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Seth in the City

Updated: 2018-03-12T00:04:11.818-07:00


Empire of Self


Jay Parini has written a wonderful biography of one of my favorite writers, Gore Vidal. Empire of Self covers a lot of the same ground as Gore's memoirs and the earlier (and much detested by Gore, though I enjoyed it) biography by Fred Kaplan, but Parini was friends with Gore for thirty years and brings a lot of personal insight to the story of Gore's life.

I read Gore's first memoir, Palimpsest, when I was just out of high school and what impacted me the most at that time, and for years afterward, was Gore's great love for Jimmy Trimble, the boy with whom he'd fooled around while in school and who was then killed in World War II. Back then,  it seemed to me like a tragic tale of lost love. I could easily imagine what might have been if Jimmy had returned from war, how they would have ended up together.

I've certainly grown up a lot in the (we won't say how many!) years since then. Jimmy Trimble was a beautiful young man who died far too soon, and whatever they shared together certainly impacted Gore to some degree for the rest of his life. But the great love of Gore's life was Howard Auster, no matter how much Gore himself may have protested  that his companion of 50 years was a friend with whom he shared his life or that the great secret to their lasting friendship was that they didn't sleep together.

Parini's insider view of their relationship, and especially of Gore's life after Howard's death, is eye opening, though it  wasn't my first indication of Gore's true feelings. Vidal's description of Howard's passing, in his second memoir Point to Point Navigation, spoke volumes. Reading Parini's description of how Gore, at the very end of his life when he could barely speak, asked Jay to tell him stories about Howard and their times together, had tears streaming down my face.

Once young love and tragic loss seemed far more real and valid to me than a day to day life with someone with whom you didn't even share a bed. I've grown up, and I see now the difference between true love and youthful infatuation. Gore, always going against the grain, may have immortalized what he had with Jimmy both in fiction and memoir, but it was Howard who mattered to him.

'Tis the Season


 I was just perusing Daytime Confidential's list of the Top 25 Shirtless Soap Hunks of 2013 and it made me miss the days when I had time to blog, especially at this time of year when I always had fun with my lists of the Men Who Made 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Ah, memories.

 In the spirit of such sexy seasonal traditions, here is Glamour Magazine's fan voted list of the Sexiest Men 2013, as well as last summer's Hot 100 from, formerly

Bowie's Books


 A fascinating list from David Bowie of his 100 must read books. Check it out.

50 Essentials of LGBT Fiction


An interesting list of 50 Essential Works of LGBT Fiction from Flavorwire. Some of the choices are undeniable, others are unexpected. Most surprising of all, as Band of Thebes points out, are the omissions.

Still, if you're looking for something to read, you'll find plenty of suggestions.

Gore Vidal


  The writer I've admired most in my life, one of the first who made me want to become a writer myself, is gone. Gore Vidal died yesterday evening at his home in California, aged 86.

  I know that Gore himself didn't believe there was any kind of afterlife, but in my mind's eye today I'm seeing him as he was back in the prime of his life, bounding up the steps at his beloved La Rondinaia in Ravello to find Howard Austen, Tennessee Williams (the Glorious Bird), Paul Newman, and, yes, Jimmy Trimble, all lounging on the terrace, drinks in hand, awaiting his arrival.

  Thank you, Gore Vidal, for the impact you had on my life. Rest in peace.

Just Married


  How amazing is it that for the first time in the history of the United States we have someone serving in Congress who is not only openly gay, but legally married to their partner? Congratulations to Congressman Barney Frank and his new husband, Jim Ready, who got married yesterday.

Changing Times


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  This wonderful book trailer pays homage to many bookstores and publishers we've lost over the last decade. It certainly brought a tear to my eye and I'll definitely be checking out Dale Peck's novel this August. 

Will's Story: Just Curious


 Will Horton has been onscreen several times since I last wrote about him just over a week ago, but most of those scenes have involved his working for/being blackmailed by EJ DiMera, a story I'm less interested in writing about than Will's coming out. There have, however, been two episodes that I do want to highlight.  The first is the January 25th episode. Will was having lunch with his grandmother at the Brady Pub and Dr. Evans took the opportunity to tell Will that, no matter the choices he makes in his life, she will always love him. The context was his seemingly inexplicable decision to work for EJ, but the subtext was perfectly clear, at least to me since I'm convinced that Marlena knows exactly what's troubling her grandson.  If by some chance she hadn't already guessed that Will was struggling with his sexuality, I think she would have figured it out after the way Will reacted when Sonny showed up at the pub and came over to their table to say hello. Will was visibly uncomfortable from the moment Sonny arrived.  Sonny wanted Will to look at a potential logo that Kareem had drawn up for Common Grounds and told Will that he was going to be meeting up with Dustin and Kareem later to work on it some more if Will was free. Will claimed to be too busy that day, but when Sonny pressed him to name a time when they could get together to work, Will pulled Sonny aside and told him that he was just too busy with his job on the campaign to help out with the coffee house at all. When Sonny offered to work around Will's schedule or even hold off until after the election, Will told Sonny not to wait for him. Sonny wondered if Will had a problem with his friends, but Will insisted that he was just too busy. Sonny told Will to call him when he was less busy and then added that he wasn't trying to pressure Will, adding the key words "about anything."   I think it was perfectly natural for someone as frightened by his own sexuality as Will is to push Sonny away, especially after Sonny's friends had begun to assume that Will himself was out. It's exactly the reaction you'd expect from a guy so filled with self loathing that he'd spit on his own reflection, isn't it? I loved that Sonny knew exactly what Will was trying to do, though, and let him know that he was there whenever Will was ready.   Marlena, meanwhile, had been watching from across the pub and after Will came back to their table she reminded him that if he needed someone to talk to, someone he could trust, she was always there. Will thanked her and then practically ran from the pub.   The next episode that I want to write about was from this past Wednesday. Will had apparently reached out to Sonny, because the episode began with him showing up at Will's place so they could see a movie together. Sonny asked what film Will wanted to see and our Mr. Horton suggested that they take in the final film of a Meryl Streep retrospective playing nearby: The Devil Wears Prada. Really? You'd almost expect someone trying so hard to be straight to suggest an action film, though probably one with some really hot guys in it!  Sonny said that he loved that film, but that he had a date coming up and the guy (Dustin? Someone else? Offscreen romances suck!) was going to want to see that with him. Instead Sonny suggested that they just hang out at Will's place and download a movie.   Will seemed a bit unnerved by the idea and Sonny half jokingly asked if Will was uncomfortable being alone with him. Will pointed out that Sonny's friends had been assuming things about him lately and then wondered how, exactly, someone knew when they were gay? How, for instance, did Sonny himself know? Will quickly added that he was just curious about Sonny because they were friends.   Sonny told Will how he'd always liked comic book superheros and cute guy[...]

