December 28, 2014

'Faggots' Win Christmas...

A very cool gay couple did not let some moron's homophobic outburst ruin their Christmas...

When the came home they found someone had carved the word 'faggots" into their front door.

They sanded off the graffiti, posted a response to the hater, and put it online.
We regret to inform you that you completely failed to use glitter paint and/or sequins, your work looked rushed, and your handwriting was positively atrocious.
It is for these reasons that we had to remove your work from our door with sandpaper.
Fabulously yours,
The Gays in Apt. 611.

A classy and festive response... well played gentlemen!

December 25, 2014

Alfie says Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas... 

and (belated) Happy Hanukkah... 

and (early) Happy New Year!

December 24, 2014

I googled 'Gay Christmas'...

While watching TV last night I was semi-bored watching yet another very special Christmas episode of something, so I googled 'gay Christmas'.

I then braced myself for both the porn and the torrent of homophobia as I selected "images'... and was surprised to get very little porn-y or hateful.

Aside from the skin shots, I found some fun stuff though... here is a sampling of my gay Christmas google search... you're welcome.

And just to be all inclusive, here is a (family friendly) beefcake shot, featuring out Olympic swimmer Tom Daley...

 And my favourite of them all...

And while I didn't find anything of note when I tried 'gay Hanukkah', that search did bring up a weirdly random Bert and Ernie pic, which I am thinking likely 'yes' on the gay but a 'no' on the Hanukkah...?

Happy gay holidays!

December 22, 2014

Scandal, Sam Smith, More... Best Of 2014!

Another year of great --- and not so great --- pop culture and entertainment...

Here is my Kardashian-free free list of my faves for the year:


Best: Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour
This debut album from the British singer-songwriter; Smith has a hell of a set of pipes, from deep and low to squawking high. This album has lots of great songs, that being said it is not a happy ride; Lonely Hour wallows in sadness. Best track is Stay With Me, a plea for a one-night stand to stay over just for some human contact. 

Also loved: Bette Midler, It's The Girls; Stevie Nicks, 24 Karat Gold, Miranda Lambert, Platinum.


Best: Scandal
Stronger than ever in season 4, this sexy political soap goes crazy off the rails and then comes right back to real human emotions. Love it.

Also loved: The Big Bang Theory, How To Get Away With Murder, Outlander, The Good Wife. 


Disclaimer... Haven't seen the Oscar bait movies I am dying to see -- Imitation Game, Into The Woods, Whiplash... but I did see some great ones:

Best: Life Itself 
A deeply moving documentary on the life and death of film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert - career, travels, love, alcoholism, and his slow physical decline from cancer. A film about celebrating life and about dying with dignity.

Also loved: Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Lego Movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel.


Best: The smart and touching The Children Act, which I wrote about here.

Also loved: Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, a true business book about the few ethical traders on Wall Street, and Andrea Martin's Lady Parts, which I wrote about here.

Live Concerts

Best: Fleetwood Mac "On With The Show" 

With the return of Christine McVie the whole group is back together for the first time in 16 years, and seem to be having a helluva good time as they sing their catalogue and chat with the audience. Amazing show.

Also loved: Cher with Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar. So yes musically I still live in the 80s. And love it there.

What were your faves of the year?

December 19, 2014

TV: Best & Worst 2014...

With most TV shows having had their 'mid season finales" and now taking the holidays off, here is a purely objective look at the best and worst shows of the year...

Best Returning Shows:

The sexy prime time soap about Washington fixer Olivia Pope went even crazier with secret spies and a murder in first family, and the constant twists and great acting by Kerry Washington and company make this series even better in season 4 than it was at the start. More happens in one episode here than in a month on other shows.

The Good Wife
A smart intriguing suspenseful drama that gets better with age... last spring's killing of (spoiler alert) leading man Will Gardner was the biggest TV shock of the year, and took the show in new directions. Newsy weekly cases and ongoing dramatic storylines make this a must-watch; Julianna Marguiles won yet another well-deserved Best Actress Emmy this year. If you aren't watching this one, start with season one. Now.

House Of Cards
Season two started with a twist (killing off a main character) and ended with a bang (Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood becoming president) and everything in between was the Netflix binge watch of the year.

Also loving... The Big Bang Theory, The Mindy ProjectRepublic of Doyle, and Downton Abbey.

Best New Shows:

How To Get Away With Murder
The crazy sexy suspenseful law school thriller from Scandal producer Shonda Rhimes is TV crack --- hooked instantly, now jonesing for my next fix. Leading lady Viola Davis is brave and amazing, and her young supporting cast is fantastic. Escapist entertainment for grown-up's.

