Mike Balaban

Co-founder of bammer.co. See my Instagram page: @bammer47. Former international financier and cross-border consultant with a focus on Greater China. Serial non-profit board member and LGBTQ/political activist.

Mike Balaban's Stories

Luis

NOTE: Viktor Carrasquero, a young Venezuelan emigre in Hong Kong, is unable to join Capturing Rainbows at present, but has authorized us to share the following story from his early life. Back in 1998, I first had direct contact with Luis Llovera, one of my neighbors back then. He was a year older than me, […]

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Brotherly Love

1976-1979—I moved to NYC for a position in a bank training program in October 1976 and almost immediately befriended another trainee: Brad was a Princeton grad, captain of his football team and a tight end who’d been drafted by the NFL’s New England Patriots. He was smart, muscular, handsome, and charming, a combination that drew […]

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Pool and Garden Time

(August 1993)–After a long, hot day on Fowler Beach in South Hampton, my guests and I returned to our backyard pool for a dip and some horseplay in the water. Gustavo Otto and Bryan Hogan were a handsome, well-built Manhattan couple. Gustavo, a graceful Chilean, graciously posed nude for my camera in our lush garden, […]

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Fire Island Virgin

   1979/1980—My first visit to Fire Island was over Halloween weekend in 1979, long after the resort’s summer season had ended. The legendary Sandpiper, a ramshackle wooden disco that had been the center of Fire Island Pines gay night life for more than a decade, scheduled its closing party for that weekend. I was fortunate […]

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Meeting Gary

MYKONOS, 1985 – In early September 1985, I spent a week on vacation in Mykonos. Early in the week, I spied a handsome, muscular, blond young man on clothing-optional Super Paradise Beach and started chatting with him. His name was Gary Matthews and he was a Welsh hair stylist visiting from London. Fortunately, the attraction […]

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My David Kopay Story

I was raised in the arch-conservative Florida panhandle near the Alabama border in the late 1950s and 1960s. In those days, and especially in that location, being gay was the same as being a sexual deviant. In fact, the word “gay” still was commonly used to mean happy-go-lucky. “Queer” was the popular derogatory term used […]

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The Queen of Disco

JUNE 1978 – The cracks in my closet appeared slowly. By 1978, I was out with my family and my college fraternity brothers, but I had no local gay friends. I was intimidated by NYC’s gay scene, ensconced in an intense training program at a conservative bank, and madly infatuated with my best friend and […]

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Willie

I’ve described how, in 1976, I met Willie Wilson, who introduced me to the passionate joy of infatuation between men. While visiting DC and in need of a one-night stand, he ran into me, a “near-virgin” at 23, at the Pier 9 disco, and came home with me. While pondering the failing three-way relationship he’d […]

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We Are Family

1979-2017: My first relationship with another man began when I met Jim at the YMCA in 1979. I was 26, about to leave a job I hated, unsure of what would come next, and open to the steady influence of a sexy “older” man (He was 39.), who found me alluring.

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Hidden Costs

1981-2017: If I had to select one photo from my archives which personifies the devastation wrought upon my generation by the AIDS epidemic, it would have to be this one: a group of handsome and fit gay men in their late 20’s, smiling while posing on a beach (July / August 1981, as the discovery […]

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