Down and Out in Denver

The ATL, y’all!

Posted in fashion, food, gays, travel by Blake on April 19, 2011

View of Piedmont Park from the 20th Floor

While Alastair was in New York for the weekend, I also flew East, but further South: to Atlanta to celebrate my Gentleman Friend’s birthday.  He’s from “the ATL,” as he calls it, and so we were able to stay at his parents’ apartment; they were conveniently out of town in Puerto Rico celebrating their anniversary.  The shot above was taken from the balcony of the GF’s parents’ apartment; they live in Midtown, overlooking Piedmont Park, which was devoted this past weekend to celebrating the Dogwood Festival.  Aside from the first night’s storms, we had perfect weather the entire time and a really fantastic time in Hotlanta.

My previous two or three experiences there had been for conferences and I had mostly stuck to the conference hotel and its environs, getting lost amid all the streets named Peachtree (Atlanta could invest in a few more street names; they’re free!), but this time, with the GF in the role of Julie McCoy, I saw lots of the city I’d never seen before.  That first night we dined across the park at the Park Tavern, which was probably the worst of the many meals we ate out.  The Park Tavern is a combination of a bar specializing in beer on tap, burger joint, and sushi bar.  Filled to the brim with straight folks on the make.  It was all just a little bit loud, and the queso with which we began was of the creamy variety (not the kind I was recently introduced to by our Oklahoma Gal Pal, which is essentially just melted cheese on a plate and far preferable).  After braving the stormy weather, we headed to one of the neighborhood gay bars (the parents live, coincidentally, in the heart of the gays), Blake’s on the Park.  I was feeling right at home!

The next morning, after nursing my hangover with some Tivoed HGTV (I do miss TV sometimes) we headed to the Flying Biscuit for brunch. Love their name!  Filled with biscuits and a chicken sandwich with bacon and cheddar (I’m not much for breakfast food), our day was just beginning: a trip to the Georgia Aquarium.  Not only did we take in all the fishes and sharks, but the GF had bought us tickets for the dolphin show, “A T & T Dolphin Tales,” which had only debuted a couple weeks previously. Here’s the thing: the aquarium itself was very impressive and while the dolphins themselves were adorable and their tricks were fun, the show itself was pretty dumb.  They had turned it into a Disney-style musical with an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoatesque cape worn by some mythical ship captain who relied upon the dolphins to rescue him from a different evil ship captain.  Or something like that.  He sang about all of this drama and I got kind of confused. Thankfully we had saved the sea otters and Beluga whales for post-show, and they were adorable.  After that we needed to do some shopping.  The GF’s mother had suggested that we shop at Midtown’s “The Boy Next Door,” which seems to sell what my friends and I call “homosexual clothing”: lots of underwear and what the store itself calls “exciting summer swimwear.”  We went to Buckhead instead, home to two large malls. This is all I have to say about Buckhead’s malls: Alastair may be excited about the new H&M, but Atlanta has us beat.  There was a Vince and a Theory.  Be still my heart.

That night we dined at South City Kitchen.  Delicious.  Appetizers: fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and red pepper coulis; pork barbecue on a scallion hoecake with slaw.  Entrees: jambalaya and buttermilk fried chicken.  Dessert: banana pudding and pecan pie.  Desserts were not as great as everything else, but the meal itself was wonderful, including the GF’s “Country Thyme” lemonade: spiked lemonade with fresh thyme.  Our waitress, Autumn, was a little loopy, but very friendly.  And the neighbors at the next table, a flight attendant named Connie from Minnesota and her best gal pal joining her on a buddy pass, were delightful. While the GF was the only native (Autumn is from Connecticut), it was just southern hospitality and friendliness all around. (And, it must be said, just a wee bit of heartburn later that night, but well worth it.)

View of Atlanta through Botanical Gardens

But wait!  It wasn’t over.  There was still Sunday.  We had reservations at Watershed for brunch. And it, too, was scrumptious. Brainchild of Indigo Girl Emily Saliers, Watershed is located in lesbian-friendly Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta.  I had the shrimp and crab burger with fries and among the most delicious cole slaw I have ever tasted.  The GF got the sausage gravy with biscuits (that was the third meal in 24 hours in which he’d had biscuits; someone was missing his Southern home!).  We strolled around downtown Decatur, then toured Emory University, alma mater of the GF, and finally finished the afternoon with a walk through Atlanta’s Botanical Garden.  This must be said: while Denver’s Botanical Garden seems much smaller, it is also much more impressive and has, well, flowers.  And paths that lead somewhere instead of into what the GF called “traps”: seating areas devoid of flowers.  The ABG had just finished its “Atlanta Blooms” bulb extravaganza and was distinctly short on blooms of any sort.  A wee bit disappointing, but we hadn’t allotted it much time.

