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Fop Magazine Forever Solstice - LA Issue 2

The Gay Men Project Truvada:

PrEPing for the Future

MichAEl Lucas

Manila Luzon

The Importance of


Employment Non-Discrimination Act

In His Skin, In Her Shoes

Drew Droege

The Dynamic Duo

Hi Fashion

Getting Down to Earth with

Cameron Esposito


Fopzine 1.


a foolish or silly person

a man who is devoted to or vain about his appearance or dress :

Coxcomb, Dandy

Masthead Editor-in-Chief Quentin Fears Copy Editor Gaea L. Honeycutt Health Columnist Arthur Robin Williams Contributors Salty Brine Kim L. Hunt Brandon Bartling Steven Cox


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR It is now summer’s end. However, in Los Angeles (the new home of Fop Magazine), summer never ends. Hence, the title, Forever Solstice. In this issue, we bring you the warmth and effortless style of Los Angeles in striking fashion editorials. We feature some amazing talents from the West Coast — Manila Luzon of Rupaul’s Drag Race, comedienne and rising star Cameron Esposito, electro clash band Hi Fashion, and the incomparable Drew Droege (aka Chloe Sevigny), who is taking the Internet by storm. But, we didn’t stop there! Sit back as we talk with photographer Kevin Truong as he documents the life and experiences of gay men with his thought-provoking series, The Gay Men Project. You’ll want to rail and laugh at our tête-à-tête with the provocative and polarizing adult and documentary filmmaker Michael Lucas. Fop continues the conversation with our regular columns. Kim Hunt introduces us to the decades-long fight fair treatment in the workplace and passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Dr. Robin Williams discusses the pros and cons of the controversial, some believe miracle, drug Truvada. We don’t necessarily have all the answers, but Fop believes in beginning and continuing a dialogue — discussion of who we are, where we’re going, and who we want to become. Perhaps we may not all agree, but the conversation must go on. We are all a work in progress. Quentin A. Fears Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Photography by: Jason Rowe

Contents 8 Manila Luzon 12 The Gay Men Project 18 Portrait in Bloom 24 Dude Swim 29 The Importance of ENDA 30 The Michael Lucas Interview 38 Truvada: PrEPing for the Future 40 Forever Solstice 47 Drew Droege 50 Hi Fashion 54 Cameron Esposito



Manila Luzon 8

Image by: Magnus Hastings


il r h T e Th

ila n a M m



Interview By: Salty Brine

Despite her Filipino heritage, Minnesota-born Manila isn’t actually from the Phillipines. So, while the headline is a tiny bit misleading, we were inspired by a one-liner from the incomparable RuPaul. Who else?! Ok, so we at Fop are huge fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race (LOGO TV) and we were wondering what is going on these days with one of our favorite’s, Manila Luzon, the safe proclaimed Asian Glamasaurus and season 3 runner up! We talked with her about her first kiss (with a girl!), make-up tricks and growing up in Minnesota. First, a little kiss and tell... do you remember your earliest heart-stopping smooch? Fop: First, a little kiss and tell . . . do you remember your earliest heart-stopping smooch? ML: The first time was with my high school girlfriend. (Yes, I had a girlfriend and she was very pretty.) She was a year older than I was. I like my women older! She dropped me off at my house after a date. Maybe I was dating her because she had a car. And before I got out we leaned in for a kiss! OMG! It was thrilling, but I’ll never kiss a girl again! Fop: Where is the most remarkable place you’ve ever been? ML: I can’t even say anymore! Everywhere I go these days. Europe, Australia, Asia, or South America — they are all so amazing I can’t pick just one! Everywhere I travel I meet amazing fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and their energy is the most remarkable thing to me! Fop: As a master of the form, can you tell us what it is that’s so entrancing about great lip-sync performance? Why does it thrill us? ML: A good lip sync, I think, is all part of the illusion. It is how we witness the sounds of the fantasy a

Miss Manila Luzon

drag queen is telling through her costumes, her make up and hair. It’s a drag queen’s voice, and sometimes that voice sounds like Donna Summer’s! Fop: Is it bad form to ask a Filipino about Imelda Marcos? You’ve performed a fab camp version of Ms. Marcos in the past. Are you interested in drawn to her story? Shoes or otherwise? ML: I don’t know. Regardless of the stance any Filipino has on her, Imelda was iconic and she was able to catch the world’s eye! Love her or hate her, she’s kind of like Kim Kardashian — she’s doing JUST FINE whatever you say about her! Fop: You’ve been referred to as the “Queen of Glamp”. (Glamp being a combination of “glamour” and “camp”.) Do you identify with that word? What does it mean to you? ML: Sure I’ll call myself Glamp! I have always been attracted to beautiful and funny actresses like Lucille Ball, Goldie Hawn or Sofia Vergara! Sure I can put on all the make-up and hair and look pretty, but there will always be someone more beautiful than me. But are they funny, too? Fop: Any make-up tips for us amateurs? ML: Don’t ask me about make-up. I’m still learning every day! By the time I perfect my make-up skills, my face will be sagging on the floor! Fop: If you’re longing for adventure, what’s on the agenda? ML: I want a camera to document it for me. Because an adventure with me usually ends with too many drinks and me kinda forgetting in the morning! Fop: You grew up in Minnesota. What’s puberty like in the Midwest?

ML: It was awful. Pimples. Growth spurts. Realizing I was a big ol’ homo. But, I suppose it would have been just as awful in Florida or Kentucky. Fop: What’s hot and fresh on Miss Manila’s mp3 playlist? ML: My playlist has been overtaken by songs I’m trying to learn the lyrics to for my next lip sync performance! But there’s always Kylie, Madonna, Gaga and BARBRA!!!!! Fop: Your wigs always beguile me. And, in particular, your fondness for black wigs with a streak of blonde or vice versa. Has that always been a signature style of Manila Luzon? ML: My black and blond streak hair was not always my look, but I used to switch between black wigs and blond wigs. Before I auditioned for RuPaul’s Drag Race, I bleached a blond streak into my hair. So, when I was officially cast on season 3, I had a wig made to match my hair as a boy. It became a signature look, so I’ve kept it ever since! Fop: You have such an incredible visual eye and spent time working as a graphic designer. Has that work influenced your drag? ML: Of course, I am very particular in how I visually balance my looks from the top of my wig to the bottom of my stilettos. It is helped out by my former career in graphic design, but I’ve always been guided by my visual aesthetic. As a child, I always wanted to be an artist . . . I just never knew my medium would be drag. Fop: What’s NEW/NOW/NEXT in the glamorous life of Miss Luzon? ML: I’ve been working on some new music. I have four or five singles to date, but this time I’ve taken a different approach to my music. I’m experimenting with new ideas and sounds, and all of it’s drawn from my own experiences and tells more of my story since the show. Fop: Lastly, I’ll ask the question all the readers of Fop Magazine want to know . . . Would you ever date a fop? ML: Duh! Of course!


