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AllyPride ALLYTEES BRINGS PRIDE TO BEING AN ALLY //SOUND CHECK

MIRACLE WERKER: CAZWELL’S DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND AMBITION //AT THE MOVIES WITH DOROTHY

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 //FAVORITE BITCH®

BITCHES WHO STEAL YOUR HEART & COINS //THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOAN

WHY DO WE WATCH COOKING SHOWS? //BECOME WHO YOU ARE

LOVE AND MONEY


//PUBLISHER Peter Rayes PETER@FLAME-MAG.COM //MANAGING EDITOR Austin VanKirk AUSTIN@FLAME-MAG.COM //ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Dorothy “Joan” Stevenson JOAN@FLAME-MAG.COM //ART DIRECTOR Paige Hake //LOCAL ADVERTISING Peter Rayes ADVERTISING@FLAME-MAG.COM //NATIONAL ADVERTISING Rivendell Media 212-242-6863 SALES@RIVENDELLMEDIA.COM //PHOTOGRAPHERS Ricardo DuPerron Alejandro Garza DWS Photography Murray Grondin Claudia Ham Tony Lowe Al Shimmary //CONTRIBUTORS Jason Burtt Trent Davis Jai Ferrick Joseph Gerbino Jim O’Connoll Steven Palmer Tyler Ricardi Ed Sikov Joan Stevenson Jason Salerno Miss Tiger Jeremy Sanders Mick Sandoval Mark Dawson Skip Sheffield //GRAPHIC DESIGN PR Solutions //WEB DEVELOPMENT PR Solutions INFO@THEPRSITE.NET

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429 Livernois Street Second Floor Ferndale, MI 48220 313.757.2624 Copyright © 2014. FM MEDIA GROUP LLC. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the U.S.A OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE PUBLISHER OR STAFF. NO PART OF FM MEDIA GROUP LLC, INCLUDING STORIES, ARTWORK, ADVERTISING, OR PHOTOS MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM BY ANY MEANS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM FM MEDIA GROUP LLC. FLAME MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY FM MEDIA GROUP LLC. FLAME MAGAZINE WILL NOT ACCEPT ADVERTISING WHICH IS FOUND TO VIOLATE LOCAL, STATE, OR FEDERAL LAW. THE PRESENCE OF THE NAME, LIKENESS, PHOTOGRAPH, OR OTHER REPRESENATION OF AN ORGANIZATION, BUSINESS, OR PERSON(S) IN FLAME MAGAZINE IS NOT AN INDICATION OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION.


CONTENTS

MAY 2014

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ALLYPRIDE: ALLYTEES BRINGS PRIDE TO BEING AN ALLY This month’s Flame is featuring two astounding entrepreneurs using their creative abilities to promote LGBTQ visibility. The pair, Chloe Parfitt and Joe Piemeisel, has built a business that allows any person to show support for a friend or family member who identifies as LGBTQ by wearing an Original Ally Tee...

PHOTO BY TONY LOWE

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MIRACLE WERKER: CAZWELL’S DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND AMBITION “In gay club culture, we create our own slang,” says Cazwell about his latest hip hop dance track, “Helen Keller.” Drawing inspiration from the stage play, The Miracle Worker, the song is about a term the rapper made up for when a person excommunicates someone from his or her life...

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THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2

BITCHES WHO STEAL YOUR HEART & COINS

WHY DO WE WATCH COOKING SHOWS?

LOVE AND MONEY

AT THE MOVIES WITH DOROTHY In this film we find Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man (Garfield) continuing in his role of protector of New York City while suffering the slings and arrows of the people who are not sure if he’s a help or a menace. Peter balances his life between crime fighting, graduating from high school, and his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Stone). Haunted by visions of Gwen’s father, NYPD Captain Stacy...

FAVORITE BITCH® Favorite Bitch is also a monthly radio segment on the Derek and Romaine Show on SiriusXM. Since most of the people who write to me usually need advice on sex and relationships, I choose a specific topic relating to these areas and then we kiki about it during the live show. These segments have covered everything from...

