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Interview: Aiden Shaw

aiden Interview: Aiden Shaw

My interview with adult film legend Aiden Shaw is the cover story of the January/February 2010 issue of HIV Plus magazine. In the piece, Aiden talks about his newest book and second autobiography, Sordid Truths. Here’s a link to the story (after the jump)…

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Daft Punk Hotties Interviewed on Lovesick Billy

img 2283 300x200 Daft Punk Hotties Interviewed on Lovesick Billy

OK, they’re French and adorable. But Bronson’s interview (and exclusive photo) of the Daft Punk hotties who made the wildly popular YouTube video only increased my admiration of their artistry.

Great interview, Bronson!

Brad Pitt Quits Smoking

brad pitt 10 Brad Pitt Quits SmokingBrad Pitt testifies to the power of fundamental choice, telling W Magazine that becoming a father inspired him to quit smoking cigarettes:

In the late 90′s, Brad was something of a slacker, “spending too much time smoking things I shouldn’t be,” Pitt recalls. “I was asking, What’s it about? It couldn’t just be wanting a successful movie or something. Then I got more engaged, started studying more and [my] interests blossomed.”

Pitt admits that his own mortality frightens him—”I’m scared to death of death,” he says—and he also acknowledges that becoming a father inspired him to give up a deadly 20-year habit. “I quit smoking,” he says when asked how family life has changed him. “‘That was the only thing that got me to quit. That was it. Done.”


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25 Random Things About Me

sam page february 2 2009 25 Random Things About MeIf you’re on Facebook, you’ve likely been “tagged” with this Internet meme, in which you’re supposed to share 25 things, facts, habits or goals that your friends don’t know about you.

Here’s my list:

  1. I moved to Los Angeles 15 years ago, and while I’ve found so much success and happiness here, I miss living in a smaller town.
  2. I’m trying on the idea of a life without shame.
  3. A quote that’s really stuck with me:
    “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” (Eleanor Roosevelt).
  4. I’m planning to uncover what’s physically possible if I honestly cleaned up my nutrition. I’m using a great website to track my nutrition (thanks, Eric).
  5. At 6-foot-3-inches I’m somewhat clumsy and struggle with spatial awareness. Like, this week while training a client, I nearly tipped over backwards when I tripped over my own foot. Luckily, I caught myself.
  6. After eight years bleaching my hair, I’m making a conscious choice to embrace the gray, a la Anderson Cooper.
  7. Sex, sunsets, Bronson, and licorice. What more does a guy need?
  8. I love film scores, and they’ve formed the soundtracks to many periods of my life. A few of my favorites: Brokeback Mountain, Moulin Rouge, and Run Lola Run.
  9. I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich pretty much every day.
  10. My favorite food used to be chicken fajitas, but it’sbeen replaced by my mother-in-law’s slum gullion, which is sublime.
  11. I consider myself a Zen Christian, a term coined by my college journalism professor Michael Kirkhorn (R.I.P.) On that note, I believe that a historical person named Jesus existed, but I don’t believe he was the only manifestation of the divine. I believe there are many names for what we call “God” and that no one religious sect has a corner on the truth.
  12. Speaking of college, I attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, known for its basketball team. After graduating with a double major in speech and journalism, I made ends meet working as a funeral singer.
  13. I’ve performed in the following operas:  Die Fledermaus, the Ballad of Baby Doe, and La Boheme.  I’ve auditioned for both the Metropolitan and Los Angeles Opera companies.
  14. The habit I’d most like to break is biting my cuticles.
  15. I found a copy of Playgirl when I was 5, and shoplifted a red Speedo at age 13. Seven years later, at age 22, I came out as a gay man. I was diagnosed HIV+ at 29, after a year of performing in adult films. I’m not implying any kind of cause and effect—that’s just the timeline.  I have no regrets.
  16. For the last eight years, I’ve been working full time as a personal trainer. My decision to become a trainer was directly informed by my desire to take my health and fitness more seriously in the wake of the above diagnosis. But, I’m not perfect and I’m always trying to find balance and get out of my own way.
  17. If I forget my headphones in the gym, I’m screwed. I work out almost every weekday, but I don’t do enough cardio. As a way to keep me accountable, I started posting photographs of the LED screen from my time on the cardio machines to my Facebook profile.
  18. I’m rethinking how I feel about the terms “fag” and “queer.”  I get the whole “reclaiming the word” thing, but I reject that the words ever belonged to the gay community in the first place. How can a pejorative term ever be reconstituted as positive?
  19. The physical accomplishment of which I’m the proudest is completing the 2000 AIDSRide from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which took 7 days and a whole lot of Gatorade.
  20. The first book I remember reading is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, but I don’t really like fiction.  I have a tattoo of  the main character, “wild” Max, on my right shoulder.  My second tattoo (the word “Discipline” across my back) took four hours. The tattoos taken together represent for me the dynamic tension of my life experience.
  21. The last book I read was Where’s My Fifteen Minutes by Howard Bragman—a really great read.
  22. My favorite sound are “I’m home,” which is tied with the sound of a rainstorm pounding against the roof.  The two together?  Heaven.
  23. My favorite quote of all time:
    “I want to beg you, as much as I can, be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves—they are like locked rooms or books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live some distant day into the answer.” (Rainer Maria Rilke,  Letters to a Young Poet).
  24. I don’t agree with Rush Limbaugh or Dr. Laura, but I listen to both of them. Show me an absolutist and I’ll show you a hypocrite.
  25. Everyone should work in a bar or wait tables at least once. It’s a microcosm for the whole world. Also, there’s no place on Earth more humbling than a porn set.
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Advance Equal Rights With the Click of Your Camera

