LENSED: Manikins

Just when it seemed like every base had been covered in the fashion world, with a token this and a token that, along comes Shaun Ross (only an American could have a name like that. Or an Irishman). You must admit, he is kind of WOW!!! Albinos have had a bad rap, what with the whole Matrix thing, and this year's Big Brother. But if anyone can remedy that, it's Shaun Ross! Hell, I'd take any medicine he dished out. Shaun Ross can be found at Djamee Models. The picture below is from a shoot for Andre 3000's wardrobe of rags, called the Benjamin Bixby collection. An article about Shaun Ross can be found here.

Smurftastic 50!

Lots of things happened in the 1950s, but the only really important event was the debut of the Smurfs. Cartoonist Pierre Culliford introduced his Schtroumpf comic strip to the world in October 1958. Their television debut came in 1981. This month, the little blue people are 50. Aaaaahh...

Simon Webbe

Simon, Simon, Simon... The simple fact of the matter is that Simon Webbe is Sex personified. Forget your American dime-a-dozen imports, your Jensen Attwoods, your Tyson Beckfords, your Wilson Cruzs. Simon Webbe is all you need. The man is the definition of Sex. Not sex, Sex. What the hell, SEX. SEX! He also doesn't mind having his butt groped my male fans. Handy information to have. Sadly though, there doesn't seem to be much doubt that Mister Webbe is a Heterosexual (let's hope it's just a phase). On the other hand, during a late night, alcohol-fuelled troll of YouTube, I happened across the video for Guilty, which includes the following lyrics from Simon and (or is it to) bandmate Lee: Simon: I never wanted just to be the other guy Lee: (Be the other guy) Simon: I never wanted to live a lie Oh er, missus... It's at about 1.38 in the video (below). Have a peek. Check out the look they share as they breathe the words "be the other guy" to each other... Now, let's have it right, kids, I'm not accusing Simon & Lee of a hot, sexy, down-low romance during their time in Blue. All I'm saying is that we should float our fantasies on the sea of imagination, and *sigh*. Finished? Jolly good. You can draw your own conclusions. Simon's third studio album, apparently called Run, is rumoured to come out this year. He's also said to be in talks to appear in the next series of the high-brow sociology experiment I'm A Celebrity... Well, let's hope he loses most of his clothes out there in the jungle.

Vote Now: The 50 Greatest Gay Books

Over at AfterElton.com, voting has started on the 50 Greatest Gay Books. After the (albeit pretty predictable) travesty that was the 50 Greatest Gay Movies, make sure you have your say, and nominate your own personal top 5. Voting is open until October 31st and the results will be published in November.

Deciding upon bestest-most-favourite-ever-type things is never easy. Only John R. Gordon's works, my appreciation of which I've talked about previously, were guaranteed a place. I have a fondness for Alan Hollinghurst, but it's hard to single out any one novel. Larry Duplechan's books are all excellent and deserving of a wider audience. Shyam Selvadurai's Funny Boy is a joy. In any case, my five nominees are:

1) Skin Deep by John R. Gordon

2) Black Butterflies by John R. Gordon

3) Blackbird by Larry Duplechan

4) The Spell by Alan Hollinghurst

5) Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai

What will yours be?

There's Probably No God

It's a rare beacon of rationality in a world increasingly poisoned by religious extremism, and a sign that the enlightened are finally hitting back at fundamentalist propaganda. The British Humanist Association (BHA) will pay for the slogan "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" to be displayed on buses in London from January, and potentially in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the BHA, said: "We see so many posters advertising salvation through Jesus or threatening us with eternal damnation, that I feel sure that a bus advert like this will be welcomed as a breath of fresh air. If it raises a smile as well as making people think, so much the better." The man who wrote the best-selling The God Delusion, Professor Richard Dawkins, supports the campaign: "Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride - automatic tax breaks, unearned respect and the right not to be offended, the right to brainwash children. Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think - and thinking is anathema to religion." That says it all really. Personally speaking, I'm deeply opposed to organised religion, particularly the rapidly encroaching threat of Islam, and the long-running hate campaign we like to call Christianity - both of which threaten to drag civilisation back to the middle ages. I don't necessarily believe religion should be banned, but it should certainly be discouraged. A bit like smoking, in fact. I can't wait to see the Truth displayed on buses. In fact, I think it's a Godsend.

