Monday, April 14, 2008

EDGE highlights Boy in Bushwick

My editorial colleagues at EDGE are currently using the month of April to explore how the Internet continues to impact gay life, and contributor Scott Kearnan profiled Boy in Bushwick in an article posted today. A full text of the story is below.

Bloggers on the EDGE

Once upon a time, blogging had a bad name.

In the early days of the Internet, blogs (you know, online, regularly updated repositories of first-person musings) were not considered venerable written work. No, back in the gay old ’90s--when I used to walk 20 minutes uphill in the snow, just to get to an FTP server--blogs were not widely written, widely read or widely esteemed.

Online blogs were perceived as the domain of angst-ridden teens and self-absorbed computer nerds. You know, the kind of people who posted pictures of their half-eaten bagels and a riveting play-by-play of their latest exercise in watching paint dry; somewhere along the way, a personal epiphany worked its way into the confessional equation.

But thanks to the incisive politicking of people like Arianna Huffington, the incessant star stalking of pod people like Perez Hilton, and the--ahem, interesting--haikus of "celebrity authors" like Rosie O’Donnell, blogging is big business.

Once cottage cheese, it’s now a cottage industry; legitimate news sources implement them, millions upon millions of people read them (, an automated publishing tool, regularly ranks in the top dozen US-based Web sites) and the lucky few are able to make substantial livings off writing them.

For EDGE staffers, keeping a steady writing gig at your favorite online source of gay news and entertainment isn’t a Plan B, it’s a favorite exercise in flexing the journalistic muscle many have been training for years. But there are some stories, some anecdotes and some editorialized rants that, for one reason or another, just don’t fit for inclusion in mainstream media.

But you know writers; we never know when to shut up.

Rather than stifle the voice within, some of your favorite EDGE editors and reporters--the very writers whose work you enjoy every day (and you are enjoying it every day, aren’t you?!) maintain their own blogs. Some are simple side projects, some are outlets for a burning editorial passion; some are personal, some are political; but all provide a behind-the-scenes perspective on the writers and editors that make EDGE a reality.

Interested in what EDGE journalists have to say off the record? Here’s a guide to their unique sites and styles:

Who: Sam Baltrusis, Northeast Regional Editor
What: Before he was covering the ins and Outs of New England for Edge, Baltrusis worked for MTV and VH1. The history left him with "a lot of pent-up venom against the pop culture mainstream," says Baltrusis. He shot back with "Loaded Gun," a regularly updated blog that culls, dissects and comments on controversial topics; particularly those of the, you guessed it, pop culture variety. "I use Loaded Gun to test the waters, especially if it’s a controversial topic I plan to use for EDGE or other mainstream publications," says Baltrusis, who launched the blog in 2006. "I definitely have a lot more interactivity with the readers."
Sample Snippet: "I spent a few minutes looking at the mirror trying to strike my best Zoolander ’gay face,’’ writes Baltrusis, discussing the humor and harm in the new pop culture phrase. "On the surface, ’gay face’ is harmless fun. However, the term borders a dehumanizing caricature in my book."

Who: Clay Crane, contributing writer
What: This New York City based EDGE writer also takes on the music, movies, books and more, with a focus on issues of race and sexuality. Like a lot of pro bloggers, Crane used the modern medium as a way to cross-market his other writings. "I wanted to spread the word about my [upcoming] novel," says Crane, who is in the process of publishing Ball-Shaped World, a novel surrounding the black and Latino ballroom scene. "When writing for other publications... I am being objective and wearing more of a journalist hat," says Crane, who also contributes regularly to Essence Magazine, AOL Black Voices, and But with his blog, he’s free take bit more liberty: "It’s about giving my opinion and posing a question to my readers," he adds.
Sample Snippet: "I will never be able to understand racialized preferences within black people," says Crane, discussing a dinner date with a preference for lighter skin blacks. "It’s one of the saddest and blatant examples of internalized hate."

Who: Michael K. Lavers, Mid-Atlantic Regional Editor
What: Echoing Baltrusis’ sentiment about corporate work steering a writer from his unique voice, Lavers launched his blog in 2007 after leaving a job with GLAAD. "My role was to provide strategic media support to local and statewide organizations throughout the Northeast," explains Lavers. "This task included crafting effective messages, writing press releases, and other media correspondences that didn’t necessarily reflect my own beliefs. Boy in Bushwick allowed me to regain my voice and to discuss the issues I want to discuss." Like many of his fellow EDGE bloggers, Lavers is particularly interested in discussing the intersection of social delineations like sex, sexuality and race; that the blog will follow Lavers’ summering on Fire Island in the coming months should make for plenty of additional rumination. But most of all, he’s grateful to have a venue that reflects his unique voice. "[Journalism] schools often teach, or even preach, journalists should not express their opinions about the subjects about which they write," says Lavers. "This certainly holds true in my reporting and editing for EDGE, but I feel Boy in Bushwick is the appropriate venue where I can showcase my editorial voice."
Sample Snippet: "Are LGBTs more oppressed than other minorities? ... It is arguably unproductive to compare the oppression one group, such as people of color, to that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or other people may face in this country or others around the world. These comparisons amount to comparing apples and oranges."

Who: John Steele, contributing writer
What: "Pop cultural ramblings" are the order of the day for Steele, whose recent posts cover everything from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Ashley Dupre. "I don’t do confusing stories with a lot of nuance on my blog," says Steele of differentiating that work from others. "I stick to the simple human comedy of the everyday and the relics of pop culture that we might all like to forget. It’s a voice without an agenda but also with a lot of thought." Indeed, Steele says it’s important to maintain journalistic standards, no matter how light the subject may seem. "Either you respect your craft or you don’t. And that should stay the same no matter who you write for. Because at the end of the day, its your name on the byline. You have to be accountable for that."
Sample Snippet: "Hi, my name is Ashley Alexandra Dupre. I am 22 years old. I love to travel and play in the outdoors. Other hobbies include showing my snatch in public and dethroning the Governor of New York."


Not satiated yet? Here are some other blogs on the EDGE of cyberspace.

Adeli Brito, an EDGE NYC music reviewer, keeps a daily blog of music reviews, lists, retrospectives and reflections. Many entries take an "on this day in music history" approach to educating music trivia.

EDGE writer Alan Bennett Ilagan’s blog is also a useful guide to his previously published work for other publications like Instinct, xy, Q Northeast and the rest of his body of work. "Body" being an operative phrase; Ilagan is kind enough to include galleries of pics that show the writer in travel, in drag and in the shower. We’re particularly grateful for the latter.

Writer Christopher de la Torre does double duty: Leaves of the Tree is his personal blog on national news, politics and pop culture, while Urban Molecule is an opportunity to indulge his appreciation of edgy contemporary art. Learn how to right click; you’ll find some sweet desktop wallpaper. Thanks, Chris!
Where: and

Eliot Glazer spreads the love of random, witty observations on everything from celebrity culture to the minutiae of daily life. Entries tend to be short and clipped, making his a great dose of daily diversion.

Erik Roldan, a Chicago-based EDGE contributor, maintains a blog that is an extension of his radio show, focusing on art and music for the queer community. The blog includes news, reflections... and mp3s. Score!

No comments: