Seven months ago Sen. Alan Simpson came to our wedding reception and toasted my brand-new husband as "a smooth-talking son of a bitch." Now this. USAToday reports the ad "will run in Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming TV markets, as well as on the Sunday morning talk shows in Washington."
Although Bruce Weber, 68, is married to Nan Bush, for four decades his primary subject has been the eroticizing of men's bodies and the sexualizing of male camaraderie. (One of his many books is a collaboration with Reynolds Price, Bear Pond, capturing naked young men at play in the Adirondacks. A similar collection of romps has text by William S Burroughs.) Weber's ubiquitous softcore campaigns for Abercrombie and Calvin Klein have, for better or worse, reshaped gay culture, then youth culture, then American culture. This has been true at least since 1982 when he got Brazilian pole vaulter Tom Hintnaus to wear only white briefs and recline against a white rock. That iconic ad and billboard in Times Square was named one of "ten photos that changed America," by the industry bible American Photographer. Weber's work is in the permanent collections of major museums and, beyond his handful of music videos, he's directed four feature films. His first, a boxing doc called Broken Noses, premiered at Cannes, and his second, Let's Get Lost, about Chet Baker, was nominated for an Oscar.
He really really likes twins. Four pairs after the jump.
Ten years ago he launched Weberbilt, a bathing suit and t-shirt company with the motto "eat, swim, sex, sleep," and three years ago he tried again with an underwear line marketed "for guys who don't
London's Sunday Times says Steven Saylor "evokes the ancient world more convincingly than any other writer of his generation," evident across the twelve novels and two story collections of his Roma Sub Rosa series about Gordianus the Finder, including two CWA Historical Dagger Award finalists, Last Seen in Massilia and The Judgment of Caesar, the Lammy nominee The Venus Throw, and the Lammy winner Catilina's Riddle. Saylor may be best known for his 1,200-year epics Roma and Empire, international bestsellers published in twenty-two languages. He has also written two novels of his native Texas, most notably A Twist at the End about O. Henry and a series of murders in Austin in the 1880s. Last month came his sixteenth novel, Raiders of the Nile, which USA Today calls "exuberantly entertaining." He and Rick Solomon, partners since 1976, divide their time between Austin and Berkeley. An essay about their long relationship appears in My Mother's Ghost.
Earlier, Saylor was the bestselling gay erotica writer Aaron Travis. Maybe you don't want academic approval of your taboo-busting porn, but you do want results: Michael Bronski says Slaves of the Empire [Kindle] is "a high point of gay male writing in the second half of the twentieth century" that has achieved "near-mythological status," and he calls Blue Light [Kindle only 99 cents] "a contemporary supernatural masterpiece as frightening as anything H.P. Lovecraft or Stephen King ever wrote." Susie Bright agrees, saying it's "perhaps the most fantastic supernatural erotic thriller ever written." She selected his stories for at least two volumes of her mainly straight Best American Erotica series and to celebrate its tenth anniversary she asked readers to name their favorite piece from all ten volumes: The winner was The Hit [Kindle], which Saylor notes was inspired by the movies Carnival Story and Murder by Contract. William Burroughs' and John le Carré's work partially prompted Crown of Thorns about an American spy in Istanbul who submits to "a brutal Turkish stevedore." Other titles in the newly digitized Aaron Travis Erotic Library are Short, Brainy & Hot, Wild West, Wrestling Tales, Military Discipline, Eden and the horrifying Kudzu.
