Jun 1, 2013

Chris Galya: Actor Slash Model

David DeCoteau directs horrible closet-gay movies in which lots of cute guys lounge around in their underwear while awaiting monsters or psycho-killers.  But none of them are gay. Like Playgirl, DeCoteau pretends not to know that gay men exist.  Even the reviewers pretend not to know, and say things like "the guys take their shirts off for the ladies."

 In his latest, 1313: Actor Slash Model (2011), you get what the title says: a disgruntled actor loses an important role to a beefcake body, and starts slashing some male models. Mostly amateurs, or professional models with only a few acting credits: Chase Bennett, Jared Edwards, David Flannery, Christian Lake, Wagner Sandoval -- and Chris Galya.




I thought I recognized that name from the Disney Channel's Jessie (2011-2013), about a girl who gets a job as a nanny for the adopted children of a wealthy couple (while waiting for her big break as a singer/actress, naturally).  Chris plays Tony, the teenage doorman at her building, and her main love interest.

I've only seen a few episodes: no nudity, so Chris is one of those unexpected Disney hunks.

And no gay subtexts.  In fact, it's one of the Disney Channel's more heterosexist vehicles, with all of the kids, even the youngest, expressing hetero-horniness.







Chris also appears in Isolated (2013), about a group of surfers and Ambassadors for Peace who visit New Guinea, discover human rights violations, and take their shirts off (also starring Booboo Stewart).

And he's a real model, with runway work in London, New York, and Milan, and photos in Saks Fifth Avenue Men, Ford L.A. Men, Chaos Magazine, and elsewhere.  Vera's Big Gay Blog has lots more pictures of his work.










His tweets don't say anything specific, but he's shown with guys often enough.  He's got to be gay or at least gay-friendly.  So what's with the closet-gay movie and heterosexist tv series?



Captains Courageous: Boys Alone on a Boat

Literature is full of poor little rich boys, kids raised in unutterable wealth who nevertheless are missing something essential, something elemental -- and find it, either by design or by fortuitous accident.  Rudyard Kipling's 1897 novel Captains Courageous sends snobbish, practical-joking 15-year old Harvey Cheyne Jr. over the side of a steamship.  He is rescued by Captain Disko Troop, a Newfoundland fisherman, who refuses to take him to a port until the season is over -- and forces him to work alongside the rest of the crew.  At first Harvey complains, but then he learns the joy of work and the camaraderie of working men, and especially bonds with the Captain's teenage son, Dan.

When Harvey finally returns to his parents, he brings Dan along. Both go to work for his father's shipping line.  There are no women in the novel except for Harvey's mother.

There have been three movie versions that modify the romance in odd ways.

The 1937 version decreases Harvey's age (played by 13-year old Freddie Bartholomew), and minimized the role of Dan (Mickey Rooney, left and top photo), instead having him saved by an adult fisherman, Manuel (Spencer Tracey).  Their friendship becomes intense and intimate, but it is doomed: during a race with another ship, Manuel is entangled in the rigging and pulled under the water, where he drowns. The movie ends with Harvey back in civilization, throwing a wreath into the sea to honor Manuel's memory.

The 1977 tv version restores Harvey to adolescence (played by 17-year old Jonathan Kahn, right)  and minimizes both Dan (Johnny Doran) and Manuel (Ricardo Montalban), although Manuel still dies.  Harvey doesn't get a romantic partner, just a father figure in the Captain (Karl Malden).







The unwatchable 1996 tv version restores Harvey and Dan to prominence (Kenny Vadas, Kaj-Erik Eriksen), but this time Dan is entangled in the rigging and dies. By the way, the Captain (Robert Ulrich) gets a wife.

I can't even begin to speculate on why the writers or directors decided to transfer the gay subtext from peer to older-younger, but I know why they decided to have Harvey's partner die: to emphasize the heterosexist conceit that same-sex bonds are temporary, mere adolescent fancies.  Just as the Captain has a wife back home, when Harvey returns to port, he will abandon childhood romances and marry.

May 31, 2013

Beach Movies 2: The Duds

Between 1963 and 1967, AIP churned out a dozen Frankie-and-Annette beach movies that emphasized biceps over bikinis and buddy-bonding over hetero-romance.  Other studios followed suit, but they were not nearly as eager to expose male muscle.  Where the Boys Are, Beach Ball, Palm Springs Weekend, and many others paired girls in bikinis with boys who were fully clothed.  The swimming pool scene in C'mon, Let's Live a Little featured six mostly naked girls and one fully-clothed boy.

Nor were there substantial gay subtexts.  Instead of plotlines about boys choosing buddies over The Girl, they involved boys abandoning buddies in search of The Girl.

For instance, Palms Springs Weekend (1963), is over-loaded with hetero-romance.  Overaged college buddies Jim (Troy Donohue) and Biff (Jerry Van Dyke) visit the desert resort, where they try to get with the police chief's daughter (Stefanie Powers) and a shy wallflower (Zeme North), respectively.







Meanwhile, high schooler Gayle (1960s it-girl Connie Stevens), posing as a college student, gets hit on by spoiled rich kid Eric (Robert Conrad, star of Hawaii Five-0) and tries to get with a cowboy named Stretch (Ty Hardin, a discovery of gay talent agent Henry Willson). 





Not enough hetero-romance?  Ok.  The boys' basketball coach (Jack Weston) comes along as a chaperon, and tries to get with the owner of the hotel they're staying in (Carole Cooke), but he's stymied by her rambunctious young son, Boom-Boom (Billy Mumy of Lost in Space).  Yes, there's a kid named Boom-Boom.

There are also some hunky basketball players in the background, played by Greg Benedict, Gary Kincaid, Mark Dempsey, and the last of the Henry Willson discoveries, Jim Shane (left).







With all of the competition over girls and ruminations over girls, there must be some gay-subtext triangulations somewhere.  But I couldn't find any.

The whole movie is a dud.  Leads you to wonder what made the AIP beach movies so beefcake- and subtext-heavy.

See also: Buster Keaton

September 1977: The Preacher Discovers Homa-Sekshuls

When I was growing up, every Preacher had a hobby-horse, some sin or social problem that he screamed about in every sermon, regardless of the topic: working on the Sabbath, playing cards, liberal Christians, Communists, hippies.

 In 1977, at the start of my senior year in high school, we got a new preacher, Brother Spearman, whose hobby-horse was the Unpardonable Sin.

 God didn’t distinguish between little sins (like falling asleep in church) or big sins (like going to a movie).  The punishment was always the same, burning for eternity in the Lake of Fire.  But,  if you went down to the altar and moaned and sobbed loud enough, God would forgive you for any sin, no matter how heinous.

With one exception. If you committed the Unpardonable Sin, you were doomed to the Lake of Fire, no matter how often you went to the altar and moaned and sobbed.  God wouldn't forgive you.



God's Word didn't tell us which sin was unpardonable, though occasionally a Sunday school teacher speculated that it was believing in evolution, setting foot inside a Catholic church, listening to rock music, or getting your hand stamped for re-entry into an event.  Preachers usually kept mum, because their jobs depended on a lot of sinners going down to the altar, and you wouldn't go down unless you thought you could be forgiven.

When Brother Spearman dangled the Unpardonable Sin in front of the congregation; he got people to the altar, but it kept backfiring.  God held grudges.  When you got to the altar, you had to work to persuade Him.  You had to cry hard, moan and gasp, and plead over and over, sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes longer.  But suddenly anyone who didn't feel the ecstatic release of Victory within a few seconds concluded that they were doomed.

One Sunday Laverne Larsen, son of the Sunday School Superintendent (yes, a boy was named Laverne), was having trouble praying through to Victory.  Suddenly he brushed off the hands of the church men, leapt to his feet, and screamed “God won’t forgive me! I committed the Unpardonable Sin!” He ran sobbing from the sanctuary.

Making church royalty doubt their salvation did not bode well for Brother Spearman’s continuing employment. He had to think of a new altar call draw, and fast!

He hit on the answer when he read a newspaper article about a town somewhere out west passing a law that prohibited normal people from speaking out against Homa-Sekshuls.

Suddenly Brother Spearman realized: the Unpardonable Sin was turning Homa-Sekshul!



God liked symmetry. The first sin, that got man expelled from the Garden of Eden, was Adam seeing Eve naked and realizing that men and women were different. So the last sin, the one that could never be forgiven, was a man rejecting that difference. God talked about it on practically every page of His Word.

When the hippie boys started acting like girls in the 1960s, we called them harmless lunatics. But Satan was able use their long hair and beads and rawhide fringes against them. He whispered “Men are just like women, so why not become a woman?” And countless thousands turned into Homa-Sekshuls. And now we were allowing Them to roam freely in the streets and appear all over the tv screen -- on Three's Company, Soap, Barney Miller.  




There were even teenage Homa-Sekshuls, Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett, who sang songs to brainwash kids into turning that way!

I had never heard gay people mentioned in church before, not once in thousands of sermons and lessons and meetings. But I took careful notes, and later I looked up the tv programs and teen idols he mentioned.

The effect was strong, and immediate.  The moment Brother Spearman signaled the altar call, a dozen teens and adult men rushed forward to beg God’s forgiveness, some for the sin of a momentary lapse in masculinity, others for the sin of thinking that Homa-Sekshuls were just harmless lunatics.

Brother Spearman had found his new hobby-horse!  After that he included Homa-Sekshuls in every sermon rant, regardless of his actual topic:



Why does God hate premarital sex? Because once you start having sex with anybody whenever you feel like it, it’s only a matter of time before you start looking funny at men.
What’s wrong with the Catholics? They won't let their priests and monks get married, the way God intended, so they're bound to turn Homa-Sekshul.
Even at Christmas: When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he could have left her, but he didn’t, because he was an honorable man, not a Homa-Sekshul.

I thought the whole thing was ridiculous.  What evidence did he have that Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett were gay?  How could you "turn" gay through heterosexual sex? Preachers always set up straw dogs, groups that it was easy to hate, so you could blame them for everything wrong with the world: Catholics, evolutionists,  liberal Christians, Hollywood movie producers.  Why were Homa-Sekshuls any worse?

See also: Trying to Escape Church

Homophobia and Trapper John

January 11, 1981: a Sunday night, my junior year at Augustana.  So far it's been rather heterosexist.  Last quarter I had a gay-free class in Modern American Literature; this quarter I will read Death in Venice but not yet. I saw Times Square (1980), starring Tim Curry of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but there was no gay content.  The radio has been incessantly playing "Every Woman in the World," by Air Supply.

I am studying German while watching lackluster episodes of One Day at a Time, Alice (no Tommy), and The Boomerersons (the second, un-cute Lionel).  Then comes Trapper John, MD (1979-86), about the wisecracking medic of MASH, now a modern-day hospital administrator with a free-spirited assistant named Gonzo (Gregory Harrison, left): A swishy gay guy named Judy (Craig Russell) is hospitalized after becoming the victim of a hate crime (in those days they called it gay bashing).  Her initial roommate is bigoted, so she is moved into a room with an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease.  The woman's son objects, but changes his mind when he sees that Judy's magical gay powers have cured her.



I have never heard the myth that all gay men are into Judy Garland, but fortunately Judy explains about The Wizard of Oz, a place where "there isn't any trouble."  Did she even see the movie?  The Wicked Witch of the West keeps trying to kill her!

All gay men are really girls.  Got it.   And that's not even the primary plot:

A cop named Joey Santori (Joseph Cali) is shot at a gay rights rally.  His partner, Sam (Charles Hallahan), is livid with rage: "Some fag shot my partner!  They want power -- well, there's already too much fag power in San Francisco!"


Gonzo investigates, and discovers that Joey is gay!  And the shooter was a fellow cop upset over "fag power" in San Francisco!  How's that for a plot twist?

At least Gonzo is not homophobic.  Gregory Harrison is actually a gay ally, and has played gay characters several times.  Joseph Cali is a veteran of Saturday Night Live (1977), apparently, hardcore porn; there are several fully nude pictures available on the internet.

May 30, 2013

Jorge Rivero Dates a Drag Queen

Speaking of Hispanic beefcake, we find very few bodybuilders in Mexican movies before the 1980s.  Even the luchadores enmascarados, masked wrestler-superheroes like Santo and el Demonio Azul, had beefy wrestler physiques.  So producers didn't know quite what to do with the magnificent physique of bodybuilder Jorge Rivero (seen here in the Mexican version of the 1950s Physique Pictorial, Muscle Power.  

So they put him in Westerns (Pistoleros de la frontera), Santo movies (Operacion 67), and comedies (Como pescar un marido, How to Fish for a Husband).





But his big break came in El pecado de Adan y Eva (The Sin of Adam and Eve, 1969), in which he and his costar, Candy Cave, were nude throughout.

Offers from American, Argentine, German, and Italian productions came pouring in, and though Jorge still starred in many Mexican Westerns, dramas, and thrillers, he began appearing on the big screen in the U.S. as well:  in Rio Lobo (1970), he starred opposite John Wayne and Robert Mitchum as a former Confederate soldier turned train robber.








He was required to demonstrate lots of heterosexual interest in such softcore porn as Eroticofollia (The Evil Eye, 1975), Erotica (1979), and Profesor eroticus (1981), but at least he had a lot of nude scenes, including full-frontal.

And there was still room for buddy-bonding, as when he played the Western antihero El Payo.

Or in Priest of Love (1981), where he played Tony Luhan, the Native American who hosted bisexual writer D. H. Lawrence (Ian McKellan) during a visit to New Mexico.

Or in Conquest (1983), a sword-and-sorcery epic about a man with mystical powers (Jorge) and his buffed sidekick (Andrea Occhipinti).




He even got a boy sidekick, similar to Tarzan and Jai, in El nino y el tiburon (The Boy and the Shark, 1978).

No gay characters, but some homophobic content.  Noches de cabaret (1978) is a Mexican comedic take on the Victor/Victoria theme.  Jorge falls in love with a woman (Sasha Montenegro), but he thinks she's a drag queen.  Upset over the idea of being in love with a man, he plans suicide.  But Sasha reveals her true identity for a "happy" ending.

Quite a career for someone who started out getting beat up by Santo.

May 29, 2013

Ricardo Montalban: What Happened to the Hispanic Beefcake

One of the most iconic beefcake images of the Boomer generation appeared on February 16, 1967, in the Star Trek episode "Space Seed": The Enterprise picks up the frozen survivors of a long-ago eugenics experiment, including the world's most perfectly developed man, former dictator Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban).  As he strutted around Sick Bay, his hospital gown robe falling off his massive, smooth chest, Boomers believed it.










Khan returned fifteen years later, in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982), to take vengeance on the Enterprise crew that stranded him on a barren planet.  He was gray-haired and craggy, but he still couldn't find a shirt that could cover his massive chest.  His crew, including male model Cristian Letelier, was buffed, too.  And he had a gay-vague sidekick played by Judson Scott.  Gay favorites  Ike Eisenmann and Merrit Butrick costarred.

In between, Ricardo Montalban played the mysterious, probably supernatural Mr. Roarke, who managed the wish-fulfillment Fantasy Island (1977-84) that our parents or, more likely, our grandparents watched.  Most wishes were about finding heterosexual loves.

But those parts are only two of the highlights of a 60 year career.

Born in Mexico in 1920, Montalban became a film star in his home country before moving to the U.S. in the late 1940s.  He insisted on remaining true to his heritage, and became one of the few Hispanic actors who was regularly cast as Hispanic, even though it meant many suave, sophisticated, gay-vague villains in B-movies.  He also played many hetero-romantic roles, reviving the Rudolph Valentino "fiery Latin lover" image in the postwar world.










And, during the craze for Biblical and ancient Roman epics, he got to take off his shirt a lot.

I haven't seen many of Montalban's 160+ movies and tv shows, but I did note the buddy-bonding Joe Panther (1976), in which Turtle George (Montalban) mentors a young Seminole Indian (Ray Tracey).

In Captains Courageous (1977), he played the noble Portuguese fisherman Manuel, who mentors rich kid Harvey (Jonathan Kan).

He played gay villain Victor Ludwig in The Naked Gun (1988), who doesn't hit on his secretary because he "likes German boys," whatever that means.

More recently, he was playing parodies of himself, such as Senor Senor Senior on Kim Possible and a Hispanic cow on Family Guy.


Although he was married to Georgiana Young from 1944 until her death in 2007, he is the subject of several gay rumors, linking him to Zulu on Hawaii Five-O, Cesar Romero, and teen heartthrob Scott Baio.

Les on the Ledge

May 1979: my first year at Augustana College.  I'm working on the college radio station, WKRP, broadcasting "The International Pop Hour" on Monday nights: Lorenzo Santamaria (Spanish), Claude Francois (French), Roy Black (German, left), Heintje (Dutch), whatever I can find.

Jim, the station manager, is praising a new tv show: WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-82), a hip, urban workplace comedy about the misadventures of the new dj at a struggling radio station.

So when my program ends for the summer, I watch a few episodes.  

It's pleasant enough, but not very interesting: no beefcake, no bonding, no subtexts, just Dr. Johnny Fever head-butting with the conservative radio station owner.

Then comes a rerun of "Les on the Ledge," actually the third episode of the series, originally broadcast last October.

Mousy reporter Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) is banned from interviewing athletes in locker rooms, because they think he's gay.  When Les finds out, he is so traumatized that he rushes out onto a window ledge, intending to commit suicide.  He is not actually gay, but just the rumor is enough to ruin his career and destroy his life.  





The reaction of his coworkers is mixed. Station manager Andy Travis freaks out, but receptionist Jennifer Marlowe says "So what if he's gay?  His sex life is nobody's business."  Advertising manager Herb Tarlek ruminates, and finally says "It's ok if you're gay."  However, they all agree that being "falsely accused" of being gay is humiliating, and they understand why Les is on the ledge.

Parker Stevenson and the Big One

In the fall of 1977, the question most gay boys were asking was: "Shaun or Parker?"

Most chose Shaun Cassidy, the fey, impestuous Joe on The Hardy Boys Mysteries (1977-79), the legendary gay-subtext tv adaption of the Hardy Boys books.

But many chose 25-year old Parker Stevenson (right), who played his older, cautious boyfriend. . .um, I mean brother, Frank.  He was just as dreamy, with brown wavy hair and piercing eyes, and he looked just as good in a Speedo.  Maybe better.

Besides, Parker had already played gay-vague characters twice: Gene, who falls in love with Finney in the boys boarding school drama A Separate Peace (1972); and Chris Randall, who is mentored by the older Rick (Sam Elliott) in Lifeguard (1976).

After Hardy Boys, Parker did the soap opera-softcore porn-thriller of the week thing (Not of This Earth, Are You Lonesome Tonight, Terror Peak, Trapped).  I haven't seen any of them.  His only movie with significant gay interest was Shooting Stars (1983), where he played an actor-turned-detective who buddy-bonds with the gruff Billy Dee Williams.






During the 1990s, he returned to the semi-nude beach shots as an aging lifeguard on Baywatch (1989-99).

In 1991, he came into the spotlight again when his then-wife Kirstie Allie won an Emmy for her work on Cheers.  She thanked Parker for giving her "the big one" for the last eight years.  All of his former fans immediately began scanning old teen idol pin-ups, and going through Baywatch in slow motion, looking for signs of "the big one."









I hadn't noticed anything noteworthy before, but now that she mentioned it....

Parker has been the subject of frequent gay rumors, but he hasn't made any public statements.

May 28, 2013

Blazing Saddles

March 1979: my first year at Augustana College.  The Student Union is showing Blazing Saddles (1974), directed by Mel Brooks.

I've never heard of him.

It's a spoof of the Western genre, about a black cowboy, Bart (Cleavon Little, shown here in his underwear with Chick Vennera), who saves the town of Rock Ridge from an evil railroad company, in spite of everyone's racism.




No beefcake, though when Bart is seduced by temptress Lilly Von Schtump (Madeleine Kahn), she investigates his penis size:  "Is it twue what they say about you people? [Unzipping sound.]  Oh, it's twue!"

Along the way Bart makes many friends, including the dimwitted but super-strong Mongo (played by beefy footballer Alex Karas, below, the gay gangster in Victor/Victoria).  

But he develops a strong, arguably romantic bond with the Waco Kid (Gene Wilder, left, who would go on to star in another interracial homoromance, Silver Streak).  The movie even ends with the two riding off into the sunset together.

So far, so good: a nice gay subtext, and some references to penises.  But then, during the climactic brawl, the cowboys literally break the fourth wall -- they go crashing into the next soundstage over, where effeminate chorus boys are rehearsing. Their director, Buddy Bizarre (Dom Deluise) criticizes them: "It's so simple!  Watch me, faggots!"

I was shocked and appalled.  Where did this come from?  It ruined the whole movie!

Borscht Belt comedian turned tv writer Mel Brooks directed several comedies during the 1970s.  They were praised by the artsy crowd at my college for parodying movie genres, for breaking the fourth wall, and for talking about sex -- a lot.  The artsy crowd didn't seem to mind the incessant homophobia:

Silent Movie (1976): in a running gag, a passerby sees the men piled atop each other or innocently hugging, and shrieks "Fags!" in disgust.

High Anxiety (1977): psychiatrist Dr. Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) encounters a "fag" at the airport, and a heterosexual "dyke" nurse.

History of the World, Part 1 (1981): there are ridiculed "fag" characters in Roman times and during the French Revolution.

 According to Nathan Lane:  "Mel's take on homosexuals is that we're these flamboyant extraterrestrials."

Not worth the strong gay subtexts.

May 27, 2013

The Mod Squad: Buddy-Bonding Hippies

During the 1960s, the establishment made many attempts to cash in on the counterculture, often with little success.  But The Mod Squad was a hit.  It lasted for five years (1968-73), won Emmies and Golden Globes, and spawned a toychest full of comic books, tie-in novelizations, games, and toys.












The premise: three hippies are arrested for disparate crimes:
1. Wealthy rebel without a cause Pete (Michael Cole, top and left) stole a car.
2. Black-power Link (Clarence Williams III, right) participated in a race riot.
3. Free-love advocate Julie (Peggy Lipton, center) ran away from home.







With-it Captain Greer (Tige Andrews) gives them the choice of jail time or going undercover in the counterculture.  They refuse to become snitches, but they're assured that they'll be snitching on criminals who prey on hippies, not on hippies themselves.  So they're off, infiltrating high schools, colleges, churches, rodeos, hospitals, and lots of hippie tribes, to apprehend counterfeiters, blackmailers, kidnappers, and lots of murderers.


The two main establishment fears, sex and drugs, are absent.  These hippies don't use drugs, and they don't have sex: in 124 episodes, Pete falls in love twice, and Linc and Julie one time apiece.  They are much more likely to be called upon to assist same-sex chums or young boys.

The squeamishness about heterosexual free-love also has the effect of separating Julie from the others, leaving Pete and Linc to snoop around by themselves. At first they distrust each other -- Pete comes from a privileged white family, and Linc is a black separatist -- but as they work together and rescue each other time after time, they develop an emotionally intense quasi-romantic partnership.  They became in effect an Adventure Boy couple, Jonny and Hadji writ large.

There was also significant beefcake.  Michael Cole was displayed shirtless or semi-nude only a few times, lest the establishment get scared, but he provided substantial beneath-the-belt interest.

After Mod Squad, he guest starred roles on everything from The Love Boat to 7th Heaven, but nothing of substantial gay interestno word about whether he is gay-friendly in real life or not.









Clarence Williams III never took off any clothes, but he had his own beneath-the-belt action on display. After Mod Squad, he had over 100 acting credits, including several of gay interest.  In Ritual (2000), he plays a successful attorney with a disfunctional family, including a gay son (Shawn Michael Howard) who is the best adjusted of the lot.

Peggy Lipton, friend of Rock Hudson and the mother of a gay son, is a strong gay ally.

Dean and Logan: Romance or Bromance?

23-year old Dean Collins is best known for The War at Home (2005-2007), a sitcom about a lovable bigot (Michael Rappaport), his nearly-gay son (Kyle Sullivan), and the gay Iranian teenager next door (Rami Malek), who eventually moves in.  Dean played his other son, a preteen operator.

But he's also played in several other gay and gay-positive vehicles, such as The Least of These (2011), about sexual abuse in a Roman Catholic boarding school that leads to murder.





21-year old Logan Lerman is best known for the Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief (2010), based on the novel series about a boy who discovers that he is half-Greek god and must save the world along with his gay-vague best friend (Brandon T. Jackson) and The Girl.

But he's also played in several other gay and gay-positive vehicles, such as Hoot (2006), about a teenager who moves to Florida and teams up with a mysterious wild boy (Cody Linley) and The Girl to save a habitat of endangered owls.

And The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), about an outcast high schooler who befriends both The Girl and her cool, popular gay brother (Ezra Miller).


Dean and Logan met while working on Jack and Bobby (2004-05), about the childhood of two brothers who will both grow up to be President of the United States (not John and Bobby Kennedy, though).   They've been inseparable ever since.  

They upload their videos to youtube under the name monkeynuts1069.  In "Jealousy," Dean gets angry when Logan dates someone else, so he kidnaps him and ties him up.  







They started a band, Indigo, with fellow musician Daniel Pashman (center). I listened to their song "Touch Screen," and didn't find anything heterosexist: "I'm on a mission to Mars, and I'm burning up cars."

The question inevitably arises: are Dean and Logan a gay couple, or heterosexual life partners?  Is it a romance or a bromance?

I can't imagine what difference it makes.

May 26, 2013

The Who's Tommy


November, 1978, my freshman year at Augustana College. Student Union Movie Night is showing  Tommy, the 1975 rock musical starring  Roger Daltrey of The Who!

"Um...does he, like, take his shirt off?" I ask my friend.

"All the time!"

So I ask a boy from my French class, and we sit cozily on folding chairs.

It's about a boy named Tommy (Roger Daltrey), who sees his stepfather murder his father, and is so traumatized that he becomes blind, deaf, and dumb. But he grows up to become a "pinball wizard" and the messiah of a new youth-oriented religion.  Gay performer Elton John plays one of his followers.

On the way, horrible, traumatic things happen to him.  When he is ten years old, evil Uncle Ernie (Keith Moon), who has blacked-out teeth and wears rubber gloves, is asked to babysit.  After reading The Gay News to get some ideas about how to be a more effective pervert, Uncle Ernie starts "fiddling down there."

 Oi, gay men are all child molesters. Got it.







The British rock group, with lead singer Peter Daltrey and backups Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle, didn't seem particularly homophobic, although they were certainly heterosexist.  I first heard about them in the fall of 1975, when the older boys at Rocky High started grooving to their song about fondling women's breasts:

Mama's got a squeeze box she wears on her chest
And when Daddy comes home, he never gets no rest.

Many of the other Who songs I heard over the next decade were  heterosexist:

"The Kids are All Right": "I don't mind other guys dancing with my girl."
"Heat Wave": "Sometimes she calls my name, and I feel a burning flame."
"The Real Me": "The girl I used to love, lives in this yellow house."
"Imagine a Man": "Imagine a girl [with] the body of chalky perfection and truth."



And two were actively homophobic:
"How Many Friends": "There's a handsome boy, tells me how I've changed his past.  But could it be, he's really just after my ass?"  Not to worry, he meets a woman who's a real friend.





"Rough Boys" (1980) is about gay men.  Apparently they're all into macho heterosexual hustlers: "Tough boys, come over here -- I want to bite and kiss you."  Some people thought that Pete Townshend (left) was "coming out," but he denied it, saying that he was just singing about gays.  Although in a recent interview he states that he's "probably bisexual."


Oddly, in 1998, Roger Daltrey starred in the gay-themed Like It Is, as a sleazy music producer whose assistant, Matt (Ian Rose) falls in love with a young boxer (played by Steve Bell).  Quite a transition from Tommy.