Have you met Kit Williamson and John Halbach – Actors, Writers, Producers, and Travel Influencers?

Many of you may know Kit Williamson from Mad Men and his Emmy nominated and award winning show Eastsiders (Where you will also know his husband, John Halbach from). I am lucky to have become part of Eastsiders as an associate producer in season three and I am even luckier to be able to call them friends now as well. As a matter of fact, I just saw them in NYC when they were here to promote the third season of Eastsiders at New Fest last month.

If you follow Kit and John on social media you may have also noticed they have become quite the travel/luxury influencers these days and that is what I wanted to highlight them for here. Of course we must note that Kit is working on some amazing writing and directing projects like Girls Like Magic AND Eastsiders Season Three is available to pre-order at Amazon right now.

I have no idea how they find time to do all they do and take the fabulous trips they do BUT I do know that they make the trips look as fabulous as you’d imagine, plus are able to bring us all along via social media. Earlier this year, they took a trip across Europe that included time in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague. Then they returned to LA for the premiere of Eastsiders Season three at Outfest but soon after headed to Palm Springs for some more amazing views and Instagram photos!

Recently, they spent time in NYC, where I am from (after a brief stay in one of my favorite cities, Toronto), and introduced me to the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn. I actually lived right there in Williamsburg for a but but never visited this truly luxurious hotel right in my home town.

During their time in Europe, Kit and John experienced some of the local culture, explored the usual tourist sites, and definitely enjoyed the local cuisine. I spoke to John about it at the Eastsiders premiere party after Outfest in Los Angeles and he expressed interest in doing it again as well as traveling to other places. At the after party for Eastsiders at NewFest in NYC, Kit expressed the same feelings to me about traveling and I expressed my interest in joining them on a few adventures (can you blame me for trying?).

There experiences traveling and influencing have led them to start their very own magazine called Where Gentlemen Go to showcase all the latest and hottest trends in travel, health, home, fashion, and more. As they say, “Go Out, Go Home, Go for It – A gay men’s travel/ lifestyle blog for modern gents.” I suggest you check it out, you will see a familiar face there from time to time. I am truly proud to be a part of Where Gentlemen Go because it’s a place for guys to go to share experiences, thoughts, tips, and their favorite things and places.

Please make sure you follow both Kit Williamson and John Halback on Twitter and Instagram for to view pictures of their trips and upcoming adventures and projects. Also follow Eastsiders and Girls Like Magic, you won’t be sorry.

Nico Tortorella and the Heart of Hunter&Game

It’s not secret that I love all things TV Land and am a huge fan of their show, Younger. I have worked alongside my TV Land family, live tweeting the premiere and am an avid viewer from home. I don’t need a twitter party to motivate me to live tweet what I love (as you all know). I have enjoyed the entire first season but haven’t crossed paths with any of the stars, until now.

A mutual friend, Richard Hine alerted me to the fact that Nico Tortorella had done this amazing Indie film, Hunter&Game,  about the world of Indie music in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY. This was of major interest to me because Nico is a favorite actor of mine but also because I have many friends who are Indie musicians in NYC and was even a part of the scene for a few years myself. (promotions mostly, not performing).

When I was given the opportunity to speak to Nico about the film, I didn’t hesitate to say YES. I was not disappointed in any way. Nico Tortorella is as fun to talk to as you would imagine from seeing him on screen. He definitely shares many qualities with his character Josh on Younger in his spirit, authenticity, and ability to make others feel comfortable around him. He also shares the fun loving quality of his character in Hunter&Game, Carson. You can tell why he was drawn to the character and why the character is so endearing.

We spoke last Friday night about life, Younger, and of course Hunter&Game. I think you will enjoy Nico’s advice, humor, and insight as much as I did:

Q: Tell me a little about Hunter and Game. What drew you to the role?

Nico Tortorella: Ninety percent of the film was real life. I was supposed to read for Sasha but I knew I had to go in for Carson. Carson was obviously the role I was meant to play, he is the heart of the movie. So, I smoked a joint, put on a fur coat, and got the role.

Q: Are you a musician as well as an actor? 

NT: I taught myself to play the guitar and bass. I’ve also written some sappy love songs. When this film came around, it was perfect because I’ve always seen myself as more of a rock star than an actor.

Q: Did you or do you hang out with many Indie musicians?

NT: While filming, I did but I don’t have an abundance of musician friends. Musicians were around constantly during production.

Q: Hunter and Game is being called “Spinal Tap meets Bushwick”. How does that make you feel? 

NT: It feels EPIC, it’s everything we ever hoped for. We went into this with a first time filmmaker, low budget, like a bunch of friends hanging out. I think Hunter and Game has a reality Spinal Tap didn’t have, a relate-ability.

Q: Can we talk about Younger for a minute. The show will be returning for a second season this January after a phenomenal first season. What is that like for you? Have you settled into being a TV star and a leading man?

