Oct 14, 2016

Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Saved by the Bell

Mario Lopez has been unfailingly pro-gay (except for a tweet proclaiming his love for love for Chick-Fil-A, which was quickly removed).  But what about his Saved by the Bell buddy Mark-Paul Gosselaar?

He hasn't been quite as vocal in his support, but he seems cool with gay fans: "There are people out there who desperately want me to be gay. I don't have the heart to set the record straight."

My friend Infinite Chazz claims to have dated him.

Born in 1974, the child star burst -- literally -- into teen idol fame in 1989 when he was hired to play one of the supporting players in the Hayley Mills vehicle Good Morning, Miss Bliss, about a caring junior high teacher.

But after a year it became Saved by the Bell, with Zack Morris, Mark-Paul's glib teen operator the undisputed star.  It lasted for four years, spawned two spin-off series and innumerable Saturday morning clones, and gained 24 Young Actor Awards nominations.

The plots of Saved by the Bell mostly involved demonstrating that the teens were heterosexual -- falling in love with the wrong person, deciding if the kiss meant anything, having two dates on the same night -- with a smattering of minor social problems, like smoking or cheating on tests.

 But same-sex desire was always lurking just beneath the surface.  Zack, gay-coded as blond, pretty, stylish, fashion-conscious, and vain, is often the butt of jokes about misdirected or misinterpreted desire.

When Zack qualifies for the track team so they can beat Valley High, Principal Belding (Davis Haskins) hugs him and cries "I love you!"  Seeing the suspicious looks from passing students, Belding backtracks into an arm-clasp and "I like you!"  More suspicious looks, so he backs off altogether and says "Uh...I mean good job, son."

There's a knock at Zack's bedroom door.  Thinking that it's his girlfriend, Zack opens it wide and exclaims "I love you!"  The school weirdo Screech walks in, waits for audience howls to die down a bit, and says "I love you too...but only as a friend."

Strangely, none of these jokes involve Zack and his constant companion, sullen jock Slater (Mario Lopez).  Maybe they can't occur with passionate partners, or they would bring their unstated romance too close to the surface.

After Saved by the Bell, Mark-Paul played mostly conventional, even old-fashioned heterosexuals: a horny college boy in Dead Man on Campus (1998), a computer exec who moves back to his quaint small town in Hyperion Bay (1998-99); plus the standard detectives and cops.  His Detective John Clark on NYPD Blue (2001-2005) had a number of risky sexual encounters with women to assuage his grief after his girlfriend dies.

And there was very little beefcake, at least on screen.  An accomplished athlete, Mark-Paul was often photographed swimming, scuba diving, and engaged in other sports that involve bulges or bare chests.

In Franklin and Bash (2011-2014), Mark-Paul returned to buddy-bonding, playing Detective Bash to Brecklin Meyer's Detective Franklin.  Though both are horndogs, the homoerotic subtext is strong and obviously intentional, an attempt to cash in on the 2000s bromance fad.

Truth Be Told (2014) was a buddy comedy starring Mark-Paul and Tone Bell as odd-couple best friends.

And fans got to see more of Mark-Paul's still impressive physique than they have in twenty years, in spite of  TV Guide's  heterosexist assurance that he goes shirtless only "for the ladies."

See also: Infinite Chazz is Dumped by Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

Oct 12, 2016

The Bush Dynasty: Beefcake and Homophobia

On The Simpsons episode "Two Bad Neighbors," which aired in January 1996, former President George Bush moves into the house across the street from the Simpsons, and become Mr. Wilson to Bart's Dennis the Menace. Meanwhile Homer, feuding with George, tricks him into believing that his two sons, George W.. and Jeb, are visiting.

I stay as far away from politics as possible -- at the time I had never heard of either of them.  I would hear a lot later, of course, when George W. became a viciously homophobic President, and Jeb  the viciously homophobic governor of Florida.

But still, I assumed from The Simpsons that George Herbert Walker Bush (1926-) had only two children.  

Turns out he had six.

Yesterday I went through his entire family tree, looking for someone who was gay-friendly.  And for beefcake photos, of course.

1. George W. Bush (1946-) graduated from Yale (as a legacy) and Harvard Business School, worked as an oilman and owned a baseball team before becoming governor of Texas and then President of the U.S. for a gruelling eight years (2001-2009).  He hasn't mellowed on gay marriage, or anything else gay -- he hates gay people now as much as he ever did.

Daughter: Jenna Bush Hager (1981-), a journalist.  Married to Henry Chase Hager.

