Monday, July 30, 2007

Trick the Movie

My favorite gay movie is Trick. I first saw in 1999 during Southern Decadence, at the cozy little Canal Place theater in New Orleans. I found seeing this movie one of the best treats of my visit that year, and with all the other sights and distractions that occur during this annual bacchanalia, that's saying a lot. The movie has the spirit of romance, and finding the right guy, and the intervention of fate, and all these provided an elation from realizing that anything is possible back in my real life.

The movie is funny, romantic, inspirational, and warm-hearted. You end up falling in love with the characters and wondering what happens to them in the future because you become so enamored with them. I strongly recommend this film, and as one of the two tag lines says, "It's big, it's beautiful and you're gonna love it."

The other tag line just grazes the surface of the adventure: "A story about two guys trying to make it in the big city." One of the two guys is Gabriel (Christian Campbell), an aspiring writer of musical theater who is working as a office clerk and living with a straight roommate in order to get by. His best friend is Katherine (Tori Spelling), an aspiring actress, who tries to be optimistic and encouraging to Gabriel when he feels that he is failing in the pursuit of his ambition. She can't help him with his real problem though, which is that his his creative work lacks emotion and zest - mainly because he lacks it in his own life as well.

Gabriel answers criticism about the flatness of the characters he creates by saying, "I can't have them falling in love on the first night. That wouldn't be believable." To this, his friend Perry (Steve Hayes) retorts, "Well, not if you don't believe it." The heart of the movie then becomes Gabriel learning in a night-long misadventure how to let himself believe in such things and to find what new possibilities he can gain from opening his mind in this way.

J.P. Pitoc and Christian CampbellGabriel goes out to a club and sees a handsome go-go boy. Later, on his trip home he sees the go-go boy, Mark (J.P. Pitoc), on the subway and after some meaningful eye contact, both get off at the same stop and agree to get busy at Gabriel's place. Unfortunately, Gabriel's straight roommate wants to use the apartment for his own sexcapade and Gabriel and Mark are out on the street looking for somewhere they can spend some intimate time together. Traveling through the streets, bars, clubs, and a late-night diner, they bounce around, meeting up with several wacky friends and characters who keep them from getting together but by sunrise have provided a situation that teaches Gabriel and Mark that a little perseverance can provide something more gratifying than a one-night stand.

The movie isn't as heavy as a Brokeback Mountain but it still has some worthwhile messages: looks can be deceiving, nice guys don't finish last, and sometimes the best things in life come with a little delay.

Miss Coco PeruChristian Campbell does a wonderful job of portraying the somewhat innocent and reserved Gabriel. You can feel his frustration from being stymied in his vain attempt to be a little more adventurous. J.P. Pitoc is hot, but more importantly he convincingly plays his character first as a stereotypical stripper and then as the more layered person that Mark allows Gabriel to see. Tori Spelling is Tori Spelling, but she does some great comedic work (especially during her blow-up in the diner scene). The best performance of the movie has to be from Clinton Leupp as Miss Coco Peru, in the famous "drag queen in the bathroom" scene. Coco Peru should have a star on Hollywood Blvd. for this performance.

The soundtrack CD has some good tunes on it. I especially like Erin Hamilton's version of Dreamweaver and Jessica William's I Am Woman. Steve Hayes does a funny bit at a piano bar with the song Como Te Gusta Mi Pinga?. Tori Spelling sings Enter You (Gabriel's show tune), and there is a nice reprise at the end from Christian Campbell. Be prepared after this to start spontaneously belting this song out whenever you see someone making a grand entrance. Finally there is the blissful song over the credits, Trick of Fate by Valerie Pinkerston. Love it.

I own the dvd, the t-shirt, the cd and the full size movie poster (the only one I have ever bought). It was interesting to me to see what other people thought. I created the movie list in the sidebar with Amazon's Unspun, and after 29 reviewers voted, it is #2 best gay movie. It's to be expected that nothing could beat the behemoth Brokeback Mountain. On Amazon, the movie has almost a five star rating from 201 reviewers. Eight reviewers gave it one star, but reading their comments gives a glimpse into the epicenter of bitterness and anti-social thoughts. They are more bitter than the bathroom drag queen, but without the humor of getting spunk in their eye.

See links below for detail info on the DVD and CD.
Trick DVDTrick DVDTrick DVDTrick DVD

Trick soundtrack cdTrick soundtrack cdTrick: Music From The Motion PictureTrick soundtrack cd

Movie trailer:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Men That Are Too Big

bodybuilderDiscussions of muscle dysmorphia (bigorexia) usually focus on health, compulsive behavior, steroid use, eating habits, etc. The only thing I as a gay man care about is that it makes a lot of decent looking men become hideous. As a fan of a moderately well-built men, I would like to see more done to curtail the excessive behavior that creates these human balloon sculptures.

