equal4all

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Glam Rock: A Chat with Robin Fucking Black!

In Art, Being Gay, Clothing, Clubs, concerts, Dating, decor, Gay Business, Gay Celebrity, Gay NYC, Hollywood, Literature, Lounges, Music, Night Out, NYC, Relationships, television on January 20, 2010 at 1:52 am

Glammer Robin Black gushes about his new band, his inspirations, and how he wouldn’t mind makin’ out with a dude … that’s why we love him!

Equal4all: How, when, where and why did Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rock Stars form?

Robin Black: I moved to Toronto in 1998, and found four like-minded glam rockers … we started playing in late ’98. We just wanted to be the kind of flashy, good time, exciting band that you just never saw any more.

E4A: Do you still perform with the boys? Why/Why not?

RB: I still play with “Starboy” Chris Cunnane, the last original member. I have a great new band coming together to tour Canada this spring and the UK this summer. Over time, being in a band is like being married to 5 men of questionable hygiene; you develop different goals in your life. I really appreciate everyone I’ve played with before.

E4A: In the song “More Effeminate Than You,” do you feel that the message is misrepresented in the heterosexual sense or do you not mind how your fans interpret it? To be honest, as a gay man, I thought you were singing about being more of a queen than your supposed boyfriend and absolutely loved the message of “take me as I am!”

RB: I think it’s cool that you see it that way. It was used in the first episode of the North American version of Queer as Folk at the moment when the kid (Justin) was outed at school, with “faggot” spray painted on his (Brian’s) Jeep. It was very powerful, and I was very moved how they used it. The way you viewed it, as a gay man, is exactly how most straights view it … that you are more “femmy” than your partner … for straight guys, it’s about being femmier than their girlfriend. Actually, Starboy wrote most of the lyrics and I usually want to write my own lyrics for his songs, but those were so powerful, and I loved the sentiment, so I just added some of my own…

E4A: Do you get labeled as “gay” or “bi” at all because of the way you dress and act?

RB: I’ve been called “gay” thousands of times. I happen to be a (mostly) straight guy who wears make-up and nail polish and dresses flashy. Rednecks and idiots use the term “gay” as an insult, but I sure as fuck don’t take it as an insult.

E4A: Have you ever had a hot experience with a member of the same sex? Who was it with? Do you regret it? Would you do it again?

RB: There have, in the past, been alchohol-fueled evenings where many people were naked in the same room/bed. You often wondered whose hand was where, etc. I remember, in flashes, a guy watching me roger his wife once. Man, crazy times. But, I haven’t had the man on man experience. I’m pretty into girls. I can’t help it. I was born that way. But I wouldn’t rule it out.

E4A: Please give an average Joe some fashion tips as to how to achieve your look on a regular basis:

RB: Glam rock is about cool clothes and hair, eye make-up, etc., but it is, most importantly, about expressing yourself freely. DO YOUR THING! That’s my tip.

E4A: How’s the marriage going? How’d you meet your blushing rocker-bride? Any kiddies in the future?

RB: Marriage is tough. I’ve been married before. Didn’t work out. We are actually going through a turbulent time. I am a very driven guy who always puts my career (the entertainment business) and my dreams first. It’s not super conducive to great relationships. I am also a hopeless romantic.

E4A: Please give advice to anyone in the GLBT community who is struggling with who they truly are:

RB: It’s tough to be different, but living your life the way you want, instead of by others rules, is worth it no matter how hard it is. Fuck, think of the alternative. DECIDE that you will not spend your years here living for other people’s expectations. Wake up every day and celebrate who you are.

E4A: Who’s your biggest inspiration in the wonderful world of music and glam rock? Is David Bowie aka Ziggy Stardust one of them?

RB: I love Bowie and I love T. Rex. As a kid, I wanted to be just like Billy Idol.

E4A: Comment on how you thought Velvet Goldmine represented the glam rock era. If you didn’t see it, what movie correctly portrays the genre that you perform in?

RB: I loved the look, I loved the music. I thought it really, really felt like the gendre-fucked drug-fueled glam rock days that I imagine in the 70’s. I fucking LOVE Hedwig and Phantom of the Paradise.

E4A: What does Robin Fucking Black have planned for the future?

RB: I am developing a TV series right now. Writing a new record. Touring Canada this year. Touring the UK and Germany in August. I am also fighting my first professional Cage Fight in Ottawa, Ontario on July 26th. Don’t ask. Just hoping to keep life an adventure!

Interview conducted and edited by J. Federico

Photo Sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Advertisements

Christmas Dinner Ideas with a Healthy Twist

In Art, Being Gay, Gay Business, holidays, NYC, recipes, religions on December 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm

 

Christmas is a time when you really appreciate what you value most in life, time spent surrounded by your closest friends and family reminiscing about the great times passed over a grand feast. Since the late 1600’s and earlier, there has been a Christmas celebration, and along with it a great feast. In the early 1700’s, the Christmas feast was of a grand scale and held by the aristocracy. This grandeur continued on into the 30s and 40s where The Great Depression and World War II made celebrating much harder and made the great feast of yesterday into a meal consisting of canned vegetables and jellies. The pheasants, oysters, consumé, and crown roasts were lost with the greatly depreciated economy. As time continued on, the 50s, 60s, and 70s brought back roast duckling, oysters Rockefeller, and standing rib roasts. Understanding tradition and why it is so important to keep the essence of the feast alive, will help you truly make an amazing meal this Christmas.

