May 10, 2014

The Penis Shrine of Thailand

When I went to Thailand to "rescue Alan" in 1988, I didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing, so I missed the Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine.

 Businessman Lert Sreshthaputa or Nai Lert (1872-1945), developed Thailand's first bus service, modern hotel, retail establishments, and ice ("solid water" was an amazing novelty in the tropical country).

He wanted to honor Chao Mae Tuptim, a pre-Buddhist goddess who lived in a ficus tree on his property, so he developed the property that would become the British Embassy, he set aside a spirit park for her.



Her preferred offering was a phallus, so thousands were carted in over the years.  Over 100 remain, of all sizes and shapes, from 1 inch to 10 feet tall.


There are penises with penises, penises sprouting like mushrooms or stacked like logs.






Many wear silk cloths left by penitents.

Women rub the penises for fertility, and men for increased virility.  Or for good luck.

You can also pray in the spirit house.











The shrine is located behind the Nai Lert Park Swisshotel on Wireless Road, next to the British Embassy.  You don't have to be staying at the hotel to visit, but try the buffet in the Iso Restaurant afterwards.

See also: Alan Turns Gay in Pattaya; and the Naked Ghost Festival of Thailand.

The Following: Gay Serial Killer Turns Straight

According to the FBI statistics, there were 14,000 murders in the U.S. in 2012, about 1/10th of 1% of all violent crimes reported.  And most murders are committed by family members or friends of the victims; only about 1% are perpetrated by serial killers.

So why is serial killing by far the most common crime portrayed in movies and on tv?

And, more important, why are the serial killers in the media usually gay or transgender?

The media myth of the gay serial killer is so common that my students usually think that most serial killers in real life are gay.

It makes you long for the good old days when gay people were just invisible.

The latest entry in the Hall of Shame is The Following (2013-) on Fox, the same network that brought you the ongoing hate crime of Family Guy.  It stars Kevin Bacon as a stalwart, heterosexual FBI agent and his stalwart, heterosexual team trying to track down a serial killer cult led by Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).

The two gay members of the serial killer cult, Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul (Adan Torres, left), appear in episodes #2-6.  Apparently they were heterosexual to start off, but while assigned to live undercover as a gay couple, they turned gay.

I guess it's contagious.

While busy kidnapping a child, Paul flirts with fellow kidnapper Emma. Jacob gets jealous. They argue, fight, kill people, and join Emma in the shower.


When Paul is killed, Jacob and Emma return in episodes #10-13, now a conventional heterosexual couple.  Apparently the gay thing was just a phase.

I don't know which I find more disgusting, the myth of the gay serial killer, or the myth that gay men can turn straight through the love of a good woman (or in this case, a female serial killer).

I didn't watch the second season (2014), which involves a whole new cult.

Nico Tortorella has been asked in interviews if the gay kiss grossed him out.

Is this 1985?


May 9, 2014

Joel Creasey: Gay Aussie Muscle God Comedian

Joel Creasey could probably make it big as a beefcake model, but he decided to go into stand-up comedy instead.

After winning the Best Newcomer Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the "Acid-Tongued Prince" began touring all over Australia  and making dozens of tv appearances, on A League of Their OwnThe ProjectThis Week Live, and his own tv specials.  He recently released his first DVD.

His schtick is growing up gay in a small outback town where wearing pink was an unpardonable sin and being gay was the equivalent of being a Martian.  He also riffs on pop culture icons, queering the texts of Aussie movies and tv shows, and talks about run-ins with homophobes today.



The best hate mail I ever got was on Facebook. This guy messaged me and said “I wasn’t homophobic until I saw you. But now I want to move to Uganda because you can kill gay people there.” I just sent him the link  to Webjet with the flights to Uganda and I said to have fun, but I’m not coming.












Some of his run-ins with homophobia are too shocking to become comedy material.  In 2010, he was invited to perform at an anti-discrimination event in Colac, a small town about 150 km from Melbourne.  He arrived to see 20 young men waiting for him.  Assuming they were fans, he got out his pen and prepared to sign autographs.  Instead they called him homophobic names, threatened violence, and chased back to his car.

But fighting homophobia is what Joel Creasey is all about.

 If you're not in Australia, you can see him on youtube.

