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Since April 2003, Derek Hartley has been one half of the Sirius XM Radio duo "Derek and Romaine" on the OutQ Channel. In 2009, the show received a Special Recognition Award from GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In 2010, they were named to OUT Magazine's Out 100 list.
Prior to the launch of "Derek and Romaine," Derek had been a syndicated columnist for nearly a decade. His widely-read columns have appeared online and in print across the U.S. and around the world. His popular relationship column, FantasyMan Island, appeared weekly on PlanetOut.com from 1997-2005. His first book, "Colonnade: A Life In Columns" juxtaposes his first two years in NYC in 2001 and 2002 with his PlanetOut column culminating in the eventual launch of his radio show.
His latest work ("When Nightlife Falls") is a memoir detailing some of his experiences behind the scenes of his popular radio show, traveling around the country, and the men he meets along the way.
As an avid listener to the Derek and Romaine show on Sirius since 2003, I was looking forward to this book. A quick, great read! I could hear Derek speaking each word as I read it. He remained true to himself; intelligent, talented, and very entertaining.
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There are so many references one can make to Hartley's latest memoir that, like revealing too many presents to the kids on Christmas Eve, one can ask what can we look forward to on Christmas day? A lot as it turns out. If you've read the first story, Colonnade: A Life In Columns, you undoubtedly begged for more, hoping that the stories would keep coming at you, strong and sound in classic Hartley style. If this is your first foray into Hartley's world, no worries that you've missed the first season and won't be able to understand who is who and what happened when.
Like a great movie or television series, Hartley takes us along on his journey into his examined life. There are details about porn stars and insight into the industry - Chi Chi LaRue is at once a star director with waves of wannabe stars dropping their junk at her command and a charming lush frantically looking for her purse that is - ahem - on her arm. There are plenty of stories shining some harsh lighting into the gay club scene, and with names like Barracuda, Beige, the Hole, and Therapy, you would half expect Hartley to create a list of gay night clubs and bar names ala 30 Rock to highlight the absurdity of it all.
Hartley uses his words in a way that leaves us thinking hard about the details of our own lives, even as you find yourself aware of the fact that you have nothing in common with him or maybe everything in common with him. Yet here we are, relating to him as he comments on relationships, friendships, youth and aging, reality and fantasy and oh so many things - at once we are laughing and then tearing up. And as we go on this ride, finding ourselves falling down into the rabbit hole, sitting on the Peter Pan ride, or watching Postcards From the Edge, I can tell you one thing I know for certain: I don't know Derek Hartley, but I love that he keeps going so that I may know of him.
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