, Why do you do it? Why did you abandon a career to take care of these assholes who still won’t pay you any respect?

She cut me a surprisingly severe look, held it and said, “Honey, because no one else is going to do it.” 

During that time, I did what I could. But nothing I did then or have ever been called to do in my life puts me anywhere near the example set by the lesbians I knew in the 80s and 90s. I’ve felt obligated to remember what they did, and to make sure other people remember it too. So, thanks to the OP – this is as good a place to start as any.”

Full discussion on Reddit.

Image from the amazing documentary We Were Here.

Let’s Ruin Video Games

Found this rant via Metafilter:

“My name is Arden, and after a few days of thinking I’ve decided that I’m going to ruin video games.

I’m going to be doing everything in my power to destroy them completely. Walking simulators about feelings and emotions as far as the eye can see! Guns that shoot kisses! Lady characters that aren’t designed to cater to the whims of straight men! I’m hiding loving queer couples in every treasure chest instead of new armor. Every game will now be required to have at least one section that can be described as “too” personal. Fuck, if I’m feeling really bold, I might even throw some non-white characters into a game or two! I’ll magically replace every copy of every big-budget first person shooter with either Gone Home or Dear Esther and listen to the agitated shrieks of gamers.

Non-men have been “ruining” games for a long time, of course, by virtue of existing and trying to make the medium and the spaces around it more inclusive and less festering garbage.”

Full essay at http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/95229096014/lets-ruin-video-games

Part of Ruin Jam http://itch.io/jam/ruinjam2014

Arden’s newest project is a game called Date or Die http://dateordiegame.com/

Photo from her game Kindness Coins http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/47442539017/funny-comady-man-you-play-as-a-person-that-a

From this Metafilter thread http://www.metafilter.com/142425/Ruin-Jam-2014

Race, Masculinity and Gay Hookup Apps

Lester Brathwaite gives up on the hookup:

“My looks, as validated by the very men I was rejecting, gave me license to be more selective. As I grew more selective, my profiles grew less playful. I erased my face. I added more shirtless pics and naked pics; I worked out harder; I left my descriptions blank so I would have nothing to blame for a guy not messaging me back, other than his own ‘preference.’

. . .

Was it something I said or didn’t say? Am I not muscular enough? Am I not masculine enough? Am I too black? Not black enough? Guys that I would strike up a casual conversation with immediately became potential boyfriends. We would either meet and have sex and I’d never see him again or we’d casually text until one or both of us lost interest. Some times, we’d meet and I’d face my rejection in-person. Were we to meet in another, less sexually-charged way, things would probably be different. Giving all the goods off the bat, however, takes the surprise and spontaneity out of meeting each other.

But these apps and sites have rendered me completely unable to interact with guys in any other way because they cater to my insecurity. My insecurity about talking to guys. My insecurity with coming off too effeminate or too needy. My insecurity of attracting someone without using my body. It’s one thing to be rejected based on a picture and a headline, but to be rejected based on something more substantial like personality is a soul-crusher. I broke myself down and I beat myself up and I compromised my values and what I believed in in order to satisfy my all-consuming sexual desire. I recognized that this desire was just a desire to be less lonely, which explains why I would often get attached to someone so quickly and so easily.”

Full essay http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lester-brathwaite/adventures-in-sex-and-sel_b_4921467.html

Image from the essay

Why Michael Sam Matters

From Reddit:

“I’m seeing a lot of ‘who gives a shit?’ comments, and I’d like to explain to those who don’t understand why it matters that Michael Sam is openly gay.

First of all, those who know a gay person are twice as likely to support gay marriage. To anyone following gay rights for a long time, this is the key to acceptance in a society which can’t even agree on deathbed rights for people in a gay relationship. Hell, sodomy is still illegal in some states! To have a gay person in such a socially right-wing community as the NFL football community would force closed-minded people who wouldn’t ever otherwise see a gay person to view positive accomplishments of a gay person. With every interview, every press conference, every sack and forced fumble, people will see a person (who happens to be gay) excelling at his craft, not a stereotype that a lot of people use to substantiate hatred.

Secondly, and even more importantly, more young people (and especially athletic young people) have someone to serve as an example that homosexuality is not something that makes someone a bad person or a pariah. Seeing someone who serves as a role model embrace who he is sexually means that gay teens are one step closer to accepting a part of their personalities without having to hide behind a mask of heterosexuality. Can you imagine living the most difficult part of your life (adolescence) having to hold such a gigantic and painful secret? While all of your male friends are going out “chasing tail,” you have to either pretend you’re into girls to fit in or risk being a leper. And we all know about all the kids who have hurt and/or killed themselves because they have to hide this very secret.

I’m not saying Michael Sam has changed the definition of normalcy in such a macro way, but with every new high-profile celebrity coming out–and especially the ones who come out in more macho circles like major league sports–the more “normal” homosexuality seems. And the more normal homosexuality seems, the more people don’t have to live a lie just because society doesn’t approve of the way they were born.”

