Thursday, September 29, 2011

To Guanabee or not to Guanabee...

Can you force someone to give an apology he or she does not believe in? Of course you can! It happens all the time in major showbiz or in sports.

Does it matter if the apology has been forced out of somebody if only to save face? Perhaps. But I'd rather the apology be sincere rather than half-assed or insincere.

This comes to mind because I took a decision last night to sever my ties with a website I have absolutely adored up to this point and has given this site major support as well (you no longer see their 'Partner Scoops' widget on Blabbeando anymore for one).

When quirky Latino gossip site Guanabee approached me a couple of years ago and asked if I was interested in being a "Featured Partner" I jumped at the chance. It's not that I got any monetary compensation from it but they often highlighted some of my posts which brought a lot of traffic to this site.  The value of that traffic wasn't necessarily the number of hits on Blabbeando but the fact that they came from readers of a non-LGBT Latino site.  In that sense, Guanabee helped to direct a lot of non-LGBT Latino readership to what happens to be a site with an LGBT-focus and I thought that was great.

As a gossip site, Guanabee does engage in campy humor sometimes and probably uses language that would not be used on other newsier sites. But, even within those parameters, yesterday I was alerted to a post that I felt went beyond the pale.

In "Eva Longoria Confronts Bitchy Queen on H8R", Guanabee Associate Editor Marcelo Baez using his Nacomprende nickname writes the following:
The CW is running a new show called H8R (pronounced "hater") where celebrities confront random people who hate them while attempting to win them over [...] We actually enjoyed the episode. In it Eva Longoria confronts a bitchy queen who fags out on her and her supposed self-Mexican hate
In the clip featured on Guanabee, a guy who comes across as an obnoxious twit goes all off on Eva Longoria's 'Latina-ness' and then gets all flustered and embarrassed when Eva Longoria shows up to challenge his views.

Call the guy an obnoxious twit, call the guy insufferable, but Baez instead calls him a "bitchy queen" who "fags out" when she shows up. This, on a site that is marketed to the general Latino public.

Up to this point, I've had a great relationship with the site's leading editors so I reached out to them to privately express my concern.  In response, I was forwarded a message that Baez sent to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) when they made an inquiry about the post.  In it, Baez stood his ground and argued that the informal tome used on the site and the fact that gays had appropriated terms such as 'queer' gave him the liberty to call someone a 'fag'.  Baez also argued that he wasn't necessarily questioning the man's sexuality but, instead, he was calling him off on his intolerance.

That pissed me off even more so I wrote back again and tried to calmly explain, among other things, the fact that gays appropriating certain language does not mean it gives free reign for these words to be used  at free will, by anyone, on any site or publication - or in day to day conversation.

I never got a response.  Instead, Guanabee posted a follow-up last night titled "Gays, Do The Words "Fag" And "Loca" Offend You? GLAAD Says They Do"in which Baez defends the post making some of the same arguments he made in the response to GLAAD e-mailed to me and expanded on them.

I blew a fuse. And I quickly fired a Tweet severing my relationship with the site.

In the meantime, GLAAD, who alerted me to the post in the first case and had been exchanging messages with the editors as well, also reacted.  They launched an action alert asking people to "Tell you are not laughing". It mentions the actions I took last night.

In my anger I missed something in Marcelo Baez' latest post: For what I believe is the first time on the site, he tells his readers he is an openly bisexual man.  In retrospective, it does explain his argument about appropriation of words that are used to insult members of the LGBT community even though I still don't agree he should have used the terms.

Does this make any difference? There was no mention of this on the original post that would have led anyone to assume that Mr. Baez was trying to appropriate such language as an openly bisexual man.  Instead the words "fag" and "fagged-out" were used to denigrate the man in the CW show.  I have since had an exchange with Marcelo on my strong feelings that it would have been wrong even if he had disclosed his sexuality in that post and I know he strongly disagrees with my assessment.

This morning, though, I woke up feeling something was missing from all of this.  GLAAD's call to action will continue and sites, like this one, will begin to pick up on it.  Guanabee and Marcelo will decide whether to stick to their guns and push back - or eventually apologize.

But in the larger context of things, I do see an opportunity here to expand the dialogue on usage of these terms in the Latino community as well as whether the fact that the person using the language is a member of the LGBT community changes these dynamics in any way (in some ways, the debate is similar to usage of the 'N'-word among African-American individuals where some African-Americans feel it's always wrong and others feel it's a way to appropriate the term and strip it from it's original intent to hurt someone based on one's race).

