Queering Valentine's Day

posted by Madame Bubby

I've written about “this day” in a couple of past blogs, including this one on our website. Sigh. I even posted a tweet on my personal account that I “had no plans,” passive-aggressively playing for sympathy (or maybe a date?).

An article I came across in a student publication called the Miami Hurricane makes a strong point, almost a manifesto, “the fact that the day went from one about beheading to betrothing is proof that we have the ability to radically transform this day into anything we want. And transform we did.” To some extent, yes. A day commemorating an early Christian martyr was also proclaimed as the day birds began to mate and is now essentially aisles in retail stores filled with items in various shades of red and pink.

 

Valentine's Day aisle

But is that its end: Hallmark, kitschy images of cupids and teddy bears, overworked florists walking on floors covered with stem cuttings, angst about making restaurant reservations in time and buying the perfect gift?

The article I reference above mentions how some campus organizations are making the holiday more gender-inclusive and include queer narratives in its celebration.

It's interesting though, that queer narratives that either code implicitly or explore explicitly romantic relationships (with varying degrees of intimacy) don't subscribe (because they have to) to what is essentially a kitschy bowdlerization of Victorian sensibilities about gender relationships (which were perhaps more idealized than real).

In fact, in the heady days of LGBTQ liberation in the 1970s (essentially the product of social changes that began in the 1960s), an era that rejected aesthetically (and culturally to some extent) the “hearts and flowers/moon and June” sentimentality of previous eras, gay erotic filmmakers produced work that probes tensions in romantic, intimate relationships on so many levels. Marginalization in this case, as with much groundbreaking art, becomes the space and time to bend and even break conventional social boundaries.

For example, in Andrew Herbert's Song of the Loon, in the 19th century, Ephraim, a white man, has left his lover and taken up with a trapper, Cyrus. Ephraim wants to settle down to an outdoors life of bliss as the object of affection of only one man, but Cyrus knows that Ephraim isn't dealing with his own, or his lover's, emotions on a realistic level. He takes Ephraim to an old Native American medicine man, who imparts the wisdom of the ages to the young blond buck (through words and hallucinogenic visions): Sex and love are not one and the same.
 

Images from Song of the Loon
Song of the Loon (1969)

And in Tom DeSimone's The Idol, an young athlete's (played by Kevin Redding) struggles with coming to terms with his sexual orientation shows how sexual activity and intimate relationships are not mutually exclusive. In fact, no “one” person ends up being the ideal/idol in this film for its protagonist.
 

Images from The Idol
The Idol (1979)

Steve Scott's Track Meet parallels the story of The Idol, focusing on a young track star's (played by Gavin Geoffrey) tension in coming out and accepting himself. Romance, strength, affection, and lovemaking are explored by Gavin as he discovers himself and the world of gay sex.
 

Images from Track Meet
Track Meet (1976)

What's interesting is the coming out narrative present in these films, because of how its complex psychosocial dynamic of fear and repression but, more significantly, self-discovery and self-acceptance, and, ultimately, liberation, subverts the cloying and also creatively bland Valentine's Day sensibility.

Yes, of course, times have changed, but I do wonder if more LGBTQ-themed Hallmark Valentine's Day cards is the blessed fruit of liberation. The struggle of the past should have taught LGBTQ persons to expect more; that the hearts and flowers are transitory and superficial, and that the end is not finding the “One,” but the glorious and at the same time heartbreaking day-to-day challenge of loving him/her/they.

For highlights from more of our romance-oriented films, also check out this video on our YouTube channel.

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Stonewall 50 Is Here, But I Remember Stonewall 25!

posted by Madame Bubby

In 1994, I attended the Stonewall 25 celebrations in New York City. And, most significantly, it was my first visit to New York City. And even more significantly, it was the beginning of my intense journey into the world of BDSM relationships.
 

New York City, 1994

That year, I had pretty much abandoned the more “vanilla” activities of the LGBTQ world. My forays into, for example, singing in the choirs of Dignity and with the Windy City Gay Chorus were socially and artistically disappointing. I had been to IML a couple of times, and because I was working at a mundane office job that was not demanding outside the actual hours I had to suffer there (I should have been attempting to complete my academic ambitions, but that's another story), I spent much time on the weekends in bars. One might say, I was in my “slut” period. I was really looking for kink and romance, but that goal proved to be elusive.

Thus, looking for some excitement and still longing for connections in the LGBTQ community, I jumped at the opportunity when a couple of friends on the gay choral circuit invited me to go with them to New York. I worked some overtime so we could split one room four ways in Midtown Manhattan.

Upon arrival, in keeping with my life's trajectory at that point, I pretty much abandoned my friends' events (seeing Barbra Streisand, no thank you). The first night in New York City, I took the subway by myself down to Chelsea. I walked into a bar called Rawhide. Several persons in that bar lusted after me in my tight Levis and snakeskin cowboy boots. I smoked a joint with a guy I met outside. Yes, That Boy had arrived. Admittedly, the city was in a feverish celebratory mood, and perhaps what happened to me was a product of that feeling, but as usual, I never received such attention in my hometown.
 

Rawhide bar, NYC
Rawhide bar, NYC

I ended up at the Eagle and arrived back at the hotel room at 4 a.m., much to the consternation of one of my friends, who had previously decided I was on the path to gay perdition because I was into leather and did not like Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand. (At least I liked opera, but he did not think I loved La Divina aka Maria Callas enough.)

The next days were frenetic, but in a good way, as I, like Agnes Gooch the sponge of Auntie Mame, lived, lived, lived. Impressions: Chinatown, the fish on the streets. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a wonderland of the Old Masters (I had to show my friends how to get there, as I figured out the subway they were so scared of pretty quickly). Bodegas, fruits, flowers on the street. Buying food at D'Agostino's. People, people, so many on the sidewalk like in the movies. Vibrant, no one cared who you were or what you did. Little evidence of the segregation and compartmentalization I experienced in Chicago.

The Saturday night before the big parade the next day (we marched with the Illinois contingent), I said, I am going to go that Leather Ball in the Armory, by myself, and I don't care how much it costs. Let my roommates go to their vanilla choral concert. I put on my chaps, paid at the door an astronomical fee to get in because I had not reserved in advance, and entered a vast space of pounding house music and surprisingly, perhaps because I had arrived early, lots of space between bodies.
 

Lexington Avenue Armory
Lexington Avenue Armory

After about a half an hour, I saw him. He had been looking at me, and I at him. He certainly was no party boy, faux leather type. African-American, mature, bearded, glasses. Holding a rope. Cut off jean shorts. Worn beige work boots. Not exactly a Tom of Finland look or outfit. Perhaps that was the appeal. In less than fifteen minutes, I was tied to that rope. Yes, some enchanted evening does happen.

I spend the rest of the evening on that rope and at the boots. It was kinky, but also romantic. Lots of smiling at each other and at the straight BDSM couple at the ball (the girl was on a rope like me). At about 2 a.m., he took me to a pansexual sex party in an apartment with orange and green walls. I felt like I was in a Fellini movie. An orgy of naked grungy bodies in one corner, a coked up guy who was supposed to be guarding the door, an extremely large woman on a folding chair.

I arrived back at the hotel room at 5 a.m., much to the consternation of the friend mentioned above.
 

Giant rainbow banner, Pride/Stonewall 25 parade, NYC
Stonewall 25 banner

After all the above activities, and the massive parade (which I managed to walk in cowboy boots) the next day, the return to Chicago was extremely disappointing. The physical space of my hometown seemed to me flat, with too much arid space between buildings, and a ramshackle public transit system. Provincial, I kept saying.

New York had called because the man, the first master, was there. And I would return there, and he would come to me. My ritual initiation into serious BDSM. The scouring of body and soul. We were the one to each other.

I often dreamed of living there, but for practical reasons, mostly financial, that never occurred, but for a few years I could enjoy a world that for me resembled one I had only seen in movies. New York and Stonewall 25 were an escape, but also the beginning of a real life which showed me, contrary to what I was hearing from so many persons I knew at that time, that romantic love and BDSM can exist together in the diverse spectrum of human relationships.

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Great Non-Sex Moments in Classic Gay Porn Films

by guest blogger Miriam Webster

Sex scenes are, as one would expect, almost always the focus of porn films, but – especially in the the heyday of story porn and artistic/experimental porn, the 1970s, when many porn films truly were films – there were a large number of notably interesting non-sex scenes present in what was being produced. Sometimes these sequences were lead-ins to sex scenes. Sometimes they served to advance the film's narrative, or flesh out a character or an interpersonal dynamic, or talk about gay life and relationships and communities of the era. Sometimes they are notable because they capture something that is historically interesting. Following are several examples from the Bijou collection.
 

The Night Before (Arch Brown, 1973): Lady in Red / Dance Scene

Main character Hank (Coke Hennessy) goes for a stroll with a package he picked up on his way to deliver it to its recipient, the man with whom he recently got involved. In the park, he sees a woman wearing all red dancing and The Lady in Red suddenly comes on. He joins her in dancing for a brief, goofy moment. He then sits on a park bench and unwraps the package. Inside is a large print-out of a cover of The Advocate featuring a photo of two men taken by his lover. As Hank studies this photo, it comes to life and we see the men (Tim Clarke and Jeffrey Etting) perform a gorgeously choreographed nude dance number set to an operatic David Earnest score.
 

The Night Before images

 

Casey (Donald Crane, 1971): Casey talks to his fairy godmother

In several sequences from Casey Donovan's first film (shot before but released after The Boys in the Sand), Casey speaks to his fairy godmother, Wanda Uptight (also played by Donovan, in drag), who has appeared in the mirror to give him some harsh, but insightful advice on his habits and love life (or lack thereof). Wanda first appears after Casey wakes up by jerking off in bed unsatisfactorily, then sings to himself in the bathroom as he washes down a series of vitamins with a swig of Southern Comfort, lights a joint, stares hard at his reflection, and shouts “Faggot!” at himself. Wanda appears over his reflection, startling him, and she dishes out some tough love, chewing him out for not taking care of himself, chasing cock constantly, and not knowing what he really wants. Their very clever dialogue, expertly delivered by Donovan, is both funny and incisive, representing Casey's internal conflict around love, sex, and self-acceptance. (“Anybody who can wash down raw liver substance and vitamin B complex with Southern Comfort is depraved!” “Three nights a week in a Turkish Bath! You'll dehydrate yourself!” “No one digs anyone. It doesn't matter if it's number one or two thousand and two – where does it lead?”)
 

Casey images

 

Adam and Yves (Peter de Rome, 1974): The final film appearance of Greta Garbo

An American man, Adam (Michael Hardwick), and a French man, Yves (Marcus Giovanni), play mysterious sexual mind games throughout their brief, but intense, Parisian love affair, including the rule, enforced by Yves, that they may never know each other's names. The sights of Paris are a fascinating backdrop, but the most surprising and historically notable moment in the film comes when Adam recounts an incredible time when he saw Greta Garbo from the window of his apartment. Director Peter de Rome accompanies this story with the actual last-known footage of Garbo, herself, shot from his own window on super 8 film.
 

Adam and Yves images of Greta Garbo

Garbo in Adam and Yves

 

Ballet Down the Highway (Jack Deveau, 1975): Sloppy strip tease

Closeted truck driver, Joe (Garry Hunt), falls hard for ballet star Ivan (Henk Van Dijk) early in their ill-fated affair, but is intimidated by Ivan's talent, fame, wealth, and gorgeous physique. Ivan belongs to a world where he can comfortably be out and Joe does not. Ivan lives in an expensive apartment and gets fancy Dutch music boxes delivered to his vacation home; Joe gets drunk in a blue collar bar in the rumpled suit he wore to go see Ivan perform in the ballet (which he was too proud to let Ivan get him into for free) and is heckled for being gay by his buddies. Totally wasted after a night at the bar, Joe calls Ivan, who is irritated with him, then shows up to Ivan's apartment anyway. He changes Ivan's radio from a classical station to something faster with saxophone, saying he wants to dance, groping Ivan, and complimenting his beautiful body. Ivan pushes him away and Joe, hurt, mocks Ivan as insists he is a good dancer, too, and proceeds to do a drunken, sloppy strip tease in Ivan's living room, dropping pieces of his suit on the floor, smirking, sniffing his own sock, and finally pretending to drink out of his shoe while sprawled across Ivan's floor. All the while, Ivan ignores Joe and plays solitaire.
 

