Mar 18, 2017

Shirtless Parkour Boys

Parkour is a training procedure involving freestyle gymnastics in a natural environment, typically the concrete buildings and walls of the urban jungle.  It was developed by David Belle (1973-), a French teenager, based on his father's military training drills.  David later brought parkour to films such as District 13 (2004) and commercials for Nike, Nisson, and Canon.

The goal of Parkour is to jump, leap, or tumble onto natural obstacles, or vault over them, landing feet-first on the other side.

It requires strength, stamina, agility, and a lot of practice.

Since it requires no equipment, it is a favorite pastime of poor urban youth around the world.

And non-urban youth.  Here Austin McClure of Santa Rosa, an aspiring stuntman, practices his parkour moves (photo from Kent Porter)

There are few professional parkour players, but many sports enthusiasts, gymnasts, and stuntmen have added parkour to their repertoire.  Stuntman Damien Walters has used it in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Captain America: The First Avenger, Skyfall, The World's End, and Jupiter Ascending.

 In 2014, Carlos Lopez, a stuntman who worked on Hunger Games, 22 Jump Street, and Olympus Has Fallen, was killed when he tried to jump from his 4th floor window to an adjoining porch.

But there have been actually few reported deaths as a result of parkour, although sprains and fractures are common.

Mar 16, 2017

Men at an Anvil: Edwin Austin Abbey's Beefcake Art

This is "Men at an Anvil," one of the homoerotic paintings of the Gilded Age, now on display at the Yale University Art Gallery.  (the men are holding hammers, not hanging by their arms).

The artist, Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) was a Philadelphia illustrator before he moved to England and became involved with the pre-Raphaelite Movement.  Famous as a muralist, he received a commission in 1902 to paint murals for the Pennsylvania House and Senate Chambers and the Rotunda.

This study, completed 1904-1908, was for "The Spirit of Vulcan," a mural praising Pennsylvania industry.

Here's the version on the mural.

Abbey also did a study of naked miners or geologists for "Science Revealing the Secrets of the Earth," another mural in the Rotunda.

Here's the completed version.


Abbey was a friend of gay artist John Singer Sargent, who drew this portrait, and didn't marry until he was in his 40s.  Those facts would ordinarily set off my gaydar, except:

There is no other beefcake in Abbey's work, not a single bicep or chest anywhere.

Why he wait until his life was nearly over to express his joy in the male form?

Mar 15, 2017

Henry Danger Grows Up

I don't have tv anymore, so no Nickelodeon programs, but my original review of Henry Danger back in 2014 called it a "gay subtext classic."  I don't know if it's lived up to my prediction, but I have notice that the slim, ultra-fey Jace Norman, who plays the teen sidekick to befuddled superhero Captain Mann (Cooper Barnes), has grown up.

He's got abs and a chest.

Compare to the skinniness of a few years ago.

In a pool with friends.  He's the one who looks slightly nauseous.

Sean Ryan Fox, who plays Henry's best friend Jasper, used to be a bit portly, but he's slimmed down and developed abs of his own.  Soon he'll be a teen idol.

No doubt there's a lot of teen fan fiction shipping the two.

Apparently they're best buds in real life, too.

See also: Henry Danger

Mar 14, 2017

George Nader: Actor and Gay Activist of the 1950s

Lots of monsters landed in space ships during the 1950s, or crawled out of the ocean, but by far the most ridiculous was Robot Monster (1953): a guy in a gorilla suit and a diving helmet. He's killed everyone on Earth except for eight survivors. He goes after them one by one, even killing a little boy (breaking the rule that children in horror movies are invincible).  He falls for a survivor girl, refuses to kill her, and gets in trouble with his boss, who destroys him, leaving three survivors. But it might be a dream.  Hopefully it's a dream.

Other than the ridiculousness, the movie's main claim to fame is George Nader's chest.  The actor spends most of the movie with his shirt off -- until he's killed by the Robot Monster.