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOAN I haven’t watched a cooking show in ages. Lately, probably because there was nothing on at the time, I’ve caught myself watching MasterChef. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a cooking show. MasterChef is about everyday, ordinary people who think they have the skills...

BECOME WHO YOU ARE Most astrological guides will tell you that because I’m a Taurus, I like things. By that, I mean “nice things”: soft pillows, fancy electronics, neatlyfolded towels, exotic and delicious food, quality clothes, etc. This is true; I very much enjoy my simpleyet-refined things. In fact, if I break a knickknack or stain a shirt beyond repair, I get truly upset...

MAY 2014

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FLAME // AT THE MOVIES WITH DOROTHY

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN

IN THEATERS MAY 2, 2014

RATING: 5/5 STARS written by: Dorothy “Joan” Stevenson

Andrew Garfield // SPIDER-MAN / PETER PARKER Emma Stone // GWEN STACY Jamie Foxx // ELECTRO / MAX DILLON Campbell Scott // RICHARD PARKER Sally Field // AUNT MAY In this film we find Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man (Garfield) continuing in his role of protector of New York City while suffering the slings and arrows of the people who are not sure if he’s a help or a menace. Peter balances his life between crime fighting, graduating from high school, and his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Stone). Haunted by visions of Gwen’s father, NYPD Captain Stacy, Peter feels a little guilty because he promised Capt. Stacy that he would stay away from Gwen so that she does not become a casualty in the wake of danger that surrounds Spider-Man. Peter is also still deeply haunted by the childhood memories of his parents and why they left him in the care of his Aunt and Uncle. While thwarting a bunch of criminals who were wreaking havoc across the city, Spidey saves a meek little man , Max Dillon (Foxx) from death. Max, who also is an electrical engineer at OsCorp, is a quiet, sheepish man who wouldn’t say boo to a ghost. Constantly being put upon and taken advantage of by his boss, he is practically invisible. Max basically has no life besides his work and mistakes Spidey’s kindness as the beginning of a friendship between the two. One day at work a freak accident transforms him into a living conductor of electricity. Confused by his newfound power, he causes a public disturbance that calls for SpiderMan’s help. Max is also confused by his interaction with the webhead because he is still clinging to his obsessive delusion that they are friends. This delusion ends as Spidey tries to calm him down, then ends up subduing him for the authorities. As Max is locked away, his admiration for Spider-Man becomes a deep, dark hatred. Meanwhile, Harry Osborne, an old friend of Peter’s, comes back into town to see his father Norman Osborn, the head of OsCorp, who is on his deathbed. Stricken with a dreadful illness that is genetic, Norman tells Harry that he will suffer the same fate unless he can access a possible cure held in the secret labs of OsCorp—a cure in the form of mutated spider venom. He dies, leaving the company to Harry. As Harry’s illness progresses, so does his desperation and madness. Through the deceit of the

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board of directors, Harry is barred from the company that is his legacy. Speculating that Spider-Man must have been a recipient of the mutated spider venom, Harry thinks Spidey’s blood can help cure him. Since Peter takes all of Spider-Man’s photos, Harry thinks Peter can contact him and Peter to help find him. Spidey eventually tells Harry no, because he has no way of knowing how his blood will effect Harry. It could possibly kill him. This enrages Harry and gives him no other choice than to seek out the spider venom in the lab. Harry seeks a powerful ally to get the formula he thinks will save him. He recruits Max, now Electro, as his partner in mayhem. Harry gets the venom, but when he injects himself, it transforms him into a hideous monster and he blames SpiderMan forh is misery. Electro and Green Goblin both have axes to grind with the web-head. Between the two villains, the future of the city is up for grabs. It’s up to your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man to save the day. This is the second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Most of the cast of the first film have returned. Andrew Garfield web-slings his way across the 3D screen once again as your favorite wall crawler. I just love the way he pulls all those iconic comic book poses as he swings through the sky. Emma Stone portrays the ill-fated Gwen Stacy. I’m finally warming up to her as a blonde. Campbell Scott is Peter’s long absent father and longtime favorite Sally Field returns as his Aunt May. Dane DeHann, who won critical acclaim for his role as Lucien in Kill Your Darlings is sufficiently balancing awkward and alienated as Harry, then creepy and psychotic as the Green Goblin. He’s definitely one to watch, but Jamie Foxx is a stand out. As Max he’s obviously got issues, total obsessive stalker behavior where Spidey is concerned and he translates those issues to his becoming a monster. His characterization is slightly reminiscent of Jim Carey’s Edward Nygma before the transformation. I did feel that he could have done more damage and made a bigger impact, but I understand that there were a lot of plot elements to carry here. Above anything else in this movie, as in the comic, it’s more about the growth and development of Peter Parker and balancing his life and relationships against being Spider-Man. If you are a fan of the web-head as am I, this movie will not disappoint you. This is the kind of movie that 3D was made for. You swoop and fly through the dizzying heights Manhattan as if you were the wall-crawler himself. For dynamic super hero action all with the Marvel touches, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great time at the movies. P.S. Paul Giamatti makes a brief appearance as the villain Rhino, but this is very brief and is being teased in the trailers no doubt to set up for the next movie due out in 2015.


