A Cocky Recap

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Since this morning’s post was deliberately reserved in honor of Andy’s birthday, this recap had to wait until now. Not sure it will be worth it, but we’re going to do it anyway. Such is the way when the business of fall turns out to be so damn busy. We’ve made it over the hump of October, which is rather more troubling than thrilling, because when October goes the holiday mayhem begins. Hang on to your hats…

Despite the fast trajectory of time, it seems like forever ago that this man impelled us to make a trip to Washington, DC for his wedding. There were run-ins with a cheetah and Stephen Colbert, walks through a very pretty library, visits with some very pretty flowers, and even more pretty flowers, but the main event was the wonderful wedding of my friends Chris and Darcey. It will probably be the only wedding I’ll attend where the bride jumped in a pool with her wedding dress on, and as such it will go down in history as one of my favorites.

I’m so glad that theater is alive and high-kicking in Schenectady, NY.

The set-up for this years Ogunquit recap, coming up later this week. Get ready – it was short, quick, and painful.

Loving You is not a choice, it’s who I am.

Finally, the week was back-heavy with Hunks, who brought up their rears and pricked the site fantastic. In short order, the following fine specimens ruled the mid-October slump with their rumps:

Bryan Hawn – one of the most bootylicious gentlemen to be featured here.

Philip Fusco – in his first-ever pictorial here. Apologies for taking this long. (And yes, he will be an official Hunk of the Day soon. Very soon…)

Michael Turchin – because his fiancé Lance Bass brought his ass to the world’s attention.

Zac Efron, Tom Daley, and Dan Osborne – because, well, hello.

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The Day My Husband Was Born

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Happy Birthday to my husband Andy! Many, many years ago a baby came into the world who would change the trajectory of my life for the better. The last fourteen years have been a winding trail of adventure, fun, a little drama, and a lot of love.

He doesn’t get as much of the glory as he deserves on this site, mostly because he is a tad more private than myself (and is notoriously difficult to get to sit still for a photo.) But today is his day, so whether he likes the accolades and acclaim or not, they are his for the taking.

Happy Birthday, Drew ~ and many happy returns of the day!

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The Passion of Sondheim

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Loving you is not a choice
It’s who I am.

It was the fall of 1996. I remember the leaves. Dead and brown, crackling beneath my feet as I faced the steps to the Braddock brownstone. On certain evenings, in late October or early November, the fatigue of an early nightfall left one breathless before tackling those stairs.

On the stereo, the savior Stephen Sondheim and his critically-divisive masterpiece ‘Passion’ played to my heart’s discontent. I’d been hurt, you see, not intentionally, but motive has rarely mitigated heartache. When it breaks, it breaks, and there’s no use in talking yourself out of it or convincing anyone otherwise.

Loving you is not a choice
And not much reason to rejoice
But it gives me purpose
Gives me voice to say to the world
This is why I live, you are why I live.

My mistake was in loving, but no – no – I cannot believe it was a mistake. I saw that even then. I saw it through the pain, through the tears, through the desolate nights of solitude. I saw that my loving someone, however unrequited, however unreturned, would never hurt the world. I was made to love.

Then the world changed.

Not overnight, not in a grand sweeping melodramatic moment, but slowly, gradually, easing the need to love. Yet it would always be a desperation I carried with me. It was something I couldn’t shirk or pretend away, even if I was masterful at hiding it. Almost two decades later, it remains something one doesn’t forget. Like being really cold. Like being terrifyingly lost. Like being… in love.

In this scene from ‘Passion’ the downtrodden anti-heroine Fosca sings her final plea to the man who does not quite love her back – not yet – and in this one musical moment, set on a train near the end of a story that wrenches the hearts of some and vexes the heads of others, I felt a kindred longing, and I returned to that chilly, lonely fall.

Loving you is why I do
The things I do
Loving you is not in my control
But loving you, I have a goal
For what’s left of my life
I would live
And I would die for you.
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Dan Osborne Gets Naked, W/ Supporting Bits by Tom Daley & Zac Efron

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The Great Gratuitous Sunday Morning Post. It’s a bit of a tradition here, when all you folks who can’t access this supposedly NSFW site from work have a moment to catch up on all the fun things you missed during the weekdays. This post should be no exception, featuring Dan Osborne in his preferred state of garb: naked, nude, and grabbing his junk. These latest photos were from a dare that he jump in the pool naked. Daring indeed. I would NEVER…

The rest of the post is filled out, and deliciously at that, by the shirtless and Speedo-clad likes of Zac Efron and Tom Daley. Mr. Efron likes to do a lot of things shirtless, and I don’t think Tom Daley does anything out of his Speedo – well, except for showering in the altogether.

