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Lifestyle

Worcester 'girl' on RuPaul's Drag Race

Posted by Jim Lopata March 20, 2014 08:58 AM
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Joslyn Fox (photo: RuPaul's Drag Race)

Hometown Honey on RuPaul’s Drag Race

Worcester-based queen Joslyn Fox, a.k.a. DJ Patrick Allen, makes a run for the tiara

Note: Story originally appeared in Boston Spirit magazine's April/May 2014 issue.

Update: Joslyn Fox is still in the running for the big prize, having survived through 'Episode 4: Shade: The Rusical' this week. She'll be strutting her stuff again when 'Episode 5: Snatch Game' airs on March 24.

by Scott Kearnan

Let the games begin.

RuPaul’s Drag Race just revved up its sixth season. And among the competing queens introduced on the Monday, February 24 premiere was a local lovely: Joslyn Fox, a Worcester, Massachusetts-based performer whose sassy, ultra-femme style recalls the glittery glory days of MTV-ready pop princesses. But you might know him by his other stage name, DJ Patrick Allen, a familiar face (makeup off, this time) spinning at New England’s gay nightspots and Pride events. We’ll be rooting for this hometown honey.

Of course, only time will tell if Fox has what it takes to seize the crown, and this queen can’t drop any spoilers. But she did spill the t to Spirit about her early inspirations, current competition, and biggest fan. Spoiler: it’s one awesome, doting dad.

[Spirit] How did you discover drag?

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(Former) Boston Mayor Menino recommends ...

Posted by Jim Lopata January 13, 2014 10:22 AM

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Local fashion and style maven Ricardo Rodriquez gets the scoop on Boston’s favorite former mayor’s favorites — book, breakfast place, underwear(!), and more!

Mayor Menino is not only the longest sitting mayor in the history of Boston but undoubtedly the most appreciated and beloved. He has made sure that during his tenure everyone from every walk of life was represented, respected and welcomed.

As we all know, the time has come for him to move along in his life journey. I find myself (along with my husband Michael) very fortunate to count him and Angela as friends. And I know that most people in the city feel the same way. Strike up a conversation with anyone at a coffee shop, cocktail party or park and it becomes clear that there are not many people that he hasn’t met, helped, shook hands with or had a conversation with.

Despite how much we already know about his extremely high profile public life we still want more juicy details. Just a little bit more. And this is where I come in…

I have taken the liberty of putting the Mayor in the hot seat (okay, not so hot, maybe warm) and asked him some questions, some personal and some too personal.

I wanted this to be a chance for all of us to get to know a little bit more about the man. So, thank you Mister Mayor for your candor and for a job incredibly well done!

Chocolate or vanilla?

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Club Café, Boston's gay social hub, turns 30

Posted by Jim Lopata October 11, 2013 10:01 AM

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Club Café New Year's Eve celebration 2000 (photo: courtesy Club Café)

This weekend, Club Café celebrates its 30th birthday, when co-founder and owner Frank Ribaudo marries his longtime partner; big party!

The following story was originally published in the September/October 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

The Beat Goes On

Club Café celebrates 30 years as the heart of Boston’s LGBT scene

by Scott Kearnan

Club Café founder Frank Ribaudo will never forget his anniversary. Either of them.
On October 13, Ribaudo will marry his longtime partner Joe Posa. They’ll celebrate their reception, which after certain hours will be open to the whole community, at Club Café. That’s because their wedding coincides with a second reason to celebrate. October marks the 30th anniversary of Club Café, which has become iconic in New England’s gay scene. For one generation, it has been a community center: a comfortable second home filled with old friends. For another, it’s a party palace: where stepping inside, grabbing your first drink, and scoring your first date has become a veritable rite of passage. And Club Café shows no sign of slowing down.

“2013 has been a banner year for us,” says Ribaudo joyfully. In a more accepting world, where it’s harder and harder to keep gay establishments afloat, Club Café is enjoying some of its best business.

But that success wasn’t always a sure thing, and Ribaudo admits that early on he never would have believed that Club Café could wind up a decades-spanning landmark in New England’s LGBT culture. “To be honest, for the first five years all I thought about was how to keep from going bankrupt,” says Ribaudo. “I don’t think we made a dime.”
That’s because 30 years ago, everything about Club Café was a calculated risk: from its willingness to challenge a bullying nearby business to its wide wall of windows that, in a brazen move at the time, planted a highly visible gay establishment right on the Boston streetscape.

Here’s the story of how it stayed there.

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Salem’s gay magic makers

Posted by Jim Lopata October 8, 2013 05:19 AM

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Elected Officials at the North Shore Pride parade 2013 (photo: courtesy North Shore Pride Committee)

The famous North Shore town’s LGBT scene is thriving. Here are eight folks making it happen

by Scott Kearnan

There’s magic in the air in Salem. Thanks to a supportive city government, thriving social networking groups, and its distinction as the epicenter of newly created North Shore Pride, the “Witch City” is emerging as a major local hub of queer community. Fall is the season when America’s Halloween capital gets an abundance of attention,—but we wanted to highlight eight folks from the LGBT community who are making it a better and more diverse place to live, work and play all year round. Ta-da!

CallieL.jpgCallie Lipton
(photo: Sheila Roberts Orlando)

Salem’s live music scene rocks. Its annual Jazz and Soul Festival attracts great talent, and you’ll find independent artists tuning up at trendy bars and coffee shops like Gulu-Gulu Café. For the last seven years, Lipton has been the lead voice and guitar in The Dejas, an ethereal folk-pop duo that scores major music industry kudos, prominent song placements (listen for them in an upcoming film adaptation of the lesbian TV drama Lip Service), and huge gigs: from Pride performances to September’s inaugural Stargaze Festival, a women’s camping and music weekend in New Hampshire. As an out singer-songwriter, candid reflections on love and loss figure prominently in Lipton’s lyrics. But she also helps local youth explore their emotions, including those associated with bullying and coming out, through volunteer work with several area organizations: like the Salem Boys and Girls Club, where she and straight bandmate Aaron Katz are co-music directors. “It’s important to me to be a positive role model,” says Lipton. “The kids know they can come to me for mentorship and support about self-identity, and use music as an outlet to express these issues. I remember when I was their age, dealing with my own questioning, that releasing things via lyrics and music was extremely therapeutic.” It still is. The Dejas’ forthcoming album includes several songs Lipton wrote, like the uplifting “Rise Up,” about getting sober and becoming a happier, healthier artist. That process helped her undertake many surprising side projects, including an upcoming hip-hop collaboration with former New England Patriots champ Tully Banta-Cain, and joining the cast of Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette, a campy theatrical music group that lets her stretch her sonic legs (she inhabits the role of an ‘80s hair band chick)—and her real ones, too. “I learned to walk in high heels for it!” laughs Lipton. Girl, write a song about that. There’s no worse pain than a stiletto scorned.

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Home Depot ‘flash mob’ proposal goes viral

Posted by David Zimmerman September 13, 2013 01:18 PM

Dustin Reeser thought he was just helping his roommate out. He agreed to go to the local Home Depot (in Salt Lake City), to assist with picking up some party supplies. Once Reeser and the roommate turned into the lumber aisle, he realized something wasn’t quite right.

“They come out, and they’re from all the different places I’ve lived in the world, so to see them all in one place at one time was kind of ridiculous,” Reese said. “I start to recognize people, and then I start to recognize more people, and I’m thinking in my head it’s a really nice graduation gift, but a little weird.”

That’s when the flash mod started. About 30 of Reeser’s family and friends took part, including his parents and two adorable little girls in ballet outfits.

Spencer Stout , Dustin’s boyfriend and the man behind the flash mob, said he’s known he wanted to propose for a while, but the idea for the flash mob came in May, the first time he heard the song “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who.

“Not very well known, but the words just kind of amplify how I felt about Dustin, so I had seen some flash mobs online and started talking to my friend, and my wheels just started turning,” Stout said.

Why Home Depot?

“The very first time we met, we walked through a Home Depot, and he showed me what he had built and showed me what we had done, so I thought it would be a great place for the proposal because it was kind of our first date,” Stout said.

At the end of the performance Stout got on one knee and proposed. Reeser said yes and they are planning their big day.

'Acrobaddict': new memoir by local gay boy

Posted by Jim Lopata September 3, 2013 07:22 PM

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Acrobat, Author ... Addict

Joe Putignano kicked heroin, launched a career as a Cirque du Soleil star and wrote about it all in a new memoir, Acrobaddict, released this week. He will have a book signing on October 16 at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Note: This story originally ran in the May/June 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Tony Giampetruzzi

“I was training to become a contortionist and detoxing from heroin at the same time — I don’t recommend that to anyone. Ever. At all.”

That pretty much sums the dogged, no-nonsense and humorous spirit of 36-year old gymnast/performer/model and now author, Joe Putignano.

Heroin? Contortionist? Model? It’s a dichotomy that’s only likely to play itself out in the most outrageous Lifetime movie specials. So, to hear Putignano’s story — a promising pre-teen gymnast from Raynham, Massachusetts, who went on to endure nearly 15 years of extreme drug use and endless bouts of rehab, only to finally take the stage for a late-career comeback in his 30s as a Cirque du Soleil performer — is quite inspiring if not fantastical.

Putignano recently took a hiatus from the stage and, although six years clean, was forced to face his demons again: in March, he was in Atlanta recuperating from surgery to correct a superior labral tear in his shoulder which, among various other localized injuries, was caused by more than five years and nearly 1,000 performances in Cirque’s Totem. The surgery was successful, but, for someone with Putignano’s relapse rap sheet, rehab would need to be narc-free, a must for someone who has used as much as him.

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Gay population struggles with aging, calls for action

Posted by Jim Lopata August 21, 2013 06:11 AM

Aging Back Into the Closet

Discrimination rears its head as elder LGBTs seek assistance; Maine and Massachusetts activists call for action

Note: This story is adapted from one that ran in the July/August 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

by Tony Giampetruzzi

More than a year ago, John Hennessey received a phone call from a 57-year-old disabled man in northern Maine whose care giver had recently discovered he was gay and was subsequently threatening to out him to his small rural community. Hennessey, Advocacy Director at AARP Maine, is neither a service provider, nor a social worker, but as a gay man, he says, a red flag was raised. 

“He told me he hadn’t been out of his house for three weeks because he was afraid that his care giver had already told people he was gay. The anxiety and fear in his voice was coming through loud and clear,” says Hennessey. “The more I talked to him, the more it dawned on me that there must be more people struggling with this same scenario in Maine.”

