Aug 16, 2017

Extreme Bodybuilding: When Your Biceps are Bigger than Your Head

There are many theories about why most people find muscular male bodies beautiful.

1. They represent health and vitality.

2. Their strength suggests sexual potency.

3. They are able to protect us from a dangerous world.

4. They suggest the wealth necessary to spend hours at the gym.

The ideal male physique displays symmetry and definition, with every muscle group visible.  The muscles should be big, but not so big that they stand out, calling attention to themselves and ruining the symmetry.

Some guys, however, prefer size to symmetry.  A combination of genetics, over-training, and steroids lead to huge over-development of some muscle groups.

The biceps and triceps are particularly easy to over-train.  When your bicep is bigger than your head and your triceps look like goiters, the symmetry of your physique is ruined.

Where does the tricep end and the chest begin?

If this isn't photoshopped, this guy has over-developed his trapezius, biceps, triceps, and calves.

That's got to be photoshopped.

Why do they do it?  According to extreme bodybuilder Greg Valentino, it's about the challenge, about getting as big as they possibly can.

Who cares about symmetry? Who cares about physical attractiveness?  Who cares about what other bodybuilders think?

Size is all that matters.

Aug 15, 2017

The Bygone Boys of Lake City, Tennessee

I was interested in this photograph from the Bygone Boys tumblr blog, originally from the Tennessee State Library Department of Conservation: two boys with nearly identical faces, one shirtless, facing each other.

The caption says that they are Frank and Bill Burton of Lake City, Tennessee, with their pet deer Bucky, July 1952.

Here's another picture of Bill Burton and Bucky.

There's another picture in the archive of Mrs. William Charles Burton outside her cabin near Norris Dam, with her sons Dan Ray (age 6) and Joe Mack (age 3) and their pet deer "Bucky."  Photo taken in June 1952.

I'm guessing they're Frank and Bill's cousins (not brothers -- Dan Ray's obituary doesn't mention them).

That deer really got around.

Lake City, Tennesee, about 25 miles north of Knoxville, was originally named Coal Creek.  It became Lake City in 1936, after the construction of the Norris Dam created Norris Lake.  In 2014 it changed its name to Rocky Top, to take advantage of the popular country-western song which glamorizes moonshine, wild sex, and shooting outsiders (also used as the University of Tennessee fight song).

William Burton is a very common name, so the only other likely piece of information I could find about him was from the Lakeville Town Crier in 1956: he had been transferred from Fairbanks to Nome, Alaska.

He was about 20 years old.  There was no U.S. military base in Nome in 1956, so what job did he have that got him a transfer?

After that, the leads dry up.

But I did find Joe Mack Burton, Bill's "cousin," living in Moose Pass, Alaska, a town of 200 on the Kenai Peninsula, consisting of a few lodges,  restaurants, and a "Trading Post."

In those days you often moved to where you had relatives to stay with.  So apparently when Joe Mack grew up, after his older brother died, he followed his older cousin Bill to Alaska, where they went camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing, and maybe opened a hunting lodge.

No wives are listed for either of them.  Doubtless they preferred the world of men.

The Kid Named Moosie

How could you not like a kid named Moosie?

Born in 1964, Moosie Drier was a force to be reckoned with during the 1970s and 1980s.

1. He appeared everywhere.  He had recurring roles a kid-regular on the hip variety show Laugh-In (1971-73) and as Howard Borden's son on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-77).   Plus guest shots on The Waltons, Adam-12, Police Story, Chips, the A-Team, and Hunter. Plus movies: American Hot Wax, Homeward Bound, Hollywood Knights.

2. He was well-known to kids, due to his string of after-school specials, weekend specials, school break specials, and special treats (short, "relevant" dramas aimed at a preteen or early teen audience).  Unfortunately, though sometimes his characters are gay-vague, more often they are paired with a girl..

 Runaway (1974): a streetwise boy assists a runaway teenage girl.
Hewitt's Just Different (1977): a teenage boy befriends a mentally retarded peer.
 If I'm Lost, How Come I Found You? (1978): a runaway orphan finds a surrogate Dad.
The House at 12 Rose Avenue (1980), with Chris Petersen: a white boy befriends a black family.
Student Court (1985): a student court tries a shoplifter.

