Utah, I mean what do you think when someone mentions the state of Utah. I doubt It’s Alex Mecum, but let me assure that he is from the great state of Utah. Alex has only been on the gay porn scene for a few years but has made an impact.
Having grown up in Utah Alex understands that there is a stigma that porn actors are dirty people with no souls or aspirations. His journey is quite exciting and nothing like what you might think.
He came out as gay (sort of), at the age of 18, during his rebellious period, however, he admits that he remained conflicted until about 23. He explained that it was hard to understand what was happening in his life.
It was while on a religious mission that he finally came to terms with himself. It was during this time that he began to ask questions, but it came down to one question, am I gay?
“You have to understand that we’re taught that one will have no true happiness with the gay lifestyle,” Alex stated.
He openly talks about his “coming out” to his parents and siblings. He told his brother’s and sister first, but “I was scared to tell my mom,” he states. “Our relationship was strained for about two years, but we have made progress,” Alex explained that his coming out was a relief and he was able to live his own life finally.
In 2012, he attended Gay Pride in NYC that he finally understood that he was “normal,” and began to celebrate life.
So how did his porn career, I always ask “you didn’t just wake up and decide to do porn?” Therefore, I always find this an interesting aspect of their story. Alex would return to Utah in 2015 there he maintained two jobs and at the same time conducting research. But after losing his positions at the university and in need of money he did his first scene for Sean Cody with then-boyfriend.
“I’m an exhibitionist,” so he did his first solo scene, which he didn’t appear to have any issue doing. When asked about doing porn, he says “it’s just sex, it’s easy to do, and I get paid to do it.”
His significant major scene was for Falcon Studios with Kyle Cash and said that he was insecure and nervous about performing. “it was hard keeping my concentration when you have the director giving instructions.”
When asked how he overcame being nervous and insecure performing in front of people he explained that he has to tune out everyone on the set, and focus on his scene partner. “before working with someone, I look for something in common with them and talking for a while helps,” he said.
It is no secret that Alex has done a few scenes bareback, we had to ask about his point-of-view. “You have to promote healthy sex practices in both your professional and personal life,” he said. It comes to personal responsibility, Alex understands that some people believe that doing bareback scenes promotes unsafe sex, he also knows that it’s about being responsible for your health.
“People fail to realize that you’re a person and it’s also easy to look at you as an object and not a person,” he stated. While he might get paid to “have sex,” he truly looks at this as a job, and nothing more. He professionally approaches every job, respecting his scene partner and himself. “it’s about chemistry, and if there is none, which happens, you have a job to do.”
It might surprise people to know that Alex and his husband are quite active in supporting LGBTQ people around the world. Currently they have a website to support and raise money for the Rainbow Railroad. An organization that is dedicated to helping LGBTQ person escape persecution in countries where they are targets of violence.
Asked about his future, he says “porn has to be an outlet, sort of a hobby and it cannot define me.” He currently lives in Canada with his husband, Carter Dane.
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If you know anything about the gay porn industry you know that minorities are highly underrepresented in the industry. For example, you don’t see many Asians in mainstream porn nor are they promoted like most Caucasian porn actors are.
However, every once in a while, there comes someone that catches your eye, and Yoshi Kawasaki is certainly making his mark in the gay porn industry by doing it his way.
Born in a small village in central Japan Yoshi grew up in a traditional conservative family where everyone knew your business. Like most Japanese children he was raised with the strict belief that you never disappointed your parents. He has always known he was gay but realized that he would never be able to tell his parents and has only opened up to a few friends at home.
Growing up with the internet he was no stranger to porn, and said: “I always wanted to do porn and I think porn is amazing.” Yoshi says that he is completely submissive in bed and prefers to do scenes where he is submissive. But stresses that being submissive does not mean being degraded and “I’m only submissive when having sex and not outside of that,” He stated.
Yoshi isn’t a stranger to trying something new, freely admitting to loving public sex, and he isn’t afraid to show his body (it’s worth looking at).
