This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile. However, the circumstances around it deeply affected me to the point I can only write about it weeks after I found out what happened to the boy from the bus.
In the late 1970′s, I was an in-the-closet (and far from being out) 13-year-old who had this insane and unexplainable crush on a classmate name Jim Rideout. We rode Bus 9 together from the rural area where we lived to the junior high just outside of town on a daily basis. Jim was a beautiful and energetic boy who had one of those bodies at 13 that was worthy of any 17-year-old twink. His blonde hair, surfboy looks, tall frame and toned body was all I needed to get those butterflies sturring in my stomach every time I sat next to him on the bus.
It wasn’t until years later that I reconciled my own feelings with sexuality and identified why I had butterflies on Bus 9. For decades, I was always interested in finding Jim to determine if he had been as gay as I now thought he was.
Recently, I began scanning old photos and posting the resulting albums to Facebook. When I took a close look at the picture above, I noticed Jim hanging out of the window above my bowl haircut and horrific polyester blue shirt (yes, that’s me in the middle of the two lovely girls). He always wore sporty soccer shirts and was as gorgeous as any teenager can be.
Jim’s wave and the look off into the distance compelled me to do some research to figure out where he is. What happened to him. Did he come out of the closet.
What I discovered wasn’t the outcome for which I had hoped.
After some web sleuthing, I learned that Jim left Maine and headed to San Francisco to attend college in 1984. By then, he was 18 and left his 14 siblings to start life in the gayest city in the world. All this was from a full bio on Wikipedia:
Kurt Marshall (birth name James Allen Rideout, Jr.) (November 13, 1965 – October 10, 1988) was an actor who performed in gay pornographic films in the mid-1980s. Although he appeared in only four films, the gay pornographic industry trade publication Unzipped named him one of the top 100 gay porn stars of all time in 2006, author Leigh Rutledge listed him as the ninth most influential gay porn star of all time in 2000, and adult film magazine editor John Erich called him one of the “most beautiful” gay adult film stars of the 1980s.
Kurt Marshall was born James Rideout, Jr. in Waterville, Maine, one of 15 children. After high school (he graduated after lettering in swimming and track and field), he attended San Francisco State University, but never finished. He said in several interviews that he performed in adult film in order to earn money for college.
Adult film career
In 1984, at the age of 18, he starred in his first film, Matt Sterling’s ‘Sizing Up,’ with fellow gay adult film star Mark Miller. His role was that of a star track and field athlete, which echoed his high school sports experiences. A historian of gay erotic film called Sizing Up a “superior example of [a] gay porn video which make[s] gay men visible in places where they have mostly been invisible…” He made three films the following year, all for Falcon Studios: The highly influential ‘The Other Side of Aspen II,’ ‘Splash Shots,’ and ‘Night Flight.’ The Other Side of Aspen II was Falcon’s first film which was shot entirely on video, and Marshall worked with legendary gay adult film performer Scott O’Hara. O’Hara later wrote in his autobiography that he was not in the least attracted to Marshall, although much of the film was later edited to make it appear as if he was having an intense sexual experience with him and two other blond men. Adult Video News (AVN), the adult film industry trade publication, later rated the film as the ninth most innovative and influential gay porn film of all time in 2005. His second film, Splash Shots, was credited with making sex around the swimming pool a gay porn trope.
Assessing his career, Unzipped magazine editorialized that “the films he appeared in were noteworthy.”
Marshall, an admitted drug user, tested positive for HIV in 1986. He came out to his family that same year and entered a drug rehabilitation program. He moved to San Diego, California in 1987, but returned to Los Angeles later that same year, and worked in the construction industry. He died on October 10, 1988, at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. The official cause of death was kidney failure due to substance abuse and AIDS.
So there it was. Life and death. My teenage crush was gay as I suspected. But learning that he was a victim of the AIDS crisis brought me to tears. It explains why he disappeared off the face of the earth. It reminds me of the many gay men of my generation who are lost forever. It destroys me to think of lives not lived.
Why would someone I barely knew – a school girl crush, even – affect me to the point that I had to take a time out from work for several hours to process?
As you can see from the NSFW image above, he was beautiful. But, when we were 13, he made me recognize sexual feelings in a way I will never forget. Jim was part of my evolution as a gay man.
35 years later, I have learned who I am and realize that in spite of occasional letdowns in life, I have nothing to complain about. Everything turned out ok. Finding Jim is a reminder of the horrors of AIDS on our community that come out of nowhere when you least expect it and grab our balls in a really sharp and painful way. It’s easy to hibernate our fears and sorrows of a bygone era. Finding the boy on the bus reiterated them in a painful way.
