Aug 8, 2015

10,000 Naked Men, Part 2: Kilts to Pairs

I'm reviewing my collection of 9,248 pictures of men collected from 20 years of internet bulletin boards and blogs.

Last time: Asian to Hung.

Kilts.  Several dozen photos, both posed and candid, demonstrating that Scottish guys go commando under their kilts.

Latino.  Men from Latin America, or Hispanic men in the United States. They can be of any race. This guy from Mexico City has been reading Garfield before demonstrating his Kovbasa+.

Matadors.  I think the enormous bulges are part of the costume, symbolic of the matador's virility and power.  I also have some where the bull's horns have ripped open the costume, leaving the penis exposed.  It's not spectacular.

Middle East.  Arabs, Turks, Persians, and Israelis.  Bedouins a plus.  And a Kurdish guy with the most enormous Kovbasa+++.

The problem is always where to classify.  This guy could easily fit into Muscle and Outdoor as well.  I downloaded a program to find duplicates.

Military, Police, and Guards.  Men in uniform, including border and castle guards, hot cops from various countries, and cute soldiers taking selfies.  They can't get too far out of uniform, or you can't tell that they're military.

Muscle.  Most of the guys in the collection are muscular, but this folder is reserved for the ones who stand out as particularly buffed, and don't fit into any of the other categories.

I like the messy room.  He decided to take a selfie in the midst of doing laundry.

Nerds.  You know you're a nerd when you spend more time trying to see what book he's reading than looking at his penis.  Guys wearing glasses or bow ties, reading books, or doing science fiction or superhero cosplay.

Old Guys, Chubs, and Bears.  Guys of the more mature persuasion, of heftier girth, or with an exceptionally hairy chest.  It's surprising how often all three come together.  This guy has only two of the three qualities, but he has a nice smile.

Orcs and Other Fantasy Beings.  It started with Orcs -- who would have thought that some guys find Tolkien's baddies sexy?  Here's a very well endowed Orc captured and forced to carry heavy weights around.  The folder also contains elves, dwarfs, hobbits, fairies, goblins, angels, demons, and furries (animal people).

Outdoors.  Guys at festivals, nude beaches, nude bike races, or just displaying their goods in public places, like this Hungarian maintenance man.

Pairs.  I'm not big into action shots, but I like pairs of guys, brothers, friends, or lovers, kissing, hugging, or just hanging out side by side.

Next:Punks through Urinals

See also: 10,000 Naked Men, Part 1: Asian through Hung.
10,000 Naked Men, Part 3: Punks to Urinals.

One Day at a Time

Why would gay teenage boys like One Day at a Time (1975-1984), the sitcom about Indianapolis divorcee Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) and her two teenage daughters?  Sure, it was hip and "with it," one of the stable of realistic comedy-dramas that Norman Lear trotted out -- All in the Family, The Boomerersons, Sanford and Son, Alice, Maude -- for audiences sick of 1960s fantasy and hillbilly fare.

But there were no gay characters.  No "mistaken for gay" episodes.  No episodes where regulars discover that their brother/college buddy/coworker/coach is gay -- even Alice had one of those.  For all its hipness, nothing but weeks and months and years of dreary heteronormativity.

So what was the attraction?

1. The endless parade of boyfriends.  Practically every hunk in Hollywood over age 30 played one of Ms. Romano's beaus, and practically every Tiger Beat fave rave guest starred as Barbara or Julie's dates.  Two long-running teen dreams were Chuck (William Kirby Cullen) for Julie:

And Cliff (Scott Colomby) for Barbara (standing next to competition John Putch).  Colomby later played the slim, androgynous Tony in Caddyshack.

Eventually Julie married the hunky Max Horvath (Michael Lembeck, center), and Barbara married stick-in-the-mud Mark Royer (Boyd Gaines, left)

2. In 1980, after Ann's boyfriend dies, she adopts his 14-year old son, Alex Handris (Glenn Scarpelli).  Usually end-of-series cast additions are a disaster, but Alex brought wit, style, and humor to the doddering series.

And a decided lack of interest in girls, in spite of the "I'm so into girls!" lines that the scripts made him say.