Will's Story: All In


  Things are really starting to heat up on Days of Our Lives in terms of Will Horton's coming out storyline and it's high time that I started blogging about it. Let me begin with a recap recent events before I focus on yesterday's episode.   As I mentioned before, Will was dating Gabi, his stepfather's younger sister (it's a soap, remember?), and they did lose their virginity together. After that first time Gabi couldn't seem to get Will anywhere near the bedroom again. In fact, any time they were even close to becoming intimate, Will would suddenly become very interested in playing a video game or claim to be worried about someone walking in on them. Things finally came to a head after Will saw his mother, Sami, having sex with his ex-stepfather, all around town villain and Mayoral candidate EJ DiMera. EJ and Sami didn't know that Will had seen them, but afterward Will couldn't bear to be around his mother and tried to convince Gabi to get an apartment with him. Gabi was all for the idea until she realized that Will still didn't want to be intimate with her and that his promises that things would change once they moved in together weren't likely. Gabi broke up with Will, which caused a kitchen smashing meltdown in front of all his friends from the normally mild mannered Mr. Horton. In the weeks that have followed, Will has remained tormented both by what he saw between his mother and EJ and by his own personal identity struggle. He's largely dealt with this by being nasty to his still clueless mother at every opportunity, including sneaking a few drinks (shades of Luke Snyder!) at Christmas time before calling her a hypocrite in front of the whole family. What I've truly been blown away by during all of this is the barely contained raw pain Chandler Massey manages to convey with Will's (often tear filled) eyes. Will isn't the sort who'd normally be nasty to anyone, let alone his own mother, but the guy is being torn up inside by these secrets and Massey has impressed the hell out of me by being able to convey that with body language or just by the look in his eyes. Will has been able to talk with his grandmother, Dr. Marlena Evans, who also happens to be a psychiatrist. Marlena could tell that something was eating away at Will (and I suspect that she even knows just what it really is) but rather than coming out to her, Will blurted out his other secret, that he'd seen his mother cheating on her husband.  While all of this has been going on, Will has remained good friends with the openly gay Sonny Kiriakis. In fact, the two partnered in a failed college sports website along with Will's best friend Chad (the less said about that ridiculous storyline the better), and are now at work together on turning The Cheatin' Heart, a dive bar Sonny's parents just signed over to him, into a hot new coffee shop to be called Common Grounds. It was Sonny, a former world traveller in spite of his young age, whom Will talked to about possibly leaving town. Sonny, speaking from experience, cautioned that you can't really run away from your troubles, but seeing just how much pain Will was in, Sonny agreed that it might be a good idea for Will to leave town and figure out just who he is. Unfortunately for our Mr. Horton, he's not exactly as rich as his friend Sonny. To get the money to fund his escape, Will did something else that was very unlike him: he attempted to blackmail EJ DiMera, saying that he'd tell EJ's wife and the voters of Salem all about what he'd seen if EJ didn't give him the money to leave town. If you're going to try your hand at blackmail, you should probably start small and not with the son of a legendary crime boss who has his own long history of evil deeds. Will found this out the hard way when EJ turned the tables on him, letting Will know that not only [...]

