Sunday, August 28, 2016

Archer's Omnibus of Oddities: A View from the Brink

I've collected all my most irreverent escapades into a book in this one-stop digital shop. Most of these quick-read stories are from my years as columnist for Out magazine. Other entries were published elsewhere and some are totally new entries in OH NO HE DIDN'T. The title should ward off the easily offended or unprepared... thanks to Bam Bam for the original concept and textured cover!

Eight out of ten sociologists agree: "Jesse Archer spins his most shocking escapades into editorial that is sometimes salacious, often incendiary, and always irreverent. From Manhattan to Burning Man to North Dakota's Corn Palace, follow the misadventures of a gay man with a lot to learn. This volume includes a decade's worth of outrageous tales, some of which may involve black sheep, masculine bottoms, forbidden fruit, sex parties, suicides, Cyndi Lauper, AIDS cures, prison pen pals, Fire Island survivors, a high school hero, and how to ruin your best friend's wedding."

Download at the link above, or at Apple, Amazon, or maybe even in your cloud, if you can pin it down. xoxo

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rotto Swim… and quokka selfie!

I jumped at the opportunity to join three girlfriends for a relay ocean swim from Perth to Rottnest Island. The Rottnest Channel Swim is 20+ kms across notoriously shark-infested waters... to the island home of the adorable marsupial, the quokka.

me and the girls at the finish #BUCKET LIST TICKED
Bondi Bubble Butts at Cottlesoe Beach...
My first Indian Ocean meet and greet!
The Rotto Swim is super difficult to enter. Simply to register you have to find a local skipper, a boat, a paddler; have a team, pay $1000, and register online within a window of just a few days... and even after all that you are not guaranteed a spot, you're only put in the lottery. Thankfully two of our team were locals and their family hooked us up.

Conditions were ideal! And it felt like the entire city was out there in a flotilla of hundreds of boats, paddlers slowly rocking their way toward the island.
thanks, paddler Crispy!
 And with all the boats and paddlers looking out for dorsal fins, it felt a lot safer. No marine creatures spotted by our team besides fish, rays, and ...  sea grass.

Ben, our friendly skipper.

a cola for your troubles, Meg!
Anna, queen of the flotilla.
Are we there yet? I'm pink in zinc.
 We swam in intervals of ten minutes, and after a few hours went down to 8 minute intervals. Simon was on the back of the boat timing the entire time. I'll confess to getting seasick for the second hour - the boat bobbling along only as fast as we swam. Thanks to some hardcore early am training, we all felt really strong. Next challenge: swim it in a duo!

Once arrived at the island, thousands of revelers had ferried over and were drinking at the local pub, but after a few beers off we went in search of the lovable yet feral local inhabitants...
baby quokka digging in momma's purse.

Bagged the ultimate Rottnest souvenir -- a QUOKKA SELFIE. How cute are these things? Granted I had to slather my body in honey and prostate myself on the road to get this photo, but it was worth it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Home of the Brave

Mistaking cartilage for a spine and the deep sea for high ground, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) says he will not give a hearing for, or even meet Obama's as yet unnamed supreme court nominee.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Tropfest 2016

The world's largest short film festival, Tropfest, happened last night in Sydney's Centennial Park. Was a beautiful day, made better with the timely death of that blowhard on the bench, Antonin Scalia. 2016 Valentine's Day really is for lovers!
public picnic aka boozing with Poysa and Leigh
Always fun to see what the filmmakers come up with in 7 minutes or less at Tropfest. Each year a certain "signature item" has to feature in the films in some way. This year it was "card". This short, Postcards to Ulay, was one of my favorites. It came in second in the competition. Sweet.

In other news, check out my backyard in summer! Have been seriously training for a big ocean swim off of Perth in a couple week's time. More on that later... but what a way to wake up. This pool – that view!