Glenn Scarpelli came out a few years after the show ended.  Today he runs a public tv station in Sedona, Arizona with partner Jude Belanger. He also seems to have joined a gym:

Aug 7, 2015

Raul and My Bed-Switching Roommate

In the fall of 1986,  shortly after I returned from Japan, I was living with Alan, who dragged me to the gay Asian bar Mugi twice a week.  Our other roommate, Chaiyo, was from Thailand.  I was taking a class in Chinese literature at USC (as part of my doctoral study in comparative literature).  Three days a week, I drove downtown to my job at the Community Redevelopment Agency, which was in the midst of revitalizing Little Tokyo.

With all of that Asian influence, you might expect me to meet a lot of Asian guys.  But I didn't.  The problem was, they found Alan so infinitely attractive that I couldn't compete.  Even if he didn't do anything.

One day in September 1986, I brought an Asian guy home.  Alan was watching tv in the living room, so I introduced them casually as we passed through.

 "Wow, you're roommate is hot!" my date exclaimed. Sometime during the night, he got up to use the bathroom and "accidentally" stumbled into the wrong room, and into Alan's bed!

Alan didn't mind, but I wasn't yet comfortable with the West Hollywood custom of "sharing" dates with one's roommate, so I was horrified.

Not to worry, there were lots of non-Asians around. L.A. was ethnically diverse.  In fact, it was 50% Hispanic.

50%!  I liked those odds!  On October 4th, 1986,  I went to the Plaza or the Silver Platter (I forget which) and met Raul from East L.A., a cook in a Filipino restaurant, short and slim with small hard muscles.

Was it safe to bring him home, or was Alan infinitely attractive to Hispanic guys, too? (This was before we started going to Tijuana.)

I decided to take the bull by the horns:  I invited Raul over for dinner Friday night "with my roommates."

He insisted on cooking -- "I'm a professional chef, I do all the work" -- chicken adobo, broccoli, and a Filipino rice cake called puta (no connection to the homophobic slur).

Raised in Iglesia Pentecostal Jesucristo, Raul was fascinated by Alan's plan to start a gay Pentecostal church in Thailand.  " can you be cristiano, if you are gay? The Bible says that God hates gays."

After dinner, Alan grabbed his Bible and his Greek New Testament and started explaining how they didn't condemn gay people at all, starting with the story of Sodom -- it's about lack of hospitality, not gay people.

I already knew all about it, so I quickly got bored.

Famous gay couples, Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan.  Chaiyo fled to his room to watch The Golden Girls.  Raul jumped up and took the place he vacated next to Alan on the couch.

Ephesians and Romans: incorrect translation from the original Greek.  Arsenokoitai means "male prostitute," not "gay man." Alan's arm was wrapped around Raul's shoulders.

In the Book of Acts, Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch, and invites him to spend the night.  Eunuchs were usually gay.  Adam whispered something in Raul's ear and tried to fondle his leg; Raul laughed and pushed his hand away.

I knew where this was headed.  "Hey, sounds like you guys have a lot to talk about," I said. "It's late.  I'm going to bed."

"Ok," Raul said, barely noticing me as he looked down at a passage in the Greek New Testament -- or was he looking at Alan's bulge?  "We will be done soon."

Yeah, right!  I thought.  I'll see you at breakfast!  

I went to my room, got undressed, and lay in bed with a book, fuming with jealousy.  I heard muffled conversation from the living room, then a burst of laughter.  Then an ominous silence...were they kissing?  And footsteps heading down the hall to Alan's room.  Someone used the bathroom.

Then my door opened.  It was Raul!

"Man, that, talk, talk," he said, stripping off his shirt.  "I mean, it was interesting, but come on, man! I'm on a date!"

He slid out of his pants and climbed in bed next to me.  "And he's so grabby!  If I didn't know better, I would think he was cruising me!  You weren't waiting too long, were you?"

"Not at all."  I turned off the light.

See also: Alan and I Cruise for Thugs; and I Bankrupt the Gay Porn Industry

The Finnish Sauna Championships

Today every health club has a sauna, a little wooden room where the temperature is high so you can sit around naked, sweating in either wet or dry heat, with relaxation and maybe other benefits.

