Sep 7, 2018

Burt Reynolds Naked on a Bear Skin Rug

The most famous male nude photos in history:
1. Johnny Crawford's full-frontal nude shot advertising The Naked Ape (1973).
2. Burt Reynolds's nude centerfold in the April 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan

The 36-year old actor specialized in serious dramatic roles, mostly Westerns about surly, downtrodden Native Americans (Navajo Joe, 100 Rifles, Sam Whiskey).  He had just finished filming Deliverance (1972), about four big-city businesmen who go camping in rural Appalachia, and encounter slack-jawed, gap-toothed hillbilly savages.  He expected it to get him a best-actor Oscar and acclaim as a serious actor.

Then Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown approached Paul Newman about doing a nude centerfold.  He refused, so she approached Burt.

Burt lay supine on a bearskin rug in a parody of the popular baby photos, grinning mischievously, coyly hiding his sex organs.  It was not an erotic photo.

But it was groundbreaking.  Nude male photography was still in its infancy -- only a few years ago, it was judged de facto obscene.  This was the first time that any man had ever appeared nude in a mainstream publication.

It was a victory for women's liberation.  Helen Gurley Brown reminisced: "Men liked to look at women naked.  Nobody talked about it, but women liked to look at men naked."  A few months later, Douglas Lambert was inspired by the photo to launch Playgirl magazine, featuring pictures of naked men: "It came to me -- that's what women want."

Both of them were disgustingly heterosexist, trying their best to pretend that they were unaware that  some men like to look at men naked, too.   But men were watching.  Burt Reynolds became a gay icon without ever playing a gay character.

The photo made Burt a celebrity, but kept him from being taken seriously as an actor.  Deliverance was snubbed at the Oscars, and he spent the 1970s in Southern-Redneck comedies like White Lightning (1973), Hooper (1978), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)and the Smokey and the Bandit series (1977, 1980, 1983), often with his bff Bert Convy.

It has been recreated by  many other celebrities, including Neil Patrick Harris and Mario Lopez.

See also: Bert Convy: Spending the 1970s Nude

The Top 10 Beefcake Hunks of Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse in California, then Mexico, and now Texas, has been a big disappointment.  First they take the most annoying character on The Walking Dead, Morgan -- who went crazy when his wife died and now spouts pseudo-Asian pacifist wisdom -- and sends him all the way across the continent to Austin, Texas -- 1400 miles, a walk of at least a year.

There he makes three new friends, including:

1. The dimwitted gunslinger John Dorey (Hunk #1: Garret Dillahunt from Raising Hope), who provides comic relief.

2. Althea (Maggie Grace), a former journalist who is documenting the end of the world for future historians, and is probably gay.

 3. Laura, Naomi, or June, a former nurse who can't commit to a name, the love of John Dorey's life.

 After agonizing over whether to stick with them or go on his own, Morgan decides to stick with them (for now), and they end up with the Clark family from the first three seasons, who have settled with some other survivors in a former baseball stadium.

Strand,the gay character, is still around, as selfish and drunken as ever, and even doing a flirtation thing with survivor Cole (Hunk #2: Sebastian Sozzi), but...

The bad guys pick that moment to show up:

The Vultures, traveling scavengers with an endless supply of motorcycles and rvs, led by Melvin (Hunk #3: former teen idol Kevin Zegers).

Naturally, the baseball stadium is going to be destroyed, and everybody is going to die.

Everybody.  Not Strand, but Cole and all of the other stadium survivors and all of the vultures.

Madison, the star of the show since Episode 1, and Nick (Hunk #4: Frank Dillane) my all-time favorite character, who had a gay-subtext bromance with every new guy.

Morgan's new friends survive, and take the reigns as the new stars of the show.

They're scattered all over kingdom come. They spend the next few episodes looking for each other in a completely empty Texas, even though they didn't really have time to bond before everybody started dying.

