Jun 25, 2017

Summertime Beefcake at the Dunking Booth

Among my favorite summertime sights are the dunking booths at festivals, county fairs, Celtic games, school carnivals, summer camps, and various parties.

They are descended from the old dunk tanks used as punishment in the Middle Ages, where people accused of witchcraft or other "crimes" would be tied to a chair and dunked underwater.

In modern dunking booths, you just get wet.








The "victim" sits on a level platform suspended above a tank of water.  People line up to try a feat, like hitting a target.  If they are successful, the platform falls away, and he falls into the water.

Sometimes there's no feat; you pay for the privilege of pushing a lever and dunking the victim.












The tank is often made of clear plastic so you can watch him flailing around.

















The victim is usually male, often a teacher, preacher, camp counselor, college football star, or other high-prestige figure, to make the dunking a kind of "revenge."















But don't worry: Dunking only occurs on hot days, when being dunked repeatedly is rather refreshing.

















And you get to see a lot of attractive men in short pants or swimsuits.

See also: Celtic Festivals

Trapped in a Dormitory with College Freshmen

Long Island, August 1997

On August 26th, 1997, at 10:00 pm, I got on an airplane with two suitcases, leaving friends, my boyfriend, most of my stuff, and memories of home, to go to graduate school at Setauket University in New York.

Eight hours later, after a layover in Chicago, I arrived at LaGuardia.  I had never been to New York before. I expected skyscrapers and subways.  Instead, I found the suburban sprawl of the Straight World.

The admissions guy said that Setauket was 30 minutes from New York City.  He lied!  From LaGuardia Airport it took 2 hours by train, with a change at Jamaica station.

Exhausted after a night with no sleep, I got to the campus at a little after noon, only to find the Housing Office closed for lunch.

When I returned at 1:15, they had no idea who I was.  There was no application for graduate student housing on file.

I was standing in the middle of Long Island with two suitcases, a day before classes started, with no place to stay!

"Don't worry," the housing clerk said.  "We can move you into emergency housing until a graduate student apartment opens up.  It shouldn't be longer than a week or two."

She gave me a key to a room in the freshman dormitory!

Two bunk beds, four desks and chairs, two shared closets, bathroom down the hall. With three freshman boys as my roommates.

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

Pinocchio in Outer Space: Gay Subtext Classic Cartoon

Most of the various renditions of Pinocchio, the Italian puppet who becomes a real live boy, emphasize heteroromance, giving Pinoke or his creator Gepetto a girlfriend.  But the odd film Pinocchio in Outer Space (1965), goes the other way, giving Pinoke a very obvious boyfriend.

It's unusual in other ways, too.  After an intro set in a quaint Medieval century village, it rather jarringly pushes us into the twentieth century when Pinocchio studies space flight, and the Blue Fairy and an older woman, perhaps a goddess, discuss how crowded outer space is getting.

After some medieval adventures, Pinocchio encounters an alien space ship, piloted by an evolved turtle named Nertle (Arnold Stang).

They zoom into space (as the Earth recedes, we see that Pinocchio lives in Massachusetts).  They explore an ancient Martian city, drawn in realistic science fiction style. 

With Gepetto all but absent, Pinocchio and Nertle buddy-bond.  Nertle points out that the two moons of Mars are "perfect for romance."  Then he bats his eyes at Pinocchio.

Later Nertle asks "Have you ever seen anyone so lovable?", and Pinocchio bats his eyes at him.

Apparently the Martians were all killed by Astro, the giant space whale, who is now on his way to devour Earth. Pinocchio sacrifices himself to save the world, and Nertle appears weeping at his deathbed.  Not to worry, he is resurrected by the Blue Fairy, and father, son, and boyfriend rejoice. 

Some internet reviewers have even found some homophobic jokes.  Nertle is a Twertle, pronounced with a lisp like gay stereotypes (in French, his name is Twortu, from tortue, "Turtle"), and he comes from the planet DV-8 ("deviate," get it?). 

Where did this crazy movie come from?

It was produced in Belgium by animator Ray Goosens, who directed a lot of Belgian cartoons, including TinTin and Asterix, and translated into English by Frank Ladd.  It was very popular in Europe, even used to advertise candy.










