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Matthew Rettenmund

Matthew Rettenmund

Profession Author
Best known for Boy Culture, Blind Items
Website http://boyculture.typepad.com/

Matthew Rettenmund authored the novel Boy Culture about a hustler with a heart, which was turned into a hit 2007 film. His popular blog of the same name talks pop culture, shows off his guydar, and navigates the best of gay New York City.

 

Your hero, “X”, in Boy Culture is involved in a love triangle. These days we hear more about three-way relationships. Do you know any that work?

Most two-way relationships are lucky to survive a year, any three-way relationships I’ve known have barely survived the first hour.

What sets your blog apart from other gay blogs and how do you decide what’s blogworthy?

The main difference is that I’m not afraid of, and may be addicted to, writing at length. I take pop culture seriously. I’m proud of my essays, and I think there are a number of people out there who actually do want to read in-depth ruminations on Madonna, and Lady Gaga. Of course my “Guydar” posts are unique: They’re images of men that I snap quite sloppily on the street with my iPhone. I love doing them because it’s impossible to plan them exactly, and I think I have a range of different men who are never represented as sex objects.

Anyone react badly to being surreptitiously snapped?

I’m sure there are some times when they think, “Wait…” but they always brush aside suspicion because they’re not expecting to be photographed and I’m not obvious. Once, in a grocery store, I had a subject helpfully tell me I left my camera on. After the fact, I’ve had about ten different times when someone contacted me to say they were one of my “guydars”. Most have been excited and flattered. Just recently, a guy communicated that he was flattered but hadn’t given permission to be shot and posted so he wanted it down, please, thank you. I was happy to do that – I don’t want to embarrass or upset anyone. However, I did make the point that “Guydar” is perfectly legal: if you’re in public, you’re fair game. The only restrictions are in places where privacy is assumed (a locker room, a john) or shooting intentionally up someone’s clothing by positioning yourself in a spot that would grant you that access. That doesn’t interest me.

Each of your posts consists of differing font sizes. Is that personal flair, or shall we read deeper into that?

I hate how my blog looks, but don’t have the time to make it look better. It’s so flat! So I raise the font size of passages I’m emphasizing. I like to think it also helps it look like the rises and falls of a conversation.

In blog years, you’re a senior citizen. How has blogging changed since you began?

Truthfully, it feels like I just started! But it will be five years in November. Things are so different. Some bloggers are making a living at it (not me!) for one thing. Also, blogs have become more elaborate, more illustrated, have gone legit – they pay for images. But some of the biggest blogs are not so evolved. Perez Hilton is gigantic but his blog is not advanced. Sometimes, that sort of thing doesn’t matter. It’s the content.

What are some of the perks associated with being a popular purveyor of Boy Culture? Cocktails, groupies, tickets to Lady GaGa at Madison Square Garden?

I bought my own GaGa tickets! I get free concerts and music at times, and some nice invites. I was pleased to attend a GLAAD event and interview Cynthia Nixon and Sigourney Weaver, and I got into the press junkets for A Single Man and The Kids Are All Right, two of the best movies I’ve seen in years. Also, it’s fun when people recognize me and compliment me on the blog…It’s nice to have proof that all these words I’m sending out into the universe are landing here and there.

Where do Internet trolls come from, why do they exist, and how do you combat them?

I would like to do a film on hunting down trolls. I think they’re fascinating and repulsive. They’re deeply unhappy and castrated-feeling people who lash out with anonymity in order to make that pain go away for a while. But it never goes away completely, so they never go away. I ignore some, block some, and engage some. Lately, the pathetic Madonna fans who loathe Lady GaGa have become troll-like in their insistence upon commenting on every GaGa post, renaming her Lady CaCa and engaging in discourse at an embarrassingly low level. I’m still the original Madonna fan, but please, girls, if you hate an artist, avoid her—don’t spend all hourse of the day and night commenting negatively about her on every blog.

You cover a lot of entertainment. Which New York shows are highest on your list?

I think the best show out there now is still Next to Normal. Billy Elliott is also amazing. The Kid was terrific, but short lived. I really couldn’t stand La Cage aux Folles and couldn’t be dragged to Memphis. Sometimes, you just know. The best thing about Broadway is Broadway Bares, the yearly show to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It’s only $55, the money goes to charity and it’s incredibly fun. Plus you see a whole lotta skin from the hottest people alive.

Is there a quintessential New York City boy?

No because most of us are from other places and only project our fantasies of what a “New York City boy” should be. If there were one, he would be assertive, successful, informed, witty, and a sexual explorer.

You sometimes fill in for Andy Towle and his blog, Towleroad. How is that different from your own blogging duties?

It’s very different. Boy Culture is a personal blog that touches on gay-interest topics, but only topics that interest THIS gay. Towleroad presents itself as the go-to blog for all gay issues, so when I’m filling in for Andy I need to drop everything and keep up with every bit of gay-related news, then craft links that present the information factually and with just a hint of subjectivity. It’s a huge responsibility because so many people read Andy’s blog and so many outlets take it seriously. In blogging, it’s not only what you choose to include, but what you choose not to include. In that way, anything that’s on or not on his blog is an editorial statement. That’s why he has such spirited commenters – if they object to anything, it’s a personal affront.

What are the top three things not to miss in NYC as a tourist.

If you’re gay, hit Splash Bar in Chelsea. But overall, the first time I ever came to Manhattan was in college. I flew with no money just to see Madonna in Speed-the-Plow. So I would say it’s essential to see a Broadway show. I also love the Empire State Building because it’s a Deco dream. And while there is zero reason ever to go inside and up the Statue of Liberty, I think it’s important and rewarding to take the ferry ride over to see it up close. If any of this sounds nightmarish, switch it out with a trip to West Chelsea to check out the galleries.

Since you’re so serious about pop culture, which celebrity would you love to spend an afternoon with?

Of course I would want to spend an afternoon with Madonna, convincing her to make me her BFF for a season. I’ve never met her despite my long, long fandom and writing the book “Encyclopedia Madonnica” about her. It was a kind of A to Z on everything about her life, pre-Internet when such books were relevant. I think she didn’t love it. Maybe I should not have had “Abortions” on the first page.

Which celebrity would you Fuck, Marry, Kill?

I’d fuck Mark Ruffalo at the moment. Marry? I believe in marriage equality, but not in marriage; nobody will ever get me to the altar. Not John Stamos, not Alex Dimitriades, not Hart Bochner. Kill? Where do I begin? If we exclude politicians, and if reality stars – in reality – aren’t, I’d say Mel Gibson, Mariah Carey and Joan Rivers should worry.

For more of Matt Rettenmund, follow Boy Culture! http://boyculture.typepad.com/