Feb 4, 2017

The Worst Heterosexist Movie of All Time: "Knowing"

I already have a list of the worst gay movies of all time (the absolute worst is Chuck and Buck), so I'm starting a new list of the worst heterosexist movie of all time.

Heterosexist movies have no gay characters or gay subtexts, plus a hetero romance.  That is, most movies churned out by Hollywood.  It's hard to choose between so many contenders, but I have a suggestion:  Knowing (2009), which is not only aggressively, over-the-top heterosexist, but just plain awful.

In 1959, a classroom of absurdly over-enthusiastic children draw pictures of the future to put in a time capsule (wait -- that's not what time capsules are for).  Except one girl draws long rows of numbers instead.

In 2009, depressed cosmologist John (the hideously ugly Nicolas Cage) asks his advanced astronomy class to write their term papers on whether things happen for a reason, or are just random coincidences.

So basically, evolution or intelligent design?  For astronomy students!  That's absurd. Didn't anyone read this script?

John has an absurd amount of baggage: dead wife, obnoxious son, preacher papa who he hasn't talked to in years, probably due to that evolution/intelligent design thing.

The time capsule opens, and John gets ahold of the rows of numbers.  He deciphers them as the dates, and death tolls, of every major disaster from 1959 to the near future.  The girl was predicting them!

John tries to stop the next disaster by acting like a terrorist, in a scene that had me laughing, although it's not supposed to be funny.

Then he tries to pick up The Girl by acting like a raving lunatic (it works). I haven't picked up a girl since about 1975, but I'm sure I could do a better job than that.  Coincidentally, The Girl has an obnoxious daughter.

All four try to unravel the mystery, especially the last date, a few days from now, with EE instead of a death toll.

Turns out that aliens have been telepathically communicating with kids, giving them long rows of numbers to demonstrate that they know what will happen in the future, and that a global disaster is coming (EE= "Everybody else").

Ok, that's the dumbest warning in history -- long rows of numbers that no one can interpret.  And besides, why warn someone if they can't do anything about it except die?

All of John and The Girl's histrionic machinations come to naught -- the world ends anyway.  So the movie was not only heterosexist, but completely and utterly pointless.

The kicker: the aliens rescue the son and daughter, and maybe some other kids, along with their pet rabbits, drop them off on a world with wheat fields and a tree, and leave.

Wait -- they leave?  Those kids are going to need food and shelter!

I get it.  Boy and Girl and rabbits, ancient fertility symbols.  They're Adam and Eve in a new Eden.

At least the aggressively heterosexist kick in the pants ends the agony of sitting through this mess.

Substantial beefcake can make up for the most inane plotline and the most absurd sacralization of boy-girl romance, but here there isn't any.

There's a collegiate hunk named Sean sitting in the classroom (played by Liam Hemsworth), But, when he's asked to discuss the sun, all he can think of is "It's hot."  An advanced astronomy student?  Too ludicrous to appreciate his hotness!

If you search for "Gareth Yuen" on Google Images, you get someone named Dwayne Cameron instead.

The obnoxious son is played by Chandler Canterbury, now 18 and kind of cute.

But that's not nearly enough to distract you from the agony.

We have a winner: the worst heterosexist movie of all time.

Feb 3, 2017

Ghostwriter: Urban Teen Muscle

If you were a kid in the early 1990s -- or even if you were an adult -- you probably watched Ghostwriter (1992-95), the best PBS series of all time.  Instead of the raucous muppets of Sesame Street or the conflict-less Mr. Rogers, it had a group of multi-ethnic kids solving mysteries in a rather realistic Brooklyn,New York. Sort of like the 1990s version of The Electric Company, but here the problems were grittier: gangs, kidnappings, drugs, arsonists, corruption, and even divorce.

Their benefactor was Ghostwriter, a being who manifested to Jamal (Sheldon Turnipseed) one night.  Invisible, unable to speak, he communicated by rearranging letters on signs, in books, even in sentences the kids wrote down.

At first he didn't know who or what he was -- a ghost, an earthbound spirit, an alien -- but gradually he remembered a few things: he was the ghost of a man,  he lived over 100 years ago, and he didn't like the sound of dogs barking.

The Ghostwriter team consisted of  three boys and three girls, all in late childhood or early adolescence:

1. Jamal
2. Alex (David Lopez)
3. Rob (Todd Alexander Cohen), replaced by Hector (William Hernandez).
4. Lenni (Blaze Berdahl)
5. Gaby (Mayteana Morales, Melissa Gonzales)
6. Tina (Tram-Anh Trang)

Alex and Tina commence a hetero-romantic relationship, but none of the other characters express any heterosexual interest.

There is significant buddy-bonding between Jamal and Hector, however, and beefcake, as Jamal begins to noticeably bulk up, providing teenage muscle that is rare for children's programming.

William Hernandez is gay, and the only one of the boys still involved in acting. He appeared as himself on MTV's The Real World (2004-2005) and later appeared in the gay comedy A Four Letter Word (2007).

David Lopez attended Rutgers, and upon graduating moved back to Colombia.

Todd Alexander and Sheldon Turnipseed attended NYU together.  Both seem to have dropped off the map.

The biggest mystery -- who was Ghostwriter? -- was never revealed during the series.