This year, mix tradition with a new approach to a healthy lifestyle. Create dishes inspired by classics but with a much lighter load on our bodies and our wallets.

Every Christmas feast was centered around a roast of an animal; pheasant, pork, beef, and duck are a few examples of traditional roasts served for dinner.

Because pork is so lean and high in protein, I chose a pork-based dish for this Christmas centerpiece.

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin with Cider Mustard Sauce

Brine:

1-Gallon Apple Cider
10 Cloves Garlic
10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
5 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 T Mustard Seeds
1 T Fennel Seeds
1 Orange Peel
1-Cup Sugar
1-Cup Kosher Salt
2 T Whole Pepper Corns
1 Bay Leaf

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes to dissolve sugar and salt and coax flavor out of ingredients. Cool down completely and then add your pork loin.

(It’s important to use kosher salt because kosher salt weighs about 5 ounces per cup and iodized salt weighs 10 ounces per cup. If you use iodized salt, only use a ½ cup.)

Acquiring your roast:

In the supermarket, you can usually find boneless pork loins ranging from 1-4 pounds. It takes about 30 minutes of cooking time per pound of pork loin, so you can gauge your cooking time based on the size of pork loin you can find and the size you need.

For this recipe, I use a 4 pound boneless pork loin roast, but again you can use any size. Place your pork loin in your cooled brine and make sure it’s completely submerged. If it’s sticking out you can place a plate on top to keep it down. Cover completely in plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours.

Preparing your roast:

2 T Olive Oil
1 T Salt
1 T Cracked black pepper
1 T Thyme, chopped finely
1 T Rosemary, chopped finely
1 T Orange Zest 

Remove your pork loin from its brine and place it on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. Take paper towels and dry the pork loin completely. Drizzle olive oil on your roast and coat with all other ingredients.  Place your roast into a 425° oven for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Then turn the oven down to 400° and cook until roast has an internal temperate of 140°. You want your roast to be at an internal temperature of 145°, but the roast will still cook when you take it out of the oven. This is called carryover cooking. Carryover cooking will finish cooking the roast gently and redistribute the juices within the meat, keeping it nice and juicy when you cut into it. It should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours of cooking and resting time. Take all your dripping from the pan and set aside for the sauce! Be sure to check the roast throughout its cooking time. There is nothing worse than a dry roast!

Apple Cider Mustard Sauce:

2 cups apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
3 T whole grain mustard
Pan drippings

To start, slice your shallot thinly and mince your garlic finely. Sauté them in your pan drippings for a few minutes and then add all of the ingredients besides the mustard. Bring to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer and let it cook until it has reduced three-fourths and is a sauce consistency. When the sauce is finished, add the mustard.

To go along with your roast, you need a few delicious sides to compliment and complete your meal. Roasting vegetables really brings out a depth of flavor and naturally occurring sweetness.

Roasted Butternut Squash

2 large Butternut Squash
1 sprig Thyme
2 T Olive Oil
Drizzle of Honey
2 T Salt
1 T Pepper

Peel and seed your squash. Dice it into 1” cubes. Remove the tiny green leaves from the stem of the thyme sprig and chop it finely. Toss the squash with the olive oil, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper and place on a sheet pan. Roast at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Turn the squash every 5 minutes to avoid blackening. Check the squash with a knife to ensure doneness.

Roasted Fennel

4 large bulbs – Fennel
1 sprig -Thyme
1 whole – Lemon
4 cloves – Garlic
2 T – Salt
1 t – Pepper
2 T – Olive Oil

Wash, halve, and core your fennel. Cut each half into fourths. Remove the leaves from the thyme and chop finely. Zest the lemon and smash the garlic cloves. Toss all ingredients together and roast in a 375° oven for 20 minutes.

Haricot Verts with Shallot and Almond

2 T Olive Oil
2 T Salt
1 T Pepper
1 Pound Haricot Vert
1 Large Shallot
2 Cloves Garlic
½ cup Sliced Almonds

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and drop your haricot vert in. Boil until just tender and then drain and set aside to cool. Slice shallot paper thin, and mince the garlic finely. Toast the almonds and set them aside. When ready to eat, sauté the cooked beans in a tablespoon of olive oil with the shallot and garlic. Add salt and pepper and cook through. Top with toasted almonds.

Parsnip Puree

5 large parsnips
6 cloves Garlic
1 liter Chicken Stock
1 sprigs Thyme
1 Shallot

Peel parsnips and cut into large chunks of equal size. Smash garlic cloves and roughly cut the shallot. Remove the leaves from the thyme and put all ingredients into a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until fork tender, or about 15-20 minutes depending on the size. Once cooked, strain the parsnips but keep the liquid. Blend the parsnips and add the liquid slowly until you have a nice smooth mass, with a texture similar to mashed potatoes. Although it’s more work to blend them this way, you want to do this to make sure that that texture is correct and not too watery.

Naval Orange Marmalade

2 oranges
3 cups water
2 cups sugar

Cut the ends off of you oranges and then halve them. Slice the oranges as thin as you can. Put your oranges, sugar, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t scorch.  Once it has thickened and the fruit is completely softened, pull it off of the heat and cool.

Wine Pairing:

For this meal I would serve a light red wine that would compliment the pork and not compete with it. A pairing that would be great would be a Beaujolais Noveau!

