8 posts from January 2013
Last night was the Broadway Bares installment "Winter Burlesque," a pastiche of past numbers and new naughtiness that blew hot and hotter on a cold New York night. And to think, it was all to benefit a good cause—Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
I arrived less than an hour early and was still one of the first in the house, the house being XL on W. 42nd across the street from my apartment. I planted myself directly in front of the catwalk's end, just behind the section of the club that had been roped off for higher-paying guests who wanted to watch the show from a seated position like civilized perverts. (I got to snap another photo of XL's hottest server, at left, waiting on some.)
NOTE: Low-res videos of some of the show's hottest numbers are here. Hi-res and ultra-dirty photos from the show that I am not allowed to reveal on my blog are or will soon be available here. (Follow my tumblr, please.)
I was next to the house videographer and some guys who shyly confessed to being Bares-backers for many years—they own all of the official DVDs and know many of the dancers' names. If only they knew my own past with the show, they'd have realized they were in good company.
The show started with a bang—stunning Judah Gavra emerged, let his coat slip away to reveal his naked ass and then gestured to the title card revealing that the show's first number was to be "Burlesque is Back".
Angie Schworer sang the number, a saucy celebration of the art of getting naked on a stage, with the right amount of humor and bawdy sexiness. She reminded me of Wendi McLendon-Covey meets Jane Krakowski. And speaking of crack, she and her bevy of beauties didn't skimp on the skimpy outfits.
"Fringe Benefits," a classic Bares number with an Elvis theme, may have been performed before, but lead dancer Steven Wenslawski made it his own and made the audience his bitches while he was at it. When he shook his butt at us, it was with all the confidence of someone who knows that while beauty is only skin deep, it's still awfully nice to have it.
Last night at XL, the Season 5 premiere party for RuPaul's Drag Race unfurled. Like many of the show's storied contestants, it was a hot mess in a hot dress.
First up was a mob-scene photo op. Why the sudden interest? Is drag going to be the next "Gangnam Style"? Nope. It was because fellow Viacommies Snooki and JWoww had been paid lured to semi-host the evening, so the event photographers were champing at the bit. I was late so missed some of the pint-sized supernovae, but I did find it funny when Snooki and JWoww wouldn't do solo shots and wouldn't even do a simple two-shot against the backdrop for the salivating photogs. (One of whom kept shouting, "J.Lo! J.Lo!" while others kept shouting, "Nicole, turn to the right!" to try to get on Snooki's good side by showing they knew her Christian name.)
Inside, the ladies were positioned at tiny tables and all of us press types just had to run up and grab whomever might be available.
I will be able to upload many more videos later on Monday.
Snooki and JWoww had a line that stretched all the way back to December, so I went for Detox Icunt first, having heard she was a big Madonna fanboy fangirl fan.
I loved her. She feels like this season's Chad, but with fewer miles on her. (No offense at all, Chad—I'm old, too.) She also vaguely reminded me of Chicago's Memory Lane. Anyway, she confirmed her adoration for Madonna (she saw MDNA three times).
I then went for Jade Jolie. I wanted to be sure I had time for her because she's the subject of a new mini-scandal on the show—in the past (how distant is not clear to me), she was known as "Tristan Everhard" and did bareback porn videos.
She was a frickin' doll (and resembled a mix between a Dawn doll and something you'd see at ComiCon) and answered my question about the porn brouhaha smoothly and graciously. This was before I got to speak to all of her rivals, not one of whom cast even a hint of shade toward her for her movie work. From what I can tell, it was never used on the show and didn't come out among the ladies until a month or so ago. This Jade's a gem.
As much as I loved those two, I think my favorite (in person, anyway) might've been Alyssa Edwards. I know, not much of a drag name! But she doesn't need a flamgirlant name—she has a sparkling personality, is smart enough to butter up reporters in-between lengthy but never too-lengthy answers (she complimented me on my smile and nuzzled close for our photo op) and is gorgeous.
