Butch Cordora, host of the gay Philadelphia TV talk show In Bed With Butch, is the main subject of the 2010 documentary Straight and Butch. The program airs on Here TV beginning May 30 and continuing through June, which is Gay Pride Month.
The film begins in 2008, when the slightly narcissistic Cordora sets out to create a calendar of pictures that pair him, naked, with straight men. The documentary follows the process through to its completion.
The images were shot by a handful of different photographers in a variety of settings. Gervase Peterson, of Survivor and Big Brother fame, happened to mention that his girlfriend shaved his head for him when he got out of the shower. So, a shot was set up in which Butch shaved Gervase’s head. The subject’s personal stories also influenced the shots with tattooed Bill, pizzeria proprietor Angelo and Eric, a professional cook and massage therapist. The best looking of the subjects, Eric, whose father was gay, was also the most comfortable with Butch in front of the camera.
As the project gained momentum, the photo shoots became more inventive. Butch and one of the subjects recreated the famous Annie Leibowitz Rolling Stone magazine cover featuring a naked John Lennon and a clothed Yoko Ono. Another subject joined with Butch to create a version of Leibowitz’s infamous k.d. lang and Cindy Crawford barber chair shot for Vanity Fair. Perhaps the most universally famous image paid homage is the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover, featuring Butch with three naked straight men.
Unfortunately, Straight and Butch is neither as interesting nor titillating as it could have been. Still, it does a decent job of portraying the change in attitudes of straight men toward gay men, and for that, it should be commended.