Oct 16, 2015

The Angelheaded Hipster: Craig Hundley

If you saw the Star Trek episode "And the Children Shall Lead" (1967),  in which an alien "angel"  brainwashes a group of children into taking control of the Enterprise, you remember Craig  Hundley.  He's the tall, lanky redhead in the weird striped smock -- about a foot taller than the others, way too old to play their "chasing each other" game, looking heavily embarrassed.

No wonder -- the others were between 7 and 10 years old, and Craig was 13,

Craig was a busy child and teen actor through the 1960s. He played Captain Kirk's nephew in another Star Trek episode, and he appeared on Ben Casey, Dragnet, The Virginian, Green Acres, Adam-12, and Kojak.  Several of his characters were "oddballs," outcasts, or residents of an underworld easily queered. He plays a mischievous young warlock on Bewitched, and one of the boys who convinces Greg to start smoking on The Brady Bunch.

He's hard to track down, since he went by Chris Hundley as a kid, Craig Hundley as a teenager, and Craig Huxley as an adult

At age 14,  he started a jazz band, the Craig Hundley Trio, with his friends, J. J. Wiggins (now jazz musician Hassan Shakur) and Gary Chase (now a composer and orchestrator for film).

Their Arrival of a Young Giant (1969) portrays them as cute, hip, and well-scrubbed. The back cover even includes their ages and weights, to emphasize their physicality, presumably to a teen audience.  But the music inside:  Chopin, Bach, and instrumental versions of the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and "The Jet Song" from West Side Story, plus Craig's own composition, "Arrival."  Not the usual teen idol fare.

Craig Hundley Plays with the Big Boys (1970), contains  Beethoven and Burt Bacharach.  Old standards for the adult crowd.

Next came an all-Gershwin album.

Jazz musicians are not known for being gay-friendly.  But none of the lyrics of the original songs Craig chose are heterosexist.  In fact, none mention girls at all. Some, such as "The Jet Song" and "The Midnight World," acknowledge a world of men.

He gave up jazz in the early 1980s to concentrate on synethesizer and electronic music, for which he has invented a number of instruments, including the Blaster Beam.  He has produced over 20 albums, including instrumentals for Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones, and Neil Diamond.  But he remains close to Hollywood, composing the music for Forbidden World (1982), Crime of Innocence (1985),  Rock Hudson (1990), and Walker - Texas Ranger (1993-2001), and the soundtracks for the first two Star Trek movies.

No word on whether he is interested in men, women, both, or neither.

See also: Star Trek

Joe Penny: A Lifetime of Gay Rumors

Born in 1956, Joe Penny got his start playing rednecks, cops, Scott Jacoby's buddy in a high school sports drama, and a  werewolf's buddy in a horror movie.

But it was his role as a closeted gay cop on Lou Grant (1979) that brought him notoriety -- and a long career in gay-subtext buddy-bonding roles.

Nick Ryder in Riptide (1984-86)  was a throwback to the Swinging Detective Adventurers of the 1960s who worked out of glamorous locales and came in pairs.  His partner, Cody Allen, was played by Perry King (the one with the muscles), whose resume has a long list of gay and nearly-gay characters.

Jake on Jake and the Fatman (1987-92), a Swinging Detective Adventure in Hawaii, partnered with Fatman William Conrad.

Frank Darnell, head of the Central Security Agency who employs soccer mom Cathy Davis and hangs out with her husband, Jack (William R. Moses) in a series of Jane Doe movies (2005-2008).

Never married, he has often been the subject of gay rumors; and, when he was ill during the 1980s, the rumor that he had AIDS.  Both are untrue, he states; he just hasn't found the right woman yet.

He's only 59  years old.  He's got plenty of time, right?

See also: Don Stroud

Oct 15, 2015

The Satyr and his Boy Toy

When I moved to Upstate New York in the fall of 2008, my social calendar was soon crowded with invitations from members of the Gang of Twelve, guys who had known each other for years, and who shared everything, from gossip to boyfriends.

All of them told me, "You have to meet the Satyr!"  But they all had different stories.

The Rich Kid: he's a muscle bear who used to work in porn movies.

The Truck Driver: he's cultured, artistic, and very romantic.

The Rapper: he's a Sugar Daddy with a fetish for black men.

The Grabby Male Nurse: he's a sexual dynamo, able to keep going all night (thus his nickname).

Date #5. The Satyr

He didn't send any photos or give any stats, so I didn't know what to expect when I drove to old Victorian on the west side of Oneonta.  But I certainly didn't expect Chad, the waiter from the Neptune, to answer the door.

"Hey, Chad! I didn't know the Satyr had a roommate."

"I'm not his roommate," he said with a cryptic smile.  "He's still getting dressed -- come on in and wait in the parlor."

He ushered me into a room cluttered with heavy leather furniture, old black-and-white photographs, bookshelves, a coffee table made out of an old crate.

I was left alone for about ten minutes to leaf through coffee table books on Asian art and try to make friends with a skittish cat, until the Satyr finally came down the stairs.

A tall, husky, bearded bear, around 60 years old.  Broad shoulders, round belly.  And, when he gave me a hug, I felt that he had a baseball bat down there, all revved up and ready to go. 

"Don't take it personally," the Satyr said with a chuckle.  "I'm always like that when I meet a new guy."

The rest of the story, with uncensored photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

The 39 Dumbest Things You See on TV

I've watched a lot of tv, mostly sci-fi and sitcoms.  The set was on all the time when I was a kid.  In adulthood, it's like comfort food, warm, predictable, mildly amusing.  But is it really necessary to have so many plot conventions that strain credulity?  Plus are sexist, heterosexist, or downright homophobic?  Almost makes you want to pick up a book instead.

1. No one ever says a complete sentence; everyone takes turns.  "This looks like the work of..." "Two killers."  "So we should..."  ",,,get backup."

2. Whenever someone says "It's possible that...", as in "It's possible that the signals are coming from Mars" or "It's possible that the killer worked for the FBI," they mean "It's an absolute certainty."

3. Whenever someone says, "The chances against this working are a million to one," they mean, "It will absolutely work."

4. You cannot discuss the plan on the way to the site, even if it takes two hours to get there.  You must always wait until you have arrived.

5. All discussions of plans must begin with the phrase: "And that's the plan.  First we...."

6. Whenever someone asks "What's for dinner?", the answer must always be "Your favorite."

7. The only people who can eat dinner at home are heterosexual nuclear families: The Man in a lumberjack shirt, a son and a daughter under age 10, and The Woman, usually blond.  The Man always says "Great meal, honey."

8. The only people who can eat in restaurants are four young adults, divided into male-female couples.  One is always shown shoving a forkful of food into someone else's mouth.  Sometimes this happens in groups, too.

9. Whenever anyone turns on the tv, they must  hear a news story pertaining to their situation.

10.  If they are shown watching tv alone, it should be an old black and white movie, usually a Western.

11. Except for kids and serial killers, who must always watch public domain cartoons from the 1930s.

12. The only people who can watch tv in groups are heterosexual nuclear families, and they are always sharing a gigantic bowl of popcorn.  No one in the real world eats popcorn while watching tv.

13. If someone wants to talk to you, they can't call, they must drive across town to get there.

14. And the drive is extremely short.

15. And the door is unlocked, so they just walk in.

16. Whenever you enter a scary place, someone must say "This place gives me the creeps."  But no one in real life ever says this.

17.  People always complain that they don't have enough money to pay bills, but have thousands to spend on expensive props.

18. Poor people live in huge, well-appointed houses.  Middle-class people live in mansions. There is no such thing as an apartment, except in New York.

19. Men may not be shown engaging in any housecleaning activity.  Ever.  They can be asked to cook, to "help their wives out," but they must flub the job and take the kids to McDonald's.

20. The main characters must be white, but the captain, chief, or judge who appears in just one episode should be black, to demonstrate that racism no longer exists.

21. Everyone belongs to a huge number of clubs and organizations, but only for one episode apiece.  Then the club is never mentioned again.

22. Funerals always occur in the rain.

23. All college classes, even advanced seminars, must be taught in giant lecture halls, with never an empty seat.

24. College professors must all be elderly, wear bow ties, and have gigantic offices and personal secretaries.

25. All high school teachers must be bitter and depressed, or sadistic jerks who, in real life, would be fired in 30 seconds.

26. You can struggle with failing grades throughout high school and still get into a top college.  Even the Ivy League.

27. Action-adventure series must always begin with a flashback in which the central character's heterosexual romantic partner is killed.

