Archive for October 2015


There is a distinct difference between cross dressers, drag queens and the neighbors who put a lamp shade on their head for Halloween. And neither category necessarily means the person is gay or has a sexual identity problem. I don’t profess to be an expert on any of these subjects though I have enjoyed Jim Bailey as Barbra Streisand in his one man show in Las Vegas. I am not a fan of ‘Dame Edna’ but I loved Charles Pierce and who didn’t laugh at Flip Wilson as Geraldine?

Since ancient days men have gone on stage dressed as women and the Shakespearean era was known for not allowing women on stage. There is an excellent movie starring Billy Crudup and Claire Danes with the latter playing female figures such as Desdemona on stage until the king decrees that women can do stage roles . There was also “Shakespeare in Love” where Gwyneth Paltrow had to play a young man auditioning for the role of Romeo. Who hasn’t laughed at Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in drag in “Some Like It Hot” or enjoyed Dustin Hoffman as “Tootsie”?

What does all this have to do with Halloween being a Gay holiday? What follows is MY experience and what I observed over the years. Now I haven’t been into a gay bar in years so I don’t know if this Halloween we will still see hundreds of Judy Garlands and Nuns but at one time both were a symbol of the holiday.

In the 1950s and 1960s many States had laws on the books–and some probably still do–that a man could not dress as a woman or he could be arrested. In fact I went to a number of bars, called the Bird Circuit, in New York where men were not allowed to touch each other. Some had dancing in a back room and if a bartender thought a customer looked suspicious, like a plainclothesman, he would flick the lights in the backroom from a switch under the bar and the men would immediately stop dancing.

Back then there were infamous drag balls in Harlem that were known far and wide attended by many socialites. The costumes were outrageous, each one more glamorous than the next one and though illegal it went on without a hitch. Dressing up in costume for Halloween became high art and some of the grandest balls were held that night.

I vaguely remember being in the Faision D’Or bar one Halloween sort of surprised by all the women who were in there–hey I was young back then–only to slowly became aware it was men. Living in New York drag shows were nothing new and in fact there was a nightclub that catered to tourists where the cast was all men dressed as women except for one woman dressed as a man. Yes even back then drag was an accepted form of entertainment.

I don’t remember the name of the bar on Miami Beach that was off LIncoln Road on Alton Road that in the early 1960s did drag revues and a few blocks south was the famous Jewel Box Revue that traveled all over the USA and would be nodded to by the character Paul in “A Chorus Line” in 1975.

There being drag in New York and Florida really didn’t surprise me but I was surprised to find a drag bar–don’t remember the name–in Memphis, Tennessee, when I moved there in 1969. I, also, remember the high caliber , finely polished drag show I saw in Sidney, Australia, a few years later where it was all live music including the singing but that’s another blog.

Halloween as a big gay holiday hit home to me when I moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1979 and went to The Sandpiper nightclub that October 31. At that time we had 4 different gay magazines/bar guides/newspapers and the ‘Best Costume’ events were being held in every bar–gay or nongay–but the biggest awards/ prizes were in the gay bars. That was the night I thought the whole world was made up of Judy Garland!



Posted October 31, 2015 by greatmartin in GAY

IS THE PARTY OVER???   Leave a comment

And I didn’t yell once as she took the staples out BUT it is now swelling  up and I am a little concerned–as per instructions I am patting aloe and oil on it–right now it is too late to call anyone so that will be the first thing I do in the morning.

Monday October 20 2015

Thursday October 22 2015

Thursday October 29 2015

Posted October 29, 2015 by greatmartin in HEALTH


One of my favorite restaurants is THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY ON LAS OLAS BOULEVARD in Fort Lauderdale. In the year 2000, for my Sweet 16 Leap year party part of the all day celebration a group of us had lunch at TCF sampling most of their cheesecakes.

Las Olas Boulevard is a long stretch of various upscale shops and restaurants. For the past few years the county has been working at making the west end, starting at the Broward Performing Arts Center, the Riverwalk, Las Olas combining the Las Olas bridge to the Fort Lauderdale beach at the east end, to one extraordinary walking or driving experience.

As much as I love TCF it has now become a rare restaurant to stop and have lunch because of the prices and parking but we did go the other day and I was reminded as to why I love it so much. If you are on a diet I suggest you DON’T look at this slideshow–it will prove to be fattening!

It starts off innocently enough with the first 3 photos showing a block on Las Olas Boulevard with one of the oldest and newly renovated hotels in the city The Riverside and then the entrance to The Cheesecake Factory showing just some of their outside seating.

#4 is the chicken in a scampi sauce that I had and #5 the chicken tomato basil penne that Allen had. #8 is Edgar who has been the host there for 7,8 years and always has a warm welcome for us. (On this day the 20+ story Bank of America building had a fire in there restaurant and the whole building was evacuated and, it seems, the they all came to TCF to have lunch while they waited to get the okay signal to get back to work but we were seated almost immediately!