As things stand right now, I have asked to be removed from the Guanabee site.  GLAAD is mobilizing against Guanabee. And Baez and Guanabee seem to be standing on their ground. I've had several exchanges with the editors of Guanabee throughout the day, including Marcelo, and they have expressed in no uncertain terms that they are sad to see me go, would love to continue the relationship, but understand my decision to go.

Part of me keeps looking at that post and the way the language was used, with or without the context that it was written by a bisexual man, and wonder how I can keep a relationship with a site that doesn't 'get' why I am so disappointment by the post.

Having said that, if Guanabee had been as homophobic as some are charging - and I am not talking specifically about GLAAD's reaction but that of individuals who might not have ever visited the site and are judging by this post alone - they would have never prominently featured this blog on their site and be so open to promote gay content on their site.  It turns out, according to Marcelo, that he is the editor at Guanabee who promoted most of the Blabbeando content that made it on their site.

I know I don't often ask readers to comment and with such long posts, who is gonna bother reading this entry to this point.  But, if you would please take a moment or two to comment, should I stay or should I go?  Would working with Guanabee promote an editorial decision I do not agree with or would it provide a platform for their general Latino readership to continue having access to my point of view on the issue and on other issues as well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Snickers TV ad: Is it homophobic?

Mexico's National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) and the National Women's Institute (Inmujeres) have accused a Mexican ad agency working for U.S. giant Mars, Inc. of promoting homophobia, sexism and misogyny for a television ad promoting the Snickers chocolate bar brand.

In many ways the ad is similar to one of the most popular ads that ran during last year's Super Bowl in the United States, with a couple of major differences.

In the U.S. version you see a number of friends playing touch football when out of nowhere actress Betty White goes for the ball and gets tackled. This is the exchange that follows:
Guy #1: Mike, what is your deal man!
Betty White: Oh, man, you've been riding me all day!
Guy #3: Mike, you are playing like Betty White out there!
Betty White: That's not what your girlfriend says!
Someone hands Betty White a Snickers bar and, after taking a bite, it becomes clear she'd been a guy called Mike all along. "You are not you when you are hungry" reads the tag line at the end.

In the Mexican version of the ad, pop singer Anahi takes Betty White's role.  Here is my translation of the similar exchange that follows Anahi falling down from a bike:
Guy #1: What's your deal, Carlos!
Anahi: Stop getting in my way!
Guy #3: Every time you get hungry you turn into a sissy.
Anahi: That's not what your girlfriend says!
And here is the actual ad:

In addition to adding Anahi, there is also the matter of one of the lines that was changed for the Mexican version: "Every time you get hungry you turn into a sissy."

In a joint statement released by CONAPRED and Inmujeres on September 12th, the government bodies say they received complaints about the ad and tried to reach the Effem Mexico ad agency to request the ads be removed and specifically call it misogynist, sexist and homophobic.

The ad agency has so far refused to remove the ads from the air arguing that they tested the ads with a number of women before the launch, none of whom thought it was discriminatory, and that versions of the ad have also ran in 15 different countries without anyone raising any concerns.

CONAPRED and Inmujeres argue that none of the women in the test screenings were experts on the issue and that the agency should have reached out to such experts before airing the ad.

On September 20th, an anonymous source at U.S. Mars headquarters spoke to Milenio and said that Mars would go to the Mexican courts, if needed, to prevent the ad from being removed from airing on Mexican television.

"It's something that took us by surprise, since the campaign was launched in October [of 2010]" said the surprisingly unnamed Mars representative who is only referred to as "a director of the business agency".

Pop music star Anahi also came to Mars' defense telling TV Notas that there was nothing sexist about the ad and that it is simply based on her reputation as being a troublemaker.

She stretched her defense a tad much by arguing that the line "you turn into a sissy" was meant to refer to a character she played in the successful soap opera that launched her career --- and not necessarily an insult.

Ismael Flores, writing for one of my favorite Mexican blogs Vivir Mexico agrees with CONAPRED and Inmujeres. In an essay published on September 19th, he writes:
In middle school we all had a call to battle: "The last to arrive is a girl!" Then, as we went on to high school, the word "girl" turned into "fag".  In college, when it began to matter conquering an improvised career, the phrase turned into "you turn into a sissy". And that's that's the way it has been with our language, changing from time to time, but staying true to its essence: The feminine as an insult, as something degrading, as an instrument of discrimination.  Hence, there is nothing bizarre about CONAPRED's complaint.
Wenceslao Bruciaga, who has a blog at Milenio in which he often documents gay life in Mexico, has a different take:
According to CONAPRED, the sequence of images [in the ad] "reaffirms the framework of the inequality between men and women... and highlight the erroneous and discriminatory social perception against girls and women as persons who may assume the masculine domain as being normal."

