The first thing that strikes you about the male models in the Celebrations 2012 calendar is that they're having fun. They're all over age 64, engaged in their favourite activities, and wearing huge grins. And, for the most part, they're stark naked.
Beefcakes, beware: These guys have lived long lives, and they're not afraid to show the rest of us what that looks like.
It's the second such fundraising effort by the folks at the First Parish Church in Framingham, Massachusetts. The first calendar (inspired by the 2003 movie "Calendar Girls") came out in 2006 and was a runaway success; it showcased 12 women from the Unitarian Universalist congregation, each of them age 64 or older, all of them in the buff. Janet Drake, 76, a librarian with three children and four grandchildren, was Miss June.
"I have been recognized by patrons that come into the library," she told The Boston Globe. "Someone would show them the picture and they would say, 'Oh, I know her. She checks my books out!'"
For the 2012 edition, the men get to be in front of the camera. Leo, Holly, Tony, John, Steve, Dick, Stan, Glenn, Larry, Ed, Walt and Jim are 67 to 84 years old, prominent members of the church who aren't afraid to let it all hang out. (You can see a few more pictures on the Celebration 2012 Facebook page.)
"These are people who were involved for many years in our community, and they got involved with the project to help out," Eva Benda, marketing coordinator for the First Parish Church, told the Globe. "And they bared all. And it's wonderful.'"
On the church's website, the AARP-eligible hunks explained why they decided to pose for the calendar. "It would be fun," one wrote. "Great for other senior men everywhere to see that their contemporaries are active, engaged, and have a sense of humour," another explained. "Time to respond in a positive way to society's worship of youth," a third pointed out.
The 2012 calendar also sports short bios of each model, who is photographed doing the things that interest them most: playing tennis, practicing the banjo, riding motorcycles, gardening, and more. Some of the models are local teachers; one is a retired minister. The photographer, Lynne Damianos, is also a member of the church. (She shot the 2006 calendar as well.)
"The whole point here is to celebrate the beauty of aging," Damianos told the Globe. "You see all these high-tech retouched photographs everywhere, but that is not reality. We wanted to show the vitality of people who have aged.''
Proceeds from sales of the $15 calendar will help to cover salaries, heating, maintenance, and insurance costs at the church. You can buy the calendar at UUframingham.org.
"The message is really what is compelling about the calendar, Benda said. "It celebrates aging well, lives well lived, being vibrant and engaged.
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