Monday, March 31, 2008

Boston Haunt :: The Charlesgate Hotel

Here's a shot of the Charlesgate Hotel, Boston's version of NYC's The Dakota (location for the film "Rosemary's Baby" and the spot where John Lennon was murdered).

This creepy building is a hotbed of alleged paranormal activity since it was original built in 1891. Formerly a Boston University and Emerson dorm, the site is the source of a slew of reports from students (from the '70s to the mid-'90s) claiming the building is haunted.

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 refurbished Charlesgate Hotel in the Back Bay.

The Charlesgate Hotel (coupled with The Barnes Mansion) is now an upscale condo building. Click here for details.

Backlash swells against West Roxbury morality police

According to the West Roxbury Transcript, both Gary's Liquors and the Boston Phoenix experienced an upswing in business after Bob Joyce and his Support Community Decency Inc. group protested outside of the West Roxbury liquor store last Saturday, March 29.

Joyce and his handful of supporters claim the Boston Phoenix's adult section is sexually exploitative of women.

Based on the swell of support for both Gary's Liquors and the Boston Phoenix, the general public seems to disagree.

“Free speech is wonderful,” says Peter Kadzis, executive editor of the Phoenix Media/Communications Group, which publishes the Boston Phoenix. “Thanks to Mr. Joyce’s protest, the Phoenix this Saturday was able to distribute a couple of hundred extra papers in and around Gary’s Liquors. I’m calling it a ‘Democracy Dividend.’”

Kadzis tells the West Roxbury Transcript that between 200 and 300 additional papers were distributed on Saturday alone. And while distribution has dipped slightly in West Roxbury, the Phoenix is adding boxes and has more on order.

According to Gary's Liquors' owner, Gary Park, Joyce and his handful of supporters plan a repeat peformance 1:30-5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.

Click here to get the lowdown from my previous post, "West Roxbury Lawyer Fingers Boston Phoenix."

Coolidge’s ‘Trapped in the Closet' sing-along

Trapped in the closet (i.e. your office cubicle or dorm room)? Looking for some raucous fun this weekend? You’re in luck.

The Midnite Madness series at the Coolidge Corner Theatre returns with a weekend of outrageous sing-along fun celebrating the baddest bad boys of pop music. On Friday, April 4 at midnight it's the return of the R. Kelly "Trapped in the Closet" sing-along. And on Saturday, April 5 at midnight it’s all about "Thriller" icon Michael Jackson.

Both shows are orchestrated and hosted by Henri Mazza, the audience participation ringmaster from Austin's famous Alamo Drafthouse. Mazza debuted the "Trapped in the Closet" sing-along at the Coolidge two years ago. Since then, he's hosted nearly a dozen more sold-out shows including the "Boy Band," "Jiggy Crunk" and "Ladies of the ‘80s" series.

Each customized sing-along program features subtitled videos projected on screen, hidden props, prizes, and tons of over-the-top audience participation.

Midnight, Friday, April 4 & Saturday, April 5. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St. Brookline. $12. 617-734-2501 or http://www.coolidge.org/.

Guerrilla queer bar returns to Fenway area

We’re here. We’re queer. We want a beer.

In a social experiment that borders on old-school gay activism, Boston Guerrilla Queer Bar is planning to take over a Fenway/Kenmore Square watering hole this Friday, April 4. The trick is, the promoters Josh and Daniel wait to announce the shindig’s digs until the day of the party.

The guerrilla gay bar idea is a great concept: a group of GLBTs sign up for an e-mail list, the organizer chooses a traditionally straight establishment (like last month's event at Faneuil Hall's uber-straight bar, Bell in Hand Tavern).

On the first Friday of every month, the promoter team alerts its list serve members last minute of the bar’s location (you know, so it won't prematurely freak out the hotspot's traditionally straight clientele) and they all gather en masse and descend on the bar like a flash mob.

The idea is to turn an unsuspecting straight bar into a gay bar for one night. Call it guerrilla bar fare.

The concept began in 2000 with a group in San Francisco. Guerrilla Queer Bar groups are now in cities scattered across the country, from Austin, Texas, to Atlanta, Seattle to Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. London and Heidelberg, Germany, also have their own Guerrilla posse.

Wanna go? Click here for the top-secret location.

Also, click here for more info about Boston Guerrilla Queer Bar.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Random Shot :: Kenmore Square

This afternoon I walked the last part of the Boston Marathon route starting from Heartbreak Hill leading all the way to Kenmore Square. After the two-hour trek, the Citgo sign was a welcoming sight. Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kyle Minogue returns with 'X'

On Tuesday, April 1, American fans of international pop superstar Kylie Minogue will finally get a chance to hear what the rest of the world is already buzzing about when Astralwerks / Capitol Records releases "X "— the multi-platinum icon’s tenth studio album and first all-new set of songs since 2003’s "Body Language."

“This album is much more of a celebration than anything I’ve done before, with some room for reflection as well,” Minogue says. “I started work on it a year and a half ago when recording was far off in the future, because no one wanted to pressure me."

The pop siren continues, "But I had to get back into the studio just to test myself and get some things off my chest, which I did. To finish was a great relief and an inspiration in that I knew, ‘This is what I do and this is what I love doing.’ It has its challenges, but I’m ready for more.”