But never mistake his open attitude about sex as being reckless. He believes that people should be proactive, and responsible for their personal health. Meaning individuals have to take precautions against HIV and SDI’s.
When asked if he would work in the United States; he stated that he would love to. However, he does know that gay Asian men are “void” in the U.S. gay porn market. But he also understands that the gay studios understand the market and will always direct their production to current market demands.
Regardless, Yoshi Kawasaki is slowing finding his way through the European gay porn market. By being smart and precise about his profession, having no false illusions about the business and knowing who he is as a person.
Well we wish him luck!
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If you’ve been around you understand that some people are born to be the life of the party and Lady Bunny is certainly one of them. “I kind of lived in drag as a child. You know, long hair was in for men and I lived in the South, so I would often wear T-shirts so long they covered the bottom of my shorts. I invented the T-shirt dress!”
“I was always involved in theater and just could not pry myself away from the makeup table.” Ms. Bunny was born in Chattanooga, TN and believe it or not she perfected her makeup talents in her mother’s kitchen. For example, she made eyeshadow out of baking soda and food coloring.
But it was her flair for outlandish makeup, hair, and character that landed her a job at the legendary Pyramid Club in New York City. She has performed just about everywhere including the Eiffel Tower and is the founder of Wigstock, the drag/music festival in Manhattan.
When asked about drag she said; “drag is proportion. You don’t want to see a drag queen in a diminutive Laura Ashley print. You don’t want to see us in an earring that’s dainty.” Furthermore,” A huge head of hair with several wigs [sewn] together is going to make your shoulder appear smaller.”
What make’s Lady Bunny so funny to me is her ability to never take herself seriously. Her style of drag is unique to her and involves lip-synching to versions of popular songs, and she has recorded her own vocal parodies. But make no mistake her lyrics are sexually explicit. For example, she did a parody of Gwen Stefani’s song Hollaback Girl with the lyric: “I shit a banana/a banana in my ass!” She also has several video parodies of “Santa Claus is coming to town” and California Gurls.”
Lady Bunny has stood the test of time in my opinion, always being herself and never compromising herself. She admits that she is twisted, has a dirty mind, is fat, vulgar and has no problem admitting it.
Lady Bunny will be performing in New Orleans Monday, December 17 at the Always Lounge & Cabaret in her show “The Stocking were Hung!”. For more information and tickets.
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One thing that comes along with Southern Decadence is the hot performers (dancers) and Bennett Anthony is no exception. At least in my opinion.
I always find it interesting to interview porn stars because you get a chance to hear about their lives and on the surface, most think their lives are fun and glamorous. But as I’ve written before most never appreciate the hard work that goes into their profession.
Bennett Anthony grew up in Conway, South Carolina, a small conservative town located in the Southeast portion of the state. Bennett says he really didn’t have any issues being gay in high school even though he was out. He portrayed himself as hyper-masculine, playing sports and shying away from his feminine side, however, he did manage to date his high school gym coach.
His journey to becoming a porn star is interesting. After being contacted through Scruff to do an underwear photoshoot at Gay Day’s (Disney), he decided at that time he was going to fuck a porn star, put it out there and become “famous” and move to California. This was his way to get out of South Carolina.
Anthony admits that he’s never found the work hard, in fact, he says it quite easy. “I get to fuck a guy for 8 hours and get paid $2,000.00 for doing it, what is there to complain about?” He said. He recalls his first scene, which was done with Johnny Rapid as easy and laid back, and looking at the scene we can see why. While he will top or bottom, he has been cast mostly as a top, which he doesn’t mind and does both bareback and safe sex scenes. “A huge turn off for me are people who complain about everything, and I’m here just to do a job, so let’s do it,” he says.
With regards to his personal life, he understands that is can be a challenge to have someone who is not in the business, but he believes that if there is complete honesty and openness you can make the relationship healthy. “We talk about everything and don’t have unrealistic expectations about who we are,” Anthony stated.