Photos # 6 (snickers cheesecake) #9 white chocolate cheesecake, #11 Godiva chocolate cheesecake #12 Blueberry cheesecake and #13 so called plain cheesecake are just some of the many cheesecakes from the #10 display case. You can see the cakes in front but not the ones in back.

#7 Some guy you might know chomping away!

Aside from all the cheesecake items they have 4 different menus: the regular menu with over 200 items, the ‘special item’ menu, the lunch menu and the thinlicious menu, the latter serving main courses with only 590 calories–of course we won’t get into the calorie count of the cheesecakes!

By the way we are very  proud of ourselves in that we didn’t stop at the new Italian bakery and gelato shop on the way back to the car!

Though I am sure I will get to TCF a couple of times before my birthday I have a feeling that going their with some of the out of town guests will take place as part of the celebration! :O)


Posted October 28, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Posted October 27, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE REVIEW

ARE YOU READY? NOT PRETTY!   Leave a comment

First there was 

Then there was  

After that 

And now–get ready for it  

HERE IT IS!!!!     


Posted October 26, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


With a definite Best Actor Oscar nomination for Michael Fassbender, Best Supporting actress nomination for Kate Winslet and probable nominations for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle along with Jeff Daniels and/or Seth Rogen for Best Supporting Actor I wish I could say “Steve Jobs” is a ‘must see’ movie but the most I can say is the fast smart dialogue  while walking fast, a trademark of Sorkin’s, along with director Boyle’s kinetic use of the camera, aided by the soundtrack of Daniel Pemberton, add up to an interesting movie. Sorkin has written a 3 act screenplay, each act revolving around a creation by Jobs such as the Apple II, the NeXT and the iMac computers, while Doyle films the first act in 16mm film, the second in 35mm and digital for the third act.

It is generally known and accepted that Steve Jobs was a cold, dictating boss who never gave credit to anyone keeping it all for himself, gave more love to his technological creations than to any human being, never treated anyone around him fairly, was an impossible perfectionist, always composed, cool and in charge, comparing himself to G-d, Julius Caesar and seen as a bully but even those who hated him acknowledged him as a visionary.

The fact that he was adopted and given back after a month to be adopted again, being brought up as a Catholic, refused to acknowledge the birth of his own daughter until she was in her teens and his long time, non-sexual, working relationship with Joanna Hoffman (Winslet) who was one of the few who could and did stand up to him, are never dealt with in depth which may have helped explaining the man himself. We learn little about the man himself which is a big failure of the film.

There is no faulting of the actors from the three, Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo and Perla Haney-Jardine who play the daughter at different stages, Katherine Waterston who plays the mother, Mac collaborator Andy Hertzfeld, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, to all the supporting and bit players. Daniels takes his character from “The Newsroom” a step higher!

Fassbender IS Steve Jobs even though he may not look like him to start with eventually he is the man you have seen on large stages introducing his products. He handles the pacing of Sorkin’s words and Doyle’s camera along with the anger he feels not knowing how to deal with feelings. The relationship between Winslet and Fassbender though her loyalty to him and why he would listen to her and not others is never explained but because of the actors you accept that it is just what it appears.

For excellent acting, snappy, sharp dialogue and above average unobtrusive directing plus award conversations “Steve Jobs” is a film to see.


Posted October 23, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT


There is something definitely wrong with a restaurant that serves 5 dishes cool to lukewarm when they should be served hot and that was my experience at the Siam Cuisine restaurant. Add to that an unsmiling wait staff and it all comes to  a very disappointing first time experience.

Allen had eaten here a few times before and seemed to enjoy it so when I saw a groupon I figured it would be a good time for me to try it. The groupon offer was ‘pay $24 for $40 worth of food’. The reason I mention that is because we decided instead of ordering off the dinner menu we would have a variety of dishes from the lunch menu.

A minor complaint is that the front of the restaurant was about three-quarters full and we were first seated in the back which normally I wouldn’t have minded but it was dark and somewhat isolated there so Allen asked for a table nearer the windows which offered more light.

Allen had a diet coke ($2) while I had coffee ($2) and water but didn’t’ get the latter until I asked again a bit later. We started off with a tasteless Spring ($2.50) followed by Sweet ‘N Sour Shrimp ($8.95), Pepper steak ($6.95), Pad Thai with Pork ($7.95) and Cashew Chicken ($8) all served with white rice and on very heavy plates–maybe that’s why the server didn’t smile? In any case they probably would have tasted better if they were all served hot but, alas, weren’t.

For dessert we shared a fried banana with fried ice cream ($5) which was a fairly large portion and tasty.

The check with tax ($2.50) and tip ($9) came to $54.85 minus the $16 from groupon. 

The prices were okay, the portions large, the service fine, the ambiance pleasant and, sitting by the window, nice ‘eye candy’ walking by but being served lukewarm food is a big no-no to me so I won’t be going back.

Siam Cuisine Restaurant slideshow

Posted October 17, 2015 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS


Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, in their 4th collaboration, have made a good, winning film in “Bridge of Spies”. Sort of a nod to a Frank Capra/James Stewart movie with humor, in a serious situation, and Hanks being the All American Everyman. This Cold War spy story based on a true story of an exchange between an American pilot, Francis Gary Powers played by Austin Stowell shot down and accused of being a spy and Rudolf Abel, a communist spy, played by Mark Rylance, who is caught in New York.

Hanks is a family man with a dutiful wife, played by Amy Ryan, a son and two daughters, and a successful insurance lawyer. He has a deep and abiding belief in the United States constitution for all, including arrested spies.

This took place in the late 1950s, early 1960s, while the wall was being built between east and west Germany and many of my generation remember the newspaper headlines about the pilot Powers being shot down but there are not many who

remember the lawyer James Donovan, Rudolf Abel or an American Yale student Frederic Pryor, played by Will Rogers, who was another part of the equation. Whether you know the story, the history or what liberties Spielberg and the screenwriters Matt Charman, Ethan and Joel Coen, take it becomes a taunt thriller that will have you hanging on to every word and action.

The acting, from Hanks, Rogers, Stowell, Ryan along with Alan Alda, Dakin Matthews, Scott Shepherd, Sebastian Koch, Domenick Lombardozzi and others, is strong but it is Mark Rylance as the Russian spy who dominates every scene he is in with a quiet, subtle performance that will win many people to his side.

Spielberg does the fine job that is expected of him but this film cries out to have been filmed in black and white and the scene of the airplane crash just doesn’t ring true. At two hours and 15 minutes the movie could have been shorter if it ended on the bridge of spies but stay for the credits to find out what happened to the people involved as it will bring you some surprises, especially regarding Donovan and Powers or at least it did for me.

The production values are top notch as is expected from any film Spielberg and Hanks are involved in.


Posted October 16, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“FREEHELD”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

“Freeheld” is first and foremost a love story beautifully portrayed by Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. The former plays Laurel Hester, an in the closet police officer for 23 years who meets and falls in love with the latter who plays the much younger Stacie Andree. After being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer Laurel wants to fight for equality so that when she does die Stacie would get her pension as the surviving spouse in a heterosexual marriage would, and Stacie would be able to keep the house the house and home they have made together.

“Freeheld” is based on the Oscar winning 2007 documentary and in ways ‘Hollywoodizes’ it but the core romance between the two women is always there. While Laurel isn’t a gay activist and comes out for the equality and justice that made her a first rate police officer on her way to becoming a lieutenant, Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell) a self described ‘loud, Gay, Jew from New Jersey’ sees this as a chance to fight for gay marriage. Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), as Laurel’s partner on the police force for many years, is at first annoyed that she had kept this secret from him but quickly ‘covers her back’ as a good partner always does on the force and joins the couple in their fight. He, in a way, represents the non-gay audience while Goldstein is pretty much of a stereotype as a gay activist though the two men have a couple of very funny exchanges.

We meet Laurel’s sister (Kelly Deadmon) and Stacie’s mother (Mary Birdsong) who seem to accept their relationship, and fight, without any qualms just as the sister accepts the fact that her sibling will die. In either case it would have been better if the screenplay by Ron Nyswaner had spent a little more time with that instead of representing all different views of why Stacie should or should not get the pension from preserving ‘the sanctity of marriage’ to ‘what does the bible say about homosexuality–that’s right–nothing’. Along the way there is Todd Belkin (played by Luke Grimes) an in the closet cop along with the homophobic cops, the righteous Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders along with the one, played by Josh Charles, who doesn’t feel their voting against it is the right thing to do.

The direction by Peter Sollett is straight forward and though he should have spent less time on the political side and more on the Laurel and Stacie relationship the actresses bring your feelings, and tears, to the screen without being manipulated. Both deserve to be nominated for awards but though Moore brings a different take to a sick person than she played in her Oscar winning role in “Still Alice” she may not be recognized for the beauty of her performance as Laurel.

Behind the politics it is the love story of the two women that made the former possible and that aspect of the movie is handled naturally.

“Freeheld” is a must see movie for those who like a good love story, for those who are into politics and, yes, those who profess they believe in equality and the steps it takes to have it.


Posted October 14, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

END OF SUMMER PARTY!   Leave a comment

How do we know it is the end of Summer? It was only a high of 85 degrees and it even went all the way down into the 70s in the early morning! Welcome to Autumn in South Florida!

Once again the Residents Association came through in spite of new rules by the new owners. They are no longer allowed to post notices up in elevators and on bulletin boards around the property so it is now, more or less, word of mouth when something is going on and this “End of the Summer” party was something going on!

On the menu were:

Hot Dogs



All the trimmings for the above

Different chips with different dips





Drinks (No not THAT kind–another rule!)

(Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for not having anything! I know me and it is easy for me to have nothing than to have one thing and stop. If I had that one thing there would have been no cakes, cookies and/or candies for anyone else!)

By a quick count I would say there were 20-30 party goers out of a potential 300. Seems that at the next RA meeting (Tuesday Oct. 13) suggestions will have to be discussed about how to get the word out when an event is happening. Anyone have a good idea let me know and I will suggest it to the group. 

Meanwhile take a look at the people and food involved with the “End of the Summer Party”:


Posted October 12, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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