Mar 22, 2017

The Sons of Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa (1940-1993) was a counterculture musician known for studio albums such as We're Only in it for the Money  and One Size Fits All, and for the single "Valley Girl," which memorialized 1980s slang phrases like "grody to the max."

His work had considerable homophobic content:

"Bobby Brown" (1979), the "cutest guy in town," has a run-in with a lesbian and turns gay.

"He's So Gay" (1984) is about a guy who's "so very, very gay" that he likes golden showers and S&M, and an evening's "not complete without some meat in his seat".

He had four children: Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva.

Dweezil (born 1969), top photo and left,  is a guitarist who tours with the group Zappa Plays Zappa.  Apparently he didn't inherit his father's rough features, as attested by the many pictures of his face and physique on the internet.

As an actor, Dweezil voiced Ajax, the surly teenage son on Duckman (1994-1997).  He has also appeared in Fully Loaded, Jack Frost, MAD TV, and Anarchy TV.

He doesn't seem to have inherited his father's homophobia.  He was even the subject of gay rumors early in his career.

Ahmet Zappa (1974-) doesn't have as many shirtless photos, but it doesn't look like he would be particularly impressive. He sometimes tours with his brother, and he's had a lot of acting experience.

He's been the subject of gay rumors, too.

Mar 21, 2017

Daniel Clark: Brother for Life

Speaking of Robert Clark, if you watched any children's tv during the early 2000s, you probably saw his older brother Daniel (born in 1985) in a series of buddy-bonding roles.

On Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension (1998), a spinoff of the homoromantic subtext classic that paired Stanley Hope (Daniel) and Mitchell Taylor (Bill Switzer) as teenage paranormal investigators in an alternate universe.

On I Was a Sixth Grade Alien (1999) as Tim Thompkins, who buddy-bonds with the purple-skinned alien boy (played by Ryan Cooley).

In Model Behavior (2000), as the little brother of a girl involved in a Prince and the Pauper-style switch.

Plus Are You Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps, The Zack Files, and Darcy's Wild Life.

As an adult, Daniel played a jerk in Juno (2007) and buffed bad boy-turned-hero Sean Cameron on the Canadian teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2008).  He's assumed to be homophobic after he pushes the gay kid Marco, but he insists that he's not.  At least he managed to display his increasingly buffed physique, with semi-nude and underwear shots nearly as impressive as those of his brother.

Daniel also managed to do some teen buddy-bonding, in the Australian slasher flick Left for Dead (also released as Devil's Night). 

He retired from acting to go to college, where he majored in Political Communication.  He's currently working as a news associate for ABC, and he's involved with environmental causes.

Mar 20, 2017

The Name of the Game

I don't remember seeing The Name of the Game (1968-71).  It was on Friday nights, opposite some of my favorite shows: Hogan's HeroesHere Come the Brides, The Partridge Family, The Odd Couple. 

In a world of 60-minute dramas and 30-minute sitcoms, it was a rare 90-minute series, the length of a tv movie.  The three stars, all recognizable names in the 1960s, worked for the conglomerate Howard Publications:

1.  Jeff Dillon (Anthony Franciosa), an investigative reporter for People magazine (not the real-life People, which hadn't been launched yet).  His blundering style would be copied by Peter Falk for Columbo.

2. Glenn Howard (Gene Barry), the publisher, a "millionaire playboy" whose stories mostly involve big business and the rich and famous.

3. Dan Farrell (Robert Stack), an editor for Crime magazine.  He specialized in darker, more serious stories.

Episodes alternated focus characters, with the other two rarely appearing, so this week 90 minutes of Gene Barry, next week 90 minutes of Robert Stack.  They shared a single editorial assistant, Peggy Maxwell (Susan Saint James).

Occasional episodes centered on other characters, such as freelance reporters Sam Hardy (Darin McGavin), David Corey (Robert Wagner),  and Paul Tyler (Robert Culp).

It sounds very confusing today, but maybe 40+ years ago, when the actors were familiar faces, it worked out.

The lack of character interaction stymies the possibility of buddy-bonding, male-male rescues, and other gay subtexts.  I've gone through the entire series, and found only a couple of potential gay-subtext episodes:

1. "Collector's Edition" (October 11, 1968):  Dillon's life was saved in Vietnam by photographer Peter Max (John Saxon), who is now in trouble and needs Dillon's help.

2. "The Brass Ring" (January 3, 1970): Farrell befriends a young boxer

But all three stars were well-known Hollywood hunks of the era, and apparently a lot of beefcake, shirtless scnes on on Greek islands and in health colonies.

It's not on DVD, but you can see some episodes streaming on youtube.

See also: Robert Stack

Mar 19, 2017

Matt's Black and White Ball

Upstate, April 2009

The invitation came in an email:"You and a guest are invited to Matt's Black and White Balls, Memorial Day Weekend 2009. Lodging provided.  Please RSVP."

Plus a MP4 of "Everything's Up To Date in Kansas City" from Oklahoma.

"Balls must be a mistake," I told my boyfriend Chad.  "He must be doing an homage to the famous Black and White Ball that Truman Capote held for New York glitterati in 1966."

"Gay glitterati, all dressed in black and white!" Chad exclaimed.  "Sounds festive.  But who's Matt?"

"My ex-boyfriend Fred's ex-boyfriend from California. You'd like him."

When I met Matt in 1988, he was a 22-year old Cute Young Thing, a Harvard elitist, abrasive and condescending in spite of his fabulous butt and extra-large beneath-the-belt gifts.  But as I got to know him better, he turned out to be secretly kind, generous, and only marginally insane.

In the bedroom, he kept up a nonstop monologue of his progress, first in English, then in French.

I'm getting there...un peu plus, mon vais arriver...bien, bien...ich komme!

"Fred and Matt were together for about ten years.  When they broke up, he moved to San Francisco, and then to Boston.  I haven't seen him in five or six years."

"Well, you must have made a good impression on him.  But why is he hosting his Black and White Ball in Kansas City, not Boston?"

When I asked, Matt responded only "That would be telling.  But don't worry, it won't be just KC barbecue-and-tractor-pull fans.  There will be a lot of guys from San Francisco: David, Corbin, Seth.  I even invited Kevin the Vampire."

Kansas City, May 23rd, 2009

I arrived in Kansas City at 2:00 pm.  Instead of Matt, I was met by a guy holding a sign: an African-American Cute Young Thing, short, very dark, buffed, wearing a formal white shirt and black pants.  He introduced himself as Malcolm.

I thought he was a professional driver, but he led me to an old, beat-up car with a back seat cluttered with clothes and fast-food wrappers.  Not really professional -- must be one of Matt's friends.

"How long have you and Matt known each other?"

"He just hired me for the weekend.  But I'm available all day and all night.  Just give me a call, and I'll be there."  He grinned and grabbed my knee.

Hired for what?

"Would you like a short tour of the City before we head over to Matt's house?"

He drove me past the Crown Center, the Liberty Memorial, and Swope Park, where we kissed and fondled at a fountain overlooking the valley.  Then we drove to a huge brick house on the north side of town, parked, and went inside without knocking.

Past a foyer into an enormous living room.  A cute older guy, mid-40s, African-American, was standing on a ladder, putting up a poster of a naked man.

"This is Boomer," Malcolm announced, putting his arm around my waist.  And leaving it there.

He smiled and held down his hand.  "I'm Dallas, and no, I'm not from Texas."

Then Matt came in, naked, dripping wet.  He was now 44 years old, balding, a little pudgy, but he still had a fabulous butt.

"Boomer, welcome!  Sorry I can't hug -- we've been in the pool.  Why don't you go up to your room, change, and join us?  Malcolm will show you where it is."

The full post, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.
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