Some degree of body building is good, but it is like a bell curve - at first you get better looking but eventually you hit the peak and any increase after that only subtracts from one's appearance. A person may continue to get more heads turning, but it's more from shock than attraction. Yes, there are some admirers with a muscle fetish, but they are like the freaky enablers who tell malnourished girls how good they look.

This is not just a difference of opinion. You can look at art and popular culture to see what society considers the attractive male figure:

barberini faunbodybuilder

Attractive Aesthetically unpleasing

Other than the penis,there's nothing sexy about inflated body parts. No one thinks, "Gosh he would look even better with a bigger goiter," or "swollen hemorrhoids are hot!" A pushed out stomach that has six pack lines but still looks like the top of Lt. Worf's head. is a real turn-off.

It's all about proportion. When someone is "too big", it is relative to their frame. You can't increase the size of your skull or bones, so everyone has a definite limit beyond which you will be out of proportion to your frame. It doesn't matter visually if you're swollen from over development or allergic reaction, it's still going to look freakish.

P.S. If anyone is looking for the perfect size to aspire to be, I suggest that you can't go wrong with the Man of Steel as your model. Especially as rendered by Brandon Routh (nude).

Brandon Routh as gay SupermanSuperman (with bulge in the right place)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

How To Make A New Friend

male homemade sex dollMaybe I was just slap happy from lack of sleep last night, but I found the following set of information both disturbing and gut wrenchingly funny. Homemade Sex Toys has an article on how to make your own sex doll. You should read how they went about working on this Frankenstein project. After that read some commentary here and one more here.

Then get prepared for Halloween.

Tammy Faye

Tammy Faye Messner gay iconTammy Faye Messner has died on Friday, July 20th, a day after the airing of her interview on Larry King Live. Tammy Faye was a well known friend of the gay community. She faced Job-like tribulations in her life with unbelievable faith and optimism, despite often being maligned for an emotional sensitivity that lead her frequently to tears.

The original intent of this post was to comment on comments made about her appearance on LKL. It occurred to me that if someone were just starting to date someone, they could use this interview as a quick test to see if their potential boyfriend was a boyfriend-from-hell in the making. If your guy made cynical or derogatory comments about Tammy Faye in her condition, you would know that he is probably incapable of feeling empathy or compassion for any human being. Dump his ass asap and be glad you found out before it was too late.

Westlife "I Have A Dream"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Naked Furniture

Nathan of Nathan Exposed remarked in an older post about looking carefully at the background objects in photos people post of themselves in their homes. His thought is that you can learn a lot about someone from seeing what they have in their home. For me, I look at the home shots to aid my deficiency in decorating. I need to get inspiration from the work of other gay men to help my style my own home.

gay color samplesI don't know if anybody else does this, but I find myself checking out the furnishings and color palette of the rooms used in adult videos. I figure they have to have been decorated by gay guys, so there is going to be a certain inherent quality to the design. In addition, you can see the rooms from different angles and more importantly, how the furniture holds up with real, everyday activity.

Here are some examples and reviews/previews from some well-known sources: Corbin Fisher, Sean Cody, ChaosMen and Active Duty.

I think the most boring sets are from Corbin Fisher. The first picture is not too bad, but I have always hated this sofa and lamp seen in the second one.

Corbin Fisher Dawson Corbin Fisher Gabe Trevor

Sean Cody's are a little blah, and I definitely do not understand hanging a shag carpet on the wall.

Sean Cody scene with DannySean Cody Danny

The Active Duty rooms probably have the most personality, although the red, white and blue is kind of garish, and I'm not into the whole palm tree decor. However, I do really like the wall color in the third picture and I think I am going to use in my home.
Active Duty Productions sceneActive Duty Productions gays in the militaryreal military men nude

Finally, there is Chaos Men, which I think definitely has the most style. See for yourself.

ChaosMen nude modelsWayne and Zach Randall ChaosMen nude

If anyone would like to suggest any similar sources that I could use for decorating inspiration, please let me know.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sex With A View

Hot sex and the expression of one's political views don't go well together. Finding out that you and your love interest are a rightist and a leftist is worse than finding that you are both primarily bottoms. You should be able to put it aside for a night of hot, sweaty monkey love, but it is likely to prevent you from having a longer relationship.

ShortbusEven if you only expect to have a one night stand, it is still better not to bring up politics at all or at least not during intimacy. It would be okay to show a general support for your country by singing your national anthem in the same way that it was done in the movie Shortbus, but bringing up questions about the war (dominatrix scene, same movie) is not a good thing during sex unless you too want to be punished for it. Politics can really get passions going, but not the good ones.

