Nov 2, 2013
1. On February 15, 1972, the spring of sixth grade, I saw the "Wild Weekend" episode of Mod Squad, about three hippies working as undercover cops. Pete (Michael Cole) gets kidnapped, tied up, and presented as a party gift to his ex-girlfriend.
The other guests seem to like Pete, too; he's aggressively groped and manhandled, especially by the hunky prettyboy Doug. But later Doug helps Pete escape. Surely they liked each other, I thought!
3. Recently I was reminded of the "Wild Weekend" episode, and hunky prettyboy Doug, so I looked him up in the IMDB. Nicholas Cortland. He lived from 1940 to 1988. My AIDS radar went off.
His screen credits were nondescript: 2 soap operas, 7 guest spots on tv series, and 5 movies, the first in 1965, the last in 1985, nothing I had seen except for the Mod Squad episode and Frogs. Two gay subtext vehicles -- he must be gay!
In 1976, Nicholas performed the lead in three productions of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco: Edward Albee's Tiny Alice, Michael McClure's General Gorgeous, and Tennessee Williams' This is (an Entertainment), the latter written especially for him. Two gay playwrights.
5. I checked Google Images for pictures, and found lots of beefcake shots, but they all seem to be of Nicky Cortland, a contemporary porn star.
Hundreds of gay actors, writers, directors, and other performers were lost to AIDS during the 1980s. You may think of Nicholas Cortland as a lesser light, not as famous as Rock Hudson, Liberace, or Brad Davis.
But none of them were visible in a small town in the Midwest on a cold winter day in 1972, when the word "gay" had not yet been spoken, and the possibility of men loving men not yet dreamed of, except in hints and signals.
Impressed by his massive...um, chest and biceps, Willson signed him on, gave him one of his patented name changes -- to Cal Bolder -- and got him a minor role in the Anthony Quinn-Sophia Loren Western Heller in Pink Tights (1960).
Bolder claims that he was on the force for 14 years, and left to make movies in 1960. That would mean he got through college and the Marine Corps and became a cop by age 15. One of the many problems with Cal's biography.
Here he plays "muscular thug" Ingo Lindstrum on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Top Beefcake Horror Movies of the 1960s, a gay subtext-camp classic that gives you what it advertises: legendary outlaw Jesse James (John Lupton) and his wounded buddy Hank (Cal Bolder) go to the spooky castle of Maria Frankenstein, the Baron's daughter or granddaughter. She finds Hank the perfect subject for her experiments, and turns him into a zombie named Igor (get it?).
After playing a trapper on a January 1968 episode of Cimarron Strip, Bolder retired and moved to Royal City, in rural eastern Washington.
A final problem: was he gay, other than the casting couch?
His internet biographies don't mention anything about a wife or kids, but I doubt that a gay man would leave Los Angeles for the wilderness. I found an obituary for a "Billie R. Craver" of Royal City, Washington (1931-2006). Maybe his wife? And a Dain Craver, who runs an orchard, CraveOrganics. Maybe his son?
But who was Djimon Hounsou?
Born in 1964 in Benin, West Africa, Djimon moved to Paris at age 13, where he was discovered by fashion designer Thierry Mugler and became a model (he reprised his modeling career in 2007 in a Calvin Klein underwear ad).
He moved to the U.S. in 1990, appeared in music videos with Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul, and began acting, mostly playing Africans, such as Cinque, leader of the slave revolt in Amistad (1997), or Nigerian immigrant Mobalage Ikabo in a recurring role on ER (1999).
In Gladiator (2000), he plays the Nubian slave Juba, who befriends fellow gladiator Maximus (Russell Crowe). When Maximus dies in a match with the Emperor, Juba buries some figurines he made of his partner and his family, and vows that they will be together in the afterlife.
In Never Back Down (2009), he plays Jean Roqua, who trains the young Jake Tyler (Sean Farris) in martial arts.
