Hard-cruisin’ Daddy

(Totally steeped in queerness, with some really steamy male photography, but it’s mostly about culture and art, and only incidentally about men’s genitals or mansex — so caution advised for kids and the sexually modest.)

It started with a blow-in card that fell out of the most recent issue of Out magazine:


(#1) Hard-cruisin’ Daddy: an abstastic  Daddy type, displaying a Cruise of Death face, with narrowed eyes and intense gaze — Boys faint on the street from the sheer intensity of his combined sexual desire (for them) and sexual desirability (by them) — while modeling a remarkable suit from a high-fashion designer

It then turns out that there is even more here than meets the eye, because the model is in fact presented as knowing — not actually just  a very hot guy (if this is your taste) caught cruising for (gay) sex on the street, but a model engaged in a performance for his viewers, deliberately projecting a specific sexual persona. (Male photography is full of photos of men presented as captured in fleeting moments of inadvertently displaying their bodies or engaging in various kinds of intimacy with one another, but there’s also a huge genre of self-conscious posing, and #1 is solidly in the latter genre.)

The blow-in card is taken from the cover of the April/May 2020 issue of Out

(#2)

where it accompanies  the piece “Celeb Photographer Mike Ruiz Is As Interesting As His Subjects” by Richard Pérez-Feria.

And then there’s more. As I said above, the whole thing is steeped in queerness. Just as the Firesign Theatre once proclaimed, in the title of their fourth comedy album (1971), the wonderfuly surrealistic I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus, the theme of #1 can fairly be said to be

(I think) we’re all faggots on this ferry (and that’s a really wonderful thing)

The magazine’s core audience is fags (like me); virtually all of the male editorial staff are fags;  in particular, the writer of this piece, Richard Pérez-Feria, is a fag; the photographer for #2, Rick Day, is a fag; the subject of the piece, Mike Ruiz, is a fag; the designer of the suit Ruiz is wearing in #2, Franco Lacosta, is (quelle surprise! a gay fashion designer!) a fag. All of them quite open in their sexuality. This is all fabulous to me; when I was struggling so painfully with my homosexuality as a young man in an intensely homophobic place, I could scarcely have imagined that anything like this would ever be possible.

[Digression 1. The label fag. I use this to refer to a homosexual / gay / queer man, and if it offends you, you can do a global substitution. But I choose the label carefully. Originally, it was to reclaim a slur, as gay and queer had previously been reclaimed. It’s uncomplicatedly a C[ount] noun — one fag, two fags — and it’s refreshingly in your face (we’re here. we’re fags, get used to it), so it’s easy to use.

More important, fag has repeatedly been used to refer disparagingly to the most obvious of my brothers, the femmy guys that nobody could mistake for straight — the “bad gays”. But they’re the leading edge: they are as they are (for whatever reason, really, who cares?) and they’re not in a position to blend in, as guys like me did for years without thinking these things through. They stick out, and they get the shit intended for the rest of us heaped on their heads. They are our public saints (rarely, alas, our leaders), and they deserve to be  celebrated.

(Besides, I think faggy guys are just hot. But then I have a complicated sexual history.)

In any case, I want to stand with the faggy guys. (I note that in their sexual interests, faggy guys are all over the map.  And that when I was sexually active with men, I was a pussy-ass faggot — that is, I loved to get fucked.) Whatever you might have seen in the way I presented myself. I now think it’s especially important for me to say this — it’s a kind of moral duty, in my view — clearly and repeatedly, to people who know me as an earnest scholar and as an amiable and empathetic friend): I am, in a significant way, just like the faggy guys so many people deride as sick and worthless. Judge them as you do me.]

[Digression 2. Blow-in cards. From Wikipedia:

In advertising, an insert or blow-in card is a separate advertisement put in a magazine, newspaper, or other publication. They are usually the main source of income for non-subscription local newspapers and other publications.

… Bind-in cards are cards that are bound into the bindings of the publication, and will therefore not drop out. [AZ: most magazines come to me with both types of cards.]

Background: the magazine. Very briefly, from Wikipedia:

Out is an American LGBTQ news, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle magazine, with the highest circulation of any LGBTQ monthly publication in the United States. It presents itself in an editorial manner similar to Details, Esquire, and GQ.

All of this is accurate, but the focal audience for Out has always been fags, and still is.

