Tony Adams ‘Best Of’ 2010
I have not had sex with any of the men or women whom I have profiled in SFGN. I’m confessing this fact with a bit of chagrin and disappointment because it enhances my journalistic integrity more than my unbidden chastity.
Asking me to pick favorites from a year of writing for SFGN is a treacherous request, for a wise parent never admits to favoring one child over another. I have been honored to step into the lives of the men and women who consented to my questioning and I hope my reports enhanced our celebration of the great people with whom we live and whose accomplishments often go unseen.
Reviewing a year of profiling some of the remarkable folks among us allowed me to place them in one of two groups. There were those who knew exactly what they wanted to say and greeted me with an envisioned article and message, and there were those who simply answered my knock on the door with trust that they wouldn’t regret what appeared in print. In both cases, I kept a good number of their candid words out of SFGN rather than let something unintentionally embarrassing cause them an ouch of remorse. Some would say that I’m too gentle to achieve hard-hitting journalism. I’d say that while I love taking in other men’s dirty laundry, I’m not inclined to share it.
I especially enjoyed those moments when I was totally surprised by someone. Before sitting down with female to male transsexual singer-songwriter Mark Angelo Cummings (April 5, 2010) of Hollywood, I was already a fan of his music, but I was not prepared for the surge of sexual attraction I felt for him. I have known other transsexuals, and I’ve interviewed a few, (including the glamorous Amanda Lepore who is in town this week) and I’ve made out on the dance floor with others, but having limited my sexual adventuring to cis-gendered males, I was surprised by my reaction to him and I mustered heroic powers of concentration on the pad and pencil held in my lap over the course of our visit. I am grateful to his lovely and gracious wife Violet who surely must have sensed my dilemma but remained hospitable and welcoming throughout.
Another handsome Mark also surprised me. I was already an acquaintance of Mark Foley (July 14, 2010) with whom I often exchange a few words while on my skates in Birch Park. I feared that his vigilant efforts to save the local sea turtles who nest on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale would constitute the kind of drippy and numbing environmentalism that I usually avoid. After getting his tour of the nesting sites, I found myself on the beach many summer nights actually witnessing the approach of giant sea turtles and watching awestruck while they dug nests and laid their eggs. One midnight, in a drenching thunder and lightening storm, I witnessed a nest hatch out and saw hundreds of baby turtles head for A1A rather than the sea, distracted by the headlights. I was pleased to learn that because of my profile of Mark, the number of volunteers who nightly patrol the beach during nesting season has increased significantly.
Also among the easy-on-the-eyes was the fabled Fort Lauderdale tattoo artist Stevie Moon (May 10, 2010). His was easily my longest interview session. I spent the good part of a day at his salon while he worked on a client who slept during much of the process. We got into an amazing theological discussion that was certainly not what I expected.
A third Mark who surprised me is Mark King (April 26, 2010) who once operated a phone sex business in California, had a childhood acting career, almost lost his life to drugs and HIV, and has come back from that edge for a dazzling second act in which he is dedicated to honest communication about recovery and HIV. His story spilled out of his mouth when he approached me after I had moderated a panel of writers at the Stonewall Library and Archives. I think his was the interview in which I did the least talking. Mark has an amazing energy and urgency rooted in his personal survival and in his activist convictions about HIV. Everyone should be following him at MyFabulousDisease.com.
Mentioning the Stonewall Library and Archives reminds me of the number of fascinators I’ve encountered therein and subsequently written about. They almost form their own separate category of favoritism. There’s its fabulous director, Jack Rutland (March 15, 2010). The generous and talented Charles L. Ross (May 30, 2010). The witty and wise Dermot Meagher (March 10, 2010). The bright young Chris Finlay (December 22, 2010). Would I ever have had the pleasure of their company had I not walked into the library one day out of simple curiosity? You really must.
I’ve also been terrifically humbled by writing about the local unsung heroes among us whose stories deserved more than my words may have delivered. Jarod Cashner and James Sanzeri who started and operate Sanctuary House (November 24, 2010). The tireless volunteer Chuck Nichols (March 22, 2010). The venerable Father John McNeill (May 17, 2010). Again, only the space restrictions of writing for the kaleidoscopic SFGN keep me from mentioning others whose tireless service to the community deserves more light.
I do have one favorite 2010 SFGN interview moment. In the course of my exchange with famous 75 year old writer and AIDS activist Larry Kramer (July 5, 2010), he disclosed his efforts to reinvigorate his sex life. While I listened to him describe his presence on hook-up sites, my hands flew across the keyboard to verify his disclosures and I located his profiles exactly as described! Would that I had gotten the same dirt from Joan Rivers in my SFGN exclusive (June 16, 2010).
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for SFGN despite the meager pecuniary (or sexual) compensation. The folks I’ve met through the paper constitute the real South Florida that most visitors never see through the haze of beach, booze and banter. I hope to meet you in 2011.