Sep 2, 2017
Arabian Nights on Stage: Bare Chests and Turbans
1. Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves
2. Es-Sindbad the Sailor
3. The Little Beggar
4. How Abu Hassan Broke Wind
5. The Wife Who Wouldn't Eat
6. The Envious Sisters
I hadn't heard of 4-6 either. I suspect that they were put in place to give female performers something to do in the male-heavy traditional opus.
And there have been many other more local adaptions, thrusting lots of guys into turban and golden robes, or tunics with no shirt beneath, or topless, their chests and biceps golden in the stage light.
Brad Ogden performed as Shahrayar at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
More after the break.
Sep 1, 2017
"The Arabian Nights" Beefcake Fantasies
The Arabian Nights, aka The Thousand and One Nights, is an Arabic story collection from the Middle Ages, first translated into a European language in the 18th century.
It contains some classic tales that have become as essential to Western culture as Ulysses, the Trojan War, and Daniel in the Lion's Den: Aladdin's Lamp, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves; the Voyages of Sinbad?
So how about some paintings of a nude Aladdin or a muscular Sinbad?
I looked. I didn't find much.
An Arabian Nights Fantasy by contemporary artist Nona Hytinnen
Marc Chagall, an illustration from a 1948 Arabian Nights book. That's the story of "Abdullah the Fisherman," who catches a male mermaid.
Maxfield Parrish, the great 19th century illustrator, gives us a little beefcake with this dozing giant.
And the Classics Illustrated comic book version has a genie in a loincloth, although a bit too feminine for my tastes.
And that's it, unless ycu count fan pics of Disney's Aladdin (like this one from Nippy13 on deviantart.com).
I don't know why The Arabian Nights seems to have inspired very few male nudes.
Oh, well, back to real-life Arab men.
Aug 31, 2017
You'd Be Perfect for My Grandson: Inner Sanctum
Inner Sanctum (1948) is a thriller about an ordinary man, Harold Dunlap (Charles Russell), who accidentally kills his fiancee during an argument at a train station, then goes on the lam in a small town. He ends up at a boarding house run by the elderly Thelma Mitchell (Nana Bryant) and occupied by the usual colorful small-town characters: a drunk, a failed doctor, a busybody, a sultry seductress -- and Thelma's daughter and grandson. Mike (Dale Belding) is a teenager who desperately wants to escape his small town hell -- and looks heavily embarrassed at being forced to wear a little kid's whirly-top beanie.
But she relents and permits a second rollaway bed to be installed.
I can't think of a good "real" explanation for Thelma's giddy match-making. A masculine role model?
Once they are in the bedroom, Harold undresses, giving us chest and basket shots unusual in film noir. Mike stares wide-eyed.
Ok, maybe Mike saw the accident earlier, and he wants to examine Harold's muscles to see if there's a telltale scar. But it looks very much like a gay teenager negotiating a crush on an older man.
Harold realizes that Mike knows too much, and decides to kill him. As they struggle, the tenants downstairs hear curious bumping noises from the bedroom, and wonder what's going on. "Oh, I'm sure they're all right," Thelma says with her knowing grin.
I have no "real" explanation for what she thinks is going on.
The movie ends with Mike saved and Harold turning himself in, and viewers scratching their heads, asking "Was it possible for anyone to be so completely unaware, even in 1948?"
Maybe not. There's not much information on Charles Russell or Dale Belding, but Nana Bryant, a seasoned theatrical actress, was certainly aware of the existence of gay people, and director Lew Landers often made movies with homoerotic subtexts.
You can watch the entire movie on youtube.
Aug 28, 2017
Fons Ianelli: Photographer of World War II Beefcake
I don't know if it's Ianelli or Iannelli -- it's spelled both ways in books and on websites.
During World War II, Fons worked for the Navy Aviation Photography Unit during World War II, charged with photographing the daily lives of the sailors.
Mostly he photographed strikingly beautiful men, often half-naked.
After the war, he continued to photograph everyday life, especially places where the American Dream of endless prosperity had fallen short, such as a well-received study of Kentucky coal miners. He still managed to find strikingly beautiful men.
He also did physique photography, such as a series about bodybuilder John Grimek. It was a private session, never published.
Yes, Grimek was nude.
Fons worked on cinema verite in the 1950s, filming Emergency Ward and The Young Fighter, about a boxer who has decided to give up the ring.
He was a renowned photojournalist, with stories in McCall’s, Life, Fortune, Collier’s, and The Saturday Evening Post.
I don't know if he was gay or not, but according to his obituary, he was survived by a son.
Aug 27, 2017
Josh Zuckerman: No Gay Men Exist
So Nick and his mischievous 14-year old nephew Danny (Josh Zuckerman) must deliver all of the presents and subdue the gangsters.
1930s Adventure Boy and adult companion.
So far, so good. But that same year, Josh starred in "Four Eyes," an episode of Nightmare Room about a boy who discovers that alien monsters are trying to take over the world, and rushes to save his girlfriend.
Then he landed a star vehicle, I was a Teenage Faust (2002), about a 15-year old boy (Josh) who sells his soul to the devil in order to win The Girl of His Dreams. Heterosexist tripe.
But the sex comedy Sex Drive (2008) is all shot through with homophobia and gay stereotypes. It's got Seth Green in it, so you know there's going to be trouble. Ian (Josh) goes on a road trip in search of the Girl of His Dreams, Ms. Tasty (her stage name), who lives in Chattanooga. He borrows the car from his "fag" and "homo"-spouting brother Rex (James Marsden): "All guys have fantasies about guys, but this is America!"
When he gets to Chattanooga, Rex appears and refuses to let him seal the deal, so he pretends to be gay so Rex will relent -- maybe having sex with a girl will "change him back." In the end, Ian marries The Girl, and Rex is revealed to be gay (but he doesn't get a boyfriend). There's also a subplot about the Amish.
At least there's plenty of nudity.
"Every man's dream becomes every man's nightmare when a recently-single 20-something picks up three cam girls in a bar and welcomes them into his home."
EVERY man's dream? Are we still so utterly, utterly certain that there is not a single gay man alive anywhere on the face of the Earth?
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