MIRACLE WERKER CAZWELL’S DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND AMBITION FLAME // SOUND CHECK

written by: Skip Sheffield

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“In gay club culture, we create our own slang,” says Cazwell about his latest hip hop dance track, “Helen Keller.” Drawing inspiration from the stage play, The Miracle Worker, the song is about a term the rapper made up for when a person excommunicates someone from his or her life. “One thing I’ve heard the kids in clubs say for a long time now is ‘I don’t see her’ which usually means you’re not feeling someone’s look. I always loved that line, so I wanted to incorporate it in the song.” If I ‘Helen Keller’ a person, it’s another way to say, I can no longer see or hear the person,” he continues. “They’re dead to me. If I go out and they’re at the same club, I can’t be bothered.”

MAY 2014

He admits that when creating the song, he had a lot of pent up aggression he needed to get out. “I went through a break up last year. I used this song as lyrical therapy,” he says. “Helen Keller” is more lyric-based than Cazwell’s previous releases. It’s also a new sound: crunky with a nineties house vibe and some trap elements mixed in along with vocals from Drag Race superstar, Manila Luzon, and the underground maven, Roxy.


Who was the last person you Helen Kellered? Cazwell: My ex-boyfriend. I don’t talk to him anymore because he cheated and lied to my face too much. Oh no. Has Cazwell become the gay Taylor Swift, writing about bad break-ups? Uh, no. I don’t like to dwell too much on breakups, to tell you the truth. But for this last big break up I was particularly inspired to write. Not in a vengeful type of way, more like lyrical therapy. Do you normally write lyrics to get your aggression out? No. Normally I write lyrics because a beat inspires me, or I come up with a theme or a hook I think is funny and I want to write a track around it. What is something that is making you mad right now? The lack of justice there has been for Islan Nettles, a transgender woman that was beaten to death in front of a police precinct in Harlem, New York. A police officer pulled Paris Wilson, a twentyyear-old male, off of her. Wilson spent only ten hours in jail and has never been charged with murder. It’s a huge injustice and I am part of the fight to have him charged. Nothing makes me more mad than injustice.

SIDEBAR WITH MANILA LUZON: Who was the last person you Helen Kellered? I can’t answer that because it defeats the whole point of Helen Keller-ing someone! But I can say the poor bitch is still coming out of the woodwork begging me to see her and hear her, and I’m all like, “Nope.” Helen Keller! How did you come to work with Cazwell on the new single? I asked Cazwell to collaborate on a song with me last year, and to my surprise he agreed! Then I gagged when I realized that I was gonna have to lay down rhymes and actually rap for real! What was it like to work with him? Cazwell is sexy, so obviously he’s great to work with! I admire him for his extreme talent. He can rhyme anything! I love that he is so good at his music but never takes himself too seriously. He also represents the New York City gay scene so well in everything he does, from the music he makes to his fashion.

Would you agree Hip Hop had made leaps and bounds in its acceptance of homosexuality?

