Hunk of the Day: Danny Glam

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Daniel LaRiviere takes his stage name (Danny Glam) from the simple fact of all his glamour. It’s a sparkly coat of armor he wears so the world stays at bay, and in a constant state of adoration. We love our glam guys here, so his christening as Hunk of the Day was a pre-ordained hole-in-one. A recent transplant to New York, he seems to have found his ideal home: “I’ve been able to meet some incredible people and have been afforded many great opportunities. I’ve recently been on the other side of photoshoots, being shot by photographers and being exposed to the expression of self confidence through photography. I’m always flattered when asked to be a part of a shoot. It’s been so great to assimilate myself to New York City. I feel like it’s where I’ve always meant to belong.”

Here he is doing what he does best: glamming it up in high, sexy style.

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Smoking Is Rat Poison

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Such was the refrain that my brother and I recorded over and over on a ‘Stop Smoking’ audio tape we made for our Uncle when we were just kids. It was our attempt at getting him to do something healthy, and we made it as much for our amusement as for our underlying fear that he’d die from all those cigarettes. We didn’t know any better then – we thought people could change that simply. I think that’s the part of childhood I miss the most – that sense of infinite possibility, and the ability to believe in anything. We need more of that now.

As for smoking, I never really got into it. I dabbled over the years – trying cloves and bidis before Marlboro lights – but for some reason I was lucky enough never to get hooked. It was a social thing at first, to get an extra break at work when my friends were going out, or a photo prop, done for effect and accessory over any real enjoyment or addiction.

It’s strange – part of me wanted to get addicted to something, playing up the attraction to a darker side – but it was never really true. Why I felt the need to appear as such, I’ll never know… but that’s another post for the denouement of the Delusional Grandeur Tour.

Light ‘em up.

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The Sakura Cocktail

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If there were no
 cherry blossoms 

in this world

How much more tranquil

our hearts would be in spring.

~ Ariwara no Narihira

It was a blustery spring day in Washington, DC. The wind had taken most of the cherry blossoms a week or two prior to my arrival, but some of the Kwanzan trees still held their pink beauties. Outside the Jefferson Hotel, a stand of tulips fought the wind, and in a lull they stood with the afternoon sun slanting through their luminous petals. I was early for a dinner with Chris and Darcey, and in an effort to escape the cold wind (while enjoying one of my favorite watering holes) I ducked into the marble hallway leading to Quill.

It was the tail end of cherry blossom season, but the city was still feeling its blush. On the cocktail menu was something that held a number of my favorite libations: the Sakura. The listed ingredients included two mainstays: gin and grapefruit juice. The remaining elements were just as enchanting, and taken together they made the same beautiful promise that every cherry blossom bud made: the promise of beauty and hope and a spring that always comes back.

Listed ingredients:

  • Bluecoat gin
  • Yellow chartreuse
  • Yuzu
  • Grapefruit
  • Honey Syrup
  • Rhubarb bitters

The drink arrived, and it was very much a sip of spring. The shading was unexpected – a soft buttery yellow that flirted with peach – but that only made it feel all the sunnier. The taste was sublime – tart and slightly fruity, with the welcome herbal challenge of the chartreuse and the warm lilt of honey, sparked by the exquisite jolt of the yuzu and rhubarb bitters.

When I returned home, and on an equally blustery day, I managed to procure all the ingredients and try my hand at assembling a decent approximation of the magic of the original Sakura by Quill. It turns out I needed everything but the gin, as my kitchen is not equipped with yuzu or yellow chartreuse or rhubarb bitters. It is now – and every ingredient is important for this one to be successful.

For proportions, I used one part gin, one part grapefruit juice, 1/3 part chartreuse, 1/5 part honey syrup, and a few healthy drops each of the yuzu and bitters.

The variable that enchantingly influences how this cocktail looks is the grapefruit juice. I extracted the nectar from a fresh ruby red grapefruit, which takes the yellow chartreuse and yuzu into cantaloupe-shaded territory. I actually preferred the yellowish version of the original, so the next time I try this I’ll use a white grapefruit instead. Either way, it sings of spring.

Outside, the wind whipped wildly. A shower of white apple blossom petals fell like snow and whirled around my feet. Inside me, I held the memory of the Sakura. In spite of the wind, the world felt a little warmer.

