Views on pop culture through my eyes

Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

Can We Be Objective?

Can we really be objective when it comes to art? When we watch a film, listen to an album, stream a TV show, or go to an art gallery — we bring with us our pasts, our prejudices, likes and dislikes into the equation. And they will inform and affect how we react to the current item being experienced.objective

I came up with this topic, after I heard a discussion about Madonna’s appearance on the Grammys in 2015. The people on the podcast were asking “Did you like Madonna’s performance, because it is Madonna” or was it a good performance on it’s own? If you are a fan of her, you have a history with her… your favorite Madonna performances on music video or in her concerts. Would you have liked the performance by another artist?

Since I am a big entertainment fan, I ask myself questions like this all the time. It is hard when you go to a concert, to not compare the performance to the record, and to any previous times you have seen them perform. When you see a movie, you may compare the movie to a better one, or the actors to their previous movies. There have been plenty of times I thought the movie worked because of the actors. That if it was a bunch of nobodies in the film, it wouldn’t be as interesting as having actors you were more familiar with and invested in.

For live shows, they really can’t be compared to their records, especially with dance pop stuff. I would prefer to see the spectacle, with all the set changes, lights, dancers and costumes versus having every note sung perfectly and the singer just standing there. So for me, I can forgive some lip-synching if the performance is there. Adele you want to hear her hit every note, Madonna, well, she’s a great performer not a great singer.

And then think about all the entertainment award shows? It is sort of silly to pit one person against another… especially since art is so subjective, everyone has their own opinion about what makes something great or not. Maybe it would be fair, if you could have 5 different actors doing the exact same role, and then judging one against the other. But that is not going to happen. Same for having 5 different performers singing the same song — not going to happen.

What about Hollywood’s love of remakes or reboots? Is Ben Affleck a better Batman than Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Is a sequel as good as the previous movie? I am sure you have your opinions, like we all do.

So to answer the Madonna question posed… yes, I enjoyed it because it was Madonna. But if it was Miley Cyrus doing the same performance, I think I would have liked it too. But if it was Selena Gomez, maybe not so much.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

My Mom

My mother, Marjorie LaVenture, died last week. How do you put words onto paper for someone you loved? Everyone here had a different relationship with her… this is my story.100_3551

I am a Momma’s boy — pure and simple. What used to be used as a way to put someone down has empowered me. This woman forever changed my life. And I will always love her and remember her for it.

I am the baby of the family, the last of the four children born to Marge and Don. She took care of me, loved me, supported me and encouraged me throughout my life.

She was the one who took me to amusement parks, movies and concerts. She had a passion for life, and was happy to share her interests with her loved ones.

She always emphasized the importance of relationships… be it with your family, or your spouse. Not to mention having a great relationship with God.

My Mom was easy to talk to. She was more than a Mom, she was my friend. She was one of the kindest and most positive person’s you would ever meet.

I am thankful she brought me into this world. For loving me, even when I didn’t love myself. For being patient and giving. For listening to me and advising me. For setting a good example of what a loving relationship should be in her relationship with my Dad.

I am grateful for her allowing me to grow and learn to become the man I am today. For instilling in me her love of music and movies, and for the time we got to spend together: Be it cooking, decorating for the holidays or just hanging out. I thank her for every birthday card, postcard and note she sent just because. For loving stuffed animals and giving some to me that I still cherish to this day.

This year has been one of great highs and devastating lows. My Dad’s birthday and my wedding were some of the highlights. I know that my Mom would have come to my wedding if she was able to.

Mom, I will miss hearing you voice. I will miss seeing you smile. I will miss you on every birthday, holiday and every day of my life. I will miss the Christmas sing-alongs and joy you brought to my life and so many.

I am a Momma’s boy and I am proud of it. I know she is in heaven having a feast (of everything she couldn’t eat for the last few years) with some friends and family.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Are You a Speedo Guy?

