« July 2013 | Main | September 2013 »

August 2013

The Role T-Shirts Play in Gay Visibility

Nyc_gaypride_tshirtWhen collecting fridge magnets, post cards and snow globes isn't enough, there are always t-shirts.  The nice thing about them is that they're mobile.  And when they wear out or tear, you can cut off the sleeves and wear them to the gym.  And those that don't fall apart become more snug after years of laundering - perfect for showing off your biceps and pecs.  And while none of my t-shirts are emblazoned with strident social messages, they do communicate that I'm gay.  Of course, wearing such t-shirts in New York may not be quite as bold as wearing them in Oklahoma or Alabama, but it provides visibility nonetheless. 


Chances are that  much of the non-gay population probably isn't even aware that the places or images on the t-shirts shown below have a gay connection ...     


Gay Pride ...




The Fire Island t-shirt, below on the left, from the summer of 1997, hugs my torso beautifully.  The other t-shirt is from Pines Hardware, which closed at the end of the the 2009 season.




I bought this t-shirt with a fierce image of Grace Jones a few years ago at a street fair in my neighborhood.  The image is from Grace's Slave to the Rhythm album from the mid-1980s.




Although the next four may not have an overt gay message, you probably wouldn't see a straight man wearing them.  My t-shirt from NYC Opera t-shirt is one of my favorites because of its color and simplicity of its logo.  The Thomas Eakins t-shirt was purchased in 1991 at an exhibit of his work at Philadelphia's Academy of Fine Arts.  (Eakins was controversial because of his penchant for drawing scenes depicting teen boys, some nude).   The t-shirt from the 2012 revival of Evita goes without saying.  Lastly, the t-shirt from Archaeology Magazine's depiction of a nude athlete from ancient Greece is homoerotic enough to make it a natural for a gay man to wear.




The first vacation t-shirt, from Provincetown, is my newest, purchased this summer; the one from Puerto Vallarta is from spring 2009; I bought the Reykjavik tank top at a tiny gay bar during a vacation in Iceland in 2003; and the last one, from Key West, was bought while vacationing there in the winter of 1996.







Finally, here are t-shirts from a magazine (HX), a bar (Splash) and a gay talk show (Party Talk, on the Gay Cable Network during the 1990's) that are no more.  Gone, but hardly forgotten ...



A Long Overdue Return Visit to Provincetown

Provincetown_tshirt Rob_frydlewicz_provincetown_summer2013Between 1980 and 1995 I vacationed in Provincetown on a regular basis.  Then I began spending summers at Fire Island and stopped making the trek up to this charming gay resort located at the tip of Cape Cod.  However, I recently had an unexpected vacation there when my friend Andy, who had made arrangements to go there for a long weekend, had a change of plans and asked if I'd be interested in going in his place - all expenses paid.  So on Thursday morning I took the train up to Boston and from there boarded the speed ferry for the 90-minute trip to this quaint Portuguese fishing village.  I was delighted to be able to take advantage of this opportunity because I have fond memories of P-town.


I stayed at a guest house in the heart of town off Commercial St. called Watership Inn.  A cozy place, it consists of a number of weather-beaten buildings which encircle a small backyard.  However, its interior was a bit dreary and dark for my taste, bringing to mind the mansions of the Addams Family or Dark Shadows.


RSCN5619I was pleasantly surprised to find that the town was largely the way I remember, especially the mix of pedestrians, bikes and cars clogging Commercial Street.  And the downtown scene was as vibrant as ever.  The Lobster Pot and Spiritus Pizza were still there as were the art galleries, crafts shops, little stores that sell salt water taffy, Gale Force bike rentals, tea dance at the Boatslip and many of the restaurants.  The big guest houses were bustling, including some I once stayed at - Captain Jack's Wharf, Anchor Inn and Gifford House.  However, one restaurant I fondly remember, Tips for Tops'n on Bradford St., was no longer there, having closed just last summer.  One addition I ruefully noted was the Marc Jacobs store (but no Starbuck's or Chipotle - yet).   


Visiting P-town was also a nice respite from New York "attitude" as I found the people here friendlier and less pretentious than those who summer in the Pines.  (But when it comes to sex appeal, the boys of the Pines win hands-down!)  And while Provincetown reminds me somewhat of Cherry Grove, it's missing the shrillness of the Bridge & Tunnel residents who give the Grove its "personality". 


Provincetown_fog Provincetown_monument_clearskiesThe weather was gray and drizzly on my first full day, a Friday, but bright blue skies abounded on Saturday.  And I was happy with both conditions.  After all, overcast skies are great for photos since colors "pop" in the dull light, and the delight of sunny skies go without saying.  However, Sunday turned uncomfortably humid under a light overcast.   


To close, what follows is a gallery of photos, showing various aspects of Provincetown, beginning with some of the town's architecture. The middle photograph shows P-town's library.






File these four under "The Charm of Provincetown" ...







In addition to the many galleries, outdoor sculpting is scattered about town.  The first is titled "Tourists" and is situated in front of the library.  The two photos that follow were snapped on MacMillan Pier, the place where visitors go for a whale watching tour and to get the ferry back to Boston.