The story, beginning:

The first time I laid eyes on Mike Ruiz, back in 1997, when he walked into my office to show me his photo book for a possible assignment, I remember thinking, He’s the photographer? We should be shooting him. But there he was, looking like a Tom of Finland illustration come to life, but smiling and giggling like a 9-year-old. It was then, as it is now, a contradictory cocktail of tough and sweet. Who could resist? Oh, and the fact that he’s among the very top tier of American celebrity, fashion, and portrait photographers isn’t just icing on the cake — it is the cake. Ruiz is here to slay, brothers and sisters, and I’ve been rooting for him since our very first encounter.

About  the writer, who has become the new editor in chief of the magazine, from a news release on 2/29/20: “‘Out’ and ‘The Advocate’ Magazines Announce New Leadership”:

Pride Media, the country’s largest LGBTQ+ media company, announced a new and innovative leadership structure with the appointment of several editors Friday.

CEO Diane Anderson-Minshall will serve as executive editorial director of all five brands: Out, The Advocate, Plus, Pride, and Out Traveler, overseeing 15 editors, three social media experts, and five creative arts staffers who each work across the brands.

Richard Pérez-Feria [born 9/4/64 in Boston MA] has been named Out’s new editor in chief. A gay Latinx man, Pérez-Feria is an award-winning New York-based journalist who is currently editor in chief and CEO of Saratoga Living. He began his career at Esquire before moving on to 7 Days. Early in his career, Pérez-Feria was the founding editor in chief of Poz, the National Magazine Award-winning publication for people living with HIV. He later was editor in chief at Time Inc.’s People en Español, the country’s largest magazine for Latinx and Spanish-speaking readers. He’s also been editor in chief for numerous magazines and websites, including Elliman, 7×7, Vegas Inc., HudsonMOD, Celebrity Style, Gym, Music Choice, Shape’s Fit Hollywood, Burn!, Teen Celebrity, TennisMatch, Brash, PersonalMD, NowItCounts, and, most recently, PuraPhy and Saratoga Living.

Pérez-Feria is a sports and fitness guy, among all those other things.

About the subject of the article. From Wikipedia, the bland details:

Mike Ruiz (born December 8, 1964) is a Canadian photographer, director, television personality, former model, spokesperson, creative director, and actor


(#3) Daddy-meat Ruiz porning for the Modus Vivendi homowear company: displaying his extremely gym-toned body in a pitsntits pose, plus a prominent package thrust out, a modest cock-tease in his MV skivvies, and of course the Cruise Face (those overdeveloped glistening muscles are a real turnoff for me, but then for some of my friends this is come-in-your-pants hot; each to his own)

Ruiz, who is of French Canadian and Spanish Filipino ancestry, was born in Montreal in 1964, but raised in Repentigny, Quebec, Canada. He moved to the United States at age 20 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. After modeling for a decade he moved to Los Angeles to study acting. In 1997, Ruiz appeared in the independent film Latin Boys Go to Hell.

At the age of 28 Ruiz began in the field of photography…

[Digression 3. Latin Boys Go to Hell. From Rotten Tomatoes on the 1997 film:

Spurned by his heterosexual cousin Angel, distraught photograher’s assistant Justin falls into the eager arms of model Carlos [played by Ruiz], thus enraging Carlos’s insanely jealous occasional lover Braulio whose girlfriend Andrea in turn falls for Angel. Beginning as a straightforward melodrama, the story eventually becomes a parody of popular Latin American telenovelas.]

Back in the real world, Ruiz was (of course, openly) partnered with Martin Berusch for several years, until Berusch suddenly died in 2016; Ruiz then married Wayne Schatz in May 2019.

Note that Ruiz has been both the topic of male photography and also the photographer of other men’s bodies. This is not uncommon: many fags can move back and forth easily between being objects and agents. It’s the way we live.

About the designer. The remarkable suit Ruiz is wearing in #2 is by Franco Lacosta New York. Again, I start with the bland Wikipedia version:

Franco Lacosta born in New York City, New York is a Puerto Rican television personality, producer and fashion designer. He has worked with networks such as ABC, NBC, CWTV, Bravo, and NuvoTV. He is best known for his on-camera appearances for TV shows including America’s Next Top Model, Model Latina, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette. Lacosta’s menswear designs are presented by New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

… In 2013, Franco launched his namesake line [of men’s fashion], Franco Lacosta New York.

More informatively, from his own website:

Franco Lacosta is an international high fashion model turned photographer and menswear designer. Born in New York, raised in Puerto Rico, Franco studied Art History at Pratt Institute. During these formative years in college, Franco had the opportunity to meet the master Italian couturier Gianfranco Ferre, who offered him an internship at his design house in Milan.

