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Posts for September, 2012

Story of a porn Idol

Timothy Kincaid

September 28th, 2012

In the early 1990′s, Ryan Idol was the king of gay porn. Idol Eyes, his 1990 debut video starring opposite Joey Stefano (another story, another time), was a huge success and promotion of Idol as the face of a higher quality, professionally filmed version of erotica made him a recognizable name. I have some vague recollection of being at some party about that time in which the dance floor was alive with the rumor that Ryan Idol had just arrived by helicopter.

Idol (real name Marc Anthony Donais) went on to star in Huge Video’s Idol Worship, Idol Thoughts, Idol Country, and Idol in the Sky, along with a few others which did not feature his name. Coming to the porn world fresh from a Playgirl centerfold, he claimed to make $50,000 per movie.

But by the late 1990′s, Idol’s career may have been suffering from overexposure and after 1996 he ceased working for Huge. While pursuing plans to produce his own video, Idol Gods, Idol turned to stage acting. The transition was not a large one. In 1997, Idol stepped in to star in Making Porn, Ronnie Lawsen’s play about an out-of-luck straight actor who ends up in the gay pornography business.

But Idol was still in the limelight. And he lived it up in the company of Windy City Times founder Jeff McCourt. (Chicagomag.com 2000)

… McCourt would drift into a number of brief relationships, the most notable of which was with Marc Anthony Donais, a man far better known in the gay community as the pornographic film star Ryan Idol.

“In some kind of fucked-up way, they cared about each other,” says Alter. “They were two highly narcissistic, very on-the-edge types of personalities who were using each other for image, for money, for drugs, for sex.” He adds, “In spite of all that—and I know how strange this sounds—I think there was something real there.”

Donais, who today lives in a small New England town, agrees. They met in the late 1990s, when Donais was in Chicago and attempting to launch a legitimate acting career by starring in a play in Bailiwick Repertory’s annual Pride Series. He and McCourt began a yearlong on-again, off-again relationship that was complicated by the fact that, for most of that time, Donais had a girlfriend. “He was somebody I’ll never forget,” Donais says. “He was really like a best friend, a big brother. He would have me in his office all the time to show off and stuff. And he would be wielding his power, and I identified with that.”

The staff remembers it somewhat differently. “We’d have editorial meetings where Jeff would be sitting there with white powder around his nose, drinking booze out of a bottle with Ryan Idol asleep on the couch,” says Weisberg. “At some point we just knew this wasn’t going to work—that this was no way to run a business.”

But life for Marc Anthony Donais was not all flashbulbs and applause. The glamorous life, with its abundance of chemical happiness, was difficult for him to handle. And his erratic behavior and fiery temper got in the way. One night after a performance he got angry, punched the playwright, and left in handcuffs.

While that put a temporary stop to the starring role, the worst was the night of March 20, 1998, when Donais took a leap out of the window of his girlfriend’s fourth floor apartment. A fortunate bounce off an awning saved his life leaving him with a shattered pelvis, mangled left arm, severe concussion and whiplash.

Without health insurance and resorting to on-line appeals for funds, Idol went back to the play in Miami Beach’s Colony Theater. He promised to be good. He lasted a month. On September 1, 1998 Idol showed up 45 minutes late. (Steve Rathous)

“His eyes were dilated, and he was extremely agitated, ” Hodgson said. “I told him he was in breach of contract for showing up late. His response to me: ‘Sue me. . . . F— you. . . . I’m not going on.’

“In his street clothes, he went center stage in front of the audience and said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the show has been canceled.’ He walked out through the front door and left.”

That was it for Making Porn, but Ryan continued his stage career with Scent Of Rain, a rural-set gay-man-finds-love story with lots of nudity. And, after a hiatus of about a decade, got a bit part in a revival of The Ritz (2007) and earned the right to say he played on Broadway. He even managed to get a one man show, Anatomy of an Idol, produced. But Idol Gods never materialized and Ryan Idol’s superstar days were long over. The public had no interest in an aging Marc Anthony Donais.

But three years ago, Donais returned to the public eye, though not in a way he would have preferred. That night he was upset over a recent breakup and went to visit the woman with whom he had been involved. (SacBee)

According to the victim’s testimony at trial, Donais entered the woman’s apartment the night of Sept. 5, 2009, and told her, “I came over here to kill you.”

