Frank Anthony Polito

Biography   Lost in the 90's   The Spirit of Detroit   Band Fags!   Drama Queers!   Remembering Christmas   

Playwright and award-winning author of titles such as "Band Fags!"

Frank Discusses Move to Detroit on Queerty

Frank told about how his partner, Craig, moved to Detroit’s suburbia in a essay. Learn about how an “NYC Gay Couple Does the Unthinkable” here!

— 7 months ago
Do you have Detroit Spirit?

Web reviews say it’s “so clever and funny.”

"I would recommed this novel to anyone interested in a character trying to reach his goals while being distracted in an urban setting."

"I was delighted to see the books grow up with the character."

What are you waiting for?

Grab your copy of Frank’s latest book, The Spirit of Detroit, today at Amazon!

— 7 months ago
The San Francisco Examiner – “New play premiering in San Francisco depicts a different slice of gay life in the 1980s”

When author and playwright Frank Anthony Polito wrote the first draft of “Band Fags” in 2001, the main characters’ relationship was more romantic in nature.

“It was a ‘boy-gets-boy’ story,” Polito told me. “But really I wanted to tell a story about two friends going through discovering their sexuality together.”

“Band Fags” was adapted into a novel of the same name in 2004, and Polito fleshed out the friendship between Jack and Brad, teenage band geeks confronted with same-sex attraction in early 1980s suburban Detroit. The friendship element was retained when the novel was turned back into a two-man play — currently on a West Coast premiere run at the New Conservatory Theatre Center.

“Band Fags” has actors Blake Dorris and James Arthur M. capturing the eagerness of teenage obsessions. The endearing coming-of-age story takes place inside a rose-colored time capsule of pop life in the ’80s, complete with the Erasure soundtrack.

When so much queer folklore from the 1980s tends to focus solely on the devastation of the AIDS epidemic, it’s refreshing to see a different slice of gay life. “Band Fags” does have a mention of AIDS, but (true to the times) it’s cloaked in innuendo and euphemism.

“I wrote ‘Band Fags’ about the things that I was interested in when I was a teen,” Polito said. “Growing up, I knew about AIDS but I was more concerned with making it on the homecoming court.”

Today, LGBT youths are being crowned homecoming royalty, and queer prom queens and kings are emerging in high schools nationwide. About a week ago, Cassidy Lynn Campbell, a transgender 16-year-old, won the title of homecoming queen of her Huntington Beach high school.

And in August, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill granting California public school students the right to participate in sex-segregated activities consistent with their gender identities.

“My brother is a high school drama teacher and he just cast a lesbian and a transgender teen as the two male leads,” Polito said, echoing the strides we have made.

But despite “Glee” and the It Gets Better campaign, this form of acceptance is far from widespread.

Even the use of certain phrases still causes discomfort in some. The title, “Band Fags,” has given Polito plenty of chances throughout the years to defend his appropriation.

First Barnes & Noble booksellers were hesitant to carry the novel in 2004. Most recently, Facebook deleted the novel’s official page, citing “offensive and hateful language.”

“The term ‘band fag’ is a phrase of its time,” Polito said. “In high school, everyone in band was a ‘band fag.’ The popular jock was in band and he used to refer to himself as king of the band fags. For us, it was a badge of honor.”


— 7 months ago
The San Francisco Chronicle – “‘Band Fags’ - from play to novel, back to play”

A tale of coming of age in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park in the 1980s, Frank Anthony Polito's “Band Fags,” adapted from his novel of the same name - well, sort of - is getting its West Coast premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center. The story of unlikely best friends Jack and Brad, navigating the cliques and crushes of school, also attracted attention for being “banned on Facebook.”

Why? And why do some write-ups suggest the novel was adapted from the play? Polito kindly answered via e-mail.

Q: Which came first, the novel or the play?

A: The play did indeed come first. I originally wrote it as a two-character play in 2001 and called it “John R,” after the main drag in my hometown of Hazel Park. A few years later a book editor encouraged me to adapt it into a novel and flesh it out with other characters. Once the novel was published in 2008, I went back and reworked.

Q: Is this your first play to be done here?

A: Yes. Alas, being a playwright is even less lucrative than being a novelist. I haven’t written any other plays since I began novel-writing.

Q: Is it at all autobiographical?

A: I’d say about 90 percent. Sadly, my life isn’t as interesting or dramatic as Jack’s.

Q: Banned on Facebook - what’s that about?

A: In April 2010 the fan page I’d created for the book two years earlier was removed by Facebook. I received a message stating that the content violated Facebook’s policy against “offensive” words. Eventually I contacted a friend, in San Francisco actually, whose partner works at Facebook and the page was reinstated a few days later. For me - and for book sales - the whole misunderstanding was a plus.


— 7 months ago
AOL – “Couple Find Their Dream Detroit Home Before It Goes on Sale”

When Craig Bentley and Frank Polito’s 500-square-foot New York City apartment started to feel like a shoebox, they decided it was time to upgrade. But instead of opting for a larger space in the City That Never Sleeps — or, as it sometimes seems, gets cheaper — the couple took their search 600 miles west to their hometown of Detroit.

They chose an unconventional way to search for their new home. Using Zillow's Make Me Movesearch feature, Frank and Craig were able to look at homes that were not on the market yet, but had owners seriously interested in moving out. The frustrating part for buyers going this route is that it’s their job to convince the undecided seller, who has no professional guidance from a Realtor and often has an inflated idea of the home’s worth, to sell at a decent price.

