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Aout la la! Stade France's Ruggers go all the way!

Buy-Sexual

by Jim Provenzano
Bay Area Reporter
Sports Complex
Dec. 2003

Goodness! War and more war, meteors over the Bay, Gay Games VII up in the air, and Mummy Dearest (aka Wacko Jacko) finally in handcuffs. Times like these call for one remedy: shopping.

Here are a few jocking stuffer book, video and DVD options for yourself or the sports nut on your list.

Dieux du Stade Calendar & DVD
(Stade France, 24 Euros, )

Always an annual favorite, the sexy calendars put out as charity fundraisers by Stade France have stepped up their saucy oversized displays of male "beouf" by going full frontal!

Oui oui! Along with a few tasteful full Monty shots in its 2004 calendar, the new DVD, also in glorious black and white, showcases most of the French rugby teamís players in lots of sexy completely naked poses, being primped and styled (but not fluffed) while posing nude for the calendar. A few utterly gorgeous wrestlers and Mr. France also bare all.

Screencaps of the DVD have already flooded Yahoo groups and message boards on the Internet. The DVD is all-region coded, and may not work on older players, but will work on your computerís DVD ROM player for, er, hands-free viewing pleasure. If youíre at all a fan of sexy sportsmen, this is simply the hit of the year.

Polish up your Francais, and visit www.stade.fr for a special deal: DVD, calendar, and a T-shirt for 60 Euros. Or, visit www.amazon.fr. The forms are the same as the English version, and Iíve heard they ship within 15 days.

Bloody Sundays by Mike Freeman
(William Morrow, 300 pages, $24.95)

You canít fit Esera Tuaolo down the chimney, but for the serious football fan that loves some inside dish and self-congratulatory prose on why the sportís so great, this is it.

Expansive in its critiques of some of the felonious fellows in the NFL, Freeman, a New York Times writer, also exposes some of the faults of the sport, its treatment of disposable and frequently injured athletes, and some proposed remedies. He also profiles some of footballís current greats: Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, NY giants defensive end Michael Strahan, and running back emmet Smith

Gay fans can speculate on the identity of the mystery gay player interviewed in the book. "Steven Thompson" (an alias), a gay NFL player claims there are currently "100 to 200 gay and bisexual" players in the league. Freeman spend only 18 pages in this segment, but more knowledgable fans (moi definitely excluded) are already playing "fantasy football," in trying to guess who the player is.

Huddle, a novel by Dan Boyle
(Southern Tier Editions, Harrington Park Press, 244 pages, $16.95)

While youíre holding your breath from waiting for those pros to come out, why not read about some rec league guys who are out?

Trying to resist the cute shirtless models on the book cover, I nevertheless found author Dan Boyleís debut novel to be engaging, touching and quite realistic in its depiction of the intertwining lives of nine gay West Hollywood men who tumble around on the fields each Saturday to play rival teams. Boyle balances flag football action with chapters that follow each of the team membersí lives. They search for love, sex, drugs, cocktails, or some sense of meaning in their lives.

Even the sometimes-vapid world of WeHo is humanized through Boyleís clever variance in narrative style. Shy guy Daveís interior monologue in run-on lower case sentences exemplifies his repressed self-image. Film producer wannabe Mitchís trip to Washington for a friendís wedding, which includes a brief meeting with the Clinton family, is told in Horatio Alger "our hero" tones.

While the teamís X-laced visit to a Palm Springs White Party glorifies the circuit scene, it does offer a justified explanation as to why attendees often crowd the dance floor with their group hugs. Two sober hunks do get their poolside romantic moment.

Like the film Broken Hearts Club, the players are underdogs facing the big 3-0, but Boyleís book explores the rec league sports aspect, and romance and homophobia within that world, a bit more thoroughly.

Out of Bounds
A novel by Fred Shank and Chris Fisher
(Xlibris, paperback, $19.00, 208 pages)
What would it be like for an out gay columnist to have a secretive romance with a closeted professional athlete? Hey, donít ask me. I donít kiss and tell.

But former sports publicist Fred Shank (now Public Information Coordinator for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund) does, in a brisk and realistic novel penned with his partner Chris Fisher.

Inspired by the whirlwind of Out editor Brendan Lemonís "mystery date," Shank and Fisher decided to delve a bit deeper into the topic, and actually call it fiction.

Using obvious experience from Shankís work in professional sports promotion, the novel captures the rumor-mongering and eventual media circus around the sexuality of New York Knicks star Matt Walker.

The story follows Village Voice writer Reese Gibbons, who meets Walker after having barely known him in college. Through a train ride to Philadelphia, a night chastely sharing a hotel room (darn!), and their growing friendship in New York, Gibbons struggles to tune his gaydar along the rumors about the handsome basketball star on the rise.

Struggling with his pro-outing conscience as a journalist, and his nosey effete friends, Gibbons falls for the hoopster, and does eventually have an affair (score!). He finds a few