Every time I listen to commentary such as this I get mixed emotions: I bust out laughing or get a knot in my stomach.  It's similar to when I am asked to comment on my opinion or position regarding the usage of words such as 'puto', 'joto', 'maricón' [all can be translated as 'fag']. What am I expected to say? That it's discriminatory language? What about 'estupida' and 'babosa' [akin to using 'gurrl'], words used between gay men to communicate in the most intimate of circles... is it politically correct? Aren't they promoting the wrong common perception of women?  Should we tell them to behave more like men? Sorry, I'm probably promoting the most retrograde of machismos.

The vicious circle of what's politically correct.
Bruciaga closes his essay by noting that while CONAPRED is going after the ad agency that handles the Mars contract in Mexico, in part, because of homophobia, they failed to follow up on hundreds complaints of homophobia against Mexican morning talk-show host Esteban Arce.

Arce famously went live on air on December 18th of 2010 and questioned whether homosexuality was 'natural', said he was afraid young men who were drug users were susceptible to 'letting themselves go' into homosexuality and, when told by a guest on the show that homosexuality was prevalent in animals, Arce argued that male dogs who mated with other male dogs probably suffered from 'animal dementia' or been forced to go without sex for a long time.

Arce remains on Mexican television with his show "Matutino Express", which - wouldn't you know it! - recently began airing on U.S. television through Spanish-language network Galavisión. As recently as September 5th, there he was telling AOL Latino he hoped to bring his "moral and religious values" to American television.

So what do you think? Are CONAPRED and Inmujeres right to slam Effem Mexico and Mars, Inc. over the ad as Ismael says? Or is this a case of political correctness gone a muck as Wenceslao argues? I'll let you be the judge.

UPDATE: In the original version of this post I translated 'nena' literally as 'little girl'. A Mexican reader tells me that a more appropriate translation is 'sissy', which somewhat explains the homophobic claims.

  • Snickers Mexico website here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Lisa M. Interview (English)

Last year few people noticed what I thought was a mini-trend: After a relative dearth in LGBT representation in the Latino music industry, several performers came out as gay or lesbian between the months of February and April (OK, maybe I was the only person who noticed).

The run-down: 1. First came former Menudo singer Angelo Garcia when he spoke to online site Paragon Men about being gay in February; 2. Then, in mid-March, came up-and-coming performer Rita Indiana who appeared on the red carpet with her partner Noeilla Quintero at the Dominican Republic's most important music awards ceremony;  3. Before the end of that month, Ricky Martin would use his official site to proclaim himself as a "proud homosexual" and, finally, in April, 4. Puerto Rican salsa and reggaeton singer Lisa M. decided to tell her followers on Facebook that she was a lesbian.

Both Angelo Garcia and Rita Indiana say they never really hid their sexual identity from anyone and that it was media who suddenly took an interest on their personal lives.  Ricky Martin and Lisa M., on the other hand, spent years building their successful careers in the Latino pop industry actively shaping a performing persona while assiduously avoiding talking about their personal lives.

Born Lisa Marrero Vázquez, Lisa M. probably had the biggest commercial success of her career as a salsa singer in the late 1990's with huge hits like "Tu Pum Pum" and "Menéalo".  But, artistically, she probably reached the professional high-point of her career with 2007's "Respect", a lavishly produced reggaeton album which also served as her last commercial release and contained the single "Hey Ladies".

On Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to Lisa on the phone from Puerto Rico.  In her first exclusive interview with an English-language venue - or an LGBT-venue for that matter - Lisa addressed her decision to come out on Facebook last year, her relative silence since then and her plans to release a brand new single and album late this year or in early 2012 (for the original Spanish-language version of this interview click here).

