Category Archives: Friends

Remembering Graham Berkeley

911, September 11thFrozen in time and in our hearts, Graham Berkeley  (b. January 12, 1964 – d. September 11, 2001).

Weekend in San Francisco

Rob and SergioThis past weekend Sergio and I went to San Francisco to see a friend I’ve known since childhood get married. It had been about ten years since Sergio had last visited so we played the role of tourist, walking all over and visiting places like Noe Valley, The Castro, North Beach, SoMa, The Embarcadero and more.

We stayed at The Adagio Hotel on Geary Street just a few blocks from Union Square. The boutique-style hotel fit our needs perfectly, but it was upsetting to see how many homeless have settled in downtown. There are still many beautiful parts of the city but it was still unsettling and made me wonder what the city can do to reverse this trend and help these people get back on their feet.

It was great being a tourist with Sergio (I took my first trolley ride) and to connect with friends in San Francisco but it was Jeff and Ritch’s wedding that brought us to San Francisco. The weather on Saturday could not have been better for their ceremony, which took place on a ship called “The Merlot”. Jeff and Ritch exchanged vows under the Bay Bridge with the skyline as a backdrop and after photos were taken as the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge.

The sky was incredibly clear and unseasonably warm, making it incredibly picturesque and providing Sergio and I with some amazing views. I’ve shared a few of my favorite photos from the evening below. Despite the city’s ongoing issues with providing affordable homes and caring for those who seem unable to care for themselves, San Francisco remains one of my favorite cities to visit.

Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Graham Berkeley

January 12, 1964 – September 11, 2001

Kiko from Boston Chops featured by The Boston Globe

gay boston,

Photo credit: The Boston Globe

Anyone who knows Sergio or me, know that we regularly frequent Boston Chops South End on Washington Street.  A big reason is because of the staff who are a tight-knit group of fun professionals who make their bar is one of the best places to meet up with friends for a drink in the neighborhood.

One of my favorite bartenders in Boston is Kiko. His flamboyance, wit and charm is a draw.  While Boston Chops is not a gay bar – it is a place where the 30-something and 40-something gay men of Boston can often be found meeting for cocktails or grabbing a dinner, which only adds to the appeal when Kiko is holding court (a.k.a. tending bar).

Next time you go into Boston Chops congratulate Kiko for the feature in The Boston Globe and take a moment to read the full article, Getting Salty with Frank ‘Kiko’ Dutra of  Boston Chops

P.S. Kiko – I agree with you. To this day I still miss Pho Republique and I love the colorful regulars like Judy who frequent Boston Chops SE.

New Year’s Eve celebrations in Boston

New Year's Eve, NYE Most of you likely have plans for New Year’s Eve. Sergio and I typically order out and watch movies; switching to watch the ball drop in Times Square at Midnight then crawling into bed with hopes that we will strike it rich in the New Year, quit our jobs and travel for the rest of our lives.

You too may have plans for New Year’s Eve but in case those plans fall through or you are procrastinating and wondering what you can do, I’ve pulled together  a list of options for you to consider. Many of these parties require tickets or have a cover at the door so click the link to learn more if interested.

Photo Source: bostonharbornow.org

Boston First Night Celebrations & Parties

FIRST NIGHT BOSTON is tame as compared to most cities but if you would rather get out and are on a budget this may be a great way to spend part of your evening. Highlights include:

  • Boston Family Fireworks 7-7:30PM on the Common
  • Copley Countdown at Midnight with a multi-sensory display of live music, a dazzling light show and pyrotechnics
  • Figure skating show at 7PM on the Frog Pond
  • Midnight Fireworks over Boston Harbor
  • Full calendar of events visible here.

SLUTCRACKER holds their final show at 7PM in the Somerville Theater
HEROES NYE doors open at 9PM at the Middle East in Central Square
ONESIE NYE BASH (upstairs) doors open at 10PM and is hosted by the Men of Melanin Magic with DJ Begbick and (downstairs) NYE bash with Tatiana and Violencia with DJ Jay Ine
BEARS FIRST NIGHT is at The Alley Bar wit the doors opening at 10PM
dBAR GOLD PARTY starts at 10PM in Dorchester with VJ Ryan Grow
NYE CELEBRATION at Club Cafe starts at 9PM with DJ Susan Esthera

However you celebrate, have a safe time and a wonderful 2019.

Boxing day

boxing dayBoxing Day is always on December 26th. It is not a recognized holiday here in the U.S. but is a bank or public holiday in many of the Commonwealth Nations.

A very good friend and blogger (her blog is Life Food Wine), who is originally from Manchester, U.K. started hosting a Boxing Day Dinner party back in 2008 and nearly every year since she has played the role of gracious host serving some memorable meals for friends each Boxing Day. When she moved to Chicago earlier this year, I thought the tradition would come to an end. However,  she has been my guest this week so it appears we will be able to have at least one more celebration (at my place with Tracey playing the role of host and chef as usual). Tonight we plan to make the most of what is quite possibly the last Boxing Day dinner party by drinking more wine than we should, eating a delicious dinner and playing foolish party games late into the evening.

