Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28

Bare Aussie Butt Cheeks
It's a long haul from the east coast of the U.S. to Australia, but this is one of the reasons it's worth the trouble, time and expense. I've made the trip four times in recent years, and I'd go again in a heartbeat.

Surfboat rowing involves the totally scandalous (and gloriously indecent) business of pulling a wedgie in order to row with one’s butt cheeks bare against the seat. Anything else results in serious chafing as a rower slides up and down the seat. The visual impact is hard to ignore (and who’d want to?). Thankfully, most rowing clubbers tend to be in extremely good shape, which might explain the lack of public outcries of indecency. It’s just an accepted part of surf boat culture.

Here’s a quote from a surf boat rower:

“Some seem to have been given the false impression that Australian surfboat rowers (the lifesavers) use only their upper body while rowing. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, they utilize true “sliding seats”, that is, they use their bare bum cheeks, with their Speedos pulled up, to slide on the fiber glass or polished wooden seat with the aid of seawater. This is the only rowing method possible for punching through waves and going airborne. The leg power that we surfboat rowers use is explosive, as we often have to stop and start in the surf, in addition to sometimes rowing with a boat full of water. These “feats of strength” – rowing against the current, constant dead starts, pulling a boat full of water – are the real reason why our upper bodies AND our legs are substantially more muscular than your average Olympic rower. Furthermore, we also use rolling seats (i.e. what you use in scull) for our still water marathon events, which can go for hours with changeovers (and sometimes sharks!)."

So now we know. Sigh.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26

Henry Scott Tuke, painter of homoerotic art

Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929), was a successful British painter and photographer, best remembered for his paintings of naked boys and young men. He was a pioneer of homoerotic male culture.

Tuke was based in Falmouth, where he converted his boat, an old French brigantine, into a floating studio and living quarters. Onboard he posed his models and entertained in private. After unsuccessful attempts at using professional male models from London, Tuke eventually asked the local Falmouth lads to pose for him, and they became his exclusive subjects for his male nudes. Although he was also an accomplished portraitist with a notable career based in London, most of his works depict young men who swim, dive and lounge on a boat or on the beach. Wildly homoerotic, the paintings are not explicit, but display sensual, youthful male beauty.

His financial success at his career enabled him to travel and work in Italy, Greece, France, Albania and the West Indies. Tuke received many honors and awards, culminating in his election to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1914. He developed lasting connections with the Uranian poets and writers, who celebrated the infatuation of older men for adolescent boys.

He painted mostly in oils and watercolors, and his paintings of boats are highly regarded. He painted what has become a well-known portrait of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia).

For forty years after his death Tuke’s works were largely forgotten. In the 1970s he was rediscovered by a new generation of openly gay artists and art collectors. Today he is a cult figure in gay art circles, with lavish editions of his paintings in print. His works fetch top prices at auctions.

Elton John owns one of the largest private collections of Tuke’s art, many of which he lends to museums for public exhibitions.