Mar 30, 2017

The Gay World of Frank Sinatra

The first teen idol, Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) had bobby-soxers and gay greasers swooning  with syrupy-voiced romantic ballads like "Night and Day" (1942), "Begin the Beguine" (1946), and "I've Got a Crush on You" (1948).  

Like all teen idols, his fan base aged with him, so by the late 1950s, his songs had become "old favorites," the songs middle-aged couples danced to while they reminisced about when they first met: "My Blue Heaven" (1961), "I Love Paris" (1962), "It Was a Very Good Year" (1965)

By that time, he was making a splash in Hollywood, as the romantic lead in buddy musicals like Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), and Guys and Dolls (1955), in serious dramas like From Here to Eternity (1953), The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), and Von Ryan's Express (1965).

By the 1960s, he had re-invented himself as a fast-talking middle-aged sharpie who loved the fast life and had connections with disreputable types.  He played parodies of himself in Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), Tony Rome (1967), and The Detective (1968), which apparently contains some savage homophobia, even by 1960s standards.

He was also in Las Vegas, singing, boozing, and clowning around with the fabled Rat Pack: Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop.

He continued to perform though the 1980s, although more and more often as a relic of the past, an American institution whose work was revered rather than enjoyed.  His last studio album, released in 1994, included "Come Fly with Me," "The Best is Yet to Come," "Embraceable You," and "My Funny Valentine."  One imagines that the elderly couples who first danced to his songs as teenagers fifty years before were sitting on rocking chairs, reminiscing.

The gay connection: Frank was quite homophobic in real life, but he had strong emotional ties with the mostly-bisexual Rat Pack, he starred in many gay-subtext movies, like On the Town, and his daughter Nancy Sinatra is a gay ally.  She tweets: "Tell me if you are homophobic and I will unfollow you.  Don't like bigots."

See also: The Gay Rat Pack; On the Town

Mar 29, 2017

Joseph Cali: from Physique Model to "Saturday Night Fever"

Joseph Cali was a familiar face in the late 1970s and 1980s, playing handsome Italian Stallion types:  John Travolta's friend Joey in Saturday Night Fever (1977), Joey Santorini in Trapper John MD (1981), Vincent D'Acosta in The Lonely Lady (1983).

He  starred in several short-lived tv series, such as Flatbush (1979), Today's FBI (1981-82), Santa Barbara (1989-90).

In the 1990s, roles became sparser.  Finally he retired from acting.  Today he is the co-owner of Cello Music and Film Systems, which sells home theater systems averaging $42,000 each to celebrity customers such as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

But there's more to Joseph Cali than meets the eye: a lot of nude photos online.

When he was in his early twenties, around 1970, he was discovered by George Haimsohn in the gay cruising area of Washington Square Park, and invited to model.  Haimsohn, who worked under the pen name Plato, published several sets of nude photos.  Later Cali posed the Model of the Month Club and Photozique, and after he moved to Los Angeles, Vulcan Studios.

Cali is apparently heterosexual or bisexual in real life: he's been married twice, most recently for 31 years, and he has four grown daughters.

But it's nice to know that he displayed his physique, and more, for gay fans in the past.

The nude photos are on Tales of West Hollywood

Mar 28, 2017

10 Things You Should Know about Dating Introverts

Alan, Lane, David, Yuri, Troy, Gabe, Dustin -- almost all of my friends and boyfriends have been extroverts: outgoing, aggressive, the life of the party, never wanting to stay home, always eager to get out there and meet new people.

But occasionally I've dated an introvert: quiet, shy, doesn't like meeting new people, likes to stay home in the evenings.

Dating an introvert has some has some intense pleasures, but it's very different from dating an extrovert. You have to be careful -- it's easy to misunderstand his intentions.

Here are 10 things you should know:

1. Cruising. Meeting new people is always intimidating for him, so even if you're a twink magnet, he won't make the first contact. He'll wait for you to approach him.

2. The Initial Interview.  Those small-talk exchanges of  "How are you? Fine -- how are you? Fine" make no sense to him.  He prefers to ask and answer real questions.

3. Getting Coffee. He doesn't understand why people hang out in coffee houses, gay-friendly or not. There's coffee at home. (Which is your excuse to get him home).

4. The Date.   Bright lights, noise, and crowds are not fun, they're exhausting.  They can deal with them for short periods, but they will need occasional breaks to go somewhere quiet and recharge.  Take him somewhere nice and quiet, like a play, or a museum.

5. Saturday Night.  Don't be surprised if he doesn't want to leave your apartment at all, even on Saturday night.  He thinks of staying in for an evening as a blessing, not a curse.  He looks forward to it.

6. The Kiss. Touching someone is always intimate, so he does it only if he has a strong emotional or erotic connection. He dislikes casual touching by strangers, like shaking hands.  Lay off the groping until the end of the date.

But once he's ok with touching, he won't stop.  You might never make it out of the bedroom.

7. The Phone Call.  He won't initiate an after-date phone call or text.  It's not that he didn't have a good time, it's just that initiating contact with someone is very stressful, so he will constantly put it off.    You'll have to contact him.

8. The Duck Around. If he sees you on the street or in the hallway, he might duck around the corner to avoid contact.  He's not trying to be rude; it's just that seeing someone outside of a familiar context is very stressful.  What should I do?  What should I say?

9. The Introductions.  By the third or fourth date, you will want to introduce him to your friends.  Don't do it with a party -- he is uncomfortable in large groups.  He will stick to your side and not mingle (See #1.)  Introduce him to one friend at a time.

10. The Intensity.  Be prepared for nights of quiet intensity, where every statement is meaningful and every touch is passionate.  In the morning you will be physically and emotionally exhausted, but anxious to see him again.

The X-rated version of this list, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

See also: 15 Simple Rules of Gay Dating.

Mar 26, 2017

The Good Samaritan: Two Nude Men Embrace

Everybody gets the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 wrong.

Remember, a traveler was accosted by thieves, who robbed him, stripped him naked, and left him by the side of the road.  A Pharisee and a Priest passed by without helping, but a Samaritan took him home and cared for his wounds.

The poit is not that we should help people in distress.  Samaritans were looked down on as heretics, evil, unclean, degenerate. not really human at all.  Jesus was telling us that we shouldn't pre-judged people.  Some of the seemingly righteous Pharisees and Priests are actually morally bankrupt, and there are some good Samaritans.

Regardless of the point Jesus was trying to make, artists have embraced the story as a way show a naked man and still be seen as devout.

Like William Etty (top picture), the first significant painter of male nudes in modern Britain, whose 1838 version takes a dig at Islamophobia, making the Samaritan a modern Turk.

Nicola Grassi (1682-1750) gave the victim thick, glowing muscles, and took a dig at anti-Semitism, making the Samaritan Jewish (which they were, of course).

Cornelius Van Haarlem (1627) makes the victim completely nude (but censors the penis), and the Samaritan a contemporary Dutch burger.

You can also use the Samaritan story as an excuse to show homoerotic potential, a man cradling another man in his arms. This version is by Leon Bonnat (1833-1922).

And George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), with an older but still muscular victim and a black Samaritan.

More after the break.

10 Gay Movies I Hated

I haven't seen a lot of gay-themed movies since 2005, when I moved to small-town American: they rarely make it out to the multiplex next to the Wal-Mart.  But before that, living in West Hollywood, New York, and Fort Lauderdale, I saw practically everything.  Some were good, but a surprising number were awful: angst-loaded melodramas set in worlds where there is no gay community, every heterosexual is homophobic, lesbians turn straight, and gay men keep falling in love with women.

Here is the list of the biggest offenders, excluding historical artifacts like Cruising and The Boys in the Band, and movies where the gay guy dies (which I never see in the first place).

It's Still the 1950s
1. Get Real (1998). The only gay guy in the world (Ben Silverstone), who plasters his room with pictures of hunky footballers but still worries that his parents will "find out,"  falls for a local jock, who won't acknowledge his presence in public, continues to date girls, and beats him up to prove he is heterosexual.  But there are no other options.

2. Sordid Lives (1999).  In "modern" Texas, a drag queen named Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan) is in a mental hospital, undergoing de-homosexual therapy.  Meanwhile, a gay man (Kirk Geiger) moves from Texas to Los Angeles, where he undergoes 300 years of therapy to accept "who he is," but is still terrified that his theater-crowd friends will "find out."  Are you kidding me?  (Southern Baptist Sissies is in the same vein).

3. Cruel Intentions (1999).  Teenage brother and sister have fun destroying people's lives.  Fruity queen (Joshua Jackson, not even the most homophobic of the Jacksons) helps them blackmail his sex partner, a closeted footballer, who tries to turn hetero by throwing out his Judy Garland cds.  Excuse me?  Who researched this movie?

Gay Men Really Want Women
4. The Object of My Affection (1998).  Straight woman (Jennifer Anniston) and gay man (Paul Rudd) fall in love and begin a relationship.  Um. . .what exactly did they think the word "gay" meant?

5. The Opposite of Sex (1998). Teenage girl (Christina Ricci) shows up at her gay brother's house and seduces his lover (Ivan Sergei), who never once states that he's bisexual.  He just likes women, like all gay men.

6. Party Monster (2003).  Party boy (Macaulay Culkin) says he's gay, but he falls in love with a girl, who almost convinces him to abandon his "destructive lifestyle."  But it doesn't work, and he becomes a murderer.

Gay Men are Really Women

7. The Birdcage (1996).  It may have been ok with La Cage aux Folles in 1978, but in 1996, the sight of one effeminate stereotype (Robin Williams) teaching another (Nathan Lane) how to butter his toast "like  a man" was infuriating.

8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). East German boy (John Cameron Mitchell) falls in love with an American GI, and decides to become a woman for him.  Operation is botched, creating a transwoman with an "angry inch," who becomes a punk rocker and falls in love with a homophobic Bible-belt boy.  Same-sex desire doesn't exist; it's all male-female, regardless of the body you inhabit.

Lesbians Switch Teams a Lot
9. Chasing Amy (1997). Hetero man (Ben Affleck) falls in love with a lesbian and begins the task of converting her to heterosexuality.  Isn't that a debunked myth -- lesbians will "turn back" if they meet the right man?  It works, albeit temporarily.

10. Kissing Jessica Stein (2001).  Jessica meets a lesbian. She's astounded, utterly unaware that such things exist.  In Manhattan.  In 2001.  To be fair, she lives in a gay-free Manhattan, where people constantly make heterosexist statements ("Oh, you got flowers!  Who's the guy?").  They begin a relationship, but then Jessica switches back to heterosexual again.

Gay as Arrested Development

11. Chuck and Buck (2000).  The worst gay-themed movie since Cruising.  I'll save it for another post.

See also: 10 Gay Movies I Loved; 12 Songs I Hate; and The 39 Dumbest Things on TV
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