Michael Lucas’ Gigolos
Michael Lucas. Porn star, media whore, self-made man, and indisputable master of the cheesiest facial expressions ever seen on any celebrity whose name isn't Paris Hilton. (And I use the word "celebrity" lightly in Michael's case)
Am I a bit jealous? The man gets to work with incredibly hot- and naked- men every day- of course I am!
Don't get me wrong; I love my job. As Style Editor for EDGE Publications I direct plenty of photo shoots featuring beautiful men- often in Speedos or underwear. The men in Michael Lucas' GIGOLOS however, are in a class of their own.
First of all, let's be clear: If you're looking for your next slightly-naughty-but-still-safe-for-visits-with-relatives coffee table book, keep looking. This is porn polished-up. That's not a bad thing by any means, but it's certainly not something you'd want even a very progressive mom to pick up and flip-through thinking it was a book of artistic male nudes. No, the gigolos featured here are a bit more 'full-on' if you know what I mean, and some of the situations are suggestive, to say the least.
The gigolos in question are (of course) all Lucas Entertainment models, and most are drop-dead scorchin' hot. The photographs are excellent (including works from the likes of the famous photographer Joe Oppedisano), the production quality superb, and the book overall is erotic, sexy, and hot.
Having said that, and being known for rarely holding back my (sometimes snatchy) opinions, there's also plenty in this book to laugh at, and rip apart- namely Michael himself.
The book is a huge ad for Michael and Lucas Entertainment- something I can accept given that that's often the case when it comes to coffee table books celebrating the male body and sexuality. What I don't like however- aside from all of the photos of Michael with the exact same expression, looking like his lips were just injected with a cup of Restylane- is the pretentiousness and vapidity present in more than a handful of the shots.
If you're going to produce a book of stylized porn stars, I'm all for it. Dress 'em up, take their clothes off, put them in expensive looking settings, and bring on the glamorized-yet-still-raw sexuality. But let's leave the cheesy themes and excessive-use-of-the-star (i.e. Michael) out of the next volume, shall we?
The first two-dozen pages are fabulous, and feature almost as many models in various states of undress and 'excitement.' Of special note are Spencer Quest- gorgeous- and Jack MacCarthy.) An editorial called "Cigar Club" looks like it was expensive to produce... and also extremely orange.
All the men are the same "tan" color- it's definitely from a bottle- and all look about as excited and relaxed as, well, as a pig in lipstick and a little black dress. Not sexy.
"Auditions" is much better, likely due to the fact that it was shot by Oppedisano, and if anything, at least lets the models' (sometimes forced) personalities come through. The rest of the book is a mix of extremely sexy photographs and those which fall flat- the latter being the ones that his-highness, Mr. Pout Face, is in. The "Denim Divine" editorial is incredible (and not coincidentally sans Mr. Lucas) and should, without fail, be expanded into a volume of its own. The final editorial, "Hotel Chelsea," also features plenty of hot pictures, including some sexy shots of Lucas... namely the ones where his head's not in the picture.
Am I being a bit hard on Lucas (get it?)? Perhaps. But given what I've seen and heard of the megalomaniacal director (I spent eight of the last 12 years working in fashion and gay publishing in Hollywood... trust me, it's not just viscous gossip), he can both handle it and deserves it.
Plus, his book's hot enough to justify putting out (again with the sexual puns!) the $40 cover price.
Bruno Gmunder, 112 pages, $40
Available at Amazon.com for about $32.
Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information :: www.JasonSalzenstein.com