'A football ace, who's sure to make your heart race.'
Playgirl Magazine: January 1983
Photography by Jacky Winter
'On the football field, Don is an artful dodger, honing the art of elusion. he's a wide receiver with the L.A. Express, one of he teams in the newly formed United States Football league.'
Don also appeared in a then & now piece in the Playgirl's 35th Anniversary Reunion in 2009 (below). In addition to football player, Don had expanded his resume, adding theology teacher, optician, inventor and dad to his long list of accomplishments. Being Black History month, I have been searching not only for some favorite hot models and actor, but some older black men.
I try to ensure FH is diverse, not just with race and culture, but with body size and age. Although it's 2020, there is still so far to go. There's always room for a new hot white model, but there are only so many spaces for black men, let alone Asian or Native Americans. It is especially rare to find a black men over the age of 40 who is still actively modeling. I loved his original shoot, and Don is one of the only black models that Playgirl checked back in on for their then and now section.
It often seems with Saturday Night Live, you can't win. I don't know about you, but whenever I like a cast member, there never seems to enough of them on the show. I actually wish they'd cut down the number of cast members so more could shine.
Currently it seems the women, (especially Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant) gt most of the attention, and each one deserves it! There were decades the women were not really spotlighted, so I can't really complain. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see more of my favorite cast member, comedian Alex Moffat.
I started a piece on the Chicago born Moffat a few years ago, but struggled to find enough images for the piece. Except for one shower sketch, Moffat has shown very little skin on the show. A few weeks ago however, after seeing an un-aired sketch from the Will Ferrell, show, I figured it was time to post and use the images that I'd been saving for so long.
One of my favorite Moffat roles is when he and Mikey Day play Eric and Donald Trump Jr. I loath both of the real life men they play, but it's a testament to the two actors, that I love the adorable way they play the two idiot siblings . Not everyone can make a loathsome character enjoyable, just ask Alec Baldwin. His Trump impression wore out it's welcome years ago, and I can't figure out why they continue to roll him out. Moffat and Day however, can bring the douche bag brothers out anytime they want!
There is really nothing like the energy of an unexpected storm. Today, meteorologists for the most part can predict incoming storms. Cold air meets warm and energy and heat is released. Even with the advancements in technology, we're still sometimes surprised. A slight breeze morphs rapidly into a ranging wind, a downpour of rain on a hot sunny day, an army of clouds come out of nowhere to attack.
Much like the energy of an unexpected storm, a dancer's power can also be powerful and unpredictable. A dancer's motivation to move can be sparked by almost anything; pain, joy, a piece of music, creative impulse, and sometimes... even the weather. The electricity in the air can be contagious, and for StudioMGphotography and Gerardo, it was also imaginative and inspiring.
'Anyone who knows my work also knows that I love creating art with dancers! I'm smitten with their lines and moves and things they can do that I can only imagine.'
Mark first encountered Gerardo on Instagram. You know how it is, a few months of 'likes' and the occasional 'hi' or compliment about one another's work and images. Eventually, the conversation turned to talk of collaborating. Although Mark knew that Gerardo was a gogo dancer, he didn't initially realize that over those first few months of brief communication on-line, he had shot three different guys that Gerardo knew from gogo dancing. Mark also also wasn't initially aware that in addition to gogo dancing, Gerardo was also a classically trained ballet dancer.
Deciding to work together was the easy part, the challenge to shooting proved to be logistics. This time of year, Gerardo essentially never gets a full day off. In addition to holding down two jobs, it was early winter, was Gerardo was also deep into rehearsals for a Christmas production of 'The Nutcracker'. Adding to the scheduling issues, Gerardo and Mark also live about 90 minutes part. Complicating it even further, Gerardo doesn't drive, and there's no public transit around the area where Mark Lives.
'Gerardo hit on the idea of taking the bus from San Francisco to San Jose after work one night. From there I'd pick him up for the 45 minute drive over the coastal mountains to my house. The next day we would get an early start shooting since he'd have to be back at the bus station by 4pm to get to work in SF that night. We had a plan! Maybe a bit rushed, but a solid plan'
On the night Gerardo was due to leave, central California was experiencing their first rain of the season and Mark describes it was 'a whopper'. The weather service called it a 'blast cyclone', winds howling, tree's were falling and air felt almost Arctic like. The bad weather played a role in Gerardo missing bus, and Mark missed the call Gerardo made to let him know. When Gerardo didn't arrive at the expected time, Mark discovered there would be one last bus arriving in about 90 minutes, at 12:30am in the morning.
'That 12:30am bus arrives with just a single passenger on board; the immediately charming Gerardo! Tonight's storm had slacked off by now so the drive home was easier than anticipated, but such a late night still put a damper on the idea of an early start tomorrow. We adjusted our plans, dropping one location in favor of less driving around and more time at the remaining locations.'
'The next morning our first stop, after Starbucks, was a drafty, soot-blackened, concrete warehouse. The rains of the past days were leaking into the space and a lovely reflecting puddle of frigid water had formed by the wide open doors. Gerarado's lines and poses were sublime as only those of a dancer can be, especially when reflected in the water, so I was seeing two Gerardos!'
'With an eye on the time we moved on fairly quickly. Several nearby abandoned buildings offered up interesting backdrops, but nothing that was really idea for featuring his dance skills in the same way. Next on the shoot list is a nearby beach; a long stretch of often-deserted sand between the storm-tossed Pacific and a line of high dunes. The rain had stopped and the sky lightened a bit, but it was still overcast with dark clouds on the horizon. We took umbrellas along just in case since it was a half mile or more over the dunes to reach the beach. No sooner were we on the beach and it started sprinkling. It wasn't bad so we decided to grab a few quick shots. Gerardo dropped his clothes and trotted to the water's edge with me right behind him. And then it happened...'
'With a speed and force that was astounding we were inside a raging storm, with an icy fierce wind driving the rain nearly horizontally at us. He grabbed an umbrella but it was too late; he was already drenched (as was I). The temperature dropped and I think for a minute or two the rain might have turned to sleet or hail (it was hard to tell as the wind-driven rain already stung when hitting us). All the while Gerardo is going for it, dancing with the umbrella as his partner and shield, and the sounds of the storm and surf as his accompaniment. This lovely dance was all Gerardo's; with the sounds of the storm there was no way, even from a few feet away, he could hear any suggestions I might offer. Not that he needed any suggestions.'
'Within 5 minutes the storm had moved over us. Another 5 minutes and there were pockets of blue sky and sunshine peeking through. The temperatures maybe even climbed back into the 40's. We were drenched and cold but somehow the rush of adrenaline made it feel okay. Nonetheless it was time to hike back to the car, turn on the heated seats, and go grab lunch before the drive back to the bus station. And that's why I love dancers... For their creativity, spontaneity, appreciation of art, physical abilities and more! What a magical few hours with Gerardo that November day was!'