When Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell stumbled across a photo from the 1920s of two men in a tender embrace they thought it was one-of-a-kind. But things changed when they found more photographs. The result of their unexpected discovery is a moving book, portraying male romance over the course of a century.
I’ve shared several of the photos from this collection in the past and will likely continue to share more in the future but the BBC 5 minute video published in November 2020 is worth watching. Above is a screen capture of Hugh speaking about what the collection of these photos represent and their significance. Click on the photo to launch the interesting video.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda Gorman recited The Hill We Climb at the inauguration for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on January 20, 2021. The 19 year old Harvard University sophomore is the youngest inaugural poet ever and the first to be named national youth poet laureate. Below, is a video of her recitation of the poem.
When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one. And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect, we are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew, even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one should make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in in all of the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. That would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can periodically be delayed, but it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us, this is the era of just redemption we feared in its inception we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves, so while once we asked how can we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.
We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free, we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, our blunders become their burden. But one thing is certain: if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every breath from my bronze, pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one, we will rise from the golden hills of the West, we will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution, we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states, we will rise from the sunbaked South, we will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful, when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.
I’m a big fan of PBS NewsHour. The news program doesn’t use a slate of “experts” who postulate endlessly back and forth nor does it conflate opinion with news. The broadcast which airs Monday – Friday at 6PM ET also covers a wide range of news (including events happening outside the United States – imagine that).
However, what I like the most about PBS NewsHour are their series and special reports like last week’s “Brief But Spectacular take on making conversation”. Listen to Fred Dust’s 3-minute video if you have a moment.
This is the best thing you will see all day. I can’t stop watching this video that Boston Dynamics posted on their YouTube channel a couple days ago showing their robots dancing to the song “Do You Love Me?”
I didn’t realize it until I was watching this video, but I still associate this song with the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, which begs the question which robot is Patrick Swayze?
Last week Steve Grand released his version of the Bing Cosby classic “I’ll be home for Christmas”, which many have covered over the years. The video brings back handsome actor / model, Trevor LaPaglia who played the role of Grand’s boyfriend in his 2015 remake of the Mariah Carey Christmas classic, All I want for Christmas.
Growing up in a family of six, I was haurdpressed to have any privacy so while this never happened to me, it does bring back a number of embarassing moments. BTW, if your immediate reaction is to laugh when watching this then we probably have a similar sense of humor.
I wish I could’ve figured out how to change the thumbnail for this four second video, but it is still worth sharing even if the thumbnail video gives it away.
If you read or watch only one thing today, watch this five minute excerpt from Michelle Obama’s 2020 DNC speech last night. The quiet one-on-one setting gave an intimacy to her words and hit home. Below, I’ve included text from part of her speech, that really resonated with me and I hope inspires you.
If you plan on voting by mail this year, do so now or as early as possible, then follow up to make sure your vote is counted. Speak to your friends and family and encourage them to vote in this election because, to quote Mrs. Obama. “if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”
Despite having what seems like an endless selection of movies to choose from on Amazon and Netflix, sometimes it takes us all night to find something to watch. Below are three gay-thmed movies we’ve recently watched and enjoyed. If you have any movie suggestions, please share them in the comments section.
PRIDE was releasaed in 2014 and is the true story of how in 1984 a rag tag group of gay activists built a seemingly impossible bridge of friendship with a Welsh coal mining community, who were engaged in a nasty strike with Margaret Thatcher’s government. The unlikely allies have to get over their mistrust of each other but ultimately recognize and bond over how society has marginalized and bullied both communities. Coming together they make news and help each other. Both Sergio and I teared up watching this movie.
Before the Fall
Before the Fall was released in 2017 and is loosely based upon the classic Pride and Prejudice. The acting in this melancholic movie is sometimes uneven but the story about the antagonistic relationship between the gay, affluent and arrogant attorney and the dejected, down-on-his-luck factory welder drew Sergio and me in. The movie which takes place in rural Virginia, features some spectacular views and gets two thumbs up from Sergio and me.
holding the man
Holding the Man is a 2015 Australian romantic drama film adapted from Timothy Conigrave’s 1995 memoir of the same name – a book I reviewed back in 2010. The story opens in the mid 1970s in Melbourne where Tim and John fall in love while teenagers at their all-boys high school. Their romance endured for 15 years and is an emotional rollercoaster. Just as I said in my book review ten years ago, their story is very touching and it really touched my heart. Definitely a must see despite the heavy nature and content of the film.
If you have any flim suggestions, share them in the comments section.
One-Hour Special Premieres Friday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS
PBS is celebrating Pride Month with the launch of PRIDELAND, a new one-hour special and short-form digital series following host and actor Dyllón Burnside (from FX’s “Pose”) across the South. The six-episode short-form series launched on PBS Voices on Tuesday, May 26. A one-hour companion special hosted by Burnside, will premiere on Friday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET
PBS will also air an encore presentation of The Lavender Scare, the gripping documentary that tells the untold story of how tens of thousands of homosexual federal workers were either fired or denied employment in the 1950s, stirring outrage in the gay community and starting an LGBTQ rights movement with an unlikely hero at the forefront. The acclaimed documentary (winner of 16 awards for Best Documentary) will air on PBS on Friday, June 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET.
You can read more about the PBS programming, here and for a complete listing of programming to celebrate Pride Month on Boston’s WGBH-TV, click here.
I have not supported Joe Biden in any of his previous Presidential campaigns nor did I vote for him on Super Tuesday this year. However, I will support Joe Biden without any hesitation, and I hope you will as well.
Although museums in Boston remain closed, The Isabella Stewart Gardner exhibition “Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent” has been so well received by New York Times co-chief art critic, Holland Cotter, I thought I’d check it out and share it with those of you who love art and in particular are craving something deeper than the “flavor of the week” with Netflix programming.
The small show centers on a rather sensational painting and the unlikely relationship between the artist and his muse, Thomas Eugene McKeller (1890-1962). McKeller was a bellhop and elevator attendant at Boston’s deluxe Hotel Vendome, where Sargent often stayed, and one of the many beautiful men he hired as studio models. Interestingly, Cotter points out that McKeller may have been the only African-American to model for Sargent.
I’m sure nudes of an African American man drawn by a world famous American painter would have seemed outrageous at the time. But what is even more amazing was how McKeller was / is the face of many other famous paintings by Sargent, which until recently nobody knew. It makes me wonder if there was more to the relationship than meets the eye – McKeller certainly was special to be singled out by the artist. For more information, read the NYT article, that initially caught my attention.
For those of you who love Provincetown and are looking for something new to watch, check out Hightown on STARZ, which premieres Sunday, May 17th.
Shot in Provincetown, Mass. the show centers on Jackie Quinones played by actress Monica Raymund (Chicago Fire) as a gay fisheries agent, who’s life gets thrown into disarray when she discovers a dead body on the beach – another casualty of Cape Cod’s opioid epidemic. As a result of the trauma, Jackie takes her first steps toward becoming sober until she becomes convinced that it’s up to her to solve the murder at which point things spiral out a bit out of control. Hightown on STARZ is eight episodes and premieres this Sunday.
Many Americans have spent the past month observing shelter-in-place home orders to help curb the coronavirus. While the news of late has been pretty bleak, I thought a little light reading might be a welcome suggestion.
Reach Around Books are for those of you who love a good double entendre and promises to have you in tears reading these “children’s stories”, that are most definitely for adults. These books are certain to offend those with a Puritanical streak but for my readership, I think this is perfectly on brand – so to speak.
Below is a YouTube narration from one of the five books in this series, Spank The Monkey Lends A Hand.
For all of you at home with nothing to do or in dire need of a distraction, enjoy this Tweet from @barstoolsports of Ina Garten showing us how to make the perfect Cosmpolitan. This video may well be the best thing you see all day.
Since social distancing has become a standard practice, many people have turned to music to help stay connected and in this case inject some much needed humor into our current situation. Below are three different covers from songs originally sung by The Bee Gees, The Knack and Nirvana. Enjoy.