In the early 20th century when Arrow had 94% of market share, much of the shirtmaker's success could be laid with illustrator J.C. Leyendecker -- he used his chiseled boyfriend as the model for the archetypal Arrow Collar Man. Born in Germany in 1874, Leyendecker moved with his family to Chicago when he was eight. He and his brother enrolled at the city's Art Institute before studying art nouveau at the Académie Julian in Paris. They returned to Chicago early in 1899 and by May Leyendecker received his first commission for a cover of the era's most famous magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. Throughout his career he would draw 321 more covers for them, creating the genre of "adorable" domestic chaos, stirring patriotism, family holidays, lovers' foibles, and youthful high spirits (with scrawny nudity) that today we associate with his Eve Harrington protege and successor Norman Rockwell. Leyendecker was slight and disliked confrontation; when his friends warned him Rockwell was stealing his style, he didn't protest. (Being a gay man and an immigrant in the early 20th century may also have amplified his instincts to avoid trouble.) One area in which he maintained preeminence was the blatant homoerotic. Leyendecker's men eternally give one another penetrating looks inside, outdoors, and on deck, and they're always thrusting elongated objects at happy angles from their bodies. He never met a muscle that didn't need to beef up, ripple, or glisten under his expert touch. As his biographers explain, “Neighboring artists shared models with the brothers, which meant a seemingly endless train of attractive Greenwich Village lads parading through their chilly studio in the buff.” One was named Charles Beach. He was 17 and Leyendecker was 28. By all accounts Beach was both hot and not, given to self aggrandizing claims that he did Leyendecker's work (despite not being able to draw), along with the more typical fits of jealousy, insecurity, and tyranny. Margo Channing Norman Rockwell complained he never heard Beach say anything intelligent and called him "stupid." Nevertheless, Leyendecker and Beach moved into a New Rochelle mansion together and threw luxe parties attended by the jazz age set including Scott and Zelda. Inevitably, times changed, the commissions dwindled, and the money ran out. They had to dismiss their staff yet they stayed together a total of 49 years, until Leyendecker's death in 1951 when he instructed his private papers be destroyed. For more, read J.C. Leyendecker or, yes, J. C. Leyendecker.
Leyendecker's artist brother F.X. Leyendecker also had an eye for masculine muscle, as with this barechested blacksmith, and for strategically placed missiles between shirtless swabbies (compare below). He became addicted to drugs and killed himself at 47.
The conservative Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was openly gay to a degree that's unimaginable here: On national television he explained that he enjoyed the taste of semen, comparing it to a strong liqueur, and he cited his hook-ups with North African and Arab men as "proof" that he wasn't racist. Dutch voters, for and against him, were more interested in his ideas. He wanted to cut government's role in health services and education, he spoke against the "Islamisation of our culture," sounded a warning cry about the dangers of shari'a law superseding the Dutch legal code, and pledged to cut immigration drastically. Yet he was also for euthanasia, for legalized soft drugs, for same-sex marriage, and for reducing the military by combining the army and air force to save money. Although Fortuyn was riding a crest of widespread popularity with fully fifty percent of voters aged 18-30 supporting him (huge in a multi-party system), the Netherlands did not get to have their first ever openly gay Prime Minister, because they had their first assassination in 330 years, since 1672. A white Dutch man shot Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting "the weaker parts of society to gain political power." The motive was unrelated to Fortuyn's being gay. The killer, thirty-two, was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. Fortuyn was fifty-four. Contrarian even in death, Fortuyn was buried twice, first in the Netherlands, then dug up and re-interred in Pordenone, Italy, where he owned a second home.
Grace Kelly, Marilyn, Marlene, and Charlize rock to Beth Ditto in this famous Dior tv spot shot at Versailles [after the jump]. That song, Heavy Cross, from her post-punk band Gossip (formerly The Gossip, formed fifteen years ago in Olympia), was an international smash: With 97 weeks on the singles charts it was the second longest-staying song ever on the German charts (now it ranks sixth). If it somehow makes sense that the Arkansas native who claimed to have eaten squirrel meat growing up would become the indie darling of the alt music world -- playing every festival from Coachella to Glastonbury to SxSW, with NME naming Gossip "the greatest punk rock’n’roll disco soul band on the planet" -- it is perhaps still a surprise, given the extreme body fascism of the billion-dollar beauty industry, that Beth could become a face of fashion. Yet she was Glamour's International Artist of the Year in 2008, appeared nude on the debut issue of London's LOVE magazine in 2009, and in 2010 walked the catwalk herself, opening Jean Paul Gaultier's spring collection during Paris fashion week. In 2012 the band released their fifth studio album and Beth published her memoir Coal to Diamonds [Kindle] co-written with Michelle Tea. Last summer, barefoot in Maui, in a gown Gaultier designed for her, she married her girlfriend Kritsin Ogata, who wore tailored shorts and sneakers. Today she's 33.
Announced at London's V&A museum earlier tonight, the 2013 Stonewall Award winners are
Writer of the Year: Damian Barr, Maggie and Me, growing up gay under Thatcher
Publication of the Year: Metro UK magazine
Hero of the Year (tie) Lord Alli and Russian LGBT Network
Bigot of the Year: Pat Robertson
Broadcast of the Year: Marrying Mum & Dad (CBBC) watch here
Entertainer of the Year: Antony Cotton (Coronation Street)
Community Group of the Year: the Quaker LGBT Fellowship
Journalist of the Year: Grace Dent (The Independent)
Politician of the Year: Baroness Stowell, for getting those marriage equality votes
Sportspeople Award of the Year: Cardiff Lions rugby club
Advert of the Year: Mamas & Papas print ads of same-sex parents
By the time he was twenty-five, Illinois native Jonathan Strong had graduated from Harvard, won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, had twice won O. Henry awards for his short fiction (including 3rd prize), and published his first book, Tike and Five Stories, winner of the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. (Rosenthal recipients just prior to his win were Thomas Pynchon and Joyce Carol Oates; soon after him came Thomas McGuane, Alice Walker, and Richard Yates.) In the intervening forty-three years, Strong has published eleven more books. Two recent novels are the just terrific Drawn From Life (2008) and the Lammy finalist Consolation (2010). Both books' protagonists are out gay men, which may or may not contribute to why Strong is not as widely read as he ought to be; or it may simply be the unfair wheel of literary fate. Either way, he is overdue for his Barbara Pym moment of rediscovery. James Morrison offered an excellent survey of Strong's work, "Happiness in a Corner," upon publication of his opera novel More Light in 2011. Strong's Hawkweed and Indian Paintbrush was to be out this spring from a very small press. A longtime lecturer at Tufts, he is happily partnered and lives without the internet or email in Rockport, Massachusetts.
A classicist in the tradition of George Platt Lynes or Irving Penn, Herb Ritts' elegance was always overshadowed by his popularity. His friendships with superstars were somehow more newsworthy than his ability to capture the iconic instant and transform mortals into myth. Those friendships began early; he grew up in Brentwood, next door to Steve McQueen who on Sundays would take Herb riding on his motorcycle in the desert, and his first break came from shooting his buddy Richard Gere. As much as any other photographer, Ritts defined style for the ten years from 1982 to 1992 on the covers of Vanity Fair, Vogue, Rolling Stone, GQ, as well as in countless ad campaigns, the apex of which was the Marky Mark underwear shoot for Calvin Klein (not nearly as ripped as you remember). Ritts also directed commercials and more than a dozen music videos for Janet, Michael, Mariah, Tina, Toni, Britney, Bon Jovi, Chris Isaak, Tracy Chapman, N Sync, Shakira, JLo, and Madonna, winning two VMAs from MTV. Yet because his subjects were celebrities and supermodels, he was often deemed shallow and superficial. Perhaps in those early years straight critics found it easier to dismiss him rather than confront their discomfort with his work's homoeroticism. Openly gay throughout his career, he was a major force in fundraising for aids groups like Amfar long before it was fashionable. Forthright about his own hiv-positive status, he died of pneumonia at fifty in 2002 and is survived by his partner, Erik Hyman. The subject of a massive solo show last year at LACMA, his work is in the permanent collections of many of the world's best museums including the MFA Boston, the Getty, the Guggenheim, and the National Portrait Gallery in London. For more, read Charles Churchward's Herb Ritts: The Golden Hour: A Photographer's Life and His World.
First impressions matter when announcing a new product. Here are the four opening statements in 429's promo video, verbatim and unedited.
