October 16, 2011
MOVING SALE
BY Steven Zeeland

Your support appreciated! More items here.

Moving Sale

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June 12, 2011
HOLD ON
BY Steven Zeeland

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November 24, 2010
TAKE NO PRISONERS
BY Steven Zeeland

 

All men are brothers.

 

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It's 2009 and this is the blog of author Steven Zeeland.

Yes, it has been two years since my final "Postcard from Zeeland."

Where was I? China?

Nope. The two places I should have uploaded e-postcards from were my island on the border to Ontario, CA, and an island near Pensacola, FL.

The one place I most certainly was not was China -- where I could have been overseeing the printing of SEADOG PHOTO: NAVY TOWN NIGHTLIFE (call me nitpicky, but-- I don't want my book printed in a country so shamefully contemptuous of human rights).

Anyway: this Labor Day I can announce the 2010 publication of my "coffee table" book of sailor photographs!

Thanks for this to friend and collaborator extraordinaire Dink Flamingo. (Who may have sweet talked me into spending more time than seems possible in that trailer in Yuma, AZ, but just as sweetly stood by me when I went all Amnesty International on him about China and human rights.)

Thanks, too, to all who've been helping me not starve via eBay.

- Steve

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August 18, 2009
APOLLO 2010
BY Steven Zeeland

  

 It's never too late to come clean:

When I was a boy of nine, in 1969, I wanted to be an astronaut.

Teachers and family were heartened by this unexpected indication of "normality."  I was granted special permission to sit in with the sixth grade class to watch historic TV broadcasts.

Only . . . by definition it was not normal! None of the boys at my suburban Grand Rapids, Michigan elementary school showed any degree of the same enthusiasm.

Possible contributing factor: the "Apollo 1" mission? You see, Roger B. Chaffee (that's him on the right on raft, in silhouette) was from Grand Rapids. You have to wonder what sort of an influence it had -- the hushed silence in my hometown about this handsome Navy aviator's NASA martyrdom by immolation.

Last month I traveled to Pensacola, Florida -- home of US Navy aviation. Scheduled seven hour air travel ended up taking 24 hours (because cowardly pilot declined to land in Memphis, because of alleged tornado, which I admit did appear visible from my window seat, but still). Violent unscheduled landing in Little Rock was first of three separate occasions over three days when I felt like end-stage Icarus.

Yet I survived. Without so much as a sunburn. And the second half of the trip was bliss beyond words.

Ever since I'm (mostly) back to smiling like when I was nine. Sincerely!

- Steve

 

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Sleeping Marines

Hi --

It’s taken far too long, I know.

But: this past November US voters signalled “thumbs down” to George Orwell’s perpetual war. . . . Maybe these three (anonymous, internet-circulated) sleeping Marines will live long enough to vote in the next election? That would be my prayer.

(Interesting, that these 21st century American men at war seem more comfortable with homosocial intimacy than the anonymous soldiers of 100 years ago I found last week in a forgotten photo album in the basement of the house I grew up in. . . .)

ALL THIS AND WORLD WAR TWO

For over three years now I’ve been extremely hard at work “escaping” from the unfathomable horror of Orwell’s famous book 2004 come to life by researching the relatively less horrific topic of military homoeroticism v. homosexual panic in Nazi Germany. (Less horrific if only because it’s 60 years past.) This book is my first *commissioned* project -- in contrast to my first five books, it did *not* begin as a labor of love. And yet as the manuscript takes shape I’m ever more amazed at the *overlap* in underlying themes--

For better and for worse, Germans were at least 50 years ahead of the English-speaking world in the study of human sexuality per se, to include serious, widely read literature exploring the key role of homoeroticism in military life. (Most of which has never been translated into English, and very little of which is know even in Germany today. Between Brownshirt book burnings and Allied area bombing, much of it went up in flames. And then came the harshly hyperconservative 1950s. . . .)

Anyway: please wish me luck in completing my first of at least two volumes -- it’s far and away the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced; the topic is too serious to cut any corners; and last week my funding was cut! After three years of full-time research (on something that for me is anything but a personal “kick”) I’ve endured too many nightmares to NOT see it through.

LIFE DURING WARTIME: YEAR 5

To all my buddies -- Army and Air Force men I knew in the former West Germany, and one man I came to know 10 years later -- who helped me with photos, supplemental interviews, and most of all with friendship: please accept my apology for the unforeseen circumstances that at this writing continue to necessitate postponement of BARRACK BUDDIES *SECOND EDITION*. Namely -- once again -- you guessed it -- the war.

Strange but true: I was brought up to believe that making money off of war is ... wrong? Given that my first book was set against the backdrop of the First Gulf War (... not to mention the fact that, in the years since, more than a few young men have written me that reading my books inspired them to enlist!), how can I in good conscience peddle a deluxe illustrated new edition at a time when--

At a time when I can barely stomach watching the news from Iraq.

But then, I’m the type of person who does not slow down to look at car accidents, and who -- blah blah blah -- finds the 11 o’clock news more obscenely exploitive than a lot of adult video .

PORN UNDER PUNCHES

Offhand, I can’t immediately cite other authors and editors who, as Alex Buchman and I, have been singularly distinguished in an award-winning adult videomaker’s mass-produced prurience -- with not only prominent product placement, but also porn star protaganist pronunciation of passages from a serious work of non-fiction erotica, in this case BARRACKS BAD BOYS: AUTHENTIC ACCOUNTS OF SEX IN THE ARMED FORCES VOLUME II.

A year ago today, Dink Flamingo of activeduty.com was being out-pornoed by regional TV news smut-hounds stirring up a sweeps weeks scandal -- indignantly reporting live from his front lawn that when they had peered into the windows of his home they had seen people inside but upon ringing the doorbell no one came to receive their intrusion.

To date, the only non-developmentally disabled journalistic account of the scandal is my friend Mark Simpson’s DETAILS story.

Dink is my friend, too. (His trilogy of confessional accounts taped, transcribed, carefully cross-checked and edited by yours truly into three respectable chapters -- over more long hours than some authors spend on entire books -- is the veritable backbone of BARRACKS BAD BOYS.) Alex Buchman was a real-life (good) bad boy Marine; I am (or so the critics of THE QUEEN IS DEAD agree) a doomed “chaser” of military bad boy strays. . . . But Dink -- for better and worse -- has taken his parallel passion to a point beyond, say, MILITARY TRADE.) One secret we have in common is that both of us -- for longer than fleeting seconds, but less than tortured months of sleepless nights -- seriously toyed with the idea of becoming Army chaplains.

Anyway, Dink is contributing to Alex Buchman’s third and (according to Buchman, adamantly:) final installment. But he’s one of a half-dozen contributors (truth be known, myself included) still struggling with his definitive chapter in a book titled BATTLE BUDDIES, compiling authentic accounts of men getting physical in wartime.

What’s the hold up? My publisher is impatient, does not -- cannot -- understand. . . . Here too: thanks, more than I can say without sounding hokey, for your understanding.

“WHY DO YOU THINK THE NAZIS WORE BROWN?”

Everybody loves you (/hates you) when your new book is out and getting attention. . . . When my first book was in press and my Senior Editor commissioned COMING OUT UNDER FIRE author Allan Berube to write the Foreword, I was on cloud nine. . . . When Allan and I met, it came as a shock that even after *big press* success and with a film deal in the works he was still struggling to make ends meet -- after he’d devoted TEN YEARS OF HIS LIFE researching a definitive history of gays and lesbians in WW II! Four or five years later he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant to research the book he’s been working on since -- free of worry about funding his next meal. . . .

My book on homoeroticism in Third Reich Germany may or may not lead to a $300K endowment permitting me to work on the next volume free of worry about paying for pet food. But I believe that I can now understand and admire Allan Berube better than I was able to in 1992; more importantly, I can truly view him as a role model. Given the gravity of his project then and mine now, what should come first?: rushing the most difficult/sensitive, astonishingly wildly nuanced, potentially most valuable of writings to just get paid -- or researching/writing as I have for three years, in the interest of going all out to realize my own untapped potential in delivering a book that can be the most substantive possible addition to “the literature” and at the same time an exceptionally “good read”?