May 8, 2014

Peter Brown: Buddy-Bonding Cowboy of the 1950s

I never saw this massive chest before yesterday, that I remember, and he has a pretty common name, so sorry if I get the pictures wrong.

He's Peter Brown, a heart throb to the first generation of Baby Boomers.

Born in New York in 1935, he graduated from UCLA and hit Hollywood in 1957.  Guest bits on swinging detective and Western shows landed him his most famous role, Lawman (1958-62)



It starred John Russell (the one with the basket) as Marshall Dan Troup of Laramie, Wyoming (the name Laramie was taken).  Peter played his partner, deputy, and close friend Johnny McKay.

Sounds like a lot of gay subtext potential.  No wonder the first generation of Boomers remembers it fondly.

Next came some Disney movies, the sexploitation Kitten with a Whip (1964), and the surfing-buddy movie Ride the Wild Surf (1964), also starring teen crooner Fabian Forte.

I've already discussed its many gay subtexts.





In 1965-67 Peter returned to the Old West to star in Laredo with bodybuilder William Smith.

Then came more guest spots, soap operas, sexploitation movies like Teenage Tease (1971) and Foxy Brown (1974), and bad horror movies like Piranha (1972).  He was very busy as an actor, but his glory days were obviously past.










Peter been married five times, so I'm going to guess he's heterosexual.  But back when he was playing cowboys, his beefcake and homoerotic buddy-bonding kept lots of Boomer kids interested.

You can see more pictures of Peter Brown on Fabian Forte on the Beach.





Spring 2002: Age Trumps Beauty

In West Hollywood, there were strict age limits on dating.  More than 5 years older or younger, and you were gossiped about and not invited to parties.

In New York, the lower age limit was gone.  It was perfectly acceptable, even expected, for someone in his late 30s to be seen with a 20-year old Cute Young Thing.

When I moved to Florida in 2001, the upper age limit was gone, too.  It was perfectly acceptable, even expected, for someone in his early 40s to be seen with a 60-year old Daddy.  




Except I wasn't interested.  Guys that age were losing hair and muscle. They often had ex-wives and grown children from long-ago heterosexual marriages.  They were usually closeted.  And 30 years of clandestine activity usually gave them weird fetishes.

So when I met 60-something Troy at the Sunshine Cathedral, a gay church in Fort Lauderdale, I immediately labeled him a "just friend."

We continued to be "just friends" when we started working out together at the Club Fort Lauderdale, and going out to dinner, usually to a Japanese fusion place called Kenji.

Troy was a retired physician who had just come out upon his wife's death.  He was well-versed in Eastern mysticism, the paranormal, and the occult.  He had a gay Tarot cart deck.  We talked about Zen Buddhism and mysterious disappearances and my summer in Japan.    



But I adamantly rebuffed his attempts to get physical.  I was dating another guy from the Sunshine Cathedral, 24-year old Matt, who wasn't very bright, but had 3 of the 5 qualities that I find attractive: muscular, religious, and gifted beneath the belt (#1 on the list of the 15 biggest "sausages" I've ever encountered).

Matt was trying to write a novel about a hard-boiled noir detective who happened to be gay, and in the meantime worked as a night-time security guard.  We usually went out in the early evening, before his shift started.

The only time Matt and Troy saw each other was during Sunday morning services at the Sunshine Cathedral, and once or twice when I invited them both over for dinner.

Or so I thought.



That fall Troy went on a vacation to China and Tibet.  He brought me back a stamp shaped like monkey with Davis in Chinese characters:

丹尼斯 Dān ní sī, "Nice Redhead", which I suppose is is better than Boomer:  杰夫 Jié fū, "Outstanding Husband."

He brought Matt a silk shirt that beautifully highlighted his pecs.  But I didn't think anything of it at the time; he also brought back a souvenir for Yuri, who he barely knew.

I didn't think anything of it when Matt occasionally said that he was too tired to go out, and Troy was also busy.  In your 40s, you can stay home on Friday and Saturday night without feeling guilty.

So I went home for Christmas, to hear my old high school teacher make the most homophobic comment in the world.

After two weeks, I flew back from Rock Island, and Matt and I spent New Year's Eve together.



But on January 4th, Matt said he was too tired to go out before his shift, so I went to the Club by myself.

You know where this is going: Matt and Troy in a dark corner, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

"We've been dating since Christmas," Matt explained. "I didn't know how to tell you."

Troy just grinned.  Age trumps beauty.

See also: The Georgia Boy and the Cute Young Thing

May 7, 2014

One Night in Bangkok, Three Hundred Nights at Mugi

I went to Mugi, the gay Asian bar in Hollywood, at least once a week, sometimes twice, from 1985 to 1993, when I started hitting Basgo's instead.  Probably 300 times in all.   And every single time I was there, they played "One Night in Bangkok."  It was ingrained into my brain; even today I often catch myself singing:

One night in Bangkok, and the world's your oyster.
The bars are temples, but the pearls ain't free.

Oddly enough, when I visited the real Bangkok in 1988 to "rescue" Alan, I never heard the song once.

I guess the owner was a little short on Asian-themed pop songs.  "One Night in Bangkok" was composed for the musical Chess (1984).



Yes, there was a musical about chess.  It was based on the match between chess superstars Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky at the 1972 World Chess Championships,an American and a Russian, one of the epic battles of the Cold War.

I haven't seen it -- reviews complain that it is over-long, over-wrought, clunky, and exceedingly dull.  And it sounds rather homophobic. .

Chess champion Freddie Trumpeter (played by Murray Head in the British version and Philip Casnoff in the American) must face gay "accusations."  His father states that he's "probably queer," and his Soviet opponent, Anatoly (Tommy Korberg, David Carroll) calls him a "fruit" (a "nut" in the American version), and steals his girlfriend.

"One Night in Bangkok" appears on the night before an early match between Freddie and Anatoly.  Freddie wanders around town, trying to stay focused.



He dislikes Bangkok, "Oriental city," with its "muddy old river," its decadence, and its evil: "I can feel a devil walking next to me."

He disapproves of the drag queens: "the queens we use would not excite you."

And especially the gay men: "you'll find a god in every golden cloister, and if you're lucky, then the god's a she."

Not the message you want to send to patrons of a gay Asian bar!

But at least gay people and transvestites are mentioned, a rarity in the 1980s.

You can see the music video on youtube.

See also: Alan Outwits a Celebrity; The Theme Song of 1000 Nights in a Leather Bar.

What's Gay About Don Juan?

Today we call a man a "Don Juan" if he's very competent at "getting" women.  It's a complement.

But the original Don Juan was evil, a Spanish nobleman who cruelly manipulated both men and women.

That gives his story an interesting gay subtext.

Take the opera version, Don Giovanni, by Mozart (1787).

Don Giovanni seduces women, not because he enjoys heterosexual acts, but for the fun of seeing them socially destroyed.




Meanwhile his servant Leporello displays no heterosexual interest, but is devoted to Don Giovanni.  Their bond is portrayed as noble.

Don Giovanni has Leporello help him seduce several women, including Elvira, who vows vengeance; Anna, who vows vengeance after he kills her father, the the Commendatore, in a duel; and Zerlina (he distracts her boyfriend by sending Leporello to dance with him).

Leporello almost leaves when Don Giovanni tries to frame him for an attempted rape, but decides to stay.

He is beat up while disguised as Don Giovanni, but decides to stay.





Adding sacrilege to his list of crimes, Don Giovanni orders him to invites a statue of the Commendatore to dinner.  He can't bring himself to do it, so Don Giovanni does.  It shows up at the dinner and drags Don Giovanni to hell.

Only then does Leporello seek a new master.

Directors usually cast Don Giovanni with the hottest baritones they can find,such as Jason Hardy, Erwin Schott, and Simon Keelyside.






Richard Crichton produced a modernized version, with a gay Don Giovanni in the club scene of 1987 London.

May 6, 2014

Sky Kids: Buddy-Bonding in a Bi-Plane

 Sky Kids (2008), aka The Fly Boys,  is an old-fashioned buddy-bonding drama about two kids who save the day (not to be confused with the war movie Flyboys). 














Kyle (Reiley McClendon), the new kid at school in a stereotypic small town, defends chunky loner Jason (Jesse James) from bullies.  The two become friends, and hang out with Jason's Uncle Ed, a pilot who takes them up in a biplane (played by Dallen Gettling).

The next day they somehow end up trapped on an airplane with a bomb and no pilot.  They managed to land the plane safely, and become local celebrities.