The couple eventually overcame that hurdle. Craig and Frank found a home they adored, with a tiled fireplace and gorgeous staircase, and soon settled on a price with the owner. The trouble came once they received the home’s official value from the appraiser — it was $10,000 less than their agreed upon purchase price. “That’s a big issue, because the lender will only give you the amount for what it’s appraised for,” Craig said.

Fortunately, after a long period of negotiation, they struck a second deal just as the couple was about to move in. To see the full story, watch the video above.


— 7 months ago
C&G News – “Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak homes to be featured on HGTV”

Buying a home is a long, sometimes frustrating process even more intensified for a first-time homebuyer.

Craig Bentley and Frank Anthony Polito are both from Michigan, but moved out to New York in 1995 to pursue their acting careers. Now, the two are moving back home and have decided to throw another wrench into their first home-buying process — having it filmed for television.

Bentley and Polito will have their experience shown on HGTV’s “House Hunters” as the couple tries to decide between a house in Pleasant Ridge and two homes in Royal Oak. The first part of filming has been completed with the show still in production, but Bentley and Polito have enjoyed being part of this experience so far.

“We like the show and that is the main reason anyone would want to do it — because they watch it and like it,” Polito, 43, said. “But our friends back in New York will be able to see a little of where we are coming back to, and others we don’t know, we want people to see Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak on TV and see it is a great place to live.”

Polito is originally from Hazel Park, and Bentley grew up in Center Line. The two met at Wayne State University as they were both part of the theatre program.

While the move to New York was an experience, both men have moved their careers in another direction. Bentley works as an industrial spokesperson while Polito has enjoyed a successful writing career, releasing books based on Hazel Park and the surrounding areas.

The idea of getting on House Hunters began when Bentley was recovering from an injury and was told about the show from his physical therapist. Polito sent in the application and, a couple of weeks later, they were contacted for more information.

“Once we got the application done, (HGTV) sent out guidelines for what they were looking for, like they wanted to know why we were moving and what type of properties we were interested in,” Bentley, 43, said. “Frank and I had to take turns taking tours of our apartment in New York and we had to describe a room to show how we would do in front of the camera.”

Being in front of a camera was a natural position for both Bentley and Polito as actors, but being yourself is different than playing a character, Bentley said. A few years ago, Bentley was on another television show, “Cash Cab,” where he was also in front of the camera as himself.

“I have a little advantage being a spokesperson and doing narration because I have to take complicated technology and simplify it down, so when we do interview segments, they want things to be shorter and concise and that was something that came natural to me,” Bentley said of filming “House Hunters.”

“I think the biggest challenge between acting and being in front of the camera as yourself is, when you are playing a character, you make a choice about how you are going to portray that person. But when you see yourself, you think, ‘Do I do that?’ Because the camera is in front of you, you say words you don’t normally say.”

For Polito, the challenge came in trying not to act and just be himself when going over certain shots again.

“In my mind, I am an actor, but as an actor, I would say certain things in a certain way,” he said. “A lot of times what (the filming crew) does is you say what you feel and then they say to say it again. But then they want you to act and that makes it different, and I should be able to do it, but I get self-conscious about doing it and I talk in a voice I don’t know where it came from.”

Bentley and Polito weren’t the only two who had to make sure they were ready to be in front of a camera. Their Realtor, Christa Buchanan, of Real Estate One in Troy, also had to send in an audition tape to HGTV.

Buchanan agreed that remembering how she said something or how she walked was difficult on retakes, but she also had to describe the “drama” of the search, which, in this case, was finding a house quick enough.

“The hardest part of this search was the current housing market, because houses are selling so quickly and selling in a day and over list price,” she said. “Because they were flying in from New York, we were in an area where we had to get them a house before they moved back.

“Even though I found myself being tongue-tied, where words were not coming out correctly, it has been a fun experience so far.”

In keeping with the show’s format, Polito and Bentley had to describe things they wanted in a new home — such as three bedrooms and an updated kitchen — but also things they didn’t agree on. One thing the two had no problem agreeing on, however, was they wanted to paint Detroit and the surrounding area in a good light.

“It will be great to show people what is really happening here instead of just people thinking Detroit is bankrupt and that is the only thing that is happening here,” Bentley said. “There is a lot of great things happening here and that is why we chose to come back.”

An airdate for the episode featuring Bentley and Polito has not been decided and is expected to be determined after shooting wraps at the end of August.


— 7 months ago – “‘House Hunters’ Comes to the Area”

HGTV’s House Hunters is in the area this week shooting in nearby Pleasant Ridge.

House Hunters is a show where homebuyers view and tour three different properties with a Realtor before revealing their final purchase decision. 

At this point, HGTV will not divulge any more information about the location of the two other properties the buyers will look at, but there is speculation it’s Royal Oak.

The buyers can expect long days, according to Farmington resident Meg Day, who was featured in an episode in 2011. It takes about 50 hours of filming to create a 22 minute show.

“It was interesting to get a taste of what it’s like to be an actor. It’s a lot of sitting around, waiting and doing it again,” Day toldFarmington-Farmington Hills Patch. 

Stayed tuned!


— 7 months ago