But 20 years later, in a March 2013 article, writer Kermit Frazier tells us: he was a runaway slave who was teaching other slaves to read in the woods, when he was killed by slave catchers and their dogs.  His spirit was trapped in the book that Jamal found.

Feb 2, 2017

The Gaithers: The Gay Connection in Christian Gospel Music

When I was growing up in the Nazarene Church, I hated the hymns even more than the screaming, Bible-pounding sermons: we sang three during every service, nine per week, all chosen from the same 40 or 50 in the Nazarene hymnal.

They were all slow, creaking antiques with archaic language, deadly dull, repetitive lyrics, and simplistic marching-band melodies.

I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me.
How He left His home in glory, for the cross of Calvary.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

And those are the liveliest.  I felt like stripping off my Sunday suit and tie, just to mix things up a bit.

So it was a relief to go to NYPS (Nazarene Young People's Society) every Sunday before the evening service, where we got to sing "contemporary gospel," mostly songs by Bill Gaither:

If there ever were dreams that were lofty and noble, they were my dreams at the start.
And hope for life's best were the hopes that I harbored down deep in my heart.

The marketplace is empty, no more traffic in the street.
All the builders' tools are silent, no more time to harvest wheat.

Interesting images, a vocabulary larger than 10 words, and melodies that didn't put you to sleep.  Not exactly Led Zeppelin, but a thousand times better than "Leaning, leaning, leaning."

Born in 1936 in northern Indiana, Bill Gaither worked as an English teacher before nearly single-handedly introducing contemporary musical styles into the staid tradition of Christian music.

At first he was met with resistance: parents refused to allow their children to attend his concerts, and pastors denounced his songs as Satanic.  But by the 1970s, the new hip Jesus People-Campus Crusade crowd of evangelicals latched onto him, sometimes even the more progressive Nazarenes.

He performed in the Bill Gaither Trio, with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Anne and friend Gary McSpadden (the one with the whitest teeth).

Eventually their children, grandchildren, and various hot guys with bulges and very, very white teeth got into the act.

Ok, so what's the gay connection?

1. Did you see the way these guys hung all over each other?

2. Speaking of hung, live performances were always...um...interesting.

3. Bill Gaither singing "He touched me."

4. Mark Lowry, former member of the Gaither Vocal Band, is reputedly gay.

5. Marsha Stevens, the gay Christian songwriter who wrote the classic "For Those Tears I Died" (second left, with her lover Caroline Pino), appeared on Gaither Homecoming in 2002.  Gaither said "I appreciate your ministry," apparently referring to her ministry to gay Christians.

6. Son Benjy Gaither wrote and performs three songs in Bridegroom (2013), about the legal and emotional hurdles faced by a gay man after his partner dies.

See also: The Sanderson Boys Get Naked.

Jan 31, 2017

Richie Brose: 1980s Beefcake Star Opens a Restaurant

This is the physique of a pizza chef.

Richard Brose may not be a household name today, but he was a regular guest star on 1980s tv.  Whenever a casting agent needed a man-mountain, especially for a Sylvester Stallone parody, , they would "call Richie."

He was working as a bodyguard at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas when Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian became a mega-hit (1983), and Universal Studios opened an "Adventures of Conan" attraction.  They needed a Conan.  Richie auditioned, got the job, and kept it for the next ten years.

In 1984, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure was casting a scene where Pee-Wee Herman rides his bike through a movie studio, disrupting a lot of movies being filmed.  Richie got the part of "Tarzan."

For the next 6 years, he often drove down from the San Fernando Valley for guest spots on tv:

He played a wrestler on Night Court (1985).

"Chesty" on Trapper John, M.D.(1985).

"Rambo Type Man" on Misfits of Science (1985).

"Hambro" on Hunter (1986).

A Hunk on Perfect Strangers (1986).

A fitness trainer on Charles in Charge (1988).

But his real love was cooking.  He opened a restaurant in Antelope Valley, and in the 1990s he relocated to Vancouver, Washington to open New York Richie's.  He now owns several pizza places in the northwest, but he returns to show biz from time to time.  He played Batman at Magic Mountain, and in 2006 he became an associate producer of Being Earnest, an adaption of the gay-subtext classic.

No indication of whether he's gay or not, but not a lot of gay men flee Los Angeles for the haven of LaGrande, Oregon.

Jan 30, 2017

The Joy of Guys Who Aren't Naked

Have you ever noticed that some guys look better with their clothes on?  Seeing them naked doesn't add to their charm, and may even detract from it.

Clothes were originally designed as ornamentation, after all, to increase your attractiveness by giving the illusion of muscle, by drawing attention to the face or crotch, and by adding color and contrast.

Here the black tie and sweater contrasts beautifully with the pale skin and reddish-blond hair.  Nude, the paleness would be overwhelming.

After years of beefcake-watching, I'm quite sure what this guy is packing.  It won't be impressive.  But the bright-red, ribald t-shirt is a perfect counterpart to his expression of farmboy innocence.

With a sharp, severe face and sculpted physique, seeing what his penis looks like would be anticlimactic.

Keeping it hidden can be more erotic than openly displaying it. The mystery is half the fun.  Hairy or smooth?  Muscular or slim?  Mortadella or Kielbasa?

Uniforms, symbols of status and authority, are especially flattering.  This uniform accentuates the guy's chest and draws attention to his shoulders. Meanwhile his gun draws the eye downward to his rather impressive bulge.

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

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