Oct 10, 2015

Every Man's Fantasy

Entertainment journalists like to pretend that no gay people exist, usually with the rhetoric of "everybody's fantasy," that this or that male actor draws the interest of every woman in the world, or female actress draws the attention of every man in the world.  Sometimes with "fade out kiss," the presumption that every story contains a boy and a girl.  Just pick up any issue of People, Entertainment Weekly, and TV Guide.  An issue of TV Guide picked up at random reveals:

An episode of the sitcom Just Shoot Me is about a straight guy who is mistakenly identified as gay.  So obviously the cast is aware that gay people exist.  Nevertheless, guest star Pamela Anderson proclaims, "I'm every man's fantasy!"  Every man fantasizes about her, therefore every man is heterosexual.

Eric Mabius may have won accolades as the metrosexual fashion magazine editor on Ugly Betty, but “discerning women have been swooning over him since he made his feature-film debut.”  All women, no men.

When John Stamos, former Full House heartthrob, joins the cast of the medical series ER, he was displayed naked in every episode. TV Guide got the words right: he was “soaking up new viewers for the show,” not “new female viewers.”  But this inclusivity was buried amid endless speculation about what ladies on the show the hunky doctor might be hooking up with next, not to mention four photos of male-female characters being in love.

Then there's the full-page ad on the back cover.  It tells us of Chris, a man who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes.  He checks his blood sugar frequently. His reason for wanting to live a long time: “Maya, my 4 ½ year old daughter.  I will dance at her wedding.”

This was before the U.S. Supreme Court validated same-sex marriage.  Chris undoubtedly means a heterosexual wedding.

But how can he be so sure that Maya is heterosexual?  She is not even in kindergarten, so surely she has not expressed any desire, she has engaged in no sexual practices, and she has not fallen in love with anyone.

Yet Chris can be certain, because he knows that no gay people exist.  He will therefore raise Maya to believe that she is heterosexual, and more, to accept heterosexual desire, practice, and romance as ordinary, as everyday.   She will learn about same-sex desire, practice, and romance much later, if at all, as something bizarre and unknowable, something that intrudes upon her from outside.  If she happens to be a lesbian, she will feel herself bizarre and unknowable, an intrusion into the real world, the only true world, where all fathers dance at their daughters’ weddings.

See also: Gay People Absolutely Do Not Exist.

Oct 9, 2015

The Hookup of the Magi

When the three guys sharing a house are all actively dating and hooking up, you never know who is going to be at the breakfast table in the morning, or wandering around at 2:00 am looking for the bathroom.

Maybe someone you like better than the guy in your bed.

But the Gay Code strictly forbade "stealing" a friend or roommate's date.  You might ask to "share," but otherwise it was strictly hands off until they broke up, and then only with their permission.

Until that night in December 2004.  I always get depressed at Christmastime anyway, and I had just gotten dumped, so I was even more depressed.

"Come out to the Club with me," Yuri said.  "You will feel better when the hot guys start cruising you."

"I'm not in the mood for hot guys, sorry.  I just want to watch tv and go to bed early."

I actually put on my bathrobe and sat down to watch tv, but after awhile, I said, "Yuri is right.  I'm going to a club."  I walked over to the Filling Station, and soon got cruised by Tye.  Not really my type: a little too tall and pale, in his 30s but going bald on top.  But he kept going on about how hot I was, and when I groped him, I felt a substantial Bratwurst+, so when he invited me to get coffee, I accepted.

The rest of the story, with the uncensored photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood

My Hookup with an Eskimo

Yuri bringing a guy home for me was not unprecedented.  In West Hollywood in the 1990s, Lane and I used to cruise separately.  He went to the Faultline, and I went to Mugi.

We arranged to meet up at 11:00 pm.  If one of us struck out, the other would "share" his hookup.  If we both met someone, we played mix-and-match in the bedroom.

Since the Faultline was for older guys, bears and daddies, and Mugi specialized in Asian twinks, it made for some diverse evenings.

One night I struck out at Mugi, but when I got home, Lane was sitting on the couch with an Asian guy.  At least I thought he was Asian.  Short, bronze skin, round face, military hair cut, shirtless, wearing a leather vest and nipple rings.

"This is Arnie," Lane said. "He's up for sharing."

"Boomer.  Pleased to meet you."  I took my place on the couch next to him.

"My legal name is Joseph, but when I came out, I took the name Arnie, short for Arnauyq,  It means 'gay,' in my language, or really 'man who imitates woman.'"

"What language?"

"Inupiaq.  What you call Eskimo."

The rest of the story, and the uncensored photos, are on  Tales of West Hollywood.

Not the Marrying Kind: Gay Burns and Allen

Television was introduced in 1949, just in time for the formative years of the first Boomers (the generation officially started in 1945). Radio performers scrambled to make the transition. Some made it, most didn't.  Burns and Allen, a "married couple" sitcom starring comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen, made it. After 20 years on radio, they transitioned to television in 1950 and stayed on until 1958, stopped only by Gracie's death.

They're shown here with guest star Steve Reeves.

I recently listened to an episode from the end of the radio run, in 1949.

