Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Right Outside...

Sometimes, you aren't quite ready for the relationship to end. So what do you do? You wait. Outside...

Monday, October 1, 2012


Check out the visual for the new Solange single "Losing You." The video was shot in Cape Town, South Africa by director Melina Matsoukas. I love the whole vibe of this. Fashion forward, vibrantly colorful, and completely beyond anything we're seeing in pop music right now. UGH! She is so fierce, I almost can't stand it...

Friday, September 28, 2012


I admit to being late on the Azealia Banks bandwagon. I was confused about that other Azalea happening at the same time and to be honest, a little exhausted with the influx of girl rappers after Nicki Minaj became ubiquitous. But since that moment has passed and some of the pink dust has cleared, I've been able to wrap my head around Ms. Banks. And I like her!

I am especially digging her Fantasea mixtape. It feels like a modern twist on the ball culture of my gay youth... Mind you, I was in college when NYC's ball culture hit big, but its impact did reach the black and brown gay bars of Oakland and San Francisco. This remix to Azealia's song 'Fierce' made the Paris In Burning influence even easier to spot...

Did you catch that black lady use the word "kiki" in the late 80s? Fire Island needs to calm down about it, already.

Anyway, back to Azealia. The underground vibe of the mixtape really speaks to my inner ball queen. (I'm far too old and conservative in my fashion to be caught up in that scene now, but on the inside, deep inside, I'm sashaying all the time.) Her laid back, smoky vocals make the imaginary pony tail on the back of my head bounce. Especially with this video for 'Luxury'...


She reminds me a little of my friend Dede, who goes by Countre Black. Dede has been singing more than rapping lately, but she does both fiercely... Come to think of it, let's close with some Countre Black... That way I can say I was ahead of the curve (as opposed to late on the bandwagon) when she hits big next year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


With B. Slade half way through his brilliant month-long residency at Witzend in Venice, California and Frank Ocean SLAYING the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, I feel like we're in the midst of a queer black renaissance. Doug Spearman is making a gay action movie. Jonte is schooling America's Next Top Model. There's a drag queen giraffe on that new gay NBC show. Even me and my queer black behind will be terrorizing your TV this fall. We are EVERYWHERE...

What do you guys think of the visuals for Frank's Pyramids? I was secretly hoping the first half of the song would have remained intact because I love the transition from ghetto-funk to sexy-electro... But I think this video is AMAZING.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

History Should Teach Us Something

With the possibility of a generation free of HIV infection being discussed at the AIDS 2012 International Conference in DC and the FDA approving Truvada as a viable pre-exposure prophyliaxis in helping to prevent new infections, it seems we could be on the brink of an end to this epidemic. I’ll believe that when I see it.

I’ve heard concern by some that an HIV ‘vaccine’ will only encourage people to revert to engaging in risky behavior, but it seems to me that people who arm themselves with a vaccine before having unprotected sex are taking the risk into consideration and in effect, protecting themselves. If condoms aren’t 100% effective, does taking a condom with you on a date mean you plan on engaging in risky behavior? I’m not a health care expert and I talk about shit I don’t completely understand all the time... But with condom-free porn being all the rage, I think it’s safe to say that unprotected sex is already happening and a vaccine will be more effective in preventing new infections than unearthing old sexual stigmas.

Sexual stigmatization.

Many young people, kids who grew up with Will & Grace, Queer As Folk, L Word and Noah’s Arc, probably have no idea of the stigmatization gay men suffered when the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit. Sure, bigots still use profits from selling fried chicken to keep us from getting married, but being gay is much more acceptable today than it was thirty years ago. Hell, with Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean in the news, being gay is cooler today than it was a month ago. We didn’t always have it so good.

I was around when gay men started getting sick in the 80s. I didn’t quite understand the details of the epidemic as a child, but the reality–that entire communities of gay men were being wiped out by a hideous disease with no cure in sight–was impossible to ignore. Having moved to the Bay Area for college in the 90s, when ACT UP’s “SILENCE = DEATH” campaign was ubiquitous, I always believed that I had just missed the worst of it. The entire gay community had already galvanized and organized to fight AIDS, but by then, people knew how the disease was transmitted and the focus had already shifted from panic and death-sentences to prevention, education and early detection. But that didn’t change the fact that AIDS was inescapable if you were a man who slept with men.

Yes, I saw the facial wasting when I snuck away from Berkeley’s campus to visit San Francisco. There was a bar that was all giant windows on the corner of Castro and Market Streets that I still don’t know the name of because everyone I knew referred to it as ‘The Glass Coffin.’ Older men, the ones who had assumedly gotten sick but hadn’t died (yet) were known to congregate there. To this day, I have never set foot in that bar. It seems morbid now, but the truth at the time was that one slip-up with the wrong person could get you sick and getting sick could mean an ugly, painful death. Being gay was still very dangerous.

I was a kid. I didn’t know anything about what these men had been through. I had been a child in the late 70s and early 80s when men first started getting infected. I didn’t have any friends whose faces became unrecognizable from emaciation and purple KS lesions. I knew to get tested every six months and I knew that blood and semen were to be avoided at all costs. I knew that condoms were nonnegotiable; if sex was happening, only latex would keep my body safe from his. I lived through being young and gay in the Castro in the 90s because somebody had dedicated their life to finding out and then teaching me how to protect myself. Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn’t know any other way. By the time sex with anybody was even on my radar, protecting myself from HIV was my first concern. By some miracle, my generation was spared the unfathomable loss that the one before me suffered.

If a vaccine is indeed about to help eradicate this disease, I think it’s more important than ever to learn what happened to get us here. Because much of my gay identity was forged in The Castro, I still feel very connected to that city and its community. Maybe that’s why I was so moved by these two documentaries...

Gay Sex In The 70s depicts the gay sexual revolution that started in the late 60s and lasted through the early 80s. I watched the film knowing full well where these men were headed and what was going to happen to them. The sexual freedom of a pre-AIDS New York is hard to even imagine, but this film does a beautiful job of laying it all out without stigmatizing the men or their experience. I spent a good deal of the film wondering how these men survived to tell their stories, so thankful that they had.

Then I watched the film We Were Here, which shows men and women who lived in the Castro when the AIDS crisis hit. It is heartbreakingly beautiful to see how gay men and women put aside their differences and bonded together to feed one another, care for one another and just love one another. Seeing lesbians and straight women put their entire lives on hold to take care of gay men who were dying of a disease that at the time WAS NOT AFFECTING WOMEN is incredibly powerful. Gay boys, next time you have something rude to say about a lesbian, consider that thirty years ago, it probably would have been a lesbian wiping your ass and feeding you applesauce.

History should teach us something. The lessons of previous generations can always be debated, but the love and support these men and women found for one another in a time of crisis should inform how we aspire to treat one another now. I encourage you to watch the films and learn something about yourself.

Both documentaries are streaming on Netflix.  If you have films to add to these two, please share them below.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This demo for Apostasy was going to be on the album I decided not to release two years ago. I personally know far too many brilliant musicians to even pretend I have any interest in trying to make a living singing. I’m not even a singer! I just make music because sometimes there’s a song in me that I have to get out.

Something about Frank Ocean’s ‘Bad Religion’ had me thinking about this song. Religion can be like an abusive relationship and sometimes you just have to let go. Get out. Get free.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


While all the songs on the SugarTank EP reflect some bitter aspect of my personal experience–which is ironic since the music is credited to a fictional character in my novel–this song is particularly personal. I had just gone through a breakup that made no sense to me at the time and I was wandering around through life like someone had knocked me in the back of the head. This version of the track is a little more visceral and even a little frantic in the way it pummels along. It’s closer to how I was feeling at the time... The vocals are obviously not tuned and the track is not mastered or mixed. This is just me sitting in my room with GarageBand on a Thursday night. You can download it for free.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Empowering Us All

On my way to the gym this morning, Larry (creator/director of DTLA The Series) called to tell me he had shown one of my scenes to a close friend of his. Without even having seen the rest of the series, his friend cried, apparently moved by the honesty of the performances. The scene, which was particularly pivotal to my character’s arc, was also extremely personal to me. While we were shooting it, I really felt like I was sharing a moment from my own life. Hearing that his friend was moved to tears by this particular scene was extremely touching... and affirming. I walked into the gym thinking, ‘See? I AM a good actor!’ (Yes, we really are bottomless pits of insecurity and we need constant reassurance.)

Twenty minutes later, a tall man walked up to me while I was in between sets on the fly machine. I plucked out my earbuds and smiled, assuming from his kind eyes that he was a fan. Byron apologized for bothering me and proceeded to tell me that he was a cop (one of LA’s Finest) and that he and his husband absolutely loved Noah’s Arc. He said that his husband ‘looked up to’ my character in particular, which lead me to believe that he was probably the gentler of the two. Then Byron told me that three years ago, his husband died in a car accident, much like the one at the end of the second season... which knocked the wind right out of me. I wasn’t prepared for that twist at all. He kept talking and found myself sitting there on the fly machine, struggling not to burst into tears. (Anybody who knows me knows that I have a hard time holding it together whenever the conversation turns to children suffering, loved ones dying or anyone believing they don’t deserve to love and be loved.) He could see I was upset and again apologized... I inhaled and did everything in my power not to cry. Then Byron told me that losing his husband and being so moved by the characters on Noah’s Arc had emboldened him to finally come out to his police department. After years of silence, he has managed to integrate his life in ways he had never imagined possible. He thanked me for my work and for being 'so good' and I shook his hand, wanting more than anything to jump up and hug him (he was very tall), but we were in the middle of the gym and I was already about to lose my shit. Then he walked away and continued with his workout.

I worked out for about five more minutes but knew I needed to just get into my car and cry a little so I left without finishing...

I’m not sharing this to brag or to reveal that I'm a big softy. I’m not here to remind you how profoundly life-changing that little cable series was for that tiny demographic. I’m sharing this to remind you of how incredibly powerful EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU can be by living your lives honestly. There are so many people who are still uncomfortable with themselves--either because they’re gay or they’re Muslim or they’re overweight or they’re differently-abled or ethnic or ill or whatever... The example that you can set with a little self-respect and respect for those around you is more profound than you could ever imagine.

You’re thinking, “No Darryl, you’re playing characters on television, so of course people can see you. Nothing I do would ever make any difference.” But that’s not true. You have no idea who is watching and learning from you. YES, YOU! There could be a little girl on your block who feels empowered to respect herself and not do herself harm because she sees you and your girlfriend walking side by side down the street. There could be a staunch, church-going woman at your job who overhears you talking about your love for a cable series about four black gay guys who ends up watching the show and calling and reconnecting with her estranged gay son.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW POWERFUL YOU ARE. So just keep living honestly. Keep living with integrity and compassion and respect. You are making a difference.

 Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Is it worth it now?

I was recently informed that "Thickness" had reached its 'free downloads' limit, so I decided to launch the next single. There's a lot of new music to share, but before I release anything new, I'd like to get it all professionally mixed and mastered. So here's a slightly tweaked version of what we might as well call the second single from last year's SugarTank EP. Always intended as a laid back tune for the punk bar, it also works as a cute F-U to the trifling man in your life. Enjoy!

And to get the dirt on SugarTank, check out my novel SHORTCOMINGS...

Monday, April 16, 2012


DTLA: Downtown Los Angeles.
Also, the name of my new show. I play Lenny. Lawyer. Boyfriend. Control-freak.

We've shot six episodes (which may become eight) and we are currently in the midst of post-production and reshoots. Yesterday, we had our big season one photo shoot. It was so exciting to have everyone there together, from Tiffany "I Love New York" Pollard to Danny "Real World" Roberts to Luenell to Matthew Stephen Herrick. (We were missing B. Scott, Leslie Jordon and a few other guest stars, but they'll be stealing the show soon enough.)

To stay in the know on DTLA, follow @DTLATheSeries on twitter, "Like" our Facebook page and check out our tumblr page,

The show launches in Canada on OutTV (as well as some European networks) in July and once things are final with our domestic distributor, US audiences will get to see the show this fall.

I'm excited for you all to see what I've been WORKING MY ASS OFF doing for the last few months. As my friend Wilson says, "This show is many things. Many things."