Return to Silver Lake – Long-Awaited Arrival of EastSiders Season 2 Does Not Disappoint

(Sept. 15, 2015) — Well, today’s the day, kiddies: the second season of the award-winning series EastSiders debuts on Vimeo On Demand. The next chapter in Kit Williamson’s saga of love, infidelity and figuring it all out is deeply, darkly funny but also complex and multi-layered. Its twists and turns are unexpected, but it hews true to what you want from a sophomore outing: familiar, yet boldly different. And frankly, that’s harder to do than you might expect.

EASTSIDERS

(rear, l-r) Matthew McKelligon, Willam Belli, Satya Bhabha and Stephen Guarino and (front, l-r) Adam Bucci, Kit Williamson, Van Hansis and John Halbach star in the smart, funny and moving second series of EastSiders.

This season begins with Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal (Kit Williamson) in bed. Strange, you may think. After all, they broke up at the end of season one. The shot then opens wider to reveal someone else in the bed with them. Oh. Well. This is different. And with that establishing moment, we’re off to the races.

Season two opens up new vistas, explores characters in ways that we don’t ordinarily see or, in many cases, that we may have never seen before. In the aftermath of the infidelities that broke them up, Cal and Thom still find themselves drawn to one another even as they find their lives changing — “inexorably” is the qualifying adverb that Cal uses multiple times — and they begin to date again. But, more willing to push the boundaries of a “traditional” relationship than they were previously, they begin to experiment.

“I wanted to break open the love triangle,” said writer/director/star Williamson. “Jealousy is only interesting to a point. What happens when it’s removed from the equation?”

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Adam Bucci as Trevor, Matthew McKelligon as Jeremy and Satya Bhabha as Jarred assist creator Kit Williamson in his quest to “break open the love triangle” as Thom and Cal explore new sexual horizons in season two.

As Thom and Cal attempt to navigate the unwritten rules of morning-after protocol post-first threesome — a shower? a hot breakfast? — we find the man who was the catalyst for Thom and Cal’s breakup, Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon), having a new fling and Ian (John Halbach), who has just broken up with “Krazy Kathy,” drowning his sorrows in whiskey and eggs — and an unexpected liaison — at brunch.

The first episode also introduces us to a few of the key characters who add substance to the second season, including Cal’s sister Hillary, whose introductory scenes are played in hilarious fashion, almost as a delicately rendered but slightly unhinged aria, by Brianna Brown and Thom’s new co-worker Jarred, played with a nice, light touch by Satya Bhabha.

Adhering to the same non-linear track that worked so well in the first season, the second episode of this season takes us back a day and shows us how we arrived at the events seen in episode one. Kathy (the magnificent Constance Wu) is back just long enough for her and Ian to end things before leaving on the non-Equity tour of Cats. “It’s a really great opportunity.” (This may not be terribly funny to you, but to anyone who has ever spent any time in the theatre, it’s hilarious!) Party promoter Quincy (Stephen Guarino), who threw the Mayan Apocalypse party in season one, has a more substantial role here alongside the indescribable wonder that is Willam Belli as Douglas.

It’s in this episode that you begin to see Williamson’s masterful plotting begin to take shape as unexpected threads are pulled and the tapestry begins to take a more complex and quite unanticipated shape. It’s all clever enough to leave you eagerly awaiting the next installment.

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The central focus of EastSiders is on Kit Williamson as Cal and Van Hansis as Thom, who show us just how well they have mastered their craft in the second season of this witty and boundary-pushing dark comedy.

And the fun really begins here. It’s a lighter feeling throughout as this part of the story is advanced through a series of sexual encounters that are adroitly edited together, revealing the pitfalls, trepidations and revelations that come with this type of experimentation. Jarred — not only a waiter but also a sex therapist-in-training — weaves into and out of the narrative (and the bed) like an adorable ‘sex Yoda’ as Cal and Thom set out to sleep their way through Silver Lake, actions which seem at odds with Cal’s prior declaration that “life is not a gay porn.”

Meanwhile, Guarino and Belli perform a completely demented comic double act and Jonny McGovern’s hilariously deadpan cameo is a laugh-out-loud highlight. More threads are subtly pulled and the first half of the season ends tenderly with a warm, loving scene between Cal and Thom.