For Hennessey, that phone call was the catalyst for a report in collaboration with SAGE — Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders released in March: “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Aging in Maine Community Needs Assessment.” 

“In general, the report validates everything that we already know to be true and reveals some opportunities,” says Hennessey, who is now advocating for a SAGE chapter in Maine. “Essentially, we discovered that GLBT people are facing many of the same challenges as everyone else as they get older, but it also shows that GLBT adults experience much more isolation and discrimination which often forces them to go back into the closet that they worked their entire lives to escape.”

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Summer lovin' yum!

Posted by Jim Lopata July 6, 2013 07:52 PM

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by Ricardo Rodriguez | photos by Natasha Moustache

I am unabashedly a summer kind of guy. To me there is nothing better than a warm evening of delicious dining al fresco, a cold glass of champagne and the company of friends. Plus I love any excuse to dress as light and minimal as possible …

So I recruited some friends to help me put together a night to remember. Set at the unbelievably perfect home of South End royalty Bobby Kelley and Eddie Luis, this evening was a dream come true. Included in the guest list, fashion designer Daniela Corte, the brainchild behind Bodega Jay Gordon, designing genius Alina Wolhardt, entrepreneur Mike Kelley and his brother, real estate enfant terrible, Brian.

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Boston Pride Week kicks off at noon on Friday at City Hall with Mayor Menino

Posted by Jim Lopata May 29, 2013 08:06 PM

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Boston Pride Week launches with a Rainbow Flag-raising ceremony at City Hall at noon on Friday, May 31 (photo: James Lopata)

It's Pride Week again in Boston!

The 2013 festivities commence this coming Friday at noon with the raising of the Rainbow Flag over City Hall.

This year, Thomas Menino hosts the flag raising for the last time as mayor of Boston. Menino is also being honored as a Marshall for the Pride parade on Saturday, June 8.

Below is a rundown of some of the key events happening in conjunction with Boston Pride Week.

For more information on all the events, be sure to check out Boston Pride’s web site at www.bostonpride.org.

Rainbow Flag Raising Ceremony
Friday, May 31 — Boston City Hall
With host Mayor Thomas Menino.

Pride Day at Faneuil Hall
Saturday, June 1 — Boston’s Faneuil Hall
Live music and performances from The Urban Ballet, South End Show Stopperz Dance Team, Crystal Foxx, Rolla and more. Hosted by Raquel Blake. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Royal Pageant
Monday June 3 — Machine Nightclub
Lake Mondale and Raquel Blake crown the king and queen of Boston Pride at 7 p.m.

Boston Pride Festival
Saturday June 8 — City Hall Plaza
From noon to 6 p.m. with vendors and live entertainment — including Boston-based headliner Karmin.

Boston Pride Parade
Saturday June 8 — The streets of Boston
Parade starts at 12 p.m., with celebrity marshal Denise Crosby (Star Trek).

ESME Women's Block Party
Saturday, June 8 — 1 Boylston Place
DJ Linda Lowell spins the annual women's favorite. 2 p.m. in the alley at 1 Boylston Place.

Pride Block Party: Back Bay Edition
Sunday, June 9 — St. James Avenue in the Back Bay
Dancing in the streets from noon to 8 p.m.

Pride Block Party: JP Edition
Sunday, June 9 — Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain
Dancing in the streets of JP from noon to 7 p.m.

How to throw a (gay) wedding

Posted by Jim Lopata May 17, 2013 12:38 PM


Just in time for the 9th anniversary of legal marriage for same-sex couples in Massachusetts, three new books inspire and guide

By John O'Connell

Congratulations! You’ve met the person of your dreams and have chosen to spend the rest of your lives together! Only problem is that you want a small, formal, traditional ceremony and you fiancé wants — She or he doesn’t even know yet. But not that.

Many same-sex couples have never day-dreamed about what they want from a wedding or they fall immediately into the patterns that heterosexual marriages have instilled in our culture. The Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings, now in its third edition, The Gay Couple’s Guide to Wedding Planning, and Capturing Love, a visual guide to photographing same-sex weddings, are now available to spark your imagination and make sure you don’t overlook a single detail in planning what is perhaps the biggest event of your life.

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Massachusetts LGBT Elder Commission called for on Beacon Hill

Posted by Jim Lopata April 9, 2013 11:05 AM

At 1 p.m. today, a hearing will be held on Beacon Hill to discuss the possibility of creating an LGBT Elder Commission in Massachusetts.

MassEquality and the LGBT Aging Project are the leaders in this discussion. Here's from their joint press release:

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1959 gay TV show discovered, possibly first

Posted by Jim Lopata March 20, 2013 11:36 AM

The British Film Institute (BFI) announced the discovery of a 1959 made-for-television gay drama, called South, which it says may be the first of its kind.

According to The Guardian:

South, adapted by Gerald Savory from an original play by Julien Green and screened on 24 November 1959, "is a milestone" in gay cultural history, said the BFI curator Simon McCallum.

The Guardian's arts correspondent Mark Brown describes the drama as follows:

It involves a dashing Polish army lieutenant exiled in the US deep south as civil war approaches and the question of who he really loves: the plantation owner's angry niece, Miss Regina, or the tall, blond, rugged officer who arrives suddenly – a handsome man called Eric MacClure.

