Thursday, May 29, 2008

Viva Hollywood Update: The best man won!

Ever since Viva Hollywood's hunky Berto gamely played gay while simultaneously soothing the nerves of closet-y drama queen Vinci, he's been my favorite to win the challenge. Berto's a real gentleman who possesses true acting skills as well as clever strategy. His nice guy attitude has endeared him to most of the contestants-- especially the ladies-- while allowing him to pass through episode after episode without once being sent to one of the closing duels. About the only bad thing that can be said about him is that he's a bit of a player, flirting with many of the women on the show while purportedly having a girlfriend back home. "What's [she] gonna think when she sees you in bed with those two whores?" guest Perez Hilton asked on one of the last episodes. It should be noted that Hilton pushed Berto's homo-tolerance by the limit by offering to let the other man spank him. (I'll allow this since Hilton pushes my homo-tolerance to the limit sometimes.) But when it came to acting chops, Berto consistently delivered with compelling performances-- especially compared to the frequently amateurish work of his wannabe competitors. In the end, it came down to him, spunky Bronx girl Jenn Pinto, and bitchy blonde Gisel. After a silly final challenge in which the three played each other-- and Gisel's Jenn makeup made her look like a trannie wicked witch-- the judges eliminated Gisel, whose performance was the weakest (and whose antics in the house always demonstrated her whininess and inability to work with others). Jenn and Berto went head to head in a final duel, where Berto finally let loose the beast within. The two were also questioned by past contestants, notably Gisel, who asked Berto if his seeming feelings for her were mere strategy. (He told Hilton it was all part of the game. But he told Gisele they were the real deal. A white lie? Discuss.) In the end, hosts Maria Conchita and Carlos Ponce-- after one last booze-soaked deliberation-- asked Jenn and Berto to open the boxes in front of them. Jenn's contained the Death card, whereas Berto's had the Mask from the show's extremely silly (and brilliant) "Massacre of the Masks" elimination device-- meaning he was the winner. While I wouldn't have minded seeing Berto at whatever bar he worked at in New York, I'm happy for his sake that he won't have to go back to it. Maybe I'll try and learn Spanish so I can watch him on Telemundo. Congrats, Berto!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Spotted: sparring friends J and E having a heated discussion at E's Upper East Village apartment Tuesday night. The two have been arguing following a recent outburst in which J expressed irritation at E's negative attitude and bad choices. E says he's not all that negative and J just needs to respect his decisions. After a couple hours the two were unable to reach an agreement and J could be seen stalking back to his own place. Word has it a nasty IM exchange followed the next day and only served to strain relations between them further. Will these friends be able to make it work? Or will J make good on his threat to abandon his pal for good? Only time will tell... but you can bet I'll be watching. Until then, you know you love me. xoxo Gossip Girl

