Category Archives: Gratuitous Nudity

Spotlight on the Hotel Chelsea

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On a summer weekend in 2009, July 16 to be exact, I arrived off the train in New York and walked to the Hotel Chelsea. I didn’t know then that it was tottering on its last legs, soon to give up its ghosts, but I should have been able to tell by the wretched service and the even more terrifying conditions. The biggest cockroach I’ve ever seen in my life – far larger than anything I’ve ever encountered in Florida or the Philippines – scurried under one of the resident doors on the first floor, right next to the room in which they initially wanted to put me. It was the only time I absolutely refused and made them find me another. Not that I fared much better in Room 532, but it was the perfectly-run-down version of seedy that lended itself to the photographs I got for ‘A Night at the Hotel Chelsea‘.

It would be great if I could offer you some sort of gritty take on the artsy-fartsy scene of Chelsea, bluntly making bold proclamations on the crumbling state of the hotel, and what it meant to its storied history. But to be honest all I felt as I hunkered nervously down into a bed no doubt ravaged by all sorts of bugs  was this: I am way too old for this shit. (And I was right about the bugs – my back and neck and even the tip of my nose ended up getting bitten by some creatures in the night – such is the price you pay for getting naked in questionable environs.) Crappy hotels and dodgy lodgings are the province of the young, and I say let them have it. I was done. The next day I checked into the Club Quarters by Rockefeller Center, where there were clean sheets, soaps, and a blandly modern color scheme. It was heaven.

It was, however, worth it – for the honor of saying I stayed there, and for the raw material for one of The Projects.

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Mapping the Body

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One of the reasons mapping the body is more popular than mapping the mind is that our fast-paced and reductionist world does not really take kindly to paradoxical people, who are inevitably demanding, after all, of our attention… Paradox is difficult… Paradox also engenders mystery and enigma. Confronted, however, with so many contradictory qualities and characteristics, most of us tend to assume that only some are real, that others are assumed, and at once fixate on which are which. And we make the further assumption, because we all know only too well how much quicker we all are to claim our virtues than their darker opposites, that it is the brighter of the contradictions that is phony, and that the person’s darker traits disclose the real person underneath. ~ Douglass Shand-Tucci

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New Orleans Scene from ‘The God in Flight’

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Andrew’s childhood had been spent in a tall, narrow old house in the French Quarter, a house dressed in iron lace, a house with lines as graceful as those of a willowy woman. The house was even more feminine than most of the houses in that odalisque district, full of silky and velvety textures and fragrant silence… There was an enclosed courtyard where a fountain ran musically amid japonicas, camellias, green frills of ferns. The Persian carpets on the dark floors were very old, their colors muted by age to the dim, coal-lit glow that stained glass can have when you stand outside a church at night. There was a Pleyel piano, a library of scores… The town house was full of big and little pleasures and comforts, as if it thought that everyone within deserved a soft and perfumed lap to lie in… Relax, it seemed to say. Unclench your neck, breathe deep and slow. Read my books. If you’re tired, sleep. Sleep, for that matter, when you want to. Sit on the veranda in the sun and watch the clouds go by.

Winter here was a manageable enemy, held well at bay by a little fire in a toy fireplace like the one in this room… There was also a peculiarly New Orleans detail, an ormolu gilt plant stand that held an ancient and flourishing feather-fern plant. A bookcase with bowed glass doors yielded a cache of French novels and poetry: George Sand, Balzac, Lamartine. Simion had awarded himself the pleasure of drying well before the fire and got into bed in one of Andrew’s old silk robes. He had hung it on the back of a chair before the fire to warm while he bathed and slipped into it with a sigh of delight. Andrew had given him this robe; it was a heavy yet liquid damask silk the color of strong pekoe tea. He brushed his hair and thought how nice it would be to have someone else do the brushing so he could concentrate fully on the pleasant sensations and fell into one of those strange states that came upon him in this house, at once abstracted and relaxed and utterly alert. The mirrors reflected him, still as a picture, hand and brush poised at the end of a stroke. There were lots of mirrors. Three, in fact; the one above the fireplace holding him full-face, the two on the side walls offering his profile. This was how Andrew found him when he knocked on his door and entered, wearing a sherry-colored dressing gown and looking particularly golden and godlike.

“Come, don’t turn away. You let those heartless mirrors see you, now let me.”