Blabbeando: It’s been a little more than a year since you decided to tell your followers on Facebook that you are a lesbian.  What made you decide to do it and did you feel scared at all when you finally came out?
Lisa M.: Well, look, when I actually did it, I was in Spain and, before that, I had already been thinking of coming out in public.  I wanted to come out, not because I had any specific purpose, but because that was the purpose… to come out.
At that moment, all the stuff about Ricky Martin had already surfaced.   Obviously, when Ricky takes something as delicate as his private life and decides to share it with his fans, with his family and with the rest of the world, it was something quite beautiful. And it’s not that I came out because he did it but, basically, it was a ‘wow’ moment for me.
As a fellow artist, I saw it as an incredibly beautiful moment and I felt it was the perfect moment to offer my support not only to him but also myself and other artists who truly want to live their lives freely. So I made the decision and I said ‘Look, I’ll write ‘I’m gay!’” And that’s what I did on my Facebook page.
I’ll be very honest. I posted it without knowing or thinking about any consequences or truly expecting it to get the reaction it got.  In other words, first I wrote “I’m gay!” - saying it like ‘Wow!’ - but I later I reaffirmed it by writing “I’m gay” – no exclamation point. That’s when…
Blabbeando: Yes, because the first time you posted it I imagine your followers didn’t know what to think about it, whether it was a joke or something else. But the second time you posted it - that’s when people reacted…
Lisa M.: Exactly, yes, the second time, when I reaffirmed it, well, everybody did react, writing stuff like “WHAT!? WHAT DID SHE SAY!? HOW!?”.  It was such a tremendous reaction that it made it to People en Español, it went all through the internet, all throughout media… All of Puerto Rico basically just fainted [laughs].
Yes, it was such a huge reaction that… I’ll be honest, the reaction to Ricky was ‘Damn, Ricky, we sorta knew it or imagined it already’, but he did have a reaction… but with me, being a woman and being Latina - and I’ll put this out in the open - well, it probably turned off some people, but the overall reaction was positive.  Thank God almighty it wasn’t something where I lacked people’s support.  On the contrary, the reaction was very positive and I received a lot of positive feedback.
People, a lot of people – and I’m saying this because it happened a lot during those first days, weeks and months – sent me messages. I received a lot of e-mail messages from women congratulating me, married women, who would say “Look, I am gay but I am married” and so, for me, it was a ‘Wow’ moment to realize so many people had taken umbrage in what I had said.
And I learned to take it more seriously each day and to give it more respect. Respect towards me, as a person, and towards the public… and so much respect towards the gay community, which has also given me so much support.
Blabbeando: The reaction was immediate but you were in Europe when it happened and pretty much unreachable for comment…
Lisa M.: Yes.  That’s the way I wanted it.  I wanted to feel a bit more prepared before being able to give a more public response to the media.  When I took the decision and saw the consequences, I told myself ‘This has reached another level, now it’s serious, it’s slipped from my hands and I will have to treat it respectfully and carefully.’
So I held media at bay a little bit but, yes, I can tell you that what took place with all the media was impressive.  From the start, when I gave an exclusive to an important radio show in Puerto Rico via telephone, and, of course, now that I have returned to Puerto Rico from Spain and have begun to address all media.  And, thank God, I have always enjoyed great respect from the press, now and at that moment, for which I am thankful.  They treated me very well and understood my point of view and my way of loving someone and they accepted it.
And let me tell you that today I feel it is so normal to talk about it and to watch Ricky and his boyfriend, his partner, at the award ceremonies, to see him be free and be able to express himself, his feelings, you know? It’s a beautiful thing.  And that is the same way I feel.
Blabbeando: I know you received some homophobic messages back in January but you seem to be saying it’s been the exception to the rule…
Lisa M.:. Yes…
Blabbeando: I also know you have worked with other reggaeton singers such as Tego Calderón.  It was also interesting for me to see that there didn’t seem to be any homophobic reactions from your peers.
Lisa M.: Yes, thank God, I’ve also had my peers come to me… and everyone has remained in their place, everybody has treated me with respect, everybody has accepted it well.
Look, Andrés, we are living during an era in the business where it really doesn’t matter who you are, you know? It’s all about what you can give. It’s as if people want a different life, a different way to share things, they want something more positive, they don’t want to tear an artist down or hurt them.
It’s my understanding that in the industry, right as of now, it is not a taboo, it’s not a barrier, it’s not an illness, it is not something that will hurt your fans.
Blabbeando: At the same time, there are female artists such as La India and Ivy Queen who have faced false rumors about their sexual identity and, in Ivy Queen’s case, even questions about her gender, just for presenting themselves as strong women. What do you think about those stereotypes?
Lisa M.: What has happens is that, obviously, we are stronger women thanks to what we have done as artists, based on our personality and the way we have handled our careers, you know? [We are] women with a stronger character… fighters. And being fighters makes us stronger, it makes us brave, and so we create that character, a warrior’s armor, from having to be up front as women. And then that strength is reflected in our songs, they way we interpret a song, the way we talk, how we dress, how we express ourselves, and that’s what people see.
