Jul 30, 2016

The Edwardian with the Footlong and the Fetishes

San Francisco, October 1996

One day in October 1996, Corbin the gym rate with the Mortadella+ and I were walking down 16th Street, near Gold's Gym, when we saw the Edwardian: in his 30s, very handsome, with pomaded hair and a little moustache, dressed in a waistcoat and a boater hat, carrying a walking stick.  He looked for all the world like a dandy from 1910, walking down the Strand on his way to high tea with E. M. Forster and P. G. Wodehouse.

The Edwardian was a common sight on Castro or 16th.  If you made eye contact, he said "Good afternoon, sir," and expected you to respond in kind.  If you said "Hello," or, God forbid, "Hi!", he frowned and moved on.

Word on the street was that he had a footlong Kovbasa++++, which he shared with anyone who managed to maintain the illusion that this was Edwardian England for an entire conversation. I never managed it.

But today the Edwardian rushed toward Corbin, shook his hand warmly, and said "My dear sir, it is so delightful to see you!  You and your friend must come by for tea soon!"

"That sounds super radical" Corbin said in Valley Girl speak.  "Gotta book now, but we'll be there fer sure!"

The Edwardian frowned and moved on.

"What was that all about?"  I asked.

"Oh, I was with him a couple of weeks ago.  Believe me, it was quite an experience."

"Is he as hung as they say?"

"Even more.  But he's still not someone you want to hook up with."


The full story, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jul 29, 2016

Homophobia and Gay Subtexts in Horrible Bosses

Last night I watched Horrible Bosses (2011) on Netflix.  I resisted when it originally appeared due to its reputation for extreme homophobia, but, strangely enough, I didn't find it particularly homophobic.

The premise, obviously, is that three best buds have horrible bosses.

Nick (Jason Bateman) works for David Harken (Kevin Spacey), who calls him a liar for saying he came to work on time when he was actually two seconds late, tricks him into drinking whiskey, then calls him a drunk, and holds a promotion over his head, only to give it to himself.

Dale (Charlie Day of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) works as a dental hygienist for Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), who sexually harasses him (and sexually assaults her unconscious patients), and tries to blackmail him into having sex with her.

Kurt (Jason Sudeikis, left) likes his boss (Donald Sutherland), but then the old man dies, leaving the company to his bigoted cokehead son Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) who wants to make as much money as possible by cutting corners and ignoring environmental guidelines.

For reasons that weren't entirely satisfactory, they can't quit, or file complaints with regulatory boards, so they decide to kill their bosses.

First they answer an ad on Craigslist, but the "hit man" turns out to be a hustler who specializes in urinating on men.

They hire a man named "Motherf___ Jones," who eventually explains that he's never actually killed anyone.  He did jail time for illegally filming a movie.

Then David Harken, suspecting that Bobby Pellitt has been having an affair with his wife, shoots him.  The gang witnesses the murder, but how can they implicate Harken without getting in trouble themselves?

There are only two homophobic statements:
1. Dr. Harris calls Dale a "fag" for refusing to sleep with him.  But she's a horrible person.
2. Bobby Pellitt thinks that Kurt's relationship with his father was "a little gay."  But he's a horrible person, too.

In fact, Dale is engaged to a woman, and Kurt tries to pick up every woman in sight with lame come-ons (which always work), but Nick doesn't express any heterosexual interests.  He specifies that, due to a heavy work load, he hasn't "had sex with someone other than myself" for months.  He can certainly be read as gay.

Jul 28, 2016

Our Hook Up with Brad Pitt

San Francisco, August 1996

One night late in August 1996, I invited my new friend David and Corbin, the gym rat from Oakland, who I shared with Drake and Zack a few months ago, to dinner at Thai Thai.  I intended to fix them up, of course, but I also planned to "share" Corbin's awe-inspiring Mortadella.

He was late.  We were about to order without him when he came bursting in, giddy and excited. "I brought someone -- I hope you don't mind.  He's out looking for a parking space."

Actually, I did. If  Corbin brought a date, we would be divided into two couples, and no Mortadella+ for me.  But I said "No, not at all.  By the way, this is David.  He's new to San Francisco, from redneck Bible Belt Arkansas."

"It's not that bad!" David exclaimed.  "Is your date hot?"

"Is he hot!"  He sat and took David's arm.  "Out parking the car right now is none other than Brad Pitt!"

