I turned the corner of the house and lay witness to a
nightmare. My brother stumbled down the hill as a bus full of children screamed
insults and threw trash out the window towards him. It was not just one or two
bullies but a busload. I thought, “Why doesn’t the bus driver do something?” I
decided to take action myself and told my mother, He never had to ride the bus
after that. But was that really the solution? Who knows the horrors he went
through in the hallways of his school. My brother was picked on his whole life.
He never fit in with the crowd and others gained joy by his reactions to their
abuse. My family didn’t speak of the incident because who wants to admit that
they are bullied? Today I am admitting it.
Bullies sensed that insecurity in me. Growing up in
Tennessee was not easy for me. The school and church I attended loved to feel
superior by knocking me down. Being gay, adopted, left handed, skinny and nerdy
left me an easy target. After a long day of being pushed into lockers and
smacked in the head from the self-esteem building game “smear the queer” I
returned to the safety of my home and paid it forward on my younger brother.
“Jerry the fairy” at least had peace in my room but my
brother didn’t. I felt horrible after that day on the hill for making fun of
him growing up. I vowed to change.
Things did get better. I left for college in Kentucky and
hardly looked back. Finally there was a place where I could be different and
for once that was a good thing. I learned how to live away from home and make
my own life. Afterwards, I moved up north to Chicago where I could be accepted
for the person I wanted to be. It was tough for me to finally come out to my
family but through time things got better. I started working for a LGBT
publication where I interview celebrities, authors such as Dan Savage. While
preparing for the interview I was touched by his book and wondered, “Is it too
late to have my take own It Gets Better moment?” The answer is no. We all have
more stories to tell and hopefully this one helps one more person.
Recently, a policewoman looked at my license and said,
“Weren’t you made fun of with that last name?” I stated, “Yes, although now I
have a website NunnontheRun.com where I celebrate it but thanks for reminding
Being syndicated nationally and having continued growing
success has brought students writing to me and saying they are studying
journalism to be like me. This is really the ultimate compliment. But I implore
them, follow my footsteps and become whatever you want to be but don’t step on
people to get there. Life will get better and it’s never too late to start.
Looking back on this past year I was able to meet and interview some talented and amazing personalities in my column for Nunn on the Run.
Here is some great advice and quotes stars have said to me in 2010:
“How’s your cornholer?” (Lisa Lampanelli)
“I am sure you are much more of an expert than a married man or straight man, anyways.” (Kathy Griffin on blowjobs)
“I know that gays belong to Kathy, but any fall over, I'm going to take.” (Sarah Silverman)
“I have always forged my own unique path in the comedy and entertainment world” (Sandra Bernhard)
“I can't do anything but tell a joke and steal a scene!” (Leslie Jordan)
“You are going to make me cry.” (Chely Wright)
“You made me cry…” (Meredith Baxter)
The Hard Times
“Read my bio and you tell me…” (Belinda Carlisle)
“Oh, I will go there!” (Alexis Stewart)
“Well, first of all, don't suck. Don't be bad at it.” (Dan Savage on writing)
“Everything has to be used for something” (Amy Sedaris)
“Don’t say you are a fan of theirs. It automatically puts you in the fan category with the celebrity.” (Lady Bunny)
“Hold the tape recorder closer to my mouth.” (Perez Hilton)
Full of Questions
“I will never forget that question.” (Natalie Merchant)
“I don’t really get that question.” (Ellen DeGeneres)
“I have no idea how to answer that question, let me get my husband on the phone.” (Carol Channing)
“It is the only place that I actually had a job.” (John Waters)
“Chicago is my favorite city still and it looks gorgeous.” (Laurie Metcalf)
“I love Chicago.” (Pam Grier)
“Let the gays go wild!” (Patti LaBelle)
“I'm slightly under the radar and I do think part of that is because I'm gay.” (Rufus Wainwright)
“I don't define myself by only being gay just like I don't define myself by only being Jewish.” (Nate Berkus)
“It definitely comes with some pressure.” (Adam Lambert)
“I think homophobia is really fucked up.” (Kate Nash)
“If there are gay men in the audience then you automatically get a great show.” (Joan Rivers)
“He is not forcing anything but making decent strides and moving things in the right direction.” (Wanda Sykes)
“There's just nothing that a person in that position can do now, because it's just been bought and sold.” (Melissa Etheridge)
“I am really angry about the fact that a cultured, intelligent black man cannot say that he is for gay marriage.” (Mario Cantone)
“It made me a lot of money. What about that?” (Olympia Dukakis on Moonstruck)
“Wouldn’t that be fun?” (Florence Henderson on hosting SNL)
“I say drag queen diet in the book because it sounds so good.” (RuPaul)
“RuPaul is just the most fabulous phenomenon.” (Lucy Lawless)
“Follow your dream and you can be who you want to be.” (Elton John)
“Thanks a million.” (Lily Tomlin)
Those are just some of the highlights and big moments. Looking forward to more exciting interviews with celebrities in 2011 Nunn on One!
There has been a spark in red hot spicy performers around town recently.It all started with the Colombian singer Shakira shaking her hips all night at the Allstate Arena in October. She began the concert with "Pienso En Ti" and truly kept the crowd in mind, telling people that it was their night to enjoy. She jumped back in forth from English to Spanish throughout the set. There were plenty of homages to other artists, such as a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" and her hit "Whenever Wherever" ended with a bit of "Unbelievable" by EMF. She brought a group of girls onstage to belly dance sorry, gays were not allowed although they tried. She sang songs from her new Spanish album, Sale el Sol, such as "Gordita" and she showed how crazy she can be with current number-one single, "Loca." She ended after an encore of "Waka Waka ( This Time from Africa ) ," the FIFA World Cup 2010 official anthem.The same night I took out one of the members of my favorite Venezuelan funk disco group Los Amigos Invisibles out on the town. We hit four gay bars before ending up at Berlin to dance the night away.
Then Ricky Martin flew the red eye in to Chicago Nov. 12 from his previous night's appearance at the Latin Grammys to sign copies of his new book, Me ( or "Yo" for the spanish version ) , at the Borders bookstore in Lincoln Park.
It was a long day for everyone as 650 people purchased the memoir, some arriving as early as 3 a.m. that morning. The line stretched around the bookshelves with folks young and old. One gay Latino fan cried as he related how much Martin's emergence from the closet meant to him personally. The book describes this spiritual journey and the process of coming out for the Puerto Rican sensation. Speaking of Puerto Rican's singers, Chayanne brought his tour to Chicago this past week. Appearing in a puff of smoke, Chayanne sang songs off his new album, No Hay Imposibles, at the show as well as classics such as “Provocame” “Fiesta en America” and “Tiempo de Vals.” He closed the show with fireworks and his hit “Torero.”
All of that along with a trip to Guatemala this year and a Mexican cooked Thanksgiving dinner proves that my love for Latinos is not going away anytime soon. The melting pot that makes Chicago what it is continues to make my life loca!!!
Read more about my crazy life at www.NunnontheRun.com
Fall has begun with an influx of shows for theatre buffs. Nunn on the Run attended a variety of offerings all in one week.
Collaboration presented 1001, which is based on The Arabian Nights with a modern twist. The Chopin Theatre was a little too grandma's basement for me with the decor and stuffiness. Some audience members nodded off during the first act which is never a good sign and one gent brought a full bottle of Greek wine to keep awake! The cast had many nice moments but it wasn't cohesive and need some cutting, so blame the director for any faults. Visit collaboration.org for showtimes and tickets.
Monday Night Live at Petterino's ,150 N Dearborn, celebrated their third year with cast members from Billy Elliot. Denise McGowan (my former Entertainment Director from Navy Pier) and Beckie Menzie host every week a cabaret class act encouraging patrons to sing on stage.Excellent food for a special $19.95 per person three-course dinner and half price bottles of wine. You have to try the cheesecake and the complimentary valet parking can't be beat in the busy downtown theatre district. Call 312-422-10150 to reserve your dinner and show!
Steppenwolf began its new season with Detroit full ensemble members such Laurie Metcalf, her interview is linked here. The story is about two sets of neighbors and how they interact over the course of time with BBQs and other backyard activities. The cast carries the story of the complicated characters along to a boiling point. Cook up your tickets at steppenwolf.org. The Broadway Playhouse opened at the Water Tower Place, 175 E Chestnut, formerly the Dury Lane with a new modern look. Cast members such as Cesar from Billy Elliot and Barbara Robertson from Wicked were at the opening ceremony.
Broadway singer Sutton Foster held the first show at the Playhouse with a concert that was intimate and just the right length of time. She performed rarities from Shrek the Musical and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Her interview is linked here.
One of my favorites from the week was Rock of Ages at the Bank of America Theatre starring Constantine Maroulis (interviewed here) of American Idol fame. He did a great job of supporting the show. The vibe was fun and retro at the same time. Luckily the venue allowed drinking in the theatre to add to the party vibe with members from rock bands Styx, REO Speedwagon and Survivor sprinkled in the crowd to lift their lighters and watch the gang rock. Here is Jamie Ross from Bret Michael's Rock of Love reality show who is Constantine's manager. Visit BroadwayInChicago.com for tickets before they sell out.
Overall, a dramatic week that would make Shakespeare proud! Break a leg, thespians and watch for more shows on the way such as Working, The Lion King and Pandemonium.
running all over the city for nonstop coverage of every show. The
weekend began early with a Scissor Sister interview with Jake Shears.
Combining '80s style dance music and disco kept the abundantly gay crowd
jumping throughout the set from the album Night Work. Many didn't "Feel
Like Dancin'" because the place was cooking with no air conditioning.
People took the hint and shed their clothes for the encore song
"Filthy/Gorgeous." The after party was a blast at Berlin, 3140 N
Sheffield, as the lead singer, Jake Shears, partied with fans throughout
Temperatures cooled on Friday with an outdoor concert with Nelly
Furtado. The show was half in Spanish spotlighting the album Mi Plane.
Read the Nunn on One interview here. The fans packed the grass with wine, cheese and candles to complete the mood.
The North Coast Music Festival ran the entire weekend with acts such acts as The Chemical Brothers (read the interview here) and Moby. Nunn on the Run drank backstage with rapper Trugoy the Dove from De La Soul pictured here.
had two concerts the first with Vampire Weekend at the Aragon Ballroom
and then Crowded House at the House of Blues. Both shows were packed to
the gills and proved a strong following for the bands.
Happy Labor Day!