Archive for the ‘ADVENTURES’ Tag


This is going to be a review of two films, the first being the movie I saw on the screen called “We Are Your Friends” and the movie I was making in my head called “Wes & Zac, Where From Here?”

“We Are Your Friends” is about a DJ, his 3 friends and electric dance music, learning more about the latter than I knew or need to know but, as I have found lately with a few movies, that is more a generation gap than anything else. Incorporated into the movie is a lot of ‘eye candy’ of both sexes along with a screenplay by the director Max Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer based on a story by Richard Silverman. It’s an old story offering very few surprises along with an unnecessary ‘aw shucks’ moment during the end credits. Joseph does add a few musical and southern Californian collages that are eye catching and like other films recently, including last week’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” plus last year’s “Birdman”, also uses animation. 

Aside from his good looks Efron hasn’t impressed me yet with his acting though to be fair I have only seen him in 3 films and he does have an impressive scene talking about how a DJ works the crowd. His friends played by Jonny Weston who wants to be a club promoter, actor and drug dealer played by Shiloh Fernandez and Alex Shaffer as the hanger on nerd offer good support. Wes Bentley is a has-been DJ living off his past and has a younger girlfriend, Emily Ratajkowski, with the latter basically in the pretty girl role. 

“We Are Your Friends” was an interesting movie from the point of view I knew nothing about how electronic computer music is made and, of course, nothing wrong with eye candy. It was also interesting for the ‘second movie’ I watched in my head.

When I saw Wes Bentley, September, 1999, when he was 21, in “American Beauty” I walked out thinking “Wow! This is the next generation’s Kevin Spacey!” For the next decade he descended into the world of drugs admitting he made movies only to make money for drugs. He is 37 today, has been clean since 2009 and between his appearance in a Broadway play in 2010 and playing Seneca Crane in “The Hunger Games” in 2012 he has been working his way back but he lost the momentum of stardom that pursued him 16 years ago. 

Zac Efron had his breakout role in “High School Musical” in 2006 followed by the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hairspray” when he was 19 and 20.  In 2013 at the age of 26 it was reported that he completed an alcohol and substance abuse program. Now at 28 will he have a decade unlike the one Bentley had? Did Wes talk to Zac and give him advice and/or did Zav ask Wes what happened and how could he avoid the same mistakes? 

Now that’s a film I would like to see—and make!


Posted August 28, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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7 DECADES SERIES PART 9B   Leave a comment

From March 1967 to October 1973 were 6 years that all the stars were aligned in my life to have me peak financially, mentally, emotionally, materially, in every way possible. It was in October 1973, when I felt such a murderous rage towards Bernie that even before I signed that paper in which he agreed to pay me all monies and give me all the privileges, benefits and perks that I had been reimbursed the previous year for another year , that I knew this was all coming to end, that my career/life at/with Weight Watchers was about to end. Ironically, in an exchange of letters (yes it was still snail mail back then) when I had written Gene how WW was my life 24/7 she responded by simply asking me, “What if there was no WW?” and for the first time I was faced with that possibility.

I may not be exactly sure of dates, times and in what order everything happened as someone stole my diaries from the years 1971-1978 so a lot depends on memories, notes, letters and mementos from events. As an example I am not sure if I met Johnny in late 1972 or early 1973 but I do know it was before the whole legal WW mess. I am also not sure when I did one of the very few regrettable things in my life–not that I did it but the way I did it.

How do I explain the year from October 1973 to September 1947 without making 365 posts???? I’ve already written a 287 page book called “The Looks Of Love” about it that starts with ‘ “I will destroy you if it is the last thing I do”, all 6’3″ of him said, filled with rage aimed at the man he loved. ‘ Walking out of Joe’s office I told Bernie that I wanted him out of my personal life immediately and completely and that was his response. It wasn’t until much later that I came to realize that he truly loved me and I wasn’t aware of that.

