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June 2014

Landmark Supreme Court Decision Strikes Down US Sodomy Laws (June 26, 2003)

Lawrence_v_texasOn June 26, 2003 the US Supreme Court ruled that Texas' same-sex sodomy law was unconstitutional. The landmark Lawrence v Texas ruling was decided by a 6-3 vote, with Justices Scalia, Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist the dissenting votes.  (Pictured are John Geddes Lawrence, far right, with fellow plaintiff Tyron Power.  Both have died since the decision.)  The ruling voided the remaining sodomy laws in twelve other states as well (including Florida and Michigan). This decision came 42 years after Illinois became the first state to strike down its sodomy law.


Supremecourt_building This ruling reversed the Court's infamous 1986 decision upholding Georgia's sodomy law (Bowers v Hardwick). Many legal scholars consider Lawrence v Texas one of the Court's most important rulings. Once same-sex relations were made legal it opened the way for making same-sex marriage possible - and the state of Massachusetts followed suit the following year.


Celebrating The Sexiest Part of A Man's Body

Armpit.farmboyIn an episode during the first season of HBO's gay drama Looking, Patrick (played by Jonathan Groff) confides to a friend that he could lick his Hispanic boyfriend's hairy armpits for days.  Friends of mine and I agreed that this was a comment only a gay man could appreciate.  What makes the armpit such a turn-on?  Perhaps it's the animal attraction  created by the pheromones found there.  Or, unlike the pubic hair around a guys cock and balls, we can catch glimpses of armpit hair in public.  Last year I published "Paying Lustful Homage to Hairy Armpits" which was very popular.  Movie sequels are dicey because they often aren't as good as the original, but I'm hoping that's not the case with this post.



Even though it keeps getting thinner and the page size smaller, you can count on Next Magazine to have good armpit shots, sometimes on the cover or table of contents page.








We're bombarded with ads for feminine hygiene products and all sorts of medical conditions, yet deodorant/anti-perspirant advertisers are loathe to show a hairy armpit.  That's what makes a current campaign for Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing so interesting.  Similar to Old Spice, the campaign features a sexy bare chested guy in a towel or swim trunks.  And although he has a smooth chest he prominently displays his hairy armpits. That's fine with me but even I find it a curious juxtaposition.







Speaking of advertising for deodorants, hairy armpits are rarely shown (at least in the US), so this TV ad for Degree Dry Spray for Men is notable - and welcome.





During the 2012 Summer Olympics I wrote about divers being sexier than swimmers because they don't shave as much of their body hair.  Two years later I think gymnasts trump divers because of how their muscled biceps enhance their armpits.


Kohei Uchimura (Japan)


Li Xiaopeng (China)


Max Whitlock (UK)


Louis Smith (UK)


Football, basketball and tennis players also have armpits to show off, courtesy of Michael Sam, Brandon Roy and Rafael Nadal.








The ads for gay.com always feature hairy armpits, even if the hair is often clipped.






Here's a nice shot from the 2007 gay-themed movie Shelter.




This photo of Indian actor Ranveer Singh caused some controversy in India, where it's frowned upon for someone of social prominence to expose a hairy armpit.




A typical sexy fashion spread from a 2013 issue of Out Magazine.  And his treasure trail is an added bonus.




Kittens romping all Max Greenfield in a scene from the Fox sitcom The New Girl.




While it's easy to see pit hair at the beach or gym, some of the best sightings are when you catch a glimpse somewhere else.  For example, what I like about this photo is that the armpit is somewhat hidden, showing just a hint of pit hair sticking out.




From the pages of Playgirl back in the late 1980s.  This centerfold was a  fireman from Southern California.




Finally, this sexy shot is of the virginal (and adorable) lead character from the silly 2006 movie simply titled Another Gay Movie.




2014 Tony Awards Recap: Having Your Cake & Eating It Too

Hughjackman.2014tonyawards2Some viewers may have braced themselves for serious withdrawal upon the news that Neil Patrick Harris wasn't hosting this year's Tony Awards.  However, the telecast offered up a two-fer.  Not only did we get strapping Hugh Jackman as host, but Neil Patrick Harris was still present as he performed and made an acceptance speech after winning a Tony.  And like NPH, Jackman was a ball of good-humored energy.  Whereas NPH is cute and impish in an elf-like way, Jackman is leading man handsome and debonair with a playful side.  And the show's opening number showed that the 45-year-old was as fit as 40-year-old NPH. 



I enjoyed the opening although I was scratching my head over it.  After the show I discovered that the hopping idea came from the number Take Me to Broadway from the 1953 movie Small Town Girl.  (Musician Peter Wolf's 1987 music video for the song Come As You Are was also a tribute to this number.)  It might have been helpful if Hugh mentioned this fact (he did sing the title, but with no context).  Nonetheless, it was fun and I liked how Hugh interacted with the casts of the nominated musicals.  What was especially impressive was that he didn't appear to break a sweat nor was he noticeably winded.




I was quite entertained with Jackman's rendition of Rock Island from The Music Man, and it was further enhanced when he brought out rappers LL Cool J and TI to preform it as a rap song.




For me, the highlight of the telecast was Carole King introducing the musical number from Beautiful and then singing a duet of I Feel the Earth Move with the show's star, Jessie Mueller (who later won for her role).




Two award winners, Darko Tresnjak (Gentleman's Guide) and Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig & the Angry Inch) gave their respective husbands on-camera kisses.  And when he peformed as Hedwig NPH gave his hubby a very passionate kiss (almost as passionate as the one Al Gore planted on Tipper at the 2000 Democratic Convention!)






I thoroughly enjoyed the numbers from Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway and Beautiful.






I was touched by the last line of Lena Hall's giddy acceptance speech after winning for her performance in Hedwig -  "Friendship is magic."




Audra McDonald always gives a heartfelt, emotionally gratifying acceptance speech and this year's was no different - for her sixth Tony Award.  (I think what gave her the edge in the voting was her role as Mother Superior in NBC's live telecast of The Sound of Music last November.)  And the camera caught her husband, Will Swenson, wiping away tears and looking very proud.





I found it amusing that Kenny Leon's wife was staring directly into the camera when his nomination for Best Director of a Play was announced (he won for Raisin in the Sun).




Then there was this adorable photo bomb by the son of Ramin Karimloo (from Les Miserables) as nominee Jarrod Spector's face was being shown (for his role in Beautiful).  But by the time Karimiloo's name was announced for his nomination later in the show, the little tyke was asleep and Karimiloo playfully tried to hush the audience (and there was yet another adorable son at his side).





Sutton Foster and Ru Paul were pretty in pink (bringing to mind the time when Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both wore pink dresses to one of the presidential debates).





Jackman's playful interaction with each actress nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical was fun.






Bare chests!  There were four of them: Adam Jacobs from Aladdin (pictured), Andy Karl and Terrence Archie (pictured) from Rocky and Alan Cumming from Cabaret.







Judith Light's hair was a mess (the Cameron Diaz look) but Zach Brach's was even worse.




Every song Idina Menzel sings sounds the same (aka Celine Dion syndrome).




The number from A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Marriage left me cold.  I saw the show and this was not the best number.  And I don't think it's going to drive audiences to the box office.  




The 10th anniversary of Wicked was highlighted but it was also the 10th anniversary of Avenue Q beating out Wicked for Best Musical (that wasn't mentioned).




Kenneth Branagh's charcoal suit was very shiny.




During NPH's acceptance speech he told his twins that hed be back soon to spend time with them and read bedtime stories, so he's letting us know that he's not going to be in Hedwig very much longer.

While it was great to see Jennifer Hudson, who looked stunning, perform a song, the show it's from has yet to appear on Broadway.  It came near the end of the telecast, pushing it past 11:00, so those taping lost the announcement of the award for Best Musical at 11:04.  (Sting's number earlier in the telecast was also for a show not yet on Broadway.)





At least 13 gay men and lesbians got camera time and surely there were more that I missed, or I was unsure about their sexual orientation (e.g., Warren Carlyle and David Binder).

  • Matt Bomer (presenter)
  • Alan Cumming (Cabaret)
  • Harvey Fierstein (presenter)
  • Jonathan Groff (presenter)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (preformed; award winner for Hedwig)
  • Cherry Jones (nominee)
  • Michael Mayer (Hedwig)
  • Terrence McNally (stage appearance)
  • John Cameron Mitchell (stage appearance/Hedwig)
  • Rosie O'Donnell (presenter; recipient of honorary award winner)
  • Zachary Quinto (presenter)
  • RuPaul (presenter)
  • Darko Tresnjak (award winner, Gentleman's Guide)



This year I snapped photos from the TV screen (couldn't have done it without the DVR!).  Here are some miscellaneous shots I liked:


Hugh Jackman looks out upon his adoring public.