Looking Back at 2011


 I'll be honest: 2011 is not a year that I will be looking back on fondly overall, at least not on a personal level. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad to see it coming to an end. Still, like any year there was plenty of good mixed in with the not-so-good. For instance, 2011 could be said to be the year of the people, or perhaps of the bottom 99% of them. This was the year of the Arab Spring, with popular uprisings trying- and in many cases succeeding- in sweeping away repressive regimes in the Mid East. In fact, 2011 was the year in which the likes of Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, and Kim Jong-il ceased to exist, leaving the world that much better off.  Here in the United States, we saw the beginnings of the Occupy movement as well as popular uprisings against unpopular measures such as the stripping away of union rights in Ohio and Wisconsin.  For many, though, 2011 was a year of continued economic hardship. This was driven home for me in a very real way with the bankruptcy of Borders, a company for which I spent the better part of a decade working. The ultimate closure of all Borders and Waldenbooks stores by mid September left most of my former co-workers out of work and they were far from being alone. It also left a gaping hole in the middle of the book world, whatever your opinions on big box stores vs independents.   The most high profile coming out of the year was Zachary Quinto, star of Heroes and the new Star Trek films. Quinto wasn't alone in coming out, though. This year's list also included actor Sean Maher, CNN anchor Don Lemon and sports figures Jed Hooper, Graeme Obree, Scott Norton, Steven Davies, and David Testo, covering a wide range of sports from professional bowling, rugby, cricket, cycling and American Soccer. Actress Evan Rachel Wood came out as bisexual and Geri Jewell, an actress and comedienne with cerebral palsy who back in the early 1980's became the first person with a disability to play a recurring character on a television show (The Facts of Life)  came out in a new memoir. This year saw the passing of some true legends from the entertainment world like Elizabeth Taylor, Arthur Laurents, and Sidney Lumet, and those whose lives had a far reaching impact on the world in general, like Vaclav Havel and Steve Jobs. In the world of daytime TV, the losses just kept coming. ABC cancelled both All My Children and One Life to Live simultaneously, though the latter won't go off the air until the new year.  For a few months, it looked like the shows had been saved and would make the jump to airing online, but in the end that deal fell through and both shows were left with cliffhanger endings that would never be resolved. As far as gay characters on daytime, things are looking up from last year at this time, when the total number of LGBT characters had plummeted to zero. This year we've got an out and proud Sonny Kiriakis and an about to come out Will Horton on Days of Our Lives, so 2012 looks pretty promising in that respect.  Now, on to my picks for some of my favorite things in 2011.*Favorite Short Story Collection I read this year:  Ladies and Gentlemen by Adam Ross*Favorite Novel I read this year:  Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson*Favorite Classic Gay Fiction Book I read this year:  Two People by Donald Windham*Favorite Modern Gay Fiction Book I read this year:  Two Gentlemen Sharing by William Corlett*Favorite Non-Fiction (Literary) Book I read this year:  The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee*Favorite Non-Fiction (Autobiography) Book I read this year:  Bossypants by Tina Fey*Favorite Film I saw this year:  X-Men: First Class. I should note that I saw very few films this year overall; in fact, I won't be doing my usual category of Favor[...]

2011: Best & Worst Lists


  One of my favorite things about the end of any year are all of the Best of (and Worst of) lists that come out on just about any conceivable topic. I'm working on my own, which should be up tomorrow. Following my own year end tradition at Seth in the City I thought I'd share some of the ones I've been enjoying from the professionals.  Let's start with Film. I myself managed to get to the movie theater exactly three times this year and one of those times was to see a filmed Broadway musical and not an actual feature film, so I'm far from being a good judge of what was great and what wasn't.   The experts, though, have spoken. First up is Roger Ebert's look at the Best Films of 2011, his top twenty picks for the year, none of which I've seen. I have very much enjoyed watching Ebert Presents At The Movies this year, though, with Christy Lemire of The Associated Press and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Sadly, at this point the show has no funding to continue on past this week's episode unless they can find sponsors or willing foundations to help out. Roger and his wife Chaz were mainly funding it themselves.   Next up, the trio of film critics for The New Yorker. David Denby's top 10 list does contain one film I've actually seen this year, albeit on DVD: Source Code. I can't say the same for any of the films on Anthony Lane's list, but you'd think I'd have a better chance at having seen some of the 26 films that Richard Brody writes about in his list. You'd be mistaken, though. I guess I should start going to the movies more often!  Moving on to the small screen, Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly has his annual look at the Best and Worst in Television this year. Darren Franich also has a list of the Best TV Character Deaths of the year, including my Sheriff Graham from Once Upon a Time.  Turning to the world of the stage, the staff of offer their favorite moments from 2011, and a photo gallery of all the Playbill covers from this past year, while the New Yorker's John Lahr offers his take on the best theater of the year and Hilton Als offers a look at his year in culture. EW's Tom Geier also offers his picks for the best of the stage this year.  Let's move on to my own personal favorite topic: Books. The New Yorker once again offers up several lists on the subject of the Best Books of 2011, from the likes of James Woods, Sam Lipsyte, Yiyun Li, Tessa Hadley, Tad Friend, Ben Marcus, Malcolm Gladwell, Lorrie Moore, and Anne Beattie. Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly takes a look at the Best and Worst in Fiction and in Nonfiction this year. Lambda Literary offers up the best in LGBT books of 2011 and I think my favorite list of the year is from one of my favorite blogs, Band of Thebes. In this particular list, 92 authors offer their selections for the best in LGBT books for 2011. This list alone could provide me with ample reading for 2012.   The New Yorker has a complete listing that includes many more lists than I've mentioned, as does Entertainment Weekly, including a Top 20 of everything list by Stephen King.  Another favorite site of mine,, offers up 2011's Most Memorable LGBT Quotes.  I'll be back tomorrow with my own look back at 2011.[...]

