'Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,'
John F. Kennedy
With the pandemic seemingly prevailing, suborning hanging on in many parts of the country, Kennedy's quote is as relevant than ever. Over the last few decades, humans around the world have been sadly taught,that patience isn't actually a virtue. We've learned to hate waiting, and that we deserve what we want, when we want it, and we always want it right now.
The pandemic is testing the patience of everyone, and it's oddly fascinating to see who has the where-with-all to sacrifice personal wants for the greater good of a healthy and safe community to live in. It's not that difficult to eat a hot dog, light a firework, and sing the Star Spangled Banner in small groups, a few feet from anyone you don't share a home with. Compared to the sacrifices so many who came before us had to make, it seems trivial, so many consider this against their rights, and ar to much work.
To all those celebrating this weekend, I wish you a happy 4th, but a 4th with safe, and socially distant moments of pride of celebration. Happy 4th of July!
It wouldn't be a holiday without visuals fromLights On Studio. It's especially festive, when those visuals feature the decoratively dressed, and jubilantly undressed, Hansel Wellington. Check out more of Hansel, and his patriotic, and pandemically prudent, 4th of July trip to the beach, on PAGE 2 HERE:
'Two misfit best friends, Dar and Tuck, leave their dying coal-mining town with only one goal in mind, to reach sunny California and hook up with some beach babes. On the road, they meet gun-crazy outlaw Annie, and she takes over.'
Most holidays, including the Fourth of July I try to find a film, and a nude scene, to fit the holiday's theme. This year, it's 1987's Made in U.S.A. I had seen a few clips of the film on-line, but struggled to find a decent copy to buy, watch and make screen captures. The film is one of many that never made the jump from VHS to DVD, so most of the clips and copies available are fairly low in quality.
After finding the film on Youtube, I decided to order a DVD transfer of the film. I've always loved Adrian Pasdar, and loved the brief nude scene of Adrian and Christopher Penn stripping down in a laundromat. Sadly, the quality of the DVD I purchased had about the same quality as the Youtube version, but it did inspire to continue with the piece.
Christopher Penn also co-starred in Footloose, but he went on to work fairly steadily until his death in 2006 at just 40 years old. I always thought Penn was adorable in Footloose, especially when dancing to 'Let's Here it for the Boy.' He certainly looks hot naked, even if we only see his butt for a split second.
Just a week or two ago, TCM actually aired the film, but sadly, it wasn't cleaned up for broadcast, and was still low quality VHS version. I did still want to feature it as it's an interesting glimpse back at the eighties. Lori Singer segued her TV role on Fame into a brief, very brief film career. Singer hit big with Footloose, but wasn't really ever able to equal that early success.
Adrian Padar, in one of his early film roles, was really the only star of the film to go on to sustain a career, and still appears regularly on television and in films. In someways, the film, and it's cast, are very much a metaphor for the American Dream. Although at the time of filming this movie, each of the three main stars were young, with hopes and dreams of bright futures in show business. As we know however, the American Dream so seldom turns out in the way you hope and plan for.
The movie does a great job of setting up the hopelessness found in many depressed small towns, and follows the main characters on their journey to get as far away as they possibly can. They do manage to make it out, and to the sunny beaches of California. Thankfully, they lost Lori Singer's character, (and most of their hair) along the way.
Pasdar has two nude scenes in the film, the laundromat scene, and darkly lit brief sex scene with Lori Singer. (below)
Below: Pasdar and Penn at the laundromat. Maybe one day there will be a hi-def version of the film.
'As for my tattoos where do I start... my first tattoo I received was the outline of the raven when I was 16 for friends who had passed. I was enamored by the permanence of owning something that couldn’t be taken.'
Our lives are constructed around symbols, visual designs and color combinations that mark life's highs, and life's lows. The visuals however, are only emblems, it's our experience and interpretation which give them meaning. Arguably the world's most well known symbol, the cross, has been used to spread both love and hate.
