Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Body Electric

Is Oscar Pistorius the Jesse Owens of disability eroticism? Or has Alex Minsky usurped his throne?

The survivor of an IUD while serving in the military in Afghanistan, Minsky's leg was blown off.
the main critique among online comments is that Minsky has "too many tattoos." Obviously no stranger to body modifications, post-injury, perhaps Minksy sees this as an opportunity. Perhaps he already had his surplus of body art and was already a bit of an exhibitionist.

Either way, modeling for Rufskin clothing in photos by Tom Cullis for the gay magazine DNA proves that Minksy is comfortable being viewed, and objectified, as a sex symbol by the gay male audience.

The conclusion is obvious. It doesn't matter if you're disabled. You can be perceived as sexy in media, so long as you're 'hot.' Minksy enjoys a trifecta of eroticization; underwear model, tattoo fan's wet dream, and disabled military hero-hunk.

But the human story of Minksy's injury three years ago, and his grueling recovery, are of course ignored on the plethera of porn tumblr blogs. Here's a feature article from his hometown newspaper, written shortly after his hospitalization.

Minsky's premiere in modeling bridges two very different worlds; the gay male sex-positive culture ready to welcome him into their arms - and beds - as a lustful icon, and the Orange County conservative military culture that honors his service, including an Elks Club that "adopted" him.

I find his transformation fascinating, but his youthful gaze, his innocence, pre-injury are what make him a more interesting, and thereby sexy, person.

Pistorius, the Olympian/Paralympian, a media darling this summer, is also gaining popularity as a model, and not just a model of "inspiration," as many say. He's selling cologne. Dressed up like a Xanadu muse, the runner glistens in glamorous glory as he pitches cologne in this commercial (YouTube link).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shelf Life

One of the problems of self-publishing is getting review copies out to significant reviewers in a timely manner. For big reviews like Booklist and Publishers Weekly, you need to finish your book and get review copies out a few months in advance.

My hasty publishing schedule for Every Time I Think of You (December 2011) led to a late arrival of reviews. It kind of got lost in the shuffle of the end-of-year holidays and 'Best Of' lists.

Nevertheless, it did win a significant Lambda Literary Award, so I'm especially thankful, as witnessed by my quite unrehearsed "gushing" "emotional" acceptance speech at this year's Lammies.

So, I'll be particularly conscious to plan review copies well in advance next time. The growing snowball of reviews has a new chunk, the prestigious American Library Association's GLBT Round Table reviews!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reel to Wheel 2

While working on the sequel to Every Time I Think of You, I decided to specifically watch movies that prominently feature characters who are wheelchair users or are disabled. I wanted to see how depictions are either accurate or, more often, preposterous or melodramatic. Here's a list:

Abominable (2006): Rear Window meets Sasquatch. Preston Rogers (Matt McCoy) is forced by his doctor, apparently, and his slightly abusive caregiver to return to his remote cabin in the mountains, after a paralyzing rock-climbing accident that killed his wife. Along with the amusing low-grade horror devices, a number of improbabilities plague this low-budget thriller. What doctor would recommend making a man return to his completely inaccessible home, with two flights of stairs? Rogers is portrayed as a trapped victim forced to become a hero and save the dwindling cast of female nearby cabin-renters.

A few amusing B-horror actor cameos, plus a lot of gore, don't excuse the completely implausible story that the notoriously reclusive (albeit fictional) Bigfoot would go on a murderous rampage. At least Rogers does eventually become a hero. (See interview with the writer-director.)


Planta 4
(2003; also called 4th Floor, and Entre Amigos, not to be confused with the cheesy American thriller The 4th Floor): About a group of rambunctious kids dealing with cancer, and its resultant leg amputations, the film is set entirely in a Spanish hospital, where the adorable clan get into various mishaps and misadventures. There's a bit of tragedy, but more, an overriding sense of goodhearted spirit to Antonio Mercero's film, which is based on the experiences of screenwriter Albert Espinosa's stage play, called 'The Baldies' (the actors' shaved heads, while representing their recovery from chemotherapy, only make them cuter, especially Juan Jose Ballesta).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Politics of Dancing

In between doing housework, watching the Democratic National Convention on TV, and the London Paralympics online (wheelchair rugby, aka murderball), I forgot to watch So You Think You Can Dance, which last year featured a duet performed by Oakland's AXIS Dance company, with Rodney Bell and Sonsheree Giles.

This time/last night, AXIS dancer/choreographer Sebastian Grub performed the intense duet "The Narrowing" with new company member Joel Brown (Bell has left the company). Here it is.