Our new favourite binge weekend TV, this cable series based on the first volume of Diana Gabaldon's bestselling novels tells the story of a nurse from 1945 mysteriously transported back to 1743 Scotland where she finds danger and suspense and romance in the middle of war. This one is unusual as she is no damsel in distress, and it is all totally believable. Way more fun than it sounds.

In this fast and bitchy BBC comedy, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi are an elderly gay couple who after 48 years together maintain a love/hate relationship; they are bitter and petty and mean and yes vicious to each other. They are 'vicious old queens' and the show is awesome. Read more here.

Also loving... Looking, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and the new HBO Canada Kim Cattrall series Sensitive Skin.

Best TV Event/Movie:

HBO's heartbreaking brilliant drama The Normal Heart, about the early days of AIDS, starring Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts. Touching and inspiring and anger-inducing. See it. And read more here.

And the worst crap on TV...

Full disclaimer... am skipping all things Kardashian here cuz I don't watch them; I have TV standards, sure they're low but I got 'em...

The Queen Latifah Show
Likable celebrity hosts boring star-kissing suck up fest; annoying to watch, and not surprisingly the current second season will be its last.

How I Met Your Mother
After 8 smart funny touching years, number nine was painful with the whole season taking place at a claustrophobic weekend wedding, and then the overblown series finale was a total let down (spoiler alert - the mother is dead). Nine years of buildup to a lousy ending.

... and runners-up to the losers: season 3 of the formerly great Dallas reboot, a new crew on The View, the lousy Katherine Heigl comeback State of Affairs, and the equally lousy Debra Messing comeback The Mysteries Of Laura.

That's my list... what are your faves?

December 16, 2014

Canadian Weblog Award Winner!

Exciting times around here last night...

This little blog was a winner in the 2014 Canadian Weblog Awards, coming in first in the LGBQT* category... woo hoo!

530 Blogs were nominated across 26 categories. 34 Jurors read them all and then evaluated them according to ten criteria, selecting a short list and then the top three in each category.

Uh, wait a sec... people actually read this thing? Holy crap.

These are juried awards, and while alfred lives here has been shortlisted before, coming in first is a first... thanks so much to the wise mysterious all-powerful 
star-chamber-esque secret voting cabal!

The awards are fun, and exciting, and inspiring, and always a place for me to discover new and different and creative Canadian blogs.

Here are the two other great blogs who landed in the top three with Alfie:

Here's a link to the awards:

And just because, here is a gratuitous cute Alfie shot...

Thanks again... keep reading!

*Lesbian Gay Bisexual Queer Transgender

December 14, 2014

This tweet made my day...

Thank you Andrea Martin...!

December 12, 2014

Andy Cohen, Andrea Martin, Amy Poehler...

Andy Cohen, Andrea Martin, Amy Poehler, a rabbi, and monk who has taken a vow of silence walk into a bar... 

Okay I have no idea on the punchline there, but those first three would make it funny, not to mention the rabbi and the monk would keep it interesting.

Andy Cohen, Andrea Martin and Amy Poehler... these three celebs (or two celebs and a wannabe) all have new sort-of-memoir-type books out and I have read them all.

What can I tell you? I like like my reading fast and light.

I read them, so you don't have to... here's a quick guide:

Andy Cohen, The Andy Cohen Diaries

Cohen is a TV producer of stuff like the Real Housewives series (don't watch 'em), host of a nightly cable talk show (doesn't air in Canada), and a super-gay b-list celebrity who is smart, funny, happy, and always a charming guest on talk shows... and he seems to be always on talk shows. 

I loved his first book, Most Talkative, about his growing up and coming out.

This one is the adventures in his New York celeb-gawking life, and about his love affair with his first dog, a rescue named Wacha.

I loved loved the dog parts.

This book is inspired by the infamous Andy Warhol Diaries; Cohen chronicles his chaotic crazy whirlwind work and social lives for one calendar year, naming names and being both egotistical and neurotic.

I loved the first three quarters of this one, admired his life glam life, and then it got to be a bit much... I love shallow, I embrace shallow, but this really is a shallow look at a shallow year.

That being said is still great fun to read; Cohen is a smart and charming writer, and when your best friends are Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kelly Ripa, your social life will always be an entertaining read.

Amy Poehler, Yes Please

This former SNL-er and current Parks and Recreation star, not to mention Tina Fey BFF, has always been charming and likable. 

That niceness in this book, which can be both good and bad when it comes to reading material. 

And while she doesn't tell anything too personal  (“I don’t want people to know my shit”), Poehler tells funny insider-y stories of showbiz, sweet stories of her kids, and some fun anecdotes from her semi-wild past.

