Hamilton: My First Obsession of 2016

Prediction: Hamilton will win the 2016 Tony for Best Musical in June.

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The Broadway musical Hamilton was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda who previously won a Tony in 2008 with The Heights. After reading the popular biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow Miranda decided to turn it into a musical. A book about an 18th Century founding father doesn’t exactly scream Broadway musical. If you can make that leap of imagination it’ll take a pole vault in order to ad  hip hop into the mix. Whenever I try to describe it to people I always start out with something akin to “I know the idea is going to sound strange and you’d never think hip hop and the Revolutionary war would go well together but…” In the age of racial scrutiny and #Oscarsowhite Hamilton’s unique mix of American history and modern beats are a welcomed and needed breathe of fresh air. Hamilton is a truly unique concept and oddly a musical about the 18th Century feels like one of the most modern things I’ve heard in a long time.

Theater Hamilton

Nothing impresses me more than original and creative ideas even though they are very hard to come by. When my boyfriend Russ told me about a new hip hop musical that told the life story of Alexander Hamilton I was excited because it was an idea I had really never heard before. The history geek in me also got excited for the possibility of learning something new while being entertained. Furthermore Russ, who is not a fan of hip hop music, loved it which prived that this music must be special. Last week I finally got a chance to listen to the soundtrack from beginning to end and I instantly fell in love. I can talk at length about the creativity of the concept but at the end of the day it all comes down to the quality of the music. If the music and story were awful then none of this would matter. As I’m writing this I’m listening to the soundtrack again for about the 4th time and it’s honestly wonderful. The first time I listened to it I was working late at the office. Luckily most of my coworkers had gone home because tears were streaming down my face as I listened to the song It’s Quiet Uptown. There are a number of great songs but Wait For It is clearly the stand out. If show tunes got radio play it would be the first single. As 2016 goes on you are only going to hear more about Hamilton so I highly recommend giving it a listen.

If you’re in the New York area and want to see Hamilton in person then you better have your credit card handy because it’s not going to be cheap. The show is an enormous hit and tickets very hard to come by. The cast was even featured in Vogue magazine. This past Christmas I tried to get Russ and I tickets while we were in Connecticut and the cheapest I found were over $400 a ticket. At the time I hadn’t heard much of the music yet so I (correctly) decided to save my money. If given the opportunity now I don’t know if I’d have as much self control.

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Photos courtesy of Vogue and Google.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Artsy Fartsy

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Fine art. It’s a term that’s as difficult to define as pornography. When you talk to most people their definition of fine art is limited to marble statues and paintings of dead white people. I’ve always loved learning about art because it’s a topic I don’t know enough about even though it was my favorite class in college. Recently I went to the Dallas Art Museum to see an exhibit of Jackson Pollock. A few week later I saw a documentary about Peggy Guggenheim who, come to find out, was the person who discovered Jackson Pollock. Once I found that out I was intrigued so I searched for the movie Pollock to find out some more about their backstory.  The whole coincidental experience was enough to reignite my interest in art. After the Peggy Guggenheim documentary I was struck by the idea that Pollock was alive in relatively modern times. All the great artists from Van Gogh to Picasso were all dead before I was born and therefore I associate great works of art with dead people. However it got me thinking that there must be great artists alive right now that I’m missing out on. But who are they?

I’ll admit I don’t know much about living contemporary artists. My knowledge really begins and ends with Banksy. While Banksy is my favorite living artist I figured it wasn’t that strong of a title since I couldn’t name another living artist. I did some research and learned a few things about the current leaders of the art world. The app Artsy was my entry point and provided a good place to browse. To help spread the information here is a list of famous artists. It should be noted that this list is a good start but by no means a complete list.

 

Yayoi Kusama

Jeff Koons

Cady Noland

Gerhard Richter

Takashi Murakami

Jenny Saville

Ai Weiwei

Kara Walker

 

 

Fun Fact:

Jeff Koons holds the records for the most expensive piece of art ever sold. His Balloon Dog
(Orange) pictured above sold for $58,400,000.00.

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P.S.

I’m not a fan of Jackson Pollock’s work but I still respect it.

I Might Skip (Not Boycott) This Year’s Oscars

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I love award shows. Some would even call me an award show geek. As any award show geek knows the Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, are the Super Bowl of award shows. Having been a super fan for decades, Oscar trivia takes up endless amounts of valuable real estate in my brain. For example, former Nine Inch Nails rocker Trent Reznor is also an Oscar winner. Obviously I’ve never missed a telecast along with all the red carpet coverage. For many years I’ve even woken up at the crack of dawn just to watch the nominations be announced. Basically I love the Oscars.

2016 is different though. For the first time I’m not making it a priority to watch the Oscars and I might even skip them all together. Like last year this year’s show is once again being criticized for a lack of diversity in the nominees. While that criticism is very justified it has nothing to do with my lack of desire to watch the show. This year there is no single movie or single person that I am really rooting for. I’m not skipping the Oscars in order to make some grand statement I’m skipping the Oscars because I think they’re going to be boring and predictable. Basically I just don’t care.