The television play is heady, emotional stuff tackling issues of race as well as sexuality and that it was broadcast by ITV on a winter's night 54 years ago is nothing short of remarkable.

South, will be screened on March 23 and 24 as part of the BFI London Lesbian and Gay FIlm Festival this year.

Gay hookup app Grindr is reshaping social media industry

Posted by Jim Lopata March 12, 2013 10:18 AM

Grindr is an app that helps gay men connect with each other. But, because of its success, it is reshaping the way social media leaders think about how people meet up, according to a New York Times article about a new book that explores the popular application's implications.

"It is easy to write off Grindr — a location-based dating application for gay men — as a hookup application because, well, that is what it is," writes Jenna Wortham for the New York Times, but, she says:

… the company, which is approaching its fourth anniversary, has amassed more than five million users who spend on average 90 minutes each day using the application. Billions of messages fly across the service every year, and 76 percent of the company’s revenue comes from money generated by Grindr users who fork over cash for the service’s premium features.

The implications of that success are explored in a new book by Jaime Woo, called Meet Grindr: How One App Changed the Way We Connect. Woo spoke recently at a South By Southwest conference. According to the New York Times:

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'The ultimate anti-gay marriage ad'

Posted by Jim Lopata March 5, 2013 09:37 AM

Are you worried about that gay marriage may destroy straight marriage?

In a YouTube video, comic Brandon Muller imaginations what scary conversations may be occurring in the homes of straight couples everywhere.

Check out his video, The Ultimate Anti-gay Marriage Ad, which says it is "Paid for by the coalition of people whose lives are ruined whenever other people are treated equally."

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USA ranks #38 in Gay Travel Index

Posted by Jim Lopata March 4, 2013 10:27 AM

One of the most popular international gay travel publications, Spartacus, ranks the United States of America at 38 when it comes to best gay tourist destinations.

Sweden takes first place in the publication's Gay Travel Index.

The USA racks up points for anti-discrimination, marriage/partnership, and equal age of consent, but loses points for religious influence and hostility from locals.

The USA shares 38th place with eight other countries, including Aruba, Cambodia, and Italy.

The full report can be accessed in PDF form at www.spartacusworld.com/gaytravelindex.pd.

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A quarterback comes out as gay in a USA Network drama

Posted by Jim Lopata February 20, 2013 12:00 PM

Tonight, USA Network's Necessary Roughness imagines what it would be like to have a professional football player come as gay.

From the press release:

On Wednesday, Feb 20, tune in to see the emotional and provocative second half of USA Network's 'Necessary Roughness' at 10/9c as the team tackles their quarter's coming out. The fear, anticipation, support and relief will resonate with viewers who have faced this milestone and give strength to others faced with their own coming out ­not to mention the current fervor over the iron-clad closet of professional sports.

A trailer can be accessed here: http://usanet.tv/NR216cl1

More at www.usanetwork.com/series/necessaryroughness.

Obama says ‘gay’ a lot

Posted by Jim Lopata February 17, 2013 09:15 AM


President Obama Speaks on Strengthening the Economy for the Middle Class in Chicago, including a mention about the importance of having “loving ... gay or straight parents” in society. (Video: The White House)

Has any president uttered the word ‘gay’ as much as President Barack Obama? It’s doubtful.

Much was made of his soaring rhetoric in his second inaugural speech, with words that have already attained legendary status in the LGBT community:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; ...  

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. ... Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law  –- (applause) -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  (Applause.)

But just in the past week, beginning with his State of the Union (SOTU) address last Tuesday, Obama has included ‘gay’ in his public remarks on three separate occasions, in three different ways.

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Where are the gay animals on BBC?

Posted by Jim Lopata February 16, 2013 08:31 AM

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Fowl play in the Galapagos (photo: James Lopata)

A British academic is accusing BBC nature host David Attenborough of ignoring homosexual animal behavior in his documentaries.

The UK news organization The Sun reports that University of East Anglia Professor Brett Mills:

claims Sir David’s BBC documentaries focus on family values in animals and shun “alternative interpretations”.

Sir David, 86, described male chimps hugging as “friendly affection”, while male sandpiper birds filmed circling each other were being “aggressive”.

Mills told UK media outlet The Telegraph:

"The central role in documentary stories of pairing, mating and raising offspring commonly rests on assumptions of heterosexuality within the animal kingdom.

"This is despite a wealth of scientific evidence which demonstrates that many non-human species have complex and changeable forms of sexual activity, with heterosexuality only one of many possible options.”

Both news outlets said that the BBC declined to comment.

Facebook helps LGBTQ couples celebrate Valentines Day

Posted by David Zimmerman February 14, 2013 10:57 AM

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(LGBTQ@Facebook)


Has Facebook played a role in helping you find love (or even ‘like’?) If so there is a Facebook group for that! LGBTQ@Facebook is a page that has been launched to show
the "impact that every individual can have" by using Facebook.

According to the group’s creators, "We are dedicated to creating an environment where people can be their authentic selves and share their own diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and ideas. We understand that there are issues that are unique to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Facebook users and we are working with the LGBTQ community to better understand the needs of this population and offer helpful resources."

For Valentine’s Day the group is encouraging its members to share their stories of how Facebook has played a role in bringing them together.

Submit your story, or just read others. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find your true love.