EastSiders never fails to astonish. There is a mastery of character and story arc here that you simply don’t expect. And even more astonishing, no one ever hits anything approaching a wrong note: every scene rings bell-clear, every intention is realized, every mark is hit. Also, in almost every indie production, you expect there to be at least one actor — you know, that last-second third-replacement who agreed to work for a $5 footlong and a bus pass — who really should be thinking about other career options; but not so here.

In fact, if anything, Williamson and Hansis are playing at an even higher level than they were in season one. Hansis, in particular, seems completely effortless and effervescent in his portrayal. Thom is on a high thus far in the series and watching Hansis assay this role is a sheer and utter delight and Williamson matches him note for note in an ovation-worthy pas de deux.

Look, I know that sounds like a lot of over-the-top folderol, but it’s really not. I defy you to disagree with me once you’ve seen it.

As for Williamson, well, the world is that boy’s oyster. It’s one thing to be a good actor. Or a smart writer. Or an inventive director. But to be all three? And a producer, to boot? I’m so excited to see what he does over the next 20 or so years. Whatever it is, I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll show all of us up.

Raising money through Kickstarter, Williamson has said, has allowed him to “make the show exactly how I had envisioned it. Crowd-funding is a game changer for stories like ours that don’t often receive traditional financing from studios and TV networks.” And it shows. The authenticity of the story is here in a way that you seldom, if ever, see in something sanitized or whitewashed by networks or funders.

As the first episode draws to a close and Thom and Cal have decided to “officially” reunite, Thom says, “I didn’t know what this was going to be.” Cal replies, “I still don’t.” “Then,” asks Thom, “maybe we can figure it out together?” And ultimately, that’s really what the entire show is about: figuring everything out. It’s something we’re all trying to do. Perhaps that’s what we’re all supposed to do. Or at least try to do: grow up, partner up and figure out something that works. For us.

I can’t wait to see what life throws at Thom and Cal next. I hope you can’t either.

EastSiders premieres today exclusively on Vimeo On Demand. Wolfe Video will release the series on DVD and across additional digital platforms beginning Nov. 3. If you need a season one refresher, click here.

PS — For the record, Summer Clearance and Amber Alert are two of the best drag names I’ve ever heard.

Read more about the rest of EastSiders season two here.


10301414_10205247574447932_541920928921958893_nIf you just can’t get enough Van Hansis and Kit Williamson, this Friday, the film Kiss Me, Kill Me has its world premiere at Reeling2015, Chicago’s LGBT film festival. Brianna Brown and Jai Rodriguez from EastSiders also appear alongside Hansis, WIlliamson and Queer as Folk’s Gale Harold in this Casper Andreas-directed, David Michael Barrett-penned murder mystery caper.


A Few Previous Related Postings:
Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?, May 2014
Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too, April 2014
Kickstart This — EastSiders Needs You, Jan. 2013
EastSiders — New Web Series Worth Watching, Dec. 2012


EastSiders Season 2 is on the Way

Look at this. How can you possibly resist clicking to see what is happening here? You cant.

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Van Hansis and Kit Williamson are back for a second season of the smash hit web series EastSiders. Available Sept. 15 on Vimeo.

Yes friends, Thom and Cal and Ian and Cathy and a veritable pantheon of guest stars are back in the second season of Kit Williamson’s brilliantly sublime web series. The season will be released on Vimeo on September 15. That’s a Tuesday, in case you’re wondering. Or in case, like me, you need to go ahead and schedule that *cough*cough* sick day in advance for your EastSiders binge.

It’s a remarkable trailer. I would say “shockingly good,” but really, nothing that Kit puts together shocks me any longer. I’m just excited to find out what he’s going to wow me with next.

For those not yet in the loop (whaaaat??) or in case you need a refresher, find links Season 1 HERE or on Hulu.

Ubiquitous End of the Year Roundup: What You Are Reading ‘Round Here

Happy New Year. Looking back at 2014, I have come to the conclusion that, while I try to write about a broad array of topics, it is obvious that people come here to read about three subject areas:

  1. Web Series’
  2. Soap Operas
  3. Gay People

A web-based soap opera about gay people, well, that’s the trifecta, ladies and gentlemen! (Keep reading!)