This gave Lacosta the opportunity to learn and understand the business of fashion and opened the door to his career, which encompassed multiple aspects of the fashion world – starting as an intern, becoming a model, brand ambassador, designer, collaborator, beauty expert and photographer – providing a full spectrum of experiences in the industry and the ultimate knowledge necessary to creating a successful brand. Throughout the years, Lacosta worked in Italy with Gianfranco Ferre where he was featured in Italian Vogue; in Paris as brand ambassador with Yves Saint Laurent, in London with the likes of style patron Isabella Blow, and lastly in New York, where, amongst others, he has been capturing the exceptional designs of Naeem Khan in his photography. Additionally, he captivated the audiences all across America in the original content that he has co-produced and created for the TV network NBC Universal, while being featured in shows such as Model Latina and America’s Next Top Model.

Lacosta currently resides in Chelsea, New York, where his studio is also located. After having gathered vast experiences in the fashion and beauty world, he is now establishing a progressive menswear and accessories lines.

(I note with irritation that Lacosta seems to have gone to some trouble to conceal his age.)

Before I go on to appreciate Lacosta’s presentations of himself as a hot fuck, and to puzzle at the attractions of his men’s clothing, I note that Lacosta has a husband of 20 years and that the couple have a daughter; the family is remarkably sweet. Lacosta himself is keenly, painfully, aware of the social and political context he works in; from an interview on the DuJour site:

“As a gay [person], you’re bullied as a child,” adds Lacosta.  “Most [of us] are. And all of a sudden you realize there’s great power in being who you are. So you’re no longer a victim. You’re a victor.”

We are all fags on this ferry. And we’re not going to take it any more.

Lacosta presenting himself as simultaneously a hot piece of meat — I WANT YOU! — and the designer of very quirky men’s fashion:

(#4)

I appreciate the hot-guy part, but I’m perpetually baffled by most of what happens in high fashion, especially for men. The jacket in #4 looks to me like a playful joke, but I can’t imagine paying great chunks of money for it, much less wearing it in public; maybe it’s just a runway thing, not meant for the real world. Meanwhile, back in #2, Ruiz is modeling what strikes me as a totally preposterous Lacosta suit; it made me giggle. (Ok, I’m a rube. I suppose I actually am a rube, despite the extensive veneer of my amazing education.)

Yes, we are all fags on this ferry, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up my faculties of judgment.

About the photographer. And then there’s the fag who took the pictures. Again, I’ll start with Wikipedia:

Rick Day (born July 30, 1962) is an American photographer based in New York City. His work concentrates on advertising photography and video.

… Day published his first [homoerotic] coffee table book, Players, in 2008. His second book, Pioneers, released in 2010, debuted at number one on the Amazon.com best-selling erotic book list. Players Two was published in 2011, and All Players was released in 2012. To date, all of Day’s books have been released through publisher Bruno Gmünder Verlag.

I have the first two books (Players and Pioneers), both frankly and celebratorily homoerotic. Like all of Day’s work, knowingly so. The models are posing for us (by posing for Day), enjoying our gaze and inviting us to get off on them, if that’s our pleasure. But they’re also abstract objects of male beauty, to appreciate on those terms.

As the Wikipedia piece recognizes, all of his earlier work was published by Bruno Gmünder Verlag, the premier outlet for male art of many kinds. For whatever reasons, this commercial arrangement ceased to be satisfactory to Day, so he’s struck out as an independent operator, using Kickstarter appeals to fund his new books.

From his Kickstarter appeal, with a colorfully hard sell:

My last book “Castings” was a playful musing on my social media, a kind of journal of my daily life.  A fun, cheeky, sexy collection of images featuring top agency models and instagram ‘celebrities’. Uninhibited, daring and fun.


(#4) What can I say? Pantingly sexual, and very carefully composed

This new book ‘Carnal’ however has been inspired by the puritanical forces that are taking over America. These forces are finding their way into selective censoring of social media. The erasure of erotic art, to me, represents a crisis point of culture, of democracy.

I don’t need anyone telling me what I can and cannot see.

Art empowers when it’s transgressive, scandalous, nude, erotic. Art is where minds are opened, ideas challenged, viewpoints explored, where one can be free, even if for a minute.

You can sweep carnal longings under the rug but you cannot get rid of carnal cravings.

It will always be there.  ALWAYS.

So please help me bring this book to life by supporting my Kickstarter.

It is the most racy book that I have ever published.

Your hunger will be quenched


(#5) From the book

And that’s the news from Fag Central.

 

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