Apr 15, 2016

New Template

You may have noticed that I changed the template.  After four years, it was time for a change, thought "magazine" style looked cool.

The indexes are still there, but they'll pop up in the text.

You can still get to the most popular posts, the blog feed, and the other features on the right sidebar.  And you can change the format of the "magazine."

If readers don't like it, I can always go back to the original template.

Ryan Potter: Asian Gay Superhero

Ok, he's half-Asian, and he hasn't actually made a public "coming out" statement, but he's definitely a superhero.

Supah Ninjas (2011-13) was a Nickelodeon teencom about a boy, Mike Fukanaga (Ryan Potter), who learns from the hologram of his dead grandfather that he's a supah-ninja.

He recruits his friends Owen (Carlos Knight) and Amanda (Gracie Dzienny), and they try to juggle lives of ordinary school problems with battling super-villainy.  Including heterosexism.

1. Mike and Owen are scripted, according to teencom tradition, as absurdly girl-crazy.  But they have a strong, overt, amazingly physical buddy bond, behaving precisely like boyfriends.

2. Mike is obviously being played as gay, regardless of the girl-craziness the script calls for.

3. The boys tacitly acknowledge the existence of gay people.  When they are assisting a woman, Mike asks "Is there anyone you could call?  A husband or a boyfriend?"  Owen adds "Or a life partner?"

4. You're not going to find many teenage actors who are more aggressively gay-friendly than Ryan Potter (here voicing his opposition to California H8, the ban on same-sex marriage).

5. For a change, there's a lot of Asian and Black beefcake.

6. Grandpa is played by venerable gay icon George Takei.

7. Dad is played by Randall Park, a busy comedian who starred in the gay Asian-themed movie The People I've Slept With (2009).  He's not actually gay, according to the article "Randall Park's Coming Out Story" in The Korean-American Experience (he came out as an actor).

8. Brandon Soo Hoo has a recurring role as Cousin Connor, who is scripted as even more obnoxiously girl-crazy than his older cousin (writers seem to think that barely-pubescent boys making graphic sexual propositions to older girls is hilarious).  But he has also been involved in several gay-friendly projects, such as the buddy-bonding movie Everyday Kid (2010).

More recently Ryan has starred in Senior Project, Underdog Kids, and Lab Rats: Elite Force.  He's also a martial artist.

Apr 14, 2016

Buster Keaton: Gay Icon of the Silent Screen

I've never understood the comedy of the early 20th century, whether it's comic strips, silent movies, or the short stories of P.G. Wodehouse.   Maybe it's the cultural barrier.

Silent movies, especially: in the absence of substantial dialogue, they make do with slapstick, which is basically people falling down and getting hit by things.

Buster Keaton (1895-1966) was one of the great comedians of the silent film era, taking limitless abuse without comment, his "Stone Face" expressionless or grim.

Although he was rather raw-boned and ugly, he had a respectable physique for the period, and was not shy about taking his clothes off.

His films tend to be heterosexist boy-gets-girl vehicles.

Sherlock Jr. (1924) is about a mild-mannered film projectionist who becomes a sleuth to track down the thief who stole his girlfriend's father's prized watch (it's the local studmuffin).

The General (1926) is about a railroad engineer during the Civil War who is too much of a weakling to join the Union army.  He routes the Confederates anyway, becoming a war hero.  It ends with a famous scene where Keaton is trying to kiss his girlfriend, but has to continually salute passing troops.

Battling Butler (1926) is about a sissified rich kid who tries to get the girl by pretending to be a macho fighter, the "Battling Butler."  He manages to best his opponent, the "Alabama Murderer," by being sneaky.

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) is about a collegiate nerd who disappoints his macho father by falling in love with Dad's business rival; it ends with a famous scene in which Keaton proposes to his girlfriend as they're floating around in lifebuoys.

Not a lot of buddy-bonding: in fact, other men are portrayed as oily competitors for the girl or as big, menacing brutes.

But still, Keaton was apparently quite popular among the gay men of the 1920s.

They identified with his characters, butterfly-collecting sissies, beanie-wearing nerds who save the day in spite of their lack of machismo.

And his many shirtless shots didn't hurt.

Keaton continued to perform in comedy shorts into the talking-picture era, and was a recognizable screen and tv presence through the 1950s.  In the 1960s, he had ongoing roles in Frankie and Annette's beach movies, an elder statesman reveling in the antics of youth.