Monday, January 04, 2016

We have liftoff

Launching into the New Year on my flamingo pegasus!
A few of us found this gorgeous spot in the mountains, in Barrington Tops national park, a few hours NW of Sydney.
Spent a couple days camping, starting fires with the wigwam method,
dipping into the frigid freshwater waterfalls (even Simon braved the swimming hole), 
 and playing on the inflatable plastic pink flamingo.... which Bam got me for Xmas...
...and, five minutes out of the box, suffered a mortal puncture wound on its first flight (see first image; impact was much less graceful). Bam was none too pleased, but the flamingo head is uninjured. I may mount it as a trophy on my wall. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Camp

Rehearsed over few nights to join this drag queen disco flash mob on Bondi Beach, which happened during one of my lifesaving patrols. I'm the too-tan one between queens below. The Xmas song is Kylie and Danni Minogue: "Whether the snow falls or / It’s 100 degrees / It’s still Christmas to me!”

Any tips for getting this song out of my head are welcomed. Huge thanks to the weather on Saturday, our organiser DJ Dan Murphy, choreographer David Olsen, and drag stars Minnie Cooper and Penny Tration. Merry Xmas from Australia!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Carol: Oscars everywhere!

I was so entranced by Carol, I left the cinema thinking I might be lesbian! (Shhh) Here's my review of the period (1952) drama, starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, in this month's issue of DNA magazine. Click images to enlarge. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Bondi to Bronte

Well... it was meant to be the annual Bondi to Bronte ocean swim... but organizers determined Bronte surf was too gnarly (dumping waves onto shallow sand bar), but that's the challenge - Bronte surf is always gnarly. Anyway, they erred on the side of caution and altered the course into a giant 2km loop in Bondi. I wanted an ocean swim not a pool paddle!

Disappointed about the change of course or dismayed by the appearance of those in my age group!?

Below: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in the red and black stripes at the far side. Yes that is the Prime Minister of Australia! There were a couple of policemen on hand, and media, but so casual. As if to underscore the lack of threat, his starting gun is a whistle.

Conditions were perfect, and I felt strong... kicked and whacked as good as I got this time!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mugshot or Passport?

They don't let you smile for passport fotos in Australia. Messes with the nanny facial surveillance, apparently. You think I could have smiled with my eyes? My eyes look dead, or like if you walk past this photo, the eyes will follow you around. Like eyes in a painting hanging in a haunted house on Scooby Doo.

But I've got dual citizenship now and if you can't tell, which you can't, I am happy to be Americalian!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


The moment when the oldest kid (me!) at the Trampoline Park realizes he's blown out his crotch. Ahh... the drop-crotch pant. Not only age-inappropriate, but movement-restrictive!

Monday, November 16, 2015

On est Paris

WW1 was the last time they used horses in wartime and the first time they used poison gas. WW 2 gave us the advent of nuclear war. I'm not going to ignore the power vacuum created by war hawks and criminals like Bush and Cheney that allow for ISIS to exist, or the Western interference and imperialism that practically demand revenge plots, but today we have war without borders, a war against civilians and against civilisation fought by brainwashed demagogues of a bankrupt ideology.

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would shave good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
– Nobel-winning physicist Steven Weinberg

Reflect on that for a second and it not only sheds light on radical Islam, but bring us to the Mormon Church. A church that purports to value the family has put out new rules that not only labels same-sex couples apostates, but says that their children cannot be baptised, be full members of the church or go on their mission... until they move away from home and disavow their parents. Watch the gay youth suicide rates rise. And loving parents be made to feel as if they are child abusers. As if children didn't have enough to resent their parents for -- now they can blame them for taking away heaven!

This reminds me of that tale in the old testament of that devout goober who god told to go sacrifice his only son to prove how much he loved him. Then when Abraham was ready to do it, to commit murder, to kill his only child, god says "just kidding -- just wanted to see how much you love me!" We would label this today psychopathy. This is not an all-powerful god who loves. This is not Jesus who hung out with the outsiders. This is a weak, needy, mentally ill, fucked up creator who needs to be shut away from human society. Similarly this Mormon cult, supposedly "pro-family", is now driving an evil wedge between loving parents and their children to further its own selfish, egocentric, inhumane and warped ends... it is a Sophie's choice that it is the opposite of love: it is destruction.

