Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Keanu Reeves

How will you have your Keanu Reeves? Wearing what seems a very severe evening gown or a priest's cassock?


Or fresh-faced and youthful?


A booking photo following arrest for DUI?

Bad things happen to all of us. Ask Hugh Grant.

Reeves certainly does have a lot of facets. He's been acting since 1979, at fifteen years old. His interests mostly seem to be sports, and yet his roles always seem to reveal an underlying mysticism. It's probably for that reason that he has always been the subject of vague and negative gossip. I like to watch him, although I can't say why. Somehow he seems to have more potential interest than his roles.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gérard Depardieu

I don't remember when Gérard Depardieu looked like this

Courtesy of

But I think it doesn't matter a whit. I don't think anybody loves him for his beauty. It is to me a combination of his talent and his presence. He's like a big, huggable bear that could accidentally hurt you. He doesn't have hands, but paws. His chin is a weapon. And yet all those mis-mated parts form a very beloved actor. And why not? He has performed in so many movies since 1971 that the titles won't fit on a nineteen inch monitor.

Courtesy of

He was born in 1948, like Baryshnikov. He's gotten even more shambly as time goes on, and still it doesn't matter. He loves wine, woman and food. Hey, he's French. I saw him on live television last year and he'd slimmed right down, then I saw a recent still shot and he'd returned to beardom.

One biographical site claims his work as: actor, director, singer, vintner, boat crewman, farm hand, beach attendant. I plan to spend my evening imagining M. Depardieu in those various roles. I have had more boring nights.

In the meantime, raise a glass of rouge to Gérard!

Courtesy of

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mikhail Baryshnikov

It would be nice to be young again, in some ways, but I can never regret having lived in a time when I could and did see Mikhail Baryshnikov dance.

He seemed not to be tethered to earth like us. For someone who likes men there were countless things to like about Baryshnikov, and I trust that there still are.

I always say if someone is dancing, I'm watching. It wasn't so easy to get to see Baryshnikov at the height of his fame. Someone had to be lucky and generous, and someone was. Watching him bend a foot was an experience. A walk, a turn, every movement was weighty, artful, something like seeing humankind as it could be.

Nowadays one can get film of Baryshnikov, and my wishlist is forming as I type, but there will never again be the chance to see him dance the Corsair.

He was born in 1948 in Riga, Latvia, and left to study in Leningrad. He danced with the Kirov until 1974, when he defected to join The American Ballet. He later danced with Balanchine's New York Ballet and then returned to ABT, where he worked many years, eventually as artistic director. He continues to work as an artist although the days are gone when he can perform the difficult parts he once did. That never stopped him dancing, and he has turned a foot to many dance forms since. He made films that were successful primarily because he was in them, although Geoffrey Hines certainly was in his own way as artful in "White Nights." People just couldn't see enough of this man, and he changed the place ballet had in our lives.

Here he is in 2006, courtesy of Not bad, eh?

He was sexy, soulful, selfish, generous, athletic, and a star like dance seldom sees. Thank you for being Baryshnikov, a dancer.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yo-Yo Ma

If I were a silly woman who sat around making lists of dream lovers, Yo-Yo Ma would be in the top two.

I have never needed to know much more about him than how he plays a cello.

I have found some things out for the purposes of sharing him with you. He was born in Paris in 1955 to two musicians. He began studying cello when he was four and began performing in public at five. His first American appearance was at eight years old. He graduated from high school at fifteen and went on to Juilliard School of Music, Columbia University and finally Harvard. He questioned whether he would make a career in music, but then was inspired by Pablo Casals and the result is very fortunate for us, indeed.

Both his wife and sister are violinists and his brother in law is a guitarist. What life sounds like near them is beyond my comprehension. It must be paradisaical.

I know people who are not patient enough to listen to classical music, and it is a shame, because it is a long march from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, which is a lot of people's initial exposure, to the art of Ma. If you are interested, "The Silk Road Project" shows a wide variety of music played by a group assembled by Ma, and includes music unexpectedly apt from the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

Ma has won fifteen Grammy's and the Glenn Gould Prize. To me he is simply a music god.

Friday, January 26, 2007

George Clooney

You don't really need to see George here. He's everywhere.