Blabbeando: Now, throughout your career you have launched seven albums.  The last one, “Respect” (2007) was actually pretty great.  But I know you have been spending time in Europe and Spain and focusing more on a career as a club DJ under the name of DJ Miss M. Now, after spending these years in Spain, you’ve returned to the recording studio. Tell me a little bit about the latest stage in your professional life.
Lisa M.: Well, basically the “Respect” and “Respect (Deluxe)” record was my last album.  After that I embraced life as a DJ.  It’s been six years or so since I began to DJ but the last three years have seen my DJ career get stronger and my reputation as a DJ climb to higher levels. And being in Europe and living in Spain, well, I have positioned myself as one of the top female DJ’s in Barcelona and Ibiza.  There, I got tons of work and I’ll be back later this month to close the 2011 Space Ibiza season on September 24.
And, what can I tell you? Yes, it has been a really beautiful part of my life in which I have experienced the nightlife, being a dedicated DJ, without obviously abandoning who I am: A singer and an artist.  What I have done is that now, in the new stage, I am mixing up both things.  I am recording my new album. I am doing it in Puerto Rico and I am doing it in New York City and other places.  I want to do an album that reflects everything that is happening in my life, which is the nightlife, life at the dance clubs and lounges, the music ‘life-style’ as I call it.  It’s an album that reflects that vibe, now that I’m working as a DJ, that touches on electronic music – tech-house, techno, house, hip-hop – my new album fits somewhere along those lines.
As a DJ and producer – because obviously that determines a lot of the things that have gone into the album – that’s where I’m at.  And I am truly enjoying it a lot. I’m not getting much sleep, Andrés, but I know the end results are going to be very positive.
Blabbeando: So it’ll be a new sound, integrating old sounds but from a dance-club perspective…
Lisa M.: Exactly. That’s it. That’s it. And, as I’m telling you, using little things, old sounds but modern arrangements.  With really, really amazing… how should I say… now that I’m a DJ, which is the music genre in which I’m surrounding myself and considering the industry is changing so much…  perhaps in the way that Madonna has done since “Confessions on a Dance Floor”, or, later, when Black Eyed Peas came up with that electronic sound and mixed it up with hip-hop and R’n’B, and what’s happening right now and blasting off the radio like Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull… well, that’s the same vibe that is ruling the airwaves right now and that’s the same track I’ll be on pretty soon.
Blabbeando: Do you have a date for the launch of the new material?
Lisa M.: I’d say that before the year is over I’ll come out with a new single, at the very least.  I am pushing myself, working really hard to have it come out by year’s end as well as a video.
I’m not certain yet about a record label because I am truly working independently.  For the moment, I am producing the record myself and I do not have a recording label.  But I am so happy and working so well that I didn’t miss it during the recording process.
Nowadays the recording industry has changed so much that you can go and find an investor, do a video, tape a single, pace it, put it out there, kick it up there on YouTube, push it on Twitter, post it on Facebook, and forget about it! You do a couple of interviews and get some cameras to shoot the video and that has some impact.  And so, there you go [laughs]…
Yes. I know record companies are very good for other things.  Moneywise, as an artist, I cannot penetrate the market in the same way record companies do their promotion and handle the ‘business’ side. They go deeper. So we’ll see what happens. For now, production is running really well and, as I told you, we hope to have something out there before the end of the year.  Andrés, the record is coming out really great. I think it’ll be a totally different sound that doesn’t lose the essence of who I am.
Blabbeando: It sounds like you are in a stage of your life in which you are at great ease with yourself and happy…
Lisa M.: Yes, I am happy.  I have my partner, who is a beautiful girl who respects and admires me a lot and that also helps me to focus and commit myself and to have sufficient strength to say let’s go forward, let’s go.  And when you have someone who is so positive next to you it does help a lot, and that’s what’s been going on in my case.
And, yes, I am traveling a lot.  But once I get back to Puerto Rico on the 28th, look out! I’ll be immersed in what will become the new single.  There are several tracks ready, I imagine I’ll get some people together and let them listen, including the single.  And, yes, it’s a process, but at the same time I am enjoying it greatly.  Maybe sometimes I do feel exhausted but it is a stage in my life in which I feel much calmer and feel much more at ease with myself.
Blabbeando: Lastly, is there something I didn’t ask that you’d like to tell readers of Blabbeando?
Lisa M.: Well, let me thank you for the interview.  What I’m really wishing for is for the public and media to offer their support for my new project and I know that will be the case. I know I have earned the place where I am, thanks to God.  Whoever grants me their support, I know I am a pioneer in what I do and, thank God, the public has chosen to support me throughout my career.
I do hope I’ll have additional support when the new album comes out because the fans I have now are fans from before and after and they are still there.  But those of now, who don’t really know about me… their parents, unless and cousins do, but the new generation, those of now, I am truly hoping for the support of the new generations.  And I know I will because, musically, I am working with groups of professional musicians and producers who are at the level of the new generations. So we are doing good.
Blabbeando: Well, Lisa, that bring the interview to an end, I thank you so much.
Lisa M.: Sure thing, Andrés.  Thank you so much for the opportunity and for thinking about me.  What I’ll do is that when I get the single ready I’ll send it over so you can give me your feedback and we’ll keep in touch.
Blabbeando: Great. Hugs and thanks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Lisa M. Interview (Spanish)

Below the fold, you will find the original Spanish-language version of my exclusive interview with the lovely Puerto Rican superstar singer, DJ and music producer Lisa M. in which she reflects on her decision to come out as a lesbian on Facebook a year and a half ago and the repercussions since telling the world she is gay. Click here for the entire Spanish-language interview. For the English-language translation click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Tim Dax Interview

And now for something different.  Last month was this blog's 6th year anniversary.  Over the course of those years I have written about a number of different topics and, for reasons that should become clear as you read this post, I'd been trying to set up an interview with actor Tim Dax for quite a while.  Finally, on September 2nd, I was able to reach Tim at the Los Angeles home he shares with his fiancee Andrea Giacomi.  

It's a wide-ranging interview. I hope you enjoy it. As we begin, I've already introduced myself and given Tim a run-down of the questions I'd like to ask. And then it's on... 

Blabbeando: I know a few things about your work but my readers don’t. You are living in Los Angeles and involved in a few current projects. What are they.
Tim Dax: Well, I’m Tim Dax and thank you Andrés for reaching out. So, yeah, Tim Dax, Los Angeles, my one-year anniversary coming up pretty soon after living in New York City for fifteen years. I’m pursuing my acting career and I’m just beating the pavement, man, pounding the ground, doing what I gotta do out here to make it happen - and step by step things are happening. It’s all good.
What am I working on? I've been attending a few auditions, I’ve got a couple of movie scripts that are being written for me as the lead, I completed my first feature in which I starred in called “Mr. Bricks”. It’s being released on Troma this fall. I’ve got my second feature with the same creators of “Mr. Bricks” called “Slaughter Daughter”. That’s in post-production now so that should be coming out. It’s rolling, man…
Blabbeando: And you are doing some video work as well, I believe you appeared - briefly - in Steven Tyler’s video for “Feels So Good” which debuted on American Idol this past season…

Tim Dax: Well, as an actor you have to take everything and at the very beginning it’s a lot of free work and you do anything and everything and I don’t believe in restricting myself so I take advantage of these opportunities when it comes to being an actor. That’s a music video, that’s theater, that’s acting in a haunted house if need be. Anything and everything to get to the bigger picture, the bigger goal, which is movie acting.  I see a very successful future as a movie actor and I can see eventually getting into creating, writing – I do a little bit of writing now – and directing film as well. I see a huge happy future in Hollywood. No Doubt.
Blabbeando: As you know, I've actually have written about you before and it just happens to be the most popular blog post I have ever written in the six years since I launched Blabbeando...
Tim Dax: Awesome!
Blabbeando: In that post I described how we met in June of 2005 and the particular commotion you caused on that day. It happened to be right in the middle of Manhattan's annual LGBT pride march...
Tim Dax: Yes! Gay pride, be pride, have pride, be proud!
Blabbeando: …and there you were as a straight guy and I don’t even know if you had ever marched in a pride parade before…
Tim Dax: I had not. It was my first…
Blabbeando: …and so what were your thoughts earlier that morning and did you actually plan what you were about to do?
Tim Dax: Well, first I want to address the issue of the word ‘straight’ or the word ‘gay’, those are labels and when anybody asks me if I’m gay: “Hell yeah, I’m gay. Fucking shit, man, life is good! I love being fucking gay. Shit! I’m queer. Look at me, man! I. Am. Queer. This is a real queer look on my face right now.”  So whatever. Gay, straight, whatever.
Blabbeando: And do you remember that morning?
Tim Dax: Yes! Yes I do! Gay pride 2005. I remember it was hot! It was hot and humid. I was sweating my ass off. That morning I didn’t know I was going to walk in a parade until the last minute. I had an idea that I would, I thought I might, and then the morning came and a friend called and they said they were meeting and I said: “OK, what the hell am I going to wear?" - I am an exhibitionist, to start, so it’s gotta be minimal - "OK, shorts? Aaaah, so expected, shorts, I don’t have any cool ones anyway. What else, what else, what else.” Well I got this hat – a stocking cap kinda thing – and I said “OK, I could put this on, and then I could keep it on with a cock-ring, and there you go! That’s my costume! OK, that’s it!’”
And I thought that up maybe an hour before I walked out the door. And I walked up to 52nd Street and I already had the sock on and I was good to go! Just dropped my pants and…