Daughter: Barbara Pierce Bush (1981-), a Yale graduate, fundraiser, and activist.  Gay-friendly!  Appears in a pro-marriage equality PSA released by the Human Rights Campaign. She was dating graffiti artist Miky Fabrega (top photo), who painted in his underwear, but recently she's been linked to Franck Raharinosy

2. Robin Bush: died in childhood.

3. Jeb Bush (1953): got a degree in Latin American Affairs from the University of Texas, moved into real estate and then politics, becoming Governor of Florida, (1999-2007), and then throwing his hat in the presidential ring in 2016 but losing out in the primaries.  He hasn't mellowed, either.  He's an all around bigot.

Son: George P. Bush (1976), Texas land commissioner who apparently is into some very shady stuff.  He's strongly opposed to gay rights.

Son: Jeb Bush Jr (1983), left, budding politician.  He's had a few run-ins with the police.  Strongly opposed to...well, you get the idea.  At least he looks nothing like his father.

4. Dorothy Bush Koch (1959-): got her degree in sociology from Boston College, is a fund-raiser and philanthropist.  Her first husband, Robert Koch, was a wine distributor...and a Democrat!  Maybe she's gay-friendly.

Son: Sam LeBlond (1984-): a beer distributor (left; I don't know who the boyfriend is)

 Son: Robert Koch (1993)

5. Neil Bush (1955-): has a B.A. in economics and a M.B.A. from Tulane University.  A Texas businessman who has been indicted for many shady dealings.  No word on his attitude toward gay people.

Son: Pierce Bush (1986-): an executive officer at Big Brothers.  That's him jumping into the lake.  Big Brothers accepts gay volunteers.

6. Marvin Bush (1956-): has a degree in English from the University of Virginia.  An insurance agent. No word on his attitude toward gay people.

Son: Charles Walker Bush (1989-)

You're probably wondering about Billy Bush, the host of Access Hollywood and The Today Show, who appears on the famous video with Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.  He's the son of Jonathan Bush, George H. W. Bush's brother.  Apparently as homophobic as his cousins.

But the only Bush I could find chest shots of.  Here he poses with Chippendale dancers.

Oct 11, 2016

Jake and Logan Paul, the Internet Brothers who Became Superstars

Getting famous today doesn't require an agent, a recording contract, or a public relations firm.  It requires a social media account, creativity, and killer abs.

Jake and Logan Paul are brothers from Cleveland who started posting goofy photos and videos on the social media sites Vine and Youtube, and before they knew it, they were stars.

6.5 million followers on Instagram, 5.2 million followers on Vine, 1.0 million followers on Twitter.

My blog has 7.5 million page views.  Logan's Vine has 4 billion.

When he's not posting, 21-year old Logan is a former high school wrestler now studying industrial engineering at Ohio University and doing some acting.

He's appeared on Law and Order: SVU, Stitchers, and Foursome, and stars in the Youtube Red movie The Thinning.

19 year old Jake dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career, and found that being a social media star opened a lot of doors.  He has appeared in the teen comedies Dance Camp (2016) and Mono (2016), and is now starring in the Disney Channel's Bizaardvark.

He has published nude full-frontal selfies in Instinct magazine, making him probably the  only actor to pose nude for a gay magazine while starring in a Disney Channel teencom.

You can see the nude photo on Tales of West Hollywood.

Oct 10, 2016

A Gaggle of Rockies from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

Arguably one of the main draws of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Rocky, the gold lame-clad muscle hunk who is created by Dr. Frank-n-Furter and experiences sexual awakening:

I am just seven hours old, truly beautiful to behold,
But somebody should be told, my libido hasn't been controled.
Now the only thing I've come to trust, is an orgasmic rush of lust.

Where else in cinema of the 1970s are you going to see so much bodybuilder physique?  And ever after, in the many Rocky imitators who gather every week for "absolute pleasure."

Here is an assortment of Rockies from various stage productions and homages.

Frank says specifically that Rocky has "blond hair and a tan," so this guy s technically doesn't qualify, but he certainly has the physique for the job.

A spike-haired teenage Rocky in gold-lame pants.
I'm not sure if I buy Rocky with a beard, and black shorts seem rather a sacrilege.  Oh, well, look at those abs!

He's got the dopey King Kong grin right, and even better abs.

A reclining Rocky with clean-cut all-American looks and leopard skin shorts.

Helmet hair, but biceps to die for, and I'm warming up to the idea of leopard skin shorts.

A British butler-looking Rocky.

I love a Rocky with a blatant bulge.

A gaggle of Rockies.

Three TV Hunks on a Cold Winter Night

Davenport, Iowa, January 1980

January 15, 1980, a very cold, snowy Tuesday night during my sophomore year in college.  Fred the Ministerial Student and I are watching tv in his living room.  He is my first real boyfriend, and we have just started dating, so everything we watch seems bright and sexy and memorable.