What’s your message to Cazwell’s ex—the guy who inspired the track?

It’s definitely a sign of the times for gay people when the number one rap album of the year is by a straight rapper who is part of the political fight for gay rights. But I don’t think Hip Hop had much of a choice, to tell you the truth. It’s just moving with the times. For the most part you can thank the internet for forcing people to have an open mind towards homosexuality. Because of the internet, I no longer need TV for people to see my music videos. And it’s not only me; the world is getting turned on to other gay rappers like Mykki Blanco and Big Dipper thanks to YouTube.

How do you say “Thank You for inspiring this song” in sign language? [Laughter] Is Cazwell dating material? Hell yeah! Besides being eternally sexy, he is a sweetheart... and I love a boy with swag!

What’s your take on the rumors that Macklemore used to be a gay male escort? I never heard that rumor before. I’d rather find out he did gay porn though. I think he’s hot and I rarely go for gingers. What is the most outlandish thing that you have been accused of? Pretending to be gay to get attention. Honestly, do you care what people say about you? Yes, I care what people say about me. And I don’t believe anybody that says otherwise. Of course I want people to like me and speak highly of my work, but I understand that I will never be able to please everyone and that’s ok. The more people talk about me, the better. Whether their responses to my songs and videos are positive or negative, I’m happy [to receive] a response, regardless. Where do you plan to go next with your music? I’m dropping my new album Hard 2 B Fresh this spring. I will be releasing a new video for every track. I also just started production on the new Amanda Lepore album. I’m really excited about it. What is one topic that has yet to be covered in Hip Hop that you feel needs to be? Trans rights. Visit Cazwell.com. //

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AllyPride ALLYTEES BRINGS PRIDE TO BEING AN ALLY written by: Austin VanKirk / photos by: Tony Lowe

This month’s Flame is featuring two astounding entrepreneurs using their creative abilities to promote LGBTQ visibility. The pair, Chloe Parfitt and Joe Piemeisel, has built a business that allows any person to show support for a friend or family member who identifies as LGBTQ by wearing an Original Ally Tee. To editorialize here a bit, I think this is a wonderful idea that will help demonstrate to everyday folks just how many LGBTQ people there are and how many other people support our community. The shirts are custom made with a simple yet fun design that allows for you to make a shirt that reads, “My blank is blank.” The first blank allows for you to select from a variety of relationship types like “best friend” or “cousin,” while the second allows you to choose from a variety of identities like trans*, gay, bi, and many more! Upon conceiving their idea, the two friends got together and made this business in just a few months—quite a feat—and have hit the ground running as they accrue demand and interest. I know I will definitely be purchasing one myself! There is so much more I’d like to tell about Joe, Chloe, and their business, but I think I’ll let them speak for themselves.

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FLAME // FEATURE: CHLOE PARFITT & JOE PIEMEISEL

First, I think we should get a bit of the backstory in here. How did you two meet? Chloe: Joe met a friend of ours through MySpace, and she contacted me, and the three of us all started hanging out together. It was sort of like a little motley crew. Joe moved to Portland with our friend, but came back in a few years. We reconnected since, and here we are now. Joe: It was MySpace serendipity. What was the inspiration behind allytees.com? What made you choose that name? Joe: Our media team gets together once a week. One day after a long meeting I threw out the original idea, which was “my blank is blank.” The “my” is about taking responsibility. By wearing something on your person that says something like “my friend is transgender” or “my son is gay” you are creating a bond and taking ownership of that relationship. Chloe: I started tossing around names and settled on the idea of being an ally. I had an instant idea of what the logo would look like. Within twenty-four hours we had the name, domain name, the logo, and an early design for the shirt. Joe: We were able to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses during this process, which helped us to complete it so quickly How are the shirts printed and on what kind of shirt? Chloe: The shirts are printed on American Apparel shirts because we wanted to be sure we were giving people quality clothing. Since American Apparel shares some of the same ideals and is very LGBT friendly, it made sense to select their products. The shirts are printed on-demand in California using a DTG (direct to garment) printer, which is basically a very large printer, similar to the one you might have in your house, but instead of paper, it prints directly on a shirt. The DTG process produces results equivalent to, if not better than, common screen printing. Do the shirts represent all spectrums of the LGBTQ Community? Chloe: Currently, we have included as many as we could possibly think of, but it’s possible we missed a few, especially when it comes to the different types of relationships. We welcome feedback when it comes to adding more available options. We wanted the site to go live as quickly as possible, with plans to augment it later as necessary. If there are ways we can improve, we want to hear from the community as to how we can. Joe: There is some development time needed, but it isn’t a huge deal to add other options to the blanks. It is our goal to be as inclusive as possible. This question is specifically for Joe, how did you react when Chloe told you she would be transitioning? Joe: When Chloe first told me, my initial thoughts were how I would be affected by it but I quickly came to the realization that she was the one going through the struggle, not me. It definitely caught me a little off guard—I wasn’t sure how to react. Never had anyone in my life told me they would be going through such a major change. It made me do a little soul searching and decide what’s really important. And

