Tag Archives: Blogging LGBT Issues

STEVEN MICHAEL IS MY NAME, BOO!

Steven Michael for Prada

Steven Michael is my name and that’s the way it is. I Google’d myself (insert dirty joke here) and man, I came up feeling ehhh. Where am I? I’m here, dammit! There’s my social media moments Twitter and Facebook but Lady Google has slapped me with the shade of it all. I blog my finger tips to their very nubs and Googlezilla really serves a platter of crickets to many of us in the internet world. If you’re not a major player in the game it’s difficult to get noticed. Oh, Mommie Googlest… I am not, one of your FANS!

Hey… All Tea, All Shade. Eye tellzit lyk I ceez itz! Trust, Hunty. Translation: Baby, if you don’t like what you read then don’t.

It’s Saturday and the breeze is a’blowing. I’m listening to some fierce gay club remixes I was sent for possible production ideas and the husband is watching French TV news on his Tablet. I will soon be punching it to the gym to train since swimsuit season is coming up and then off to met friends for a belated birthday lunch for Jacques at Escena Golf Course and Grill. Another weekend is here and I’m real damn glad. Last evening we had a stunning sushi feast and sake oblivion at Kiyosaku and I so need to sweat out some salt at the gym. I am off into a fabulous day in Palm Springs. I LIVE.

GET YOUR LIFE TODAY… Somehow, Someway! X

BEN COHEN – HERO EQUALITY ACTIVIST

You’ve seen his image and strong equality stance on gay magazine covers, over the social networks and through media for a few years now. Ben Cohen is a prominent activist for homophobia and bullying. With his Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation he is raising awareness and doing more good each time he appears on behalf of those who care about we gays.

And let’s face it he is really easy on the eyes. A retired England rugby union international player since May 2011, Cohen has dedicated his life it seems to fighting the fight. We are better for having him on our side. We need more straight athletes to come forward in support. He is very brave. Plus, if you couldn’t tell already he seems very comfortable being shirtless or naked. Enjoy the photos. Thank you Google.

Well, all right… here’s another. Actually when I was finding these image gems I realized I had been collecting his images for years and never really knowing who he was.

Oh to be that rugby ball. What?! One last one? Good Night! Go to sleep…

And a final one of Ben Cohen at Portland Gay Pride. A true trooper and damn fine! Deepest deliciousness. It’s nice to see someone use their celebrity for the better of others not themselves. Yes, this is the last one. Or is it?

ONE CHAPTER ENDS: “STEVEN SPILLS” 2008-2012

I’ve been asked lately by various readers, followers and friends what has happened to PULP magazine and if I’m still involved writing for them. One minute the magazines are on the stands and the next they are surprisingly not! Yes, I know. The answers are that PULP has gone online only and no, I’m no longer involved. With changing times and the deteriorating magazine lifespan these days, the publishers decided to offer the magazine in an online capacity only. Although, they will still be publishing a print form of sister magazine The Bottom Line available on stands.

When I signed on in 2008 to write a biweekly column at PULP it began as a who-did-what-to-whom type installment with weekend happenings and the local flavor of the moment in Palm Springs. However, quickly realizing that since I do not go out very often and the opportunity for social exploring is limited in our quiet town, I started steering my stories into the flow of hot popular culture themes and whatever was on my mind and psyche at any given time. Luckily, the magazine went along with what I was doing and a legion of thirsty readers followed and picked up the magazine when it hit the stands to see what I’d say next! Every once in a while I’d get some feedback about covering this or watch being too editorial  regarding that but overall I was free to do my thing and the magazine trusted me.

I wrote a total of 113 installments of “Steven Spills” for PULP, the last 4 of them headed straight online. I also contributed a number of cover stories  and features to The Bottom Line and hope to possibly write for them again in a freelance form. Not sure where that stands. Sadly haven’t heard from them since I sent in my resignation letter a few weeks ago saying I needed a break. I honestly felt that my column had ran its course and decided to invest my energy and interest into my own blogs with hopes in finishing a second novel. I almost quit writing for the magazine a handful of times over the years but always found the reason I never did was because of you, my readers. I always did it for you! Sometimes the brick wall was almost too tall to climb over. All writers feel this, I’m sure.

