Jun 4, 2016

Free You, Be You: Beefcake and Bullying

"Free You Be You" is an anti-bullying video, produced by Shirley Pierce and Angus Ledgerwood, being promoted extensively in Australia.  Instead of the usual tactic of telling kids how to recognize bullying and how to respond, it attempts to empower the victims.

The song was written and performed by nine-year old bullying victim Amber Arnold  (center, below):

I  know it's hard to rise up, to pick up your soul and go.
A cut goes deep that comes from another.  When will these feelings go?

Can't skip over the cracks, or fill them in with hope.
You can't hold your head up high, you reach up but there's no sky

The world will never know the pain inside of you
Take one little step, free you by being you

It stars three teens who are victims of bullying, cyber (Cleo Massey), racial (Larissa George), and physical (Eric James Gravolin).  They break into an empowering song, and draw allies, including ex-victims like rapper Bulldog (Cameron D'Arcy):

I used to be one of those kids that got pushed around.
I'd listen to anything they would say just to put me down.
Back then I was left shook with a frown, but today I'm doing great.
So I say, look at me now.

Performers were drawn from among amateurs and professionals in Queensland, including:

1. Chai Romruen (The Mako Mermaids).

2. Tyler Rostedt (K9, left)

3. Model Taylor Seage

4. Athlete Lachlan Smith

Jun 3, 2016

Mako Mermaids and Mermen

Mako: Island of Secrets (2013-), airing in the U.S. as The Mako Mermaids, is a sequel to H2O: Just Add Water that expands on the mythology and introduces that rarest of creatures, a merman.

Actually, anyone who comes in contact with the magic water on Mako Island will become a mer-person, but it never happened to a guy on the original series.

Here the protagonist is Zac (Chai Romruen), who becomes a merman after falling into the magic Moon Pool.  He heads back to Australia, trailed by three mermaids, Sirena, Nixie, and Lyla, who want to take away his merman powers.  They eventually befriend him and start dating mortal boys.

The mythology is further developed, with mermaid society skirmishes, dark secrets from the past, and a mysterious trident that may be the key to everything.

Heteronormativity still reigns supreme, but there's a tiny bit of homoerotic buddy bonding between Zac and his mate Cam (Dominic Deutscher), who quickly discovers his secret.

And Eric (Alex Cubis), a mysterious figure who belongs to a rival mermaid pod.

Plus, the beefcake quota is even higher.  In addition to Zac, Cam, and Eric:

Chris (Taylor Glockner), a dolphin trainer who suspects the secret.

Gabe (Chris Cocciolone), a lifeguard.

Karl (Mikey Wulff), a marine park worker.

Joe Davidson.  Ok, he was only in one episode as "Surfer Boy," but I couldn't resist.

Jun 2, 2016

Borden's Elsie: Alpha Bull Dad and Gay Son

Sometimes when we were visiting my Grandma Davis in Indiana, my brother and I got permission to go up into the attic and browse through her piles of old magazines. Good Housekeeping, Saturday Evening Post, Grit...nothing really exciting, but we liked to marvel at the craziness of the past.

One day we stumbled upon a series of illustrated stories from the 1940s starring Elsie the Cow, the mascot for Borden's Milk.

Wait -- was this cow selling the milk that came from her body?  Disgusting!  And who would name it "Hemo," after blood?

The stories were about a battle of the sexes between housewife Elsie and her alpha-male bull spouse, Elmer, with an incredibly sexist passive-aggressive vibe and the hint of violence:

"But Elmer, all the answers in the book can't be wrong!"
"I'm not trying to turn the child against you, darling!"
"Why do men lose their temper more easily than men?"
"It's possible to kill a wife with kindness, dear."

Was this an idealization of the 1940s nuclear family, or a critique?

Borden created a whole back story for the cow couple, including a teenage daughter, Beulah, a mischievous son, Beauregard, and infant twins.  Stories of their domestic life appeared through the 1940s, and for the kids, there was a 1950s comic book series.  And so many advertising tie-ins that there's a whole book devoted to them.