We both hired lawyers who met frequently as we would both call our own when we thought each other wasn’t living up to the business agreement. I was, also, talking to my lawyer about suing for what I felt was due me as an equal owner of a successful business franchise. I even had a memo where Bernie wrote out how all shares from both corporations (Memphis and Chattanooga) were to be given among other things. My lawyer was concerned about that paper I had signed which he said made me an employee but after I gave him reports and pictures showing my being at a franchises only meetings, participating in franchise tests and writing training schedules, visiting other franchises and being advertised and presented as the owner of the Memphis franchise he felt we might have a strong case. From May of 1974 we were in courts with suits and counter suits. In August of 1974 I met with my lawyer and told him to stop everything. I had met with Joe and when we talked  realized that Bernie didn’t care about the suits except is was a way he could still interact with me, still play ‘games’ that we have been playing since the day we met.

It is very difficult for people to work together who are angry and Bernie was angry for me for not loving him, for having a new lover, for being independent, not needing, but even worse, not wanting him anymore. On a side note I inadvertently introduced him to Jim who would be his lover for the next 39 years.

I tried to stay out of the office as much as I could but the girls could feel the tension and would eventually making them choose sides which wasn’t pleasant for anyone. Bernie and I were still making trips together for WW including the WW 10th anniversary held in Madison Square Garden. It wasn’t until June 1974 that things really hit bottom with us. I already mentioned the Caddy incident but that was the least of things. I had to prepare for what would happen after September and I had some thoughts in back of my mind which led me to do things to protect myself in addition to find out who I could depend on among the staff.

One of the last times I saw Bernie was in a lawyer’s office when he tried to stop me from making my annual 4 week vacation. It was then that I knew that my career with Weight Watchers was over and I had to make plans as soon as I got back from that trip.

This chapter in my life ended this past February when, at the age of 80, Bernie died. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, fate or his last game but he was buried on my birthday February 29, 2012. I do regret that I didn’t apologize to him for the way I broke up with him and the words I said though even today, knowing I gave up, literally, millions of dollars, I don’t regret breaking up with him.

Posted August 7, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Okay, let’s get it out of the closet and talk about gay sex in Memphis. I left New York City after years of all the sex I could want and now that I was going to Memphis I felt as if I was going into a monastery (to paraphrase Streisand in “Funny Girl” “Would a monastery take a Jewish boy?”). Not only was Memphis the buckle of the bible belt this was also 1969 and Gay Rights haven’t even been spoken in the south let alone start there. I did have a copy of a gay travel guide which mentioned a  bar plus a couple of outdoor cruising spots and just before I left New York a gay magazine had a story about the mid-south and places to go. In other words I arrived in Memphis, not heading to the monastery, but to the Peabody hotel, Overton Park, Goldsmith’s, X rated video stores , motels off the Interstate, rest areas among other places not to mentionmyown’open  house’ Saturdays. I did find out that “Behind Closed Doors” was certainly true and though I met a few married gay men in New York I was amazed at how many men, who identified as gay, were married and had children and didn’t have a problem with living in the closet.

This city slicker quickly learned that ‘looking for sex in all the wrong places’ is not the same in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi as it is in Manhattan, New York. I had to learn about headlights and meeting truckers on the interstate. There was the secret of taking a ground floor room in the back of the motel so you could sit on the bed in a dark room except for the light of the TV with the curtains open and the door ajar knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone would poke their head in the door and ask, “What’s happening?” Whether you were at the Ramada Inn in Jonesboro, Arkansas or the Holiday Inn in Jackson, Mississippi or the Reade House in Chattanooga, Tennessee, it was always easy to meet someone at the bar, usually a salesman passing through.

Men would drive down to Oxford, Mississippi, home of Mississippi University, ‘Ole Miss’, and spend hours at the rest area right outside of town  off I-55 or cruise along I-40 between Memphis and Nashville for places to park and have sex. You learned that when you go into a smaller town in Tennessee like Jackson or Covington, head for the city hall and the men’s room will give you all the information you need to know about the parks to go to meet other guys. In Chattanooga there were a couple of gay bars and a X rated video place with booths downtown and there was an infamous spot near the base of Lookout Mountain.