Star Wars game allows gay love

Posted by Jim Lopata February 12, 2013 03:05 PM

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, ..." love only existed between one man and one woman. Until now.

A new edition of the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic allows characters of the same sex to fall in love with each other, according to gaming news website www.play.tm.

But don't expect any hanky panky between Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo — not just yet anyway — Star Wars: The Old Republic is set 3,500 years before the start of the storyline made popular in the Star Wars films. Furthermore, same-sex relationships are currently limited to the planet Makeb.

'Ex-gay' found on popular gay hook-up app Grindr

Posted by Jim Lopata February 5, 2013 05:24 PM

The 'ex-gay' movement took another blow when Christian Post columnist and self-professed ex-gay Matt Moore was discovered with a profile on popular gay hook-up app Grindr.

The Huffington Post reports:

An "ex-gay" Christian advocate, who blogs about how religion saved him from a life of homosexual sin, was recently discovered on gay hookup app Grindr.

Matt Moore, a blogger for the Christian Post, writes extensively about how Christianity has helped him to turn away from a gay lifestyle. But, apparently it didn't help him quite enough to steer him away from Grindr.

Freethought Blogs writer Zinnia Jones, LGBT rights activist and HuffPost GayVoices blogger, was the first to expose Moore's Grindr account on Monday. At first, she questioned if the account could be a fake, but Moore later admitted the Grindr profile was his.

The full story can be accessed here.

Miami calling

Posted by Jim Lopata January 31, 2013 10:29 AM

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The Standard Spa Miami

As the cold weather is expected to hit the Hub again, Boston style maven Ricardo Rodriguez shares the secrets of warm Miami, as divulged by his friend, Southern Florida insider and style maven Louis Aguirre

Note: Fabulous videos that accompany this story can be accessed here.

By Ricardo Rodriguez

Forget what you think you know, these days Miami is much more than just a beachside resort town. The party still rages, but it’s the art and design scene that rage stronger and have transformed Miami into one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Once known as the gateway to Latin America, now Miami is the gateway to the world, as people from all over the globe have rediscovered this tropical slice of paradise.

So I recruited the help of my dear friend Louis Aguirre to help us build the chicest, most amazing insider guide to this exciting new Miami. And he definitively knows best. Louis is the host of the popular South Florida entertainment TV show Deco Drive and an actor appearing on hit shows like Sex and the City, JAG, and Burn Notice. His newest project LouisList.com is a perfectly curated video insider guide to the city.

So now that the winter is in full force you might want to plan a little escape. Go ahead. This is his Miami.

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Live Laugh Love comedy to benefit Boston Living Center

Posted by Jim Lopata January 24, 2013 09:09 AM

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Jim Lauletta

Nationally renowned, Boston-based, stand-up comic Jim Lauletta leads the second annual Live Laugh Love benefit for the Boston Living Center

By Erik Borg

When standup comedian Jim Lauletta needed support, he turned to the Boston Living Center to get it. Now that he’s back on his feet, he’s organized a night of comedy to return the favor.

On January 27, the second-annual Live Laugh Love show will bring a handful of regional and national standup acts back to the Machine Nightclub in support of the Boston Living Center, an organization that provides education and support services for the HIV-positive community.

For Lauletta, a fixture of the Boston comedy scene and a regular guest in standup comedy specials and on stages in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, a night of comedy is the perfect pairing to benefit the organization with deeply personal ties.

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Advocate names Springfield, MA, 2nd gayest city in America

Posted by Jim Lopata January 9, 2013 11:36 AM

In its fourth annual ranking of LGBT municipalities, Advocate, a national LGBT news magazine, ranked two New England cities in its top 15. Providence, Rhode Island came in 12th, and Springfield, Massachusetts — yes Springfield! — holds the number 2 position.

The survey employs unorthodox criteria, such as how many roller derby leagues a city has.

With places like New York City and Provincetown not even cracking the top 25, the list defies expectations.

Here's how the Advocate explained its Springfield ranking:

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Beloved NH Lesbian Guesthouse Changes Ownership

Posted by Jim Lopata January 6, 2013 10:00 AM

HighlandsInn_a.jpgHighlands Inn in Bethlehem gets a new lease on life

By John O'Connell

Highlands Inn, the much-loved lesbian bed and breakfast in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, could have faced some drastic changes over the past year. After over twenty-five years of service to the resort, founding inn-keeper Grace Newman decided to sell the property in 2011. As is typical with the warm and welcoming nature of the property, Newman sat down to explain her decision to long-term, repeat guests, such as Jenny Wackerle and Gia Koumantzelis. “We were there last July for vacation and Grace sat us down and said she was retiring,” explains Wackerle. “Our first reaction was, ‘Oh no!‘ But on the way home we said to ourselves, ‘Wait a minute. Is this something that we should do?’”

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Queer Renaissance in Lynn, Massachusetts? Yep.

Posted by Jim Lopata December 15, 2012 10:07 AM

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After years of disrepair, the 2100-seat Lynn Memorial Auditorium was reopened in 2006 following a full refurbishing. It now hosts major talent on both the local — Boston’s Gay Men’s Chorus — and national scale.

Just ask the leaders of NAGLY, Go Out Loud, Art After Hours, Lesbiatopia.com and other locals—the formerly maligned suburb is turning around, and LGBTs are leading the way

By Scott Kearnan

“Everyone deserves a second act.”

