In calendar, Branford boys strip for a cause

Screaming “take it off,” Yale women crowded into the Branford College common room Friday evening to bid for dates with the Branford senior of their choice, to celebrate the release of the “Men of Branford” calendar and to raise money for a good cause.

The calendar, which was released at the date auction and God Quad party Friday, features pictures of 15 scantily clad Branford seniors. Conceived by Marlon Castillo ’05 and Justin Kan ’05 during a dining hall lunch conversation in September, the calendar was originally intended to heighten community and senior spirit, Castillo said. But the project grew to include a fund-raiser — Friday’s auction — which translated the popularity of the calendar into an event for tsunami relief. The date auction raised approximately $500 for Save the Children, Castillo and Kan said.

Kan, the producer of the calendar and “Mr. June,” said the idea for a calendar came from his friend in Seattle who invited him to a similar release party in the fall.

“I was a little jealous, so I was like, I’ll make my own calendar and have my own calendar release party,” Kan said.

The organizers of the calendar project applied for Sudler funding but only received money for an electronic version of the calendar, Castillo said. But Branford Master Steven Smith, who appears on the cover, said he liked the idea so much that he provided additional money to cover the costs of a printed version.

“It’s an honor to be on it,” Smith said of his cover model status.

The photographs in the calendar were all taken in and around Branford, Kan said. When choosing poses for the pictures, Kan said they focused on the “lewd.” One particularly shocking pose is of Kan himself, Castillo said. Kan’s picture was taken in the Branford kitchen; he is nude except for strategically placed shaving cream, which Castillo said was supposed to look like whipped cream.

“He [as producer] had to be really extreme with it because he wanted the other models to have funny shots, too,” Castillo said.

Because several of the models are athletes, NCAA rules prevented the sale of the calendars, Smith said. Although students involved asked for donations for the calendars, most of the money raised for Save the Children came from the auction, Castillo said.

Mr. May, Castillo, said planning for the date auction began late last week. On Friday, 13 out of the 15 models were put up for sale in front of a crowd of about 50 people, mostly women.

“We thought it would be a great way to do something fun for the senior class,” Castillo said.

The most valuable date of the evening was Michael Freedman-Aponte ’05, who was “sold” for $65.

A date with Freedman-Aponte was purchased by Amy Shapiro ’05, who also appeared as a background model in the calendar. She said she purchased the date because Freedman-Aponte was one of her friends and he was the last one up for bid.

Castillo said he was surprised at the size of the bids.

“We thought each model would get $5, $10,” Castillo said.

Katherine Booth ’08 attended the auction. She said she appreciated the spirit of the calendar and the auction.

“I think it’s a nice feminist idea to have a male fashion show,” she said.

Smith said he hoped the Men of Branford calendar would not be the last one produced by Branford students.

“I hope the ladies of Branford are going to do one just as good,” he said.

Michael Freedman-Aponte ’05 and Yvonne Lai ’05 look over the provocative photos in a recent Branford calendar. An auction held at the calendar release party raised funds for victims of the recent tsunami disaster.
Eric Seymour
Michael Freedman-Aponte ’05 and Yvonne Lai ’05 look over the provocative photos in a recent Branford calendar. An auction held at the calendar release party raised funds for victims of the recent tsunami disaster.

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