This wine is made from the Gamay varietal of grapes and is very light and easy drinking. It is also special to have it with this meal because it is only released the third Thursday of November every year and needs to be consumed soon after because it doesn’t have the ability to age. On another note, it should be served slightly chilled to enhance its fruity flavors.

Now it’s time for the finale to this fantastic meal! Traditionally the dessert course is full of heavy puddings, tarts, and pies. This year, try something different and end the meal with a light and seasonal dessert. A Pavlova is a pastry that is made from a meringue base and is baked until it’s light and crispy. The inside stays chewy like marshmallow, and then there is a cream filling and it is topped with fruit. The dessert was named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova and is a holiday tradition that started in the 20s.

Pavlova with dried fruit compote

Filling:

1 cup Ricotta
1/4  Chevre
¼ Greek yogurt
2 T Honey
½ t Vanilla

For the filling, blend all ingredients until smooth. This filling is delicious and much healthier than the regular filling, which is made of cream and sugar!

Fruit Compote:

2 oz Dried Apricots
2 oz Dried Cherries
2 oz Golden Raisins
2 oz Dried Cranberries
2 oz Dried Figs
1 T Orange Zest
1 T Lemon Zest
1 cup Brandy
1 cup Orange Juice
1 Cinnamon stick

Cut your apricots and figs into smaller pieces, and zest your orange and lemon. Put all ingredients into a saucepot and cook until the fruit is soft and the juices thicken, about 20 minutes.

Pavlova:

4 Egg whites
¼ t cream of tartar
1-cup brown sugar
4 t cornstarch
2 t white vinegar
1 t Vanilla

Put your egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and beat it until small peaks form. Add the sugar slowly with the mixer on low until it is thick and glossy. Add the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix for 30 seconds just to blend all ingredients.

Bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan and form it into a disc in the middle of the pan. Smooth the top of mass so that it cooks evenly.

Bake at 250° for an hour and a half.  After the total baking time, turn the oven off and let it cool completely in the oven. This will form the crisp texture and prevent it from becoming sticky.

Only assemble this dessert right before you are about to eat it! The Pavlova should be room temperature, the cream should be cold, and the compote should be just warmed through.

Top the Pavlova with the goat cheese mixture and compote and serve!

This dessert is so impressive and so easy! It is an indulgence and a lot healthier than most desserts. Although there are eggs and sugar in this recipe, you are using the white of the egg, which has no fat, and a small amount of sugar. There are lots of textures and flavors going on, which will be a great end to a fantastic meal. Try something new this year, and start a new tradition with your friends and family!

Merry Christmas!

Sean Gallagher

Photo Sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

New Relationship Tips and How to Act

In Art, Being Gay, Clothing, Clubs, Dating, Gay Business, Gay Celebrity, Gay Weddings, holidays, Hollywood, Night Out, NYC, Relationships, sex on December 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I haven’t had the greatest run with relationships. My love life has been sucky for a while, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from it, it’s how to act while your relationship is still young, tender, and fresh. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts:

DON’T be annoying! A stage 5 clinger is the last thing your partner needs. Try to space out text messages and phone calls. Don’t check on them every 5 minutes. This will lead to serious attachment issues, believe me.

DO play hard to get! Everyone likes a challenge, so why not? DON’T, however, be too defensive. Try to find a happy medium that suits you and your other half.

DON’T make the relationship all about gifts. Sure, flashy things and nice clothes are great, but not at the beginning of a relationship. Save those for when things get serious. Remember, love cannot be bought.

DO make compromises! Don’t make it all about you, and don’t let your partner take all the spotlight. If you find that the other person tends to be an attention whore, stay away! This will only make you feel you belittled, and that should never happen. An occasional expensive dinner or splurge is appropriate, but don’t make your partner go bankrupt!

DON’T break-up because of a few fights. Conflict is natural and in some cases, necessary. Occasional verbal arguments and disagreements will always occur. If you are looking for the perfect relationship, get ready for disappointment. Not everyone can agree on the same things, so don’t expect it to happen with your partner.

DON’T expect your partner to pay for every date! If he insists, convince him to switch things up a little bit and treat him to dinner and a movie once a month. You must give him a break once in a while!

Now, I’m not guaranteeing that these tips will apply to all relationships. These tips were formulated from my own experiences in the dating jungle. Winter is the best time to spread love, so go out there and find your perfect match!

Matt Scotto

Photo Sources 1, 2, 3, 4

Wiccan Traditions: Happy Halloween!

In Art, Being Gay, Clothing, decor, holidays, Hollywood, Literature, Night Out, Relationships, religions, television on October 30, 2009 at 5:37 am

wicca

What does it mean to be Wiccan? Is there a difference between practicing witchcraft and Wicca? If you have ever visited the Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts, rented such movies as The Blair Witch Project, or even turned your boob-tube to shows like The Vampire Diaries, you more than likely have been introduced to ways of the witch … or so you think. In the following interview, we will get to know Doreen Lavista (Westchester’s authority on all things Wiccan and Pagan) and her son, Michael. They are a pair of practicing Wiccans that will answer questions ‘til your heart’s desire. The mother-son duo clear the air on what Hollywood has made witches out to be for centuries and make the idea of performing rituals quite attractive.

wiccan

Joseph: When did you first realize that being Wiccan was what you wanted to associate yourself as? Can you tell us what the differences are between the different beliefs out there?