Fortunately, inspiration does seep its way out of the story. Here is Jim a.k.a. Kurt quoted in one of his numerous interviews as a porn actor in the 1980s:
“I think to be gay is to be blessed. We have so much freedom, so many choices. This isn’t our moment to party or to think we’re going to stay young forever…maybe it’s our time to find someone to be safe with…to be happy with…”
Thanks, Jim, for a reminder of how lucky I am. I just wish you had found your own someone with whom you could be safe and happy. I wish I had been your friend.
Here’s Kurt in his first porn:
RIP, Jim Rideout.
I think a trip back to Vegas is due…
Break out the sunglasses, swimwear and suntan lotion and get ready to be Xposed! during the ultimate LGBTQ pool party of 2014 that will make a splash at The New Tropicana resort in Las Vegas this spring. Featuring live entertainment, celebrity guests and all of the hottest DJs, Xposed! will revolutionize the LGBTQ day club experience as the only beach club on the Strip to offer a Saturday gay pool party.
“We are a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community,” said Fred Harmon, chief marketing officer for The New Tropicana Las Vegas. “From attending all major-city Gay PRIDE celebrations nationwide to hosting Sin City Shootout, the largest LGBT sporting event in the world, and the 2013 launch of TropLV GLAM, we support the community wherever we can. Xposed! is the next phase in our property’s LGBTQ initiatives and we look forward to providing the ultimate Las Vegas day club for LGBTQ travelers.”
Xposed! will be hosted at the all-new Tropicana Beach Club, where guests will enjoy a breathtaking pool area complete with waterfalls, palm trees and luxury daybeds and cabanas. This tropical oasis will welcome sun-kissed go-go dancers, celebrity guest performers and DJs spinning all the latest hits. Other highlights include two Olympic-sized sand volleyball courts, two heated pools, a high-rise stage for live entertainment and an exclusive menu featuring handcrafted cocktails and light bites, making it the ideal location for an afternoon of fun in the sun.
To be Xposed! to breaking news and be the first to know how to get on the guest list and when daybeds and cabanas go on sale, sign up for the Xposed! email list at XposedLV.com.
Click to Tweet: Get ready to be exposed, #Vegas! @XposedLV, the #UltimateBeachParty debuts @TropLV this spring! #SaturGays #LGBTQ www.XposedLV.com
Tomorrow is the 25th National Coming Out Day! And, man, have we come a long ways.
The Human Rights Campaign looks back at some of the trailblazing coming out moments in American media that raised the profile of LGBT Americans and sparked important dialogue about the fight for equality.
I can’t help but get emotional when I think about my own coming out. Here is part of that story from this blog’s archives from December 16, 2005:
Coming Out: My Big Gay Greek Wedding Fiasco
Note to self: Don’t come out of the closet and serve as best man in a Greek Orthodox wedding in New York City all in the same week.
The summer that I came out of the closet included a number of personal milestones for me, including serving as the best man at my college best friend’s wedding. I came out on a Friday and was on the plane the next Monday to spend the week in NYC for the wedding festivities. As a result of my freshly-minted status as a gay man, I was like an out-of-control steamroller in the streets of Chelsea (and all over New York for that matter).
The wedding was a huge Greek Orthodox one — if you have never attended a Greek wedding, watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for an idea of the zaniness, pomp, and circumstance that surrounds the wonderful event. My friend and his bride were getting married at a Greek Church on the Upper East Side, after which we would proceed in limos to the Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue for the reception. The gala had a feel of elegance while still allowing the shananigans characteristic of my zany group of college friends.
Of course, I couldn’t wait to hit boys town. Upon arriving in NYC, I promptly headed to Chelsea to drink at “G” and dance at “Splash.” I was in this great new world of gay and wanted to take advantage of every second that I could spend in New York. Of course, when I rolled into the Waldorf at 7am after my first night out and saw my college friends awake and having breakfast, they didn’t know what to think of the “new me.” After trying to refresh myself with 2 hours sleep, I started my day with the groom helping him and his fiancee to prepare for the approaching big day.
I spent every day that week performing within my rigorous schedule: 9am – wake up; 10am – 5pm – assist groom, run errands, eat and hang out with friends; 6pm – group dinners; 8pm – group cocktails; 11pm to 6am – Dan hits Chelsea.
It was exhausting and it took its toll.
Friday and the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner day arrived. It was a humid 85 degrees in NYC that week, and the wedding party entered the limos to head to the Greek Orthodox Church for the rehearsal.
