2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog 2005 Queer Day Awards

Best Gay Blog Nominee 2004 Weblog Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Sunday, May 31, 2009


That's Like 35 In Dog Years...

And now, a moment of celebration: today, May 31st, marks the five-year anniversary of Modern Fabulousity. Yeah. Five years on the internet is a mighty, mighty long time...back then, no one had ever heard of Taylor Swift or Mylie Cyrus. Facebook and Twitter were just made-up words. Britney hadn't yet married K-Fed, and Justin Timberlake had just tried to cover up Janet Jackson's boob during the Super Bowl. A week prior, Diana DeGarmo had lost to Fantasia on American Idol. The most important celebrity on the internet was Harry Knowles. And Barack Obama, well, he was just that nice guy from Illinois.

Modern Fabulousity (or, as Rod2.0 charmingly nicknamed it in 2005, ModFab) has been through its own struggles. It started out by winning a ton of awards and rapidly building a readership based on its (at the time unusual) mix of soft-core boy porn and cultural witticisms. My hope was to do for culture blogs what Wonkette was doing for politics...sharp insight with sassy wit. All through the lens of what it means to be a gay person in a straight world.

And then Perez Hilton, aka He Who Shall Not Be Linked, destroyed blogging. At least in my opinion. As my longtime friend Brilliant at Breakfast put it a few years ago, Perez sucked all of the air out of intelligent pop blogging...there was simply no room for thoughtfulness. Only sass, sex, gossip, and bitchery. And sure, that can be fun...for a while. But as I get older (and yes, I am getting older), it is less and less interesting to me. A lot less.

I'm unhappy with the state of the blogosphere these days. Over time, I've seen smart blogs get dumber (including some of my friends, who have gotten very successful by dumbing down their content). I've seen talented writers sell out their vision to the highest bidder. I've seen great bloggers decide to leave the battlefield for good (Peter, Damion, etc...you are still missed). Some blogs left their indie roots and became "brands," which is really just a cheap word for corporate. And a very, very few -- some of whom are linked in the sidebar -- have remained champion-level independent thinkers and writers.

But not many.

Longtime fans probably already saw my ambivalence before now...I'm not sure I've been hiding it well. My bogging has decreased in the last year or so. Mostly, that's due to five things:

  1. Gossip now bores me most of the time, and I can't work up the energy to write about it.
  2. No one seems especially interested in my music or photography links (both of which I really love), and soft-core porn is now on every gay blog in the universe.
  3. I became a victim of my own success, in some ways. Specifically, the theatre-centric columns got popular among Broadway folk. Unfortunately, the bitchy (but truthful) things I'd been saying in those columns -- not to mention the leaks about upcoming shows -- started to get me in trouble with some industry figures, so I pulled back.
  4. ModFab's bread and butter -- the cinema -- became useless. I started on the internet, 11 years ago, as a film critic. But movies have lost their way, I think; even independent and foreign films have succumbed to the tyranny of mindlessly entertaining the masses. Ironically enough, cinema's bastard stepchild -- television -- has emerged as the major global communicative art form of the new century (alongside the internet). If you disagree, I ask you when the last time widespread worldwide arguments occurred over a movie like the ones we recently had over Adam Lambert. (Brokeback? Get real. I'm talking Passion of the Christ. Which was, you guessed it, five years ago.) And finally...
  5. The real world is significantly more interesting these days. I continue to write and direct plays, and have discovered some new passions. One is poetry; after winning a few awards for individual pieces, my first collection, GlitterDirt, is being published in 2010. The other passion is photography; after recently shelling out over $1000 for a camera, extra lenses, light meters, and training classes, I've started a photoblog, GlitterLens. It's not much to look at yet, but I'm learning, and I can easily say that photography is the most exciting new thing in my life.
I could go on with other excuses -- I lost a lot of weight, I got a job promotion, I became a homeowner, yada yada yada. But the truth is that the ModFab blog that had all that popularity in 2006 and 2007? I don't want to be that anymore. So I'm not going to be.

Reading this back, it sounds like I'm quitting. I'm not. Modern Fabulousity will continue on, erratically and capriciously as always. But it will be, more than ever, a blog that chases MY moods and thoughts, MY observations and critiques, MY reactions to the world of art and theatre and music and culture and society. After five years, I realize that successful blogging, for me, means being the anti-Perez. Which means no faux journalism, no daily newspaper imitation, no star interviews or podcasts, no links to the same big story of the day that's on every blog. It's about a singular perspective. I'm trying to get back to that.

I hope at least two or three of you will be interested. And yes, I'll have Tony predictions next week. :-)

Oh, one other thing: I love my readers. Really, truly, I LOVE them. All of you. For those of you who've been around for most of our five-year stretch, I want to say "thank you." Your comments, your e-mails, your willingness to be a part of my life has been something I've never taken for granted. I appreciate anyone who has stuck by ModFab as it grew, and who are willing to see where it goes next. From the bottom of my heart, I say: free handjobs for everyone. Here's to the next five...




Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

ModFab, Love your insights on all things, theatre or otherwise. It's a sincere honor counting you among my friends.

Here's to your continued success, wherever it may lie.

5/31/09, 4:49 PM  
Blogger Al In The County said...

Congrats on the anniversary. And thank you for not dumbing it down. There are lots of us that appreciate that.

5/31/09, 5:22 PM  
Blogger David said...

Congratulations and I look forward to more of the same David x

5/31/09, 7:28 PM  
Blogger Cal said...

Congrats on the five-year anniversary!! I've been a ModFab reader for the minority of this time but it remains interminably cool. And I love this post -- even though most of it is bitching.

You obviously reflected over the five years and the cultural deterioration came to the forefront. I'd argue that it's not really a new thing. Any original art form etc. ends up being diluted and standardised eventually and it's the same with blogging. Popular culture blogs are generally similar but it's yours that are ten-a-penny. The great thing is that the people you'd want to read your output are the ones that want individual and different perspectives and opinions.

It's easy to get caught up in the whole collective thing. It's great that you've stayed true to yourself.

5/31/09, 7:33 PM  
Blogger JimmyD said...

Here's to 5+more years!

5/31/09, 8:50 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I couldn't agree more with Steve on Broadway and Al... You are truly a thoughtful and wonderful guy. And did I mention a huge inspiration. Thanks for still being the best place on the net. Keep being brutally honest. You're the only one I agree with on the Adam Lambert thing...keep it coming baby. Congrats!


5/31/09, 10:47 PM  
Blogger Vance said...

Ooh. and I have checked out your Glitterlens before this (not realizing at first it was YOURS (or else I would have clicked sooner)) and it's wonderful!
(And sorry for dumbing down. My brain hurst after work these days. I need more sleep)
But between you and SteveOB, thanks for getting me all back into theatre and I LOVE your opinions so please, keep ranting. It's how I learn.

5/31/09, 11:55 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

free hand jobs? i'm so there :) hehe, really congrats on 5 years. i may not comment as often as i used to but i'm here every new post lapping up what you have to say. your thoughts on blogging are pretty much in line with mine, which is why i've pulled back to weekly posts for a while to get some perspective. However and whenever your blog is up with new posts, i'll definitely be there. it's always such an interesting read :)

6/1/09, 1:31 AM  
Blogger yiristos said...

Happy Anniversary! Although I only jumped on board fairly recently, modfab has become a regular haunt and I would hate it to disappear. I'd really like to thank you for everything that is modfab... and I for one love the music and photography links! Thanks for sharing x

6/1/09, 5:13 AM  
Blogger par3182 said...

five frakkin' years? how the hell did that happen so fast?

i'm so glad you're still around (not like some slackers you could've mentioned...oh, you did)

you keep posting, i'll keep reading. deal?

6/1/09, 9:26 AM  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Clearly, we love you too! I'm excited to see your new blogging adventures--photographic and otherwise. Chase your moods and thoughts and observations and reactions. We'll follow!

6/1/09, 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction! I LOVE your music posts because as a DJ you have turned me onto more amazing bands and mixes that I would not have normally come across.

So stop your blubbering and take a box!

I read your blog every single day, even when there are no updates, to see what stuff is new of I may have missed. Rock it like a superstar, because that is what you are!

6/1/09, 7:37 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Hey Gabriel,
Happy anniversary.

I love reading ModFab and I loved meeting you last fall. And all those months after you first mentioned Janet McTeer to me, I'm finally getting to see her this week!

Best of luck in all your endeavors and all the new passions in your life. Whenever the mood strikes you, I will definitely be back here to read what you have to say.

6/1/09, 9:15 PM  
Blogger hughhai said...

First, I'll say that I just love YOU for the words you send out to the world. I am a grad student in Communication Studies and am headed for a doctorate in Social Psychology. I get blue sometimes doing work that does not let me ignore how driven by hate and prejudice people can be. A voice that can both celebrate the wonderful things about gay life and culture while still examining the critical (read: examinations of power, not cattiness) is essential in these times when our people are one of the last groups for whom open discrimination is tolerated. I value your insight, wit, and style. You are my connection to gay culture because you do it with integrity. Yours is the only blog in my consciousness, for all the reasons you stated above. Good luck in your path toward self-actualization. Take pretty pictures, and know that one 40 year old student on the west coast thinks you are the s**t.

6/3/09, 3:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home