Results tagged ‘ culture ’

Dennis Eckersley and the ubiquitous baseball mustache of the 80’s.

eck pboy use this one

Here’s Eck posing for Playboy in 1980.

America’s hipsters and post-ironic trust fund kids may be growing out their mustaches now, but baseball players of the 70’s had little idea of how their ‘staches (which were considered masculine) were actually a cultural influence initiated by gay culture. Dennis Eckersley no doubt had the most famous mustache in Oakland A’s history, (besides Rollie Fingers) and unlike most players in the 90’s, kept the mustache until it became hip again and still wears it today.

Starting with the ’60s, when hippie culture and gay culture seemed to collide, facial hair really got out of hand, as gay beat poet Allen Ginsberg and his bushy face exemplify. In 1969, with gay liberation after the Stonewall Riots, those on the front lines were the drag queens without a hair on their faces and the hippie types who wanted to buck the establishment and had nothing to lose. Again it was the smooth and the hairy in perfect harmony.

Things started to change in the ’70s, as the proliferation of gay porn, the popularization of disco (a gay sub-culture) and an exploding gay culture gave birth to what is known as “the clone look,” which started with super-popular gay porn star Al Parker. You couldn’t swing a handbag on The Castro without hitting a guy with a mustache, and everyone felt the need to conform because not only was it a way to spot other gays but it was the beauty ideal, and something that was considered masculine. Gay icons like Freddie Mercury, the Village People, and John Waters were all known for their iconic mustaches.

A landmark film from 1972 was Deep Throat, which made perhaps up to $600 million (no one really knows the exact figures…probably not even the mobsters who backed it) and kicked off the era of ’70s “porno chic.” Along with the other major male porn stars of the time, like John Holmes and Ron Jeremy who made mustaches synonymous with sleazy sexual appetites, perhaps leading to their public decline in the gay community and lending itself towards a more “macho” mainstream appetite.

The 1990’s unfortunately became a fallow time for mustaches, which were associated with the past two decades and seen as cheesy and unhip. Now, of course, they’re making a huge comeback with today’s cool kids, who reach back for the circa-1900 look and who have a keen taste for irony since they can’t define their own media-obsessed generation by any clear materialized pop-cultural definition.

 

Hot Dog Eating a Hot dog.

john kilduff

John Kilduff–Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps rookie

As longtime readers know, I like to incorporate different facets of life into this blog, mostly from the realm of modern art and literature. It tends to get a bit tedious talking about baseball players and stats and free agency and Bud Selig’s ego and PED’s and Hall of Fame voters and the widening strike zone until I’m blue in the face. We’re getting closer to the Christmas holidays, I drank too much Crown Royal and I’m feeling a bit silly.

John Kilduff was a loco personality. He hosted a “painting show” that I would watch late at night here in Los Angeles while sucking on the hash pipe. I was supposed to be writing a thesis on “Modern Art and Capitalism,” but this show seemed more interesting and vital at the time. I couldn’t tell if the guy was gifted or if he was a charlatan looking to make a buck, (he turned out to be both) and I loved it. Some of his work had titles like, “Hot dog eating a hot dog,” and “African-American titty burger.” All this talk is meaningless, you simply must see for yourself…