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Hensley: Going My Way

Exclusive | Going My Way: Hometowns and Holidays Part Two

Exclusive | Going My Way: Hometowns and Holidays Part Two

Our regular columnist Dennis Hensley shares his fave things about spending the holidays in L.A. and reaches out to friends in Dallas, New York, Chicago, Portland, and Atlanta for their yuletide picks.

Marc Acito's Portland
"Call me Scrooge, but Christmas irks me," admits Marc Acito, the writer behind the hilariously un-irksome novels How I Paid for College and Attack of the Theater People. "I'm not opposed to peace on earth and goodwill toward men, particularly if they're cute, but I resent being told I have to feel holly jolly if I don't friggin' want to."

For those of us who wish to join Marc in escaping the forced cheeriness of the season, Portland offers plenty of diversions, like Powell's City of Books for example. "You can wander through a block's worth of new and used tomes 365 days a year, including Christmas. Or you can spend a whole week watching the Northwest Film Center's ?Black Christmas? festival of film noir classics, including Sunset Boulevard, The Asphalt Jungle, and Strangers on a Train."

If you'd rather get your subversive X-mas kicks from a live performance, Acito has just the ticket. His play Holidazed is currently packing them in at the Artists Repertory Theatre. "It's a twisted comedy that features a frustrated soccer mom, a pagan street kid, a bossy ghost, and two gay guys who play everybody else," explains Acito. "It's part of my campaign to bring Christmas back to its raucous Bacchanalian roots, putting the fruit in fruitcake, the soul in solstice and the dick in Dickensian." Wow, I might just have to hop a plane.

Amy Metheny's Chicago
"Nothing like the holidays in Chicago," asserts Amy Metheny, a radio veteran turned podcaster who currently helms the popular Windy City Queercast. "I like the lights on Michigan Avenue, shopping in the gayborhood of Andersonville, ice skating downtown...but for me, it is all about the holiday shows."

An actor and lifelong theater junkie, Metheny is looking forward such holiday offerings as David Sedaris's comedy The Santaland Diaries starring fellow Queercaster Mitchell Fain at the Theatre Building, the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker, as well as their sexier spin on the holiday classic called Land of the Sweets, A Burlesque Nutcracker, and The Windy City Gay Chorus's 30th annual holiday concert at the Gay and Lesbian Center on Halsted Street. "You can grab a bite to eat in the lobby at the Whole Foods, check your email at the computer center, and there's lots of good people watching at the Center."

Speaking of good people-watching, one of Metheny's favorite nights out in Chicago is a year-round tradition that is particularly festive at Christmastime: Show Tune Mondays at the Boystown bar Sidetrack. "It's a great chance for gays to sing along to musicals and enjoy holiday cheer and cocktails. Perfect after a busy day of shopping."

Jack Mackenroth's New York City
Jack Mackenroth makes his living in fashion so it's no surprise that his favorite things about the holidays in Manhattan are fabulous and fashion-forward. "I absolutely love to go see the holiday window displays at Barney's," gushes the Season 4 Project Runway designer. "They're always brilliantly over-designed, grotesque, and fabulous at the same time. Barney's Creative Director Simon Doonan is a genius."

An accomplished swimmer, Mackenroth likes to stay active in the wintertime by ice skating at the temporary rink in Bryant Park, which, coincidentally is where Project Runway's Fashion Week finales are held. "I like to pretend I'm Diane Von Furstenberg in skates while I practice my triple-axles," he quips. "Then it's off to Starbucks for an eggnog latte."

In a red holiday cup, of course. It wouldn't be Christmas without 'em.

Part One | Part Two

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