Name: Matt Palazzolo, friends call me "MGL"
Location: Los Angeles
Occupation: LGBT Activist / Visual Media Whiz
Find Him At: mglfights.com
We ask Matt about his insomnia, the future of Prop 8, and the difference between a Trekkie and a Trekker.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Standard silly question to start off with -- what are you wearing at the moment?
Matt Palazzolo: Haha, um, I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Thre's a nice sketch drawing of a monkey eating cookies and it says "Never let a monkey get his hands on a cookie jar."
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Mmm.... cookies. A friend of mine introduced me to Newman-O's recently. I'm addicted. What about yourself -- some of your vices?
Matt Palazzolo: I have tons.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: There's no time limit.
Matt Palazzolo: I eat a lot of ice cream. A whole lot, it's unbelievable. Ice cream and cheese. I also have a thing for staying up all night working on projects. I feel alive in the middle of the night.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: What is it about the middle of the night that makes you so active?
Matt Palazzolo: I've always had insomnia. It's not a physical thing, more of a mental thing. At the end of the day, I never feel like I've accomplished enough so I get into work mode so I can get to sleep feeling like I did something productive. I sleep from exhaustion basically. It may not be the healthiest lifestyle, but I certainly do get a lot done.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: What do you work on?
Matt Palazzolo: I write a lot of emails. I make a lot of outlines. I plan. I plan. I plan. I plan all night so I can act all day.
Matt Palazzolo: I also write scripts -- my other passion. I'm also, aside from my activist work, a film editor (a girl's gotta bring in the dough) and I stay up doing that as well. Earlier this year, I was a campaign manager as well and so I would stay up sorting through precincts. And when I'm not doing that, I'm preparing for auditions because I'm an actor as well. There you have it! I'm your typical fractured 24 year old!
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: We'll get back to the film in a bit. First, tell me about your political/LGBT work.
Matt Palazzolo: After Prop 8's passage, I co-founded the Equal Roots Coalition with three wonderful activists, Mike Ai, Sara Pollaro, and Chris Smith. It's a grassroots organization that promotes coalition building inside and outside of the LGBT community in order to achieve full equality.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Why is this cause so important to you?
Matt Palazzolo: It's hard for me to watch any community, but especially my own, get hammered down again and again without trying to do something about it. I struggled as an out teenager from age 13 onward. I can't stand the thought of kids going through some of the events that I barely got out of.
Matt Palazzolo: I left home at 17 with this idea that I would never look back. I gave up on the fight and was planning to live a pretty mediocre life. Two months after I moved to LA, though, a young trans woman from my hometown was murdered. I felt a degree of survivor's guilt. I left home to forget and she stayed and died facing it all. I swore to myself that I'd never stop facing it.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: That's a lot for a 17 year old to go through.
Matt Palazzolo: I had it easy compared to a lot of young LGBT people, though. I've never been kicked out on the streets or physically assaulted. In a lot of ways I'm very grateful. Though there were some very dark and rough spots, my parents always had my back.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: And your parents are still behind you and supportive?
Matt Palazzolo: Absolutely! They're some of the gayest straight parents in the world.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: What do you think is next for Prop 8 / no Prop 8?
Matt Palazzolo: I'm hopeful, but completely prepared for Prop 8 to be upheld. If the decision comes down in favor of Prop 8 we are ready, though. There will be thousands in the streets once again and we are already preparing for another campaign, regardless of what form it takes.
Matt Palazzolo: I'm not worried about the future. Marriage equality will be here sooner than we think if we judge it by the passion, intelligence, and skillfullness of the activists, organizers, and politicians that I have been working so closely with over the past 6 months.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Tell us about your film work.
Matt Palazzolo: I've been writing, filming, and editing since I was a teenager. I had my first breaks in college at UCLA when I started exploring the realm of video art. I created a lot of abstract pieces about sexuality and racial politics that got some good play. The video art pieces have been screened at film festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, New York, Italy, Canada, and so forth. My favorite piece, Green Room, picked up a few honors along the way. I'm really proud of my video art work because it's pure art, no commercial element to it. It's all me, straight up.
Matt Palazzolo: Right now with my film work I'm focusing on writing pilots and features. I've ventured away from video art for now, but I know I will make a return in time.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: What's Matt going to be doing in 2015?
Matt Palazzolo: Who knows? I love so many things and have no idea which way the wind is going to take me. Regardless of whether I'm acting, writing, organizing, or politicking, though, I'll be doing something for the LGBT community. I could never stop doing that. I'm in it for the long haul. I look at the activists I work with everyday and I think to myself, "This is life. These are the people I live for everyday. These are the people I would put my life on the line for."
Matt Palazzolo: Oh, and hopefully, I'll be dating somebody in 2015. But, with my track record -- well... we'll see. Ha!
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: When Matt has some free time (not saving the world), what's he doing?
Matt Palazzolo: I'm sorry, I don't understand. Just kidding. I like to watch movies. I spend as much time as I can with my friends as well as my family up in the San Francisco area. It's nice to chill out and calm down for a moment here and there. A little bit of trouble is always good as well.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: I've gotta ask about the tattoo...
Matt Palazzolo: On my right shoulder I have "Uhura." It's the name of the character that Nichelle Nichols played in the original Star Trek -- the character recreated by Zoe Saldana in the latest Trek movie. It comes from the word uhuru which means freedom in Swahili. Aside from the meaning of the name the character of Uhura and the work of Nichelle have always been an inspiration to me. She was a pioneer for ethnic minorities in the media. A black female astronaut (to put it in current terms) was groundbreaking when Star Trek first came out.
Matt Palazzolo: She was also part of the first interracial kiss (with Kirk) ever to be seen on television. Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek's creator, was a genius. He managed to get that kiss on television and through the censors by having the situation be that aliens were controlling the character's minds. The Black woman and the White man were forced to kiss against their will - so it was acceptable. One small step at a time, right?
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: That begs the question - have you seen the new film?
Matt Palazzolo: I saw it opening night. I thought the first half was one heck of an adventure. The second half had me less interested. It was a great entertaining movie, but it lacked the magic of what makes me such a Trekker. It failed to really ask some of the bigger questions about our society and humanity that Star Trek has consistently done over the decades. That being said I thought the writers and Zoe did an amazing job with Uhura. She was a gay man's dream!
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Are you a Trekkie or a Trekker?
Matt Palazzolo: TrekkER. I'm not just a fan boy. I'm on the journey. Possibly the geekiest thing I've ever said in my life.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Are you a uniform wearer?
Matt Palazzolo: Let's just say that along with the severely clothing impaired photos of me you could also post a few of me in Uhura's Starfleet dress. I think you'd lose some readership, though.
Troy D, Hunk du Jour: Last up - boxers or briefs?
Matt Palazzolo: Wild card! I'm constantly mixing it up.
Find out more about Matt Palazzolo at mglfights.com!