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John Polly

John Polly

John Polly

Profession Senior Editor of LogoTV.com
Best known for NewNowNext!, RuPaul’s Drag Race
Website http://www.logotv.com/
http://www.tripoutgaytravel.com/
http://www.newnownext.com/

John Polly is the Senior Editor of LogoTV.com, where he oversees content and stars online in madcap video recaps, such as his “Easy A-List” – lampooning Logo’s “A-List New York”. We can’t wait to watch him, along with colleague Jon Mallow, take on the high-haired hi-jinx of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 in “Drag Ya Later with Jon & John” that began this January (see the recap of the first episode)!

In addition to writing, editing, and hosting, John is a board member of the Ali Forney Center – which provides housing and services to homeless LGBT youth in New York. He lives in Brooklyn and enjoys Nancy Mitford novels, rugged wooden furniture, eating cheese, drinking wine, and taking spastic aerobics classes.

 

First off, love the moustache. How’s that working for you?

Ha! It’s great. I’m finally embracing my cheesy 70’s porn-star/Magnum P.I. fantasies. Weirdly, guys seem to like it. Or at least the rowdy, pervy types do – and the Williamsburg lads, too. Win-win all-around! But I’m sure I’ll get restless and shave it off before long.

How'd you get your start at Logo?

Before Logo, I was the Editor-in-Chief of Next, the NYC bar rag, and also Managing Editor of Genre Magazine. Thanks to those jobs I ended up knowing just about every downtown performer and drag queen at the time.

When Logo launched, they were shooting fun clips of real folks talking about music they loved for the NewNowNext Music show. They asked me to help them get backstage at Wigstock to shoot, and next thing I knew I was holding a microphone interviewing drag queens and sassy New Yorkers. That somehow segued into a full-time job. Now, I oversee and edit content for a few of Logo’s sites, including NewNowNext.com and TripOutGayTravel.com.

Speaking of TripOutGayTravel.com – how do you go about shortlisting for the annual awards?

To arrive at the nominees, we reach out to a batch of about 20 prominent travel writers and editors who work in both the gay and mainsteam travel media, and ask them about the places they’re writing about and excited by. We whittle down those responses to the clear standouts and ask our readers to then vote for the winners.

Who was the most surprising winner this year?

I was really happy that Zoom Vacations won for Best LGBT Tour Operator. They’re a great company, but they’re much smaller than some of the bigger, widely known gay vacation companies. But they simply rallied their devoted fans and loyal travelers and handily won the prize. Big props to them for that; it shows that small entrepreneurs can hold their own with large companies.

Also, I was impressed that folks are really into Toronto, which won for Best Breakout Destination. They do lots of gay media outreach, but the city is indeed a fun, thriving, arty and hip place and it’s nice that they’re getting recognized as such. Go Canada!

Many of your nominees are trusted oldies – what’s the best new gay event or destination that’s just now coming into focus?

Spain is emerging as such a gay-travel powerhouse, and that’s fun to watch. That’s not a new trend, but their big events like Madrid Pride have really taken over in dominating some of the global gay Pride parties. But they also back it up with legal gay marriage, which makes you feel ever better about supporting their industry.

Otherwise, it’s fun to see an event like Art Basel Miami become its own party destination well beyond just the art gallery crowd. And I love seeing all the big music festivals like SXSW, Lollapalooza in Chicago, or even ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) in the Catskills each fall draw a really diverse crowd of straight and gay, hipster and everything else, just based on the cultural scene.

What’s your favorite foreign destination?

Dang, that’s hard. I’ve had amazing trips to places like Buenos Aires, Vietnam and Turkey, but I’m still at heart a shameless Europhile. I’m way overdue for a Paris visit. And though everyone gripes about how the gay scene in Amsterdam is suffering (and it does seem to be in floundering) I still looooooove that city. I lived there for two and a half years just over 10 years ago, and I went back for a long visit this past summer and fell in love with it again.

What’s New/Now/Next in NYC?

