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September 2013

"Pines '79" - Revisiting a Play Depicting Carefree Days Before AIDS




Recently, my friend Andy loaned me a paperback he bought on Amazon titled Pines '79.  Actually, it's a bound script and stage notes from the off-Broadway play that opened at Actor's Playhouse in the West Village in 1981.  Set in the Pines, it takes place over four weekends during the summer of 1979.  The comedy's main characters are five gay men sharing one house, and an older, straight female friend who lives in another.  It touches upon drugs, disco, sex, relationships, fear of intimacy, and the freedom found on Fire Island.  Lightweight and angst-free, it's light years away from the self-loathing tone of Boys in the Band.




Prominent play is given to the Meat Rack, the Sandpiper disco (pictured, above), disco naps and "Beach '79" - the first dance party held on the beach, featuring 16-year-old France Joli.  There's no deep talk about politics, just fun-loving decadence.  Disco hits such as Ring My Bell, the Village People's Fire Island and Don't You Want My Love are featured.  Unfortunately, the last act devolves into slapstick with the appearance of an oafish hustler and a clingy trick.  


Because Pines '79 is such a period piece it would probably be of interest only to those who experienced this way of life.  It would have been interesting if sequels were staged that followed the housemates over subsequent summers.  I wondered if any of the characters would have survived the onset of AIDS.  Alas, the playwright Terry Miller (not to be confused with Dan Savage's husband, who has the same name) succumbed in 1995 at the age of 47.  Miller also authored the book Greenwich Village and How it Got That Way, which was published in 1990.






Mario Lopez Teases & Pleases on "Nip/Tuck" (September 19, 2006)




The TV drama Nip/Tuck was created by Ryan Murphy and aired on cable network Fx between 2003 and 2010.  It told the story of two high-living Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, Sean and Christian, and their high-end clients and sexual conquests.  Although they were heterosexual and bedded plenty of women, the two had a big-time bromance going on between them, and a homoerotic vibe characterized the series. 


Enter Mario Lopez, who was introduced early in Season 4 (Sept. 19, 2006 to be exact).  He played a recurring character, a plastic surgeon, Mike Hamoui, with a killer body.  Christian encountered Mike in the shower at the gym and couldn't keep his eyes off him, jealously ogling his beautiful butt and washboard abs.  It's one of those scenes you want to watch over and over again.  To watch it in its delectable entirety, double click here.






At the same time as this jaw dropping appearance, Lopez was also competing on Dancing with the Stars (he and his partner came in second).  Nine years before his Nip/Tuck shower scene, he had another water-oriented acting role, portraying Olympic diver Greg Louganis in USA Network's movie Breaking the Surface.  In this role he spent considerable screen time strutting around in a Speedo.  And two years after Nip/Tuck, he made his Broadway debut in A Chorus Line, playing the part of Zach, the director (pictured, far right).  It was reported that Lopez demanded more form fitting clothing, especially since hunky Nick Adams, who played the assistant director, got to wear tank tops that showed off his great physique.