Blabbeando: You were marching with a specific contingent or was that accidental…
Tim Dax: Well, I was hanging out with The Eagle truck because I have some friends of that persuasion [laughs] and they invited me to walk with the whole journey.
Blabbeando: So, yeah, for the rest of the day you marched down 5th Avenue totally nude except for a sock…
Tim Dax: Yeah! A hat which doubled as a sock that covered my cock [realizing what he just said rhymes, he chuckles].
Blabbeando: You also carried a leather flag in a particular place of your body. Whose idea was that?
Tim Dax: The flag? The flag started a few blocks down. I don’t remember exactly how it ended up there. I actually might have been the one who put it there. It probably was me. But what else do you do with a flag when you gotta march, like, two miles, dude? So I had to pose! I had to have my hands free! So what a better way to display it! It was up the crack of my ass!
Blabbeando: I think that's hen I first spotted you. You were walking down, taking your time and posing and people seemed shocked at first but then applauded. And then, right in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there were all these fundamentalist religious folk bunched all up in a police pen. They held all these signs saying the usual, “God hates fags”, “Fags cause AIDS"...
Tim Dax: Insanity! Confused unhappy people.
Blabbeando: It was funny because it was just about everybody. The fundamentalist Muslims, the Christians, the Orthodox Jews…
Tim Dax: Yeah, there were a few different haters in there [laughs] but it’s all good. We just went there, we showed them that we have good times no matter what, haters. I mean, that was 2005, I mean 6 years ago? And my attitude probably would be a little bit different now. I might not have thrown them the finger. I might just actually have thrown them the peace sign. But I go with the flow and at the moment that’s what it said and I think I did it with a smile, so that balanced it out… and my ass! And my ass-cheeks. Blabbeando: I remember the disgust in their faces and you just standing there.  I have marched in many pride marches and that remains one of my favorite pride march memories.
Tim Dax: Dude, it was brilliant. That whole event for me was brilliant.  That was my first gay pride march. I had been to the parade in Washington a couple of times but never marched.  And it’s been my last, unfortunately, not to say that it will be my last. For sure, when the time is right, I want to be in New York City and certainly take part in it again on a grander scale. Because at that time maybe I’ll have a few movies out there and everybody’s gonna know Tim Dax so I’m gonna have a special Tim Dax float where everybody can come on and chill out and have a good time. Hell yeah!
Blabbeando: Now, I don’t know if at that time you were working on “Rough Gods” or if it came a little later…
Tim Dax: Later. I worked for thirteen years in the interior design industry in New York City and 2008 was about the time that “Rough Gods” came into my life and that was after I left that thirteen-year job to pursue an acting career. I had just finished my facial tattoo which had taken about two years. It had been done for a few months when I met Michael Alago. It was completely by chance and he asked if I wanted to be photographed. As an actor, you do anything and everything to get your face out so I said ‘Of course!’
Michael was one of the first photographers to take a picture of me after I left that serious job I had for so long and he was my influence and my inspiration to do a lot of things in those beginning stages of experiencing a new challenge of a career; trying to model and get acting gigs and all that stuff.
Blabbeando: Did you feel you were diving head first into a brand new life experience in terms of modeling and acting and all that stuff.
Tim Dax: Oh God, completely! Scary! When you leave a 9 to 5 after thirteen years that gave you a good salary and try to follow a dream? ‘HAHAHA!’ And to do what? You wanna be an actor looking like that? ‘HAHAHA!’ You’re gonna be a model? ‘HAHAHA! Nobody’s gonna ever hire you! You’ve painted yourself into a corner, man! HAHAHA!’
And then, of course, my heart tells me ‘No, they’re wrong, they’re wrong’ because what I’ve got is unique and when I show everybody how I use it they will see and it will become big and popular and in demand and I have a good message behind all so that will all be heard. So, yes, going back to it, [I was] scared shitless.
Blabbeando: So how much attention did it "Rough Gods" bring you? Did you experience…
Tim Dax: Tons! First of all, on a daily level, it’s funny because I have people from time to time who might say ‘Hey! Aren’t you one of those --- aren’t you a ‘Rough God’?” “Yes, yes!” Out of the blue, crazy. Everybody remembers.
