Grindr may be a platform providing access to all kinds of sexual (and social! and sociosexual!) experimentation to queer men, but sometimes brands themselves need to experiment. Grindr experimented with fashion. They recently experimented with handing over a majority of the company to a Chinese gaming corporation. They’ve also experimented with some pretty cool stuff — like the Grindr for Equality initiative, which, among other things, warns users of police crackdowns in less tolerant countries. And now Grindr is naughtily experimenting with…Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Oh yeah, they’re into some crazy stuff.
Helping the company bridge the gap between Elizabethan theater and 2010s hookup culture is the video’s star, Colby Keller — the pornstar, artist and Marxist critic famously(ish) known for having raised nearly $50,000 on Indiegogo for his campaign “Colby Does America” — a project whose title says it all. (But in case you want to hear more, here’s an interview about it with Keller in Next.)
The video was made to celebrate the company’s seventh anniversary, and was actually directed by Landis Smithers — their VP of marketing. In it, Keller begins reciting the famous line, “All the world’s a stage, and the men and women are merely players” in darkness, before launching into the whole “Seven Ages of Man” monologue. He appears as every stage of man mentioned in the monologue — as the “mewling and puking” infant, he’s wet and naked (seen above), and then as the “whining schoolboy” he appears in a pantless schoolboy outfit w/ requisite lollipop:
As the lover “sighing like a furnace,” he’s naked in a reclining chair and smoking:
As the soldier, he wears mesh and leaps over another pretty naked man, and so it continues through stages like “justice,” “dementia,” and “deathbed” (in which he appears simply naked w/ gossamer shawl; also, if we’re nitpicking, these stages deviate a bit from the text). Grindr adds its own creative spin with an eighth stage — rebirth — in which Keller is, again, naked.
Smithers spoke with Dazed, where this all can be watched, about the video:
We used one of his most epic stanzas from the ‘Seven Ages of Man’ because it oddly captures the arc of a gay man’s experience if read through the right vision. There is so much to coming out (being born), exploring yourself (childhood), exploring the world (the lover), developing judgemental qualities based on life experiences (the justice), letting go of those judgements, and the decades of life and death implications that have been woven into the gay culture’s very sexual being.