Morgan falls asleep in the back of a truck in Texas and somehow wakes up in Mississippi (at least 500 miles, a long way to travel in the back of a truck without waking up).  He is at a convenience store that is still apparently running ("take what you need"), where he makes 3 more friends:

1. The wheelchair-bound scavenger Wendell (Hunk #5: Daryl Mitchell).
2. Sarah (Mo Collins), his adopted sister.

3. Jim (Hunk #6: Aaron Stanford), who was a beer-maker before the apocalypse and never stopped, certain that a safe, calorie-filled beverage will eventually be profitable.  More comic relief.

So Morgan and his second group of new friends decide to backtrack to Texas to pick up his first group of friends, and then head on to Virginia.

Where are they finding all this gas?

Meanwhile, back in Texas, June/Laura/Naomi have bonded, and are trying to be better people.  They convince Quinn (Hunk #7: Charles Harrelson) to join them, but before he can, he is murdered by the new Big Bad, the Filthy Woman.

That's as far as I've seen.  Sudden friendships, amazing cross-country treks in an endless supply of gas-filled vehicles (on The Walking Dead, they had to walk), and an annoyingly empty world.

So annoyingly empty that I have to scrounge around for the remaining hunks.

Maybe Ennis, one of the Vultures (Hunk #8: Evan Gamble)?

Unnamed stadium survivor (Hunk #9: Rob Mello)?

Whoever this guy is, who popped up when I tried to search for beefcake photos of Morgan (Lennie James)? (Hunk #10: Not Lennie James).

No bonding, no beefcake.  Just boredom.

See also: Guys Who Need to Come Out on Fear the Walking Dead.Kevin Zegers; Lucas Neff

Superboy in West Hollywood

Seems like there's always a version of the Superman mythos on tv or in the theater.

One of the more obscure was Superboy (1988-92), a syndicated reboot that was, for obvious reasons, very popular in West Hollywood.

It sends the teenage Clark Kent to Schuster University (named after his creator), where he rooms with Daily Planet editor Perry White's son T. J. (James Calvert), moons over co-ed Lana Lang (Stacey Haiduk), and butts heads with villain-to-be Lex Luther (Sherman Howard).

23-year old stage actor John Haymes Newton was not quite as muscular as other Men of Steel, but he was handsome, and he could fill out a Superman costume better.

In fact, he's probably the biggest Superman of all time.

After the first season, Newton left the series.

He spent the 1990s capitalizing on his good looks and superlative physique, sometimes in missteps, such as the self-explanatory Desert Kickboxer (1992) and the tv schlock Models Inc (1994-95), but also in some blockbuster series like Melrose Place: he played Ryan McBride, younger brother of restaurant owner Kyle McBride (Rob Estes).

And in 2004-2005, he played the gay Jonathan Lithgow on Desperate Housewives.

Meanwhile, Superboy was retooled, becoming less gimmicky, more realistic, and the Boy of Steel was recast with bodybuilder and romance novel cover model Gerard Christopher.  Not as impressive beneath the belt, but considerably more muscular.

There's a sausage sighting story about Gerard Christopher, Billy Mumy (Lost in Space), and Jon Bon Jovi on Tales of West Hollywood.

The series lasted another year before folding.

Since Superman, Christopher has done mostly soap operas.

No particular gay content in his work, but:

See also: Sausage Sighting of Bill Mumy and Jon Bon Jovi.; and My Hookup with Superman

Sep 4, 2018

Disenchanted: A Gay-Free Heroic Fantasy Spoof

I'm not very happy with Matt Groening's (or his writers') inclusion of gay characters.

 The Simpsons has a very occasional homophobic stereotype prancing about, plus Smithers (who finally came out after 17 years) and Patty (28 years). Neither have the slightest inkling of gay history and culture.

They don't even get the offensive gestures right.  Remember when BOTH Patty and Smithers flashed limp wrists to demonstrate they are gay?  Patty?  Really....

On Futurama, Groening's science fiction spoof, gay people were mentioned exactly twice, both times disparagingly, and same-sex desire was dismissed as ridiculous once.

So I didn't have high hopes for Disenchanted (2018), Groening's parody of the fairy tale genre.

In the faux Medieval kingdom of Dreamland, teenage Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson) is a drunken wastrel who rebels against the constrained princess life imagined by her father, King Zog (John DiMaggio).  Her partners in crime are:

1. The demon Lucie (Eric Andre, left).

2.  The naive, goodnatured elf Elfo (Nat Faxon, top photo and left).  I'm not sure, but think this is a photo of Faxon's character having sex with a guy (notice the bald spot on top).

Nice triceps, Nat.

Together Bean, Lucie, and Elfo have a sort of Leela-Fry-Bender dynamic.  Elfo even has a partially requited crush on Bean.

Other characters include:
1. King Zog, a brash, easily perturbed Archie Bunker type.
2. His second wife, Queen Oona, a snakelike creature who speaks with an Eastern European accent.
3. His sorcerer, Sorcerio (Billy West), who believes that elf blood holds the secret to immortality.

Various courtesans, advisors, and knights that it's hard to keep track of.

The society is sort of fun, a juxtaposition of magical-realm and the horrors of real Medieval life.

I like the fact that their religion isn't Christianity.  They worship the "one god who is the brother to the other one god," and there's a female high priestess.

The plotlines are rather predictable:  Bean rebels against an arranged marriage; Bean tries out a number of new jobs, including executioner; Lucie is captured by an exorcist; Elfo makes up a girlfriend to avoid admitting that he likes Bean.

I liked the episode where the witch from "Hansel and Gretel" turns out to be innocent, the victim of the murderous children.

But there are overarching plots inside of plots.  Elfo is not what he seems.  Bean's mother, who was turned to stone 15 years ago, is not what she seems, either.  Nor is Bean.  And some dark wizards are watching the activity in a magic flame and commenting on how well their plan is progressing.  It becomes quite complex, not to mention surprisingly dark, and ends on several cliffhangers.

The artwork is competent, the visual tropes pleasantly familiar from 30 years of Springfield, and there is a quite a lot of beefcake.  Even the portly King Zog was a muscular warrior, as shown in a flashback to his youth.

Gay references:  Not many.  When Bean decides to cozy up to invading Vikings, she says "I'm changing teams," and Lucie yells "Called it!"  He thinks that "changing teams" means turning lesbian.

You'd think a demon would know that you can't turn lesbian.

Generally in fantasy stories, when you encounter sirens, female creatures whose beautiful songs lure you to your death, only the men have to stop up their ears.  Women are immune.  But when Bean and the gang encounter them, Bean has to stop up her ears, too.  Nice for the myth to be somewhat less heterosexist.

And that's it.

Gay characters: Sorcerio refers to another guy as his ex-lover.  So he's gay.  I suppose.  But when they encounter a hippogriff, a horse-eagle-human hybrid that claims to be female but asserts that "gender is fluid," Sorcerio offers to have sex with it.

And that's it.

The Nice Guys: Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, and Heterosexism

I was not in a good mood yesterday.  Two books arrived from Amazon.

1. The Strange Library, by Haruki Murakami.  "A charming, surreal story."  "It had me enthralled."  "A wry metaphysical play."

It's  a 5000 word novella about a little boy held prisoner by an old man who intends to eat his brains.

And a beautiful girl.  Who kisses him. And helps him escape.

Same-sex relations are always destructive, heterosexual romance is salvation, got it.

2. A Brief History of Manga.   A tiny book, about 1/10th the size I expected, with a few words of text and a lot of photos on each page.  Altogether maybe 5,000 words.

And the photos:  naked women.  Bare breasts on nearly every page.  Leafing through it, I felt like I needed a shower.

I threw them both in the trash.

And a Netflix movie arrived in its red package:

3. The Nice Guys (2016) starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, a "stylish neo-noir mystery set in 1970s Los Angeles."  I like the 1970s, and I used to think Ryan Gosling was hot, so ok, let's give it a look.

A teenage boy named Bobby (Ty Simpkins) steals his parents' porn magazine in order to masturbate to photos of porn star Misty Mountains.  Suddenly a car crashes all the way through his house. He runs out to see the porn star in the flesh, dying.  Naked.  Bare boobs.   We never see Bobby again.