Image by: Magnus Hastings

The Gay Men Project _________ Interview by: Quentin Fears Two years ago, Kevin Truong launched The Gay Men Project, his mission to create the largest collection of stories of gay men in the world. A personal project for Truong, he wanted to photograph a group of people of with whom he strongly identified. “As much as I don’t identify as a straight man, nor do I identify as trans or a lesbian. Focusing on gay men is my way of doing just that, focusing my work.” Truong sat down to talk about the project and the experiences of gay men around the world.


Kevin Truong

Fop: Do you remember the moment you came up with the idea? What inspired you? KT: I was largely inspired by Cathie Opie’s Domestic project, in which she photographed lesbians across the United States in the 90s. I wanted to do something similar, and always use as a reference point my coming out to my mom. When I told her, she looked so confused, and later said she was trying to visualize if I was going to start looking different. She thought I was going to change physically, and was relying on stereotypes that I don’t feel are necessarily accurate. So, one of my goals is to show people like my mom, “Yeah, we’re all gay men, but we’re individuals first.” Fop: Why do you think it’s important to tell these stories? KT: I think there is a quiet activism in just being visible, in being openly gay. There is a lot going on right now with regards to LGBTI rights, moving both forwards and backwards, and I think it’s important to capture the stories through the lens of the individuals who are living it. Fop: How do you choose the men you interview? Social media and other apps? KT: I try to make it clear I don’t necessarily choose individuals to be photographed. I photograph anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the project. The only criterion I have is that the individual identify as a gay man, but I don’t define the meaning of “gay” or “man”. Previously, whenever I would visit a city, I’d send out a notice through my personal network of friends and try to find people to interview. Recently, I’ve been trying social media apps. Though it tends to be a little more difficult to get an individual to agree to be photographed if they don’t know of the project beforehand, or if I’m not referred to them by a mutual connection. Fop: Do you think there is a bigger connection between the men you interview other than their sexuality? KT: Ultimately, I’m photographing individuals with varied and individual lives. But most the men I’ve photographed are openly gay. So, inherent to that, I’ve found the process to getting to that point is very similar across the board. And, in that, I’ve found the greatest commonality. Fop: Is there a difference in stories from a man in say, New York City, compared to a man in Brazil?


Image by: Kevin Truong

KT: I’ve photographed over 400 men in seven countries so far. Culturally, men are very different in say, Brazil, as opposed to Vietnam. But, I think the shared experience of being gay creates more commonalities than the differences caused by nationalities. Fop: What was the most meaningful story that you have heard to date? KT: Recently I was in Cleveland, Ohio and photographed a man in his early 70s. He only recently came out in the past few years, and in fact is still married to his wife. His wife has dementia and he cares for her, and couldn’t imagine leaving her in such a state, but he still is beginning to explore his identity as a gay man. This resonated with me, because I truly believe it’s up to individuals to define their own identity. And with regards to relationships, only the individuals involved define the parameters. No one else. Fop: In your Kickstarter crowdfunding video you mentioned that you spent 10 years of your life hiding that you were gay. What was that struggle like for you? KT: I will say this, and I only speak for myself. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to believe that coming out is a life-long process. And what I mean by that is every day I’m constantly defining for myself what it means to be a gay man, what it means to be me, and how that relates to the experiences I want to share with people I meet. Personally, with my own life, the struggle had always been getting to a place where I was confident with who I was as a person, beyond simply my sexual orientation. This used to cause me a lot of grief, but now I kind of embrace the struggle in that I feel like it pushes me to better myself every day. I will say, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to accept myself more and more. Fop: Now that you are out and proud. Why do you think were your in the closet? What gave you the courage to come out? KT: With regards to hiding the fact that I was gay, it really came down to the idea of feeling different and not wanting that difference to be known. Now, that difference is something I celebrate, and it really started with me one day making the simple decision, “You know what, I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m gay anymore.” And once I made that decision, I started telling people I was gay. It really was that simple. It was a slow and long process, but now I can comfortably say being gay is something that I don’t hide from anyone.

Image by: Kevin Truong

Fop: Now that there are more and more celebrities and athletes coming out, do you think there is still a real need for projects like this? KT: Actually, that’s exactly why I want to do this project. When we look back at this moment in history, I don’t want to only see it within the context of court cases and the very well documented stories of celebrities coming out. I want us to remember this moment through a wide spectrum of stories of individuals that may not necessarily have a large platform or audience. Fop: Do you think this project is just preaching to the choir? Are people other than gay men looking at the site? KT: I would imagine anyone who is visiting the site is visiting it because they find some value to it. Whether they’re gay, straight, bi, male, female, old, young … whatever, it doesn’t matter. I’ve spent the past two years building something and putting it out into the world, and people can do whatever they want with it. This idea of preaching to the choir doesn’t resonate with me, because my intended audience is anyone who wants to visit. Yeah, I’m thinking of people like my mom. Or, I’m thinking of people like myself at the age of 16 when I was trying to figure out what it meant to be gay. But if only 20-something-year-old openly gay men in New York City are looking at the project, that’s fine. Because it must be adding some value to their lives if they’re spending time visiting. Though I will say, specifically with my Kickstarter in which I was able to raise $33,000 from over 600 donors, about half of the donors didn’t identify as LGBTI. Whether that’s any indication of my audience, it really doesn’t matter. Fop: What do you think the people in regions like Iraq and Uganda, who may be in more danger simply for being gay men, are getting out of it? KT: I can’t speak for these individuals, but my hope is that the project can offer a sense of comfort and community to those who may not have access to that in their daily lives. I’ve received letters from places like Pakistan, and even rural parts of the United States, that have expressed such a sentiment. Fop: Do you think a photo project like this has the power to change people’s perception, and maybe, even public policy? KT: My first degree was in economics, so I always think of things in terms of micro versus macro. I feel the most change this project will have is on a micro level. My hope is that this project has impact on the individuals who are participating and visiting the website. Whether it effects change on a more macro level with regards to policy, I don’t know. My goal is more on the individual level, one person at a time. Fop: Where do you see The Gay Men Project in 10 years? KT: I’m just going to let this project grow and see what happens. I’m just along for the ride.


