Jan 23, 2016

13 Public Penises of Hungary

My dream trip to Eastern Europe starts in Krakow, the old university town in Poland; heads west to Prague and Brno, Czech Republic; soutn to Bratislava in Slovakia; Gyor in Hungary; and finishes up with a week in Budapest.

It takes at least a week to tour the magnificent architecture left over from the days when Budapest was the gem of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Work out at the Vsarhelyi Gym with world-famous Hungarian bodybuilders like Zoltan Voros.

Check out the gay nightlife, like Fetish Thursdays at the Magnum Sauna;

And see the public penises on every streetcorner.  Here are the top 13 of Budapest (with Gyor and Debrecen thrown in):

1. Memento Park, dedicated to Hungary's communist past, features a dozen massive granite or bronze sculptures of nude men, such as the Republic of Councils Monument.

2. Wallenberg Park memorializes Raoul Wallenberg, who protected many of Budapest's Jews from concentration camps during World War II.    He's naked, tromping on the Serpent of Evil.

3. Tromping evil is a common theme in Budapest sculptures. At the Citadella park downtown, another naked man is tromping on the Dragon of Evil.

4.Hero Square offers its own series of naked male statues.  This one represents "Work," and stands next to a fully-clothed female statue representing "Prosperity."

5. Varosliget Park features a nude granite archer.

6. A rather stern, fig leaf-covered naked guy stands guard at the entrance of the Budapest Zoo.

More after the break

Jan 22, 2016

Robert Clark: From Zack Files to Gay Teen

Robert Clark has been very busy since he buddy-bonded with Michael Seater on The Zack Files (2000-2002) and Strange Days at Blake Holsey High (2002-2006).

For one thing, he bulked up, transforming from a teen hunk into a bodybuilder with a stunning physique. (His brother Daniel is also a bodybuilder.)

For another, he's guest starred in some of Michael Seater's projects, and starred in some gay-friendly projects of his own.

On Veronica Mars (2005), he played a gay high schooler who is recruited by the lawyer to humiliate the homophobic ex-boyfriend of one of her friends.

Nonsense Revolution (2008) is about six best friends in Nova Scotia: a gay couple, a straight couple, a single lesbian, and a single heterosexual man.  One of the gay men is killed, and comes back as a horny ghost, who seduces the lesbian until she can get all five friends together to send him to into the light.  I'm not making this up.

On the paranormal series Warehouse 13 (2010), Robert plays a hunky high school wrestler with a penchant for catching on fire just when he grabs one of his hunky opponents.

Did I mention that most of his roles require underwear, shirtless, or otherwise semi-nude scenes?

Or that he's gay in real life?

He is also a singer, recording songs under RWC (Ready When Called) Productions.

Jan 21, 2016

Raviv Ullman

Speaking of Raviv Ullman, the Israeli-American actor got his start on Phil of the Future (2004-2006), one of the few Disney channel teencoms that offered little beefcake and virtually no homoromantic subtexts.  It was a "my secret" comedy about a family of the future trapped in the present.  Phil gets a girlfriend immediately.

But he's done a lot of gay-positive roles since.

In Driftwood (2006), as a juvenile detention center inmate who befriends a gay kid (Jeremy Lelliott).

In The Big Bad Swim (2006), as a teenager who, along with his best friend (Avi Setton), films the exploits of a beginning swim class for adults.

In Normal Adolescent Behavior (2007), as part of a group of high school friends, including a gay couple (Edward Tournier, Stephen Colletti).

On stage in Dead End (2005), a revival of the original which not only upped the beefcake but, but intensified the homoerotic bonds between the boys (while eliminating the older-younger subtext).

In The Russian Transport on Broadway (2012), as the nephew of a Russian mobster who has qualms about his involvement.

Rumor has it that Raviv is gay or bisexual in real life, but he hasn't made any public statements.  Do people make "coming out" statements anymore?

Jan 19, 2016

The Naked Man Festival of Japan

You can see lots of public penises in Prague, but if you want to see real, live naked men, head for Japan.

When I was in Osaka in 1986, I noticed that there were many more opportunities to see the nude male body than in the U.S. or Europe.  Men hung around naked at home, among friends, at the medicinal hot springs (onsen), in non-gay bath houses.

And there are many naked festivals, hadaka matsuri, in which hundreds of men wear nothing but fundoshis (ceremonial loincloths) that display the backside.

Displaying the penis is frowned upon (photo by Nicholas Amheiser), but baskets and pubic hair are fine.

Usually the festivals are held in the summer, but the most famous, called Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, is held in February in Okayama, about an hour by bus from Osaka.

The temperature is in the 30s, but the 9,000 nearly-naked men generate a lot of body heat.

They are struggling over possession of two wooden sticks (ofuda), tokens of good luck for the coming year, that are thrown out of a window at midnight by a Shinto priest.

You pull and grab the tokens from people's hands, tackle the men who have them, and so on; it develops into a gigantic mass of bodies, all struggling, grabbing, groping, until the victor manages to shove them into a box full of rice.  There are also 100 willow sticks that provide lesser luck.

The day before the festival, there's another hadaka matsuri with elementary school boys in fundoshis competing over rice cakes.

Foreigners can participate, and a few hundred do.  Most are content just to watch the endless parade of beefcake.

While you're in Okayama, you should also visit Okayama Castle and the Yumeji Art Museum.

See also the Penis Festival of Kawasaki, Japan, and the semi-nude British tradition, the Boxing Day Dip.

Jan 17, 2016

The Judy Garland Mystery

I am asked, more frequently than you'd imagine, "Why are all gay men such big fans of Judy Garland?"

Depending on my mood, I answer:

1.I don't know, I haven't finished reading the Gay Handbook yet. 

2. Who's Judy Garland?

3. It's more about her hunky costars, Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney.  Watching them takes our minds off Hitler and Mussolini.  You're pretending that it's 1942, right?

What caused the firmly-entrenched Judy-gay men connection?

1. Her movies?  37 of them between 1936 and 1963. I've seen a lot, searching for gay subtexts.  But by now they're mostly obscure.  Chances are the average gay man under age 70 has seen only The Wizard of Oz.

2. Her music?  She released 75 singles and 22 albums between 1936 and 1965.  Mostly about falling in love with men or losing her man: "But Not For Me," "Meet Me in St. Louis"; "The Trolley Song."  I doubt the average gay man under age 70 is downloading them from itunes regularly.

3. Her tv series, The Judy Garland Show?  It was apparently a train wreck, ruined by the weird decision to make fun of the star.  I've only seen the Christmas episode, which pretends to take place in her home, with guest stars "dropping by."  Daughter Liza pretends that she's been practicing a dance number with her boyfriend (actually choreographer Tracy Everitt).  And it hasn't aired since 1963.

4. Her relationship with gay fans?  She did marry two gay men, Vicente Minelli and Mark Heron, but her attitude toward gay people was mixed at best.  There were much stronger allies, even in the 1960s.

5. Stonewall?  Legend has it that Judy's death, on June 22, 1969, sparked the Stonewall Riots and the beginning of gay liberation -- the patrons of the Stonewall Inn  were so upset that they refused to take the police harassment anymore.  But they were college students and hippies, more interested in Boomererson Airplane than Judy Garland.  It's just a legend.

I'm going back to her hunky costars Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper.  You're pretending that it's 1942, right?

See also: 10 Things I Hate about the Wizard of Oz
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