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March 2013

Carlos Santos - The Year's Sexiest TV Pitchman?

Carlos_santos Carlos_santos_metropcsA few years ago metroPCS had, in my estimation, some of the worst advertising on TV, with ads that dealt in dreadful Pakistani stereotypes.  This year, the company's ads caught my attention again, but this time in a very positive way because of their sexy, new spokesperson, actor/comedian Carlos Santos.  His jaunty swagger combined with a cute wink and broad smile at the end of his sales pitch are pretty irresistible.  Double click to see it here.


Santos joins a long line of appealing pitchmen from previous years:

  • Actor Matt Walton for Optimum Voice:


  • The duo from Liquid Plummer Double Impact:


  • The Right Guard guy from a few years ago ("The Man Your Man Should Smell Like"):


  • Finally, Lucky Vanous, who in 1994 was ogled by appreciative female office workers as he drank a can of diet Coke at a construction site.


With TV ads like these, why would anyone want to fast-forward through the commercials?







Barbra Streisand Triumphs in "Funny Girl" (March 26, 1964)

Funny_girl_broadway Funny_girl_poster1964 was an outstanding year on Broadway.  It began with the opening of Hello, Dolly! and at the end of the year, Fiddler on the Roof got the 1964-65 theater season off to a rousing start.  And in between the two was Funny Girl, which opened on March 26, 1964.  21-year-old Barbra Streisand starred, but it had taken a while for her name to come up during casting discussions.  Before she was approached, one singer whose name was tossed around was Eydie Gorme; however, she would consider the role only if her husband, Steve Lawrence, was cast in the role of Nicky Arnstein!   


(By the way, this was not Babs' Broadway debut.  That occurred two years earlier in I Can Get it for You Wholesale.)


Carolchanning_hellodolly_imagesCA1M3E8D Streisand_hellodolly_imagesCA0OETF3 Despite receiving eight Tony nominations, Funny Girl went home empty-handed as Hello, Dolly! was the big winner, with ten.  However, Barbra would win an Oscar as Best Actress for the movie version, which was released in 1968.  (It was the top grossing film of the year.)  And when Hello Dolly! was made into a feature film in 1969, it was Streisand who was cast in the title role, not Broadway Dolly's! Carol Channing.  (This was also Channing's fate when Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was made into a movie in 1953 and Marilyn Monroe was chosen over her, despite Channing's acclaimed performance in Blondes on Broadway.)   




I've also published posts about other Broadway openings:

Angels in America (1993)

Boys in the Band (1968)

Coco (1969)

Company (1970)

Dreamgirls (1981)

Evita (1979)

Into the Woods (1987)

Speed the Plow (1988)

Take Me Out (2002)

Twilight of the Golds (1993)

West Side Story (1957)


FDA Approves AZT to Fight AIDS (March 20, 1987)

AztSix years after AIDS began ravaging the gay population a glimmer of hope arrived on March 20, 1987 when the FDA approved the use of AZT (marketed as Retrovir).  However, despite its promise, it proved toxic for quite a few because it was very potent and patients were instructed to take it every four hours.  Since many who had AIDS back then already had severely compromised immunne systems, the prescribed dosage was often difficult for their bodies to handle.  Side effects could be quite unpleasant and debilitating.  


015_The__Kiss_large In these early years of the plague, those infected with the AIDS virus were more or less voluntary guinea pigs when it came to experimental treatments.  However, they willingly, and stoically, participated because they were desperate for any treatment that might enable them to live longer.  For example, an ex-lover of mine at one point was receiving injections of pulverized shark bone.  



AIDS_TimeCoverStory AIDS_LifeMagazine AIDS_NewYorkMagazine Because of stories circulating about AZT's toxicity, it wasn't uncommon for HIV+ patients to be reluctant to take it.  Even after its strength was lessened and the prescribed frequency was reduced drastically, it took convincing from doctors to dispel the old stories.  Now that there was something on the market, the number of gay men getting tested for HIV began increasing.  And a few years later AZT's effectiveness was enhanced when it began to be prescribed in combination with other anti-viral drugs that came on the market.   


Aids-diagnoses-deaths2 Another treatment breakthrough would occur in the early 1990's when a new generation of drugs - known as protease inhibitors - were introduced.  They helped transform HIV into more of a chronic condition for many.  As a result, AIDS deaths began declining significantly in the mid-1990's.

Paris Elects a Gay Mayor (March 18, 2001)

Klaus_wowereit_gay_berlin_mayor Bertrand_delanoe_gay_mayor_parisBack in 2001, in the space of just three months, two openly gay candidates were elected mayors of "world class" European cities.  First, 50-year-old Bertrand Delanoe (pictured, near right) was elected mayor of Paris on March 18.  This made Paris (with a population of 2.1 million) the largest city in the world with a gay mayor.  Then in June voters in Berlin (population 3.4 million) took that distinction away from Paris when it also elected a gay mayor, 47-year-old Klaus Wowereit .  (Coincidentally, the German city of Hamburg also elected a gay mayor that very same year.)  Delanoe remained mayor through the spring of 2014 when he was replaced by his deputy mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who became the first woman to hold the office in Paris.  


