May 20, 2017

Beefcake and Gay Characters in "Dear White People"

Dear White People (2014) was a comedy-drama about black students at an elite Ivy League school facing microaggressions, institutional racism, and "There's no racism here!"  Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) broadcasts a Dear White People program, which is lambasted for "reverse racism" by Kurt (Kyle Gallner), the president's son and head of the most prestigious fraternity on campus. In retaliation, Kurt hosts a Halloween party where the guests dress as black stereotypes.

The comedy-drama tv series Dear White People (2017), currently airing on Netflix, deals with the aftermath of the party.  There's an ongoing plot arc, but every episode centers on a different character.

Troy (Brandon P. Bell, left) finds his chances for becoming student body president jeopardized when Kurt films evidence of his affair with African-American Studies professor Neika.

Sam (Logan Browning) is incensed when her white boyfriend Gabe (John Patrick Amedori) reveals their relationship on Instagram.

Lionel (DeRon Horton), a nerdy journalism student, comes out and negotiates a crush on his roommate, Troy, and the unrequited attraction of fruity newspaper editor Silvio (D. J. Blickenstaff).

At a party, Reggie (Marque Richardson) is held at gunpoint by a police officer for being black.

The gay content is not done very well: there are two bisexual characters, both horndogs who grab at everything in sight, and three gay characters, Lionel and two flamboyant stereotypes.

And I'm not sure about Troy -- is the guy stupid, or deliberately leading Lionel on with statements like "I need something, and you're the only one who can give it to me" and "I want you to do something for me in the bathroom."

But tv series most often present the myth that racism doesn't exist, or exists only among alt-right bigots, so it's interesting to see institutional racism being played out.

And there's a tremendous amount of beefcake.

Kurt (Wyatt Nash), who happens to be Troy's childhood best friend.

Al (Jemar Michael, who posted this underwear pic in real life.  Interesting that his right nipple sits below his pec).

Kordell (Brandon Black)

See also: The Top 10 Hunks of Dear White People

May 19, 2017

You Can't Do That on Television

In 1981, the new children's network Nickelodeon was filling space with anything it could find, from 1930s-era Warner Brothers cartoons to the teen soap Degrassi Junior High to the old British series Danger Mouse.  One of its happier acquisitions was You Can't Do That on Television (YCDTOT), a sketch comedy series which premiered in 1979 in Canada.  It lasted until 1990, bringing on an endless array of kids (over 100 in all) to mock the conventions, fears, and idiocies of the preteen world.

Everything from the standard (tedious homework, nonsensical school rules, horrible cafeteria food) to the edgy (racism, gender roles, divorce).

And a lot for gay boys to like.

1. The boys in the cast appeared shirtless or in their underwear constantly, in nearly every episode.  Gay preteens must have been mesmerized.

Unfortunately, cast members usually retired when they hit adolescence, but there were a few exceptions to provide beefcake for the teenagers, such as Alasdair Gillis (above and left).

And Kevin Kubusheski.

2.  Two ongoing bits reflected gay kids' anxiety over desires that the adults insisted could not and did not exist.  In one, a boy is about to be executed by firing squad, yells "Stop the execution," and cleverly talks his way out of it.  In another, a boy is in a dungeon, hands manacled over his head, being interrogated and tortured (usually by being slobbered on).

3. Gender stereotypes were frequently critiqued.  Boys dressed as ballerinas, played with dolls, disliked sports, and were bad at math. Girls worked on cars and wore leather jackets.

4. Although gay people were never mentioned, the critique of the most cherished myths and preconceptions of childhood helped gay kids recognize that the myth of universal heterosexual desire could be critiqued as well.

The Beefcake Bonanza of Hula Boy Memorabilia

The hula is a traditional Hawaiian interpretive dance accompanied by music.  Although practiced for hundreds of years, it did not become widely known outside Hawaii until the Tiki Craze of the mid-20th century brought various aspects of Polynesian culture to restaurants, bars, and game rooms across the U.S.

Men and women both performed, and not in grass skirts -- women wore pa'us, and men malo loincloths.

You can find a lot of hula boy memorabilia in antique shops and on ebay.  You may have to buy boy and girl figurines and throw out the girl, or endure the sappy heterosexist "He's looking for a hula girl," but you can get some nice retro Hawaiian beefcake.

A very muscular figure in a beige grass skirt.

Car bobbler with the same face as the above figure, but different hair.  A skirt of real fibers and a ukelele.

A rare ceramic figure from the 1950s.  Not exactly hula, but he has a ukelele and a flower lei.

This hot cartoonish Hawaiian guy is decked out like Father Christmas.  He's actually on wall paper; his "hula girl" is on the next panel.

More after the break.

The Boy Meets He-She

Boy Comics, aka Boy Illustories, was a Golden Age comic book (1942-1956) with a revolving cast of boy heroes: a boxer, a pilot, a Tarzan clone.

But the star was Crime Buster, aka Chuck Chandler, a muscular teenager who pulled his underwear over his school hockey uniform, added a blue cape and a monkey sidekick, and set out to foil super-villains, notably the Nazi Iron Jaw.

After the war he dumped the cape and white shorts and wore a standard hockey shirt and blue pants.  He started having high school adventures involving bullying, sports, and stealing test answers from the deans' office.