Publisher: "429 magazine, what I'm excited about, what that is, is that we're not just focused on one community."
Editor-in-Chief: "I'm looking on this as a magazine that happens to be LGBT, and not an LGBT magazine."
Creative advisor: "You know we all have, um, other aspects of our lives, too, that we really want to celebrate and focus and feel empowered about. And so that's why we set about to do this."
EIC: "Our identity is LGBT but that's only one facet of who we are as people, and I think that will only be one facet of who and what the magazine itself is."
Did a marketing consultant force them to this? It's confusing but I sympathize. I spend a lot of time thinking about gay culture and I have no idea what a post-gay magazine in 2013 should be. Their Kickstarter page says: 429 is "a new kind of LGBT* print magazine - one that just happens to be LGBT. Covering the latest news and innovations in technology, entertainment, design, media and politics, 429 magazine showcases how LGBT people are living in the context of the larger world. From stimulating conversations to inspiring stories, from the sumptuous work of our photographers to the singular voices of our columnists, from the influential to the cutting-edge, from fashion to fiction to humor to travel to entertainment to design, 429 magazine will continue and expand the partnership dot429 has already so carefully cultivated with its members and subscribers. The magazine stands alone as a new kind of style bible for thought leaders and trend-setters in any industry. Lively. Gorgeous. Brilliant. Timely."
The editor-in-chief is former Vanity Fair editor and Mississippi Sissy author Kevin Sessums, who posted on Facebook (his ellipses), "our cover price is $12.99 .. we are a luxury niche brand ... oversized format ... amazing photography and great paper stock ... kind of a V or W for LGBT folks with Salman Rushdie and Mark Doty et al thrown into the editorial mix ..."
The Rushdie piece is "The Half-Woman God" about the hijra of India, which appears to be his old article reprinted from the 2008 anthology AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories from India.
After exorbitant paper, printing, and postage costs at a time of declining ad buys, subscribers, and print readers, 429's biggest challenge might be defining itself and its audience. Be honest, have you had harder things come out of your mouth than not lgbt luxury niche brand but luxury niche brand that happens to be lgbt? Is the magazine going to be a dickless air kiss, a style eunuch for aging A-list gays in the Hamptons, Hollywood, Marin, and Miami? They talk about profiling thought leaders but the comparisons are V and W and their funding page has only two sample photos, like this. Sleek, chic, but would you pay $13 for more of those? Then again, Mark Doty's work is priceless. I hope he and other writers bring some of the resurgent Hell Yeah All Gay All the Time energy of BGSQD bookstore and the free, NSFW site Homo-Online, which pairs fine porn with reprints of incredibly smart blog posts from the likes of, well, Band of Thebes twice in the past week but that's not why...
The name 429 is closet code from 2003, with the 4-2-9 corresponding on your keypad to G-A-Y. The first issue arrives in October. I'll buy it just for the huge type.
Last year photographer Bruce Weber, 67, made "news" for releasing a series of Abercrombie videos featuring this man to man kiss. Although Weber is married to Nan Bush, for four decades his primary subject has been the eroticizing of men's bodies and male camaraderie. (One of his many books is a collaboration with Reynolds Price, Bear Pond, capturing naked young men at play in the Adirondacks. A similar collection of romps features text by William S Burroughs.) Weber's ubiquitous softcore campaigns for Abercrombie and Calvin Klein underwear have, for better or worse, reshaped gay culture, then youth culture, then American culture. This has been true at least since 1982 when he got Brazilian pole vaulter Tom Hintnaus to wear only white briefs and recline against a white rock. That iconic ad and billboard was named one of "ten photos that changed America," by the industry bible American Photographer. Weber's work is in the permanent collections of major museums and he's an accomplished film director. Beyond his many music videoes, he earned an Oscar nomination for his second documentary, Let's Get Lost, about Chet Baker. His first was a boxing doc called Broken Noses, which premiered at Cannes.