On a deeper level, on a bigger level, all of my acting headshots, all my good ones are all Michael Alago, they are all “Rough Gods” and those are the only ones I use because Michael captures ‘a man’s man’ and he’s just got an eye for it and it’s brilliant and he does it unlike anyone else I’ve worked with. He’s got it like that.
Blabbeando: What about your tattoos? When I first saw you, you had a few. I think you had some facial work, not as much as you do today…
Tim Dax: I might have had my chin started at that time…
Blabbeando: Yeah. Have you relied on one specific tattoo artist for your tattoos all this time or have different people worked on them? And, at this point, are you done or are there plans for more tattoo work.
Tim Dax: As far as my tattoos, I’ve used about, maybe four people so far. Maybe five. But they are never by chance. Tattoos are a very spiritual thing if your heart is in the right place when you get them. And there are no chance meetings, for me, anyway, with that stuff. And each artist that has done work on me has done very unique and very special work and served a purpose for that period of time. I’ve had good relationships with all of them. 
One guy did my entire head. I would never start something with someone with the intentions to maybe not finishing with them. I follow through and I like relationships. I wish I could have had one tattoo artist for all of my body but for whatever reason each person is meant to be in our lives for a certain amount of time and sometimes we part ways but I like consistency and I am loyal so therefore I like having solid relationships that last forever. But this is reality and that’s not always possible.
I am finished for the moment but there are some plans for some snakes on my hands that’ll look WICKED. And then some snakes on my feet, which will look WICKED. And then from there I don’t know. They all come to me as visions and they stay with me and when the time is right I’ll find the right person and I’ll have the money to pay for it and everything will work out because that’s the way my life goes [laughs].
Blabbeando: And it has evolved into a sorta ‘Gladiator’ type of look. Was it intentional?
Tim Dax: It’s funny that I say that it wasn’t intentional, it just came out that way, and that’s kinda the truth. I didn’t start out to say “I want to be a WARRIOR” or “I wanna look like a GLADIATOR”, no.
I started with my forearms. That was supposed to be just like a two-inch band on my wrists and it turned into my full forearms. And then from there, I just started popping ideas, just coming to me. Visions of the other designs and they all just laid out, ordained organically, one after the other. And this is what they look like.
So it wasn’t preconceived, it just came out that way. My head even. My head started as a Mohawk, which I did not like the way it looked. So, what else do you do? I just kept making it bigger. For a year and a half, I just kept making it bigger and it slowly crept down my face one hour at a time.
Blabbeando: Because it does make you a striking figure. It also might pigeonhole you into a specific type of character-actor of or model. But from the stuff I’ve seen about you, I know you have a range. You are pretty goofy sometimes. You can do comedy, horror.
Tim Dax: hell yeah! You know what? It’ll be ‘quote-unquote’ pigeonholing at first.  All they see at first is a tattoo and they say “Oh, my God! What are you gonna do with it!” And then all of a sudden when they give themselves a minute to see what’s beyond the tattoo, what comes from the person who is wearing the tattoo, which is dramatic, which is intellectual, which is comedic at times, which is whatever it wants to be, there’ll be great value in that. 
And then thing will be made for a guy like me. Why can’t there be a sitcom where there’s now gay people, have a sitcom with a gay couple and the tattooed-head guy who is the neighbor, who is a gardener, I don’t know!
It’s possible! We have a black president right now. Hello! 20 years ago who was even thinking that was possible, huh? Anything is possible.  If he can be the president, then why can’t I be a leading man in Hollywood. Of course I can.
Blabbeando: Finally, any regrets leaving New York City? And what awaits you in the future.
Tim Dax: My future is home-base L.A. because I believe the rest of my future has to do with making movies, making entertainment, and it all starts in Hollywood. So here is home base. No regrets. I absolutely adore it here, love it here, this is where I’m meant to be right now. I own an apartment in New York City, down in Chelsea, so that’s gonna be the retreat back eventually so I can be ‘Bi’…’-coastal’.
Blabbeando: [Laughs] Alright, Tim, so thank you so much for the interview and good luck in Hollywood.
Tim Dax: Thank you so much, Andrés. God bless.

All things Tim Dax:
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