Look at the cherry blossoms!

Their color and scent fall with them,

Are gone forever,

Yet mindless

The spring comes again.

~ Ikkyu

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Hunk of the Day: Jake Shears, Shorn Again

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Certain Hunks are so multi-faceted and sumptuously-gifted that one post as Hunk of the Day is not enough. Jake Shears is one of those illustrious gentleman, whose talent and skills are matched only by a body borne from hard work and dedication. His work as singer and song-writer has gone rather underappreciated – every single Scissor Sisters album has been genius – but those of us who know and adore him don’t mind that the collective masses have not yet caught on. More for the refined of us. His first Hunk of the Day feature showcased him a few years ago – this one shows you how far he has come.

Though it was released a few years ago, I’m newly-infatuated with their latest (last?) ‘Magic Hour’ album. ‘Inevitable’ is the theme for summer…

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Nude and Not-so-Nude Male Celebrities on Display

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The naked male celebrity gets more than his fair share of attention in these parts, but there are those who keep their clothes on occasionally, and this is a nod to them. Not that we’ve completely gone off nudes – and there are a few here to keep you interested, but every now and then I enjoy a complete ensemble that encompasses more than someone’s underwear and cologne and odd piece of jewelry.

Let’s begin with Chris Evans, who has appeared in these pages in far less clothing than he’s got on here. (You especially like it when he pulls his pants down.) A nod to his star-making turn as Captain America, he’s got the bull’s eye, and the eyes of America, upon him.

Nick Jonas has also graced us wearing much less, but here he offers a little glimpse of arm pit action, which is always appreciated by some of you.

Tom Daley may not be wearing more clothing in this post, but nor is he wearing less. It’s his standard Speedo attire, a look that has yet to grow tired, and one that he’ll be flaunting in Rio this summer. Who’s ready for another Olympic games? [Raises hand.]

Rob Gronkowski recently bared a bit of his butt for this pec-tacular post, but here’s his full-on backside in a shot that won’t make any paper editions of GQ stateside.

And bringing up the finest rear this post has to offer is Bear Grylls, frigidly baring his backside to end this post on a bare-ass note.

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Naked Saturday

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It wouldn’t be fair for me to do a post catechizing other guys to take their pants off if I’m not going to do my part and be brave too, so here’s the nude preamble to today’s posts. Truth be told, I haven’t been as unclothed here as everyone seems to think I am, but that’s what happens when nudity is involved – everything gets thrown out of whack and blown out of proportion. The false puritan notions of America, bogged down by hypocrisy and hyperbole.

This site has long been a bully pulpit for self-expression and a shame-free zone for the naked human body. While there is no full-frontal nudity (I don’t mind the NSFW label we get, as long as I know it’s not true) there’s just about every other sort, and one man’s backside is another man’s treasure. Now we’re slipping into Debbie Reynolds talk, and I’m pretty sure Carrie Fisher would hardly approve. Come back later for hotter guys similarly lacking in attire.

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Descent of Night

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Though the days are getting to be their longest, night still comes to New England. This is no land of the midnight sun, and dusk never goes beyond 9 PM.

Go to bed, daisy head.

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Hunk of the Day: Rocco Hard

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I’m going out on a limb and guessing that Rocco Hard is not his real name, but everyone said that about Madonna too, so I’m not making any assumptions. Mr. Hard is an aptly-named Hunk of the Day, with the kind of oiled-up chest (and chest hair) that is a gratuitous exercise in eye candy/man candy.

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The Boy You Always Wanted to Be

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TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A LITTLE BIT LONELY AND YOU’RE NEVER COMING ROUND

TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A LITTLE BIT TIRED OF LISTENING TO THE SOUND OF MY TEARS 

TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS THAT THE BEST OF ALL THE YEARS HAVE GONE BY

TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A LITTLE BIT TERRIFIED AND THEN I SEE THE LOOK IN YOUR EYES

TURN AROUND, BRIGHT EYES

EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APART

TURN AROUND, BRIGHT EYES

EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APART…

Give me a cheesy dance cover of a classic 80’s tune and I’m in adolescent heaven.

It was the mid-90’s, and I was working at the Faneuil Hall Structure store, sandwiched between Bath & Body Works and Express and loving every minute of it. The new spring music mix had been delivered and I was trying to get my head around how I would listen to these songs non-stop for the next three months when the familiar chords of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ came on. Backed by its racing BPM and the diva-lite vocal stylings of one Nikki French, it thundered through the store and framed that spring with its romantic longings intact.