On Tuesday, April 1, the pop icon will make a very special performance on ABC’s "Dancing With the Stars," where she will perform X’s lead-off U.S. single, “All I See,” marking Minogue' first TV performance in the states since 2003.

Click here for the lowdown.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interview with comedian Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho has balls. Whether you love or hate her work, there’s no denying that her brand of comedy is one of a kind. She’s frank, unapologetic and can crack people up with a mere facial expression.

While I wasn’t necessarily a fan during her "All-American Girl" days, she won me over when she cut through the crap and started being herself in "I’m the One That I Want."

I’ve been hooked ever since.

On both a personal and artistic level, Cho is someone I admire and respect. She’s been able to overcome many of the trials and tribulations in life—including years of alcohol and drug addiction after a series of high-profile disappointments when her sitcom was cancelled in 1995--to ultimately find her true voice.

So, when I had the opportunity to interview Cho today to promote her upcoming "Beautiful" tour hitting the Orpheum on Friday, April 4, I was both honored and, to be honest, a little nervous.

Why? She’s a role model of mine because of her fearless support of the GLBT community and, well, she’s funny as hell.

I won't give too much away, but we do talk about her return to prime-time TV on VH1’s "The Cho Show," her affinity for a certain Boston-area performer and, of course, she confirms that her new stand-up comedy act, "Beautiful," is raunchier than ever.

UPDATE: Click here for my profile, "Margaret Cho Uncensored :: 'All-American Girl' Gone Wild." Also, check out her "Margaret Cho: Blog" here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random Shot :: Fallen JP Stop Sign

The stop sign on the corner of my street in Jamaica Plain was roadkill over the weekend. I checked this afternoon and the sign has been magically re-erected.

Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.

Free Everclear show tonight at Parris

EVERCLEAR
8 p.m. Tuesday, March 25
@ Parris (Ned Devine's) Boston, MA
21+, FREE, must RSVP
http://going.com/everclear

Promoter Matt Kerestesy says Going.com is expecting a packed house. It's a first come, first serve show so make sure you arrive early.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Brodeur named music editor at Boston Phoenix

Not much of a surprise here but Michael Brodeur, former editor of the Weekly Dig, will join the staff of the Boston Phoenix as the alt-weekly’s music editor on Monday, March 31.

Lance Gould, editor of the Boston Phoenix, believes Brodeur has the chops to take over the important alt-weekly post.

“Since Michael started writing for the Phoenix this past year, I have come to know him as someone who is tirelessly searching out new musical experiences, and someone who sees music as a vital place where pop culture defines itself," Gould says here.

Brodeur replaces Matt Ashare, the long-time music guru at the paper. According to the Phoenix’s phlog, the old-school hipster will continue to write the paper’s “Cellars By Starlight” column.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Random Shot :: Woody's Easter Bunny

Yes, Virginia, there is an Easter Bunny. And he’s hanging outside of Woody’s Liquors on Broadway near Somerville’s Magoun Square.

After an eventful "Disco Brunch" at Gargoyles on the Square, I had to investigate the online rumors of the wascally wabbit for myself. Besides boasting a roasted nut machine and bootleg porno tapes for patrons, Woody’s Liquors also offers annual photos ops with the Easter Bunny for the kiddies while the adults shop inside for Bud and Coors.

Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Boston’s Status Quo makes it to MTV finals

It’s been a guilty pleasure of mine for the past month, but "Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew" has become a late-night ritual I simply can’t shake.

While I was initially smitten by the moves from the recently booted crew called Kaba Modern, Boston’s own Status Quo has won me over with their hunger and tenacity.

Their overnight rise to fame is a true underdog story.

Hailing from rough neighborhoods ranging from Dorchester to West Roxbury, this troupe of young dancers literally didn’t have enough money to make the trek home after auditioning for the show in Los Angeles. While I wasn’t blown away by their ode to the evolution of hip-hop showdown last Thursday, Status Quo killed it with their insane clown posse dance they called "Jack in the Box."

Their work on the MTV show is a testament of how far passion, hard work and a little luck can take you in life.

Anyway, Status Quo has made it into the finals of the "Best Dance Crew" and voting continues until the live finale 9 p.m. Thursday, March 27. The troupe is up against the insanely talented crew known as JabbaWockeeZ for the $100,000 top prize.

Click here to vote for the homegrown talent.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Status Quo didn't take home "America's Best Dance Crew" top prize last Thursday. However, congrats to the locals for putting up a good fight.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Random Shot :: Midtown Hotel Sign

Maybe I'm subconsciously longing for warmer weather, but I've been entranced by saturated colors lately. Here's a recent shot of the Midtown Hotel sign juxtaposed with a dreamy blue sky on Huntington Ave. in Boston. Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Friday, March 21, 2008

The other Harvard Square in Brookline Village

You learn something new every day. While working on my latest freelance project, I stumbled on a hidden gem in Brookline Village.

For a small stretch between Huntington Ave. and Coolidge Corner in Boston on the 66 bus line, there’s an area known as Harvard Square. And no, there’s no affiliation to that other Harvard Square over the bridge in Cambridge.

Who knew?