Happy Boxing Day

Reflecting on September 11, 2001

911, September 11thSeptember 11th has long been a day tinged with sadness for me due to the loss of a very close friend on September 11, 2001. In years past I’ve dedicated a post each September 11th to this friend of mine who happened to be on United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into New York’s World Trade Center.

My friend, Graham Berkeley (shown above) remains frozen in time as a 30-something who had a devilish personality and wicked sense of humor. If he were alive today he’d be 54, but sadly that isn’t the case. In recent years I’ve used this date to think of happy memories with Graham but truthfully those are starting to slip away from me and I’m left with just a few fond memories of our summer together in Provincetown and fun evenings spent in Boston.

While life continues, I still feel for those families and friends who lost loved ones as well as those who were injured and traumatized in the wake of those attacks.

Making friends: Boston’s LGBTQ social groups

gay men, gay friends, gay clubsWith the influx  of so many new residents at the start of each academic year, I like to update and share this post each September.

If you are new to the area or looking to meet more people outside of a bar setting the groups listed below might be a good first step. Check out my accompanying post, Boston’s gay sports clubs / teams.

BAGLY is a youth-led, adult-supported social support organization committed to social justice, and creating, sustaining and advocating for programs and policies for gay youth (volunteers are always welcome).

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is one of New England’s largest and most successful community-based choruses.  Auditions are being held on Sunday, September 9th

Boston Gay Men’s Books Club is monthly book club on MeetUp featuring literature by and about gay men. This month’s book is Night Soil by Dale Peck. They will next meet on Monday, September 24 at 7PM at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street in Back Bay.

Boston Prime Timers is a social organization of mature gay and bisexual men and their friends who join together for educational, support, and social activities.

Dignity Boston is a progressive, inclusive community of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and their allies. 

Fenway Health has been serving the local LGBT community for more than 40 years; the Fenway and AAC are always looking for volunteers.

Gay Beer Club is a Boston based organization that produces events and gatherings for members of the gay community.

Gay For Good mobilizes the LGBT community to interact with the greater community by volunteering their time with different monthly activities.

Gay Men 50+ Club is for gay men and their male friends who wish to meet monthly for brunch and enjoy good conversation.

Gays for Patsy is a country western dancing club that holds events each month. Beginners are encouraged to join.

Gold Fruit Gaming is a team of LGBTQ+ [PC] Gamers with a passion for competition, cooperation, and kicking ass. Come here to queue up with others who seek to improve their gameplay.

Hispanic / Black Gay Coalition HBGC is one of few non-profit organizations in Boston dedicated to the unique and complex needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latin@ LGBTQ community.

History Project is a volunteer-driven organization established in 1980 that focuses on preserving the history of Boston’s LGBT community to make it accessible to future generations. Next Thursday join the History Project when David Scondras reads from his memoir Angels, Liars, and Thieves 

Jamaica Plain and Roslindale Men’s Group is a social group for gay men living in, near and around JP & Rozzie that organize dinners and events.

Keshet Boston is a grassroots organization working for the full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life, offering community events for LGBT Jews in Boston.

Men of Melanin Magic is a social group in the Boston metropolitan area for those who identify as queer men of color.

Opus Affair is probably best known for their monthly cocktail party hosted at local restaurants  to raise money for local arts organizations. 

OUTbreath offers a safe space for those who identify as queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning to come together to explore the practice of meditation and support each other in community.

Queer Boston Board Gamers is a friendly LGBTQ meet up group that connects regularly to play board games.

The Welcoming Committee is a young, social group who organize activities to broadening the spectrum of gay life here in Boston and beyond.

Yankee Cruising Club was founded over 25 years ago to bring LGBT boaters together to meet, make friends and most importantly get out on the water.

Apologies if I have overlooked any area gay organizations in the area.  Feel free to add information for any such group in the comments section of my blog.

For a friend…

Sometimes I use my blog as a way to express my sentiments to those who need to hear it.  So like the song says, “Sail on silver girl…” and heal my friend.

Throwback Thursday: Coleby and Sergio

provincetown, ptown, independence week, fourth of july ptown, sergio mazonProvincetown is going crazy this week with the circuit in town for “Independence Week”. Sergio and I have not been in Ptown for the Fourth of July in several years. This photo of Sergio and Coleby dates back to July 4th week in 2012.

The Power of One

The Power of OneMy friend Sheraz (shown above) recently started recording meditation podcasts. The recordings are as much a personal cathartic expression as they are intended to be for others. A recent podcast entitled The Power of One, which he recorded just prior to the Christmas holiday is a brief meditation on goal setting. The topic seems appropriate for New Years – a time when many make resolutions. The entire podcast lasts about 12 minutes and concludes with a 3 minute meditation.