The Men Who Made 2011


It's time again for what has to be one of my favorite posts of the year! Starting in 2008, I've ended each year since with a look at the men who made my year extra special. While they're not necessarily guys that were new to the entertainment scene this year, they are guys that I've noticed either for the first time or in a whole new way, men who really stood out in 2011.So, without further ado, let's take a look at the guys who made the past twelve months especially hot!Every year that I've done this list, I've opened with a guy from One Life to Live. Thanks to the powers that be at ABC and the epic failure of Prospect Park to follow through on their deal to give the show new life online, 2011 is my very last opportunity to do so. Luckily, One Life to Live didn't fail to deliver this year by providing me with a viable candidate!Josh Kelly debuted on the show exactly a year ago today as con artist Cutter Wentworth and he certainly helped to make the show's final twelve months hot! There's just something so good about a bad boy with a naughty grin! Josh even made facial hair, which I usually can't stand, seem downright sexy!I will definitely miss having Josh Kelly steaming up the screen on daytime, but I'm certain the future holds big things for him. He's already landed a pilot for MTV called Dumb Girls, and I for one will be checking it out when and if it goes to series.Speaking of MTV, my next pick for the Men Who Made 2011 is cheating just a little bit, because I'm actually choosing an entire male cast instead of just one guy. If you'd told me a year ago that I'd become a fan of an MTV show centered around high school students, I would have groaned. Surely I'd finally outgrown teen dramas (Glee being more of a comedy, of course), especially ones on MTV? Then along came an incredibly homoerotic series with a drop dead gorgeous male cast, and I was hooked.I'm talking, of course, about Teen Wolf. The series had me wanting my MTV all summer long. I'm not even sure which guy I liked the most (okay, Tyler Hoechlin) because they all had that something special.First up is Tyler Posey, who plays Scott, the title character. He's got an adorable grin, dreamy eyes, and a killer body:Then there's the sidekick/best friend character, Stiles, a Seth Cohen for the 2010's, played to sarcastic perfection by Dylan O'Brien:Then there's Jackson, that teen drama staple the asshole jock, played by a male model come deliciously to life in the form of Colton Haynes:There's even an out gay character, lacrosse player Danny, played by Keahu Kahuanui, who had his own male date to the prom but ended up sharing a dance with Scott: Finally, there's Scott's mentor, a slightly more mature werewolf, Derek, played by the electrifyingly sexy Tyler Hoechlin: Yes, the summer of 2011 was made infinitely hotter by the men of Teen Wolf!Next up, a guy who I had no idea existed before this past fall when I decided to check out the new series Once Upon a Time. The show itself is pretty good, though I can't see how they'll sustain the concept for more than a season or two at most. The guy who really caught my eye right from the beginning was Jamie Dornan, the hottie with the Irish accent who played Sheriff Graham and who for the second time this year had me re-evaluating facial hair: He's pretty much my idea of a Fairy Tale Prince come to life, even if his character actually turned out to be the Huntsman who lets Snow White live. Sadly, in the most recent episode Sheriff Graham was killed off. Since part of the show is set in the fairy tale past, though, I'm hoping we'll at least see more of him as The Huntsman. Finally, 2011 brought to my attention in a whole new way a man who I was perfectly familiar with before no[...]

"Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."


In an amazing speech yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced to the world that the Obama Administration considers LGBT Rights to be Human Rights:

"To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.

And to people of all nations, I say supporting human rights is your responsibility too. The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the treatment they receive every day from their families, from their neighbors. Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to home – the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the factories, farms, and offices where they work. These places are your domain. The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can determine whether human rights flourish where you are."

The next part of her speech was the one that moved me the most, though:

"And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people."

It is truly a step forward for LGBT Rights worldwide to have the Secretary of State of the United States making such a declarative, powerful statement. You could well argue that this (and more) should have happened a long time ago, certainly earlier in this particular Administration, but I don't think that takes anything away from this moment itself.

Check out a video of the speech here, or read the full transcript here.

The Start of Something Special


I just wanted to share an interesting article from earlier this month about novelist Ann Patchett opening an independent bookstore in Nashville. What first caught my attention, I have to admit, was the picture included in the article, which shows off the very familiar looking bookcases salvaged from a Nashville Borders.

The article mentions a few against the odds success stories for new independent bookstores around the country, but also discusses some of the stores facing real difficulties at the moment:

"In Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Greenlight Bookstore opened in 2009 and reported sales of more than $1 million in its first year. The Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee was founded two years ago and has been profitable both years, its owner said.

But there are plenty of headlines chronicling the woes of struggling independents. In Manhattan, St. Mark’s Bookshop in the East Village has been teetering for months, saved by a last-minute rent discount from the landlord. The owner of RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., said this month that he needed to raise more than $100,000 to save it. More than 150 concerned people packed the store last week to discuss its fate. Ithaca, N.Y., residents helped keep the treasured Buffalo Street Books in business by raising more than $250,000 and reopening the store as a co-op"

The odds may be long, but it gives me hope every time someone takes a risk and starts up a new bookstore! I cherish a secret dream of one day opening a bookshop of my own, where I'd sell new & used books.

One of the few things that gave me great pleasure in the aftermath of the end of Borders was reading about a group of employees who banded together and turned their Borders Express mall location into their own bookstore. Another was the news that one Borders location had been turned into a used bookstore and seventeen Borders staff members had stayed on.

It's a cliche to say that every time one door closes, another opens, but that doesn't make it any less true. I hope Ms. Patchett's venture is a huge success!

The End of Something Special


If you've followed my blog for awhile you may be aware that until last March I had worked for a bookstore chain for a number of years. I've never specifically named the chain before- we all had to sign a form saying we'd never blog about the company- but I suppose I can now safely reveal that the company I spent the better part of a decade working for was Borders, which no longer exists.In case you have no clue what I'm talking about, the company filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of this year and closed about a third of their stores at that point (mine wasn't among those closed at then, which at the time seemed like such a relief!) and then announced in July that their efforts to keep the company alive had failed. By mid September all of the remaining stores were closed.There has been a lot written about what this means for the future of books in the wake of e-readers and digital technology, and I can't comment much about that. All I can really say is that I am a lover of books, the physical, printed objects, and nothing will ever change that.A lot has also been written about Amazon and the online sales of books sounding the death knell for brick and mortar bookstores, be they chains or independents. While I have been known to buy books from used bookstores online, I can't imagine a world in which I couldn't spend an hour or two browsing in an actual bookstore every week or so.For all the doom and gloom pronouncements, though, the fact is that no one knows what the future holds. All we can do is hold on to what we love while it's still here. Maybe in that way, we can help it to exist a bit longer.But this post isn't about the future of books or bookstores. This is about Borders and my own personal experience as a bookseller there, and about what was lost this year when the company closed. Keep in mind that I'm speaking only of my own personal experience, which is limited to one particular Borders store. I can't speak for all employees or any other store.As I said, I spent the better part of a decade working at Borders. Overall, it was a truly wonderful experience. Yes, there were bad days, some awful customers (it was retail, after all), and a lot of stupid corporate nonsense to deal with. Of the latter, the one that sticks out in my memory the most was a truly wretched period when a new CEO instituted something called Make Titles, which meant that every one of us had to push a specific book on each and every customer that walked through the door, regardless of how ill fitting it was for them. That 'one book fits all' era was the worst time in all my years with the company, the closest I ever came to truly hating working at Borders.In spite of any bad times, though, I loved my job. I saw a lot of employees come and go over the years and of course there were some terrible ones, but for the most part we had an incredible staff of people. Even though we were mostly part timers who were paid by the hour we truly cared about and enjoyed our jobs (which was especially amazing in the final few years, when raises were frozen and hours cut so badly that few could hope to live on a Borders salary alone). These were people who loved books and could happily spend hours talking about them.It wasn't all that hard, in fact, to see myself as part of a long tradition going back to the booksellers in ancient Alexandria. That sounds grandiose, I know, but working with people who loved books as much as me, and helping customers who could get just as excited about a new (or old) title as I do, made me feel at home there every single day, made me feel as if I was part of a long history of something very special.Our customers were great. We had loyal regulars that[...]