3. He was especially well-known to gay kids, because of cute smile, cool hair, and total inability to keep his shirt on.

4. He was well-known to adults because he worked with nearly every comedy legend in the business, including George Burns, Tim Conway, Cloris Leachman, Jay Leno, and Dean Jones. And those he didn't work with, he played: Mickey Rooney in Rainbow (1978).

5. He remains especially well known to gay adults, because of his frequent voice over and dialogue work on gay-friendly projects such as American Beauty (1999) and 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002).

Some of his recent work includes The Book of Life (which sounds like a fundamentalist Christian tract, but is actually a heroic fantasy), The Comeback Kids (about former child stars), and The Fur is Gone (behind the scenes at the Actors Co-Op in Hollywood).

He's also been doing theater, including Tennessee Williams' gay-subtext Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Here's a 2016 photo.  He's with Erin Murphy of Bewitched at a Christmas tree decorating benefit for A Minor Consideration.

I don't know if Moosie is gay or not, but there's no wife listed on imdb or wikipedia.

Making Friends Through Sex on the Plains

There were about 3000 gay clubs and organizations in West Hollywood, but I wasn't much of a joiner.

I went to a few meetings of Black and White Men Together, but they had a strict rule against cruising -- no asking for the phone numbers of any members.  To keep out the fetishists, probably.  But if you couldn't meet people, what was the point?

Idid a few meetings of Asian-Pacific Gay Men and Friends, but it was all about fetishists, white guys looking for soft, passive Asian trophy boys.

Alan dragged me to a group for gay dads, but it wasn't "older gay guys and their admirers," it was actual dads, men who had been in sexual relationships with women and thereby become biological fathers, discussing mostly child custody issues (in the 1990s courts usually refused visitation for gay parents, assuming that the child would be in danger of turning gay).

And that was all.  Who had time to join anything? I was working three jobs, going to school, and spending two hours per day at the gym.

Besides, I was meeting all the guys I could handle for dating and sex at church, at the gym, and at the bars.  For friendship too, of course, but friends were always guys you had dated, and their current partners.  There was no such thing as a friend that you hadn't gone down on.

New York was no different.  Classes, jobs, a two hour commute.  Besides, I could meet guys while walking down the street -- why join anything?

In Florida, I tried Frontrunners, but who wants to drive all the way into Fort Lauderdale to run outside in 90-degree weather?  Especially since they're not really naked.

Then I moved to the Straight World.  No gay neighborhood.  No gay bars.  Almost everybody you pass on the street or see at the gym or in church is heterosexual.   And when you do meet a gay guy, all of his friends are straight.  And he's planning to move out of town next month.  Where do you meet gay men?

1. The university's LGBT employee group, which met monthly at various area bars. First meeting: six lesbians, two very stuck up gay men, and me ("You're from California?  How can you stand it?  It's so superficial and tacky!").

Second meeting: four lesbians, one very stuck up gay man, and me.  Third meeting: three lesbians and me.  No fourth meeting.

2. The Plains Gay Alliance monthly happy hour, which met monthly at various area bars.  First meeting: twelve lesbians, a gay man, his hag bff, and me.  I didn't go again.

3. I started my own Plains Gay Men's Social Club, which met monthly at various area restaurants.  First meeting: Six gay men and me. Second meeting: Three gay men and me.  Third meeting: Me.

"You can't get gay guys in the Plains to come out for a social group," one of them said.  "They socialize with their straight friends.  They want to meet other gay guys for dating and sex."

And, to be honest, that's why I joined Black and White Men Together, the Asian-Pacific Gay Men and Friends, and Frontrunners -- to met guys for dating and sex.  And friendship, of course, but friends were always guys you had dated or hooked up with.


4. The biweekly M4M Party.  It's open to bi and downlow guys, too, of course, but a lot of gay men attend.  Conversation and snacks, then sex.

The full post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Aug 14, 2017

Joe Dempsie: From Gay Skin to Gladiator

The two boys checking out each others' packages are Chris and Max (Joe Dempsie, Mitch Hewer) of the British teen drama Skin (2004-2007), which was controversial for its portrayal of teenage nudity, and sex.  Max is gay, and Chis is straight, but a sexual opportunist, up for anything that will help him accomplish his devious plans.

The actors are friends in real life, both Straight but Not Narrow.  Mitch Hewer has played gay characters several times, and Joe has played a gay teenager in the British radio play Once Upon a Time (2010), and several gay-subtext characters.

1. Clive on an episode of Doctor Who.

2. Will, an old friend of Merlin's

The villain John in The Fades is heterosexual, but at least he gets naked.

