Jun 28, 2017

The Gay Myths of Orpheus

You're probably thinking, "Orpheus?  Wasn't he that musician who was trying to lead his wife out of Hades, but he looked back, so she was lost forever?  Moral: Never look back.  Also: Be heterosexual.
















That's the story that has appeared constantly in stories, legends, ballets, operas, and symphonic poems for the last 500 years, from Sir Orfeo in Middle English to Black Orpheus in Brazilian Portuguese.









Even gay artists, like Tennessee Williams, go with the heteronormative myth.  Orpheus Descending is about a man with a guitar and a muscular physique who invades a seedy Southern town, falls in love with an older woman, and...well, you get the idea.

But Eurydice is actually a later addition.  In the earlier myths, Orpheus was gay.

















He was the greatest musician in the world, able to charm animals, able to use his music to gain entrance to Hades.

He only liked boys (young men).  In fact, he introduced the practice of same-sex love to the Thracians.

He started a relationship with Calais, one of the Boreads (sons of the North Wind).

Therefore he refused the Bacchantes, who tore him to pieces in  a jealous rage.






Jun 27, 2017

Top 16 Public Penises of the Cowboy States

I'm afraid of the Cowboy States, that swath of ranches, grassland, and mountains west of Minnesota and east of California.  I've driven through them four times, and they are very pretty, with the amber waves of grain and the shirtless cowboys and all.

But they also have survivalists, right-wing extremist groups, hate crimes, Republican majorities, homophobic laws, and billboards about Jesus.

Still, if you find yourself driving through the Cowboy States en route to West Hollywood, there are some nice public penises.  Working south from Canada:

1. North Dakota doesn't have a lot of public art, but there's a shirtless CCC worker at the entrance of Fort Abraham Lincoln Park in Mandan.

2. Everyone goes to South Dakota for the Sturgis Bike Rally, but also check out the Crazy Horse Memorial, about 17 miles south of Mount Rushmore.  When it's finished, it will be the biggest statue in the world, 563 feet of pure beefcake.

3. There's also a replica of Michelangelo's David, penis and all, in Sioux Falls.




4. I lived in Nebraska for five weeks with my first boyfriend, Fred the Ministerial Student.  It was awful.  But the Joselyn Art Museum in Omaha has a very impressive collection,  and a naked Sioux Warrior out front sculpted by John David Brcin.









5. Kansas is very flat, and the waves of Protestant fundamentalists made me nervous.  I could see why Dorothy wanted to stay in Oz (in the original novels, not in the dreary 1939 movie).  But I like the loincloth-clad Native American atop the State Capitol in Topeka Sculpted by Richard Bergen in 1988, he's called "Ad Astra" ("To the stars").

6. The Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City also features a semi-nude Native American, "The Guardian."  He wasn't erected until 2002.










7. Another Native American is offering a peace pipe to students at the University of Oklahoma.

8. For a more modern beefcake image, check out the Air Force Monument in Oklahoma City.  It features a naked young man holding an airplane aloft.


More after the break.











Jun 26, 2017

My Embarrassing Date with the Teenage Farmboy

Long Island, September 1997

Friday, September 12th, 1997.  The end of the my first week of classes at Setauket University, my 10th day in New York.

10 days after moving to West Hollywood, I found a gay bar, a gay gym, and a gay church, I had about a dozen friends, and I had been on about four dates.

On Long Island, there are no gay bars, gay gyms, gay churches, gay anything.  There is nothing in walking distance of Setauket University but a hardware store and an Indian restaurant.  Unless you want to take the train two hours into Manhattan, you're stuck on campus, where all of the events and activities are for undergraduates.

I've met about 50 people: roommates, fellow graduate students, undergraduates, faculty.  But only on who is "openly" gay.

After 12 years in California, where I rarely saw or spoke to a straight person outside of work, I assume that all of the men are gay, except for those who mentioned wives or girlfriends, or who asked me if I had a wife or a girlfriend.  But we're not going to come out to each other in the Straight World and risk a homophobic assault or a stupid question like "Are you the boy or the girl?"

The only "openly" gay guy is Jesse, the 17-year old farmboy from Ulster County who I met while in "emergency housing" in the freshman dorm (see Trapped in a Dormitory with Freshmen).

10 days without talking to a gay person other than Jesse the 17-year old. No gay friends, no dates, no sex except for that night with Jesse.    I latch onto him as a beacon of hope, and ask him out, in spite of our monumental age difference.


Mistake.  Most embarrassing date of all time.

1.   Dinner at the Indian place, down a country road with no sidewalk.  You dress nicely for a date, but Jesse shows up in a white t-shirt with stains on it, short pants, and shoes but no socks.  I am embarrassed to be seen with him.

Then he orders the hamburger platter.  At an Indian restaurant!

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.