It was not exactly rocket science to think that putting Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg on stage with Jesse Eisenberg would be a fun sight gag. But...if, like me you were a huge fan of The Social Network it was more than just a fun gag seeing Zuckerberg, Eisenberg not to mention Andy Samberg (who was impersonating Zuckerberg, it was surreal. Kudos to SNL for putting the three together and for the joke about poking. The joke was funny but Zuckergerg's awkward delivery sold it.
Against my better judgement I purchased the first half of of Glee's second season this week. I say against my better judgement as I could have saved a bit of money by waiting til the fall and gotten the entire season. There were some moments though, mostly involving Harry Shum Jr I was looking forward to seeing again. Sing from the Duets episode was a stand out as was Harry's dancing on Make Em Laugh and Valerie.
Traditionally, when putting together one of those big Broadway musicals of the 40’s. 50’s and 60’s most of the main characters tended to be a series of stereotypes thrown together to ‘put on a show’. The beautiful virtuous leading lady, the heroic leading man. The secondary characters tended to be more comedic, the loose flirty second female lead, the buffoon secondary leading man. Think Oklahoma, Guys & Dolls, Pyjama Game or most other shows from the time. Throw in a crotchety old grandmother, a slick gangster, and a dutiful best friend and the ensemble is complete.
Below: Kurt and his father (Mike O'Mally).
As time went on, audiences got smarter and expected more from the shows they paid to see. In the 70’s musicals began to spend more time on character development, not relying as much on standard archetypes.
Glee is a musical. But although set in the present, it’s characters remain decades in the past. Like those shows from the past, Glee has a set of fairly standard high school stereotypes which make up it’s world. The driven star, the jock, the cheerleader, the bad boy, the nerd, the supportive teacher and of course the gay kid.
Kurt and the cast during the Rocky Horror episode.
Kurt is beloved by many, but I find the character, or maybe writing of the character, frustrating. I love Glee, and see the immense talent exuding from Chris Colfer. The power in many of his scenes, especially with his father, can be intense, yet...I can’t fully commit. Glee’s creator Ryan Murphy has created a wonderful character, but Kurt is also a collection of stereotypes and therefore often teeters between character and caricature.
It is somewhat depressing how stereotypes so strongly stick. We all know they actually don’t represent a group of people. What they do represent is how that particular group has been presented, usually by the media. Over the past couple of decades, gay characters on television finally went beyond the swishy stereotype of the 70's and 80's with shows like My So Called Life, Degrassi, Brothers and Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy and others creating many unique and real characters.
People have often challenged me when I talk about Kurt, or my frustrations with the show and ask why I watch. I guess it is because of the enjoyment, especially for the music. That brings me more joy than the issues I have with the writing. I am invested in the depiction of gay characters on television and I worry when I see one that is taking risks. Kurt is popular, making headlines and on magazine covers, all that is great. I just ask Ryan Murphy to be careful. My experience with Murphy shows is that he often jumps on what is hot and squeezes every bit out of it so quickly the audience ends up sick of it. Kurt is being squeezed. Last season viewers grew a little tired of Rachel, I think Kurt could be the Rachel of this season… Glee has such a huge cast, many of whom have barely gotten screen time this season I am hoping some of the rest of the cast will get a chance to shine before the season ends.
Below: Darren Criss is a nice addition as Blaine, although the writers have yet to commit to Blaine and Kurt as a couple.
The post about stereo types above was not actually something I planned. It actually began as the beginning of this profile. My ramblings however made it difficult to find a smooth way to transition from Kurt on Glee to the misconceptions about male models.
Ben Stiller’s 2001 movie Zoolander embodies how many people perceive male models. Clueless and naive, vain, spending most of their days fluffing their hair and grunting their way through daily pumping iron regimens.
In the three plus years I have been working on FH I am continually surprised as I get to know the models I profile. It is not the lack of stereo types that surprise me, I learned long ago that stereo types are mostly false. Yes, there have been a few guys I have communicated with who struggled with completing full sentences...but overall, most are both highly motivated and highly intelligent. What does continue to surprise me is the level of passion, the level of talent and skills not related to modeling.
Below: Stefan by Erudhein.
Male models are not generally well paid. In today’s world most cannot afford to spend their days hanging out at the gym and the salon. Yes of course fitness and appearance have to be a priority but most models I work with juggle working out and shoots with university, a job, or jobs and of course family and friends. Many models today also have to juggle being their own agent, publicist and accountant. They know the window for modeling does not stay open for long, and while pursing modeling jobs the focus must also be on planning for when modeling is no longer an option.
