Feb 19, 2016

Kyle XY

In the spring of 2006, ABC Family started showing ads about a new series, with a teenage boy raising his shirt to display his abs.

Oh, wait, is he supposed to be showing us that he lacks a belly button?  I missed that.

But there's a midriff-bare girl gazing longingly at him, and I suppose he's named XY to accentuate gender polarization -- guys are guys, and guys like girls!  Heterosexist garbage.  So I didn't watch.




But upon hearing that star Matt Dallas is gay (here showing his real-life navel, along with Tahj Mowry, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, and Derek Thaler) I thought I'd check to see if there were any subtexts.

The online episode guide suggests that Kyle XY (2006-2009) was indeed about Kyle and the Girl of His Dreams working together to investigate the mystery of his origin  (I'm guessing he's a clone).  There are also some teenage allies, who fall in love and break up in staid heterosexual pairs.  Season 2 ends with Prom Night.

There were a lot of characters, and most of the girls had boys' names and boys had girls' names, making it difficult to ascertain homoerotic liaisons without a score card, but I think I came up with three possibilities:

1. A security guard, Foss (Nicholas Lea), takes a paternal interest in Kyle: "Everything I did was to protect you, to keep you safe.  You've got to trust me."  He doesn't have a girlfriend.




2. High school ally Declan (Chris Olivero) sleeps with lots of girls, but becomes Kyle's best friend, and they team up to solve this week's mystery.

3. Kyle's foster brother, Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), sleeps with a girl named Andy, but he helps Kyle meet with a grounded girlfriend by hiding in her bed in a blond wig, thus fooling her mother and moving into drag.

I thought Jean-Luc Bilodeau was either Popeye's antagonist or a French crooner from the 1930s, but surprise, he's only 23.


And then there's the implicit homoeroticism of the nudity.

A lot of nudity.





Feb 15, 2016

12 Valentine Dates, Boyfriends,and Hookups



My least-favorite holiday is Christmas, but Valentine's Day comes a close second: a corporate-controled paeon to heterosexual desire, with millions of male-female couples paraded out to proclaim that their emotional bond is the most important thing in the world, the meaning of life.

And therefore you should spend money on maudlin cards, boxes of gut-busting candy, and dead flowers.

In gay neighborhoods it was ok, but in the straight world, same-sex couples who try to participate get stared at in restaurants, laughed at at the flower shop, jeered at the candy store.  Or at least they feel hideously out of place amid the cooing boys and girls.

And God forbid you're single!

Here are the highlights of Valentine's Day seasons past, some ok, some bad, some horrendously bad.

Not counting childhood, when everybody in the class got a valentine from everybody else, regardless of gender.

1. My First Gay BarValentine's Day, 1983. At Indiana University, my friend Viju talks me into driving up to Indianapolis.  I've never been in a gay bar, or any type of bar, before, and I'm blown away by the light, color, and camaraderie.  Nothing like the dark, sleazy, leering gay bars they show on tv.

2. T, the Thug from Catch On.  Valentine's Day, 1986.  There aren't a lot of black men in West Hollywood: if you want to meet them, you have to go to Jewel's Catch-One.  Alan and I go, and get cruised by a thug wannabe named T.





3. My Celebrity Boyfriend.  Valentine's Day, 1987.  The Celebrity and I have only been dating for about a month, and he says he wants to go "all out" for Valentine's Day.  I wonder what a famous ex-teen idol considers "all out."  A thousand doves swooping down from a helicopter?  A life-sized box of candy?  Sharing Scott Baio?  Turns out to be him on a heart-shaped blanket.

4. A Boy for Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day, 1990.  I'm dating Lane, and still thinking of that "sharing Scott Baio" thing.  I don't actually pick up Scott Baio, but I get a nice substitute with Raul's friend Dominic, a cute Mexican twink.  While Lane and I are having dinner, Raul lets Dominic in the house, where he puts on a Cupid outfit and hides in the bedroom.  



5. The Estonian Word for Valentine.  Valentine's Day, 1998.  Yuri and I are both dating Jaan, the Estonian mountain climber, and we both want to impress him.  We plan a three-way date involving Estonian food, Estonian music, Estonian everything, until Jaan gets sick of it and kicks us both out.

But there's a nice side effect to gay dating: if the guy you both want rejects you, you can always spend the night with each other.

6. The Boy Who Cried Fabulous.  Valentine's Day, 2005.  What could be worse than to be dating the annoyingly cheerful, annoyingly upbeat Florian on hearts-and-flowers day?  Nothing.  A 5-pound heart-shaped box of candy, a dozen roses, a card two feet square with a horrible pun, and a teddy bear with a heart-shaped bib reading "I Wuv You."   He doesn't even love me, he wuvs me.



7. The Wild Night of Tricking.  Valentine's Day, 2007.  I'm back in West Hollywood for a mid-February visit, and Lane suggests that we hit the bars.  On Cupid Day?  It will be all depressed single guys.

"Precisely," Lane says.  "We can spend the night tricking, like we did before AIDS -- pick someone up, bring him home, do him, kick him out, back to the bar for the next guy."

"But we were Cute Young Things back then.  I'm 46!"

"So what?  I'm 51!"

8. The Asian-American Family Valentine Dinner.  Valentine's Day, 2009.  I'm dating Chad, who is second-generation Korean-American.  He invites me to dinner with his family, which turns out to be like a Korean Thanksgiving: tons of food, relatives you only see once a year, and innumerable questions about the new guy Chad is dating.




9. The Guilt Trip. Valentine's Day, 2010.  I'm dating Troy, a newly-graduated French major who says "Oh, I hate Valentine's Day.  Let's not celebrate at all."  Fine with me.  Until February 14th, when I awaken to candy, flowers, expensive jewelry, and dinner reservations.  Fooled you!

10. I Become a Creepy Old Guy.  Valentine's Day, 2012.  #9 is probably the reason I hate Valentine's Day now.  I insist that we don't celebrate.  At all.  We go to a bathhouse instead, the River Club in Albany, where I become a Creepy Old Guy.




11, The Youngest Guy I've Ever Dated.  Valentine's Day, 2015.  A 22 year old theater major.  Fortunately, we start dating too close to the Day to celebrate it.

12, My Ex-Student Naked in the Locker Room.  Valentine's Day, 2016.  A 19-year old political science major who wants to become a lawyer.  Our first date is the night before.  I wake up, go down on him, give him a bagel, and kick him out.

I get to spend The Day alone in my apartment, doing course prep, downloading porn from the internet, and watching The Walking Dead.  

Best Valentine's Day ever!

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

Bubba Lewis: Not Just Zac Efron's Life Partner

Bubba Lewis is best known as the BFF of teen idol Zac Efron -- the two have been passionate heterosexual life partners for eleven years, ever since they starred together as autistic twins in a sappy tv movie, Miracle Run (2003).  

But the Georgia-born singer, dancer, and good old boy -- who took the name "Bubba" to emphasize his country-fried heritage -- does more than bask in the glory of High School Musical fever.  He has a resume of his own, full of serious dramatic vehicles.

Very serious.







Snap (2005): A teenage boy must defend himself from a killer (Ian Ford) who has invaded his home and murdered his parents.

Flags of Our Fathers (2006): About the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima during World War II.  Bubba plays one of them as a boy.

The Bottom (2007): A boy working at a gas station "in the ruins of America."





It's Dark Here (2013): A boy has a schizophrenic breakdown in front of his horrified parents.

Plus episodes of Saving Grace, Medium, ER, Numbers, and Dexter. 

He doesn't do many comedies.

Just Weather Girl (2009), about a Seattle weather girl who moves in with her little brother and romances his bff (Patrick J. Adams, Ryan Devlin).




And The In-Betweeners (2012-2013): A sitcom about four misfit boys in high school who band together.  And, apparently, take their clothes off.

Notice that Bubba hasn't played any heterosexual romantic leads.  Not one.  It's all about the BFFs.  Which is always good for gay subtexts.

Feb 14, 2016

Your Grandfather's Beefcake: Circus Acrobats

Back before physique magazines, Johnny Weissmuller movies, and superhero comics, there were few options for beefcake: J.C. Leyendecker's magazine ads, statues of Greek gods -- and the circus.

The 3 Moros (the Three Moors) was a brother act.

Actually, they were mostly brother acts, whether they were actually related or not.










Unfortunately,it was beefcake only, and the guys didn't appear alone; there were usually scantily-clad women in the act.

Not a lot of gay symbolism.  In fact, the whole drama of highwire acts, with a woman tumbling and a man catching, replays a heterosexual drama.


The circus is so soaked in heterosexual imagery that it's hard to find references to gay performers.  Bob Yerkes of the Flying Alexanders was married for 40 years, and  a born-again Christian, so probably not.

The acrobat tradition started failing in the 1950s, facing stiff competition from tv and movies.  The last world-famous acrobat was probably Jimmy Cavaretti, and he supplemented his circus fame with appearances on tv and a spread in Playgirl.

For instance, why wasn't Scott Osgood (top photo) a superstar?  He performed with the Sailor Circus in Orlando in the 1980s, and got excellent reviews.  Today he owns a rigging design company.
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