Dec 22, 2018

A Remedy for Twinks

I've been doing a lot of twink-style beefcake lately.  Time to get back to macho men with muscles and chest hair.

This wrestler has a singlet with an eagle logo and "Jacob Curby, 1984-2010."  I can't read the line in cursive below it, but it probably says something like "Rest in peace."  So I wanted to find out who this Jacob Curby was, and why this wrestler memorialized him.  His big brother, perhaps?

Jacob Curby's obituary was easy to find: He was from LaGrange Highlands, Illinois, and he had two siblings, Nicholas and Courtney Curby.

He graduated from L.H.S. in 2002, and studied at the United States Olympic Education Training Center in Marquette, Wisconsin.  He was a member of the U.S. Graeco-Roman Wrestling Team.

After receiving his B.S. from Northern Michigan University, he moved to Boise, Idaho, to train for the 2012 Olympics.  But died unexpectedly one day, while taking a nap after a practice.

He suffered from cancer as a child, so memorials were requested to go to U.S.A.Wrestling or to Loyola University Pediatric Oncology Research.

More details: Jacob's family sponsored the  Jacob Curby Foundation, which offered the Curby Cup to American and Iranian wrestling teams every year from 2010 to 2015.

I don't know why American and Iranian in particular, but the 2015 winner was Bashir Babjanzadeh, who also competed in the 2016 Olympics.  He was suspended from competition for four years for doping (misusing steroids).

So who is wearing the memorial singlet?  I tried  Jacob's brother, Nicholas, the fiancee's brothers, and wrestlers at his old high school. No dice.

A reverse image search on google revealed "Beefy Men," "Muscular Wrestling Hunk," and various other photo names.

Then I found an exact duplicate: "Ben Proviser vs. Manuchar Kvirkelia, 2012 Curby Cup.  The memorializing wrestler must be one of those two.

Manuchar Kvirkelia, from Tbilisi, Georgia, won a gold medal in the 2008 summer Olympics.

Ben Proviser, from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

The memorializing wrestler doesn't really look like either of them, but things change in 6 years.  It's probably Ben.

Here's Philippe Doux LaPlace, just because he's bulging and has chest hair.

And someone whose name I don't know, just because he's bulging.

Tired of muscle men yet?

The Protector: Turkish Superhero TV

The new Netflix series The Protector (2018-) is set in Istanbul, which is sort of interesting, but not very.  This is an Istanbul with no sign of Islam anywhere, which is almost as annoying as the standard gay-free San Francisco of American tv.

It's filmed in Turkish but dubbed in English, specifically an annoying colloquial "hey, dude, whazzup?" American.  Netflix uses subtitles for Basque, Catalan, and Hebrew.  Why Turkish?

I like Cagatay Ulusoy, but I do not like his character, Hasan, at all.  He's an annoyingly chipper post-teen operator with Big Dreams.

He and his buddy Memo (Cankat Aydos) hope to get the contract for renovating Hagia Sofia, the former Greek Orthodox Cathedral that is the most famous landmark in Turkey. 

Fat chance.   Turns out that rival contractor Faysal Erdem (Okan Yalabik) is killing off the competiton. 

Hasan keeps butting heads with his traditional father, who owns an antique shop: "We've got to be modern!"  I've only seen this a thousand times before.

And he's a stereotyped 1970s horndog, double-taking and jaw-dropping at ladies every five seconds, and getting cruised constantly with the absurd intensity of a shaving cream commercial, where the guy has to fight off armies of women driven to a sexual frenzy by the sight of his clean-shaven face.

But on to the plot:Hassan finds an ancient talismanic t-shirt which names him the Protector, a superhero destined to protect the world from the evil Immortal.  En route he has to find several more emblems of power.  He is assisted by a pharmacist named Kemal (Yurdaer Okur), the standard hero's mentor (think Mr. Miyagi and Yoda) and his daughter Zaynib.

Meanwhile the mysterious Leyla, who works for Erdem, joins the team, and...well, I don't need to finish that sentence, do I?

I don't expect any gay characters in a tv series filmed in the Middle East, but there isn't really much buddy-bonding, either.  Other than Memo, who is killed early on, Hasan's associates are all women or elderly men. 

Beefcake is also rather limited.  Hasan takes his shirt off a lot, to show the talisman burned into his chest, but the characters are usually shown in business suits.

I suggest skipping the stream and going for a pin-up of  Cagatay Ulusoy and a Google Earth tour of Hagia Sofia.

Dec 21, 2018

12 Hunks of "12 Monkeys"

12 Monkeys (1995) was a turgid, incomprehensible mess starring Bruce Willis as a depressed guy traveling through time to prevent an apocalypse.  Toned down and made a bit less depressing, it became a Sci-Fi Channel tv series in 2015. 

Rogue scientists Mulder and, I mean Cole and Cassandra (Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull) travel back from the post-apocalyptic future to our era to stop the Army of the 12 Monkeys from initiating the apocalypse.

