Sunday, January 25, 2015

Juvey Confidential

Thanks to Sean Connery in Thunderball and Robert Conrad on The Wild Wild West, men in their thirties have been my ideal since I was thirteen. One of my great disappointments when I reached my thirties was that most of the other thirty-somethings were chasing after twenty-somethings. Now that I've reached the age of senior discounts and compliments qualified with the phrase "for your age," I still typically like men in their prime, ages 30 to 40 best.

That's not to say that I'm immune to the attractions of younger men, but as a teacher of 18-20-year-olds for thirty years now, I have seen a lot of dewy youths up close--and more often than not (yes, there are exceptions, quite a few) I'm charmed until they open their mouths and say something jejune and immature, killing the effect. For the most part, my interests in that area remain "teacherly" and chaste. I'm interested in their minds, not their faces and bodies. The usual exceptions are men in the military ... and guys who look like juvenile delinquents from the '50s.

On the whole, I prefer punks to twinks. That attraction goes even further back than my interest in thirty-somethings. In kindergarten I saw a busload of kids disembark and use our school's playground while we tykes were supposed to be napping. The woman in charge told me to get back to my pallet and stop staring at the boys and girls in the playground. She told me that they were "bad" children who had to attend school separate from us well-behaved children. To this day I don't know what she meant by that. All I can say was at that instant the boys on the monkey bars suddenly turned mysterious and desirable in my eyes. From that moment on, I wanted a big brother who was a juvenile delinquent.

I was a weird kid who grew up to be a weird adult, fascinated by Hollywood villains and wrestling heels. The usual clean-cut and boyish twinks of underground wrestling usually interest me less than rough trade like Doug Brandon, Marky Mark Oxner, Jonah Richards, Josh Steel, and, most recently, Marco at Thunders Arena. These young men with their knowing wiseguy smirks and louche attitudes enchant me, and I love watching them wrestle.

In 2004 the Athletic Model Guild released a compilation of old, silent 8mm retro-smut called The Wild Ones! recently rereleased as Hoodlums, Sailors & Other Bad Boys (minus "Delicate Convict"). Twenty short narrative films and posing sessions with hoodlums and other troublemakers wrestling, shadowboxing, and striking poses with small firearms, chains, motorcycles, cigarette machines, urinals, and shivs. The story films have titles like "Strip Poker," "Cellmates," "Delicate Convict" (with the mischievously angelic Jim Paris as the new juvey who turns out to be not as delicate as he looks), "Street Fight," and "Boys in Prison." 

"Sailor and the B-Girl" is, for me, the most memorable of the group. I saw it first in the late '80s or early '90s and never forgot it, which is unusual because it deals with transvestism, a subject of minimal interest to me. The fascination is, in part, the fact that it's shot on location at the Satellite and the Explorer, actual L.A. bars, giving the film a stronger than usual sense of time and place and realistically seedy atmosphere. When the sailor discovers that the B-girl is a he-girl, a rip-and-strip fight breaks out. It's one of the best and longest fights AMG ever staged, and the B-girl is surprisingly tough ... and hot.  Halfway through the brawl, the two stop and have a refreshing brew, then resume tearing into each other. In the end, stripped to their undies, the victor carries the loser out of the bar, presumably to someplace private.

The significant 20th-century artists influenced by the AMG style and Physique Pictorial, photographer Bob Mizer's magazine, are many. Here are some of them: Kenneth Anger, Francis Bacon, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, David Hockney, Mike Kelley, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jack Pierson, Herb Ritts, Andy Warhol, John Waters, and Bruce Weber.

Cop Brad Allen subdues hood Rick Spencer in "The Booking of a Hood" (1963)

Dale Hall and Eddie Stevens as "Cellmates" (1961)

The cellmates play rough

"Sailor and the B-Girl" (1965)

Real-life brothers (and real-life bad boys) Rick Spencer (Sailor) and Joe Spencer (B-Girl)

B-Girl on top, as the two grapple on an unpadded hardwood floor

Joe on top

Rick choking Joe

The thief (Angel Lopez) gets away with it ... and takes off with the biker's leather jacket too in "Motorcycle Thief" (1958), where De Sica's neorealism meets AMG beefcake

Jim Paris in "Delicate Convict" (released in 1964, years after production)

Paris dominates fellow convicts

Paris later continued his career in physique photography as the photographer
Bob Saputo garrotes George Savage in "Street Fight" (The imagery resembles Bruce Weber's work for the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs)

Doug Scott looking for a fight in "42nd Street Hood" (1962)

Doug forces cop Rick Spencer to strip at gunpoint

A stickup?

Bill Simons as "The Convict" (1961)

Bill Simons ... wow! Very Herb Ritts.

John Davidson shadowboxes in a posing strap (1965)--a Marine, he reportedly died in service shortly after this shoot, at age 20

Avery Heath in a Hockneyesque shot in 1973.

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