So says DJ Brian Halligan. Halligan stepped away from spinning for nearly a decade. But dance music remained a passion, so last year he decided to get back into the groove. He had few connections in the current local landscape, but networked away. Gig by gig, doors reopened. Now he’s not only a regular on the Cambridge and Boston scenes, but has a Friday night residency at gay club Cirque—a revamped version of gay bar 47 Central in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Halligan sees a certain commonality between his own experience, and that of the city.
“I feel like my story is a parallel to Lynn’s,” says Halligan. “There can be a certain condescension that comes across from people outside it. But it deserves that second act.”
Ah, Lynn. She’s sort of like Boston’s hardscrabble little sister: only a fraction of the size (about 90,000 people) but with a big reputation. That rhyme “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin” is ubiquitous enough to go on coffee cups, and associations with high crime rates and economic malaise have been hard to shake. But as one of the largest cities in Massachusetts, and located just a few miles outside Boston, Lynn has a thriving gay community. It’s becoming an increasingly popular pick for LGBT folks seeking a cost-effective alternative to living in the Hub, and those looking to enjoy the city’s revitalized dining, entertainment, and arts scene as a visitor.

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Elizabeth Warren to speak at Human Rights Campaign dinner this weekend

Posted by David Zimmerman September 21, 2012 10:40 AM

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The 31st annual Human Rights Campaign –New England dinner will take place on Saturday night, September 22nd, at the Copley Marriott hotel.

Featured speakers include Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, new HRC President Chad Griffin, and ‘The Good Wife’ actor Josh Charles. There will also be a performance by 80s pop sensation Tiffany.

Warren, fresh off her first debate with incumbent Senator Scott Brown, has been a tireless worker on behalf of LGBT equal rights. She has appeared at a variety of LGBT events during the past year including Pride festivals in Northampton and Boston.

Said Warren, “We must remain committed to promoting fairness and equality for all, and work to end the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act, pass a fully-inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and work to create welcoming schools and prevent bullying."

Josh Charles, known for his role on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, has also appeared in Sports Night and the Dead Poets Society. Charles is also a fierce advocate for LGBT equality. He has appeared in an HRC-produced Americans for Marriage Equality video testimonial and has been continuously outspoken about his commitment to equal rights across the country.

Tickets to the event are still available and can be purchased by visiting hrcboston.org

The Human Rights Campaign, bills itself as “America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.”

‘Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub’: spirited launch party set for new book by local out author Sam Baltrusis

Posted by Jim Lopata September 17, 2012 01:18 PM

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Adam Berry, of Syfy's 'Ghost Hunters,' will be on hand for the launch party of 'Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub'

It promises to be a spirited evening at Old South Meeting House tomorrow night when Sam Baltrusis’ new book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub gets its big coming out party.

Baltrusis is a regular contributor to Boston Spirit, and he just happens to be an expert on otherworldly spirits as well!

Ghosts of Boston made its appearance this month, and the big release event gets underway Tuesday, September 18, at 7 p.m. in downtown Boston.

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Gay Pride for Worcester, Vermont, and Boston Latin@s held in September this year

Posted by Jim Lopata September 14, 2012 03:22 PM

By Alan Tran

The last of this year’s New England LGBT Pride festivities are in Worcester on Saturday, September 15, in Vermont on September 22, and for the New England Latina and Latino community from September 21 through 29.

VERMONT PRIDE

It’s been a year of record-breaking Pride participation across the country, but the season is finally winding down. The last of this year’s New England LGBT Pride parades and festivals is Pride Vermont — which is the creative name Vermonters don for their gay Pride festivities — which will be held on Saturday, September 22, at Battery Park in Burlington.

The annual Vermont Pride cruise on Lake Champlain will be held Friday the 21st. During the festival there will be a NOH8 Campaign photoshoot, turning everyday citizens and celebrities alike into icons of equality, and the Northern Decadance Food & Travel Expo, showcasing LGBT-friendly businesses that encourage Vermonters to have their equal rights cake and eat it too, among other culinary delights.

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Stevie Wonder thinks gay people might be "confused"

Posted by David Zimmerman September 1, 2012 02:03 PM

In a wide ranging interview with The Guardian (UK edition) music legend Stevie Wonder was asked, among other things, what he thought of rapper Frank Ocean’s announcement this past summer that Ocean is gay. Wonder replied that;

I think honestly, some people who think they're gay, they're confused. People can misconstrue closeness for love. People can feel connected, they bond. I'm not saying all [gay people are confused]. Some people have a desire to be with the same sex. But that's them.

Ocean’s announcement, back in early July of this year, came courtesy of a public letter on his tumblr page. In the letter Ocean explained

4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.

Does that sound like someone who is confused? I don’t think so either.

This is a Real Nice Clambake

Posted by Jim Lopata July 24, 2012 09:55 AM

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Beach Blanket Perfection

The Summer Shack team shares its secret for the New England summer meal par excellence, including full recipes! Yum!

by John O’Connell

Editor’s Note: This story is adapted from a feature that ran in Boston Spirit magazine’s July/August 2012 issue.