Before you righteous people get all up in arms remember a lot of this was due to the fact that people had to be in the closet and had to hide and sneak around or they could lose their jobs, families and friends. Now there is the Internet so many of the places, plus cruising tactics, have completely changed. You can make dates before getting to a city or town, find out where the hot bars are or where to go to hook up.

Along with everything else in Memphis there were my successful  Saturday afternoon orgies with the red light lit outside the door! Yeah, yeah, I know but even if it was tacky it let people know that it was party time. I don’t know the exact figures but I am willing to bet at least 95% were married men who were ‘out on errands’. Men from all strata’s of life including dentists, doctors, lawyers, theatre directors, the organist from the biggest church in town, waiters, bar owners, firemen, police officers, sales clerks not to forget some husbands of Weight Watchers members or members themselves. They would sit downstairs talking, having a drink and relaxing or go upstairs to the main bedroom to get into the king size bed.

I could go into a dozen posts about Overton Park but let’s just say I had most of my sexual encounters either there or meeting people there. Bernie would raise hell when he knew I had been there in my car with the top down and the MARTIN license plate because every knew that guy from WW owned the white Caddy. The most important part of Overton Park was that I met Chuck and Dr. K there for which there should be  shrine on that spot!

I don’t know how the cruising scene is in Memphis now but back then there was always a line to the balcony of the lobby of that hotel and there was an X rated Video store across the street. Out in East Memphis Goldsmith’s downstairs, near the housewares department, the rest room was notorious. For what it is worth I still have some of the red dishes and the serving bowls and platter that I bought there 40 years ago.

It wasn’t long before I got into the groove of things in the mid-south to the point that I didn’t miss my old sex life in New York City except for the Everard baths. It would take a complete post to tell you about the ad I took in the Advocate and had over 300 answers with over 100 people coming to visit me over Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends from all over the States and a good time was had by all.

Okay, let’s get back to Bernie and WW part of my Memphis decade and how the former came to an end.


Posted August 1, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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When I first arrived in Memphis I felt like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” only it wasn’t Kansas I wasn’t in anymore but New York! Yes people talked and walked and did things slower with the attitude, “If it doesn’t get done today it will tomorrow”, and when I finally adapted that attitude I loved it but getting use to it plus understanding the Southern accent and the sayings took a little while! I must say from day one I found all Southerners to be gracious, opening their homes to these Yankees, cooking us meals and eager to take us around. I found out that many did invite us to their homes and/or joined our WW class to hear “..those funny guys from the North talk.” It really didn’t take long for my favorite word to become ‘Sho-o-o-o-o-t’! I found Southern women to really be ‘steel magnolias’ and though I thought Southern gentlemen were soft spoken and a bit effeminate and that most were gay the first two traits hid tough guys who didn’t take or give any bull.

Here it is 43 years later and I still remember walking into the Giant (that was the name) supermarket on White Station Road for the first time and it lived up to the name. New York had grocery stores like A & P but this was a SUPER market! It was huge and bright with spacious aisles and even had a lever to lift up your wagon so you didn’t have to bend over to put things on the cashier’s counter. The shelves had so many items I never heard of and the meat section parts of animals that I have never tasted. I fell in love with Memphis that moment, if not before. At the same time I discovered Sessel’s (on Union?) who made the best in store carrot cake I ever tasted! I became so Southern I went to my first–and last–football game.

On Mount Moriah Road, or was it Mendenhall Road?,  there was a ‘hair stylist shop’–in Memphis???–where I had my hair cut every 10 days, since I read in “The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit” that a gentleman has his hair trimmed every 10 days, and gray sprayed in my temples to make me look distinguished and older. I don’t have to do that anymore as the temples are naturally gray without spray!

After that, going west, was the Perkin’s Pancake House right between the railroad tracks and Goldsmith’s department store–funny the things you remember though I had a good reason to remember the latter which I will get into later–while across  Poplar was Sears which didn’t have any outside windows though Johnny (as I would learn later) was their ‘window dresser’!