“Dan, you’re in charge of the presents for the wedding party,” my friend reminded me as he handed me a heavy box of gifts.
“No problem!” I responded as I sweatily placed them in the trunk of the limo.
I was hungover, tired, and regretting my decision to come out this particular week. I could feel perspiration seeping through my suit as a drop from my forehead hit one of the nicely-wrapped presents.
We rode the limo up Park Avenue and exited at the church somewhere near 7oth Street. We were standing at the alter practicing the marching and choreographing the ceremony when I suddenly had a horrific realization.
I had left the wedding party presents in the trunk of the now-departed limo.
I pulled the groom aside and explained my predicament.
“Go find them now. There’s over $10,000 worth of gifts for friends and family in that box. If you don’t find them, don’t come back!”
I knew he was only half kidding.
I hastily left the rehearsal knowing that I would be screwed the next day when I had to prance around candles and bridesmaids in the actual Greek ceremony. I found a cab and rushed to mid-town reaching the Waldorf in about 20 minutes. I approached the bellhop and asked if the limo we had taken an hour earlier had arrived.
He pointed up Park Avenue. “It just left with passengers – it’s about 3 blocks up Park.”
I started my sprint up Park just as the light at 52nd Street turned green. I was now a moist and wet beast as I hit 53rd Street. The limo stopped at 54th due to gridlock. Something was now working in my favor.
I threw myself onto the trunk as the limo started moving. It stopped abruptly.
“You goddamn fucking idiot!” the driver screamed as he opened his door and looked back at me.
I handed him a $20 bill. “Pull over right NOW. I left something in your trunk and need to get it!” I yelled angrily but relieved.
Of course, the money did its thing and he pulled over to the curb. To my relief, the presents were still in the trunk – intact and faring better than I was. I picked up the heavy box and realized that the wedding party was by now at dinner on the Uppper West Side. It was now 7pm on a Friday and impossible to catch a cab. I ended up taking a bus and transferred to the subway somewhere on Lex. The now dreadfully-heavy box was causing my back to bend in pain. I was soaked and uncomfortable. But, I made the dinner halfway through appetizers.
Cheering broke out as I walked into the elegant restaurant with the look of a survivor of a train wreck.
“You’re damn lucky you found that box” the groom reminded me.
During the actual wedding the next day, the groom’s sponsor (since I’m not Greek, a relative must stand in as a “sponsor” during the wedding) had to whisper my altar choreography to me in front of 500 people. I was surprised to learn that the best man was required to hold a 20-lb candle with a 3-inch flame for most of the ceremony either. I believe it was appropriate punishment given my need to cram my new gay nightlife into a week when I should have only focused on the task at hand – serving as one of my best friend’s best man.
So remember, if you are reading this post and considering coming out of the closet — please do so! But, don’t schedule it on top of a big fat Greek wedding.
Postscript: The bride and groom remain happily married with twin boys and a daughter and reside in Northern New Jersey. The best man has grown up much in the past 5 years and can now focus again on all areas of his life – the gay adolesence seeds have been sown, weeded and nurtured. He is now a beautiful sunflower.
Let’s Go For a Rainforest Hike (NSFW)
Blogger Shannon Boh (above and below) is on an interesting sailing trip around the Whitsunday area of Australia. Check out his sexy voyage here.
You all may notice an abundance of broken images across DanNation today. Over the weekend, I had to reinstall WordPress and somehow just about every single one of my 9,000 images from 8 years are not displaying (I can still see them and they are still photos in my C-Panel file manager). So, I am manually updating my most popular posts with new photos (one at a time) and will delete many other posts.
That is unless one of you hunky men out there can help me fix the issue. My webhost wasn’t able to do it but I still believe that it can be fixed.
If not, please pardon the broken images for a bit.
How about heading to Tybee Island, Georgia, and playing bean bags with these hunks? Then, hop a ferry to Fire Island and nude up on the gay beach?
The coming summer has lots in store for LGBTs everywhere. I get a plethora of media emails every day so I thought I’d share these two as ones you might want to check out.
Tybee Gay Days, Georgia (May 3 – 5)
In May, LGBT travelers will show their pride on Tybee Island, Georgia! Stroll the beach, sample fresh seafood and party long after the sun sets at Tybee Gay Days 2013, which takes place May 3-5 on Tybee Island, a laid-back island paradise located just 20 minutes east of historic Savannah.
Presented by GaySavannah.com, this inaugural LGB
The event will unite area residents and visitors for a full weekend of festivities.