NT: You can’t really take any of that too seriously. I think I keep a sense of humility, it’s the first series I’m in that hasn’t been canceled early. The first time I’m coming back for a second season. Let’s face it, romantic comedy is a dying genre but we can turn that around.

Q: Do you like your character, Josh?

NT: I’d hang out with Josh, he shares my core values of life. He’s cool, wants to have fun, and wants everyone to live authentically.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? From who?

NT: Scott Fellows (Big Time Rush) said something with me that really resonated early on. He said, “As an actor, if you’re starting off and there’s ANYTHING you think you can do other than act, go do it now”.

That hit me hard and I realized I truly belong in this industry.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever given? Are you usually able to take or heed your own words of wisdom?

NT: To young actors, I’d say if you have an audition, really think about what everyone else is going to do for theirs and do the opposite. Don’t be predictable or like everyone else going in.

As far as taking my own advice, yeah, I’d like to think I can and do.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

NT: I absolutely cannot live without honey, I just love it. As far as something we could all live without, Jealousy. It’s a nasty mofo!

Q: What’s up next for Nico Tortorella?

NT: There’s a small rumor about a season three for Younger and I’m also reading scripts. I’d love to play a superhero and tackle the action genre. Other than that, I just want to do good work and work with good people.

Q: Do you have a preference between New York City and Los Angeles?

NT: I miss LA, my heart is there for sure.

Q: Since you are in New York City, any plans to do Broadway? 

NT: I’d love to! I just haven’t seen the right script. But it’ll happen at some point for sure!

I’d like to thank Nico for taking time out of his Friday night for me and for being such a delight! Be sure to catch him this January in Season two of Younger on TV Land and be sure to watch Hunter&Game for FREE here:

Lady Gaga launches ‘Artpop’ at VIP New York party

Lady Gaga launches ‘Artpop’ at VIP New York party (via AFP)

Multi-platinum selling diva Lady Gaga electrified several thousand handpicked fans with a live performance at the Brooklyn docks, kicking off the global release Monday of her third album. Strutting and writhing across the stage dressed in a white leotard…

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ATM hackers steal $45m from banks across the world in a matter of hours

ATM hackers steal $45m from banks across the world in a matter of hours (via The Inquirer)

A GLOBAL MOB of hackers stole $45 million from thousands of ATMs in a matter of hours in the second cyber heist of its kind, authorities in New York have said. A four count US federal indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn on Thursday charging eight defendants with participating in two worldwide cyber…

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Kirstie Alley, Dirty Waltz, and Dance With Me USA

Sometimes you imagine an event as more than it really is and then, when you get to it, it can be disappointing.  This past Sunday, October 30th, was not one of those events.  I had been fortunate enough to attend a previous Dance With Me USA event where the amazing Kirstie Alley had performed.  You can read about that here.  After it was over I only had a brief brush by with her but spent some time talking to her equally amazing assistant, Kelly.  I understood that she was busy doing press and they were running her ragged.  After the event, Kirstie commented that we really needed to meet up again so we could actually spend time together.

When I found out there would be another Dance With Me USA event in New York, and this time Brooklyn, I did not hesitate to get my tickets.  First VIP table on the dance floor!  As soon as Kirstie found out I was coming, she began planning our meeting.  So very gracious and kind of her.  I can tell  that in this case, all the anticipation and whatever I was expecting was absolutely true.  It was so nice to just be in the presence of someone who really gets the connection humans can have.  Kirstie’s energy is exactly as you see on TV and on Twitter.  It was like we already knew each other for years and, actually, we have via Twitter.

Let’s not forget the real reason she came back from her trip in Europe.  The purpose of the evening was to raise attention for the Dance With Me USA dance schools, show off the talent of the students, teachers, professional dancers, and Kirstie.  There were amazing dances by all involved, awards, and great music.

Sherri Shepherd, from The View and The Newlywed Game was there to support the group, so was Tony Dovolani. He even got in on the dancing and showed off his Dancing with the Stars moves.  Sherri was so lovely in person too.  Everyone was there to support and to mingle with fans and friends.   I do encourage you to go to DanceWithMeUSA.com to check it out and give some support if you can.

Kirstie Alley did an amazing job with a Dirty Waltz and her signature Cha-Cha to “Forget You,” both dances with Serge Onik, a truly wonderful dancer and dance partner.  Dancing with the Stars really turned her into a dance-a-holic and it is great to see her enjoy it so much.

As usual, Elena Grinenko, Daria Chesnokova, and Val Chmerkovskiy were just superb.  I missed seeing Maksim Chmerkovskiy but he is still busy stirring things up on Dancing with the Stars.  Hopefully, next time he will be there like he was in June to reprise the Cha-Cha with Kirstie.

I really cannot stress how great Kirstie looks, how kind she is, and what a wonderful energy she has.  She could not have been more generous or shown her true heart more.  She was so happy to meet and take pictures with everyone she knows from her online exchanges and to meet new friends, such as my good pal, Chad D.  I know we both walked away permanently impressed by our meeting with her.

You can see the video I took of the performance here  and here.