When I started this little project—which hoped to gather a number of juxtaposed images showing various celebrities' first and last filmed acting performances—I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. While it's easier for some of the most iconic names since so much research exists regarding their early years, I encountered time-sucking troubles, and not only when it came to old-timers (whose first films, as you might expect, were often lost silents).
Along with that challenge, I found that many stars' first appearances were as uncredited extras (therefore hard to ID) in obscure movies (therefore hard to find in any form), and that those whose early-years films I found easily might well have ended their careers in similarly obscure straight-to-video releases or in episodic TV, much of which is not floating around on the Internet.
But I pushed ahead and cooked up 25.
I wanted the group to be fairly random, and I think it is. It's less about icons and more about just seeing the changes of life and of career. It's fascinating to me how difficult it is—in all but a few cases—to guess what heights a career may have hit when only viewing its genesis and its conclusion.
Greta Garbo (1905—1990)
How Not to Dress (advertising film, 1920) & Two-Faced Woman (1941)
Garbo's first film was for a department store, made to instruct viewers on how not to dress. Ironically, she would become a style icon before her final film, a comedy, led to embarrassing reviews and a not-quite-intentional retirement.
Too Many Girls (1940) & Three Days to a Kill (1992)
From an uncredited spot in the chorus of a Lucy & Desi musical, Johnson ended his time on screen as a crusty commander in a Fred Williamson action groaner alongside Chuck Connors. That was also the final performance for Connors. Those two had more in common than just their final movie!
You Came Along (1945) & Pulp (1972)
Thanks to her close association with producer Hal Wallis, this sultry answer to Lauren Bacall was the star of the very first film she did. She sued Confidential Magazine for outing her and by 1972 was making her final appearance, opposite Michael Caine, in a film about an old-time movie star (Mickey Rooney) who hires a pulp-fiction writer to do his memoirs. In that role, Scott's character is told, "I'll bet that was a fairy tale romance," to which she says, "On the contrary, the prince was very hetero."
The Flying Scotsman (1929) & Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death (1984)
His first role was a lead in a British part-silent/part-talkie, starring as a fireman aboard a train who falls for the engineer's daughter, running afoul of the fireman he replaced. His last was as the Home Secretary in a made-for-TV Sherlock Holmes installment starring fellow old-timers Peter Cushing and Sir John Mills.
Dorothy Stratten (1960—1980)
Autumn Born (1979) & They All Laughed (1981)
One of the most infamous (for reasons beyond her control) Playboy bunnies of all time kicked things off with a seedy nudie flick and kicked off right after filming her lover Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and John Ritter.
Generally speaking, it's thought that women probably emotionalize sex a bit too much for their own good. But if that's true, then men definitely mythologize it too much for our own good. We can sometimes treat our partners like crap while still
holding our heads up high, yet can wax nostalgic about unbelievably satisfying sexual encounters, revering them as if they were religious experiences.
For gay men, with no societal instruction on what happens when two guys fall in love or even just lust, pornography was for decades the primary means by which we could discover those answers
Perhaps those two observations help to explain why we take our porn so very seriously, why we could probably talk for hours about specific scenes that opened our eyes to new activities we'd previously never dreamed of and why we are so madly in love with certain familiar faces (and other parts) who seemed to teach us how to do "it" and gave us permission to stop worrying our parents would find out so we could simply enjoy being pigs—at least on occasion.
With all of that out of the way, what follows is my list of History's 125 Hottest Gay-Porn stars...note the hyphen, because I have no way of knowing which of these guys were/are gay-for-pay stars, I just know I've seen them in at least one in at least one dirty movie targeted to gay men, and that they did something primal for me.
Many of them are dead—not many from the Golden Age of gay adult films (let's say the '70s through 1990?) didn't contract HIV since they were working condom-free both on and often off the screen. Many others have succumbed to vices perhaps more common among guys who sell sex than among the general population. That's another thing to think about, how porn is a lot like America—obsessed with sex but too ashamed of it to deal with our interest in it, or to deal with the very real issues that pop up among those who make the porn we order but who are often shunned in practice while being venerated in theory.
Speaking of the dead, I've attempted to include their years of birth and death (along with the cause) so that there would be some kind of minimal info on each guy.
If you are any of these guys, have information on any of these guys' birth dates, death dates, what they were like in person (if you met them), where they may be now or any other tidbits—or if you would like to scream and holler at me for leaving someone out or including someone—please do comment. I look forward to it.
And finally, check out my lists of History's 100 Hottest Movie Actors, History's 100 Hottest TV Actors, History's 150 Best TV Theme Songs, the 150 Gayest Songs EVER and RE: Runs—20 TV Shows That Were Gone Too Soon.
ENJOY THIS LIST...
Well, here are the Top 25 guys. Hope you will agree with some of my choices, or at least enjoy the eye candy. Above are 25 bonus shots of each one of these guys shirtless (not in exact order). In case you missed them, the other installments are here 'n' here. Note: I went all out on styling the Top 25 for maximum eyeball stimulation.
How did I do on the guys and the rankings?
#25 Garrett Hedlund (1984—) Ever since Troy, I've been in a polyamorous relationship—at least on paper—thanks to spotting Garrett Hedlund. Which was hard to do with Brad Pitt running around half naked. Hedlund is a total newcomer compared to most on this list, but that face! He was shown off to great advantage in that dreadful Disney remake of a dreadful Disney film, but he's reached a new level of desirability playing feckless fuck machine "Dean Moriarty" (aka Neal Cassady) in the otherwise mostly dreary On the Road.
Sexy Sampler: Troy (2004), Friday Night Lights (2004), Georgia Rule (2007), Country Strong (2010), TRON: Legacy (2010), On the Road (2012)
#24 Jonathan Bennett (1981—) I've had a schoolboy crush on "Aaron Samuels" from Mean Girls from the moment I met him—and he is one of the few on my list of 100 that I've met in real life. Twice! I said hello when he was in my office being interviewed to plug Mean Girls and did a lengthier one-on-one in his trailer as he filmed a Dukes of Hazzard straight-to-video prequel. They made him play the blond one, but as his generous costume change in front of me would've reminded anyone else had we not been alone, he was born brunet. (Thanks again for that free show, JB! Even if you kept it professional by leaving your boxers mostly on.) Kidding aside, for me, it's hard to top an actor with piercing brown eyes and a generous brow, but I'd be willing to try. He has a quirky sense of humor and has been winningly outspoken about working with some of the biggest divas of the post-teen set—Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Amanda Bynes. Charm is not something that should be taken for granted, so check him out the next time he gets hired to be in something decent—he's really good. I am holding out hope for a major TV series or movie breakthrough.
Sexy Sampler: Season of Youth (2003), Mean Girls (2004), Lovewrecked (2005), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), The Assistants (2009), The Mean Bean (2010), Memorial Day (2011), Cats Dancing on Jupiter (2011), Music High (2012), Divorce Invitation (2012)
#23 Paul Robeson (1898—1976) Tragically underused in the cinema thanks to his race and, later, thanks to his unrepentant empathy with Communism and fierce advocacy of social issues, Robeson was a charismatic stage presence and popular singer who worked on a mere baker's dozen movies in the twenties, thirties and forties. A strapping presence with African features, he was a rarity on the screen in a time when black actors were often treated like props—an uncommonly sensual figure. Nudes that he posed for during the early part of his life reveal a manly, fleshy physique of which the silver screen could have used more.
Sexy Sampler: Body and Soul (1925), Emperor Jones (1933), King Solomon's Mines (1937)
#22 Wallace Reid (1891—1923) This handsome devil of the silents was one of the industry's most tragic, a tall, physically fit young man who was kept out of WWI due to his box office duties and who was later severly injured in a train accident that resulted in his becoming hooked on morphine to match his previous drug of choice, booze. The matinee idol died in the throes of addiction, which led his widow to produce an anti-drug movie and tour the nation with it in order to spread the word—if it could happen to a matinee idol, it could happen to you. At the time of his death, Reid—as a star, director and in other behind-the-scenes capacities—had been responsible for or participated in the creation of at least 100 films and shorts.