Jeez, was that an embarrassingly rhetorical question-- Again, wish me luck.

TANGIBLE PRODUCT: CD, PHOTO CD, TAG TEAM SIGNED O O P BOOK

For those of you inclined to smirk at -- or admire -- my “ueber-80s” author headshot on the back of BARRACK BUDDIES (the so-called Flock of Seagulls pic -- actually taken in late 1991!), the above video capture is me in 1981, live on cable TV with my first band Zyklon. (Awkward name? Not if you have the patience to learn our youthful philosophy in adopting it.)

Industrial Music a la Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, and to a lesser extent something resembling early Joy Division at their most electro-Brechtian -- those are the simplest reference points for the 25th anniversary reissue of THE HEARTLAND by grim-records.com. I did the artwork and wrote the liner notes. And for those of you who know my story ... well, Zyklon ceased to exist 25 years ago this month, on the day I left Michigan in pursuit of my first soldier lover in Germany. But if your iPod playlist is unacquainted with any variation on the genres *noise*, *industrial*, or even Kraftwerk, this is a CD worth purchasing as a collectible, probably better left unplayed.

Of surer interest to fans of my military interview books and/or visitors to this page attracted by images of military men:

  • TWENTY [make that 18 --sz] copies of the 200 signed, limited edition SEADOGPHOTO photo CD-R remain available.


  • THE QUEEN IS DEAD: JARHEADS, EGGHEADS, SERIAL KILLERS & BAD SEX is a collection of transatlantic personal letters (and small but high-resolution photos) between me and my closest writer buddy, Mark Simpson -- before he became internationally famous for coining “metrosexual”; before the clock turned 2000 and nobody, not even us, persisted in old-fashioned pen palship *on paper*. Published in the UK in the year 2000, QUEEN garnered glowingly positive reviews in prestigious places -- including top British newspapers such as THE GUARDIAN and THE INDEPENDENT (who named it one of the “books of the year”). That was all well and good, but now, finally, this improbably successful book is where I first pictured it: like an obscure import album on vinyl ... out of print ... *rare* and getting rarer by the day. You can probably still find a copy used or even new for under $20. But I have 15 [make that 14, thanks DG --sz] or so new copies autographed by Mark Simpson that I’m adding my inscription to and alternately donating to libraries and offering to supporters on a first come basis for $50 by check or PayPal (to order, click on the above image to the “old” link for the Photo CD, and simply change the amount to $50 -- I’ll cover postage, even internationally).

There’s more, much more to report--

But only so much fits on a postcard.

- Steve

PS My health? After this year alone racking up $10,000 in outstanding bills for medical testing (given my “pre-existing” lung problems I’m uninsurable), my new pulmonologist says that I look “young” (!) “and healthy,” but he wants me to obtain a follow-up CT scan just to make sure a new “area of consolidation measuring approximately 4.5 X 4.5 cm not noted on the prior exam” is not, at worst, a tumor but hopefully merely an “acute process compatible with” my bout with pneumonia back in November. . . . Meanwhile, I’ll send a free CD, photo CD, or copy of QID to the first person who knows Latin well enough to (WITHOUT GOOGLING!) translate three words on my radiologists’ report that echo my adopted personal motto: ABNORMAL BUT STABLE.

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Iowa Cadets

"Instructor gives conditioning exercises to aviation cadets at pre-flight school, Iowa City, Iowa." September 1942; Iowa City, Iowa; photograph unattributed; 80-G-473132

Hi --

Earlier this year BLUE magazine of Australia commissioned me to review a newly published book of old photos titled AT EASE.

AT EASE sold extraordinarily well to men who (like me) derive a particular kick from "iconic" vintage images of sailors and Marines in and out of uniform. But it bothered me that few, if any, other reviewers found it at all disturbing that conspicuously censored from this 160-page pictorial subtitled NAVY MEN OF WAR WORLD II is any unpleasant reminder of, you know, WAR.

The above photo is not from AT EASE. Obviously?

It’s in color. Not to mention the telltale late-20th-century barracks-as-motor-lodge furnishings.