The vibe in the Harvard Square in Brookline Village is lively--with a slew of restaurants, coffee shops and interesting stores to keep you busy.

My favorite find? There's a quote on the side of Village Smokehouse's window that reads, "I wish Coke was still Cola, and a Joint was a bad place to be."

Random Shot :: Harvard Coop's Wall of Graffiti

Looking for a good debate? The men's restroom at The Coop in Harvard Square always has some interesting--and generally anti-Harvard--rants. Gives new meaning to bathroom humor. Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Fresh Fruit coming Thursday, April 10



Boston's fave equal opportunity offenders, Fresh Fruit, bring their latest drag cabaret extravaganza, "Fresh Fruit Says Deal With It" to Club Cafe starting Thursday, April 10.

"Fresh Fruit Says Deal With It" runs until April 26 at Club Café, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, Mass. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with an additional performance on Sunday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available online at freshfruitproductions.com or by calling the Fresh Fruit Hotline at 617-407-2507.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hub targets GLBT tourism with new ad campaign

Here's the latest piece I worked on for EDGE with writer Scott Kearnan:

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism unveiled plans to spend $4.6 million on a new advertising campaign. While the ads won’t start airing until April 1, the big news behind them is it’s no April Fool’s Day prank.

For the first time, several of the 90 ads produced will feature same-sex couples in a bid for the hearts, minds and spending cash of GLBT travelers.

Click here for the complete article.

Flash mob pillow fight pummels Copley Square

Looking to unleash some pent up frustration by knocking a random stranger upside the head? You’re in luck.

While the first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club, the upcoming International Pillow Fight Day at Copley Square is an entirely different story.

Promoters are trying to knock out the competition in NYC, Washington D.C. and London by organizing the largest flash mob of pillow-wielding participants in nearly two dozen cities. Some locations are expecting more than 700 folks.

The rules are simple. Show up at Boston’s Copley Square 1:55 p.m. on Saturday, March 22 with a soft pillow in hand. Don’t hit anyone who isn’t armed and slip off your shades if you’re wearing them. Go at it when the air horn sounds off at 2 p.m.

Organizers ask participants to remain on the down low, if possible. However, with hundreds of crazies walking around Copley Square holding pillows, discretion is highly unlikely.

Check out www.tiny.cc/BostonFight for the exact location.

NOTE: Here and here are photos from the event.

Random Shot :: Stroll in the Park

NOTE: The morning after I posted this shot on my blog, the MBTA sent out a clean-up crew to spruce up this area near the Mass. Ave. T stop leading to Titus Sparrow park. The last time I checked, the area is spotless.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Comedian Margaret Cho heads to Boston

Armed with her first brand new stand-up comedy act in over three years, the outrageous Margaret Cho plans to unleash her “Beautiful” tour to the masses at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, April 5.

The announcement comes after VH1 confirmed that they’ve picked up seven episodes of “The Cho Show,” which will mark the comic’s return to prime-time TV. The cable show will follow Cho and her eccentric entourage as she deals with her family and friends while working a hectic stand-up career.

Liam Sullivan, known as Internet sensation “Kelly,” will open for Cho in Boston. Sullivan has gained a cult following thanks to his series of short films including “Shoes,” which earned 40 million hits and made him the second most watched performer on YouTube.

Click here for the lowdown.

Random Shot :: Mass. Ave. T Alien

Alien or a grasshopper in a suit? Graffiti found hidden near the bus stop outside of the Mass. Ave. T stop on the Orange Line. Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.

UPDATE: The Mass. Ave. T alien/grasshopper was painted over by the MBTA gentrification crew recently. However, the outline of the little critter can still be seen through the coat of drab, gray paint.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Monday, March 17, 2008

Unhung Hero :: Lazlo's subversive cabaret

Lazlo Pearlman, an American ex-pat transgender guy living and thriving in London’s performance scene, is not only a visionary, but he also pushes the edges of every envelope he gets stuffed into.

Fueled by his ruminations on gender, performance and language, Pearlman will present "Madame Pierre’s Other Tongue: A Surrealist Cabaret about Cunning Linguists."

Madame Pierre is your Cabaret chanteur/chanteuse host who will take you on a multi-lingual journey of discovery of sex and gender and the joys of other tongues.

"Why is the French cock feminine? The German moon masculine?" The subversive romp on the wild side is a 50-minute, one-man production that includes live singing and lip sync, physical theatre, multiple costumes and genderfuck from a queer cabaret/burlesque transman Pearlman’s point of view.

There will be a screening of Pearlman’s short film "Unhung Heroes," a transgender comedy about not having a dick.

9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 19. Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St. Harvard Square, Cambridge. $10. 617-288-8145 or http://www.thruthserum.org/.

Random Shot :: Boston's Theatre District

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oh Cruel World! misfire

OK, I made a mistake in an earlier posting.

The Weekly Dig’s passive-aggressive FOB "Oh Cruel World!" rant is now buried in the back beneath the crossword puzzle and next to "Exit Poll." Stuck on the last page in a quarter-square space smaller than the typical Dig ad, it’s officially now the pub’s bastard step column.