A Soapy Jumble


Well, months have passed and we've recently learned that Erica Kane and Viki Lord will not, in fact, be living on. All My Children went out with a cliffhanger ending last September and One Life to Live filmed its own reported cliffhanger ending just days before the news broke that Prospect Park was 'suspending' their efforts to move the soaps online.That's life, I suppose, though it's a big let down for the those who loved these shows. It's especially sad that both shows will have departed the airwaves with no real resolution for the characters that fans have followed for so many years.I've come to accept that daytime soaps are ceasing to exist. I think we're already seeing the medium move online in many original soaps, and while it would have been wonderful to see a soap make the transition from TV to the Internet, just as so many years ago Guiding Light made the move from radio to television, it doesn't seem like it's going to happen, at least not right now.This will leave us with a grand total of four soaps on the air, one of which is the soap I grew up watching, Days of Our Lives. I wrote way back in April that Days was going to be doing a gay storyline at long last, with legacy character Will Horton.In the months since then, the show has introduced another openly gay legacy character (albeit one who had never been onscreen before) in the person of Sonny Kiriakis. Sonny is played by Freddie Smith, who most recently played a gay character on 90210.Since coming to Salem, Sonny has faced coming out to his Great Uncle, the powerful business titan Victor Kiriakis, who was surprisingly okay with it. Sonny had come out to his parents, Justin and Adrienne, before coming to Salem and they, too, are supportive.Once in town, Sonny quickly became friends with the other college aged characters, including Will, but faced some prejudice from Will's good friend T. The cause of T's gay panic was a picture of him and Sonny together, taken before T knew that Sonny was gay, which showed up online and referred to them as having a 'bromance'.For a few weeks T hung around making homophobic remarks to Sonny's face and muttering threateningly to himself about making Sonny pay, but it seems that particular aspect of the story has now been dropped, which is a relief.While all of this was going on, fans were left to wonder if the show, which had just changed head writers, was going to drop the Will aspect of the story altogether. While there had definitely been hints that Will was secretly gay (he put off sleeping with his girlfriend, Gabby, as long as he could and hasn't slept with her again since their first time), the show hadn't committed to anything they couldn't easily undo.Recently, though, actor Chandler Massey has been able to confirm that his character will indeed be coming out of the closet. The show is still staying mum on whether or not Will & Sonny will end up becoming more than friends, though.All of this is certainly something to look forward to, but the history of gay storylines on the soaps isn't exactly littered with success stories! Call me a glutton for punishment, though, because I'm once more along for the ride.All of this makes me miss the days when Luke Snyder was coming out on As The World Turns and there was still so much potential ahead for great story telling! The coming out story was so well done and things looked really promising when Noah first showed up. Then, of course, the boys were paired in one stupid story after another, most of which had an end goal of keeping them from ever having sex.Speaking of Luke, Van Hansis recently had guest starring roles on episodes of Psych and Nikita. He was fantastic in [...]

Erica Kane and Viki Lord Will Live On!


Back in April, I started a post with the words "It must be a very sad day to be Agnes Nixon." Today I am thrilled to say that I could write the exact opposite about the creator of One Life to Live and All My Children.Every time a soap is cancelled, false rumors fly that the show will be saved by some other network or by a cable station. Back when Guiding Light was cancelled, there was even talk that the soap which had been the first to transition from radio to television could be the first to make the transition to being a web soap.Sadly for GL fans, that didn't happen. It turns out, though, that the thinking behind that particular rumor wasn't so far fetched. It was announced today that All My Children and One Life to Live, the two iconic daytime soaps cancelled simultaneously by ABC back in April, will both be making the leap to airing online.While all the details haven't yet been announced, it seems that a production company called Prospect Park has purchased the right to air both shows online for 'more than a decade'. ABC said, in part:"Prospect Park will produce and deliver the two long-running programs to consumers via online formats and additional emerging platforms including Internet enabled television sets. Under the terms of the arrangement, the programs will continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length." For nearly three months, fans of both shows have been bracing themselves for the loss of these two television icons, and now they've been given an amazing gift. Questions remain, of course, and I'm sure there are also many older fans who aren't Internet savvy for whom this news doesn't offer much in the way of consolation. But overall, this is great news not only for fans of these shows but for the medium in general.A whole slew of online soaps have sprung up over the last few years, many starring current and former network soap stars. In fact, one of the best soap news sites out there, We Love The Soaps, has a whole news section on Indie Soaps and has even presented the Indie Soap Awards for the last two years.It will be very interesting to see how these two classic shows fit into this modern medium. I'd be lying if I said that my very first thought, once I'd stopped cheering, was to wonder if airing without network interference will finally open the doors to more important story telling.Both shows have already broken ground in telling LGBT stories, but imagine how much better they could have been without a nervous network butting in! I can't help but feeling that if this had happened a couple of years ago, we'd still be enjoying Kish as daytime's first gay dads on One Life to Live.In fact, if I were headwriter Ron Carlivati, the first thing I'd do when Prospect Park took over would be to get them to rehire Scott Evans and Brett Claywell as Oliver Fish and Kyle Lewis!Speaking of which, Carlivati had announced that after OLTL wrapped he'd be joining the writing team at General Hospital. While that would have been great news for GH, I'm hoping that he'll be staying put at OLTL now that it will live on![...]