Recently he moved back to Charleston, South Carolina to reground himself. He admits that he lost himself getting caught up in the club scene and letting his guard down. So going home was a way to “re-find” himself, and it appears that he has. So moving back to California is an option, but this time he's more grounded and secure.
Regardless of what he does I get the feeling that he will succeed. You can catch Bennett at The Phoenix Bar during Southern Decadence and especially at the XXL Party.
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It’s not often that you come across someone who right in the middle of his life changes careers and in such an extreme way. Dallas Steel managed to move from being a TV news anchor/reporter to becoming a major porn star and escorting. He has managed to move from TV to porn and you could credit the seamless transition by understanding how he thinks.
He admits that he has always been a show-off and has always been comfortable with showing off his body and exploring his sexual side. “It’s really about being who you are and being comfortable with yourself in all aspects of your life.”
Dallas knew from an early age that he wanted to be on TV and a anchor/reporter. He started first doing radio then moved to TV news and he was only 23. He worked in Bakersfield, CA; Beaumont, TX; Naples-Fort Myers, FL and Dallas, TX. He would win two Emmy nominations while in Dallas and several regional awards. Between all of this he managed to do some bodybuilding and competed, and if you saw him in person you could see why.
He would end his newscaster career while working in Florida, it was explained that people didn’t seem to like him. But he is very open that he thought that it could have been because he was openly gay and working in a very conservative part of the country. “You have to understand they (Producers) have you by the balls, literally and I was tired of it,” he stated. I got the feeling he really wanted to live his life on his own terms. To get rid of the unrealistic expectations that being in the news business placed on him.
He would move back to Michigan where his partner lived, the two had been commuting just about every weekend. They would then make the move to Dallas, TX where Dallas lives today. It would be there that his life would be altered in ways he never imaged. His partner would die from an “accidental overdose”, out of respect to Dallas I’m not going to go any further. As we spoke of his partner you can still see it has a profound effect on him, and that he still thinks of him.
It was at the encouragement of a friend (Dallas was bartending at the time) that he should apply to do porn. Dallas took a chance and applied with both Colt and Titan, considering Dallas secretly always wanted to do porn he thought why not “it’s something I’ve always thought about doing,” he stated. Both studios within a week would contact him. His first job would be with director Kristopher Weston of Colt, and his very first scene was a solo and outside.
His first shoot was with Dirk Caber for Titan Men. “It was my first, while I was nervous and it might show, I don’t regret the scene and I look at it proudly.” He knows that in order to create an amazing scene it’s all about the individual(s) he’s with. Dallas looks at it this way, “it’s all about whom I’m with, they are the most important person in my life at that moment and that makes an incredible scene.”
With regards to escorting there doesn’t seem to be any sign of embarrassment when talking about it. I didn’t probe into this aspect of his life because if you want to know more….I’ll leave it at that!
I get the impression that Dallas isn’t ashamed of what he does, either porn or escorting. ”Having a great body doesn’t make me better than anyone else,” and “you can’t win to lose, there will always be someone that doesn’t like what you’re doing.” Either way, I was impressed with him, his laid-back attitude and his approach to life.
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I remember the first time I saw Connie Hung it was at the New Orleans Pride annual Mr. & Ms. New Orleans Pride competition. To be honest, I’d never heard of her, nor had I ever seen her perform, but it was a performance I couldn’t forget.
Connie is a native of Southeast Louisiana and grew up in Avondale. For her growing up would prove to be difficult and challenging since she comes from a traditional Vietnamese family. If you know anything about Asian families you understand the high expectations they place on their children. Ms. Hung knew she was gay since the 8th grade and had a crush on a boy in her class, however, wouldn’t tell her parents out of fear of disappointing them. “My relationship with my parents was strained, I would see them, but they would speak to me,” she stated.
I would be 9 years before her parents would finally accept her life, “I had to give them space, and respect that space.” Furthermore, “I felt that I was a failure and that I had disappointed them,” she says. It wasn’t until she was in the hospital for a serious illness that Connie told her parents about doing drag, and for some reason, it didn’t seem important to them, but maybe the health of their son was more important.