The 28-year old Nader had only been in Hollywood for a few years.  He arrived just in time for the beefcake revival, when gay agent Henry Willson placed dozens of guys with monosyllabic names like Rock and Guy in movies based on their hunk appeal.  George costarred with several of them:

Steve Cochran in Carnival Story (1954)
Rory Calhoun in Four Guns to the Border (1954)
Tony Curtis in Six Bridges to Cross (1955)
John Saxon in The Unguarded Moment (1956)

But stardom eluded him, probably because of the gay rumors; he refused to put on a heterosexual facade, like his lifelong friend Rock Hudson.

In the early 1960s, the gay rumors forced George and his partner Mark Miller to move to Europe, where he finally found stardom -- and gay subtexts -- as secret agent Jerry Cotton in a series of German movies.  Heinz Weiss played his assistant/ boyfriend, Phil Dekker.

George retired from acting in 1974, and devoted himself to writing and gay rights activism.  His first novel, Chrome (1978), remains rare example of a science fiction novel with a gay male protagonist.

He died in 2002, survived by Mark Miller.  They had been together for 55 years.

Mar 13, 2017

The Homoerotic Hamburgers of the 1970s

When I was a kid in the 1960s, we had three fast-food burger joints: Henry's, Sandy's (where cute college boys in kilts sold Edin-burgers), and A&W.  Then, during the 1970s, they all closed or got bought out during the invasion of national franchises: McDonald's, Hardees, Wendy's and Burger King.

The raucous, competing ads about sizes and shapes often became nearly as homoerotic as hot dog ads

1. Burger King had the worst burgers -- horrible things -- but the most homoerotic ads.  It introduced the Whopper in 1957, but stepped up the ads in the early 1970s, calling the restaurant "Home of the Whopper" and annoucing "It takes two hands to handle a Whopper."

Soon the slogans began to appear on t-shirts, on underwear, and in sleazy comments made by sex-obsessed men in sitcoms (and in 1970s sitcoms, nearly all men were sex-obsessed).

2. McDonald's had a similar "Big Mac," which also began to appear on t-shirts and underwear, while teenage spokespersons pretended not to notice.

3. Wendy's was rather colorless in the 1970s, with pictures of a redheaded girl eating the square burgers.  They didn't hit homoerotic paydirt until their "Where's the beef?" campaign of the 1980s.

4. Fortunately, I wasn't living in southern California, where Carl Jr's had some extremely embarassing ads that showed underwear-clad women gazing at a burger with erotic intensity, like they intended to have sex with it, with captions: "Size does matter." By the time I got to West Hollywood in 1985, they had switched to Big Carl, a homicidal maniac who ordered us to eat his burgers, or "I will hunt you down like a dog."

5.  We didn't have Jack in the Box, either, so we never saw the ads starring the tiny tot Rodney Allen Rippy (top photo, with bodybuilders Ric Drasin and Don Peters demonstrating his size).  His commercials had him trying to get his hands around a Jumbo Jack, and complaining, "It's too big to eat."  Let the dirty jokes begin.

One of several cute, diminuitive black kids who charmed America during the period (others were Gary Coleman and Emmanuel Lewis), Rodney Allen Rippy became a sensation, appearing everywhere, on The Tonight Show, The Odd Couple, Marcus Welby, Medical Center, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Laugh-In.

As long as he was a cute kid.  Rodney retired in adolescence, got a degree from Cal State Northridge, and today is involved in writing, production, and marketing. In 2012 he ran for mayor of Compton, California, but dropped out after getting only 75 votes in the primary.  

He's never married, but according to his Facebook page, he likes women.

Mar 12, 2017

Guys Naked in the Snow

The other day it was 24 degrees out, with a biting wind.  As I walked through the gym parking lot as fast as I could, shivering in the cold, I saw a high school kid standing there, waiting for a ride, in gym trunks and a t-shirt.

Not shivering.

How could he do that?

There's something undeniably erotic about guys with their shirts off, or naked, in the snow.  Maybe it's the incongruity -- I would never dream of going outside like that in the cold, not even for a second.

Certainly not lying around in it, trying to make a snow angel.

Maybe it's the toughness.  This guy is impervious to the cold.  He must be made of iron.

In Scandinavian countries, it's traditional to take a hot sauna, then run out into the snow.  The juxtaposition of hot and cold is supposed to be good for you.

More after the break.

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