Like many of the commentators on advocate.com, this slide show of the men of San Francisco in 1976, brought me nearly to tears. A beautiful memory of the days before, as the commentary states, “everything changed”.
Last Sunday, I was lucky enough to visit The Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Soho which is currently featuring the Art of Sascha Schneider. The exhibit is running between now and 12.8.13.
Sascha Schneider was a turn-of-the century, German artist, whose art had a significant homoerotic content. I was initially drawn to the exhibit through my Men of Waverly Court Series. Schneider was drawing and painting his extraordinary male erotic works at the same time as Arthur Carlisle, who appears in Between Artist and Model. But here the similarities between the two end. While I imagined Arthur’s work as a cross between John Singer Sargent and early Picasso, Schneider’s work has a distinct Pre-Raphaelite sensibility.
Still, I was delighted to discover Schneider’s compelling work, and the Leslie Lohman Museum, which I will certainly visit again.
As I was wandering around The Village the other day, I stumbled upon, more than once, posters like this one. I wasn’t shocked actually–this city is all about money, first, last and always–but selling a corporate sponsorship to the Washington Square Arch is taking things just too far. Next thing you know, we won’t be calling her THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, but rather THE STATUE OF KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN. Yes, I exaggerate, but to make a point. The Village is, as the poster describes, fast becoming a “JUNK RETAIL MALL OR COLLEGE DORM.” I say: enough already. Save our Village NYC seems to be on the right track. Check out their facebook page and their website for details.
As I mentioned the other day, gay rumors are nothing new. Take for example William Shakespeare. If you Google “Was Shakespeare Gay?” about 30,000 results pop up. Of course, there is no definitive answer and never will be. Does it matter? Is it relevant? Yes and No.
While men have been playing with other men since the dawn of time (you remember Adam & Steve?) the idea of homosexuals or gay men, is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s very possible that Shakespeare had sexual relationships with other men, but if you would have asked him if he was gay, he most certainly would not have replied, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently did when asked the same question, with “It would be tacky to answer that.” More likely, he would have stared blankly in your direction wondering whatever it was you were referring to, or asked what his being happy had to do with the price of tea in China.
But is the question of Shakespeare’s sexual preference relevant today? That I would answer with a resounding, yes. For if the father of English literature, venerated by millions over the centuries, was indeed, sleeping with men, it confirms that great and lasting contributions to our culture and world, can come from any corner–gay, straight, transgender, etc., and knocks the wind out of the sails of those who would degrade or discredit any of these.
However–and it’s a big HOWEVER, there is no earthly way for us to know who Shakespeare was sharing his bed with. Hell, we don’t even know, with one hundred percent certainty, who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays! Perhaps the best idea then, is to look at everyone as a person first, and to measure them against their lasting contributions and the good they accomplished in their lives.
Out Magazine ran a recent cover story about Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which discussed among other things the gay rumors that have swirled around him. His response: “That would be really tacky—they would win if I had to clarify,”
I couldn’t agree with him more. And it seems that an overwhelming percentage of the readership of the Huffington Post would also agree. Here is a favorite quote from the responses on HP:
“Unless one is sleeping with the man, I fail to understand why his sexuality is anyone’s business but his to discuss. It’s time those transfixed on other’s personal lives develop rewarding lives of their own…Besides, this curiosity folks have is just a little too stalker-creepy as far as I’m concerned.”
I don’t know if he is gay or not. I do know he is silver-screen handsome, has a brain, a sense of wit, and is an actor with a long successful future in front of him.
There was a time, not that long ago, when even speculation about an actor’s sexuality could end his career. Those days are thankfully, long past. There was a time, more recently, when coming out as gay was a brave stance–I remember when Dick Sargent (TV’s second Darrin on Bewitched) came out back in 1991. In those days, there was tons of speculation about this actor or that, but few, if any brave enough to answer in the affirmative. But those days are past as well.
Is exploring the question of a celebrity’s sexuality relevant in 2013? Generally, the answer is no. But much depends on the category of celebrity. Sports celebrities are the most obvious example, but even in that case, asking the question is, as Godon-Levitt put it, “tacky”.
Is exploring the question of a celebrity’s sexuality relevant in 1613? See tomorrow’s post for the answer.
It’s been more than two month’s since my vacation to Provincetown and I’m only just now getting a chance to write about it here. (Been hugely busy with other things, which I think regular readers of this blog will be up on.)
I’ll begin by saying I was much in need of a vacation when I visited Ptown. A long hard winter, changes at work, and a slew of deadlines had weighed me down, and I was in need of a long stretch of R&R. And while the stretch was not quite long enough, P-town did its level-best to give me plenty of rest and relaxation.
I began my journey with a train from NY Penn Station to Boston–a charming city that felt like it had been designed to fit snugly into a giant snow-globe. From Boston, it was a ferry ride to Provincetown, provided by Bay State Cruise Company. Comfortable and fast, it was an awesome way to further disconnect with city life.
My first impression upon seeing Provincetown from the ferry was delight. Like a New England version of Brigadoon that emerges from the mists only once every hundred years, Ptown retains much of its past, wearing the mantle of Nineteenth Century fishing village proudly. I was happy to discover my cell phone was no longer working (except for texts) and came to discover that only one or two cell company’s have Ptown in their range. (I didn’t want to know which companies they were–and was more than happy to escape that technological fetter.)
A short walk from the pier, along Commercial Street, brought me to my home for the next three nights, Crew’s Quarters. (photo above) A perfect place for unwinding and forgetting, Crew’s Quarters, like Ptown itself, is a journey back in time. The rooms are small and cozy, the beds, exceedingly comfortable and the staff friendly and accommodating. This men’s hostel felt like a home away from home. The shared bathrooms were spotless and fully up-to-date, and the location could not have been more convenient. I will definitely stay there again!
I spent the next three days (and sadly, three days only) enjoying Provincetown inside and out. There were interesting shops, including Marine Specialties Inc and Global Gifts; fun restaurants like Karoo Kafe, Cafe Heaven (breakfast!) and Canteen; plus more gay bars per capita than any small town that I’ve ever seen, each with its own special ambiance. I particularly liked Wave, at the Crown & Anchor, a video bar that was having a show tune night the evening I attended.
But there’s more to Provincetown than the usual shopping, food and drink. History can be found at The Pilgrim Monument and Museum. If you go, be sure to climb to the top of the tallest 100% granite structure on earth where the views are literally breathtaking!
No trip to Provincetown can be complete without some time at the beach. I took a small ferry over to Long Point. Isolated and sublime, I found there all the peace and calm and quiet, a man from the city could want–along with part of a shipwreck buried in the sand!
By the time my short visit to Ptown was over, I was rested and refreshed and I knew I would return. This time, for a longer visit!
Publishing Between Artist and Model was only the beginning.
A Brief Separation: There are eleven more Men of Waverly Court Male/Male erotic romances waiting in the wings. First up, to be published in December 2013, is A Brief Separation. Like Between Artist and Model, A Brief Separation is also set in the second floor apartment at Waverly Court. More than a decade has passed since Arthur Carlisle first painted Connor Donnelly in his studio there, and much has changed in those years. Chief among those changes is the apartment’s new resident, DaVinci Reynolds. The year is 1918. Carriages have become a thing of the past. Everything is electric and automatic, and bigger and better than in years past. And America is on the brink of joining The Great War.
DaVinci, Da, to his family and friends, has just ended an unhappy relationship and is convinced that men are good for one thing and one thing only. Just as Da is about to give up all hope of finding happiness, the disarming, Lou Silver shows up at “After the Opera”, an after-hours men’s tavern in Greenwich Village. Is he is just a charmer? or is there more to Lou than his good looks and charm?
If you would like to read more about Da and Lou, Chapter One of A Brief Separation, will be available on RossLandauer.com in November, and the entire novel will be available as an e-book by mid-December!
But there’s more…
- Be on the lookout for a new series of mini-romances set behind the scenes at Broadway’s greatest shows. The first two Broadway Boys romances will be available online in November, with more to follow!
- 2014 also promises a third installment of The Men of Waverly Court series, A Matter of Convenience.
Kept busy by work and spending his free time haunting museums, galleries and the occasional lecture, Connor had little time for romance. Eligible women of his age were a rarity, as men outnumbered women nearly two to one in the Lower East Side neighborhood in which they settled. He had one or two brief playful romps by the time he was in his late teens, and had also a good share of helping out his buddies, as they in turn, helped him out.
By the time Between Artist and Model opens, Connor is twenty-four, and the Donnelly household, a small three room flat, has grown by two, as Sean and Maeve are the proud parents of Flynn and Mary.
Besides my Tumblr Blog Ross Sauce–where is a guy or gal to go to get sexy photos of men, particularly men who are hot enough to grace the cover of an erotic Male/Male romance. I think I found the answer the other day when I was visiting Advocate.com, where this week’s Artist Spotlight is on Paul Freeman. Talk about male beauty! Paul himself is certainly easy on the eye, but the men he photographs…all I can say is woof! If you are interested in seeing more of Paul Freeman’s Work, you may want to check out his Amazon Page.
Arthur Henry Carlisle was born in March 1881 in New York City. His father, Thomas, had already by that time, amassed a small fortune, with Carlisle Industries having significant holdings in shipping and manufacturing. His mother, Sarah, died shortly after his birth, leaving behind Arthur and his older sister, Emily.
Thomas Carlisle, devastated by the loss of his wife, paid little attention to his son and daughter, leaving them in the care of his own mother, Amelia Carlisle. Eccentric and devoted, Amelia made certain that both Arthur and Emily were given wide-ranging educations. Emily proved to be the more practical, level-headed of the Carlisle children, while Arthur was more the dreamer.
By the time Arthur was in his teens, it became clear to him that he was a disappointment to his father, while his sister, Emily, was the apple of Thomas’ eye. A battle over university selection ended in Arthur storming from his father’s study and fleeing to Europe–where his grandmother Amelia supplied him with a modest, but regular stipend to keep him afloat.
And it was in Europe that Arthur blossomed. He discovered that he had a talent for painting, a love of wine and an unrepentant attraction to men. The artistic circles of Paris and Berlin were more accepting of his sexual passions than the world as a whole, and he found himself enjoying the attentions of numerous men, and falling in love more than once.
He studied art with the great masters of the day, and his own work soon developed a small but loyal following. It seemed his life was set. But when news arrived from Amelia that his father had died unexpectedly and he was needed back in New York, he returned to the city at once.
At the reading of Thomas Carlisle’s will, it became clear that his small fortune had grown significantly larger in the past two decades, and that the only person in whom he trusted that fortune was his daughter Emily. Both Amelia and Arthur were well taken care of, and neither need ever want for anything, yet their lives and their fortunes were in the hands of Emily, now married and with children of her own.
With little choice but to accept his fate, Arthur settled into a flat in Greenwich Village, where he could continue with his art away from the Emily’s watchful eyes, but still remain close to his grandmother, Amelia. And it is there that Between Artist and Model, begins.