Meanwhile, failed cop-turned-private dick Holland March (Ryan Gosling) -- is that the name of a gay villain out of a 1960s thriller, or what?  -  is hired by Misty's aunt, who swears that she's still alive.  He begins searching.  One of his leads is a girl named Amelia.

Meanwhile hired muscle Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) beats up a guy who has been having an affair with a little girl.   Then another little girl, who I thought was the same one but turns out to be Amelia, hires him to beat up a guy who is stalking her.  Guess what?  It turns out to be Holland March!

Later on Healy is interrogated by two thugs (Beau Knapp, Keith David), who demand to know the whereabouts of Amelia. 

Healy approaches March, the guy he just beat up, and suggests that they work together to try to find Misty.

Wait -- what about Amelia?

Did I mention that they meet at Holland's daughter's birthday party?  13-year old girls everywhere, piling around, eating, bowling, grabbing at Holland to take photographs.

I'm getting weirded out.  What's with the young girls in every scene?

Holland and March go to a protest held by Misty or Amelia's anti-smog activist group, and convince a guy named Chet (Jack Kilmer, left, with boyfriend Dylan Sprouse) to take them to Misty or Amelia's boyfriend's house.

It's burnt out, so they convince a little boy on a bike (Lance Valentine Butler) to take them to see...I don't remember what.  I got distracted when the little boy offered to show them his dick for $20.

Out of nowhere.

That's even worse than the screensful of 13-year old girls.  I like looking at dicks, but...WTF?

Is it supposed to represent the decadence of 1970s L.A.?

Turns out that Amelia/Misty and Dean were making a half-porno, half-air pollution documentary financed by Sid Shattuck.

Meanwhile, Holland's daughter Holly (that's right, Holly Holland) starts investigating on her own, and gets into trouble with...

That was enough.  I went to bed, leaving Bob up to watch the rest, and Wikipedia to summarize the plot:  There's a big porno racket going on, and Amelia, as the daughter of a high-ranking government official, was threatening to blow the whistle on it, so Shattuck has hired a hit man (Matt Bomer) to kill her.  Detroit car companies are involved, and Chet plays some role.  I don't know what Misty's mountains had to do with it.

To the film's credit, neither Healy nor Holland get girlfriends.  I'm not even sure if they display any heterosexual interest.  They walk off into the sunset together, one of the main criteria of a gay subtext.

 But you have to wade through a lot of scenes involving little girls to get there.

See also: Michael in the Boys' Room with Cole or Dylan Sprouse; Beefcake and Heterosexism in my Netflix Recommendations

Sep 3, 2018

The Slut Shaming of Geoffrey Owens

I don't actually watch Trump, I mean Fox News, but this story has been all over the internet:  a "human interest story" doing the male equivalent of slut shaming: fat shaming and bad job shaming.

Geoffrey Owens, the extremely hot actor who played Elvin on The Cosby Show, was allegedly spotted by a shopper named Karma Lawrence bagging groceries at Trader Joe's, and instead of asking for his autograph, she snapped his picture and called Fox news.  "It was a shock to see him working there and looking the way he did," she said.  "It made me feel really bad. I was like, 'Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier."

Wow, indeed.

Bad job shaming:  you should feel bad for taking a job in a grocery store.  It's beneath you.  It's unmanly.

Plus fat shaming:  "Looking the way he did."

Um...lots of actors take other jobs to make ends meet.  It goes with the territory. Nothing to be ashamed of.

And gaining a few extra pounds is rather common for guys in their 50s.  Your metabolism slows down as you age.

Wait a few years.  You'll find out.

But being chubby does not diminish your attractiveness.  I wouldn't say no to a dinner-movie date with this guy.

Or a hookup request.

Geoffrey Owens has been working constantly, on screen and stage, in some rather prestigious productions, like Wilde Salome and Romeo and Juliet.   He also works at Trader Joe's occasionally. What's the problem?

And I still want to see him naked.

Here's another Geoffrey Owens.  I want to see him naked, too.

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