You know things are bad at Regent Media — the company that publishes Michael Lucas’ hate parades — when even Michael Musto, of their most high-profile contributors, is harshing on their game.
Employees at the cash-strapped company run by Paul Colichman and Steve Jarchow (pictured below), which is barely managing to keep The Advocate afloat and which this website reported is trying to unload its unprofitable publishing unit Alyson Books (which doesn’t exactly, uh, publish books anymore), probably won’t be able to read this post until they get home, because Regent/Here Media blocks Queerty. But they should be able to find Musto railing against Regent — a ballsy thing to do, given he contributes to Out and, theoretically, has a book coming out via Alyson.
Except it took some cajoling to get paid for his Out work, and his book — which Musto says he’s been told would still be coming out — is nowhere to be found. Writes Musto:
For me, the most horrid situation has been the creative frustration involved with the book (a collection of columns with some original essays). I’d delivered the entire package in the summer of ’09, but I never received any communication about it in terms of editing or marketing except when I anxiously pushed for info. Occasionally, I’d email my editor, “Is the book still happening?” “Oh, yes,” he swore, maybe hoping against hope. “But will there be galleys as promised?” I wondered. “Oh, sure,” he’d say, optimistically. “Probably in two days. It shouldn’t take longer than that.” How was I to know that two days would morph into two weeks, two months, and eventually into the 12th of never?
I was still drinking the pink Kool-Aid in January, when the company’s in-house party promoter contacted me with ideas for a book party, saying he’d just been assured by my editor that the release was on schedule. I dutifully started working on the party and also kept drumming up publicity with blinders on, just in case things were really OK.
What a disaster. Picture the Spider-Man musical, but less organized. After the promoter and I booked a gigantic club party for March 2, I arranged a host, entertainment, and friends flying in from around the country, all on good faith. Days after that meeting, I went to an Out party hoping to run into some other Alyson staffers to get a second opinion. Sure enough, I came across one slap-happy employee who looked ready to spill. “So my book’s on schedule?” I fished, desperate for validation. “Yes,” he chirped, then eerily added, “That’s the company line.”
After that, the promoter never contacted me again, leaving me in the LGBT lurch without a word! Not even vague stuff like, “I’ve got to bail, for personal reasons” or, “It’s probably best if you rethink this event.” Like everyone else there, he was more interested in radiating false pride than in being the least bit honest or humane. He’d pulled the plug without even telling me! (Or maybe he was just laid off.)
As I frantically booked a new promoter and switched the party to a celebration for my 25th anniversary at the Voice [Ed: Oh, so that's what that was!], I got a rare communication from my editor (who, under better circumstances, is way more professional). He cryptically said that things were settling down over there, and he’d surely tell me all about what had happened in person. I’m still waiting! He also assured me that he’d let me know exactly when production was moving forward. That was more than six months ago.
Musto should’ve known. Back when Queerty reported The Advocate would fold as a stand-alone magazine and become an insert in Out, Musto notes, “The CEO of the company promptly bristled into spin-control mode, writing on Advocate.com that the claims were off-base (though it all pretty much turned out to be as on-target as a cock ring in a porn film). He even bragged that, though it was a challenging time, the company had made a profit that year—a hilarious assertion considering they hadn’t paid so many of their writers! ” Well!
Though is there something to smile about on the horizon?
But the good news is that the gay-on-gay shrieking seems to be working more often than before. I’ve just heard about some aggrieved writers who’ve been paid in full and one paid in semi-, so either things are getting a little bit brighter or there’s an emergency fund somewhere under the rainbow. Gay publishing might be able to keep limping along after all, as long as it doesn’t add to its own oppression with more bullshit and evasion.
We checked in with two Regent contributors who’ve previously complained to us about unpaid bills. Both say they still have balances due.