Fun to discover was her close friendship with Seth Meyers -- who appears throughout the book and guest writes a chapter -- and her funny tribute to Fey in rhyme.

Poehler is wildly different than her goody-goody Parks TV character, from her drug experimentation to her love of a good curse word... Amy Poehler is surprisingly a badass. 

Complaints about Yes, Please? The book has too much filler (do we really need to hear from both her parents?), a lot of white space, and too much whining about how hard it is to write a book (I would guess that $3 million advance eased your pain).

The best parts are the SNL backstage bits (they paid to fix her teeth) and her funny bits about drugs, most of which (with the exception of pot) she scorns. “Cocaine is terrific if you want to hang out with people you don’t know very well and play Ping-Pong all night. It’s bad for almost everything else.”

If you are already a fan, which I am,  you'll like the book. Otherwise pass.

Andrea Martin, Lady Parts

Of these three I knew the least about Martin going in, and yes her career is much more wide ranging career than SCTV and My Big Fat Greek Wedding... in addition to an Emmy she has two Tonys for her work on Broadway.

Both Martin and this book are funny and very sweet and surprisingly bawdy (she considered calling the book Perky Tits)... all good stuff!

I liked her Martin before and love her now... even though discovered here she is not Canadian, though sufficiently self-effacing and apologetic.

The book is a collection of stories from her life --- her career, her childhood, her family, and a really weird country-crossing mad devotion to her hairdresser.

Martin does covers sad topics, including her own eating disorder and the AIDS death of her best friend, yet is still sunny and optimistic.

This is the best of the three.

Next up... the Martin Short book, if only for the title:  I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend...

December 8, 2014

Alberta Pauses On Helping Gay Kids...

While we all have our own stress and drama, especially at this time of year, last week was one to think beyond our own lives...

Man it was a tough week to be a citizen of the world with so many tragedies out there... no charges for the white cop in New York whose illegal chokehold led to death of unarmed black man... a 12-year old in California committed suicide after enduring bullying for being a male cheerleader... Peter Pan Live.

Here in Alberta, the alleged redneck Texas province where I live, when it comes to supporting gay kids in schools, we had almost progress and then real bigotry and now it is all in limbo.

Laurie Blakeman, a member of the so-few-seats-they-arent-even-the-opposition Liberal party, introduce a private members' bill that said if kids wanted gay-straight alliances in school, the school was required to accommodate them. This is a great thing, and it did not go over well.

GSA's are peer support groups for at risk kids who self identify as a minority. This is not revolutionary; other provinces and areas have them. The idea is that  if a gay or questioning kid is scared or bullied or whatever and wants to set up a peer group, they can, in a safe place in their school.

Even some members of the redneck opposition party said they would support this one.

As someone who was a scared closeted lonely kid, I can only wonder and marvel at how much better my young life would have been with something like this. Bullying is real. And I watched this story unfold like it was a car crash I could not look away from. 

Our Conservative government under new Premier Jim Prentice swooped in to kill that bill and steal the spotlight with their own Bill 10, which claimed to protect the kids but really did nothing, giving ultimate power to the school boards to allow or not the GSA's. 

So religious school boards could say no, and the bill said kids could sue if they were unhappy. Bet they thought that would make everyone happy and kill Blakeman's more polarizing bill. Cuz yeah having a kid sue a school board makes sense in terms of time, money, and common decency.

And religious school boards (who yes are public schools and take our tax dollars) did not want to accommodate. And they have special status here.

From The Globe and Mail:

The debate over Bill 10 became stuck on finding a balance between the rights of gay students and the rights of parents that are enshrined in Alberta’s Human Rights Act, unique to the prairie province.
Created in 2009 by the socially conservative wing of the provincial Tories, parental rights require schools to inform parents when religion, sexuality or sexual orientation are to be discussed in class. Parents can then ask for their children to be pulled from those classes.
Championed by former MLA Ted Morton, the concept of parental rights arose from U.S. Christian groups. Mr. Prentice said he has been told the clause is “one of the most discriminatory pieces of legislation in our country.”
While Alberta’s urban school boards have some peer-support groups for LGBT students, they are rare in our rural areas and there are none in Catholic school boards. Edmonton’s Catholic school board opposes the groups.

Public uproar ensued, with online buzz and real world protests, especially with online allies like Kathleen Smith and Ryan Jespersen on social media. #Bill10 became the number one trend on twitter in Canada. Was all over the news. Amazing stuff.

See Jespersen here:

Canadian celebs like Rick Mercer and Tegan & Sarah weighed in with their support for GSA's.

Our premier and his government looked liked cold blooded politicians, and not especially competent ones at that.