The Lego Man

I have a confession. I was a Lego kid. I loved the stuff. But I'm not going to embarrass myself by revealing how old I was when I finally stopped messing about with it, except to say that I lost my virginity before I lost my Lego sets. Let's just leave it at that. Some years later, I spent a small fortune on eBay buying back those 1980s sets I'd once owned, and which my adolescent self foolishly disposed of. They're now housed behind glass, unplayed with, and untouched by human hands. Nathan Sawaya is a man who's taken his plastic passion a bit further; his New York studio is home to more than 1.5 million bricks, which he uses exclusively to build some pretty amazing sculpture. He can even recreate you - yes, YOU - as a full-size Lego replica. I think I'd like that. See more of the man and his art here.

Wood Lane

Today I could have run with the latest on those persistent rumours surrounding Will Smith, the actor who gets sexier as he gets older, or some sort of post-mortem on my previous entry (not to mention an apology to those who spoke to me during my post-court alcoholic meltdown on Saturday night). Instead, we're going to be wholesome and jolly Londoncentric, with pictures of the new Wood Lane Underground station, the first new station to be built on an existing London Underground line in seventy years. And that's a jolly long time, kids. Wood Lane Underground station doesn't look like a Tube station. Well it does, but it calls to mind clubs, and certain saunas. Or is that just me. Ahem. See more here and here.

Gang Drugs, Injects HIV Blood At Sex Parties

Pictured: Random gay shenanigans.
Well now kids, how about this for a horror story? A gang drugged, raped and injected men with HIV-contaminated blood at sex orgies in Groningen, the Netherlands. There are fourteen alleged victims; twelve of the men are HIV positive or have full blown AIDS. The gang, three men aged 39, 49 and 50, plotted to infect their victims, luring them with sex parties promoted on the internet. Their motive isn't clear. The mind boggles.

LENSED: Tyson Beckford Does London

Hooray! New pictures of Tyson Beckford, which means I don't have to write a lot today. And he's in London too, which makes it Even More Relevant. (Hmm, I wonder what hotel? And is he going to Heaven tonight - it is Wednesday, after all. It's like a BGCLive.com hook-up/bitchfest in there at this time of the week.) Miss Beckford was at the Africa Rising festival in London's Royal Albert Hall, the finale of a global series of art, music and fashion events designed to promote positive images of Africa. Intriguingly, Miss Beckford is adorned with triangular pendants. And you know what that means, don't you, dear reader.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Things You Thought You'd Never See: A Gay Jamaican Cop

Constable Michael Hayden is a brave man. The Jamaican took the momentous step of coming out whilst still serving in the Jamaican police force. His story of abuse suffered at the hands of his colleagues makes for depressing viewing. Try not to get too distracted by the world's sexiest accent - from the world's most homophobic country.

Source: GBMNews

James Fauntleroy

Don't you just hate it when you hear a song, and think it's the best thing since Roman Heart recorded a scene with Pedro Andreas & Daniel Marvin, only to later discover the song is by someone you loathe? Doesn't it make you feel dirty, guilty and sinful? Or is that just me coming over all Catholic?

It isn't all D'Angelo and Carl Craig here at the ka-os blog, we like our throwaway I-wouldn't-admit-it-to-discerning-friends tunes too. Like that Chris Brown record featuring some yawnsome Christian-right hate-puppet. What's-her-face, the one who won American Pop Idol On Ice? You know who I mean, don't make me say it.

Anyway, if you liked the Chris Brown record No Air, but wished that it didn't feature a conservative, fundamentalist monster singing on it, you can download a demo of said tune, every bit as good as the Chris Brown version, by the very brilliant James Fauntleroy, sans Jordin-homosexuality-is-an-abomination-Sparks. Doh! I said it.

Sadly, I don't know how to put MP3s on blogger, and I've just drunk a bottle of Merlot Rose so I'm not going to invest my limited concentration into finding out. Maybe some kind soul will teach me. In the meantime, you can find the track here at BlakMusicFirst, as well as other delicious tunes by Mister Fauntleroy, Dontae, Atozzio, Sterling Simms and RL.

Breion Diamond And A Fan

Oops, that headline should have read "John Legend And A Fan" - but who's to say which one is the fan? Who's the hostage and who's the terrorist?

Have I entered some weird parallel universe in which mainstream, top drawer R&B stars publicly fraternise with top drawer (in more ways than one) gay erotic artistes? Is this real? It can't be. What next - Tom Cruise turning up at a Matthew Rush signing? Will Smith and Tiger Tyson... no, never mind, that's a completely different train of thought.