It’s time to do it of me. Thanks for being there and I hope you find me here with everything I really want to say, without edit of heavy hand. To know me is to understand that I am honest, candid, and surprising. As my words can slice and dice, they come from a real place of compassion and optimism. I hope (and know) people can see that. Thanks for reading! No Tea, No Shade. Peace Only. X

JEREMY WELLS FROM B.LOVED SPEAKS

As soon as I published the previous post about how wonderful my b.loved clothing was I received an email from founder Jeremy Wells answering a few questions about the mission he and Barbara set forth with their company. I decided that I had to include the open dialogue he offered about why he does it and feels his campaign is important. I’ve decided to lay it out verbatim here so please enjoy… And BIG THANKS to Jeremy for sharing!

__With the new findings last week about Prop 8 being deemed unconstitutional, what are you thoughts?

It is clear that society is finally speaking up and making changes for the better. Government should not be able to tell people who they are to love and enter commitments with. America was founded on basic ideals of equality and freedom of choice. We mustn’t forget this. Also, with such violence and disarray in the world today… isn’t any love good love? Our mission is to spread as much love and tolerance as we can for all people, regardless of race, creed, orientation…anything. It never ceases to amaze me how devoid most people are of real love, and how quickly they cheer up when you give them some. Get your asses out and give somebody a compliment, or tell them you love them, for who they are. I bet it will change your life!

__What made you start this campaign and keeps you driven to continue the fight for equality?

The b.loved brand sprouted from another project that I started a few years ago called b.lo skateboards. I met Barbara Riso at a time when I was looking for a new graphic designer to help breathe new life into the skateboard business. We clicked right away and started kicking around ideas and playing with word monikers around the “b” b.happy, b.yourself etc. b.loved was an “aHa!” moment for the two of us. It was almost serendipitous, because around the same time I had been greatly moved by the news of Jamie Rodemeyer’s suicide. He was a local kid from my town. His youtube video brought me to tears. There were so many suicides and beatings and atrocities, and I knew a great number were not even being reported. I said to myself immediately, “There has to be something I can do to help stop this. These poor kids feel like they have nowhere to turn!”

We delved into anti-bullying, gathering as much information as we could, and hooked up with our local Pride Center to see what they could offer for kids who were questioning their sexuality. They welcomed us with open arms and told us about their Cultural Competency Training program for schools and institutions. It is a fantastic, real-world, training on LGBT issues that is given to teachers, educators, and students alike to help them better understand what these kids might be going through. There was a problem… money. The Pride Center was able to get government grants for many great services, mostly health related, but this program was grossly underfunded and as directors Jorien Brock and Damian Martinez pointed out, it couldn’t be at a more needed time. That was it! We decided to use our brand’s first launch to help fund the program. It became our mission. The alliance with the Pride Center created many open doors and opportunities and it seems like people were just coming out of the woodwork to help us. It feels really good. And let me state that Damian and Jorien are angels. They work day and night to make the community a better place. We love them for it.

__Any immediate plans for your product and getting it out to others?

b.loved has been participating in events to create awareness. We have a Don’t H8 function set up this Wednesday at a beautiful restaurant in downtown Buffalo NY. We were invited to a fashion show at the end of February, which we are very excited about, and we are constantly looking for new ways to spread our messages. It’s a great brand. The clothes are beautiful, stylish and we are linking launches with great causes. One of our next clothing launches is going to have an environmental cause linked to it. We want to take b.loved global and always find ways to give back.

__Any thoughts about getting with other NoH8 groups and gathering forces?

Yes. We already have an open dialogue with the wonderful people at NoH8. They are doing amazing stuff and creating quite an awareness. They loved our work and our ideas and we are finding ways to work together. Other organizations have contacted us and we are in the midst of getting things rolling with them. It has been a wonderful start thus far and we feel so grateful for all the help we are receiving. That goes for you too Mr. Steven Michael! We appreciate all you do. Hope to see you out, strutting your stuff and wearing our clothes! b.yourself b.loved!