“We want to create a signature event that will showcase Tybee’s laid-back style,” said Reilly Sharp, PR coordinator for GaySavannah.com. “Tybee has always been very welcoming and supportive of the gay and lesbian community. We invite everyone to experience Tybee’s relaxed coastal style and warm Southern hospitality.”
Tybee Gay Days showcases Tybee Island as an LGBT-friendly destination nestled along the scenic Georgia coastline. With five miles of public beaches, top-rated restaurants, lively nightclubs, high-energy watersports and more, Tybee Island is the perfect place to celebrate!
Among the events will be a White Party, beach barbecues and parties, and a T-Dance. Learn more here.
Reopening of Fire Island Pavilion, New York (May 25 – 27)
Two years ago, the historic Fire Island Pavilion burned to the ground. This Memorial Day weekend, the new Pavilion will reopen.
The modernized incarnation of the legendary dance club has been developed by FIP Ventures and designed by New York based Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), who are known for cutting-edge projects ranging from “BOOM,” a bold new community, to “Wendy,” the 2012 Museum of Modern Art PS1 Pavilion. The newly constructed venue will ultimately fit into a larger master plan for the commercial district to be activated in coming years, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the acclaimed designers of the High Line, Lincoln Center re-development and other projects around the world.
Programming the Pavilion is newly named Entertainment Director, Tony Fornabaio. Fornabaio has long been one of the most prominent figures in gay nightlife, as well as a Pines regular for over 20 years. He will curate a line-up of entertainment that pays homage to the legacy of the Pavilion while delivering fresh new DJs and performers.
“We’re looking to recapture the unique sound the island used to have,” explains Fornabaio. “Musically, the island has moved away from what it used to be. It’s become reliant on pop music. While there is nothing wrong with pop, it is our intention to bring back that memorable, soulful vibe that Fire Island is known for.”
In sync with this sensibility, the opening weekend line-up will include legendary DJ icons as well as current heavy-hitters, including Robbie Leslie, Phil B, Michael Fierman, John Ceglia, Tony Moran, Eddie Elias, Escape, and Sin Morera. A state-of-the art lighting and sound system promises club-goers an unparalleled audio/visual experience.
“Summer 2013 will be incredible, in large part due to the Pavilion’s rebirth,” says Constantino Papadakis, FIP General Manager. “What we aim to create is something that has been lost in the Pines for many years. It’s a true revitalization of something very special.”
And if you are looking for some great summer outfits (and I expect you probably won’t be wearing a shirt unless you are me), a new gay-owned company called OUTspoken is producing a line of anti-bullying tees to send the message that “gay is ok.”
Project coordinator Phillip Miner tells me “…gay men are forced to struggle with these words from the time we are bullied in schools and throughout our adulthood. These shirts give gay men the opportunity to own and de-stigmatize these words, while showing gay youth that there is nothing wrong with being gay.”
“The current summer line includes tank tops with the “faggot,” “pillow biter,” and “gym bunny” designs and are only available through my kickstarter campaign,” Phillip reports. “I think your audience would enjoy the designs and the opportunity to take back/celebrate the language that’s been used against us (while picking up some great tanks for summer).”
Check out the product below.
So what are you going to do this summer?
I’ve followed Aussie gay blogger Shannon Boh for years – and am pleased to share his 2013 calendar. If you don’t follow Shannon, please do. He’s sexy, honest and a helluva photographer. He also revealed his struggle with his foreskin earlier today:
A while ago I received an email from a young man who was concerned that there was something wrong with him because his foreskin did not retract when he got hard. This situation is actually very common and it happened to me. It was something that made me feel different and made me extremely self conscious during sex. I hated my foreskin and for a long time wished that I was circumcised. I would feel embarrassed during sex and avoid situations where I would be naked, mastering the “under the towel” change.
I began to encounter more and more guys who felt like me at the time. They preferred guys who were cut, and after a few awkward “what’s wrong with your penis” conversations, I really was beginning to feel miserable.
As well as feeling embarrassed it was also painful. When I encountered other guys who had no idea what it was like to have a foreskin, they would be rough or try to jerk it back. It just made me feel even worse, until finally I spoke to my doctor about it. The doctor told me that it was a quite common medical condition and that my options were to have a circumcision which he did not recommend or that I could train it to retract. He gave me a cream and told me to “enjoy myself”. It took a long time but slowly, little by little I was able to pull it back further and further until eventually I was able to fully retract it.
As part of his YouTube songwriter’s series, Cheyenne Jackson shares some holiday cheer in the form of a holiday song he has written. Love him! Watch…