It takes a real man to wear a pair of Speedos. For those that are thinking about taking the leap — and getting a Speedo — here are some reasons to give it a try.Red Speedo Jump

  1. Better sun coverage
    Because there is less fabric, you will be able to get a better tan. If I could count the times I have seen guys trying to roll up their board shorts to get a better tan, I would be a rich man.
  1. Less clothing to get in the way
    If you are a swimmer, you have less water resistance with Speedos than with board shorts. You will move easier through the water.
  1. You will assert your individuality
    Who wants to be one of the masses, when you can stand out? These suits are not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have the right attitude, even heavier guys can rock the Speedo and make themselves memorable.
  1. You will be seen as a risk taker.
    Who wants to be safe and boring? There are plenty of colors and cuts of racing style swimsuits, one to please most everyone. And if you are the only one wearing one at the water park… so be it.
  2. You will like the feeling of wearing so little.
    I get it — it feels good to be naked. But unfortunately, we can’t be naked in most of the world. But next to being naked, I would take a Speedo.

It’s time that men stand up and demand their right to be sexy and show off. Woman can’t have all the fun. So put a Speedo on, and I will see you at the gym, beach, pool party or water park!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

Celebrating Pride 2016

As I am getting older, what Pride means has changed. When I was in my 20’s, I could go to Gay Pride for 2 days, 8-10 hour days each day. Now if I spend 3 hours there, it seems to be a miracle.100_6750

This has been an interesting year for me. I have had a few milestones like paying off most of my credit card debt. And planning for my wedding. Friends and family have had some serious health challenges, and you start to question what your own golden years are going to be like.

So yes, I will be making my annual appearance at the Pride Festival and Pride Parade. We like to go to the festival on Saturday night when it is less crowded than on Sunday. Sunday, we will watch the parade with some friends from church, and then go home.

More important though is the fact that I am living my life out loud where I live and work. At home, we have a rainbow flag in our window, and come and go as a gay couple. At work, I have pictures of me and my partner in my cubicle, and on the internal company social network too. There is no doubting that we are together.

The planning a wedding thing is interesting…. I never thought I was going to see this in my lifetime. Now it will be here before I know it. How elaborate or how small of a ceremony do you have? Of do you have one at all? We know how we feel about each other and want to have this ceremony, because we love each other — and we deserve it. We are special people, and what we have together is special too.

So I am not wearing a kilt in the wedding… but we are wearing matching outfits. Am I going to have any family there? Who knows? They will be invited, and then it will be up to them to decide if that is right for them or not. When I first brought up the idea to my parents, they weren’t so supportive… even though, they have known my partner for 27 years.

The acceptance and visibility of LGBT people in the last few years has been amazing to watch. I wish my friends that have passed on, could have lived to see it.

I hope that you live your pride — all year long — in every area of your life. I am trying my best to do so.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Editors note: This blog was written before the horrible events in Orlando, FL.

My Dad’s 90th Birthday

100_6946What do you say for someone turning 90? My Dad is hitting that milestone this week, God willing I will be there some day too.

My Dad and I have had an interesting relationship over the course of my life. Truth is, we don’t have much in common. And I have joked with him about it.

But at the end of the day, he’s a good guy, who’s watched out for me all of my life. He has provided and cared for me, along with my Mom and siblings. I never went to bed hungry, never worried that I had a house to go home to.

When I moved out of the house, he was there to help me with it with his moving van. And showed me and my partner a thing or two about moving couches around corners.

I remember one time I was having an argument with a friend over the phone. After my Dad wrote me a hand-written note, saying that he loved me and was available if I wanted to talk about it. I still have that note to this day.

I remember him taking me places and doing things with me because he wanted to spend time with me: be it riding a roller coaster at Magic Mountain, or taking me to Knott’s Scary Farm for the Halloween Haunt.

So I may not have gone to a USC game with him, and I doubt that I ever will. But we have gone to see some action adventure movies like “Fast and the Furious” and “Indiana Jones” together. Plus we always make a point to celebrate the holidays, and birthdays together. And it is something I do gladly.

My Dad is not one to show emotions… and in that he is very much a product of his generation. Men were tough, and didn’t let others see them cry. So I was shocked when I saw him crying, when I had to put our dog to sleep. The man has a heart after all! That incident made him more human and relatable to me.