JUST LOVING B.LOVED

When reading about Jeremy Wells and Barbara Riso at b.loved, their message is clear. Everyone wants to be themselves and be loved, without hatred nor judgment. “Their most precious baby” exudes all of that through exciting powerful logos printed on quality textiles and superior fabric. When I received my order in the mail, I was first impressed by how fast it arrived but also the t-shirts fit amazing and feel fabulous. The sleeves fit nice and snug on my arms and the v-neck is perfect length on me. I really despise t-shirts that have almost a domain sleeve with a dart. It screams cheap. The quality of products from b.loved exceeded my expectations. Plus the message they are sending is real, very timely and from their hearts for a better way of living and being loved for who we are. Each and everyone of us want that.

Check out Jeremy and Barbara’s website and mission statements at b.loved and let them know when you order one of their fierce hoodies or t-shirts that you support what they’re doing! Also check out their Facebook page and give them a LIKE! They will love being loved by you and anyone else you send their way! X

DON’T H8! BE GR8!

TAKING THAT EXTRA FIVE

STEVEN SPILLS © 110

TAKING AN EXTRA FIVE

I actually got this idea from a stray copy of Glamour magazine that was laying around the gym. Yes, I read it for the hot trends and pictures of gorgeous women I’ll never be. No comments, Sassy? It seemed like a fun way of sharing timely advice and a few opinions on how to make the most out of things that are worth taking the extra five minutes to do!

We are all in a hurry. Well, those of us who work jobs and have lives outside them seem to have much less time to do things than those that who, for whatever reason, do not work. Yes, I’m trying to be a strong victim. However, there are certain things and special times that we ALL need to stop and cherish or option those extra five minutes into something worthy of the pause.

After a long day at work or day trip away, you’ve arrived home damn tired. Yes, I concur. But, guess what? You’ve interacted with people, talked to them and been places. Your pets have not. Man’s Best Friends stayed in the house quietly and worship the attention and love you express to them after spending the day alone. Take the extra five (preferably more) minutes and really give them that undivided love and attention that they unconditionally give back to you.

In a hurry? STOP! Glance in the mirror and check your nose for dried accouterment and your teeth for poppy seeds or parsley. Look directly at yourself smizing (smiling with your eyes, according to Tyra) and tell yourself “You are beautiful!” in your most prolific preacher voice with your index finger pointing at your reflection just because it’s true.

Take time at the grocery store and read the labels of the food you’re buying. When the real ingredients underscore the preservatives by far, things are bad. Learn about what it takes to keep a healthy heart. When words that would make you loose a Spelling Bee are involved the end result probably isn’t ideal for consumption. Read what you’re eating and feed on the truth of nutrition.

Leave five minutes early to everything you have to be at. Why are you rushing into Yoga class like the Tasmanian Devil? Namaste, right? I see you moving me along with your hands over the steering wheel as you drive behind me. Why didn’t you leave earlier? Confidence is being early which really means being on time. Running late is not sexy nor advised. And when you walk in, shoulders back.

Stay in touch and let your friends, BFFs, parents and family know you’re alive. Take those few minutes and just reach out to someone who cares and that you care about. Even taking time to speak to someone you may not know or that could be going through something you’re unaware could very well mean a lot to them. It takes more effort to avoid someone than to simply say, “Hello.”

When sending out online photos always take the moment to check what’s in your background and around you in the photo. Move the frame with grandma’s picture and step away from the wood paneling and rifle rack. Use time to snap some decent pictures of yourself. Take a bunch and delete the bad ones. Find your light and angles. The light should hit you between the eyes. Use your camera phone or go all out and check the Sony Cyber Optical Zoom Camera! WOW. If you’re using images with dates on them make sure they are somewhat current. Don’t push it, just crop it. Our little secret.

I have a new thing that I do when things start moving too fast around me. I imagine jumping high in the air before l land digging my heels deep into bricks as they break underneath me stopping just before hitting an imaginary wall in slow-mo. That tunes me down and I enjoy a calming breath. Using just five special minutes to take it down a notch will keep one more focused and present in the now.

Order some business cards or calling cards online so you don’t have to brother your bartenders or gym staff for a pen and paper (or shudder — matchbox) for your trick, err, coffee date. Vista Print is amazing for cheap and on-the-quick ordering online. Before you know it, they’ve arrived on your doorstep! Voila!