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what’s important is that I love my friend. Chloe: There was quite a bit of time between when I first told Joe and when he met me as Chloe. Later that night (I think we were at the bar) he said to me, “I get it.” It was one of the best things I could have heard. There was a period of time where I was presenting as my female self socially, but still presenting as male for work, Joe had mentioned that it was hard for him to see me as male after a while, but he’s been nothing but a tremendous source of support. I couldn’t have done this without him or my other allies. A lot of people dog allies, but they are the one that validate the community. They’re the one’s who say, “Hey, these people are actually pretty cool.” Joe: Chloe’s transition forced other people to transition as well. For example, just like how I changed, so did my mom and step-dad, becoming more open, more accepting, and overall more supporting of Chloe once they better understood. I heard a rumor you’ll have a booth at this year’s Metro Pride. Is that true? Chloe: We are getting our details worked out right now, but we’re planning to be at both Motor City and Ferndale Pride. We’ll have some fun things for people to do—through social media and stuff—so that others can get to know us and what we’re all about better. Joe: We’d love to see people wearing our shirts at pride, but as we said before, our shirts are printed on demand, so there’s a little bit of lead time to get your shirt. On average of about a week, but sometimes up to two weeks. Make sure to order early in the off chance your order takes a little longer. Have you considered printing on other forms of clothing apart from shirts? I would totally want an AllyTee snapback! Joe: It’s something we’ve looked into, something that we want to do, and something we plan on doing. But we don’t have a timetable for that right now. First we just wanted to get the shirts out there and available. Nothing is in the works yet, but we have been brainstorming. Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project? Chloe: We really wanted to create something well designed for the community by the community. This project is representative of our design skills and our friendship, which were both very distinctive passion points that helped spur forth allytees.com. We want to see more people take ownership of their relationships with the LGBTQ community and share them with us through social media. Joe: Once I realized that my initial thoughts about Chloe’s transition were selfish, I’ve asked myself everyday how I can become a better ally. I believe allytees.com is the culmination of everything: our skills, our relationship, the way we complement each other and our intentions on giving back to the community. The stars aligned for us, and it just worked. I hope that allytees.com makes it a little easier for others to stand by their loved ones and show their support. For more information or to get your very own Original Ally Tee, please visit http://allytees.com or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/myblankisblank. They’re also on Instagram and Twitter as @myblankisblank. //

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FLAME // FAVORITE BITCH®

Favorite Bitch is also a monthly radio segment on the Derek and Romaine Show on SiriusXM. Since most of the people who write to me usually need advice on sex and relationships, I choose a specific topic relating to these areas and then we kiki about it during the live show. These segments have covered everything from furry fandom fuckers to jack-off clubs to cuckolds to waxed asses to straight-boy muscle worship. Nothing is off limits when I’m in the studio, Hunty! The same goes for this column, so let’s take a look at the bastards who steal your heart and your mothafuckin’ coins!

some kind of loan shark and demanding that I pay him back right now! Any advice? —Todd DEAR BITCH YOU DIDN’T BORROW THAT MONEY YOU STOLE IT, Maybe if you’d lay off that booze for a while, you’d have the money and the clarity to know that ‘take your time’ doesn’t mean in light years, motha fuckah! So yeah, I have some advice for you: Drink at home, ration out your Crown Royal whiskey, and pay that bitch his goddamn coins!