From 2010 to 2013 he played Gendry in the heroic fantasy series Game of Thrones.   He didn't expressed any romantic interest in anyone for many episodes, giving gay fans the opportunity to "read" him as gay.  But it was a "tease."  Gendry eventually fell in love with a woman.

Philipp Danne: Teen Horror Hunk

Born in 1985, Philipp Danne is well-known in Germany as a hunk with a chiseled physique who specializes in horror movies: his characters encounter zombies and monsters, a virus that turns you into a zombie, and a few psycho-slashers.

  Hunks in horror movies usually spend so much time falling in love with women before, during, and after the crisis that men are either irrelevant or competitors, but Philipp seems to be surrounded by male friends instead.  And he's had time for a few especially intense gay subtexts in his non-horror related roles:

Klaus, best friend of class bully Diego (Martin Dimant) in The School Trip (2004).

Robert Greinier, the high school swimmer who competes with Rico (Fredrick Lau) and is killed in Freischwimmer (2007).

I haven't seen the Finnish film Black Ice (2007), about a heterosexual romantic triangle, but rumor has it that Philipp plays a gay-vague character (not one of the triangle participants).

Der Mann auf dem Baum (2011): about unmarried father Hans (Jan Josef Liefers) buddy-bonding with the college student Martin (Philipp) after they collide in a skateboarding accident.  They team up to prevent Hans' son from being taken away to Denmark.

And that's not including his tv work.

Aug 13, 2017

Lion Boy's Incredible Changing Age

Not the boy from L'Enfant Lion (1993), a movie directed by  Patrick Grandperret.  This is a weird Tarzan clone from the Golden Age of comic books.  He appeared in 16 issues of Hit Comics between 1940 and 1942, but never got a cover.

Lion Boy has a traditional Tarzan back story: parents killed when their plane crashed in the jungle, raised by lions. Ok, he was raised by lions -- that's why he wears a leopard skin loincloth (sometimes).

How long ago was that plane crash, exactly?  Lion Boy varies tremendously in size.  Sometimes he stands waist-high to the adults, and sometimes he's taller.

And in muscularity: sometimes he's buffed, sometimes not.

And in hair and loincloth-color.

Not just betwen stories: between panels.  Here he seems to have aged from about 6 to about 16 in ten seconds.

Now he is a tall, slim young adult, and his loincloth has changed into yellow shorts.

George Tuska (1916-2009) wrote the script under the pen name Merton Holmes.  He worked on many classic books, including Crime Does Not Pay, Captain Marvel, The Incredible Hulk, Ka-Za, Superboy, The Teen Titans, and Iron Man.

Guess he was too busy to use a model sheet.

Brandon in Paul Newman's Bed

Born in Brooklyn, New York in April 1942, Brandon DeWilde was performing on Broadway at age 7.  At age 11, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Shane (1953).  That fall he got his own tv series, Jamie (1953-1954).

He was a big star.  And already sexually active.

He always said that he was born horny.  As a teenager he rarely let more than a day without sex with a man or a woman, usually two or three.  He and a buddy often teamed up to work on a third guy or girl, then do each other.

How did he find all those willing partners, at a jailbait age, in the police-state 1950s, when sodomy and fornication would get you a prison sentence?  It helped that he had a stunning face and an enormous penis.  And that he looked...well, innocent.  Everybody thought they were his first.

Right, his first today.

Brandon wasn't sure whether he liked sex with men or women better -- why choose, they were both great!  But for sheer physical attraction, that jolt that hits you in the pit of your stomach, it was always men.

Especially older, sophisticated, powerful men, the kind who would take you out and show you a good time before tearing your clothes off.

And maybe help your career.   Brandon's first real boyfriend was novelist James Leo Herlihy, who got him cast in the film versions of Blue Denim (1959) and All Fall Down (1962).

Not that they were monogamous -- no matter how many times they had sex the night before, Brandon still found himself getting aroused at the sight of muscular stage hands and pretty-in-pink script girls -- and he got a lot of invitations.  How could he refuse?

In 1962, shortly after he and James broke up, Brandon landed a dream role --  Lonnie in Hud, an adaption of Larry McMurtrey's 1961 Western novel Horsemen Pass By, about a gay teenager who falls in love with his no-good uncle.

Ok, he wasn't explicitly gay, in the script, but that's how Brandon intended to play him!