In Comes Company


I'm breaking a two month silence (I could mention again my good intentions to blog more, but you know what they say about the pavement on the road to hell....) to rave about Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, and the cast of Company!You may recall that about three months back I bemoaned the fact that I hadn't been able to see the three night only concert performance of Company starring Neil Patrick Harris, one of my favorite men on the planet, and Patti LuPone, of whom I've become a huge fan over the last few years.At the time, the most I dared to hope for was a cast recording (which I'd still love!). I never thought that I'd actually be able to see the show. Then, during last week's Tony Awards, the cast did a number from Company and it was mentioned that a filmed version of the show would be playing in select theaters.Which brings us to today, when I was able to see one of my favorite Sondheim shows up on the big screen. When I arrived, I was honestly expecting to find only a handful of other people there. After all, it's hardly a mainstream film and it's not like there was any press (that I saw, anyway) about it playing. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find that the theater was about two thirds full. I do have to say, though, that I seemed to be one of the youngest people there by a decade or two at least!The experience, though, was a great one. Most of the audience applauded at the end of each number, as if we were actually seeing the show on stage. Now, I don't go to the movies all that often these days, but I really can't remember the last time I was in a crowd that laughed and applauded and just enjoyed themselves so much!Neil Patrick Harris was phenomenal in the role of Bobby. Yes, I'm predisposed to love him, it's true, but I can honestly say that it felt like he was born to play this role. He was funny, he nailed the many moments where he had to mix serious subtext into his performance, and of course it goes without saying that he sang beautifully. On a shallow note, he also looked incredibly hot.What can I even say about Patti LuPone? She brought the house down with her version of 'The Ladies Who Lunch', both in real time on the stage and today in the movie theater I was seeing the show in. I mentioned that most of the people I was watching with applauded at the end of all the songs, but it was especially loud after that show stopper!Which, I confess, was a bit of a relief to me. I bought the DVD of the concert for Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday last year and I was less than thrilled with her version of the song then. I love Patti, but it just felt like it was lacking something, especially compared with Elaine Stritch's iconic performance of the song in the original Broadway cast. I did, though, absolutely love her Sweeney Todd number with her two Sweeney's, George Hearn and Michael Cerveris!Anyway, Patti's two performances of 'Ladies' were like night and day. Obviously during the Sondheim birthday concert Ms. LuPone was just singing the song (and she of course sounded great doing so!). Here, she was acting, and that made all the difference in the world! Joanne came alive in her hands and she did the song brilliantly. I want to see it again, just for that one performance alone! I really hope they put out a DVD.The rest of the cast was pretty fantastic, too. I thought Stephen Colbert was hilarious, though his performance of 'Sorry-Grateful' was the weakest vocal moment of the show. Still, watching him and Martha Plimpton as Harry and Sarah during the hilarious Karate scene more than made up for that! I also really liked Katie Finneran as Amy, espe[...]

More Ewings Checking in to Southfork


I'm getting more and more excited over the new Dallas update as the days pass. Earlier this month came the news that another Desperate Housewives alum was joining the cast, this time actress Brenda Strong, who will be playing Bobby Ewing's wife Ann. I can't wait to meet the new Mrs. Ewing!

Today I read that two more original Dallas cast members will be in the pilot! Steve Kanaly will be back as ranch foreman turned Ewing half brother, Ray Krebbs, while Charlene Tilton will reprise her role of Lucy Ewing Cooper.

Ray was in the second reunion movie, War of the Ewings (which, sadly, sucked), but we haven't seen Lucy since way back in 1990. It will be very interesting to catch up with these two characters!

I wonder if the new writers will remember that Bobby has a second son, Lucas? His mother is Jenna Wade and he was adopted by Ray, who married Jenna and moved off to Europe with her. That could make for an interesting story in a lot of ways, this nephew/son of Bobby's who wasn't raised as part of the Southfork branch of the family. I wonder if we'll be seeing Jenna, too? (image)

Speaking of the Southfork clan, this picture of Larry Hagman, the still beautiful Linda Gray, and their new TV son Josh Henderson, which was posted by the latter on Facebook, leaves me feeling like a kid anticipating Christmas morning! I can't wait!