Here at the ka-os blog, we have a very deep affection for Breion Diamond. His seduction of Shorty J atop a ladder is a classic cinematic moment... (sigh). The Diamond kid has his own blog, which is worth checking out, and you can see plenty more of him here.

Boys Shouldn't Kiss

A couple of days ago, Christian and his new boyfriend Lee shared a kiss in EastEnders, the BBC soap. The gay kiss generated 145 complaints from viewers.
"I am appalled by the display of homosexual kissing before the watershed shown on EastEnders. This is disgraceful whilst young children are watching and sets the wrong example," said one. Another said, "I had to explain to my seven-year-old son what was happening. He now thinks he is gay because he kisses his dad."
Hmm... If your child is thinking along those lines, then maybe you should look at your parenting skills. Mind you, allowing a seven year old to watch EastEnders - and then having nothing better to do than write in and complain about it - says a lot. Oh, and I'd recommend not using tongue during those father-son kisses - that's bound to confuse the little one.
The BBC had this to say: "EastEnders aims to reflect real life, and this means including and telling stories about characters from many different backgrounds, faiths, religions and sexualities. We approach our portrayal of homosexual relationships in the same way as we do heterosexual relationships. In this instance, Christian is enjoying the first flush of romance and we've shown him being affectionate with his new boyfriend in the same way any couple would. We also aim to ensure that depictions of affection or sexuality between couples are suitable for pre-watershed viewing. We believe that the general tone and content of EastEnders is now widely recognised, meaning that parents can make an informed decision as to whether they want their children to watch."
Daily Mail readers and people with nothing better to do also complained about the show's depiction of Muslim characters during Ramadan (110 complaints), the current child abuse storyline (200 and rising), and Max Branning being buried alive (137 complaints). People weren't too pleased to see Dawn Swann chained to a bed by Mad May and threatened with an anaesthesia-free enforced Caesarean (80 complaints). Personally speaking, I feel slicing her open and plucking the baby out would have been the best thing for the silly bitch. But that's just me.

Sex Sirens

It's all eyes, lips, attitude, tattoos, make-up, shade, pouting and jewellery over at Rod 2.0, with a story on the butch queen sex siren ballroom body boys (phew! Try saying that with your mouth full).
Serve The Kids.com is where you can get the DVDs. More at canwebefrank.com.

Justin's Journal

Here at the ka-os blog, we'd like nothing more than to stop you looking at other blogs. Don't look at them! You can get everything you need right here. Trust me.
You might want to spend a little time with Justin, however. He's very cute and very engaging. And he's in moving pictures too - with sound!
Justin B Smith, in case you don't know, is HIV positive, and he's put together a HIV Journal to "hopefully save someone's life." It's a series of YouTube videos following his experiences, and it's incredibly intimate, moving and, thanks to Justin's effervescent personality, frequently funny.
After watching, I was left with a deep sense of anger that this is still happening, decades after the height of the virus in the eighties. That's not a judgement on Justin, it's questioning why we seemingly haven't learned our lesson. Why are gay men still having unprotected sex? I've already talked about my own close shave with the virus, and I know a lot of friends who've confessed (or even bragged) about barebacking. It's been well-documented that complacency has set in, that boys think having HIV can be fixed by popping a pill like a vitamin once a day. Justin's videos show the stark reality, and it's no walk in the park.
Watch his video journal. It's important. Just promise you won't go and download Bareback Cum Party afterwards.

Coming To America

Pape Mbaye gets a lot of attention. Even in jaded New York, people watch the way he walks (his style defines the word sashay) and scrutinize his outfits, which on a recent afternoon featured white, low-slung capris, a black purse, eyeliner and diamond-studded jewelry.

And he likes it.

“I’m fabulous,” he said. “I feel good.”

And so The New York Times reports on Pape Mbaye, who was granted refugee status by the US government after being driven out of his native Senegal. He was attacked by armed mobs, harassed by police and subjected to a poisonous campaign of denigration by the media.

Anti-gay sentiment is rife in Africa, with the media and religious leaders (the Times article highlights Islamic leaders) using fear of homosexuality as a cover for the continents real problems.

Pape's story of riches to rags is grim, but things are looking up for him. He has his own place in the Bronx (where he should fit in well) and hopes to continue dancing, singing and storytelling (in French and Wolof for now). “I want to live with the gays!” he said. “Pape Mbaye is American!”

See the article here.

