Dec 24, 2016

The Blind Boy with the Footlong Finds His Way Into Fred's Bed

Rock Island, December 1999

After my ex-boyfriend Fred broke up with Matt, his partner of ten years, in the spring of 1996, he almost immediately started dating Jester, a blind boy with a very buffed physique and a gigantic Kovbasa++++.  They were together for about five years.

Not his usual type: Fred was drawn mainly to the slim femme boys with sallow chests. And he was constantly bragging about his extra-large package, so he wouldn't want anyone bigger.

What was the attraction?

I didn't find out until December 1999, when we both returned to Rock Island to spend Christmas with our families (Jester stayed in San Bernardino).  We went out to dinner and to JR's to look for a guy to "share."

"There probably won't be any buffed blind guys with gigantic penises available," I joked.  "You'll have to settle for less."

"Oh, please, buffed and hung guys are a dime a dozen," Fred said.  "That's not what I saw in Jester.  I'm attracted to the White Knight dynamic, charging in on a horse to save you from the dragons of doubt and despair.  Let me tell you the story of Jester, and then you'll understand.  But be warned -- it's not fun or sexy."

I gulped.  "Go for it."

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

The Surprising Gay Origin of Pogo's "Deck Us All"

Every Christmas from 1949 to 1975, and then again in the 1980s and 1990s, the comic strip Pogo had the hayseed denizens of Okefenokee Swamp singing a mangled version of "Deck the Halls":

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., and Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower Alleygaroo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
 Lullaby, Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou.
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola Boola Pensacoola Hullabaloo!

Cartoonist Walt Kelly said that he chose that particular song because it was easily recognizable but not religious.  His Pogo version became extremely popular, with a life outside the comic strip, broadcast on the radio, recorded by pop artists during the Golden Age of Novelty Songs.

But what about the lyrics?  Fans clamored to know what they meant.

At first Kelly claimed that they were pure nonsense.  But fans persevered, and in 1963 Kelly published a book listing several possible explanations.

None of them the right one.

Ten years after his death, his close friend, CIA Agent Wilbur Crane Eveland, was interviewed in a Pogo-phile fan magazine, and revealed the secret:

Prison slang.

Deck us all with Boston Charlie
Hang the prison guards up on the wall, so they won't bother us.

Walla Walla, Wash, and Kalamazoo
Names of prisons

Nora's freezin' on the trolley
Nora, the subordinate partner in a same-sex prison romance, is "freezin'", in solitary confinement, according to "the trolley," the prison grapevine.

Swaller dollar cauliflower, Alleygaroo!

Don't we know archaic barrel
Homemade prison booze

Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou.
Has facilitated the romance between Lilla Boy (another subordinate partner) and Louisville Lou.

Trolley Molly don't love Harold
But not Molly, according to the prison grapevine.

Boola, Boola, Pensacola, Hullaballoo!

I wonder how mild-mannered cartoonist Walt Kelly, who was never even arrested, knew all of this prison slang.  He was a language aficionado, so maybe he had reference books.

But why load-up his mangled Christmas carol with prison slang, including references to three same-sex prison romance?

In the 1940s, many prisoners were "prisoners of conscience," war objectors, political dissidents, gay men.  According to Eveland, this was the liberal, gay-positive Kelly's shout-out to them.

Kelly included same-sex desire all the time in Pogo.  Since his players were animals, it always slipped below the censorship radar.

In a long 1955 continuity, a male flea falls in love with Beauregard Hound Dog, and proposes marriage.  Five years later, in a commentary, Kelly wrote "I guess it would have to be a female flea.  That never occurred to me until now."

Way to cover your tracks!  But Kelly kept making the same "mistake" over and over until the day he died.

See also: Pogo, the Gay Possum of Okefenokee Swamp

Dec 23, 2016

Jester, the Blind Boy with the Footlong

San Bernardino, June 1997

My friend David and I have driven down from San Francisco to visit West Hollywood, and now we're spending the weekend with Fred in San Bernardino.  He recently broke up with Matt, his partner of ten years, lost his ministerial job, and had to move back to San Bernardino.  I want to make sure he's doing ok.

I'm looking forward to it.  Fred was my first boyfriend, too, and there's always been something warm and comforting about sharing an ex-boyfriend's bed again.