Ms. Hung has been doing drag for 7 years now and the one impression I get is that she is a perfectionist and will never settle for anything less than perfection. She freely opens up about performing, and the insecurities she has. It’s this drive to perfection that has, in my opinion, made her very popular and enjoyable to watch. For example, at the Pride pageant, she performed Disney’s Mulan and it really was impressive. Her ability to reach an audience is perfection, it’s no wonder she won (all the performers were exceptional).
It was the Pride event that Connie emerged to the forefront of having a platform. Anti-bullying is something she thinks is important, “I was heavy in high school, picked on because I was gay and this made me angry,” she says. She remembers the pain it caused her and wants young individuals to stand up for themselves, be strong and proud of who they are. “I want to surround myself with people who are positive and supportive not negative,” and “I’m willing to help anyone that asks, and help them achieve their goals.” If you ask her about drag she admits that if you’re going to do drag do your best, and be good at it.
Regardless how you feel about drag, you have to admire the hard work it takes to completely change and put yourself out there. Connie Hung makes her mark by being herself, true to her aesthetics as a performer. I’ll end this with her own words “I’m an open book, what you see is that you get, there’s nothing shocking to tell you.”
Everyone's journey is unique and takes us in very different directions. Darrell Klassy has taken several paths on his journey and the one thing I get from him is that he's unapologetic.
Darrell talks openly about his time in the military. How he sacrificed being himself (gay); you have to remember this was a time when being gay could get you discharged. While in the military he would meet Rodney, the man he would spend 29 years with; he remembers meeting him for the first time while stationed at Keesler Air Force base. "I was terrified that someone would find out that I was at a gay bar" he stated, "and it would be on my 4th visit that I was introduced to Rodney by friends". They both understood that their relationship would have to remain quite, which wasn't difficult since they were both very private and quite about their sexuality.
March 2016 he would make himself come out for the first time since Rodney passed away (something he talks about with emotion). He knew almost nothing about the leather community, but wanted to explore this aspect of his life. In 2017 Darrell joined the Lords of Leather in New Orleans. Darrell stated, "I found a place that I belonged, it interested me, I knocked down a door for myself and it was something I wanted".
It would be later that year he would enter and win the Mr. Louisiana Leather, a contest that represents not only New Orleans but the Gulf South. Darrell knew he didn't have much experience and didn't feel right about doing it, but after several people talked him into registering for the contest he went full steam ahead. Now until that event, I'd never heard of Darrell, but hell he had the guts to do it, so why not. "I was nervous as fuck and it wasn't until I came out for the second portion that I began to feel comfortable," he says. "I remember saying holy fuck I won". The next step for Darrell is IML in Chicago where he will represent New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Our conversation turns to HIV/AIDS something he is very passionate about. He finds it amazing how many people are not properly educated on HIV; how so many don't even understand what it means, what undetectable is and the history of HIV/AIDS. What angers him the is the stigma of HIV, "the LGBT community gives this false sense of security about HIV and then there are the pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry that use fear to present drugs to the community", he says. He also thinks that the use of PreP has allowed members of the community to become complacent about HIV/AIDS and STI's
One of the interesting aspects of his journey is his personal relationship(s). He is currently in a polyamory relationship. Darrell stated "I have different feelings for each one, they are my family and each person has their own life outside of our family. I just ask they respect each other and be true to us all".
Regardless of what you think of Darrell, he is determined to live his life for himself "I don't care what people think or say about me, this is my life and I'm not changing my life for anyone", he states. So, I'm going to end this on that note, it couldn't have been said better.