Why wasn’t I inspired to read to the back of the alt-weekly? I guess I was turned off by the proliferation of advertorial like the "Dept. of Commerce" and the educational supplement on acupuncture school. And the music and A&E coverage has become so arcane I tune it out.

While my fingers are crossed that the Weekly Dig will return to its former must-read glory, I’m not holding my breath. Without the checks and balances of a qualified editor, the publisher will always want to turn it into a cash cow.

Random Shot :: Boston's Financial District

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Saturday, March 15, 2008

IN Newsweekly now New England Blade

After a year of scandal and behind-the-scenes drama, the Boston-based GLBT newspaper formerly known as IN Newsweekly is now the New England Blade.

Jake Spencer, once publisher of The Washington Blade, has joined the troubled publication as General Manager.

Spencer brings with him over 30 years of experience. "In this role, he will oversee all aspects of the publication’s operations," a HX Media press release states. "He recently relocated from Washington, DC to the Boston area."

While the paper has changed its name, it’s still the same lackluster publication it was with editor William Henderson at its helm. As mentioned in Loaded Gun in January, there was a series of editorial changes at the troubled publication.

Back in January ‘08, four longtime contributors to IN Newsweekly, including former editor Fred Kuhr, have either formally resigned or stopped contributing to the newspaper after the new publisher repeatedly failed to pay them in a timely manner and ignored concerns over its new editorial direction.

As a fan of both the Washington Blade and the New York Blade, I was hoping the name change would somehow resuscitate the sagging pub.

Unfortunately, the revamped IN Newsweekly turned New England Blade is DOA.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Random Shot :: Rosebud Diner in Somerville


Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Boston Phoenix’s f@#&ing brilliant article on FCC indecency rules

Harvey Silverglate’s First Amendment advocacy piece in this week’s Boston Phoenix on the FCC’s "broadcast indecency" rules helped clarify an ongoing internal debate I’ve had as an editor and writer.

If the F-bomb is needed to tell a story, then use it.

As someone who has worked in print, radio and TV, I’ve had to deal with the occasional dirty word issue whether it was in a particularly poignant quote from a musician or it’s needed to convey a breaking news story.

For example, when I worked for WHDH.com and wrote the morning crawl at Channel 7, I remember writing up a piece on an electronic street sign in Dedham, Mass. that was hijacked to display a "crass invitation to lunch."

The sign read "PENIS FOR LUNCH." Big deal, right?

Because it was a story for TV news, we had to be careful not to break any FCC indecency rules. So, the word "PENIS" was blurred out in the photo and we had to be creative in the way we referred to dick, like "a part of man’s anatomy."

However, "penis" is rather tame compared the onslaught of "fuck" quotes I’ve had to deal with over the years. My thoughts are, if in a quote, it’s OK to use the vulgarity. If it’s used just for shock value, then don’t.

Here are a few examples in my past when I used the F-bomb:

"Punk should be an environment for everyone, no matter if you're a guy or girl, black or white. It should be an open space where everyone feels comfortable. The world is already fucked as is, so it's absurd to me that our scene isn't more inclusive." –Pat Schramm, drummer for the Long Island-based punk band Latterman.

"It happened in Walton County, somewhere near 'De-fuck-you' Springs," says Pinkus, obviously still frazzled by his run-in with the DeFuniak Springs police department. "All three of us were arrested and I ended up having to spend the night in jail." –JD Pinkus, former bassist for the Butthole Surfers

"This time around we refuse to bring out any flashy production just to display to everyone that if you give us a stage and some instruments we will kick your fuckin' ass no matter what. We're on the verge of a gold record. More than a half-million fans don't lie." –Brian Vodinh with 10 Years.

Necessary? You decide.

HomoHop hits the Hub this weekend

Gays and hip-hop usually don’t mix but after the success of last year’s HomoHop Tour giving voice to a bevy of GLBT rap and hip-hop artists, music enthusiasts have been hooked.

Called “homohop” within the underground community, the scene first earned national ink thanks to the 2005 documentary by Alex Hinton called “Pick up the Mic.”

The “HomoRevolution Tour 2008” showcases a crew of emerging gay hip-hop artists including up-and-comers like Deadlee, Mélange Lavonne, Bigg Nugg and Shorty Roc.

This Sunday, Boston gets a sneak peek of what “homohop” is all about. The music is sexy, political, socially conscious, but most importantly, makes you want to shake your tail feathers--whether you’re gay or straight.

9 p.m. Sunday, March 16. Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave. Allston. $8. 18+. 617-288-8145 or http://www.truthserum.org/.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Shot :: Coolidge Corner Theatre

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Provincetown's acting police chief retires

After a tumultuous year at the helm, Provincetown’s acting police chief Warren Tobias announced earlier this week that he plans to retire.

According to this report in the Provincetown Banner, the 51-year-old Tobias is exiting the position on a medical technicality after suffering from an ankle injury in 1989 while making an arrest.

Tobias has been under scrutiny since taking the chief position in January 2007.

One critic of the acting chief, DJ Barry Scott, sent out a "Ding! Dong! The witch is dead" e-mail blast alerting his friends and the media.

"After staring at us at all court dates and trying to intimidate us and presiding over a year's worth of crimes, hate, brutality and failures; hard to believe the town has selectmen and a Town Manager still sticking up for Warren Tobias," he writes.

The Boston-based radio DJ has made several appearances since the summer to fight charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace after he was left bloodied and bruised by a crew of summer cops hired by the Provincetown Police Department on July 14.
Scott says Tobias made a concerted effort to prolong the DJ’s ongoing legal battles.

"It was a sickening sight to see acting Chief Tobias, smiling smugly and even laughing at my attorney's statements in court Friday," the radio personality comments. "Someone needs to dismiss him immediately, before he does more damage to the integrity of the badge and makes a further laughingstock of Provincetown."

Scott continues, "He was yelled at by the magistrate for using a cell phone in court. This is not a professional. He is a keystone cop."

Click here for the backstory.

Lament for Weekly Dig's Oh Cruel World!?

For the few and faithful who continue to read The Weekly Dig, there was no Oh Cruel World! in the latest issue.

The pub's now managing editor, Laura Dargus, says she's grown weary of the alt-weekly's hilarious passive-aggressive rant:

"As an admittedly extreme avoider of confrontation, I have from time to time grown weary with Oh Cruel World! It's not the column's fault, but more my own, as it is often a reflection of my tendency toward inaction," she writes.

Is this the end of Oh Cruel World!? I hope not. With the usual dead-on Media Farm missing the mark the past few months, the snarky front-of-the-book column was one of the few things left that inspired me to actually pick up the publication.

After a revolving door of staffers in '07, publisher-turned-editor Jeff Lawrence warned readers to expect a few changes at the Dig. Hopefully, cutting the FOB must-read isn't one of them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Random Shot :: Statue outside Trinity Church

I have an arsenal of photos I've taken over the past few months working on a freelance gig. This is the first in a series I'm calling Loaded Gun's Random Shots.

Above is the statue of Philips Brooks outside of Trinity Church Boston in Copley Square.

Photo by Sam Baltrusis

New bus service offers $1 Boston-to-NYC tickets

After taking a long-distance bus trip from Florida to Boston in my early 20s, the following sounds less-than desirable. However, you can't beat the price:

Want to check out a Broadway show in Manhattan on the cheap? Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines are working together on “Boltbus,” a new travel alternative with one-way fares as low as $1.

With the Boston-New York service launching in April, Boltbus boasts extra leg room and wireless Internet access.

Cutting out extra costs by selling most of the tickets online, fares will be set at market value and could go as low as $1 for one way.

Click here for the lowdown.

Povo.com launches, EDGE gets a facelift

It’s been a monster of a freelance project, but I’m happy to announce that Povo.com--a new wiki-based online urban community that I’ve been working on for the past few months--is on the verge of launching.

For the Boston-based online guide, my turf includes Somerville, Allston/Brighton and Downtown (including the Theatre and Financial Districts and Chinatown).

If Wikipedia and YELP had a tech-savvy love child it would be POVO.com.

While the backend technology fueling this project is extremely exciting, the new, intuitive front-end design rocks my world. All of the content is generated and entirely editable by locals in the know. So, be the first kid on the block to add your favorite restaurant or after-work haunt.

This project has been an adventure from the beginning. I’ve discovered hidden gems and under-explored neighborhoods from Somerville’s Union Square to Allston/Brighton to sections of town that shouldn’t be approached on foot. In fact, I made a trek yesterday to get this shot and this one—and was nearly hit by a car.

After all is said and done, I’m extremely happy with Povo.com. The site officially launches Monday, March 24.

Also, my home publication, EDGEBoston.com, recently underwent a facelift. Our fearless publisher, David Foucher, deserves major props for the revamp. He really listened to EDGE’s staff and readers and created a new site that’s not only functional, but a lot of fun to explore.

My regional territory includes Boston, Providence and Provincetown within the ever-growing network of EDGE's national GLBT portals.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bob Mould walks the 'Line'

When it comes to revisiting the painful war stories from his in-the-closet past including a messy band breakup with his Hüsker Dü cohort Grant Hart and a stint at a Minnesota farmhouse where he quit drugs and alcohol, alt-rock icon Bob Mould speaks with a candid sincerity.

"I was a confused, self-hating gay man during the Reagan years ... a lot of fun there," he says about the tumultuous early days with the ’80s hardcore act Hüsker Dü.

However, when asked if he has any lingering resentment about the infamous 1994 Spin magazine profile that outed the indie forefather against his will, Mould’s tone changes.

Click here for my interview with alt-rock icon Bob Mould.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Boston Phoenix music editor says bye-bye

Someone tipped me off on this last night at The Beehive, but it seems to be official.

Matt Ashare, the long-time music guru at The Boston Phoenix, has resigned. Rumor is the editor, Lance Gould, forced out the aged critic because he was out of touch with the younger, hipper scene.

Not really much of a shock.

The Phoenix has almost the exact same editorial lineup it did when I left Boston to work in NYC in the '90s. All I can say is out with the old, in with the new.

Click here for the scoop from The Weekly Dig.

Ronnie and Ben consummate 'bromance'

The on-and-off again “bromance” between openly gay contestant Ronnie Kroell and his roommate Ben, a prison guard from Nashville, Tenn. on Bravo’s “Make Me a Supermodel” hit a fever pitch last night when the two simulated some pre-coital (the guy-on-guy version) grope action for a Girbaud Jeans video shoot.

