Friday, February 29, 2008

Ghosts near Forest Hills Cemetery?

Here's a photo I shot last week for a freelance project that continues to creep me out. If you take a close look at the open door, there's a a ghostly figure peeking out.

Paranormal apparition? Perhaps.

What's so weird about this picture is that I'm currently working on a book project called "Campus Haunts: School Spirits of the Northeast" where I'm exploring paranormal activity at a handful of college dorms/schools scattered throughout New England.

The writing project will cover everything from my old dorm room on the 4th Floor of Boston University's Shelton Hall (rumor is Eugene O'Neil and his wife Carlotta continue to haunt the Writer's Corridor) to the former Charlesgate Hotel in the Back Bay.

Note: Click on the photo for the hi-res. version to see the so-called ghost. Honestly, I'm more of a Scully than Mulder, but I did think it was kind of a weird shot. When I looked at the photo at my work computer today (it's an older monitor), I didn't see much of anything either.

Also, my blog was down today. Traffic to my site spiked dramatically around 11 am this morning. Thanks Universal Hub for the plug.

Mediabistro.com Lecture: How to craft a knockout query

As a former alternative newsweekly editor turned full-time freelance writer, I have years of experience receiving article pitches--both compelling and not so compelling--and I've been able to see first hand what works ... and definitely what doesn't work.

Be the first kid on the block to sign up for my Pitch Letter Essentials class 7-10 p.m. Wednesday, June 18 at BCA, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116.

My seminar last October was a huge success. I have a lot more to add this time around--especially material geared toward marketing professionals looking to craft the perfect pitch letter that will generate buzz from editors.

Here's the lowdown:

For a freelance writer, pitches are everything. They're your personal introduction, writing sample, and article outline all in one. They're how you break into a magazine and how you keep the assignments coming in once you do. Write a compelling query and you're on your way to an assignment, or at least an ongoing relationship with the editor; write a lousy one and you'll disappear into the slush pile.

Whether you're pitching a celebrity profile or a travel feature, there are some key techniques and strategies you need to know to come up with a killer query. This seminar will walk you through the most important ones, from researching your target publication to structuring the pitch to selling yourself as the perfect writer for the job.

In this seminar, you will learn:

*How to surprise editors with fresh ideas
*Techniques to come up with salable story ideas
*How to tailor your query letter to the publication you're pitching
*What editors look for in a query and what turns them off
*What makes an effective -- and not-so effective -- query letter
*Online query letters vs. print query
*How to package yourself as the ideal writer for your idea
*How to turn a query into an ongoing editor-writer relationship

Click here to sign up for the class.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dani Campbell from "Tila Tequila" at PURE

When MTV debuted "A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila" in early October, 16 men and women were initially cast as suitors, including 29-year-old Dani Campbell from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

While she ultimately didn’t win Tequila’s heart, the self-described "futch" made it all the way to the finals.

Meanwhile, the nation’s LGBT community is smitten with the laid-back firefighter. And this weekend, she’s heading to Boston.

The first 100 people will receive an autographed photo and a chance to hang out in the VIP area with the MTV sweetie. 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 29. PURE, 75 Warrenton St. $8-$10. 617-417-0186 or http://www.bostonpure.com/.

NOTE: PURE is now called PEARL. Click here for the lowdown.

New England Hit List :: Feb. 29

While it’s not exactly in the same league as "24" or even FX’s "Nip/Tuck," the naughty tabloid-magazine workplace series "Dirt" returns to the small screen after ceasing production in December after completing only seven of their 13 ordered episodes because of the WGA strike.

For those not in the know, Courteney Cox Arquette plays tabloid queen Lucy Spiller, a ruthless Hollywood scandal-sheet editor who uses threats and manipulation to track down dirt on stars.

Danny Comden, who once starred in the short-lived 2003 ABC sitcom "I’m with Her, "has been recruited for a three-episode arc on FX’s "Dirt," playing a new love interest for Cox’s bitchy alter-ego.

However, we’re still in awe after last season’s blow job scene, when former "Melrose Place" hottie Grant Show played closeted action star Jack Dawson. You know, the one who had an ongoing "oral fixation" with Spiller’s gay brother, Leo (Will McCormack)?

"Dirt" scorches the small screen 10 p.m. Sunday, March 2 on FX.

Click here for the complete New England Hit List :: Feb. 29 in EDGE.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

“ANTM” wannabe from Worcester quits show

What was she thinking?

Kimberly from Worcester, a 20-year-old Bay State beauty who made the final 14 cut last week to be one of Tyra Banks’ "America’s Next Top Model" finalists, pulled herself out of the competition saying that she was "not interested in high fashion."

The blonde, baby doll-like bank teller voiced her anti-fashion opinion earlier in the show when she had to walk the catwalk in a Badgley-Mischka ensemble in the middle of NYC’s Times Square. She felt weird, she says, modeling in an "overpriced outfit."

The irony is that Kimberly’s challenge photo was one of the edgiest, most striking shots in the bunch.

The good news for Boston’s "ANTM" fans is that Fatima, a Hub transplant originally from Somalia, performed well in tonight’s episode. Her "homeless girl" portrayal was emotive and tapped into an inner pain she felt spending time in a shelter as a child and as an outspoken victim of female circumcision.

"America’s Next Top Model" returned to its Manhattan roots for cycle 10. Catch fresh episodes of the model wannabe show, featuring new judge Paulina Porizkova, every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CW56.

