Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In American Gods, An Otherworldly Depiction of Queer Attraction and Connection

Calling it pornographic is belittling and making it smaller that what is it. It's not about "Wow, I'm just watching two men fuck." It's "Wow, these are two compassionate people, clearly in love with one another." Just seeing two Middle Eastern men represented in that way, with humor and love and joy, it's taken me eleven years to get to that. I want to see more of that.

– Mousa Kraish
Quoted in Taylor Henderson's article "The Gay Sex Scene
in American Gods Isn't Pornographic, It's Art

May 12, 2017

Above: Omid Abtahi (left) as Salim and
Mousa Kraish as The Jinn in American Gods.

In the third episode of season one of the popular Staz TV series American Gods, Omid Abtahi and Mousa Kraish play two Middle Eastern immigrants who meet in a cab. Kraish's character is actually an Ifrit, one of the most powerful and dangerous Jinns in Islamic mythology.

Writes Taylor Henderson: "When Salim touches The Jinn's shoulder in conversation, the magnitude of their connection rushes over you like a sandstorm."

Henderson also shares the show's executive producer Michael Green's thoughts on the subsequent scene set in a hotel room: "I saw it as a story of a god giving a man permission to be himself, to enjoy sex, and to be made love to," Green said.

Of this scene, one that's being described as "groundbreaking," Henderson writes: "The electricity and tenderness . . . is otherworldly to watch, and the transcendent imagery evoked makes the men's passion ethereal and fiery."

Related Off-site Links:
American Gods Arouses Audiences with Intense Love SceneGayety (May 16, 2017).
The Secrets of America Gods' Big Gay Sex Scene Revealed – Abraham Riesman (Vulture, May 14, 2017).
How American Gods Pulled Off That Explicit Gay Sex Scene – Susan Cheng (BuzzFeed, May 11, 2017).
Why Starz Was the Perfect Home for American Gods’ Groundbreaking Gay Sex Scene – Marissa Martinelli (Slate, May 16, 2017).

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Bouquet

See also the previous posts:
"Hail to the Seasonal Prince"
"I Have Become Your Brother . . . One of Your Kin"
Spring Blossoming

Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Beltane Blessing


See also the previous posts:
Magical Creatures
I Call to Cernunnos
In the Image of the Horned God

Related Off-site Links:
Beltane and the Reclaiming of SpiritThe Wild Reed (May 2, 2016).
Integrating Cernunnos, "Archetype of Sensuality and the Instinctual World"The Wild Reed (January 26, 2016).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bel Homme

Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hare at Eastertide

See also the previous posts:
Easter Hare
Symbol of Enlightenment
Eostre: Goddess of New Life Beginnings
The Goddess Ostara
Remembering Eostre
Celebrating Eostre

Related Off-site Link:
The Pagan Roots of Easter – Heather McDougall (The Guardian, April 3, 2010).

Image: The Leveret.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Luis Alberti is a Mexican actor born October 30, 1981.

After graduating from Mexico City's Casa del Teatro in 2007, he founded with director Damian Cervantes the independent theatre company Vaca 35 Teatro en grupo. The company's experimental activity has lead to plays such as Casualmente (a "collective scenic creation" based on the work of famed novelist Milan Kundera), El loco amor viene, and Uppercut (based on Shinya Tsukamoto's film Tokyo Fist.

From 2008-2009 Alberti worked as a circus performer with the the Atayde Hermanos circus while simultaneously studying dramaturgy from fellow actor David Hevia. He would go on to work with Hevia in the 2010-2011 production of the play Por el Gusto de Morir bajo el volcán, based on Malcolm Lawry's novel Under the Volcano.

In 2011 Alberti featured in Daniel Giménez Cacho's TV series Crónica de castas (Caste's Chronicles) and in 2014 he began working in feature films, including Diego Quemada-Diez's La jaula de oro (The Golden Dream), Hugo Carrillo's El lado oscuro de la Luz (The Dark Side of the Light), Marcelino Islas's La Caridad (Charity), and Isaac Ezban's The similars.

His first co-starring role was in Rigoberto Pérezcano's Carmín Tropical, which was awarded as the Best Mexican Feature Film at the 2014 Morelia International Film Festival. The film was also named on the shortlist for Mexico's entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, but it was not selected. It was a role that led to a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Alberti at the 2015 Mexican Film Academy's Ariel Awards.

In 2015 Alberti co-starred with Elmer Bäck in Peter Greenaway's film Eisenstein in Guanajuato.

Above and below: Elmer Bäck and Luis Alberti in Peter Greenaway's 2015 film Eisenstein in Guanajuato.

