Book review: On The Road by Jack Kerouac

I first read On The Road by Jack Kerouac about 25 years ago and earlier this spring, on a whim I picked up a copy of the book at a local bookstore to read it again.

Kerouac was an American novelist and poet part of the Beat Generation. The popular literary movement explored and influenced American culture and politics following WWII with most of their work published in the 1950s. Kerouac’s novel, originally published in 1957, is a narrative of his travels criss-crossing the United States.

What attracts me to the book is the firsthand account of a time many refer to as America’s Golden Age. The eternally popular musical, Grease, pays tribute to this period and pop icons like Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra still have an aura of romance and glamour about them. Baby Boomers have romanticized this time in America, but Kerouac’s story is decidedly unglamourous and filled with some fairly unsavory characters. His gritty narrations are full of sex, alcohol, and drugs and stand in stark contrast to life at Rydell High.

Reading this novel for a second time I’m reminded of a profound sense of freedom that I don’t think is part of the American spirit anymore. Kerouac and his friends are filled with a desire to live life on their own terms – free of responsibility, with little regard for social mores of the time, or concern about the future. It is heady stuff to imagine a life so untethered from obligations and antithetical to the Protestant work ethic.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book and open to supporting local bookstores, try one of the links I’ve shared. You’ll be able to order it online in just a couple of clicks. Alternatively, you can check your local library for a copy of this book. Here is a link to the BPL copy for On The Road.

Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner
Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square
Porter Square Bookstore in Porter Square
Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe in Back Bay

Temptation Tuesday

shomari francis

Shomari Francis, a former athlete turned model from the US Virgin Islands makes for the perfect Temptation Tuesday. You can also find this handsome guy on Twitter at @shomari_francis and on Instagram at @shomarifrancis.

Past Temptation Tuesday Posts

Men in kilts

I have no idea what coach Rab Shields is doing in a field of wheat, but I always enjoy posting photos of the kilted coaches Rab & Stephen and it has been too long since I last posted a photo of one of them.

Previous Men in Kilts Posts

Monday morning mancandy

May this photo distract you from the fact that it is Monday morning all over again.

Boston Freedom Trail according to BosGuy

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile path that winds through several downtown neighborhoods in Boston, identifying 16 historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.

The Freedom trail meanders through Beacon Hill, the North End and Charlestown but it can be a bit repetitive with multiple cemeteries and churches each with a slightly different historic significance. To liven things up, over the years, I’ve provided friends a modified version of the Freedom Trail. All that walking and learning works up a thirst so I “enhance” the walk by strategically selecting hydration stops and pointing out unique (but historically irrelevant) sites. Below is the Boston Freedom Trail according to BosGuy, which uses the city’s official Freedom Trail map.

One can start the Freedom Trail from either the Boston Common or Bunker Hill Monument. I suggest starting in Charlestown so you are back in the center of Boston when done. Grab a ride to Bunker Hill in Charlestown (pronounced, CHARLES-TOWN, unlike the city in SC) or hop on the Orange Line to the Bunker Hill Community College station and walk there. Feel free to walk up the 221 foot obelisk designed to commemorate the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. I’m slightly claustrophobic so I prefer to sit on the hill and look out at the harbor.

After, walk down to the U.S.S. Constitution (commissioned in 1797). I enjoy going aboard but you can get a better selfie from the dock so if boats aren’t your thing, snap a photo then walk over the N. Washington Bridge to the North End (you’ll pass the Converse HQ on your right – in case any of you are fans of their classic Chuck Taylor sneaker). The next stop on the trail is Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, but I skip it since there are other burying grounds on the tour, and I walk friends down Hull Street to show the “House of Spite” a.k.a. Skinny House on the way to the Old North Church.

The Old North Church is probably best known for alerting Paul Revere on how the English would attack, hanging lanterns in their steeple, “one if by land and two if by sea”. From the church, walk down the Paul Revere Mall on your way to Paul Revere’s House. Dating back to 1680, it is one of the oldest buildings in Boston. This home is interesting because of its history but if you’re getting hungry skip going inside and walk to The Modern Pastry on Hanover Street. Buy a cannoli or some other sweet (this is a cash-only establishment) and enjoy it on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It makes for an ideal resting place. From that vantage point, I like to show friends the Union Oyster House, which has been operating since 1826 and has a booth on the second floor where President Kennedy liked to dine with Jackie and others.