Memphis is the home of Beale Street and the blues, along with Stax records and the start of rock and roll and, yes, became the home of Elvis. The original Holiday Inn and Fedex started here. In 1969 the airport was renamed the Memphis International airport. While I was there work started on Mud Island which had a walkway showing all of the Mississippi river from where it started to where it ended. They were also building a pyramid along with an amphitheatre where a few years later, when I returned to Memphis on  vacation, I saw an outdoor performance of “A Chorus Line”.

On October 21, 1969, I got my driving permit and got my driver’s license on October 29 and a week later I was driving a white Eldorado Cadillac convertible with a MARTIN license plate. I was moving on up!


In 1972 I was making enough money to not only start a month long vacation but doing it going first class with airplanes, hotels, limousine and personal guides though I much preferred going out on my own. My first vacation was to Dalls, Honolulu, Papeete, Moorea, Bali Hai, Bora Bora, Auckland, Sidney, Cairns, Melbourne, San Francisco and back to Memphis. Sadly I was drinking heavy and missed a few trips such as the Barron Gorge and Falls, Kuranda, Atherton Tablelands, Tinaroo Falls along with other side trips. My excuse? Most were scheduled in the morning and my travel agent knew not to book me any morning trips! I don’t have a single picture from that trip but I still have the trip ticket and a couple of sheep scatter rugs that someone I had met in Auckland sent me as a gift.

The following year it was South America starting off with Rio, on to Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls–where I got lost in the jungle–Sao Paulo, Brazilia, Caracas, Guatemala, Mexico City, Acapulco and then Puerto Vallarta where I got so sick I don’t remember cutting the rest of the trip short, getting to Memphis without knowing how I got through customs and ended up in the Baptist hospital. Again no pictures and considering how much I drank on the trip I am surprised any germ lived. The one thing I did was write a lot of letters to Bernie and myself so I have a journal of that vacation as I had asked Bernie to hold all the letters for me and I still have them.

The 1974 vacation would be brought to a halt for another reason.


Posted July 31, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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I worked 24/7 my first 2 years in Memphis opening classes in Whitehaven, Jackson, Germantown then going to Arkansas starting new meetings in West Memphis and Jonesboro along with training members who had lost weight to come to work for us. It was called work but I was having a ball enjoying every moment. We eventually got an office and a staff to run it along with enough lecturers so we could start doing other things such as having  Weight Watchers cruises. They would be for 7 days in the Caribbean. We would arrange with the ship’s chef to have approved meals 3 times a day–and then we would sneak into the regular dining room and eat off their menu! I won’t even mention how many of the members we met at the Midnight Chocolate Buffet!

Both Bernie and I were invited to other franchises, either together or separately, to do open meetings, give training classes to their staff or, for instance, going to Little Rock, Arkansas, to help Myrna open her franchise and then again when Jean visited her area. Jean also visited our area and there was a big gala for her with our staff and our members . We would go to WW seminars, with all expenses either paid by WW International or WW of Memphis, in New York or Las Vegas, Miami or Los Angeles.

Talking about expenses, though I didn’t start to make big money until after the first year, from the first day I arrived in Memphis all my living expenses were paid for by the company. As I was the chef for our corporation, making up weekly menus and testing out recipes to print in our monthly newspaper or for handouts in classes, all the food I bought was billed to WW and, naturally, all car expenses including the monthly leasing payment was covered. Anytime we went out of town all my expenses were covered and every time we went out for dinner, and talked business which was every time, the company picked up the check. Due to TV appearances and newspaper interviews plus doing classes most of my clothes were paid for as were any expenses involved with people visiting the area to help us publicize WW such as one of my 100 pound losers from New York, Linda, came to visit as did Gene and Franco.

Franco was the chef for Weight Watchers International and we became close friends. He was an amazing guy, great looking, funny and yet had the biggest inferiority complex of anyone I knew. When someone cruised–and he was constantly being cruised–him he thought there had to be something wrong with the person who was attracted to him! He and I were interviewed by “The Hustler” newspaper in Mississippi with our picture on the front page and he had it blown up life size to hang in his home.