There, that about sums up the Sunday morning nude male post. Let’s see what the afternoon brings…

 

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Hunk of the Day: Michael Turchin

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Lance Bass recently posted an Instagram video of his fiancé’s bare-butt, a surprise shower attack that would have ended up in murder in my house, but one that’s fun to watch when it’s a cute celebrity. In this case, it was Hunk of the Day Michael Turchin’s tush that was on perky display. It’s always a joy to see couples having some cheeky fun, and Lance has had his share of fun-coupling. As for Mr. Turchin, he looks great in these Timoteo shots, and he should totally do more of them.

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A Gratuitous Philip Fusco Pictorial

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Perhaps he should have been crowned Hunk of the Day (as he hasn’t yet been so honored) but for now this is just an introductory post to Philip Fusco, because sometimes things have to be earned (or at least timed to promote a project of Mr. Fusco’s choosing should he deign to reach out to me.) I think that on a lazy October Saturday, this should be more than ample homage to Fusco, and to his back and front.

Jury’s out on which is his finest asset. Your thoughts? Opinions? Requests? We’re open to all. (And though Victoria Beckham has compared her husband’s appendage to an exhaust pipe, Mr. Fusco may be giving Mr. Beckham a run for his plumbing.)

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Hunk of the Day: Bryan Hawn

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The Hunk of the Day returns, in a most banging way. As the accompanying song below proclaims, it’s all about that ass, ass, ass, ass, ass… and proof of this is in today’s hunk, Bryan Hawn. A fitness guru and YouTube viral sensation, Mr. Hawn has made a splash with his bootylicious parodies of songs by Beyonce and Katy Perry – all of which feature his voluptuous assets. The photos here give a clear indication as to his selling-point, and it’s clearly below. Enjoy the booty-shaking antics and see if you don’t inject a few more squats into your work-out routine.

I’m all about that bass, bout that bass, no treble. I’m all about that bass

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A Brief Conversation with a Co-worker

Me: ”I can fight. I’m scrappy!”

Ginny: “You threw your back out taking a picture of a flower.”

[Editor's note: one does not necessarily exclude the other.]

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Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Review of ‘Newsies’

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With a 1992 Disney movie musical as its source material (in which a young Christian Bale made one of his first splashes), the touring stage version of ‘Newsies’ recently launched its revolution in Schenectady, and its stop at Proctor’s was a high-kicking night of exhilarating dance and Alan Menken-penned music.

While it retains its traditional Disney-esque whitewashing, this version is led by a troop so infectiously engaging and energetic, they manage to inject new life into a drab background. The storyline is a prettified telling of the rough and tumble newspaper-sellers in New York City, circa 1899, who fight and temporarily win better wages and terms for the boys and their system of selling papers.

Originated on Broadway by Jeremy Jordan, lead character Jack Kelly is here played by the charismatic Dan DeLuca, who more than makes the role his own. Kelly must be able to charm and take charge, and DeLuca proves up to the task, conveying angst and amazement at the events that unfold, with a fine voice and the sly earnestness the role requires.

‘Newsies’ is somewhat sorely lacking in female roles, but Stephanie Styles as Katherine and Angela Grovey as Medda Larkin make up for it with show-stopping turns. Chaz Wolcott (of ‘Cats’ fame) is a stand-out hoofer, and all the boys put their best dancing feet forward. In fact, it’s the company’s rousing ‘Seize the Day’ dance sequence that is the centerpiece of the production. Zachary Sayle as Crutchie tugs convincingly, if predictably, at the heartstrings, but the real emotion is elicited from the earnest belief of the ensemble in the material and their talent. Taken as a whole, the troupe becomes a character in and of itself – a moving, inspiring, singing and dancing entity that stirs and shouts and sells itself like its title characters. Does the world really need another musical with singing street urchins? ‘Newsies’ is proof-in-print that it just might.