Image by: Kevin Truong

Portrait in Bloom Photographer: Marsin

Model: Kes Adjekughele Stylist: Theo Hanson Grooming: Walton Nunez


Glasses & Ascot: Stylist Own Leopard Print Button Down: BAISAP

Snap Back: Top Shop Blazer: Zara Pocket Square: Stylist Own Button Down & Tie: Stylist Own Floral Pant: Elevenses Sh Rain Jacket: Marc Jacobs Floral Trunks: Nativ NY oes: Kenneth Cole Watch: Fossil Bracelets: Stylist Own

Floral Cap: Top Shop Bow Tie: H&M Denim Button Down: Top Shop Floral Pant: Nativ NY Sneakers: Y-3 20

Black Net Tank & Snake Shorts: Nativ NY Gold Chain: Stylist Own


Glasses: Stylist Own Neon Jacket: Marc Jacobs Red Pants: Nativ NY Trench Coat: Calvin Klein Socks: Gap Shoes: Calvin Klein

Rain Jacket: Marc Jacobs Floral Trunks: Nativ NY

--------Dude Swim --------Photography by: Bryan Kasm Stylist: Nicholas Trobiano Model: Kyle Anderson/Alexa Groomer: Melissa Brown


Swimwear: T-Christopher


Swimwear: T-Christopher Linen Pants: Zara


Swimwear: T-Christopher


o e c n a t r o p m I e h T

ENDA Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Article By: Kim Hunt Today millions of U.S. workers can legally be fired for being LGBT. But there is hope. The momentum producing marriage equality wins across the states should be used to get Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would make sexual orientation — actual and perceived — and gender identity protected classes under federal law. Workers who associate with fellow employees who are LGBT would also be protected. And all workers would be protected from retaliation if they complain about discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law would impact employers with at least 15 employees. Of course, there are the requisite exemptions for some religious institutions and their affiliates, as is the case for almost all legislation related to LGBT rights or reproductive justice. According to the Family Equality Council, there are some 5.4 million LGBT workers in the U.S. workforce. The Human Rights Campaign reports that only 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Three other states ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation only. This lack of workplace protection increases the vulnerability of the LGBT community, which includes a growing number of people living in poverty. A 2013 report from the Williams Institute showed that poverty rates are consistently higher for LGBT people than for non-LGBT people. Injustice at Every Turn (2011) illustrates the extraordinary economic disparities that transgender and gender nonconforming people face. Findings included that transgender and gender nonconforming people are four times more likely to experience extreme poverty, four times more likely to be homeless, twice as likely to be unemployed. Leaving LGBT workers’ abilities to sustain themselves and their families to the whims of employers is inconsistent with the attitudes of the American public, Fortune 500 companies, business alliances, and local governments. Yet, ENDA continues to linger in Congress. Sadly, a whole new generation of LGBT people has entered the workplace since ENDA was first introduced into Con-

gress in 1994. At that time the bill only included protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation. It failed to come up for a vote and has since been introduced in every session of Congress up to the 109th (2005-2007). When it was introduced again in 2007, gender identity was added to the bill and it never made it out of committee. Since then the bill has been introduced several times and was the subject of special hearings. Gender identity was included each time. Passage remained elusive. Despite several setbacks, ENDA supporters have reason to be a little hopeful. Last year, the Senate passed ENDA for the first time. Seven Republicans voted for the bill. But now, Speaker John Boehner must be convinced to allow the bill to come to the House floor for a vote. Polls show that there is bipartisan support for the bill in the House, and that ENDA would pass if only Boehner would add it to the legislative agenda. Among Boehner’s objections to passing ENDA is that there would be an increase in frivolous litigation, which would cost jobs and hurt small businesses. A November 2013 post on, refutes this argument. The author concludes that while there may be an increase in discrimination cases, there is no way tell how many of them will be meritless. Furthermore 90% of all small businesses would be exempt from the law because it would only apply to companies with 15 employees or more. Speaker Boehner must understand that providing for your needs or those of your family is not a theoretical exercise. And those on the right side of justice should not feel powerless. The LGBT community and our supporters have done an astounding job of changing public discourse about LGBT rights through the marriage equality movement. Marriage requires state-by-state strategies that create coalitions, voter call lists, relationships with elected officials, new donors, and other infrastructure that should also be used to pressure Congressional leaders to bring the ENDA to the floor for a vote this session. Having the right to marry who you love is wonderful. But, we are fulfilling only half the dream if we do not also fight for the economic security of the households we have toiled so hard to create.


Michael Lucas

Interview Sex, Love & Politics Interview by: Brandon Bartling


Quite Simply, Michael Lucas Michael Lucas is patently unapologetic in expressing his thoughts and opinions. He was no less opinionated when Fop sat down with him to talk Tuvada®, dating and documentaries. And, Lucas weighs in on the “Q” word as part of LGBT, and whether our community is loosing focus on the priorities in the battle for equity. Difficult questions garner uneasy answers. We leave it to you to accept or challenge his views. Fop: You’ve recently done numerous interviews regarding your decision to make condom-free scenes, citing the benefits of Truvada®. In an interview with, when asked whether you think that men learn behaviors from watching porn, you said that you don’t think that men go to porn for life lessons. However Dan Savage, and numerous other sex educators, has said that a lot of people get their basic sex education from porn and that filming condom-free is premature and not guaranteed to be safe. ML: If someone is using Truvada® he cannot get HIV. This is a fact. In all the years during the study, or now years after the study has finished, there’s not one case. Not one person who was on Truvada®/PrEP, got HIV. And, not one person who is on HIV cocktail and is HIV positive has given HIV to a HIV negative person using Truvada®. Even if you are HIV positive and you are taking Truvada®, you can’t transmit it. The virus is suppressed. My boyfriend is HIV positive and I don’t use condoms. Ever since I started taking Truvada®, I stopped using condoms. For me, it’s enough to know nobody got infected in all these years. The whole thing about “Oh, but we don’t know. Maybe. Who wants to be the first?” Yeah, I can get hit by a car tomorrow. I can’t make my decisions on “what if”. So, no, it’s not premature. If every gay man would take one Truvada® pill every day, the AIDS crisis would be over. There’d be no 32

AIDS in the world. We have the miracle pill — the pill that can stop it forever. Finish it. Fop: I have read a lot of commentary opposed to Truvada® from people in older generations. Michael Weinstein calls PrEP a “party drug” and Larry Kramer calls users “cowards”. What do you think they are missing about Truvada®? ML: That’s not old thinking. Maybe some of them don’t want to lose their jobs. If everyone would be on Truvada® we would not have HIV, right? Every day, 6,000 new people in the world get HIV. In America alone, 50,000 people a year. And, I think this year it will be more because young people don’t see people dying — they’re not afraid . . . So that’s where the message failed. “Yeah we do know that if you use condoms you wont get it.” The message was right, correct, but it doesn’t work because people don’t use them. How many times have we told people they have to use condoms? They still won’t. Or at least 50,000 Americans won’t. And 6,000 people around the world a day won’t. So, how can one say “Just use condoms and don’t use Truvada®. It’s a party drug.” Ok, let them party. Condoms are not always available to you, right next to you when you want to have sex. It just happens. People obviously don’t want to use them. They were using them in the 80s when they saw their friends dying. This is human nature. Fop: Dating is so weird these days. When I was first starting to date, AOL chat rooms were still the “thing”. Nowadays, you’ve got Scruff, Grindr, Adam4Adam and all these hook up apps. How do you feel those apps have influenced dating these days? ML: It’s fantastic, I met my boyfriend on Tindr. Somehow we have a lot of the same friends, so our paths crossed. And I loved his profile and we met, and we’ve been dating 5 months? Fop: Did you specifically decide not to date other people in the industry?

