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February 2013

A Gay Laff Riot - Funny, Campy Postcards

If you're undecided about whether someone is gay, show them the following cards and if they don't crack a smile, you have your answer.


When I moved to New York in 1979 there was a card store on Christopher St. called Greetings and it was chockablock with campy, irreverent cards.  This one here was one of the best.  34 years later it still makes me chortle with delight.




40 years after the publication of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying ...




This scene from a classic episode of I Love Lucy is from a book of pre-paid postcards issued by the US Postal Service a few years ago that honored personalities of classic TV.




How true ...




It seemed somehow fitting that I found this postcard discarded on a sidewalk.




Leave it to drag performer Mimi Imfurst to tackle such a controversial role ...




Any postcard with Joan Crawford on it (or Faye Dunaway as Joan) is guaranteed to elicit a smile from any card-carrying homosexual.




This card came out shortly after the word "metrosexual" entered the lexicon at the the turn of the 21st century.




His donning of gay apparel should have been her tip off (this was a Christmas card) ...




From The New Yorker, for the benefit of its BDSM readership.




Ads from the 1930s and 1940s are a goldmine for campy re-interpretation ...




As Peggy Lee might ask, "Is that all there is to a muscle hunk?"  And I'm sure we all have our own stories of disappointment ...




After taking her first draw from one of those "funny" cigarettes, her Midwestern virtue went out the window.  Thus began the Bohemian adventures of a ...




 No doubt fueled by a vodka stinger ...




Another classic from my favorite card store (RIP).  The flip side of this card identifies the dog walker as "Miss Dish".




If you liked this, you may also enjoy a post in a similar vein:  What Tickles a Gay Man's Funny Bone.

A Look Back at LGBT History: 1900-1930



Nov 30, 1900 – Oscar Wilde dies in Paris at the age of 46, a broken man.

Aug 15, 1911 - Crisco shortening, used by many gay men in the 1970's/80's for non-baking purposes, is introduced.

June 30, 1919 - The German film Different from the Others opens in Germany.  It showed how society mistreats homosexuals and is considered by many to be the first movie with a gay theme.

Nov 18, 1922 - Closeted French novelist Marcel Proust dies of pneumonia in Paris at the age of 51.

Sept 24, 1924 - Leopold and Loeb, 19-year-old college students from wealthy Chicago families, receive life sentences for the "thrill kill" murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks four months earlier.  The motivation of the two, who are thought to have had a homosexual relationship, was to commit the perfect crime.  Their case was the inspiration for the films Rope (1948) and Swoon (1992).



Dec 15, 1928 - Radclyffe Hall's lesbian novel, The Well of Loneliness, is published in the U.S. on the same day that a court in England rules that all copies of it be destroyed.

Sept 7, 1930 - The movie Whoopie opens, introducing moviegoers to Busby Berkeley's grand geometry-inspired production numbers. 

Oct 14, 1930 - 21-year-old Ethel Merman makes a name for herself after belting out I've Got Rhythm in the Broadway musical Girl Crazy.




To read about gay history and pop culture from other years, double click here.


The 2013 Academy Awards: A Post Mortem

2013_oscar_winnersThe 2013 Oscars telecast was a rather tedious affair, largely characterized by the awkward reaction of the audience at LA's Dolby Theatre to host Seth MacFarlane's borderline tasteless attempts at humor.  However, I wasn't too troubled as it was nice to see a fresh face.  On what it is considered our big night, our Super Bowl, gays were mentioned three times.



  • The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles appeared on stage.
  • After the chorus' appearance, MacFarlane told William Shatner (who was visiting from the future) that he wasn't a member of the chorus, to which Shatner replied, "Oh, trust me, in July 2015 you join the chorus".
  • Later in the telecast MacFarlane announced that the musical Chicago was being honored for winning Best Picture 10 years ago, "because we're afraid the show wasn't gay enough yet."
  • By far, the highlight of the night for me was Dame Shirley Bassey, who appeared at the end of a tribute to 50 years of James Bond movies and performed the theme from Gold Finger.  It was a very electric performance (such expressive use of her hands and arms!) and the audience gave her quite a reception.  Later, at the end of the "In Memoriam" tribute, Barbra Streisand came on stage and, in tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, sang The Way We Were.




  • I loved hearing last year's Best Actor winner, French actor Jean Dujardin, pronouncing the names of the Best Actress nominees.




  • Although it was a nice surprise to see the Gay Men's Chorus of LA on stage, unfortunately, it was during the frat boy number I Saw Your Boobs. (Whose sprightly melody I can't get out of my head.)  I don't know what the connection was between the two.  Mercifully, they were on screen just 15 seconds.  And Although I'm not certain, I believe they may also have provided background vocals for Adele later in the telecast. 




  • Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum did a very nice Astaire/Rogers dance number at the beginning of the show, performed to The Way You Look Tonight.  And Catherine Zeta Jones killed during her All That Jazz number. 




  • Beards (the facial hair type) were the look for men as evidenced by Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Jean Dujardin, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Bryan Cranston, Chris Pine, Justin Theroux and Ann Hathaway's husband.  (I lost count at ten.)




