Every holiday, I try to find a movie, especially one with a hot male lead, to feature on the day. I had never seen 1989's Born on the Forth of July until a couple of weeks ago. At the time, I wasn't in to war movies, (which it really isn't) and although it's played on some of the old movie channels, my desire to watch Tom Cruise flicks is not longer what it once was.
I'm glad I DVR'd and watched, especially given today's holiday. I haven't watched a Cruise movie in quite awhile and he really impressed me in the role. It took me back to why I once lusted after the man so deeply when I was a kid. It inspired me to re-think by Cruise bias, and also inspired not only a holiday post, but a new edition of the FH series, ACTORS & SKIN. Check out both on the next page.
With most holidays, our views and experience of the day change and evolve as we age. As kids, Christmas, Halloween, the 4th, are rooted in magic, bright lights and dazzling colors. Worry free days full of running, dancing and fun and games. For most of us, they were also rooted in art. Most of us, were privileged with having art classes when in school. This meant that holiday's involved creating colorful cards, ruby red Valentines, construction paper orange pumpkins, and glued on cotton ball beards for Santa.
The Forth of July occurs when most of us were on summer vacation, but if we had been in art class, the teacher would have pulled out the roll of brown art paper, cut a long piece to cover one side of the classroom, taped it to the wall, and asked the class to fill the paper banner with hundreds of red, white and blue hand prints.
As adults, we worry about getting paint on the floor and furniture. We'd rather buy a Valentine at the dollar store instead of making one. Cotton balls, well, they're now reserved for taking off make-up, or cleaning a cut, they're no longer an element for creating a beard for Saint Nicholas. For Tom Nakielski, (Lights On Studio) the goal going into his Forth of July shoot was about having fun. Returning to that child like innocence isn't as easy as it may appear.
There's a reason you don't see grown men and women skipping through fields of wild flowers. More than likely, someone would call the police. We're told to remember the magic, but we're not really encouraged to act on it. That is unless you're an artist. Artists and models get to return to forth grade art classes every time they pic up a camera, a paint brush or take on a character for a shoot. They get to focus on creating, on color, on movement. They get to use a muscle so many adults ignore and no longer use, their imagination.
For Kay, who many FH readers met last year with his work with The Third Eye, (Beyond the Obvious) painting Tom's walls with the red, white and blue was all about having fun. When Tom first explained his Forth of July concept, Kay wasn't initially sure what to think, but it all sounded like so much fun, he could't resist the challenge.
'This was a bit of a different shoot for me, both in general, and in terms of my work with Tom. I've pretty much just done studio shoots, usually pretty formal stuff, so getting silly outside with the paint & with a specific theme was a nice change of pace! I'd like to keep branching out and trying new things, when I get the chance to. The cleanup from the painting was a bit of a mess, though thankfully, it was all washable!'
The session materialize for Tom when Kay let him know he'd be in Lansing from Chicago to do some personal business. Tom knew it was a good opportunity, and the perfect timing, to do a 4th of July shoot. Tom's studio is an old factory/warehouse. There is a loading dock in the back that Tom had previously used for high school seniors to spray paint and add graffiti to the walls. Tom wanted to do something a little different, so had the idea of having Kay put his artistic skills to use. Naked of course!
'I suggested to Kay that we paint it red, white, and blue using his hands as the paintbrush. A new adventure for both of us. He said he would try it although he wasn't sure just how well he would do. He had never done any graffiti before. But I was sure no matter what resulted, it would work out just fine and be fun. Kay is artistic himself, and we mentally regressed to a 1st-grade attitude and played with the poster paint. The result was no Picasso or Rembrandt. Perhaps a cross between Warhol and a 1st graders finger painting. It was pure fun.'
'This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.'
Last year on the fourth of July, I presented a series of powerful images of Sergeyfrom photographer Richard Rothstien. The images presented Sergey, an immigrant, a gay man, a drag queen showing his pride in pursuing his own personal American Dream. The images represented the colorful sparkle that lives inside each and everyone. America the beautiful, my America, standing for that which is great about America: freedom, human rights, human dignity, diversity, inclusion and equality.
Sergey's American dream continues and last month, he spread his wings at a special Pride celebration event at TherapyNYC. Pride of country has to goes hand in hand with pride in self, and a country that doesn't open it's arms to everyone, as we currently see, is only at half flight. Sergey's wings however remain in full horaltic pose and like the eagle that soars, the phoenix that rises, the wings represent the hope and the power that goes hand in hand with being who you are and living your dreams, American or otherwise, to the fullest.
'America doesn’t hand you things on a silver platter. Sometimes all she offers is hope.'
If you search 'Captain America' on FH, you'll see several depictions of the Marvel superhero. One of the most popular Caption I featured however, has to Noah, (above) be the painted superhero from the Fremont Solstice Parade. (HERE:) Noah wasn't the only hot hero to strip down and have his stars and stripes painted on. I couldn't think of a better day than today to feature a few more, and if you scroll down, a little bit more of Noah, this time, in action, roller skating by.
Tom Cruise has got his fair share of grief over the years, including from me. But I can't think of Cruise without thinking about what an impact he had on my sexual awakening. Except for taking my nephew to Edge of Tomorrow, (2014) and going on a date to see War of the Worlds, (2005) I stopped getting excited over, or even watching a Cruise movie since the late 1990's.
I remember however, seeing Top Gun at the theatre when I was just a kid. Even though I would have only been around ten or eleven, the volleyball scene, (Playing With the Boys) and Tom in his tighy whities left their mark. A few year later, when I was a little older, I replayed scenes from Top Gun over and over on our VCR. That was of course, until I saw some of his older movies, including All The Right Moves.
Through much of my late teens, it was herb Ritt's images of Cruise, playing in the ocean in his wet undershirt and jeans that sparked many a masturbatory fantasy. I was always on the beach on a towel watching and of course the soaking wet Cruise headed my way and... well, you know. It wasn't just his body it was that face, especially in profile, I loved Tom's nose and in my mind, it played a big part in his appeal.
Tom by Herb Ritts
As I got older, and Tom got older, my crush certainly dissipated. I still enjoyed his movies, especially A Few God Men, Interview With The Vampire and Jerry Maguire, but between the rumors about his marriages, the Scientology, jumping on Oprah's couch and his comments on mental illness, the bloom certainly came off the rose.
In hindsight however, I think I was a bit unfair. For a time, Cruise was the movies biggest movie star, and whatever was going on in his personal life had to be full of unimaginable stress and pressure. I also tend to think many of those drawn to religions such as Scientology do so out of pain, and deep sense of longing to belong. Tom has also always come across as a kind man, of course I don't know, but if anything, off screen, he leaned more towards the boring than the controversial.
Top Gun (1986)
I'm glad I watched Born on the Forth of July, Tom put in a great performance, one of his best. It also reignited what it was that I first attracted me when I was a kid As.Ron Kovic. the paralyzed in the Vietnam war vet, Tom powerfully shows the range of emotions of a man who fought for his country, yet a man who feels betrayed by the country he fought for.
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
There was a nude scene in the film, a brief shot of Tom's butt, and some patients in the hospital. I added them here, and not in the SKIN part of the post below. The scenes aren't meant to titillate, Tom and the other patients are being cleaned, and cleaned out, and more a part of painting the picture of the time and the circumstance. Check out all of the rest of Tom's nude scenes in PART 2 below.