I’ll only speak to what I’m loving now: Fancy cocktails at bars like Dram in Williamsburg are really fun to get into. It’s a bit precious at times, but all the crafty mixology and obscure liqueurs and care they take with their drinks is entertaining – and delicious.

Also, gay-wise, there are a bunch of arty-farty monthly or seasonal parties these days – like the Spank Zine parties or the events and nights included on the weekly email Gayletter.com that are a reliable blend of sexy, smart, a little dirty and unpredictable. And usually they serve up great music and some people turning out major looks. Or just fun slutty guys dancing like crazy. Yee-haw!

What can we expect from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3?

I’m so excited I could die. The queens look like they really know how to bring looks and whip up some mad and bad-ass outfits. And the gals seem a healthy mix of campy/comic and drop-dead gorgeous – but all with a creative zing. And have you seen the list of guest judges? Chloe Sevigny, Vanessa Williams and Lily f**king Tomlin! Plus one of my favorites, the loopy and brilliantly talented Fantasia.

But also, as wild and fun as the show is, it’s a valuable one too. Showing America the courage and creativity of drag queens cannot be underrated. These bitches deserve our utmost respect for being who they are fearlessly. I love it!

You get out on the town a lot – what’s your favorite event or party of the year?

I’m more of a homebody than I used to be, but I will always try and do anything where Linda Simpson hosts. She’s classic NYC drag royalty and always thrills me with her wit and class.

Every April the Ali Forney Center benefits from the Broadway Beauty Pageant, where cute and crazily talented cast members from Broadway shows like Wicked, Memphis and The Lion King compete for the title of Mr. Broadway – complete with talent and swimsuit competitions! They always have genius guest judges like Charles Busch or Hunter Bell (from [title of show] – and yes, that’s what it’s called) and it’s usually hosted by Tovah Feldshuh – who is a hilarious trooper. That’s always a must-do!

People around the world wonder – are NY gays like the cast of the A-List NY?

Ha! No. NYC is full of as many flavor of gays as possible… But I got a kick out of the show, and doing my dopey “Easy A-List” video recaps. The guys on the show were actually really good sports about all the response they got, too. I also was entertained by all of the people who got their knickers in a twist about the show. I loved seeing my more Chelsea-tastic pals ranting about it on Facebook every Monday. They’d squeal about how they can’t deal with it, all the while fuming over every plot point.

Best place to spot the real A-List of New York?

NYC is full of successful, upwardly mobile folks, so who knows? I’d say in foreign cities. Fancy shmancy gays love to travel, so head to the filthiest bar in Berlin and you’ll find some fab New Yorkers getting piggy with it.

Biggest problem facing the gay community in NYC today?

Well, there are all the usual battles to fight regarding gay marriage and equality, HIV awareness and also just substance abuse and depression, but honestly, by and large gays in NYC have it pretty great. Yes, it’s costly as hell to live in New York; it’s a often manic struggle to pay bills and stay sane but if you live here you’re in one of the best places on earth to be a big homo. So, enjoy it. And stay involved… Dig in and donate and participate in worthy causes – like the Ali Forney Center, which houses homeless LGBT youth and is a major issue right now. A lot of fierce kids come out and are tossed to the street, and it’s our duty to look after them.

Three things you can’t travel without?

I’m on a plane now typing this as I fly home to Virginia to be with my family. So… What do I have?

  1. A camera. And use it!!! Taking photos of your travels rocks. I’m the sort of person who drools over friends’ travel albums on Facebook so I always wanna see photos. (Just please edit.)
  2. Good magazines. I don’t buy Vanity Fair or GQ that frequently, but I looooove them when flying. Also foodie magazines.
  3. Those little rectangular packets of tissues, sold in about 10 per bunch. They are lifesavers when kept in a backpack or whatever bag you’re toting around a foreign city. You never know when you’ll need a napkin, or a toilet paper in some random public restroom in Istanbul. God, I’m such an old lady.