  • Melissa McCarthy's and Paul Rudd's banter fell embarrassingly flat (and like last year, her gown resembled a shapeless sack); Daniel Radcliffe and Kristin Stewart had no chemistry whatsoever; the usually stunning Nicole Kidman looked a bit wilted; and Rene Zelwegger looked uncomfortable when she appeared on stage with her fellow cast members from Chicago.




  • Thankfully, 75-year-old Jane Fonda looked incredible because her gown was bound to draw attention due to its canary-yellow color.  And co-presenter, Michael Douglas (68 years old), also looked great.




In closing, one thing I'll say in Seth MacFarlane's favor is that he has a very nice speaking and singing voice.



To read my comments from last year's Oscar telecast, double click here.





Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin Star in Acclaimed TV Special (February 25, 1962)

Judygarland_franksinatra_deanmartinThe acclaimed Judy Garland special, "Once in a Lifetime", aired on February 25, 1962.  Her guests were Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.  (What a sight to see Sinatra sing while puffing away on a cigarette!)  The show was a prelude to Judy's regularly scheduled Sunday variety show on CBS that began in the fall of 1963.  (However, it had the misfortune of being scheduled opposite Bonanza on NBC and would last just one season.)




Off-Broadway Play "Fortune and Men's Eyes" Opens (February 23, 1967)

FortuneAndMensEyesThe off-Broadway play Fortune and Men's Eyes opened at Actor's Playhouse in the West Village the evening of February 23, 1967.  (The play's name was taken from the first line of Shakespeare's 29th Sonnet).  It offered up a chilling portrayal of prison life, touching upon subjects such as male-on-male rape and sexual slavery and was very risque for its time.  It opened a year before Boys in the Band and more than two years before the Stonewall riots (and 30 years before HBO's Oz).  


Boys_in_the_band The play ran for nearly a year and then was released as a movie in 1971.  (Although Fortune's stage version opened a year before Boys in the Band, the movie version came out a year after Band's theatrical release - pictured, left).  As a teenager I remember seeing small ads for the movie in the Pittsburgh paper, and although I didn't quite know the movie's premise I was very intrigued by the title and the ad's suggestive photo. 




Salmineo_donjohnson When the play opened in Los Angeles a few years later it starred Sal Mineo (who was trying to change his image) and co-starred 23-year old Don "Miami Vice" Johnson (pictured).  

Lesley Ann Warren Stars in "Cinderella" TV Special (February 22, 1965)

Cinderella_1965There have been three muscial productions of Cinderella that have aired in primetime.  The first was in 1957 and starred Julie Andrews (with Kay Ballard and Alice Ghostley as her stepsisters).  Forty years later singer Brandy played Cinderella with Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother (Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber also had roles).  And in between those two telecasts a production in 1965 starred 18-year old Lesley Ann Warren.  Celeste Holm was her fairy godmother, Ginger Rogers was the Queen and Pat Carrol was one of the evil stepsisters.  Its 42.2 household rating made it the highest rated TV telecast of 1965.


Probably many boys between the ages of 4-14, who later blossomed into full-fledged homos, gave this telecast their undivided attention.  I know I did.  I was 7 at the time.   


Stuart_damon_lesleyann_warrenThere was so much about this production to captivate, e.g., Cinderella's bitchy stepmother and stepsisters; Cinderella's coach and gown; her fairy godmother; wonderful musical numbers (e.g., Possible; In My Own Little Corner) - and, of course, the prince!  He was played by 28-year-old Stuart Damon, who was a cross between Rock Hudson and Max Baer (Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies).  Damon later rose to fame for his 30-year role as Doctor Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital




And despite watching it in black and white (my household didn't get a color TV until 1968) it was still an enchanting experience.  And 48 years later this production of Cinderella came to Broadway, albeit with somewhat of a feminist slant.

Final Episode of "Sex & the City" Airs (February 22, 2004)

Sex_in_the_city_last_episode Sex and the City aired Sunday nights on HBO for six seasons and its final episode aired on February 22, 2004.  And despite HBO being in fewer than 25% of U.S. households, it was nonetheless a national event.  (No doubt every HBO household had at least ten friends over that night to watch.)  I didn't become a regular viewer until the show's last three years when I finally subscribed to HBO.  (One aspect of the show I especially liked was the many scenes shot in my West Village neighborhood.)  And like another show about the trials and tribulations of four women with distinctive personalities, NBC's Golden Girls, SATC had a rabid following among gay men.


Sexinthecity_finalepisode Two lines I best remember from this episode involved Miranda (played by Cynthia Nixon).  The first was when her housekeeper, Magda, walked into the bathroom and watched Miranda gently bathing her husband Steve's addled mother (played by Anne Meara).  She put her hand on Miranda's shoulder and said to her "You love" - a beautiful moment.   Later in the episode, Carrie's girls were so upset by how Carrie's fiance Petrosky (played by Mikhail Baryshnikov) was treating her in Paris that when "Big" asked them whether he should pursue her there, Miranda (who despised him) looked at him intently and said "Go get our girl". 




Satc-s06-ep76_lEven before the final episode I found the whole Carrie-Petrosky relationship tedious. (Truth be told, Carrie was my least favorite character.)  Instead, what I found most touching was the relationship between Samantha and Smith.  Another beautiful moment in this episode occurred when Smith surprised Samantha by returning early from a business trip to be with her (she was going through chemo treatment for breast cancer).      


Lesueur_peas Elizabeth_taylor_sexincityTo this day anytime I see someone walking a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the breed of dog Charlotte owned, I say to myself "Elizabeth Taylor", the name she chose for the dog.  Also, every time I see a can of Green Giant Lesueur peas I think of Samantha handing a can of them to a priest she was trying to seduce (for a food drive) and saying "They're Lesueur, they're the BEST". 


Five years later a SATC movie was released during the summer and was a big success.  A sequel came out the following summer but wasn't as well received and grossed less than half of the first (but still more than $150 million worldwide).


Greg Louganis Reveals He's HIV-Positive (February 22, 1995)

GregLouganis_PeopleMagazine On February 22, 1995 35-year old Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis called a press conference and disclosed that, not only was he gay (long rumored), but also HIV+ (which he was aware of since 1988). 


These revelations were in preparation for publication of his autobiography Breaking the Surface.  Two days after the press conference he was interviewed by Barbara Walters on 20/20 (see video clip below).  The following week he spoke at a meeting of NYC's gay professional group, New York Advertising & Communications Network (now called Out Professionals), at Cooper Union before an audience of 500.


Two years later a TV movie about Louganis' life, with the same title as his autobiography, aired on USA Network.  It starred 23-year old Mario Lopez.  


                                                                                         Rudy_galindo Magic_johnson Greg_louganisLouganis' disclosure came 2-1/2 years after NBA great Magic Johnson revealed that he was HIV+.  And in 2000 openly gay figure skater Rudy Galindo (1996 U.S. Men's National figure skating champion) also announced his HIV status.  A very important lesson conveyed by Johnson, Louganis and Galindo, all still alive, was that life can go on despite an HIV diagnosis, i.e. HIV does not equal death.  For many it's a chronic condition that can be managed with anti-viral drugs, not a death sentence. 










Sexy Men, Soaking Wet

Water is refreshing, exhilarating, rejuvenating, enticing ... and, as the following examples show, lends itself to some very alluring photo shoots: 


Matt Bomer stars in the show White Collar on USA Network and also appeared last summer in the male stripper movie Magic Mike.  This photo, from July 2010, was in Entertainment Weekly's "Summer Must List" issue.  The following year he got more attention when he came out.




I'm drawn to this photo of Hugh Dancy, from the pages of the 2007 issue of Out, because of his eyes and rosy red lips.  He was one of the persons featured in the issue's "Summer Hot List."  I first saw him in the 2007 movie, Evening, in which he played a tortured, closeted alcoholic.  During the filming of this movie he met his future wife, Claire Danes.




This playful, sexy spread shows designer and movie director, Tom Ford, engaged in some horseplay in the shower.  It ran in the November 2007 issue of Out, which featured Ford on the cover.




Then there's Mario Lopez and his exquisite shower scene from a 2006 episode of Nip/Tuck...




One more sexy shower scene, this one courtesy of Next Magazine.  This outdoor shower in the Pines is common to many beach homes and a selling point because it allows those on the deck to partake in casual ogling!




This cover from the Undergear catalog beautifully captures the feeling of exhilaration one gets plunging into a swimming pool on a sunny, hot day.  I remember numerous occasions where I, too, jumped for joy into the pool upon my arrival at my summer share in Fire Island.




This Nautica ad is composed of various beautiful hues of blue.  Kudos to the art director!




The contrasting splashes of black, red and blue make this photo from MetroSource's Table of Contents page nearly impossible to turn away from.  Or is it the gorgeous young man?




What's the back story behind this photo?  Was he caught in the rain?  Perhaps he looks a bit pissed because he got to wear a $500 Versace shirt and then was sprayed with water.  Or maybe his pout is just the natural aloofness of a model.




Finally, how could I not include this stunning photo of Daniel Craig from the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale?



Nancy Sinatra Tops the Charts with "These Boots Are Made for Walking" (February 20, 1966)

Nancy_sinatra_bootsFrank Sinatra's daughter Nancy had one of the biggest hits of 1966 with Boots, an early song about female empowerment.  (Two years earlier Lesley Gore had come out with a similarly-themed song, You Don't Own Me.)  It went to #1 the week of February 20.  However, it wasn't until twenty years later that the song became part of the "Camp Hall of Fame" when cable network VH-1 uncovered a primitive video for the song that had been produced for video jukeboxes. 


I was 8 years old at the time the song was popular and remember thinking that the song was pretty dreadful.  Now I've grown to like it, thanks largely to the video with Nancy and her bevy of young vixens with their teased That Girl flips and go-go boots.  And who can forget the call to action at the song's end - "Are you ready boots? ... start walkin!".   




A year later Nancy and her dad had an even bigger hit with the song Something Stupid, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.  It was very popular despite the creepiness factor of father and daughter singing about romantic love.