The hottest actor in Hollywood?  The star of Thelma and Louise, and Johnny Suede, and A River Runs Through It?  And Interview with the Vampire, where he and Tom Cruise played a gay vampire couple?  Sure, he always had a lady on his arm, but he must be bisexual -- straight men just don't get abs like that!

"How did you..."  I asked.

The full story, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Pushing a Shopping Cart Up Castro Street

San Francisco, May 1996

Castro Street, the heart of the gay universe, is actually quite compact.  There are two blocks of bars, restaurants, and boutiques:  Twin Peaks, Orphan Andy's, Almost Home, Thai Thai, the Q Bar.  A Walgreen's Drug Store.  A barbr shop.  Two banks.

At 19th Street it becomes residential.  Bright, ornate Victorians with covered dormer windows, crammed together, covering every inch of space for the next five blocks.  The hill becomes very steep.

By 24th you are technically still on Castro Street, but you're not in The Castro anymore.  You're in Noe Valley.

Who actually lived in those Victorians on Castro Street?

They never came up for sale or rent.  No one we met ever gave them as an address.

Maybe they were the original residents of the street, not even gay, who moved in when the neighborhood was called Little Scandinavia and inspired the play I Remember Mama, who didn't budge during the 1970s and 1980s as Gay Liberation happened all around them.

There was no particular reason to go past 19th, so I never did, until the day I saw the homeless guy pushing a shopping cart up the hill.

The full post, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

How Proust Can Bore You to Death

I have a confession to make: I have a B.A. in Modern Languages, a M.A. in English, and almost a doctorate in Comparative Literature, and I've never made it through more than a few pages of Proust's  Remembrance of Things Past.

I know I should.  It's an essential work of French literature, and an essential part of the gay literary heritage.  A gay writer, with gay characters, published during the 1920s.

I used to own the hefty Motcrieff translation, plus the first volume in French. Now I have it on an ebook.

Seven volumes, 4,200 pages, and you have to read each page several times because your mind keeps wandering.

The narrator as a young boy is in his bedroom, waiting for his mother to come upstairs and kiss him goodnight.  Then, as an adult, he eats a madeleine pastry, and memories come rushing back.  He used to live in a town named Combray...

 And I thrust the book aside.  Or, lately, I click it off my computer screen.

I've read books about it: How Proust Can Change Your Life, Proust's Library, Painting in Proust, Food in Proust.  

And I pick it up and start again.

2,000 characters, mostly divided into four camps:

The Swanns: An upper-class family.  Charles Swann marries the courtesan Odette.  The Narrator dates their daughter, Gilberte.

The Guermantes: Aristocrats that the Narrator envies. The flamboyant, decadent Baron de Charlus is the most important.

The Verdurins: mostly artists.

The Balbec Girls.  To my disappointment, Balbec does not refer to the ancient Middle Eastern city, but to yet another French provincial town, where the Narrator meets Albertine, the great love of his life.

Yawn.  Is there anything on tv?

I bought the graphic novel version, and still didn't make it past the first few pages.  So...so...sooooo...boring....

Can anyone claim to be knowledgeable about gay literature without having read Proust?

Probably.  There are thousands and thousands of pages of hetero-romance.  We don't get to the gay stuff until Volume 4, Sodom et Gomorrah, translated as The Cities of the Plain.when the Narrator discovers that Baron Charlus is gay and that some of the women he is attracted to are lesbians.  This upsets him, because it means that they are not sexually accessible.

Some critics think that the Narrator is gay, too, because he keeps falling in love with women who have masculine-sounding names: Albertine could be a closeted "Albert," and Gilberte could be "Gilbert."  But that sounds like grasping at straws.

By the way, the top photo is a bodybuilder because when you search for "Remembrance of Things Past" on Google Images, he pops up.

Someone must have decided to post a bodybuilder on their Proust page, to alleviate the boredom.

Jul 27, 2016

Street Cruising in San Francisco: 15 Gimmicks that Landed Me or My Friends

When I lived in San Francisco, street cruising was common: you happened to see an attractive guy on the street, and after minimal conversation, at most a drink in the nearest bar, invited him into your bed.

Street cruising was not planned.  You were on your way to the gym or to dinner or to the underwear party at the Lone Star, wending your way through the after-work crowds, when something about the guy incited your interest and prompted you to make contact.