Faneuil Hall, the next stop on the tour is a tourist trap but deserving of a visit. Despite having just finished a cannoli (I strongly recommend eating desserts first), if hungry the neighboring Quincy market and (the slightly less busy) Boston Public Market offer many options for lunch. If you’re not hungry but all that walking has made you thirsty take a photo by the Sam Adams statue and pop into the Sam Adams Boston Tap Room.

The next two stops are close to the Sam Adams Tap Room and essentially one in the same. The Old State House and Boston Massacre Site are photo worthy but require nothing more. The ground floor of the Old State House is now a MBTA T stop for Boston’s Orange and Blue Lines. About two blocks away are the Old South Meeting House and the Old Corner Bookstore both of which I routinely skip and walk up School Street to Boston Latin School Site & Ben Franklin Statue. This also happens to be Boston’s Old City Hall, and is a gorgeous example of French Second Empire architecture. Back in the day I’d bring friends to The Littlest Bar (which sadly closed). Walk up School Street to King’s Chapel and Burying Ground. It’s interesting to see the cemetery and the chapel that dates back to 1686, although this is a newer building that opened in 1754.

The Parker House Hotel is next to King’s Chapel and has the distinction of being the longest continuously operating hotel in the US. It happens to be where the Boston Creme Pie was invented in 1856 and where both Ho Chi Minh (from 1912-1913) and Malcolm X in the 1940s worked briefly. The first a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician and the other, a prominent African American muslim minister and activist.

The next stop, Granary Burying Ground, is one block down on Tremont Street. This cemetery has many famous graves including the Franklin (as in Ben’s parents) family grave, an ostentatious tomb for John Hancock and a grave for Samuel Adams but my favorite is the tiny grave for Elizabeth “Mother” Goose (1665 – 1758). Next to the cemetery is the next stop on the Freedom Trail, Park Street Church, which I typically skip. Perhaps it’s my Catholic roots, but I find old Protestant churches stark and uninteresting on the inside.

The second to last stop on the Freedom Trail is one worth entering, The Massachusetts State House. While this isn’t the largest State House it is architecturally beautiful and has many historical points of interest. You can sign up for a building tour, here. The top of the state house dome is capped with a pine cone. For those who enjoy trivia, the reason for that is explained here. After finishing the tour, go next door to the 21st Amendment Pub. Toast the repeal of prohibition and for completing the Boston Freedom Trail. The final stop, The Boston Common, established in 1634, is one block away.

Scruffy Sunday

Rise and shine handsome.

Previous Scruffy Sunday Posts

Saturday morning coffee

For those who like more than your coffee to be strong and black, this week’s post is for you.

Saturday morning comics

ADAM & ANDY is set in the fictional New England town of Woodfield, CT. You can learn more about Adam and Andy and purchase a copy of “the definitive collection of Adam and Andy” by visiting, adamandandy.com.

Click on this week’s comic strip to enlarge

Click here if you would like to see the previous Adam & Andy

Furry Friday

Thank god it’s Furry Friday – TGIFF

Past Furry Friday

BosGuy brain teaser

riddle, exercise for your brain

Each Friday, I post a riddle to get you to think outside the box and exercise your brain. If you are stumped, share it with a friend or colleague and see if you can figure out the answer together.

Leave your answer in the comment section. I’ll approve responses later in the day to give people a chance to respond without seeing any spoilers.

This week’s brain teaser:  What has a head and a tail but no body? 

Like riddles? Check out past week’s brain teasers.

What to do this weekend

Below is a list of what is happening in Boston. Support these gay bars and businesses. If you have an event you want included, email bosguymail@gmail.com.