So, what have I learned? I learned that more people read this blog in 2014 than in years past and I learned that the busiest day on the blog was June 16 and the most popular post that day was Where the Beautiful People Go to High School, which is about a web-based soap with (not entirely, but strong) gay themes. It was also the year’s most-shared piece. More than 2,000 readers shared it on their Facebook pages.

More people commented on I Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game and Celebrating the Zeitgeist than any other story of 2014 and the top referrers to the site were: Facebook, Twitter, will-sonny.livejournal.com, willxsonny.tumblr.com and reddit, followed closely by thebacklot.com. Top clicks included thebacklot.com, YouTube, Kickstarter, stage17.tv and my marketing blog, markblackmon.net.

Visitors came from 112 countries, including 5 people from Qatar, 1 from Armenia, 1 from Mongolia and 54 from the Russian Federation. To be fair, the vast majority of readers are from the U.S. and Canada, but the international reach is quite astonishing, especially since I did nothing to cultivate it. The Worldwide Web is not named hyperbolically!

So, with that long, drawn-out introduction, here is this year’s Top Ten list of most-popular posts.

10. High School Same-Sex ‘Cutest Couple’ is Prom-Bound Internet Sensation
cutestThis one, originally posted in June 2013 had the 10th most views in 2014.

It got a second wind this year; I don’t know why. Prom season, maybe.

I did some quick digging and couldn’t find any updates on these prom cuties. Perhaps, like so many others, they went off to college and discovered new cuties to hook up with. If you know something about them, though, let me know.

9. Saying Goodbye to the First WilSon Incarnation with a Bit of Snark
snarkwsNothing of great import here; just what the title implies. A shoutout is due for “snicks” from thebacklot.com who put these hilarious slides together to commemorate the end of Chandler Massey’s run as Will Horton on Days of our Lives.

Over the last year there’s been a lot of yammering about Days letting Chandler go and recasting the role, but mostly I believe it’s just the Interwebs’ usual stuff and nonsense. If you know the show, though, these are hilarious.

8. Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too
esdr2A screed. A smack in the face. A wake up call. Maybe a primer on how crowd funding and word-of-mouth actually work. This was written at a time when it seemed that, by traditional metrics, the Kickstarter campaign for the second season of Kit Williamson’s bravura web series may not make it to its goal. I figured that I needed to do something. So I yelled a little! Like I do.

Did it help? Doubtful, but they did make their nut and Season 2 is coming soon! So many people have said that this series is so good that it should be on TV. And even though Kit recut the series as a feature length movie that aired on Logo, you won’t find anything this good on television. Nothing this good ever makes it to television. I mean, they don’t call it the ‘boob toob’ for nothing!

7. Wallflowers Returns for a Second Season — No Shrinking Violets Here
wallflrTruth in advertising: I only watched this show because John Halbach asked me to. I thought the first episode was very good and I said so here.

I did one other post about the show during the second season but what I didn’t expect to have happen was quickly to turn into an unabashed fan of Kieran Turner’s series about a band of romantically challenged souls.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch the series in one binge and it may be even better the third or fourth time around. It’s a delight. Nuanced. Crisply written. Witty and smart in all the right places. Warm. And in the final episode? Still surprising. Full of grace notes, this.

Watch it, if you haven’t already. This is my nominee for “Best New Thing I Found on the Web in 2014.”

6. Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?
vankitThis one ties for my vote in the category of the best thing I wrote in 2014. You may not think so, nor may the judges from the American Academy of Specialty Bloggers*, but I think its good and it’s an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I opened up a little and told a bit of my story, old and creaky though it may be.

Kit and Van are smart and creative and are both on my shortlist of people I would pay to watch read the phone book. It hurts not at all that they are also drop-dead handsome. I love their sensibilities, I suppose. Ones to watch.

5. Actor Hunter Canning Talks ‘The Outs,’ ‘Whatever This Is’
hunttommyThis is just a paragraph. I mean, really, Internets? The linked interview is good, but I didn’t write that; just this paragraph.

