since the release of Adam & Steve, one of the most famous gay romantic comedy films ever made. It's directed by and stars Craig Chester, who also wrote the screenplay. It deals with the lives of two gay men who met in the '80s, a time of big hair and bad drugs. Their initial encounter didn't go well, so it's just as well they didn't really remember. But then they meet again, both a little older although not much smarter, but with a lot more baggage.

Adam & Steve follows the trajectory of a relationship that started like a joke and just kept getting funnier. For OutUK Chris Witwer has been reading actor and director Craig Chester's novel which he's adapted from his screenplay of the film of the same name.

As you may or may not guess, Craig Chester’s novel, Adam & Steve, takes its name from that awful Christian saying that “God” created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. But don’t let the title fool ya—there’s very little about this novel that is preachy, cute, or trite (except perhaps, the over-the-top ending).

OutUK correspondent Chris Witwer reviews this nicely written little novel about gay life in post 9/11 New York City which was also made into a successful film. Chester entertains us with witty little scenes as well as insightful twists in this fun little novel about growing from the 80’s club scene into the gay afterlife of normalcy, self-acceptance, and happiness.

Craig Chester as Adam in the film version
Hiding behind not-so-ageless both personas, Adam and Rhonda experience more than they bargained for when they celebrate Adam’s 21st birthday at New York’s Danceteria. Rhonda is painfully self-aware of her obesity and uses it to mask her true identity while Adam is also aware of his own identity as a geek Jewish gay boy in 80’s New York. Together they embark upon their first drug-induced party night, which ends with Adam and a dancer named Steve experiencing a totally gross, disastrous, druggy one-night stand attempt in Adam’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment.

Chapter Two takes us forward fifteen years to a hardly recognizable Rhonda and Adam, with Steve nowhere to be found. Rhonda has conquered her food addiction (sort of) and lost most of her tonnage, but finds that as a comedienne reliant upon self-effacing fat jokes, she’s a failure. She’s going to have to find some new material—and she doesn’t even know it yet.

Like many of us, Rhonda still sees herself the way she was before she embarked upon her path of self-improvement. Adam, on the other hand, is a career-stunted Jewish boy who really did want to be lawyer like his parents wanted him to be. But he, too, has failed. One night he accidentally stabs his “child” (his wonderful dog, Burt) and rushes him to a human’s hospital where a handsome shrink takes pity on him and fixes his dog. The shrink is none other than Steve, but the two don’t yet realise they’ve met before.

Filled with nutty escapades (a duck murder, a twink that won’t go away, the accidental stabbing of a beloved dog, a dance-off), Adam & Steve is sure to entertain while simultaneously taking us on the journey of two men lookin’ for love. They’ve both settled for being promiscuous fags in a world that seems to work against them, but what they really want is love. Will they find it? Can they overcome that first humiliating night together and get past their own baggage?

Can they find someone to occupy Adam’s fag hag Rhonda and Steve’s couch-potato roommate Michael so that they can be free to become completely enmeshed in one another? Will the two men learn to love themselves while looking for love outside of themselves? We’re not going to tell you—but we are going to recommend that you give Adam & Steve a go. It’s a great novel by writer, director, and actor, Craig Chester, who made his name with this fun story set in the Big Apple.

While releasing the novel, Chester simultaneously turned this amusing and intimate look at growing up gay into a feature film that stars Craig Chester himself as Adam and Parker Posey as his loving, though self-tortured cohort, Rhonda. Malcolm Gets plays the ripped ‘Dazzle Dancer,’ Steve, while Steve’s best friend Michael is played by Chris Kattan—and after reading the book, you’ll agree that no one better could have been cast as Michael. I actually imagined someone quite like Kattan when I read the book. Who else would bed a hallucinogenic homeless woman named Stone Garden as an act of kindness while still spending most of his time playing video games and living rent free on his best friend’s couch?

Adam & Steve combines over the top comedy with heartfelt romance. Anonymous shower sex at the gym (who knew soap was an aphrodisiac?) is more than gratuitous—it actually works as character development. The book’s one stereotypical homophobe is anything but stereotypical—he’s refreshingly redneck and freaky. And the fag hag Rhonda is more than a fag hag, she’s a real friend who’s character is fleshed out almost as well as those of Adam and Steve.

It may now be a decade old but both the book and the film of Adam & Steve is still an interesting take on gay life in one of the world's most exciting capital cities.

Adam & Steve by Craig Chester is published by Alyson Books and is available in the UK from Amazon. The film version can also be found on DVD.


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