The last couple of times I did a Sunday With Hans the subjects were Nick Pizzaro and Phil Fusco, models who many who may know for their work in fitness and underwear modeling. Today's models some of you, especially those from New York, may recognize, but their names not quite as familiar.
'Go-go dancers are dancers who are employed to entertain crowds at a discotheque. Go-go dancing originated in the early 1960s when women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City began to get up on tables and dance the twist. There were many 1960s-era mini-skirted club goers who wore what came to be called go-go boots to night clubs, so night club promoters in the mid‑1960s conceived the idea of hiring them to entertain the patrons.'
I am a bit of a late bloomer. I didn't come out, completely until my twenties and it wasn't until I was making my way through my thirties that I found out what a Go-Go boy was. I sort of knew what a go-go dancer was from movies and television, but I thought it was something restricted to women in the late 60's. When I started interviewing models and photographers for the blog, many had go-go dancer on their resume and It was sort of an eye opener to find out about the world they lived and worked in.
It may sound a bit naïve, but coming out late, and growing up surrounded by fields and cows in a rural area, in a very small, town meant I didn't really have the experience of a gay bars or night clubs until I was older and able to travel. I think it was Hans Fahrmeyer who first introduced me to the world of the gay nightlife in New York city. Hans has thousands of images of the club scene in New York and through his work, and the men within the images I longed for the freedom the dancers were able to express. Although I have now been to NY a few times, I always had a goal to hit Splash the next time I went, sadly that won't happen with it's closing earlier this year.
The bars and dance clubs didn't only allow expression, it demanded it. Through the haze of music and lights there was a beating pulse I feel in Han's imagery. Besides the skin and eroticism, there was also a slight tinge of sadness. The career of a go-go boy is not a long one and I am sure there are many stories of drugs, sex and pain associated with the job. When looking deeper into the images, it was also impossible not to stare at the faces of the patrons, most, laughing and having a great time, others seemed lost, but somehow comforted in the anonymity of the crowed club.
For this series, Hans takes the dancers out of the club and into his studio. I love how Hans gives each model a distinct look, individualizing the work to match the personality in front of him. The men in these images all spent time, pretty much naked, dancing for the pleasure of others. Most of comfortable with their bodies, and know use them and how move and pose to look there best.
Many of the models, singers and actors I have profiled over the years have spent some time working as go-go boys. Some choose to refer themselves as dancers, others choose to leave it off their resume, but either way, it seems almost a bit of a rite of passage for the young men, especially in NY, trying to break into the modeling or entertainment industry. As they passed through this part of their lives, many of them were also captured in that moment of time by Hans. We thank him for it!