Basic logic reasons that there’s a natural ebb and flow and every year won’t be a great one for movies. However there has always been one or two bright spots that have pulled me in and gotten my excitement going. For example 2014 wasn’t the most exciting year for movies however I loved the Imitation Game and the Grand Budapest Hotel so I was excited to see if they won or lost. 2011 was another lack luster year but I was so excited to see Meryl Streep win for The Iron Lady that I again I had to tune in. This year however I can’t seem to find much excitement for any of the nominees. I mean does anyone really want to see the Revenant? The only movie I really enjoyed was The Martian and while I do love Matt Damon I don’t think he or the movie will win and honestly I’m not heartbroken about that. My prediction for Oscar night: Chris Rock will make a bunch of diversity jokes, Leo will finally get his Oscar and the telecast will get some of it’s lowest ratings ever. Yawn.

I should mention that before the nominations were announced I was hopeful that there would be a couple nods for movies I was rooting for. I really wanted Tangerine to get some love. While I wasn’t expecting a Best Picture nomination, I was hoping it would get an acting or writing nod. The movie shot completely on an iPhone is the story of two Trans sex workers in LA and it’s one of the funnest and most unique movies I’ve seen in a while. When Tangerine lost out on nomination day my excited lost my excitement too. Regardless of awards I still highly recommend that everyone watch Tangerine on Netflix. As for the Oscars, whether I watch or not will probably come down to what else is available. Best case scenario is I can DVR them so I can watch and fast forward the next day.

 

7 Dirty Secrets

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The gay community spent decades fighting for equality which meant we had to put our best face forward. Each of us were our own community representatives whenever we were the lone gay amongst a sea of straight people. At some point we’ve all given a mini speech about how deep down we’re all the same and we all just want love and acceptance blah blah blah. In order to get equal rites as a community we had to present the best of ourselves as if we were all on one big job interview.

However it’s totally different when it’s just us guys. These not so politically correct dirty secrets are part of the secret handshake of being gay. Keep in mind we’d deny everything if a Republican politician found out. While not every dirty secret applies to every guy, every guy can identify with at least one secret.

 

1. Sex with a married man is hot. Very hot.

It’s a dirty little secret that most of us won’t admit to our straight gal pals. The fantasy is so strong that we never consider or care about the possible heartbreak of the woman at home. For example if I saw a hot married guy out with his wife and then he started hitting on me at the urinal I wouldn’t think twice before wrapping my lips around his lollipop even though his wife was just outside.

 

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2. Cum is delicious.

Spitters really are quitters. The best part of giving a wonderful blow job is a throat filled with tasty cum.

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3. Bareback porn is better than safe sex porn.

I don’t remember the last time I got off watching safe sex porn. In fact I can’t even remember the last time I saw safe sex porn in my Tumblr news-feed. We can all spout all the safe sex talk we want but when it comes to other people’s bodies on a computer screen we want them bareback and cum hungry.

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4. All gay men of a certain age have had a prison sex fantasy involving Christopher Meloni.

Oz was basically well acted soft core porn brought to you by HBO.

 

5. We’ll have sex anywhere if the guy is hot enough.

The biggest factor in making a decision about public sex is how hot the guys is. In most cases it’s very easy to control yourself and say no because the guy is a troll. However if you were propositioned by strong man Eddie Hall you might quickly change your tune.

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6. Daddy + son porn is a thing.

This is purely a porn fantasy and not one ever wanted in real life.

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7. Steroids work.

Love em or hate em, that shit works.

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Growlr vs Scruff

 

When you ask a guy his opinion about Growlr and Scruff his response is often heavily biased based on his own looks and preferences rather than the app itself. It’s no surprise that users who are lean and muscular (and like the same) think Scruff is superior because that’s where they get more attention and have more success. Just like if the guy prefers a belly then he’ll probably find Growlr to be the better app. I realized I was a good person to provide an unbiased review of the actual apps since I have used both and even paid for the ‘Pro’ versions of each. While I find the guys on Growlr more attractive I get more attention from guys on Scruff. Remember this review has nothing to do with the types of guys on the apps and will only talk about the apps themselves.

Strengths

Scruff:

  • Color Scheme– I really like Scruff’s dark gray and black color scheme which feels polished and up to date.
  • ‘Online Now’ view- Scruff has a button that changes your nearby view to include only guys who have logged on or been active recently. Anyone who hasn’t been active within an hour or so will disappear. Very helpful for real time communication.
  • Being able to view profiles while offline-You can scroll through profiles and use a lot of the basic functions of  Scruff without needing to be online. This allows for stealth Scruffing which is great if you’re at work in a large office building.
  • Amount of private pics- Scruff allows users to upload a lot of private pictures and videos. Many more options available to show off your goods.
  • Ease of re-locking pictures- There is a screen that shows you everyone who can see your unlocked pictures. From that same screen you can also pick and choose who to re-lock without having to go to their individual profile. It’s a big time saver if you don’t want to do a blanket relock for everyone.