Sexy Sampler (if you can find any!): The Deerslayer (1911), His Only Son (1912), Valley of the Giants (1919), The Roaring Road (1919), Excuse My Dust (1920), The Affairs of Anatol (1921), Hell Diggers (1921)
#21 John Gavin (1931—) This Mexican-American, square-jawed lead of the '50s and '60s is often cited for his impossibly handsome mug even though he later became famous as Reagan's ambassador to Mexico after ditching his acting career in favor of one in business. For me, and for many, the six-footer's most indelible for having appeared in Psycho as the stud who bangs Janet Leigh just before she takes that last shower. I've heard that for years he has steadfastly refused to answer fan mail or sign autographs.
Sexy Sampler: Imitation of Life (1959), Psycho (1960), Spartacus (1960)
I've always—always—been obessed with TV theme songs, whether they be instrumentals or clever jingles with more exposition and depth than the shows they'd been commissioned to precede. I remember being at a birthday party for my friend "Lisa J" (I was "Matt R") where she played a vinyl album of theme songs and we were happy as clams to listen to them while playing duck, duck, goose and eating the cheapest candy ever made.
To exercise—or exorcise—that obsession, what follows is my own personal list of History's 150 Best TV Theme Songs. I decided to exclude any shows that are still on the air, so please—no need to scold me over The Simpsons or Sesame Street.
Please tell me what I missed. (I originally had closer to 200 but had to firmly decide I needed a life, so jettisoned really great, but perhaps more esoteric, songs like the Diana Canova-sung "I'm a Big Girl Now" from her series of the same name, the rollickin' theme from Flo and also many very famous, very worthy numbers like those from Vega$, Magnum P.I., Desperate Housewives, Kojak, Knots Landing and more.)
In cases where I was not sure who performed the song, I left a "?" or I simply used the composers; any further info would be appreciated. And I would love to receive your own Top 5 or Top 10 in the comments.
Wish I could've done a video with five or 10 seconds of each song, but I'm not that advanced.
Finally, in case you were wondering, I think the all-time worst high-profile TV theme song has to be that abortion sung by Kelsey Grammer for Frasier and one of the worst low-profile TV theme songs would be that from Goodtime Girls.
#150 "Theme from The Monkees" by The Monkees, The Monkees (1966—1968)
This one grabs you by the balls—or considering the target audience, by the ovaries—with that whispery, "Here we come," and then plunges into an aural crash course on the stars of the show. A blast.
#149 "There's No Place Like Home" by Marla Gibbs, 227 (1985—1990)
I'm a sucker for when the star sings her own song, and this one in particular works well because it's so down to earth and unapologetically nostalgic, like the show.
#148 "Woke Up This Morning" by Alabama 3, The Sopranos (1999—2007)
I was afraid I'd get knocked off if I forgot this seedy, gritty tune.
#147 "WKRP in Cincinnati Main Theme" by Tom Wells, WKRP in Cincinnati (1978—1982)
There's a lot of world-weariness, but also a love-the-one-you're-with vibe to this adult-contemporary hug of a song. It's so A.M.—soothing.
#146 "Theme from Lassie" by Raoul Kraushar, Lassie (1954—1973)
Jesus, the whistle on this bad boy is so foreboding you almost wonder if it would be more suited to the movie Old Yeller. But it sure gets stuck in your head...right, girl?
#145 "Theme from Love, American Style" by The Cowsills/The Ron Hicklin Singers feat. The Charles Fox Singers, Love, American Style (1969—1974)
I always interpreted this as a dirty show because it had "love" in the title and it occasionally involved romantic situations. But really, this theme is just energetic and patriotic. It did a good job of making enough musical fireworks so that you didn't notice how disjointed the series segments were!
#144 "Theme from The A-Team" by Mike Post & Pete Carpenter, The A-Team (1983—1987)
This one really feels like two themes in one, but it's most memorable for that Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque flourish.