The homophobic silence of Dark Age America was starting to break -- very, very slightly -- as radio sought to compete with television by introducing "racy" content -- hints and innuendos about sex in general, and same-sex desire in particular.  So there are gay jokes.

The plot is about George and Gracie trying to find a wife for painfully shy next door neighbor, musician Meredith Willson (who penned The Music Man). They co-opt singer Eddie Cantor (who was subject to some gay rumors of his own).  He wants to marry off some of his daughters.

"We've found someone for you to marry!" Gracie announces.
Meredith looks at Eddie. "Gee, I had my heart set on a woman," he exclaims.

Later Eddie explains to his potential son-in-law how a wedding works:
"The minister says 'I now pronounce you man and wife, and then you kiss."
"Even if you've just met?" Meredith asks, thinking that he means kissing the minister.

Meredith (or at least the character he is playing) is too shy to talk to women, let alone marry one: "I can't get married if a woman is there."

Again and again, joke after joke brings "it" up. What's going on?

If same-sex desire is really beyond the boundaries of what can be known, then the characters are playing with an absurdity, a play on words like Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First" routine.

But same-sex desire was known, even in 1949. The Kinsey Report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) revealed its existence to millions.  George Burns and Gracie Allen knew gay people, worked with gay people in Hollywood.

Their television series often implied that teenage son Ronnie Burns (or at least the character he played) preferred the company of men.

Maybe that's why Meredith Wilson's character (in real life he was married three times) trips easily over the boundary between "confirmed bachelor" and "gay."

At the end of the episode, everyone agrees that he "should never get married." At least not to a woman.

Even in the darkest of the Dark Ages, there were still hints and innuendos.

See also: Eddie Cantor: The Craziest Reason for Gay Rumors

Oct 8, 2015

Jimmy Cavaretta: 1970s Trapeze Artist and Playgirl Model

Donny and Marie Osmond weren't the only gay-vague brother-sister act of the 1970s.  They had to contend with Jimmy and Terry Cavaretta.

Born in 1949, Jimmy Cavaretta began training in the circus arts when he was still a toddler, and at the age of 13 started a trapeze act with his younger sister Terry.  The following year his other sisters got in on the act, and he became the "catcher" and the only boy in the teenage Flying Cavarettas.

Not since teen idols David and Ricky Nelson had a trapeze act gotten so much media attention.  There were articles in all of the teen magazines.  They performed on  Ed Sullivan and The Hollywood Palace, and Jimmy got to be one of the "bachelors" on The Dating Game.

They were headliners at the Circus Circus hotel/casino  in Las Vegas from 1968 to 1973.

Then they broke up, Terry to form the Flying Terrells duo, with her husband Ron as the "catcher."  Jimmy joined the Flying Medallions, and toured with the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Jimmy also did some acting and modeling work.  In January 1976, his enormous pecs and other...um, attributes...were featured in a nude photo spread in Playgirl.

The media was coy about mentioning his wife.  They wanted him to be available, an object of desire to the thousands of spectators who gasped at his acrobatics -- and his attributes -- every day at Circus Circus.

Of course, he also became the subject of gay rumors.

In 1976, Terry's husband and partner died in a plane crash, and Jimmy agreed to take his place in the Flying Terrells.  The siblings continued to headline in Las Vegas, and toured in Europe and Australia.

In 1984, they won a Silver Clown Award at the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo.  The presenter was Hollywood legend Cary Grant.

In 1991, Terry got pregnant and decided that it was time to retire, so the act ended.

But the two continued to perform on occasion through the 1990s.

Today Terry runs the Terry Cavaretta Trapeze Experience along with her husband, juggler Rejean St. Jules.  Jim is retired and living in Las Vegas.

Oct 6, 2015

Tony Dow/Wally Cleaver

I was born too late to catch the first generation of Boomer sitcoms -- Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Donna Reed, Leave It to Beaver -- and the teen idols they created -- Ricky Nelson, Billy Gray, Paul Peterson, Tony Dow.  But the gay kids who were old enough had a hunkfest, especially with Tony Dow of Beaver (1957-63).  Hired at age 12 to play older brother Wally and offer sage advice to the rapscalion Beaver (Jerry Mathers),

Tony blossomed into a dreamboat by around the third season, and while network censorship kept him under wraps, wearing nothing more revealing than a sleeveless t-shirt, the teen magazines were privy to dozens of shirtless pinups.

And dozens and dozens.  They just keep coming, all through the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Tony was already a Junior Olympics diver when hired, and his muscles grew bigger every year.

Wally didn't do a lot of male bonding; most of the homoromantic subtext comes from Beaver and his friend Gilbert.

After Beaver, Tony  -- or rather, his biceps -- landed a starring role on the teen soap Never Too Young (1965-66).  After so many years of censorship, Tony must have been surprised to discover that his character was to be shirtless or semi-nude in every scene, even at a fancy dinner party. Tommy Rettig of Lassie played his buddy JoJo.