He remains as popular as ever. This year he shot the entire Vanity Fair Hollywood portfolio. His recent books are his 448-page fashion study Blood Sweat and Tears and the shorter, self-explanatory Roberto Bolle: An Athlete in Tights.
AlterNet runs a piece called "Six Brands Playing Footsie with Conservatives and Paying the Price." It starts well, with reassuring stats about how the haters are old people who "don’t buy stuff!" and the young are overwhelmingly for gay marriage. And the author takes a sharp look at the Komen debacle. But the other examples go limp by the end.
Tiffany Hsu and Ricardo Lopez at the LA Times write "Many Businesses Seek Favor Among LGBT Customers," offering a wide range of some meaty, some meager evidence of companies courting queers. JC Penney hiring Ellen, Bank of America and nearly 40 other companies offering tax relief to gay employees. You'll recall two years ago Lady Gaga had to break up with Target for their antigay ways and hate funding; now they're running this ad and selling rainbow t-shirts to raise money for the pro-gay Family Equality Council. Some actiivists are skeptical of Target's turnaround. The article also mentions cultural changes at formerly antigay Coors and the grandpappy of them all, Cracker Barrel, which "once required that any employees who did not display 'normal heterosexual values' be fired. The Lebanon, Tenn.-based company now employs a nondiscrimination policy and diversity training."
For more on the subject, read the guru of gay marketing Bob Witeck's book Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers or Alexandra Chasin's Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market. Or for a different view, read The Tragedy of Today's Gays.
One of the bazillion tv spots promises, "Women love Magic Mike!" and the only supporting evidence is... a blurb from Paul Rudnick. The screen flashses
"THE CITIZEN KANE OF STRIPPER MOVIES. --Libby Gelman-Waxner."
Those overworked Warner execs couldn't run the full sentence, "Let me just say this: while I haven’t seen Magic Mike yet, I already consider it to be the Citizen Kane of male stripper movies."
For the record: the hottest player isn't 22 year-old Alex Pettyfer. It's newly out Matt Bomer, 34, who already has three sons via surrogacy with his longtime partner Simon Halls, 48.
Such is the world that photographer Bruce Weber, 66, made "news" yesterday for releasing a series of Abercrombie videos featuring this man to man kiss. Weber is married to a woman but for four decades years his primary subject has been the eroticizing of men's bodies and male camaraderie. (One of his many books is a collaboration with Reynolds Price, Bear Pond, capturing naked young men at play in the Adirondacks.) Weber's ubiquitous softcore campaigns for Abercrombie and Calvin Klein underwear have, for better or worse, reshaped gay culture, then youth culture, then American culture. This has been true at least since 1982 when he got Brazilian pole vaulter Tom Hintnaus to wear only white briefs and recline against a white rock. That iconic ad and billboard was named one of "ten photos that changed America," by the industry bible American Photographer.
After the teen runaways pick up a hot, hot hitchhiker headed toward Vegas where he's a male stripper (first, demonstrating his talents by the campfire in the beam of the car's headlights, then in the back seat with the no-longer-miserable fat boy), but before the plucky pair stranded in the middle of nowhere stumble into a rough roadside bar where the mean biker dudes have no interest in the skinny blond chick but go wild for her chubby pal, you'll say to yourself in the empty theater, "Wait a minute, this is a GAY movie!" In a classic marketing bait and switch, Dirty Girl's trailer promises two hours of unapologetic high school slut walk grrrl power circa 1987 Oklahoma, and the film delivers a little lost girl's search for her biological daddy bracketing the real heart of the story, a heavyset gay boy's journey through fear, fabulousness, girl friend fun, first love, first sex, first heartbreak, and finally acceptance. Sure enough, Dirty Girl is written and directed by out and proud Abe Sylvia. The plight of the mothers -- her single mom desperate to catch a man; his repressed mom stuck in a loveless, abusive marriage -- are well-enough drawn and very well played by Milla Jovovich and Mary Steenburgen. Fair warning: the uplifting ending is among the most awful you will ever see. The suits at the Weinstein Co. should have embraced the gay and released this as a queer Muriel's Wedding; it is impossible for the movie to have done any worse at the box office than its current $47,931 gross after three weeks.