And it is also the root of the violence in that bastion of peace, prosperity and culture that is Paris.

"For good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Now I Come In Cotton!

The painting I posed for artist Paul Richmond's War Paint series has now been made into activewear! He even sent me a tank... I must say it's all very META to be wearing a tank with your image on it. I went out on the town in it the day it arrived...

These lovely lasses are pulling some focus, however, from the tank… even from my model friend Bryce. They are wearing nearly as much war paint as I am in the painting. Yes, these are two of Sydney's best-named drag queens: Tora Hymen and Penny Tration.

Below is the artist himself in his studio with painting and long-sleeves. Find it all and more at

For more on the painting itself, including work-in-progress and details, visit his site here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Big O!

Out Magazine scores the most admired man in the world on the cover of this historic issue. President Barack Obama is "Ally of the Year" in its annual OUT 100 issue, becoming the first President to ever grace a GLBT publication. Huge congrats to the team at Out on this achievement.  
In an excerpt from the interview (linked above), Obama tells Out's Editor-in-Chief Aaron Hicklin:

"My sense is that a lot of parents across the country aren’t going to want to sit around the dinner table and try to justify to their kids why a gay teacher or a transgender best friend isn’t quite as equal as someone else. That’s also why it’s so important to end harmful practices like conversion therapy for young people and allow them to be who they are. The next generation is spurring change not just for future generations, but for my generation, too. As president, and as a dad, that makes me proud. It makes me hopeful."

Monday, November 09, 2015

Google Goes Gaga For Hedy

Hollywood icon Hedy Lamarr is honored on Google's home page with a google doodle.. and for a very good reason. She, and a composer friend, invented frequency hopping - intended to send radio messages and scramble the signals so they couldn't be intercepted. They gave their patent to the US Navy in 1942 and it has since been developed into bluetooth and... wifi.
In the eyes of the world, Hedy was foremost a legendary beauty, called the most beautiful woman in the world, but she had a brilliant mind and considered her looks a hindrance. She once famously said, "It's easy to look glamorous - all you have to do is stand still and look stupid."
She had one of the most storied lives imaginable - the first actress to appear nude (in 1933's Czech film, Ecstasy, which was banned nearly everywhere), she then married a Nazi arms dealer who was so controlling he not only tried to buy all the copies of Ecstasy, but Hedy was held prisoner in her own home. She escaped, in a maid's laundry basket (as I recall) and made her way to Hollywood where she signed with MGM and swiftly became one of the biggest draws of her day. Unfortunately, life didn't end well. She was picked up for shoplifting (accusations she refuted) twice as an old woman, and was only honored for her frequency hopping patent in 1997, saying "It's about time."
Hedy Lamarr died in 200, a recluse, alone in her Florida home, never seeing how her invention has changed the way we live. I'm so thrilled to see Google reviving interest in this pioneering woman.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Out the back of Bondi

Spent six winter weekends punching waves and yanking each other out of the ocean and now I'm officially crewing the rubber ducky at North Bondi beach. Since joining a couple years back, Surf lifesaving has transformed my experience of Australia.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

C U Next Tuesday

Allison Lane is unstoppable! Her YouTube Channel, See You Next Tuesday, is going off every week with something new and witty and wonderful.. and wrong! Her parodies have been picked up in a ton of outlets and her audience keeps growing. You may remember her from Going Down In La La Land, and she also has a part in the upcoming Kiss Me Kill Me. In the meantime, she is rocking her channel (subscribe in the link above). Here are a few of my favs.