Ballet Down the Highway images

 

L.A. Tool & Die (Joe Gage, 1979): Fight scene, Vietnam flashback, work/getting to know you montages

Joe Gage's L.A. Tool & Die is full of strong character-building sequences. Early on, we see the hero, Hank (played by Richard Locke), hanging out in a gay bar and trying to cruise a handsome stranger (Wylie, played by Will Seagers). In the bathroom, Hank runs into a homophobic man who works for the bar owner. The man calls Hank a cocksucker, to which Hank grins and calmly responds, “You'd better believe it. The only thing I like better than sucking cock is kicking ass.” He tosses the man out of the bathroom and roughs him up a bit. The man, no match for Locke, runs away as Locke smirks, having not even gotten worked up or broken a sweat.

In a later scene, Wylie is taking a break from his cross-country drive to walk along the beach at sunset. In a close up, we see that he's crying. Gage cuts to a flashback of a younger Wylie in Vietnam, holding his dying lover in the battle field. His lover tells Wylie that he doesn't think he's going to make it and that he must promise not to forget him, but also to love somebody else some day.

Near the end of the film, Hank and Wylie reunite when they both get jobs at L.A. Tool & Die. Hank learned that Wylie was traveling there for work and decided to do the same. Two beautifully-cut montages and a dialogue sequence show the two men getting to know each other while working and taking breaks together. Wylie appreciates Hank being patient with him; he has been reluctant to get involved with anyone, but is clearly warming up to Hank. Throughout the film, Locke imbues Hank with an easy, warm sort of charm and a sexy, confident swagger and Seagers gives Wylie both a sweet, shy vulnerability and a quiet strength. The two men have enormous chemistry and the actors and characters compliment each other well, their connection and relationship feeling believable.
 

L.A. Tool & Die images

 

Wanted: Billy the Kid (Jack Deveau, 1976): I'll Be Your Mirror

New Yorker Billy (Dennis Walsh) is an unsuccessful actor and quite successful hustler. Between memorizing lines and gossiping with his friend (Megan Ross), seeing tricks, and exercising, Billy takes a quiet break to smoke a joint and listen to a song. It's a slow, folky original composition (“I'll Be Your Mirror” - lyrics by the film's writer, Moose 100, and music by Hand in Hand Films composer David Earnest) and the camera is fixed on Billy throughout its duration, as he sits, contemplative, smoking, listening, and occasionally mouthing along to the lyrics. He is broken out of his reverie by a phone call from a regular, and they swap some elegant dirty talk.
 

Wanted: Billy the Kid images

 

Confessions of a Male Groupie (Tom DeSimone, 1971): Party scene

This early Tom DeSimone film is possibly the ultimate hippie porn, focusing on a community of friends in Hollywood and their love of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Barely a sex film and more of a portrait of the era, the movie soaks up the atmosphere of the time and place as The Groupie (Larry Danser) moves to the area from a small town, becomes best friends with party girl Sweet Lady Mary (Myona Phetish), and cruises the members of a rock band (The Electric Banana). The climax of the film is a wild party sequence starring a large number of friends and acquaintances of DeSimone's. The attendees – all genders covered in glitter and sequins – laugh, smoke joints, swing on an indoor swing set, playfully horse around and wrestle, cuddle, embrace each other, and dance. The crowd includes a trans couple who were the subjects of two Penelope Spheeris short documentary films (I Don't Know and Hats Off to Hollywood).
 

Confessions of a Male Groupie images
Jennifer and Dana in Spheeris' Hats Off to Hollywood

Even with its surprising turn into a cautionary anti-drug film (after the wild hedonism of the rest of its run time), Confessions of a Male Groupie – and this sequence in particular – is a fascinating document of a real community of queer friends and lovers in the early '70s.
 

Confessions of a Male Groupie images

 

You can find all of these movies (except for L.A. Tool & Die, though some scenes from it are available in our compilation, The Best of Richard Locke) on DVD at BijouWorld.com and streaming at BijouGayPorn.com.

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Bijou Movie Reviews: The Word as Picture

I, Madam Bubby, the author of practically all these blogs,  like to think not only our movies not just as “classics,” but some of our reviews.