I remember I had an experience once with Didier, a young man in Paris, where the action was great, but afterwards, when I told him "Je suis un Américain," he felt it necessary to give me a jab with his view of American policies. When I defended my country's honor he tried to stop the discussion but it was too late. Fortunately, all the fun stuff had already occurred and it was only a vacation night on the town, but under other circumstances such a discussion by itself would have prevented any further relationship.

Shortbus sceneOf course, this is only a problem when the political views differ, but how would you find out your views are concordant without risking an unfortunate revelation? In some places you can trust that you are surrounded with like minded people but not so in other places. You can't necessarily tell by appearances, as a rough looking daddy may be a tree-hugger and a light hearted gay twink a neocon. The best course of action is not to say anything that could get your prospective partner started on expressing his views. If you can avoid this you won't have to clarify later that, "When I said I was interested in your oral skills I wasn't talking about your ability to express political rhetoric."

ShortbusIf you do accidentally get into a political discussion, keep in mind that Americans would rather talk about things that other people agree with than argue with anyone who doesn't. Americans have strong views, but they are like a person laying on a sofa who is watching video on TV that he hates, but the remote control is out of reach and he doesn't feel like exerting himself to do something to change the channel. Instead the person just lays there and thinks how much he hates what he is seeing. So try to change the topic of conversation and hope for the best.

If you want a long term relationship it probably would be important to know upfront if you are compatible politically with your intended, but if you are going for a fling, focus on who's on top or bottom, not left or right.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Hardee's: Feeding Straight Men

Hardees hamburgerFor quite some time the Hardee's burger chain has been targeting straight, blue-collar males in their advertising. It is the only demographic that would find scenes of exaggerated mastication and licking food off paper, fingers and pants as something that would encourage them to eat at the sponsoring restaurant. I have found these commercials to be moderately sickening, but for attracting the target market I'm sure it has been a good ploy.

With most advertising campaigns, you know that it is only a matter of time before it is replaced with a new one, so you only have to bear the bad ones for a limited amount of time. Unfortunately, with this campaign it seems like it has been going on for several years with no end in sight, and even worse the company's ad buyers seem to be deliberately concentrating their placement on shows I watch (which doesn't say much for their selections).

David Hasselhoff eating Out a burgerI admit sometimes I have had a strange fascination watching the ads, trying to understand what my not gay counterparts would enjoy about them. For example, there is the latest commercial video with the near nude blonde ripping into an oversized burger. I'm not sure how the imagery of a woman savagely using her incisors on a piece of meat is considered an appealing visual for wooing males (straight or otherwise).

It has occurred to me that perhaps there is a positive side to all of this. For any gay men with a fetish for straight guys, Hardee's can be your hetero hunting ground. Spend your lunch hour absorbing the smells of burnt meat, testosterone, and construction sweat. I wonder if Hardee's has thought about the possibility of this marginal offshoot from the gay community.

gay parody of Hardees sign

(a parody)

On a side note, on my way home tonight I noticed a sign in the window at my local Hardee's advertising their 2 for $3 Big Shef special and I decided to do some on-site research. I went through the drive-thru and even though the glass was tinted (to block the customers' view of any health code violations?), I could see that the store inside was devoid of customers. Oh, well. I imagine in my neighborhood most people would be like me and feel that eating in the store is akin to eating in a restroom, so I wasn't surprised. Still, I liked Burger Chef's Big Shef back in the day, and was willing to check out Hardee's incarnation of the famous sandwich to see how close they came to the original. The time that has passed since Hardee's devoured the Burger Chef chain and threw out their menu has not been so long that I wouldn't know for sure that the Hardee's and Burger Chef versions are not the same. They both have a bun and some ground meat but that is the extent of the similarity.

Burger Chef Eating Out

The sandwich was edible, although in keeping with the maximum unhealthiness campaign it was strongly over salted. There was no problem in getting it down as the thick concentration of grease allowed the bites of burger to easily slide down the gullet. However, the layer of grease seemed to also block any taste other than the salt from getting to the taste buds. If you go to Hardee's for the man watching, I suggest just getting a diet coke, and if you sit in the dining area, wear something easily washable.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I Now Pronounce You,
Adam Sandler, Out

I do not mean out, as in out of the closet; I mean out as in out of favor with movie audiences. It is a moment I have long been waiting for. I have never found Adam Sandler's comedy funny. His style of "humor" is classically sophomoric and represents the least desirable qualities of straight males. I could overlook this if he was at least attractive, but that face and that voice do nothing but repulse me even further.

Did I mention how proud I am that I have never seen an Adam Sandler movie in its entirety? There have been surprisingly many of them and for this I think Sandler does deserves a lifetime achievement award for stretching a one-note, one-dimensional routine into what feels like a lifetime of cinematic refuse. I see that a number of reviews agree with me.

Adam Sandler Kevin JamesThank goodness, I finally see the sign of the end with the preview of his latest movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry. The synopsis is that two straight firefighters, Chuck (Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James), pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits, which leads to comedic results. Playing gay for laughs is fairly common in movies as a quick gag, but going full on gay as the central element of the story may be the indication that Sandler's career is heading in its long delayed downward direction.

My reasoning is based on the article "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" by Mike Albo (Out magazine, September, 2006). In the article about straight comics playing gay for laughs, Albo states

"Straight comics will usually fall back on gay when their jokes are falling flat and they are flailing, feeling the audience slipping out of their grasp. Then, out comes the word gay and, voilĂ , someone in the audience will laugh nervously, encouraging others to laugh, and the audience is back on track. It's like the comedian is jump-starting an old crappy car."
Though the situation is not exactly as described in the article, it is still close enough for me to believe that the club of extinguished SNL stars can now prepare to welcome its long lost initiate.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Southern Baptist Sissies

southern baptist sissies indianapolisI recently saw a performance of “Southern Baptist Sissies” at Theater on the Square in Indianapolis. It was a return run for the theater but it was the first time I had seen the show (and actually the first time I have been to this theater). I knew from the preview that the show was going to be critical of religion, but I found it to be surprisingly evenhanded. There was the display of the flaws in humans' practice of Christianity, such as the misinterpretation of the Bible and the picking and choosing which admonitions to adhere to. There was also a display of the real power of faith and Andrew's attainment of the reward for his belief (although by way of a very troubled and imperfect path).

While Brother Reilly and the mothers provide a framework, T.J. and Mark a story line, and Benny a comedic reprieve, it is Odette and Peanut (besides obviously Andrew) that provide the emotional punches to the play. Odette and Peanut appear as mostly barfly caricatures in a subplot, but that stealth positioning makes the revelation of their internal struggles more wrenching for the audience when they unmask the hidden burden on their souls.

Dannon CrewsThe standout performances for me were Juli Inskeep as Odette, Ron Spencer as Peanut, Dan Flahive as Brother Reilly, and Dannon Lee Crews as Andrew. Actually I was amazed at the performance by Dannon Crews. I have never seen him act before and I was really stunned by the life and believability he infused into the portrayal of the character. The expressions, the delivery, the tonal quality were mesmerizing whenever he spoke. The big shock was that he was something between a total stranger and a distant acquaintance a long time ago (is there a term for that?) and I had no idea he had this kind of talent. The revelation made me feel like Jane must have, when she said to Blanche "You mean, all this time, we could have been friends?"

The motion picture based on this play is in the works, featuring Delta Burke and Leslie Jordan.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


unicorn club in Indianapolis, IN near nude dancersI went to the Unicorn Club in Indianapolis last night to at least try to keep a minimal connection alive with my old social life. While working on a number of projects, I felt it necessary to intersperse that with some human contact outside of the people I know at work. This gay bar is a good place to go if you are by yourself because watching the show gives you something to do other than repeatedly scanning the other patrons, watching the video monitors or staring at the back of the bar, which might be your main choices somewhere else. The music is good and the variety of performers offers something to fit most preferences.

Another good aspect for the person going solo is that the experience is interactive. The meet and greet with the dancers provides frequent opportunities to talk about the weather, your day, their night, and other bits of small talk. These opportunities can sap your money clip if you do the right thing and tip and if there is a high dancer to patron ratio, but I apparently have found the secret of anti-mojo that steers them towards other patrons so that I end up with a reasonable number of paid encounters. I like that result in general but the problem is that the anti-mojo is not intentional so I don't know how to turn it off to stop a performer I would really like to meet from passing by. I can't be so gauche as to call it out or make eyes, at least not when I am in a state of less than seeing double.

Kyler CoxLast night I wouldn't have minded having a conversation with Kyler Cox. Every since I saw the video Construction Bareback, I wanted to find out where he got that black shirt with the blue collar that he wears at the start of his scene. I don't know if it would work on me, but I would like to get one. Unfortunately, if performers and patrons are magnets, then Kyler and I must have the same polarity because any stroll in my direction only goes so far before the force prevents him from getting any closer.

Kyler can be entertaining to watch because he exhibits subtle hints of personality on stage. I hate to criticize in this situation, but I have to contrast this with Shai Keyon, who on stage (when I have seen him) shows little visible personality. Seriously, it is as if the personality muscles have been overdosed with Botox. To be fair and to offer a positive comment, no one can undulate his body like he can. It's enough to take a Dramamine for if you watch too long.

See my enhanced review of Unicorn Club here on Google Maps.

Clip from QAF for commentary. This clip shows the quality of their music choices, camera movements, and effects.