Actually. He is. It comes as a shock to no one but me that actor Hal Sparks, Queer as Folk's Michael Novotny, is from Franklin County. You know, Frankfort--the place with great big marble government buildings and unbridled homophobia with a dash of the establishment of religion for one and all. That's the one. Straight boy from small town Kentucky plays gay boy on TV for five seasons and is really good at it. Film at eleven.
Well, actually not. You'll need to rent Queer as Folk from Wild and Wooly if you don't own it already. It's probably in reruns on Logo, Insight Channel 127, I think. I don't have cable. You'll have to look it up. And you should. You should watch Queer as Folk even though it's in reruns and all the actors have moved on to other projects and this is not a paid commercial endorsement.
You should watch it because it's very, very gay. Love it or hate it. Despise the characters or decide they're just like the girls, or guys, you know at the bar or the gym or sitting next to you on the couch. Wonder what it would be like to have a mom like Debbie Novotny or Jennifer Taylor. Would you really want to date Brian? Seriously? How about Ben? Queer as Folk gives you something to think about and there's eye candy. Oh yes indeed there is eye candy. It's a guy-centric show so you gals need to brace yourself for that. I have to admit I haven't kept up with L Word so I get there are different dynamics at work. All the boys are pretty; they spend a lot of time at the bar and the gym. Money doesn't seem to be a problem for any of them and the mythical land of Liberty Avenue is lined with gay friendly and gay owned businesses and surrounded by a gay ghetto where you can swish down the sidewalk holding hands and know you're surrounded by other community minded folks. That would be the queer community not the "live by our rules or go to hell" community that one keeps finding oneself unfortunately mired in here in Kentucky. Queer as Folk is not exactly set in the real world.
So you only watch things set in “the real world?” Right. You might want to go back to your knitting. Anyway, before Queer as Folk what exactly did we have? Will and Grace? Yeah. OK, except that I get around more than Will and I'm a big fat queen with smart mouth and short attention span. Big Gay Al from Southpark? Tara and Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Willow started out with Oz. Remember? Here’s a little history lesson. Queer as Folk hit the airwaves in the US in 2000. The good citizens of Kentucky wrote gay marriage out of our constitution in 2004. Voters in California wrote gay marriage out of their constitution in 2009. Do you seriously think the real world is ready for us and we don't need a place like Liberty Avenue to at least think about?
And that reminds me. Queer as Folk had a life before it debuted on Showtime. It’s actually a remake. Queer as Folk was originally created for the BBC and started out there with a two series (as in seasons) run. Their Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh was Canal Street, Manchester. The names and some of the characters changed when they came across the Atlantic to the US but you can probably recognize everyone and the story if you set down and watch it. The up-tight and prim were shocked by Queer as Folk UK. I guess it was OK for Mr. Humphries to mince across the screen in Are You Being Served? but Stuart and Nathan (their Brian and Justin) lock lips and the howls of outrage drowned out the chimes of Big Ben. You can thank Russell Davies for all of this hoopla. Mr. Davies went on to re-invent Dr. Who after creating Queer as Folk. He also created Bob and Rose (a bisexual couple? It's difficult to say), and, one of my favorites, Torchwood. Does it matter that Russell Davies is openly gay and has a partner? You bet. The lead actor in Torchwood, John Barrowman, is also openly gay and had a civil union with his spouse in December 2006. It's illegal in Kentucky but we wish him well anyway. Barrowman's character, Captain Jack Harkness, is openly bisexual. It's complicated. You'll have to watch.
Hal Sparks was in Louisville in February of 2009. He was the Valentine's Day headliner at the Improv Comedy Club in Fourth Street Live. I missed it. The good folks over at LEO, however, caught up with Hal and asked him how he was doing and what was going on in his life. He's in a band. He was going to skip out and visit his mom and sister while he was in town. He doesn't play Louisville very much but has been in Lexington quite a bit. I did some checking around to see what the other QAF alumni are up to. Gale Harold (Brian) is in Desperate Housewives now. Randy Harrison (Justin) and Scott Lowell (Ted) are doing theater. Peter Paige (Emmett) is directing. Life goes on. I was surprised to discover that Russell Davies left the BBC in April 2009 and moved to Hollywood. Who knows what he's cooking up. I'll get back to you on that.