Ben, the so-called straight guy, suggested the pairing after a less-than-steamy make out with of the female model wannabes.

When Ronnie and Ben finally touched for the camera, it was magic.

The scene punctuates an already over-the-top season of gay-for-pay sexuality. In earlier episodes, there were a few uber-gay challenges--like frat bro Perry and blonde twink Casey getting a little animalistic in a man-on-man photo shoot and a recent sitting where the models strip down to their birthday suits in front of a room of painters.

Unfortunately, Ronnie and Ben are pitted against each other in this week’s bottom three.

"Make Me A Supermodel" scorches the small screen 10 p.m. next Thursday on BRAVO.

The buzz behind The Beehive in the South End

There’s no denying the buzz behind The Beehive in Boston’s the South End.

Opening in May 2007, the restaurant, bar and performance venue has been the hub of all things fab, attracting Hollywood types like Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey and this Sunday, March 9, vocalist Jill Scott will attend a private shindig at the Tremont Street hotspot.

Taking its name from La Ruche -- "the beehive" in French -- an early 20th-century artists' colony in Paris where the likes of Matisse and Chagall worked and made merry, The Beehive has been praised for its hipster-chic ambience, festive atmosphere and stellar selection of cocktails.

However, critics have consistently slammed the food. Based on my dinner last night, I’m happy to report that the menu has improved dramatically.

Nestled below the Boston Center for the Art’s historic Cyclorama in Boston’s South End, The Beehive serves the eclectic fare of Chef Rebecca Newell, rustic comfort foods infused with American, European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences.

New chef Newell has added several tasty items to the menu—including a flavorful Moroccan stew—and has continued to improve on their rustic comfort foods including fried chicken and a creative take on traditional macaroni and cheese.

We’re working on a piece for EDGE deconstructing the “buzz behind The Beehive.”

Meanwhile, the venue is planning a killer St. Patrick’s Day bash, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday, March 17 where they’ll serve several ala carte Irish specials coupled with live music to set the tone.

“No green beer here! We’re planning a wonderful evening of amazing Irish comfort food and authentic Irish entertainment," says general manager, Bertil Jean-Chronberg.

Click here for more information. The Beehive is at 541 Tremont St. , 617-423-0069. Dinner 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., bar to 2 a.m., entertainment nightly.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Yakovleff investigation continues to be a BPD priority

Elaine Driscoll, the spokesperson for the Boston Police Department, confirms today that the investigation into the Daniel Yakovleff murder continues to be a priority.

"The murder of Daniel Yakovleff remains a very active investigation. Homicide detectives in conjunction with the District Attorney's office are working very hard to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding Daniel's tragic death," she says.

Driscoll continues, "We share Daniel's family and friends desire to find the person responsible for this. Investigators are still very interested in speaking to anyone who may have seen Daniel at the Eagle Bar that night. We want to know who he was there with and who he may have left with."

In the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 17, police discovered the body of Yakovleff with a fatal stab wound to the chest. Sources say the 20-year-old openly gay hairstylist was last seen leaving the Eagle bar in the South End on Wednesday, Jan. 16 and was found by authorities around 6:10 a.m. the following day.

I was contacted by Yakovleff's relatives earlier this week looking for an update. While media interest in this story seems to have waned, I plan to continue to dig for the truth.

Click here for my story on the Yakovleff investigation.

New site slams Provincetown as a place for hate

Folks upset over the string of anti-gay incidents in Provincetown have launched a site inspiring the community to contact Martha Coakley, attorney general, as well as news organizations.

Click here for the link.

The page also shines a light on the string of incidents that I coined "Provincetown's Summer of Hate." Here's their laundry list:

*Many other incidents have occured during the past year including Richard Hall--beaten and left unconscious by thugs who called him 'faggot.' Although he had all his valuables, the Provincetown Police did not look for perpetrators nor classify it as a hate crime. The Attorney General's office ended up paying his medical bills to cover Provincetown's failures.

*Bryan Richardson, held under an illegal protective custody and injured in jail while Provincetown Police did nothing to help him. He soiled his pants while lying on the jail floor for hours, unable to move from a back spasm.

*Daniel Coburn had rocks thrown at him and was called 'faggot.' When reported to the P-town Police, they arrested him for an outstanding vehicle ticket. They later said the use of 'faggot' was protected under free speech. Oddly enough, although Barry Scott did not say 'we hate the police'--that was NOT protected as free speech in Provincetown.

*Artist David Jones, beaten by the cops, pled to a criminal charge so he wouldn't have to face huge legal bills and an unrelenting police department. He says he did nothing wrong.

*Another man had a bike thrown at him at the AIDS ride; still another was taken off the street and held until morning without charges in the P-town jail...his friends thought he had disappeared.

The site links to my four-part series called "Provincetown's Summer of Hate."

Click here to start from the beginning.

Tom Brady and Gisele caught on tape?

The wine cellar at a popular Manhattan restaurant seems to be the hub of all things naughty, according to a recent article in the New York Post.