Elmer the Bull, future mascot for Elmer's Glue, was blustering but, oddly, sexy.  He was naked though his family wore clothes.  He had thick bull-muscles.  And, most provocatively, his sex organs were coyly obstructed. I had seen bulls on the farm -- I knew what was being hidden.

Beauregard was a general mischief maker, but he also had some gender-transgressive qualities that lent him some gay symbolism.  Here he seems to be trying on green lipstick and hair dye.

In the 1950s comic books, he's a teenager, and also rather muscular.

By now I imagine he looks something like this.

(Image borrowed from Roberto Linares on YGallery).

See also: Grit

H2O: Just Add Beefcake

H2O: Just Add Water (2007-2010) was a popular Australian "my secret" drama now airing in the United States.

It was about three girls, Rikki, Emma, and Cleo, who become mermaids whenever they touch water (so no more washing up).  They also can control water to combat antagonists and, eventually, save the world (no, not from global warming).

Heteronormative boy-girl plotlines run rampant, but at least there is substantial beefcake.

 1. Lewis (Angus McLaren, left), the trio's ally, whipping boy, and all around factotum.  He dates Cleo.

2. In Series 3, Emma and Lewis vanish, replaced by a new girl, Bella, and a new ally, whipping boy, and all around factotum, Will Benjamin (Luke Mitchell).  He dates Bella.

3. Zane (Burgess Abernethy, second from the right), the local arrogant rich kid, who suspects the girls' secret. He dates Rikki.

4. Byron (Christopher Poree), a windsurfer who dates Emma.

5. Ash (Craig Horner), a riding coach who dates Emma after Byron.

6. Ryan (Andrew Lees), a geologist with rather a spectacular physique who sometimes helps the girls, but doesn't date any of them.  Not because he's gay, though --  at age 22 and 23, he's too old for them.

7. Nate (Jamie Timoney), who starts a band with Bella, and flirts with the girls but gets rejected.  Not hot enough.

With all the beefcake floating around Australia, I can see their point.  I wouldn't turn him down, but he might get relegated to a Sunday or Monday night date.  I'd save the weekends for the heavy hitters.

May 31, 2016

Fred Dryer's Nude Modeling Career

Hunter (1984-1991) aired during the Reagan-Bush years of conservative retrenchment, on Saturday nights, aimed at an audience of oldsters sitting at home complaining about how much better things when they were kids.  It took the new "tough on crime" stance -- forget about social programs, go out and break some heads -- with tough, trigger-happy Sgt. Hunter (Fred Dryer) and his female partner/eventual romantic interest McCall (Stephanie Kramer).

I never saw it; in West Hollywood we went out on Saturday nights (after The Golden Girls, of course).

Born in 1946, Fred Dryer spent 13 years as a pro-football player (for the Giants and the Rams), only hitting Hollywood after retiring in 1980.  He had "muscle stud" guest roles on Laverne and Shirley, Lou Grant, Hart to Hart, and Cheers, and a few man-mountain roles in movies: The Star Maker, The Kid from Nowhere, Something So Right, before being cast as uber-macho Sgt. Hunter.

Since Hunter ended in 1991, he's done several reprisal movies, and a sequel tv series (2003), plus some tough-cop movies.

There was a serial-killer-targeting-gays episode of Hunter, but otherwise no specific gay content in Dryer's works.  He's a hard-core Republican who supports the homophobic Tea Party movement.

So why does he have gay rumors?

Maybe it's just the incongruity of the uber macho having a "feminine" gay side.

Or the fact that he didn't marry until he was trying to make a go of Hollywood, and his marriage lasted for only five years.

Or this nude beefcake photo.

I don't know where it came from, but it looks like some of the physique photos gay magazines began to publish when the restrictions on nudity eased in the late 1960s.

Excpet in the late 1960s, Fred Dryer had hair.  Quite a lot of it.  This was the hippie generation, after all.

The uncensored photo is on Tales of West Hollywood

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