Jul 15, 2017

13 Guys in One Night at a Bath House in Cleveland

Cleveland, July 2017

On the way back from New York earlier this week, we stopped in Cleveland.  I wanted to go to the Flex Club, a great gay resort/bath house.  Bob didn't want to go, but he said it was ok if I went by myself.

It's hit and miss.  Sometimes I can wander around the video room, the dark room, the leather room, and the saunas for two hours and get completely ignored by everybody and everything.  Sometimes I'm very popular.

I think of a night at the Flex Club as a success if I meet five guys in two hours.  But the other night, I was with 13!

1. Within a minute of going upstairs to the video room,  I was kissing a red-haired twink with a scrawny body but an enormous Mortadella.



2.That wasn't unusual: I tend to attract twinks.  So I still didn't know if this was going to be a good or bad evening.

A few minutes later, in the dark room, I saw a very handsome, hairy-chested guy in his 30s with someone else, so I joined in.  The second guy left, leaving me with Hairy Chest.

3-5.  I sat on a bunk in the dark room, and an older black guy approached.   He brought his two friends and "ordered" them to pull it out and let me go down on them.















9. A very muscular guy in the sauna wanted me to go down on him, but it was too hot in there, so we went back to the dark room.

The full story, with 10 nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.





















William Zorach's Penis Art

What does this look like to you?

Me, too.

I saw it at the Baseball Hall of Fame, in a painting called The Baseball Player (1940), by William Zorach.

It's supposed to be a baseball glove, I suppose, but it's hard to see it as anything but a penis.

William Zorach (1887 to 1966) was a Lithuanian-American sculptor and painter. He and his wife Marguerite lived in Paris during the 1920s, where they befriended many of the gay expatriots, such as Gertrude Stein and James Baldwin.  Later they moved to Greenwich Village, and then to Provincetown as it turned into a gay enclave.






There aren't a lot of penises in his work. "Male Youth" is an exception.



















Usually it's discretely hidden, as in the nude "Pioneer Family."


















Or covered up altogether, as in "The Runner."


















But there's always room for phallic symbols.


Jul 14, 2017

Boris Vallejo: Bodybuilder turned Fantasy Artist


During the 1970s, the covers of your Conan, Tarzan, John Carter, Doc Savage, and miscellaneous barbarian hero books were likely to feature a heavily-muscled, naked or nearly-naked muscle-god fighting off monsters, giant snakes, or weird gods, usually with a naked steatopygous lady clinging to his feet (it's really hard to fight that way, but it keyed into the heterosexual fanboy's fantasy of conquest).

If they were comic books, the illustrator was Frank Frazetta.

If they were print novels, the illustrator was Boris Vallejo.


Both started out as bodybuilders, both began their careers in 1954, and moved into the field of fantasy illustration in the 1960s. They are neighbors, in Scranton and Allentown, Pennsylvania.

But the Peruvian-born Vallejo was more naturalistic in his drawings, he used a brighter color palette, lots of gold skies and gleaming muscles, and his work was more erotic -- these barbarian heroes had obvious bulges. .







He drew covers for many paperbacks, as well as posters for such films as Barbarella (1968) and National Lampoon's Vacation (1983).















Also oil paintings, like this glowing Icarus.















A friend of the gay community, Vallejo drew this poster in 1979 to commemorate the renovation of the famous St. Mark Baths in New York.

His wife, Julie Bell, is also a former bodybuilder and illustrator, who has a similar style, except her women aren't clinging to the legs of muscle gods: they're female bodybuilders and barbarian heroes in their own right. She has illustrated over 100 covers for science fiction novels since the 1990s.

Jul 13, 2017

Tex Smutney and Buddy Stanley: The Homoerotic Icons of George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes (1907-1955) was an intimate of many of the gay writers and artists of Paris between the wars, such as Gertrude Stein, Thornton Wilder, Rene Crevel, and Jean Cocteau, as well as the gay literati of 1940s New York, such as Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Gore Vidal.


He photographed any number of luminaries, many of them his lovers, as well as a stable of young musclemen, many of them his lovers, too.

But his most beautiful and homoerotic photos were taken in 1943, featuring the lithe, muscular, very well hung Charles "Buddy" Stanly.


Most involve a partner, Charles "Tex" Smutney.















We are told nothing more about them except they were gymnasts, and sexologist Alfred Kinsey expressed surprise that they never got erections, in spite of their intimate poses. In his memoirs, Lynes' lover, novelist Glenway Wescott notes that they did get erections, off camera.














Who were these icons of homoerotic art?

I find no further mention of Buddy Stanley, but Charles Smutney moved far afield from Texas, to become a choreographer and dance instructor at Smith College in Massachusetts.












All we have are the photographs, a memory of a long-ago summer day

Jul 12, 2017

12 Forgotten Beefcake Boys of the 1980s

When I was living in West Hollywood during the 1980s, we didn't go to movies much, due to the rampant homophobia. Nearly every movie featured a discussion of how much the main characters hated gay people.  In Teen Wolf, Michael J. Fox protests that he's not a "fag."  In American Werewolf in London, David Naughton calls Prince Charles "a fag."  In Breakfast Club, Judd Nelson writes a warning on his school locker: "Keep out, fags."

But in spite of the homophobia, there was a lot of beefcake.  Men took off their shirts regularly, in frat houses, swimming pools, locker rooms, on wilderness treks.  Some famous, others obscure.  Here are 10 forgotten beefcake boys, actors who surprised us by displaying impressive physiques in one or two movies, and and then vanished.

Or at least never took off their clothes again.

1. Dan Shor talking to his dad nude in Strange Behavior (1981).

2. Anthony Edwards (above) stripped down to his rather impressive underwear by customs agents in Gotcha (1985).

3, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, now a history professor, in underwear in Weird Science (1985).  Also starring a semi-nude Michael Anthony Hall and a bare-butt Bill Paxton.








4. Kevin Van Hentenryck running down the street naked in Basket Case (1982).

5. Don Michael Paul (left) in The Brotherhood of Justice (1986). 

6. Jsu Garcia, killed while naked in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).










7. Robert Bryan Wilson as a muscular, naked killer in Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

8. The super-muscular Anthony Starke in Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988).  You heard me.






9. Keith Gordon (right) as a college swimmer embarrassed by his dad, Rodney Dangerfield, in Back to School (1986).  

10. William Zabka (left) as Chas in Back to School.  He also played a shirtless bully in Karate Kid (1984, 1986)








11-12. Tom Hodges and Jeremy Piven as locker-room bullies in Lucas (1986), the guys Corey Haim refers to as "fags." 

See also: Gay Nerds of the 1980s






Jul 11, 2017

Randall and Dick Sargent Compete Over a Disney Adventure Boy

West Hollywood, June 1995

It's the night before Gay Pride, and Lane and I are having about a dozen guys over, so they'll be able to get to the staging grounds easily tomorrow, or find a good place to stand to watch.  As usual at West Hollywood parties, we swap celebrity dating stories: Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Mario Lopez, Dustin Hoffman.

Randall the Muscle Bear usually doesn't participate, although he knows a lot of actors, but tonight he may be trying to impress his date, Levi from Colorado, so he says "I'm going to tell you about the time Dick Sargent and I competed over a Disney adventure boy from the 1960s."

The room is abuzz as we discuss the Disney adventure boys, a stable of teen hunks who took their shirts off to demonstrate "wholesome American masculinity" during the late 1950s and early 1960s: Jeff East, Tim Considine, Roger Mobley, James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk.

"You'll have to hear the story, and guess.



Hollywood, May 1966

Randall was then Randy, a 26-year old twink, back in his home town of Los Angeles after eight years in Hawaii, Guam, and Germany.    He moved into a tiny apartment on Crescent Heights, in what would one day be West Hollywood, got a job in set design, and reunited with his old friends, including actor Dick Sargent (the future star of Bewitched).

Dick introduced him to 26-year old Tommy Kirk (Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson) who had been fired from Disney last year when the studio discovered that he was gay.  He was trying to keep his career afloat with some beach movies and low-budget thrillers, like It's a Bikini World and Psycho A-Go-Go.