18 months after his election Delanoe was stabbed in the stomach as he walked through a street festival by a Muslim immigrant with homophobic views.  After surgery he remained in the hospital nearly two weeks.  (This happened a week before I arrived in Paris for my first visit.)


1213-annise-parker-houston-mayor_full_600 And then in 2009 Houston became the first U.S. city with 1 million+ residents to elect a gay mayor, lesbian Anisse Parker.  Before that, the largest U.S. cities with gay mayors had been Portland, Oregon and Providence, Rhode Island.




Paying Lustful Homage to Hairy Armpits

Nothing gets some guys going like the sight and scent of a man's armpits, something of a secret delight for many a gay man.  Although this post can't offer the scent or tactile sensation, the photos chosen should be more than enough to rev one's engines ... 


This photo is from the 2003 movie Testosterone, starring former Calvin Klein underwear model Antonio Sabato, Jr., who played a gay Argentinian with a mysterious past.  The scene pictured here shows his lover, Dean (played by Daniel Sutcliffe), waking up in their LA home.




This photo of quarterback Matt Leinart comes from a People Magazine cover story about sexy athletes (Summer of 2006).  He's best known for winning the 2004 Heisman Trophy and leading the Trojans of USC to the BCS Championship.  His NFL career never quite took off, but he's still on the roster of the Raiders.




This beautiful cover is from a very early issue (circa 1993) of the defunct HX Magazine, before color was introduced.




I've always found actor Eric Balfour very sexy.  He first came to my attention as the boyfriend of Lauren Ambrose's character in the first few seasons of Six Feet Under.  He's done a lot of TV, and some movies, but has never broken out in a big way.




This stunning photo of actor Mark Ruffalo, in a pose suggesting post-coital bliss, is from an issue of the Advocate.  In the accompanying interview, Ruffalo was asked about the appeal of his furry chest to gay men but, as so often is the case, no mention was made of his hairy pits.  No matter, we got this hot shot (perhaps the photographer was a connoisseur).




Every now and then Sports Illustrated throws a bone to its gay readership.




Another in a long line of Abercrombie & Fitch cock teases ...




With Rafael Nadal getting all of the attention, I was unaware of another Spanish tennis star, Fernando Verdasco.  But leave it to Calvin Klein to discover, and undress, him.  As the title of the Robert Palmer song says, "I didn't mean to turn you on" ...




This photo is from Matthew Bourne's all-male version of Swan Lake that made it to Broadway in the autumn of 1998 during its international tour.




If, for some reason, you find yourself watching a basketball game on TV, there's always the hope of ogling an armpit during a foul shot.  However, all too often, the camera pulls away to follow the arc of the ball as it goes towards the hoop.  For all of those dashed hopes, GQ offered this shot of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's multi-million dollar pit hair.




This pair of lust-inspiring pits are courtesy of the Undergear catalog.




What adds to the appeal of this cover shot from 4 years ago is the hint of pit hair peaking out from Taylor Lautner's soaked t-shirt ...





Finally, when this angel fell from heaven, he landed in a bathtub (the photo appeared in a 2006 issue of MetroSource Magazine).





You may also find the following posts of interest:

Men's Underwear Ads - No Ands or Ifs, Just Sexy Butts

Sexy Men, Soaking Wet

Sexy Magazine Ads Dripping With Testosterone



Billionaire Malcolm Forbes Outed by Outweek Magazine (March 11, 1990)

Malcolm_forbesBesides his financial acumen, high-profile billionaire Malcolm Forbes was also well known for his hobbies of motorcycling and hot air ballooning, as well as his much publicized friendship with Elizabeth Taylor.  He died on February 24, 1990 at the age of 70, and two weeks later the fledgling weekly gay magazine Outweek ran a cover story outing him (cover date of March 18).  It was written by gay journalist, and rabble-rouser, Michelangelo Signorile.  (Although the cause of Forbes' death is listed as "heart attack", it is rumored that he actually committed suicide upon learning that he was HIV-positive.)




OutingThe story about Forbes was actually just part of the story as the thrust of the article was about the double standard used by the media when it came to reporting on the private lives of closeted gays and heterosexuals.  The act of "outing" was controversial not only with the general public but within the gay community as well.  Because of its potential negative ramifications a debate raged about how ethical it was to reveal a person's sexual orientaiton before they were prepared to do so themselves.  Twenty years later it seems to be reserved mostly for closeted politicians who support anti-gay legislation. 


Outweek_final_issueOutweek_first_issueAs for Outweek it lasted for just two years.  Both its first (near right) and last issue (far right) were published during Gay Pride Week.