Especially when he discovered that Hud was to be played by 37-year old Paul Newman, star of gay-subtext movies like The Long Hot Summer and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.   A major sex symbol, arguably the most beautiful man in the world.  How could Lonnie not be in love with him?

How could Brandon not be in love with him?

"Dream on," James said, still smarting a little from the breakup.  "Paul Newman can have any guy he wants, and he likes them big and built, like Brando, Yul Brynner, and Rocky Graziano -- why would he pick a skinny 20-year old kid?  Besides, you're both bottoms.  What are you going to do, exchange recipes?"

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Physique-Watching at the County Fair

I've been to three county fairs in the last month.  Not that I'm complaining -- they're a major source of summertime beefcake, as well as a fascinating glimpse into a different world.

Fairs originated in the Middle Ages, when most people engaged in sustenance farming, and brought their excess into town to trade for items they might need.

By the 19th century, most people were buying from professional merchants, and fairs became a place to see the latest agricultural equipment and techniques, and compete over the best produce and livestock.

There were state fairs beginning in the 1830s, and county fairs in the 1870s (international expositions of industry and commerce were called worlds' fairs in the 1880s).

Eventually there were carnival-type rides and games, musical acts, races, and other activities, and fairs became a place for fun rather than business.

Nazarenes weren't allowed to go to fairs -- places of sin and corruption -- and of course in gay neighborhoods you wouldn't be caught dead at the heteronormative nuclear-family gun-toting beer-swilling redneck fest -- so I didn't go to any until I moved to the straight world in 2005.

They are, indeed, full of nuclear families and gun-toting, beer-swilling rednecks, but don't let that dissuade you.  The opportunities for physique watching are endless.

1. Those nuclear family dads are often built, and wearing muscle shirts (it's always a hot day, and fairgrounds offer no shade).

2. The beer-swilling rednecks are often hot, too, in a seedy, rough-trade way.

3. Fair employees and volunteers, always buffed young men.  They don't take their shirts off often, but you can see some tight shirts and tighter jeans.

4. Groups of teenagers and college boys.  They don't take their shirts off, either, but they often wear those shirts with no sides, so you can get a side-glimpse of their chests.

5. Hang around the livestock exhibits to see farmboys who have won awards for their sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and horses (this is how everybody displays their goats, with face against crotch.  I don't know why).

Can you imagine what it's like to live on a farm, taking care of animals every day, taking a bus 5 miles into town to go to high school?  For city folk, it's a completely alien world.

But nowadays have smartphones and wi-fi, so they're as connected to the wide world as the rest of us.

 6. Don't forget that there are other gay guys in the straight world, who come to the county fair for physique watching.

See also: Summertime Beefcake at the County Fair

Brokeback Mountain for the 1950s: Laramie

Fifty years before Brokeback Mountain and twenty years before Zachariah, the tv Western Laramie gave us a portrait of two cowboys in love.

Shortly after the Civil War, Slim Sherman (played by an actor with the regrettably anonymous name John Smith) and his teenage brother Andy (Bobby Crawford) run a ranch and a stagecoach relay station in Wyoming Territory.  A hunky drifter, Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) comes to town and draws Andy's attention (for obvious reasons).   

Robert Fuller and Bobby Crawford also became friends in real life, and were often seen in Hollywood hotspots together.

But Slim found his own romantic intentions stymied, so after the first season he shipped Andy off to boarding school so he could have Jess to himself.  After that they were blatantly physical, emotionally intense partners. Not even the third-season addition of Spring Byington as single mother Daisy Cooper could detract from their gay subtext.

They were unusual among 1950s cowboys for their occasional shirtless and undewear shots on-screen (as opposed to just in the muscle magazines), thus enhancing the homoerotic gaze.

John Smith was one of talent agent Henry Willson's stable of gay and gay-friendly 1950s hunks (others included Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter), so he may have been gay or bisexual, though of course he never made any public statements.

He had a long career in Westerns and actioners where his shirt had to come off, including The Women of Pitcairn Island (1956), Cimarron City (1958-59), Island of Lost Women (1959), and Hondo (1967). 

Robert Fuller was one of the movie magazine hunks of the 1950s, eagerly photographed when he was seen in public with either men or women (he was married twice).  After Laramie, he had starring roles on Wagon Train, The Big Valley, Emergency!, Guns of Paradise, and Walker: Texas Ranger.