The three of them were talking, and Randall mentioned his crush on a Disney Adventure Boy from a few years ago -- he'd be in his 20s by now.

"He's a really nice guy," Tommy said.  "He and Annette are the only two of the old Disney gang who will talk to me now.  But he's straight.  He's got a girlfriend."

"Maybe she's a beard," Dick suggested. A woman you date as a cover.  "And, straight or not, nobody can resist my impish grin."

"Or my...um...baseball bat," Randy bragged.  "I'll bet you I can convince him to drop his pants in just two hours."

"That's nothing!  I'll have him throwing my legs in the air in 45 minutes."

"Is that a challenge?"

"Sounds like an episode of Truth or Consequences," Tommy said.  "Tell you what -- I'll arrange the meetings -- that's the truth.  But I get to go down on the loser, the dude who doesn't get the boy.  Those are the consequences."


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

Ricky/Rick Schroder

Ricky Schroeder was the iconic "cute kid" of the 1980s.  With his cherubic round face, baby blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks, he looked like a Campbell's Soup kid, or Richie Rich before his muscle spurt -- perfect for heart-wrenching roles on movies-of-the-week like Something So Right and A Reason to Live.

 In 1982, at age 12, Ricky was cast as a poor little rich boy on Silver Spoons -- his dad (Joel Higgins) is the fabulously wealthy owner of a toy company, so they live in a mansion that looks like a giant toy store.  Ricky has a series of same-sex chums, many of whom went on to teen idol careers  -- Anthony Starke, Jason Bateman as a bad boy, Billy Jacoby as another bad boy, Corky Pigeon as a nerd, Bobby Fite as a cowboy, and finally Alfonso Ribeiro, who grew into a bodybuilding hunk.

By 1987, Ricky was 17, muscular, and no longer cherubic, so Silver Spoons ended. Ricky renamed himself Rick, dropped the "e" from his last name (it merely signifies an umlaut in German), and started a massive re-invention campaign.



No more rich kids, nor more sophisticates.  If the role didn't require a Southern accent, he wasn't interested.  He played cowboys, country boys, rednecks,killers, and sports stars.  He was shirtless or sometimes completely nude in Too Young the Hero (1988), Across the Tracks (1991), and lots more.










And he did a substantial amount of buddy-bonding,

Rick has remained very active in moves and on tv.  In 2008 he made headlines by playing what was probably the first openly gay character on a tv science fiction series, Major Bill Keene on  The Andromeda Strain.

Though he is a long-term Republican, a member of the NRA, and a Mormon, three groups not known for their gay-friendliness, Rick is not at all homophobic.

My Mother the Car

I don't know why people think of Jerry Van Dyke as a failure.  Sure, he never reached the Emmy-winning tv-classic status of his older brother Dick, but he's had a 50 year-long career, starting with beach movies in the 1960s (Palm Springs Weekend) and going on to starring roles in at least a dozen tv series, including eight years on Coach (1989-1997) and five years on The Middle (2010-2015).













Besides, he was considerably more attractive than his gawky older brother.












Plus, in spite of his two long-term marriages to women, there's a.bigger gay subtext in his work than you can find in Dick's, such as a starring role on The Judy Garland Show, and the big brother-little brother acts

Maybe because of a few poor decisions, like rejecting the roles of Gilligan on Gilligan's Island and Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show.

The program he chose instead, My Mother the Car, is universally lambasted as ridiculous, although really, was the premise any more far out than Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Mr. Ed, or for that matter, Gilligan's Island.

A man discovers that a car is a reincarnation of his mother (or maybe her ghost is trapped in the car -- it's really not explained in any detail).

Men obsessed with their mothers: 1960s code for gay.

Watching it today, it doesn't seem particularly terrible, for a 1960s sitcom.  The mother thing is kind of creepy, but the main problem is, it's just dull.  Mom doesn't provide the comedic foil that Mr. Ed did, and the main antagonist, an obsessed car collector, isn't chummy enough to provide a gay subtext or evil enough to provide any conflict.