ML: No. You build a set of requirements for your boyfriend, for your partner, or for whom you’re going to want to spend your life, so after time you know better what you need. And, so it’s not just a guy with a cute face, my boyfriend is super cute. There are a lot of qualities that I am looking for and I never found that in the porn world. Fop: What are your thoughts on AB 1576, the California bill that would require compulsory condom use for adult film performers? A lot of porn actors have come out in opposition of this bill. What is it that the general public doesn’t know about the porn industry that makes performers so adamantly against such a bill? ML: I don’t think they should be forced to have sex the way the government wants them to have sex. I’m very much for small government and for as little influence on private sector as possible. Let me decide how to have sex. This is up to adults, not up to the government. Fop: How do you balance being such an outspoken public figure while maintaining a sense of personal privacy? ML: I think I don’t have many secrets. Usually, the journalist already has a certain opinion and there is always an opinion in a profile on me. In general, I am very open about details of my life. Some people maybe don’t like my politics, but you know I don’t think there’s any information that I am withholding. Fop: In your debut documentary film Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promise Land, you examine the thriving gay community in Israel as an example as a country that has emerged as a pioneer in gay integration and equality. What inspired you to make this film and what do you hope people take away from it? ML: Oh, you know, I just had a very clear agenda of bringing tourists to Israel because I love the country. It’s my second


home, and I wanted to share my love for Israel with gay people. I have so many e-mails about people who saw this movie, went to Israel, and had an amazing time. And I’ve never had anyone say, “You misled me. I went there and it wasn’t great.” So, I did it because Israel has been a great place for me, and I thought it was underrated. Now, it’s become a gay mecca. Fop: And you’re actually helping to raise money for the Israeli Pride float this year in New York? ML: Yeah, I gave a big deposit for that. And now, I’ll just raise what I can. There is no question we will have a float. Fop: Well, speaking of documentaries you were recently featured in Buck Angel’s Mr. Angel. ML: I heard about that but I haven’t seen it. Fop: He showed up here to your office to attempt to get you to feature his work, but you turned him down. Considering Buck has a mostly gay audience, what is it that you think makes his porn a bad fit with your brand? ML: I really don’t know who his audience is. You know and I know that gay men don’t like vaginas. So, as we wouldn’t go for a woman, a man with a vagina would be strange. I don’t know about this fetish. It’s very good that it works for him though. You know, the world is great because you can find anything. I just don’t think that the people that come here want to see a man with a vagina. And then, I have to think about sales. He’s a great guy, but that’s not enough to get him into our films. Fop: A “Lucas-type” performer typically seems to project a masculine vibe, which is why I was a little surprised to see Chris Crocker pop up on your site. How did that come about? ML: You know, I don’t know. It was the publicity people who thought it would be good and it was. Because he has a huge following, our website actually went down twice that day. They crashed it. So many people wanted to see him. Fop: Since he was so popular, can we expect to see you bring him back? ML: I don’t really do that. I think it was more of a one-time thing. But he’s a super nice guy.

Fop: Ok I’ve got to lighten this up and ask …You were in RuPaul’s movie Starrbooty. ML: Oh, God… Fop: And you recently posted a picture of yourself with him. Do you keep up with him at all? What do you think of the controversy surrounding his statements as of late? ML: Yeah, I keep in touch. Gay men don’t give a sh*t about this funny thing, “shemale”, right? People couldn’t care less and I’m talking about the entire LGBT community. I never met anyone that is a known transgendered – I have lots of different friends – who’s not laughing at this stupid thing that this stupid blogger wrote. There’s someone who wanted to get five minutes of fame and create the drama. When RuPaul is saying this whole thing about shemale, it was in a friendly, innocent, joking way. And the fact that it was RuPaul, who is a drag queen and is bringing very positive attention to drag queens, and to transsexuals . . . And he is humanizing them and showing them as people like everybody else with feelings and difficulties in life . . . So, to attack him for using the term — this funny, joking term — and then capitulating to those bullies because one, two, three people said, “Ooo, our feelings are hurt”? This is a democracy. This is freedom of speech. This is a joke. This is not a vicious attack. I think that they should be so thankful to him. And they are. I think the gay community should not fight their own. I mean, my God, not RuPaul. That’s ridiculous. And you know, gay people are sometimes going a little bit overboard in general, I think, lately. For example, the attack on Alec Baldwin was ridiculous. I mean we have real enemies. Come on, he is an ally. He’s as left wing as you can get. He’s not a homophobe. He likes gay people. I know that very well. He yelled some stupid kindergarten word that had something to do with gay. I don’t think he was thinking about gay bashing. I don’t think he was referring to violence against a gay person. I think he just used that word. And the backlash that he got? My goodness. He is an ally. He is not a target of our wrath and he shouldn’t be. There are real enemies and that’s whom we should fight. But we are acting like a mafia, and that’s not a good thing. There is going to be a backlash.

Fop: I know there has been a lot of talk about what it actually means to be a member of the LGBTQ community . . . ML: I don’t even know Q. How did Q get there? It’s all so stupid. In the end we will put the entire alphabet there. What’s Q? Queer? Fop: Yes, Queer. ML: Q. Queer. I don’t know anybody who identifies themselves as queer. I maybe just don’t know them. But, I don’t know any friend of mine who would say, “I am queer.” This is a very academic term. Also it’s very 70s, you know? I think that everybody is referring to themselves as gay, and I guess, lesbian and queer? Why? For what? I don’t think it’s going to work. I don’t think people will switch to “LGBTQ”. I think they are already saying LGBT and it is already so many letters. This is not what the gay community wants. This is what a few want — a few academics, a few political gays that do not represent anyone. Just pushing that word. Do you know anyone who wants Q? Fop: I actually know a lot of people in the queer community. A lot of my friends identify as queer. I know that LGBTQIA gets thrown around some in conversations . . . ML: What is “I”? Where did you meet them? Fop: Well I have spoken on various panels within the sex industry and conferences and . . . ML: And see, that’s what’s happening, the LGBTQIA community? They are all good words, but you can’t put them all in the name of an organization. You know? It’s broad enough — LGBT. You’re saying that you know somebody who identifies this way? I still think it’s just people involved in gay politics. It’s only for political gays, I call them. The activists, I only hear it from some activist.


