Hump Day Brain Break: ‘John Smith Fitness’

Tom Berklund in 'John Smith Fitness'
Tom Berklund in 'John Smith Fitness'
Tom Berklund in parody video ‘John Smith Fitness’ (screen capture)

Sometimes, when I need a mid-day brain break, I fire up Instagram for a few minutes to scroll past some InstaHunks for a momentary man-candy distraction.

You know the accounts: woofy workout guys paired with some casual commentary of aspirational uplift. And yes, positivity is a good thing in these wild and crazy times.

But, I can admit – every now and then – some of the motivational messaging can seem a bit by-the-book. Still pretty but perhaps a bit ponderous.

A trio of funny guys collaborated on a short video that takes a playful poke at those accounts complete with faux ‘inspirational’ messaging.

“Two roads diverged in a wood…one of them goes to the gym.”

“Just recite my wisdoms, and the muscles will follow.”

In the clip, New York City actor Tom Berklund plays ‘John Smith’ of John Smith Fitness, who’s ready to pump you up.

Tom Berklund in 'John Smith Fitness'
“This isn’t a scam – I’m not selling sex, I’m selling motivation. So buy my motivation today.”

“I’ll start your program easy with a daily running regimen of only six miles a day,” says our hunky fitness guru. “Just a little jog to get the blood pumping.”

“Because at John Smith Fitness, it’s inside that counts – because inside the skin is muscle. So, muscles are the insides we’re talking about here.”

The comic short was conceived and directed by Eric Blume, a former writer/director at Comedy Central who’s created tons of commercials and narrative projects.

New York City actor and writer David Morton (Upright Citizens Brigade) penned the script, and the buff Berklund is an experienced Broadway actor (Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, The Addams Family).

The creative team offers a cheeky disclaimer that “one of the three of them went to the gym extensively to make this little project happen.” Wonder which one…?

Hit the play button for a bit of Hump Day distraction. Warning: some slightly NSFW content.

Hunky Taron Egerton Covers GQ Magazine UK

As Kingsman star Taron Egerton prepares for the release of his latest cinematic adventure - playing Elton John in the upcoming musical fantasy biopic Rocketman - the handsome actor makes an unexpected admission.
Taron Egerton (screen capture via YouTube)

As Kingsman star Taron Egerton prepares for the release of his latest cinematic adventure – playing Elton John in the upcoming musical fantasy biopic Rocketman – the handsome actor makes an unexpected admission.

“Without ever wishing to seem ungrateful for the Kingsmanthing,” he tells GQ UK’s Chris Mandle for this month’s cover story, “as much as I love the films, especially the first, I will always feel like something of an imposter in that world.”

Imposter? What you talking about, Taron?

“The ‘guy’, the ‘bro’, the ‘stunt guy’,” says the 29-year-old actor, highlighting the phrases with air quotes. “I’ve never been that guy. I’m just not. I’m the guy who was playing Seymour in Little Shop Of Horrors when he was 17.”

When Mandle points out that it’s all acting anyway, Egerton conceded – a bit.

“Maybe,” said the handsome actor. “But I always felt more at home in a gay club than at a football match, far more at home.”

(photo: Gavin Bond)

And speaking of “gay,” Egerton addresses the reports about a certain sex scene that was rumored to have been excised from the film, but then wasn’t.

“Well, the stuff we shot was pretty explicit,” Egerton shares. “I mean, that’s why I made the film. Those scenes are desperately -important when you have an icon of that magnitude, who means so much to one community.”

Calling Elton John “a standard bearer” for the LGBTQ community, Egerton felt it his responsibility to live up to that.

“For me, especially as a heterosexual actor, not to push the envelope as far as I can or try to make it a wholehearted celebration of being a gay man would be wrong,” he told GQ.

The Welsh actor has heard the stories about Bohemian Rhapsody being “straight-washed” for other countries where overt gay-isms don’t go over so well. He says banking box office bucks shouldn’t trump a film’s cinematic integrity.

“It’s a studio movie. It’s Elton John. We’ve got to own that. I don’t care how well the film does in Russia. It doesn’t matter. It can’t matter. What’s an extra $25 million at the box office? What are you willing to do for that? Sacrifice sleeping at night because you watered the whole thing down?”

What Egerton won’t ‘water down’ is the small amount of his life he shares on social media. Taron is going to be Taron.

Still somewhat new to Instagram, he posted a photo of a longtime friend last October, with the caption “Cutie. My boy.” Egerton learned how quickly people will read into a post and assume he was attempting to come out.

He clarified the situation in an interview, saying he’s straight, but shares the background of the post with GQ UK.

“I’ve known that guy since I was eleven,” he explained. “And he is a cutie. I call all my friend stuff like that. Anyone can tell you. [But] it doesn’t mean I want to f*ck any of them.”

In fact, Egerton isn’t all that fond of labels when it comes to how we view each other.