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Love and Death

Every once in a while I have one of those moments in which I stop in the middle of it and think, Wow, my life is actually pretty cool. Sunday night was no exception. I went to Piano's in the East Village-- the bar that is supposedly emerging as "the next CBGB's," for Zombie-A-Go-Go, a horror-themed party. I had been introduced to the co-organizer, Roman, through my friend (and sometime love interest) Jesse, and I had profiled him and his party partner Josh for Next Magazine. I knew the event would be right up my alley; as a confirmed horror junkie, I was sure to enjoy the makeup, movie clips, and spooky ambience. When I arrived at the bar I was whisked upstairs by Roman. The space had been transformed with cobwebs and "blood"-spattered sheets, while makeup artists and face painters set up stations and a guest DJ played hipster music. A T-shirt designer was also there with his gothic designs. Roman and Josh were wearing grey schoolboy uniforms and pale makeup; I had worn my shirt from Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" trailer for the occasion. I was soon joined by Jesse and his friend Harold. Harold is a really sweet, funny guy, even if he is, in Jesse's words, "more man-hungry than a cannibal." Jesse and I have had kind of an on-again, off-again thing ever since we reconnected at a Christmas party last year; we'd worked together at Williams-Sonoma back in my first fall in the city, and I'd harbored a crush on him then, but it was at that memorable party in Brooklyn that it came to fruition. In fact, Jesse, Harold, and I all piled into the same bed that night, which was very funny. (No, there was no torrid threesome; what do you think this is, Erik Rhodes' blog?) Jesse and I began dating and actually had an extremely romantic Valentine's Day together: we're talking a picnic in Central Park, Wayne Newton music, chocolate-covered strawberries, the whole nine yards. But right after that Jesse got very gun-shy about commitment and we actually didn't talk for several months. We had been messaging in advance of Roman's party, though, and I was really looking forward to seeing him again. When I saw him-- he gave me a big hug-- the chemistry was definitely still apparent. He got touchy-feely and affectionate with me. I texted my friend Patrick, who wrote back, "Be careful. Don't get hurt again." I certainly didn't want to, but I couldn't deny that seeing Jesse made me happy. Both of us got makeup done, becoming the zombies you see above; Jesse went a step further and got some ghastly Kabuki makeup applied over his already frightening living dead face. We took a series of pictures together and started fake biting each other. It reminded me of a story from one of my Emerson workshops in which flesh-eating zombies made an apt metaphor for sexual desire. Later on, we sat down on a couch together and he told me he was very out of sorts these days; he alluded to "family stuff," and I knew that he was on anti-depressants. "Are you telling me to stay away from you?" I asked. "No," he answered. "But you're a really cool person. You're awesome. I think you deserve better than me." "I probably do," I said, half-jokingly. "But what makes you so sure I won't understand what you're going through? You should try me sometime. I'm a really good listener." Appropriately, I thought of a horror movie scene right then. In Halloween: H20, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) has a conversation with her boyfriend about the trauma she's been through in the past. Will tells her just what I did, that he's a really good listener. Laurie smiles. "Maybe," she answers. "Someday. In front of a roaring fire." That was always an issue with Jesse and I: he wouldn't open up. It was hard for us to achieve real intimacy because he seemed afraid to let me in, to take that next step. After that we didn't really address the issue again, but as we said goodbye, out on the street, I told him we should get together this week. We kissed, two zombies making out in the dark, and then I waved and set off for the train.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Gone but not forgotten

On Saturday I woke up to find a message from someone unfamiliar online. "You know that Seger died, right?" asked a girl via Facebook. Evidently she had seen me post on my old friend's profile just days earlier, wondering how "things are going in the land of the Seger." I tried Seger's cell phone and got his mother Barbara, who's been keeping his phone on so that she can let anyone who calls looking for him know. She was extremely sweet and kind, and told me that Seger had died of an overdose several months ago. It took his family by surprise, as he had been doing much better and was working two jobs at the time. But on February 19, just a few days after Valentine's Day, Seger was dead. The two of us hadn't been inordinately close, but we had been friendly and had taken classes together back at Emerson College in Boston. Seger was interested in poetry and creative writing, and was also a dance fanatic; one night in the dead of winter we went to Avalon on Landsdowne Street, and I remember the look on his face after a particularly intense track. He was happy and overwhelmed, and clearly in his element. When I mentioned this to his mother she told me, "I picture him up there now, dancing away." It was sweet and not a little sad. A few months ago Seger and I became friends online and messaged back and forth; then I gave him a call to see how he was doing. He sounded bored, but good. He was back in his hometown, having completed a stint in jail and rehab. I knew that he had a lot of demons, psychological and otherwise, but he seemed to be on the right track again. He wanted to move back to Boston, which he'd always loved. I hoped that I'd see him again somewhere down the line. Unfortunately, I never will. That call would be the last time we ever spoke. I'm sorry that he's gone, and my heart goes out to his family. You can read Seger's obituary here.
In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there
--Sarah McLachlan

Thursday, May 1, 2008

First look: "Print"

Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Gabrielle Cartieris lines up the perfect shot on the Baton Rouge set of Print, a psychological thriller from first-time director Ashley Beyer. More details on Ashley's film as they become available...