Everyone has their own personal taste in music, just a fact of life. For example, mine vary from classical to pop, or trance, depending on my mood and what I want to listen to that day. So, as usual, I’m sitting in front of my computer doing some work and then someone sends me a request to post something either on my website or Facebook pages. If it hadn’t come from someone I know, I would have just skipped over it until later. The request was to post an event on my Facebook pages, and therefore, I went ahead and posted it. However, I decided to do a google search and learned that Mr. Simon appears to be an accomplished singer/songwriter. Well, I wanted an interview. Not just because he is a singer, but because he is a part of the LGBT community.
Parker Simon is an up-and-coming singer and it’s evident from his music that he very passionate about his music. Music that is defined by the events in his life both past and present; which has shaped his music and made it very personal.
Parker grew up in a conservative town in Oklahoma and into a very religious family. He stated that it was very hard being gay, knowing that his family wasn’t supportive made it very hard to talk about. He endured constant judgment, was told he would go to hell, and wouldn’t be saved (Baptist). Parker would deal with depression and at one point went into reparative therapy (Conversion) all to be normal as defined by his up bring. It wouldn’t be until he went off to college that he would begin the process of self-acceptance, and learning it was ok to be gay, and it was his normal.
We need everyone to be who they are, be yourself. Everyone has something to bring to the table and everyone has a spot at the table. Parker Simon
So, how does this relate to his music, he stated: “music is a story about my past and present life.” His music has a definite pop tone, but you hear a little of musical theater. Parker admits that his music has elements of an angry overtone, mixed in with his personal feelings about his life. It is telling a story about a rebirth, coming out and being who he is. I must be honest his music is interesting and at the same time unique. Unstoppable, It’s Going Down, and Moving Away have a concise message about living life on your own terms, being who you are, never settling for second, and believing in yourself.
He is unapologetic about his life, and his music. For him, it’s an outlet to express his feelings and explore his life on his own terms. He doesn’t care about those who feel it’s just a hobby he states, “I’m at a place in my life where I don’t care what people think of me,” and “I love music and I’m not going to apologize for that.”
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Just about everyone in the South has grown up with an appreciation for food and cooking. Learning to cook in Louisiana it’s almost a rite of passage. We gather for food for just about everything, a wedding, death, birthdays, graduations; to be honest we don’t even need a reason.
My first memories of my great-grandmother (my dad’s side) was her kitchen. It was a room filled with amazing things, all conversations were held in the kitchen, and the grocery list would hang from a magnet on the refrigerator. I remember if you went into her kitchen you had better be prepared to help, either peeling carrots, shucking beans, or setting the table. It always seemed like a madhouse with precise order. For my great-grandmother cooking was a passion, using receipts handed down from generation to generation. Adding over the year her own touch to family receipts.
This is where I must be completely honest, I’m not a cook in any sense of the word. I couldn’t tell the difference between a zucchini and butternut squash. But for a few in New Orleans cooking is a passion, a mission to explore food and the art of cooking.
Poppy Tooker was born and raised in New Orleans, and cooking for her began in her great-grandmother kitchen, a deep rooted fascination with food and cooking. “My great-grandmother taught me to love people with food” and “Sunday dinners were a special time, the table set with the best china, and conversation”, she stated. While in high school she relates that she had to cook, since her mother couldn’t, it was during this time that she truly developed the passion for cooking.
The decline of cooking would become more prevalent between the 1980s and 90s, as people were more concerned with dining out. Poppy describes this much like after “WWII people lost the ability to sew because of the prevalence of ready to wear clothing.” Another fear she shares is that “in 25 years the dining table will no longer exist.” Her belief is that an entire generation could lose the passion for shopping, preparing, and presenting a fabulous meal. To Poppy, there is an excitement for shopping, then preparing the food, and finally watching guests enjoying the food. It really is a passion and a deep love for Poppy.
It’s her desire to covey and champion people to grow, prepare good food, nurture a culture and uphold the tradition of cooking and compel people to think about the differences in food. On her radio show on WWNO Louisiana Eats, it’s about introducing people to food and cooking, and to smile, she says “I always smile into the microphone, people can feel that smile.”
Then where does her devotion to the LGBT community come from? Paul Doll and Tom Struve opened the first gay restaurant Flamingo’s Café that crossed Canal Street. Poppy recounts an incident involving a somewhat uptight man; as she was bringing drinks they slipped off the tray and splashed on the man leg. Upset he was approached by one of the owners, and they offered to pay the dry-cleaning bill stated that “this might not be the restaurant for him and his friend.” At that moment Poppy understood the compassion to protect, and love someone that not only worked for them but had become family. A bit of history; it was Paul Doll and Tom Struve that founded WWNO. It was also the loss of many friends during the 80s due to AIDS that Poppy became a solid fixture in the LGBT community, something she continues today with her Drag Brunches, that raises money for Food for Friends.
Regardless of what you think about food and cooking, there is no way you can’t walk away from Poppy without feeling that passion, it is contagious. Her passion is evident whenever she talks about it. She is funny and has a wicked sense of humor that I love. She has written and revised several cookbooks, and her radio show Louisiana Eats continues to be a favorite among food enthusiast. Where does she go from here? Well, if it involves cooking, there is good bet she’ll be around.
catch poppy on
Steppin Out - Friday nights at 7:30PM on WYES
Louisiana Eats Saturdays at 11:00AM and Wednesday at 1:00PM on WWNO/ NPR Podcasts
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My fascination with Dj's is something new these days. I find it intriguing and interesting to interview DJ's. I came across DJ Dan Slater when I noticed that he would be performing at Oz New Orleans this Halloween. As with most stories I write it starts with basic curiosity.
He started his career by performing in musical theater throughout Australia. Needing a new challenge, he attended university and studied Business in Marketing, but it was his desire to be creative that lead him to learn what he could about being a DJ. "I never expected things to take off like this." In the world of DJ'ing, he is relatively new but has managed to make a name for himself. First starting in Sydney for Mardi Gras he has quickly become one of the best and most sought out DJ's. Performing at venues around he has worked at The Week (Brazil), We Word Pride Festival (Madrid) and Winter Party Festival (Miami). With regards to production, he admits that having his remix "I Walk Alone" by Cher which peaked at number 2 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs and thus inspired him to work on remixes and his own original tracks.
There is no doubt that staying true to one's sound, while remaining current is always a challenge and he freely admits that this can be hard. With those challenges comes the reward of producing your own music and used for a live performance is quite special to him.
I’ve been lucky enough to play at numerous clubs and events around the world and every experience is very different. In some countries electronic music and events are still relatively new, so the events may be smaller or more intimate. But the crowds are still so enthusiastic and the energy is great. DJ Dan Slater
It appears that DJ Slater likes getting the crowd involved which becomes a mix of their favorites, music he personally likes and enjoys hearing. He knows that he must be able to read the audience and the vibe of the crowd is just as important, he stated: "you have to be able to change the direction of your set to build a better energy. It's a balance of old and new tracks, keeping your sound and set fresh."
He truly believes that clubs have and will remain a great place of the discovery and appreciation of electronic music because you can see a live DJ performance, feel the music and is very different than to listen to a track or podcast. As the music is important so is the space it is performed at, there must be a relationship between the music and space, or it's just not going to work according to DJ Slater. He clearly knows that music is universal, and appreciates the differences and styles played around the world. For example, the United States and Asia has a more tribal house style, whereas Europe has a tech house or house music sound.
In closing, he wanted to say that "I’ve been lucky enough to play at numerous clubs and events around the world and every experience is very different. In some countries electronic music and events are still relatively new, so the events may be smaller or more intimate. But the crowds are still so enthusiastic and the energy is great. I think you just need to approach each gig with an open mind, and playing in different countries has exposed me to different sounds that can influence my set as well."
DJ Dan Slater will be performing at Oz New Orleans this Halloween Friday, October 20, 2017 starting at 12:00 AM. I've listened to some of his music and I must admit I'm quite impressed. Check out his music on SoundCloud.
Two DJ that Mr. Slater recommends that he feels deserve some attention:
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