The actor had a wife and a son, so presumably he's heterosexual in real life. He's apparently never said a word about gay people, positive or negative, so he may be unaware that they exist. He does talk about the lack of diversity in film, especially superhero films, but I think he means racial diversity.
Oct 30, 2013
I'm standing to the edge and I'm looking to the ground
I got trapped inside of the madness and I can't stand run around
It's a new day, new day
It's a rat race, rat race
I'm in no shape, no place
To just walk away, walk away
I need you to save some snow for me
You know that your where I want to be
No it's not Christmas, Christmas at all
Notice the resounding absence of "Save some snow for me, girl!"
The group consists of:
1. Devin Fox (top photo)
2. T.C. Carter (left)
4. Drew Ryan Scott (below)
5. Blake English
6. Bobby Edner was a member, but recently quit.
My gaydar goes off for most of them, but I don't know if any are gay in real life.
They are gay-positive, though.
their anti-bullying PSA.
Boom boom boom
Let's go back to my room
So we can do it all night
And you can make me feel right
It was the debut song of 21-year old Paul Lekakis, a Greek-American physique model turned singer. And "openly" gay, quite a courageous act in the 1980s.
During the next few years, he released several singles and an album. Usually his lyrics dropped pronouns, and when they were specific, they were homoerotic.
In 1997, he joined a 12-Step Program, stopped using drugs and hustling, and began recording again. He also became an actor, mostly in roles that allowed him to display his still-impressive physique: Circuit (2001), about the sex-and-drugs-infused circuit parties of the gay 1990s; Just Can't Get Enough (2002), about the rise of the Chippendales Dancers; the gay Halloween thriller Hellbent (2004).
He wrote and directed the short film Don't Tell, Don't Ask, which made the gay film festival circuit in 2006.
on itunes. But tonight it will just be dancing. There will be no invitations to his room until you've dated for awhile.
The 19-year old actor has two more movies coming up. Divergent (2014) is about a dystopian society that hunts down people who don't fit in to one of the five social categories: "what makes you different, makes you dangerous." Let the gay symbolism begin! Ansel seems to be playing the brother of the main Divergent, Tris.
The son of photographer Arthur Elgort, Ansel has naturally gravitated toward modeling, appearing Teen Vogue, American Vogue, and elsewhere.
Also the son of an opera director, he has naturally gravitated toward music. He has Facebook and Soundcloud pages where you can check out his tunes.
I guess it's in your court now, Tom.
Oct 29, 2013
The huge man-mountain, formerly a police officer and martial artists, has been working steadily on screen since 1998. Not in gay porn, unfortunately, but in many roles that make good use of his stunning physique.
Nemesis, a "huge, overpowering monster" in Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004).
The boxer Primo Carnera in Cinderella Man (2005).
Shackles, an "uncontrollable monster with freakish strength" on the teen adventure series Aaron Stone (2010).
A character called "Man Mountain Guard" on Lost Girl (2011).
An immortal in The Immortals (2011).
These "freakishly huge monsters" aren't cast as gay, of course -- Hollywood prefers lithe, wispy things to promote its homophobic stereotypes -- but they also don't express any heterosexual interest, and they spend a lot of time hanging out with or threatening men. So we can find lots of subtexts.
|Malcolm Boyd and Mark Thompson|
All I knew about Malcolm was his book, Are You Running with Me, Jesus? (1965), a series of brief prayers about contemporary concerns, such as political injustice, racial inequality, sexual freedom, and gay people:
This is a gay bar, Jesus....Quite a few of the men here belong to the church as well as this bar. If they knew how, a number of them would ask you to be with them in both places. Some of them wouldn't, but won't you be with them, too, Jesus?
Still, I was shocked to discover that Malcolm Boyd was gay himself -- and out, the first openly gay cleric in any mainstream religious body in the world. He came out in a newspaper interview in 1977, and in 1978 he wrote Take Off the Masks, suggesting that Christianity should not only be tolerant, but gay-positive.
Born in 1923, Malcolm began his career as a movie producer, but felt the call to the clergy and graduated from seminary in 1954. During the 1960s, he was famous his work in the Civil Rights movement, and for his hip religious poetry at the Hungry I nightclub in San Francisco. He was the inspiration for the Doonesbury character Rev. Scott Sloane, "the fighting priest who can talk to kids."
In 1982 he moved to Los Angeles to become the priest at St.-Augustine-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica. He has written over 30 books, including Gay Priest: An Inner Journey (1987).
Sparky T. Rabbit helped to found. They believe that gay people have a unique spiritual role as gatekeepers to the other world.
We stayed with Thomas, a Episcopal priest whose congregation didn't know: "They assume that because I'm a priest, I'm celibate." He lived alone, except for two dogs, with a huge collection of pornographic magazines and photos, both gay and straight, neatly classified by author, magazine, and type. I spent the afternoon rummaging through it while Fred and Thomas were out talking about religion or something -- Fred didn't approve of porn -- and got my first glimpse of some of the great gay erotic artists, like Tom of Finland, Sean, and the Hun.
The next day at breakfast I met Boyfriend #1, a tall, slim redhead who worked at one of Des Moines' straight bars. He lived with his girlfriend, but sometimes came over when his shift ended.
Later that day, we had lunch with Oscar, Malcolm Boyd, Thomas, and Boyfriend #2. I don't remember much about him.
I drove back to the house later that evening -- Fred was off with Oscar -- and yelled "Is anybody home?" No answer.
For Boyfriend #3, see the full story on Tales of West Hollywood.
There are free-spirit economists?
You know what that means: hid all the gay books and beefcake photos, move Giles to the guest bedroom, and pretend that you're engaged to his sister. You've only seen that a few dozen times before.
But you haven't seen what happens next.
Roiling with jealousy over the Giles-Mom romance, Alim decides to come out in stupidest way possible -- by showing Mom a nude photo of Giles.
Wait -- that's supposed to put the kibosh on her romantic interest?
All hell breaks loose. Nuru returns to Canada, and Giles is so upset over the loss of his cougar girlfriend that he breaks up with Alim and starts dating an Olympic Gold Medalist.
Right, whenever you break up with a guy, Olympic Gold Medalists are always waiting to zoom in.
There were a few interesting bits:
1. Cary Grant behaves exactly like what you would expect: "Hide everything!"
2. Alim's cousin is gay but intends to marry anyway to "keep up appearances.
3. The Nuru-Alim-Giles love triangle
4. Nuru's conflicting attitudes toward the West. She grew up watching old Cary Grant movies, discovered that the real London was nothing like that, and now hates all things Western. But not really.
But that's not enough to overcome the tired, contrived ending, or the whiny, unpleasant character of Alim.
By the way, the title is a parody of That Touch of Mink (1962), a Cary Grant-Doris Day romantic comedy that no one except movie buffs has ever heard of
Oct 28, 2013
The illustrations by Terri Windling involved ample nudity, mostly female, but sometimes you could see the curve of a male backside or the hint of a penis.
The stories were usually heterosexist, but I found something evocative in "Overheard on a Salt Marsh." It's about a goblin who begs a nymph for her beads. She refuses.
Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.
I kept thinking that there was something gay about it, but what? It's a male goblin encountering a female nymph, complaining that the beads are "better than any man's fair daughter."
Is it his gender-atypical desire for the beads, green glass, stolen out of the moon?
Maybe it's the desire itself, desire with all of the trappings of civilization removed, raw, savage, and terrifying.
I could find out very little about the author, Harold Monro, in those days before the internet. He was born in 1879, opened the Poetry Bookshop in London in 1912, and managed it for the rest of his life, except for a few years of service in World War I. He married twice, was plagued by alcoholism and depression, and died in 1932.
But as I read his other poems, I found more hints of an openness to male beauty:
Man Carrying Bale:
And the same watchful sun glowed through his body feeding it with light.
The muscles will relax and tremble.
Earth, you designed your man beautiful both in labour and repose
And same sex desire:
Children of Love, about Cupid and Jesus meeting:
And now they stand
Watching one another with timid gaze;
Youth has met youth in the wood,
Are you afraid of his arrows, O beautiful dreaming boy?
Oct 27, 2013
We are watching H. R. Pufnstuf, about a boy named Jimmy, slim and cute with shaggy black hair and a lisping British accent (“that’s tewwific!”). He's stranded far from home on Living Island, a psychedelic Paradise, with a friend, a green Dragon named Pufnstuf, and an enemy, Witchiepoo, who wants his magic golden flute.
The flute: not gold in color but dark bronze, thicker and blockier than a real flute, and alive, with eyes, nose, and mouth made of diamonds.
Suddenly Cousin Joe laughs. “You know what the flute represents, don’t you?”
In year or two, I will be able to think of something dirty, but I have just turned 11, and all I can think of is Jimmy's essence, the most important part of his being. “His heart?” I suggest.
“Ok, that's good enough. Pufnstuf and Witchiepoo are fighting to see who gets Jimmy’s heart. And who wins?”
“Think about it: Jimmy always picks the Dragon over the Witch. The boy over the girl. .."
Suddenly I understand what Cousin Joe is trying to say: Jimmy has managed to escape the "discovery of girls" that the adults are always going on about. He wants a boy, not a girl. Why is he free?
“Maybe." But Rock Island isn’t really an island,” Cousin Joe points out. “It’s just some bluffs between the two rivers. So if you stay in Rock Island when you grow up, you and Bill will need wives."
"Well, what about if we move to Australia?" I sometimes watch Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, where teenage Mark and helicopter pilot Jerry like each other.
"I guess." I think of all of the other "good places" I've been looking for, Greece and Africa and Japan. They're all far away on the other side of the world.
"Where you and Bill want to go is San Francisco. That's only a couple days' drive. And there's lots of cool cats out there. You can sing and dance and put flowers in your hair."
Years later I wondered: Was Cousin Joe advising me to move to a gay mecca when I grew up? Did he know something that I didn't? Or was he thinking of flower children, not gay people?
He doesn't remember the conversation. But I do: a glimpse of my future on a cold Saturday morning in 6th grade.
This is the beginning of the 1953 novel The Go Between, by gay novelist L. P. Hartley, which was adapted into a film by Harold Pinter. It's about the long-ago year of 1900, where the conventions and traumas of everyday life seemed utterly alien by 1953, and even moreso today.
1. Same-sex desire and behavior are literally unthinkable, not recognized even among the people who experience them.
2. Sexual experience is bizarre, unsettling, and dangerous. One night of passion can lead to insanity or death.
3. Class boundaries are obvious, rigid, and inflexible.
Picnic at Hanging Rock) goes to visit his upper-class school chum Marcus (Robert Gibson) for the holidays. There he meets the farmer Ted Burgess (bisexual actor Alan Bates).
Leo has never met someone of the lower class before: rough, sweaty, savage, leering, hinting at erotic potential. He seems Ted shirtless and feels the first stirrings of desire.
Ted is involved in an illicit, forbidden romance with Marcus' older sister, Marian (Julie Christie), on whom Leo also has a crush. Leo finds himself in the awkward role of go-between, delivering messages between two people that he desires. He is so naive that at first he doesn't understand why they are meeting, or why their meetings are forbidden.
The film, like the novel, is rather depressing. Ted commits suicide. Marcus dies in World War I. Marian marries someone of her station and has children and grandchildren, but to the end of her life pines for her dead lover. Leo is gay, but so traumatized by the events of 1900 that as the years and decades pass, he is unable to establish any intimate relationship at all.
Desire is always forbidden, dangerous, and destructive, but a life without desire is no life at all.