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and his supermodel gal pal, Gisele Bundchen, allegedly were caught on tape getting busy in the subterranean space in the hipster Chinese hotspot called Phillippe.

Sources say music mogul Sean P-Diddy Combs and actress Sienna Miller frequent the spot as well to “hook up.”

Owners have a hidden security camera in the cellar to keep an eye on their expensive collection of wines. According to the Post sources, the restaurant’s employees watch the PDA sessions then erase the evidence.

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"True Colors" tour kicks off in Boston

The True Colors Tour will hit the road again this summer with an exciting new line-up of legendary and up and coming artists including headliners Cyndi Lauper, The B-52s, Rosie O’Donnell with host Carson Kressley and many more.

After receiving rave reviews and a successful debut in 2007, the True Colors Tour is expanding to meet demand in many more cities. The tour will kick off Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month on May 31st at Boston’s Bank of America Pavilion.

Produced by True Colors Concerts in partnership once again with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the 24 city North American tour is presented by Logo in support of the newly created True Colors Fund of Stonewall Community Foundation.

The concerts feature nearly five hours of nonstop music with exciting special guests appearing on select dates throughout the tour including Wanda Sykes, Tegan and Sara, Regina Spektor, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Joan Armatrading, Indigo Girls, Nona Hendryx, Deborah Cox and The Cliks.

This year’s tour will highlight the need for the LGBT community and their straight allies to get out and make their votes count this fall.

Check out here for more information.

NOTE: E! Online suggests that organizers are trying to snag Britney to perform a show or two on the "True Colors" tour. Gasp!

The Cliks' frontman gets tattoo on 'LA Ink'

Here's the latest on one of my favorite new bands, The Cliks:

Through his music The Cliks’ lead singer, Lucas Silveira “wears his heart on his tattoo sleeve.”

In addition to the winged guns, pouncing dragons and carefully etched word “Survivor,” the electrifying frontman will add a new tattoo to his collection when he appears on the Tuesday, March 27 episode of TLC’s reality cable television show, "LA Ink."

The new tattoo, a stylized Mexican Day of The Dead skull, holds special meaning for Silveira, “Traditionally, Mexican Day Of The Dead celebrations represent rebirth and moving into the second phase of life and to me,” he explains. “It represents the rebirth I had when I transitioned from Lilia to Lucas and my true identity as a transgendered male.”

Click here for my interview with Silveira.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

'AI' contestant outed as gay stripper

Gesh, will the "American Idol" controversies ever end? It seems that 24-year-old "AI" contestant David Hernandez has worked for three years as a nude dancer at a Phoenix-based gay strip club.

Oh, the scandal.

The manager of Dick's Cabaret, Gordy Bryan, tells the Associated Press that Hernandez worked hard for his money.

"He had the look and the type that people like, so he made pretty good money here," Bryan says. Based on his audition tape, he was living out of his car for awhile ... guess he didn't make enough for a hotel room.

Personally, Hernandez's naughty past makes me like him more. Click here for the complete article.

Gay guerrilla bar fare on Friday, March 7

We’re here. We’re queer. We want a beer.

In a social experiment that borders on old-school gay activism, Boston Guerrilla Queer Bar is planning to take over a Faneuil Hall watering hole this Friday, March 7. The trick is, the promoter doesn’t announce the shindig’s digs until the day of the party.

The guerrilla gay bar idea is a great concept: a group of GLBTs sign up for an e-mail list, the organizer chooses a traditionally straight establishment (like The Burren in Davis Square and The Liquor Store in the Theatre District).

On the first Friday of every month, the promoter alerts its list serve members last minute of the bar’s location (you know, so it won't prematurely freak out the hotspot's traditionally straight clientele) and they all gather en masse and descend on the bar like a flash mob.

The idea is to turn an unsuspecting straight bar into a gay bar for one night. Call it guerrilla bar fare.

The concept began in 2000 with a group in San Francisco. Guerrilla Queer Bar groups are now in cities scattered across the country, from Austin, Texas, to Atlanta, Seattle to Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. London and Heidelberg, Germany, also have their own Guerrilla posse.

Click here for the Boston Guerrilla Queer Bar lowdown.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Why is Bill Belichick on the cover of a gay mag?

I was waiting to get my copy of Boston Spirit in the mail before commenting on the whole "why is Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the cover of a gay mag?" controversy that erupted last week.

The mainstream press and bloggers had a field day with the magazine’s bizarre choice of a cover boy that accompanied a story that explores the idea of Boston-based sports figure to come out of the closet. Several publications poked fun of one of the sub-heads, specifically "Where Lesbians Love," that’s plastered next to Belichick’s mug.

First, the stories that emerged were a bit deceptive, specifically with the conveniently cropped shot of the Boston Spirit cover (seen above) plastered all over the Internet. Reporters and bloggers "accidentally" left off the bottom of the cover—which had an explicit headline giving relevance to the photo and making way more sense than what was originally reported.

The headline? "Hey Coach, I’m Gay!"

Second, what’s the big deal about a straight guy from the sports world being on the cover of the "city’s premier gay magazine?" For the record, straight guys can be on the cover of gay magazines. Gone (except for a recent Out magazine cover) are the days when The Advocate would out celebs and public figures against their will.