They back tracked with amendments taking back the 'kids gotta sue' bit, saying kids could appeal to the Education Minister, but then when asked could not even say if that GSA would even be on school grounds.. separate but equal anyone? Then then media storm really hit the fan.

Our Minister of Education has a public anti-gay past and stayed silent during this whole thing. How did he get that job again?

Other politicians who our usually allies of our community, like former Edmonton mayor and current Health Minister Stephen Mandel, stayed silent and supported the government like sheep.  

Then late Thursday the premier stepped in and in his words 'paused' the whole thing. So no step forward, all in limbo. A political mess paused. Supporting kids put on hold until at least 2015. No progress, no balls.

The upside is how this is now an issue... we are talking about GSA's. Hopefully our government will actually consult with kids and gay community leaders. And yes school boards as well. And Laurie Blakeman. And come back with something that will truly support these kids.

Then Friday night, in a truly inspiring moment, and responding to public requests, Edmonton's municipal government lit up the High Level bridge with pride colours to celebrate tolerance and diversity... love it!

To take action, go here:

December 5, 2014

Driving With Joan Rivers...

I drive a lot for work, with a long daily commute especially in snowy winter, plus often heading out of town for longer snowier lonelier drives. So... blech.

Over the last few years I have gotten hooked on audio books (yay public library system) while I drive.

This week I listened to the latest – and presumably last – audio book from the late comedian Joan Rivers, which just got a Grammy nomination this week.

It is funny. Brutal funny. And sometimes just brutal.

“It’s all over the news that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy to prevent getting cancer. I think Paris Hilton should…step up to the plate and try to prevent STDs. It would be so easy for her. All she would have to do is have her knees fused together.”

The book is Diary Of A Mad Diva, and is formatted by date like a diary, which she says up front is fake and you are an idiot if you believe is real. This is basically a long standup comedy routine, with the diary format as a technique to jump from topic to topic; it really only means that Rivers says  'dear diary' a whole lot... though not nearly as much as she says 'fuck'... or 'Lohan'... or 'Auschwitz'.

Rivers' voice sounds rough and scratchy – which was at first very distracting – or is that just me displacing what I know about her final surgery and death?

I think you either find Joan Rivers' humour really hysterically funny, or you just don't. I loved her, and when I saw her live a couple of times, I laughed so much I peed a little.

“No one is allowed to dress up anymore during Award Season…The networks have new decency guidelines, which insist that no more breasts, buttocks or genitalia show. Luckily, because of celebrities like Pharrell and his stupid hat, we’ll still be able to see assholes.”

Here she  takes on Anne Frank (lazy, didn’t even finish her first book), Martin Luther King Jr (cheap), the church (can forgive their pedophilia but not bad fashion)... and Rosa Parks, Game Of Thrones, Jay Leno, Red Lobster, butt plugs, Eminem ... and all of Hollywood.

At times I felt uncomfortable as Rivers goes very far, sometimes too far, especially towards women. And herself. And she is very crude. So I gasped a lot. But I laughed more.

Some of this really works; the schtick on the Jewish version of 50 Shades of Grey --- 33 Shades Of Grey, cuz we want a discount --- was hysterical.

And this book, like Rivers, is oh so gay friendly ---- gay weddings, gay Passover, gay Hollywood, gay Liberace, gay funerals, gay fashion directors, and gay John Travolta.

Is this worth a listen? Yes, though I would go to her previous one, I Hate Everyone... Starting With Me, first. It is a tad bitchier. In a good way.

Diary Of A Mad Diva is rude and crude and a little creepy with a raspier version of that familiar voice... but on today's dark snowy drive home while those other people were listening to depressing news, I was laughing out loud in my car listening to Joan Rivers talk about Mother Teresa's foot fetish. And it was awesome.

December 1, 2014

World AIDS Day: Seeing Red...

Today is World AIDS Day. 
Since 1988, December 1st has been a day of thought and fund-raising for the fight against AIDS... though it gets less press now, AIDS is still real and out there and impacting lives.
AIDS has killed over 25 million people, and over 35 million are currently affected. Over 3 million of those are children. Approximately 19 million do not know they are infected.  Over half live in low and middle income countries.

There were almost 2 million new infections last year. 
Are people complacent? Even though there are effective treatment options now, the ideal of course would be to not need treatment.

To learn more about Worlds AIDS Day click here: AIDS Day.

Two of my favourite companies, Starbucks and Apple, are doing fundraisers today... so I may have to do some shopping (cuz I'm a giver that way)...

I am going to make a donation to The Canadian Foundation For AIDS Research this week (CANFAR), and encourage everyone else to do the same with their local organization.  Imagine a world without AIDS…