Sunday, July 10, 2022

Happy Birthday today July 11th

Happy 64th to actor Mark Lester!

Check out more of today's BIRTHDAYS

Child actor Mark Lester (Oliver!) inspired one of the most interesting Actors & Skin posts I've put together for the site.  It started as a simple 12 Days post after seeing Lester on TCM in an old horror themed Christmas film called Who Slew Auntie Roo?.  

A little research led me to Lester's resume and several nude scenes, in mainstream European films, with many famous actors.  The issue, they all were shot before Lester had turned 18 years old.  I don't think any other post pushed my boundaries, but his career in film has been a fascinating one to read about and research.  You can check out more, starting with that Christmas themed 12 Days post HERE:



John Turturro in Severance

'Everything We Do Here Is Important.'

Do the Right Thing (1989)

I just finished Apple TV's Severance last week and it left me with a few questions.  Not the questions posed by the cliffhanger, those will be answered in season 2.  I was left wondering how many TV shows is Adam Scott on? Who is that cutie Zach Cherry and that hottie Tramell Tillman? And I was asking myself once again, is Patricia Arquette a great actress, or a really bad one?  Whenever I see Arquette on screen that question always seems to run through my mind.

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (1984)

I was also left surprised how much I was crushing after actor John Turturro. I've seen Turturro on screen for as long as I remember, but don't really recall him having the same impact on me before.  If you watch movies at all, you know the talented New York born actors work.  His resume is long, including many successful and award winning films including; Raging Bull, The Flamingo Kid, Desperately Seeking Susan, The Color of Money, Do the Right Thing, Summer of Sam, Rounders, Barton Fink, Quiz Show, Transformers and more recently in The Batman.


Some of Turturro's television credits include appearances on; Saturday Night Live, Miami Vice, Monk, Difficult People.  On stage, he's appeared on and off Broadway in productions of Waiting for Godot, The Cherry Orchard, Life x 3 and Death of A Salesman/

I think what impacted me most was how beautifully Turturro played Irving, and his relationship with Burt played by Christopher Walken.  Having directed Walken in Illuminata (1998) and Romance & Cigarettes, (2005) it was Turturro who suggested Walken for the role.

' Irving, You Know, The Lumon Manual Doesn't Say Anything About Lip-To-Lip Contact.'

Like all the 'innie' relationships in Severance, Irving and Burt face a shit load of obstacles, the least of which are the rules of the Lumon corporation. Despite this, Turturro and Walken create a sweet couple with just a few short scenes.  It's rare to see a gay relationship on television with men both over 60, but this is one I really look forward to seeing more of.

After finishing Severance, I of course had to check whether Turturro had any nude scenes.  I found several, the most interesting being Turturro's turns in Box of Midnight and The Jesus Rolls.  Turturro has a frontal flash in Box of Midnight, but both films also include interesting nudity from Turturro's male scene partners.  Check out the caps and clips on the NEXT PAGE HERE:

Rounders (1998)

Symphonic Submersion: Gymn0s by Gordon Nebeker

'Gordon lets the interplay between model and photographer just unfold like an improvised dance. This unspoken “dance” is my style as well so we clicked right away.'

Working on FH, certain ideas and concepts have continued to arise.  Although the focus is photography and the male form, themes including; reflection, (mirrors & doors) connection, (body with environment) and relationship are regularly explored.  One other theme I've often often explored are the unique visuals and feel of being underwater. 

I don't mean the subaqueous world of being deep in the ocean, surrounded by animal and plant life.  I mean the equally distinct feel of being just a few under in a backyard swimming pool.  I've written before how much I loved being underwater when I was kid.  For me, it was a crowed, noisy public pool.  No matter how loud it was, sliding underwater changed everything.  

All of sudden, from the bottom of the deep end, I could look up, see and hear everything, but in a beautifully clouded and muffled way.  Everything was different underwater, the way you moved, the way you breathed, the way you heard and saw everything around you.  It was like being in outer space or another realm or planet, at least until you were forced back to the surface to take a breath.

Communication is challenging, which is why Gymn's description of an 'unspoken dance' was such an apt description.  No matter what you're choreographing, a dance or a photoshoot, once you've submerged, your forced to rely on skill, memory, instinct, and improvisation. In this case, both dancer and choreographer had plenty of experience.

I've always been an admirer of the underwater work created by Gordon Nebeker, but I think his collaboration with Gymn is one of my favorites. Some of you may remember Gymn from my interview and 'favorites' piece from this past Spring. (Preternatural) Gordon and Gymn have long respected each other's work, and hoped one day to work together.  That opportunity finally presented itself in February of this year.  Gymn was visiting Florida and a shoot was quickly arranged.  Although there wasn't as much time as Gordon usually schedules, both model and photographer were happy with the resulting images.

'Gymn was a natural underwater which was obviously helped by his many years of competitive swimming experience. He naturally has wonderful body proportions and being underwater did nothing to take away from the beauty of that. In fact, I feel it amplified that beauty.' 

'I usually like to work in sunny weather as the sunlight creates wonderful spider web effects on the model and the backgrounds. But it's not always sunny and on the day of this shoot, there were lots of clouds. We pressed ahead and I am glad we did! The spider webs of light are wonderful but the attention to Gymn was not diluted by them and we get more focus on his body movements. 

Shooting underwater is very much a crap shoot. I get far fewer “keepers” than when I am shooting on dry land. The fact that we got so many good underwater shots from a relatively short shoot as we did is testament to Gymn’s skills as both a model and a swimmer. It was a delightful experience that I would gladly repeat again! '

FH: How did you first connect with Gordon? 
Gymn: I had seen some of Gordon’s work on Instagram and immediately I fell in love with his work and wanted to work with him. I DMed him and to my surprise and delight he responded. 

What were your impressions when first seeing you his work? 
My first impression was one of wonderment. How did he capture such amazing underwater shots?! 

How much discussion about the underwater shots did you have prior to the shoot? 
We really didn’t have much discussion about the underwater shots. I think Gordon was waiting to see me in the water to see how I moved in the water. I enjoyed working with Gordon because he actually doesn’t give a lot of direction during a shoot. He waits to see how the model moves. Gordon lets the interplay between model and photographer just unfold like an improvised dance. This unspoken “dance” is my style as well so we clicked right away. 

Do you prepare any differently for a submerged shoot? 
I was a competitive swimmer so I feel quite comfortable in the water. I really didn’t have to prepare. I have a cousin who did synchronized swimming. Years ago she had taught me some moves, so it was those moves I tried to remember and use with Gordon. 

Tell me about the shoot, anything at all about the day or the shoot? 
The shoot was challenging in some aspects. First of all Gordon told me to move slowly. If I stopped moving I would sink to the bottom of the pool. So I had to move slowly so Gordon could get the shot. He also asked me to use a light cloth underwater and play with it. He told me not to look at him which was hard because I needed to have a sense of where he was but couldn’t look directly at him. Probably the most difficult part was not getting water up my nose. Ouch! During all the twisting and turning and back flips and spinning I had to exhale through my nose to ensure that water didn’t go up my nose. What models will do for that beautiful shot! Haha . 

What is Gordon like to work with? 
Working with Gordon was awesome! He is super kind and friendly. I felt nervous at first because Gordon does such amazing work and of course I felt pressure to perform well and maintain poses that would please him. Gordon amazed me because he has a specialized underwater camera which I had never seen before. In addition he wears a weighted vest to keep himself submerged. It’s quite amazing to see him in action. Of course we couldn’t communicate underwater so we would try some poses and he would give me some guidance.