Secret Stash #17
December 1, 2019 | Las Vegas, Nevada
Secret Stash Feature
for December 2019
A Very Bara Holiday Season
The December 2019 Secret Stash offers a bara perspective on that holly jolly man dressed in red and white wearing big black boots whom we have thought about at each holiday season since we were kids. If you wish to preserve your childhood memories of Santa Claus, I will certainly understand if you choose to avoid my blasphemy until the current holiday season has passed.
Blaspheming cherished spiritual and religious traditions comes easy for me because I no longer believe in the traditional ways of conceiving of an almighty and interventionist deity. While I was born and raised in the Roman Catholic Church dogmas and traditions, at around the age of 13 I rejected all that socialization after I read science fiction authors whose works taught me how to think for myself. Blame Isaac Asimov especially. I have chosen to write within the science fiction genre as a direct outcome of being attracted to science fiction writers and their works.
At the same time I have since 2007 been creating sexually explicit visual depictions of masculine men and sharing those online. I am an American artist born in California and I produce bara images with United States (rather than Asian) sensibilities aimed at English-speaking gay adult men all around the world. See a collection of my legacy bara illustrations spanning several years. That little word bara comes from the Japanese phrase barazoku which literally means “rose tribe.” During the mid-20th century barazoku was a code word in Japan to disparage gay men. English equivalents would be the words pansy or fruit. But then, the Japanese put-down was proudly taken to be the name given to a print magazine for gay men published from 1971 until 2004.
Bara survives in the 21st century as underground or countercultural art created by gay men for gay men. My thinking and my artist slant was shaped and influenced by several artists and I have built and expanded upon what I have learned from the themes and works of other creative men. As it has since the very beginning, this genre emphasizes traits and behaviors of masculine gay men as compared and contrasted with traits and behaviors of effeminate gay men or drag performers. Significantly, bara explores unrestrained and unashamed man-on-man sexual behaviors (as opposed to relationships between men) so the genre avoids the standard falling-in-love romance or hearts-and-flowers themes commonly found in storytelling about gay men. I invite you to see a concise summary of the genre, but here is my own instant definition for you:
At this annual holiday season we commonly find the man in red and white wearing big black boots—a blend of Saint Nicholas from Turkey and Sinter Klass from the Netherlands—standing at shopping malls ringing bells asking for money, appearing at office parties, and showing up in countless holiday movies, television shows and advertising. If you learn more about the origins of this fictional character, you will understand that Santa Claus is a marketing and moneymaking concept with little or no spiritual or religious value.
I have created fictional male characters and costumed them for the holiday season wearing some red and some white and perhaps even those obligatory big black boots. Then I immersed these creations of mine in bara storytelling situations and themes. The outcome is twisted perspectives about masculine men that you have come to know and expect from me year after year.