Review: Bangkok Love Story

It's a nice idea - an assassin and his intended victim become allies, and, in hiding, unexpectedly find love together. Maek (played by Rattanaballang Tohssawat) is the assassin capable only of killing the bad guys. Iht (Chaiwat Thongsaeng) is his target, the lawyer a crime gang wants murdered.

The film is visually stunning, as is Chaiwat Thongsaeng as Iht. I could watch him watching paint dry all day long and not get bored. But as for the plot... Oh dear.

I desperately wanted to like this film. There was so much potential; the idea itself is a bit different - a gay version of Asian action flicks. But the melodrama puts Brazilian telenovellas to shame. It isn't enough that Maek's brother is a hustler who happily passes on the AIDS given to him by his paedophile stepfather, the mother is also infected, and eventually hangs herself. Oh and so does the brother, after a slow, lingering decline into AIDS hell. It isn't enough that Maek gets locked up for most of his life; when he finally gets out, he's gunned down. That's after Iht, who's been blinded by the widow of one of Maek's victims, has waited a lifetime for him. And because it's in a rainstorm, poor blind Iht doesn't realise Maek's been shot dead, and carries on talking about how much he loves Maek, and how Maek will be his new eyes from now on. Then a Hummer runs over both of them. (No, not really, but it might as well have done.)

The first half of the film, particularly the scenes in which Maek and Iht slowly fall in love - and lust, culminating in a steamy rooftop love scene - is promising. But it goes downhill rapidly, plummets of a cliff and is blown to smithereens as one tragedy tops another. And I like a it of tragedy me, but there's such a thing as overkill.

The one miracle is that I didn't try and jump off the nearest viaduct after this little epic.

Pictured: Chaiwat Thongsaeng as Iht. Or Stone, if you read the subtitles.

What Goes Around Comes Around: A Player Gets Played

This article has been moved.
Read the updated version here.

Jamal Brown

Pictured: Ivy League track & field athlete Jamal Brown, who will feature in Out magazine's Out 100.

First the Olympics, then, er, Gladiators - it's all sport, sport, sport around here lately. However, picture perfect Jamal's account of coming out to his team at Dartmouth College is a rare good news story. You can read it here.

Jamal's photo (above) is part of an ongoing project by Jeff Sheng featuring images of 'out' high school and collegiate athletes. Track and field cutey Jamar (below) takes the silver for me (sorry), but you'll have your own favourites.

Check out Fearless - A Photography Series by Jeff Sheng, here.

Darryl Stephens Speaks. Out

Oooooooooh, what's this? An interview in Instinct with yummy Noah's Arc star Darryl Stephens. Darryl, Darryl, Darryl, how we love you. (Sigh). If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I despise the pack of (usually gay) bloggers who think it's their business to out actors who would otherwise like to keep their personal lives private. These misguided individuals seem to think that actors have some sort of responsibility to the gay community. They don't. They're people doing a job, and it's none of your business who they do. We all want to know, but we don't have any right to, and people seem to forget that. The cast of Noah's Arc, who largely kept silent on the issue of sexuality, came in for some particularly harsh criticism after keeping silent on the subject. Darryl Stephens, who came out after Noah's Arc finished on television, says: “We had seen other gay shows where the straight actors who were playing gay got a lot of the credit for doing all the work and for being braver actors. We were all just trying to avoid that. I think as black actors we are all aware of the fact that the roles we are allowed to play are very limited. To step up and say “I’m gay” makes a lot of other doors close, too.” The fact that he needs to explain these simple facts is a sad indictment on the gay community. Mind you, he could say "I wanna see if this wine bottle fits in you" and I'd probably nod my head and smile dumbly. Darryl, Darryl, Darryl (sigh). See some of the interview here or get the magazine. Oh yeah, the magazine has a shirtless spread of Mr. Stephens. Save a copy for me.

Pictured: Darryl demonstrates talents we'll sadly never experience in the high brow classic, Another Gay Movie.

Tales of the Unexpected

Pictured: Julian Rodriguez and his partner Joel Jusino, with Mr. Rodriguez’s daughters from a previous marriage.

The family is just one of around 1500 same-sex couples with children in the Bronx, New York. The New York Times reports that "same-sex couples in the Bronx are more likely to have children than those in any other New York City borough, according to a study released last month, and perhaps more than any county in the country."

Well, someone has to look after all the orphans abandoned by straight people - assuming that a large proportion of the children raised by gay couples have been adopted...
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