JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Straight and Butch (Director: Butch Cordora) - August 15, 2011

Straight and Butch

4 4
87 min.

Shooting straight as irrefutable proof

Voyeurs, exhibitionists and the insatiably curious will want to take a gander at Butch Cordora’s calendar cockumentary. We’ve already had firemen, seniors and all manner of athletes stand boldly before the lens to create 12 months’ photos to raise money for various charities. With Butch Cordora’s (director/producer and star) project, charity begins at home. One of Philadelphia’s most engaging queers came up with the idea of a calendar whose subject matter was exclusively naked men. Nothing new there, but the intriguing caveat was that he would appear in every shot, partnered with a self-confessed heterosexual. Wouldn’t that demonstrate once and for all how far society has come with the message: He’s straight I’m Butch and we’re both OK with that?

Quality control is assured on two vital fronts: first-rate photographers are hired (including Tony Ward and Jennifer MacDonald who gamely volunteers her heavily tattooed husband to strip down with the affable agent-provocateur) and Cordora painstakingly pre-screens the applicants (at first, the models came from his inner circle of friends before the desire for variety—alas, the flaming, freckled redhead was never snared—resulted in perfect strangers taking a turn au natural), including a private meet-and-greet where both men got a firsthand look at just what each other’s personal best.

In all, it took 18 months to complete this expression of art and flesh. The film chronicles each of the models, the photographers and is chock-a-block full of both Cordora’s engaging commentaries and a few words from the latest member of this macho penis parade.

Tellingly, nearly all of the subjects quickly confirm their sexuality and explain that (a) they have no qualms about being nude with a confirmed homo in front of the camera (b) friends and family—should they stumble across the result—can think what they want because “I’m fine with it.” After all, as ex-biker Duncan MacDonald puts it, “It’s art for art’s sake.”

Leading off is Butch’s longtime friend and Survivor contestant, Gervase Peterson. His shoot—with Butch on a front porch—is typical. While having a few initial concerns, once the towels drop the pair are all business and with both in excellent shape being primped by makeup and hair specialists, there’s a distinct lack of sexual heat, much more body worship. Several of the others express real delight in seeing that their equipment appears “bigger than I expected” in the framed results.

Only a couple of times (“I’ve got a chubby”) does Butch lose his otherwise virtuous control. A couple of the men—notably wrestler Rocco Ciarrocchi who, unasked, sends a high-resolution “junk” shot along with the obligatory torso pic in the follow-up documentation for his request to join the group—can’t wait to bare it all, after all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

The showstopper comes in the form of a group shot where three of the already-included models (including Peterson whose comfort zone can be easily measured by his much improved hang stats) joining Butch in a redo of the Beatles’ Abbey Road cover. Thank goodness the camera captured the brazen quartet before anyone in the family neighbourhood cottoned on and called the cops (imagine the effect of throwing handcuffs into the naked mix!).

The film is a fine piece of editing (Ryan Suits, Nicole Vergalla) of its, necessarily, disparate parts and the tracks (courtesy of The Divys—“Get Naked” the recurring theme—and Rob Drury) help the time slip gaily by.

Still, as the production winds down during the launch sequence, there’s the intriguing possibility that one of the straight-labelled participants might be sliding over to the other side. For the recreation of the infamous Yoko Ono/John Lennon image, Zach Brady is so into it, that he—unasked and much to the chagrin of his ex-girlfriends—has shaved his pubes and seems a tad reluctant to let go when the fabled moment has been captured.

It wouldn’t be the first time unexpected opportunity has led to self-realization. We will anxiously await a follow-up, Where-are-they-now? segment to discover just how straight these remarkable arrows are. JWR

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Director - Butch Cordora
Original Music - Rob Drury
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Breaking Glass Pictures
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