Michael Lucas


PrEPping for the Future Article By: Arthur Robin Williams MD, MBE


This May, the FDA approved Truvada® as a daily pill to stop the spread of HIV through unprotected sex. Truvada® has been used as a treatment for patients with HIV/ AIDS for over a decade. It is often prescribed in combination with other medications (such as a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor like Sustiva®). Truvada® itself is a combination pill, containing tenofovir and emtricitabine. Now also known as “PrEP” for “pre-exposure prophylaxis”, the Centers for Disease Control report that Truvada® has been shown to prevent HIV infection risk by as much as 92% if taken every day. The raging debates surrounding Truvada® (Cure or curse?) often focus on the relationship between safesex practices and HIV infection. What often gets lost is that Truvada® provides zero protection against other STDs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, HPV (which causes warts and can cause anal and penile cancer), or . . . uhh, pregnancy. These days, many of those diagnoses might sound like inconveniences rather than death penalties, but consider the recent meningitis outbreak in New York City. In 2013 several gay men died from invasive meningitis contracted through sex, prompting the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to recommend serial vaccinations for all men who have sex with men they “met through an online website, digital application (‘app’), or at a bar or party”. That’s kind of like, all men. Last summer, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was reporting the infection rates of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia had been steadily increasing among men for the last five years, unlike rates of infection among women. During this time, public health experts nationwide have expressed increasing alarm at the inconsistent use of condoms by younger men who have sex with men. Ultimately, Truvada® as a prevention method for the spread of HIV may invoke acclaim

as a “cure”, while fueling the spread of other STDs at the same time. There are also challenges around long-term daily use. When I was a kid, I took a FlintstonesTM vitamin every day with little oversight. I was obsessed with the orange ones, hoarding them secretly in the kitchen above the microwave. Truvada® is different. PrEP requires that health care providers monitor blood work, urine samples, and HIV/STD testing several times a year. In addition, people must be tested for Hepatitis B before starting PrEP due to potential interactions. There is also the issue of cost. On top of lab test fees, the daily pill without insurance can cost $12,000–$14,000 a year outof-pocket. Many insurance plans do cover it, but often have high deductibles. And, only HIV negative persons can start PrEP. If used by people with HIV, Truvada® might breed resistance. On the other hand, PrEP isn’t necessarily a daily pill a lot of people would take for the rest of their lives (unlike the use of Truvada® as a treatment for people with HIV/ AIDS). It could be useful as additional insurance for that slutty period after coming out, during college, after college, following a break up, after a raise, or whatever. It can be a great option if tailored to an individual for a certain amount of time without needing to be a cure-all for everyone. Many comparisons have been made between PrEP for gay men today and birth control pills for women in the 1960s. Similarly, the reality likely lies somewhere between liberation and the constraints of unintended consequences. Talk to your doctor! Not sure where to go? Find a provider:

Forever Solstice

Los Angeles Photography: Lidia Karpukova Styling: Quentin Fears Styling Assistant: Blaise Estrada Model: Bobby Penney Groomer: Kaity Licina Studio: Heidi Montague


Denim Safety Pin Jacket: Bohemian Society Linen Pants: Clade

Hat: Goorin Brothers Linen Vest: Clade Button Up: Bohemian Society


Hat: Goorin Brothers Linen Button Up: Clade Leather Pants: Daniel Patrick


Hat: Goorin Brothers Linen Button Up: Clade Leather Pants: Daniel Patrick

Hoodie: Daniel Patrick Mesh Drop Crotch Pants: Bohemian Society Sneakers: Ash

Jacket: Bohemian Society Tank: Clade Drop Crotch Pant: Daniel Patrick 46

In His Skin, In Her Shoes

— The Incomparable

Drew Droege Interview by: Stephen Cox

It’s remarkable that if you search for Chloe Sevigny on YouTube, the first person you find isn’t Chloe. It’s Drew Droege dressed as her in some awkward hipsteresque ensemble, delivering quirky one-liners that are obscure and often mispronounced, yet incredibly funny. Fop: Most people recognize you from your videos impersonating Chloe Sevigny, of which there are close to 30. What do you think has made that character so popular and enduring? DD: I'm still baffled by Chloe's popularity. When I first started playing her on stage, audiences usually just stared at me, bored and angry. Many times, people would just tell me, "I didn't get those references", as if that was the point. I would always say, "No, I don't get them either- that's the joke." Then they would casually say "Oh" and wander off. I was then labeled an "alternative comic". But then Jim Hansen had a vision

to make these quick videos with brilliant images and wild electronic music, and the character completely took off. I think that you have to watch at least two videos to get what's happening. Also, I think that my Chloe is far less like the real Chloe Sevigny, and way more like your hipster friend who loves to namedrop the hottest everything and seems weirdly disappointed when you know what she's talking about. Fop: How long have you been developing the Chloe Sevigny character? What made you choose her? DD: I've been doing this character for over a decade. I was in a sketch comedy group called The Deviants and was playing a little girl who was obsessed with snickerdoodles. I was trying on wigs for her, looking at myself in the mirror, and I just saw Chloe Sevigny looking at me. Then I read an interview with her, in which she referenced hyper-specific

names and labels as if we all were in her world. It just fascinated me. I thought, “Who lives in this space, with DJ Keoki and Dries van Noten and ironic coin skorts?" Fop: Is the character a commentary on Hipster Culture? DD: I guess so - sure. I've always thought that people who use names as currency are hilarious. And, I guess it's very hipster to know all the latest and hottest and edgiest styles, boroughs, coffees, beers, whatever. I live in Silver Lake, so I'm surrounded by it. No one needs pickle juice or unicycles or Gold Rush beards. Fop: Have you ever met Chloe? Do you think is likes your sketch? DD: I met Chloe a few years ago, and she was really sweet. It was awkward, since I'd never thought about what I would say to her when we finally met. And at the time, I didn't know if she'd seen my videos. I didn't want to ask her about them, and I didn't want to apologize to her. But also, my character is so far removed from the real Chloe Sevigny, and she's an incredible actress and fashion genius, and above all, a human being. So I just said, "I hope you know how much I love you. Thank you for being you." I meant all of that. And she just gave me hugs and kisses, and then we talked about vodka, which we both know a lot about! Fop: If you were to impersonate anyone else who would it be? DD: I'm really not a great impersonator. I like to find an aspect of someone and then develop a more original character based on that. I have a few videos online in which I play Tanya Roberts, but it's not really Tanya Roberts. I just imagine her to be a filthy reckless party girl who guzzles afternoon Chardonnay and fights with children in her neighborhood. I mean, I don't THINK that's who Tanya Roberts really is. I would love to play Sarah MacLachlan and just cry about everything. I would love to play Justin Bieber as a bitter old queen. I would love to play Prince and just stare into the camera, saying nothing. 48

