A look back at some of the year's most compelling stories of the past year from Out.
Modern Love: The Men of Looking
by Christopher Glazek
Watching the first minutes of Looking triggered all of my nervous defenses. The characters were boring, it seemed to me. They were terribly dressed (costumes were procured from vintage shops on the Lower Haight, Alvarez told me, which looked about right). They were recognizable as the type of earnest gays I would see out at bars singing along to bad music, the sort that aspire to domestic triviality and read as “straight-acting” not because they are macho but because they are so sensitive. Once I let my guard down, though, I warmed to the characters and became invested in what Haigh and his cast members each described as their “journeys.” “I’m not interested in angry, bad people,” Haigh says. “I like stories about nice people. They get left out sometimes.”
How Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange Saved Pop Music
by Jason Lamphier
Much like another musical chameleon, David Bowie, he has an insatiable urge to experiment and evolve and isn’t afraid of failing. “You know, musically, you can’t actually go wrong,” Hynes says. “Nothing bad is ever gonna happen from anyone trying an idea. You can just maybe not like what you’ve done—so try something else or try again.”
Neil Patrick Harris: Glitter & Glam
by Aaron Hicklin
“Hedwig is bringing up a lot of super insecure things within me,” concedes Harris. “I have never thought drag was intoxicating, I’ve never had a fun drunken Halloween in drag, never been in heels, really. I’ve lived my whole life being attracted by masculinity — it’s why I like guys. I’m not a super effete person, and I have to turn into that, and in doing so it brings up a lot of homophobic insecurities within myself.”
A Plague on All These AIDS Films and Stuff
by Walter Armstrong
"The current focus on activism partly reflects our generation's need to protect itself against the losses that made a mockery of mourning. Militancy served the same aim during the crisis. There is a related need to put the plague away."
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Why It Still Survives
by Nathan Smith
In reassessing the film for its 20th anniversary, however, one does see the problematic racial and sexual politics operating in Australia at this time. Scenes where we see characters ironize the coquetry of '90s video store culture — such as flirting with the attendant about the availability of The Texas Chainsaw Mas-cara — are satisfying in their campness. But other moments are riddled with racism, especially concerning the non-white figures of the film.
by Aaron Hicklin
"When I recorded 'XO' I was sick with a bad sinus infection. I recorded it in a few minutes just as a demo and decided to keep the vocals. I lived with most of the songs for a year and never rerecorded the demo vocals. I really loved the imperfections, so I kept the original demos. I spent the time I’d normally spend on backgrounds and vocal production on getting the music perfect."
Robert De Niro: Me & My Gay Dad
by Jerry Portwood
"We were not the type of father and son who played baseball together, as you can surmise. But we had a connection. I wasn’t with him a lot, because my mother and he were separated and divorced. As I say in the documentary, I looked after him in certain ways."
Stevie Nicks: Edge of Everything
by Michael Martin
Nicks went to a plastic surgeon in 1985, who found a hole in her nasal cartilage big enough to cause a brain hemorrhage with her next introduction of pharmaceuticals. “He said, ‘I know people who probably do more drugs than you who don’t have a hole in their nose like this, so what have you done differently?’ ” she says. “I would get terrible headaches, so I used to put aspirin in water, then take an eyedropper and put the aspirin in my nose. I thought I was being the best nurse ever. The plastic surgeon said, ‘Well, the aspirin ate your nose, not the coke.’ ”
Tender(loin) Is the Night
by Jeremy Lybarger
"My thing is not being a female illusionist where I look dead-on like a woman. I’m a man in a dress, and I’m not afraid to show that. I just use a little bit of shading. Olivia and I are pretty much one and the same. It’s not a total transformation. I’d need to see a psychiatrist if that happened."
Michael Sam: The Draw That Changed American Sports Forever
by Christopher Glazek
The first 15 minutes of the interview were excruciating. Sam refused to make eye contact with me. His answers were curt and nonrevealing... He delivered his responses as rebuttals, swatting away my questions as if blocking kicks from a tedious adversary."