Do Ask, Do Tell

The story behind last week's gay-kiss cover.

Two weeks ago, we at Seattle Weekly were all set to put a sci-fi costume creator known as Tron Guy on our cover in order to promote our holiday film guide. And we were excited about it, mainly because seeing the rotund Tron Guy's package stuffed into a unitard is nature's Viagra. But then, on December 18, the U.S. Senate voted to repeal the military's antigay "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which compelled us to strive for even sexier heights on the front of last week's issue. In actuality, the Gay Kiss conversation began Friday the 17th, through a series of e-mail exchanges between yours truly and art director Boo Davis. I mentioned that there was a strong possibility DADT might get repealed in the near future, and thought it'd be worthwhile to arrange a shoot that queered up the famous Iwo Jima flag-planting photo. Feeling this vibe, Boo suggested we mimic the pose, except with a team of very beary leather daddies and a rainbow flag. This would have been sensational, but we ultimately went another way. That way was a simple tweak of Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day photo, "The Kiss." We purchased the reproduction rights in order to nail the old-time background, but swapped in a second male sailor where an unsuspecting woman once was. The amazing thing: Boo pulled this all together in the space of about 24 hours. I phoned her Saturday morning after the repeal cleared the Senate and asked what it would take to wave off Tron Guy, get a couple of vintage World War II sailor suits, and recruit a couple of smoking-hot dudes to lock lips for all the world (not just Seattle, as this is the Internet age and the cover's "gone viral," as the kids say) to see. Boo's Saturday was chockablock with family plans, but come Sunday (and into Monday morning), she and ace photographer Joshua Huston made it happen, proving again that an art director's job is not as simple as picking the best photo or illustration that a given artist produces in the course of a week. Boo's effort was tantamount to pulling together a film shoot on the fly—and that effort, based on the feedback we've received, proved to be tremendous. Catching wind of our maneuvers, President Obama agreed to sign the repeal into law the day our issue hit newsstands. Or at least that's what we'd like people to think.

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