Ken Shapiro has two loves: animals and motorcycles. His new calendar, “Kitty Porn,” combines both. The Maryland native, who founded the Jewish motorcycle group Semites on Bikes, was so disturbed by the actions of Michael Vick — the NFL quarterback who was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring — that he felt he had to take action, albeit it in a rather unusual way.
Shapiro rounded up 11 brave volunteers from Semites on Bikes to pose in “Kitty Porn,” which will be used to raise money for the cat house of the Humane Society of Baltimore County, an animal shelter. The calendar features male models who pose nude on bikes, with cats strategically placed for the sake of modesty.
Inspired by the films “The Full Monty” and “Calendar Girls,” Shapiro, a retired kindergarten teacher, was determined to turn comedy into reality.
“I thought it would sell,” Shapiro said. “The club itself has 70 members, so then with friends, family members, I figured we might sell a hundred of them, and that was low.”
They’ve presold 100 calendars so far, and Shapiro anticipates selling 1,000.
At first, Shapiro specifically wanted to help dogs. He approached Tom Dudley, who is a member of Semites on Bikes and also the president of the humane society’s board, only to find that it was not dogs that are in need of help but rather cats, which are currently situated in deplorable living conditions at the shelter.
Warming to the idea, Shapiro recruited his volunteers, all of whom are male. He requested that each man send him a picture of himself that fulfilled three specific criteria: They had to incorporate a bike and a cat, and pose nude.
“Kitty Porn,” which costs $22.95, contains everything from a man who “looks like Adonis” posing in the woods to a 74-year-old male who posing in front of his fireplace, holding up the wheel of his bike.
The amateur nature of the photographs adds to the appeal, Shapiro said. “These aren’t models — it’s a grass-roots effort.”
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. From collegiate cat-lovers to a man who would like a copy of the calendar in time for his wife’s birthday, Shapiro has been flooded with e-mails.
Shapiro maintains that it’s simple, really: “Send us lots of money so we can rebuild the cat house!”