But it’s fascinating to consider how much these photos have in common. Beyond the seemingly “classic,” “timeless” apparently inherently homoerotic aspect of buddy portraits among brothers-in- arms, there is the unsettlingly seductive anonymity:

The photos in AT EASE are “public domain” images inexpensively obtainable via the National Archives.

The digital “pics” of the two Marines have been so widely circulated on the internet that it’s “fair use” to publish them in an essay addressing similiarities with and differences from combat zone photos taken 60 years previous.

The most instructive difference between then and now? I would suggest: who’s behind the camera.

BATTLE BUDDIES

. . . is the working title of the third volume in Alex Buchman’s AUTHENTIC ACCOUNTS OF SEX IN THE ARMED FORCES series. The theme is love among (/ with) military men in wartime.

By the way, if you were hoping to contribute to Buchman’s book but missed the deadline, don’t feel too badly -- so did I! And the deadline has now been extended to 31 DEC 05. To download the call for submissions in .rtf format click buchman-call-III

Apropos Alex, a couple months back he made his first-ever bookstore appearance, reading Dink Flamingo’s chapter from BARRACKS BAD BOYS, in our ex- adopted hometown San Diego, in a double bill with Rich Merritt -- author of SECRETS OF A GAY MARINE PORN STAR.

And apropos Rich -- not until he got back in touch with me last year did I even remember the roll of film he asked me to shoot of him . . . that Sunday he took me to brunch at the Officer’s Club on Coronado? In any event, I’m very honored that he chose to include this “vanity shot” in his first book.

Ironically, I took relatively few photos in San Diego -- and only began to play at being a professional photographer after I moved to Bremerton. Some of the messier details of how this came about are confessed in my contribution to BARRACKS BAD BOYS. It’s a huge honor for both Alex Buchman and me that this story, “Trouble Loves Me,” has been singled out for inclusion as the final chapter in BEST GAY EROTICA 2006. (Thank you, Editor Richard Labonté and this year’s judge mattilda!)

The same month -- next month, November 2005 -- sees the publication by Simon & Schuster of a special US edition of Mark Simpson’s wonderful SAINT MORRISSEY. Not merely “reissued/ repackaged,” but augmented by a photo insert with captions to live by....

“The third sex has been tried and failed” happens to be one of the themes of my own new book-in-progress. . . .

“Use photography as a weapon” was the motto of John Heartfield, creator of this anti-Nazi propaganda image from 1934.

As some of you know, at age 21 I left my hometown Grand Rapids, Michigan to “chase” the first great love of my life -- my best friend from high school -- who was stationed at a US Army base near Frankfurt. With the unexpected result that Germany became a second home, and which I only left nine years later, after the end of the Cold War and the start of the Gulf Wars.

In Frankfurt, concomitant with acquiring a passion for American military men, through the inadvertent influence of my friend Heinz I also came to love . . . cognac! And, slowly, the German language.

Fast forward: last year I accepted a commission to author a book on the nightmarishly complex / contradictory history of homoeroticism / homosexuality in National Socialist Germany.

Surpisingly, or maybe not, more than a little of my research so far has a lot to tell us about today.

Thanks for your support and patience: Bill, DC, DF, DG, DL, DTS, DVZ, EG, HK, JLB, KJ, KO, MS, MBS, RHF, RM, RR, SL, SK . . .

-- Steve

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Barrack Bad Boys

Hi --

Sorry I’m late.

In brief : (or at least in boxers -- sorry, I’ve been watching too many old Billy Wilder movies lately.)

Alex Buchman’s Barracks Bad Boys: Authentic Accounts of Sex in the Armed Forces Volume II is at long last off press!

Included in this sequel to Buchman’s A Night in the Barracks is a confessional I was commissioned to write for Attitude (but which the magazine rejected as "too literary"). Called "Trouble Loves Me," it details my San Diego apprenticeship in beefcake photography . . . and subsequent plunge into shooting "amateur" military "solo" layouts of my own.

Regular visitors to this site will immediately recognize the cover photo as none other than Seadogphoto star Packard himself.