When we arrive at Fred's apartment near Meadowbrook Park in San Bernardino, a Cute Young Thing answers the door.

"Hi, I'm Cody.  Fred is busy cooking, but he'll be out in a minute."

We stammer our introductions.  We didn't expect Fred to have a new boyfriend so soon after the breakup.  And especially a Cute Young Thing: about 20, short and slim with slicked-back blond hair, wearing a red muscle shirt, cut-off jeans with a decided bulge, and no shoes.

When Fred comes out into the living room, David asks, "So, Fred, what do you have planned for us to do tonight?  A cruise bar, I hope.  Boomer and I are hot for some Inner Empire studmuffins."

"Maybe tomorrow night.  Tonight we have a dinner party planned.  The other guys will be here in a few minutes."

A party?  Even better.  West Hollywood Parties always end with guys pairing off and hitting the bedrooms.  I could share with Fred and Cody, and David could find someone else.

I've met two of the guys before -- Jerome and Mark, older, sagging, not very impressive.  I'd rather sleep alone.

But the third! Jester ("not my real name -- I got it when I came out").  In his 30s, tall, tanned, heavily muscled, with black hair, a round face, and a bright smile.  Blind -- he came in on Jerome's arm, but after that found his way around the apartment with no help.

I nudge David and whisper "How about if we share Jester tonight, and leave Fred and Cody to themselves?"


The full story, with nude photos and sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Dec 22, 2016

Troy's Sausage Sighting of My Cousin Graydon

Lots of gay men have told me that their first sexual experience came with cousins: mutual j/o in the bathtub, oral behind the barn, anal during a sleepover.

Not me.  My cousins all lived hundreds of miles away, so we didn't get a lot of contact, at best two visits per year, at Christmas and in the summer.

Still, during my childhood, I accidentally got four sausage sightings and one grope: Joe, Phil, George, and Buster, four of my six boy cousins (not counting the ones from Kentucky).

Leaving Ed, 12 years older than me, and Graydon, 14 years younger (born in 1975, the only son of my Uncle Paul).

When I moved to West Hollywood in 1985, Cousin Graydon was still prepubescent, so there wouldn't have been much of a point to a sausage sighting.

But as he grew up, for some reason he bonded with my parents and sister, and after they moved to Indianapolis, he often drove down to visit, whether he was living in Auburn, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, or Grand Ile, Michigan.  Our paths crossed during several Christmas and summer holidays.

The young adult Graydon was tall and beefy -- he worked in construction, which gave him a presentable physique.  A bright, open face and a shock of dirty-blond hair.  Very cute.  A very visible bulge on the right side of his jeans.

I wanted a sausage sighting.

But whenever we visited Mom and Dad at the same time, I got the spare bedroom, and  Cousin Graydon took the fold-out couch in the study (later the home gym/sauna).

So no covers kicked off the bed.  No morning wood.

No "accidentally" running into him during a late-night bathroom visit.

When I suggested that we go jogging, Cousin Graydon went in there to strip down and change clothes.

The full story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Dec 21, 2016

The Real Bulges of "The Real O'Neals"

Last night I watched the December 6th episode of The Real O'Neals: Kenny, the gay kid (Noah Galvin), goes out for wrestling, and turns out to be good at it, due to his expertise in the dance numbers from West Side Story.

He wins the adulation of his conservative Catholic high school, receiving cheers, gifts, and an invitation to sit at the jock table, but infringes upon the territory of his brother, Jimmy (Matt Shively).

At first I found it only mildly entertaining.  I was waiting for some beefcake shots of Matt Shively and his teammates.

But I never expected to see anything like this on a prime time comedy.

He's an extra; I don't have his name.  I wish I did.

Ok, time for Kenny's match.  He drops his gym trunks, revealing a singlet of his own.

Doesn't he notice that his singlet is a  Doesn't the director notice?

Noah Galvin is 22 years old, by the way, so it's ok to look.

It's impossible not to look.

It gets better.

And better.

Suddenly I'm a real fan of The Real O'Neals.

See also: The Real Gay Characters of "The Real O'Neals"

The First Bad Kid: Barry Gordon

In 1954, the six-year old Barry Gordon made the scene with a hit single, "I'm Getting Nuttin' for Christmas (because I've been nuttin' but bad)":

I broke my bat on Johnny's head;
I hid a frog in sister's bed;
I spilled some ink on Mommy's rug;
Bought some gum with a penny slug;
Somebody snitched on me.

Far more mischievous than Dennis the Menace or Peck's Bad Boy of the 1920s, he was a humorous precursor to the threatened and threatening kids whom the adults would fear through the 1960s.

You couldn't have a kid miss out on Christmas forever, so they made him record "I Like Christmas" in 1955.  He recorded several other singles and albums, with songs like "Rock Around Mother Goose" and "I Can't Whistle."

In the 1960s he made the rounds of tv guest spots: Leave It to Beaver, Davis the Menace, Make Room for Daddy, Jack Benny, and Love American Style (in the episode "Love and the High School Flop-Out").  Why is he sitting with his hands like that?

He made many movies, including Hands of a Stranger, Pressure Point, The Spirit is Willing, and Out of It (1969), in which a high school brain (Barry) buddy-bonds with a jock (John Voight).

He was nominated for a Tony for his performance in the Broadway play A Thousand Clowns (adapted for film in 1965), as a gay-vague teenager crushed when his free-spirit guardian (Jason Robards) caves to the establishment.

Barry never got to play romantic leads, but he played a lot of nebbishes, homoromantic best friends, and next-door neighbors in comedy and sci-fi. In voice work, he played Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Nestles Quick Bunny, and the Honeynut Cheerios Bee.

More recently he has played an impressive line of lawyers, doctors, rabbis, and sundry authority figures.

After serving as the longest-running president of the Screen Actors Guild in history and running for Congress twice, Barry settled down as a radio commentator (From Left Field,  Left Talk with Barry Gordon) where he gives his progressive viewpoint on everything from healthcare reform to gay marriage.

Dec 20, 2016

Desperately Seeking Kevin the Vampire

San Francisco, March 14th, 2003

A Friday.  I'm living in Florida, but back in San Francisco for five days, anxious to visit my old hangouts and re-unite with my old friends, especially Kevin the Vampire.  When I left San Francisco, I was actually relieved to be rid of him:  his smoking, his elitism, his weird paranormal powers, his exhausting bedroom calisthenics.  But at least dating him was never dull.

David, the ex-Baptist minister who is trying to make up for lost time by hooking up with at least two guys every day, picks me up at the airport.  On the way to his apartment on Alvarado in the Castro, he tells me that almost everyone has moved away or gone incognito.

"Well, surely Kevin the Vampire is still around.  I can't imagine him living anywhere else."

"Dunno.  I just hung out with him because of you, so we haven't been in contact.  Why don't you give him a call?"

I am embarrassed to admit that in a year of dating, I never got Kevin's phone number.  He always called me, or showed up at my door.

"Well, do you know his address?"  David asks.  "We could do a drop-in."

"I never got his actual street address, either, but I know where his apartment is.  I've been there a hundred times."  I hesitate.  "Only...we might not be able to find it.  One of Kevin's paranormal powers was confusing visitors.  If he wasn't expecting you, you would be unable to find him."

"Desperately seeking Kevin the Vampire, a paranormal adventure!" David exclaims.  "I'm in -- but only if we can hook up with some of the leads.  I'm running a little low on my quota."

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

The Eagle: When Gay Subtexts Aren't Enough

The Eagle (2011) is a gay-subtext romance set in Roman Britain in 140 AD.

The plot is rather convoluted, but it seems to be about a young Roman soldier, Marcus Flavius Aquila (Channing Tatum), whose father disappeared on an expedition north of Hadrian's Wall many years ago, along with his entire Legion, plus the bronze eagle that represents "the honor of Rome."

Marcus hears a rumor that the Eagle has survived, so he sets out in search of it.  He brings along his slave Esca (Jamie Bell), who is from northern Britain and can speak the Pictish language (Gaelic is used as a stand-in).

After many scenes of the two riding through desolate wilderness, they are captured by the Seal People, the most barbaric of the Pictish tribes.  Esca buddy-bonds with their Prince (Tahar Rahim) and settles among them, explaining that Marcus is his slave.

Marcus believes that he has been tricked.

But at the proper moment, Esca reveals that he has tricked the Sea People.  They retrieve the Eagle and head back to Roman territory.  They even find the lost Ninth Legion in the process.

All of the classic gay-subtext elements are here:
1. Minimal or no heterosexual interest.
2. Men who rescue each other from danger.
3. And who walk off into the final fade-out side by side.

I still didn't like it.  It was dull and plodding, with scenes of gore juxtaposed with scenes of...well, talking.  And no attempt to provide a standard English to stand in for Latin.  Hearing Roman soldiers speark colloquial American really grates on the ears, particularly after hearing the superbly done Latinate English of Spartacus.

Plus there's no chemistry between Marcus and Esca.  They're supposed to be in love with each other.  There should be glances, gestures.  But I don't even see much of a friendship.  Esca accompanies Marcus to the north because he has no choice, he's a slave; and Marcus uses Esca for his language skills.

At the end of the movie, as they're walking off together, Esca asks "What now?"  Marcus says "You decide."

It's a cute line, but it doesn't seem deserved.  Based on what we've seen, we expect them to say "Well, thanks for your help" and part.

There's actually more chemistry between Esca and the Seal People prince (Tahur Rahim).

The director and actors insist that the movie has no gay subtexts.  Channing Tatum states that there's love in the relationship, like in any relationship, but that doesn't mean that Marcus and Esca are a couple (even though, he jokes, he and Jamie Bell have been having sex for years).

Except in 2011, writers and directors usually take pains to ensure that their characters must be read as heterosexual by adding hetero-romance or at least some longing glances here and there.  If they weren't intending gay subtexts, why not add hetero-romance?

Maybe because the movie is based on a children's novel, The Eagle of the Ninth, published by Rosemary Sutclif in 1954, the glory era of gay subtexts, where men without women was an accepted literary convention, especially in juvenile fiction.

Sutclif wrote over 100 children's novels, many about two boys or two men together.

Dec 18, 2016

Cameron Palatas: Avoid this Disney Teen Hunk

Cameron Palatas (left, with David Henrie of Wizards of Waverly Places) has appeared on ICarly, ANT Farm, and The Haunted Hathaways.  He has one of the better physiques in the hunk-heavy Disney and Nickelodeon universe.  So it seemed like a good idea to look up his other projects.

First Day (2011), a tv series that seems to exist only on the IMDB.  I can't find out anything about it.

A Bag of Hammers (2011), about two bromantic partners who adopt a kid after his mother commits suicide.  Lots of gay subtext potential.  Cameron plays the younger version of one of them.

But..uh, oh: Pass the Light (2013), about a 17-year old (Cameron) who runs for Congress to "protect the faith he loves."  Yeah, we all know that federal law in the U.S. prohibits Christians from reading the Bible, praying, or going to church.  Oh, wait -- it doesn't.

And the MTV series Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous (2013), starring Bo Burnham, an  "edgy" comedian whose jokes ridicule just about everyone, except for that most oppressed of all minorities, white heterosexual men: "We've been through enough."

He has a lot to say about how ridiculous gay people are:

How old is too old to stop believing in, like, the tooth fairy? Like 12? I've got a cousin who is 18, still believes in gay marriage."

The show is about recent high school graduate Zach (Bo), who decides that he wants to be famous, despite lacking any particular talent (a poll showed that 40% of high school senior chose "being famous" as their preferred career path).

So he hires a camera crew to follow him around while he tries to become a celebrity chef, makes a fake sex tape, stars in a dating show called "The Zachelor," and goes missing to see if there is a media circus interviewing his grief-stricken family and friends.

Cameron plays the "normal" younger brother, who "doesn't wear a dress with a camera crew following him around."

His tweets and instagrams feature statements like "that's gay."

At age 18, he was dating 14-year old Ariel Winter (Alex Dunphy of Modern Family), amid allegations of abuse.  The couple has since broken up.

I'd give this one a miss.

Sausage Sighting of My Cousin Buster

Indiana, December 1973

Whenever we visited my parents' family in Indiana, I wanted to stay with my Cousin Buster, who lived in the Trailer in the Deep Woods. I liked to stay overnight in the trailer, crammed beside him in his narrow bed,  giggling and talking and reading Casper comic books.  I always waited for him to fall asleep first, so I could watch his bare chest rise and fall, his eyebrows flutter, his lips purse together in a dream.