Pete Lazer, who voiced Pinocchio, was a former child star who was making the rounds of adult tv series, including Mr. Novak and The Defenders.  His last screen credit was a 1967 episode of Felony Squad.

Baby Boomers remember Arnold Stang as the voice of Top Cat.  He had a 60-year old career, specializing in big-talking little guys.

There's no documentary evidence that any of them were gay.


Jun 24, 2017

Are Mike and Calvin Friends or Lovers?

Wilton Manors, October 2004

You're at a party, and you want to know if it's ok to flirt with that hot person who came with the hetero guy.  Are they just friends, or lovers?

Easy: if it's a man, they're friends.  You may occasionally be mistaken, but 99 times out of 100, you can distinguish between friends and lovers by gender.

If you're not sure, check their level of physical intimacy.  Heterosexuals rarely sit with their hands on their friend's knee, or make out with them, or go down on them.

If you're still not sure, find out if they live together.  Heterosexuals over age 25 usually shy away from living with friends, thinking of it as "juvenile": grown-ups should only live with lovers.

With gay men, it's not so easy.

1. Friends and lovers are typically both men.

2. Friends have no qualms about physical intimacy.  They are perfectly willing to make out with you, or to go down on you.  But sometimes lovers are sexually incompatible, and rarely do anything.

3.  Friends often live together, and lovers sometimes do not.

4. Guys often have very close, inseparable friends.

But you have to be able to distinguish.  It's extremely rude to invite one lover but not the other to a party, to give a Christmas present to one but not the other, or even to hold a conversation with one without asking "How's your boyfriend?"

It's even more rude to cruise a guy's lover.

Mike and Calvin were two guys who worked out at Barney's gym: both in their 30s, buffed but not bodybuilders, with smooth chests and big biceps.  Mike was taller, pale/Anglo, and a little more buffed.  Calvin was shorter, dark/Hispanic, with longer hair, and a bigger penis (I saw them both in the shower).

I was interested in Calvin.  But I couldn't cruise him openly, until I knew whether they were friends or lovers.

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

Jun 23, 2017

Bob Morley and His Posse

While looking for "Bob Marley" on google, I came across this photo of Bob Morley and his posse frolicking in the sun.

I never heard of any of them before, but it turns out that they're mostly starring in The 100 (2014-2018), about juvenile delinquents sent to a dead Earth to repopulate it

And they all either play gay characters, or are gay in real life, or both.




Bob Morley, in the middle, is a 32-year old Australian actor who has starred in Home and Away and Neighbours.(where he played a gay character).

In Lost in the White City (2014), he plays Avi, an Israeli soldier who has a 3-way relationship with artists Kyle and Eva.

He doesn't like appearing shirtless on screen or otherwise being treated like "a piece of meat."





English model turned actor Rick Whittle, age 35, played gay characters on Holby City and The 100.   He is currently starring as Shadow Moon in the series American Gods.

Straight in real life, but at least he doesn't mind being treated like a piece of meat.
















32-year old Sachin Sahel and 25-year old Richard Harmon play a gay couple on The 100.  They neither confirm nor deny that they're dating in real life, but they're definitely bromantic partners.
















Toby Levin is from Illinois, and majored in drama and Spanish from Bennington College.  He isn't on The 100, but he had a recurring role as a gay guy on Empire, and in 2012 he was passing out Empire swag in the New York Gay Pride Parade.  He likes guys with beards

The Homophobic Small-Town Manhattan of "Friends"

Friends (1994-2004) was set in the same intimate, "small town" Manhattan as Seinfeld.  But it lacked the New York color -- it could have been set in any big city -- not to mention the witty dialogue, interesting minor characters, and intricately connected plotlines.

And while Seinfeld was mostly heterosexist, assuming that gay people did not exist (except for a few homophobic episodes), Friends knew about the existence of gay people.  And was scared stiff.

It was about six heterosexual young adults who hung out together to commiserate over their terrible jobs -- though they still managed to afford huge apartments in Manhattan -- and terrible love lives -- though the women still managed to date a never-ending stream of chiseled hunks, including Adam Baldwin, Tom Selleck, and Brad Pitt.