If you wanted to be successful, you couldn't depend on your biceps and bulge alone.  Every guy in town could bench press 350, and was either gifted beneath the belt or knew how to stuff a sock.

You had to have something special, a little boost that set you apart from the crowd.

Here are 15 successful street cruising gimmicks.  Each of them landed me or one of my friends.

1, The Leatherman. had a scuffy beard, nipple rings, and a tattoo of Hot Stuff the Little Devil.  He wore chaps, a leather vest, and no shirt everywhere, to the grocery store, to the dentist, to church. He never left South of Market, where such things are not completely bizarre.

2. The Unicyclist.  Another example of partial nudity, with a twist.  He rode a unicycle down the street, wearing only short pants and white gloves and carrying a little horn.  When he saw a guy he liked, he circled and beeped.

3. The Construction Worker.  San Francisco was all professionals and service industry workers, very few blue collar jobs, so everyone had rough-and-tumble fantasies about a guy in a yellow vest with a toolbelt covering his crotch.

4. The Teddy Bear Artist.  He made a living building custom teddy bears: in leather jackets, in bondage gear, sporting gay pride flags.  There was always a small teddy bear hanging from his belt.

5. The Golden Retriever's Human.  Even if the guy's face and physique nothing to write home about, who's going to pass up an opportunity to play with the dog?

6. The Maserati's Owner.   You can hardly engage in street cruising while driving, but the Maserati's Owner simply sat in his frightfully expensive convertible, an ostentatious symbol of wealth (especially in San Francisco, where cars are a burden, not a necessity).

7. The Pie Man.  Whenever he wanted to cruise, he bought a pie at the bakery and carried it down the street.  Conversations involved asking for "a piece," asking if he could "eat something that big," and so on.  The next day he donated the pie to a homeless shelter.

8. Pushing a Shopping Cart Jake used a shopping cart to take his laundry to the laundromat.  being mistaken for homeless when he was obviously well-fed and well-housed got him a lot of attention.

9. The Golfer.  I've never met a gay man who was actually into golf, and Castro Street is probably five miles from the nearest golf course, but lugging one of those bags full of clubs down the street is definitely a conversation starter.

10. The Bible Boy.  My friend David picked up a "screamer," one of those guys who carry signs and Bibles and yell about "abominations."

11. The Edwardian.  He wore a waistcoat and a boater hat and carried a walking stick, looking for all the world like he was on the way to tea with E.M. Forster and P.G. Wodehouse

12. Santa Clausaka Bearnard, a writer who had a bestselling series of fantasy novels set in the days of King Arthur.  He was eccentric in a lot of ways, but in the wintertime he capitalized on his resemblance to Santa Claus by wearing lots of reds and blacks.  A surprising number of guys asked him to slide down their chimney.

13. The Alien.  A very tall black guy, bald, dressed all in white with a gold medallion hanging on his neck, he looked exactly like the an emissary of the Galactic Council in a science fiction movie.  He gave his name as Darvon Klaa, and said he was from "A small planet very, very far away."

14. Brad Pitt.  

15. The Skateboarder.

The full post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood

Jul 26, 2016

Doug McClure: From Physique Pictorial to The Simpsons

One of the supporting characters in the "my secret" teencom Out of This World (1987-91), about a teenage alien, was Kyle X. Applegate (Doug McClure): a bumbling, dimwitted has-been tv star.  In 1991, a bumbling, dimwitted has-been movie star began appearing on The Simpsons with the schtick "Hi, I'm Troy McClure.  You may remember me from such movies as..."

Who was this Doug McClure, and how did he get typecast as a bumbling, dimwitted has-been?

A little research reveals quite a different character:

A fitness model who appeared in the gay-vague Physique Pictorial in 1957 (here pinning Clint Eastwood).

Appearances in nearly 100 movies and tv shows, playing cowboys, detectives, and adventurers, usually in gay-subtext buddy pairs.

1. Jed Sills, partner of Don Corey (Anthony George) in the swnging 1960s detective series Checkmate (1960-62).

2. Engineering student Chuck Manning in The Lively Set (1964), who teams up with young mechanic Casey Owens (teen idol James Darren) to build a jet-powered car.  He's not interested in girls, but his sister hangs around to provide Casey with the fade-out kiss.

