Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gay Blogging

GuyDads was recently mentioned in PopMatters, a webzine of cultural criticism. In a column by Michael Abernethy titled, “Queer, Isn’t It?: Getting to Know You” he discusses the various types of blogging done by the GLBT community. He says:

“The majority of blogs are more personal than those previously mentioned, however. It is these blogs which provide the greatest service to society, as they portray GLBT individuals outside the parameters of popular stereotypes. They show the ill-informed homophobe that gay and lesbian individuals have the same worries, concerns, and joys as every one else. Moreover, they help those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered find a source of inspiration and camaraderie.”
“…Similarly, gay blogs dispel the erroneous notion that gays and lesbians can’t be effective parents.
Mombian is run by Dana Rudolph, an Oxford Masters graduate and former Merrill Lynch executive who is now a stay-at-home mom and blogger. Her site focuses on “lifestyle” tips for lesbian mothers. For men, there is Guy Dads, about “two Jewish gay dads, their six children, and life on the town.” After their respective divorces, the men found one another, got married, and created a new life with their “Brady Bunch” brood (although custody is shared with the mothers). "

Brady Bunch in Hawaii and a hot looking Robert Reed as Mr. BradyThe “Brady Bunch” remark is cute. At times our family life resembles a sitcom with a missing laugh track. But these days we are more like a “Brady” reunion movie because four of our six kids are college age. The other inaccuracy… we do not have an Alice, a live-in housekeeper.

Mr. Abernethy comes up with a logical justification for my blogging. It is just a small peek into my family’s life and how it is the same and different from others. I started to blog in order to share some of our personal and family highlights with friends and selected family. I soon learned that other gay visitors to our blog found it helpful, interesting or inspiring.

Trivia: Interesting trivia I learned about Robert Reed (Mike Brady pictured above) in Wikipedia: Like many gay actors then and now, Reed was secretive about his sexuality. He was briefly married a couple years and has one daughter. Reed was sued for $582,750 in 1971 by Anglia Television Ltd, 3 All.E.R. 690 (C.A. 1971), for breaching a contract to perform in "The Man in the Wood", due to a mix up on his bookings (he lost the lawsuit). The case is studied by first year law students in the United States and is included on page 345 of Fuller and Eisenberg's "Basic Contract Law". Robert Reed died in 1992 at age 59 from cancer; he was HIV positive at the time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Speedy New Year/Theatre Hits for 2007

Time flies by fast when you are having fun. Besides crossing over the half-century mark in age and having a magazine profile (see previous entries), there have been a number of interesting things happening.
This month marks the last alimony check I have to pay to my ex-wife. Yeah! However, I will still pay child support for at least the next 10 years.
At work I’ve moved into a new office in a newly built building. As the IT support person, I am running around crazily trying to get everyone hooked to the network. E’s consulting business is keeping him full time. We are both very busy at our jobs.
One amazing accomplishment I do not want to miss mentioning is that we saw a record 104 plays, musicals and operas last year. Here is a brief recap of our favorite plays and musicals by theatre company. I left operas out of this recap. Full list here.

American Conservatory Theatre (ACT)
Sab Shimono and Hiro Kanagawa in After the War at ACTAfter the War - Philip Kan Gotanda
[Wonderful ensemble piece in a SF boarding house on Fillmore in 1946. Japanese Americans, African Americans, rural whites from the Midwest, and other societal outcasts fill the rooms.]
The Rainmaker - N. Richard Nash
[The arrival of a rainmaker named Starbuck sets off a series of events which enables Lizzie to see herself in a new light.]

Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens, Neil Bartlett, Gerard McBurney
[New adaptation done in a very stylized Victorian English music hall potboiler.]
Heartbreak House - George Bernard Shaw
Cast of Argonautika at Berkeley Repertory Theatre[“A masterfully moving comedy about smart and sophisticated people hopelessly adrift in a nation at war.”]
Argonautika - Mary Zimmerman adapted from the "Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts"
[Puppet, circus and improv techniques meet Greek drama in an epic journey of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece.]

Best of Broadway, National touring productions playing in San Francisco.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Edward Albee, (Kathleen Turner, Bill Irwin)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin[An exquisite and excruciating evening of games: Humiliate the Host, Get the Guests, Hump the Hostess and Bringing up Baby. Excellent interpretation of George by Bill Irwin.]
Avenue Q - Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty
[Great songs for today: It Sucks to be Me, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, If You Were Gay, and I Wish I could Go Back to College. Saw in NYC the previous year.]
The Color Purple - Alice Walker, Marsha Normaan, Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray [Family saga about an abused and uneducated black woman's struggle for empowerment. Even better a 2nd time. Saw in NYC the previous year.]

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison, Lydia R. Diamond
[Based on Morrison's novel. Amazing bare stage production. In her eleven years, no one had ever noticed Pecola. But with blue eyes, she thought, everything would be different.]