If you will, in the past two decades the music business has seen changes soaring several previously unimaginable octaves -- vinyl and cassette to cd to digital downloads; the death of the record store -- while the industry's attitude about stars' private lives has remained the steady, eternal drumbeat of closet, closet, closet. It was April 1988 when Cleveland native, Tufts graduate, Tracy Chapman released Tracy Chapman, the surprise #1 album that would revitalize the folk rock genre and sweep three Grammy awards. She wasn't out then and after seven additional studio albums and one more Grammy in 1997, she is just marginally out now; she has mentioned her past relationship with Alice Walker but I don't think she has called herself a lesbian. In 2002 she told an interviewer, "I have a public life that’s my work life and I have my personal life. In some ways, the decision to keep the two things separate relates to the work I do." On the other hand, when it most mattered in 2008, Chapman did come around from her policy of not giving money to political causes and for the first time she wrote three checks to defeat Prop 8 and discussed her decision with the media. Her eighth album was released a week after Obama was elected and the anti-gay measure passed by a wide margin. It's called Our Bright Future.
Photographer Bruce Weber, 65, is married to a woman but for forty years his primary subject has been the eroticizing of men's bodies and male camaraderie. (One of his many books is a collaboration with Reynolds Price, Bear Pond, capturing naked young men at play in the Adirondacks.) Weber's ubiquitous softcore campaigns for Abercrombie and Calvin Klein underwear have, for better or worse, reshaped gay culture, then youth culture, then American culture. This has been true at least since 1982 when he got Brazilian pole vaulter Tom Hintnaus to wear only white briefs and recline against a white rock. That iconic ad and billboard was named one of "ten photos that changed America," by the industry bible American Photographer.
Ants walking on a crucifix in a 30-second video David Wojnarowicz made to honor his dead lover, photographer Peter Hujar, has been called "hate speech" by the Catholic League, and as a result the Smithsonian has removed it from their Hide/Seek exhibit. (Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor also complained.) As Blake Gopnik writes in today's Washington Post: "Now the NPG, and the Smithsonian Institution it is part of, look set to come off as cowards."
"Of course, it's pretty clear that this has almost nothing to do with religion. Eleven seconds of an ant-covered crucifix? Come on.
"This fuss is about the larger topic of the show: Gay love, and images of it. The headline that ran over coverage of the matter on the right-wing Web site CNSnews.com mentioned the crucifix - but as only one item in a list of the exhibition's "shockers" that included "naked brothers kissing, genitalia and Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts." (Through a bra, one might note, in an image that's less shocking than many moves by Lady Gaga.) The same site decries "a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as 'homoerotic'. "
"The attack is on gayness, and images of it, more than on sacrilege - even though, last I checked, many states are sanctioning gay love in marriage, and none continue to ban homosexuality.
"And the Portrait Gallery has given into this attack."
(The image is Hujar's portrait of Wojnarowicz, not the video removed.)
The opening scene of the trailer, establishing the tone of the Universal's upcoming "comedy" The Dilemma directed by Ron Howard, builds up to the joke of Vince Vaughn saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars are gay." Initial displeasure from the gays yielded nothing -- (big dispute whether GLAAD approved or ineffectively called for its removal; either way the line stayed) -- but this week closeted Anderson Cooper complained about it on out Ellen DeGeneres's show, and finally today Universal removed the line from a hastily revised trailer.
No one is more surprised by the outcry than Universal who had already checked with their marketing dept gays. (Cut to: After it's finished, demanding, "You don't mind, do you?")
What's more instructive is the uproar on straight websites comment boards where this incident has struck a nerve. Gathering five times more comments than any other story today on Deadline and over 2,340 comments on Huffington Post, the majority of people are outraged by the deletion. Most comments angrily cite over-sensitivity, PC police, and free speech.