Oddly enough, the memory that this song sometimes provokes is of the second guy I kissed. Unfortunately, he had to deal with the relatively cruel aftermath of the first guy I ever kissed, and as such I treated him like shit. It’s not something in which I take any pride. I was young and foolish and stupid and mean, and if I could do it again differently I would. But that’s fast-forwarding through things I need to exorcise.

Back to the beginning, when I was waiting at the Porter Square commuter rail stop after a day in Boston

AND I NEED YOU NOW TONIGHT

AND I NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER

AND IF YOU ONLY HOLD ME TIGHT

WE’LL BE HOLDING ON FOREVER

AND WE’LL ONLY BE MAKING IT RIGHT

CAUSE WE’LL NEVER BE WRONG TOGETHER

ONCE UPON A TIME I WAS FALLING IN LOVE,

NOW I’M ONLY FALLING APART

NOTHING I CAN DO ~ A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART.

Spring had arrived, and with it the usual restless New England excitement that comes following a winter of snowbound darkness. I only had a couple of weeks before returning home for the summer. (Despite the fact that we had the condo in Boston by this time, there was something better about being somewhere with a pool and central air conditioning that appealed to my comfort zone.) Still, there were a few days of spring fun to be had, and after that fall and winter, when my heart had been broken in ways I didn’t quite realize at the moment, I needed it. I also needed to inflict my hurt on someone else. At least, that’s how I felt at the time.

The Porter Square station has one of the longest escalators I’ve ever ridden. To get from the T platform to the commuter rail platform is a lengthy ordeal, and when one of those escalators is out of order, there’s a mini-marathon waiting to wreak havoc with your knees. On this day, it was fortunately operating as usual, and I waited as it slowly brought us up to the light. Whimsical subway art in the form of tiny statues of gloves provided passing interest as we rose higher. I’d arrived early, as always, and there were a few more minutes before the commuter rail would stop to begin the trek to Brandeis. I sat on the bench inside the station door and waited.

Across from me, a tall man with blonde hair stood and looked at me. He waited there without briefcase or bag or coat, and I detected the slightest smile as he caught my eye. This was in the pre-Grindr days, the days before your phone could find the nearest guy looking for sex, the days of luck and chance and destiny, when it seemed both harder and easier to find someone. The smile I returned was more of a sneer; my heart was in protection mode, my head was ready to attack. There’s something hot about sadistic tendencies.

TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I KNOW YOU’LL NEVER BE THE BOY YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE

TURN AROUND

BUT EVERY NOW AND THEN I KNOW YOU’LL ALWAYS BE THE ONLY BOY WHO WANTED ME THE WAY THAT I AM

TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I KNOW THERE’S NO ONE IN THE UNIVERSE AS MAGICAL AND WONDROUS AS YOU

TURN AROUND

EVERY NOW AND THEN I KNOW THERE’S NOTHING ANY BETTER, THERE’S NOTHING THAT I JUST WOULDN’T DO.  

At that point in my life, after the let-downs of my first brushes with love, I knew that I was not quite ready to begin again. At least, my head knew that. The heart is a different story, and though everything I would eventually do came out wrong, the initial attraction to another person was real, and when we sat in close proximity to each other on the train, I was nervous and hopeful. There was excitement in eliciting the notice and thrill of someone else. Where this rather false jolt of confidence originated, I’m not entirely sure, but I was certain he was interested. When you’re young and only slightly cute, you become quickly adept at noticing when someone notices you. It’s survival. I’d never felt particularly attractive, but in rare instances, and in certain company, I was aware that I could cast a spell. Maybe everything I did and would ever do revolved around this dilemma. Every photo I would take, every word I would write, every outfit I would wear – they would all be done in the name of making me pretty. It was a fool’s errand, and I would make it over and over and over again.

From my seat I could see he had pulled a pen and small piece of paper out of his pocket and had written something down. At my stop I stood and slowly eased into the aisle. I saw that it was a name and a number. Walking by him, I paused and held out my hand. He put his number into it, and I walked off the train without saying a word. I mastered aloof nonchalance in the face of a pounding heart long ago.

