Heart & Soul Man

Heart & Soul Man | Out Magazine
Cover Story, March 2016

Empire’s breakout star Jussie Smollett carries far more than a hit show on his shoulders—he’s also got the weight of the world to worry about.

“I have so much love inside that it pains me sometimes,” he says. “You end up finding yourself all-consumed by the issues of the world, and that’s something I don’t want to change about myself. So until the love of my life shows up, until I find my boo, I’m just going to be out, up in this piece, a lone ranger.”

We also went behind the scenes of his big moment on Ellen (and after), his response to being told it wasn’t the right time to talk Black Lives Matter, and what he learned from Mariah Carey (everything, of course). Oh, and if you still had any questions about his sexuality, he’s happy to spell it out for you.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point | Out Magazine
Cover Story, March 2015

A year in the crazy fast lane with How to Get Away With Murder’s It boy, Jack Falahee.

I wrote a little more here about the challenge of interviewing an actor who is determined not to speak specifically about their own sexuality.

And the Columbia Journalism Review also interviewed me for a think-piece on when and how it’s okay to ask if someone is gay—inspired, at least in part, by this story.

The History Behind The Normal Heart: A Tumblr Teach-In

The History Behind The Normal Heart: A Tumblr Teach-In
April–May 2014

By the time I’d finished working on my outofficial story about Matt Bomer and HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart, I’d been convinced—by him and Ryan Murphy especially—that rather than seeing “the Glee generation” as hopelessly uninformed and uninterested in HIV, from current prevention efforts to the epidemic’s earliest history, that they might be especially interested because of this movie to want to learn more, more, more.

That said—as much as I thought it was an amazing adaptation of a very important play, it was all based on a very small part of the story of AIDS, and even a very small part of the story of the early epidemic among gay men in New York City.

One thing I especially love about Tumblr is how good people (aka “kids these days”) are at teaching each other things everybody might not know about history, or just life. There is more enthusiasm to LEARN EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW in online communities like Tumblr than I’ve ever experienced anywhere.

So, in anticipation that at least some of our friends and followers might hear about and have some questions or be interested in a deeper dive into AIDS history, my old friend michelet and I pulled together a Tumblr-based teach-in, kind of a mix of old-school DIY activism and new media strategy.

We wrote some posts, reblogged some of the many other backgrounder pieces done by other media, accepted submissions, and tried to answer as best we could some questions about the AIDS epidemic and its long, important cultural and political impact.

It was an unexpectedly intense and cathartic experiment.

Here are a few of the pieces I had more of a direct hand in:

On Larry Kramer and the impossibility of writing one piece about what that man has meant to my life

On the importance of Kramer’s original essay, “1,112 and Counting”

On the vitally necessary Denver Principles, which changed modern health care as we know it

On Jim Parsons’ uncannily evocative portrayal of a character based on Rodger McFarlane

On the explicit sex in HBO’s adaptation, and the conflict among safer sex advocates at the time

On the whiteness of The Normal Heart, even though the epidemic wasn’t

Bryan Singer: The Outsider

The Outsider | Out Magazine
Feature Story, June/July 2014

The X-Men director on not really coming out, the queer allegories of superheroes and the power of Ellen Page 

A little backstory: I interviewed Bryan Singer in late February 2014 and found him smart, intense, intimidating, passionate, candid and self-aware. I was excited to talk to him for OUT because the X-Men franchise is among the biggest movie series ever and has an undeniably queer allegory at its heart. (According to Singer, even Stan Lee agrees with the metaphor.)

This article was originally slated to accompany Singer’s appearance on OUT’s Power List, in the May 2014 issue, but got bumped to June/July because of space limitations. The issue was just being finalized when the lawsuit against Singer alleging he’d sexually assaulted a teenager in 1999 was announced. Singer has denied the allegations and declined any further comment to OUT.

These are serious allegations, and there are a lot of conversations to have about Singer’s presumed innocence or guilt, and about the outdated and homophobic language that is being thrown around even now by news outlets covering this lawsuit. There’s an even bigger, and vitally important, discussion that we all need to keep having about consent, sober consent, informed consent, enthusiastic consent, and how it is impacted by the age and/or relative power of the people involved. None of that is addressed in this article, but not because I think we should stop talking about it.

Josh Hutcherson, Straight Talker

Josh Hutcherson, Straight Talker | Out Magazine
Cover Story, November 2013

On fame, his gay uncles’ legacy, and how the best thing for his ‘Hunger Games’ character might be a threesome

Josh’s quotes—including his matter-of-fact description of himself as “mostly straight”—were reported on by thousands of outlets, including People, a CBS This Morning segment and this viral Tumblr post, which garnered half a million likes or reblogs.

I also published additional outtakes from the interview, fielded questions from readers on my Tumblr and asked the questions during this behind-the-scenes video shoot.

Chris Pine: The Thinker

Chris Pine: The Thinker | Out Magazine
Cover Story, June/July 2013

Is Chris Pine too smart for his own good? Or just ours?

Many, many outtakes & extended thoughts were also posted:

Chris on having many flaws, the Avedonian photos taken of him for this shoot, and where he’d like to be at 40; on the (excellent) indie film People Like Us; on Kirk, Spock and Star Trek: Into Darkness; on Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan; on not talking about Tom Clancy’s terrible politics.

Full Q&A with Zachary Quinto about Chris.

Kenneth Branagh gushing about how Chris is, like Paul Newman, a character actor in a leading man’s body.

Zachary and Kenneth both contributing new adjectives to describe those blue, blue eyes.

And more thinky rambling from me about how Chris totally ruined the curvehow to interview smart people, how I almost killed this interview before it began, and some details either Chris or I got wrong and readers who corrected us.

Portia de Rossi: That Girl

Portia de Rossi: That Girl | Out Magazine
Cover Story, May 2013

Portia de Rossi has always been a lot more than one-half of television’s most powerful gay couple – and with a new season of the cult hit ‘Arrested Development,’ she’s back to prove it.

Her wife, Ellen DeGeneres, tweeted about the cover:

Portia’s comments about why they weren’t interested in having babies was widely covered by People, Entertainment Tonight and ABCNews.com.

This was actually my second cover story interview with Portia—I spoke to her in 2010 for The Advocate—and she was as smart, thoughtful and funny as I’d remembered.