One supposes that people are drawn in by this devilishly cute picture of Hunter (right) and his The Outs and Whatever This Is co-star Tommy Heleringer

The Outs and Whatever This Is, both from the mind of Adam Goldman and company, are two more of my favorite web series.

Originally posted in Oct. 2013.

4. ‘Sonny’ Skies or Clouds on the Horizon? The New Normal Comes to Salem
freddieAn early-in-the-year piece that focused on daytime television’s first male-to-male marriage proposal on Days of our Lives. I thought it was a compelling jumping-off point to say something about LGBT representation in the media at large and this storyline in particular.

This hit quite soon after the role of Will Horton was assumed by Guy Wilson and a lot of people were saying nasty things about Guy on social media. Sometimes I wish people would keep their yaps shut. So, I slapped at them a bit and ended up getting a number of positive comments including nice note — maybe it was a tweet? — from Guy. I still think it was a good recast. So there.

3. Where the Beautiful People Go to High School
ydGay. Web. Soap: my blogging sweet spot! HA! A quick little review of the web series Youthful Daze. Proving that you never know what will hit and why, this is the most-shared post on this blog and it was shared more than 1,000 times in the first 12 hours it was up. It’s over double that number now.

It’s a very good series. I was more impressed than I thought I would be, to be honest with you. Bryan James has created a real soap in the best traditions of serials with a lot of, as I put it in the original piece, angsty teens and improbable dramas. I’m glad these types of shows exist and continue to thrive on the web. It makes me think there is a higher purpose to it all than merely showcasing silly photos of cats.

2. I Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game, and Celebrating the Zeitgeist
idoThis piece hit big after the April telecast of the wedding of Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton on DOOL. It was an outstanding week of programming and it was the first time in my soap-watching memory (and that’s a LOOOONG time) that I can recall a multi-year story arc  tied up so well. It really was this genre at its finest and it didn’t hurt that everyone surrounding the two outstanding actors at the center of the action was a veteran soap performer.

In the months since the wedding, I haven’t felt as enamored of the writing. It’s seemed inconsistent and sometimes downright head-scratching. Still, there was a part of that first arc that so enraged me that I nearly stopped watching, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but I do wish the writers were more artful in their plotting.

This is the piece that ties with No. 6 for best thing I think I wrote this year.

1. Finnish Soap’s Gay Storyline Finds International Fans Thanks to YouTube
saltutI published this piece originally on Jan. 4, 2013 and it has made it into the “most viewed posts” list almost every week since and yes, it was the most-viewed post in 2014. That’s the second year.

Go figure.

It’s a quick cut about a gay teen storyline on the Finnish sudser Salatut Elämät. Thanks to the uploader and captioner who goes by the handle missfinlandia88, I still watch these clips from time to time on YouTube. It’s not the greatest soap I’ve ever watched — sometimes it’s downright groan-worthy — but other times it’s pretty good and I enjoy the two leads. Also, I appreciate the fact that while the stories are sometimes a little far-fetched, at least the Europeans have moved past the U.S. in their inclusion of LGBT characters into their stories.

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Anyhow, if you’re still reading, that’s the list. Thanks for reading these for the past year. Thanks for your comments and your “likes” and shares, which tend to be the only way one knows that you are connecting with the world. And thanks for continuing to check in. I started this blog a couple of years ago as a way to talk about things I wanted to talk about. I didn’t expect anyone would care. I was pleased — and shocked — to find an audience and am excited that it continues to grow.

Best wishes for 2015!

*Oh, stop Googling. I made it up.

When Not Shutting Up When You are Told to Shut Up is Important

I’ve run across several articles recently that prove that I am not, in fact, alone in my thinking, mostly in regards to being vocal about being gay. Or bi. Or trans. Or just somehow perceived as different than the majority. At least there are a few people who are talking about these things now. I am always reminded of Dan Savage’s take on America: that we’re always the first to compliment ourselves about being the land of the free and the home of the brave but are always dead last with the actual freedom and the bravery.