DEAR MISS TIGER, My boyfriend broke up with me while we were having dinner at Red Lobster. That boy stole my heart when we met. I just can’t believe he decided to throw it all away. I was embarrassed and humiliated because so many people were at the restaurant and witnessed it. What should I do to get over it? —Shane DEAR I HOPE YOU AT LEAST HAD A CHANCE TO FINISH THE CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS, What you really should’ve been embarrassed and humiliated by was the fact that the cheap son-of-a-bitch took your ass to a raggedy Red Lobster in the first place... NEXT! DEAR MISS TIGER, My girlfriend stole my key to her apartment. This went down about three weeks ago. She hasn’t returned my calls and we haven’t hung out or had sex. Is it over? Or do you think she just needs some space? —Jasmine DEAR IT LOOKS LIKE YOU AIN’T GOT THE KEY TO HER HEART EITHER, Darling... the apartment and the pussy are on lock down. Bitch, what part of “that shit is OVAH,” don’t you understand? DEAR MISS TIGER, I borrowed $150 from my boyfriend without asking him. I needed it to pay my bartender for a tab I owed. When he found out about it, he was mad but told me to take my time with paying him back. We have since broken up. Its only been six months since I took the money, but now he’s acting like

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That wraps it up for this fabulous installment of Favorite Bitch! Remember to keep your side-eye on your wallet and your heart... and don’t ruin a good relationship by lending money to your boo. If he or she needs some coins, tell the mothafuckah to call their momma or take that ass on down to the local PayDay Loan. Join me next month for a special PRIDE edition of more words of wisdom for people with problems! If you want to talk to me LIVE, don’t be shy and call the Derek and Romaine Show on May 19th at 9pm ET on Out Q Channel 109! WANNA TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS KIND OF BULLSHIT AND MORE? EMAIL, TWEET OR FACEBOOK ME AND GET THE GODDAMN ANSWERS YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MY RADIO APPEARANCES OR TO GET ADVICE DURING A LIVE SHOW, VISIT RADIOBITCH.COM

MISS TIGER ADVICE COLUMNIST • SIRIUSXM RADIO PERSONALITY ... AND EVERYONE’S #FAVORITEBITCH! WEBSITE: FAVORITEBITCH.COM TWITTER: @MISSTIGER ADVICE: ASK@MISSTIGER.COM


FLAME // THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOAN

WHY DO WE WATCH COOKING SHOWS? written by: Joan Stevenson I haven’t watched a cooking show in ages. Lately, probably because there was nothing on at the time, I’ve caught myself watching MasterChef. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a cooking show. MasterChef is about everyday, ordinary people who think they have the skills to become a gourmet chef so they compete to see who’s the best. Even though I had no idea what phase the competition was in, it didn’t take me long to get sucked in. It was at that point I started to wonder.... Why do we like cooking shows? Yes, everyone loves a good cooking show, but why? When it comes to gourmet cooking, I know nothing of ceviche, mole, or puree, but I watch with fascination while these wannabe chefs prepare food that I will never taste. All their recipes have all these unusual and exotic ingredients, proteins, herbs, and spices. And the descriptions of the dishes sound like all of these things shouldn’t go together at all, yet when I hear the dish being described, I seem to make a judgment as to how good or how bad it would taste. One of my recent favorite food shows that I used to watch hardcore was Top Chef (they had me at Bravo, lol.). I enjoyed the competition because of the way it was structured in the Project Runway model as far as the challenges to the artists. It was interesting because that kind of competition with regard to food had not been done before. It was great to see the chefs really go for it head to head, but in a competition situation or as with any cooking competition, how or why do we root for who we root for? We can’t taste their food, but we form an opinion of what it would taste like. What is it we’re drawn to? Is it just the food or is it the personalities of the chefs? The first cooking show I was ever drawn to was The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. I was just a little kid, but I remember I watched the show because of this wonderfully flamboyant (and surprisingly straight) man who whisked about the kitchen chatting away like a mad British magpie while he cooked. I wasn’t really concerned about the food. It was just fun to watch him. Then after that Julia Child. Not for the food, but because of this unusual lady with the weird voice. These people also had obvious passions for their craft, and maybe that is what I was responding to. As to the competitors on MasterChef and Top Chef, there are differences. MasterChef is for the amateur and Top Chef competitors have some degree of professional experience. Like all good competition shows the challenges should give aspect to the craft that’s being applied. They should push the artist to grow and think outside their comfort zone to see all the possibilities and to test their limits and break through to another level of their art. You have to admit there is something fascinating about watching culinary masters flex their muscle. They all make it look so easy! Even when they’re struggling, it almost makes you think you could do it, just step into a kitchen and whip up a sophisticated dish just like that!