Click Here To Listen: THE POWER OF ONE

I am a firm believer in setting goals so I wanted to give the podcast a shout out and suggest you listen to it when you have a minute (or twelve to be precise).

Previous meditation podcasts include:
Courage To Let Go
Power of Connection Meditation
Introduction: Compassion & Love Meditation

Remembering September 11, 2001

For as long as I’ve had this blog I’ve paid tribute to my friend, Graham Berkeley, who was on the United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center at 9:03 AM on September 11, 2001.

If Graham were alive today he would be 53 years old rather than 30-something I knew. At this point, more time has passed since his untimely death than the duration of our friendship, but tragedies have a a way of cementing in time the memories of those taken from us and so is the case with Graham so each September my mind inevitably turns to a friend who’s memory remains with me despite not seeing or speaking to him for nearly two decades.

Hanging in Albany with my rubber ducky and friends

Sergio and I are heading to our friends home in Albany, NY for the weekend. Each summer our friends Marco & Michael invite a group of friends out for a relaxing weekend that is mostly comprised of eating too much, lounging by the pool with a drink in hand and catching up.

Hopefully Saturday will be pool-weather worthy so I can spend some quality time with my good friend, rubber ducky, and enjoy another great weekend with friends – this time in upstate N.Y. Below is the street view of the lovingly restored farmhouse our friends call home which Sergio and I will be staying.

TaraHave a great weekend.

Middle aged men are more susceptible to feeling alone

isolatedThis past week The Boston Globe had an interesting article that I had missed but my friend Dan had read and forward to me.  The gist of the article written by Billy Baker is that many middle aged American men unconsciously are isolating themselves and over time, this is resulting in many feeling alone.

As the title of the article says, “The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.” Baker writes that after he spent time thinking about who he interacted with regularly he realized that he had been making work, his wife, family (even “me time” as he puts it) a priority, but over the years as family and job commitments increased, slowly but surely it was his “friends time” that had been pushed aside.friendsWhile many gay men are having families and the pressure to be there for their spouse and children is very real, I would like to think that our friendships for most gay men take on an added importance. However, when I look at my own life, I can honestly say that more than half the time I’m connecting with a friend the initial discussion goes something like this.

Me: Hi. How are you? I feel like its been ages. What’s new with you?
Friend: Life is good. I’ve been busy with work…. blah, blah, blah…

I get a lot of satisfaction from my work and it affords me a lifestyle that I really like, but I’d hate to think that I would value or put time at work ahead of time with friends. Staring at a phone or computer is a poor substitute for the connection one feels when you are with a friend nor are the memories going to resonate quite the same, so maybe we all need to evaluate how we are interacting with those closest to us. Are we defaulting to leaving a 5 word note on Facebook to wish a friend well on their birthday or are we picking up the phone, having a conversation to wish them the best and make plans to see each other? It’s really that simple.

Baker suggests regularly scheduling time with friends; either agreeing to a particular routine where you can meet or relying on clubs, sports, etc… that have a schedule you can commit to and be a part of to avoid letting long stretches of time pass before you see each other. If you’d like to read more you can check out the full article here.

Goodbye 2016

2017, New YearA lot has been said about how crappy 2016 was and how many are looking forward to putting this year behind us, but upon further reflection I realized that despite some high profile losses – chief among them for me Prince & George Michael and other horrible events in the world – I’ve had a wonderful year.

I’m thankful for the time spent with my family and friends, the new friends Sergio and I made along the way this year and some really wonderful events / happenings including but not limited to the following:

Family

Caitlin was born on July 26 and Summer was born on March 18

I’m an uncle six times over now that I have Summer and Caitlin in my life. Although Caitlin (above left) is as big – if not bigger, Summer (above right) is actually four months older.  The photo was taken this fall when  Caitlin was about 4 months old and Summer was 8 months old.

Father, family

Mom and Dad both celebrated milestone birthdays in good health

My parents celebrated really big birthdays with friends and family this year. They both remain in good health and with their new home in Portsmouth, NH I hope I will be able to see more of them in 2017.

Sintra, Portugal

We had a blast visiting Portugal. Here we are in Sintra – an easy day trip from Lisbon.

Sergio and I took two international trips this year, visiting Portugal for the first time this past September (FYI – we loved it) and returning to family in Brazil in November / December. In addition to those trips I was able to visit friends in the following cities: Austin, TX in March; San Francisco and New York City. Sergio and I also escaped what turned out to be an incredibly mild winter by spending several days in San Juan, P.R. in February.

There is more to be thankful for as well including my aunt’s fight with cancer, a new job for my brother-in-law, a growing business for my other brother-in-law, we met several special people this year who we are lucky to have as friends and lest I forget, while I’m sad to see Obama leave office he concluded his 8 years in office in 2016 with a level of class and grace that I think will be left wanting in the years to come.

I wish and hope everyone has as wonderful a 2017 as Sergio and I had in 2016.