A Sad Day


It must be a very sad day to be Agnes Nixon. The iconic daytime scribe who penned some of the most socially relevant stories in the history of the medium just saw her two remaining creations killed off at the same time.I'm talking, of course, about One Life to Live and All My Children, which were both cancelled by ABC today. They will be replaced by a talk show revolving around cooking and a weight loss competition.Though neither soap has LGBT characters onscreen at the moment, they were both leading soaps when it came to telling those stories over the years. All My Children broke real ground when they became the first soap to give us a gay character from a core family, Erica Kane's daughter Bianca, who came out of the closet back in 2000.One Life to Live gave us the first teen gay character on daytime back in 1993 when future movie star Ryan Philippe played gay teen Billy Douglas. More recently, of course, that show gave us the amazing pairing of Kyle and Fish, which included the first real onscreen love scene between two men, including showing them in bed together afterward. In fact, that particular scene was better than anything I'd ever seen on primetime on any network. The two men also became parents, but were written off just when the show could have broken even more ground by giving us a story about the first gay dads raising a child on daytime.Those were far from the only LGBT characters or socially relevant stories that these two shows told over the years, though they were certainly right up there with the best. All My Children was the show that gave us television's first legal abortion back in the 1970's and dealt with the very controversial issue of the Vietnam War in real time. One Life to Live was the fist soap that had African American characters in major storylines in the late 1960's, including the controversial story of Carla Gray, a light skinned African American woman who passed herself off as Italian in order to get ahead in a racist society. A decade later they gave us the explosive Karen Wolek storyline, about a housewife with low self esteem who was secretly moonlighting as a prostitute. It made actress Judith Light a household name.These were both greatly important shows not just to daytime TV but to television itself, mostly because of the driving force of Agnes Nixon, a woman who knew that you could tell great stories that were also meaningful and socially relevant. Sadly, her successors in the soap world largely forgot this lesson and all these cancellations we've been seeing in recent years is largely the result of that.The simultaneous loss of these two particular soaps is in fact the worst blow that daytime TV has ever been dealt. If you had been able to fool yourself up to now that daytime soaps were not a dying breed, you certainly can't deny it any longer. There will soon be a grand total of four soaps remaining on the air.All My Children will take its final bow in September and we'll have One Life to Live on our screens until January. With nine months remaining and nothing left to lose from those who blamed gay characters for driving down the ratings, can we hope to see a final return from Kish? It may not be likely, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.This is truly a sad day for any soap fan, even those like me who have become disenchanted by the direction the medium has taken writing wise. A lot of television history and a lot of talented actors are about to be thrown out for what sound to me like two very short lived TV shows that no one will even remember a decade from now.[...]

Confirmed: Gays in Salem!


I wrote last week about the rumor that Days of Our Lives was finally, after 45 years on the air, going to embark upon a major gay storyline for one of its characters. In the time since, more rumors seemed to confirm that the gay character would indeed be Will Horton. As the scion of both the Horton and the Brady clans, Will is pretty much the definition of a legacy character from a core family.

I decided not to get my hopes up until I had more definite confirmation that this was actually going to happen, though. After all, I've been waiting for Days to do a gay storyline for years and the daytime landscape doesn't seem very friendly to LGBT characters at the moment, given that there are currently none left on any soap and that the last show to introduce a major gay pairing later tried to blame the couple for bringing down their ratings!

Well, how's this for confirmation? This weekend Chandler Massey, the actor who portrays Will Horton, attended the Kid's Choice Awards and confirmed that the show will be writing a gay storyline for his character this summer!(image)

In spite of all the times that I've been burned by soaps in the past, I'm actually excited about this. After all, this is my soap, the one I grew up with. I honestly had given up hope of ever seeing a major gay character in Salem and it would once have seemed beyond my wildest dreams that the LGBT character in question would be a Horton and/or a Brady!

Of course, I do worry about what the quality of the story will be and if they'll truly commit to giving Will a love life, or any story at all beyond just coming out. Rumors are flying about him being paired with Chad, with Dario, or with an as yet unseen character, but only time will reveal what they have in store for Will.

I think the best part of this news so far, though, is that Chandler Massey, unlike certain other actors in the recent past, honestly seems to be excited about this development for his character. That earns him major respect in my book.

Groff Returns to Glee!


Yesterday I wrote about a bit of casting news that annoyed the hell out of me, but the news I read tonight had very much the opposite effect.

I'm talking, of course, about the report that Jonathan Groff will be returning to his role as Jesse St James on Glee for the final three episodes of the season!
I became a huge fan of Jonathan's during his run on the show last year. He's not only beautiful, a talented actor, and a fantastic signer, he's also openly gay, which makes him even more awesome as far as I'm concerned.

Jonathan spent some of the time since leaving the show starring on stage in Deathtrap in London's West End and while I'm sure he was fantastic in that, I couldn't exactly afford to fly over to the UK to see it, so I'm very happy that I'll be able to see him on my TV screen again.

I wonder if the show will have Rachel break out Carly Simon's 'Jesse' when Mr. St James returns to town? ("Oh mother, say a prayer for me, Jesse's back in town, it won't be easy...") The lyrics seem to work perfectly for the situation.

More to the point, will Jonathan share any screen time with Darren Criss? That much hotness onscreen at one time could be too much to handle, but I'll gladly take the risk!

Say What?!


We've all seen some ridiculous film and TV casting decisions over the years, but I don't think my jaw has ever dropped quite so much as it did a little while ago when I read that Jennifer Garner will be playing Agatha Christie's beloved detective Miss Marple in a new movie update.

Yes, Jennifer Garner, the actress from Alias will be playing the elderly spinster from the village of St. Mary Mead. I saw her in 13 Going on 30 but I never dreamed they'd make her 39 Going on 80!

Of course, this is a cool new youthful update of Miss Marple, meant to appeal to the Disney tween crowd. Um, if you're going to completely alter the character, why not just create a new detective altogether? Why tie it in to a very well established character fifty years older than the actress?

Back in middle school and high school, I devoured all of Agatha Christie's mysteries and collected copies of every single one. The books starring Miss Marple were particular favorites of mine. Don't get me wrong, I loved Hercule Poirot too, but Miss Marple was more fun, somehow.

What made Miss Marple a great character and as good of a detective as she was? Experience and age. She'd spent a lifetime as a single woman in a small village, observing life around her with a keen eye. Years of this had taught her a lot about human nature. That's how she always solved crimes, through the wisdom brought by her decades of living.