But heck, he has to be represented, right? He does have a charming demeanor. He used to have a pig. He has a much-discussed home on the shores of Lake Como. where Pliny the Younger used to hang out some time back-- not with George, let me be clear.

I don't know much of his work. I saw a really crazy movie in which he played a chain gang prisoner and conman. I wrote him a letter once in hopes he would phone an Italian friend who loves him on her birthday. Predictably we didn't get a call or an answer. It pleased her, though.

OK, for me he is famous for being famous. He's stuck in my mind, so he gets stuck here. Basta.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sean Connery

I thought I'd better show off Sean before he starts to age.

Photo courtesy of dlynnwaldron.

This is an extraordinary man, possibly even amazing. He has been appealing to women for decades and decades. There are photos of him at every possible age and he never looks bad.

He was born in 1930. How many men can you name born anytime in the Thirties that anyone calls sexy? At 59 years old he was voted "The sexiest man alive." So what's different about him? The voice is intensely masculine it's true. He has not ever in about fifty years of career ever looked bad, fat, used up or any of the dreadful spells that topple idols. But the eyes, yes, the sardonic one brow raised knowing look. That's my choice.

As James Bond he was the bad boy playing on the good side. Connery has daubed himself with the bad boy paint a few times. He doesn't seem to care very deeply what we think of him. And maybe that's what we like too.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gianfranco Vissani

With his characteristic red shoes, this man, the top chef in Italy today, continues to dazzle the foodies of the world.

Powerful, yes he is. He is ubiquitous on television, commenting, creating and protesting the blurring of the ancient Italian tradition of respect for one's ingredients, however humble.

You can see something of his famous restaurant at its website. If you have to ask, then like me, you probably can't afford it. It's just down the road a piece from my Umbrian house, so if you are inviting? There's one special for €100, but unfortunately it's rabbit. On that site he also writes columns on Italian traditional foods.

People are forever arguing about whether it can be worth paying $350 and up for a single meal. I would say yes, if you have it to spend, and I would further say pay it to the man in the red shoes.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Francesco Totti

In Italy all the starlets and letter girls date and sometimes marry soccer players. This photo, courtesy of, shows the most famous current player at work.

He plays for Roma. He is so recognizable that when he participated in a reality show which had famous people (including a past President) doing ordinary jobs, he was recognized instantly while pumping gas.

He is 4 centimeters shorter than last year's Miss Italia, but tall isn't a requirement for Italian men. He's been a pro soccer player since 1993, which seems a long career to me. He wrote a jokebook a while back, and I got the impression he might be an Italian Yogi Berra, conversationally. The proceeds were dedicated to charity and Totti is a UNICEF ambassador.

He is married to showgirl Ilary Blasi and they have one and a half children. He was caught being unfaithful shortly after the marriage, which would be a dealbreaker for a lot of gals, but Ilary has hidden depths.

While I am a World Cup only sort of calcio fan, it is impossible to live in Italy and not know who Totti is or to not recognize his face. Soccer players are part of the lares and penates of modern Italy. Here is the top one of today.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Fratelli Fiorello

Brothers, and different as night and day.

Beppe Fiorello, courtesy of TG mediaset, is a serious actor of generally respectable demeanor. I've seen him in many roles, and sometimes I have to think who it is, because he is capable of altering himself completely in a role. He is most believable as tragic heroes and he generally dies. Poor Beppe.

Big brother Rosario, but known as just Fiorello, is a singer and comedian and has a similar ability to alter himself on camera from his handsome self to a bizarre monster in thirty seconds. Fiorello can write his own contract for TV shows, has made it into American movies, but was equally capable of turning his back on the big time and making himself into a cult radio figure.

What was in that family that turned out two chameleons with big talent, even though they express it differently?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Massimiliano Rosolino

This photo had to happen eventually, given that I write from Italy.

The photo is courtesy of a Spanish fashion page.

Six foot four, bleached blond and he's currently between beauty queens. Napolitano, born in 1978 and one has to wonder what Laura Biagiotti had in mind bundling this boy into those trunks. Yes, he is an Olympic Gold Medal winning swimmer, but not in those enormous pants! He is currently modeling men's fashions, and recently finished a round on "Ballando con le Stelle" where he was partnered with Titova, who may be the best dancer Italy has ever seen, but her couple never wins. Maybe we have a hard time seeing the male of the couple? It's hard to miss Massimiliano, wherever he goes.