Thank you Dad for being in my life! For all of the love and friendship you have shown through the years. Ninety is a huge milestone. Happy Birthday, you have definitely earned your cake, and you can have as many pieces that you want! I tend to celebrate my birthday for about a month, but for you, I am giving you permission to celebrate all year!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Dear Omar Mateen

Editors Note: Like the rest of the country, I have been deeply affected by the massacre in Orlando. The following is my letter to the killer if he was alive today.

Congratulations on your newfound fame and notoriety. It’s official — you have past the previous records of mass shootings and are now the person with the highest body count — 49 innocent lives. Yeah, I know they were all faggots to you. You think you knew what these people were all about, but in reality you new nothing about them other than that they deserved to die for their “horrible” lifestyle. I bet you never knew a gay person.

How could someone who has a son of his own commit such an evil and heinous crime? Don’t you realize that the people you killed had families too — brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, partners, children, grandparents and friends? They were people who were going to school, working jobs and trying to make a way in the world, just like you were.

Who made you God? What makes you better than the rest of us? Did you have a direct connection to Allah? Did he tell you via a cosmic phone call or text to go and kill a bunch of LGBT people in Orlando?

From reports that are surfacing, you seemed to enjoy the nightlife yourself. You often visited nightclubs and enjoyed partying. The people at the Pulse were just letting off some steam and having a fun evening — like people do when they go to a nightclub. Laughing, dancing, drinking — they weren’t protesting or making some kind of political statement. They just wanted to have a good time. Who are you to say what someone else’s good time is comprised of?

And don’t get me started on the possibility that you were actually a closeted gay man. If that is the case, you should have gone to therapy. You would have found out that people can and do lead healthy and productive lives as LGBT persons. That whatever was written in the Koran, was written so long ago they had no clue to the reality of being gay. Most LGBT people I know believe they were born this way. Sure you may have had issues with your family, but I do believe you would have gotten past them in time.

As for the anger issues, well again, I would recommend some therapy and some possible prescription drugs too. How you reacted to being offended to seeing 2 guys kiss is not a normal reaction. It is obvious that you are a mentally deranged individual. I would like to believe that you could have gotten past things and lived a normal life.

Having a normal life is not something your victims will get to do. Who knows what they might have achieved? They could have had the cure for cancer or been a future President of the USA. Those that did live (and there are 5 still in critical condition, so your total may still rise) are going to have a long hard road back to recovery. We are talking huge medical expenses, rehabilitation, plastic surgery, prosthetics and more. Not to mention the intense trauma they endured that will result in years of psychotherapy. These people have been through hell, and you are the one responsible for it.

I get that religion is important to you. It is important to me too. I love that I get to connect to God and my spiritual community. One of the tenants of my faith is that we are all people of God — regardless of race, religion, sexuality or nationality. I don’t have to agree with or like everyone in the world. We are different, and I am OK with that. If I see something wrong in the world, I will pray about it. If I feel so, I will write my politicians and tell them how I feel. Try to get laws or protections passed. I would never take matters into my own hands and be judge and jury myself. But again, that is something we feel differently about.

Did you expect to see all the outpourings of love around the world? I bet not. Sure there are those haters who agree with what you did and see it as an act of God. But those people are in the minority. There have been rallies and vigils all over the world for your victims. Politicians, law enforcement, ministers, celebrities along with millions and millions of regular people who want to celebrate and remember the people you killed. Your victims were people who most of us have never met, yet we have cried so many tears about them.

In the end love will always win. I guess you know that now too since you are dead. You can never hug your son again. You will never see your wife again. Never talk to or interact with your parents. Every year on June 12, we will read aloud the names of the fallen to remember them and celebrate their lives. Your name will soon be forgotten. A small footnote in time.

I pray for you and your family. Something that you probably wouldn’t do for me. But again, that’s the type of person I am.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Happy 5th Anniversary Kilt Man!

