Versailles

Not the palace, the Franco-Canadian television drama that is now on Netflix.

Think sex, drugs, and poison. Throw in an exquisite setting—yes, the palace—elaborate costumes, and enough Oh, no! moments to make you say, Oh, yes! and you’ve got Versailles. A soap opera wrapped in history, wrapped in naked people with great hair.

Is this historical drama historically accurate? Who cares? It’s riveting.

Versailles has several main characters, enough for fans to have digital fist fights over their favourites. Personally, my vote goes to Philippe, duc d’Orléans, the king’s younger brother who never gets the chance to be everything he could be. Alexander Vlahos, who plays Philippe, makes those period costumes look good.

Versailles is three seasons of binge-worthy viewing, but don’t take my word for it. Check out the fan video created by MonChevy below. It may have you considering a flight to France 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

Tweaking Tradition

I grew up in the East End of Montreal, just north of a Canadian Forces Base and West of a psychiatric hospital. Dancing was not a part of my world. Singing yes, drinking, sure—my mother’s family is Canadian by way of Ireland—but dancing, no. Not that it mattered, by the time I was in high school, formal dancing had virtually disappeared, to be replaced by standing across from your partner and throwing your head and shoulders about.

Forty-eight years on from my high school graduation and I still can’t dance. Taking dance lessons is on my list, along with a lot of other things I’ll never get around to, but in the meantime, I stand mesmerized, watching those couples who can swirl about the floor, graceful, confident…

Like Sophie Grau and Iris Klopfer.

After seeing videos of past Balls, Sophie and Iris, friends who identify as queer and have been dancing together for five years, decided to apply to make their debut at the Vienna Opera Ball.

It’s, as Sophie says, “the perfect dance.” One hundred and fifty couples in black and white formal wear, all dancing to the same routine, in the historic grandeur of the Vienna State Opera House.

LGBTQ participants, or not, Sophie and Iris have to adhere to the Ball’s strict dress code. Iris who, with her longer hair can pull off the Ball’s requisite hairstyle, is going with the dress, and Sophie, who is non-binary and feels more comfortable in a suit, is opting for the tux.

The Vienna Opera Ball, which dates back to the early 1800s, has 5,000 registered guests this year and will be watched live by 2.5 million viewers. Over the years, it has embraced a tradition of change, transforming itself from an exclusive event for the few to an elegant party for the many. With the inclusion of Sophie and Iris, the first LGBTQ couple to make their debut at the Ball, that tradition is tweaked yet again, merging the past with the future in grand style.

Aimer at Amazon

Go, Katie!

It’s that time of year again; families and friends getting together, parties, and food, and beer—and fans huddled around their television sets.

Yes, it’s Super Bowl Sunday tomorrow and you can’t imagine how uninterested I am.

I had every intention of hiding out in the nearest mall or movie theater, while the rest of North America screams at their flat screens, but this young woman may change my mind…

Katie Sowers, the San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant coach, is the first female coach to work the Super Bowl. The first openly gay coach to work the big game.

For all the girls who were told they couldn’t and all the LGBTQ players who were told the same, here’s Katie to say you can.

Best of luck to Katie and her team tomorrow.

Aimer at Amazon

Mystery Men

Ahead of the curve —Two men tie the knot in 1957.

The ONE Archives Foundation in Los Angeles, a non-profit dedicated to preserving LGBTQ history, is on a mission. Having stumbled across a series of wedding pictures taken in the 1950’s, they want to find the grooms or, at least, find out who they are. 

So far, all they know is that the pictures were dropped off at a drugstore in Philadelphia to be developed and that the owner of the drugstore, deeming them inappropriate, refused to return them to the unknown grooms.

To that end, they’ve created a website, OurOneStory.com to help find these men. Not an easy task as the couple must be in their 80’s or 90’s now. The historians have become sleuths, hoping that if they spread these pictures around someone will recognize either the grooms or their guests.

Incredible to think that this little chunk of history has survived, that these pictures have somehow made it from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, and that they weren’t destroyed by the offended drugstore owner.

Also, in your face to all those morons who picket and scream and fight against school boards who want to “normalize” homosexuality. The cretins who rant about the corrupting influence of social media, who insist the liberal agenda is destroying family values and “turning” good kids gay.

These two men knew who they were, and who they wanted, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t learn that in school, or see it in an Instagram post.

Captured in black and white, a celebration, a moment in time, and a silent witness to the fact that same-sex attraction is, and always has been, one of the threads that inform the tapestry of human sexuality.

Sorry, stepping down from my soapbox now. For more wedding pictures, please check out this link.

Aimer at Amazon

And the Truth Will Set You Free

Maybe, maybe not, but it will really piss off your wife.

After six years of marriage, a husband came out to his wife in Cape Town, South Africa. Apparently, this woman didn’t get the memo. In cases like this, which by the way, wouldn’t happen if society was a little less judgmental, the protocol is clear:

“Why didn’t you tell me?”, “How long have you known?”, and “Are you okay?” are pretty much standard responses, followed by, “What do we do now?”

Has this woman even seen a Rom-Con in the last twenty years?

Nowhere in the Hollywood rule book does it say to sue you husband for being gay. To demand $600,000 for “emotional pain,” “psychological trauma,” and “financial prejudice.”

Nowhere does it say to drag the intimate details of your husband’s journey to accepting himself through the court.

The High Court Judge, obviously familiar with the concept of human compassion, threw the case out of court.

Amen.

Aimer at Amazon

It Takes a Village

The old adage, It takes a village to raise a child, has never been more true than now.

Graeme and Simon Berney-Edwards of Redhill, Surrey, England are the proud fathers of two-year-old twins. They have the family they always wanted, but it wasn’t easy and they didn’t get there on their own.

Picture submitted by Simon Berney-Edwards to CBC News.

The first step in their journey to fatherhood took them to an in vitro fertilization clinic in Las Vegas and eggs from an anonymous donor.

Step two had the couple looking to Canada for a surrogate, Canadian laws governing surrogacy being more progressive than those in the U.K.

Enter Meg Stone of Hamilton, Ontario. Meg was up for the challenge of carrying twins, half-siblings, one fathered by Graeme, one by Simon.

All in all, it took two women and two men across three countries to make the Berney-Edwards dream of a family come true.

Submitted by Simon Berney-Edwards to CBC News

It takes a village 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

Pigment Light

Raccoons: Masked creatures who lurk around your house waiting for a chance to take the lid off your garbage can. Easily recognizable for their prison stripes— or not.

One out of every ten thousand raccoons is born with a genetic mutation that strips them of their black and grey signature colouring. Your chance of seeing an albino raccoon in the wild is about the same as being struck by lightning, 1 in 750,000.

Martin Ouellette is luckier than most, he not only saw one albino raccoon, he saw two— in his backyard.

Martin Quellette/Churchwood Pictures

Ouellette, watching the family of critters who’ve developed a liking for his oak tree, noticed that the regulation-coloured raccoons are protective of their lighter skinned brethren.

Protective, as if they know their lighter-skinned brethren can’t hide as easily as they can. Protective, as if they don’t care about a little pigmentation, or lack thereof.

Shameful, and sad, but often true, animals are more humane than we are.

Aimer at Amazon