The friends differed in personality, class background, socioeconomic status.

Upper class:
Neurotic, easily-befuddled Chandler (Matthew Perry), who worked as a statistician.
Former spoiled rich kid Rachel (Jennifer Anniston), who lost her silver spoon and worked as a waitress.

Middle class:
Nebbish paleontologist Ross (David Schwimmer, left), who had a crush on Rachel in high school.
His sister Monica (Courtney Cox), formerly fat and unpopular, now a control freak caterer.




Lower class:
Italian-American stereotype Joey (Matt Leblanc, top photo), a muscular but dimwitted aspiring actor.
Ditsy Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), who worked as a masseuse, and had an equally ditsy brother (Giovanni Ribisi).

Eventually they paired off into Chandler-Monica and Rachel-Ross.  Joey and Phoebe stayed unattached.

Gay people intrude in a number of episodes, as problems to be solved:





Chandler is horribly embarrassed by the fact that his Dad is a drag queen.
Ross's ex-wife is "now" a lesbian, and actually intends to "marry" her girlfriend.
Ross is horrified when his male student comes on to him.

But more common, in nearly every episode, is the men's homophobia -- a literal fear of gay people.

Tijara Mamula has uploaded a remix, "Homophobic Friends," with the highlights of the homophobic and transphobic jokes that form a constant undertow to the series.

Turns out that friendship itself is problematic.

If a guy has male friends, people think "he likes guys, he's gay."
If he has female friends, people think "he's like a woman, he's gay."

Chandler, Ross, and Joey are each mistaken for gay at various points in the series.  To gales of audience laughter.  To be thought gay is second worst humiliation possible.

The worst humiliation: to really be gay.  So the guys often criticize each other, and the other male characters, for acting "too gay."  They police the slightest gender-atypical behavior, horrified that signifies some inner gayness that must be stopped before it grows like a malignant tumor and destroys them.

Ross didn't know that his wife was a lesbian!  He must be gay!

Joey and Chandler hug!  They must be gay!

While on a ride-along, Ross refers to himself as the cop's "partner."  He must be gay!

So much for the cozy, small-town Manhattan of Friends.

But it gets worse: An incredibly homophobic joke in the first season turned a million gay fans away from the series forever.

See also: Homophobia on "Friends": This Time It's Serious.; and Giovanni Ribisi

Jun 22, 2017

Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin

On winter afternoons in fourth or fifth grade, I was stuck in the house listening to my kid brother's Disney record.

He loved that darn thing, and played it over and over and over.  It was a small house, so there was no place to escape from the torture.

It begins with "From all of us to all of you, a very Merry Christmas," a song I've never heard anywhere else.  Then we get some non-Christmas stories:

1. Little Black Sambo, who has a New York accent: "All the tigahs have turned into buttah!"

2. Scrooge McDuck ships his money to the moon for safekeeping.

3. Winnie the Pooh, a fat, stupid bear with a chalkboard-grating voice, braves a natural disaster that floods his home.  Winnie is a girl's name, and "pooh" means feces, and it only goes downhill from there.  

Later I found that the nightmare-inducing hell-voice came from the evil Sterling Holloway (1904-1992), who also voiced the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland and Kaa the Snake (who hypnotizes and tries to eat Mowgli in The Jungle Book).

I've been blessedly spared the Disney movies, but in school I had the original books inflicted on me.  They are the diabolical work of A.A. Milne (1882-1956), who began his degradation and despair in poetry collected in When We Were Very Young (1924).

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

The teacher expected 10 year olds raised on a diet of Lost in Space, Star Trek, and Magnus Robot Fighter to read this?  And like it?  Really?

But the main atrocity, the Pooh Demon, comes from stories originally published in St. Nicholas, Punch, and other magazines before settling down into two books, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House on Pooh Corner (1928).

 They star Milne's son,  Christopher Robin Milne, and his coterie of toy and real animals:  Rabbit; Owl (very creative names); Kanga and Roo (mother and child kangaroos); Piglet; Eeyore (a donkey), and the titular Winnie  (although Milne's teddy bear was actually named Edward).


The later book introduces Tigger (a tiger spelled wrong).

The short adventures generally involve Christopher Robin's demonic minions misunderstanding things.  For instance, when he writes a note explaining that he'll be back soon, his demonic minions misinterpret "Backson" as a person, conclude that he has been kidnapped, and mount a daring rescue operation.

Or Eeyore the clinically depressed donkey loses his tail in the woods. Owl finds it, thinks it's a doorbell, and takes it home.  Not to worry, he gives it up without a fuss, and Christopher Robin nails it on.

The beings all have separate houses in the 100 Acre Woods, based on the 500 Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex (100 acres is .15 miles, so about a block and a half square).  It's mostly not woods at all, but swampy fields and dreary sandpits, and a river full of boulders and "rox."   Nice.

The gender-bending "Winnie," with his rather obvious lack of sex organs, has raised the ire of the city council of Tuszyn, Poland, which banned him for being transgender or "a hermaphrodite."

Some internet pundits try to make Piglet into a gay character due to his sense of style and interest in flower arranging -- and desire to see Christopher Robin naked.

But I find no gay subtexts in the books.  Although the characters are all male, except for Kanga, and there is no hetero-romance, no one lives together.  They are isolated individuals, not domestic partners like Toad and Rat in The Wind in the Willows.

And there's no permanence.  Gay subtexts have partners walking off into the sunset together, but the Pooh books are informed by a disturbing transience.  This will all end.  Christopher Robin will learn to spell "rocks," not "rox," write "back soon," not "backson," and become too old for his relationships with imaginary beings.  The end of the second book has him going off to boarding school, leaving forever.

Same-sex bonds belong to childhood.  The cold, hard work of adulthood requires heterosexual marriage and reproduction.

In gay subtext stories, men don't leave!.

Besides...that grating, infuriating voice!

When Lane's mother was sick, he bought her a Winnie-the-Pooh figure, thinking it would cheer her up.  She threw the darn thing across the room.

Rosa and I didn't agree on much, but I have to applaud that act of resistance.



Christopher Robin Milne (1920-1996) was a fey little kid (by parental design: they liked to feminize their boys in those days).  When he left the bear to go to school, he was bullied mercilessly by his classmates, and took up boxing for relief.

  He served in World War II, married his cousin Lesley de Selincourt, and opened a bookshop in Dartmouth.  He wrote several autobiographies, but mostly tried to distance himself from Winnie the Pooh.

Wouldn't you?

The illustrations, by the way, are from actors who have played Christopher Robin during his 31 film and tv appearances, or others who are named Christopher Robin.

1. A model named Christopherobin
2. A costumed Christopher Robin character at Disneyland
3. Frankie Galasso
4. Alex Lawther
5. The real Christopher Robin, his dad, and his demonic hell-beast.
6. Tom Wheatley.





Yuri and I Go to Amsterdam to Visit the Horsemen's Club

Amsterdam, June 2017

June has been a month for visiting old friends, or having them visit me -- first David, then Lane, and now Yuri, who I met in grad school in New York in 1997.  He's an atmospheric scientist, 43 years old, short and rather buffed, smooth chest, bright open face, thick brown hair.  No wrinkles, no grey hair, could easily pass for 30.  He must have a picture in an attic somewhere.

He lives in London, but I usually arrange to meet him somewhere else in Europe: Minsk in 2009, Paris and Amsterdam in 2011, Iceland last October.  And now Amsterdam again.

Except this year we'll be in town for the Horsemen's Club.

It used to meet every Sunday afternoon at the Argos Bar on Warmoesstraat: a club for men with at least 20 centimeters (about 8 inches).  I used to go every year.

Then they changed it to big men and their admirers.  Everyone was welcome, but 20+ centimeters got in free.  And they allowed safe sex.

Now it only meets on the third Sunday of the month.  I arrange my vacation with Yuri to be there on June 18th.







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

Oumpah-pah and Hubert

Oumpah-pah is a distinctively Belgian comic book, written by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo of Asterix fame.  After a false start in the early 1950s, it was serialized in Tintin magazine from 1958 to 1963.  Only three albums appeared in 1961, 1962, and 1967 (rather a small number compared to the 36 of Asterix).

They were translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, Greek, and English, but the English editions are very rare and go for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.  There are no plans for re-issues, due to the negative stereotypes of Native Americans as patois-speaking savages.

But on amazon.fr, you can get the French reissues for 10-15 Euros each, or "the complete adventures" used for around 20 Euros.

Why bother, when Asterix is readily available?  Because Oumpah-pah has some advantages that his more famous cousin doesn't.


Oumpah-pah belongs to the Shavashava tribe (based on the Shawnee) during French colonial times.

When French aristocrat Hubert de la Pâte Feuilleté, sent by the king to establish peaceful relations with the natives, is captured, Oumpah-pah rescues him and escorts him back to Fort Petit.  They become "brothers."







In a later adventure, Hubert is captured by the hostile Pied-Plads  (Flat-Foot) Tribe, who use him to lure Oumpah-pah into a trap.

They sail for France to get some horses, and encounter the pirate Brake, who captures Hubert and...













Upon returning to America, they battle Prussians and the evil Foie-Malade (Liver Sick)...

You get the idea.  A lot of captures, a lot of muscles straining at ropes, a lot of nick-of-time rescues and stammered "If it weren't for you, I'd be dead!"

















Hubert is scrappy and self-confident, Oumpah-pah muscular, attractive, and dominant, and the countless rescues and walking-into-the-sunset together conclusions provide a much more obvious gay subtext than anything you find in Asterix and Obelix.



Jun 21, 2017

10 Shirtless Pictures of Daniel Skye, Sort of

I never heard of 17-year old Daniel Skye before, but apparently he's one of the top teen idols in the U.S.  
He's got 9 songs listed on AZ Lyrics, all about love, 5 of the 9 using an incessant "girl! girl! girl!"

Sounds horribly heterosexist.

But I still googled "Daniel Skye" and "shirtless" to see what pops up.

1. Two guys, maybe one is Daniel.





2. I'm pretty sure this is Boo Boo Stewart.


















3. Blue eyes.


















4. Nice abs.  I'm not usually into earrings, but that black one makes his face.
















5.  Exceptionally big hair.

More after the break.

















Sad Sack

When I was a kid, I loved Harvey comics' supernatural titles, Casper, Spooky, and Hot Stuff having science-fiction and espionage adventures in the Enchanted Forest.  In a pinch, I didn't mind the kids-with-crazy-obsession titles, Little Dot, Little Lotta, and Richie Rich.  But I never even picked up Sad Sack.  

Military humor -- gross!  It was the middle of the Vietnam War.  Our fathers and older brothers were dying in Vietnam, or burning their draft cards and going into exile in Canada.  Who wanted to be reminded of all that?

But recently I came across an old book, The Sad Sack.  Apparently the character existed before Harvey Comics, in a pantomime strip published by Sergeant George Baker in the military magazine Yank during World War II.  The Sad Sack (short for "Sad Sack of Sh*) was a classic schmiel, beset-upon by bad luck, but tough, masculine, and sexually active (although here he's paying a woman to iron his pants).




Two hardcover compilations of Sad Sack strips appeared in 1944 and 1946.  There was a radio series (1946) starring Herb Vigran and a movie adaption (1957) starring Jerry Lewis.

Harvey took over the franchise in 1949, giving Sad Sack a voice, a nebbish personality, and surprisingly, a lot of shirtless and semi-nude shots (although he didn't have much of a physique).

 He was now a permanent private at Camp Calamity, so he would never go to war (like Beetle Bailey and Gomer Pyle), and he had a coterie of friends and superior officers, notably Sarge.











Sad Sack and Sarge have a "antagonistic best friend" relationship similar to that of Beetle Bailey and Sgt. Snorkel, with the same homoerotic subtext.















There were many spin-off titles, including Sad Sack's Funny Friends, Sad Sack's Gobs n Gals, Sad Sack and the Sarge, and Sad Sack Laugh Special.  Sounds like Archie spin-offs like Pals n Gals, and Laugh.

I never knew whether Sadie Sack was Sad in drag or just his girlfriend, but she turns out to be his female identical-twin cousin.  Rather a gender bender.











