follow us in feedly
‘How Far Will You Go?’ Meet Smokey, the outrageously gay 70s cult rockers
06.11.2015
09:42 am

Topics:
Music
Queer

Tags:


 
John “Smokey” Condon was a pretty boy from Baltimore who marched for gay rights in the aftermath of the Stonewall RIots in 1969. EJ Emmons was a budding record producer from New Jersey, already starting to work in small studios around Hollywood, when the two were introduced by a Doors associate. Teaming up in 1973 as Smokey, over the course of the decade, the duo produced five singles as well as a treasure trove of unreleased recordings. Later this month, Chapter Music is releasing Smokey’s music for the first time in the digital age as How Far Will You Go? The S&M Recordings 1973-81.

Smokey was an extremely “out” act for the mid 1970s, even in the pretty gay context of Lou Reed, Village People or Jobriath, they stood out as going “too far,” which is saying a lot. Their lyrics were outrageously uninhibited celebrations of male on male sex, “water sports,” leather queens and transvestites. They went for it where others feared to tread, let’s just say. Although Smokey had a rapidly growing fan base for their live shows in Los Angeles, predictably 1970s music industry execs thought they were “too gay” even if many admitted that they liked what they heard musically.

Undaunted Smokey formed S&M Records and self-released five singles that showcased their ability to adapt to and even prefigure the decades’ bubbling up from the underground musical genres. Smokey did rock, disco, protopunk, synth-punk, sleazy R&B, stoner jams… but all of it was topped off by their outlandish choice of lyrical subject matter.

How Far Will You Go? has been lovingly restored by Emmons from original master tapes, and even mastered for vinyl by Emmons on his own cutting lathe. Extensive liner notes tell the tale of one of America’s oddest, most obscure 70s should-have-beens-who-never-were acts.

I posed a few questions to John “Smokey” Condon and EJ Emmons over email.

In the liner notes it indicates that you were living alone, or at least apart from your parents, at a very young age, above a rock club in Baltimore, partying it up with drag queens and the John Waters crowd. How did it happen to be that you were turned loose in the late 1960s in that way?

John: I was asked to leave by my Dad at fifteen so I went to Baltimore. I lived above a nightclub named the Bluesette in a small room with a scarlet bathroom. Met a lot of musicians there, I guess the most famous was Nils Lofgren who was in a group named Grin and he went on to play in Bruce Springsteen’s band and still does. Hung out at a nightclub in the Fells Point section of Baltimore called Ledbetters where most of the John Waters people hung out. Lived for a while with a drag queen named Christine. Moved to New York and then Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and back to Baltimore, where I met Vince Traynor who was the road manager for the Doors. I went to Europe with them and then to L.A. where I met EJ. That’s the condensed version.

Reading the press release, at first it’s tempting to think, “Okay, this is another obscure Jobriath kinda thing,” but Jobriath was more gay in the sense of show tunes and Greta Garbo, whereas some of your music goes beyond merely having an out and proud gay image and pisses right in your face. How did people react to music that lyrically celebrated S&M, watersports and the hardcore leather scene of New York in the mid 1970s? Lyrically “I’ll be a toilet for your love” goes far beyond anything that anyone else was doing at that time.

John: It still does as far as I am concerned, only a few rappers are pushing buttons these days. As far as people reacting to the music, they loved it. [The sexual subject matter] really did not affect them, in fact the crowds used to shout out for us to do “Miss Ray.”

EJ: People that heard the stuff really liked it, thought it was forward, and we did well whenever we played.  We had girls faint in front of Smokey! So it was always a very mixed crowd. We were not intrinsically “gay,” we just did what seemed cool at the time, and what I hoped as producer was somewhat ahead of the curve, since it takes so long to get signed. 

“Pisslave” was another thing: I took a dub to the Odyssey, where Chuckie Starr, still a close friend, was spinning.  He put it on, and the queens dutifully clogged away for 2:30 or so, until the minor section came in. It was like The Producers when the curtain rose, O-shaped mouths and not a movement on the floor. They just plain stopped, and listened in disbelief. Chuckie moved on.

Usually when there’s a release like this, the music often sounds low-fi, or was a 4-track home recording, or what have you, but you had a professional recording engineer in the band, so the audio fidelity is pretty solid here. What recording studios were you recording in?