The two had been involved in a relationship, but the woman – whose name is being withheld because she is a domestic violence victim – said she ended it when she caught him having sex with his male lover.

The woman said Donais stormed into her bathroom while she was taking a bath at her 48th Street residence and began to beat her with the porcelain lid.

He claimed to have beat her in self defense saying he thought she had a knife. The jury didn’t buy that one. On September 20, 2011 he was convicted of attempted murder.

When he went for sentencing, his attorney requested that he be removed. Donais then sought another trial, claiming inadequate council. His second trial didn’t fare better and yesterday Donais faced his sentence.

More than a year after his conviction, a one-time gay porn star who beat his former girlfriend over the head with a toilet tank lid has been sentenced to 12 years in state prison for attempted murder.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy L. Nunley imposed the term Wednesday on Marc Anthony Donais, 46, who established a reputation in the 1990s as one of the top stars in his genre under the name of Ryan Idol.

Which brings me to my Ryan Idol story. It’s not exactly that thrilling and doesn’t portray me in a particularly complimentary light, but here is how I recall it:

This was way back when, in the mid 90s just about the time that Ryan Idol was coming to recognize that in porn fresher is better. One of my clients, an HIV/AIDS service group, was the charity recipient of that year’s gay porn awards and the executive director asked me to join him at the event.

It was not nearly as risqué as it sounds. Because liquor was sold, there was no nudity and clips from the videos couldn’t be shown. Other than a couple “oh, I didn’t know you did porn” encounters, it was fairly boring and only one moment really stands out it my mind.

At the table next to our own was a still-recognizable face: Ryan Idol. He was easy to spot as he was the only man to bring a female date to the event, a woman he described as his fiancée.

And he was noticeably drunk. And obnoxious.

Now most people weren’t treating this in a very serious manner. After all, where exactly does one display the award for Best Bottom in a Three Way?

To my defense, I insist that we didn’t really start it. But we couldn’t help but notice that Idol has strong opinions about who should be receiving awards, opinions that he wasn’t exactly keeping to himself.

My client got a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and I played right along. We noticed that Ryan Idol was nominated for some award later in the program and decided to set the stage. We started a just-loud-enough-for-him-to-hear conversation about the role. Neither of us had seen his performance but we assured each other that it was a masterpiece and worthy of the highest praise.

“Oh my god, that was so hot! Amazing! And look at the competition. Did you see that one? Ugh, booooring, I fast forwarded!”

Perhaps a more sober or more astute man would have known that he was being egged on. And perhaps a less volitile actor would have politely applauded the winner when his name wasn’t called.

But I will forever remember Ryan Idol standing and screaming at the stage, “That’s bullsh!t! That’s fuc%ed up!”

In retrospect, I’m glad he never found out that he was set up. And that he didn’t have a handy toilet seat.

I invented a nutritional supplement this morning.

Rob Tisinai

August 18th, 2012

The market is HUGE!

God Bless Amercia!

Jim Burroway

May 30th, 2012

Contrary to a couple of snide rumors out there, I did not copy-edit the Romney campaign’s new iPhone app.

Naturally, there’s already an Amercia-themed Tumblr.

Today in Science: Five Urinals Are Better Than Seven

Jim Burroway

May 16th, 2012

Someone finally determines the most efficient number of urinals based the International Choice of Urinal Protocol. Complete with graphs and formulas.

Where There’s History, There’s a Tumblr

Jim Burroway

May 9th, 2012

When Obama Endorsed.

Hillary Approves

Jim Burroway

April 10th, 2012

From the Facebook page of the instantly popular Tumblr Texts from Hillary, Secretary of State Clinton’s favorite new web site.

Republicans respond to divine message

Timothy Kincaid

March 21st, 2012

[inspired by a comment from Priya Lynn; and further proof that accountants are not artists]

This Iowan Is Tired of the Bad Press

Jim Burroway

January 3rd, 2012

Don’t let the focus on the GOP caucuses affect what you think about Iowa. (NSFW, so get your earphones.)

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Friday Fun: what number are you?

Timothy Kincaid

December 9th, 2011

The New Yorker’s Paul Rudnick has decided that Kinsey’s sexuality scale is just too limited and so he’s come up with his own. And, it being Friday, I won’t rant about stereotypes or make much of his presumption that there is no life (worth noticing) outside Manhattan.

