Although I don't watch General Hospital, and haven't seen much of actor Steve Burton on TV, I have been keeping an eye on him for years. I've featured his early shirtless promotional pics, when he was new on the soap, his 'towel' poster and Playgirl shirtless shots, Steve has made an impression. A recent shirtless shot on the GH set proves he's as pectacular as ever.
'Everyone thinks everyone here does cocaine. They don’t! That’s why the show’s no good anymore!'
Harry Styles SNL Monologue
Harry Styles' couldn't have been more on point, especially with the incredibly long and boring opening impeachment sketch last night. The singer and actor managed to rise to the occasion regardless. Saturday Night Live has been hit and miss this season, the hits (host David Habour) have been high, but the lows, (host Kristen Stewart) have been really really low.
The SLN performers although mostly predictable, continue to shine, it's the writing, that usually manage to let them down. I can't say the writing was especially better on last night' show, but Style's charm, sex appeal and charisma saved most of the sketches he appeared in. Like that opening bomb of a sketch, whenever Styles wasn't on stage, the show seemed to lack the energy and enthusiasm and an almost 'old Hollywood' dapper and panache, Styles brought as host.
My favorite sketch of the night was the pre-filmed piece featuring Aidy Bryant as Joan. In the sketch, Joan talks about the lover of her live, her elderly, but affectionate Chihuahua named Doug. In the latter part of the bit, Doug temporarily turns into human form, and the Doug in both his dog, and human forms, were equally adorable.
Anyone growing up in the eighties, and even for many the nineties, knows the power of those memorable moments on screen. Today, anyone can see any scene, any body, any body part anytime they want. When I was a kid, those moments weren't as easily accessible, and mainstream movies provided not only the most powerful, but also the safest way to explore sexuality.
I think many FH readers have the shared memory of being a kid and catching a memorable moment on VHS. It was usually when watching with a group of friends or with family. After the initial moments of shock and titillation, my emotion usually moved to fear, tensing up and hoping nobody in the room noticed how much I was noticing. Being 12 and in the closet meant constant moments of suppressing my natural reaction to things.
My pattern was most likely much like yours. When the movie was over, I'd move on, to dinner, to bed, to whatever followed. The movie memory however, would be stuck in my head, often for days. They were too infrequent to be easily forgotten. If the movie was rented at my home, I'd sneak down to the rec room whenever I thought it was safe, and re-watch the scene for as long as I could. If I saw the movie at a friends, I'd then try to ensure the film was the next one rented by my family.
We applaud the importance of gay cinema, and we should. For so many of us, especially those us who grew up in rural areas or far from any cultural hubs, mainstream movies were it. It was those movies, was those scenes within mainstream films that became our introduction to the male form on film, and the visual confirmation of our sexuality and budding sexual awakening.
I was about 12 or 13 when I saw Weird Science on VHS. I'd not heard or it when it was in the theatres a few years earlier, nor did I have any real interest in seeing it now. I knew little about it other than that my younger brother chose it during our trip to the video store. I remember kind of liking it, but not especially loving it, but I remember vividly Ilan Mitchell-Smith in his blue undies.
The scene was memorable for many reasons, the least of which was director John Hughes;s direction of the scene. It was both fairly lengthy, and included a close-up of Mitchell-Smith's crotch. Although it perfect made sense, for comedic reason, to get a good gander, given the actor was just 16, it was still rather rare for an teen oriented American comedy.
For many, the icing was on the cake was Bill Paxton's beautiful backside at the end of the scene. Not for me. I hated Paxton's character Chet, and identified more with Mitchell-Smith's Wyatt. Paxton seemed so old to me at the time and don't remember really even reacting to his nude scene until I saw the movie again when I was older. At the time, my focus was on the adorable Wyatt in the tight blue panties he woke up wearing.
I know I'm not the only one who has this particular scene as one of those memorable moments. It certainly was a memorable moment for actor Ilan Mitchell-Smith. Although he'd gotten his start the previous year playing a young Timothy Hutton in Daniel, and co-starred in The Wild Life with Lea Thompson and Eric Stoltz, Weird Science became his most famous role, then, and even today. Mitchell-Smith continued to work, mostly on TV for a few years, but except for a few guest shots, (including on a Weird Science themed episode of The Goldbergs) the actor left show business in the early 90's.
Mitchell-Smith turned his focus to academia, receiving his BA in Medieval Studies from the University of California, and his MA in Medieval Studies from Fordham University. Mitchell-Smith went to to receive a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in 2005, and became an associate professor in the English department at California State University.
In addition to his teaching, Mitchell-Smith also writes about medieval culture in many mediums, including writing about chivalry in the later Middle Ages. With all those accomplishments, I'm sure there are many who have memories which don't include Mitchell-Smith in his undies, but for many of us, that onscreen memory will continue to be memorable.
Although FH is rooted in the visual, curiosity quenching is an essential piece of my process. When I'm drawn to an image, of a specific model or from an particular artist, questions are triggered. Questions that motivate my desire to learn more about the image and it's creation. I am especially interested in the creative process, and finding out about the artist, and who the model is beyond the surface of their body, and the physical manifestation captured.
Great artists, are able to share hints of a a model's essence, as well as pieces of their own, within their images. This is one of the reasons I continually drawn back to the work of Michal Boothe from msbimages. Sometimes these hints can be unintentional, in some cases however, as with Michal's work, the lens becomes a truth teller, making it difficult to pretend or hide.
I understand not everyone's interested in learning more, the surface of naked body on-line is enough. Michal's photos don't make it quite so easy however, his images encourage the viewer to look closer, and feel a hint of the emotional vulnerability expressed by the models he captures. After visually absorbing and enjoying Michal's recent work with Josh, (also known as Yeshua in some circles) I had questions, or maybe more specifically, I thought I had answers.
I described Josh's look as 'elegant hippie', his look, his eyes, already gave more than a hint of who he was. Michal describes Josh as straight out of central casting for a movie about Woodstock, and contacted him because of his wonderful curly hair (the only one in his family he claims) and his piercing eyes. Josh shares that his shoot with Michal was only his second time modeling for someone outside of his partner and friends, and his first official 'gig' from Model Mayhem.
'Josh described himself to me as a free and open individual. He is originally from Texas but has been traveling around the US as the mood strikes him. We met for lunch prior to the shoot and the conversation flowed freely and easily between the two of us. He conceded to my request to part with the beard so that I could see more of his facial structure which turned out to be great. My favorite image of him is his profile and his strong jaw line. He is a delightfully intelligent and articulate young man with a wide range of interests, adventures and talents. He is an accomplished musician and stayed after the shoot to play the mandolin and sing a Beatles' song.'
Michal shares that Josh is planning to hit the road again in December, but is hoping to get the opportunity to work together with him again before leaves. In the meantime, now that you checked out Michal's images of Josh, have you made a few guesses, some assumptions about who he is? Compare them to Josh's own comments about self below. Some of the questions, I threw at Josh last week. Most of Josh's thoughts however, stem from a questionnaire Michal asked Josh to complete at the time of their shoot.
The first impression people have of you is...? 'That I'm a hippie, indubitably. Also that I am kind, free-spirited giving and foot-loose. Oh! and bad with time... strange stuff, time....'
How You see's himself? 'Often-times, in a very critical manner. I am rarely good enough for my self, or my mind. I recognize my talent, but am always striving to grow or to be better. Sometimes I box myself in (musician, cook, worker, etc) but generally speaking I see myself as a multi-faceted and imperfect human.'
'Modeling was never something I saw myself doing to be candid. What got me started was my partner. She models as well as shoots and edits, and we occasionally do fun impromptu shoots together. Its somethings she has always been into, that we've taken and made into our own expressive play. Finally - at her consistent suggestion - I joined the MM community, displaying mostly photos from our shoots together.
How has being looked at or photographed by others changed you, or has it? 'I like seeing myself from someone else's perspective, in a new light. Mirrors change, light alters, everything can a change a body's shape. I also enjoy seeing these perspectives. Being as I am, so new to modeling, it is minimal. However, I notice that the 'validation' of being photographed has the power to help me feel better about my physical self... strange. It is also making me more comfortable with cameras.'
Working with Michal:
'It was wonderful! We met up before the shoot, just to see if we meshed. Prior to that meeting we messaged back and forth a bit, and I could tell already that we would get along, but it's always nice to get that initial meeting over with before trying to dive into a shoot; It removes any awkwardness or anxiety. I very much liked the questionnaire he supplied also!! Such good questions. We both seem to be quite open individuals, and as such we had good conversation, good chemistry, and a good time. I even stuck around a bit and played him a song on my mandolin after the shoot lol. I will say: one thing that I found difficult - maybe even the word awkward could be used - was attempting to shoot with an erection. It's not easy to acquire or maintain with a camera looking back at you. Also, on a deeper level, I'm not sure I personally understand the reason for an erection shot. I recognize the perspective of 'this is my manhood' or 'look at me in my power's but I suppose I just don't vibe with it. I'm a gentle soul, and it was an odd thing for me to do. That said, I'm almost always down to step out of my comfort zone and try something new or shift my perspective. Looking at the shots after, there are some really good ones. Funny how some of the ones I personally think are just ok, are some individuals favorites! I suppose good IS just a perspective ;) I certainly learned a lot from Michal during the shoot. It was nice to work with someone experienced who knew what he was looking for, but also knew how to collaborate and how to allow me to find my own flow'
Body Image & Nudity
Are you secure with your physical image? 'Most days yes, primarily because I don't think about my physical image much. The saying 'it is what is is' comes to mind.' Favorite part of his body? 'My lips (created by accident as a boy), my hair, or my metabolism. I also love all my organs for keeping me alive and healthy.'
Being seen nude makes you think of feel....? 'It depends on the situation. When modeling, it can be awkward at first; all the focus is on 'clothes off.' On the other hand, I lived for a time in a community where nudity was acceptable/normal; in that situation, I never ever felt anything less than comfortable.'
Why do you think you feel comfortable nude? 'Due it part to the experience mentioned above, but also because nudity is who we are! We are born-we die-naked, cloth less. What other creature clothes itself? I find that clothes create mystique, attention, almost like a mating ritual. But nudity is open, free, vulnerable, natural. Normalize nudity!'
'As for my decision to do nude modeling, it was never really a question for me. I'm of the opinion that re-normalizing the human body is important; The culture here in America is still very far removed from that ideal. Don't get me wrong, I like clothes. They keep you warm, accentuate personality, create sensuality/sexuality and mystique, but I enjoy being free of clothes just as much. As I said, I lived in a community where nudity was of no consequence. No one looked at you funny when you walked up with no clothes on, you weren't fined or arrested...that's nice! I wouldn't say I'm trying to raise awareness to that by modeling nude though. It's more about expression of self and of freedom. And maybe while being creative and communing and having fun with another artist, something beautiful can be created.'