John: EJ always insisted that free studio time was part of his gig wherever he worked. He was very much in demand. We worked off hours late at night, week ends and when there was down time in the studios. We started off at Artist Studios on Cherokee, but we recorded at Westlake Audio (when Quincy Jones and Eric Burden were next door, Paramount (where most of the songs were cut), we worked in the studio next to George Duke, Parliament Funkadelic, etc. the Record Plant, MGM Studios, etc.

Who else was working in these studios at the time?

EJ:  Over the timespan, a lot of different folks, much Motown tracking was done at Paramount, plus many Fantasy Records artists like Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, The Osmonds recorded at MGM of course. Older jazz greats like Joe Pass, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald.  Artist’s Studio was my first room, so the acts were either obscure or mariachis. We did things like Hudson and Landry, Little Richard, 4th Coming, Eden Ahbez… weird stuff.

Who are some of the musicians who came and went in Smokey’s orbit?

John: There was such a large array of musicians… the drummer from the Motels, Randy Rhoads, Kelly Garni (Quiet Riot) James Williamson (Stooges), Adrian Belew (King Crimson), Hunt and Tony Sales (Iggy Pop, Tin Machine) Billy Bass, Chuck Roast (Suburban Lawns) guys from both Rare Gems and Rose Royce.

But the line up we typically played gigs were Gordon Alexander, Bobby Jackson, and Johnny Perez (Sir Douglas Quintet). We used different lead guitar players a lot.

How did the mighty James Williamson get involved with Smokey?

John: Rodney Bingenheimer closed his club one night and brought him and several others to the studio and we cut some of tracks that are on the record, he then networked EJ to get a job at Paramount as he wanted to be a recording engineer. James worked in the shop along with EJ and myself, doing wiring of equipment.

EJ: He was a friend, and could wield a soldering iron pretty well, so I had him in the shop at Paramount between gigs. He is still a good and cherished friend. He came back to Paramount after he’d left as tech, to produce Iggy. I got to do some of their tracks, but James was more a pal and compadre than a member of our musical thing, save for that jam at Artist’s. Many of my masters burned in a studio fire in the late 80’s, and I suspect that one went with most of the album. A lot of the Smokey re-release is from the actual master two tracks from the time.
 

John “Smokey” Condon standing outside of Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco in West Hollywood.

Where did you play live and for what kind of audiences?

John: We played at Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco on the Sunset Strip a lot. We played a club called the Starwood, all around. Audiences varied as to who was on the bill. We always got a reaction, and usually we headlined. It got very, very, very crazy in the end, EJ and two others had to escort me to the stage as people went pretty nuts over me. We had girls faint, riots break out… We played with lots of groups that went on to make it, the Motels, Van Halen before they were signed. I think sometimes you can hear the Smokey influence in some of their songs.

Given the weird sort of counter culture/Stonewall/James Williamson/Rodney Bingenheimer, etc., pedigree that is the backstory to your music, why is it that Smokey hasn’t been released in the digital era before this?

John: I moved away from music.

EJ:  A silent, friendly parting, I had my hands full with the Suburban Lawns (members of which are on the album pre-Lawns) and the Rare Gems, so it just sort of happened. I felt that we had just gotten bloody GOOD, too, with things like “Hot Hard and Ready,” but that’s showbiz!

Below, “Leather” from Chapter Music’s How Far Will You Go? The S&M Recordings 1973-81:
 

 
After the jump hear Smokey’s “How Far Will You Go…?” with James Williamson on guitar, circa 1976…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Idiot Christian couple pledges to divorce if gay marriage is legalized
06.10.2015
12:11 pm

Topics:
Belief
Politics
Queer
Sex

Tags:


 
The director of a conservative policy institute in Australia has announced that he and his wife of 10 years will divorce if the Australian state recognizes the legality of gay marriage. On the surface Nick and Sarah Jensen appear to be happily married, are in love, have children—the move would be a response to the changing nature of marriage as defined by the Australian state.

Millions of married couples have watched gay marriage enter their communities and not file for divorce, mainly because they recognize that the extension of marriage to apply to homosexual couples does not threaten their own marriages as such.

It would take the director of a think tank to make a stand such as this—in other words, Nick Jensen is grandstanding in order to make a political point. It is interesting that Sarah Jensen is nowhere quoted on the subject, it would be interesting to hear more from her. Or their children.