A scant few blooms at the Botanical Gardens

Finally, that night we dined in Virginia Highlands, another very cute Atlanta neighborhood, at Panita Thai Kitchen.  This little Thai restaurant, which had created a front garden for itself out of tubs of plants and herbs, seemed to be run as a one-woman show: she cooked, she poured, she served, she chatted with her guests.  And it was really tasty.  The spices reminded me of Thailand more than most Thai food I’ve eaten in the U.S.  This tom yum goong had a kick!  And the GF loved his fresh ginger tea and chicken curry.

We retired early that night to finish our taxes after 2.5 days of sunny weather, delicious food, and lovely sights.  If I had been skeptical about Atlanta before (and I admit it, I had been), my doubts had been quelled.  The ATL is delightful. And people really do say “y’all” quite a bit.


Oh, Brad!

Posted in gays, tv by Alastair on March 31, 2011

Let me count the ways…

When news came that my pretend boyfriend Brad Goreski was leaving Bravo’s Rachel Zoe Project, I was upset. Sooooooooo upset. How could he do this to me? Well, I just about went bananas this afternoon when I learned that the former assistant to celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe has branched out and is building a business for himself – and has landed his own TV show on Bravo! Do you die?! I DIE. Tentatively entitled It’s a Brad Brad World, the series follows him as he starts his own business and tries to manage his personal life at the same time.

If you haven’t seen the sexy shirtless pics, taken by celeb shutterbug Terry Richardson, check them out here and here.

Lesbian Love on Glee

Posted in gays, tv by Blake on March 12, 2011

Santana and Brittany

While Glee has never been shy in tackling gay themes, mostly in the form of Kurt, his struggles to find love and avoid bullying, as well as cheesy Blaine’s antics, it has generally shied away from dealing with lesbianism.  Until Tuesday night’s show, which I only just watched last night.  Some critics have rightly noted that Brittany and Santana’s occasional messing around in previous episodes made it seem as if lesbianism was just something that girls might do until something better came along.  It wasn’t as serious as gay male identity, in other words.  It was passing and transient and inconsequential.  Exactly what many people think of lesbianism to begin with, in other words, especially if the two women involved are pretty and leggy and conventionally feminine.

But that changed with Santana’s confession to Brittany on Tuesday night’s show that she loves her, wants to be with her, and that her dalliances with Finn and Puckerman and Sam are only that: distractions.  I’m left torn by this. I can’t help thinking that the writers and producers recognized the rightful criticism lodged against them and decided to take women’s same-sex love as seriously as they have been taking male homosexuality.  All good on that count.  And I appreciate that Santana articulated a number of the concerns that many gay people have when thinking about coming out: ostracism, stereotyping, and the like.  It’s also demonstrably true that many young proto-gay men and women sleep around with people of the opposite sex in order to convince themselves and others that they are “really” straight.  And it’s perfectly fine that both Brittany and Santana are bisexual and not lesbian, if that’s what’s going on (it seems clear that that’s what Brittany is saying; she loves Artie and would be with Santana if she weren’t with him.  Santana, on the other hand, might be leaning more toward lesbianism?  I’m not sure).  But is it a good move, still, to portray male homosexuality as abiding and unchanging (witness Blaine trying to kiss Rachel; wasn’t going to happen.  Or Kurt’s unwavering gayness throughout the show, or even his closeted bully’s lack of romantic interaction with women) and women as bisexual?  Of course part of this is that the show has already boxed itself into a corner with Brittany and Santana’s past exploits with men.  Still, the message seems pretty clear: some boys are gay and some are straight; women, however, are “fluid” (Santana’s word for Brittany). Where is Glee’s butch baby dyke, the analogous character to Kurt?  I’m all for femme representation as well — in the form of Brittany and Santana — but the writers don’t seem totally willing to commit. Or maybe I’m just old and don’t understand how things are with the kids these days.

I’m still working through all this in my mind.  Thoughts?