Though I couldn’t pick Mandy Patinkin out of a lineup, I’m a 20 (but only because I’ve never seen Follies).

Bobblehead Bigot

Rob Tisinai

December 9th, 2011

Sometimes we toss around the b-word too easily. But after seeing this desperate anti-gay ad from Rick Perry…

…I’ll say the man’s one big, bobbleheaded bigot.

[Feel free to right-click on the bobbler, save the image, and share it if you like.]

Armenian “Bad Romance”

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2011

Responding to today’s Daily Agenda, a friend of mine sent me this video. He says it begins with a traditional Armenian dirge accompanied by a duduk, a traditional wind instrument, for about the first minute and forty-five seconds. And then suddenly….

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I have a feeling there are a million of these out there.

We Don’t Have Homosexuals On Grindr

Jim Burroway

September 20th, 2011

A BTB reader sent this in:

Look who I ran into last night on GRINDER.

found him under “Iranian Lover” – Ahmadinijad – Iran’s President.

I couldn’t resist myself and talked to him. He is in town for the UN general assembly.

“he” was very funny.

The real Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really is in New York this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly. In 2007, the Iranian President gave a talk at Columbia University, saying, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.”

Today In Naked Golf

Jim Burroway

August 25th, 2011

Clicking makes it bigger, but not by much.

All fifteen members of the men’s golf team at Bethany College (Go Swedes!) in Lindsborg, Kansas, were suspended because of the photo you see above. Coach Jon Daniels suspended the team from three tournaments over the men’s failure in “upholding the reputation of the Lutheran college.” I suspect the reputation was harmed because the men were able to hide their privates behind the heads of their golf clubs. Team captain Jack Hiscock — yes, that’s his name — said it was just a bit of fun that got blown out of proportion. He also says they are appealing, and I happen to agree with him.

[Via Band of Thebes]

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Wipes Out East Coast

Jim Burroway

August 23rd, 2011

TPM surveys the devastation. The US Geological Survey says the earthquake was centered in rural Virginia about midway between Charlottesville and Richmond. But of course residents of Washington D.C. and New York immediately began arguing over which of their two cities was the epicenter. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that Standard & Poor is threatening to downgrade the earthquake to 5.7.

Anyone got anything else to add?

Maybe It Was The Line “Galileo Figaro”

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2011

Dateline Wasilla:

The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reports today that the principal of Wasilla High School told members of the school’s symphonic jazz choir that they would not be allowed to perform the 1975 Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” because Freddy Mercury, who wrote it, was gay.

In the face of student protests, and fearing ACLU involvement, the principal backed down–to a point.

The choir will be allowed to perform the song, but only in a censored version, without lyrics the principal deems objectionable.

In a lame face-saving move, principal Dwight Probasco decided to compromise by banning the lyrics about the singer having “just killed a man.” No word on whether “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” are allowed at hockey games. Joe McGinniss is having a field day on his blog, including a “separated at birth” photo of Probasco alongside Elton John that you absolutely have to see. His commenters are also getting in the spirit, including one Sandra Tompkins who re-wrote the lyrics of “Bohemian Rhapsody” just for Wasilla and its favorite daughter. It totally needs to go viral:

Click here to sing along to "Wasillian Rhapsody."

All My Children cancelled

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2011

The era of the soap opera is closing. And one of the longest running ‘daytime dramas’ is calling it quits. (NYTimes)

The demise of one of broadcasting’s oldest institutions, the daytime soap opera, crept closer Thursday as ABC announced it would end two of its long-running daily serial dramas, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

At some point in the late 80′s I found myself subjected to All My Children and was won over by the campiness of the histrionic dialogue and wacky plotlines (though it did not survive the breakup). But AMC was not just a the mid-West housewife’s vicariously lived decadent tromp though heterosexual fantasy and lust. It also addressed social issues and conflicts that were going on in the real world.

And although the show had in the 80′s introduced a brief gay plot arc, in 2000 it took a step that was at the time rather risky. They decided to include a major lesbian character, choosing Bianca Montgomery, the daughter of the show’s leading star, Erica Kane. Although Bianca had not been before this time a daily recurring character, her string of appearances since 1988 had made her a part of the AMC family and lore and a risky asset to gamble with.

The gamble proved to be a winner. Portrayed by Eden Riegel, who used the example of her lesbian sister to avoid one-note stereotypes, Bianca was embraced by AMC’s followers. Her contributions to the drama lasted far beyond that of coming out to the never-understated Erica Kane and became an unqualified success with a ‘controversial’ daytime kiss, rape (and resulting pregnancy), kidnapping, killing her rapist, marriage (which reminded viewers that people like their friend Bianca had to travel out of state to marry), romance with a transgender character, and the usual entangled confusion and general wackiness.

And, predictably, anti-gay activists overplayed their hand. Rather than reach a demographic that might have shared their uneasiness with a lesbian plotline, their vitriol towards the show backfired and viewers become defensive of Bianca. The drama surrounding the kidnapping of her child had middle-America tremendously invested in Bianca getting her kid back. (NYTimes)

Megan McTavish, the show’s head writer, said she was most astonished that fans elevated Bianca into one of the serial’s “tent poles” – soap parlance for characters who hold enormous sway with viewers.

“If a character is nice to Bianca, the audience tends to like that character, and if he is mean to Bianca the audience knows he’s a bad guy,” Ms. McTavish said. “It’s stunning. The lesbian girl became the moral tent pole of our show.”

But perhaps not all that surprising for a genre that in which deception, adultery, murder and evil twins are the staples on which all plot lines revolve.

All My Children’s final episode in September will also bring to an end the story of Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahay Chandler (Roy Montgomery) Marick Montgomery, probably the best known of all soap characters. And with it the reign of Susan Lucci as queen of soaps.

Most actors consider soaps to be a stepping stone. But Lucci, who appears to be a genuinely decent person, chose to stay in the genre because her priority was to be home every night to have dinner with her family. And the soap world rewarded her loyalty. A 41 year run and 21 Emmy nominations (with, famously, 20 losses) is not bad for a woman with no discernible acting ability.

And that may be an asset. What makes Erica Kane bearable, even adored, is that behind all of Kane’s scheming and conniving is Lucci, whose niceness can’t help bleeding through. Asked last year about her “favorite moments” Lucci said,

I’m so proud to have been part of the storyline where Bianca came out to her mother, Erica. There are gay kids in this country who commit suicide rather than tell their parents who they really are. They feel their parents won’t love them anymore.

In this medium, we could tell the story from everybody’s point of view with respect to people actually going through this. And I felt very proud to be a part of that.

And we should not fail to recognize the value of many Americans who shared in the experience. Some had known Erica all of their lives and their daily hour in Pine Valley was a relationship more enduring and constant than any other. Erica’s journey to acceptance and support was their own.

It does seem odd to me that AMC will be gone. It’s one of those constants you never think about but are surprised and saddened when it’s gone. It reminds you that the world is changing and making room for newer generations who don’t have as much use for daring attempts at prison breakouts dangling from a helicopter in a wedding dress and heels.

In the announcement, ABC included the promise that to honor the passionate fans of each show, they will “conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Personally, my hope is that in a moment of inspired insanity Erica manages to kill the entire population of Pine Valley by poisoning her makeup line – before walking giggling into the sunset. It is a soap opera, you know.

“My high school boyfriend was gay”

Jim Burroway

March 31st, 2011

A Tumblr of photos submitted by women of their former dates.

Assaults on Straight Marriages Have Begun

Jim Burroway

February 28th, 2011

“It was just awful—they smashed through our living room window, one of them said ‘I’ve had my eye on you, Roger,’ and then they dragged my husband off kicking and screaming,” said Cleveland-area homemaker Rita Ellington, one of the latest victims whose defenseless marriage was overrun by the hordes of battle-ready gays…

The Onion has the scoop.

A Cure for Homophobia

Jim Burroway

February 23rd, 2011

The Onion, naturally, has the scoop:

 “Rather than avoid one’s fear of homosexual men, we believe it’s crucial to face it head on,” behavioral psychologist Dr. Dolph Kleineman told reporters, explaining how homophobic subjects are hooked up to a harness and lowered into a room containing bare-chested men dancing suggestively to the latest club hits, kissing, and feeding one another strawberries.

Ever Wonder How Journalists Write Scientific Articles?

Jim Burroway

September 28th, 2010

Martin Robbins shows us how its done.

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