sambronsonpage1 Advance Equal Rights With the Click of Your Cameraconny van dyke 154x200 Advance Equal Rights With the Click of Your Camera

After the disastrous No on 8 campaign (which Robin Tyler and I talked about), I’m really glad to see cool new grassroots sites like this one launched by my buddy Rick Garman.

Here’s a little background about this important site and how you can help:

How did you come up with the idea for Citizens for Equality and the “We Are” Campaign?

RICK: I actually came up with the idea of an elected body of representatives for the gay community a long time ago when I got frustrated with what I saw as a lack of true leadership and leaders. But it was what I believe was a disorganized and poorly run campaign against Proposition 8 (along with my questions about whether gay marriage is the actual battle we should be putting all of our resources and energy behind) that made me finally do something about it.

The “We Are” campaign became the launching pad for Citizens For Equality as a way to get people involved and engaged.  I got that idea from the sorryeverybody.com website where people sent in pictures of themselves with sign apologizing to the works for the 2004 election of George bush.

I love that all the images use the words, “We Are” — why did you choose that language?

I wanted “We Are” for it’s positivity.  To show the world that we are just like everyone else.  We are doctors and lawyers, mothers and fathers, husbands, wives, strong, weak, young, old, worried about the economy, worried about the environment, bowlers, card players, Christian, Jewish… We are human and if people can see that, they may be a little less inclined to do things like vote yes on Prop 8.  Imagine hundreds, thousands…. More… of those photos saying We Are… What a statement that will make!

What are you asking folks to do?

People can get involved in a variety of ways.  They can send in a picture through the website and encourage others to do the same.  All of the instructions and guidelines plus a bunch of suggestions are on the site.  And remember, our straight friends can participate too. People can also join the organization by filling out a simple form.

We are also actively seeking people to be on the steering committee that will set up the elections for (hopefully) late 2009 and people will be able to register and vote for their representatives and on other issues.  We’ll be seeking candidates and advisors also of course.  But the best way to stay informed is to join on the website.

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Mark Dalton Approved for Parole

 Mark Dalton Approved for Parole

The Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice Parole Board approved MARK DALTON, (a.k.a. Jeremy Sons) today, for parole on February 16, 2009. Dalton has been incarcerated for 18 ½ months due to a parole violation. The last several months he was housed at the Mineral Wells facility, east of Ft. Worth. He will parole to his hometown of Denton, TX.

Dalton’s last adult film appearance was in the highly successful, “Mark Meets Zeb: The Texas Two-Step.” And, prior to that, he starred in Falcon’s blockbuster, “Super Soaked.”

There are no plans, yet, for any adult film projects or live appearances. PLL has been trying to secure an interview with Dalton since last year.

Interview with Dallas Malloy, Female Boxing Pioneer

dallas getting ready Interview with Dallas Malloy, Female Boxing Pioneer

When I saw a poster about Dallas Malloy’s 1993 groundbreaking boxing match on the walls at Bodybuilders Gym, I inquired about boxing lessons. In our brief exchange, I immediately recognized something special about her; here in LA, we call it “star quality.” And you probably remember Dallas’ cameo appearance (playing herself) in the opening minutes of the film Jerry Maguire. Not only is she a groundbreaking female athlete, but a champion competitive bodybuilder, writer, and personal trainer. And this coming Tuesday, December 30, she’s the newest guest star on ABC’s Eli Stone.

dallas maloy Interview with Dallas Malloy, Female Boxing PioneerSAM:  I think it’s awesome that you were singled out to appear as yourself in the film “Jerry Maguire” as a rebel/athlete in the world of amateur female boxing. What was that like?

It was a wonderful experience, Cameron Crowe was a delight to work with, and Tom Cruise was a prince—he was so down-to-earth, he was asking me about my boxing experience, it was great.  I made amateur boxing history when I was 16, when I became the first female to have a sanctioned amateur bout.  Until then, females were excluded from amateur boxing, so I filed a discrimination suit with the help of the ACLU and forced them to set up a women’s division, I won my match in court and in the ring—by unanimous decision.

You live in Los Angeles—how do you recharge yourself and get inspired here?

My work inspires me—I have extensive theater training, starting a new role, a new project, seeing great work inspires me.  My relentless drive/intention keeps me going.

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Interview with Dan Pallotta, Author of “Uncharitable”

6a00d8341c90b153ef0105365e4e80970c Interview with Dan Pallotta, Author of UncharitableThe first time I saw Dan Pallotta, I was in a small theater watching his safety video for the 2000 California AIDS Ride, and his remarks left such an impression on me that I sought him out as an adviser to my magazine. Two years later, I became part of Dan’s special team at Pallotta Teamworks, and also helped him produce the X PRIZE space flights in 2004. Our working friendship has now spanned seven years. His newest book, Uncharitable Interview with Dan Pallotta, Author of Uncharitable, re-ignites his passion for charitable giving and calls for a drastic overhaul of the philanthropic machine. I think when you see him speak (and read this interview) you’ll totally get why I wanted to work with him.

Are there any charitable organizations really “doing it right” in your view?

No charity that receives the majority of its support from the general public can dare to do it right. In the current climate, it would almost be irresponsible; they’d lose their support — they’d be subject to scandal.

In the book Interview with Dan Pallotta, Author of Uncharitable, I talk about five double standards between the nonprofit sector and the rest of the economic world. We let business pay people based on value. But we don’t want people making money in charity. Want to make a million as a CEO selling violent video games to kids? Go for it. Want to make a million curing kids of cancer? You’re a parasite. So our top business school grads gravitate to the for-profit sector. We let business advertise ‘til the last dollar no longer produces a penny of value, but we don’t want charitable donations spent on advertising. So charities can’t build demand for causes. Budweiser’s all over the Superbowl. AIDS and Darfur? Absent.

Sounds like there’s kind of a double standard going on.

We let business make mistakes, but expect charity to spend contributions cautiously. It’s OK if a $100 million Disney movie flops, but if a $5 million charity walk doesn’t show a 75 percent profit year one? Call the attorney general. So charities can’t develop learning curves for revenue generation. Amazon could forgo investor returns for six years to build market dominance. But if a charity embarks on a long-term plan with no return for the needy for six years we expect a crucifixion. Business can offer profits to attract investment capital. But you can’t pay a profit off of investment in charity — it’s illegal. So the for-profit sector monopolizes the multi-trillion dollar capital markets.

You get the picture: anything a charity might do to test the rules brings a guillotine down on its reputation.

Was the timing of the book release (after the election) a coincidence?

A complete coincidence, unless of course you believe in some kind of divine synchronicity in the universe — which i do. I think it’s a fertile time for imaginative ideas and transformative thinking.

Should government have a role in changing the ways charitable organizations work?

Yes, absolutely. Government can make a big difference, on two fronts in particular. The government should fund a large national charity data agency — what I call the “Super Database for Charity,” that would have an iTunes-like, easy-to-understand user interface on front of a massive database of up-to-date narrative, audio, video and financial information on every major human service charity in America.

Yeah, it blows my mind that something like that doesn’t exist already.

Americans give $300 billion a year to charity. Know what we spend to make sure the giving is smart? Almost nothing. There are three national “watchdog” agencies — the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, and the American institute for Philanthropy. Collectively, they have about 40 staff and annual budgets of less than $5 million — a statistical zero percent of the $300 billion we give away each year. They look at fewer than 5,000 of the 1.6 million registered U.S. nonprofits, and they don’t look at program quality — which is all any of us should give a damn about.

Okay, so what do we need from the government, specifically?

We need an agency that has teams of surveyors that visit every major charity each year to conduct a week-long study and gather rich multimedia data on the charity’s work that the public can view online. This would require somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars (less than half of one percent of the money we give away each year). For a billion dollars a year we could transform charity as we know it — get people to stop asking only about overhead, get them rich information on charity programs and long-term goals, which is what really matters, increase faith in charity, and increase giving as a result.

We also need to change the tax code in two areas: first, to allow people to make a financial return off of capital investment in charity so charities can raise growth capital, and second, offer tax-deductibility for social good embedded in consumer goods.

If asked to be the “Charity Czar” in Barack Obama’s administration, what advice would you give the president?

Fund “the Super Database for Charity” and change the tax code.

You live and work in Los Angeles. Is L.A. a particularly charitable city?

Not with respect to dating when you get older, but fortunately, I have a partner for eight years now.

This is your second book. Did you learn anything about yourself as you were writing it?

I learned that I really love history — I spent six months doing in-depth research on the earliest Puritan settlers to America and their ideas about charity. It was like detective work. I found the smoking gun. I also learned to trust my instincts — I didn’t know that in the days when we were being pretty viciously attacked for trying things in a new way.

How do you think social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, MySpace) should be leveraged to change the ways charitable organizations work?

They’re a form of marketing, and charities should put a lot of resource into reaching out through them, as well as into other forms of marketing. marketing builds demand, demand builds revenues, revenues create social change.

Has being a father changed the way you think about these issues?

Absolutely. I worry now about the world my children will grow up in. More than ever, I want a serious say in what that world will look like. I believe we can create a world that works for everyone, and i want to play a role in creating it.

What’s next?

I’m going to leave that up to God a little bit – but three things that interest me – running for public office, creating the Super Database for Charity, and re-creating Pallotta TeamWorks and making good on its vision of creating the “Disney of Meaning.”

For more, check out the book’s website.

Dan Pallotta

Exclusive: Robin Tyler Speaks Out About Prop. 8

There are interviews you skim, and then there are interviews you read—all the way to the end. This week’s issue of the Advocate declaring “gay is the new black” nailed it, and Robin Tyler has an important message that will hit home at this moment in history—a moment that could be the tipping point of our movement. Robin Tyler and her wife, Diane Olson, were the first challengers to California’s ban on same-sex marriage in February of 2004.

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And Now a Word from Fitness Icon Jack LaLanne

 And Now a Word from Fitness Icon Jack LaLanne

DEAR JACK LALANNE: I’m 48 years old, in generally good health, and work out with weights regularly. I’ve been under stress and anxiety recently and went to the emergency room with heart palpitations but the doctor could find no evidence of defect or blockage. He said I was experiencing premature heartbeats associated with stress and anxiety and told me to avoid caffeine. Any advice? —Allan, Qunicy, Massachusetts

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