The airplane belongs to mob boss Angelo Esposito (Tom Sizemore), who kidnaps the boys to find out who betrayed him by planting the bomb.  He has a change of heart and asks his associates Silvio and Lenny (Stephen Baldwin and J. Todd Adams) to take them home.



But, coincidentally, Silvio and Lenny are the culprits!  They plan to kill the boys so they won't talk.  In the resulting fight, Silvio is killed, and the boys escape. Kyle is re-captured. Now it is Jason's turn to be the hero. He rushes to find Uncle Ed, who offers to fly Lenny out of the country if he lets Kyle go.

The climactic adrenaline-rush flight involves Jason flying, Kyle being thrown off the plane, and Ed, Kyle, and Jason parachuting to safety while the plane crashes into a mountain.

Ok, the plot is a little convoluted, but throughout there's lots of buddy-bonding, some nick-of-time rescues, and no heterosexual interest (except maybe between Kyle's Mom and Uncle Ed).  No wonder it was never released in the U.S.



This movie has lots of fundamentalist Christian connections: Dallen Gettling is a graduate of Brigham Young University, Stephen Baldwin is a right-wing homophobe, and the writer, Gregory C. Haynes, is a graduate of Utah State, who also wrote Cowboys and Angels.  So we'll have to assume that the gay subtext is unintentional.

However, there are a few gay connections in the cast.  Reiley McClendon played a teen hustler in Nickel Children, and is currently a recurring character on the gay-positive family drama The Fosters.  J. Todd Adams, the villainous Lenny, has played gay characters (top photo: from A Picture of Dorian Gray).  

You can get it on R2 DVD from Amazon.uk.

The Gay World of Pablo Picasso

When I visited the Pablo Picasso Museum in Barcelona, I saw many portraits of women, but only a few of men, and they were all fully clothed.  I concluded that the artist (1881-1973), well known for his many wives and girlfriends, was simply not interested in the male form.

But it turns out that the museum was keeping some of his works under wraps.  Such as this Cubist fragment of a man who is all eyes and penis.








In fact, during his years as a student in Barcelona, Picasso produced many realistic paintings and drawings of nude men, such as this model from 1897.



















During his Blue Period (1901-1904), when he fell into a deep depression after the death of his friend Carlos Casagemas, Picasso consoled himself with a number of nude images.


















He was in a cheerier mood during his Rose Period (1904-1906), when he was living in Paris.  He continued to produce male nudes, but specialized in adolescents, such as Boy Leading a Horse.

Picasso was very prolific during his long life, producing thousands of paintings and drawings. But, except for a few adolescent boys, his male portraits are often censored, left out of books, not displayed in museums, to give us the impression that he only ever used female models, and perhaps to erase the awareness of same-sex desire from the world.





Did Picasso have any same-sex interests of his own?  Probably -- he wanted to try everything in life, so he must have taken time out from his pursuit of the feminine for some same-sex dalliances.  His biography uncovers an affair with a gypsy boy when he was 17, and suggests that he and Casamegas were romantic partners.

We know that he was nonchalant about gay identity.  He had many gay friends, including Gertrudge Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Sergei Diaghilev, Jean Cocteau, art dealer Paul Rosenberg, and collector John Richardson.  He enjoyed surrounding himself with gay men, if only because they adored him for reasons other than his art.

May 5, 2014

Willow and Jaden Smith: Not Your Father's Homophobia

In 2012, Will Smith voiced his support of gay marriage: "if anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support that in any shape or form."

My jaw dropped.  I had been boycotting his movies for years, under the assumption that he was one of Hollywood's biggest homophobes.

1. He hesitated about playing a gay character in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), and when he agreed, still refused a same-sex kiss, claiming that it would gross people out.
2. In the movie Hancock (2008), his character famously uses an anti-gay slur.
3. In 2012, when a Ukrainian reporter tried to kiss him (part of Russian culture, he claimed), Smith reacted with far more disgust than one would expect from a gay-positive heterosexual.
4. Smith has made lots of statements about being uncomfortable touching men in any way.

Sounds homophobic to me.


You can often determine the prejudices of the father by looking at his kids. Have they been raised to be nonchalant about gay people?  Have they been taught hate?  Or have they been told nothing at all?

13 year old Willow, who performs under the name Melodic Chaotic, has released a music video, "Summer Fling,"   It shows various teenagers frolicking in the sun, including some obvious heterosexual couples, as well as two girls who look like a lesbian couple.  They hug and hold hands, but don't kiss.

15-year old Jaden has several screen credits and an album of heterosexist rap songs with "girl!" as every other word.

But he's also a close friend of Moises Arias, the androgynous, gay-positive alumnus of Hannah Montana, who directed several of his music videos.  The two are often seen at events together, sometimes with Moises' brother Mateo and Willow.





Here they are napping in each other's arms.

Some people speculate that the two are involved romantically, but a match between the 20-year old Moises and the 15-year old Jaden is unlikely -- and, if physical, illegal in most states. It's probably a bff bond.

But still, Jaden doesn't mind a bit having a "big brother" who is assumed gay.

And Will doesn't mind a bit that they are hanging out together.

Ocho Rios: Tracking Down a Jamaican Bodybuilder


Sometime during the 1990s, I was walking through the living room, and I caught the end of a music video.  It was about a frizzy-haired musician in a 1970s suit trying to sell his new song.

As he acts it out, we see him in drag, in a blond wig and a muumuu,  in a lush tropical setting, singing to a drag queen chorus:


Musician:  I met a Negro in something something (four syllables).
The drag queen chorus squeals as a massive bodybuilder walks by, thrusts out his bulge, and flexes his bicep.
Musician: I met a Negro....
Jamaican-accented bodybuilder:  I'm a Negro...

The bodybuilder then takes the drag musician rowing, where he sings:
Something something...I'll make you mine.
He lowers his swimsuit, and her eyes widen, shocked at his enormous penis.

That's all I remember: no title, no names of performers, not even the full video.  But it kept getting stuck in my head, inappropriate term and all.

I would be at the supermarket, or on the bus, and suddenly catch myself singing I met a Negro in something something.  I got quite a few stares!

Recently I decided to use my internet sleuthing skills to track down the music video, and the Jamaican-accented bodybuilder.  All I had was: 1990s, frizzy hair, Jamaica, drag, and the term "Negro."

Dozens of keywords searches on Google and Bing turned up nothing.

Wait -- this musician was obviously gay and from the 1970s.


"Gay composer" and "1970s"eventually  led me to Paul Jabara (1948-1992), who composed such disco hits as "It's Raining Men" for the Weather Girls, my favorite song of all time, and "Last Dance" for Donna Summer (which won the Academy Award for  Best Song in 1978).

There was a song called "Ocho Rios" in his discography.  No lyrics online.  But the right number of syllables, and Ocho Rios is the name of a town in Jamaica!  Could it be the source of my elusive music video?

Digging deeper, I found an article about a "pop operetta" De La Noche: The True Story," which Jabarra tried to get produced in 1985.  It was about a "lady of the evening" who finds true love with a 7'2", 300 lb  Jamaican bodybuilder!  Their union results in female octuplets, who are stolen and sold on the black market.  She searches for 21 years, and finally finds them, performing as a musical group, the De La Noche Sisters.

Sounds silly; no wonder Jabara couldn't get the funding to make a stage musical.

"Ocho Rios" is a track on the album, also released as a single.  It didn't get much airtime, as the term "Negro" was deemed offensively racist.  So Jabara produced a music video about his troubles, and got it played on MTV.  A least once.

I finally found a synopsis: turns out that there were no drag queens, just bizarrely over-made up women. The lady in the muumuu was Pat Ast, formerly a member of Andy Warhol's Factory.  And "The Negro" was voiced by Paul Jabara himself, feigning a basso-profundo Jamaican accent.

But who modeled the Jamaican bodybuilder?

More searching revealed that in 1973, Paul Jabara wrote and produced a musical, Rachel Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It), which folded after only a few performances.  Perhaps it was an early version of De La Noche: there was a song entitled "Oh, Ocho Rios," and a cast member named "That Negro."

Played by Andre de Shields, who would become a renowned stage actor, with credits including Hair, The Full Monte, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Ain't Misbehavin'.  

Obviously not the same person as the Jamaican bodybuilder, whose identity remains a mystery.

But at least it's not an ear worm anymore.

You can see the music video on youtube.

See also: Subtext Songs of the 1980s.