#143 "Theme from Ironside" by Quincy Jones, Ironside (1967—1975)
Fantastic, slick opener by the great Quincy Jones that became TV's first-ever synthesizer-based theme.
#142 "Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants, Malcolm in the Middle (2000—2006)
A truly unique pick for a theme song is this (then-) current rock song, most memorable for its deflated ending: "Life is unfair."
#141 "Jennifer Slept Here" by Joey Scarbury, Jennifer Slept Here (1983—1984)
Out of this world (literally) pop tune that's somewhat stepped on by star Ann Jillian's breathy intro.
#140 "Route 66 Theme" by Nelson Riddle, Route 66 (1960—1964)
It can't touch the original Bobby Troup "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", on which it was based, but it's still way cool among hep cats.
#139 "Theme from Charles in Charge" by Shandi Sinnamon, Charles in Charge (1984—1985; 1987—1990)
I like how hard this theme tries, especially the coquettish vocal.
#138 "Theme from Space: 1999" by Barry Gray, Space: 1999 (1975—1977)
A still-appealing, tweaky blend of futuristic effects and straight-up disco. I think this could be released as a dance single today.
Above, bonus gallery of some of the guys shirtless
Here is part 2 of 3 covering my personal list of History's Hottest Movie Actors. (Here's where to find #100—#51.) This group feels more resolutely macho and has fewer pretty-boy types, but let's see how the Top 25 shakes out when I post that next week. Enjoy. Again, I think the point of my list is that all 100 of them are "10"s who could easily be somebody's #1—it's just degrees of hotness.
#50 Cullen Landis (1896—1975) A silent star with a debonair quality not dissimilar to Valentino's, he was actually, IMHO, better-looking than his far more famous peer. He'd been more interested in directing but fell into acting when a male lead he'd been working with fractured his leg. Lucky break—he went on to star in the first all-talking movie.
Sexy Sampler: Davy Crockett at the Fall of the Alamo—what's left of it (1926), The Devil's Skipper (1928), Lights of New York (1930)
#49 Gerard Butler (1969—) This Scottish sizzler didn't really ping by hunkdar until he popped up in the ludicrous and ludicrously sexy (at least in stills) 300, but it's not surprising he'd had a crazed fan following for years before that. It's all about the raw machismo and that gravelly voice.
Sexy Sampler: Tale of the Mummy (1998), Dracula 2000 (2000), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula (2005), 300 (2006), Law Abiding Citizen (2009), Coriolanus (2011)
#48 Robert Wagner (1930—) This devilish-looking charmer was able to pull off a deeply American brand of "debonair," later becoming (twice) a part of Hollywood royalty thanks to his union(s) with Natalie Wood. Fresh-faced and virile, he brightened his mostly forgettable movies in the '50s and '60s and has lately been trying hard to sell me on the concept of the reverse mortgage.
Let's Make It Legal (1951), Titanic (1953), Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953), Prince Valiant (1954), Broken Lance (1954), A Kiss Before Dying (1956), The True Story of Jesse James (1957), Stopover Tokyo (1957)
#47 Michael Ontkean (1946—) He's really more of a TV guy, what with The Rookies (1972—1974) and Twin Peaks (1990—1991) and others, but I reserved him for my movies list because I am still so deeply in love with him from Making Love, where it's so much fun to watch him being seduced (by his own desires, ultimately) that I, to this day, would very much like to make a baby with him in the natural way.
Sexy Sampler: Slap Shot (1977), Willie & Phil (1980), Making Love (1982), The Allnighter (1987), Maid to Order (1987)
#46 William Holden (1918—1981) Sardonic to the hilt, he was the cinema's perfect sarcastic tough guy. As far as sex appeal, "Norma Desmond" sure knew a prime cut when she saw it. He was from the "don't overthink it" school of acting, but his performances never felt workmanlike even if he apparently saw acting as a profession and not an art and his animal magnetism was never less than present.
Golden Boy (1939), Our Town (1940), Arizona (1940), Young and Willing (1943), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Born Yesterday (1950), Stalag 17 (1953)