"Rocky's" playful nominee Andy Karl


Anna Wintour goes another year without a Tony.


Hugh begins hopping.


Neil Patrick Harris with hubby David Burtka


Jennifer Hudson belts it out.


Adam Carol and his 100-watt smile.


Kyle Scatliffe brings the number from "Les Miz"  to a powerful end.

Giving In to the Cult of Bearded Men

Duckdynastybeards Redsox.beardWatching last year's World Series I thought the bearded players from the Red Sox looked like the hillbillies from Duck Dynasty.  But I'm throwing up the white flag and surrendering to the trend.  The omnipresent beards all around has worn me down - yet, I must admit, a lot of guys sporting one look kinda hot.  I'm partial to those that are full and well groomed, not those that look like underbrush.  And bonus points go to those gents who compliment it with a good haircut.  I even find some of the bushier variety appealing.  However, a bushy beard with a big belly, a la Zach Galifianakas, is of no interest. 


As for me, I won't be jumping on the bandwagon simply because my facial hair grows at a snail's pace.  A mustache yes, maybe a goatee, but a beard would take months to grow - and by then the trend would probably be over.  But it's not a big deal since I have no earrings, piercings or tattoos either (nor do I use ChapStick) and I'm doing just fine.


Here are a baker's dozen of my bearded favorites:


  • From Hollywood, Ben Affleck, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman ...








  • Michael Lannan is the creator and executive co-producer of HBO's new gay series Looking.




  • The following two actors, Kellan Lutz and Richard Armitage, flew under my radar until just recently ...






  • Carlos Villanueva, a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, is one ballplayer who shows some style with his beard.  But it's his stylized mustache that really does the trick.  (For a gallery of more sexy baseball players double click here.)  Then there is adorable Sergio Romo, a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, whose beard brings to mind Al Qaeda.  However, Romo's bubbly persona erases that association. 





  • And finally, some of the sexiest/hottest beards are, not surprisingly, sported by nameless models.  Here are five of them.

















Gay Bowling: My Life In & Out of the Gutter




Since I grew up in Pittsburgh I have bowling in my blood (Pittsburgh is part of the Bowling Crescent which extends up through Akron, Cleveland, Detroit and Toledo).  My parents both bowled in leagues, as did I in high school.  I even took a bowling class in college.  When I moved to New York after college I brought my ball and bag with me and for about three years, between 1981 and 1984, I bowled in a gay bowling league.  Twelve teams met every Tuesday at Bowlmor Lanes on University Place in Greenwich Village (there were also leagues on other nights).  My team was called '1001 Adventures', named after our captain's travel agency.  Besides the captain, Paul Albano, there was also Bo, Ron, Tony and myself (and Bo's twin sister, Linda, served as our alternate).


Although it was a fun way to socialize with sixty or seventy gay men,  this activity caused me some strife for a couple of reasons.  First, I had trouble converting spares.  My ball would go beautifully down the center of the lane but all too often one pin was left standing and I'd have trouble converting it into a spare.  This frustrated the hell out of me.  A second source for strife was the cruisy atmosphere, which created some friction between me and my boyfriend Rick (who didn't bowl).  I actually had an affair with one bowler and that precipitated a brief break up a few months after Rick and I moved in together in the spring of 1983.




Sadly, our team captain succumbed to AIDS complications in 1984.  He was only 43 years old and was the first person I knew to die from the disease.  Another teammate and the two fellows I had dalliances with also died later in the '80s.  Additionally, the elderly night manager of Bowlmor was murdered, beaten to death with a bowling bowl for the money in the cash drawer.  Finally, I became disillusioned when it turned out the president of the league was accused of pocketing our league's dues; because of this dues were being raised.  I quit after the 1984 season and never picked up my ball and bag from the locker.  I haven't bowled since.  (Just one month after writing this post I learned that Bowlmor had closed its doors - after 76 years of operation.  And in early 2016 the entire block was razed.) )




I realize I haven't painted a very rosy picture of my time at the alleys, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless (I particularly liked being scorekeeper).  And it wasn't all angst.  In fact, I won two trophies - for high series during the summer of 1982 and in fall/winter 1983 for rolling the highest score with handicap (236 + 50).  Thinking about it now, perhaps I should give it a second try.