We went to New York, 4 times, all paid by the company, twice for WW seminars, once for the Christmas holidays and then for the 10th Gala Weight Watchers Anniversary at Madison Square Garden. Each time I got caught up with Addie, Joan, Ronnie, Gene, Mary and other friends plus the tourist part of seeing as many shows as I could.

Back in Memphis I talked Bernie into letting the company make sizable donations to theatres in the area plus St. Jude’s hospital and I got involved with the March of Dimes. We got prime seats for the St. Jude Shower of Star show with Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis. After Bernie’s ex took the children and moved back to New York I started to draw a good salary and would get an additional salary from the Chattanooga corporation when we opened there. We would eat at the 5 star Justine’s restaurant and other top restaurants in Memphis and wherever we travelled.

Life was great and all the stars were aligned for me. I was growing up with the help of Joe Cassius, I was making more money faster than I could spend it and in 1972 I started taking my July 15-August 15 vacations going to Hawaii, Papeete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Auckland, Sidney, Cairns, Melbourne, San Fransisco and back to Memphis.

A lot of things happened in 1973 from that ‘contract’ I signed to breaking up with Bernie and then meeting someone else but I still had many memories to make with Weight Watchers from October 1973 to September 1974.


Franco and I being interviewed


Posted July 17, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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From October 12, 1969 to July 28, 1979, I lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and, with the exception, maybe, of a total of 3-4 months it was one of the best decades of my life with many, many things, good and bad, mostly good over that period of time. It certainly was my best decade financially, and materially, being the only time I made  money faster than I could spend it but I sure as heck tried.

Bernie had rented me a one bedroom apartment at the Hamlet Apartments on Poplar Pike Extended (Hey, Chuck, are they still there?) which was on the other side of the train tracks where he lived with his ex and their daughters in Chatham Village and where I would move a year later. Bernie didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t just walk in whenever he wanted, not to forget the couple of times he walked in to my apartment to find me having sex with one or two others!

There really is so much to tell about those years but I want to talk about the important things that, in reality, changed my life. When I got to Memphis for the first 2 years I basically worked 24/7 doing classes, looking for and opening new locations, driving from Memphis to Jonesboro, Arkansas one day and then to Jackson, Tennessee, on another day where I would hold an afternoon and an evening class. I did classes in Whitehaven–yes a few blocks from Elvis’s home, Graceland–Millington, the Navy base, where if I have time, I’ll tell you a funny story in a future post–Germantown, Collierville, here, there and every where! I loved it!

I’m going to make a total of 5-6 posts regarding the years from 1969-1974 and then 2 posts about 1974-1979 and hopefully cover all I want to without rambling too much!

I became a big fish in a small pond doing TV, radio and newspaper interviews, being invited by other franchise owners to do classes with their lecturers. I still have many of the plaques and letters I got from the franchise owners for helping them out. Bernie and I agreed he would do the business for the company ad I would be the ‘front’ and we were a great team. Eventually we would open in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I would either drive there on Sunday, do a couple of classes and come back on Tuesday. I did love the drive back and forth but occasionally fly in on Monday and leave early Tuesday.

Joe Cassius, Reade House, Peabody Hotel, gay life in Memphis, Chattanooga, rest areas, 1 regret, traveling, Sunny and daughters leaving, Johnny, Our Weigh, 10th Leap Year, ‘gay, Jewish, yankee’, behind closed doors, Goldsmith’s, House of Pancakes on Perkins, UP Tower revolving restaurant, court, lawyers, ‘divorce’, smartest decision in my life, 1 regret in my life, the Memphis ‘girls’, Jan Gardner,open house holiday parties, open house with red light, so much to cover but then as far as I can tell there is infinite space on the Internet!!!

Just as I give full credit to Jean Nidetch for my physical change I give Joseph Cassius complete credit for my mental, emotional and outlook on life changes. I googled him  and was sad to learn that Joe had died though his son had taken over the business.