The clambake. The epitome of the New England summer parties: elegant, casual, rustic, and romantic. We all think, at least once, “Wouldn’t it be great to throw a clambake?” and then reality settles in. With directions containing lines like “dig a two foot deep hole,” “cover each layer with seaweed,” or “keep the burlap bag moist with seawater” the project quickly becomes outside the scope of what most are willing to deal with on a given Saturday. How many in Boston own a plot of land that can spare that much square footage, let alone a shovel?

Jeff Dugan, the out Director of Operations and Partner at Jasper White’s Summer Shack, agreed to share the Summer Shack’s secrets for conquering the mighty clambake. In addition to the restaurant’s four locations throughout the greater Boston area, Summer Shack also runs the catering and snack options on Spectacle and Georges Islands in the Boston Harbor. “It’s the actual shack portion of the brand,” jokes Dugan.

The secret to a successful clambake is in the steaming. “Steaming is less messy and safer than boiling. It cooks the lobsters more gently, so the meat is more tender,” says Dugan. “If you’re near the ocean and can boil them in ocean water, by all means, do so. But boiling a lobster in tap water dilutes the flavor.” Another secret weapon is the use of an egg in the bake. If the egg is hard-boiled, the lobsters will be cooked through.

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Recent Poll Results Show Progress for Marriage Equality

Posted by David Zimmerman July 19, 2012 12:30 PM

The Center For American Progress recently released the results of a wide range of polls surrounding the topic of marriage equality. The results, for those who support marriage equality, are very positive.

Among the many findings are that the majority of voters polled back the freedom to marry. The range of results is as follows:

*A Gallup poll found that 50 percent of respondents supported marriage equality
*An ABC News/Washington Post poll reported support for marriage equality at 53 percent
*An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll as well as a June CNN/Opinion Research poll found support one point higher, with 54 percent

All of these polls took place in May/June 2012

Other highlights of the report that the ‘enthusiasm gap’ (defined as those who feel ‘strongly’ one way or another, has also shifted:

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 39 percent of voters strongly support marriage equality, while only 32 percent strongly oppose. This stands in contrast to polling from just last summer, where the same poll found that 32 percent strongly supported equality and 36 percent stood strongly opposed.

As for results by age group:

A June 2012 CNN poll found that a whopping 73 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds support allowing same-sex couples to wed, far above the average of 54 percent for all respondents. In 2009 support among young people was just 58 percent, marking a substantial shift in favor of marriage equality.

Pride, Pride, and MORE Pride

Posted by David Zimmerman June 15, 2012 09:50 AM

The Boston Pride parade and festival might be over but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other Pride festivals taking place in the area. In fact, there are several coming up in the next few weeks. From Southern Maine down to Providence (with a couple in the middle) there are some great options coming up that Boston Spirit recommends.


Saturday, June 16th – Rhode Island Pride
THIS SATURDAY get your Rhody Pride On for one of the most unique pride parades in the country....at Night!

12:00 - 8:00 pm. South Water Street , Providence along Providence River

Pride's Illuminated Night-Time Pride Parade begins at 8:30 pm

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Saturday, June 16th – Southern Maine Pride
This is one of Boston Spirit’s favorite Pride festivals as it takes place in a beautiful park in Portland, Maine (which means that after the festival you can head off to one of the great bars and/or restaurants in downtown Portland!)

The Parade begins at Monument Square in Portland at 12:30pm
The Parade route ends at Deering Oaks Park
The Festival in the park is from 1pm-5pm


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Saturday, June 16th – Sinful BBQ brings the 1st Annual Pride Event to LynnJune 16th 12-4PM
@Lynn Museum, 590 Washington Street
Presented by Arts after Hours join Sinful BBQ, DJ Brian Halligan, for an afternoon of amazing food, music, raffles and fun.


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Wednesday, June 20th – Boston Spirit Magazine’s Annual Summer Sunset Cruise Join Boston Spirit and 700 of our closest friends as we take a 2 hour sunset cruise around Boston Harbor. Enjoy amazing food from Jasper White’s Summer Shack, great music from DJ Mocha, and beautiful sunsets courtesy of the Boston skyline. Tickets are only $35 (including food) and every dollar goes to benefit Fenway Health.


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Saturday, June 30th – North of Boston Pride Be a part of the first ever North of Boston Pride Parade and Festival!! The festival will take place in Salem and feature Grand Marshall Randy Price. The parade will kick off at noon on Margin St., turning right on Norman St. and heading down New Derby. It will continue to Derby St. and onto Hawthorne Boulevard where it will end up on Salem Common, where the Pride festival will take place from 1-5pm. Then join in for the official NS Pride afterparty at the Hawthorne Hotel.

What a Week! Colin Powell, NFL Rookies, a Gay Cricketer, and Target's Gone Gay

Posted by David Zimmerman May 24, 2012 07:52 AM

What a week so far. Typically most of the blog posts do their ‘week in review’ posts on a Friday but we just couldn’t wait. Here’s a little rundown of some highlights from this week so far:

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell supports marriage equality. Powell made the remarks in an interview taped for CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. In talking with Blitzer, Powell cited his LGBT friends and their committed relationships as a driving force in his support.

Colin Powell is the latest in a string of leaders within the African-American community to support marriage equality – joining Russell Simmons, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Jay-Z. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows African-American support for marriage equality at 59 percent – an all-time high. The poll also found support for marriage equality nationwide at 53 percent – the latest in a series of national polls to show a majority of Americans supporting the right of loving and committed same-sex couples to marry.

