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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy Returns (Part 1)


It seems to many, your host included, that the Annus horribilis known as 2016 has done nothing but take things away from us, but it turns out that the year has not been a complete wash, and among the bright spots have been a few things, thought to be long gone, that have risen from the grave like a cat in a Stephen King novel. Like that zombie cat, resurrected things are seldom exactly the same as they
were before their initial demise.  On the other hand...

I probably don't need to tell the readers of this blog that between 1996 and 2008 XY was the magazine for gay teen boys and (as is constantly pointed out by those who consider it a dirty little secret) those who love them. Despite its exemplary newsstand sales, various market forces, including advertiser's belief that gay teens aren't a real demographic, along with the bizarre notion that it is OK to be a gay teen as long as you don't have any sexual desires, forced it out of business, and its assets were ignominiously liquidated.  A few years ago the original editorial team took a shot on a new magazine called B, which was an exact replica of XY, but that lasted only three issues. 

A few months ago I was shocked to learn that XY is back, and even more shocked to receive a letter offering me a free subscription in lieu of the issues of B that I paid for but never received. The magazine arrived just a few days later.

So, here's the thing: The new XY is almost exactly the same as the old XY. Perhaps the boys are slightly less twinky. There are definitely more tattoos on display. Other than that though, it is still exactly the same magazine that you remember. Now, the question is, do print magazines still have relevance in 2017 and beyond? That remains to be seen, but I hope so.

XY 50 is available here, and at newsstands (if you can find one) everywhere.

Below are a few classic XY covers.




Randy Harrison, out  star of Queer as Folk (US) and one of the few celebrity cover stars.

Nick Carter's cover and the Backstreet Boys interview within was quite a surprise.
Cover by Toby Bluth, Disney illustrator and gay erotic artist of the 1970s.


And here are a few images from the notorious, once-forbidden Colton "I'm totally not gay, don't even suggest it or I'll sue, oh wait I totally am" Haynes issue. 



And this is probably my all-time favorite XY image. 


9 comments:

deejohn said...

Vera, It's certainly good to see the magazine back again. I remember picking up a few old copies from a vintage magazine shop. I think one of them was the one with Nick Carter on the cover.
They definitely stood out among other gay magazines.

Just before blogging I would buy a magazine often just for one or two images then put them nicely into my 'Big Black Book.' Visitors would often come around and say 'Comon then, lets see the big black book. It was like a visual printed blog.
Shamefully I'd buy a must have magazine just for it's sensational cover boy, then eventually I'd discard the rest of the magazine. Then in January 2007 I stopped buying so many magazines because I discovered Blogger.

But as you say, are magazines as important now when you can virtually obtain any magazine image online.
But it is nice that something you once enjoyed has come back.

Pitbullshark said...

Well, "back in the day", I sure loved that magazine and I am pretty sure I bought every single copy from the very beginning (and still have them). I had not heard of "B", however, which must have come out about the time I realized that the Internet had steamrolled over all print media. I do miss those days of the excitement of having subscriptions of many of these magazines and it doesn't feel THAT long ago when I had moved back to North Carolina which ended up being for about three years before I moved back to California, somewhere around 1996 or so, I think. North Carolina ended up being one of those states where magazines such as "In Touch" and "Freshmen" could NOT be mailed to North Carolina, but fortunately I had a mail drop in California and so I could still receive subscriptions delivered to the mail drop and then the mail drop woman would send packages of mail to me in North Carolina once a week. So, the last time I was getting gay magazines I had to do so via this subterfuge!

However, there was one advantage that North Carolina had over California for me in those days (I discovered), and that was that a guy at my age was, surprisingly, sometimes a powerful draw to young gay guys and so I suffered no sense of frustration or "being soundly excluded" from the type of beauty offered in a magazine like XY. Absolutely not so in California (particularly Los Angeles), where I perfectly fit the description that the wise professorial father of Elio in that wonderful book that you recommended, "Call Me By Your Name," said: "...before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come hear it."

So while a few years ago I would have been extremely excited to see that XY had begun publishing again, to me, it's nothing more than an alien world where I cannot go and actually no longer want to. Was it me renouncing them or them renouncing me, either way, there is renouncement. And while I think, and hope, that there still is a place for printed magazines, in reality, I think that that will strictly be a boutique enterprise. While once upon a time these cute sexy naked boy magazines were my favorite, what magazine NOW is my favorite, "Islands", printed its last issue this year and is now totally gone.
COMMENT CONTINUED BELOW

Pitbullshark said...

COMMENT CONTINUED:
Speaking of "Call Me By Your Name", what a powerful and very affective book that was. I took it along with me for my Christmas trip to Maui and finished reading it my final night in Maui (so now I had two griefs to suffer). I could relate so much to the experience and wisdom expressed in that book, even though details will vary, of course. I never had that fear, hesitation, or inhibition regarding gay sex, because I was young in an era when homosexuality was basically a non-mentionable horror and therefore it meant no more to me as a concept than, let's say, zombies. (Boys nowadays may be stopped by the idea that any fooling around with a buddy would immediately mean that they were gay.) My parents (and I suppose the whole of society) expressed homosexuality as being some dark monstrousness, so what was there in that for me to think applied to myself, or to my friends? None of us thought a thing about it, we were horny, we got together, we had sex and loved it. It was perfecty natural. Now I'm not talking whole full-on gay sexual practices, mostly it was mutual jacking off, sometimes blow jobs, but we certainly came to pretty much know each other's bodies so there wasn't so much mystery. Also, since homosexuality as such didn't at that time exist as an "option", I was dating girls and getting excited over them, too, although intimacy in that regard proceed much slower due to things like the danger of pregnancy and the desire of the girls to remain virgins until marriage, and so on. So I very much could relate to Elio having sex with girls and actually loving it and finding it to be perfectly natural for him. I loved the descriptions of his thrill over smelling her on his hands. I think I spent every day I was in law school enjoying the smell of girls on my hands. In those days, horny female law students would knock on my apartment door at night, so I had all the sex I wanted. Yet, at the same time, I had some serious lust for a male law student but he was totally straight and somewhat horrified over my suspicious interest in him.

Of course ultimately I "lost my gay virginity" by which I mean having sex with a guy when I fully understood that this wasn't post-pubescent horniness, but something else entirely that most other guys don't feel. COMMENT CONTINUED BELOW

Pitbullshark said...

COMMENT CONTINUED:
I can fully relate to Elio once he had obtained that sexual relationship with Oliver. Based on my own experience, I don't even think of Oliver as gay (Elio, I think, was in the same way that I am, which is a desire for the whole entire PERSON, not just particular body parts). Oliver struck me as being like at least one (maybe more) guys that I can put into that category, that really were straight in their orientation but somehow relentlessly attractive to guys and they got off on that, that I had become utterly obsessed over for years and yet I was actually successful in winning them over for a period of time. They are a type of guy that everybody admires and is drawn to and like the Clintons and Kennedys of the world, or famous athletes or other celebrities, they so much are drawn in by the fact that some other person is utterly entranced by them. It must be heady stuff to be so thoroughly worshipped by another person, especially if that person is actually a better person than you are, as I think Elio was compared to Oliver.

When Oliver casually informed Elio that he was engaged to be married, I thought to myself, you bastard, as I, myself, had gone through that exact same thing. Well, I guess my guy was right, he stayed married to that (somewhat masculine) girl and had two sons with her, both of whom are adults now. Thanks to the Internet, I have managed to keep up with him on the sly, but he hasn't the slightest idea of how to find me, although I doubt he wants to. I hold all the cards regarding that, and I have long vowed to never attempt a reunion with him, saying to myself that if I really do love him, which I think I do, or did, then that love means that I need to leave him alone with the life he chose for himself and thoroughly rejected me from. My phrase for my decision is that I did not want to "Brokeback Mountain" him, that having me show up and him being EXCITED about that just might put serious dangerous pressure on his marriage. His wife was deathly afraid of me once he confessed to her our background together, which I know he did do. She made him undergo serious counseling and therapy before she would consent to their marriage!

This book gave me a "my heart will nearly stop" kind of a feeling that reminded me of several movies, such as "Torch Song Trilogy" in which in the first story, Arnold creates a relationship with the most perfect man and on their first night together in their new apartment, his lover goes out to bring home some food for them and gets killed by a couple of gay bashers. And of course we have probably gone through several AIDS deaths. COMMENT CONCLUDED BELOW

Pitbullshark said...

COMMENT CONCLUDED:
In another gay movie, but one in which my heart went out to the girl in the story, "Making Love", the Michael Ontkean character who figures out he is gay ends up with a handsome doctor, but the abandoned Kate Jackson character, while managing to get a very cute and nice husband, still carries the torch for Ontkean. That scene at the end when they run into each other and he goes over to her house to meet her husband and see her baby, and then he is leaving to go back to New York and his doctor lover, she knows she will never see him again and it tears me apart. I can feel her feelings, but also I know that I had been like the Ontkean character myself, but in my case, I broke at least two girl's hearts, if not also a third one.

Another killer scene that comes to my mind is the tear-jerker at the end of "The Way We Were", which I am sure I don't have to describe to you, that was such a classic. The losses have been many and they are deep, but I guess if we loved and were loved, then it was all worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Call Me By Your Name now a movie staring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet as Elio due for release January 22. Hope it moves you too. - Ian

Pitbullshark said...

Excellent, Ian! I knew of the movie, thanks to Vera making a post about Timothee Chalamet, the actor who is playing Elio in the movie, but I hadn't known the release date. January 22. Thank you!

Something else about that book, the author really captured Italy, especially seaside Italy (in this case, the Italian Riviera) and old Rome; Italy is practically a character in the book. I think as a writer he deserved all the massive praise that he received.

Vera said...

Pitbullshark- I am very happy to learn that you loved "Call Me By Your Name" as much as I did. Your perceptions of the novel are wonderful to read and I agree with all of them. I am very much looking forward to seeing the film, especially having seen Timothee Chalamet's outstanding performance in "Miss Stevens," but fear that no matter how well it is done, it will have a hard time equaling its source material. Just as a note, the movie will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, but a general release is yet to be determined.

Vera said...

deejohn- My magazine purchasing used to be off the rails, especially during the time I worked at a news stand. At one point I was bringing home between 25-30 issues a month! I'm glad those days are gone, as I was becoming dangerously close to becoming one of those people you see on Hoarders. Nowadays I have a subscription to The New Yorker (which I actually read on my iPad) and now XY, which has resisted the idea of making their content available on-line. Now the only Magazines I ever buy are large format high quality ones such as Coitus that can't be fully appreciated on computer screen.