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But is it for the food or for the level of drama that we watch? MasterChef just deals with food. We know very little about the contestants except where they’re from and that they love to cook. Very little background is given. Top Chef seems more about the drama of the competition in the lives of the contestants. Even though I have watched these shows I am not really one to eat gourmet cooking. The thing about gourmet food is that it’s not really designed to deal with “hunger” per se. It has to delight your taste buds. It’s supposed to stimulate all your senses really, not just taste. A good chef has to do more than just cook. A chef has to have the ability to know what flavors and foods will go together and be tasty, oh and look pretty, because you have to make the plate look cute, right? I don’t want “pretty food” that looks like it was painted on the plate or “toy food.” I’m more about comfort food: good plentiful food that fills you all the way up and possibly puts you into a small coma afterwards. A friend of mine is mad for Food Network’s Triple D. That’s Diners, Drive-Inns, and Dives. (I know what you were thinking and truthfully he wouldn’t say no to those either.) He introduced me to this show. When I asked if he was a fan of gourmet food he once said “Hell no! I’m a meat and potatoes feed me motherfucker!” Watching DDD, I admit I’m more partial to the type of restaurants and food that they feature. You get comfort food and then some. Awesome sandwiches, authentic pizza recipes, chicken, beef. Italian, Asian, Cajun, Tex-Mex—you name it! At least I’ve heard of the ingredients in these dishes and have a better understanding that they will taste phenomenal. The portions are generous, plus the prices are definitely easier on the wallet—unlike gourmet dining. When you go to a restaurant and spend what could end up being a car payment, you should at least get enough food to cover the surface of the plate! But I do understand the gourmet experience. When it comes to gourmet food and fine dining, a chef has a plan with every dish. Each course is meant to stimulate your senses. An entire 3–4 course meal is a journey: beginning, middle, and end. The chef is telling you a story, like acts in a play or movements in a symphony. The chef is the conductor. It is a very structured experience, where as I’m more likely to hit up a place where there’s folks who cook cause they want to feed y’all. Most people eat because they’re hungry and they want to be filled up. In the end I guess It doesn’t matter whether you like to eat, watch the drama, or have aspirations to be a chef yourself. Any way it goes, I think we all have a certain spot in our bellies for food shows, no matter what the reason. So maybe I should just stop trying to figure out why and go grab a bite. Bon appétit. //


FLAME // BECOME WHO YOU ARE

LOVE AND MONEY THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASS FACTOR IN DATING written by: Austin VanKirk Most astrological guides will tell you that because I’m a Taurus, I like things. By that, I mean “nice things”: soft pillows, fancy electronics, neatly-folded towels, exotic and delicious food, quality clothes, etc. This is true; I very much enjoy my simple-yet-refined things. In fact, if I break a knickknack or stain a shirt beyond repair, I get truly upset. Now this might simply be because I was born on May 13th, or maybe, as a psychologist might say, it is because I was raised in a middle class family that instilled in me the idea that I should take care of my things because I worked hard to get them. One might even say that because of this attitude, I belong to a middling socio-economic class of people. Apart from the name, I can’t say I know much else when it comes to the socio-economic school of thought. For that reason I am not going to seek to place myself or other people into pinpointed categories, and will instead intentionally speak in generalities and dredge up a few stereotypes to get my point across. Based on my family life, upbringing, and education, I feel as though I fall somewhere in the middle of the socio-economic spectrum, perhaps leaning toward the higher end. Experience has taught me that when it comes to looking for a boyfriend, I shouldn’t extend beyond the far reaches of that middle section of the socio-economic scale. I’m not saying that I feel resentment toward people more or less fortunate than me fiscally speaking; what I am saying is that I’ve realized a person who has a socioeconomic class that varies greatly from mine is not going to make a good partner for me. Maybe this is just me, but I find the gap created by the discrepancies in values and overall cultural milieu stemming from our socioeconomic classes requires a bridge too big to construct. As an example, let’s say I need some new bed sheets. I have Boyfriend A and Boyfriend B, each from an opposing end of the socio-economic spectrum. Upon telling Boyfriend A about my need for sheets, he suggests we go to a yard sale, flea market, or thrift shop to find some “new” sheets. Boyfriend B insists that we go to Bloomingdale’s, and he says won’t sleep in my bed if I buy anything less than one thousand thread count. For me, neither of those options are plausible nor acceptable. It would totally weird me out to buy sheets that a stranger has slept on. Who knows if they were washed correctly? What weird skin disease could this person have had? No thrift-shop sheets for me, thanks. As for the Bloomingdale’s sheets, I do not need a $500 DKNY label on my bedding. Also, if I’m in my bed, it’s usually because I’m sleeping, i.e. unable to feel how soft the sheets are anyway. To me it seems unnecessarily extravagant and prodigal to spend that much money on bed linen. I mean, why not just budget for $500, go to Macy’s to get a set of decent $80 sheets, and spend the rest of the money on drinks at the bar? That way Boyfriend and I can get drunk and horny and then go back to my place to get it on in my new Jennifer Lopez sheets. It just seems like a better allocation of funds to me.

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MAY 2014

These differences in attitude, while individually surmountable, collectively make for an unfortunate impasse. With so many radical differences, I’m simply unwilling or incapable of reconciling them. It is for this reason that I avoid dating people that deviate too far from my socio-economic class. Recently I read an article about gay men eschewing certain ethnicities or races (e.g. “Not into Black/Latin/Asian/etc. guys.”) After reading said article, I puffed out my chest, feeling virtuous because I do not to discriminate in such a way. Then, as usual, I got to thinking. Sure, I don’t raise qualms about race/ethnicity, but I do when it comes to socio-economics. I chastised myself, “Austin, you snobbish, classist jerk. How can you possibly vindicate this attitude for the world?” The most troublesome part is I don’t think I can, at least not fully. What then should I do about myself? Should I simply chalk it up to I’m a bad person? If not a bad person, maybe I’m just a weak or lazy person for being unwilling to work harder to establish a relationship capable of spanning socio-economic classes? I think that last sentence opens the door to a semblance of an answer and vindication for my attitudes. It seems to me that although relationships aren’t easy and require work, they shouldn’t be so much work that they require fundamental values to be negotiated—such as where are acceptable places to go shopping for sheets. In specific instances where two people have such a profound divergence in values, it might just be that they simply are not right for each other and maybe never could be. Why should anybody be in a relationship that causes such distress and unhappiness as a result? I’m choosing now to see it not as a matter of prejudice, but as a matter of doing what will make one happiest. In other words, our relationship could never work not because you’re too rich, not because you’re too poor, not even because I dismiss your set of values. It won’t work simply because we’re very different people from different backgrounds that in some ways are just incompatible. That, and I don’t have time to explain to you why the manner in which you shop for bed linens is just wrong! But what do I know? // What do you think about the challenges of dating someone from a different socio-economic class? Share your thoughts on this article by visiting http://flame-mag.com/love-andmoney-socio-economic-class or scan the QR code below with your smartphone or other capable device.


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Flame Magazine May 2014