Finally, the Inside Track gals at the Boston Herald and a slew of bloggers made a few implicit jabs regarding the editorial quality of Boston Spirit. With a new editor at its helm (former IN Newsweekly editor James Lopata), Boston Spirit’s content has improved dramatically.

Sure, it borders the lines of advertorial (advertising under the guise of editorial). However, Lopata should be applauded for the provocative work he has consistently churned out over the past year.

Fans upset over lack of gay PDA on "ATWT"

Fans are in a tizzy over the hot-turned-tepid gay romance on the CBS soap opera “As The World Turns.”

History was made last August when two male characters locked lips on national daytime TV. The five-second smooch between Luke (Van Hansis) and Noah (Jake Silbermann) was the first between men on daytime television and came four years after Bianca (Eden Riegel) and Lena (Olga Sosnovska) kissed on “All My Children.”

According to the Associated Press, fans have started a letter-writing campaign, posted an online petition as well as a Web site that counts the days, hours, minutes and seconds since Luke and Noah last locked lips.

“ATWT” groupies are puzzled because the 52-year-old soap series is known for its groundbreaking ways — featuring the first gay male character in daytime drama in 1988.

Jeannie Tharrington, spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble Productions, insists that there's no ban on kissing. She didn’t give a clue as to what would happen with the onscreen gay duo--known as "Nuke" by groupies--in the future.

"It's always hard to please a diverse audience," Tharrington confirms. "And we have a diverse audience."

Boston fan Theresa Webber is miffed over the tepid relationship between Luke and Noah.

"It's 2008. It's something that's real. If they were not going to follow through with it, they shouldn't have started it," she emotes.

UPDATE: As the World Turns's ban on gay kissing was apparently lifted Wednesday, April 23 as characters Luke and Noah shared their first on-screen kiss after seven months without locking lips.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Lucy Spiller's new assistant on FX's 'Dirt'

While I didn’t necessarily dig tonight’s season two premiere of FX’s "Dirt," I was stoked to see an up-and-coming actor I met a few years back playing Lucy Spiller’s (Courteney Cox Arquette) new assistant. His name is Kevin Wheatley and I’ve been a fan of his comedic subtlety for some time. I interviewed him over the years and am excited that he finally landed a role worthy of his talents.

This Gulf Breeze, Fla. native first earned national ink with his starring role in the now-defunct WB pilot "Joint Custody." During a hiatus from the small screen including commercials ranging from the checkout dude in a "Wendy's" commercial as well as a recent stint in SuperBowl ad for GoDaddy.com, Wheatley penned a full-length historical narrative called "Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell." The indie film hit theaters last October.

Wheatley is replacing Spiller’s old assistant Kenny (Ankur Bhatt) who was shot in the head last season during a hostage situation at the Dirt Now offices.

His character suffers from generalized anxiety/panic attacks and, based on tonight’s episode, he should be a source of a lot of hilarious inter-office banter with bitchy boss Spiller.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Interview with icon Bob Mould

My interview with alt-rock icon Bob Mould today promoting his new solo CD, "District Line," turned out great.

He spoke candidly about his love-hate relationship with former Husker Du cohort Grant Hart, his lingering resentment about being outed by Spin magazine in ’94 as well as his decision to cut drugs and alcohol from his life in the late ‘80s.

I’ve interviewed so many musicians/artists throughout my career, however, this one moved me on a deeper-than-usual level. Why? Husker Du’s "Zen Arcade" opened up a floodgate of emotion for me when I first experienced the hardcore concept album in the early ‘90s. I remember spending many nights listening to the two-LP collection in awe, dissecting what I viewed as a beautiful, but tumultuous, dialogue between Hart and Mould through music.

Also, I feel like Mould’s post-Du group, Sugar, put out a masterpiece of melodic college radio anthems with "Copper Blue."

I identify with the 47-year-old musician on my levels--including his angst-ridden hostility toward the status quo during the Reagan years as well as his decision to live sober. He's a role model for me on both an artistic and personal level.

I should have the profile on Mould posted on EDGE this Thursday, March 6. Meanwhile, check out his "Boblog" here.

Here's Mould's "District Line" tour update. He'll perform in Boston on Wednesday, March 12 at the Paradise.

Friday, March 7: Chicago IL, MetroS
aturday, March 8: Cleveland OH , Grog
Monday, March 10: Toronto ON, Mod Club
Wednesday, March 12: Boston MA, Paradise
Thursday, March 13: New York City NY, Fillmore
Friday, March 14: Philadelphia PA, Trocadero
Saturday March 15: Washington DC, 9:30 Club + BLOWOFF
Monday, March 17: Charlotte, NC, Visulite Theatre
Tuesday, March 18: Atlanta GA, Variety
Thursday, March 20: Austin TX, Antone's
Saturday, March 22: Boulder CO, Fox Theatre
Monday, March 24: San Diego CA, Belly Up
Tuesday, March 25: Los Angeles CA, El Rey
Wednesday, March 26: San Francisco CA, Great American Music Hall
Friday, March 28: Portland OR, Doug Fir
Saturday, March 29: Seattle WA, Neumo's
Sunday, March 30: Vancouver BC, Richard's
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