New Conservatory Theatre Center
Take Me Out at New Conservatory Theatre CenterTake Me Out - Richard Greenberg (Saw twice.)
[Small stage version. Professional baseball player comes out to the team. Many shower scenes.]
Zero Hour - Jim Brochu
[One man show about the humor, outrage, politics and juicy backstage lore of Zero Mostel.]

San Francisco Playhouse
Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train - Stephen Adly Guirgis
[Young man isn't sure why he's in jail for shooting a cult leader in the ass. Verbally spars with a born-again killer while in prison.]
Adrian Roberts, Craig Marker in First Person Shooter at SF PlayhouseFirst Person Shooter - Aaron Loeb
[Things go wrong at the video gaming company when they are blamed for a schoolyard shooting and the young CEO has to deal with the lawsuit which follows and the parents of the victims.]

Theatre Works, Palo Alto
Trying - Joanna McClelland Glass
[Audience pleasing 2 person play about FDR's attorney general, Francis Biddle, and a young fresh-faced secretary there to help him finish his memoirs.]
Merrily We Roll Along - Stephen Sondheim, George Furth
[Based on play by Kaufman and Hart. The rocky rise to fame of three writer and composer friends. Told in reverse, rolling backwards from the self-serving cynicism of the '80s to the starry-eyed idealism of the '50s.]

Traveling Jewish Theatre
Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
[Small, intimate production. The Loman's are Jewish and trying to assimilate into the American dream. Beautiful live cello scoring throughout.]

July ’07 week in NYC , 8 days-13 shows
Frost/Nixon - Peter Morgan (Frank Langella, Michael Sheen)
[Suspenseful play of David Frost's 1977 TV interviews with former President Nixon.]
Curtains - Rupert Holmes, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Peter Stone (David Hyde Pierce, Debra Monk)
[A backstage musical murder mystery set in a out of town tryout in Boston during the Golden Age of Broadway musicals.]
110 in the Shade - N. Richard Nash, Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones (Audra McDonald, John Cullum)
Xanadu with Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson[Musical based on the classic play The Rainmaker. Spinster Lizzie suddenly finds herself with two suitors, the local sheriff and drifter/con man named Starbuck.]
Xanadu - John Farrar, Jeff Lynne, Douglas Carter Beane (Cheyenne Jackson, Tony Roberts)
[Musical based on the bad 1980 film. A fun and campy take on "jukebox musicals" and the 1980's.]

Other Shows
Rise and Fall of The City of Mahagonny - Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Los Angeles Opera (Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, director John Doyle)
[Old West boomtown rises from the desert to become a razzle-dazzle mecca for lust, liberty, and the pursuit of pleasure. Cash is king, sin is "in", love is always on sale, poverty is punishable by death, and anything worth doing is worth overdoing.]
Confessions of a Mormon Boy - Steven Fales, Coast Playhouse West Hollywood
Confessions of a Mormon Boy - Steven Fales[A one-man autobiographical confessional of Steven Fales, a former Mormon who came out after marrying and fathering two children.]
Beach Blanket Babylon - Steve Silver, Club Fugazi
[Nonstop onslaught of musical, celebrity and pop-culture lampoons and fantastically sculpted hats and hairdos. A San Francisco treat.]
Teatro ZinZanni - One Reel
[Evening of European cabaret, cirque, divas and madmen with live music and a gourmet five-course dinner.]
The Golden Girls - two episodes from the TV series. Trannyshack
[Mix four well-known drag queens, two scripts of a campy TV show, and a spirited “let’s put on a show” attitude and you will get some wild and wacky theater to laugh your ass off. Performed in a Victorian living room.]
A Skull in Connemara - Martin McDonagh, B Street Theatre
[Did the gravedigger's wife die when he was drunk at the wheel or as a result of a deadly blow ? Smashed, flying bones all over the theatre.]
Whistle Down the Wind - Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jim Steinman, California Musical Theatre [A study of childhood innocence and simple faith follows as three children discover a fugitive in their barn and believe that he is Jesus. Fun over the top score, excellent singing.]

TIP: Half-price tickets for many select performances, sporting events and family activities are often available on Goldstar Events. Areas include San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Boston, and Chicago.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best Gay Cruise

On the deck of the Wind Spirit. Travelpride's Caribbean New Year's Gay CruiseThe Travelpride cruise we did over New Year’s was a blast.

Travelpride’s mission is to give gay and lesbian couples and singles an alternative to large ship all-gay cruises. This contrasts with Atlantis/RSVP cruises. Atlantis tends to charter ships in the 2,000-3,000+ passengers range. We have not yet been on one of the big cruises. Someday we will try it.

Ready to board the Wind SpiritTravelpride focuses on offering smaller, more personalized all-gay cruises that sail to new and exciting destinations that the big cruise ships can’t do or reach. Besides the New Year’s cruise, we did their Costa Rica/Panama Pacific cruise in 2006. Both cruises were charted on Windstar Cruise Line. We sailed on Wind Spirit in the Caribbean and on the Wind Star in Costa Rica. Both ships hold 148 guests and a crew of 90.

On both trips we have met new friends that we have stayed in contact with. In fact, it appears that over 25% of this year’s Caribbean cruise is returning next year for another New Year’s cruise with a different itinerary. We already signed up for next year.