You can also read his statement, which ran in the Canberra City News. On this page from the Sydney Morning Herald you will find snippets of an interview with Nick Jensen in which he explains his reasons for getting divorced (it was not possible to embed the video). It runs like this:
 

Well, once you say that marriage is detached from children and is just about love, then when three people come to the state and say, “We’re all in love,” then the state has no grounds, except on just discrimination, to say why they can’t get married. So when it becomes detached from a child’s right to a mother and a father, and the sacred institution that it is, then suddenly it becomes meaningless, and those boundaries can’t be put back into place.

When we got married all those years ago, we made an agreement with the state—when we signed that marriage certificate—and that was an agreement about what marriage was and what we were entering into, and that was, as husband and wife, as a fundamental order of creation, part of God’s intimate story with human history, man and woman, for the sake of children, faithful and for life. And so if, later on in the year, the state does go ahead and potentially change the definition of marriage or change the terms of that contract, then we can no longer partake in that new definition, unfortunately.

I think states should have a role in marriage if it is affirming what is good about marriage. I can understand why some people might be upset, but our intention isn’t to hurt anyone or focus on any individual, but really our intention is for discussing at a deeper level what marriage actually is.

 
Opponents of gay marriage have long trotted out “slippery slope” arguments identical to the ones Jensen uses here—Senator John Cornyn famously speculated about a marriage between a man and a box turtle. Obviously such arguments are oblivious on the subject of the way marriage has been redefined over the centuries, from a system scarcely distinguishable from organized rape and kidnappings to suit political ends to one based far more on consent. Furthermore, the inclusion of homosexual couples in the kingdom of marriage doesn’t have any relation to marriages involving three people or involving a person and a bear. (Also, there have been cultures that permitted polygamy, it’s not a gross contradiction in terms or anything, society continued to function.)

Jensen invokes these spectres because he has no good arguments and because he wants to scare his fellow citizens into supporting measures to protect “traditional” marriage.

Whenever the subject of gay marriage would come on the news, my atheistic mom would cry out to my agnostic dad—in complete facetiousness—”Oh no! Don’t you see—the gays, they’re threatening the sanctity of our marriage!!!” In this mutual joke they were both affirming the silliness of any political position that relies heavily on “sanctity” or any “sacred” quality.
 
via Death and Taxes

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Girlfriend’: Austere portraiture of spectacular 90s drag queens
05.25.2015
12:59 pm

Topics:
Queer

Tags:


Lady Bunny
 
Photographer Michael James O’Brien‘s Girlfriend exhibition—now showing at Liverpool’s international photography festival—is an absolutely captivating array of vintage 90’s queer aethetics. While his subjects explode with life (and are ostensibly color people), the drag queens featured in his work have been captured in black and white, in front of nothing but a simple back-drop. This stark, austere composition has become his trademark, an artistic strategy to reveal the both the humanity of the queens alongside of their glamour. He’s been recording drag for 30 years, and his work stands out as a subtle look at a sensational art form.

O’Brien’s work was also featured in Girlfriend: Men, Women, and Drag a 1999 book by former New York Times Magazine style editor Holly Brubach. O’Brien actually took pictures of drag all over the world for the project, and though some are street photography and/or in color, the stark staging of the pictures obviously bear his sensibilities.
 

Butch Queens in Chanel
 

Ming Vauze
 

Billy Beyond and Sister Dimension
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Vintage photos of ‘drag queens’ before it was safe to be out and proud
05.22.2015
11:20 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Queer

Tags:


Brigham Morris Young
 
Here’s a collection of historical “drag queens” dating back to the 1800s and then onwards. The reason I’m using “drag queen” in double quotes is because I’m not entirely sure if these people were transgender, cross-dressers, dressing up as women for theatrical purposes or just for the of fun it. The information is very limited for each image. Either way, they’re all gorgeous and seem quite comfortable with themselves in front of a lens during a time when society looked down on such self-expression.


 

 

 

Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton AKA “Fanny and Stella.”
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Lights, camera, SLEAZE: Marc Almond, this is your life
05.11.2015
01:01 pm

Topics:
Books
Music
Queer

Tags:


 
First Third Books, the London and Paris-based publisher of deluxe coffee table books devoted to counterculture (like Sheila Rock’s Punk +) and extremely in-depth celebrations of particular groups and performers (Felt, Saint Etienne, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge) are coming out with another of their beautiful monographs in June—this volume concentrating on the life and career of the great Marc Almond.