New NBC show casting in Boston on March 8


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Povo.com Hotspot: The Grecian Yearning

UPDATE: In an ironic twist (since I listed the joint as a "hotspot," Allston's Grecian Yearning was engulfed in flames yesterday, Tuesday, June 10.

Click here for details.

The Grecian Yearning in Allston is a quintessential greasy spoon--traditional breakfast and brunch at its best.

The hotspot's latest claim to fame is that it served as a film location for the movie "The Lonely Maiden,” starring Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken and William H. Macy. The scene was shot in late November 2007.

Based on the film shoot, The Grecian Yearning is a true family affair.

Owner Nicholas Katsarikas and his wife, son and daughter all got to participate in the film shoot, playing — what else — the chef, cashier and wait staff at the diner.

Click here for the lowdown on Povo.com.

Al Capone's gay grandson tells his story

At the age of 13, just days after his father died in his arms, Chris Knight learned that he was Al Capone's grandson. His father's funeral, filled with previously unknown family friends and associates, prompted Knight to ask one of his father's associates for his father's real identity.

The answer, that his father was a son of Al Capone, started a life-long journey to find the truth about his family connection to America's most notorious mob boss labeled "public enemy number one."

In his recently released memoir, Son of Scarface: A Memoir by the Grandson of Al Capone, Boston resident, New Jersey native Chris Knight chronicles his life, from his father's tragic death to the traumatizing abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother to growing up gay, to searching for the truth behind his father's secret past and finally concluding that he is the grandson of America's most notorious mobster Al Capone.

His search was stymied by his mother's abuse -- she insisted that he and his sister keep the truth a secret -- he wasn't allowed to have any friends oreven go outside the family's gates. Only as an adult did he find the courage to investigate the truth and now tell his story.

Laid out for all to see, Son of Scarface puts all the pieces together, from his father's fraudulent birth certificate to his mother's confirmation to the research of genealogists and private investigators who detail the discovery of Knight's identity.

Assisting Knight in his quest for the truth, historians, genealogists and private investigators uncovered information that led to the conclusion that he is the grandson of America's most notorious mobster.

In an effort to help children that suffer abuse, Knight is giving a portion of the proceeds to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Check out http://www.sonofscarface.com/ for more info.

NH paper takes heat for cross-dressing judge story

For Judge Robert Somma, a Boston-based federal judge recently arrested for drunk driving, the toughest trial of his life may be the one he currently faces in the court of public opinion.

The same can be said for the New Hampshire newspaper that first broke his story. Somma, 63, was arrested in Manchester, NH in the late night hours of Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Somma, a bankruptcy judge in the First Circuit Court, was heading back to his home in Newbury, MA when he rear-ended a pick-up truck.

After failing a sobriety test at the scene and completing a breath test at the police station, Somma was arrested by Manchester police for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of.08 or more.

Engaging in a DWI is no light matter, but there's another reason why Somma's case has garnered such significant attention:

Reports claim that the married federal judge was dressed in drag.

Click here for the complete article in EDGE Boston.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Porn again :: Author sheds sex, lies & videotape past

It's taken years and a series of public scandals for former Marine turned celebrated author, Rich Merritt, to exorcise the many demons from his "Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star" past.

"I was so tired of living in fear that people would find out about me," he says, phoning from his apartment in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.

"Hiding and secrets were such a big part of my life, especially as someone who came from a Fundamentalist Christian background," remarks Merritt, author of the new novel "Code of Silence." "You get used to hiding and you start repressing stuff in your life that you don't need to repress. Suddenly it all comes crashing down."

Click here for the complete article in EDGE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Boston’s gay community frustrated over Yakovleff murder investigation

It’s one month after 20-year-old Daniel Yakovleff was found fatally stabbed in a third-floor apartment on Tuttle Street in the Savin Hill area of Dorchester and mourners from Boston’s GLBT community are left with more questions than answers.

"Everyone is still in such shock over what happened, I don’t think we knew what to think at first," says Andrew Light, a former colleague who worked with Yakovleff for two years at the exclusive Liquid Hair Studios in Boston’s South End. "It’s hard to imagine someone you know dying in such a horrible, painful way."

Light, who fondly remembers Yakovleff as an upbeat, kind soul, says his initial shock has transformed to frustration as the facts surrounding the case slowly begin to emerge.

Click here for my complete report in EDGE.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mediabistro.com All-Media Party on Feb. 19

Join me 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Pho Republique, 141 Washington St. in the heart of Boston's South End for an all-media networking event promoted by Mediabistro.com based in NYC.

It's a great way for Boston's media community to come together while enjoying conversation, drinks and complimentary appetizers.

Click on the link below to RSVP. Based on the buzz already, the after-work event is going to be fab!

Forward the following link to media professionals only.

Here's the link: http://www.ersvp.com/reply/bostonallmedia

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yakovleff murder shines light on pick-up crime nightmare

For John E. Anderson, the circumstances surrounding the tragic slaying of Daniel Yakovleff bring up painful memories of a trick-gone-bad nightmare from more than 20 years ago.

After hearing the few facts that have emerged surrounding the murder of the Liquid Hair Studios stylist, Anderson says he noticed a few eerie similarities when compared to his two-decades-old story.

Like Yakovleff, he was savagely attacked with a knife. Like Yakovleff, he left the Eagle with a newfound friend (in the case of Yakovleff, there's an alleged third person involved).

The only difference, Anderson believes, is that he lived to tell his story.

Click here for my complete report in EDGE.
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