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July 2013

Hot Bodies ... Refreshed by Cool, Clean Water

Take a break from the broiler that is summer by immersing yourself in these cool images of water refreshing a lineup of hot male bodies ...


Actor Chris Evans looks a bit like Hugh Jackman here, so it's a win-win ...




Matt Kemp, star player for the LA Dodgers, vying for the title of Sexiest Ballplayer with Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins ...






Magazine ad for DK Men Unleaded cologne, which I believe was discontinued back in 2003 ...




Another print ad, this one for Versace mens briefs (circa 1995).  As we know, underwear models take their job so seriously that they refuse to get naked even in the shower ...




From a photo spread of Jason Statham in Men's Health Magazine from about five years ago ...




Here's an ad from the mid-1990s, saved from the pages of the defunct HX Magazine for the defunct Sound Factory Bar in Chelsea.




This photo from Next Magazine was part of a photo spread about life in the Pines, which is always enhanced by an outdoor shower ... especially if you're on the deck watching ...




You can tell this photo is from the 1980s because the model is not overly muscular.  It's also probably from GQ.  The "tell" is the slight limp wrist, a signal by a skittish GQ, acknowledging its gay readers. 




Somewhat of a Joe Manganiello thing going on here, circa 1994 ...




Hot fun in the summertime ... the ever popular hose in the pants shooting up a suggestive spray of water.  Sexy boys will be sexy boys ...




Not cooled down yet?  Here is an earlier post with the same refreshing theme ... Sexy Men, Soaking Wet .

Jane Lynch Has Breakout Role Playing a Lesbian in "Best in Show" (September 19, 2000)

Jane_lynch_bestinshowJane Lynch had many supporting TV roles throughout the 1990's, but it wasn't until she appeared in Christopher's Guest's movie Best in Show in the autumn of 2000 that she registered on my radar.  Ironically, although she didn't come out publicly until a few years ago, she played a lesbian dog trainer in the film (photographed here with Jennifer Coolidge).  At the end of the movie there's a hilarious scene where Jane's character talks about her and her partner's new publishing venture, American Bitch, a magazine that focuses on the issues of the lesbian purebred dog owner.


After Best in Show she appeared in a number of other high profile movies between 2003-2009, all which I happened to see:

  • A Mighty Wind - Another Christopher Guest film, Lynch played a reformed porn actress who became a singer in the squeaky clean folk group, the New Main Street Singers.  This is my favorite of her roles.


  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin - Here she played the cougar store manager, Paula, who was more than happy to be Steve Carell's "fuck buddy".
  • Talledega Nights - She played the upstanding Christian mother of Will Farrell's race car driver character, Ricky Bobby.  (Virgin and Talledega Nights both grossed more than $150 million.)
  • For Your Consideration - In a cameo role, she portrayed an all-smiles Mary Hart type on an entertainment show.  This was yet another Christopher Guest film.
  • Julie & Julia - She was delightful as the sister of Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep).


Sue_sylvester2One trait of Lynch's I love is her friendly and dazzling smile, something that's missing from her most famous role, since 2009, of the villainous Sue Sylvester on the TV show Glee.  Sue is one of those classic TV characters who's quickly embraced by viewers but then soon becomes overexposed in ensuing episodes (see also: Kramer from Seinfeld; Mimi from The Drew Carey Show; Urkel from Family Matters; and Fonzie from Happy Days).  I can't stand seeing her in that warmup suit - and with that awful scowl on her face.  


Jane_lynch_annieBy 2010 Lynch seemed to have become the new media-annointed public face of gay America (a role previously played by the likes of Harvey Fierstein, Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres).  She did some commercials, hosted the Emmy's in 2011, hosted SNL and recently finished a one-month gig on Broadway in the musical Annie, playing Miss Hannigan (and performed a number from it at this year's Tony Awards, pictured).  And this summer she's hosting the primetime game show Hollywood Game Night on NBC. 


Reaching Out & Touching Someone in Fire Island: Memories of the Pines Phone Directory

Pines_phonedirectory2Twelve years after the first "invasion" of the Pines took place on the 4th of July, another tradition began over July 4th weekend in 1988 - the introduction of the Pines phone directory.  It wasn't a directory handed out free by the phone company, but rather a fund-raising idea by a schoolgirl that caught on.  Information was collected voluntarily - some houses even included drag names and pets!  In the early days it was sold door-to-door, then later at the Pantry.  Covers were often Fire Island scenes done in water colors by Pines artists such as the late John Laub or Glen Wielgus.


What made the directory unique was that, in addition to last names being listed in traditional alphabetical order, names were also arranged by house address and by first name.  The first names listings proved invaluable because they addressed those situations that didn't lend themselves to easily catching someone's last name, e.g., jam-packed tea dance, on the beach or in the, ahem, woods.  Recognizing the utility of these listings, the publisher put them in front of the directory.



I had a fascination with the first names section.  Since they were already arranged alphabetically, it was relatively easy to determine the most prevalent names on the Island.  (I'm surprised the publishers didn't do it.)  During the six summers between 1996-2001 I'd leisurely page through the directory and take a count (while sipping a cocktail, of course).  In the summer of 2000 the Fire Island News even reported on the the analysis.  The names Michael, David and John always vied for the top (no pun intended).  However, the long stereotyped name, Bruce, wasn't even among the top 20.