 

One twitter follower recently complimented us on our movie descriptions, and in this more visually-oriented age, our reviews show the power of the word to give some in-depth insight into really groundbreaking porn movies.

 

Many of our films date from the heady, trippy days of 1970s gay liberation, and the gay pornography of that period probed for the first time gay men's sexual identity and expression. 

Sometimes it's even more exciting (and educational) to read the reviews of these movies in particular (of course we want you to buy and watch them too!).

 

Remember the late great Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert? I might consider these reviews close to their level; just click on the hyper links and enjoy. 
 

Images from Born to Raise HellCheck out the reviews of Born to Raise Hell, the uber-gay-leather-BDSM movie, from 1974 with the legendary Val Martin. Note we've got two approaches to this movie (which still both disturbs and excites viewers with its brutal edginess), almost like Siskel and Ebert sparring. 

 

The review of Jack alludes to the famous Continental Baths, where Bette Midler got her start, because guess what? That's where the movie takes place! 

 

Images from Jack

The review of Adam and Yves is stunning in its detail and intensity (like the movie), and the author also ties  it deftly into the French New Wave movement. And there's a surprise guest appearance by a legendary actress of the silver screen. 

 

Adam and Yves images

Attack of the Amazing Colossal Latino is in some ways so bad it is good, and reading the review itself a real camp fest like the movie itself, which clumsily attempts to do some genre crossing. Science fiction meets gay porn! 

 

All these movies stream at www.bijougayporn.com!

Watch now!

 

Attack of the Amazing Colossal Latino images

 

 

 

 

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Our Favorite Bijou Gay Porn Scenes: What's Yours?

 


I thought this week it might be fun to do a more interactive blog (jacking off is fun, but your best friend isn't always yourself).

 

We're going to put out (maybe in more ways than one) some of our favorite Bijou gay porn scenes.

Then, you can share yours, and we'll even link to some of those clips on our websites on our Twitter page.

Madam Bubby's Picks

I'm into dominance and submission big time (the big is more mental that physical, but I do appreciate size, especially muscles!).

Turned On!


There's a scene from Al Parker's movie Turned On! that always gets me going. Now Al, for me, and I might claim many others, is a total top man (and I just don't mean fucking): he exudes a dominant, but not so much in your face (but then, who wouldn't want his glorious cock in your face) masculinity, but one that doesn't need much overcooked “on your knees, boy” proclamations.

But what makes this scene so fascinating for me is Al submitting, and submitting, endlessly... a hunger that is never satisfied, but is satisfied in its own hunger. Kind of the effect Al creates when he wields his mighty cock...

What is Al doing? In a locker room with male body parts behind every locker door, Parker and Sky Dawson (the man of Al's dreams in this movie) service rows (a sort of chorus line) of humpy, athletic men in jockstraps. It's a fantasy, but what it makes it even more enticing for me is the jockstraps. They conceal but also show.

Pictures From the Black Dance

Now, another movie, from Roger Earl's Dungeons of Europe trilogy, Pictures from the Black Dance, contains a scene which really gets me going. What's interesting is not so much the leathersex itself, but the overall dominance/submission dynamic I find erotic:

In the last scene, Dick Johnson is leading a hooded guy in a bondage/body suit. This is Tony Starr, who had previously been a dominant in the movie! The last dance, the climactic one. The slapping sound is its rhythmic accompaniment. They are still in the dungeon, but the wall looks like fall foliage. After what looks like a whiff of poppers, Johnson powerfully creates total submission; by pulling bottom up by hook on bondage suit. He barks one command that seems to pull most of the action together: SIT!

Johnson then attaches Starr to the board, and one hears a stomping and slamming sound with his powerful boots. He then, with amazing confidence, picks up the guy and then places him on the floor.

This lying down position, especially when contrasted with a standing position, is one of stripping away of conventional social norms, which often occurs in BDSM role playing. Johnson now has his bottom in this position of total submission in order for him to wield his power, by pulling the cock and balls on triangle attached to his cock and balls; this tension shows that Johnson himself actually reciprocating once he has shown his power.