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Michael Urie in “Buyer and Cellar.” |Image: Joan Marcus

The first of these articles is a little piece on Michael Urie in FrontiersLA. Urie is bringing the terrific one-man show Buyer and Cellar to Los Angeles after a tremendous run off-Broadway. In this piece, Urie says,

 “When I first started Ugly Betty in 2006, things were very different. I was encouraged to stay in the closet. This was before Neil Patrick Harris had come out. Even though I was playing an openly gay character, we thought we might want to keep the mystery of what I do behind closed doors. But, for me, coming out has only aided my career. It might not be good for everyone, but I have gotten to play so many wonderful roles.”

I find it so disheartening that today an actor would legitimately have to think about coming out because it could possibly damage his career. And, while I 100% get it, I also think that in 2014 you absolutely must say “No, I’m not lying about who I am so that I can be on a TV show.”

No one says you have to lead with it, for God’s sakes, but if someone’s askin,’ I’m tellin.’

Good interview. Michael Urie: Funny Girl Meets Funny Guy in Buyer and Cellar.

[As an aside, I was thinking, “What would noneofyourdamnbusiness-year-old me tell 25-year-old me about the benefits of coming out and working in or around “the business?” If I was 25 years old today, it’s a different answer than when I was actually 25 years old.]

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Matt Fishel. The singer’s refusal to “un-gay” his lyrics prompted him to start his own label. |Image: mattfishel.com

The next piece serves to validate my assumption here (Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?) that we have barely moved the needle in the entertainment industry in terms of LGBT acceptance in the last three decades.

There has been some press in the U.S. recently about London-based singer Matt Fishel and his terrifically poppy single “Radio Friendly Pop Song,” which tells the artist’s side of my anecdote about “you can’t be gay on the radio.” Hell, I don’t even know that Fishel was even born when that happened to me.

But it’s still happening. Only now, alleges Fishel, artists are being told not to sing about same sex attraction. (Oh, you know it happens every damn day.) Fishel’s song — and his entire canon, actually — is devilishly clever. Steve Grand is doing a lot of the same envelope-pushing stateside.

Here’s the HuffPo article and an embed of Fishel’s video. The Music Industry Doesnt Want You To Hear These Songs Because They Arent Radio-Friendly.

OutSports’ Cyd  Zeigler wrote a great piece on Michael Sam and his acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s. He calls 2014 “the year of Michael Sam” and, in many ways, I agree with him.

Michael Sam and boyfriend Vito Cammasano after the 2014 NFL draft. Sam, the first openly gay man in the draft, was picked up by the St. Louis Rams.

If you truly want to make progress on acceptance in this country, I think you do have to have a sports breakthrough. A baseball or basketball breakthrough is okay, but a football breakthrough, well, that’s where the rubber meets the road. If we can change the dialogue in football — with strong allies such as Brendan Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe leading the initial drive and a well-spoken, humble and talented out player like Michael Sam taking the first watch; things will start changing. Still, says Zeigler,

Everything isn’t suddenly better in sports for gay men like Michael. There is still a wall around conversations and banter. There are still those in sports who oppose men like Michael simply because he’s gay. Two hours before Michael accepted that award on stage, an athlete refused an interview by me because I simply wanted to talk about gay men in his sport. There is still a long way to go. We must do better.

He’s absolutely right about that. Read the whole thing: Michael Sams Courageous Tears Were Real, and So Were Yours | Cyd Zeigler.

Finally, a fiendishly good essay on /Bent from Kit Williamson about how, his words, “fucking hard it is” to crowdfund a web series. In this case, the second season of his show, EastSiders. Alert readers will know that already because I have written a lot about this series over the last year or so.

Kit Williamson flanked by Van Hansis (l) and John Halbach (r) from EastSiders. Williamson writes candidly about crowdfunding the upcoming second season.

And one of the reasons I have done so is that I believe that Kit’s series is one of those projects that does move the acceptance needle a bit. Thus, I find it important. Also, it’s damn good storytelling. It’s good storytelling because it is raw and real and allows all of humanity’s flaws to be shown, just like in this piece.

I was so stressed out that I broke out in hives all over my body.  I gained ten pounds.  My health took a nosedive and I contracted a gum infection— I didn’t even know people got gum infections.  I crashed my car.  Twice.  But through it all I did my best to present an image of success and ease, both on social media and in real life.  I think, in part, I was afraid that people would take me less seriously if they knew just how fucking hard it all was.  It sounds oxymoronic until you consider that I live in LA, land of a million web series, where the majority of people you meet are looking for any opportunity to dismiss you as unworthy of their attention.  But I’m confident enough now in what I’m doing to admit that I sacrificed a lot, I rarely slept, I lived in squalor and I regularly forgot to feed my cat.

Keep a weather eye out for Williamson. He’s the stuff, I guarantee you that.

How I Raised $150,000 on Kickstarter: The Secret Is There Is No Secret |/Bent.

‘EastSiders’ Creator Kit Williamson | Backstage Actor Interviews

‘EastSiders’ Creator Kit Williamson on the Alchemy of Web Series | Backstage Actor Interviews | Acting Tips & Career Advice | Backstage | Backstage.

Good, quick read, in case you missed it — or — ICYMI, as the kiddies annoyingly text. Can’t wait to see what Kit and his merry band do with Season Two.

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the new web series "Eastsiders."  Watch at www.eastsiderstv.com

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the series “Eastsiders,” the second season of which is now in production.

Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?

I hope you’ve already read Kit Williamson’s cover story in The Fight magazine where he interviews EastSiders co-star Van Hansis. It’s an excellent interview. You know, they call an actor/singer/dancer a “triple threat.” I think Kit, because he’s so good at so many things, is just an across-the-board threat. And the establishment should be more than a little wary.

Why? Because Kit is shaking up just about everything that is wrong with the status quo in Hollywood. And he’s doing it while not being an asshole (I’m assuming; but I have it on good authority) and he’s doing it on his own terms and he’s doing it right under their noses because he’s that smart.

After I read the interview, I said to myself, “Well, they’re going to pull the wrong thing.” And I was right because I am Cassandra! (Oh, look it up.)

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Van Hansis, whose portrayal of Luke Snyder on As The World Turns, made an indelible impression on the television landscape, stars as Thom in EastSiders. |Image: The Fight.

Every damn LGBT website I visited it seemed had some version of “Van Hansis Comes Out” on their homepage. And it made me crazy because that’s not the point.

The point is that no one was saying anything about this:

KIT: I’ve been out since I was sixteen, but when I first came to LA my agents were a bunch of Hollywood bro guys and I was afraid they wouldn’t be able to see me in straight roles. It’s a fear I still harbor, and it’s not necessarily paranoia. I met with a manager a couple of years back who told me I was “fey” and that I would need to “work on that” to be her client.

Someone, somewhere — and certainly more than just me — should be absolutely incensed by that. “Fey?” Seriously? Oh, just butch it up a little. I’ve said for years that the metaphorical corner of Hollywood and Vine is the most homophobic spot in America, but the inability of the industry as a whole to break free from ingrained stereotypes is an outrage.

Has the industry moved forward at all from 60 years ago when the divine Ethel Waters burst forth from a TV kitchen with a “Did somebody bawl for Beulah?” and the only African-Americans on television were servants?

Is gay the new black? Is calling someone “fey” any different? Is the fear that you may not work because someone thinks you may be gay any different?

When Van was breaking barriers and pushing envelopes and making a real cultural impact as Luke Snyder on As The World Turns, he didn’t talk about his own sexual orientation. Why? He tells Kit, “I was completely green, fresh out of college, and honestly, I was scared.”

And why shouldn’t he have been? He jumped feet first into the big time in a highly visible role in an industry that thinks it’s better off if you, you know, butch it up a little. Date some nice girls, like Rock Hudson did. Gimme a freakin’ break.

Van Hansis was a rock star on ATWT. I mean, he was so good you couldn’t really even believe it. He elevated the material to a new level and his was, culturally, the most important gay character of the time in the mainstream media. And the industry — and its warped perceptions of public attitudes and tastes — scared him from telling his own truth as a gay man. That shit just breaks my heart.

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A couple of subversives masquerading as handsome boys next door. Writer/Director/Jack-of-all-Trades Kit Williamson (l) stars with Van Hansis in EastSiders, the independent series that is challenging stereotypes and shifting the conversation on LGBT inclusion. |Image: The Fight.

