“The woke is defining the audiovisual of today but it lacks naturalness” – VEIN Magazine

We interviewed the author of ‘Cine Crush. The involuntary homoerotic cinema in our sexual awakening’.

Popy Blasco (Madrid, 1978) signature ‘Crush Cinema. Involuntary homoerotic cinema in our sexual awakening’ (Dos Bigotes), a different trial. Far from being a cold instrument of analysis, the entire book exudes warmth, nostalgia and passion for cinema. It is almost a confession, an exercise in memory; one can easily imagine Popy sitting up front, with a beer, remembering more and more titles as he talks about movies. It deals with many topics: the fascination with the big screen, the discovery and interest in early sexuality, the attraction to new bodies and masculinities… The best way for the world to listen to you is to speak with passion, and this book surplus.

“Kill my demons and my angels will die too” Why did you choose that phrase from Tennessee Williams to start with?

Well, the demons of the collective, the sexual attraction we feel towards toxic masculinity, runs through all of Cine Crush. It is clear that we should not feel attracted to that figure of the male that is so similar to that of the badass who was bullying us, but who rules our desires? And on the other hand, if we dispense with them, we also dispense with our guardian angels: Kurt Russell, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jacob Elordi, William Baldwin, Steve McQueen… As if that were not enough, the quote is from Tennessee Williams, my favorite American playwright. I kneel before “Night of the Iguana”, “Suddenly Last Summer” or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.

There is something that seems to me to be reflected almost involuntarily in your book, and it is the emotion that small discoveries have. A new cinematographic genre, discovering a new fascinating film… Nowadays audiovisual content is presented in blocks, and already categorized and related. Before there was much less offer, and it was more difficult to find something interesting. Except for the inconveniences that this scarcity could have, do you keep some nostalgia for those little discoveries?

Nostalgia is a death trap. If you succumb to his charms you can be trapped in his prison forever. I am one of living the present and squeezing it to the fullest. Today there are fascinating filmmakers like Robert Eggers, unexpected sex symbols like Angus Cloud, but I have also lived through the past and I fondly remember the excitement of discovering a movie that no one had seen, a music group that few people knew about, in a time, pre-internet, in which to discover culture you had to roll up your sleeves and go out into the street and visit video stores, record stores hidden in the streets, small hidden bookstores. There was less supply but it was not difficult to find interesting things, on the contrary, the difficult thing is to find something interesting now, with so much fried whitebait. You see it? I have already fallen back into nostalgia.

The compilation work seemed tremendous to me, how did you do it?

For many things in everyday life I do not have a great memory, but for the cinema, the faces of the stars and the films in which they shone, yes. Before starting to document myself for Cine Crush, I had already seen the vast majority of the titles that appear in it. Then I was pulling the filmography of these homoerotic myths and I spent a year downloading torrents and watching movies. It has been a fascinating and deeply erotic work.

It seems almost obligatory to me to ask you about the current cinema that you like.

I am moved by the cinema of Sean Baker (“Tangerine”, “The Florida Project”, “Red Rocket”), that explosive combination of comedy with a very powerful social cinema, about people who live on the margins of capitalism. Robert Eggers (“The Witch”, “The Lighthouse”, “The Northman”) who is an absolute magician, like a new Murnau with Dreyer. Anti-“Call me by your name” LGBTIQ+ cinema, such as “Sauvage” or “The stranger from the lake”. Commercial cinema like the one Christopher Landon is doing (“Happy Death Day”, “Freaky”). I’m still in love with the slasher, with the latest “Halloween” or “Scream” titles. And classics still active like Paul Schrader, Cronenberg or Paul Verhoeven. And well, it might not stop.

Do you think that the homoerotic charge of some of the actors or films you speak of was totally involuntary? At what point do you think “The industry” as a bloc begins to become aware of this and use it as a claim?