The Sad Sack title continued to be published for over thirty years, ending only when Harvey Comics folded in 1982.   so somebody was interested in Sad's chubby physique and buddy-bonding with the Sarge.

Just not me.


Jun 20, 2017

The Beefcake and Homoerotic Art of Ex Libris Bookplates

Back when books were always hardback and frightfully expensive, when a hundred books was a vast library and a thousand out of reach for all but the very rich, you would protect your books from being "accidentally" picked up by visitors or borrowed and never returned by affixing a bookplate with your name on the inside front cover.

"Ex libris" (from the library of) bookplates were first used during the Renaissance, and became very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries.  By the turn of the 20th century, artists such as Robert Anning Bell and Charles Ricketts made practically their whole careers out of designing intricate bookplates for their customers.

Today bookplates are little used, but bookplate collectors have their own subculture, with clubs, magazines, and conferences.

Homoerotic and beefcake-heavy bookplates are especially prized.

1. Wilhelm Mertens, a German herpetologist, professor at the University of Frankfurt and author of 13 books, promises that he's "immer an deck" (always alert), like the semi-nude muscleman looking at the stars.

2. Sigmund Freud's ex libris shows Oedipus being questioned by the Sphinx.  The style is very art deco, reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley.

















3. It's hard to see the naked man amid all the trees in this ex libris of Vivian Forbes, the gay poet and artist who committed suicide a few days after his lover's funeral in 1937.




















4. A rather minimalist David slaying Goliath, but unusual for its coloration.   I don't know who this was for, maybe painter Franca Moggioli, who died in Turin in 2015 at the age of 94.















5. I feel like I should be saluting Big Brother in this austere fascist bookplate. Born in 1906, George Gates Raddin, Jr. was a painter and novelist from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

More after the break.















A Beefcake Tour of Amsterdam

Many people think of Amsterdam as a place for a sex holiday, 24-hour bars, saunas, sex clubs, sex shops, and after-hours parties.

Those venues are plentiful, and a nice change of pace for visitors from puritanical countries like the U.S., where bars don't have dark rooms and gay saunas are almost non-existent.

But you do Amsterdam a disservice if you go just for the Horseman's Club.  It's a beautiful city, compact enough for strolling, with dozens of interesting sights.  Some with substantial interest to the beefcake aficionado.

Here is my suggested Three-Day Beefcake Tour



Day 1:

1. Start, of course, with the Rijksmuseum (Museumstraat 1), one of the great museums of the world.  Unfortunately, it's closed quite often.  If it happens to be open during your visit, get there at 9:00 am, and plan to devote at least two hours to Pietro Magni's David, Triton Blowing a Conch Shell (DeVries), The Fall of Man (Van Haarlem), The Striding Warrior (Van Tetrode), Mercury (De Keyser), and the gay couple Orestes and Pylades Disputing at the Altar (Lastman).

2. Don't forget the Discus Thrower in the courtyard.



3. Next stop, the nearby Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art  (Museumplein 10). You'll need two hours for its vast collection of Warhols, Pollacks, van Goghs, Klees, Mondrians, and a surprising number of beefcake pieces, including Fingermalerei (Baselitz), Den Haan (Kruyders), and Seven Figures (Nauman), which is a neon image of seven men having sex.

I'm not kidding.  Here's a censored view of part of it.




4. Then the Van Gogh Museum, also nearby (Paulus Potterstraat 7). I'll bet you didn't know that Van Gogh did nude male drawings.

5. You've probably had enough museums for one day, and need some chocolate.  About a 15 minute walk along the Prisengracht is the Van Soesdt Chocolatier on Utrechtsestraat 143.

Then retrace your steps along the Prisengracht to Raamstraat, and the Thermos Sauna (Raamstraat 31).









Day 2

Get to the Anne Frank House (Prinsengracht 267) as soon as it opens at 9:00 am. It's very peaceful, and a little eerie, in the early morning.  No beefcake here, but it's an impressive restoration of the house where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years during World War II.

Then turn left, down Westermarkt  for the nearby Homomonument, the monument to gay victims of persecution (Westermarkt 1016).

More after the break.