This month marks the 5th anniversary of this blog. There have been 226 blogs written over the last 5 years. That is an incredible accomplishment if I do say so myself! In honor of this momentous occasion I will look back on some of the highlights from the past year.Dan-5Year

I celebrated my love of all things entertainment with quarterly recaps of what I am watching and listening to. See Summer Entertainment Roundup Part 2, Entertainment Roundup 2016 Part 1 and 2, plus Spring Entertainment Roundup Part 1 and 2. Don’t worry, I am already working on one for Summer 2016.

I attended some high-profile concert tours and invited you to experience them through my eyes. See reviews of Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Janet Jackson, the B-52s and more. Plus check out my Facebook page for A View from the Cheap Seats for more photos and reviews of live music shows through the years.

I voiced my frustrations about not having a TV (Living Without TV), and what songs are played on radio these days (Radio Playlists [Stagnation]). As well as weighed in on gun control too (All Lives Matter). I also complained about the frustrations of collecting all the music of one particular artist (Complete Collections).

I gave my predictions on who would win at the Oscars and on the final season of American Idol. I also celebrated all the fantastic albums/songs by American Idols through the years.

I highlighted the hunky actors and singers that I would to see in kilts in Guys I Want to See in a Kilt Part 3. Surprisingly I didn’t write any more on kilts this year, or on Speedos for that matter. Look for new blogs coming on those topics in the coming months.

Thanks for being a part of my incredible journey on this blog. I look forward to sharing my thoughts, feelings and interests with you for many years to come. Please sound off in the comments if you have any topic suggestions. I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Guys I Want to See in a Kilt Part 3

 

It is refreshing to see more and more kilt companies popping up in the last few years. They see a market for something different with men’s clothing. And who better to improve visibility for kilts, then to see a celebrity wearing one. I would love to see the following celebrities out and about in a kilt. I am sure they would make some best-dressed lists if they did.

Sam Hunt — This country hunk has made a splash on the music scene in the past year with his album “Montevallo” and it’s singles “Take Your Time” and “House Party.” I can imagine him rocking a utility kilt for sure.

Teddy Sears — Besides being an actor in such shows as “The Flash” and “Masters of Sex,“ this man is an athlete who loves surfing and triathlons. A sport kilt sounds up his alley.

Matt Bomer — He’s been in big box-office hits (Magic Mike) and TV shows too (American Horror Story: Hotel). Plus he’s gay in real life. I could see him wearing a kilt on the red carpet some time.

Ben McKenzie — He’s come a long way since “The OC”. Now starting on Fox’s Batman prequel “Gotham” as Detective James Gordon. He plays a tough guy on TV, but I bet he has a softer side in real life. Plus he has Scottish ancestry too.

Tom Mison — He stars on “Sleepy Hollow,” as a man who is from another time. So he is used to period clothing. What has more tradition and history than wearing a kilt?

Jamie Bell — The boy who was “Billy Elliot” has grown up nicely. He has a background in dance, besides acting in such films as “The Eagle” and “Snowpiercer.” I could see him wearing a hiking kilt on the weekends.

Jason Derulo — Pop/R&B hit-maker Jason Derulo has given us such fun songs as “Talk Dirty” and “Want to Want Me.” Plus, he’s taken on judging on “So You Think You Can Dance” also. He is always very stylish and trendy with his clothes. I could see him rocking a kilt in his concerts.

Corey Stoll — He’s equally at home on screens big (Ant-Man) and small (House of Cards). He’s tall and has big ears… just imagine him wearing a kilt commando.

Jason Statham — Action hunk Jason Statham has definitely kicked some major ass on the big screen in such films as “The Transporter” and “Fast 8.” I can’t imagine anyone taking issue with him when he is wearing a kilt.

Chris O’Donnell — He started in the movies (Batman & Robin), but now makes his home on TV (NCIS: Los Angeles). Plus he has some modeling on his resume. I could see him wearing a kilt relaxing on vacation.

Zac Efron — He came from the Disney Channel (High School Musical), but he’s graduated to big screen roles in “Hairspray and “Neighbors.” He boyish charm, and hot body would make him look great in a kilt.

So, those are my choices for this latest round of kilt fantasy hunks. Did I mention your favorite? Be sure to check out Parts 1 & 2 of this series. Sound off in the comments with your choices.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Testimonies of Gratitude 2015

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. I am alive and reasonably healthy. I have a career and some longevity on my job. I have friends and family who love me. And I have a life partner who brightens my day. This year has seen a few challenges though, and I am grateful that things are looking up again. Gratitude-rock

Health and Family
This year has been tough for some of my family members and friends. They suffered health challenges that required long hospital stays and recuperation periods. I am grateful that these individuals are on the mend.

Other relatives were not as lucky, but I am still thankful for the time I had with them. And that they are no longer suffering.

Travels
We were able to reconnect with distant family members on the East Coast this year. It took a lot of planning and sacrifices to make it happen. But it was worth it, and we will be reliving those memories for years to come. It was also great to finally meet one of my penpals that I had been talking to for 20+ years.

Marriage Equality
Finally the Supreme Court ruled on the decision. And by ruling in favor of marriage equality, the Court is strengthening and legitimizing all LGBT couples. We are setting a great example for the world. And saving future generations from feeling like they don’t belong. Our relationships are just as valid and important as straight couples.

Getting Older
I would like to think that for my generation we are rewriting what it means to be an “older” person in the USA.

For all of the above things and more, I am eternally grateful. My you have a great holiday season, and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to keeping you entertained, engaged and enlightened in the New Year.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

 

 

All Lives Matter

This blog was written a few months ago. In light of recent events, the topic discussed is very much still relevant.

As regular readers of this blog know, I am not much of a political person. I have my hot-button issues like marriage equality… but I would rather talk about Madonna than who is leading in the latest polls for the next President.AllLivesMatter

But for me, I guess I have reached my breaking point with the latest round of mass shootings. They are all starting to get too close to home for me. Killed while praying in church, watching a funny movie or doing your job (at the Marine base and recruitment center)? That could have been me — or at least someone I know.

I am a big entertainment fan, and as such I go to a lot of movies and concerts. I find myself being on the lookout at those places for the crazy person — the person with the backpack with a bomb in it, or the concealed weapon under their bulky jackets. Is this really the world we are living in?

People in other countries are getting the impression that America is overrun with crazy gun nuts running down the street with uzis. They don’t know the beautiful and diverse America that I do.

The shootings at Columbine high school, or Sandyhook, or the Colorado movie theater or the murder of Trayvon Martin… and on and on. And NOTHING has been done about gun control in this country? NOTHING? Seriously!?

What good comes from a gun? I just don’t get it. I don’t want one in my house. I know that other people do… but how do we make sure that mentally unstable individuals don’t get them? That includes those that kill themselves from them too. I lost one work friend from a self-inflicted gun shot wound… a married father of 2. Plus I know of 2 people killed in drive-by shootings too.

You are statistically more likely to kill a family member rather than kill a criminal. Guns make small minded individuals feel important.

In no way, am I trying to take away from Black Lives Matter. My lover is African American, and I worry that he will be the victim of some crazy racist in my community. I can hide the fact that I am gay, he can’t hide the fact that he is black. What happened to love your neighbor as yourself?

For me, I would like to see everyone who has a gun have to register them with authorities or face a huge fine. Long waiting periods for them… like 3-6 months, plus have people take some sort of mental health questionnaire or personal assessment too. Criminals would probably still get their hands on them somehow… I would be in favor of outlawing them entirely in my book. But in this gun crazy country that will never happen.

Part 2 to this whole situation is mental illness. It probably affects more people than we realize. There has to be a way for these people to get some sort of help. And we need to remove the stigma of someone admitting they need help or struggle with depression.

Bottom line is that all lives matter… gay, straight, black, white, male, female, transgendered, Hispanic, Asian, etc. We are all sharing this planet and need to look out after each other and get along. I urge you to write and call your government officials and tell them we need to do something about gun control now… before there is another mass shooting. And we wonder why nothing has been done yet.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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