BAKER STREET

by Eric J Baker

Sexy, hunky, gay Brazilian male models.

PFC readers may have noticed we’ve been dressing up our stories with pictures of them lately. I was not consulted on this editorial decision. Frankly, it’s crass and base and probably other adjectives that end in an “s” sound and connote bad behavior on our part. It also means additional page views for this blog, so I am all for it. In fact, this is a story about man’s body and what it represents in art and film. How’s that for selling out?

Again, we apologize to Baker for having gayed him last week with a picture of a shirtless hunk in his post. However, our page views are up 25% this week, so if we have to start inserting images from The Big Penis Book to bump it to 50%, we will. To make it up to him, this "Death of Cleopatra" by Rixen is the best picture we could find of a shirtless Ancient Egyptian woman, which both complements this article and reestablishes Baker's heterosexuality.

To begin our manflesh journey, we must first travel back in time to the days of the ancient Egyptians, makers of ugly statues. These folks were superstars when it comes to iconographic images: Pyramids. Sphinxes. Hieroglyphics. Gold sarcophagi. Seriously, no one rocks a gold sarcophagus like an ancient Egyptian. But their freestanding sculpture is a different story.

Representations of man in free-standing sculpture before the 5th century B.C.E. are far more interesting as archeological artifacts than as works of art. In essence, they are schematics of people rendered three dimensionally. I am so glad humans have evolved knees and elbows since then. It must have been tough building pyramids without joints.

That includes the Greeks and their Kouroi statues… arms to the side, feet flat, perfect posture, shit-eating grins. Then, as if by Olympian intervention, everything changed.

The first gay interior decorator was hired.

Stiffer than a pair of male runway models: A statue of Ramses II from Luxor (left), and the Getty Kouros, which was declared a fake recently. The fact that it looks brand new with little patina on it seems not to have mattered when the museum bought it. (Well how about that: We've managed to put our first penis in the blog as well, albeit a micro one.)

Let’s imagine a wealthy Greek merchant, Bill Gatsos, has built a new temple and wants to deck it out with statues and drapery, a home theater, maybe a rave in the basement. He hires a sculptor of statues to help feng shui the place. We’ll call him Phidias the Elder…

Gatsos: So I’m thinking a stiff-legged, soulless nude boy can go in that corner. Maybe a stiff-legged, soulless nude boy over by the steps. I could use a stiff… are you listening to me?

Phidias: I’m sorry. I just… I don’t know if I can do it anymore. This pose. It’s been, like, 3000 years of the same shit [sits]. It looks retarded.

Gatsos: Get it together, man. There’s no other way to represent the human bod-

They’re interrupted by a newly hired, flamboyantly gay interior decorator, Christopher Lowellos, who struts into the room, pointing this way and that, ordering his staff around like a diva. Paying his employer no mind, he turns his back to him, flips his wrist in the air, and puts all his weight on one leg.

Lowellos (to his assistants): No No No! I said whimsical, not kitschy!

Gatsos (chuckling): Maybe he’s a fruitcake but he’s… Phidias?

Phidias slowly rises, his mouth agape, as he is stares in sublime awe at the designer’s effeminate pose. His body tingles. When he grasps the magnitude of what is happening, he drops to the bench, shaking.

Gatsos: Uh. You all right?   

Phidias (panting): I am going to radically change the course of western art for the next 2,500 years.

Gatsos: Um. Ok.   

Thus was born the contrapposto stance, the most powerful innovation in the history of western art (other than money). By dipping one hip and activating the corresponding arm, Greek sculptors brought the human body to life at last. Thus is the genius of the Greeks. Their gyros aren’t bad either, though I can do without the grape leaves, or whatever that black/purple stuff is that looks like rotten lettuce.

Look! A second penis! Still micro, though.

It’s not unreasonable to think the image to the right is James Killough showing up for a AAA baseball game because he heard a couple of 20-year-old men were going to be there in the “catcher” position. But it’s actually the Riace Warrior, an amazing Greek bronze (circa 450 B.C.E.) made at the cusp of the high classic period.

This is a man’s body.

Forget those pumped-up pretty boys that accompany most of our articles. The ideal man’s body is lanky, with long arms, long legs, and a rectangular frame. Insignificant compared to the mighty mountains he must climb or the vast oceans he must cross, yet he does it all the same. This body type symbolizes mankind’s reach, which is why it appears in art and film so often.

John Wayne used it to perfection. His long-legged stride across the endless Texas plains, his slow pivot, and his six-shooter slung low on his hip all define man’s ability to survive in an impersonal, amoral universe. That’s why Dom Deluise was not asked to star in The Searchers. Fat guys don’t have that quality. Or short guys, for that matter. Can you picture Linda Hunt turning and walking off into the desert as the door closes at the iconic ending of that film? I’m almost certain the impact would be lessened.

If you make a movie or a show about a man against the world, you need a tall, lanky guy, not shirtless beefcake. Think of Michael Biehn in The Terminator (1984), who traveled back in time to save a woman he’d never met, but loved all the same. Strapping Josh Holloway, perfectly cast as Sawyer the cold-hearted loner in Lost, traveled back in time in search of a way to tie a bunch of impossible plot threads together, but failed all the same. Fellow Josh, Duhamel, another long and lean dude, hasn’t time traveled yet, but he’s got the build.

Duhamel shows how a subtle amount of contrapposto is still manly, without making you seem like a decorator.

Duhamel may get his chance on July 1st, when he shakes his man body for all it’s worth in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a poignant tale of how a British butler’s stoic devotion to his master during World War II may cost him his one chance at happiness, as he fights to suppress his love for… Hold on. That’s Remains of the Day. Transformers is about giant robots blowing shit up while Josh Duhamel leads an elite special ops team in search of the plot. Likewise, Holloway is co-starring with Tom Cruise (not lanky) in another franchise film, the recently wrapped and unfortunately named Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, due in December. The wait is killing you, isn’t it?

The heterosexual male reading this may feel uncomfortable with so much man talk, but I challenge you to open your mind. You can admire manliness without wanting to ride it like a bull. And I encourage all the gay men and straight women to understand the difference between me admiring manliness and me wanting to bat lefty from now on, which I don’t. Because, honestly, I’m not into the penis. Lesbians, Swiss painter Henry Fuseli, and I all think of the penis like this:

Baker insists on using Fuseli's "The Nightmare" here to symbolize how he feels about the penis, even though we already established in earlier images that it is a sublime work of art in itself.

In fact, Fuseli was so disturbed by the penis that he painted several versions of this work, which he called The Nightmare. This one was done in 1782. The Nightmare is a much better title than The Penis, or The Repulsive Horse Head, don’t you think? Fuseli knew from artwork titles.

I won’t get into what curtains symbolize. Not in this post anyway. But you can probably guess.

We don’t always end our stories with images at Pure Film Creative, but I believe this is a special circumstance. I’ve embraced the shirtless men, figuratively. I’ve even written this story celebrating manflesh in all its power and glory (Straight eye for the queer guy?). Now I deserve some eye candy.

Therefore, I bring you my absolute favorite picture of Megan Fox in the whole wide crazy world. While she won’t be appearing alongside Josh Duhamel in the new Transformers flick, thanks to a much-publicized falling out with director Michael Bay, we will always have this photo to remember her by. And I don’t care how gay you are. Deep within your heart or soul or whatever you’ve got powering that hunky, Brazilian, male model body of yours, you must be thinking, “Even I’d hit that.”

Megan Fox has done crazier things to her career than Vince from "Entourage." Difference is, he's a male actor and can bounce back.