For the forth of July, the American flag is the countries most vibrant and visual symbol of celebration. Historically, every element of the flag had meaning.the stripes represent the original 13 Colonies, the stars the 50 states of the Union. Each of the three colors are symbolic as well; red symbolizing hardiness and valor, white symbolizing purity and innocence, and blue representing vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Given the countries current divisions, it's clear the red, white and blue represent entirely different things to different groups of people. This year in particular, the white is more of a dirty gray. I still get sense of wonderment at the sight and sound of a colorful flag billowing in the wind. For me, it doesn't represent so much what is, but what can be, if those original symbols, are respected and remembered.
With so many traditional symbols becoming chaotic and blurred, it's no wonder so many are turning toward more personal symbols. These artistic expressions are rooted in more uniquely intimate moments of meaning. Representations of moments, joy and triumph for sure, but maybe more importantly, embedding permanent scars as reminders, of momentous pain and loss.
As universal symbols have lost their meaning, personal symbols and body art,have grown in popularity. It wasn't that long ago, tattoos were still associated with gang members, sailors and deviant behavior. Tattoos have become more common, breaking social and cultural norms, with tattoo shops in almost every neighborhood. Although Italy has the highest percent of tattooed people, at 48%, Sweden and the US follow closely behind with 47% and 46%, respectively.
When it comes to tattoos' on the human form, I've always had conflicting feelings about they're impact in visuals and photos. I always remind myself, they're really not about the viewer. Tattoo's are less about the end result, and more about the process that led to their creation. I still struggle at times with bodies with a few tattoos. To me, if you're going to create art, you need to fill the entire canvas.
No one paints a flower in the top corner of a painting, leaving the remainder of canvas blank. Model Trevor Smith filled his canvas, every inch of it, with a different symbol, design and visual. Like all great pieces of art, every corner of his canvas demands attention, and the viewer can easily spend hours devouring each piece of art. Analyzing and looking for meaning and the catalyst, for every bit of ink. Thankfully for us, Trevor graciously filled in many of the blanks.
'After that first tattoo, I waited until my 18th birthday to continue, with the banner on my chest. My right arm is a “alive but dead” sleeve and my left arm is a “dead but alive sleeve”, with my right representing the toll of being alive and the left memorializing a few who have passed. One leg is regular shading, one is only linework and stipple. I try to use only color splashes, filling in the rest with grayscale shades and blacked out portions.' The pain in hours seems incomparable to the feeling of something you will certainly take to your grave so I’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources to this art project. .
Parents often use the phrase 'it's permanent' to deter their children from getting tattoos. I love that Trevor embraced this permanence, and see his body art as something which never can be taken. There's very little in life that we count on always being our own. Relationships, jobs and belongings, will at some point, all come to an end. Tattoo's will follow us beyond, even our time on earth, a part of us until our bodies cease to exist. For some this might seem depressing, but to me, Trevor's word are the most powerful endorsement for tattoos that I think I've ever heard.
Trevor's tattoos are also the reason, he connected with Jim from Studio1x. Jim first met Trevor last year while attending a group photoshoot. Jim was intrigued by Trevor's ink and really wanted to photograph him. During the group shoot they began talking and Jim asked about his body art. Trevor shared with Jim his plans for a new tattoo, this one, included some cherubs to be placed just above his genitals.
'Trevor lowered his jeans to show me the area that he was planning on having them done. By his actions, I assumed that he was open and comfortable with his body. I decided to ask if he was open to doing some nude photos. He replied with a yes. We decided to start right away and walked away from the group and down a trail and into the woods where we did our session. The images were beautiful. We seemed to really connect and liked each other's style so we planned a second shoot for the near future.'
'Our next shoot was a studio shoot. We shot many different looks and we were able to use some of those photos to get Trevor his first publication. We continued to stay in contact and Trevor would tell me about his new tattoos and we talked about ideas for our next shoot. With the pandemic however, our shoot kept getting pushed further out.'
'When planning for FH 4th of July shoot, I thought Tevor would be perfect for the look that I was going for this year. What I like about working with Trevor is that we build upon each other's ideas, we start out with an idea then build upon it till we get the outcome that makes us both go Wow! Trevor's body of art is never complete, he is always working with his tattoo artist in coming up with new ideas, drawings and then making them into live art. What I love about his body of art, is each tattoo has a meaning and a story behind them. By the time we finish each shoot, we are already talking about our next.'