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Harlequin Seeking Real Men. Oh are they?

From this Reuters article we can see that some people are still confused about what a real man is: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070324/od_nm/harlequin_models_dc_2

"We're looking for some guys that are not your usual models, but have that iconic look that women go for -- sexy, sensitive, beautiful and fit," said Harlequin spokeswoman Marleah Stout, who attended the open casting.

"We want real men ... exactly what you think in your mind when you're fantasizing or imagining that ideal man."

Until now, the publisher relied on modeling agencies to supply bodies for its concupiscent covers. But the readership -- predominantly female and averaging 42 years of age -- was upset when slight, young cover models clashed with the brawny, mature heroes described within.

"Some of the heroes are captains of industry, billionaires," said Deborah Peterson, a Harlequin creative designer and a judge at the audition. "A lot of the models were too young, men in their twenties ... and our audience likes men a little bit older, a bit bigger, than the runway models."

They seem pretty confused about what they want. Sexy, sensitive beautiful and fit men; that's realistic. It all goes down hill from there.

How can a man be real and "ideal"? As far as I can tell billionaires do not represent the idea of real men. They are about 1% of the Earth's population (if not less.) From the picture and description in the article their concept of "fit" means chiseled statue type. That isn't real. That is spending the majority of the day working out and obsessing over how you look. Real men don't do that. Real men work out on spare time to get fit for their well-being and to look healthy.

I know this article is about romance novels. And the woman reading these want a fantasy. That's cool. I'm all for it, but let's call it what it is. Ignis fatuus.

In reality most men who are astronomically rich and uber-fit don't have much time for the romance and passion that Harlequin novel readers fantasize about. They spend most of the day handling business and working on their looks in the gym.

A real woman would get bored pretty darn fast with a man like that.
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Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

From my good friend James who lives across the pond:
If you are perhaps a little like me, you may be interested in the Censored Eleven." One of, if not the most famous cartoon in this group is the Bob Clampett creation "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs."

Though buried since the 1950s due to its racial and sexual caricatures, some argue "Coal Black" is Bob Clampett's greatest work. While that claim is certainly debatable, the cartoon holds a historical/socio-cultural significance and is worthy of viewing. Hopefully this is one instance where education will be favored over ignorance.

Like Disney's self-suppressed "Song of the South", "Coal Black" provides some insight into an important period in American history. The continued domestic suppression of black rights was paradoxically juxtaposed with America's reliance on the war-time service of blacks, and the profound popular music influence of black Jazz and Swing. Equally ironic was the appalling internment of Nisei/Issei/Sansei Japanese Americans and depiction of Japanese as sub-human which ran in stark contrast to the dependency on the Nisei 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry ("...the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service...") and the approximate 6000 Nisei who served the U.S. Military Intelligence Service during WW2.

Though "Coal Black" was designed to be a parody of Disney's "Snow White", Bob Clampett also intended to make the cartoon a celebration of the all black jazz films of that age. "Coal Black" was in part inspired by a request from Duke Ellington for a black musical cartoon. Unfortunately the producer Leon Schlesinger refused to allow the use of an all black band to record the musical score.

"Coal Black" has remained very difficult to come by (as United Artists forbid it from being aired), and seemingly it first appeared on the Internet briefly late last year on YouTube. Warner Bros./ UA quickly issued a take down notice and had it removed. By some ghostly chance it is currently up on Google Video and can be seen here:

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The thumbnails below link to three new ads for my blog that photographer Nick Prendergast put together for me. With a little help from my friends I hope to paste about 100 of these up all around SXSW this coming week.

The ad campaign is about way more than just promoting myself and the website though. When Nick and I first talked about this it was in terms of making a statement. Nick shoots a lot of fashion and works with a lot of models. Hearing his stories and looking at fashions shots in magazines made me wonder why I couldn't be a model.

I think we're all aware of the oceanic differences between the anorexic promoting fashion industry and the real women of America. I think the same problem exist for men as well. I've always found there to be a distinct quality about the American Male. A quality never found in the androgynous waifs and Greek god statuesque bodies of modern fashion. The manliness I'm speaking of can not be found in the lazy football watching low-brow dads that television likes to portray either. What I'm referring to can be more appropriately defined by the rugged individual working hard for his keep. More specifically I'm thinking of the masses of forgotten men that Hollywood and the Runways get wrong. The ones who work hard, take care of their ladies and like to look good doing it. They don't spend hours a day sculpting their bodies. They're not metrosexual. They are real men.

I'm not a shy person and I've got a healthy self image so I figured why not be a REAL MAN MODEL. Therefore these photos represent not just a promotion for my website but me staking my claim as a model in the fashion industry.

Nick and I will be doing more REAL MAN MODEL ads in the future. My goal is to give a few popular ad campaigns a slight "attitude adjustment." This series will redefine the way you look at underwear!

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Cool Vegan Muthafucka

David, Amy and I totally had dinner with Mike White and Jason Schwartzman at Real Food Daily last time we were in L.A. I have to admit that I seriously have a man crush on Mike White. But not in a Chuck and Buck kind of way.

Anyway check out this trailer for his new film and you'll see what I mean:

Speaking of trailers...I'm a pretty luck guy and I've got lots of great reasons to live. This is definitely in my top ten reasons to keep breathing.
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Sitting by the River

Last night I got the outline done for my first full sleeve. It is a giant river running down my arm. From the top of my shoulder all the way to my hand. Unfortunately it's just the outline for now. The human body can only take so much at a time. The outline is the most painful, akin to having someone etch a drawing on your top layer of skin with a knife. Except it doesn't feel like cutting it feels more like a scraping. Anyway, I'm sure it sounds worse than it really is. Everyone should try getting a tattoo. It's fun and you won't have boring skin. Shading is much less painful but is a much bigger bitch in the healing stage (it's like having a really bad sunburn.) Now I just have to wait for the outline to heal and save up some more money and I can go back and have it finished. I'll refrain from putting up any pictures until it's done.

Speaking of pictures. I had another photo shoot on Tuesday. It went really well. I can't wait to REVEAL my new life as a model to everyone!

BTW- You no longer have the excuse of not getting a tattoo because you can't afford it or don't know what to get. Liberty Electric Tattoo, the parlor my tattoo artist Carl owns, has a new special: Every Tuesday night you can go in and for $40 pick a tattoo out of the "Grab Bag." For those who don't know $40 is extremely cheap, especially for a custom designed tattoo which is what the grab bag is full of. If you don't like what you draw the first time you can pay $5 for a redraw.