A rather fascinating career followed, as actor, writer, and director.  Tony was active in the hippie counterculture and appeared in the underground classic,  Kentucky Fried Move (1977).  He reprised his role of Wally in Still the Beaver (1985-89).  He parodied Wally  innumerable times.  He is also an accomplished sculptor, with a piece on exhibit in the Louvre in 2008.

See also: Beefcake Dads of 1950s Sitcoms

Oct 5, 2015

Visiting Larry the Fetishist in New Mexico

You remember Larry, the "lost soul" in Nashville with the crazy, obsessive lifestyle, who finally got involved in the gay leather community?

After I left Nashville, we called and emailed each other regularly.

He moved to Denver and then Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I moved to New York and then Florida.

In the summer of 2004, we hadn't seen each other face-to-face for years, so I decided to fly out to Santa Fe for a 10-day visit.  

Big mistake.

As Ben Franklin said, house guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

The rest of the story is up on Tales of West Hollywood.

Krazy Kat: The First Gay Comic Character

From 1913 to 1944, newspaper readers could read a sparely drawn comic strip, an anomaly in the era of lush art deco masterpieces like Little Nemo, in which a small, squiggly cat named Krazy professes undying romantic love for the mouse Ignatz, who responds by lobbing a brick at Krazy's head.  But the cat is not dissuaded, accepting even violence as a signifier of desire. And, in fact, Ignatz often gives in and grudgingly accepts Krazy's affection.

 Meanwhile Officer Pup hangs around to throw Ignatz in jail or pontificate on the evil of brick-throwing.

The general public wasn't impressed, but the elites loved it, exuding comparisons to Charlie Chaplin and German expressionism. Gilbert Seldes’ The Seven Lively Arts (1924) devoted a chapter to the strip, and today most histories of the comic strip include warmly appreciative paragraphs.  Literary figures as diverse as Jack Kerouac and Umberto Eco have praised it.  It has influenced every comic strip from Peanuts to Pearls Before Swine. 

But heterosexuals try desperately to avoid admitting that Krazy Kat is gay.

The evidence is incontrovertible.  Cartoonist George Herriman always refers to Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse with the pronouns "he," "him," and "his," not to mention "Mr. Kat" and "Mr. Mouse."  I haven't read all 1500 strips, but I've read several hundred, and never once is Krazy Kat referred to with any feminine pronouns.  Krazy Kat is most definitely a male, experiencing same-sex desire.  He's gay.

Yet Gilbert Selden ("The Seven Lively Arts") and Robert Harvey ("The Art of the Comic Book") insist that Krazy's gender is indeterminate or ambiguous.

Gene Deitch ("The Comics Journal") calls Krazy a "he/she."

Martin Burgess ("The Comics Journal") says that Krazy is "always changing genders."

Miles Orville suggests that there is some ambiguity, but adds “for the sake of consistency, I am going to refer to Krazy as ‘she.’”

Poet E.E. Cummings, cartoonist Bill Watterson, and encyclopedist Ron Goulart have no qualms it: Krazy is a girl. Period.

A classic example of refusing to recognize same-sex desire even when it is hitting you in the head like a well-thrown brick.

When cornered, even cartoonist George Herriman backed off.  He was questioned about Krazy's gender, but not with homophobic disgust -- with honest confusion, in those days before the general public knew that gay people existed.  Wow could a male possibly desire another male?  It made no sense.

He responded that "The Kat can't be a he or a she.  The Kat's a spirit -- a pixie -- free to butt into anything.  Don't you think so?"


No evidence that Herriman was gay, but he was hiding, of mixed race in the all-white world of newspaper cartooning.  He explained his dusky looks by claiming to be half Greek, and always wore a hat to hide his kinky hair.  He knew all about masks.

See also: Pogo, the Gay Possum of Okefenokee Swamp

Oct 4, 2015

The Twink Who Wasn't Interested

I never approach younger guys. They have to make the first move.  I don't want to become known as one of those "creepy old guys" who aggressively grab and grope and won't take "no" for an answer.

Besides, I don't really need to.  Every since I turned 40, I've been getting cruised by every twink in sight.  The question isn't, "Can I hook up with that 23 year old?"  It's "Shall I hook up with him right now, or wait until later?"

If a twink I like shows no interest, I just let him go and wait a few minutes for the next to show up.

Except for Gabe.  He showed no interest, but I kept trying anyway.  I couldn't help it.

The complete story is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Sage Northcutt

I'm sure you are wondering about Sage Northcutt, who played the martial arts-expert bud of the androgynous Moises Arias on his 2009-2010 reality series Moises Rules.

He just graduated from high school in Katy, Texas (near Houston), with a roomful of trophies and a series of magazine covers .

But not for acting -- for fitness, martial arts, and kickboxing -- Texas Teen, Philadelphia Health Classic, the Europa Super Show.  Actually, he's won every competition he has participated in.

But his true love is MMA (Mixed Martial Arts Fighting).  He's been an amateur so far, but now that he's a high school graduate, he can go pro.

His sister Colbey is also a MMA fighter.

So, is he gay or straight?

He took a girl to his Homecoming Dance, and in his spare time he cooks chili and lassos snakes.  I'd have to guess straight.



See also: Moises Arias.