It's a standard part of many workout routines (pictured: Russian bodybuilder Mikhail Sidorykov).

Sometimes guys like to do things in saunas, but I don't understand the attraction.  Why would you want to touch someone who's covered with sweat?

But the nudity is nice.  Where else can you get a good, long look at naked men sitting still?  (The shy wear swimsuits or cover their privates with willow branches.)

Finland has more public penises than any other country in the world, except maybe Bhutan, so it makes sense that the sauna originated there (it even plays a role in the first Finnish novel, Seven Brothers.)

 Almost every house has one -- there are 2 million saunas for a population of 5 million, and a Finnish Sauna Society with 4200 members.
Entire families or groups of friends go in at once for bouts of naked sweating, preferably accompanied by hitting yourself with a willow switch, and followed by running naked through the snow to cool off (or a cold swimming pool, if no snow is available).

Finnish saunas are generally hotter than the American versions, and you stay in longer, up to thirty minutes.

Beginning in 1999, World Sauna Championships were held in Heinola, Finland, about 1 1/2 hours north of Helsinki.   Contestants from over 20 countries facing an incredibly high starting temperature of 230 F.  Rounds typically lasted less than 3 minutes.

Can you imagine anything more dangerous?

Amazingly, the championships continued annually for 10 years without incident.

Then, in 2010, two contestants passed out after 6 minutes in the sauna.  Vladimir Ladyzhensky died, and Timo Kaukonen was hospitalized with burns over 70% of his body.

The city of Heinola will not be holding championships in the future.

The sauna remains an integral part of Finnish culture.  But most Finns know how to handle heat with care.

See also: The Top Public Penises of Finland and The Garden of Gay Dreams and Nightmares.

Aug 5, 2015

Summertime Beefcake at the County Fair

If you wanted to insult a Nazarene, you accused them of being "worldly," engaging in behavior that wasn't sinful, but veered a little too close to the behaviors of "the wicked old world."

For example, women were merely required to avoid wearing men's clothing or jewelry, to keep their hair long, and to dress "modestly."  After that, they were on their own.  So a skirt that came above your knees?  Not a sin, but sure to get you glares and whispers of "worldly!"

It was a sin to go to the theater, but what if the theater came to you?  If you went to an amateur drama production at the high school, you weren't technically backsliding, but your Sunday school teacher would certainly admonish you for being worldly!

The Nazarene Manual had a long list of "entertainments" that were forbidden by God: carnivals, circuses, festivals, theaters, moving picture shows, dance recitals, vaudeville shows.  But it didn't mention fairs.  An oversight, certainly, but one that made fairs worldly instead of sinful.

So I never went as a child, and of course when you live in a gay neighborhood, the thought of going to a county or state fair never crosses your mind.

I didn't start going to them until I met Troy, who was a fan.

Ok, they're very crowded, with redneck stuff like farm exhibits and tractor pulls.
Glittering, gaudy rides and games of skill hawked by scary people with cigarettes and big baskets.

Crazy food like deep fried Twinkies.

And the people who eat deep fried Twinkies every day.

Heterosexuals as far as the eye can see.

There's something fascinating about heterosexuals in the wild, certain that there are no gay people for a hundred miles around.

Married heterosexuals wander around with their kids in tow.  But unmarried heterosexuals come in single-sex packs, hanging all over each other, grabbing each other's butts, engaging in all sorts of homoerotic hijinks.

Not to mention the ample beefcake, muscular men with their shirts off and their jeans packed.

If their shirts aren't off, ask.  They may be persuaded to strip for a photo.

See also: Celtic Festivals

Aug 4, 2015

Pee-Wee's Playhouse

When I was living in West Hollywood in the 1980s, we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 every Saturday morning, but we stayed away from children's tv.  It was crowded with insipid child versions of adult characters -- The Muppet Babies, The Flintstone Kids -- or insufferably cute furry animals -- Wuzzles, Kissyfur, Care Bears, Gummi Bears.  

But there was one "must see" exception.  At 11:00, every household in West Hollywood watched Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986-90).  It was a surreal, live action series hosted by the androgynous Pinkie Lane lookalike Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), who would invite various live and puppet characters to play in his playhouse.

It was the gayest show on television.

1. A hunky speedo-clad lifeguard named Tito.

2. Drag queens Ms. Yvonne (right) and Mrs. Steve (left).  They both appeared at the 1990 AIDS Walk, and we all assumed that Mrs. Steve was a real drag queen, played by a male actor; I only discovered that she was played by a woman while researching this blog post. .

3. The extraordinarily feminine Jambi the Genie, who lived in a drag queen's jewelry box and lisped "Wish?  Did somebody say wish?"  Everyone in West Hollywood spend the afternoon saying: Swish?  Did somebody say swish?"

4. Laurence Fishburn as Pee-wee's best friend Cowboy Curtis, who informed us that he slept nude, and joked about his penis size: "You know what they say about big feet -- big boots!"

5. The creepy, leering, obviously drunk King of Cartoons, who stumbled across the room and slurred "Let the cartoon begin." And the creepy 1930s cartoon that followed.  Ok, he wasn't gay-coded, but who puts a guy who's drunk, or pretending to be, on a kids' program?

6. A hunky soccer player named Ricardo.

The writers, producers, directors, and cast have always claimed complete ignorance of any gay-coded characters or gay-subtexts.  In fact, according to Inside Pee-wee's Playhouseby Caseen Gaines, Paul Reubens was homophobic -- if he had known about any subtext, "he would have put a stop to it."

Or maybe he was just closeted.  Paul Reubens has consistently refused to comment on his sexual identity, although when he was arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography in 2002, he stated that he was a collector of muscle magazines and "vintage homosexual erotica."

Aug 3, 2015

The Twink Sons of Mr. Blowfish

The class I hated the most in high school was Public Speaking.  I didn't mind the speaking -- it was rather fun having an audience.  But the teacher, Mr. Blowfish!

Actually Mr. Lundquist, he was a prissy, snippy, ultra-swishy little gordito, balding, with a villain goatee, who lived to impress upon students that they were worthless.  He swept over the classroom, making condescending, sarcastic, and insulting remarks in his overmodulated, oversophisticated voice.

I assumed he was gay.  So, years later, I tracked him down to find out.

See Tales of West Hollywood for the rest of the story.

Aug 2, 2015

The Top 10 Public Penises of Estonia

Summertime in Estonia means guys taking their shirts off, to work wrestle, jump over bonfires, hang out on the beach, or cruise.

If you're there at another time of the year, don't worry -- there's lots of public penises.

1. To start out, about a dozen naked statues of Kalevipoeg, the national hero.

2. The paintings of Lembit Sarapuu  and Kristjan Raud

3. The Linnahall, a concert and sports venue in Tallinn (some of the events of the 1980 Moscow Olympics were held there.)  I'm not big on sports, but notice the muscular nude bodies on the mural on the proscenium.

This is the whole thing.

4. It was painted by Enn Põldroos, an artist and novelist who specializes in large-scale murals, mostly with muscular, nude men, sometimes with women.  Here's his mural for the National Library of Estonia.  Makes me want to read.

5. There are more nude men over the elevator.

6. In Tartu, you can see this very strange sculpture. a self-portrait of artist Ülo Õun and his 18-month old son.  Except the son is adult-sized. It's to commemorate Child Protection Day.

7. They're not nude, but this Tartu sculpture by Tiiu Kirsipuu imagines that gay playwright Oscar Wilde and Estonian writer Eduard Vilde got together for a chat around 1890.

8. This statue of Martin Klein, outside the Sports Center in Viljandi, seems to be lacking a penis, but it's amazing that he was sculpted nude at all. He was an Estonian wrestler who won the longest match ever recorded, 11 hours and 40 minutes, at the Stockholm Olympics 1912.

9. Suure-Kõpu Manor, near Viljandi, features this mural of a naked lady terrorizing a muscular centaur.  I don't know the myth it's referring to.