Doreen: Because it made sense! The more I read about it, the more sense it made. Wicca, witchcraft, and Paganism basically align themselves with the seasonal changes of the earth. Paganism is very gynocentric, in that we celebrate the changing seasons and celebrate the changes within ourselves each season.

witch

J: How old were you when you first started to read-up on Wicca and such?

D: First of all, before I even could read, I knew that I had a sense that other people didn’t have; that was what they called precognition … knowing something before it was actually spoken or done. That sense of being aware of what was coming next was very acute in me as a child.

I’m a child of the 60s; there was media that indicated, “Well, if you have x-ability, then you must be a … fill in the blank…” and at that time the word was “witch.” So like every other teenager looking for their niche, I would have to say between the ages of 12 and 13 was when I started doing real research; but what was available was either topics about the Salem Witch Trials and the history of the Inquisition … yeah, not too much. And a lot of dark and negative stuff … a little Anton Lavey …very little by people like Sybil Leek or Laurie Cabot was available at that time.

Really good resources and literature didn’t really come about until, oh I would have to say, the re-explosion of the Neo-Pagan movement in the late 90s.

religion

J: How is being Wiccan different from being Catholic, Jewish, or even Pagan?

D: Let’s discuss Paganism first; that’s kind of an umbrella term for anybody who does not follow the traditional Judeo-Christian-Monotheistic belief system. Pagan refers to all the indigenous people who had religions before they were conquered by Western Europe; Wicca kind of falls into that, in that it differs from Christianity, Judaism, and even Islam, in that it’s not strictly monotheistic. It is also, again, gynocentric, where a female deity is not only powerful but very present; there is balance in the male and female deities, where there’s balance in nature as above and also below. Monotheistic and traditional belief systems seem to be a little one sided there.

witch and cauldron

J: Wow … I didn’t know any of that. Films, like Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, give such a negative connotation to witchcraft and Wicca, you know? And I have become more intrigued by what that is all about…

D: As far as Hollywood is concerned, people like darkness … they like to express that darkness and see it in the theater, simply because they cannot manifest it or express themselves … most of it is way too violent, and it’s still against the law. But Hollywood manages to put a label on something they simply don’t completely understand. When we use the word “occult,” we’re referring to knowledge that has been hidden … and that’s exactly what it means; when a doctor takes the hemoccult, he draws blood and he wants to see what’s hidden in your blood.

This is what the ancient mystics, the Hebrew Kabbalah practitioners, the druids, the shamans, the medicine men had; they all had this “occult” knowledge. But again, it was suppressed when Catholics or Christian Western Europeans came into power. And you had to speak through a mediator … you were not allowed to speak to God directly.

the craft

J: I just have one question to add, and that is … How would you like to see the Wicca way be represented in the future? Would you like it to been seen in a more positive light and gain more exposure?

Michael: As far as exposure is concerned, as long as it’s portrayed the way it is in real life, and not something as dark, evil, or menacing, I personally would feel intrigued if they came up with a show about actual witchcraft and what they do; not a show about shooting sparks out of their hands.

D: Here’s my take on that … I would like to see Wicca and Paganism in general portrayed in the light that it’s really meant to have. It’s not just the Halloween thing; it’s healing and helping people, and being there to be console to people. There’s a lot more light and a lot more protective energy involved.

witches

Hollywood seems to get a little carried away with the special effects of reappearing and the disappearing, and all kinds of entities manifesting. A lot of pulp fiction and romance novels now are embracing the thought of “vampires are groovy and werewolves are sexy;” and so on; it’s driving me crazy because people really don’t know how they’re manipulating this energy. And it all begins and ends in the mind, with intent. What you intend is pretty much what you get … it starts with your mind set.

The “craft,” the nuts and bolts of the candles, colors, herbs, and the bags and the ritual, are the tools that go along with manifesting in the material world that which we have created in our minds. Does that make sense?

J: Yes … so it really isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s more about energy and the earth.

D: Oh, absolutely. There’s nothing to be afraid of … it’s all about truth and light.

J: How do you feel about witchcraft becoming more popular, let’s say as opposed to how things were back in the 60s?

D: Personally I think it’s great; and again with the caveat being, as long as it’s portrayed correctly. It works, but then again so do novenas and prayers. For me, the promotion of the stereotype perpetuates a myth of fear … once we take the fear out of it, and everything is in the light, it’s a-okay. Once again, it’s all about truth and light.

broom

J: Michael, do you feel that it was easier to relate to the Wiccan way as a gay individual, rather than other religions that shun homosexuality?

M: Yes and no. When I was in elementary school, my grandmother at the time wanted me to be raised Christian; well, I was sent out to CCD a couple of days a week after school and came home repeatedly with questions. The answers I was getting to those questions didn’t satisfy me. From what I gather, when one is spiritual, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Islam, Wicca, whatever … you’re supposed to feel something and get something out of it personally. I didn’t feel anything when I was going to church; there was no connection for me there.

I finally decided to take a step back and find something that suited me and what I like and what I was interested it. And as time progressed, I learned more about Wicca and witchcraft from my mom, participated in a couple of ceremonies and holidays, and said, “Wow, this is what I was looking for; this is about the cycles of the earth.” For me, it makes me feel comfortable, I feel and get something out of it. There was no pressure or influence from any outside source; there was no kind of cult mentality.

Looking back as a now 24-year-old, I’m a little upset because there are all these extremists announcing that “homosexuality is wrong,” and “God hates fags,” and so on so forth. There are so many different aspects and variations of Catholicism, that I’m pretty sure the whole “love thy neighbor” thing is supposed to take precedence over spreading words of hatred. That’s probably the main reason why I wouldn’t want to practice one of the three main world religions.

ritual

J: My last question is: Have you or your mother ever participated in any kind of ritual and what kind was it?

D: For about the past twenty years I’ve been part of a coven, and we’ve all taken our turns hosting particular rituals throughout the seasons; some of them were just for the purpose of getting together and celebrating the phase of the moon and bringing manifestation to that phase of the moon and some of them were our traditional holiday celebrations. For instance, Samhain is coming up … you call it Halloween, we call is Samhain; but we also celebrate Yule (December 21) which is the winter solstice. Our holidays actually predate the hallmark calendars.

I’ve often held public rituals in places for events; we’ve gotten some Pagans from all over the county to come and participate … it’s been a lot of fun!

halloween witch

As the time approached to bit each other adieu, Doreen recommended a website for you; it is called witchvox.net, and it is a great place to become more familiarized with all things witches.

Doreen also welcomes you all to befriend her on facebook, especially if you would like to work with her one-on-one … she teaches Wicca 101, you know!

With that being said, venture off calmly, dear spirits of the night and have a happy and healthy Halloween!

-J. Federico

Photo Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Zombies: Crawl Baby, Crawl

In Art, Clothing, Clubs, decor, holidays, Hollywood, Literature, Night Out, NYC, reviews, television on October 22, 2009 at 4:27 am

criss_mckenzie

On September 30th, 2009, I died … and then walked the streets of Manhattan. So did approximately six hundred other people. It was my very first “zombie crawl,” but certainly not my last. What is a zombie crawl? The term hasn’t quite reached Webster’s yet, so I will do my best to define it for you here. ZOMBIE CRAWL: (n or v) a gathering of civilians who are at the very least just a tiny bit insane, who dress up like the undead in varying degrees of intensity, and who walk like a zombie through the streets of unsuspecting cities to celebrate their love of horror, corn syrup, and creatures who eat human flesh.

This particular zombie crawl was a promotion for the new horror comedy Zombieland that came out in theaters October 2nd. Although the event wasn’t rigidly coordinated, there was a  general plan to meet at The Mean Fiddler bar on 47th street, then “crawl” (or plod, drag, and/or cavort in true zombie style) through Times Square to the AMC theater. The costumes were amazing. Some were relatively low key (fake blood and old band tee shirts) while others were off the charts fantastic (bridal gowns and pretend festering ‘sore’ wounds). Everyone was having a great time and people were very friendly! Some really got into their roles: growling, leaping at bystanders with cameras, screaming, spitting fake blood out onto the sidewalk, etc. The lot of us shuffled through the streets with no cares for details of the living; citizens and cars meant nothing to us! We were dead! The angry honking of cab drivers was drowned out by hundreds of horror-movie nerds grunting like the undead and laughing our asses off. By 10:00pm the AMC Theater in Times Square was filled to the brim with costumed zombie fans waiting for their sneak preview tickets to Zombieland.

zombies in new york

Fans of the television cartoon series Family Guy and any old school 1980’s John Cusack teen movie will love Zombieland. Aside from an exorbitant amount of fake blood, latex flesh, and awkward-boy-meets-smokin’-hot-but-laid-back-chick sexual tension, there are hilarious cut away scenes and a charming voice over by the lead character. It is not to be taken seriously for a second. Zombie fanatics who enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movie Braindead! (also known as Dead Alive!, 1992) should enjoy Zombieland for its absurdity and unassuming vibe. While it doesn’t have the indie flick feel of a low budget horror, it carries the same gory ridiculousness that only the slightly twisted can appreciate.

zombieland scene

Zombie crawls and films like Zombieland present an obvious question: why zombies? It’s hard to say. Their popularity could be attributed to a few factors, really: For one, they’re still human, and therefore the closest thing to a “realistic” monster we’ve got. Government testing and strange diseases in questionable water supplies could actually be just a few unruly laboratory experiments away from creating the insane, flesh-eating societies.

They are controlled by their id, which makes them more animal than human, but more human than monster. We as a society are taught that living solely by the id is wrong. Zombies don’t have that restraint; they don’t need it. All they need is a juicy brain to snack on. They travel in packs and look for food – you can’t get more “id” than that. The mob mentality of zombies isn’t so different from the mob mentality of humans. In fact, the minor differences between mobs of either party is just how much firepower you need to stop them.

creepy zombies

Zombies represent a side of humanity we don’t want to think about, but are morbidly fascinated by. Zombies want one thing, and they want it bad. They need to sustain themselves on others (oh wait, we do that) and they’ll do anything they want to do so (oh wait, we do that, too). They’ll punch, tear, and bite their way to the top. Oh, wait … in a way, everyone is a zombie. No wonder we like them so much.

Taking part in the NYC zombie crawl was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had thus far. I met a lot of great people, got to scare a number of innocent bystanders, and, my favorite part: got to get into costume. There was something exhilarating about walking through the streets of NYC on a Wednesday night with a fake bullet hole in my temple, a ripped undershirt, and tattered jeans. The stares from “the living” made my undead heart skip a beat. Complete strangers complimented me, but were also deeply disturbed by the throng of us. It was a beautiful thing. It was a new world, a bold maneuver, and just plain fun.

zombie attack

There are a number of other zombie crawls happening in the month of October. For those interested, check out Doug Sakmann’s site here. Doug is the ring leader of a number of zombie shenanigans in the NY/NJ/PA area. I’m already planning my next outing. Zombie fans, get moving … grab some cheap fake blood, smear some black eye shadow under your eyes, and tear a hole in your pants. Life is short, so go sink your teeth into somebody.

-Criss McKenzie, member of the undead society

Photo Source 1, 2, 3, 4

Halloween 2009 – It’s Time for a Scare!

In Art, Clothing, Clubs, decor, Gay NYC, holidays, Hollywood, Lounges on October 21, 2009 at 6:58 pm

halloween

Hello ghouls and screamers, welcome to Equal4all‘s Halloween 2009 series! From today until the big day, October 31, we will be offering you tips on how to throw the perfect and most healthy Halloween soiree, sharing delicious Fall recipes, and much more! We will even be talking to a fellow zombie and sharing the ins and outs of what it’s like to be Wiccan! Grab your witch’s hat and pull up a chair, because you are about to enjoy quite a scare! Happy Halloween!

-The Equal4ll team

Photo Source

Taking Woodstock

In Art, Being Gay, Clothing, concerts, Dating, decor, Hollywood, Music, Night Out, Relationships, reviews, sex on October 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm

taking_woodstock

It seemed everywhere you looked this August there was a mention of Woodstock. The 40th anniversary of the festival brought back a lot of memories, most noticeably with the release of Taking Woodstock, the newest movie from the Oscar winning director Ang Lee.

liev_schreiber

Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) is the focal point of the story. He unselfishly puts his own life on hold to help his parents avoid the foreclosure of their rundown motel. After being denied loans by several banks, he hears about a music festival that had been cancelled in a nearby town. Thinking the festival would bring in a lot of fast cash for his parents, he schedules it in his town with the help of his neighbor Max Yasgur (Eugene Levy). At this point, the crowds start to roll in, bringing with them plenty of money and drugs, giving Elliot the freedom he always craved, so he could finally become who he really is.

Taking Woodstock is a fun, crazy, coming of age story, and the cast was terrific. Martin plays his character really well; he is awkward and careful … just how you would be if you had never truly been yourself around the people closest to you. Emile Hirsch, who played a troubled Vietnam veteran, was able to convey the psychological pain that many veterans faced after the war, yet still be funny and endearing. Liev Schreiber, who played a cross-dressing bodyguard, stole the movie for me. Not only did he have some of the best lines in the movie, but you looked forward to the time when he was on screen.

emile-hirsch-taking-woodstock_l

If you are looking for a movie about Woodstock that has some clips or reenactments of the performers, this movie isn’t for you. Instead, Woodstock takes a back seat in this film so that it can properly tell Elliot’s story. You do catch a few glimpses of the festival though. In one amazing shot where Elliot takes acid, he climbs to the top of a hill to look over the swaying crowd. Slowly, the crowd starts to evaporate and turn into a wave that you would see in the ocean. This shot was truly magical and made the movie worth seeing!

Overall: B+

-Lindsay Dahlstrom

Photo Source 1, 2, 3

Erectile Reptile and then some…

In Art, Being Gay, Dating, Gay Celebrity, Gay NYC, Hollywood, Literature, Music, Night Out, NYC, Relationships, sex on October 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm

gay-couple

After writing the last blog I wrote about 3 or 4 follow-ups. But they were all safe … talking about how music and other artistic mediums inspire me (Go to my website for that!).

I felt I hadn’t finished speaking about gender identity and the psyche of the gay man; I need to talk more in depth about this topic as it directly informs my art and continues to intrigue/inspire me.

What is the big deal with size queens … that’s what I’m wondering! Why do MANY of my gay friends and older gay men that I know and respect, always claim to need “9-12inches or a soda bottle size dick?!?” Where does this fascination with size come from? Is this stat REALLY what we should be basing our sex lives on? Does having an average size penis mean YOU ARE only “average” or less masculine?! Ha-ha! This is RIDICULOUS and yet another stereotype that’s being shoved down our throats (pun intended) to make gay men feel insecure and inferior; AS IF they aren’t enough out there!

Look, I have an average size dick; it’s not too big and not too small. I’m a grower not a shower, and I’ve never had a complaint. I believe it’s not the size of the boat, but rather the motion of the ocean!! I personally would never expect a partner to have a huge donkey dick, and if I loved and cared for my partner, I’d be happy no matter what. This SHOULD NOT be a prerequisite NOR should it be a standard; it shouldn’t even be an issue! Just because a guy has a huge tool doesn’t mean he knows how to use it! Still so many gay men out there harp on this topic and I find it really shallow.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to see that this topic is an issue of masculine inadequacy. This size obsession also goes hand-in-hand with the gay community’s “norm” and pressure to WORKOUT 24/7. Big muscles = big STRONG masculine men … give me a break!! This type of behavior and social conditioning leads to extreme body image issues. What about the inside? What about your capacity to love another person and be available to build something substantial and real with a partner?! How about focus on being an intellectual and spiritual person AS WELL AS your SEXUALrelationship?! They are all parts of a whole (whether it is you and your boyfriend or just YOU as a multi-dimensional human being).

erectile_dysfunction_heart_disease

But along with modern technology comes going to extreme LENGTHS (hehe) to alter one self, thinking this will bring value to their person and bring more persons to their bed. Can we say SIDE EFFECTS?! Some include penile numbness, loss of erectile capability, soreness and so on! WHO WANTS that?!! NOT ME!! I love my penis and want to keep it in GOOD WORKING ORDER; sensation loss is NOT an option.  We should find NATURAL ways to enhance sensation and draw out the pleasure and orgasm … for example, using Tantra and certain Yogic practices. I’m a huge fan of Tantra; Yoga is a huge part of my life. And Yes, I take  it into the bedroom. It may not be instant gratification, but these techniques are to be LEARNED and experimented with.  However, there are books out there! Just try Googleing Mantak Chia, Penile implants, pumps, and chemical and herbal supplements; there’s a lot out there claiming to “HELP” make you bigger. And MANY of these “revolutionary” tools are targeted towards a much younger crowd!!? WTF? There is a whole under culture who takes Viagra to enhance their sexual adventures for an extended period of time. Again … never been an issue! IF you are attracted to your partner, and have a connection, you SHOULD be able to give it all you got and KEEP IT GOING!!  If you can’t sustain an erection you should go see your doctor. If it’s not erectile dysfunction, EXPLORE your sexual tastes! Maybe you have an undiscovered fetish or situation that makes you SUPER HOT … or hey, maybe you’re BI! What’s the harm in exploration?!  It will only make you happy and more knowledgeable in the end!

-Charlie Demos

charlies

Photo Source 1, 2

Woodstock 1969 Interviews – The Love Continues…

In Art, Clothing, concerts, Dating, Music, Relationships, sex, television on September 4, 2009 at 3:26 am

Woodstock crowds

August 2009 was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, one of the greatest concerts and cultural events in history. With almost 500,000 people in attendance and 32 musicians that performed, it won’t ever be forgotten. Today, many of those who were unable to attend look back and wish that they had been there. Instead, they must rely on films and stories to experience it. For those who did attend, like Debbie Goldman Sommer, Roc Ahrensdorf, and Bob Albeck, it will always be a part of them.

How did you first hear about Woodstock and what made you decide to go?

I was 15 years old and my big brother went to a music fest in N.J. I don’t remember exactly where I heard about Woodstock originally, but I remember my discussion with my mother about going. My brother and I both wanted to go but she wouldn’t pay for his ticket. She already paid for his ticket to the fest in N.J. and said it was my turn. It was really the luck of the draw.—Debbie Goldman Sommer

Were there any repercussions either societal or from your family that you felt by going to Woodstock?

No negative repercussions; I was more like a celebrity. A friend came running into my high school speech class, waving a record album, screaming, “Debbie, you’re on the cover!” (The Woodstock LP, naturally).—Debbie Goldman Sommer

Hippies

Tell us the story about how you got there.

A friend and I took off for Woodstock in his VW bug. We had packed food, sleeping bags, etc. and headed off from CT. We got no more than a few miles down I-95, when we hit bumper to bumper traffic due to construction, during which we literally hit the bumper of the car in front of us. It did nothing to that guy’s car, but it smashed in the front of the bug.

The car was still quite drivable, so we were mixed how to handle it. Do we go and say it happened on the way back; or do we call his parents and see what they say? Well, in case the other people happened to call, we decided to call his parents; of course they said come right home.

I was home grumbling about everything, when my mom said, “Just go! I won’t get any peace if you stay home.” So, I hopped in my Corvair, grabbed all of the food, etc, and took off that Friday by myself.

I stuck it out in traffic for hours until I was finally told to park in a field. I went up to a soda stand to get a coke, when the guy said sternly “Do you have a ticket?” I said “No,” (worried he would say I can’t get in), and he said “Great! You don’t need one!”

I had managed to park within a mile of the place! I grabbed what I could carry and walked up to the site. I found a place to set up a lean-to in the woods just at the top of the field. I got my sleeping bag and everything set and went back to the car for food and anything else I might need. I even set up a small campfire in front of the lean-to. I was able to hear everything quite well from there, so I didn’t really need to go out in the throngs unless I wanted to see the bands.

The woods were full of trails with names like “Groovy Way” or “Far Out Path.” At each intersection there were people selling all kinds of recreational drugs like pot, hash, acid, etc. Everything was right out in the open. It was quite a scene!

At one point, some people asked if they could share my fire. I said “Sure!” so they set up camp there. When it started raining, I crashed in my sleeping bag for a while. When I woke up, my little campfire had become a large blaze with many people standing around drying out blankets, clothes, etc. It was amazing how well everyone got along together.

I was pretty stoned for the whole weekend, so I pretty much stayed near my camp. I would sleep off and on, catching different sets along the way. I finally woke up Monday morning around 10am to hear Hendrix play the “Star Spangled Banner”. What a way to wake up! By then there was maybe only around 30,000 people left, which seems like a lot, but compared to what had been there, it seemed empty. After Hendrix finished, I packed up everything and headed home. The traffic home wasn’t bad. It was interesting to see all of the wanderers along the way looking for friends, or their car, etc.—Roc Ahrensdorf

When you first got there and saw all of the people what went through your mind?

Early on, it didn’t strike me as anything too extra phenomenal until dusk, the first night. It became very surreal. People started noticing the magnitude of the crowd. I became somewhat panicky until meeting up with an uncanny amount of people that I knew. I had been separated from the friends I came up with, so it was scary for me. I needed my own space and it was to no avail. By daylight, it was a whole new story. By then I was used to my surroundings.—Debbie Goldman Sommer

Who was the artist that you most enjoyed? Why?

I only stayed for the first night. The conditions were bad with the mud and rain that I left. I remember enjoying Richie Havens.—Bob Albeck

I would have to say Jimi Hendrix. He was all I thought he would be … probably the most incredible guitarist ever. Also, I really loved listening to Sly and the Family Stone. I was dozing off and on, but they seemed to fit in so perfectly with the spirit of the festival.—Debbie Goldman Sommer

I was up in the woods for most of the acts, so I didn’t really “see” much, just heard them. It wasn’t until I saw the movie that I saw what was going on – Sly & the Family Stone, The Who, and Hendrix – were all great.—Roc Ahrensdorf

Did you ever think that 40 years later Woodstock would be remembered the way it is?

I didn’t think so initially but after talking to people, realizing the effect it had on so many of us, and then when the movie came out I knew that it would be remembered for a very long time.—Bob Albeck

When you were there did you ever think that Woodstock would be more than a concert?

Some of the performers tried to tell us, but I thought they were just trying to build more and more spirit due to the weather.—Debbie Goldman Sommer

What can you tell me about the peace and free love?

Most young people were against the war in Vietnam at the time. We were “Peace-niks” so to speak, and I had attended and would attend many anti war demonstrations in NY and other cities. I think this was an undercurrent at Woodstock. As far as free love, I was a bit young to participate but there was some nudity, skinny-dipping etc. that was evident. When I got a bit older I found that people were open to sexual experience and were not as concerned with the spread of STD’s as this was before AIDS.—Bob Albeck

When people look back on Woodstock one thing that stands out is drugs, what can you tell me about that?

There was plenty of pot, hash and acid. I didn’t see anything stronger than that. I imagine there were not too many people there who were not high on something. I don’t remember seeing any alcohol.—Roc Ahrensdorf

Hippies

Why do you think Woodstock is such a celebrated event?

Up until that time, I don’t think that number of people had gotten together without a single act of violence … plus that many incredible musicians and icons together, sharing the same experiences as the audience. Everyone was in awe equally.—Debbie Goldman Sommer

It was celebrated because of the enormity of it and the way we all got along with very few problems at all. This was the largest event of its kind and it affected the people that were there, the locals and the world.—Bob Albeck

Because it was the first thing of its kind. Never before had so many people gathered in one place peacefully, under very trying conditions. The hippie movement had been getting all kinds of negative press. Here were a half a million long hair kids hanging out in mud and rain, with very little food or sanitation, and doing so peacefully. These “hippies” were not so horrible after all.—Roc Ahrensdorf

Could you describe what it felt like to be standing in the rain, mud, and crowd?

It was like being in your first snowball fight – wet and uncomfortable – but you never want it to end!—Debbie Goldman Sommer

If you could go back and do it all over again, would you? Why?

Well I’m 55 and don’t regret much in life, least of all going to Woodstock. At 55, I wouldn’t do well with the bathroom situation nor the dehydration thing. I’ve gotten too accustomed to A/C and ice cubes. However, as for my son, I wish he could have that kind of experience. So the answer to your question is … of course I would do it all over again … back in my youth.—Debbie Goldman Sommer

I would definitely do it again. If I could, I would not get so high, and would have taken advantage of more that was going on. I had my camera with me, but only took four photos. I would wander around much more than I did. It was a lot of fun being part of the whole thing. If I could go back, I might even try to work there to be even more a part of it.—Roc Ahrensdorf

I would do it again. I would have liked to have been a few years older and more mature so I would have appreciated what was happening at the time. The event made me feel a part of a huge brotherhood of people who had similar ideas and values of the times. It made me feel like I belonged to something other than the family that was raising me in the traditional American way.—Bob Albeck

-Interview conducted and written by Lindsay Dahlstrom

Photo Source 1, 2, 3

Top 10 Hippie Songs

In Art, Clothing, concerts, Music, Night Out, Relationships, television on August 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm

hippies

Are you groovy people feeling the peace, love, and happiness in your life yet? With all this talk of Woodstock’s 40th anniversary, Taking Woodstock hitting theaters soon, and E4A running a month-long hippie series, I should hope so! If you aren’t for whatever reason – let’s say the government’s got you down or the war overseas is too much to handle – try burning some jasmine incense and blasting these 10 hippie songs; they’re a surefire way to make you one with your personal earth mother!

10. Woodstock – Joni Mitchell
9. Good Morning Starshine – Oliver
8. Green Tambourine – Lemon Pipers
7. Lady of the Lake – Strawberry Alarm Clock
6. I Dig Rock and Roll Music – Peter, Paul and Mary
5. In a Rainbow – Sweetwater
4. Itchykoo Park – The Small Faces
3. My Generation – The Who
2. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
1. Hari Om – Ravi Shankar

Check out why Woodstock was so big in 1969, and how to turn your room into a Hippie haven!

-J. Federico

Photo Source