For Alyson, who wishes to see his eyes better, look here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Ammar is an anthro-archeologist. His wife finds in him so many special qualities that she has dedicated an entire website to him. What stands out for me is that he grows every year a field of wheat to share with the poor and hungry.

Luca Zingaretti

"Montalbano, sono."

So he introduces his popular television character, a Sicilian Commissario of police named Salvo Montalbano. Zingaretti is a fine actor with many roles behind him and ahead of him, but Montalbano, the creature of Italian writer Camillieri, is the one that is indivisible from his public persona. The Rai Italian series has been dubbed and published in DVD form in twelve languages and is sold worldwide. It is probably the single most successful thing Rai has ever produced.
Although the books by Camillieri are among the best mysteries I have ever read, and that mainly for creating this character whose depths are still being plumbed after years of editions, Zingaretti has created a new layer with his artful portrayal. You can read his mind when he is about to do something illegal in the interest of justice.
He is also simply one of the sexiest men ever to appear on any screen, large or small.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I know Reid because he is both a cook and a traveler. His various websites include his absolutely incredible photographs and endlessly interesting and useful information on walking and climbing in the UK and Spain. Start at fellwalk and wander on to his other sites and you can also try to imagine how he ever had time to live an entirely different life, and he did. There are also links to Italian photos and to me.

Mario Cipollini

Here is a temporary link to Mario.

Why Mario? Well, just look at him! He's a gorgeous champion of sport and then later learned to dance on "Ballando con le Stelle" where I found his tango very tempting. In looking up images of Cipollini, I discovered that he is one of those men who has improved with age.

I have never, darn it, been that close to Mario. These photos are courtesy of and You may follow through to the links if inspired.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Santa is a very special man. So is Dave, in disguise here.

Dave is married to a friend of mine. I will let her describe what is special about him.

"There are many things I like about Dave, but the thing that's great about him is his wit. He makes me laugh several times a day. I've told both our children, "Marry someone who makes you laugh. The face and the body will change over the years, but laughter just gets better."

I love this picture. He was Santa for the local, very small rural church. Things went as expected until he got this college girl on his lap. The first thing he did was turn and look at me and I know he was thinking, "Look what I got!!" "

His intentions might be read in his eyes. I see a gleam beyond that of charity there.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Claudio Amendola

Claudio Amendola has the aspect of a "bad boy" but not really bad. Whatever he does, good or bad, is in the Italian public eye and a lot of attention is paid to his long term relationship with Francesca Neri.
He has in the past played a lot of tough guys and romantic types, but comedy fits best, and in the past few years he has begun doing commercials for television in which he is a funny dad to teenagers. I think a lot of fellows might quail at aging their public image like that, but it doesn't seem to bother him, nor should it. This year he is making the same commercials with Paris Hilton, and I may be putting thoughts in his head, but he seems vaguely embarrassed in them. It's probably that I think he should be embarrassed.
He seems sort of like your naughty cousin with whom you did things when you were kids that you are never going to tell your parents, or even your siblings. Can you see your secrets in his smile? Don't ask, don't tell.
I don't know why he is my first man post of all. I think it is perhaps because Claudio is neither here nor there, but sort of possible for anything. Not gorgeous, certainly not ugly! He just seems like a man you could have X rated fun with and who would not make demands nor make you feel guilty. One of the many images available on the net shows him semi-nude with an enormous serpent tattoo, which for Ms Neri's sake I hope is makeup.
I own only one of his films and can understand little of it, because everybody in it mumbles. Sure, they were up to criminal activities, but I wasn't going to be a stoolie.
Claudio's father Feruccio Amendola was a well-known actor and a famous dubber, or doppiatore. IMdb has a short but interesting page on him.
IMdb shows Claudio's filmography on this page.
Amazon has these of his films for sale in the US. Caterina Va in Città and Queen Margot seem to get the most critical plaudits.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Just Men

Nice men, talented men, men that look good, men that look ordinary, men who work, men who play, fathers and sons, and any male who catches my interest for any reason.

I'm watching for you.
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