If you read FH on a regular basis you know that my interest runs beyond the big name agency models and photographers. I am not just about the photo, but the story behind it. One of the most fascinating models I have come across in awhile is Stefan Alexander. His ‘story’ is not only interesting but also a bit addictive. I use addictive with intent as there are so many things about Stefan worth exploring
'Passionate about writing and reflecting on the everyday. Aesthetic, subtle, and fun. Creative, observant, nice. Searching for people with whom to be strange, sing a little and dance about... Spot me hanging around studious and/or chill places, practicing yoga, or searching for aesthetics of taste, intoxicant, textile or intellectuals. I flit a little in photography, writing, and continually create.' Stefan Alexander
Usually when I profile someone I attempt to highlight into one area of their life to theme the post around. With Stefan this was not so easy. When I asked him a question, his answers were never what I quite expected. It was the inability to make assumptions that brought about the theme of stereo types. With Stefan, he not only challenges them, he refutes them.
25 year Stefan hails from Montreal although currently is studying in London. Stefan recently graduated from Harvard University with degrees in Art History and Italian Studies. Stefan is in London completing his MA. I first contacted Stefan last November but due to his busy schedule and travels it took close to three months to finally pull things together.
Stefan has traveled the globe and has been to most of the US and Canada. He has also jetted to Cuba, Mexico and other parts of the Caribbean, Paris, Rome, all over Italy, Sydney, Melbourne and other parts of Australia and now London. Stefan says he has a soft spot for Italy and was really taken with his experience in Padua.
‘Consider myself a slim elegant and quietly confident guy’
I love that Stefan uses elegant in his description of self. It is not an adjective often used by men when describing themselves. Quietly confident is also not a phrase I connect with men, and male models. Confidence rarely has a descriptive word partnered with it, one usually thinks as one as confident or not. Quietly confident is a beautiful description, consistent with the emotion that exudes from Stefan’s work.
‘Modeling was something I had always thought about, an idea I thought would be interesting. I think that it also came out of my education as an art historian, in a sense getting the practical modern experience of the creation of art. I really enjoy being part of the creative process and be able to collaborate with an artist/photographer to realize a vision.’
‘I've really enjoyed working with the same photographer multiple times (Steve Walls and Pierre Jean). A certain comfort sets in and a collaborative ease comes about to realize concepts and try new things. I really enjoyed working with Pierre Jean and using plastics and bubble wrap, I loved the results. We actually didn't shoot that many pictures, but the few we did get were stunning.’
my breath, the ocean The rise and fall of emotions, happiness is a delicate moment. All feelings rushing in, rushing, out. The breath cycles, continual, waves upon the ocean. I bob, motionless, in motion, I surrender. I try to ride the crests of my inhales, surf, a fine balance, centering atop a moment, flowing. Stefan Alexander
When I was a kid it was not a Super, Aqua or Bat man that I was interested in, it was a red haired kid from Riverdale High I wanted to read about. When I think of Archie Andrews I linger back to those Archie Double Digests I used to covet. Oh how exciting it was to be at the grocery store with my mother and see a bright new digest as we went through the check out. Of course I now know they were placed there just to torture poor parents who foolishly drag their offspring with them to shop. My mother is a wonderful woman, but she is not soft. We did not have a lot of money for extras and despite my tantrums the answer was always a firm no.
I did however make my own money dog walking and with my paper route. My parents spending ethics, though I hated, I smartly followed. I never rode my bike back to that grocery store but rather to the one used book store in my town. Then I could get 3 or 4 double digests for the price of one. I could also return them the following weekend to trade in to get more. It was so exciting riding home on that bike with the digests in the brown bag, early awaiting getting home and seeing what the gang would be up to.
Archie Digests make me think of summers, and summer camp (I would always get a few to take with me). I remember reading them on the front lawn and taking them to the beach and family vacations.
The world was asking who you liked better, Betty or Veronica, but for many of use was all about Archie. Archie was like the one guy in every grade in school. You know the guy, cute but not the cutest, athletic, but not a sports star. He played basketball yes, but was also in choir and in the school play. The one trait most of these guys, like Archie share is a level of caring more pronounced than those around him. This guy usually had quite liberal parents who promoted equality and tolerance within there home.
I remember that guy from my school years; we ended up being best friends through most of high school. I also remember being surprised that many told me, for them, I was that guy. My parents from the time I can remember taught us that although humans are all special and unique, they are also all pretty much the same.
Archie was a crush, a hero not because he wore a cape or saved the planet every issue. Archie was my comic hero because he struggled with right and wrong, was not always the greatest student but except for the odd bad day was basically kind to all those around him.