10.Kadriorg Palace and Park in Tallinn has some nice Baroque sculptures, like this Neptune fountain.

Sal Mineo: The First Gay Teen Idol

I saw Sal Mineo for the first time on January 2nd, 1971, on an episode of My Three Sons. His character, Jim Bell, tries to convince college-age Robbie Douglas (Don Grady) to run away with him for a life of freedom and adventure.

Since I was already convinced that Robbie liked boys, not girls, in spite of his marriage to Katie (Tina Cole), it was easy to see Robbie trying to choose between heterosexist "normalcy" and embracing the wild passionate love of men for men.

But I didn't realize at the time that Sal Mineo was gay in real life, or that Don Grady knew it, and didn't mind.

Born in 1939, Sal was only sixteen when he starred as Plato, the gay-coded kid who develops a crush on James Dean's Jim Stark in the Boomer classic Rebel without a Cause (1955).

When James Dean died two weeks before the premiere of Rebel, he became a myth; Sal Mino lived, and had to negotiate the tricky terrain of being gay and a teen idol in the 1950s.

Except for his role as the aggressively girl-crazy Angelo Barrato in Rock, Pretty Baby (1957) with John Saxon, he selected covertly homoerotic projects: his characters mooned over a teen gang leader (played by John Cassavetes) in Crime in the Streets (1956), and fell in love-at-first-sight with an ex-con (played by James Whitmore) in The Young Don't Cry (1957).  Even in the Disney Western Tonka (1958), his Native American bonded with a horse rather than a girl.

In 1957, Sal started a musical career, but his records charted poorly, in spite of teen magazine acclaim.  He was a competent performer, and staggeringly handsome in a field where looks were everything, and he might have become a prominent musician, except for the rumors that were emerging in the yellow press.

To establish himself as heterosexual, Sal made the rounds of Hollywood hot spots with teen starlets, and he began putting his barbell-toned physique on display in every performance.  His screen characters became heterosexual, but their practices were oddly organized around triangulations.

In The Gene Krupa Story (1959), drummer Gene Krupa (Sal) goes to New York along with his best buddy Eddie Sirota (teen idol James Darren, soon to star in Time Tunnel) to make it big in the Roaring Twenties jazz scene.  Gene gets a girlfriend, then a wife, Eth (Susan Kohner), but Eddie does not; he is perfectly content to be a third wheel, making do with an occasional sultry look.

When Gene is boy-toyed by a fast-track jazz club singer, it is Eddie, not Eth, who feels betrayed: "Those girls meant nothing to me!" he exclaims, as if it is his friend Eddie, not Eth, who requires an explanation.

After many heart-to-hearts and admonitions, both Eddie and Eth tire of Gene's self-destructive boozing and partying, and leave, then return for a reconciliation.  The requisite fade-out scene shows man and woman walking off into hetero-domestic bliss, but it is clear that Gene has a more intimate, passionate, and permanent relationship with Eddie.

During the 1960s, Sal demonstrated his talent as a serious dramatic actor in Exodus (1960), The Longest Day (1962), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), but the rumors about his sexual identity barred him from major starring roles.

Unless he played aggressively heterosexual characters -- and displayed his physique in multiple shirtless, underwear, and nude shots, as in  Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965).  His muscles eased the suspicion of audiences who thought that gay men were all frail, wispy things.

The rise of gay pride in the 1960s made Sal increasingly comfortable with his identity, so just before Stonewall, he dropped the heterosexual facade, announced to the world that he was gay, and began looking for same-sex romance.  He dated a number of celebrities, including (according to rumor) Don Johnson and Bobby Sherman, before settling down with After Dark model Courtney Burr.

And he returned to roles that were more overtly homoerotic, on stage as a prison rapist in Fortune and Men's Eyes with Don Johnson (and, for a brief period, former Dennis the Menace Jay North), as a gay jewel thief on SWAT Team (with Christopher George), and as a gay burglar  in P.S. Your Cat is Dead.  

Not to mention that episode of My Three Sons.

On the night of February 12, 1976, he was stabbed to death outside his apartment after surprising a burglar.

He left a lasting legacy as one of the first out Hollywood stars.