Writes film critic Gary M. Kramer:

Eisenstein in Guanajuato boasts some astonishing visuals as it chronicles Russian director Sergei Eisenstein (Elmer Bäck) in 1930s Mexico, where he is trying to make a film. Instead, his seductive local guide, Palomino Cañedo (Luis Alberti), puts the make on Eisenstein. Cañedo helps the filmmaker lose his inhibitions along with his gay virginity with the help of some olive oil. (Alberti, who plays Palomino, happens to be hung like a horse.)

“Eisenstein was like Dante, going underground in the ‘Divine Comedy’ and meeting Cerberus the dog,” [director Peter] Greenaway observes.

Bäck and Alberti fleshed out Greenaway’s comments for me, chatting via Skype in separate interviews about working with the filmmaker and shooting Eisenstein in Guanajuato’s intense sex scenes.

. . . Luis, why do you think Cañedo seduced Eisenstein?

Luis Alberti: It was like falling in love, I was looking at him and listening to him. That’s what you do when you admire someone and fall in love with them. You want to know about him or her, and you listen to what they have to say. It’s not Palomino Cañedo seducing Eisenstein, it’s Eisenstein seducing Palomino. Cañedo is an innocent in a way. The decision I made was to make this the first time Cañedo falls in love with a man. I don’t know if that’s true with the real man, but I think it was. Eisenstein was a very important director and an amazing person, and his world was very rich, and enjoyable, so that’s how I approached it—falling in love, admiring. Peter talked to me that he wanted it to be like this. It would be dramatic only if Cañedo falls in love for the first time. The real Palomino Cañedo used to have sex with men, but for me it was more interesting if this was his first time.

Elmer, can you discuss how you prepared for all of the copious nudity and sex scenes?

Elmer Bäck: For me, I thought about it at first—especially when you have that amount of nudity. After a day, you don’t think about it. You get used to it. You’re not protecting it and your privacy. It’s not difficult to do. Being an actor, and putting on more pounds and then being naked in a not flattering way, was an interesting way to go into it—to be nude and not in a flattering way. The lack of vanity was freeing. I had to forget about that and just jump in. We were rehearsing—Luis, Peter, and I—and these things are difficult. It works or it doesn’t, this kind of connection. I think we all felt that we were able to play off each other. Because we had to that one intimate scene—you need to allow the other person to be close, and create intimacy—and that comes into the film. As actors, we were going quite far. It was not just for us, but for Eisenstein in that moment. We went through the same thing as actors.

Luis, what are your thoughts about being nude and performing all the sex scenes?

Luis Alberti: We talked a lot about that. I tried to make three faces for Cañedo—one on the street with clothes and hat—very straight and square. The second was indoors, without a jacket and hat, and more relaxed, protected. The third is without clothes, more free, and more like a child. Each face is different; he relates to the environment. We talked about the sex scene for hours. What can we do? How do we do it and make it work? You don’t make a Peter Greenaway film bad. We had to enjoy it and make it enjoyable.

We made the decision to do the sex scene in one take. At the beginning I was concerned about being naked and having a gay sex scene and showing my penis on-screen because of my family and friends, and society—gay things are not always well received by people. This nudity and sex scenes and physicality is very dramatic. Peter Greenaway’s style is very rude about the body and nudity. Everything happens in the flesh. I got the sex scene during the casting so it was clear what was needed from me. I had to process my self-boundaries, and I made the decision to do it.

I think the difficult part of creating these scenes is to accept really wanting to do it. I lived it like this: At first it was “NO I don’t want to do this!” You get scared. But in the process, I discovered I wanted to do it, and as an actor, I always really want to go further, and be free and human and live whatever. That’s why an actor decides to do this, and play difficult, risky things. That was what I discovered. I really wanted to do it. I never thought about it before, but when it came to my decision, I thought—not about the sex thing, but in general—I want to do everything.

Related Off-site Links:
“You Have Naked Bodies and Genitalia, Don’t You? Why Are You So Adolescent?”: Director Peter Greenaway on “Puritan” Americans and the Intense Sex Scenes in Eisenstein in Guanajuato – Gary M. Kramer (Salon, February 4, 2016).
Eisenstein in Guanajuato: Peter Greenaway’s Homoerotic Take on Russian Filmmaker’s Mexican Odyssey – Robert Abele (The Wrap, February 4, 2016).
Sergei Eisenstein’s Coming-Out Party – Armond White (Out, February 5, 2016).
Film of the Week: Eisenstein in Guanajuato – Jonathan Romney (Film Comment, February 4, 2016).

See also the previous posts: Nyle | Philip | Charlie | Sukdeep | Rafael | Mon Bel Ami

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March Hare

Image: "March Hare" by Victoria Keeble.

See also the previous posts:
Boxing Hares
The March Hare of Wonderland
Thackery Earwicket

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tan Lines

Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Sunday, March 12, 2017