Oct 3, 2015

Spring 2009: The Stonewall Veteran and the Bodybuilder in the Park

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.
1-2. The Rich Kid and the Crying Truck Driver.
3-4. The Rapper, and the Grabby Nurse.
5. The Satyr and his roommate Chad, who I dated through the fall and winter.
6-7. The Klingon and the Sword Swallower.
8. The Pitcher with a Secret Move.

Date #9: The Stonewall Veteran

One day in the spring of 2009, the Rich Kid told me "There's a guy you have to meet."  I thought he was setting me up on another date, but instead, we drove to an assisted living facility in Oneonta.  There was an elderly man in a wheelchair sitting by a window in the dayroom, reading a large-print version of Tales of the City.  The Rich Kid hugged him affectionately.

"Is this your lover?" the Stonewall Veteran asked.

"No, no.  We went out a couple of times, but it didn't work out."

The uncensored version of this story is on Tales of West Holywood.

Troy and the Satyr's Sinister Scheme

Me and sports don't get along.  My eyes glaze over during discussions of rbis and forward passes.  If I am forced to go to a sports match, I try to focus on the biceps and bulges.

I can barely tolerate having friends who are sports nuts, and I've almost never dated any.  It's on my list of top turn offs, along with being elitist, tall, thin, and feminine.

But what if he looks liked this?

At Christmas in 2008, my boyfriend Chad and I went to a Christmas party thrown by the Rich Kid.  Troy came as the Rich Kid's date.

He was tall, slim, athletic, very handsome, except for the big black earrings and a pink triangle tattoo.

As new meat, he was mobbed by the Gang of Twelve, especially the Satyr, but he kept close to the Rich Kid.  We chatted briefly: he was 22 years old, a senior at the University, president of the Gay Student Association, and a sports nut.  He started out as a physics major, but switched to French, and planned to become a high school teacher and coach.

"I go to Paris every year!" I exclaimed.  "We should talk."

"Sure.  Friend me on Facebook," he said, while both Chad and the Rich Kid glared at us.

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

Brandon DeWilde

Speaking of Westerns, Brandon De Wilde became famous as the ten-year old kid who shouts "Come back, Shane!" in the iconic scene from Shane (1953), but he was a busy child star before that.


And he worked steadily through the 1960s, playing wounded, disturbed, and outsider teens and young adults who often enjoy homoromantic bonds.

With bad boy high schooler Warren Berlinger in Blue Denim (1959).

With muscular sideshow performer Larry Kert on an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1961).

With dissolute cowboy Paul Newman in Hud (1963).

With hunky soldier Rich Jason on an episode of Combat (1966).

He never took off his shirt on camera, but there was plenty for gay boys look at, even without nudity.

Unfortunately, Brandon didn't get much play in teen magazines: he was small, slim, and pretty enough to rate attention, but he was married, then divorced, then remarried, and teen idols must be -- or pretend to be -- available.

He died tragically in an auto accident in 1972.

Oct 2, 2015

10 Gay Facts about "Psycho"

If you haven't seen Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), get it now.  It's a suspense classic, a precursor of the psycho-slasher genre, and over-loaded with gay texts and subtexts. (Spoilers below.)

1.It isn't really about Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who is murdered in the shower at the creepy Bates Motel.  It's about boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) and Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) investigating her disappearance. John Gavin played "straight" men who confront "queer" villains several times during his career.

2. With Marion out of the picture, one expects the requisite "fade out kiss" to be between Sam and Lila, but in fact they don't get involved.  Lila expresses no romantic interest in any man, and can be interpreted as a lesbian.

3. When Vera Miles was getting her start as a contract player for RKO, a chauffeur named Bob Miles drove her to acting class every morning.  Eventually she married him, which enraged Howard Hughes so much that he insisted that all future chauffeurs be gay.

4. Psycho Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins)  in the original novel was fat, middle-aged, and lecherous, obviously heterosexual, but the Hitchcock script made him young, slim, and gay, with the smothering mother supposed to be the origin of gay identity in those days. He has no interest in Marion, sexual or otherwise; his "mother" gets the wrong idea, and does the murdering.

5. Anthony Perkins was gay in real life, and had affairs with many of the top stars in Hollywood, including Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, Troy Donohue, and Tab Hunter.

6. He avoided gay roles, but he did play a gay-vague character in How Awful About Allen (1970).

7. The Hayes Code forbade open depictions of gay characters, even as villains, but the notoriously homophobic Hitchcock usually found some way to signal that his villains were gay.

8. The unique explanation of transvestism, as a type of multiple personality with male and female "sides" struggling for control, was seized upon, and appears often in movies and tv series during the next twenty years, notably in The Streets of San Francisco (with John Davidson as the conflicted drag queen).

9. Robert Bloch wrote a sequel to the original novel, Psycho II, about a movie crew working on a film version of the events. Paul Morgan, the actor playing Norman Bates, researches his character by going to a gay brothel, where the prostitutes dress like Robert Redford, John Travolta, and Clint Eastwood.

10. The various movie sequels, Psycho II, III, and IV, and the prequel Bates Motel, generally heterosexualize Norman Bates by giving him a girlfriend.

Sep 28, 2015

Dennis Cole

Most heterosexuals go about their daily lives as if they are alone in the universe.  If asked, they will say "Sure, some men are gay, which means they're into men, not women," but in the next moment, they'll announce "There's not a man alive who wouldn't want a date with Angelina Jolie or whoever.

The IMDB biography of Dennis Cole assures us that "Females couldn't get enough of him," while males idolized his athleticism.  That's right, every woman and no man swooned over him.

What about his early modeling in beefcake magazines, notably the gay-oriented Physique Pictorial and Bob Mizner's Athletic Model Guild?

Or his work as the hustler Cowboy in a San Diego production of the gay-themed Boys in the Band?

Or King Marchand, the man who falls in love with a woman he thinks is a drag queen, in the national touring company of Victor/Victoria?.

He didn't play any gay characters on tv, but really, between 1965 and 1995, there weren't many gay characters to play, especially if you were too muscular to pull off a thin, willowy queen.  But he played around gay and LGBT characters:

"The Fourth Sex" episode of Medical Center (1975), with Robert Reed as a transgender doctor.

"Star Struck," an episode of Three's Company (1983), with Jack Tripper pretending to be gay.

Early in his career, he went the buddy-bonding route, with two homoerotic detective partners: Howard Duff in Felony Squad (1966-69) and Rod Taylor in Bearcats! (1971).

Dennis was married three times, for a few years each (his second wife was Jacyln Smith of Charlie's Angels.)  When his son Joey was killed in a robbery attempt in 1991, he refused to be associated with any violence in movie or tv productions, which limited his options. He acted on screen only a few more times before his death in 2009, though he continued to work in theater.

Sep 27, 2015

Dennis the Menace

Newspaper comics aren't for kids.  They never have been.  We couldn't understand Blondie and Dagwood or Hi and Lois; if the husbands and wives hated each other so much, why didn't they just leave?  Comics starring kids, like Peanuts,  were even worse; references to contemporary sports and politics that we knew nothing about, using words that no real-life kid would even think of.

Dennis the Menace was an exception, a single-panel strip detailing the adventures of Boomer kid Dennis Mitchell, drawn as about five years old but enjoying the freedoms of someone much older.  Hank Ketchum's single panel strips first appeared in 1951, and could be seen in thousands of newspapers through the sixties, as well as an iconic sitcom starring Jay North and a feature film starring Mason Gamble, as millions of parents of Boomer kids saw a reflection of their own lives.

 I encountered Dennis through the series of cheap paperback reprints that appeared regularly in garage sales and library book sales every summer: Dennis the Menace...Teacher's Threat, Dennis the Menace -- Nonstop Nuisance, almost thirty titles in all.

I noticed 3 things right away:

1. Dennis was my exact opposite.  I was quiet, mild-mannered, and didn't like to play outside.  He was rambunctious, aggressive, destructive, uninhibited, a “little savage."

I was occasionally scared, and I cried when I was upset, but Dennis never waivered from his hypermasculinity. He displayed not a moment of weakness.  He was, as adult characters kept saying, "all boy."

2. His foil, Margaret, was an absurdly exaggerated "girl."  Although extremely intelligent, she pushed a doll carriage, jumped rope, played “dress up,” and could think of no possible future except as a housewife, or maybe an airline stewardess.  She was not shy about her intentions: first civilizing Dennis, teaching him manners and fashions, and then marrying him.

But Dennis would have none of it:

He slugged Margaret in a Tunnel of Love because he thought she was trying to kissing him.

At a party, he anticipated that Margaret would want to play “post office,” a kissing game, so he brought a stamp to put on her nose.

3. Dennis was not only uninterested, he couldn't even recognize heterosexual desire when he saw it.

When he saw an adult couple kissing, he concluded that “They’re fighting.”

 A sailor kissing his girlfriend: “Makes you wonder what kinda guys they got protecting our country."

A cowboy with a woman on his arm: “She must be his sister.”

His Dad and neighbor Mr. Wilson ogling a cheesecake calendar: “They’re talking about football. 40-23-36 is signals.”

It didn't last.  Sometime during the 1970s, the reprint books introduced Italian immigrant Gina, tall and slim, in a mod outfit.  No prissy girl-stereotype, she liked skateboarding and soccer, didn’t disapprove of dirt and bugs, and could beat up any boy. Dennis was entranced. Maybe he never met a girl that he had anything in common with before.

"Gina makes me feel all funny inside," he announced to his parents.  And met his heterosexaul destiny.

But in the 1960s, Dennis gave gay kids the freedom to not to be interested in the opposite sex, in spite of what parents, teachers, and peers kept telling us.


The 10 Ultimate Hunks of the Ultimate Spider-Man

I was never a big superhero fan to begin with, and Spider-Man was at the bottom of my list.  He's got a crush on a girl, his name has a stupid hyphen, and the 1970s tv series had an awful theme song:

Is he strong?  Listen, bud...he's got radioactive blood.

And I walked out of the 2003 Spiderman during the first scene, when Peter Parker, narrating, insists that "Like all stories, this story is about [a boy and] a girl."  Horrifying heterosexism!

But I may have to rethink my anti-Spidey sentiments.

The Ultimate Spiderman (2012-), an animated series on Disney XD, has a teenage Peter Parker being trained by the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (I don't know what they are, either).

During his adventures, Peter encounters teenage versions of just about every superhero in the Marvel Universe, mostly being voiced by uber-muscular actor/models. The 10 Ultimate Hunks are:

1. Drake Bell (top photo), formerly of the gay-subtext heavy Drake and Josh, as Peter Parker.

2.Ogie Banks as Luke Cage (the African-American Hero for Hire of 1970s comics).

3. Greg Cipes as Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist.

4. Matt Lanter (left) of 90210 as Harry Osborn, Peter's best friend, destined to become his nemesis, the Green Goblin

5. Logan Miller (left) as Sam Alexander, aka Nova.

6. Travis Willingham as the blond god Thor.

7. Roger Craig Smith as 1940s Superhero Captain America

8. Oded Fehr as some sort of mummy superhero.

9. Bodybuilder Terry Crews, formerly of Everybody Hates Chris, as Blade.

10. Disney teen hunk Ross Lynch as my favorite Marvel comics character, gay-coded werewolf Jack Russell, Werewolf by Night.

See also: Bring on the Spider-Men.

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