Fop: Are you writing any other new material, new character? What can we look forward to seeing you do? DD: My brilliant and hilarious friend Sam Pancake and I have been doing this two man show around LA called Strong Choices, in which we play awful life coaches and former lovers who now hate each other and run a sex-positive retreat out of an abandoned puppy mill in Temecula, CA. So, we're developing it into a web series called Celebrity Self-Help, in which we go into famous people's homes and wreak havoc on their property, lives and souls. I just wrapped a dark and hilarious mumble core horror comedy called You're Killing Me, written by Jim Hansen and Jeffery Self. And I found out today that I'm doing an episode of THE KROLL SHOW, which is one of my favorite things on TV right now! YAY! Fop: As an out gay actor and comedian, what wisdom did you gain over the course of your career that has contributed to the success you have today? DD: I've been doing this a long time - and I've spent years in the trenches, waiting and hoping for something to happen. So, I'm forever grateful when someone thinks of me and asks me to do something. And I grew up doing community theatre, then ensemble theatre in college, then sketch comedy and improv at The Groundlings and UCB, so I'm a big believer in being a part of a team. I try to respect what everyone's doing. Not be an asshole. Remember that I love my job and bring that love to the job. Also, I learned to simply not be competitive. Successful people aren't worried about what other people are doing. They just stay busy doing their thing. Fop: You play the epitome of an arrogant, fork-tongued acting coach in the web series Hollywood Acting Studio. Are there real people or experiences underlying that character? DD: Ummm . . . hell, yeah! Professor LaFrange was one of my all-time favorites to play. He was so horrible to his students. The tragedy was that he actually thought he was a

great teacher and that his nastiness was essential to helping these people. At the end of most classes, he heaped praise onto his students and told them he loved them. When I first read that in the script, I was in. I've had so many teachers and directors like that — just misguided people who thought that the meaner and more soul crushing they were, the stronger and more art-y they would appear. In college, I had a student director make us lick a 9-volt battery if we were late to rehearsal. I had a director tell me that I had no business being an actor, or even trying to be one. I had a teacher tell an entire class that she's taught lots of stars, yet there were no stars in the room today. And the sick part is that, in the moment, I believed these people every time! I've had amazing teachers too, of course, but they aren't nearly as fun to play. Fop: At what moment in your career did you realize that in order to become more successful, you needed to carve out roles and projects for yourself rather than wait for those roles to be written? DD: Starting out, I was auditioning for everything, and I was right for nothing. People would always say, "You're interesting, but I have no idea what to do with you.” I would watch movies and TV shows and never saw characters that I would play. Then my friends started writing weird fun parts for me to play, and I realized that there were roles for me, when they were written for me. And then, I realized that even Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had to write their own movie to start their careers. And I was working with the Groundlings, developing my own material, which I could always perform easier than awkward generic stock parts for which I was auditioning. After I started making my own projects, better projects started coming to me. Also, simply waiting is crazy-making and unproductive. I don't think you can just wait. You have to make yourself busy doing your own thing. Fop: What comedians and performers have inspired you most as an actor? DD: Carol Burnett, John Waters, Divine,

It has recently come to our attention that we are obsessed with

Drew Droege

Sylvester, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jan Hooks, Jack Lemmon, Julie Brown, Charles Busch, Mark Rylance, Lily Tomlin, Sandra Bernhard, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Bristow, Tim Bagley . . . I could go on . . . Fop: You’re a member of the cast of the web series Not Looking, which is similar to the HBO series Looking based in San Francisco. What can you say about the progress mainstream media is making to capture the authenticity of contemporary gay culture? DD: We will always have a long way to go, and part of me thinks that struggle is essential. I don't think it's one show's responsibility to represent an entire community. I love that Looking is just about this one group of friends in San Francisco, and not about every aspect of gay culture. And Not Looking, I think is the same thing — albeit a very different group of losers and derelicts. Hopefully, there will be lots of diverse gay programming in the near future to represent the evolving stories of contemporary LGBT people. If you could run into any celebrity, past or present, on the street and give them a piece of your mind, who would it be and what would you say? I wish I could meet Gore Vidal. I would love to hear his thoughts on this season of "Revenge".

Hi Fashion The Music, The Movement

Interview by: Quentin Fears

A chance meeting one fateful night in a New York City bar, sparks ignite and a marriage of creative endeavor begins. Yes, this is the stuff of dreams. Dynamic electric clash duo Hi Fashion has gone on to create theatrical dance tunes that, once heard, cannot be ignored, including I'm not Madonna and Amazing. Their music fills the room with joy and keeps the party ablaze. We caught up with Rick Gradone and Jen DM to find out more about their chemistry and impeccable sense of style. Fop: The two of you meet at a gay bar in NYC. Can you tell us more about that fateful night the two of you formed Hi Fashion? Rick: Naturally, it was Jen's manliness that attracted me at first. I thought she was a guy from across the room, and made my moves to pick her up because she is incredibly handsome as a man. Once I realized I was mistaken, I was a little shocked. But, I think it was that immediate sparkle and sense of humor that she possesses that kept me from shying away under the circumstances. Not to mention, such situations are always titillating in some way, no? Jen: I was flattered, flustered and totally into it!! I mean…I did have a moustache at the time. What exactly did I expect? We hit it off instantly, and our paths kept crossing throughout the years. The Universe was telling us to get together somehow! Eventually, we would go on to collaborate with each other on different music projects. We started Hi Fashion by the skin of our teeth, I’ll add — since I was trying really hard to get this other metal punk project off the ground when Rick was insisting we make dance art pop music! Fortunately, Rick got his way, and here we are. Fop: What is it about your chemistry that helps the two of you create these hypnotic dance tracks that nod to that New York late 90’s/ early 2000’s Larry Tee dance era? Rick: Thank you! We both get lost when we are dancing. It’s an addiction we share and in 50

which we are total enablers of each other. We have such a wide range of interests in music between us, and share lots of different tastes, but the desire to laugh and dance has always been our most electric connection. And there is something in the way we communicate with each other that speaks to this kind of music. Making it is the way we talk to each other, I think. Jen: It’s so true! I think half the time when we are in “the zone” we speak to each other in ridiculous lyrics just to get the other person to laugh. That’s the ultimate goal here — to make each other laugh and dance. And, the music era you are referencing is always inspiring for us. Fop: Do you consider your music electroclash or something new? Rick: I feel like there are roots and inspirations in electroclash for sure, but we were also breast fed on house music, indie rock, heavy metal, opera, rap, R&B, world music . . . everything. I like to think this is something new that squishes all that in somewhere. I think the simplicity of electroclash is super inspiring though, and informs the new house and hip-hop sounds in a big way. So, I think we are using the electroclash sound in a way that is about NOW. Jen: We are not trying to regurgitate or replicate the sound of electroclash. But it has inspired and informed some directions we have taken. At the end of the day, we were both kids who grew up in clubs in New York City, and even though we might have chosen to listen to punk and new wave music when we were younger, it was the R&B, funk, disco, house, acid, techno and rap that got in through osmosis. Fop: What has been your biggest musical hit so far? What has it been like to be so warmly received by the LGBTQ community? Rick: It has to be amazing. And the response is insane. Every time a drag queen anywhere in the world sends us their performance of it (and it happens all the time) we both cry. We are such saps.

It is so moving to have people love what you do so much that they learn it and perform it themselves. That is the greatest compliment imaginable. And at the end of the day, we are members of the LGBTQ community, so we are happy our brothers, sisters, and every other gendered sibling there aren't even words for yet accepts and loves us as much as we love them. We want to represent and are thrilled we get open arms from so many. Jen: You know, when we wrote Amazing, it was meant on the surface to be campy and bratty, but it’s truly written in the voice of us as young queer kids who had to defend ourselves against bullies and for being “other”. It was us tapping into our queer teen voices for our F-You to homophobes and narrow-minded individuals. And today, we hear from young queer folks who relate completely and use the song to empower themselves when they are feeling threatened or “less than”. We’ve been hearing this feedback from a bunch of kids lately and I’m so honored that some

people are taking back their power by using our funny little song. Fop: Since your name is Hi Fashion, how much fashion is part of your creative process? Also, do you two make your own costumes? Rick: Fashion is a huge part of the process. A lot of the visuals come from fashion and costume oriented concepts. And, a lot of the songs flow out of these visual ideas. We make, remake or style everything. The shows can be pretty elaborate with dancers and costume changes throughout. We are really excited about making a big spectacle everyone can take part in, and the fashion is an integral part of that creative process and experience. Jen: We often text each other inspiring photos of color, hair styles, clothing, dancers and performers just to keep the conversation going. It keeps me on my toes, personally, and we get to hone our voice as a group this way.

Fop: It seems like every video is so avant-garde. How do you two come up with your concepts for the videos? It seems as if the visuals may even inspire the music. Rick: That is so flattering. Thank you! We often write with visual ideas in mind. A lot of the songs come out of bigger ideas and concepts, so we write things we can imagine performing and playing. It is all part of the same process for us. And we are both performance art kids at the end of the day, so we take a lot of inspiration from artists, directors and dance companies we love and admire. Jen: As I mentioned earlier, yes, visuals inform so much. I mean we are also those people who still have the first issues of Harper’s Bazaar and September Vogues that we purchased as children, so visuals go very, very far for us. Fop: I have to admit I have never been to your show. I am dying to go! From what I have seen it is as if you want to create a theatrical dance party — a darty! Rick: It is totally a darty. If we could make costumes for everyone in the audience we would. And we are always trying to find ways to get people in the audience involved. We just played a show in London where Jen dragged people up on stage from the very first song and sometimes it can get confusing to know who is in the show and who just showed up. That’s the idea. Jen: We always want to blur those lines! I like to see what people will do in the heat of the moment when they are pulled onstage, or if they are given the opportunity to “play” onstage for the first time in their lives. It’s as much of a social study for me in those moments as it is a darty. Sodarty? Fop: Jen, since you initially wanted to start an all girl metal band, what female artists/ groups are you listening to these days? Any groups that out readers may not know, but should definitely checkout? Jen: Ha! Well it’s funny. I did grow up listening to Riot Girl bands like Bikini Kill, Cub, Cakewalk, Heavens to Betsy, and later on, Babes in Toyland, Hole, Luscious Jackson … But I was also completely obsessed with Fugazi, MDC, and later on Helmet. And earlier on, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. But this list is endless ... So, even though this is just a sliver of the music pie that is my influence, I’d have to say that of the female artists that are in rotation today: FKA Twigs—she feels like the love child of Massive Attack and 52

Portishead, and there is no better union, I think. Upand-coming LA artist Natalita is also super sexy. Fop: Rick, since you have worked as a hairstylist for years, who are some of your favorite fashion icons? And what made you want to transition into music? I mean you were already working with the best magazines and photographers, including Arthur Elgort, Annie Liebovitz and Patrick Demarchlier, to name a few. RICK: That’s awesome, thank you. Well, I have always been obsessed with fashion and photography, and I have been really lucky to work with unbelievable artists in that world and I still do. But, I am a creative person that needs to express himself in different ways. Because my background is art, I have always been curious about how art, culture, music and fashion intersect, and my enthusiasm about all of that makes me have to get involved in it all and try everything. I find that my creativity shuts down if I try to only do one. The more music I do, the more I want to sew clothes. The more photo shoots I do, the more I want to make videos. It all informs everything else and created motivation in me. I used to think it was a fault to want to do everything — made you a scattered unfocused person. But, I have found I seem to function in the opposite way. I do more, learn more, change more, and create more when I am doing everything. Fop: There seems to be many elements to Hi Fashion, different creative outlets that are coming together to make this a fun, upbeat project. What is behind the essence of what you two want to do? Rick: I love that you see it that way because that is how it feels to us. We are both so excited by all artistic outlets and forms of expression and we inspire that behavior and interest in each other. Making Hi Fashion has been an excuse to build a whole world with a person I absolutely respect and adore, and all I want to do is do more when I am around Jen. Design things, write music, make art, and create every imaginable thing. Jen: Rick and I both have very rich fantasy lives. The way I see it is that if “it” doesn’t exist within our surroundings already, then we create “it” to fulfill the fantasy-and then we get to share “it” publicly. And why not build an entire fantasy world together and bring it to reality to the best of our ability? What’s stopping us? Even on an indie band budget we can push the limits and explore. Rick endlessly inspires me, too. I seriously lucked out gaining him as my Artner. Fop: You guys raised $25,000 a Kickstarter campaign last year to fund the release of your EP