See also: Beach Movies; The Collegians

Apr 13, 2016

Mason Gamble

In the science fiction thriller Gattaca (1997), young Vincent (Mason Gamble) is "different," "inferior" in a society of genetically engineered supermen.  He excels anyway, besting his brother Anton (Chad Christ) at a swimming contest and longing to participate in an elite space-exploration program that's open only to the genetically superior.

Obvious gay symbolism -- the "inferior" outsider who longs to be a real boy.  Plus bonding: when Vincent grows into an adult (Ethan Hawke), he "borrows" the DNA of crippled athlete Jerome (Jude Law), and rather overtly falls in love with him.

Throughout his career, Mason Gamble has played outsiders who challenge heterosexist strictures.  At age six-and-a-half, he beat out 20,000 hopefuls for the role of Dennis the Menace in the feature film (1993), which, challenges the myth of the heterosexual nuclear family, the tight triad of Dad-Mom-Kids that is presumably all you need and will ever need, until the Kids grow up, marry, and form Dad-Mom-Kids triads of their own.

In the myth of the heterosexual family, other friends are irrelevant, other relatives unwelcome intrusions, and strangers malicious (as we see in the MGM Tarzan series).  But even more than in the comic strip and television versions, Dennis seeks out emotional connection outside, with Joey, with Margaret, and with Mr. Wilson.  Not romantic bonds, certainly, but nevertheless bonds which, according to the myth, do not and cannot exist.

In Rushmore (1998), Mason plays Dirk, a shy, quiet outsider who is drawn to the eccentric high schooler Max (Jason Schwartzman).  Max is aggressively heterosexual, dating two older teachers (in a modern update of the 1980s "sex with the babysitter" genre), but Dirk is not.  They quarrel, plot acts of revenge against each other, and finally reconcile.

A Gentleman's Game (2002) is about a teenage golf caddy (Mason) who discovers a dark sexual secret (not that dark secret) involving his best friend, and meanwhile tries to hide his interest in golf pro Foster Pearce (Gary Sinise).

Now tall, slim, and square-jawed, Mason still acts occasionally, while working toward a degree in marine biology.

Apr 10, 2016

Cameron Boyce: Gay Ally?

You probably remember 17-year old Cameron Boyce from Jesse (2011-2015), the most heterosexist/ obnoxious teencom on the Disney Channel.  He played Luke Ross, the privileged rich kid who somehow found himself orphaned and adopted by an even more privileged, rich family.  Luke is n aggressively girl-crazy heterosexual who keeps making leering sexual advances at every woman in sight.  Not my favorite teencom.

For some reason audiences liked him  -- maybe it was his abs -- and Cameron started appearing everywhere, as Luke on The Ultimate Spiderman and Austin and Ally, as someone else on Shake It Up and Liv and Maddie, as himself on The Hollywood Christmas Parade, Teens Want to Know, Disney 365, Win Lose or Draw, and Piper's Picks ("Cameron Tells What He Looks for in a Girl").

Jesse ended in 2015, but Disney's love for Cameron continued.

Fortunately, his obnoxious heterosexism did not.

In Descendants, the movie and animated series about the children of Disney movie heroes attending high school together, he plays Carlos DeVill.

Son of Cruella DeVill, the elderly fashion enthusiast who wanted to make a jacket out of 101 Dalmatians (1961).  I would have sworn she was past menopause.  Maybe he's adopted.

He doesn't have a lot of heterosexual interests, but he does buddy-bond with Jay (BooBoo Stewart), son of Jafar from Aladdin.  

Good choice.

In 2015, Disney gave him a star vehicle, Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything, the second type of Disney plotline (someone famous tries to be normal).  Here he's Conor, a famous video gamer (I guess there are such things) who is forced to retire and go to a normal high school, where he envisions normal activities as video games.

He hangs out with video game-playing friends, two male nerds, one girl, but doesn't seem to have much interest in girls (it was on Disney XD, the "guy's channel").

Most recently, he's had an episode of Code Black, the medical show, playing Brody, who was abused at a camp for troubled teens.

I can't find out if Cameron is gay or gay-friendly in real life. When I do a google search with a keyword "gay," I hit too many gay fan fictions.

See also: Jesse


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