Pick up your remote if you have time between shows and channel surf into waves of television. Learn about something new, perhaps. Get lost in the gem shopping channels or BBC News. Just escape! If it’s only for five minutes take a break for yourself. You deserve more but can’t afford it, I know. Neither can I. Nor can I afford more words. Goodbye!

2012 © PULP

Need more great gift ideas for the fabulous gay men in your life? Shopping ahead! Spend your money wisely and safely with trusty Amazon holding control.

ENGINE’S REV ON RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE 4

Thanks to Logo TV Online, I was able to see an early viewing of the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race a.k.a. RDR and this season is starting off with all the ego drama and catfighting one Main Stage can contain. Front runners the petite posing beauty Kenya Michaels and America’s favorite Cher impersonator Chad Michaels seem to be steering the pack of queens towards the title “America’s Next Drag Superstar” and the prize package including fabulous makeup, gay travel and a cash prize of $100K (reported earlier in my blog as being $125K – sorry!)

After the queens arrived one by one, we meet the characters and stories that got them on national television. There’s overly confident borderline obnoxious cocky Willam basically telling the rest to press it back home because she was taking the crown home. Old friend Latrice Royale from Ft. Lauderdale discussing how going to prison changed her life.  Extremists The Princess and Sharon Needles bonding over painting faces while Princess expressed her physical desire for Needles. Well, like a dear sister from Atlanta Amber Richards, may she rest peacefully, once said, “If you can’t F! your sisters who can you F!?” Other stories unfold as does the season.

RuPaul comes out and says Hello! to the Dolls personally as the Pit Crew from previous seasons bring out a wooden box on wheels. Camera pans to the girls and some are quite nervous. And surprise! Out pops Shangela for another try at the crown! Well, not exactly. After some quick witted dialogue about this being a new year and the possible apocalypse, Ru shoves LaQuifa’s head back in and off she goes into her budding career. Halleloo! The sweat beads stop their fall down contestants faces and the Dolls prepare for their first lap around the racetrack.

Latina mamma Jiggly Caliente won the Mini Challenge consisting of the Dolls maintaining their modelesque composure on a rotating platform while the sexy Pit Crew spray them down with fluorescent paints. Yes, apocalypse. Or, “RuPocalypse” as it was called. Reality show staple Mike Ruiz snapped his camera lens and photos we made, even ones of the girls who nailed the ground from their imbalance. It was Drag Queen roadkill off to the sides of rubble and dismay.

The Main Stage Challenge led the divas into a deserted location filled with zombie drag queens including former All-Stars Raven, Pandora Boxx, Shannel and Ongina holding fabrics and supplies for the perfect apocalyptic haute couture. Cue eerie music and fog. Back in the workroom sewing began and creations flowed. The Mistress of the Dark Elvira found her perfect place on the judge’s table besides mainstays Seduction lead Michelle Visage and the sassy but fashionable Santino Rice back for another season of judging. RuPaul strutted down the Main Stage runway and CUT!

Thanks Logo TV for pulling the plug just at the climax! UGH. I’ll be watching it for reals tomorrow (Monday) night but it sure was good getting a sneak peek. They weren’t going to give it all away… I’m dying to see who will “Lip-sync for their life!”

…flash forward to the premiere…

Watching it live on television gave it more layers we couldn’t catch watching it online. On the Main Stage runway, some girls simply got by while others soared. As I predicted, Sharon Needles won the challenge while Florida based Alisa Summers and New York’s plus-size Barbie doll Jiggly Caliente found themselves in the bottom two lip-syncing to Britney Spears’ infectious Toxic. In the end, Jiggly was clearly the winner as she nailed her words standing directly singing to the judges. Alisa took the more casual approach to a bored strut around the runway while insecurely glancing over at Caliente who was turning it out. Way to go, girls! We’re off to a fabulous season!

Until next week… We have Untucked!

“THE HELP” HITS HOME

We are all into Redbox (even though I believe it’s with a lower-case “r” in the logo) right now. Easy movie rentals for $1 and there is a kiosk almost everywhere. Reserve the film online or take your chances at the actual machine, then pick it up for the night returning it by 9 p.m. the next evening at ANY Redbox kiosk. I always wondered how you could rent a movie at the airport via Redbox with the transient ways of a traveler. Where would you return it? Now I know. Sorry it took me so long to get to one and rent movies. Only the latest and hottest flicks are available. Rarely do I see a former box office smash or the like but those are on cable so no big deal. If you’re weary of sliding your credit card, use one that you have a good report with like American Express and trust it will all be fine. And grab some popcorn!