But he kept the monkey sidekick.

His oddest nemesis was "He She," who appeared in Boy Comics 9 (1943): not a transgender person, but a "half man, half woman," actually male on one side, female on the other. "The deadliest of the species is the female!  The strongest of the species is the male!"

He-She marries a woman for her money (I'm not sure how the courtship worked), and when she discovers he-she's secret, kills her -- and escapes easily just by changing his profile.

The confused Crimebuster then says "Pardon me, Ma'am, did a villain just run past here?"


May 18, 2017

Fabian Forte at the Beach

Born in 1943, Fabian (he didn't need a last name) was a superstar by age 16.  He was a competent singer, but in a market flooded by teen singers, it was his curly hair, heavy-lidded gaze, and buffed physique that sold his records.  He practically created the teen magazine market, with beefcake pinups boosting the sales of Teen Magazine, Teen Live, Teen Illustrated, and many others.  He even got his own magazine, Fabian: Boy of Mystery.  

After his film debut in Hound Dog Man (1959), buddy bonding with Stuart Whitman, Fabian played androgynous, gay-vague, girl-crazy teens against any number of men's men: Robert Mitchum, Bing Crosby, Stewart Granger, John Wayne.

Surrounding a fey teen idol with all that brawn created a problem: the boy simply did not seem straight, in spite of his girl-ogling, especially when he sang.  So, when Henry Koester directed Fabian, he simply gave up.  

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) has Fabian on stage for about five minutes, long enough to dance with Jimmy Stewart's daughter and sing "Cream Puff."

He gets slightly more screen time in Dear Brigitte (1965), but no songs, and though he buddies around with Jimmy Stewart's next daughter, he is never identified as her boyfriend and never gets physical with her.  Instead, his part of the plot involves exploiting math prodigy Erasmus Leaf (Billy Mumy) for capitalist gain.

Ride the Wild Surf (1964) capitalizes on the star's androgyny.  College student Jody (Fabian) hits Hawaii's North Shore with his buddies Steamer (Tab Hunter) and Chase (Peter Brown), to surf amid crowds of male surfers and spectators (only a few girls). Surfing becomes intensely homoerotic spectacle: they stand, their power distilled into a sharp thrust of surfboard, and explode toward the shore, all bronze chests and thick biceps, war-whooping a triumph over the elements that has nothing to do with heterosexist civilization.

Should Jody stay in Hawaii forever, luxuriating in the male beauty, living as a beach bum, or get a girl, go back to college, and settle for the staid heterosexist future of wife, kids, job, and house?  You know how it will end -- he picks the girl. Yet there is no fade out boy-girl kiss: Jody wins a surfing contest and is enveloped by his jubilant buddies, all hugging and hollering, a solid mass of men as the camera pans out to a wide-angle shot of surf and sky.

Fabian continued to act through the 1960s and 1970s, starring in Fireball 500  and Thunder Alley with Frankie Avalon, in an adaption of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, in a cautionary tale about the dangers of marijuana.  And he continued to display his physique, including nude shots in Playgirl.  

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

Today he is still performing, based out of Branson, Missouri.

May 16, 2017

The Beefcake Bonanza of Surfing Ads, Logos, Decals, and Miscellanea

If you're a collector of beefcake art, check out surfing miscellanea: decals, logos, posters, and ads, meant to be thrown away after use, and so quite rare today.  You can get some surfing history and culture along with the muscular guys.

This is a parking sticker attesting membership in the San Onofre Surfing Club.  (San Onofre is a state park about 80 miles south of West Hollywood.)

Distressed wooden surfboards frame the decal for the North Shore Longboard Club in Oahu, Hawaii.

A wooden plaque advertising the North Shore of Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach, south of Honolulu, where the Hawaiian royalty surfed on longboards.  This plaque shows three hot guys and a surfing dog wearing a lei.

La Côte des Basques is a beach in Biarritz, in the Basque country of southern France.  La Côte Basque was a famous restaurant in New York City.

More after the break.

May 14, 2017

John Manning and His Beefcake Brothers

Born 1936 in Portland, Oregon, John Manning moved to Los Angeles during his teens and began putting his physique and penis to work.  He was photographed by most of the gay physique photographers of the era, including Bruce of Los Angeles, Pat Milo, Dave Martin, and Lyle Frisby.

But his favorite photographer was Bob Mizner of the Athletic Model Guild.  He appeared in many issues of Physique Pictorial from 1955 to 1968.

  Sometimes he capitalized on his half-Sioux, half-Irish heritage by appearing in an Indian headdress.

I have found only a few more details about John Manning.  Some may be apocryphal:

1. He was a paratrooper in the army.

2. He enjoyed judo, karate, and boxing.

3. He could lift the front end of a jeep.

4. He "had never been beaten in arm wrestling."

5. There is  a John Manning of the right age living in Portland today..  He's a retired botanist.

John's younger brothers, Jim and Joe, also appeared in a few issues of Physique Pictorial.  

The three brothers appeared together in two AMG films 

1. The Pharaoh's New Slave (1958).

2. The Experimental Model (1964).

I have found even fewer details about the lives of the brothers, except fo a tantalizing hint: They starred in The Experimental Model "during one of those rare times when they are all out of jail at the same time."

Nude photos of John and at least one brother are on Tales of West Hollywood.

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