Buchman is already at work on Volume III -- and will very shortly be launching his own Web site alexbuchman.com.

As those of you who know me best will have accurately guessed, no news isn't bad news. My lung condition remains "ABNORMAL BUT STABLE." And I’m definitely doing better now that (another) unusually hot summer is over. . . .

Since my last "postcard" I have had the pleasure of playing host to a series of distinguished guests -- including Mark Simpson, Brian Younker, Alex Buchman, Nathaniel West . . .

I also enjoyed an intensely stimulating visit to my hometown in Michigan, six months after the death of my father. . . .(I could not have made the trip were it not for my best writer friend within a thousand mile radius, D. Travers Scott, who rifle in hand diligently guarded my Navy shipyard ghetto home for four nights. [If you are a friend of mine, you are a friend of this tall studly native of the lone star state -- and if you can afford to buy a book you should support his brave new micro-press.]) Given the micro-melodramas that enfold almost daily outside my windows I felt embarrassed that the only twist to Trav's stay came when he booted up my vintage 2000 HP Pavilion PC and the power supply went dead. . . . I am indebted to Dave, Diana, Dwight, and Bill at Haworth for the Dell computer I type these words on now.

A special kick recently has been re-connecting with several men I knew from their Army (and Air Force) days in Germany. . . .

And, slowly but surely, I am forging ahead with new projects. I even have a new business card -- for a new book series with The Haworth Press. More on this very soon.

Thanks to everyone who helps keep me going -- you know who you are.

- Steve

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USS Boxer

Hi -

It's a new year. I'm glad. So glad, in fact, that whenever I find myself writing out 2 0 0 4 -- even on a utility bill -- I feel a twinge of something resembling pleasure. Or at least relief:

'03 is over.

With this postcard I want to wallow in a rare guilty pleasure:

Optimism.

Lord, may 2004 allow us all to bask

I'm smiling, but serious.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL, PART MMIV

(CAUTION: As I learned the hard way, people from Washington state do not appreciate joking comments about the many and varied blatantly obscene [or merely odd] names on their map. . . .)

2004 promises to be a busy year.

In answer to those of you who have written asking:

  • Yes, Alex Buchman's BARRACKS BAD BOYS really will be published. Really. I know I've been saying that for over a year, but see for yourself. Never mind the listed publication date. It should be out around June.


  • And yes, I really am completing the second edition of BARRACK BUDDIES. But should anyone reading this have any unpublished original homoerotic photos of Army or Air Force men (preferably from the 80s to early 90s) that would fit, I still have room for one or two more. (For every 50 images of sailors and Marines there seem to be at best 1 or 2 of soldiers and airmen.)


  • I'm even more excited about an altogether new project, about which I can't say too much just yet. Other than it builds on what I've previously confided here: my sense that the last frontier in research on homoeroticism in the military, and for that matter male bonding in general, is . . . is . . . [Refer back to above images of sailors.]


  • Speaking of sailors, clicking on the above image will take you to a cool authentic story of cruising San Diego ca. 1980 (illustrated by images from the "Best of Seadogphoto" CD) hosted by the charming David K of nightcharm.com.

* * *

One big reason why I'm able to smile is because of my friends.

I couldn't ask for better.

- Steve, January 2004

PS Special thanks, as always, to Dave Clemens. For his "Steven Zeeland" Yahoo! group I will soon be submitting a collection of outtakes -- photos not included in my books . . . and several slightly embarrassing rejected author photos. Even worse than this one

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June 17, 2003
Lust for Life
BY Steven Zeeland

U.S. Navy Gunners

Hi. I am still alive. And -- despite my newly diagnosed chronic lung disease -- I am fully intent on living at least as long as the younger of my two cats (aged three).

Somewhere in one of my letters to Mark (born on the Fourth of July -- Happy Birthday Mr) Simpson, which ended up incorporated in THE QUEEN IS DEAD, I mentioned a slumming day trip across Puget Sound from Seattle to the struggling, low-rent Navy shipyard "ghetto" that-- Well, that I now call home. And I added that, in between cruising the retro adult video arcades a block or two from base, I stopped by a thrift store run by the local Humane Society and, for US $0.25, bought a Henry Miller book "that I will probably never read."

For those of you who believe that "everything happens for a reason" (now, more than ever before in my life, I don't NOT believe ...):

Reading my quaint biographical romances, people often ask how on earth I managed to keep my head above water during the black years of famine and drought. I have explained, of course, and in these very books, that at the last ditch someone always came to my rescue. Anyone who has a steady purpose is bound to attract friends and supporters. What man ever accomplished anything alone? The impressive thing, however, is that aid, when it does come, never comes from the expected quarter – where it should come from as we think.

No, we are never alone. But one has to live apart to know it for the truth.

Many, many thanks to the friends (old friends and new ...) who came through in response to my last "postcard." More than I can adequately express, your support has helped me survive the bleakest months of my adult life.

Re: "Are you getting better?"

Though not a superstitious man, I've grown almost wary about discussing the latest on my lungs. For one thing, my lungs have been declared irreversibly damaged (inexplicably and mysteriously so ... my regular doctor, who I would have to name as one of the most saintly humans I have ever encountered, actually took it upon himself to apologize for the "primitive knowledge" of early 21st century medicine). Realistically, the best I can hope for is that my health improves just a little. So, I'll cautiously confess that yes, I am doing a little better. And that (touch ... wood...) I can now boast of consistently going a month at a time without coughing blood.

That said, when I did wake up the other week thinking of Kafka , at least now I know the deal:

moderate hemoptysis may be frightening to the patient but is seldom fatal

To everyone I'm overdue writing to I apologize. With heart. Last fall and winter I truly did slow down considerably. (Concurrent with being told that I might have lung cancer / should in any case think about a lung transplant, the same day I had a CT-scan so did my father. With unhappier results.)

But even though it's now summer (my least favorite time of year -- yes, I am finished complaining), lately I do seem to be showing some renewed signs of life:

* Last weekend I narrowly escaped the "stray cat" seductive power of a charming lost sailor vomiting on the late night Seattle-Bremerton ferry. (Mercifully, even as I against my better judgment sought to intervene on his behalf with the Homeland Security patrol, at the last moment his Navy buddies materialized and after some hesitation offered, "Uh, he's with us.")

* Work on the Second Edition of BARRACK BUDDIES, though somewhat delayed (-- again. This time by some pesky flashbacks I suffered on account of Gulf War II syndrome --) ...

. . . is finally shaping up. My approach to this project has been slow but extremely meticulous. (Any last-minute -- even stream-of-whatever -- e-mail commentaries on that first book -- or better yet, period US Army / USAF hi-res photo submissions -- would be very welcome.)

* I am hopeful of playing a strong role in the launch of a new Men's Studies/Masculinity Studies book program. Especially now that the conservative US Supreme Court has unexpectedly, poignantly, in no uncertain terms ditched 20th century prohibition of SODOMY.

* My last "postcard" concluded with a pledge that everyone who sent a donation toward my medical expenses would receive a complimentary copy of a limited edition "Best of Seadogphoto.com" CD-R to be issued sometime this summer. This pledge I remain intent on fulfilling before Labor Day. To include the kind-hearted souls who sent me five dollars -- and those individuals who contributed from international postal zones that will cost me five dollars to send a data disc to.

* At this writing, I am still working on special letters to: the guy in AU who probably didn't realize the can of worms he opened in mentioning his most recent CD purchase; K.O.; my comrade in CO; the man of the law in MA ...

Finally, very special thanks to my mysterious new friend in CA who knows about Birmans. . . .

Your

Steve

PS I'm still thousands of dollars in debt for medical expenses, and am still dependent on outside patronage to try to keep making payments and keep on writing. As of this update, I promise to provide a numbered, limited edition photo CD-R (or, if you prefer, a one-of-a-kind, non-easy-listening, 80's industrial / "dark wave" / spoken word + original audio CD-R -- at your own risk!) to anyone who donates $20 or more via the PayPal button at the top of this page. For those who would prefer to mail a donation, my address is PO Box 1237, Bremerton, WA 98337 USA. Thanks.

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