Feb 6, 2015

The Gay Connection of Julio Iglesias and Sons

Julio Iglesias is a famous singer in Spain and Latin America, with dozens of gold and platinum albums.

I knew him primarily from a series of duets performed in the 1980s with an eclectic assortment of American stars:

"All of You" with Diana Ross
"The Air that I Breathe" with the Beach Boys
"To All the Girls I've Loved Before" with Willie Nelson
"My Love" with Stevie Wonder

They were all very heterosexist, but what did you expect of popular music in the 1980s?

Not much gay connection, although he was a guest star on an episode of The Golden Girls, and once he said: "If I was gay, I would be the best gay in history."  I wonder what his criteria for gay excellence would be?

Well, maybe there's a gay connection in his sons.

The older, Julio Iglesias Jr. (born in 1973), got his start as a model, and now is an actor and singer.  He appeared as Luis on the tv series Hacienda Heights, a bilingual telenovela about a Los Angeles family.

The younger, Enrique (born in 1975), has followed in his father's footsteps to become one of the biggest stars in Latin America.

He has been the subject of gay rumors, so he responded with a post on Facebook:

"I try to make good songs and that are fun. Either way, what is the problem with there being many gay singers? There are many gay people that must be respected … the truth is that most people are good and human."

It's nice to know that most people are good and human, gay or not, but not a lot of gay connection there.

Wait -- Julio Sr. is married to a cousin of famed actor Steve McQueen, making Julio Jr. and Enrique second cousins of his grandson, gay actor and model Steven R. McQueen.

There's always a gay cousin or uncle somewhere in the family tree.

See also: Steve McQueen's Hunky Family Tree.

Feb 3, 2015

Recreating Childhood Photographs: The Homoerotic and the Heartbreaking

Have you heard of the fad for recreating old childhood photographs?  The ones your parents took of you in "cute," embarrassing situations, like taking a bath with your brothers?

As adults, you try to match the setting, costumes, positions, and facial expressions, and recast the picture.

The blogosphere tags the results as "hilarious," but sometimes they are decidedly homoerotic.

The nude body contact that is cute and innocent with little kids heats up very quickly with adults.  Even with the weird facial expressions.

Muscular, bearded adults frolicking in a tub look decidedly like lovers.

But sometimes that dazed childhood expression becomes depressing in an adult, as if he's looking back on his life, wondering how so many years managed to slip by unnoticed.

And when the "kids" were already grown up, with biceps and baskets, the recreations show the ravages of time, as muscle turns to fat, heads become bald, faces become gaunt.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Oh, well, back to the homoerotic.

Top 10 Public Penises of Portland

I've only been to Portland, Oregon once, but it was an amazing experience.  It has the biggest of everything: Powell's Books, which covers an entire city block; Steam, a bath house bigger than the most of the ones I've been to in Europe; The Portland Eagle,  a leather bar bigger and more crowded than the Faultline in West Hollywood.

And more public penises than in the whole county of Los Angeles.

1. The Portland Art Museum has a weird, eclectic collection of nude male art, like this statue, so realistic that I felt it necessary to censor his penis.

2. And this fuzzy animal preening before a mirror.  Can you think of a reason you won't be bringing a copy home to give to your nephew?

3. It also has more traditional male nudes, like this muscular number by Gaston Lachaise (before you google him to see if he was gay, there's a naked lady, too).

4. And this stylized chunk.

5. I'm not sure what this frieze at the courthouse is supposed to signify.

More after the break.

Feb 2, 2015

Albanian Men

Through my childhood, I designated several countries as "good places," where you could escape the brainwashing chants of "what girl do you like?  what girl do you like?  what girl do you like?"

Where boys could hold hands, and live together in a house when they grew up.

Where same-sex desire was possible.

My list included Australia, Belgium, the Philippines, India, and Finland, plus some countries that seem rather strange today.

Like Saudi Arabia, where my boyfriend Dan and I planned an escape in junior high.

And Albania.

Why did I start thinking of a small, homophobic country in southeastern Europe as a "good place?"  It's something of a mystery.  But I can think of a few reasons:

1. The Albanians called themselves Shiqiptare, "Sons of the Eagle," which I thought was cool and evocative.

2. The language, which looked like nothing I had ever seen before, full of secret potential:

English: I want to see your sausage.
Albanian: Unë dua të shoh suxhuk tuaj.

3. One day our Preacher screamed about another sign of the coming of the Antichrist: Albania had become the first country in the world to declare itself officially atheist.  Sounded like a good challenge for a future missionary.

4. The hero Skanderbeg, who freed Albania from the Turks, didn't have a wife (at least, none was mentioned in the story).

5. Once we drove into Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry, and afterwards we walked through Jackson Park where a lot of people were sitting on the grass, watching a folkdance.  A cute boy with his shirt off, sitting on a blanket by himself, smiled at me.

"Albanian Festival," Dad read from the sign.  We didn't stay -- folk dancing was forbidden to Nazarenes --but forty years later, I still remember that boy's smile.

And his shirt being off.

It's all about the beefcake.

See also: Gypsy Boys.

Edd Byrnes: The Ginchiest Gay Hustler

During the 1950s, lots of young musclemen found ways to earn some extra cash with their  biceps and bulges, as bodybuilders, physique models, and hustlers for the newly-organized gay community.  A few of them broke into show biz, usually as Italian sword-and-sandal studs or Western heroes.

But Edd Byrnes became famous as a kook.

Born in 1933 in New York, he began bodybuilding as a teenager, and at age 17 began posing for physique magazines and hustling for a select group of well-moneyed gay clients.  One of his clients became a mentor, taking him to the best nightspots, introducing him literature and the theater, encouraging his interest in acting.

In 1955, Edd moved to Los Angeles at the height of the juvenile delinquent craze, and got some bit parts and surly James Dean-style roles: Reform School Girls (1957), Johnny Trouble (1957), Life Begins at 17 (1958). 


In Girl on the Run (1958), he played a killer opposite detective Stuart Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.).  Zimbalist, later the poster boy for 1970s homophobia,  was so impressed with Edd's work that he suggested him for the spinoff, the swinging detective series 77 Sunset Strip (1958-64).

But not as his partner -- that would be Roger Smith (the older Patrick in Auntie Mame).  He would be comic relief: Kookie Kookson III, a parking lot attendant who spoke nearly impenetrable hipster slang and obsessively combed his greaser hairdo.

Not surprisingly, given his gay-friendly past, he eyed the two detectives with palpable homoerotic appreciation.

Kookie became a standout star, eventually joining the detective team and appearing as "himself" on other swinging detective dramas, Hawaiian Eye and Surfside Six.  

He had a brief teen idol career, with a hit single, "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" (1959), actually a slang-heavy dialogue between Kookie and Connie Stevens:

Kookie: I've got smog in my noggin ever since you made the scene
Connie:  You're the utmost!
Kookie: If you ever tool me out, I'm the saddest, like a brain.
Connie: The maximum utmost!

His record also contained such hits as "Kookie's Mad Pad" and "Square Dance for Round Cats."

When 77 Sunset Strip ended, Edd found himself typecast as a slang-spouting hipster.  He starred in the beach movie Beach Ball (1965) and a few Westerns, and displayed his physique as a life guard in tongue-in-cheek slasher Wicked, Wicked (1973).  He did a softcore porn, Erotic Images, in 1983 (he was heterosexual in real life).

He continued to work through the 1990s, playing killers and detectives and aging beachboys.  But in the eyes of his fans, he never stopped being Kookie, his early years as a bodybuilder and gay hustler long forgotten.

Feb 1, 2015

Terry and the Pirates

Terry and the Pirates (1934-1973) presented the most overt adult-teen homoromance in the comic strips.  When fourteen-year old Terry Lane first set out to search for his missing grandfather, accompanied by soldier of fortune Pat Ryan, he was a wide-eyed innocent who seemed to belong in a humor strip, quite out of place among the jungles, copra plantations, and seedy port cities of the South China Sea, where everybody had an angle, a price, and a lot of secrets.  He was even drawn differently from the other characters, with a round face and soft, curvy lines amid Milt Caniff’s trademark square-jawed, angular men and women.  Caniff often used humorously drawn outsider characters, like the pug-cute Dickie Dare and the eyeglassed, golly-gee-spurting Wash Tubbs, to link the preternatural world of adventure with the comfortable, familiar world back home.  But Terry was neither boy, like Dickie Dare, nor man, like Wash Tubbs.  He was a teenager, and he was growing up.

Most comic strip characters either do not age, or they jump from child to adult instantly, but Terry aged normally, celebrating his fifteenth birthday in 1935, his sixteenth in 1936, and so on.  As he approached manhood, his relationship with Pat Ryan became considerably more intimate than those of the other pairs, the homoromantic slipping inexorably into the homoerotic.  Terry and Pat were sometimes shown sharing a single bed, or showering together, or naked together.  In a 1936 strip, the sixteen-year old Terry has just bathed, and he is toweling off.  The towel shields his backside from readers, but his frontsize is fully exposed to Pat, who is gazing with obvious appreciation.

Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Don Winslow spent half of their time brawling with men and the other half kissing women, but as long as Terry is not yet a man, Pat Ryan actively avoids the tall, slinky femmes fatale who keep wrapping their arms around him.  . When jewelry fence–kept girl Burma throws herself at Pat for three weeks’ worth of strips, he consistently rejects her, consenting to a kiss only after she calls him “Yellow!”, denigrating his masculinity, eight times in three panels.  Then, after the kiss, he refuses to accept her purring “darlings.”

Pat’s masculinity is, indeed, open to question, in spite of his square-jawed stoicism and expertise at fisticuffs.  He is denigrated by worse terms than “yellow,” including “sissy” and “pansy,” but only by women, so he won’t have to fight back.  Late in 1936, when they are all shipwrecked on another island, Burma throws herself at the colonial administrator (although she is supposedly as hard as nails, she falls for every man she sees).  The solicitous Pat gives the adminstrator’s wife make-up and hairstyle tips so she can beat off the competition.  One expects that, if World War II had not broken out, Pat could have easily returned to America and opened a hair salon.

The sixteen and seventeen-year old Terry is often positioned structurally as a parallel to whatever tall, slinky woman is lusting after with Pat this time.  The lady strips down to her underwear, and in the next scene Terry strips down to his underwear.  Pat is knocked unconscious, and the lady gingerly holds him in her arms.  The next time Pat is knocked unconscious, Terry gingerly holds him in his arms, in precisely the same position.

Columbia’s adaption, released on May 5th, 1940, is one of the era’s few intentionally humorous movie serials (it was directed by James W. Horne, who did the Laurel and Hardy shorts).  Terry was played as a squealing teenager by 22-year old William Tracy, a rather stout, likeable blond.  Pat Ryan, the soldier-of-fortune bodyguard, was miscast with Granville Owen, adequately tall and muscular but only five years older than William Tracy – he had just finished playing a college student in Start Cheering (1938), and he would go on to play the eternally teenage Li’l Abner in the adaptation of the Al Capp comic strip (1940).

The two are by far the most physically expressive of homoromantic partners in movie serials, one with hand always firmly placed on the other’s arm, shoulder, or back, except when they are walking with their arms wrapped around each other’s waists. Terry screams and flails like a damsel in distress when he is terrorized by crocodiles, headhunters, and villains lobbing hand-grenades, and after Pat swoops down like Tarzan to save him, they embrace, Terry’s face pressed against Pat’s chest.  In an early chapter, they are bedded down for the night when a gorilla breaks into Terry’s room and tries to carry him away.  Pat rushes to the rescue, getting his shirt ripped off in the process.  Afterwards Terry stares appreciatively at Pat’s bulging muscles and hints “I’d feel a lot better if I slept with you tonight.” Pat agrees.

Homophobic Dog with a Blog: The Disney Channel's Worst Show

The Disney Channel used to be better than Nickelodeon in airing teencoms with gay subtexts, but the last couple of years, it's been slipping.  Of the current crop, the only shows of much interest to gay kids are Austin & Allie (with Ross Lynch, who adds a gay subtext to everything) and Liv & Maddie (with Joey Bragg as the gay-vague older brother).  I heard that Good Luck Charlie will be getting a "real" gay couple sometime this season.  The other programs, like Jessie, are unremittingly heterosexist.

Take Dog with a Blog (2011-) -- please.

It's a standard "my secret" sitcom about a talking dog, Stan (voiced by Stephen Fuller), who uses the anonymity of the internet to write a blog about his family's adventures.  The family, blended to provide conflict, consists of Mom and Dad, 13-year old Avery (G. Hannelius, a girl), 16-year old Tyler (Blake Michael, #8 on my list of Unexpected Disney Channel Teen Hunks), and the preteen Chloe.

Avery is the focus, so the recurring characters consist mostly of her friends, plus her evil nemesis, Karl Fink (LJ Benet), who suspects the secret.

Homophobia: Lots.  Karl is a mincing, swishy, "quel domage!" homophobic stereotype.

Beefcake: none.  Blake Michael, shown here partying with his buds, Eric Unger (Billy Unger's brother) and Mateus Ward (whose homophobic agent asked me to take down his post), is always fully clothed on camera.

Joe Larry Campbell plays Tyler's boss, The Hawk.

Bonding: maybe a little between Avery and her bff Lindsay.  Other than that, Tyler keeps crushing on girls, Avery keeps crushing on guys.

Gay symbolism: Stan the Dog, the outsider masquerading as "normal," constantly in danger of discovery.  Maybe a little.

Do you think the problem is co-creator Philip Stark, who was also responsible for the homophobic Dude Where's My Car (2000)?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...