Growlr:

  • Events– Growlr’s event page is jam packed with events big and small all over the country. It’s a great centralized place to look and see if something bear-centric  is going on in a given city.
  • Profile layout- Growlr has the best profile lay out of any app I’ve used. All the information is well organized and put together in a logical sequence.
  • Anonymous viewing- If you pay for Growlr Pro you have the option of anonymously viewing profiles. You can stalk anyone you want and you won’t show up in their viewer list.
  • Travel indicator- The travel indicator is an orange square around the profile picture of anyone who has moved more than 50 miles. Although Scruff has a similar feature, the one on Growlr stands out and is much more noticeable. Useful if you like hotel hookups.
  • Woofs included in messages- I really love that Woof’s are included in the messages and not located on a separate screen. If you Woof at someone if automatically starts a conversation. Great combination of features.

 

Weaknesses

Scruff:

  • Pop Ups- When you first open Scruff you are inundated with a lot of pop up adds. It’s really annoying because sometimes they are 4 or 5 deep.
  • Profile Layout- Scruff’s profiles are cluttered with too many sub sections. The titles of these sections doesn’t help matters. They are clunky and too specific. Instead of just listing the user’s home town there is the title Where I am from. It’s overkill. I really wish there was just a blank general section to type in. In addition I also don’t like that additional pictures are located on a separate screen.
  • Accidentally unlocking pictures- The button to unlock pictures is located in a very bad location on the right side of the screen. I’ve accidentally unlocked many times while trying to scroll through a profile.
  • Having to go through his profile to get to messages- The default setting for Scruff messages is that it brings you through the person’s profile in order to view the messages. While there is a work around the default setting is still annoying.

Growlr:

  • Color Scheme- The color scheme of Growlr is giving us 2001 Bear411 realness. Unfortunately Bear411 was ugly and outdate even in 2001. We get it. The bear flag is brown… Listen to queen Elsa and let it go.
  • Log In/Log Off- You can log off Growlr but strangely there is no way to porposely log on. When you reopen the app it’s just assumed that you are logging back on. Whenever I log off I always wonder if I’m really getting logged out because there really isn’t anyway to tell.
  • Technical Issues- A lot of people have always complained that Growlr eats messages. It’s an ongoing issue that doesn’t seem to ever be resolves.

Fun But Useless 

Scruff:

Match Stack- This Tindr inspired feature is a lot of fun. However after a couple uses it becomes clear that it really is a useless feature. It’s not like the Match Stack will suddenly find a secret underground group of super hotties that are only 2 miles away from you. If you do match with and unknown stud, most likely he’ll be 1500 miles away. Fun but useless.

Growlr:

The Galleries- Growlr offers many different galleries that allow you to view the best of the best around the world. Finding these husky hunks doesn’t mean that they’ll be near by or that they’ll find you attractive. Fun but useless.

Overall Impression

Scruff:

At first glance Scruff feels modern and polished with it’s dark color scheme. However the lack of a main menu screen along with poor profile layouts gives the entire app a bitter aftertaste. The apps biggest opportunity for improvement is its event section. It tends to only feature circuit party type events that Scruff is sponsoring and therefore is very under used by most. More local events would make it easier for the average user to get involved.

Growlr:

One of the first complaints you’ll hear everyone say about Growlr is about the color scheme. The brown and beige layout feels juvenile and outdated. However I offer a warning to the Growlr makers: Don’t make any drastic changes to the color pallet or guys will lose their shit. People say they want change until they actually get said change. A slight modification will do much better than a total color overhaul.

P.S.

While doing “research” for this article I discovered numerous other gay dating/hookup apps beyond Growlr, Scruff and Grindr. If you’re curious give them a try.

  • Surge
  • VGL
  • Hornet
  • Hanky Gay Chat
  • Gay.com
  • Krave
  • Jack’d
  • Guy Spy
  • Daddyhunt
  • Digsso
  • Get Male
  • Pride
  • Manhunt
  • PlanetRomeo
  • G Chat Italia
  • Bigger City
  • BoxBor
  • Hardline
  • Gay Connections
  • Boy Ahoy
  • Grrr
  • Flirtive
  • Maleforce
  • 1Man
  • Buddy
  • Gayvox
  • Meet Market
  • Mr. X
  • Gaydar
  • Aloha
  • Recon
  • Wapo
  • Twinkle
  • Men of Men
  • Atraf
  • Coolio
  • Cruzr
  • Groupfun
  • Dandy
  • U4 Bear
  • Chasabl
  • Grommr
  • Hookd
  • Blued
  • DowneLink