Restaurants »Prune

prune restaurantPrune is a highly acclaimed sliver of a restaurant that by seven o’clock will have you perched on top of your dining neighbors. On the plus side, this lets you take a close peek at what they’re eating (bone marrow to my left, burgers to my right) and for all the close quarters, an open front, which was taken full advantage of on Friday’s moment of seasonal sunshine, keeps the space airy and comfortable.

Prune, just like the small block it sits on above Houston is unassuming. The all female staff is friendly but slightly aloof and the food is very simply presented. We started with some cocktails served in nice big glasses (that I want for myself). I tried the Fresca, being on a bit of a grapefruit kick lately. It was a refreshing blend that also included vodka, mint and sugar. Jim went with the spiked lemonade that by the end of the glass was too spicy for him to finish (not wanting it to go to waste, of course, I drank the rest).

While sipping our refreshments, and nibbling on fried chick peas we began to pour over the menu. With so many alluring options there, we finally, after much deliberation, decided on the veal hearts to share. The meat strips were tender and tasty with a creamy salsa verde so good Jim and I were nearly fighting over the lettuce salad accompaniment (Jim doesn’t fight me for greens often).

For dinner, I opted for the sea bass special with some of the most scrumptious ingredients to my ears: cockles, sliced razor clam, chorizo and a saffron broth. It was delicious. Though Jim’s lamb was also tasty, the cut only offered a few bites of meat on the bone, which was disappointing.

We split a side of asparagus with spring greens. Chef Gabrielle Hamilton has a way with enticing flavors, each dish excelled in that aspect including dessert, a ricotta ice cream with salt caramel croutons, which for obvious reasons, we simply could not turn down. The two elements were just OK when eaten on their own, but the combination was dreamy.

I have heard praise (as well as some less impressed incounters) with their popular brunch, which most people wait in long queues for, and based on the dinner experience we had, I think I’d like to try it some day. After all who can say no to a huge, long list of bloody mary options?
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Posted on June 22, 2009

Desserts »Big Gay Icecream Truck

big gay ice cream truckFor “the queerest dairy treats in NYC” head over to the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, a roaming traditional soft serve truck with daily changing premium toppings like fresh blueberries and ginger crisps.

We went for the more traditional vanilla with butterscotch toppings, yum! and enjoyed the bonus of friendly service.

To find out where the truck will be parked next, stay tuned to his blog (soon he'll be perched outside previous Brix Pick The Phoenix).

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Drinks »Cosmo

cosmosSkinny famous women just keep stealing from the gays. First Madonna takes Voguing then later SJP and friends grab hold of the Cosmo. Even though this article claims the mainstream embracing of the drink has made it lame with the gay world, Gawker found it's still a beloved staple.

A big sweet for me to be a common beverage of choice, it's still a refreshing and adorably pink cocktail good for sweet tooth indulging. I prefer to make mine with Cointreau.?/p>

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »Francis Bacon Exhibit

francis bacon metThe Francis Bacon show at the Met is an overwhelming experience. Having never seen his work in person, seeing so much of it is visceral, intense and brutal. It's not often you can get lost in the detail of a painting thinking about tearing limbs, exposed bones, and dripping flesh.

Having grown up a gay man when it was a criminal act, living a life fueled by alcohol and violent relationships, punctuated by the loss of lovers, it's not hard to understand why the work is so tormented.

My favorite pieces are earlier in his career, including the portraits of monkeys, business men, and popes. Later, though I am not as enamored with the work, I do love that he started using swaths of neon.

Another favorite is the champagne flute set that you can purchase in the gift shop (very rare to be thrilled with the shill at a museum) they?”feature the phrase that Bacon was famous for uttering while regularly ordering rounds of champagne for his wide circle of friends and followers in London drinking clubs: “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.”

The most intriguing part of the exhibit is the room with personal, partially destroyed photographs and a large mural depicting the chaotic and stimulating work space of the artist. It's a humanizing display that only adds to the emotional depth of the work.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Movies »Born in Flames

born in flamesYou wouldn't necessarily think an independent, militant lesbian sci fi drama with spoken word poetry would in any way be a watchable, let alone an enjoyable cinematic experience, but the vibrant Born in Flames defied my expectations. Director Lizzie Borden tackles racism, sexism, and intelligent political theories in this, one of her few films that features a young Kathryn Bigelow (of Point Break directorial fame and heartthrob of my husband's) who's a bit awkward on screen, but most of the cast of quite beautiful and strong women are surprisingly natural as far as independent cinema goes (and we all know how it can go).

The plot is simple yet complex in terms of its ideas about socialist democracies and women armies. There's been a peaceful second American revolution, yet minorities and women are still disenfranchised and begin to take to the airwaves and streets to bring the system down. What it lacks in solid story structure it more than makes up for in dynamic energy. It features some great music, memorable imagery, and a devoted cult following – and it's available instantly through Netflix.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Spend a Couple Minutes »Keith Haring Mural

keith haring muralThe Keith Haring Mural at Houston and Bowery was recreated by the Keith Haring Foundation and Deitch Projects in honor of what would have been the artist's fiftieth birthday. The original was painted at the exact same spot back in 1982 and was up for a few months.

Happily for us who enjoy a spot of brightness and smiles in our daily walks around the area, this one is lasting much longer than it was even originally intended (it was listed as being up until the end of last year but still stands).

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Books »China Mountain Zhang

china mountain zhangAfter a serious economic downturn in America that effects the global economy (sound familiar?) proletariat rebellions have led to China's global communist domination and America becoming nearly a third world country. China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F. McHugh's debut novel, is more speculative science fiction than the over the top adventure you might associate with the genre and a pleasure to read.

The protagonist, Zhang is a gay man growing up as an ABC (American Born Chinese) who finds himself traveling through the socialist paths of a new world. These lead him to the Arctic circle, the communes of Coney Island, in contact with the settlements on Mars, and to the relative luxury of a Daoist Chinese college.

Stories from other characters intertwine with his journey including a tough as nails Martian colonist, a kite flying athlete, and a despondent lover oppressed by the government.

With vivid imagery and believable characters McHugh has created a very lived in future, a “what if?” society that feels as real as our own and just as possible.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Places to Visit »Meat and Sausage Tour of Germany

fair in germanyIf there's one thing in the meat department Germans are known for, its sausage (aka wurst).?While there are lots of good places to find a good wurst around town or even around the country, there is only one place to have a nice Weiss wurst (a white sausage).?And that place is Munich.?

To top that off, the best place to get any cooked meat product in Munich is the Weisses Br?uhaus M?nchen.?Home of Schneider Weiss beer among other things, its also the home of some pretty tasty meats.?Be sure to check out the fine dolled up Munich beer maidens while their and sample their brand of dunkel (a dark German beer) that they make there that I've never had anywhere else.

Another specialty is the braten! the bierrebraten is a roast of pork shoulder, soaked for perhaps days in beer and then cooked and served with bread dumplings.?Its pretty amazing, and only 8 euros for literally pounds of food.?However, while in Munich one must do as the Bavarians do and enjoy a nice plate of white sausages (a regional speciality).?Usually served with some sauerkraut that even has more meat in it, its the perfect German summer time, winter time or anytime treat.

Sadly, we don't have an actual photo of the sausages so I threw in an awesome photo from the fair.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Albums »It’s Only Right and Natural

the frogs it's only right and naturalIf you wanted to really make a conservative homophobe's blood boil, you couldn't find a better album than The Frogs It's Only Right and Natural. It's an explicitly over the top homo erotic lo fi masterpiece that was denounced by an enraged Pat Robertson but gained the band a cult following that included Billy Corgan (who had them open for Smashing Pumpkins) and the late Kurt Cobain (who called the album his favorite record… ever).

It's an acquired taste musically but I have grown to love listening to Dykes are We, Been a Month Since I Had a Man and Homos in the mornings to start my work day. The lyrics are daring, funny, and highly satirical and the music is akin to Beck and Syd Barrett.

An assortment of record label money problems caused the band's demise, but they still claim many devoted fans and even tour. In fact, I designed a poster of a girl jiggling with her junk for their show at Emo's years ago when I was an underemployed art school grad; I regret that I didn't get to see the actual performance.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Web Sites »BryanBoy

bryan boyThis style insider has a passion for fashion that has won him the hearts of fashion fans and legends. Marc Jacobs has even named a purse after Bryan Boy. His entries, including his videos “Faggotry in Motion” are swishy and charming. From praising Barbara (“I love her!”) to describing his afternoon (just a photo of a martini and shopping bags), you'll get your fix of tiny Filipino fab daily.

I also love that he takes his portraits for interviews draped over a camels back, dripping in unusual fur.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Songs »Lola

the kinks lolaNothing ever really dies, does it? Lola, a Kinks hit from 1970 gained, new popularity with the questionably witty Yoda spoof by Werid Al, who in turn has found new popularity with the stoned children of today as cable access host Uncle Muscles. Still, no matter how wacky Al's lyrics got (I know Darth Vader's really got you annoyed/ But remember, if you kill him, then you'll be unemployed”) they're no freakier than the original, which chronicles a night with a transvestite.

Some stories claim it was based on the exploits of their manager, others claim Lola is actually Candy Darling with whom Davies may or may not have had an affair. Either way, here's a transciprt of her interviewing him for Interview Magazine in 1973. And speaking of never dying, Darling is featured on her death bed on the cover of Antony and the Johnson's I am a Bird Now.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

TV Shows »Tipping the Velvet

tipping the velvetIt's been years since I've seen Tipping the Velvet, but this lush and lusty saga is pretty unforgettable. Based on the debut novel by Sarah Waters of the same name, the BBC adaptation is in the capable hands of adaptation king Andrew Davies. Set in Victorian England, the story is a rambling and expansive look at lesbian life during the era.

Nan, a spirited young woman goes from poor oyster house wench to stage performer to kinky rent “boy”, to kept woman and more. She's played by Rachael Stirling, who may be better known to you as the lovely daughter of Diana Rigg.

Lots of great costumes and settings abound and an entire world that rarely makes it to the big or little screen comes alive in this acclaimed series that is available on DVD.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Hunks »Ricky Starr

ricki starrOn a recent visit my dad reminisced about Ricky Starr, a ballet dancing wrestler who, despite his fey persona, sent grown, gruff enemies into hysterics of fear with his deadly legs.

While Starr may not be touted as a gay icon (his own sexuality was probably straight) I think it's awesome that he was kicking ass and gained tons of fans while prancing around and acting in the exact way that (still) scares most wrestling fans to death.

Starr was a professional dancer before entering the wrestling game, and you can witness his fancy footwork here.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Laughs »Nick Swardson

terry reno 911 nick swardsonComedian Nick Swardson with his minuscule hot pants and roller skates has consistently been one of the brightest joys of Reno 911 for years. Lucky for us he's collected the greatest Terry moments.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Style Icons: Male »The Cockettes

the cockettesOk, ok, so there's nothing new about a drag queen and even the most queenliest men I have known have often labeled the practice “just too gay” but if you are in any way a fan of the avant garde, performance art, living outside the mainstream, vintage costume, extravagant style, and glitter you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with the Cockettes. They were psychedelic, hippie drag queens whacked out on LSD with a penchant for Victorian lace, sequins, and any pre-war fashions that could be stolen from thrift stores.

Their reign was brief, from an impromptu singing and dancing performance with huge layered costumes and eventual nudity, to the toast of the San Fransisco freak scene, they ruled their world until drugs, snobby New Yorkers, and aids brought them down.

To learn all about them and be visually blown away by all the footage of their performances, watch the great documentary simply titled, The Cockettes (available on DVD and Netflix). I took the liberty of capturing just a few of the stimulating images here.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Recipes »Cat Cora Shrimp Salad

cat cora shrimp saladCat Cora is most famous from her stint as the first female chef Iron Chef and for being pregnant the same time as her wife, Jennifer. A fan of Mediterranean cuisine, her shrimp salad is light and lemony and not nearly as heavy as the mayo kind we're all used to. Of course I kind of negated any health benefits by matching it with garlic bread which worked great sopping up the vinaigrette.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Style Icons: Female »Wendy Carlos

wendy carlosA pioneer in her personal life and creative, Wendy Carlos is perhaps most well known and loved for her soundtrack for A Clockwork Orange. It's a spectacular album and a perfect match to the wild futuristic madness of both the Burgess novel and Kubrick's stunning visual interpretation. Earlier, under the name Walter, before her Playboy outed sex change, she gained more popularity for her moog take on the classics with the surprising hit Switched on Bach.

She's a lovely lady who has inspired an entire genre of music and adores her Siamese cats who she draws and posts on her website, there you can also see some awesome photos of her electronic music studios through the decades. She has also made some fantastic Moog based Christmas cards, taken photos of many eclipses (of which she says are “a bigger part of my life than I'd like to admit”). The more you explore her site, the more you grow fond of this unique innovator.

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Posted on June 22, 2009