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.