MASS appeal

DON’T STRIKE A POSE | Tony Giles pursues a new fitness goal — one more achievable for ordinary (and short) guys. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Trainer and model Tony Giles aims for pro status in
the new physique bodybuilding

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Tony Giles has spent his career making his body look good. As a personal trainer and fitness model (and occasional adult-film actor, under the name

Tony Da Vinci), he’s probably pumped more iron than most smelters, sculpting his 5-foot-8 frame into a mass of twitching — but well-proportioned muscle.

Then last year, he did something entirely different: He trained as a bodybuilder.

That might sound like the same thing as weightlifting, but it’s not. Competitive bodybuilders aren’t about aesthetics as much as they are sheer size: The bigger, more grotesquely inhuman the bicep, the farther you go. And boy does it take a lot of effort.

When Giles entered the Europa competition in Dallas last summer, he fared very well, winning several accolades. He promised himself he’d compete again. And he is, this weekend.

Only this time, he’s keeping it real.

“They started a new category this year: Physique,” he says over a lunch of lean turkey. “It’s not about size; they judge you in four categories: Conditioning, muscularity, presentation and overall package. There’s no posing, and you wear board shorts [instead of a G-string]. I saw that and thought, ‘I look like that category already! That’s what I do!’”

What does that mean for Giles? It means the last two months have been hard on him, but tolerable.

This year’s regimen has been easier as well because he did not have to substantially reconfigure his weight training and diet as he did for bodybuilding.

“I didn’t want to put my body through that again,” even though he found himself addicted to the results of his efforts and his success on the runway.

Since May, he has subsisted on the exact same diet day in and out: eight egg whites and a cup of steel-cut oats for breakfast, then every two or three hours alternating between 8 oz. of lean chicken and tilapia. Low carbs. No beef. Higher intake of good fats.

“Chicken of course is chicken,” he says. “Tilapia is one of the leanest fish — low in Omega-3 fats. And the oils actually make your skin thinner, which lets your muscles pop more.”

A symmetrical physique is the goal of this new category, which Giles says was instituted by the controlling federation to make bodybuilding appeal more to a mass audience: Many average folks are put off by the completely unachievable looks of the competitors at the top of their profession.

“A lot of the guys in this category [there’s only one division, not several divided by weight class] are smaller like me,” Giles says. “A lot of people see someone like me and think, ‘That look could be achievable for me.’”

Giles’ exercise routine has included vastly more cardio than he usually does, as well as lot of core stabilizing training. To get his proportions right, however, Giles had to sacrifice one thing: His legs.

“I have basically done no leg or back work [since I started training],” he says. His thighs have always been a selling point for Giles, reaching a circumference up to 27 inches. “My waist is only 29 inches, so my legs were almost as big around as my waist.”

If things go well on Friday — that’s when the prejudging takes place, and Giles finds out if he’s even in the top 5 — he could qualify for the national competition in September, where winning qualifies you as a professional. He hopes to win, of course … but after all that tilapia, he’s also craving a big juicy burger.

Europa Super Show, Dallas Convention Center, 201 Griffin St. Aug. 12–13.
For training information, call 469-835-5964.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Lesbian pop duo Sugarbeach launches RightOutTV stream of LGBT musicians

Marlee Walchuk and Tully Callender of the music duo Sugarbeach are two women after my own heart. As out musicians, Walchuk said that as Sugarbeach was releasing their own videos, there were few sites to put them on save for getting swallowed up on YouTube. “There was nothing on the ‘net I found where people could see videos of queer artists,” Walchuk said. “Plus, I would mention queer artists I knew of, but no one heard of them. We saw a need and decided to fill it.”

And RightOutTV was born. The streaming video site features only videos from out LGBT musicians. The ladies worked on compiling artists and getting the basic site up for the last two months, and on Oct. 31 it went live. As far as Walchuk has found, theirs might be the only site providing the service. “It’s been a great process and we could be the only ones, but I’d hate to say that in case there’s one in Budapest doing the same thing,” she joked.