Boston Gay Bars

The Alley
THURSDAY: Trivia Night @8PM
FRIDAY: FUZZ w/ DJ Taffy & Brent Covington @10PM
SATURDAY: BLUFF Leather Social @7PM DJ Wayne Michael @10PM
SUNDAY: Bearaoke Night @8PM

blend
THURSDAY: Taco Thursdays start @5PM
FRIDAY: RPDR viewing party w/ Harlow Havoc @8PM & Friday Feels w/ DJ Begbick @10PM
SATURDAY: Mayhem Saturdays w/ DJ Aga @10PM
SUNDAY: Mizery Loves Company Drag Brunch 11AM (Tix Here)

Cathedral Station
THURSDAY: Bar and Kitchen open – no programming
FRIDAY: Red Sox vs Rangers @8PM | NBA Playoffs Game 6 Celtics vs Bucks @TBD
SATURDAY: Red Sox vs Rangers @7PM | NHL Playoff (if needed) Bruins vs Hurricanes @TBD
SUNDAY: Brunch starts @11AM | Red Sox vs Rangers @2:30PM | NBA Playoff Game 7 (if needed) Celtics vs Bucks @TBD

Club Cafe
THURSDAY: TRL w/ DJ Begbick & host Mizery @10PM
FRIDAY: RPDR viewing party @8PM & DJ Stevie Psyclone @10PM
SATURDAY: DJ Brian Derrick @10PM
SUNDAY: Sunday brunch @11AM & Bring your honey to Bear Tea w/ DJ Aga @6PM

dbar
FRIDAY: Karaoke w/ VJ Ryan Grow @10PM
SATURDAY: Slay Saturday w/ DJ Begbick @10PM
SUNDAY: Brunch @11AM & Boston Proud & Nightshift Brewery host Tea at D w/ DJ Joe Bermudez @4PM

Jacques Cabaret – Call 617-426-8902 to reserve seats to shows
THURSDAY: Now That’s What I Call A Drag Show! hosted by Amanda Playwith & Crystal Crawford @8PM
FRIDAY: RPDR viewing party @8PM & Drag Me To The Main Stage hosted by Destiny
SATURDAY: Drag Me To The Main Stage Hosted by DeeDee de Ray 
SUNDAY: Sunday Fun Day – Open Mic night w/ Mitzzy @7PM

Legacy & Candibar (Gay Mafia Boston)
THURSDAY: Serve Thursdays w/ host Violencia & DJ Coleslaw @10PM
FRIDAY: Bussdown Friday w/ DJ Frenchy @10PM
SATURDAY: DJ Dan Slater @10PM
SUNDAY: Hot Mess Sundays at Candibar @10PM

Trophy Room
THURSDAY: Bar and Kitchen open – no programming
FRIDAY: Red Sox vs Rangers @8PM | NBA Playoffs Game 6 Celtics vs Bucks @TBD
SATURDAY: Red Sox vs Rangers @7PM | NHL Playoff (if needed) Bruins vs Hurricanes @TBD
SUNDAY: Brunch starts @12PM | Red Sox vs Rangers @2:30PM | NBA Playoff Game 7 (if needed) Celtics vs Bucks @TBD

LGBTQ+ Programming / Events

THURSDAY: Queeraoke at Midway Cafe @10PM

gay

FRIDAY: Boston Gay Men’s Speed Dating Night at Scholars @7PM

male chest, chest hair, hairy

FRIDAY: Fuzz with DJ Taffy and Brent Covington at The Alley @10PM

SATURDAY: Eurovision Livestream at Club Cafe @3PM

SATURDAY: BLUF New England (Leather Social) at The Alley @7PM

SATURDAY: Boom Saturday Latin Night returns to the Volcano room @9PM

SUNDAY: Leather Penitence leather / fetish attire is strongly encouraged doors open @9PM at Phoenix Landing

DRAG BRUNCHES IN BOSTON

Brunch

Some drag brunches require tickets purchased ahead of time. Click the event links shared below for ticketing and reservation information.

Dragtacular Brunch
Saturday @12PM
Laugh Boston

Mizery’s Sip & Swallow Drag Brunch
Saturday @1PM
Club Cafe

Illusions The Drag Brunch Boston
Saturday & Sunday shows @1:30PM
Hosted upstairs at Hennessey’s

Mizery Loves Company Drag Brunch
Sunday @12PM
blend

Drag Me To Brunch
Sunday @2PM
Carrie Nation Cocktail Club

SUNDAY TEA DANCES IN BOSTON

Boston Proud Launch Party at dbar @4PM
Proceeds to benefit Fenway Community Health Center
Music by DJ Joe Bermudez

Lesbian NightLife Monthly Tea Dance @4PM
LGBTQ+ Women & Friends Welcome
at Dorchester Brewing Co

SIP Tea Dance at Cantab Lounge @6PM
DJs Rubi, Ms Mango & Brian Halligan

Bear Tea Dance at Club Cafe @6PM
Music by DJ Aga

And finally… another resource for what is happening at Boston gay bars is KikiPedia.

Vintage gay

Much thanks to the Twitter account @oldmasc for initially sharing this fantastic photo. I’m assuming this dates back to the 1970s. Can anyone offer insight on when this was taken?

I dedicate this weekly post, featuring vintage gay photographs, to the men and women who lived in a more critical time where being true to yourself and loving who you want wasn’t always an option and came at a great price. Do you have a photo you would like to share? Email me at bosguymail@gmail.com.

Previous Vintage Gay Photos

2022 Boatslip Tea Dances start

The Boatslip tea dances traditionally hosts their first tea dance of the season on the first Friday in May. However, construction forced this year’s tea dance to be delayed by a week. Tea dances at The Boatslip will take place each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through early June. Daily tea dances at The Boatslip will begin on Thursday, June 16 and run through Labor Day Weekend. For more details about The Boatslip tea dances and other events hosted this summer visit, theboatslip.com.

Join DJ Maryalice this Friday at 4:00PM for the inaugural 2022 Boatslip Tea Dance in Provincetown.

Caption this photo

Hopefully the caption I’ve shared below inspires you to offer up one or two of your own. Leave a funny caption in the comment section, and I’ll approve it for readers to enjoy.

“Ouch!”

Book review: School Days

School Days by Jonathan Galassi is a rivetting gay fiction novel told from the perspective of Sam Brandt, a former student of Leverett, an elite boarding school in New England, and current English teacher at the prep school.

The story opens in the fall of 2007 when Sam is asked by the school’s head about a disgruntled former student who attended Leverett when he was a student there. The conversation transports Sam back to his days as a student in the mid-1960s and life at the (then) all boys boarding school. Galassi paints a picture of love and longing (both platonic and erotic) as Sam reminisces about his high school years, his group of friends, and Theo Gibson, a teacher who went on to have a profound impact on him, his friends and many associated with the school. As a teenager, Sam is unable to come to terms with his sexuality and a love that could not be returned, by his schoolmate Eddie. Reminiscing about those years, he recalls an “irresistible tropism toward Eddie’s knotted masculine integrity, his warmth… which he could only experience in those tight embraces”.

As the book switches back to the early 2000s, Sam is forced to look at those formative years through a more adult and critical lens when accusations of impropriety and possible abuse are raised by a former student. These two storylines are profound and strike a nerve with me. Sam’s teenage years — filled with a sense of confusion, longing and feeling of “otherness” — are too easy for me to relate to. As an adult, Sam’s, unrequited emotions, repressed for so long come to a head as he reconnects with former friends and classmates. Through these conversations and rehashed memories, he is forced to accept responsibility for the choices he made, make peace with them, and move forward.

The setting and Sam’s memory provide a romanticized backdrop of his formative teenage years. Yhe range of emotions and struggles he faces are relatable even for those who never attended boarding school. While the story initially appears to be about Sam trying to learn the truth about what happened on campus all those years ago, the real take away is the need we all have for acceptance and love. The book is entertaining and satisfying on several levels thanks to Galassi’s easy writing style and the beautiful way he uses language to depict touching and important moments in Sam’s life. The two storylines from life in 1967 and 2007 entwine, separate, and come back together again seamlessly and provide Sam with some fairly profound insights about himself and the school he loves so much.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book and open to supporting local bookstores, try one of the links I’ve shared. You’ll be able to order it online in just a couple of clicks. Alternatively, you can check your local library for a copy of this book. Here is a link to the BPL copy for School Days.

Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge Corner
Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square
Porter Square Bookstore in Porter Square
Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe in Back Bay