But, guess what? I get it. I well and truly get it because I’m a helluva lot older. I lived through coming of age in the early 1980s. I lived through the terror of the early AIDS years where you weren’t sure if sex was a death sentence. I lived through years and years of pretense for fear of losing my job and my reputation.

In the late 80s, I was asked by a program director (I was on the radio at the time) if I had a girlfriend. I said that I didn’t. I probably rolled my eyes. He said — and this has been seared into my brain for 30 years — “You ain’t gay, are you? ‘Cause you can’t be gay on the radio.”

It would have been okay, I guess, if I was some abusive straight jerk, who smacked women around instead of a greenhorn 20-something who was scared as hell of being “found out.” I guess no one would dare listen to a gay guy do the damn news.

You can’t be gay on the radio. Jesus, that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Thirty years have passed since then and the needle hasn’t moved on actual, honest-to-God LGBT acceptance by the industry. Thirty years.

And that, cats and babies, is why EastSiders is so damn important. As Van points out in the interview, the show is changing the narrative; upsetting the applecart of preconceived notions.

There’s no classic hero to emerge from Thom and Cal nor is there one to emerge from Ian and Kathy. What’s there instead is a marvelous leveling. The gay characters are just as screwed up as the straight characters and the distinctions are not in any of their sexualities but in their personalities. And that’s powerful.

The show started at the Mayan Apocalypse and it’s shown since day one that just because some group says that disaster’s coming, it doesn’t mean it is. Life doesn’t work that way.

So, for anyone who has ever been told they are too gay or not gay enough or not straight enough or to butch it up or to hide their truth or to not ask or tell or that you can’t be gay on the radio, well, you owe it to yourself to make sure that this season of EastSiders gets made. Your $5 will make it happen.

What do I get out of this? Not a goddamn thing. Except smart, powerful entertainment. And the satisfaction of seeing the LGBT acceptance needle move a little bit more toward BETTER.


 

Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too

You know that old saw, right? The one about taking a village to raise a child? Well, it takes an army to produce a show. And we need some foot soldiers.

This is not really light-hearted banter; this is fact. If you want to see something that you can’t get anywhere else, you will need to help make it happen. What does that mean, “make it happen?”

It means, you need to bring cash to the table. And you need to click HERE right now to make EastSiders Season 2 happen by supporting this Kickstarter.

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Will your $5 or $10 contribution help? Yes, absolutely. In fact, if every single person who reads this blog gave $10; they would be done.

So, do it.

There’s a counter-intuitive tipping point of information vs. action. If you’ve been around long enough, like I have, you’ve seen it before: a lot of terrific press, but you want to see even more momentum in the crucial front end of a campaign. This is because people assume that if they read excellent press about a production at every turn, then they don’t have to support it. That someone else will pick up the slack. That there is some big donor lurking. That their $20 doesn’t matter. And it does. It absolutely does.

If you want to see this show, you must give now.

If you want to make sure high-quality, independent LGBT voices continue to make an impact, you have to pledge your support now.

If you want to make sure this series has even more of an impact than the first season, you need to give now AND you need to tell a friend.

And you need to make sure your friend both gives and tells their friends.

Twenty bucks and a couple of tweets or Facebook posts or Instagrams. That’s all. That’s a couple of trips to Starbucks. Sure, you want another caramel macchiato, but is that worth more to you than making this program happen?

If EastSiders raises 80% or 95% or 99% of their goal, THIS SERIES DOES NOT GET MADE. That’s how Kickstarter works. You meet your target or exceed it. There are no do-overs. One shot.

If everything goes well and with two minutes left in the campaign it stalls at $124,980, it was your $20 bill that caused EastSiders Season 2 not to get made. Don’t be that person. Support this now.

I’ve made my pledge because I believe in this work. Kit has already proven that he can turn out a fascinating, relevant, entertaining, smart product, so I have no doubt that this group will do it again. I’ve joined the army (because we can do that now, you know) and I’m not asking you to pledge; I’m just telling you to do it.

You’ll thank me. Yes, you will.