‘A group of friends living on Capitol Hill spend an evening planning a housewarming party’

There has been a lot of focus on the marriage end of the experience this week. But let’s get back to love. Here is a video glimpse inside the lives of “young, gay, penthouse-dwellers” on Capitol Hill from local filmmarker Alex Berry. We shared some of his work on CHS last fall. Another filmmaker with a CHS connection caught us up on a more recent Berry project. Thanks for pointing Tough Life out, David Albright. Berry has promised more. We’ll tune in. UPDATE: The video has been removed from YouTube. CHS received a cease and desist letter asking us to pull the episode from our site because a person who appeared in it had not consented to be part of the production. Thus ends the most peculiar CHS Valentine’s post ever. Or does it?

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51 thoughts on “‘A group of friends living on Capitol Hill spend an evening planning a housewarming party’

  1. Because after friending, dating, and loving men from all over Capitol Hill for more than 10 years, I can’t ever recall coming across a gaggle of entirely vacant and directionless Los Angeles imports. Okay maybe once, but I don’t go to RPlace anymore.

    I’m rather glad I’ve never met them.

    Though it should be said that Mr. Berry has a keen eye for film and the editing is top-notch. I just wish he’d turn his lens and microphone onto subjects with more … um … substance. Then again, maybe his goal is epic schadenfreude? If so, he’s on the way to totally nailing that mark.

  2. I find Mr. Berry’s work very impressive even if I don’t find the subject matter as much so. It is my understanding that Mr. Berry owns a business and films not only his artistic vision but also what people contract him to film, which I believe in this instance is the case.

    A job well done showing a side of the gay community that does exist even if a lot of us would like to pretend it doesn’t. No need to bag on these young boys for being who they THINK they are…a lot of wisdom comes with age and lord knows there are things we all wish we could forget. Sadly for these young ones….it’s on film forever. I think Mr. Berry should do a follow up film of them in 5-10 years time.

    The film and editing work was flawless and I am glad I wasn’t invited to the party. Well done.

  3. What the fuck did I just watch?!

    First, it plays up every gay stereotype that gay people try to dispel and break. If I hear one of them refer to another as “girl” again, I swear. Oh, and even references to their weaves they don’t have.

    On another note, they’re trying way too hard to play up every yuppie thing ever. Potassium in the tap water? Voss water bottles. Lexus and BMW remarks. Trying so hard to make the Broadway Building high-end real estate. It makes Seattle seem to provincial. The folks in NY or LA would laugh so hard at this. Hell, the folks in Madison Park or even the Four Seasons building would laugh at that.

    They all just seem so… vacuous. God forbid they ever get old… The “lifestyle” they’re showing here in unsustainable.

  4. These fellows are going to end up being old, lonely, bitter, bitter queens. I hope they take this and make change before it’s too late. It’s sad.

  5. As the filmmaker, I tried my best to make an objective observation of a group of people that actually exist in the world and in our community. This one video is just a tiny slice of the entirety of their characters and personalities. When I made it, I was thinking we could all just observe a group of humans and then maybe check-in with ourselves to see if we hold any similar characteristics, whether positive or negative. I was thinking we could use it as a way to define who we are and what we want to be.
    But because of all of the quick judgments and criticisms toward the cast, I am now being asked by someone in the video to delete it in order to stop the defamation of his character. Even though he seemed to love being in front of the camera, he says that if I don’t delete the video within 10 hours, he will take legal action. Interesting, huh? Anyway, thanks for watching …

  6. These people all wanted the attention and consented to being in it, and now that it’s biting them in the ass, they’re saying “oh, I didn’t want this to be made.” Losers.

    If anyone has the video, please re-up it.

  7. Brosef, I’m no lawyer, and I haven’t seen the video, but I doubt you were hiding in the bushes when you shot this thing. I don’t think your cast member has much “legal action” to take. He was being filmed and knew it. He doesn’t have a real claim to privacy. Don’t let him push you and your work around.

  8. Oh, I see. He loved being on camera like the narcissist he is, at least everyone identified him as self-indulgent, boring, materialistic brat. Cease and desist? Ha!

  9. As the filmmaker, I tried my best to make an objective observation of a group of people that actually exist in the world and in our community.”

    Maybe instead of showcasing a shameful segment of “our community” and glorifying all the things that are wrong with this vacant, vapid part of “our community” maybe you should highlight those that are actually doing something to better the world.

    This video, and you Alex, are the reason the rest of country thinks we don’t deserve to marry. I have never been more ashamed of my sexuality.

  10. @Shameful: Obviously, you have not seen any of the other works the filmmaker in question has made. Many videos, such as “It Gets Better,” “Don’t Touch the Jukebox,” “Drag Becomes Him,” and “Homo for the Holidays”, clearly show his ability to showcase many facets of the community, not just the ones you disagree with. He also does work with Seattle Gay Scene and supports many local queer artists and musicians. It is imperative that we are honest with ourselves about every aspect of our community if there is to be any change. And it is also crucial that we not judge our peers in such a critical way. This video neither glorifies or denigrates the actions of the cast members, it simply examines one evening of a group of young gay men. Your comment shows an obvious lack of research on your part into the artist’s portfolio, which tends to observe many aspects of the queer community. It is unfortunate that you would blame the artistry of another on the shame you feel surrounding your own sexuality as that evidently wasn’t the intention of the artist.

  11. Alex, do not let yourself be bullied. You may not be aware that Washington recently enacted an anti-SLAPP law that provides an easy way to get rid of frivolous lawsuits filed to squelch someone’s rights of free expression. Those bringing such lawsuits must pay the defendant’s legal fees and a mandatory $10,000 fine if they lose the anti-SLAPP motion.

    Coincidentally enough, the first case decided under this new law involved a similar situation – someone who was featured briefly in Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko.”. He sued, lost on anti-SLAPP and was on the hook for fees and the $10k fine.

  12. I do hope you post it up again – the law is definitely in your favor. I loved your Homo for the Holidays clip when Dan Savage posted it on Slog praising the show.

    And I do get a kick out of the eternal fraidy cat censors among us who pop up here (as everywhere) to insist we always be pictured in the most flattering light, preferably with a patriotic backdrop with our kids and pets and other proofs of virtue on constant display. Pay them no mind – rock on.

  13. I can personally speak to Alex Berry’s substance, and film making ability. I do remember, however, when he was filming this and posted it online that our close group of friends and fellow hill dwellers are EMBARRASSED by these people. The funny thing to note, is that they go out on the hill and act the exact same way, thinking they are better than anyone else.

    BOYS BOYS BOYS! When will you learn that the true way to gain any wealth in this world is through your good deeds, not your dollars.

    I’m glad this video was pulled. It not only misrepresents Mr. Berry, but also Capitol Hill, and Seattle as a whole. We are not these shallow people. There are quality people in the gay community who have more substance, especially here in Seattle. We are an eclectic mix of writers, photographers, artists, musicians, service industry workers, parents, friends, intellectuals, and lovers…. unfortunately though, you do scrape the bottom of the barrel once in a while, as evident by this.


  14. Just like I posted on Facebook… “I love that people are still trippin over something so minuscule, that happened OVER two months ago…. I guess it’s better to be infamous than irrelevant!!”

    Honestly it happened over two months ago. While filming this, none of the “cast members” had the intention of being representations of the gay community as a whole, or any representation at all for that matter. I in no way regret filming it, and if it were up to me I would still have the video uploaded.

    What is really sad is the fact that the majority of you who hate on the video have probably never even had a conversation with any of us, so your opinions in fact are null… If you have, then you would probably know that we are just like any 21-25 year old living on Capitol hill. Yes we are catty, yes we know how to have fun, and yes we make poor decisions… But WHO DOESN’T.? I almost find most of the hate hypocritical…

    If anyone has anything else to say, you can contact me directly via email…

    Oh and by the way, our apartment is approximately $3500 if anyone wanted to know ;)

  15. So there are 5 of you sharing a 2-3 bedroom penthouse that’s $3500 a month on capitol hill? Where are the other people sleeping, and truth be told, that’s not living if you’re packed in and on top of each other.

    And I’m sorry, you guys are NOT like the typical 21-25 yr old crowd on the hill, so don’t even start to give that impression. Most 21-25 yr old gay men do drink and make poor decisions yes, but they don’t come off like vapid queens who spend more time talking negatively about other people than saying something nice. Seems like a mean girls club.

    As for not meeting you? I have, as has most of queer Seattle. We’ve had multiple conversations. I’ve had conversations with your friends. My advice to you? You’re a nice guy, but make some quality NEW friends… maybe some ones with substance? Oh and one last thing, nobody cares about how much money you make. Your job and your bank account don’t make you a good person.

  16. Jeeze, YeahRight, chill out. If you can’t act like a vapid queen when you’re 22 or 23, when can you? They’ll grow out of it. Calm down, it doesn’t “reflect on” anybody. At least they’re not shooting each other outside SODO and Belltown nightclubs like their hetero counterparts.

  17. Please don’t confuse ‘hate’ with empathy, I feel for you and hope you can get out of this phase w/out addiction or being completely alone as you age. Oh and at 3500 bucks you guys are really getting ripped off. A lot. But keep thinking you are the shizaz.

  18. Your question “WHO DOESN’T?” is self-serving rationalization. In reality, most people (even 20-somethings) are not catty and they usually make good decisions. You are a small minority, thank god.

    It’s very revealing that you had the need to tell us how much your apartment costs, even though you weren’t asked.

  19. ” In reality, most people (even 20-somethings) are not catty and they usually make good decisions. “

    What reality are you living in? The growing openness of gay teenagers at younger ages has reinforced the (maybe-not-new) phenomenon of the young gay adult “mean girl”. This world in which you live, of gay men not acting on their innate male competitiveness and finding ways of one-upping each other every chance they get, would be nice if it actually existed.

    We gay men can’t even unify on issues like HIV education/awareness or gay marriage, so it’s extremely naive to think we can let go of basic attitudes like “cattiness toward each other”.

    It’s sad that some of the guys in the video weren’t brave enough to keep the video up. The people who want to SHAME them back into some sort of “Appropriate Behavior” closet, are probably the same folks who want us to be some sort of homogenized, button-down version of homo – one that is ‘socially acceptable’ to the masses.

    These boys should not have to apologize for being who they are.

  20. I would disagree with you Order. There are gay men in their 20s who don’t get caught up in the “scene” and would prefer quality time with friends and new experiences rather than tear other people apart.

    But hey, if you want to defend the actions, I guess you’re speaking of YOUR experience. Sorry you were forced to be one of the “mean girls” since you couldn’t find better quality friends.

  21. @WRONG – Don’t confuse “quality time with friends” with “misery loves company”.

    If one needs to be coddled by their friends, I think that’s just a disservice to that person to continue to foster the idea that the world is all roses. That’s why kids kill themselves. They haven’t been taught to be strong enough to withstand the roughness of the world.

  22. I just saw and read this whole thread of post/arguements. I think its ridiculous how we choose to judge and bash on each other for trivial things. We are all (not just the gay community) made up of a big fat rainbow. Gay, straight, hispanic, black, white, green or yellow. Everyone has different personalities, opinions…..mannerisms. Its what makes us all unique.
    Some of you might think you are better than others….and guess what…there are others who think that they are better than YOU. Should you care? No.
    We all have good and bad qualities. No one is perfect, no one is the ideal. Just because you drive a BMW, it doesn’t make you better than the person that only has a bicycle. And just because you ride your bike to work everyday and consider yourself a martyr for the earth, it doesn’t make you better than the person with the BMW.

    Love YOURSELF because you earned your BMW by working hard, dont hate on OTHERS. And love YOURSELF for being brave enough to say no to a car and riding that bike everyday, DON’T hate on others.

  23. From my point of view…being a local bartender, and knowing everyone in the video, and knowing everyone that is talked about in the video…this is what I’m taking away from the whole experience.

    From what I hear, the boys that filmed the video did it for fun. Yes there were talks of maybe wanting to present it to a network, etc. But the initial purpose was for the 4 roommates to just have fun with the idea of having their lives captured on film, and to possibly look back on it to see how much they have changed/ grown.
    Yes, some of the actions they portrayed were flawed, and many of you think they don’t put the “gay community” in a good light, but here is the thing – why are these 4 boys all of a sudden representing the entire community? Just because a black person goes around shooting someone doesn’t mean that everyone is going to think that one person represents the African American community as a whole.
    Can we look back on Seattle Hump Fest? Prominent people in the “gay community” were dancing around naked, having unprotected sex, etc., and no one said ONE word about how bad that makes our community look to the rest of the world. If anything , its events like that, that make our community look bad, not a measly video of 20-something year olds having fun.

    I would also like to note that, as a matter of fact, most of the people posting on this thread are the people mentioned in the video, or close friends of those people. And NONE of you can tell me you haven’t acted just like, or even WORSE than they act in the video. So to me, it seems a litttttle hypocritical for you to comment on how you don’t condone their actions when, in retaliation of this video, you are hiding behind fake alias’ on CHS to talk smack back to the cast members, fully knowing they will see it. Would anyone disagree?

    As for the rest of you, I think you are all being hypocritical yourselves as well. You, too, are saying how much you don’t appreciate how they act, and then you turn around and start bashing them… I’m confused as to how you would think that is proactive in the community?

    Please understand that I don’t in any way condone the behavior that is portrayed on the video, all I am trying to do is help you all have a reality check. And help you realize that you are all doing exactly what you say you don’t agree with. I too have made bad choices in my life, and I learned from them and grew into the person I am proud to be today.

  24. I really dislike the increasing use of the word “hater” to describe someone who is simply critiquing or disagreeing with another post…that is way too strong a word to describe what is really just an alternative opinion.

    Also…most people who drive luxury cars (like BMWs) really can’t afford them…they are just leasing them, at a relatively low monthly rate, to appear to be wealthier than they are.