The Torch – Quarter Stories 14

The eternal flame in Cafe Lafitte in Exile burning.

1982—Max was at work at the point station, his head down deep into the jockey box scooping up ice in the cups taking orders three and four at a time. We were slammed. I was in my station picking up some of his to keep up. I looked over at him and saw his whole body was shaking, and heard him yell this “oooooooohhhh” sound. The barback and I ran over. He was being electrocuted by the metal jockey box touching an electrical outlet. I got him to drop the soda gun and his body relaxed. He staggered into the barback, who grabbed him under the arms and started to drag him to the back of the bar.


The Pope Announces That Gays Cannot Be Considered ‘Families’


Reuters News reports

Pope Francis, speaking to the Forum delle Famiglie on Saturday an Italian lay movement representing Catholic families, stated that only heterosexual families can form a family.

“It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family,” but “the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one,” Francis said in unscripted remarks.

I beg to differ!

Hotlanta Hotmen

HarryBartel & Brian Landeche,m owners of Splash Bar in NYC, recording the good time (Aug. 1992)

August 1991/1992: One of the more enjoyable phenomena to emerge from the 1980s, a challenging decade for gay men to say the least, were “circuit parties.” These were organized weekends taking place in various cities around the country and revolving around a specific theme party or event. For a few days, they provided gay men with a needed escape from the burgeoning AIDS crisis, or simply from their routine and closeted lives.



2008: I was living at the Russian River and a good friend called me up and said you have to see this astrologer. “He is really cool and accurate, but he has to come to your house to do this reading. He sits at your kitchen table,” he said. It was unusual for Russ to advise this, but I was into it so I invited the guy over. He looked cool and sat at my kitchen table. He began his reading, and most of what I remember—I’ve lost the tape—was he said, “You’ll be moving from here down south.” I figured that was easy enough and I said “Yeah, Palm Springs.” I was at that time thinking of moving to Palm Springs.” No, much further and on the ocean,” he replied. He said a lot of things that now I wish I could remember because his accuracy would later stun me.


Marcus in France, my shoes.

1989—I met Marcus Lutsky at Uncle Charlie’s Downtown in NYC in the Spring of 1989. It was a Saturday night and I was on the prowl. It was late. I hadn’t really met anyone yet, mostly because I had been standing around watching music videos and trying to make eye contact with a bartender who I had a big crush on. Coming to my senses that I was never going to bag the bartender, I sniffed around the bar looking for a more promising catch until I saw him—big, blusterous, laughing and commanding the attention of a group of guys around him. Sufficiently drunk, I waited until he had stepped away from his group, and went straight up to him.

Summer Heat


2005—While most people think of Fire Island at the gay summer escape from the New York City, there were other places just as special and unique. In this case, Andrew Ruth’s annual summer birthday celebration at his home upstate New York. More chill than Fire Island but all equally hot.

All American and Gay


1977—I hated my first job. I was spending long hours in a rigorous bank training program in Manhattan and, besides infrequent and random pick-ups in gay bars, I had little social life except with a few college fraternity brothers and their girlfriends and my fellow trainees. Frustrated with my situation, I decided one day to place an ad in the personals section of the Advocate national gay magazine:

“ALL-AMERICAN AND GAY – Honest, good-looking, athletic, educated, and very muscular ‘normal’ American male wishes to meet same. Object: friendship. Just coming out; at ease with being gay, but uncomfortable in the gay world. Send informative letter with photo to…”

Coming of Age


Life was good for a 19-year old kid. I was a Division 1 athlete, attending the same top tier university as my grandfather and uncle. I had made it out of my small rural hometown—where holding down a 4.2 grade point average, competing year-round in sports, and serving as student body president all came too easily. Getting out of this mediocre environment made me proud and excited. I was now attending classes taught by some of the brightest professors in the country. And when it came to my sport, water polo, I was playing for one of the top programs in the country, being coached by two Olympians and competing against many players who would go on to represent the United States in Beijing, London, and Rio.

A Circle Of Friends


1964: Growing up in the Deep South in the 1950s and 1960s was what they call a character-building experience. For anyone like me, with a deeply hidden attraction to members of my own sex, it involved a constant cloaking of my true nature.

Alabama M4M


1999: I stumbled into this “chat room” innocently enough thinking how cool it was that I could talk to other people in my small part of the world right there on my work computer. AOL literally changed my life.

We found each other in this “room” and arranged to meet at a busy Shell oil station late one afternoon. I rationalized in my head that I was not getting the sex I needed at home. After all, my wife and I had one toddler keeping us busy and another kid on the way. Her feet were swollen, her back ached, and all she wanted from life was mashed potatoes and a good night’s sleep. Having sex with a man was not cheating. And, I was not gay because it was just a blow job.