Marc Almond will be limited to 1300 copies worldwide, hand numbered and bound in purple fabric. There will be 300 copies of the standard edition priced at £40 and 1000 copies of a limited special edition for £60 that includes unreleased songs on a 7” single. The first 500 copies sold of the limited edition will also be signed by Marc.

Back in March, when the book was first announced, Almond remarked:

“Putting a book like this together is very difficult because it brings up all kind of emotions. But it’s important to me to paint an honest picture, which means that as well as the many wonderful memories, working on the book has also forced me to resurrect certain things I’d rather hoped had been consigned to history. But that’s great. It would be too easy to fall into the comfort zone of nostalgia. The book goes much further than that. The whole process has been bittersweet and yet cathartic. I’ve really enjoyed working on it and it looks fantastic.”

It does. It’s the ultimate Marc Almond coffee table book and the perfect companion to his hilariously bitchy autobiography, Tainted Life (Ever the diva, Almond settles a score in every chapter! Highly recommended if you like pop star tell-alls.)

As longtime readers of this blog know, I am a massive Marc Almond fan—I have been since I saw my father fuming mad after Soft Cell ruined his Saturday night by performing “Tainted Love” on the Solid Gold TV show—so I’m thrilled to be able to offer a selection of photos from this amazing book, along with Marc’s own captions, and some related videos.
 

Youth: In 1964, I was seven. The world was still in black-and-white, still very much post-war, still austere, with poor street lighting and simple foods. But much of my world revolved around television pop shows like Ready, Steady, Go!, Thank Your Lucky Stars and Juke Box Jury. One of my first pop memories was seeing Sandie Shaw barefoot on RSG! singing ‘(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me’. I was always singing that song. I loved pop from a very early age.

 

Photo: Peter Ashworth

Non-Stop Subversion: This was our preferred cover for Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret but the record company thought it too menacing and subversive. Dave looks quite convincing in the role of switchblade-carrying psychotic!

“Martin” live on ‘The Tube’ in 1983

 
Much more Marc, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Radical queer photographer documents S & M culture in ‘family photos’
04.30.2015
01:28 pm

Topics:
Queer

Tags:


 
Photographer Kevin Warth does queer family photography… sort of. His work is actually a re-imagining of the family within the BDSM scene. I sense a tongue-in-cheek diss to the bourgeois gay politics of the day—if you’re not looking to adopt or get married, does the mainstream LGBTQ movement really offer you anything?

From his artist’s statement:

In the series “Boy and his SIR: BDSM and the Queer Family”, I photograph constructed realities in which BDSM practices coexist with domestic and familial rituals. This body of work stems from my disidentification with moderate gay politics, which primarily concerns itself with the legalization of gay marriage and adoption. In response, I question if this normative family structure is a desirable goal for queer relations, or if other modes of kinship are more suitable.

Okay, so that’s pretty thick with post-structural academic influence for a series with ball-gags, Saran wrap and a K-Mart photo studio tableaux, but I think there’s a sense of humor here I really like! Plus, in this era of 50 shades of fan fiction, it’s really refreshing to see some average faces and bodies being kinky in a domestic setting.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Juxtapoz

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
America’s religious ‘leaders’ make fools of themselves in the ‘Reefer Madness’ of anti-gay docs


And they all think you’re a dick, Mike…

With the Supreme Court hearing arguments today on gay marriage, it seemed like the perfect time to post this extended trailer from Light Wins, a goofball anti-gay rights documentary produced by Janet Porter, who is a weekly columnist for WorldNetDaily and the author of the demurely titled book, The Criminalization of Christianity (Gee, I wonder what that’s about?). Porter is a believer in “dominion” theology, the idea that Christians are duty bound to wrest complete control from non-believers over every aspect of political life. To bring about the return of Christ, of course!
 

 
I absolutely could spend the next 45 minutes coming up with all manner of insulting epithets and nasty things to say about the fucking idiots—including GOP presidential contenders Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul—who took part in this… thing—and it might even be fun, but it would also be utterly pointless. These people discredit themselves and the American/Republican form of Christianity they practice with every second of their onscreen time. It’s wall-to-wall DUMB. They don’t need me, or anyone else, to point out how ridiculous they are.
 

 
But I will say this: If you could go back in time to the Salem witch trials and do a documentary about what happened, it would be assholes just like David Barton, Louie Gohmert and Phyllis Schlafly who would be clamoring to inflict their stupidity on your audience (luckily they can’t burn anybody at the stake in these more enlightened times.). Clearly these folks do not realize how much they BOOST the cause of gay civil rights EVERY TIME they open their mouths! Not like there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell that level of self-awareness would shut any of ‘em up, I’m just sayin’...
 

Phil Robertson, thinking…
 
Yep. If these people are what America’s version of Christianity sees as its moral leaders… in a sense, all I can say is “Hey… great!” Ten years ago, it used to be that the sight of someone like Tony Perkins on TV made me steaming mad, but the distance from the Bush administration to today seems very, very vast. Today Perkins is scarcely even shown respect on these shows, just last weekend, Bob Schieffer (who’s retiring and hilariously called it exactly like he saw it) took careful pains to make sure that the Face the Nation viewership knew that he just didn’t like this guy very much or have any respect for him. At one point Tony Perkins and his icky ilk held the power, now he and they, just look like yesterday’s bigots.
 

‘memba her?

Light Wins, of course, casts this matter as a fight of good against evil. In doing so, it makes itself the perfect unintentional time capsule of the moment we’re living in. No really, it sums up everything about America at this pivotal moment in our history, not just the gay civil rights and persecuted Christianist angles, but how America truly is turning into two nations. Not a Christian vs. secular nation, or merely conservative vs. liberals either. It’s something greater than that, what I like to think of as “the Great IQ stratification.” Smart people vs. dumb people. What’s really going on is becoming starkly obvious at this point, don’t you think?

The participants in Light Wins will not be seen very kindly by history and no one in it is ever going to become President, either.

Here’s the nine-minute long trailer. (If you can’t get enough, there’s also the half-hour version.)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Terminal Bar: ‘New York’s most notorious watering hole’
04.15.2015
02:00 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Movies
Pop Culture
Queer

Tags:


The notoriously scuzzball Terminal Bar, as seen in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver.’

Though I may yearn for the rents of the 1970s, the “grit” of “old New York” can be heavily over-romanticized. Yes, it was cheaper, and the arts were more vibrant and the population more varied. There was shitloads of violent crimes, parts of the city were really dirty and dilapidated, and other parts just looked like some one had dropped a bomb on them.
 

 
Nonetheless, historical records of the all-too-recent period of NYC brutality are in high demand. Terminal Bar was most certainly an “old New York” institution. The infamously sleazy Port Authority-adjacent saloon opened in 1972, catering first to working class Irish-American toughs, then more for pimps, pushers, prostitutes, down-and-out drunks and drug addicts, finally attracting a primarily gay, black and male clientele before closing in 1982. During its ten-year run, bartender Sheldon “Shelly” Nadelman (the son-in-law of the bar’s owner Murray Goldman) documented his patrons and the area around the bar with a keen eye, and his collection, Terminal Bar: A Photographic Record of New York’s Most Notorious Watering Hole continues to engross those of us with a taste for the louche.
 

 
Calling himself a “half-assed artist,” Nadelman mainly worked in portraiture of his regulars—beautiful black and whites of usually overlooked and often avoided faces. In 2002 his son Stefan made a small documentary, Terminal Bar, that took the 2003 Sundance Jury Prize for short film—you can now watch it in its entirety (and in HD!) below.
 

 
In a combination of interview, narration and slideshow, you get a taste of just how wild—and how alive—one little bar could be. The Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building now stands where the Shelly Nadelman once took his customers’ portraits.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The all-drag version of ‘The Facts of Life’
04.10.2015
09:29 am

Topics:
Queer
Television

Tags:


 
If you’re of “a certain age” (or older), you surely remember and quite possibly even loved the show The Facts of Life, which ran on NBC for quite a while along with its somehow-related show Diff’rent Strokes.

The Oasis, on 298 11th Street in San Francisco, is a cabaret that offers “the best of gay culture and an unforgettable San Francisco nightlife experience in our 6,000 square foot venue.” At Oasis the performers have a healthy sense of pop culture: the venue’s calendar features tributes to Madonna and Beyoncé and elsewhere on the site are references to drag versions of Sex and the City, Friends, and Roseanne.

Starting April 23, and playing most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until May 16 is The Facts of Life Live!, which is an all-drag version of the Reagan-era sitcom staple The Facts of Life, which they identify as “the longest running sitcom of the 1980s.” (It ran from 1979 to 1988, which is very impressive.)

The Facts of Life was about four teenage girls who attend “Eastland School,” a boarding school, and Edna Garrett, often called “Mrs. G,” who is the housekeeper of the space where the girls live. (It never really occurred to me before, but the device of the boarding school allowed them to have a “family” sitcom with anyone being related to each other.) To its credit, The Facts of Life was one of the more obviously feminine, not to say feminist, sitcoms of the era and also served as a launching pad for the careers of talents as diverse as Molly Ringwald and George Clooney. Also just like X-Men, it was set in Westchester County, N.Y. (in this case Peekskill, about a fifteen-minute drive from the town in which I grew up).
 

 
The Facts of Life Live! is directed by D’Arcy Drollinger, who co-founded Oasis and also plays Blair Warner (original actress: Lisa Welchel). Tamale Ringwald plays Natalie (Mindy Cohn), Daft-nee Gesuntheit plays Jo (Nancy McKeon), and James Arthur M. plays Tootie (Kim Fields). The show consists of two episodes.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Remembering John Sex, East Village icon: ‘A hustler, a hooker, a honcho, a hero, a dyke and a queen’
04.08.2015
02:11 pm

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture
Queer

Tags:

image
 

From the Dangerous Minds archive, a post about John Sex on what would have been his 59th birthday.

John Sex was a New York City-based performance artist, male stripper and disco singer who was a standout personality of the East Village art scene of the 1980s. He’d sing schmaltzy Vegas numbers in glittery smoking jackets, shiny Ziggy Stardust-esque zip-up jumpsuits, 10-inch platform heels, and assless leather pants. His trademark was his bleached-blond hair which stood straight up on his head in an exaggerated pompadour which he said was held aloft by “a combination of Dippity-do, Aqua Net, egg whites, beer, and semen.” He also had a pet python, named “Delilah,” and a suit made of 500 light bulbs. In his X-rated version of the Sinatra standard “That’s Life,” he’d sing “I’ve been a hustler, a hooker, a honcho, a hero, a dyke and a queen.”

The “character” of John Sex was not all that much off from the “real” John Sex, but more of a mythical version of himself as an omnisexual rockstar parody or phallocentric version of Tom Jones. He couldn’t turn it off if he wanted to, which I can assure you, he did not. He would often claim that his parents were immigrants who “Americanized” their original Irish surname “Sexton” to “Sex” so they would fit in better, then adding “and if you believe that one…”  The real story is that during a period of “rampant promiscuity,” Joey Arias and Klaus Nomi renamed art student John McLaughlin, the nice Catholic boy from Long Island who was everything his mother never wanted him to be, “Sex” and for obvious reasons, I think the name just stuck!
 
imageJohn Sex with Ann Magnuson, early 1980s
 
John Sex was a smart, super creative, fun, funny and endlessly inventive guy. Everyone loved him. There was absolutely no reason not to. John was a total sweetheart, a great raconteur and he always had the best showbiz stories and gay gossip you ever heard. He is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. There was constant laughter when he was around. You can see a little bit of what John Sex was like in this clip shot by video artist Nelson Sullivan. John and his friend Craig Vandenberg (who often played John’s washed-up showbiz loser father in shows they’d do together) trade lines in the basement of the Pyramid Club, warming up before a performance there. His boyfriend, Willfredo, the guy with sunglasses, is seen taking pictures about 2:45 in. You can see the performance itself here.
 

 
With his female backing singers, The Bodacious TaTa’s (Wendy Wild, April Palmieri, Micki French, Myra Schiller and others) and wearing his exaggerated showbiz finery courtesy of his friend (and sometime TaTa) fashion designer Katy K, John Sex played to nightclub audiences at venues like Club 57, the Pyramid Club, Danceteria, Limelight, The Palladium and The Saint. Many of his shows would end with him stripping down to a glittery jock strap, or beyond, during a song called “Jet Set.” Some of his other notable numbers were “Hustle With My Muscle” (see clip below), “Sex Appeal,” “Bump and Grind It” and “Rock Your Body,” a song he did with noted hip hop producer Man Parrish, that I made a music video for in 1988 (see bottom clip).
 

“Hustle With My Muscle” directed by Tom Rubnitz, This was shot at the Area nightclub in 1986 when the theme of the decor was something like “rednecks” or “trailer trash.”

 

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Page 2 of 46  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›