Miriam Webster's Picks

I'm particularly interested in porn directors who use sexual explicitness as a vehicle for artistic expression. I also find emotionally raw states (such as love, sadness, or fear) to be intriguing mental spaces in which to tap into eroticism, the heightened emotional state acting as a potential sexual enhancer. The two scenes I'm featuring play with these approaches.

the Idol


The entirety of Tom DeSimone's The Idol is a well-crafted build from sexual isolation and frustration to sexual freedom and open expression, each successive sex scene progressing the main character, Gary, along in his sexual journey.

The final erotic encounter in The Idol is a romantic and bittersweet one. We know from the beginning that college track star Gary will die at a young age. The film is structured around his funeral, and this final flashback to a moment in his life shows him in bed with his lover (who has been longing for him from afar in the flashbacks until this point). The lighting is soft and blue, with the soundtrack pared down to simply the thunderstorm outdoors accompanied by their murmurings and moans, and the camera pans lingeringly over their entwined bodies. They take their time kissing and fucking to the sounds of rumbling thunder, rain, and wind. DeSimone's strong sense of erotic pacing is highlighted here, creating a potent crescendo of sexual tension. The scene ends as the two collapse into each other in exhaustion after climax and the soundtrack kicks in with a song echoing the claim, "I could never leave you." We know that this statement is untrue. The story has finally brought these men together and has brought Gary to terms with his own sexuality, but these journeys are about to end.

This scene is visually gorgeous, atmospheric, and emotionally effective. Even the sentimentality of some of the devices (the slow-mo at the end, the romantic dialogue) doesn't interfere, but, rather, feels perfectly earned and adds to the ambiance. This is a brilliant example of scene that is, at once, melancholic, romantic, and erotic.
The Destroying Angel


Peter de Rome's The Destroying Angel is easily one of the most unusual films in the Bijou catalog. It tells a Poe-inspired story of a priest on sabbatical who engages in mushroom trips and sex, which hauntingly meld together.

The film uses sexual explicitness to evoke as much horror as eroticism, playing with themes of repression/compulsion and revulsion/attracton. The scene where Caswell (the priest) fucks a young man he meets at a party is deeply unsettling and captivating. The two men eat mushrooms and Caswell observes his doppelganger entering into the action. "How many of us do you see?" he asks his partner. "Just you and me," is the calm reply. But we see the friend jerking off two Caswells at once, as the camera pans over to his double in an eerie moment of trick photography. Caswell seemingly watches himself from both positions. Both Caswells are alternately terrified, confused, maniacal, and sexually ravenous. Horrible yowls and laughs echo on the soundtrack and Caswell comes on his double's face, but won't stop trying to have sex even after his partner is clearly spent. His appetite is insatiable. It takes a sudden cut to achieve an end to the scene, which could have continued interminably in a wild hallucinatory state of unending erotic hunger.

This scene is a nightmarish distortion of sex, frenzied and made of pure compulsion, with Caswell watching himself in horror as if in shock at what he is doing. He can't reconcile himself with his sexuality and it bursts forth from him as if another him has been created, one made of his own repressed sexual side, his shadow self a creature of erotic monstrosity that can only be fed by being given more, more, until eventual destruction must occur.

Steven Toushin's Picks

Bijou owner Steven Toushin's selections are from two additional Steve Scott films (Turned On! also being by Scott): Wanted and Inches.

Wanted

In Wanted, the scene shows brutal, sadistic warden Jack Wrangler as he makes an inmate suck his cock, rifle in hand, then fucks him, while he's supposed to be guarding a chain gang. This scene is especially notable in its depiction of an erotic prison fantasy between warden and prisoner that is not as typically found between men in films.

Inches

In Inches, its the cruisey barroom scene near the end of the film. This scene is relatable to those who were present in the era or who have experienced bar backroom action, capturing a sense of realism in the small details of the scene which make it feel like an actual '70s-era bar backroom, with anonymous sex going on everywhere.

 

Check out these movies and more on DVD at Bijouworld.com and on demand at Bijougayporn.com and don't forget to email or tweet us your favorite Bijou scenes.  You can also comment on this blog.  We look foward to hearing from you!

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Andy
I have several favorite scenes, so I'll try to keep it brief and in no particular order. -- any scene where Jack Wrangler bottoms... Read More
Friday, 12 January 2018 01:13
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