A young Miss Marple just makes no sense at all. I'm sure Jennifer Garner will be her usual winsome self and it's certainly not going to hurt the books any, but the stupidity of the idea just astounds me and I had to vent a bit!

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to re-read The Body in the Library.

A Groundbreaking Story for Daytime


This weekend I received an e-mail from a reader wondering if, now that I'm blogging again, I would comment on the male/male rape storyline that has unfolded recently on General Hospital.I have to confess that General Hospital is not a soap I've ever watched regularly and, with my life being a bit chaotic recently, I hadn't followed the story at all. I'd seen reports about it on soap websites, of course, but I hadn't had the time to tune in.The e-mail this weekend, though, prompted me to take a look at this story, which is a groundbreaking one for a daytime soap in the United States. I've heard a few rumors over the years that a male/male rape storyline was in the works on various soaps, but they always turned out to be nothing more than online speculation.I've always thought it would be a pretty powerful story, if told right, but I honestly didn't think an American soap would ever go there. I knew that it had already happened on a British soap, though. Back in March 2000, Hollyoaks wrote what from most accounts was a pretty intense and well written storyline involving a male/male rape.The character of Luke Morgan (played by Gary Lucy) had been bullied for awhile by his football teammate Mark Gibbs and some of his friends. When Luke finally stood up to Mark, he and his friends beat Luke up in a locker room after a football match. Luke ran off, but the guys gave chase and two of Mark's friends held Luke down while Mark raped him.The actual rape took place in a special late night episode of the soap, but the aftermath played out on the show itself as Luke battled depression, lost his girlfriend because he felt he couldn't tell her about being raped, and eventually attempted suicide before finally opening up to his friends, family, and the police about what had happened to him.Even then it was far from clear sailing, with Luke's father not wanting him to go public about the rape and his parents marriage crumbling in the aftermath. Mark and his friends were eventually found guilty and sent to prison, but it was far from easy for Luke to move on even after that. (I've only seen bits of the story itself on YouTube and read summaries, so bear with me if I got any details slightly wrong).It always seemed less than likely that an American soap would tell such a story, especially when rape itself has always been such a poorly handled issue on daytime. Countless female characters have been raped over the years, but there are a few glaring examples that stand out as especially outrageous. Most famously (and most reprehensibly), of course, is General Hospital's Luke & Laura, where the rapist and his victim ended up not only marrying each other but becoming one of daytime's most popular supercouples.On Days of Our Lives the character of Jack raped his wife, Kayla, before going on to become a lovably comedic character and one half of the popular Jack & Jennifer, not to mention a brother-in-law to Kayla, who'd married his brother.The character of Todd Manning on One Life to Live was the leader of a very famous (and very well told) fraternity gang rape storyline back in 1993. While hardly a heroic character, Todd remains front and center on the soap today, with wives, ex-wives, children, and even a shared grandchild with his victim, Marty Saybrooke.Worse, he essentially raped Marty again a few years ago when she had amnesia. That rape was more emotional than physical, since the clueless Marty thought she'd falle[...]

Casting the Ewings


It won't surprise you to know that I've been avidly following all the casting news about the new Dallas pilot that TNT has ordered. I've written before about how much I loved the 1978-1991 series.I'm thrilled that Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, and Patrick Duffy will all be reprising their roles from the original series. I cannot imagine Dallas without J.R., and even though both Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray left the series during its run, they're certainly an integral part of what made Dallas what it was and, hopefully, what it will be.I'm a bit more wary about some of the casting choices for the new generation, though.I'm fairly happy with Josh Henderson as John Ross, at least based on the fact that he's roughly the right age for the part (born in 1981, whereas the character was born onscreen in 1979), quite attractive, and seems to have some soapy experience already, having done time on both Desperate Housewives and 90210. I've never actually seen him in anything, though, so I can only hope that he's got some acting talent.Henderson also looks like he could be John Ross, by which I mean it's somewhat believable that young Omri Katz could have grown up to look like this. I cannot, however, same the same thing when it comes to the actor they hired to play Christopher Ewing.Jesse Metcalfe is certainly an attractive man. A decade ago, back when he was on Passions (a soap that I detested), I admit that I would occasionally record the show just to see him in a state of undress as the dim-witted hunk Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald. I've even caught a few glimpses of him on Desperate Housewives, for much the same reason.He just doesn't seem right as Christopher, though. I can't see the kid on the original series or Chris Demetral, who played the role last in Dallas: J.R. Returns, becoming this beefcake version of Bobby and Pam's son. I'm also worried about Metcalfe not being the actor needed for the part, but that may be because I haven't seen him in much other than Passions and John Tucker Must Die. Hopefully his acting skills have improved since then? He's terrific eye candy, certainly, but I'd like Christopher to be more than that!I was interested to see that Christopher's fiancee, the character that Julie Gonzalo is going to be playing, was named Rebecca. Could she be Pamela Rebecca Cooper, the character that Christopher was interested in when we last saw him in J.R. Returns? I'd heard no mention of Ken Kercheval returning as Cliff Barnes, but if Rebecca had been the same character that would have opened the door for him, since Rebecca turned out to be his daughter with Afton Cooper. Sadly, this character's last name appears to be Sutter.Jordana Brewster, meanwhile, has been cast as a character named Elena who is reportedly in a love triangle with John Ross and Christopher, which I guess means that Rebecca may not be holding on to her man for long.I'm not familiar with Julie Gonzalo, but I know Jordana's recent work from the show Chuck and I think she'll be a good addition to the cast.I can't wait to see how all of this comes together onscreen. TNT had better pick this up as a series![...]