I had been at a WW franchise meeting and was talking to Jan Aufseher, a franchise owner, when she started talking about Transactional Analysis and Eric Berne’s “Game People Play”. I was interested in all of it for 2 reasons: 1) I knew I needed therapy for my lying, my anger and my negative attitude and 2) I thought it would be great to use in our classes. I made an appointment to see Joe as soon as I got back.


Posted July 10, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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On Thursday, Ju…   Leave a comment

On Thursday, July 3, 1969, I flew to Memphis and by the time I was ready to leave on Sunday, July 6, I knew I would take Bernie up on his offer. Coming from New York I was overwhelmed by all the green, flowers, and the aroma from the latter making the city smell like a sweet, pleasant perfume. I also had the feeling that people were running behind the car picking any debris that anyone threw out of the car. The city was so clean! As we went past homes it looked like everyone got up early in the morning and mowed their lawns as they all look manicured.

Bernie and I drove all over Memphis from the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in the west, though, and it always struck me funny, West Memphis was across the river and a city in Arkansas, to the east where Germantown was. Another funny thing was that the Jewish Community Center, with an Olympic swimming pool, was in Germantown which was home to a large Jewish population. I think what really endeared me to Memphis was hearing, “Have a good shabbos. y’awl.” I loved it!

By the time I arrived back in New York I was ready to say goodbye and make plans for my big move. At that time in my life I didn’t go back on my decisions so I was sort of taken aback when Bernie and I went out for dinner and he told me that his ex-wife and his daughters would be coming to Memphis for awhile as a ‘front’ for which she would be very well compensated. He went into a long story about it being the South, the ‘Bible Belt’, and that he felt if they knew we were gay it would be rough to get the business off the ground. He would be living with them while I would have a separate apartment a few blocks away. I joked that I felt just like Susan Hayward in “Back Street” but was serious that he had to know that I had been out of the closet all my life and I wasn’t about to go back in. He wasn’t too happy with that and I wasn’t too happy with his decision.

As I said previously the gang was against my going and when they heard this they told me that I would be stupid not to get everything in writing. Bernie moved to Memphis in August and wrote me letters talking about our future together and somehow those letters ‘disappeared’ a few years later as I didn’t give them to anyone to hold for me.

On July 20 the day a man walked on the moon, Addie, Joan, Bernie and I went out for lunch and that evening Dick Hershey and Joe went to dinner with us and Bernie was on his way to Memphis. With Bernie gone, though he called me almost every day, I got together with Jim who I had met at the airport on the way to Memphis. On August 25 I started a job as a fill in bartender at The Brochatteria. With Bernie gone I was back to my old way of hopping from bed to bed, place to place. For Ronnie’s birthday a group of us went to Pier 52 for drinks, then the Spindletop and afterwards to the Chateau Madrid. I was getting busier with WW and introduced Jean Nidetch, my first time meeting her, at the Belmont and then a group of us went to eat at Finn ‘n Claw. It was then that I found out Jean never carried money! LOL

Lots of notes about eating  out in many places, going to Chinatown and then Fedoras, a lot of ‘got smashed’ notes aside from picking up this one and that one and bringing them home. On September 20, with Joan and Addie there, Bernie and I decided that I would move to Memphis on October 12, that I would visit the 3 classes he had started and that I could do as many classes as I wanted and I told him I was ready to work 7 days.

We celebrated Addie’s birthday on September 24 and a couple of days later Joan, Addie, Ronnie, Sheila, Cindy, Ryan, Ray and I went to the Top of The 666s and the Cattle Baron as a going away party for me. On October 5 we went for dinner at El Faro’s and guess who was there? Barbra Streisand!! Was she stalking ME? On the 8th I had dinner with Gene and Linda, then on the 11th, the night before I was leaving for Memphis, a group of us, including Addie, Joan, Ronnie and a few others whose names I don’t recognize went to see Morgana King at the Village Gate.

On October 12, 1969 I arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, to be greeted by Bernie, his ex and their daughters.



Posted July 3, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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