One of the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the country, Chicago's BOYSTOWN has something for everyone.
- Boystown: Season One By Jake Biondi
Boystown: Season One By Jake Biondi
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CS Christopher Stone
About the Author
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Jake Biondi fell in love with "The Windy City" at an early age. He left the Chicago area for four years to attend the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated with degrees in English and Business. He was awarded the university’s prestigious William Mitchell Award for Playwriting. Upon graduating from Notre Dame, Biondi returned to Chicago where he attended and graduated from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He has been living in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood for over 20 years. While studying literature, Biondi became a huge fan of Charles Dickens whose novels were originally released in installments, each ending in a cliffhanger to keep readers coming back for more. Because of his love of those novels as well as television dramas such as Dynasty, Knots Landing, Dallas, and Revenge, Jake Biondi decided to create a serialized saga for contemporary audiences. Thus, the BOYSTOWN series was born. Biondi began BOYSTOWN in June of 2013 as an online story and intended to release one "episode" online per month, each ending in a cliffhanger. The story became so popular -- and the online reading audience grew so quickly -- that people from all over the country began to email him demanding to know what happened to their favorite characters and wanting the episodes to be released faster. They also had suggestions for future storylines. Excited by and grateful for his readers’ responses to BOYSTOWN, Biondi began to write and release installments more quickly. In November of 2013, Biondi moved BOYSTOWN offline and published the first ten installments in book form as BOYSTOWN Season One. The book became an international hit, with fans all over the globe clamoring for more. BOYSTOWN Season Two was published in July of 2014 and BOYSTOWN Season Three was released on May 1, 2015. Because of the popularity of the book series, fans have suggested that BOYSTOWN be turned into a television series. Biondi recently completed the TV scripts for the first season of BOYSTOWN and hopes to bring the series to television in the very near future.
January 09, 2014
Boystown: Season One By Jake Biondi
Jake Biondi’s Boystown, Season One, is a sexy, superficial, four-star guilty pleasure, short on substance and shadings, but a mirror image of the primetime television soap operas upon which the author doted as a teenager: among them, Dallas, Dynasty, and Melrose Place.
As Biondi has said of his early years as a primetime soap fan: “I hoped for the day they would feature a gay character, someone I could relate to in some way. So when Dynasty introduced me to Steven Carrington, I was hooked.”
So it comes as no surprise that, Boystown, reads like the novelization of a gay primetime sudser, a twenty-first century heir to Queer as Folk, sans the irksome lesbians.
The Boystown of the title is in Chicago: To be precise, the author’s Boystown is the Windy City’s East Lakeview neighborhood – an area dense with gay men, and with businesses catering to them.
Dynasty had the Carrington family, and Boystown has the Family Mancini – most especially, it has the family’s pistol hot brothers: Emmett, Derek and Justin.
Season One, develops three primary plots, all of them written skim deep, and each one revolving around the Brothers Mancini, their family, friends and co-workers.
In the opening plot, the husband in a heterosexual marriage has a gay affair while ostensibly away on business. Sensing something askew, but not knowing what, the philanderer’s wife flushes her birth control down the commode, and subsequently becomes pregnant. This in an effort to get the marriage back on track.
In a second storyline, a newly engaged gay man obsesses on the unfounded fear that his fiancée is having an affair with their mutual friend. But his suspicious mind becomes the catalyst for a break-up, and that is when the imagined infidelity becomes bona fide.
In the C Plot, an alcoholic is neck deep in denial about his addiction, and after his live-in lover throws in the towel on their relationship, the booze-soaked castoff finds connubial consolation between the sheets with a young coworker he has recently hired.
Boystown is an easy peasy, simplistic read. Biondi’s snappy, skin-deep writing makes a comic strip appear complex and layered in comparison. The characters act and speak; they do not analyze or think, nor do they ask readers to use their heads.
If filmmakers who write for, and think like, teenaged boys, are said to make Popcorn Movies, then, with Boystown, Jake Biondi has given us Popcorn Pulp Fiction. It reads well, it has a pleasantly salty taste, but it lacks nutritional (literary) value. After a while, the book’s empty calories stopped bothering me, and I simply surrendered to its mindless delights.
Boystown originated as a series of monthly online episodes, each one ending with a cliffhanger. This book version was an afterthought – one that will deservedly widen its author’s fan base and line his pockets. Nothing wrong there.
Forget fifty shades of grey. Boystown is one shade of gay.
That’s exactly why it would make an excellent primetime TV series. Similar to Dynasty’s Alexis Carrington, and Melrose Place’s Amanda Woodward, the Brothers Mancini simply say and do as they please, consequences be damned!
A famous Hollywood gossip columnist of yester-year once advised: “Don’t complain. Don’t explain.” Author Biondi’s characters follow Hedda Hopper’s dictum to a tee. They neither complain nor explain. Do Showtime, Netflix, or Dish, know about this book?
When all is said and done, I ask you, “Why quibble with pesky concepts such as shadings, substance, detail, and motivation? “
I strongly suggest that you shelve such considerations faster than Metro shelved Ricky Ricardo’s Don Juan debut movie on I Love Lucy.
Follow my lead. Forget about using, much less stretching, your mental muscles, and simply surrender, as I did, to the guilty pleasure that is Boystown.
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