When I grow up, I thought, I'll sleep like this every night, with a boy next to me, warm and hard in the night, reading comic books.

But the last few visits, we stayed with my Aunt Nora in Rome City, who had "plenty of room," so there was no need for me to "bother" my cousin by spending the night in his bed. We just dropped in for brief visits.

In December 1973, I had just turned thirteen, and Cousin Buster was fifteen [all models in the illustrations are over 18].

He was built, with a hard chest and thick biceps visible under his brown t-shirt.  He a round face with thin blond hair and blue eyes.  Big hands.

We sat in his bedroom -- the comic books and G.I. Joes were gone -- and talked about classes and Adam-12 and the cute girls who hung out at the Blue Moon Drive In.

Cute girls?  What about spending the night with boys, reading comic books, cuddling, falling asleep in each other's arms? 

"I have a date tomorrow," Cousin Buster said.  "To go ice skating.  She could get a girl for you, and we could double."

I didn't want to date girls!  "Um...thanks, but we're staying in Rome City.  My parents wouldn't want to drive all the way back here to pick me up afterwards."

"You could spend the night.  Just like when we were kids."

Now I wanted to go!  I ran out to the living room to ask my parents if it was ok.

The full story, with nude photos and sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

The Kid from "A Christmas Story"

Even  though 30 years have passed, Peter Billingsley is still know as the kid from A Christmas Story (1983).  You know -- the bespectacled 9-year old whose only Christmas wish is "a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass and this thing that tells time."  Hardly anyone saw it in theaters in 1983, but it has become a TV tradition -- TBS usually mounts a 24-hour marathon -- so you've probably seen A Christmas Story as often as the much gayer White Christmas or It's a Wonderful Life.

I don't like it.  There's a creepy lamp shaped like a lady's leg (that turns Ralphie on), a nasty bully, a borderline-abusive Dad, a gun as a major plot point, and no cute guys or discernible homoerotic subplots (although some of the cast has gay connections).

And Peter Billingsley has made up for it since.

In The Dirt Bike Kid (1985), a modern retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk," the 14-year old Jack (Peter) is sent to buy groceries, but gets a magic dirtbike instead.  He uses it to clean up the corrupt town, save a struggling hot dog stand, and become a town hero. He expresses no heterosexual interest; his main emotional bond is with Mike (Patrick Collins), the owner of the hot dog stand, though it falls short of homoromance.

 In Russkies (1987), it's the heart of the Cold War, Danny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his friends Adam (Peter) and Jason (Stefan DeSalle) find a a Russian sailor, Mischa (Whip Hubley), washed up on the shore. Adam  is obviously entranced by the beefy, bulge-laden Mischa, especially after he takes off his shirt at the doctor's office.

 But it is Danny who acts as his friend and protector.  He hatches a scheme to smuggle Mischa to Cuba, whence he could get back home.  When the baddies shoot Danny down over the water, Mischa rushes to the rescue. Later, Danny rescues Mischa.  Though the movie ends with Mischa going  home, the experience changes Danny forever; it is his Summer of '42.

An anti-gay slur (this was the 1980s, after all), but no girls thought of or spoken of.

In Beverly Hills Brats (1989), Scooter (18-year old Peter) is ignored by his rich father (Martin Sheen) and bullied by his siblings, so he fakes his own kidnapping, hiring the bumbling thugs Clive (Burt Young) and Elmo (George Kirby).  The thugs are hostile at first, but soon come to feel sympathy for the lonely Scooter.  Again, an anti-gay slur, but no expressed interest in girls.  Instead, Scooter tries to reach out to the thugs for emotional support.

By this point, Peter was starting to muscle up; in fact, he later played a high school athlete abusing steroids on an Afterschool Special.
Peter's characters didn't start ogling girls until Arcade (1993).  By that time, his acting roles were becoming scarcer as he moved into production.  He hasn't been involved in many gay-friendly projects, but he received a special thanks in the credits of the gay-angst Mysterious Skin (2004). For what, I don't know.