Down and Out

Posted in denver, gays by Blake on March 10, 2011

When Alastair and I started this blog a year and four months ago, it was because we disliked Denver and we wanted to have a forum to vent about it.  As you may recall, we did a lot of venting in the beginning: about outdoor sports, and gays, and gays’ clothing, and bars, and drivers, and the lack of a real downtown.  I could go on.  In the past year, however, we seem to have moved more into the realm of reporting on our adventures here in D-Town.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  I warn you right now, however; I’m about to take us right back to our origins.  The reason I’ve been so silent of late is because writing on this blog just serves to remind me that I do live in Denver, and that’s something I’ve been trying to forget. ‘Cause I really don’t like it here.  Lately I have not only been out, I have also been out of state.  I just checked: of the past 14 weekends (that is, the months of December, January, February and the beginning of March), I have spent a grand total of 4 of them here in Denver.  United and Frontier love me.  Where have I been?  Does it even matter?  So long as it hasn’t been the Centennial State, I almost haven’t cared.  I have decided that in order to get back to blogging, I must first get back to the reason that I blogged in the first place: my disdain for this state. So bear with me as I update you on my current malaise.

This blog was at least in part supposed to be Alastair’s and my attempt to make ourselves happier here.  We envisioned some sort of community forming around our mutual distaste for all things Mile High.  That is, admittedly, a ridiculous goal in some  ways, but we still thought we might make some new friends with whom to bitch about Denver.  While we have certainly made friends since November of 2009, we have officially met zero people directly through this blog. Alastair did meet Mondo Guerra (!!!), but not through the blog, and we’ve never actually gotten together with the ladies of the Denver Omelette (who have a new member!), despite many promises on both sides that we will.  Over the almost five years that I have lived here, I have done my utmost to like this state.  I joined a book club. I joined a gym.  I volunteered.  I went to museums and art galleries and parks.  I visited parts of the state that I’d never been to before.  As you know, Alastair and I have also drunk and dined at many a fine watering hole and restaurant (and restaurants remain the one thing about Colorado about which I will generally not complain).

But, dear reader, I still don’t like it here.  When asked what I think about Denver or the state more generally by people I meet in other places, I generally say: “It’s pretty and affordable, and it’s great if you like outdoor activities, though I don’t.”  That is about as much enthusiasm as I can muster. Because I then also say: “It’s Midwestern and provincial and conventional and it’s only pretty if you look at the mountains and it’s small and Denver is a city utterly without edge.” Let me be clear: as horrible as I am I do realize that Denver is great for some people.  I am just not among them.  I lived for ten years in a city whose population is double the size of the entire state of Colorado.  This was my own fault.  I should have approached my adult life by working my way up from small to mid-sized to truly metropolitan.  But I didn’t.  And it has ruined me for anything that does not feel distinctly urban.  And Denver just doesn’t cut it.  This “city” has no rail system that takes you anywhere but suburbs.  It is not very walkable.  It has little life not for tourists in its downtown. It is populated by people who seem fully satisfied by getting in their cars and driving to strip malls to do their shopping.  That is, when they’re not leaving the “city” to go skiing or snowboarding or hiking or rafting or some other snow-air-waterborne activity. And that, to this jaded coastal urbanite, is just not really a city.  If Chicago is forever relegated to “Second City” status, I don’t even want to venture a guess as to how far down that numerical ranking Denver might be.  And the thing is this: no amount of defending or “we have X number of parks or restaurants or buses” can possibly redeem it. Because desirable places don’t constantly have to defend themselves, precisely because everyone knows how wonderful they are.

All of this begs the obvious question: if you hate it here so much, why on earth don’t you leave?  Dear reader, I have tried. I work in a field that required far too much education and that is specialized enough that one cannot simply move to a new place and expect to find employment in that field.  So does Alastair.  That’s why we’re here and why we stay here.  I am surprised by how many people there are who work in these sorts of fields, and how different the fields are from one another.  Alastair and I do not, for instance, do anything similar in our work, but both of us in our own ways have found ourselves here and unable to leave if we want to continue to practice what we’re trained to do.  If we want, in essence, to continue to be ourselves.

Another reason for my current bitterness — which I recently described to a friend as a “seething cauldron of resentment”; fun, huh? — is that I was recently a finalist for a job that I can only describe as The Job To End All Jobs (TJTEAJ, henceforth).  Not only was it a fantastic position, it was also in the Bay Area, where, you might recall, my Gentleman Friend resides.  At each step of the process of applying and interviewing for TJTEAJ I did not believe that I could possibly make it to the next round, so good was this job, and each time I did.  Until, dear reader, that final time.  I did not get the job.  And I am heartbroken.  (If there is anyone reading this right now who is thinking, let alone saying, to him or herself, “I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” I swear to you right now that I will track you down and throttle you with my bare hands.  By whom was it not meant to be?  Seriously?  Who figured out that I was not meant to get this job, aside from the people doing the hiring, who basically just preferred the qualifications of someone else?  ‘Cause if there was any sort of “meant to be justice” in this world, that job was clearly labeled “Blake.”)

All of the buildup to the possibility of TJTEAJ just meant that I spent an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about what my life would be like in San Francisco and how wonderful it would be.  You can imagine how Denver is now faring in comparison to all that kind of thought.  Not well.  I’m not at all sure that telling you all this has done anything to convince me that I’m going to be any happier here, but I will say that it’s allowed me to feel like I can return to contributing to our little blog, thus relieving Alastair of all the responsibility.  Besides, I’ve got a restaurant to review, and a PBS series that is my new best friend, and an HGTV program that delights me, and an installment of Blake’s Book Nook that’s been percolating for months now.  And how could I not share all of that with you, dear reader?

Table 6 Birthday!

Posted in denver, food, gays, wine by Blake on February 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Alastair! xoxox Table Six

After a truly delightful evening at Design After Dark — with all kinds of our gal pals in tow — many of us reassembled, albeit after a full day of recovery, at Table 6 to belatedly celebrate Alastair’s Milestone Birthday in Denver (previous celebrations were in San Francisco, as loyal readers will recall).  We had a big table and we had a lot of food, all ably described and served by our lovely server, LeeLynn.

So, on to the nitty gritty.  Gal Pal Gareth ordered wine for the table, and I admit I didn’t pay all that much attention.  So long as it kept coming, I was delighted.  It was red, and while we depleted them of their supply of the first selection, LeeLynn helped us choose another to succeed it.  Starters all around: I split the charcuterie platter with visiting gal pal Wendy (and designer of DOD’s website!): shrimp sausage, tasso, lamb bacon, and a variety of cornichons, nuts, grilled bread, and mustard.  It was all very tasty — particularly the shrimp sausage; who would have thought?  The lamb bacon was a little too crisp and salty for me (this is a sentence I utter about once a decade, so addicted to NaCl am I) but Wendy loved it.  Alastair split a cheese plate with his end of the table and other faves included the Little Phillies (mini Philly cheesesteak sandwiches) and homemade tater tots served with bacon, frisee, and a 150 degree egg.  Here’s the thing about Table Six: the appetizers are not only good, they are plentiful.  And this caused something of a problem for the consumption of the main course.

Ahi Tuna Casserole

The main course choices were varied.  I had a Camembert chicken roll stuffed with mushrooms and served with wilted chard and hedgehog mushrooms (I think).  It was one of the more reasonably sized portions of the evening and thus I had no difficulty finishing it.  Another popular choice was the Ahi Tuna Casserole (pictured above): basically a fancified version of a tuna casserole.  The only difficulty with this was that the taste of the ahi tuna seemed to be drowned out by all its casserole accessories.  And who wants that to happen to ahi tuna?  The steak — served with generously cut fries — was also popular, as was the shrimp risotto (pictured below): served with melted leeks, onion rings, and arugula.  The real difficulty with the risotto was that it was unbelievably rich and if you’ve already consumed three Little Phillies, the odds of finishing such a risotto are slim to none.  It was also a very saucy risotto, not the congealed mess that is the traditional risotto of the Veneto.  This is not my preference but I’m willing to allow for variation in taste on the issue.

Shrimp Risotto

By the time the main course was over, one would think we would all have been too full for dessert.  One would be correct.  But Table Six sent over a whole dessert platter!  And LeeLynn arrived to give a toast to the power and importance of birthdays. It was quite sweet. The birthday platter, which, despite our protestations, we seemed to work through pretty quickly, was composed of chocolate sauce-filled beignets nestled in a pomegranate sauce, a fruit tart with some sort of whipped topping, basmati rice pudding, and a sweet potato bread pudding with ice cream.  (I may be sketchy on some of the details because we’d had a fair bit of wine at that point, and the most recent menu is not posted on their website.)

Dessert Platter

The whole gang (sans moi; I was exhausted!)  headed off to BoyzTown in hopes of encountering their favorite dancer, Tyler.  (“Give it up, give it up, give it up for sexy boy, Tyler!”)  The snow was starting to come down in earnest as I walked my way home…

Happy Birthday (again) Alastair!  And thanks to Table Six for a fantastic dinner.

Design After Dark: Get Your Tickets!

Posted in bars, denver, design, fashion, food, gays, parties, wine by Blake on January 29, 2011

Ever since Alastair and I moved here we’ve gone to the Denver Art Museum Design Council’s annual fundraiser — and all-around great party — Design After Dark.  And this year will be no exception. It’s next Friday night, the 4th of February, and if previous years are any basis for judgment, it’s sure to be a great time. You don’t have to know anything about design to attend this thing: while Alastair fancies himself a design buff, I know absolutely nothing except that I like mid-century modern (but what self-respecting homo doesn’t?).  It’s fun no matter what you know. Yes, there are architects and designers competing for the best interpretation of the year’s theme — this year it’s “Light” — and yes, there is a silent auction of various designery accessories and pieces of art.  But the price of a ticket also includes some booze and a whole lot of food and lots of good conversation with, wait for it, stylish people in Denver.  I know you thought such people did not exist — aside from your DOD boys, of course — but if you’re going to find them anywhere, this is the place.  Plus, there’s an after party this year at Beauty Bar beginning at 11.  Gay, anyone?!

So head on over to their website and buy yourself some tickets (click on the ticket button on the bottom right corner).  We’ll see you there!

Aria: Dial it Down, Girl!

Posted in denver, food, gays, wine by Blake on January 18, 2011


Aria: Inspired Cuisine?

Dear Reader, it is true: I have been AWOL for the better part of a month.  What with the holiday season and time away and the celebration of Alastair’s milestone birthday (though that will continue in early February as well; stay tuned), and a recent trip to Lake Tahoe to see my Gentleman Friend and his friends, I’ve barely had time for our little blog.  But I commit to changing all that.  Starting right now.

Last night Alastair and I joined our gal pals Gareth, Justine, Christine, and Big Texas for dinner to celebrate Christine’s birthday (and it was just Big Tex’s birthday as well — so many occasions to celebrate!).  We went to Aria, the second restaurant from Chef Sean McGaughey (of Opus in Littleton).  Aria is located on Josephine between First and Second in the space formerly occupied by Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse.  The space itself is quite large; one might even say cavernous.  One definitely would when one is seated at the only table with customers.  Which was the case for our party of six for at least half the meal.  Yup, it’s early days for Aria but they need to fill those seats if they’re going to stick around.  I’m not sure this review is going to help them…


Lamb Meat Balls (foreground); Duck Duck Goose (background)

We began with three appetizers, all of which were really quite good, even if they had slightly ridiculous names (this is a theme, it turns out): Duck Duck Goose (foie gras, goose confit, cured duck breast); Tuna Tar Tar PB&J (tuna tartar with coconut jelly and peanut sauce); Colorado Lamb Meatballs.  The lamb was probably my favorite: great tomato sauce and the balls came with mozzarella inside them.  But there were genuine fans of the Duck Duck Goose at our table as well, especially of the foie gras.

Oh, we also had wine.  Of course.  A couple glasses of pinot grigio for me (I was having fowl), and a couple bottles of Emeritus Pinot Noir for the table. On to the main courses… Overall I think most were in agreement about two things:

  1. The meat was overcooked, though this was not universally true: my chicken was quite tender and juicy.  And Alastair’s steak was also the “medium” that he had requested.  But Gareth’s pork was slightly dry and Big Texas’s steak more resembled Alastair’s than the “rare” he had requested.
  2. While many of the flavors were quite tasty, the dishes just need to be edited.  There are way too many elements on every plate.  Take, for example, my entrée:  the French Onion Redbird Chicken.  The chicken itself was breaded, then covered with melted gruyère, and topped with dried onions and bread crumbs (I think). It was served with caramelized onions, “spiced pan perdu” (their misspelling of pain; perhaps deliberate?), flavored whipped potatoes, steamed carrots, and cauliflower.  The other entrées were similarly over-accessorized.  Most of us felt that the plates could have taken the advice of the immortal Coco Chanel, who advised that before leaving one’s home, one should take a look in the mirror and remove at least one accessory.  Or, in this case, three.  Nina Garcia has similarly counseled contestants on Project Runway: enough accessories.  Let the outfit/meal stand on its own.

This is hardly the end of the world, of course, but the entrées were just all too complicated and confusing when they have, on average, about 6 different actual creations on each one.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Spring Rolls

The same thing seemed to hold true for dessert.  We only sampled one, and it was very tasty, but a quick look at the dessert menu (which arrives in a picture frame sitting in the middle of your table) revealed that they were overly complicated as well. There is, for instance, a “Tropical Trio Cheesecake” that features a macadamia crust, vanilla roasted pineapple, and passionfruit caramel. One might feel that the entire Hawaiian archipelago had been baked into one’s cake. We opted for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Spring Rolls, which were very tasty, but again, came complete with umpteen separate elements: the actual spring rolls (delicious), a spicy chocolate mousse (less so), a ginger anglaise, and vanilla bean ice cream.  There was also a little cookie. And a mint leaf. And maybe berries, too. Granted, we split all this between six, but what would one person have done? And when the rolls and the ice cream are both delicious and so complementary, why add more?

The wait staff, I’m pleased to report, was quite attentive.  But how could they not be with so few diners around?  The chef came out to ask if we had questions and we were sent over a new experimental cocktail from the bar.  There was one problem in service: the birthday gal was taking a little longer to finish his dinner than the rest of us, and yet the runner cleared the rest of our plates first, leaving Christine forlornly finishing his meal as the rest of us sat at a cleared table. This is breaking one of the cardinal rules of table-waiting: clear plates only when the last person is finished! But they were very friendly, including the gay waiter who easily could have doubled as the fourth fruit on the cheesecake (and who wished me a good afternoon as we exited at 9 PM; too many experimental cocktails?).

Will we go back?  Probably not, but more so because the location isn’t super convenient for les boys de DOD.  They’re just starting out, so give them a try.  Maybe they’ll tone down the gastronomical accessorizing and focus on the main event. That would be our advice, but who are we to advise? Well, we are two gays who dine out far too frequently and spend inordinate proportions of our paychecks on food that others prepare for us. Maybe we do know what we’re talking about.  You be the judge!

She’s Baaaack!

Posted in gays, tv by Blake on December 13, 2010

Tabatha is back on Bravo on Monday nights.  And of course Alastair and I tuned in for the season premiere last week. Alastair had just returned from almost a week in SF, where he explained that he’d been eating too much.  So we decided to forgo our regular pizza and ordered Thai.  So healthy. Well, it would have been if we hadn’t included the fried potstickers and deep-fried shrimp in our order.  Oh well…

Tabatha in PJs with 3 Phun Sisters

But food was not the main event and Tabatha was! What can I say? Except that she’s as wonderful as ever, if ever-so-slightly softer around the edges (in terms of personality, that is, not somatically). Last week’s episode had Tabatha taking over a salon in San Bruno, CA run by four sisters (well, run by two of them, employing the other two).  The softer side of Tabatha: she went to their home (all 4 live together) for a slumber party and we saw her in her pyjamas!  All pink. Cognizant of her usual outfits, she asked, “You didn’t think I slept in black, too, did you?”  She also confessed a real fondness for the Phun sisters at one point, hoping that they would get it together to run their salon successfully.

What I love about Tabatha, aside from how blunt and profane she is (though I love both of those things as well), is that in the land of vapid reality television, she stands out as intelligent. She has a brain. When one watches a little too much of the housewives of various locations, one encounters a gaggle of women who take themselves very seriously. And are also very seriously dumb.  Not so Tabatha.  She knows her stuff, she’s funny, and she’s one smart cookie.  The fact that she’s also a lesbian endears her to our DOD heart even more.  Check her out tonight at 8 PM MST on Bravo.

Gay Ornament Party!

Posted in food, gays, parties, wine by Blake on December 5, 2010

Alastair’s out of town for the weekend so I was hanging out with my gal pals Tony and Tina.  We headed to LoHi SteakBar for a lateish supper.  After a couple glasses of Malbec we were seated and proceeded to order.  Tony had the Highlander Burger (mushrooms, swiss, and Bearnaise); Tina the Rock Shrimp Po’Boy, which our waiter helpfully informed him was not the traditional southern po’boy; and I had the SteakBar Steak with the blue cheese butter.  Satisfaction all around.  LoHi was actually the very first restaurant that Alastair and I reviewed on DOD a whole year ago.  And I ordered exactly the same thing.  I should probably branch out a little, but at a SteakBar, one feels obligated to order a steak.  Well, this one feels obligated.  The fries were as good as I remembered, and quite plentiful.  The steak was tender and juicy.  The only downside was that the blue cheese butter didn’t really taste much like blue cheese.  Same deal last year.  Tony ‘n’ Tina were also impressed with the generous burger and po’boy.  Bravo, LoHi.

We were then on to the evening’s final destination: a gay Christmas ornament exchange party.  Yes, you read correctly.  A party hosted by gays where the activity would be an organized Christmas ornament exchange.  Each partygoer was requested to bring a wrapped Christmas present.  I was deeply skeptical and Tina clearly was having none of it, so Tony bought and wrapped our ornaments. Part of our dinner discussion revolved around activities at parties.  Attitudes at the table ranged from tolerance to disdain.  You can probably guess where I stood.  I am of the opinion that all a party really needs is interesting people, food, and alcohol.  Activities not necessary.

Thoroughly Revolting

As it turns out, the party was actually a lot of fun, largely because the ornament exchange only took up about 10 minutes and was not a big public spectacle.  Each attendee was given a sticker upon arrival.  Your job was then to find the person who had the matching sticker and exchange ornaments with him or her.  But it all happened simultaneously so we didn’t have to unwrap before an audience and oooh and ahhh about what was revealed.  It was quick and dirty and got you to talk to someone you probably didn’t know.  And you got a new ornament.  (I gave mine to Tony because he had shopped for mine.  And because Tina had broken Tony’s accidentally.  Oops.)


Among the highlights of the party was the food!  Chilled shrimp cocktail, a variety of cheese and crackers, a whole ham, chips with salsa and guacamole.  Best of all: homemade ceviche.  I kid you not. An enormous bowl of it.  And it was really delicious. You’d think that my steak frites would have filled me up. You would be wrong. I ate and drank enough to leave me feeling not only full but a wee bit hung over this morning.  Recovery has involved watching episodes of House Hunters at Alastair’s house.  I call it housesitting.

Bullying on Glee

Posted in gays, tv by Blake on November 15, 2010

Kurt's Tormentor Kisses Him

OK, so I’m a little behind on this one; forgive me.  I no longer have a television (!) so I watch everything either at Alastair’s house or after the fact on my computer.  And I only just saw last week’s episode of Glee, an episode that clearly was a long time in coming (the possibility of Kurt getting some action and the fact of addressing his bullying so explicitly).  One suspects that this has something to do with the recent and horrifying rash of suicides nationwide where gayness or suspected gayness has been a factor.  While I’m grateful to Glee for tackling this issue, I’m also a little skeptical of the tack they’ve taken.  For two reasons:

1. I loved the all-boys school version of “Teenage Dream.”  But I was not convinced — AT ALL — by the notion that this private boys school’s policy of “No Tolerance,” as Blaine explained it, would actually be very effective.  I have a certain amount of experience with all boys’ environments — schools, camps, other organizations — and oftentimes they are significantly worse on issues of homosexuality than are their coed counterparts.  I just don’t buy that Blaine’s classmates are so comfortable with his homosexuality.  Or, for that matter, that the entire school is so enthusiastic about its glee club that they would all be dancing along to its Katy Perry remake.

2. While Kurt has been bullied since Day One on this show, I am made profoundly uncomfortable by the notion that his biggest tormentor is now revealed as a closet homosexual conflicted about his feelings.  When will the gays abandon the notion that the worst homophobes are also homos as well? First of all:  What evidence do we have that this is actually true?  Second, in what way is this politically useful? Or comforting?  Do we really want them on our team?  I certainly don’t.  I also just don’t think this explanation can possibly account for the prevalence of hatred against gay men and lesbians.  Not all of the people who hate us can possibly also want to sleep with us.  Yes, they can be profoundly uncomfortable about their own sexuality or their masculinity.  Or they can just be looking for someone to pick on because they themselves need to pick on others to be popular. And in high school picking on the gay kid is standard practice. But the notion endorsed by last week’s Glee that our worst tormentors are … really just us.  That I don’t buy.

All that said, I’m super excited for Kurt to get it on with uber-cheesy Blaine.  It’s time for Kurt to have some boy-on-boy action.  I hope they don’t shy away from including Kurt’s first voluntary kiss in an upcoming episode, as they have not minded including the delightful Brittany and Santana makeout sessions or this most recent less-than-voluntary lip-lock.