TURN AROUND, BRIGHT EYES

EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APART

TURN AROUND BRIGHT EYES,

EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APART…

That night, I called him. No game-playing, no strategic waiting, no hesitancy whatsoever on my part. That’s how it always was with me, and it usually ended up badly because of it, but this time things were different. I’d given up control before. I’d been battered and punched, all my innocent questions crushed, all of my ideals pounded with the cold renouncement of one man who couldn’t extend a hand of help or simply humanity. Yet my heart still yearned. My head, however, still hurt, still pained. And it sought out someone to punish.

It was true. My heart was being eclipsed – by hurt, by sadness, by the brutality of a world where no one really cared, not in the way I wanted them to care, not in the way I needed them to care. Yet maybe this was the world. Maybe no one ever cared after your parents, and sometimes not even them, and I had to get over it in order to get on with it. It was a possible truth I was not quite ready to acknowledge. Not at that young age. Hope was still my driving force, even if I’d learned to not reveal that hand. So I went the opposite direction.

I can’t really explain it. Hurt is hard to explain. Our actions in the face of it are even harder to explain. In some ways, it appears I’m still trying. To explain. To justify. To make right. And I know it’s probably not even possible. You can never undo pain. You may apologize and regret and wish to rewind, but hurt is not retractable. It is incontrovertible. Once it happens, there is no refuting or reversing it. And so I carried it with me – then and now – like some unlucky penny that appears when at last you thought it was gone.

AND I NEED YOU NOW TONIGHT

AND I NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER

AND IF YOU ONLY HOLD ME TIGHT

WE’LL BE HOLDING ON FOREVER

AND WE’LL ONLY BE MAKING IT RIGHT

CAUSE WE’LL NEVER BE WRONG TOGETHER…

We met up a few times, and had a number of nice calls. There was passion and excitement, but always a safe distance. I didn’t get too attached too quickly. Quite the opposite. I was cutting and blunt, hurtful and sarcastic. When the smallest thing didn’t go my way I was ready to be done with the whole scene. It was all giving on his part and all taking on mine, and I demanded it as such. His every kindness was met with suspicion and meanness. His romantic overtures were greeted with disdain and ridicule. And somehow he kept coming back for me, because he knew I was unforgettable. I knew it too by that point. I was channeling Linda Fiorentino in ‘The Last Seduction’ and it was not a good look on me, but I didn’t give a fuck.

In a very childish way, I was testing him. Seeing how far I could push it before he would be forced to leave me, like they all left me. Like I gave them any other choice. To his credit, he saw right through it all and took my petulance not to heart, but as an aspect of my personality that needed to be reconciled. I couldn’t forgive him for being so reasonable and so patient, and I lashed out even more.

The strange thing is that the worse you treat someone, the more they want you. A dangerous power lurks within each of us at some point in our lives, and how we wield it is the true test of our character. I did not wield mine well in the beginning, and I have no excuse for it.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO I’M ALWAYS IN THE DARK…

There won’t be any further specifics here. The detailed recounting of what I said and did matters less than the cumulative effect it had on him and on myself. Like a real eclipse, the darkness came on suddenly, as much as it was predicted and expected. Hurt is like that, whether you are the giver or taker, and it’s always too late once it’s set into motion. What starts out so solid and crystalline – the sharp piercing of icy, unrequited love – eventually subsides, gently eroding into something softer, less striking perhaps, but no less resonant. It becomes a dull thing, an emptiness more than something of substance, and that makes it all the trickier.

Many, many years ago, before humanity figured out what was happening, an eclipse felt like the end of the world. Striking terror into the hearts of all of us who did not know any better, it must have seemed as though Armageddon was at hand. A total eclipse of the heart inspires similar fear – the fear of being loved as much as the fear of loving too much.  When I look back at the young man I was twenty years ago, more than anything else I want to tell him not to be afraid. I want to tell him that nothing awful ever came from being kind to someone else. Maybe even more than that I want him to listen, even when I know he won’t.

ONCE UPON A TIME I WAS FALLING IN LOVE, 

NOW I’M ONLY FALLING APART

NOTHING I CAN DO ~ A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART.

