Feb 20, 2017

Wil Wheaton

Speaking of Stand by Me, Wil Wheaton became a popular teen star of the 1980s with several other starring roles, including Long Time Gone (1986), The Curse (1987), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1987), the beefcake-heavy Toy Soldiers (1991), and the World War II buddy-bonding December (1991),  which also starred fellow teen idols Balthazar Getty and Jason London.

But he was probably best known for his role as Wesley Crusher, ship doctor's kid and later ensign on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94).  Although Wesley was obviously brought on board to draw teens into the Star Trek sequel, many fans disliked him; Memory Alpha calls him "one of the most hated characters in sci-fi."  Detractors argued that he was a pretentious know-it-all who would just glance at a view screen and come up with the answer that stumped the experienced scientists.

Besides, he wore amazingly ugly sweaters, and he turned down the opportunity to party with three hot teens on a shore leave planet ("Justice," November 9, 1987).

After The Next Generation, Wil capitalized on the hatred of Wesley Crusher by playing a series of jerks, with little or no buddy-bonding.

A football player who covers up a date rape in The Liar's Club (1993).

A Frankenstein built out of both male and female body parts in Mr. Stitch (1995).

An obnoxious, homophobic Christian bookstore manager in Fag Hag (1996).

 He also played a gay character: Marco, a participant in an AIDS charity, in Boys Night Out (1996).

More recently, Wil has been doing voice work, in animated tv series and video games.  He's also had recurring roles on The Guild, Leverage, and Eureka, and he currently plays himself as Sheldon's arch-nemesis on The Big Bang Theory. 

He's a gay ally who has blogged his support of gay marriage.

Feb 19, 2017

Troy Hooks Up with 5 Guys in 24 Hours

Upstate, March 2011

Troy, my boyfriend in Upstate New York, was a high school French teacher and soccer coach -- rather an anomaly in a town obsessed with baseball --  25 years old, tall, slim, athletic  very handsome, except for the big black earrings and a pink triangle tattoo.

He had never been farther west than Buffalo, so in the spring of 2011, I offered to fly us to West Hollywood and San Francisco.

"That sounds cool," he said, "But you know where I'd really like to go?  Texas.  Cowboys, sage brush, cattle ranches, oil barons, all that glitz and glamour.  You know what they say: 'they grow them big in Texas."

"But...after 210 miserable days in Hell-fer-Sartain -- um, I mean Houston -- I vowed to never set foot in the state again!"

It took several conversations, but finally I agreed: three nights in Austin, Texas, a liberal, bohemian college town nowhere near Hell-fer-Sartain, and then March 15-19 in West Hollywood.

We stayed at a gay bed and breakfast on Lavaca Street, just south of the State Capitol, near the Mexi-Arte Museum, a gay bar called Rain, and a sushi restaurant.  Adequately Bohemian.  I could stand spending three nights here.

But then Troy had another surprise: "I want to drive out to Houston.  It's only 165 miles."

"What?  Why?"

"The Montrose is one of the oldest gay neighborhoods in the country.  And besides, I've heard so many stories about Hell-fer-Sartain that I want to see it for myself.  We'll drive up tomorrow, spend the night, and drive back the next day, ok?"

"No way, Jose!  You talked me into coming to Texas, but no way I'm going near that place!  I haven't been there in 25 glorious years, and I'm up for at least another 25 years without setting foot in Hell-fer-Sartain."

"Ok, ok!  But would you mind if I go myself, just for curiosity's sake?  I'll keep a complete log of what happened.  Oh -- and carte blanche for cruising?"

"Sure, whatever.  You won't find anybody in Hell-fer-Sartain, anyway.  Lord knows I tried."

So I spent all day Monday and Tuesday by myself in Austin.  Troy returned in time for dinner Tuesday night.  As promised, he kept a log.

The rest of the story, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood

The Stunt Kid

Born in 1973, Andre Gower worked steadily through the 1980s, guest starring on Night Court, Knight Rider, T. J. Hooker, and Mr. Belvedere, and starring starred in several tv series, including Mr. President (1987-88) as the son of the U.S. President (George C. Scott).  He was a recurring character on The Hogan Family.  He appeared in over 100 commercials.

Interested in stunts as well as acting, he performed a high-wire act on Circus of the Stars twice, in 1983 and 1987.

And he received incessant teen magazine attention.

But Andre's most famous role was in The Monster Squad (1987), a cult classic about a group of kid monster movie fans who encounter the real Frankenstein, Dracula, and so on.  He played the leader, Sean.  Patrick (Robby Kiger) was his best friend.  The others were Rudy (Ryan Lambert, left), a teenage hunk; Horace (Brent Chalem), a fat kid; and Eugene (Michael Faustino), a little kid.

Jason Hervey of The Wonder Yearplayed a school bully.

Not a lot of buddy-bonding, but lots of dreamy teenagers for the gay kids to gaze at.  Only five or six homophobic slurs, a welcome relief in an era where preteens and teenagers in movies couldn't go a minute without broadcasting how much they hated gay people.   No discussions of girls' breasts, no gazing in awe at a girl walking in slow motion across the schoolyard.  There aren't even any lame "aren't boys horny?" jokes when they need a virgin girl to close the portal that the monsters come through.

In 1989, Andre retired from acting to go to college -- he played basketball for the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  After graduation, he has worked as a sports writer and journalist, but he still occasionally appears in front of the camera.