Discussion http://www.reddit.com/r/nfl/comments/1xh91g/adamschefter_missouri_de_michael_sam_comes_out_as/cfbcffp

Image from an ESPN interview http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/10429030/michael-sam-missouri-tigers-says-gay

5 Reasons Gay Asian Men Should Stop Dating White Guys

A friend pointed me to a blog called Angry Homosexual where a (presumably) asian gay man lists why gay asian men shouldn’t date white guys. I don’t agree with most of it and it seems awfully bitter but there’s a bit:

2. You’ll eventually get dumped for a younger, cuter Asian. White people invented the concept of leasing a car and trading it in when it’s old, and they’ve carried that concept over to their dating lives too. 97% of the time when you see an East-West (Asian-White) couple, it’s an older white guy with a substantially younger Asian. Because there are many more Asians seeking white guys than vice versa, white guys have plenty of choice, while potato-seeking Asians have to settle for whatever they can get. Usually, it’s an older, often chubbier white guy who, for all his shortcomings, is, well, white. Years down the road when you’re getting a bit long in the tooth, you can expect to be traded in for a younger, hotter Asian model, and there will be plenty of those to choose from.”

A lot of this point of view is treating the white guy like a prize to be won which inherently devalues the asian man in the equation. There’s a lot of bullshit in gay dating dynamics and when you add in race or ethnicity you get a whole new level of bullshit.

Read all five reasons http://angryhomosexual.com/5-reasons-gay-asians-should-give-up-potatoes/

Bear Culture (Past and Present)

Commenter on Metafilter:

“In 1990, when I picked up Bear Magazine Issue #11 at Sisters & Brothers, the gay bookstore in Albuquerque, I bought it because the man on the cover was über-hot. But when I got it home and started actually reading it, I discovered there was this movement happening within gay culture. Men were tired of being assumed to be this list of things simply because they wanted to have sex with other men, and they were working to reclaim a masculine identity which would be recognized as being something other than that. Here was this group of men reaching out toward each other across the country (even the world) who wanted “gay” to mean something else than what the stereotypes surrounding them said it meant. (Literally reaching out through the magazine — in this pre-internet world, at least 1/3 of the magazine was personal ad listings.)

I suddenly felt I had found my tribe. And on finding this, I had the handle I needed to grasp to actually step out of my closet and be known as gay, and to try to create an identity for myself which fell outside of the bounds of what was considered “normal” for being gay.

It was exhilarating. And greatly healing. And I came to make contact with many of the bears over the next few years. And I went to bear meetups in various places of various sizes and levels of organization, and they were all wonderful. Meeting men who were doubly damaged, both by society’s rejection of them as homosexual, and by gay culture’s rejection of them as “not playing the game”… who all had the same narrative, the same self-doubts, the same agony of feeling like they would NEVER find a home for their souls… and finding us all gathering together and sharing these stories and discovering that we were NOT, in fact, alone in the world… As a 20-something this was some of the most empowering years and adventures I had ever had. (They continue to be so, actually.)

As these things do, this scene began a bit underground and then started to gain momentum and then really EXPLODED. Suddenly the bears weren’t a movement, they were a marketing niche. And the energy of the scene began to change. Big meetups became more, for lack of a better term, corporate. Suddenly you could buy “bear” merchandise easily rather than having to seek it out. Bear clubs were springing up all over the country, and then breaking up into smaller groups as the fights between the “we want to fuck” and the “we want to socialize” groups surfaced.

These were heady, fractious times, but they were still amazing. So many gay men were realizing that they could “hang out with the guys” and want to fuck them and not have to develop this other self to fit in with gay culture. So much self-acceptance and self-realization, if you could have bottled it, you would have powered a small city.

And then, the second change happened. “Bear porn stars” started to become more beefcake. Bear gatherings became more circuit-party-like. I stopped being able to attend the really big gatherings because, being skinny and hairless (despite having a great beard and being fairly cute [or so I’m told]) I didn’t fit into the bear stereotype. As such, I was routinely shoved to the outside at such events. After the second weekend of sitting on the outside at weekends I’d previously been welcomed at, I just stopped going to any of them at all.

“Bear” had gone, within a decade, from being something encouraging and inviting to being something exclusive and filled with spit-shined idealized ego-driven insiders, just like mainstream gay culture had been before bear emerged. Go to most big bear events today (with a few exceptions which I won’t name here because they need to avoid contamination), and you’ll find basically a circuit party full of gym rats who have decided to stop shaving their chests and their faces, full of attitude for anyone who doesn’t meet their standards, and a bunch of fanboys who slaver for their attention. Just like any other circuit party, only with fewer razors.

It was amazing to live through those years, and very educational.

At this point, there is a “new bear movement” taking place, where those marginalized by the mainstream bear movement are once again finding each other and working to build community. I’ve found the one here in my area, and meeting with these men has had the same healing power for me as meeting the first round of bears did 20-odd years ago. It’s funny how life works like that.”

Part of a discussion on Twinks.