It Ain't Easy Being Gay in Los Angeles

Being gay anywhere is tough. In small towns, if locals aren't trying to save you from "eternal hellfire," they're kicking you in the ribs in dark alleys. Drag queens get so much guff, they have become a population of fierce and fearless fighters.

One might say in a liberal town such as Los Angeles, homosexuals have it easier. But my friend Scott put it all into perspective when he said, "I can't afford to be gay in L.A. - I don't have enough time for the gym!" This town may be liberal politically, but gay men aren't so open-minded when it comes to physical beauty. Each of them aspire to be an Adonis. They all look like soap stars, with six packs, caramel tans and highlights. If you think it's hard being gay in a town where mullets are still the hairstyle of choice, try giving up beer and pizza...forever.

I went to a pool party recently, and the shirtless men created a sea of white mocha-colored muscles hovering above an aqua pool. Every man looked so meticulously toned and groomed, I decided not to swim, but drink and feel sorry for myself.

If you don't believe me, see the videos:




Moist Women on Melrose is exactly the type of establishment that the makers of Melrose Place want you to know nothing of. Eew.


Not Jeff Buckley, but...

Musicians in coffee shops have a hard lot. Since coffee houses aren't music venues, and people often flock to them to read and write in peace, many talents are hit with a cold reception. Even Ray LaMontagne had this problem, believe it or not. I myself go to coffee shops to work in anonymity among strangers. When a musician sets up, I feel for them, but don't particularly appreciate the feeling of obligation I have to remove my hands from the keyboard and clap after every song.

But that has all changed. Nathan Gaunt stepped into Portfolio coffee shop while I was hiding out in Long Beach, and he blew us away. All of us. We forgot our books, laptops and our Blackberries be damned. If this guy doesn't become famous, I will lose all hope in the music industry and never turn the radio on again.

Although Nathan Gaunt shies from the comparison to Jeff Buckley, (his influences were Jeff's father Tim Buckley and Led Zeppelin) I must say it: he sounds a lot like Jeff. Buckley's album Grace was beautifully haunting already, but his early death catapulted him to cult status. Nathan Gaunt has the potential to alleviate the angst of any longtime mourners. His angelic voice is also filled with blues and melancholy, vulnerable yet halting. He has nimble guitar fingers and a fun, jaunty live set that makes patrons endear themselves to him. It was no small coincidence that one of his entourage was a laid back, knowing lady by the name of Leah Reid, whom is credited on a couple of Jeff Buckley albums, including Grace.

Nathan Gaunt is a native Australian. Lord knows what country he's in at the moment, but I feel a moral obligation to share his music. You will not be disappointed.

Nathan Gaunt official site

Nathan Gaunt on MySpace


Miss Mish Mash

When you read those tame, overly-PC advice columns that suggest, "Perhaps you should start anew," after someone complains of their mate repeatedly smashing their head against a wall, it makes you long for the old-timers. Old timers would tell you to get out a gun and a shovel and "TCB" - Elvis talk for "taking care of business."

I know an old-timer shoved into the body of a feisty young redhead named "DK" that lives in Venice Beach, and she doles out sound advice on...well, sound. She's a music advice columnist and gives inspiration to those made to feel helpless by the lack of variety on radio and MTV. In this day and age where playlists are bought on corporate radio stations, she scours Los Angeles and beyond for good music, recommending bands, concerts and albums for those needing a good kick. And kick she does. That's what makes her an old-timer. She doesn't pander to musicians and has no qualms about calling them poseurs, hideous or even someone she'd like to cover in whipped cream and lick all over. Like Jeff Buckley, even posthumously.

She turned me on to Jenny Lewis, and I will be forever thankful.

Check her out on Mishmash!