Now she and Callendar can get people clued in on gay artists and help present them to the rest of the world. Right now, the site features five hours of streaming video from various artists. They are working on putting more up, but that costs money. Right now, the site is all out of pocket. “We wanted to get it rolling and didn’t want anything to stop us, so basically we went with LiveStream, a free channel. Five hours is all we can do right now for free but that’s still a lot,” she said. “We’re going to work on getting a sponsor or some funding and bring it to a totally different level. With advertisers or money coming in, we can have better streaming and more storage capacity.”

Which means right now, they have to put up with Google ads on the page and in the stream. “Yeah. Sometimes we get Billy Graham ads that pop up,” she said.

Yikes — someone get them cash quick!

—  Rich Lopez

Letters • 08.13.10

Justice postponed

I’m writing because I heard that Seth Winder’s trial for the murder of Richard Hernandez has been postponed again. I really don’t understand why.

Now consider this: Had it been me, a gay man, who had committed a terrible crime like this against a straight man, I bet you my life that I’d be on trial next week without any disruption or thought of postponement.

This is the justice system in the United States; just postpone their trial and let them walk away free, and forget about how this one person changed so many people’s lives.

It’s a sad and very hurtful chain of events to know that after almost two years of this circus, the people in Richard’s life can’t rest in peace either. At a certain point, you begin to feel that maybe we  should be judge and jury, and then this whole thing would be put to rest — including Seth Winder.

Rudy Araiza
Arlington

Italy becoming unsafe

Dear friends: We would like to raise your attention on the recent increase of homophobia in Italy.

Every day, we are seeing a growing number of hate crimes being committed against people because of their sexual orientation and their gender identity. In the last two months, Arcigay recorded an exponential number of cases all over the country of lesbian and gay people and couples being threatened, assaulted or exposed to public ridicule just because they were walking hand in hand, kissing or standing outside LGBT bars.

Recently, in Ostia, a seaside town near Rome, a gay couple was forced out of a beach resort after other people complained that they were kissing. In Milan, in the last month alone, our local branch recorded five assaults on gay people who were attacked and beaten only because they were standing outside LGBT bars or public spaces where they meet.

In two other circumstances, a homosexual couple in Torre del Lago in Tuscany and another one in Cagliari in Sardinia were just kissing on the beach and were targeted. Passers-by threatened to call the police if they didn’t stop. In another incident, two young gay people were assaulted and beaten outside a gay bar in Pesaro in an attack that required medical treatment.

Together with the increasing homophobia, LGBT bars and pubs throughout the country are also systematically harassed with unreasonable controls and exposed to constant and obsessive audits by different authorities.

Outdoor venues where gay people usually meet are sifted by the local police or fenced or even closed down by local authorities, who use as a pretext that homosexual people meeting there are “immoral.”

For example, this has happened at the Piave Spresiano riverside in Padova, where the town’s mayor has agreed to create “groups of volunteers” to patrol the venue, and has said that homosexuals are sick; and on the Oglio a Soncino riverside in Cremona, where the police have been asked to raid the place; and again at two other beaches, in Gaeta in Latina and Ancona, where local authorities have installed fences and CCTV cameras to prevent gay encounters.

LGBT people in Italy are beginning to live in an intolerable climate of fear, reminiscent of a witch hunt. This is a country where not only the rights of LGBT couples are not recognized — despite a recent Constitutional Court ruling — but, more alarming, a country where the Parliament rejected a bill that contained measures to fight homophobia stating in writing that the very expression “sexual orientation” is in itself “ambiguous,” as it could include things like pedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia and incest.

We ask for your help to raise these concerns with the Italian government and other institutions. Italy has never been a country where LGBT people have been treated equally, but now it is beginning to be even more unsafe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people.

Maurizio Cecconi
Arcigay, International Affairs

Arcigay is Italy’s largest LGBT rights organization. Founded in 1985, the organization had more than 160,000 members as of 2007.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas