Tex’n the City: Doomsday

Our final installment of of Brandon James Singleton’s Tex’n the City.

DOOMSDAY PART 2

6. DRAMA FREE/7. RESPECT. These two came about so easily and without me even realizing it. First, the people in my life don’t bring unneeded drama to me. And I now can settle with straying away from getting involved.

Does that mean we don’t share our worries and conflicts with one another? No. I’m still there for all of my friends. It’s just now, I know what I can take on, and what I can’t. And because they love me, I’m not even asked to take on more than I should. As for myself, one of my rules has become, “Don’t put anything out into the universe that you can’t handle coming back at you.”

Petty gossiping. Backstabbing. Lying. Manipulation. All traits no one wants in a friend. So, when you do those things yourself, you have to be prepared for someone around you to do it.

Easy solution: Be legit. All the time. To the people around you, and yourself.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Epilogue

In late September, we launched an online series called Tex’n the City, where former Dallasite Brandon James Singleton chronicled the months leading up to his 30th birthday as a transplant to Southern California. He started with a checklist, then moved one-by-one through the things he wanted to accomplish before the big day: 1. Live in a dream home, 2. have a well-paying career, 3. get a hot body, 4. enjoy his social circle, 5. have a great boyfriend, 6. be drama free, 7. have “respect,” 8. have security, 9. have a BFF and finally, 10. be ready for the future. Rarely did what he think he wanted — or had — turn out to be what he imagined.

On Dec. 15, Brandon hit his mark. Here’s Part 1 to his post-script to the first 30 years.

DOOMSDAY.

I’ve compared life to the cinema a lot over the last few weeks. But just like the movies, sometimes when things look slim, that silver-lining comes from nowhere.

1. DREAM HOME. I am enjoying living on the West Coast more than any place I’ve ever lived. I love Texas. I’ll always love Texas. But being in Hollywood has forced me to grow up, in every way.

There’s an energy that drives people out here to go after what they want. And succeed in obtaining it. It’s one of the busiest places in the world. And it can feel lonely and make you feel insignificant if you allow it to. But it can also make you feel inspired and motivate you to rise up to the challenge and achieve your dreams.

I am in love with Hollywood. I was born here. It just took nearly 30 years for the prodigal son to find his way home.

2. WELL-PAYING CAREER. A few days ago, I get the call I’ve been waiting for since September: I was offered a full time position with one of the companies I’ve been interning for. Within the week, I was working on sets for Lifetime, Nick@Nite and NBC.

All of these months of hard work are paying off.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 6 — Be drama free

This week, we waited until after the election results to run Brandon James Singleton’s latest entry in Tex’n the City. Why? Because this week has been too much drama … and Brandon is trying to be drama free before his 30th next month.

Let’s just get straight to it. We’ve all said those words before: “I. Hate. Drama.”

So why is it that we always seem to end up in the midst of it?

This Halloween was a great example.

Unbeknownst to me, I got off the train in Hollywood to the sounds of cop cars and ambulances. There had been a gunfight. (I know it’s rare to hear about public spectacles in such a laid back, quiet area as Hollywood, but I swear, it happened.) To get to my friend’s place, I had to walk the opposite direction. Head north three blocks then double back around before I could even reach his apartment.

Along the way, I witnessed a few more fights than I would have cared to. And no matter which side of the street I chose to walk on, I kept finding myself just barely dodging one.

When did it become so difficult for a twenty-something man, dressed as a four-year-old kid, to go and hang with a bunch of prisoners and mythological creatures, dancing and drinking the night away?

I felt like the drama was just following me wherever I went. Like I was the drama-filled destination locked in on everyone’s GPS.

I wish I could count how many times in my life I’ve felt that way. You plan for a good time, but somehow it all goes downhill.

Once we made it into what almost seemed like the Million Gay March that was West Hollywood I finally started to relax. Well, as much as one could relax with giant half naked people wearing animal masks coming at you from every direction.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: Item No. 3 — Hot bod

As Brandon James Singleton approached 30, he made a checklist of accomplishments. So far, he’s achieved Nos. 1 (dream home), 2 (career) and 9 (a great best friend). That still leaves a good social circle (No. 5), a promising boyfriend (No. 6), a drama-free life (No. 7), “respect” (No. 8) and even being ready to turn 40 one day (No. 10). But being a gay man, he has an even more pressing priority first: A gym body.

MISSING

One chiseled, Roman-god-like muscle physique. Shade of mahogany.

Last seen with a set of washboard abs.

If found, please contact owner.

So, there’s clearly something in the water in good ol’ Cali. It’s like everyone has a perfect gym-body. I mean, what happened to the days when people used to go to the gym, hang out on the treadmill for 10 minutes, make a few rounds while pretending the machine you want to use is taken … then, while drinking the little plastic cone of water at the cooler, you toss it in your face to give off the appearance of sweat — you know, after pumping all that iron — then hit up the local Dunkin Donuts conveniently four blocks away, afterwards, as a good workout treat.

Apparently in Hollywood, believe it or not, people actually workout! Blows my mind! I miss Texas.

Anyway, so I’ve decided it’s time to do the unthinkable. I’m getting a gym membership. Help me.

My buddy Kyle lives in WeHo. He offered to let me tag along with him at his gym as his guest,  and see if I liked it and would join. His only advice, “Don’t let yourself get intimidated. Some of these people have been working out forever. You can’t expect the same immediate results. It’ll take time. But it’ll be worth it.”

Lacy, the front desk receptionist: Amazing! She gets my humor immediately. Future BFF, I’m sure.

We finish checking in, and Kyle goes off on his own gym regime, leavomh me on my own to explore.

First encounter: Blue V-Neck Guy. Hate him. And his boulder-size arms. He can suck it.

Second encounter: Yellow Shorts Guy. Hate him. And his thighs of steel. He can suck it, too.

I make my way into the open dance room. Dancefloor. Mirrors. I’m home! The Zumba instructor was just packing up his stuff. He jokes about how I missed his best class yet. He’s cute. I’ll play along.

“…Blah Blah Blah…I’m Brandon…”

“…Matt…”

“Blah Blah Blah…just moved here from Texas…”

“…Welcome to Cali…Blah Blah…”

We talk about how insanely in-shape everyone here in Hollywood seems to be. He found me amusing. He clearly didn’t get the memo I was completely being serious. Again, he’s cute. I’ll let it slide.

Out of nowhere, he goes a little Jenny Craig consultant on me. He stands me up in front of the mirror. He starts to compliment me and it’s only polite of me to stand quietly and let him continue. I mean, I don’t wanna be rude. Matt, hottie WeHo Zumba instructor, starts making me take notice of the attributes I should be proud of. Ummm, thanks for the unpaid therapy session, Stewart Smalley, but ummmm, no. Well if I hadn’t already mentioned, he is cute. And 10 more minutes together and I could consider this my first date in Hollywood, right? No. Suck it.

Anyway, Matt shares that once upon a time he used to be a bit of a porker. (ME, TOO! SOULMATES!) But funnily, he does help me with a little confidence booster. He makes me stand in front of the mirror, takes off his shirt and stands next to me.

“Want you to make me feel, like I’m the only gay in the world…”

Can’t lie. I couldn’t stop staring at his abs so I’m not really certain what he started saying. I came in right around the point when he said “…and everyone can pick out flaws and parts of their body that they would change if they could. No matter how they work to achieve their physical goals. When I moved here a few years back from Michigan, I was afraid to even go to any pool parties or to the beach just to avoid the embarrassment I put on myself. But what I had to do is look back and learn to appreciate what I DO have and no matterhow much I want to look like Black Bandana Guy over thereby the free weights, I don’t. I’m happy with me. And it made working out, no longer something I was dreading, but something that I started to enjoy. And little by little, I set little realistic goals for myself, and just keep reminding myself, it’s all worth it.”

I went back to Lacy’s desk and officially signed up for a membership. David Beckham abs, here I come!

It’s not like I didn’t know what Matt told me, but sometimes you just need a little reminder. And when the reminder is coming out of a really nice guy, it doesn’t hurt.

And, did I mention he was hot?

peace out xoxoxo

@The_HugoBoss

#TXNTC

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LISTEN: MicahB and Kyan Loredo team for “Never Fail” (and will perform it Friday)

As a producer, songwriter and DJ, MicahB carved himself a healthy niche of gigs within the community. From major fundraisers like Black Tie Dinner to his weekly ’80s themed happy hour Cocktails. Then he bounced on out of here to relocate to West Hollywood to further his musical endeavors. And now we have proof of that.

He teamed up with singer Kyan Loredo for this latest track “Never Fail.” And as MicahB returns to Dallas this weekend, he brings Loredo with him to perform the song at Friday’s special edition of Cocktails.

“He will be performing our song which has been going off at the clubs here in West Hollywood and we’re excited to showcase it in our old stomping grounds,” he posted on his Facebook event notice for Friday.

In the meantime, here’s the recorded version of “Never Fail.”

—  Rich Lopez

2 days in the Valley

… And a few in WeHo. Part 2 of our coast-to-coast travelogue. Now up: L.A.

Travel-1

HOT IN THE CITY | The salsas at Light My Fire in the Farmers Market have provocative names like Anal Angst and Colon Cleanser, making them popular with a gay crowd. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

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ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

West Hollywood, The Castro, P’Town, Chelsea, Key West, South Beach: The names alone of these locales are synonymous with gay culture. But just as Dallas boasts two gayborhoods in Cedar Springs and Oak Cliff, so does Los Angeles claim two queer destinations. The Silver Lake district — east of WeHo and abutting the hills of the San Fernando Valley — is one of the most populous gay ZIP codes in America. And if you have a car, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy both on the same trip.

The car requirement isn’t merely a suggestion. L.A. has notoriously insufficient public transportation (watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for the backstory) and everything is pretty spread out — traffic is more congested than a kindergarten in January.

WeHo — centered mostly along a mile-long strip of Santa Monica Boulevard (the old Route 66) — deserves its reputation as queer central: Simply put, it is one of the gayest towns in America (its police cars are even decorated with rainbow colors). Crammed with shops, restaurants, gyms and clubs within two square miles, its population has remained fairly constant for 50 years (last census, about 34,000), but you could spend an entire day walking around without running out of things to do (while barely ever seeing a straight person).

Travel-2

UNTIL THE SUN COMES UP OVER SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD | Well, actually it’s Wilshire. And the sun is setting. But L.A. is still a great place to visit, especially the gay enclaves of West Hollywood and Silver Lake. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A big Starbucks (known as “the gay Starbucks”) has benches that look out on the strip for great people-watching opportunities. If you want more than coffee and a scone, though, Basix is an essential stop, with brunchy items available much of the day (try the delicious blackened ahi tacos).

For lunch (or dinner or even late-night bites), two unmissable eateries are right next to each other. Hamburger Haven is an institution a la Hunky’s: a burger joint with a devoted following. The buns are grilled on the classic “sassy cheeseburger,” and thick cut fries are must-haves; next door, Bossa Nova serves what it calls Brazilian cuisine, though its large portioned pasta dishes are the main staples with locals. Both are open well into the early morning hours, and for good reason: They are across the street from two popular gay clubs.

“Welcome to the fabulous Abbey, where the drinks are cheap and the boys are cheaper,” one local jokes. Now 20 years old, The Abbey truly is a legendary club.

Designed to conjure a cloisters, it attracts a wide range of types (including straight clubbers) caught up in its energy, shirtless bartenders and go-go boys and girls.

Next door, Here Lounge is a unique and fun spot, a sports bar where you don’t watch sports so much as fantasize about athletes. Even gay Angelenos marvel at their theme nights, like Hooker Casino on Saturdays and Stripper Circus on Wednesdays.

There are almost too many other clubs to count: Revolver, one of the oldest gay bars anywhere (it recently returned to its original name); Gym, a sports bar; Rage, where the young guys hang out; Trunks; and many more.

You can venture further out, though, and still have a great time. South of WeHo, The Grove and the abutting Farmers Market are great destinations, not only for shopping but for some history.

The Grove is a lovely, new, high-end outdoor shopping center (weekdays, Mario Lopez films exteriors for Extra here) with everything from Abercrombie & Fitch to Crate & Barrel. Next door, the Farmers Market — founded in 1934 — offers almost the opposite experience: Old-school charm. Stop by Loteria for some excellent tacos, or satisfy your craving for heat at Light My Fire, where hundreds of salsas (some with names like Colon Cleaner and Anal Angst) are for sale.

Into the Silver Lake area, a good pre-clubbing dinner stop is Malo along West Sunset Boulevard. For California Tex-Mex, it serves a super spicy house hot sauce with its chips (the sauce also accents the cheese chili rellenos), and the house infused tequilas are great. Try also the tres leches cake for dessert — one of the best anywhere.

Travel-3

ISLE OF PALMS | Even in winter, Los Angeles stays sunny most days, though at night you’ll want a jacket. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

When done there, haul over to The Eagle L.A., a predominant leather and Levi bar in town (emphasis on the word “dominant”). Skeevier than its Dallas counterpart but spacious and fun, it attracts an enthusiastic bearish clientele  (a surprisingly popular subculture in slick, Botox-happy L.A.). Incredibly crowded on big nights like Mr. Eagle, it’s a fun place even on an off-night with muscular, nearly naked bartenders. (In L.A., it’s legal for porn to play in bars, and while not all take advantage of that, The Eagle sure does.)
Faultline, not too far away, is a rougher leather bar, and the straight club Little Temple is a gay-friendly spot to see interesting live music.

You don’t need to get the totally “gay” experience to enjoy L.A., either. West of WeHo, Beverly Hills is the famous enclave of the wealthy, with pricey boutiques and lovely homes worth a drive. The city is also loaded with interesting architecture from the 1930 through the ‘50s, which you can enjoy in WeHo, Silver Lake or even the San Fernando Valley.

“The Valley” has a reputation as the pimply-faced stepbrother of central L.A., but there’s interest there, too … and even some celebrity sighting opportunities. Aroma Cafe in the Studio City area is a large, hipster-friendly outdoor bistro that’s ideal for hangover brunches, but just as good for a completely sober breakfast, especially for one of the huge omelets or an unusual but tasty version of chilaquiles. (It’s also across the street from the Italian restaurant where the murder Robert Blake was accused of took place.)

Tool around slowly in Studio City or Burbanks, and you can see some of the facilities where TV shows like Will & Grace were shot. You might even see some celebs walking around or getting their dry-cleaning. That’s Los Angeles for you.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 27, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

The iron ladies of “The Iron Lady”

Out filmmaker Phyllida Lloyd directs Meryl Streep, who talks gay icon status — of both herself and Margaret Thatcher

Nothing can stand in the way of the almighty Meryl Streep — except on this particular afternoon. At a New York City hotel, in front of a room full of journalists from mainstream press, she braces herself for what could be the ultimate career challenge. The mission? Answer a “gay” question.

With mock surprise, Streep dramatically throws her arms up and whips back in her chair, pretending it’s something she — two-time Oscar winner, recent Kennedy Center honoree, the “devil” herself – isn’t sure she can pull off.

“OK,” she says, sarcastically, “Let me get ready. All right, go.”

And so we do, citing mentions of the fierce Margaret Thatcher, whom Streep doesn’t just play but becomes in The Iron Lady, as a gay icon. So, is she?

Streep deliberates, working out the answer in her head before she lets go of it.

“You know, I don’t know. I just recently found out that I am a gay icon. It’s flattering, of course,” she says, noting the all-male tribute “Streep Tease” in West Hollywood (of which she says, “I haven’t gotten the nerve to go”). “But I think (Margaret) stirs very strong feelings even today, 20 years after leaving power. And she remains divisive. The film will enter a landscape of a world where she continues to cause controversy. I can’t answer the question about whether she’s a gay icon. That’s a difficult one for me.”

Something Meryl Streep can’t do? The recent Golden Globe winner for best actress in a drama, for Iron Lady, is supposed to be this thespian superwoman who can effortlessly slip into character. She’s such a persona-transcendent pro that when she’s sitting right in front of you, you’re asking yourself: Is that really her? Heck, after being so outside herself, does Meryl Streep even know Meryl Streep?

Iron Lady, then, is a made-for-Meryl movie, from the prosthetics that afford an uncanny transformation into Britain’s first female prime minister to the heart that she finds among all that, well, iron.

“The biggest challenge for me was accomplishing the long lines of thought that she would launch into without taking a breath,” Streep recalls. “Even with all the drama school that I’ve had, I had a lot of trouble managing that. Just the galvanizing energy and the drive and the capacity to follow through with a conviction all the way through to the end of your breath until you can’t go any further,” she says, breathlessly in character, “and not to let anybody interrupt!”

“It was masterful the way she could manage these interviews.” She lets out a hearty laugh. “I’m taking notes on that.”

Thatcher was a strident figure of polarizing effect, a loved-and-hated political icon admired not necessarily for her ideas but for the way she was able to execute them — in the face of class and gender prejudice.

“The array of obstacles that stood before her in England at that time were enormous,” Streep notes, “and I think she did a service for our team [women] by getting there even though you might not agree with the politics. Anybody that stands up and is willing to be a leader, who is as prepared as she was and as smart as she was, is admirable on a certain level, because you really sacrifice a great deal. All of our public figures do.”

The film spans three days in Thatcher’s post prime, well into her 80s, after dementia wipes out her memories and she tries to capture whichever ones she has left. For as political-minded as she was, the film isn’t very political at all. And it wasn’t meant to be.

“All of us understood what we were wanting from this piece,” Streep says. “It was not going to be chronicling Margaret Thatcher’s political life; it would be a particular look back through her own eyes at selected memories – not in chronological order, but in a jumble of memory, regret, glory days. It would all be a part of a reckoning.”

The film is facing intense scrutiny for breezing past the political turmoil that Thatcher stirred and, instead, focusing on her personal life.

“We have come under criticism for portraying someone who is frail and in delicate health,” Streep admits. “Some people have said it’s shameful to portray this part of a life, but if you think that debility, delicacy and dementia are shameful, if you think that the ebbing end of life is something that should be shut away, if you think that people need to be defended from that, from those images,– then yes, it is a shameful thing. But I don’t think that. We are naturally interested in our leaders, and we tell stories about ourselves through the stories of important people.”

Out director Phyllida Lloyd elaborates: “We thought of the film as something of a King Lear for girls, a Shakespearean story — not a political story. So, in that sense, we spoke to a number of Margaret Thatcher’s closest associates, who described her story in Shakespearean and operatic terms. I’d worked in opera a lot and to me, this did have some of the elements of a tragic opera. The movie is a combination of the political world and pure imagination. It’s two very distinctive worlds.”

This isn’t the first time Streep and Lloyd have bridged two worlds. 2008’s Mamma Mia! united the actress’ singing and dancing, with Lloyd directing.

“I think it’s always easier the second time working together,” the filmmaker admits. “In fact, you should start with the second time.”

Looking at her, pretending to be offended, Streep laughs: “What do you mean?”

“I loved working with her… the first time,” the actress razzes. “We had shorthand (on Iron Lady), and we had to because we had $14 million to shoot a movie that takes place over the course of six decades. And that’s basically no money. That’s less than a tenth of what Hugo cost.”

She hands it to Lloyd for strongly conveying her vision prior to shooting, which allowed Streep a sense of security in knowing just how to find Thatcher’s mind, body and spirit.

“I’m playing a Margaret Thatcher no one has seen or really knows, and we can’t know. It’s an imagined journey that we were taking, so I felt a lot of freedom. I did,” Streep says. “I felt completely free, and that’s a testament to the director.”

But it wasn’t all Lloyd. Though she’s never met Margaret Thatcher, Streep wore the prime minister’s many hats, learning that the woman wasn’t a slacker and that her father saw Thatcher as the man of the house.

“He discovered, of his two daughters, one was uncommonly bright and uncommonly curious, and maybe this could be his boy,” she says. “That’s what I think. She fulfills a promise, and he infused in her the courage to get up and out. She had a lot of promise, and she wanted to live up to it.”

When did Streep realize the same for herself?

“I never really decided. I’m still ambivalent.” She laughs at the notion. “But no, being an actor lets me be a million different things, so I don’t have to decide.”

 — Chris Azzopardi

 

 

—  Rich Lopez

Denis the menace

Hollywood-Issue-logo-(color)

Gay actor Denis O’Hare, TV’s reigning villain, is far less creepy than his roles

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AMERICAN HORROR ACTOR | Denis O’Hare adds grotesque intensity to Ryan Murphy’s creepy series, which wrapped it’s first season this week.

Meeting Denis O’Hare should be scary as hell. After all, this is the man who plays two of TV’s reigning supervillains: The horny vamp leader on True Blood and a mysteriously deformed psychopath who just suffocated a potential homebuyer on American Horror Story. But today, in the back of homo-hot-spot Saint Felix in West Hollywood on his day off, O’Hare doesn’t project any of that eeriness.

So far during the debut season of the smash FX show, O’Hare, as the scarred weirdo Larry Harvey, has doused a house in gasoline, killed another man’s mistress and fought fervently for a home that’s become a tough sell — and not just because the economy sucks.

“I don’t think he’s evil,” O’Hare says. “He’s acting out of a particular desire for something. For me, all characters have a justification for their behavior; they always think that what they’re doing is necessary for a reason. Even the Phantom of the Opera has a real reason: He was in love with someone, he was scarred, he wants love and revenge.”

O’Hare orders a smorgasbord of nibbles in between talking of Ryan Murphy’s AHS, the upcoming season of True Blood and the foster child he’s caring for with husband Hugo Redwood, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Holding his phone up, O’Hare flips through photos of his family, looking for the one of the kid flashing his happy-as-can-be grin. Like O’Hare’s partner, the actor’s nearly year-old baby is black, and when he comes upon one pic — of the boy atop O’Hare’s lap and a friend’s child, who’s white, sitting on Redwood — he finally breaks into a maniacal smirk.

“We’re the right wing’s worst nightmare,” O’Hare says. “Wrong color baby on the wrong person’s lap — oh my god!”

And you thought Larry was scary.

Before getting the call from Murphy, who desperately wanted O’Hare to take on Larry, the actor was already creeping out audiences on True Blood as Russell Edgington, the ancient former vampire king of Mississippi.

Premiering next summer, Season 5 will see the return of the Master of Nutcases, when the 2,800-year-old bloodsucker makes a comeback after skipping out on the last go-’round. What’s to become of him after rising from the cement he was buried under?

“Nothing I can share,” O’Hare says, noting a recent lunch he had with out True Blood mastermind Alan Ball, also the creator of Six Feet Under. “We talked about what’s going to happen and I was definitely surprised. It’s good stuff. It’s always good stuff. With him, and with Ryan, they don’t go to obvious places. They go where you wouldn’t expect them to go.”

And so does O’Hare. The actor, who’s actually down-to-earth and chatty, is good at playing bad. He was relentless at getting Sandra Bullock kicked out of the country in rom-com The Proposal, and played way against type in Milk as Sen. John Briggs, who proposes a California ballot initiative to outlaw gay and lesbian teachers.

Recently, O’Hare had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene in the Hoover biopic J. Edgar, a chance to work again with Clint Eastwood (O’Hare starred alongside Angelina Jolie in Changeling as, what do you know, a psych-ward bad guy).

O’Hare, who turns 50 next month, got his start while growing up in Michigan, where he sang in the choir and, in 1974, landed a chorus part in a community theater production of Show Boat. He parlayed his humble beginnings into a Broadway career — in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins in 2004, then scoring a Tony Award for his performance in Take Me Out. In January, O’Hare heads back to New York stage where he’ll act in An Iliad, off-Broadway run, before heading back to L.A. for more of True Blood.

The best part of being in NYC? Seeing his family. O’Hare married Redwood, an interior designer, over the summer, and the two have been caring for their foster child since April.

“I could’ve gone to my grave without having kids, but I came around to liking the idea,” O’Hare admits, noting he warmed up to the thought after seven years of talks with Redwood. “As a gay man, I find my biggest stumbling block was my own homophobia, my own sense of feeling that gay people shouldn’t have kids. I felt pressure from society that we’re not supposed to have kids” — not to mention, he adds, that once you do, it’s like wearing a gay yarmulke — “and I was also shy about being a spokesperson for gay adoption.”

And now he’s the gushing father who’s looking for just the right pic to show off the kid’s smile. His foster child laughs a lot, but how could he not? “I speak to him in bad French,” O’Hare says, “and he dies.”

O’Hare’s encounters with gay couples and their kids helped him shake off his internalized homophobia, something he says is difficult to diagnose in ourselves, and he finally accepted the idea of having his own with Redwood. “It’s been normalized for me,” he says, deliberating. “But it’s like being married. It’s so hard to say the word ‘husband’ at first. I say ‘partner,’ and then suddenly realize if I say ‘husband,’ it might be aggressively political. But then it’s like, what the fuck? What else am I gonna say? He’s my husband. We are legally married.”

Part of  his hesitation is that common desire not to be defined by his sexual orientation.

“For me, an actor is an actor. Years ago someone said to me, ‘How do you feel about being a gay actor?’ I said, ‘I’m not a gay actor. I’m an actor. I’m Irish. I’m an atheist. And a bridge player. I ride my bike. And I’m gay.’”

He fits right in on the set of American Horror Story, one of the gay-friendliest projects he’s ever worked on. No surprise there: This is a Ryan Murphy production.

“I’ve met more lesbian gaffers on Ryan’s show than I’ve ever met anywhere else in my life!” O’Hare explains with delight.

When O’Hare was sent the script directly from Murphy back in March, just a few weeks before shooting was set to begin, he was immediately intrigued. The show takes cues from many of his favorite horror classics and the legendary names behind them: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi.

“What I think is great about the show is that Ryan’s kind of consciously quoting from great works,” he says. “‘Don’t go in the basement’ is one of the biggest horror tropes, or ‘don’t open the door’ — they’re all horror tropes, and he’s using all of them in a really cool way. And I hear some people say, ‘Well, it’s unrealistic. Who’d stay in the house?’ That’s just a given. Let’s just let them stay in the house.”

Now he’s starting to sound a lot like Larry, who’s so insistent that the Harmons stick around, you wonder what the dude’s got up his sleeve. “I think Larry has a very clear overarching goal, which is redemption and release,” O’Hare says, “and that is all tied up in the house.”

For O’Hare, the role requires three-and-a-half hours of makeup, transforming the actor’s face into the questionable burn victim and leaving him with only half his hearing and sight. On the first day of shooting, Murphy walked him through Larry’s limp and shriveled arm. “He’s got the vision in his head, so he had to be very clear about what we should to do and I like that about him — he’s a very clear director.”

That helps, but with True Blood, O’Hare knew what he wanted for Russell Edgington.

“I felt no need to make Russell act gay, because he is gay,” he says, adding that because the vamp’s so ancient, homosexuality didn’t even really exist then. “I know as a gay man I don’t have to demonstrate that I’m gay. The fact that I’m sleeping with a man is the demonstration.”

And that’s gay?

O’Hare smiles big and non-creepy smile. “Not always, but for the most part.”

— Chris Azzopardi

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dottley, Shores mix it up with protesters in WeHo

In today’s National Pride edition of Dallas Voice, we have an interview with Jason Dottley (who is performing tonight at Station 4) and his partner Del Shores, and their activism. Well, here’s another example of that: At Pride in West Hollywood last week, protesters attended waving anti-gay signage. Not to stay silent, Shores and Dottley carried their own signs and put on a show for the haters. Another image below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ex-Dallas Star Sean Avery comes out for marriage equality — but Big D doesn’t make his gay list

While he was with the Dallas Stars in 2008-09, Sean Avery was quick to make gay friends in Big D and even took his teammates to a Nieman Marcus fashion show.

Now that Avery is with the New York Rangers, he’s gone a step further — speaking out in favor of marriage equality in the video above.

In an interview about the video with The New York Times, Avery doesn’t reference his brief, controversial stint in Dallas:

“The places I’ve played and lived the longest have been in West Hollywood, Calif., when I played for the L.A. Kings, and when I moved to New York, I lived in Chelsea for the first four years,” Avery said in a phone interview. “I certainly have been surrounded by the gay community. And living in New York and when you live in L.A., you certainly have a lot of gay friends.”

—  John Wright