3. John, brother to Beau Geste (Guy Williams of Lost in Space) n the French foreign legion adventure (1966).

4. Trampas, head farm hand on the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming run by The Virginian (James Drury) (1962-71).  This was his most famous role.  Apparently he knew how to fill out a cowboy suit, especially with a rifle handy.

5. Cash Conover, partner of 19th century secret agent Boomer Cable (William Shatner) on Barbary Coast (1975-76).

Doug continued to play cowboys, detectives, secret agents, and adventurers through the 1980s, but he never had another starring role. Maybe that's where he got the "has-been" image.

 All of that buddy-bonding fueled some substantial gay rumors, even though he was married to women five times.

See also: James Shigeta.

Jul 25, 2016

The One Thing Kerry Wants in Guy

West Hollywood, December 29th, 1998

I'm back in West Hollywood for New Year's Eve.  Lane and I are having breakfast at the French Quarter, catching up on the gossip of who dated who, who moved in, who broke up, during the 3 1/2 years I've been away.

"And guess what?" Lane says in a confidential hush.  "Kerry finally found a boyfriend! He moved into his apartment about two months ago!"

We met Kerry at the gay synagogue in West Hollywood several years ago.  He was 21 years old, a theater arts major at UCLA, sharing an apartment off Melrose with two roommates and working in a video store, where he always found a gay-themed movie to promote as his "Pick of the Week."

He stood out in the crowd: tall, a boyish all-American face, smooth sculpted physique, and a shock of red hair beneath a yarmulke decorated with little shamrocks.  One doesn't meet many redheaded Irish Jews.

He was very popular at the synagogue, at the gym, and at the twink bars. Some of the most desirable guys  in West Hollywood were asking him out.

BUT: lots of first dates, rarely a second, but by the third, he was shouting "Next!"

No matter how hot the guy was, Kerry always found something wrong with him: bad breath, weird tattoo, unmade bed, a yapping dog, ordered the most expensive item on the menu, said something bad about Boston, lived outside the gay neighborhood.

We lost contact after I moved to San Francisco, and then New York.  Finding out that he has a boyfriend -- and they're living together --  is huge!

Who is this Adonis who has risen above all other mortals, with their snoring and farting and eating peanut butter right from the jar, to become "the one" for the extraordinarily picky Kerry?

The uncensored post, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jul 24, 2016

Don Johnson and the Gay Community

Don Johnson had a close relationship with the gay community from the start.  In 1968 he dropped out of the University of Kansas to enroll in the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and immediately landed the starring role in Fortune and Men's Eyes, a play about a teenager who is sexually assaulted in prison.  He moved to Los Angeles to play the lead in the 1971 film version, directed by famous gay actor Sal Mineo (who became his roommate).

And lover (according to the rumor mill).  But then, if Sal Mineo really had relationships with everyone the rumor mill said he did, he would have been too tired to act.

Don also played the titular character, who grooves on both men and women in  The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970) -- one of the songs, "Sweet Gingerbread Man," was covered by Bobby  Sherman.

And a boy at an experimental college, where he was naked and having sex all the time, in The Harrad Experiment (1973). Gregory Harrison played one of his classmates, also naked and having sex all the time.

And a boy traveling through a bleak postapocalyptic world in A Boy and His Dog (1975), who gets captured and used as a breeder in a crazy underground city where the men are mostly sterile.  It was re-envisioned in 2010 in Cartoon Network's Adventure Time. 

And so on through the 1970s, in vehicles that were sometimes gritty, sometimes surreal, but always emphasized Don's sexual desirability -- to both men and women.

As the counterculture waned, he found himself in conventional heterosexist roles in tv series like The Rookies, Streets of San Francisco, and Barnaby Jones, and tv movies like The Rebels, Revenge of the Stepford Wives, and Six Pack.  

He made something of a comeback in Miami Vice (1984-1990),about an odd-couple of vice cops making the scene with fast cars, stylish clothes, and lots of buddy-bonding.  Crockett (Don Johnson) was the good old boy who grew up in rural northern Florida and had a pet alligator named Elvis; Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) was the streetwise New Yorker.

The buddy-bonding  is not nearly as intense as in Starsky and Hutch a decade before, and interspersed with lots of heterosexual hijinks.  But during the homophobic 1980s, it was about all you could expect.

There are nude photos of Don Johnson on Tales of West Hollywood.