In certain cases the homoerotic load was involuntary, as for example in the case of actors like Burt Reynolds, Sean Connery or Tom Selleck, and in many other fascinating cases it is evident that this load was conscious, sought and exploited, as in the movies. of Hercules by Steve Reeves, in all the action movies of Jean Claude Van Damme, where he contracted to show his butt. Or more recently in the series “Hawaii 5.0.” where the relationship between its two protagonists has been described as “bromance”; a romance between bros. The industry has always been aware of homoeroticism because behind that industry there have always been directors, screenwriters and producers and homosexual movie stars.

Would you say that today’s cinema is just as stimulating when it comes to offering referents of identity, behavior, etc.?

Today’s cinema is more stimulating showing identity references than before. Today on Netflix we can see a magnificent series like “Special” where we find a gay protagonist, with cerebral palsy, sexy and attractive, with whom you fall in love. In the 80s or 90s such a benchmark was unthinkable. The big problem is that the excess of audiovisual offer that exists today means that nothing ends up becoming a massive reference beyond “Strangers Things” or “Game of Thrones”. Today there are more stimulating references, but with less mystery than before. The lack of freedom of past decades had an important component of morbidity by having to read between the lines and imagine what was not so obvious.

How has the reception of the book been? Actually, in many moments you comment on your own opinion about which actors or characters you find attractive and why. Is there one with whom you have been told “no, this one cannot seem handsome”?

I am very surprised by the reception of the book and how it is selling. I didn’t expect so much interest. I am receiving very nice feedback from readers who had their childhood homoerotic myths buried in memory and that Cine Crush has brought to the surface. In childhood we acquire the disastrous idea that being attracted to these myths is something wrong, something that we must cover up and that often makes us forget them, but they are there, waiting to be released again. Among my personal myths of my sexual awakening there are several, such as the father of “Married with children”, Ed O’Neill, who later became the grandfather of “Modern Family”, or John Goodman in “Roseanne”, which several people have told me said “that?, seriously?”. This type of reaction shocks me because I find it hard to believe that someone cannot see these actors as attractive.

When you talk about series you refer to the attractiveness of James Gandolfini in “The Sopranos”. Obviously I agree with you. Do you think that such charismatic characters also help us find new non-normative attractions?

How not to match. Indeed, erotic myths such as James Gandolfini, Chris Penn, Seth Rogen, the ogre Shrek, Kevin James, Adam Richman, have done much to turn our attention to other types of bodies. Bodies, on the other hand, always closely related to gay attractiveness in tastes related to the bear scene.

Today, platforms like Netflix are accused of having to meet a “woke quota” for the presence of diversity in their actors and characters. It seems very opportune to know your opinion on this matter.

I think it’s important to educate the mainstream and Netflix and Disney have gotten the masses to normalize diversity. It has been historic on a cultural level. On the other hand, it is proving so forced and imposing in many cases that it is unintentionally comical and exhausting. The woke is defining the audiovisual of today but it lacks naturalness.

You dedicate an entire chapter to the sexual awakening in generation Z. Although it is always a bit hackneyed to ask something like that, what differences do you find between this generation and yours?

My generation had to experience its sexual awakening through heterosexual icons. Generation Z, on the other hand, already has queer icons. They can fall in love with the protagonists of “Heartstopper”, “Chucky” or “I love Victor”. But not everything is perfect, far from it, because, in the end, these two series still continue to perpetuate normative masculinity within LGBTIQ+. There is still a road to pave.

If you were currently just entering your teens, what movie or series today would be a sexual awakening for you?

If I were a teenager today, I would possibly be feeling embarrassed by the screen presence of Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight, by the protagonist of “Genera+ion”, by Nate in “Euphoria”, by the Mandalorian’s bearing, Sabrina’s boyfriends, the Lil Papi from “Pos” or the last Spider-man. And so it happens because, in a way, after all, I just entered adolescence.

Get yourself a copy of ‘Cine Crush. The involuntary homoerotic cinema in our sexual awakening’ on the web of Two Whiskers