Her rap tribute to supreme superhero Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The off color hilarity of "Hush, Hush, Ebony Secrets, starring Rachel Dolezal:

And I have a quick cameo in her update on the classic Blowing Boogie Bugle Man from Company G, which rallied the troops in time for Memorial Day. This is so creative and Allison plays distinctly all Andrews Sisters. The cheeky one on the right looks like she's ready for action! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gross Out Grows Up

This just totally made my day. Garbage Pail Kids -- WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

I love this concept of updating my favorite 80s card collectibles -- themslves a twisted take on those cloying, creepy adoptable Cabbage Patch Kids. Check out the creator's blog for behind-the-scenes of the sick and twisted nostalgia.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Call Me Unconvinced

Caitlyn Jenner's historic cover is a watershed moment in trans coverage and visibility. There is nothing more important in life than making others feel less alone. She has made countless marginalized others feel less alone and undoubtedly has and will save lives. For this she is a hero, but her personal integrity has yet to be confused with any altruism or activism for the greater good. 
Her conservative votes keep in power those who refuse to pass legislation protecting her most vulnerable sisters - those fired from jobs, homeless, enduring survival sex, without access to legal hormones; the ones injecting motor oils into their body who aren't white or privileged or assisted by Annie Leibovitz to achieve their ideal. She's a hero, and perhaps that is enough, but until she's a champion my admiration is qualified. 
Her son, Burt, sums it up for me: "I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Royal National Park

All the campsites were full so a group of friends decided our weekend hike in the Royal National Park could be done in a day. We took a train at 6:15am to Otford and from there hiked ten hours to Bundeena through stunning unspoilt Australian bush and scenery.

unseen, but infested.
It was wet in the morning, which meant lots of leeches for the first hours along the trail. Everytime we looked down, another one of these tiny brown squiggles was trying to burrow through the mesh in our shoes. Freak out! They came from seemingly nowhere, and they were everywhere. If you saw this happen in a horror film, you wouldn't believe it. Eventually, the little suckers succeeded in leeching blood from each one of us except for me (clearly they are not into blood with high alcohol content). And when they were discovered attached to the skin when taking shoes off for an ocean swim, they were no longer little brown squiggles but bigger, bloated brown sacks of host blood. Smashed to death against rocks, they exploded in red!

It was a longer day than anticipated - especially after taking dubious shortcuts during low tide.
Lifesaving pal Nisha prepared the most amazing lunch and snacks for the boys. Note the napkin on her foot -- site of leech discovery. 
Below is wedding cake rock, a famous photo opp near Bundeena, and the end of the line after a most memorable 10 hours. From there we caught the old-time (1939) Bundeena ferry into Cronulla and straight to the pub!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Hoosier Hospitality

Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week signed the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This law institutionalizes intolerance in Indiana – although it's the religious who are shouting about not being tolerated. The RFRA allows Indiana businesses to refuse service to certain individuals by citing their "deeply held religious views". Here is Mike Pence signing this bill into law, surrounded by nuns, Friar Tuck, butter churning prairie pastors and homophobes (one shown here equates gays with bestiality). Is this how you want your lawmakers to look like?
Indiana: A Theocracy in the heartland.
Say you want to patronize a business that purports to serve the public in Indiana. But the bigot owner of the business doesn't like that you are gay. Or Muslim. Or black. Or a divorced woman. Or they just don't like the look of you. They can now cite their beliefs and tell you that you are not welcome. Go find that other water fountain marked "sinner". This bill is nothing but updated (if you can call this regression an update) segregation.

And Pence is facing the justified wrath of not only equality-minded citizens, but major corporations including Apple, Salesforce, the NCAA, now even a boycott by the state of Connecticut. Nobody is telling the deeply religious that they can't practice their faith. Nobody is suggesting they cannot follow the dictates of their god, but here's a tip: if you want to serve only those who think, walk, talk and believe the same as you – do not purport to serve the public. Not that anyone would want to patronize a business that might turn them away because you don't share the same belief system, but how are we supposed to know before being turned away in hurt and humiliation?

I propose an amendment to Indiana's bill that states if you are not willing to serve everyone based on your deeply held bigotry, don't hide behind the newspeak of Religious Freedom Restoration. State it up front, outside for all the world to see, with a big fat sign on your business door: "No gays" "No Atheists" "No Mexicans" "Christians Only". Proclaim it loudly, boldly, for all the world to see just how loving you are. Segregation by any other name smells just as rotten.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Holding Out For A Hero

Hey you big hero, check out my latest essay in this month's Advocate.

(fab illo by Daniel Zalkus)