Suitable for Framing: TIME Magazine's Classic Cher Cover

Cher_TimeMag_1101750317_400 Now a single woman, and starring in her own variety show, 29-year-old Cher was in the midst of Version 3 of her career.  (V1 was as a singing duo with Sonny in the mid-1960's; V2 began in 1971 with their CBS variety show).  Her "emancipation" warranted a TIME Magazine cover story* and this glamorous cover from the mid-March 1975 became an instant classic.  (And since then Cher's career has continued its iterations, including Hollywood Cher; Disco Diva Cher; Infomercial Cher; and Retirement Tour Cher.) 

*Cover date of 3/17/75 but on newsstands March 11. 



EltonJohn_TimeMag_1101750707_400 LizaMinnelli_1101720228_400 LindaRonstadt_TimeMag_1101770228_400 Four months after Cher's TIME cover Elton John would get one of his own as well.  Other gay icons bestowed with covers have included Liza Minnelli (1972)*, Linda Ronstadt (1977), Madonna (1985) and Bette Midler (1987).  But none compare to Cher's in terms of "Wow!" factor (But Rondstadt's sultry cover comes close).

*Surprisingly, while Liza merited a cover story her even more iconic mother never had one.







Death Watch Begins for the Incredibly Shrinking "Next Magazine"




Back in 2012 I wrote a post discussing how Next Magazine's smaller pages and tiny typeface made it more difficult to read, especially in the dim lights of a bar/club setting.  (New Next, shown above, old Next, below.)  Now, in the past few months (early 2013), I've noticed that the number of pages is declining, reducing its usual thickness and giving the publication a somewhat bulimic look.  Since the entertainment guide is still publishing all of its regular editorial features, it must be running fewer advertising pages.  This is a bit surprising considering that Next no longer has HX to compete with (Next bought it in 2009). 




There may be a number of reasons for this decline in ad pages: 1) like readers, advertisers continue to gravitate to online sources (something the entire magazine publishing industry, even the vaunted publications of Time, Inc., are struggling mightily with); 2) a more compelling sales story is being pitched by Metro Source's ad sales staff; 3) less revenue is being generated by back-of-the-book ads offering the services of escorts and "body workers".  Whatever the reasons are, I believe the Next death watch has begun.  







Gay Time Capsule: Before the 20th Century




Oct 30, 130 AD - Antinous, Roman emperor Hadrian's 19-year-old consort, drowns in the Nile River.  Hadrian later had him deified and named an Egyptian city after him.

Sept 8, 1292 - John de Wettre is put to death for committing sodomy in the Belgian city of Ghent, the earliest known case in Western Europe of someone being executed for this act.

Sept 21, 1327 - Henry II is murdered in his prison cell supposedly after having a red hot iron thrust up his rectum (in reaction to his homosexuality).

Sept 8, 1504 - Michelangelo unveils his staute "David" in Florence.




July 23, 1599 - Italian artist Caravaggio receives his first public commission.

Aug 29, 1867 – Karl Heinrich Ulrich is the first self-proclaimed homosexual to speak out publicly for homosexual rights when he pleads in front of the Congress of German jurists in Munich for a resolution repealing anti-homosexual laws.

Oct 3, 1872 - Bloomingdale's department store opens in Manhattan.

Jan 3,1882 - 27-year-old Oscar Wilde arrives in the U.S. for a one-year lecture tour.

Feb 13, 1886 - Painter Thomas Eakins resigns from the Philadelphia Academy of Art after using male nudes in a coed art class.




Dec 17, 1892 - Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker premieres in the Russian city of St. Petersburg less than a year before his death.

Feb 11, 1895 - The neighborhood of Georgetown becomes part of Washington, D.C.

May 25, 1895 - English playwright Oscar Wilde is convicted of morals charges.


(To read about LGBT history from other years, double click here.) 

TV Commercial for Amazon's Kindle Delights With Surprise Gay Twist

Occasionally, while watching a show I recorded on my DVR, I forget it's been recorded and I sit through the commercials.  This happened to me last week while I was watching Modern Family.  Happily, because of my obliviousness, I saw a great ad (in 2013). 





The commercial opens with a man and woman sitting at a beach resort, both reading their e-books.  The man engages her after noticing that she is having a much easier time reading her device in the bright sunshine than he is.  It turns out she has the new Kindle Paperwhite.  When he makes a somewhat flirtatious comment, the woman nicely informs him that her husband is at the bar getting her a drink.  The fellow then replies that his husband, too, is at the bar.  Cut to a shot of the two husbands standing side-by-side at the bar, looking back and waving at their respective spouses (I'm not certain, but I think the gay hubby is on the left).  

What made seeing this even better was the fact that I watched it without having heard or read about it, so it was truly a delightful surprise.  And it was appropriate that it aired during Modern Family.

This ad aired nearly 20 years after Ikea caused a stir with perhaps the first ad with a gay angle, depicting a male couple shopping for furniture.  Since then, there have also been notable ads from Toyota, Levis and Orbitz; however, the majority of gay ads have been produced for European television.  (Click here to view AdWeek's 50 Gayest Ads Ever.)