Wait -- didn't we just see that plot on American Horror Story?  And Terminator?

Their quest takes them to the 1980s, the 1940s, back to 2043, to the 1920s, to the Middle Ages.  They try to assassinate their younger selves; their younger selves try to assassinate them.  They fall in love in record time (no Sam and Diane "will they or won't they?" or these two!), but their timeline is dissolved, and they have to fall in love all over again.

There's lots of other heterosexualizing, and no gay characters, except the Season 1 Big Bad, a stereotyped gay villain with a husband and everything.

Even the beefcake is second rate.

1. Aaron Stanford plays Cole with a slezoid style.

2. Ramse (Kirk Acevedo, right), Cole's heterosexual buddy who turns traitor, naturally. Was there ever a heterosexual buddy who didn't?

3. Aaron (Noah Bean), Cassie's ex.  Sorry, I couldn't find any photos of him where he wasn't attached to a woman.  We get it: Mr. Bean likes ladies, and he wants the world to know.

4. Deacon (Todd Stashwick, left), the Big Bad of Season 2, who dates Cassie while she and Cole are on a break.

5. Dr. Julian Adler (Andrew Giles), the head of the time travel project.  Think Rupert from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

6.  Whitley (Demore Barnes).  Out of 100 characters, you need at least one black guy.  He's a soldier in the future, straight outta Compton, but if Demore Barnes doesn't mind the stereotyping, why should we?

7.You need at least one guy with chest hair, too.

 Robert Gale (Jay Karnes), an FBI Agent in the 1940s sequence who suspects that Cole is a time traveler.

8. Oliver (Ramon De Ocampo), the Season 1 Big Bad with a husband.  De Ocampo is straight in real life, but he's played gay characters before.  Well, not gay villains, but if he doesn't mind the stereotyping, why should we?

9. Mallick (Faran Tahir), an evil terrorist.  If Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir doesn't mind the stereotyping, why should we?

10. Athan (James Callis), Cole and Cassie's son (see the resemblance?),  who was raised by the Army of the 12 Monkeys to be their prophet, called the Witness.  He lives with Sebastian.

Another gay Big Bad?  I don't know: I didn't get that far.

11. Sebastian (Dylan Colton)

12.The Witness (Andrew Lichte-Lee).  Wait -- I thought Athan was the Witness.  Maybe there are two of them, or maybe he splits in half, or...who knows?  Let's just concentrate on Andrew Lichti-Lee, a model, actor, and tech nerd with 1,500 followers on instagram.

Dec 19, 2018

Laying it Bare in Key West

This is an interesting post from 2012, one of the first I posted to this blog.  What's interesting are the comments.  Back then I was much more forgiving of comments like "He can't be gay!  He's not wearing a sign!"  and "He can't be gay!  He's only 12."

The implications, of course, are odious:  everyone must be taken as heterosexual unless the authors explicitly that they are gay. 

There are no gay children; we are all straight until we decide to "turn gay" sometime in adulthood.

Today I would just delete them automatically, but back in 2012, a newbie, I let them stand.

So here's the post:

I have 3 questions about CrissCross (1992), the downbeat but very brightly-lit movie starring David Arnott as a 12-year old boy whose mom works as a topless dancer.  And that's the least of his problems.  His biggest: his name is actually Criss Cross.

1. Who decided to cast decidedly homophobic Goldie Hawn as the mother of a gay kid?

Ok, maybe the producers weren't expecting a gay reading.  But it's hard to miss: as Criss (David Arnott) rides his bike down the mean streets of Key West, searching for a way to make money so Mom won't have to strip anymore (he hits on a plan to steal drugs being smuggled in on a fishing boat, with tragic results), he tries again and again to establish a same-sex bond.

First a male peer, Buggs (Damian Vantriglia); then the grizzled Emmett (James Gammon), who advises him that "The only thing worse than being lonely with yourself is being lonely with someone."

If you're trying to make gay mecca Key West gay-free, shouldn't you patrol for same-sex friendships, and give the kid a girlfriend (he does have a girl who's a friend)?

2.  Why the nudity?

I know it's hot in Florida,  and it's nice that all the male actors are barechested all the time.  It's understandable, I guess, that the kid rides around shirtless, in Daisy Duke short-shorts. But why the nude butt, when the movie is R-rated, so gay kids can't even get in to see it?

50 years ago, preteens were commonly filmed nude in movies to signify their innocence.  But this kid is anything but innocent.

3. What happened to David Arnott?

He gives a good, understated performance, reminiscent of Chris Makepeace in Meatballs (although that's a completely different genre).  He handles the gay-vague subtext with panache.  One one expects him to have a long career as a serious actor, or at least some ecstatic "fave rave" articles in Tiger Beat.  But this was his first movie -- he beat out 3,000 hopefuls in open auditions -- and his last.  Maybe he didn't like acting.

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