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Hunk of the Day: Marshall Arkley

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Now here’s a resume that would be fine to read: London-based model, dancer & cabaret/fire performer. Apply here! For Hunk of the Day Marshall Arkley, that’s just part of the curriculum vitae, and it’s more than ample to see why he’s so popular on all sort of social media. As the Hunk of the Day, his fire only burns all the hotter.

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Snow in Boston

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Don’t get excited – it’s a different kind of snow. (And not this sort of white stuff either.) Here are a few shots of the cherry blossoms that floated over Boston a few weeks ago. This is the only kind of snow I want to hear about at this time of the year, with the possible exception of a snow-cone by the beach. (My version of Cake by the Ocean.)

Nature has her own way of working a motif of beauty – from snowflakes to flower petals, she’s always dropping something from the sky in a confetti of natural glory.

This cherry was of the palest pink – it reads white by all appearances, but up close and personal, particularly as they ripen into their last days, it veers further from pure white, and just as they are about to jump into the wind, the petals are unmistakably tinged with pink.

Like a shower of rose-hued snow.

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Vivaciously Bold by Diana Vreeland

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The late, great Diana Vreeland left a lasting legacy of fashion, boldness, and vivacious spirit, and that all lives on in her namesake fragrance collection. It’s also in good hands, as these fragrances are as rich and varied and bodacious as the fearless woman was herself. For the winter months and holiday time I use the sandalwood-centered ‘Absolutely Vital’ – which also employs Turkish rose and Egyptian jasmine for its richness. As I perused the fragrance counter at Neiman Marcus the other day, I noticed a bright new addition: a lime-green bottle called ‘Vivaciously Bold.’

The literature for this one called it “a luxurious vetiver with an audacious cocktail of citrus zests. A bouquet of pettigrain, orange flower, and jasmine creates the ultimate fantasy floral finished by a daring accord of sensual musk and the finest vetiver.” While I’ve never been the biggest fan of vetiver, here it works quite well. Traditionally a masculine scent, vetiver grounds the floral fantasy into something wearable, and Ms. Vreeland’s take on cologne is what reportedly inspired this one: “I think men’s scents are wonderful… They have such character and are so marvelously clean.”

This is very much a spring/summer fragrance, with its crisp citrus opening, and it manages to pull off a neat trick that most fragrances can’t: it disappears somewhere in the middle of its trajectory, falling off wherever you sprayed it for a brief time, before reappearing later on. I’ve never experienced that sort of magic before, and it’s something to keep in mind before you go too gun-crazy assuming the citrus won’t last.

At first I thought last year’s ‘Smashingly Brilliant’ would be my go-to summer fragrance, and on paper it looked like the more logical choice, with its bergamot and citrus oils tempered by wood and suede finishes, but for some reason that read as bracingly chemical on me. It’s a lesson I learned long ago: fragrance is less about what is on paper and more about what is on your skin – and it’s different for each individual.

As the lady herself was wont to ask: “Am I wrong?”

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Hunk of the Day: David Henrie

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Anyone born after Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ was released is way too young for my taste, but millions would disagree, so here’s your Hunk of the Day, youngster David Henrie. What he may lack in years he more than makes up for in multi-hyphenates: actor, television writer, director and producer – this guy does it all. Maybe all is not lost on the youth. Here’s to the next generation of hunks.

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Building Beauty

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A boy I once liked very much said this was one of his favorite buildings in Boston. It was after our first and only date, and he had parked right in front. There was no good-night kiss, and no interest from his end. Of course I fell in love with him right on the spot.

Now I only find it pretty in certain light.

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Plum Blossoms

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At least, I think these are plum blossoms.

There used to be a gnarled old plum tree on the island in the middle of my childhood street. It was low to the ground, and afforded easy climbing opportunities for a boy. One large branch veered off at a precariously low angle, while the main trunk went up and above, affording a leafy canopy. Every late spring it bloomed in sprays of white, with a sweet-smelling perfume that also attracted buzzing bees. They never bothered me.

I was fascinated by the amber sap that formed bulbous clumps of shiny beauty. Every bruise or cut bled into a little jewel that I’d discover at varying stages of solidity. If you caught it at the right moment, it was almost transparent, while at other times the lightest touch would turn it cloudy and matte-like. Clearly, I’m not a scientist, and I’m only describing how a clueless boy saw the world at such a young age.

I sat on that limb, swinging my legs over the uncut grass beneath it, and waited for summer to arrive.

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