men_in_full: (opera goers)
South African tenor Johan Botha (below, left) played Lohengrin in London's Royal Opera 2009 performance (link.) Reviewer Melanie Eskenazi remarks, "Johan Botha does not possess the ideally heroic stage presence for the title part, nor would he be accurately described as a Heldentenor, yet his singing is always expressive, finely phrased and sensitively shaped." I wonder if his supposed lack of an "ideally heroic stage presence" was a catty reference to his being fat.






Here's Botha singing "Morgenlich leuchtend" from Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg:




Chromeo

Jan. 17th, 2009 11:33 pm
men_in_full: (beardsley ali baba)


Hat tip to Stella McJones, who writes:
I'm not sure if you've heard of the funk band Chromeo [I hadn't ... ] but they are quite awesome. They consist of two friends, one sings (Dave-1) and the other is on the keyboard and talk box (P-Thugg). Dave-1 usually gets all the attention as being the cute one, (which I grant is justified, he is quite cute) but I personally think P-Thugg is quite adorable. Recently he grew a chin beard which I am in favor of. Chubby men in beards (put on dark rimmed glasses, oh man!) are just glorious. I enjoy the belly in this picture in particular and his face just reminds me of somebody's annoyed dad. I haven't come across many Arab men on your site so I thought I'd throw this Moroccan flavor onto your radar.
men_in_full: (Default)
What's made me happy?

You, my readers. Especially those who comment! (OK, no more shameless attention-whoring.)

I appreciate your time, your comments, your tidbits (even if I don't use them right away; sometimes I like to sit on things and let them incubate for awhile.) Some of you I've got to meet face to face, and some I'm hoping to meet someday.

You all go a long way to making this LJ something I want to keep working on, even when it gets discouraging, or there seem to be so few positive images / representations of fat men out there, or when I just seem to run out of words.

I'm also interested in what you might like to see here; anything upon which you'd like to read commentary; anything you might find interesting about fat men or loving them. Here's your chance to let me know what you think; what you'd like to see; how you think I've been doing so far; what could make things better.

Again, thanks.

And just for fun, here's the late folk/ballad singer Burl Ives in the bathtub. I'm "dating" myself (like a fossil), but I had a crush on him from a very early age, when he used to appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and others.

men_in_full: (Default)
"Roots," by Show of Hands. I can't keep my eyes off the fiddler ... :D


men_in_full: (opera goers)







Doc Pomus, 1925-1991



Ever heard of Doc Pomus, the singer / blues songwriter who wrote rhythm and blues songs for Elvis, the Drifters, and others? I hadn't, until reading Meowser's review on fatfu of Albert Halberstadt's 2007 Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus.

Pomus was a man of big heart, big soul, and big body, damaged by polio as a child. Meowser writes:
... He wrote the lyric to the Drifters’ “Save the Last Dance for Me” while watching his wife dance with other men at their wedding, knowing he would never be able to dance with her himself. (Reportedly Drifters lead singer Ben E. King was told about the origins of the song right before recording his vocal, and had to fight back tears the entire time he was live on the mike.) (Link added by me.)

New York Times reviewer Alan Light said:
Pomus knew a few things about the downside. Though John Lennon told him that a Pomus song was the first number the Beatles ever practiced together, and Bob Dylan came to him for guidance during a bout with writer’s block, his life amounted to a series of tough breaks interrupted by a few years’ worth of songs that will live forever.

Born Jerome Felder in working-class Brooklyn in 1925, he contracted polio as a boy. With the radio as his bedside companion, he first discovered classical music before becoming transfixed by hot jazz and jump blues. A chance encounter with a Big Joe Turner record would shape the rest of his life; Felder heard that huge blast of a voice, Halberstadt writes, and “that, he thought, is how a man should sound.”

Halberstadt told Denise Sullivan in an interview in Crawdaddy! magazine that he first became interested in Pomus's "introspective and dark lyrics" interspersed in what superficially sounded like commercial hit melodies. Through Pomo's journals, diaries, and recollections of his children, late wife, and lovers, Halberstadt recreated the world of a big man behind the scenes of a great deal of mid-twentieth century music, from R&B up through rock and roll. It's a sad reflection on the commercialization of music that Pomus for years had to support himself and his children through private card games run out of his NYC apartment.

I'm looking forward to reading Halberstadt's biograpy. It makes you wonder, how many other "great ones" are there in our midst, unnoticed because they don't quite match up with the conventional appearance of a "superstar?" Thanks, Meowser, for an introduction to at least one of them.

men_in_full: (opera goers)
"I Love a Fat Man" is the title of a song from this 1977 children's full-length TV musical, Once Upon a Brothers Grimm. Ah, for the cheerful days when children's movie entertainment wasn't always serious, educational, and uplifitng, but instead had sufficient double entendres to amuse the bigger folk (with songs like "A Happily Married Wolf.")

Anyway, some of the lyrics are pretty suggestive themselves, even if the Witch does ultimately want to eat him...

I love a fat man!
The fatter, the better they are!
I love a fat man
I'm crazy for [avoirdupois]
Love my men abundant
Redundant, though it may be
Softer, not hard-like
Not muscled, but lard-like
Could drive me to ecstasy!

I love a fat man
The fatter, the better
The better, the fatter
The fatter, the better for me!
men_in_full: (love)
Recently I've been listening to a lot of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's music, and I'm entranced.

"Braddah IZ" (as he was known) was a Hawai'ian native, a singer and ukelele player who died in 1997 of respiratory failure at the young age of 38. At the time of his death he weighed about 700 lbs. His coffin sat in state in the Hawai'ian capital, where thousands came by to pay their respects to the "gentle giant."

He had a fine tenor, tender and smooth as cream. IZ's lyrics ranged from Hawai'ian liberation and restoration of the monarchy, through covers of popular tunes like "Over the Rainbow" and "Wind Beneath My Wings," original material, to traditional Hawai'ian songs. He was firm and committed without being shrill or preachy.


I love this photograph, from his biography IZ: Voice of the People by Rick Carroll and IZ's widow Marlene. It's probably his wife's hand, brushing or stroking his hair. Looking at it, you're reminded how rare it is to see a sensual, affectionate photograph of a fat man being loved.

He also had a sensual side. In "Ahi Wela" (from Alone in IZ World), the translation offered here goes like this:

Ahi wela mai nei loko (Fire (is) hot hither here inside)
I ka hana a ke aloha (In the act of love)
E lalawe nei ku'u kino (Overwhelms here my body)
Konikoni lua i ka pu'uwai (Throbbing doubly much in the heart)


Or take "Kamalani," from the album E Ale E. Kamalani roughly means "princess," and the translator tells us that literally, pûkani nui means a "large sounding horn," but figuratively signifies "large fine soft sleeping mats made of fine white leaves in the center of a cluster of pandanus leaves." In other words, on one level it means perhaps a love call, one beloved calling to another, and on another level it means the soft bed in which the lovers nestle.
Where is my love, Kamalani?
Please answer me, Kamalani
Pûkani Nui, Pûkani Nui.

Oh here I am, Kamalani,
Here in this paradise
Kamalani, Kamalani
Is this the fullness of heaven,
Here in this paradise?


He wrote an almost-wistful song called "Thunder of Heaven" (on the E Ale E album), honoring the Hawaiian sumitori who attained fame in Japan, Hawai'ian men whose size was not seen as a disability, but as a source of strength and pride.

Later, while re-reading James Michener's Hawai'i, I learned that traditionally to die was to set one's foot on the rainbow. It makes this image even more poignant, as well as his signature cover of "Over the Rainbow." IZ - husband, father, lover, man with a mountainous heart.

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