“I’m not someone who really subscribes to this binary view of male and female archetypes or ways of behaving,” he says. “And it’s only going to happen more and more. The lines are blurring. People are identifying and expressing themselves more fluidly. Our concept of what a straight man or gay man looks like or is expected to behave in 20 years will be nothing like it is now.”

Egerton’s GQ UK cover story (with gorgeous photography by Gavin Bond) is on newsstands now.

Rocketman hits theaters May 31.

(h/t GQ UK)

Aussie Wrestler’s Donation Raised Via OnlyFans Returned By Charity

Aussie wrestler Dave Marshall (image via Instagram)

Earlier this month, I reported that openly gay wrestler Dave Marshall had set up an OnlyFans account to raise money for charity.

The 29-year-old, who works for the Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance based in Perth, Australia, launched the account with the goal of donating funds to suicide prevention organization Beyond Blue.

The choice of charity was personal for Marshall as his father took his own life last year.

But after raising more than AU$5,000 for the charity, Gay Star News reports that Beyond Blue has refused Marshall’s donation.

After becoming aware of the press coverage regarding Marshall, Beyond Blue reached out to him saying they could not accept the funds as they were raised from activities like “gambling, alcohol and pornography.”

According to emails Marshall shared with Gay Star News, the organization’s position was that he had used their name to promote his products sold in “the field of pornography.”

Additionally, the suicide prevention group informed him that all fundraising activities must be registered with the organization.

Marshall was surprised by the reaction. “To me, money is money,” said the hunky wrestler. “It came from the heart.” The 6’3” Aussie added that the public reaction to his story had been “99.9% positive.”

Beyond Blue eventually told Marshall if he would stop using their name in his activities, they could accept the funds as a personal donation; if not, they would issue him a full refund.

Marshall decided to take his money elsewhere saying, “At the end of the day, it was a personal donation of my money, but I don’t want to be quiet about what I’m doing.”

The wrestler turned to Black Dog Institute, a mental health charity which he felt was still in line with his original intention inspired by his dad’s suicide.

Black Dog Institute was more than willing to accept the funds. Marshall was so happy with his decision he decided to double the donation for a total of AU$10,000 to the new charity of choice.

“It’s a cause that I am proud the help,” Marshall told Gay Star News. “Now more than ever, I’m even more proud of the organisation for accepting me and my donations.”

(h/t Gay Star News)

Calendar: “Heart Throbs And Hounds”

All photos by Mike Ruiz

Celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz (Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Prince and more) knows a LOT about shooting the male physique.

And now, the handsome lensman is donating those skills to a new charity cause as he pairs woofy men with literal woofers for his 2018 calendar called “HeartThrobs and Hounds.”

The 13-month calendar will make sure you have a reason to smile every single day of 2018.

The calendar features well-known male fitness models including James Ellis, Dragos Sykos, Myles Leask and cover-model Mike O’Hearn.

Proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go towards Fur Friends in Need and Lilo’s Promise animal rescue. Both organizations seek to find new homes for abandoned pets.

Both organizations hope the “HeartThrobs and Hounds” 2018 calendar will help change the way people look at rescues.

“People mistakingly assume it is the fault of the animal that it ended up being surrendered or abandoned,” says Nancy Flint, the founder of Fur Friends in Need. “I would say 90% of our animals have no issues whatsoever. It’s their humans who have failed them.”

Adds Schafer, “Shelter pets are not second-hand goods. There are amazing animals in shelters all over the US, including Aladdin and Bordeaux who are featured in the calendar. They simply need a little love to shine!”

Ruiz himself knows the power of saving abandoned furry friends. Five years ago, he saved Oliver, a pit bull that had been left for dead. His experience and longtime relationship with Oliver sparked the idea for an annual calendar combining two personal passions: photography and dogs in need.

Every dollar made from the sale of the “HeartThrobs and Hounds” 2018 calendar will go directly to Fur Friends in Need and Lilo’s Promise animal rescues. “The calendar makes a perfect holiday gift for any human being with eyes and a pulse, and it brings awareness to our furry friends in need,” says Mike.

Mike Ruiz’s 2018 calendar, “HeartThrobs and Hounds,” is available for only $19.99 at http://www.furfriendsinneed.com .

Snow White’s 7 Dwarfs Reimagined As Beefy Daddies

The Disney animated classic Snow White has introduced generations of fans to those lovable Seven Dwarfs – Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc and Grumpy.

But visual artist Silverjow has taken a new look at the colorful characters and reimagined them as strapping muscular daddy-types, and the results are eye-popping.

You can check out the “new dwarfs” below and find more of Silverjow’s work on his Patreon page.

Who wouldn’t want to run into these guys in the woods?

A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on Sep 12, 2017 at 3:03am PDT
A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on Aug 12, 2017 at 6:22am PDT
A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on Jul 2, 2017 at 12:54am PDT
A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on May 20, 2017 at 4:45am PDT
A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on Apr 12, 2017 at 4:38am PDT
A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on Mar 7, 2017 at 8:25pm PST
A post shared by Silverjow’s art (@silverjow) on Feb 3, 2017 at 8:11am PST

(h/t Queerty)