You are Gorgeous. Congratulations! What was that process like? Do the two of you find it difficult to create and produce independently? Are you liking or even wanting major record representation? Rick: We were incredibly blessed to have had such a successful Kickstarter and we worked our asses off on it. Every day. Changing tactics. Getting new people involved. Creating material to keep the conversation going the whole time, and convincing each other the whole time that it was gonna work when we had moments of indecision and doubt. We love doing our thing and the freedom being independent gives to you, but we are also TOTALLY interested in increasing our team and reach. More money and more people would mean more music, more visuals, bigger shows, more ways to make things and more time. So, basically, BRING IT ON. Jen: BRANG. Fop: I first heard your music in one of Drew Droege’s Chloe Sevigny videos (who is actually featured in this issue). How did this come about? Rick: We are obsessed with his videos! I mean Drew is one of those people with whom you sit with a ridiculous smile plastered to your face when you are around him because everything he says makes you pee in your pants. The man is a comic creative genius plain and simple. We both knew him before the videos started and had seen him perform as Chloe live (LA can be a tiny place, and we all have friends in common). And the genius Jim Hansen, who directs Drew is also a friend and incredible collaborator. We have also been blessed to work with him. He made our You Tuk My Luk video. They both asked us if they could use our music when they started collaborating on the Chloe videos, and we were both like, “Take whatever you want!” It was a high compliment to be asked by such great artists, and we have been so thankful that they have been so successful and included us in it. Jen: Bar-be-quah. We recently had dinner with him and one of our Kickstarter contributors, and we all just sat there wanting to throw money into the Drew meter so that he’d just tell us funny stories all night. He’s a sweetheart and we feel really honored to get to work with him and Jim. Fop: How are you two finding your fan base? Is it through videos like Drew’s and being featured on Perez Hilton? Rick: Drew and Perez were huge introductions of our music to people worldwide. It has also been huge for us to have RuPaul contract Amazing for all the promos of this last season of Drag Race. We were also blessed to have Darren Stein, the director of G.B.F. become such a fan that he included four songs in that film including one in the soundtrack. But generally, I think it is the massive gay and music blog world that has promoted it the most. And then, the incredible gift of the internet that allows

people to post videos and send music to friends to that has really been our way into people's lives. In this day and age, it is individual people that connect to us everyday and hook their friends on us that makes most of the magic happen, and we are thankful for every one of them. Jen: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Instagram — these outlets are getting our music around way more than we could do on our own. And, any chance we get to have a personal chat with someone on social media, we jump on it. Message us. Seriously, we wanna know what you’re listening to, where you go out in your city, what issues are important to you, and your vegetarian recipes. Fop: What can we look forward to from Hi Fashion? The dynamic duo is working on new music and videos and exploring ways to make the show bigger and take it everywhere. “We played seven shows in London and it was incredible,” says Rick. Europe and the Far East are on their wish list. And, keep an eye out for a coffee table book of Hi Fashion costumes later this year.  

Getting Down to Earth With

Cameron Esposito Comedian On Fire Interview by: Quentin Fears

Cameron Esposito is an up and coming comedic star. Don’t believe the hype? Ask Jay Leno, who definitely agrees. Esposito was on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson when Craig and Jay interrupted her set and Jay yelled, “Lesbians Rule!” We at Fop think that that is one hell of an endorsement. So, we had to ask what Esposito herself thought about it. Fop: How did you get into comedy? CE: I was just doing improv while attending college in Boston, and auditioned for and landed my first professional improv gig the day after I graduated. I worked there for a few years. Then moved back to my hometown Chicago, where I started doing stand-up. Fop: In your podcast you mentioned you’re not funny. Do you really believe that? CE: Hmm . . . I cannot imagine I would have 54

even said that. Can I get a time stamp? I mean, I think I’m hilarious. Every comic does. Fop: How do you come up with your sets? CE: It’s really about training your brain to see and process the world around you in jokes. It’s a language that you can learn — you even start to dream in jokes. Personally, I jot down thoughts and concepts throughout the day, and then test them out on stage as soon as possible. Some comics are different and prefer to have everything

flushed out before they hit the stage. I like to work on my feet, and then refine, refine, refine until a joke works really well. Fop: Sometimes your style seems more conversational than driven by landing punch lines one after the other. How would you describe your comedy? CE: That’s exactly what I think. I am in the moment, working things when I host Put Your Hands Together. My static act (the things I take on the road for full headlining sets) is very precise. But when I’m hosting, I prefer to keep it easy and low pressure and fluid. Fop: What was it like coming out? CE: Well, I came out in Boston. It wasn’t awesome. I worried about my future for a very long time. I worried I wouldn’t be happy or healthy or stable. That’s one of the reasons I choose to talk so openly about my life in my stand-up. I know there are still gay folks out there who are struggling, and there are still minds to change on the subject of equality. Fop: How much is your sexuality a part of your comedy? CE: The same amount that it is a part of any comic’s, which is completely. By which I mean, I certainly talk about a wide variety of topics but I’m always gay. So, it’s not that I hammer home sexuality; it’s that it’s me talking and I’m always speaking from my particular vantage point. Fop: How has comedy changed your life? CE: It is my life. Career, friends, travel — they all center around my being a stand-up comedian. And, it is my preferred connection to the world. I am very outspoken onstage and very friendly offstage, but I can be a bit shy. Standup has provided me with a lovely means of social interaction and a way to organize my mind. Fop: Who are some of your comic idols and why? CE: Maria Bamford is honest and raw and loving. Anthony Jeselnik is precise and whip smart. Kurt Braunohler is creative and enormously energetic. Please do check out their stand-up. Fop: After being on Craig Ferguson and Chelsea Lately what’s next for you?

CE: I have a small guest spot on this season’s Maron, I’m working to develop a television show, and I’ll have a new album out on the Kill Rock Stars label in October. Fop: Your hand seems to be in everything from writing to stand-up to podcasting. How do you find the time to do it all? I’m sure there is a joke in this somewhere. CE: Ha! Well I’m very panicked all the time and have a hard time sleeping. My bigger problem is finding time to not work, and I’m awful at that. Fop: Is there anything that is just off limits when you are doing stand-up? CE: Cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Fop: Who was your first girl crush? CE: Mary Stuart Masterson, frying those green tomatoes. Fop: reer? CE:

Is your family supportive of your caYes, they really are. Hi, Mom and Dad!

Fop Magazine Forever Solstice - LA Issue 2

The Gay Men Project Truvada:

PrEPing for the Future

MichAEl Lucas

Manila Luzon The Importance of


Employment Non-Discrimination Act

In His Skin, In Her Shoes

Drew Droege

The Dynamic Duo

Hi Fashion

Getting Down to Earth with

Cameron Esposito

Profile for Fop Magazine

Fop Magazine Forever Solstice - LA (Alternate Cover)  

Issue 2 It is now summer’s end. However, in Los Angeles (the new home of Fop Magazine), summer never ends. Hence, the title, Forever Solstic...

Fop Magazine Forever Solstice - LA (Alternate Cover)  

Issue 2 It is now summer’s end. However, in Los Angeles (the new home of Fop Magazine), summer never ends. Hence, the title, Forever Solstic...

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