~ Laura Argiri, The God in Flight

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Hunk of the Day: Gregory Michael

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This is another request for our Hunk of the Day – and this time it’s Gregory Michael from the gay soap opera ‘Dante’s Cove’. I don’t think we had the channel it played on, or if we did I simply had no interest in watching it. (‘Queer As Folk’ was the only gay soap opera I could stomach, and then only a few episodes. You’d think our people would be better at that sort of thing…) Anyway, enjoy these screen caps of Mr. Michael – he reminds me of a cuter, blonder, more-in-shape Levi Johnston. There are worse things to look like. (Though probably not worse people to be.)

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The Amazing Jockstrap Post

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While I’m not slipping into a jockstrap this year like I did here, and here, I managed to find a few guys who did, and here they are. They’re not your traditional football-playing jocks, and that’s why I like them.

 

 

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Hunk of the Day: Jack Mackenroth

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Most readers of this blog are well-aware of Jack Mackenroth, our Hunk of the Day for Super Bowl Sunday – either for his stint on Project Runway, or his HIV activism. Personally, I was only peripherally aware of his modeling work. and the fact that he was a fashion designer. But upon doing a little research, there is much more substance and heart behind the pretty visage, and he’s one of those Renaissance gentlemen who dabbles in quite a bit, and does it all quite well. (He’s also one of the wittiest and most hilarious Tweeters out there – for today’s Super Bowl he wrote, “My brother is having a Super Bowl party with his straight buds so I plan to wink and say “tight end” as often as possible.” Past Tweets include this gem: “Hurling baking soda at Alicia Keys and screaming “This girl is on fire!” didn’t go over well.”)

On a deeper and more important level, he has lived his life openly as an HIV-positive man, challenging any stigmas and obliterating stereotypes. As he puts, it, ”Every time a person with HIV is open about his or her status it helps everyone who is living with the disease…. I am a living testament to what you can accomplish by letting go of shame and being your own advocate.” Congrats to Mr. Mackenroth on being our Hunk of the Day.

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The Exquisite Disdain

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Even now, after all those ad campaigns, after all we’ve learned how about bad it really and truly gets, there is the glamour of self-destruction, imperishable, gem-hard, like some cursed ancient talisman that cannot be destroyed by any known means. Still, still, the ones who go down can seem as if they’re more complicatedly, more dangerously, attuned to the sadness and, yes, the impossible grandeur. They’re romantic, goddamn them; we just can’t get it up in quite the same way for the sober and sensible, the dogged achievers, for all the good they do. We don’t adore them with the exquisite disdain we can bring to the addicts and miscreants.
~ Michael Cunningham, By Nightfall

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Naked, Ordinary

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“Who isn’t an ordinary person? How horribly presumptuous to want to be anything else. But I have to tell you. I’ve been treated as something special for so long and I’ve tried my hardest to be something special but I’m not, I’m not exceptional, I’m smart enough, but I’m not brilliant and I’m not spiritual or even all that focused. I think I can stand that, but I’m not sure if the people around me can.” ~ Michael Cunningham

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Hunk of the Day: Chris Mears

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Move over Tom Daley – way over – as this is Chris Mears, the Hunk of the Day. How we managed to miss this Olympic diver is beyond me, but he’s here now, in all his altogether for the Gay Times’ Naked Issue. (Does anyone really care about any other issues?) Mr. Daley better mind his back, as Mr. Mears is diving headfirst into his spotlight, only he’s taking it one step further by losing the Speedo completely. The gauntlet has been thrown down. We now await the rebuttal from Daley

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Justin Bieber’s Bare Ass – For Real

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A recent FaceBook post of mine indicated that I could never bring myself to make Justin Bieber a Hunk of the Day – and I am staying true to my word. So this is not a Hunk of the Day post – it’s sort of a wanna-be Hunk of the Day post, as it features Mr. Bieber mooning the camera. The idiot then went reportedly put it on Instagram, then promptly deleted it. Because, you know, Instagram and things on the Internet are so easily erased and forgotten. For those Beliebers out there – and for those who hate him – here is the butt pic. There’s something in it for everyone. (He is eighteen, right?)

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Hunk of the Day: Will Wikle

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In another stunning set of photographs by Edwin Pabon (whom I hope to profile for this site very soon), the Hunk of the Day has been captured in fine form. This is Will Wikle, one of those reality-show graduates that I was unaware of until he started doing some modeling and go-go dancing (how else do you get to know someone?) His recent shoot with Benjamin Godfre is what prompted this renewed interest, and current crowning as today’s Hunk, but as the photo below will attest, it’s his back carriage that put him over.

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Bridging the Hunks

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As a segue from our last Hunk of the Day, to our next Hunk of the Day (coming up later this afternoon), I offer a bit of both to bridge the sexy gap.

 

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