28. Movie trailers must always contain a heterosexual kiss, even if there aren't any in the actual movie.

29. When a male character dresses in drag, he always does a horrible job, with chest hair and moustache, and he must have a startlingly deep voice.

30. Preteens must always be portrayed as heterosexual and boy- or girl-crazy, no matter what their age.

31. All teenage boys must be portrayed as crazy about sports, rock music, and girls.

32. Single adult heterosexuals must make jokes about how horny they are every five seconds.

33. Married heterosexual men hate their wives, especially having sex with them, and will do anything to avoid it.

34. A transwoman should always like women before transitioning and men after, to ensure viewers that everyone on Earth is heterosexual, regardless of gender identity.

35. Gay men must always be portrayed as swishy queens obsessed with fashion, skin-care products, and show tunes.

36. They rarely have gay friends, but they are crazy about hanging out with heterosexual women.

37. There are no lesbians, just "girls gone wild" who can easily "switch back" to heterosexual again.

38. Men with feminine traits are always evil.

39.  Space explorers always get their shirts ripped off.

See also: 10 Gay Movies I Hated; and 12 Songs I Hated.

Brock Ciarlelli: The Uncle Tom of "The Middle"

As a long time fan of the dysfunctional-family sitcom The Middle (2009), I have complained several times about the incessant heterosexism: boys like girls, girls like boys, period, end of story.

Charlie McDermott's Axl has some gay subtext scenes.

I thought that preteen Brick was gay, but no, the minute his character hit puberty, his "hormones" kicked in, and he became girl crazy.

And that's about it.

There is a recurring gay character, sort of: the uber-stereotypic swish Brad, Sue's high school friend.  The joke is: no one realizes that Brad is gay except Sue's parents, Frankie and Mike.

Certainly not Sue, who is unaware that gay people exist.  Not even Brad, also unaware.

Wait -- don't these teenagers watch Glee?  

So who is this person with the 5,000 teeth who has won two Young Artist Awards for his contribution to the erasure of gay people from the world?

His name is Brock Ciarlelli, and he's 19 years old, a Littleton, Colorado native currently studying at Chapman University.

Other than The Middle, he only has two projects listed on the IMDB: a walk-on in the thriller 2.0 (2010) and the tv movie Beth and Ali (2013).

Asked if he minded playing a gay character, he said "no."

Asked about his character's obliviousness to his gay identity, he said: "to me, that says that sexual orientation doesn't matter."

I've got news for you Brock: sexual orientation matters a great deal to the LGBT kids who are told daily that no gay people exist.

Brock and other teen favorites, such as Nickelodeon's Nick Cannon, are involved in an anti-bullying program where they talk to kids in classrooms via Skype.

That doesn't make up for being an Uncle Tom.

Postscript: In the October 14, 2015 episode, Brad comes out to Sue, sort of:

Brad:  "Sue, I have something to tell you.  I'm...."
Sue: "I know."
Frankie (voiceover): "Since Brad had the courage to tell Sue who he was...."

Ok, the word "gay" was never used.  It still must never be spoken, only implied.

See also: Axl in Underwear; Raising Hope/The Middle

Oct 14, 2015

The Top 12 Public Penises of Minnesota

Minnesota is only about a five hour drive from Rock Island, where I grew up, but it's a whole different world.

1. Everybody walks around in t-shirts and shorts, even when it's cold outside.
2. Prime time starts at 7:00 pm.
3. "Dinner" is a noon meal.
4. It's not soda, it's "pop."
5. You have to smile all the time, or people ask you "what's wrong?"
6. You're supposed to talk about the weather.  A lot.
7. There's a surprising amount of nudity or beefcake in public art.

Here are the Top 10 Public Penises:

1. "The Progress of the State" at the Minnesota State Capitol (see my post on Roadside Beefcake)

2. This muscular guy in underwear is on the front facade of Grace Lutheran Church in Mankato.  I think he's the resurrected Christ.

3. Bemidji features a statue of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, plus several Indians, such as Nanabozho the trickster god.  Here he is naked.

4. Alexandria features a giant statue of a Viking, Big Ole, plus a giant replica of the Kensington Runestone (see my post on the runestone).

5.  Who'd expect to see this neoclassical Greek sculpture outside the Minnesota Historical Center in Minneapolis?

6. The Minnesota State football team is the Spartans, so Fergus Falls has a statue of a (fully clothed) Spartan.

7. There's another Viking, sword raised, in Spring Grove.

8. The 40-foot tall "Beach Dude" in Hampton has a prominent bulge.

9. "Wings" is stylized, but definitely a male figure with a penis, in the lobby of the Rand Tower in Minneapolis.

10. There's another muscular, semi-nude Indian on the grounds of the Kandiyohi County Courthouse in Willmar.

11. In the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, this sculpture shows a male angel kissing a naked man.  I'm pretty sure they're both men.

12. It also has a full range of ordinary male nudes, like this drawing of a youth by Benedetto Luti.

The Kensington Runestone

Every summer from kindergarten to college (when I decided to stay home), my parents dragged me on a week's camping trip somewhere up north, to Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Canada.  Other than the roadside beefcake, it was usually pretty dismal, with no tv, no museums, no historic sites, nothing to do but hunt, fish, swim, and mess around in boats.

But during the summer after eighth grade, we went camping in Alexandria, Minnesota, site of the Kensington Runestone.

Young Swedish immigrant Olof Ohlman discovered the 200-pound slab of sandstone covered with Medieval runes in 1898.  It tells about a group of 30 Vikings who left Vinland "on an exploration journy" in 1362, and somehow made it to Minnesota.  One day some of them went fishing, and returned to find the men they left behind "red with blood and death," probably attacked by Skraelings (Indians).

My junior high history textbook stated categorically that no Europeans made it to the New World before Columbus, so this was a startling discovery, and immediately controversial.  The academic establishment decreed the runestone to be a fake, carved by Ohlman for financial gain.

In 1907, a young historian named Hjalmar Holand bought the runestone, and spent the rest of his life trying to prove it genuine, describing how Vikings could well have made it to Minnesota in books like Westward from Vinland (1940) and A Pre-Columbian Crusade to America (1962). 

The jury is still out on whether the runestone is authentic, but Alexandria loves its claim to fame.  There's a runestone museum and gift shop, and a 28-foot statue of a Viking, Big Ole.

Today, regardless of whether they believe that the Vikings got as far as Minnesota, all historians recognize that they reached the New World before Columbus, and established a permanent settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

What's the gay connection?

1. The Vikings who explored Minnesota were all male.

2. Olof Ohlmann was rather cute.

3. My junior high history textbook was wrong.  The adults either didn't know about the Viking exploration of America, or they were lying about it.  What else were they hiding? Maybe the upcoming "discovery of girls" that everyone at Washington Junior HIgh was always evoking was a lie, too.

See also: The Top 12 Public Penises of Minnesota

Oct 12, 2015

Alix and Enak: Jonny and Hadji in Ancient Rome

If the gay kids of Britain had it good, then France must have been a Paradise of beefcake and bonding: bandes-dessinee (hard-bound comic books) overbrimmed with same-sex couples, including Tintin and Captain Haddock, Spirou and Fantasio, Corentin and Kim, and Alix and Enak.

 Alix, who premiered in 1948, was a Roman citizen from the province of Gaul (modern France) who travels through the ancient world,  through Gaul, Egypt, Persia, and eventually as far afield as India, China, and the Pacific, having death-defying adventures in historically accurate settings (give or take a few hundred years) with beautifully detailed backgrounds.

Alix is blond-hared, handsome, muscular, and frequently nude.

That's right, nude.

His creator, Jacques Martin, had no qualms about introducing rear and occasional frontal nudity into his strips.

But that's not all.  Alix is accompanied by his boyfriend Enak, a slightly younger Egyptian, dark skinned, equally handsome, muscular, and nude.

Sort of a Hadji to his Jonny Quest, or a Raji to his Terry.

In the early books, they have no interest in girls; they are devoted to each other, rescuing each other from deadly danger over and over again, saying things like "I won't leave without you!" and "If anything were to happen to you. . . ."

In the books published since the 1980s, they occasionally get girlfriends, but only as momentary dalliances; nothing can interfere with their devotion to each other.

Thirty volumes have appeared, along with some "straight' history of the ancient world illustrated by Alix comics. They have never been translated into English, but you don't need to read French to enjoy the beautifully detailed backgrounds -- or the beefcake.

Oct 11, 2015

Chuck Connors

Chuck Connors may be forever remembered as the taciturn, loving, and endlessly shirtless Lucas McCain,  Johnny Crawford's dad on The Rifleman, but he had a long career before and after as a screen hunk.  Born in 1920, he started out as a pro ball player -- both baseball and basketball -- before a talent scout spotted him and cast him in Pat and Mike (1952).  Dozens of Westerns, spy movies, and war movies followed, with an occasional comedy thrown in, like the tv series Hey Jeannie (1958) and Love That Jill (1958).

The Rifleman brought him fame, of course, both for his shirtless shots and for the frequency with which he kills bad guys -- two or three per episode.  Fortunately, the kids who grew up on a diet of nonstop violence turned out fine -- the 10 year olds of 1958 grew into the 20-year old anti-war protesters of the Summer of Love.

Immediately after The Rifleman, Chuck moved back to the 20th century to play Porter Ricks in the movie version of the boy-and-pet-dolphin movie Flipper (1963), with Luke Halpin as Sandy; it later became a popular, beefcake heavy tv series.

In the Doris Day comedy Move Over, Darling (1963), Ellen (Doris) is lost at sea and presumed dead, so after five years her husband Nick (James Garner) moves on.  But Ellen resurfaces during his honeymoon.  Hijinks ensue. Chuck plays Steven Burkett, the handsome, athletic, leopard-skin swimsuit-clad man she shared a desert island with for five years.  Nothing happened, however.

Some dramas and Westerns followed, including Synanon (1965), with Alex CordBranded (1966-67), about a man unjustly drummed out of the army for cowardice ("what do you do when you're branded, and you know you're a ma-aa-n?"; and Cowboy in Africa (1967-68), which I never saw, but appeared to be about a same-sex couple (Chuck Connors, Tom Nardini) who run a ranch in Kenya and adopt a native boy.  It was based on the movie Africa: Texas Style, starring Hugh O'Brian.

I didn't seem much of Chuck during the 1970s; he appeared mostly in Westerns, which I didn't care for.  But he appeared again in Werewolf (1987-88), which starred hunky Eric (John J. York), a college student bitten by a werewolf; Chuck played evil head werewolf Janos Skorzeny, the object of Eric's quest to free himself from his curse.

Chuck Connors died in 1992.  He was married three times and had four children.  Recently there was a rumor circulating that he did some gay porn during his pro-ball days.  I doubt it; he wasn't part of the Physique Pictorial or Henry Willson crowd, and the footage doesn't really look like him.

But here's a censored full-frontal.  It looks a lot like him.

The uncensored photo is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Barbarella: Hetero Sex Comedy or Gay Classic?

In the year 40,000, the President of Earth calls Barbarella (Jane Fonda) into action: a rogue scientist  named Durand Durand has brought a "weapon" to the distant, unexplored planet Tau Ceti.  This could cause the residents to experience neurotic aggression!

 So she and her sentient gay spaceship ("Prepare to insert nourishment") travel to the distant planet.  She is captured by carnivorous children and rescued by a child-catcher (Ugo Tognazzi).  He asks to have sex with her.

Then she meets a blind angel, Pygar (John Phillip Law, star of Strogoff), who has lost his will to fly.  She restores it by having sex with him.

Then they are both captured by the Great Tyrant (Anita Pallenberg), who calls Barberella "my pretty-pretty" and Pygar a "winged fruitcake."  They refuse her request for sex.

Barbarella is rescued by the rebel leader Dildano (David Hemmings), who wants to have sex with her.

Recaptured, she is placed in the Excessive Machine to be orgasmed to death.

After a few more sexploits, the planet is destroyed. Pygar flies Barbarella, and the Great Tyrant to safety.  "Why did you rescue her, after all the terrible things she did to you?" Barbarella asks.  "Angels have no memory."

The 1968 movie may have been hetero porn, but the 1977 PG-rated re-release is a trippy sci-fi spoof.  No one is actually shown having sex, or even making out, and the requests for sex are so emotionless and pedestrian that they seem merely polite social gestures, like shaking hands.

Barbarella is naked a lot, but with the outrageous costumes, sets, and dialogue -- "I'll do things to you that are beyond all known philosophies!"; "De-crucify him, or I'll melt your face!" -- you barely notice. Besides, there is a lot of male nudity, too, substantially more than in the French comic book series.

And oblique references to same-sex desire and practice that make you think that there might be gay people in this 1960s universe.

How did a hetero sex comedy turn into a gay classic?

Jane Fonda, by the way, is a strong gay ally.


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