(1996-2001 Average)
Michael   82  
David   78  
John   75  
Mark   55  
Steve   39  
Tom   39  
Peter   37  
Jim   37  
Bill   36  
Paul   34  


It's striking how mainstream the names were.  For example, in 2000 there were just four listings for Carlos, three for Juan, while Miguel and Julio each had two.  And, not surprisingly, there were fewer than a dozen women listed.  I haven't had a share in FIP since 2009 so it's likely things have changed - there are probably even names of kids listed.  As an indication of how popular the directory became, the number of persons listed jumped 60% between 1996 and 2001, from 1,470 to 2,500.



I once tracked someone down using the directory.  I remembered his first name, which was Steve, and the part of the Pines his house was located in (at the other end from where my house was), so I was able to narrow it down to a handful of potential last names.  From our brief conversation I also remembered where in Manhattan he lived (Chelsea/6th Avenue), and I was able to further narrow it down to his apartment building.  However, there were a number of Steves from the Pines directory who lived in that building - and I chose the wrong one; however, the wrong Steve was kind enough to call me (I had left a note in his mailbox) because he happened to know the Steve I was stalking, I mean, seeking.  Mission accomplished, we had a date, but it turned out he had a partner with whom he had an "understanding".  But it was a fun pursuit nonetheless. 




Alas, like print media in general, the directory seemed to lose its utility in the 21st century.  (I even tired of doing my analysis of first names.)  Although e-mail addresses were added and listings could be be submitted to a website, it seemed to come out later, suffered from sloppy proofreading and one summer a sizable number of names were missing (including mine).  But in its heyday it was indispensable - and worth remembering.    


Some other ZeitGAYst posts about Fire Island you may also enjoy:

Celebrating DRA's Fire Island Dance Festival

Coming & Going in the Meat Rack

"Invasion" of the Pines

A Postcard Trip to Fire Island

Favorite Photos of the Pines & Cherry Grove


Celebrating DRA's Fire Island Dance Festival

Dra_fireisland_dancefestivalFire Island Pines is surrounded by beauty - natural, architectural and physical.  And in the summer of 1995 Dancers Responding to AIDS further enhanced this rarefied environment when it organized the first DRA Fire Island Dance Festival there on August 5.  Showcasing dancers and choreographers from various highly regarded dance companies, the event was held outdoors, using Great South Bay as its background - lending its natural beauty to the breathtaking performances on stage. 





This first event didn't have the best weather as it was foggy and on the cool-ish side, but the event struck a chord and soon was a regular part of the Pines social season.  An early evening show was added, then a performance on Sunday afternoon.  The Saturday evening performance has proven very popular as it offers the opportunity to view a breathtaking sunset as a bonus.  In its second year, the event moved to the third weekend of July.  I shared a house in the Pines with one of the coordinators of the program, so it became part of our house's culture - and we were always aware of any behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the event.





Of course, because it's an outdoor venue, weather is always a concern and some years have been blistering hot, others gray and threatening (thankfully, not the norm).  An unforeseen challenge for the evening performance was the formation of condensation on the stage, which could be perilous for the dancers, so it had to be wiped down constantly in between numbers.  One non-weather event put a somber tone to the event in 1999, as the dance festival occurred the day after John Kennedy Jr.'s plane went down off Nantucket.  It made gazing out at the water of the bay somewhat sobering. 


Alan_cumming Richard_moveEach performance opens with the DRA Fanfare, created and donated in 1999 by Philip Glass.  Hosts have included BD Wong; Bebe Neuwirth; Whoopie Goldberg; Bruce Vilanch; Alan Cumming; Ana Gasteyer; and Richard Move as Martha Graham.  Another host was Kate Shindle, Miss America of 1998, who joked that she was sorry she didn't have her crown because she wanted to toss it in the pool to see how many queens in the audience would jump in after it!  Photographer Bill Cunningham from the NY Times has often attended one of the performances and his photos have appeared a week or two later in the Sunday Arts & Leisure section - lending the event even more cachet.


Celebrating its 20th year in 2014, the Dance Festival has raised more than $3 million.  For more information about this year's DRA Dance Festival, double click here.




And for other ZeitGAYst posts about Fire Island:

"Invasion" of the Pines

Coming & Going in the "Meat Rack"

A Postcard Trip to the Pines & Cherry Grove

Summertime Memories: A Photo Tribute to the Pines & Cherry Grove

When a Gay Bar Gouge Patrons - $10 Cover at the Monster!

Monster_barAs we all know, the 4th of July fell on Thursday this year (2013), so on Wednesday night I decided to have a vodka martini (dirty) at my neighborhood bar, the Monster, on Grove St. in the West Village.  When I got there I was floored to discover they had a $10 cover - no wonder the place was relatively empty.  They already charge an eight-dollar cover on Fridays and Saturdays (in 2017 it would rise to $10 as well), but this was simple price gouging as far as I was concerned.  I turned around and went home (happily, just a two-minute walk).


Ten_dollar_billGranted, it was a holiday, but one that many gay men spend at Fire Island, the Jersey shore, etc., so it's not like the City is teeming with thirsty queens.  Does the Monster think it's a "destination" spot for gay men who will blithely hand over an Alexander Hamilton?  Believe me, we're not talking about a bar that exactly draws the A-List.  To its credit, the Monster's been around 30+ years, no mean feat - but it shows.  And there's nothing sadder than a bar that's losing business and feels it has to steadily raise prices, thereby penalizing (and alienating) loyal patrons.   (However, I must add that for Saturday night's "Manster at Monster" event, the cover charge is waved if you know password, which is found on the bar's Facebook page).      


Perhaps a high cover charge keeps some of the riff-raff that's begun to plague the Village from coming to the bar, but it may also dissuade others that don't think the bar is "all that" anyway.


Hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned.