Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7


















Aiden Brady aka Aiden Shaw

London born Aiden Finbar Brady (b. 1966) is a true polymath: an author, musician, photographer, educator, poet, model – and former gay porn film actor under the name Aiden Shaw. Following two years at the Manchester Youth Theatre, he studied film, television, photography and video at Harrow College, leading to work directing and art directing music videos. Aiden sang lead vocals for his band, Whatever, but he changed his last name to Shaw as he began a successful career as a gay porn actor (1991-1999, over 50 videos). He was diagnosed HIV positive in 1997.

In 1996 Aiden wrote his first novel, Brutal, and a collection of poems; several more novels and  autobiographies followed. In 2007 Shaw completed a Masters degree in Creative Writing and subsequently worked as an English teacher in Barcelona.

While based in Spain, he modeled for GQ magazine, after which he was picked up by several leading international modeling agencies. Shaw has since served as spokesmodel for several clothing brands and has worked as a runway model, as well. Since 2013 he has been the face of Buenos Aires fashion brand El Burgues (2013-2015).


 



Aiden Shaw c. 1995





But I digress. Let's visit those cheeky frat men:











You gotta have art:
Sculpture 101


Plaigerism in antiquity (above): 
A first century Roman copy of a centuries-earlier 
Greek sculpture of a satyr (Metropolitan Museum of Art).



Dying Gladiator (1799, above)
Sculptor Pierre Julien (Louvre)



Rape of the Sabines (16th century)
Florence
(anyone else captivated by the nipple, lower left?)





For the foot fetishists among us:









The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood
by Richard Blanco

Well, gentlemen. What with my scaled-back blogging activity, I was able to get around to reading another of those Christmas gift books (thanks, James!) tucked away in the deep recesses of my cabinet.  Even though I was familiar with the author, this memoir blew me away. I was charmed and captivated from the first few pages.

You may recall that Richard Blanco (b. 1968) wrote and recited a poem at President Obama's second inauguration on the steps of the U.S. capitol. Lots of firsts that day. Mr. Blanco was the first immigrant, the first Latino (Cuban), the first openly gay person and the youngest person to be the U.S. Inaugural Poet. These days he lives with his partner, Mark, in Bethel, Maine.

Last September he published a memoir about his growing up in Miami in the 1960s as part of an extended Cuban immigrant family. Full of poignant moments that induce both laughter and tears, this book is the product of a great writer. The last chapter is unlike anything I've read in a memoir (my favorite literary genre). It just takes flight, lifting the reader off the page and into the stratosphere. Twice since I've read the book I've returned to the final chapter and read it for the sheer pleasure of it, in utter amazement. This chapter makes me recall the brilliant final, one page chapter of We, the Animals by gay Puerto Rican writer Justin Torres. That book still haunts me. Taken together, this memoir by Richard Blanco and We, the Animals by Justin Torres rank at the top of the heap of best books I've enjoyed during the past five years. Although I doubt anyone reading this blog will read either of them, at least gift them to a friend who might enjoy my recommendation (both available in e-reader formats).

I finished Mr. Blanco's memoir in one go - I was unable to stop (missed some serious sleep). I took a nap and immediately fired up the Kindle to order Blanco's poetry volume, Looking for the Gulf Motel. It's a slim book, and near the end I was thunderstruck by a poem about his Aunt Noelia, who has succumbed to dementia. I am caring for an aging mother struggling with dementia, so I could relate especially to these words:

...every memory, one by one, slipped out of her body, her cells,
until she never was.
like a movie rewinding, ending on a blank screen,
like petals closing back into a bud,
or a broken string of pearls skipping across the floor,
like a wave drunk by the sand, of clouds thinning back to air,
a raindrop returned to the sea,
the reflection of the sky in a puddle, lifting back into sky.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 3






















Athletic pursuits:








Our special guest, Mr. Jack Laugher:





Aquatic adventures:





 





Lads in denim:















Drinking enthusiast (with Bette):



OK, OK. I almost never change a blog post. But a couple of you commented (quite accurately) that no gay man should place Frank Sinatra with syrupy strings ahead of Bette Midler's cover of this great Johnny Mercer song. So good-bye Frank, hello Bette.