Giving thanks, karnally
by John F. Karr
From last Christmas season to this year's, it's been great for swank, jumbo art books. Tom of Finland XXX gave Tom's oversized men the oversized layout that really shows them off, and Outside/Inside delivered classic and gorgeous full-color physique studies of Bruce of Los Angeles. Now add Private Moments – Bel Ami by Howard Roffman .
B.A.R. photo-book aficionado Ernie Alderete reviewed the sumptuous collection a few weeks ago, and sounded a bit like me as he enthused about the book's lovely and plentiful erections. He wasn't off-base.
When I talked to Roffman about Private Moments, he told me I'd like it – he said it had more hard-ons than any of his previous collections. He's got my number, alright. I had suggested, several books ago, that he was being overly coy with his sensitive, flaccid young men; I wanted erections. Well, I got em, as Roffman began to go there in succeeding books.
They're typically Roffman, though. His boners don't bang you in the face; they announce themselves with the same lyric grace of his pictures. The young men – all of them the fresh, striking performers of Bel Ami films who are so willing to give of themselves – cradle them in their palm, or gaze fondly down with a mixture of love, awe, and the blossoming virility of youth.
Boners aren't all that make this book noticeable or new. It's Roffman's first in color. It was a big plunge for Roffman to take; it made him nervous. Yet as he saw the results of surrendering his cherished black-and-white to such welcoming color, he embraced it thoroughly. He'll never go back, he claimed.
It's the color that called for the book's unusual size and shape. This giant rectangle of a book is the size digital color plates come in, and Roffman insisted to his publisher that they be rendered full-size. Roffman's pretty popular, so Bruno Gmunder didn't argue. The result is gorgeous, with color warm and thick as oil paint. Like his b&w photography, these pictures of intimacy are suffused rather than brilliantly lit; though calm, there's a sense of expectancy to these young men. What's in the offing? Romance, the future, a tightening relationship with the fellow they share the frame with. Expectancy – that's it. Roffman's photos are a reverie of youth, with expectancy hovering all around. I expect I'll be revisiting this collection often.
Here's another book I'm thankful for. One of words, not photos. While
I'm thankful for most any sexo in Blu-ray. Even the run-of-the-mill product from Jet Set. So I'm most beholden to Titan because their movies are dependably swell, and they release most all of them in dazzling Blu-ray editions. It's a pity hardly any other companies have gotten into it. Raging Stallion's got a few of their best titles available in the format, and Falcon fewer. Come on, producers – the rest of us are in the 21st century!
Did I mention Raging Stallion? I'm thankful for company owner Chris Ward's expansive nature. With his encouragement, many of his stars are producing and directing their own movies, with pleasingly strong results. Within the Raging Stallion standard of excellence, each director brings to the company a distinct personality, as their films fill a variety of niches.
I'm thankful for wall calendars. If I could, I'd buy every 2010 calendar the stores are stocking, just to get those oversize, heavy-stock photos. But I've got a favorite. It's Raging Stallion's Inked . Yeah, I'm a tattoo fan, and Raging Stallion seems to have the most and best-inked guys around, in glamour photos by Kent Taylor. Too bad I can't run one with this article, but there's a big boner in each one of them. And those are a real B.A.R. can't-do. If I ran the world, I'd shower erections on everybody. Wouldn't we all be thankful then?