Powell’s support also is indicative of increasing support for marriage equality among fair-minded Republicans. An NBC News/WSJ poll released yesterday showed support for marriage equality at nearly 50 percent among Republicans under the age of 35.

Moving on....

For all of you international sports fans, England cricket player Steven Davies became the first professional cricketer to come out. Davis, 24, said in a recent interview "I'm comfortable with who I am - and happy to say who I am in public." He went on to say “This is the right time for me…I feel it is right to be out in the open about my sexuality. If more people do it, the more acceptable it will become. That must be a good thing. To speak out is a massive relief for me, but if I can just help one person to deal with their sexuality then that's all I care about."

In keeping with the sports theme, Outsports.com recently attended a series of National Football League rookie events and found that a great many ‘soon to be’, current, and former NFL players would have no problem with a gay teammate. And one former professional player, Ahman Green, went so far as to open up about his gay brother and lesbian sister. It’s a very interesting article in which the common theme seemed to be ‘as long as a person can play and help the team win, that’s all that matters’

Oh, and finally, Target (yes, THAT Target, the recipient of an lgbt boycott for some questionable campaign donations) has launched an lgbt T-Shirt line, several of which were designed by rockstar Gwen Stefani.

So, what have we learned?
1. Colin Powell is in favor of marriage equality
2. England has its first publicly out professional cricket player
3. Many of the NFL’s incoming rookies would have no problem with a gay teammate, and
4. Target has launched an lgbt T-Shirt line

All in all, not a bad week

Grand Marshals of the 2012 Boston Pride Parade Announced

Posted by David Zimmerman May 4, 2012 03:15 PM


Boston Pride has announced the Grand Marshals of the 2012 Pride Parade. The Committee has revealed that Fast Freddy (of Mix 104.1 FM) and The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition will serve as Grand Marshals. In addition,the late Brendan Burke has been named an Honorary Marshal.


The Committee's statement is below:


Boston Pride is pleased to announce that Mix 104.1’s Fast Freddy and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition have been named Grand Marshals of the 2012 Boston Pride Parade. Additionally, the late Brendan Burke has been chosen as an Honorary Marshal.

The Boston Pride Parade is a march to celebrate and promote equal rights for the region’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and is the staple event of Pride Week. As one of the most popular and scenic gay pride marches in the country, organizations and individuals from around New England will walk together to advocate for inclusivity, equality and respect. The theme of the Boston Pride Parade this year is “Celebrating 30 Years of Worldwide Pride Movement” in honor of the annual InterPride conference, which will be held this year in Boston in October.

Fast Freddy was selected through an online vote by supporters of Boston Pride and members of the community. Fast Freddy is a weekday afternoon on-air personality, with Gregg Daniels and Sue Brady, at Mix 104.1, one of the most popular radio stations in the region. He began his career in radio as an intern for local legend, Sunny Jo White and has worked for Mix since 2005.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) was chosen by the Boston Pride Board of Directors in recognition of their work supporting the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in January. The law made Massachusetts the 16th state to add non-discrimination laws for gender identity in employment, housing, K-12 public education, and credit. Additionally, Massachusetts hate crimes laws were also updated to include gender identity.

The community also voted to name Brendan Burke as an Honorary Marshal, which is given posthumously. Burke, who was an athlete and student manager of the RedHawks ice hockey team at Miami University (Ohio), made international headlines in 2009 for coming out as a sophomore in college and for advocating tolerance in professional sports. Burke, whose hometown is Canton, Massachusetts and who graduated from Xaverian High School in Westwood, Massachusetts, was killed in a car crash in 2010. Burke’s father, Brian, is general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and of the US Olympic Hockey Team and USA Hockey established the “Brendan Burke Scholarship” in his honor. His brother Patrick Burke has established the nonprofit You Can Play, to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.

“We are excited that Fast Freddy and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition will be the Grand Marshals of the 2012 Boston Pride Parade,” said Linda DeMarco, president of Boston Pride. “Fast Freddy, a strong voice for our community on the radio airwaves and a volunteer supporter of many nonprofits in our community, is a great choice by our supporters and he’ll bring a lot of energy to the parade. As a committee, we wanted to honor the work of MTPC, who worked tirelessly and patiently to pass the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which is an important milestone for the community. We are also pleased to be honoring the legacy of Brendan Burke, whose courageous decision to come out has set an example for young athletes around the country.”

Facebook Friending of the Victorian Era

Posted by Jim Lopata January 27, 2012 10:34 AM

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Robert Dimmick, a.k.a. Etiquetteer

Local out etiquette expert brings Victorian era manners to life at Back Bay's historic Gibson House.

How did anyone ever keep track of friends before Facebook?

According Etiquetteer, a.k.a. out etiquette columnist Robert Dimmick, the rituals of friending and unfriending date back to the Victorian Era customs of paying calls and leaving calling cards.

The Boston-based manners specialist has combed biographies, letters, novels, and numerous archives in order to discover the reality of turn-of-the-century life behind the depictions in popular television shows like Downtown Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs. He'll be sharing his intriguing finds in a one-hour tour, on February 1, of the Back Bay's only residence that maintains its late-1800s-early 1900s furnishings intact ? The Gibson House.

Etiquetteer revealed a taste of the surprising finds with the Boston Spirit/Boston.com LGBT blog via e-mail:

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About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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