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A Washington Wedding – Pt. II

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As the sun descended, so did the temperature, and at the same time the winds kicked up. It made for a very cool evening, but we huddled to the fire pits (some of us all but mounted the heat lamps) and in the end everyone was having such a good time that the cold was almost forgotten. Seeing the happiness on the faces of Chris and Darcey, it was impossible not to be warmed by the evening.

The bride was good enough to pose for this fur-necked photo, visible proof of the tempestuous wind, and the undampened enthusiasm of the night. She would prove far braver than me a little later.

Weddings are often a chance to get back in touch with those we love. In this case, the Collegetown Crew from Cornell was almost entirely intact. (Kristen had been there earlier for the ceremony.) Now, twenty years later, here they were, together again. It made me want to plan a reunion for next summer.

As all our get-togethers inevitably do, this one wound down to a couple of Princess Leia buns and the opportunity to go completely crazy. Despite the chilly temps and the ferocious wind, people had started jumping in the pool (which was kept to a warm 85 degrees). I didn’t dare, but I did provide a shot or two for those brave souls who did. My last moments of Best Man servitude.

At last, after a day of holding elegant court, the bride and groom were ready to let loose and jump in. It was a happy ending to a happy day. Congrats Chris and Darcey!

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A Washington Wedding – Pt. I

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It’s not usually a good thing when the bride ends up in a pool in her wedding dress, but in this case it was nothing short of awesome. My friend Chris is not your usual groom (it takes a strange bird to pick me as the Best Man) and his betrothed Darcey is way too cool to be anything like your basic bride, so when she jumped into the pool at the end of the evening – in her leopard-print wedding dress – it capped off one of the coolest weddings I’ve attended.

The bride and groom walked down the makeshift aisle together, holding their newborn son Simon. That set the wonderfully non-traditional tone of the celebration. From there, a few couples spoke about what marriage meant to them, while giving some marital advice to the newlyweds. There were no readings or scripture or drawn-out religious practices – and in their place were practical, moving, loving words spoken by those who meant the most to the couple.

Following the ceremony, we moved up to the rooftop, where a large pool glittered in the afternoon sun. There was a breeze kicking in, but as long as there was no rain we were fine.

The groom waited until the last minute before selecting his outfit. I could never. This Ted Baker suit was purchased months ago, a subtle gray so as not to upstage anyone. See, I know my place.

This was a wedding that brought a lot of wonderful people together again. Some of these folks I haven’t seen in almost twenty years – that’s a lot of time under the bridge. Some of them, like the ones below, I saw the day before. The important part is that we were all together again.

Suzie and the Tom-Ford-scented scarf – a last-minute purchase made the day of the wedding when I saw how cool the temperatures were headed…

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A Long Washington Weekend ~ Pt. IV

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My previous visits to the US Botanic Gardens were always restricted  to the interior – the large glass greenhouse that offered an other-worldly chance to get out of the city, especially on chilly February days. On this trip, however, and on a breezy but nice October day, we walked outside into the gardens that stretched beyond the main building.

An unexpected delight, they carried on the secret-garden aspect of the inside, offering further respite from the political machinations of this country. Meandering paths obscured by walls of high grasses and delicately manicured native shrubs and bushes invited the weary walker onward, while late-season surprises waited to reveal their stunning blooms.

First and foremost among surprises was this white lily. Long past the blooming period for most lilies, this unexpected diversion leaned over the walkway, insisting on being sniffed. Its perfume stopped the day for me, and made an instant memory.

A small pond hosted dragonflies and water lilies, along with the blue spires of this moisture-loving plant. The importance of a water element in a garden should never be underestimated.

While many of the grasses had gone brilliantly to seed, waving their grains in the air like they just didn’t care, there were other plants still in full bloom, like this butterfly favorite.

The real powerhouses at this time of the year were the asters, in bright purples and pinks.  This is their time to shine.

It’s also the time to reap the harvest of the beauty berry, electric in hue and bold enough to rival any blossom. The perfect finale to our time in the garden.

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A Long Washington Weekend ~ Pt. III

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After the history lesson of the Capitol, and the studied silence of the Library of Congress, we walked just a bit further and made our last tourist stop at the US Botanic Gardens. Another favorite haunt of mine, this marked Andy’s first visit, and as his body was about to give out we took our time and paused on the benches provided along the way.

The best part about the Botanical Gardens is that they manage to be a respite at any time of the year. When it’s brutally cold in January or February, the warm moist air is a paradisiacal escape. When it’s unbearably hot and oppressively humid in July or August, the air is shaded and cool. On this day, they were comfortable and beautiful – providing a living, green contrast to the cool grays and mottled marble of the Capitol Building. And not just green…

A number of orchids were in full bloom, not only bringing color to the grounds, but a spicy sweet fragrance as well.

This particular Vanda has an interesting name, which you can pronounce for yourself. (The way I say it is not suitable for family listening.)

Whenever I visit Washington, this space (and the zoo) always provides a bit of peace in a town known for blistering and blustery political bitching. This day proved no exception. We headed back outside, to a part of the grounds where I had never been before…

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A Long Washington Weekend ~ Pt. II

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I love a library, but I especially love a library that’s got style – and the Library of Congress has that in spades. Feast your eyes upon this fantastic marble-saturated room. It felt more like a museum gallery than a library, though as you will see there is most definitely a working library on the premises (and a few admonishments to keep the peace and quiet.)

When learning and beauty come together, it’s a glorious sight to behold.

“Too low they build, who build beneath the stars.”

Somebody’s got ambition, and a couple of Corinthian columns to back it up. We would later get a look at the acanthus plant whose leaves inspired the design of these columns.

Looking down into the library itself, we could see that people were indeed working and reading and researching – and this is where there was a sign asking that noise be kept to a minimum.

Such ornate wonders must have inspired something in those who dwelled in these halls.

Mostly, though, it just made me realize that we are not doing enough with our ceilings. (Of course, it would help it they were 100 feet in the air, but I digress.)

This is how one creates a corner with impact.

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A Long Washington Weekend ~ Pt. I

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A wedding brought us to the nation’s Capital, but before the vows were exchanged Andy and I toured a few Washington mainstays, beginning with the National Zoo. It was later in the afternoon when we began our walk through the winding paths that lead around the animal exhibits, but since we’d been here before we did not need to stop for everything. Instead, we paused at some of our favorites – like the cheetah seen reclining on the ground below. Though the lemurs weren’t out, the otters were, providing much amusement for us as much as themselves. The elephants were on display too, but the pandas were inside. It still amazes me that this country’s National Museums are free and open to the public. There are no turnstiles, no entry fee, nothing at all to impede any citizen from walking in off the street and finding themselves next to a red panda. It’s pretty cool.

I appreciate the flora of the zoo just as much as the fauna, as evidenced in this vibrant Japanese beauty berry. There were a number of bamboo stands, providing shade and a pleasant backdrop, particularly to the Asian Trail, where the pandas can occasionally be seen eating distant bamboo relatives (they consume too much for it to be feasible to grow the food-source at the zoo.) A peaceful landing pad for our weekend, it provided a quiet entry to the wonder that is Washington.

No trip to DC would be complete without seeing its unofficial ambassador, Mr. Stephen Colbert. We happened by chance upon this skit while waiting for our tour of the Capitol to begin.

Andy was more than thrilled, as he is a big Colbert fan. I was amused, if somewhat unimpressed. One of the guards monitoring the scene didn’t let us walk on the steps from which I wanted a photo of the Washington monument. Is this America or Hollywood?

I’m not sure how it will be play out on-screen or what it even means, but Mr. Colbert was riding along on a bike with a string of cans bouncing behind him and the sign ‘Just Quitted’ on his back. Even Andy wasn’t sure about what it meant – he thought perhaps it was a reference to a politician in Kansas who just quit. The absurdity of the whole scene is why I don’t follow politics. But when in Rome…

After surreptitiously gaining a few photos of Colbert on the bike, we headed around the back of the Capitol for a tour. It’s been years since I was in the building, and not even the scaffolding could mar its beauty (well, maybe it could – and did.)

Even so, one can’t help but feel the strong pull of patriotism upon which this country was founded. We take such liberty for granted, at least I do, so it’s always good to be reminded from whence we came. (As well as the divisive battles that brought about our current system, which really does seem to be as fair as possible – if you don’t think so, try coming up with a feasible alternative.)

As our tour of the Capitol ended, the guide recommended we walk over to the Library of Congress. Having never visited before, that’s where we headed…

 

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