Four masted Wind SpiritThe average age on the cruises has been round 45. On the Caribbean cruise the ages ranged from 21 to 80. Majority of the travelers were couples but not all. Steve Champion, the president of Travelpride, said the passenger makeup of the Caribbean cruise was 1/3 returning customers, and another 1/3 of customers that have never been on a cruise before. That speaks well of their niche in the market.

The Travelpride’s staff scrutinizes everything. From the itinerary to entertainment to shore excursions to dinning and bar menus nothing is left untouched. They make sure everything is customized and designed to be a unique and distinctive cruise experience.

Travelpride also makes sure that the destinations are gay-welcoming as well as safe. The Caribbean itinerary started in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. We then went to Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe and the lava covered Montserrat, British West Indies and the ritzy St. Barth’s, French West Indies. We also visited the inviting beaches at Jost van Dyke, BVI and Virgin Gorda, BVI.

GuyDads with Cashetta, the world’s only drag magician, and Miss Coco PeruEntertainment on board featured Cashetta, the world’s only drag magician, and Miss Coco Peru. There was also a cabaret singing duo. There were theme parties every night: Sailor & Seaman Tea Dance, New Year’s Grand Masquerade Ball, Flashback ‘70’s tea dance, Tropical Toga dance on the beach and a Farewell Tea Dance. Everyone had a great time.
You can also see photos posted to Flickr; look for the link on the right.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Milestone Birthday

Milestone birthdays (other than 18 and 21) are a bitch. Luckily, I am having the time of my life. I feel more active, involved and connected to people then ever before. My outside may be getting older but inside, I am younger and more alive than last year!
It also helps a lot that I am married to a wonderful, sexy man.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Instinct Magazine - Inlaws of the Month

GuyDads and InlawsWe are back from a wonderful vacation to a gay resort in Fort Lauderdale, Pineapple Point, and a gay New Year’s cruise of the Caribbean organized by Travelpride. Details will be coming. You can also see photos posted to Flickr; look for link on the right.

Have you seen the new January issue of Instinct Magazine? Check out who is featured in this month’s “Mom of the Month” feature. E sent off an email to them many months ago and lo and behold my parents are featured! Very cool.

The uncredited photo is by my eleven year old son. One of the first pictures he takes gets printed in a national magazine. Great job!

January issue of Instinct Magazine with GuyDads and parentsInstinct Magazine has a series of ongoing features that I find to be fun, entertaining and supportive of gay community. These articles generally feature local, average gay men. The other national gay magazines only focus on celebrities, models, politicians, and people in the news. Besides “Mom of the Month”, Instinct Magazine features a local “Bachelor” profile, a local blind date adventure, a couple’s compatibility survey and sometimes a brief story of a local gay business owner. I find it interesting to see and read about real people.

UPDATE: It appears that the link to the Instinct page no longer works. Here is a slightly edited blog version.

The letter E wrote to the magazine:
Dear Instinct,
My mother- and father-in-law are the greatest and deserve a hearty and loving thank-you.
My husband and I both came out five years ago, after each of us had been married 20-plus years. Along with the rest of our families, Mom and Dad were surprised but were totally supportive. Immediately, I became part of the family. They further adjusted to another transition when their son converted to Judaism so that we could have a one-religion family. At our wedding in a Reform Judaism synagogue, Mom was described by everyone as the “belle of the ball” because she had such a great time and never left the dance floor. Mom now introduces me to everyone as her “son-in-law.” Our gay friends all love both of them. The two of them traveled out of town with us to a recent commitment ceremony of our best friends. The best evening for me is when we go out for dinner and dancing with my in-laws. They really are the best of the best.
P.A., California

Instinct Magazine’s interview with my parents (B and P) and GuyDads:
“Our relationship is very strong and growing,” B and P say of their son and son-in-law. “They are also great parents together for E’s three boys and our son’s three kids (our grandchildren).” “The four of us are truly great friends,” E says. “Everyone we know loves both of them.”
Something that’s important to both couples is community service.
“We are very proud of all their involvements in the community where they live: Facing History and Ourselves (board members) and their ongoing support for local, live theater (board, contributions, attendance),” B and P say. “Although they are very involved, they make sure we spend time together, too.”
Both Dads credit the excellent example B and P have set.
“They have devoted their retirement to improving and enjoying the community around them. They are leaders in a number of organizations that raise scholarships for at-risk youth, mentor students and collect food donations,” the guys say. “They contribute their time and money to help local museums and art organizations, as well as volunteering on community and church committees.”
We had to ask: What’s B and P’s secret for being magnificent (and not monster) in-laws?
“There must be trust and support,” they say. “We love our son very much, so we are very supportive of his relationship with E.”
With great pride, B and P mention all the work the two Dads put into helping out at their 50th wedding anniversary, creating multiple table centerpieces highlighting activities and organizations significant in B and P’s life together, and how much their son and son-in-law’s hard work meant to them. It was easy, say the two Dads, because it was done out of love to honor two supportive, outstanding people.
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