Closing Time
Feb 25th, 2010 by Mike

If you follow me on any social networking sites, this blog post won’t have any serious surprises.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going back to look at a property. Long story short, I made an offer, haggled a little on the price and we close March 19.

I’m buying a two bedroom condo in East Boston a block away from the Maverick T station. On a Tuesday, I talked to my real estate agent and we discussed some properties I wanted to see. On Thursday, he had confirmed appointments for me to see those properties. On Friday, the seller of the property I’m buying dropped the price, by a very large amount of money. Saturday, we saw said property. Sunday, I made an offer.

This whole process has been pretty intense, and emotionally, I’ve been a big old mess.

Here are my key dates:
March 5 – Mortgage commitment due
March 6 – I head to Disney for a few days with the family
March 19 – Closing
March 26 – Movers

Yeah, Disney. My parents decided they wanted to take the whole family to Disney as a Christmas gift this year. The kids are beyond excited.

House Hunting, Part Two
Jan 30th, 2010 by Mike

When I first started thinking about buying a house, I made the decision to use a realtor who knows and lives in the neighborhood where I want to buy. That may have been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made recently.

My friend Ulli and I went house hunting again today. This time was a lot more fun because I knew what I was approved to spend and actually knew what was in my budget. Yes, I sat down and figured out what I spend monthly and figured out just what I could spend.

We met up with Ryan, my buyer’s broker, at the big park near Ulli’s house. It’s close to where he lives and close to one of the properties he wanted me to see today.

Our first stop was a block from the Maverick T station. It hadn’t originally been on my list of places to see, but the seller dropped the price and it was worth seeing. It’s a two bedroom condo on the first floor with a great kitchen. The living room is decently sized and has a pretty big bathroom. The larger bedroom has a door that leads out to the back “patio” and a small yard. It’s new construction in the past three years. The price is in my sweet spot and remains a possibility.

Our second and third stops were lofts in the same building, an old bra factory. Seriously. We’ll call them 104 and 147. Having seen the pictures and drempt of the places, I have to say that I was incredibly disappointed. 147 had a private deck, but the mezzanine had terrible steps and couldn’t really be used because the ceiling was too low. 104 was better, but the kitchen needed a lot of work. Both of these have been eliminated as possibilities. They’re too much money for too little space.

Next came a unit in the building where I met Ryan and Ulli. It was a HUGE one bedroom with lots of storage and a ton of light. The kitchen had high end fixtures but terrible cabinetry. It was nice, but the asking price was too high. The location is great, but I would end up being “house poor.”

The fifth unit isn’t actually listed on the market. This was really neat because I saw it pretty much how the guy lives, including where his two dogs occasionally pee on the floor. I can’t fault anybody here because Reggie has been known to pee once in a while. 🙂 It had fantastic bedrooms but not enough living space downstairs. The back yard and deck were selling points, but the kitchen didn’t call to me.

The sixth unit was one we saw last week. It’s the one that’s open concept with kitchen at one and and the fireplace at the other. LOVE LOVE LOVE this unit. As much as I’d love to buy it, it’s at the upper end of my price range.

When we were done, we left Ryan and talked over lunch. And we did pros and cons. And we crunched numbers. When Ryan called me back a couple of hours later, I told him what I’m thinking. Stay tuned for details.

House Hunting
Jan 28th, 2010 by Mike

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you may know that I’m looking to buy a home.

The lease on my condo in Salem is up, and I was not planning on renewing it. A few weeks ago, I was looking for a new apartment in Boston. For the first time in many, many years, a landlord checked my credit. Realizing my credit was better than expected, I pulled out of the process and stepped back, hoping it was time to buy.

Last weekend, I dragged my fabulous friend Ulli with me and went to a couple of open houses. One was really nice, near the end of the runway at Logan (which I like) and had a nice kitchen. The owner was also completely unrealistic in his asking price. I walked away from that without bothering to sign in. The second one, on the other hand is quite nice. It’s in a fantastic part of Jeffries Point in East Boston. The price was a little high, but it could be negotiated down.

During the whole apartment search phase, I had met a guy named Tom who is also friends with Ulli. We ran into Tom on Saturday, and he suggested I talk to a realtor named Ryan. Oddly enough, Ryan was the selling agent at the second condo we looked at.

On Monday, I called Ryan and asked him if he’d be willing to help me find a condo. (Buyer’s Agent) He’s happy to represent me and suggested I attend a first time home buyer’s seminar the next night at his office. It was time well spent. After the seminar, I sat down with Ryan, and we looked at a few properties on paper, and he has a pretty good idea what I’m looking for.

Saturday, I’m meeting up with Ryan again to look at some lofts. There is an old bra factory (yes, women’s underwear) that was converted into condos a few years ago. The pictures look really nice.

This whole process is incredibly exciting, terrifying, and stressful.

Let the River Run
Jun 14th, 2009 by Mike

My first season with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will be over in less than 12 hours. This makes me a little sad. At the same time, it’ll be a huge relief. It’s a big commitment, and the past week has been rough. This has been one of the best times of my life.

I say it after every concert, and I seriously mean it. I’m so honored and a bit humbled to be part of such an amazing group of men.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS1Fh-xx4T0

This video is how we opened the second act of our show. It’s my favorite number in the entire show. And there is a lot to love in this concert.

Ready for the Eighties
Jun 5th, 2009 by Mike

Next week is the last concert series of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus’ 2008-2009 season, and we’re Ready for the Eighties! Next week, we’re presenting Boys Just Wanna Have Fun: Totally 80s. What could be more fun than the BGMC singing your favorite songs of the decade of sweatbands, big hair, and Duran Duran? The concerts are June 11, 12, and 14 at John Hancock Hall. Tickets are on sale at http://bgmc.org or by calling the Chrous office at 617-542-SING.

I’m really excited about this concert. The music is absolutely iconic. Reuben tells us this is a very challenging concert to sing. We haven’t even noticed that because we’re having too much fun singing it. And you’ll have fun listening to it.

Want to know more? Let me give you a little inside tidbit. We come on stage with the Village People’s Ready for the Eighties. The opening medley starts with “I Want my MTv” and “Video Killed the Radio star.” That’s just how it starts! The second act opens with my favorite song in the concert, Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” from the movie Working Girl. The harmonies in this song are stunning. We have a medley of tv theme song that features the theme song from Amen. The finale is touching, and the encore would make Patti LaBelle proud as we do “New Attitude” as only the BGMC can do.

Seriously, this concert is going to be so much fun. There are plenty of tickets available, and they’re affordable. Every week at rehearsal, I’m continually thrilled and slightly humbled to be part of such an amazing group of gay men.

Are You Ready for the 80s
Mar 25th, 2009 by Mike

Tonight is the first rehearsal for the BGMC‘s next concert, “Boys Just Wanna Have Fun: Totally 80s” and it’s going to be a blast.

We haven’t seen the music yet other than getting little hints via e-mail from Reuben, our director. We have exactly 11 weeks to get this show ready. It’s going to be a lot of fun. This is the music we all grew up listening to.

All we know at this point is that the show opens with The Village People’s “Are You Ready for the 80s.’

I’m not sure which will be more fun, the concert or the rehearsals.

Tickets are on sale now at bgmc.org. You might want to get your tickets very quickly. This one is going to sell out for two reasons. First, it’s going to be an awesome concert and will rock in a way that only the BGMC can do, and second, it’s happening during Boston’s Gay Pride week.

He Vas My Boyfriend
Mar 15th, 2009 by Mike

In the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus’ Outside the Box concert series, we did a few comedy numbers. It didn’t take long for them to get posted to YouTube.

The first one was from the Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein. It’s He Vas My Boyfriend/Deep Love. My friend, the theatre critic, says these were the only two decent songs in the musical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_dDYeM_pjQ

The big gag in the concert was from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”, Every Sperm is Sacred.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQKI6zFfqZA

Good god, I love my chorus.

Solid as a Lesbian in Birkenstocks
Mar 13th, 2009 by Mike

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said how much I enjoy being part of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. Wednesday nights are the best. Rehearsals are always a ton of laughs, and we work hard making great music. This week was our last rehearsal prior to our “Outside the Box” this weekend.

Here is a YouTube clip from Wednesday night while we’re working on “Come to My Window” from Melissa Etheridge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY5sqrtryMo

Unfortunately the audio doesn’t give you the full, rich sound of the BGMC when we’re singing at Jordan Hall. Still, it’s a great preview of what you can expect this weekend. You DID buy your tickets, didn’t you? If not, go on over to bgmc.org and support us. There are still plenty of great seats available.

If you keep watching the clip, you’ll catch one of the best Reubenisms I’ve heard in my time with the chorus. He’s always saying the funniest things. Frequently he’ll say things without realizing just how funny he is.

Outside the Box
Feb 22nd, 2009 by Mike

Yesterday was an all-day rehearsal for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. Our spring concert, Outside the Box, is in three weeks. This is incredibly exciting news. The show is coming together, and we’re sounding good. Heck, we sounded good singing in a church basement yesterday, so one can only imagine what we’ll sound like in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music.

If you live in the metro Boston area, I strongly encourage you to get your tickets now at http://bgmc.org. We’re only doing two shows, Saturday night and Sunday matinee.

We’re doing a set of Rufus Wainwrigh pieces, and a set of Billy Strayhorn pieces. Some of the Strayhorn pieces are simply amazing. On top of that, we’re paying tribute to our lesbian sisters with three pieces, including Come to My Window and Big Boned Gal. And then there is a piece called I Am in Need of Music. We’re also doing a piece called Love My Sweet Rain. It’s stunning. My two favorite pieces are A Love that Will Never Grow Old from Brokeback Mountain and Take Me to the World/Never Get Lost.

I’m excited about this concert. Come see us. You’ll enjoy it.

Outside the Box
Feb 4th, 2009 by Mike

I sing with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. Our Spring concert, Outside the Box, is rapidly approaching. Tickets are on sale at http://www.bgmc.org/tickets_individual.php.

As the promotional material states, “This is not your father’s choral concert.” This concert is going to be a lot of fun. It’s music you wouldn’t expect the BGMC to perform.

Several pieces pay tribute to gay and lesbian composers, including Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Ethridge, and Billy Strayhorn. You may not have heard of Billy Strayhorn, but if you’re a jazz fan, you may know his work. He wrote several pieces for Duke Ellington.

We’re doing a piece from the Mel Brooks musical, Young Frankenstein. That’s potentially my favorite piece in the whole show. And in typical BGMC fashion, the finale will leave you in stitches. I’ll only tell you that it comes from a Monty Python film.

Have I mentioned that tickets are on sale at http://www.bgmc.org/tickets_individual.php?

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