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Adam Rippon: A new star on the world stage

by MK Scott Regardless if you have been watching the Winter Olympics, currently in PyeongChang, South Korea, you have definitely been hearing the name Adam Rippon, who has been very Out and vocal in every interview and performance. Back in 2010, we had Johnny Weir, who wasn't officially Out yet. But with Rippon, he is just acting himself. From bonding with Out skier, Gus Kenworthy, or flirting with Out Canadian skater, Eric Radford on the podium after winning the Bronze, while Radford won gold, to being downright straightforward and refusing to meet or acknowledge Vice-President Mike Pence, we can't get enough of Rippon and he has already made history. Here are some of his and Kenworthy's best quotes: <b>February 9th</b> 'The #OpeningCeremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!' he wrote. 'I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I'm so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay' - Kenworthy 'Tonight I walked in the #OpeningCeremony and got to watch my old friend @Yunaaaa light the Olympic flame. Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter.' - Rippon <b>February 11th</b> <b>On condoms in the Olympic Village</b> 'Like, I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting. I thought maybe they'd have like Olympic rings on them or they'd be all different colors. But, no. It's all a myth,' - Rippon <b>February 12th </b> When VP Pence tweeted @Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don't let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get 'em!' Rippon responded that he has no interest in meeting after the Olympics with Pence, the former Indiana governor who has been perceived as showing a lack of support of LGBT rights and once supporting so-called gay conversion therapy. 'I'm going to go to Target and I'm going to get a bottle of Sauvignon blanc, Oyster Bay, with the twist top, immediately.' - Rippon <b>February 13th</b> Press Conference with Adam Rippon <b>On Valentine's Day </b> 'Nobody loves me as much as I love me; so I guess I'll just be my own Valentine tomorrow.' <b>On newfound superstardom </b> 'The other day I was joking to one of my friends. He was like, 'You're kind of everywhere right now.' I was like, 'I know; I'm America's sweetheart.' He laughed in my face.' <b>On confidence (and Oprah) </b> 'Sometimes when you're not confident in yourself, to see someone who doesn't care - and I don't care anymore; I really don't care - it gives you that confidence. I remember seeing people who I thought were so confident and exuberant. I remember being young and watching Oprah and being like, 'Damn. That lady is so confident. She can talk to anybody.' <b>On coping with depression </b> 'To watch Mirai Nagasu go out there and also skate a clean free skate... I mean, we've really been through a lot together. Four years ago, we were eating In-N-Out on the roof of her house in Arcadia, California, and we were crying that we weren't at the Olympics. And four years later, we're sharing an Olympic podium together. So, if you're ever depressed, go to In-N-Out, and four years later you'll be at the Olympics!' <b>On the age difference between his teammates </b> 'Vincent and I were born in different millennia. We were! I was born in the '80s, girl... No electronics. No phone. The Berlin Wall came down when I was, like, born. The internet was, like, invented when Vincent was born. So we're definitely different.' <b>On the haters and skeptics </b> 'People have told me, 'Oh, you're a lot different than what I thought.' I say, 'Oh, what did you think?' They're like, 'Oh, we just thought you were an ass.' I'm like, 'Oh& yikes.' I'm just trying to share who I am, my personality... Sometimes I might meet people and they might just not like me, not want to get to know me. And that's okay. They're boring as hell anyway.'   The Story was originally published in Seattle Gay News

The 206 Prologue

<strong><u>PROLOGUE</u></strong> <em>Three Months from Now</em> The vast foliage of Volunteer Park swallowed them in its darkness. The swaying branches of gargantuan trees invited them deeper into the night and eclipsed the dim lights of the conservatory in the distance. This area of the grounds was known for its sexual activity between gay men who frequented it in the wee hours, searching for a late-night blow-and-go or ass-pounding by a random stranger. This was a cruising ground for horny and drugged-up queers and, if one were lucky, he could cum and leave without getting an STD, arrested, or even gay-bashed.  This was no secret to many of the long-time residents of Seattle, let alone those who resided in the trendy Capitol Hill district along which the park resided. And this was certainly no secret to Jayden as he tripped over his feet and fell to his knees. “Christ, Jayden! Get up.” Connor scanned the area and barely made out two men fucking in the shadows. Jayden attempted to push himself from the ground but lazily collapsed to the grass. “What the fuck are we doing out here?” “I told you already. Roman wanted to meet us out here to talk.” “Fuuuuuuck. Talk about what? Is he still pissed because that twink from the other night went home with me instead of him.” “I doubt that’s an iss—” “He knows they all go for the big black cock. Everybody does.” Jayden’s throaty laughter infused the night. The couple Connor had just witnessed exhibiting their sexual needs jumped from their semi-cloaked area and darted without looking back. Connor stomped a foot and clenched his teeth as he aimed a squint at his friend. “Seriously, dude? Get up already!” Jayden rolled onto his back and managed to sit up. <em>Baby steps. </em>“Why didn’t we all just talk back at R Place? Fuck, why does everything have to be so secretive?” “Okay, I’m going to say this slowly because you apparently don’t remember shit from the club. Roman said he wanted to discuss some things in private. He had to go back to his place and said he’d meet us out here. Does that compute with your drunken ass?” Connor grinned, proud of the way he’d spoke to Jayden. In fact, he was shocked that Jayden didn’t jump to his feet and get in his face. That was the Jayden he’d met three months prior; the cocky, six-foot-two, one hundred-eighty-pound black Adonis that didn’t take shit from anybody. That was the man he envied and, yet, intimidated him. There was no way in hell he could get away with speaking that way to Roman or Asher. And while Connor never tested such waters with Diego or Zayne, he thought he might be able to pull his weight with the two. He was moving up the ranks with his newfound group of friends, friends he never dreamed of having prior to moving to Seattle. “Of course. What Roman wants, Roman gets,” Jayden sighed as he made another attempt to stand. “I’m just going to sit here for a minute. You know what? I’m not Roman’s bitch! I’m not anybody’s bitch.” Jayden’s eyelids shut as his head bobbed up and down. “Just <em>exactly</em> how much did you drink before getting to the club tonight?” Connor knew better than to ask such a question. After all, Jayden was known for his day-drinking binges. All the guys were privy to his schedule. Two extra-dirty gin martinis before the 10:00am Grindr hook-up, three more at lunch, and two more by 4:00pm (typically before another random fuck of the day or going out to the club). Jayden’s eyes grew wide, pinpointing Connor. “I had the drink you bought me at the club. That’s it!” “I didn’t buy you a drink. Roman did, remember?” “Nope. You did. Or maybe the other guys did,” Jayden slurred. “Wow, you’re really fucked up. Nobody else was there but you, me, and Roman.” “Nope. Nope. We were all there. All there. All us. Just us. Always…y’know…I don’t feel…good…wanna leave.” Jayden took in a breath to exhale more of his recollection, but he couldn’t do it. Instead, he gagged as he leaned over into the earth. His skin twitched. He winced as he struggled to control the convulsions in his muscles. His perfect teeth wildly chattered the ballad of a frigid winter evening. But it was far from winter and barely into autumn. <em>The leaves still need to change. They change every year</em>. And now, was he sweating? Connor raced to the ground and grabbed Jayden’s head. The perspiration instantly moistened his hands. “Jayden? What’s going on, man? Dude, are you all right?” His shoulders were desperately pulled and brought him to the space next to his friend. The rapid beating of his own heart deafened his surroundings. Adrenaline set his body on fire with tingling pinpricks. Jayden tried to mouth something. Connor’s mind ignited into a frenzy. What was he trying to say? He needed help, right? Was this just another act, another Jayden show? Or was this the real deal? He had to hear the words. <em>Please tell me that you truly need help</em>! Instead of hearing the pleas for which he’d hoped, Connor gasped as streams of spittle ejected from Jayden’s mouth and ran over the gorgeous, plump lips so many men had craved. Connor rocketed to his feet the moment Jayden violently clutched at his own chest. “Help!” Connor hollered as Jayden’s body went still. He rushed to his side and rose to an erratic pace. “No, no no! You’re going to be fine! Don’t do this! I’m calling 9-1-1 right now.” “I wouldn’t recommend that,” a comforting and familiar voice spoke. It was Roman. Connor sprinted to him. “Oh my God, Roman! There’s something wrong with Jayden! I’m calling for paramedics now!” “Drop the phone,” Roman instructed. “But—” “What did he say to you?” Connor’s eyes ricocheted back and forth, dancing with confusion. “I don’t…what are you talking about?” From out of the darkness, the rest of the group emerged and surrounded Roman like a pack of wolves, he their alpha. “What the fuck did he tell you?” Asher screamed. Tears streamed down Connor’s face as his attention fought between his friends and Jayden’s still body. “But…it’s Jayden. What’s going on? What did you guys do? “We did nothing.” Roman smirked “But what did <em>you</em> do, Connor?”   <strong>TO BE CONTINUED</strong>   Tristan Wilde is the pseudonym of horror author Andrew Wolter. Tristan’s works include the acclaimed gay-dating column <strong>Jet City Boy Culture</strong> and the forthcoming erotic thriller <strong>Q</strong>. He resides in Seattle, Washington.   <strong>Copyright © 2017 by Tristan Wilde. All rights reserved.</strong>

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