Last evening we picked up The Help and it was magnificent! Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer played the hell out of their characters. Emma Stone was solid in her role. Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain were brilliant, too. It was hard to watch at times because of the reality that during these day of the film’s period bigotry reigned, blacks were not treated as equal to whites and what we take for granted now was once just a dream to many. Freedom and equality. Timely piece for us LGBT since we continually fight for our place among everyone equally.

In the film, the sight of confederate flags brought the feeling home to me personally since the mascot at my high school in Nashville, TN was a confederate soldier, a rebel, holding the flag. Years passed and I believe the school changed the mascot to panthers or cougars or something along those non-discriminatory lines. We would spray paint a HUGE rebel flag across the lawn during Homecoming Week every year. This was the south in the eighties, remember.

Enjoy the film and when the award shows are televised you’ll be in the know about what wins the awards. And again, grab the damn popcorn!

DEDICATED TO MY DEAR JAMES

It’s Saturday morning. I’m on my MacBook listening to a N’Sync song from a few years ago called “Space Cowboy” with the guys really feeling a naught-ass beat and Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez from 90s hip-hop trio TLC giving the rap of fierce doom towards the end. As many of us reading this know, Lisa was taken away from her precious life way too soon. Fate has a place in everything and those who ignore that it’s present aren’t really facing the music.

I quite recently lost a good friend of mine James Bartlette and even though I wan’t with him before his final breaths, he will always be part of me and the friendship we had precious. He was kind, genuine and caring. He gave of his heart and soul always meaning well. I unfortunately gather that James had demons he dealt with like many do, although, he never shared that side of him. When I would see him he often had his head up, a smile on his face and an obvious spirituality in his heart while he practiced his meditation and exercise regime at the gym. He was quite liked by many both for his kindness as well as his attractiveness. I don’t believe he ever really felt that.

James was unique, special and a big fan of my columns “Steven Spills.” He would often say out to me “Hello! Mr. Spills,” as he came in daily to World Gym past me singing back to him some catchy chorus of The Saturdays, one of the many music in-commons we had. James was a great DJ and his mixes popular to his circle of fortunates. The last time I saw James we were so busy at the gym I only got a quick glance of him coming in as I looked up. He was heading into Ted’s G-Force Workout class and that’s the last time I saw him. He passed away later that evening or next morning, I believe. And like I mentioned I wasn’t with him in his final moments so let’s leave it at that. I want to remember him as the strong James I loved and knew.

People often provide only what they wish for other’s to perceive about them. Some are able to read in deeper and learn more about others but in a fast-paced world of social climbing up media circles and the ever-changing status updating of time wasting bullshit sharing, we often loose touch with human connection. It happens. We admit it. It’s true. I’m honest. Take a minute and reach out to someone today and give them a minute of you. It may help in more ways than’s known right now.

I miss you, James. I would love to have seen your face in person when you saw these words and photos. I can see the smile it would have placed on your cute face! I mean them, my man. We are sad you’re gone from the grasp of our hugging and loving arms. Please know you were loved because you definitely were.

“This is where My Heart Takes Over.”

Rest Peacefully my Dear Sweet Man, xoMr. Spills

ELEPHANT’S “QUEER NATION” SHOCKS

I was contacted by someone who works with these Hollywood-based gay rapping identical twin brothers about giving them some media love. Happy New Year, boys! These boys have such an edge about them and their music that gave me reason to almost not post their video. The first time I sat and listened I thought it was way too much for my website. Their music and sound is quite reminiscent of Eminem “I Am What I Am” featuring Marilyn Manson. Their explicit lyrics are hardcore and in-your-face without apology but with humor in the moment. Then I listened again…

The second time I starting really digging the beat in hopes to appreciate their effort more. It worked. Now, it’s not for everyone. Sorry to say but that’s the truth. But, if edgy rap lyrics with a queer vernacular entertain you… Just Push Play. For Adult Minds ONLY. 18+