7:00 pm: The White Shadow: A young female teacher gets a crush on high school basketball player Salami (Timothy Van Patten).   Fred explains how Timothy Van Patten got the nickname "Salami" in real life: he has the largest endowment in Hollywood, and is willing to prove it to anyone who asks.

8:00 pm: Three's Company: Jack Tripper (John Ritter) dates a woman who has an insanely protective brother, health club owner Harvey, a tall, blond muscle hunk.   Fred tells me that the actor who plays Harvey is gay; that's why he doesn't express any heterosexual interest of his own.

Wait -- a man-mountain like that is gay?  I'm just getting over the myth of all gay men being willowy swishes., so I can't believe it.  There are no gay reference books yet, and no internet, so there's no way to investigate.

8:30 pm: Taxi: Taxi company mechanic Latke (Andy Kaufman) falls in love with a girl from his home country.  Fred tells me that Tony Danza, who plays driver Tony Banta, is gay -- he had a nude photo spread in In Touch magazine.

9:00 pm: Hart to Hart: An old woman in Jonathan's building is being blackmailed.  Fred tells me that Robert Wagner, who plays millionaire sleuth Jonathan Hart, used to go to naked pool parties in the Hollywood Hills with gay actors like Marlon Brando and Tab Hunter.

What about the screen hunk on Three's Company?  Turns out that he was Steve Sandor (1937-) a former steel worker and air force police officer who had been playing man-mountains since 1967, on Star Trek, Canon, The Rookies, Ironside, Starsky and Hutch, and many other dramas.  He rarely did comedy.

He would go on to more guest spots, plus a sword-and-sorcery hero in the animated Fire and Ice (1983) and a post-Apocalyptic hero in the Road Warrior rip-off Stryker (1983).

He stopped acting in the late 1990s.  No word on whether he's actually gay or not.

But he was gay enough on a cold winter night in 1980.

Oct 9, 2016

Tintin and Captain Haddock

When I studied Spanish, I got songs about liking blonde girls ("Las rubias me gustan mas") and a story about Juan y Maria in love, though when I snooped around on my own, I found Papa Soltero and the boy band Menudo.  When I studied French, I got comics: the muscular Roman Alix and his Egyptian boyfriend Enak; Asterix the Gaul;  the cowboy Lucky Luke; the race car driver Michel Vaillant; bellhop turned adventurer Spirou and his reporter boyfriend Fantasio; and of course, Tintin.

A teenage reporter, Tintin first appeared in the Belgian children's magazine Le Petit Vingtième.  23 comic albums, or bandes-dessinees, appeared between 1930 and 1976, sending Tintin to the Congo, Egypt, Tibet,  America, and eventually the Moon (a 24th, Tintin and Aleph-Art, was left unfinished at cartoonist Herge's death).  The albums have been translated into over 100 languages, and in an interesting twist, dozens of dialects. Would you like to know how the Antwerp and Oostend dialect differs from ordinary Dutch?  How about Picard and Gallois from standard French?

There was not a lot of beefcake in the comic stories or the animated films and tv series, but two live-action films starring Jean-Pierre Talbot took care of that.

Early on, Tintin made new friends in each adventure.  His most intimate relationship came in The Blue Lotus, when he rescued Chang, a Chinese boy victimized by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.

But in The Crab with the Golden Claws, Tintin meets the blustering, irascible Captain Haddock and helps him reclaim his ancestral home, Marlinspike Manor.  Tintin moves in.  After that, there is no question: they are a couple..

During their adventures, Haddock and Tintin work as a team, rescuing each other over and over, hugging, pressing against each other.  At home, they are blatantly domestic, often shown sitting at breakfast, lounging around the parlor, going to movies, taking vacations.

Neither expresses any interest in women, but in Tintin in Tibet, when Tintin's old friend Chang writes to ask for help, Haddock blisters with jealousy and refuses to accompany him on the adventure (he relents later).  And when Haddock spends time with a new friend, Tintin mopes and pouts.

Many commentators, including Jamie Bell, who played Tintin in the 2011 movie, have noticed that Tintin and Haddock behave precisely as a gay couple.

Even Herge himself found it necessary to address the "accusations": he said that Tintin and Haddock could not actively pursue women because mostly boys read the comics, and they were interested in adventure, not romance.  But if that is the case, why did Herge put them into a relationship that looked and felt precisely like a romance?

Anyway, he was wrong: gay boys wanted both adventure and romance.  And they found both in Tintin.

See also: Tintin Porn
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