Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I'm going up to my partner's this afternoon to take him out to dinner at our favorite Japanese steakhouse restaurant for his birthday. Tomorrow we drive down to Salem, MA and visit the newly renovated and greatly expanded Peabody-Essex Museum that has as its new centerpiece a complete Chinese house that is something like 200 years old and has been beautifully restored. We love to do this sort of thing when we travel and are now beginning to catch up again with the good museums here.

New England has a great many smaller or "regional" museums that actually have terrific collections and/or are able to snag excellent touring exhibits that are too small or too specialized for the big guys. The Currier Gallery in Manchester, NH owns a complete (down to the dishware and the clothing in the closets) Frank Lloyd Wright house from the very early 50s that makes a fascinating afternoon's visit. The Hartford Athenium has had several superb shows including original costumes (all handpainted silk) from the famed Ballet Russe. The deCordova Museum and sculpture park in Lincoln is an outstanding contemporary art museum. My personal favorite for many reasons is the Isabella Stewart Gardner here in Boston. Mrs. Gardner was a rebel from Beacon Hill society who consorted with artists and had a strong bohemian streak. She built "The Palace" as it was called in Venetian Gothic style to house her collection and she lived on the top floor. The collection is good but as a look into the mind of aquirky personality of the Belle Epoque, the place is priceless.

Tuesday has suddenly become gay night on the Bravo channel. I try not to watch too much TV but the long-promised gay network has never materialized and other channels are taking up the slack. Boy Meets Boy, which was widely predicted to be exploitive and smarmy, turns out to be fairly interesting and the wild card aspect--that several of the contestants are actually straight--has not been overplayed but has been
a positive aspect of the show. Perhaps significantly, James (the eligible gay bachelor looking for a boyfriend, who does not know yet there are straight men in the dating pool) has eliminated four of of them on the very logical basis of "no chemistry." My personal favorite at this point is Rob--great smile, sweet personality and seems like a great guy.

Gay Eye for the Straight Guy could be really silly and IS really over the top but I find it delightful. Five gay men in New York City take on a straight man each week who is facing some kind of landmark event. They analyze his life, his goals and then make over his wardrobe, his residence, his diet, his personal grooming and, if possible, manners. It is a great send-up of the gay decorating gene stereotype and is notable for the fact that they work within the man's established personal style and career needs--just better. I've liked them all so far but the first episode, where they worked with a stunning young man planning to ask his equally stunning girlfriend to marry him, was perhaps the finest. At the end he proposed, she accepted and we got to see five gayboys celebrating their facilitation of a hetereosexual marriage. Hey, weren't we supposed to be the ones THREATENING straight marriage?

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