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‘Der Untermensch’: Choreographing queerness under Nazi rule
05.07.2014
08:09 am

Topics:
Dance
Queer

Tags:
Nazis
Simon Vermeulen


 
When the movie Frances Ha came out, named for its choreographer protagonist, I had hoped for a renewed interest in modern dance—perhaps a small, young fandom would emerge over Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring, or maybe Twyla Tharp’s The Catherine Wheel, which has the added cool cred of a score by David Byrne. Tragically, most folks are still pretty put off by dance, and I can never find a date to anything at The Joyce. However, the perspicacious readers of Dangerous Minds are always willing to try new things, right, especially when they’re as bold as Der Untermensch (German for “under man”, “sub-man”, or “sub-human”), a short dance film from Quebecois dancer and choreographer Simon Vermeulen. The concept is as daring as they come:

Staged against minimalist backdrops and accompanied by a hypnotic original score, this highly cinematic contemporary dance film abstractly depicts the persecution of homosexuals at the hands of the Third Reich.

That’s right; not only is it modern dance, it’s gay, French-Canadian political modern dance. If you’re intimidated by the medium, allow me to give you my simple dance appreciation advice for the unsure: it’s art made with the body. You have a body, too. Don’t overthink it. There’s no “plot,” and the performance isn’t literal, so Der Untermensch is pretty accessible, and whether you’re a fan or not, the visceral performance and abstraction of theme is absolutely captivating.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Lavender Country’: The world’s first gay country & western album, 1973
05.01.2014
09:37 am

Topics:
Music
Queer

Tags:
Lavender Country


 
For better or worse, the primary milieu attributed the gay American man is camp, and gay art can often suffer some typecasting and miscategorization as a result. It’s not like I don’t love camp, and I think campy stuff should be afforded far more dignity than it usually is, but the campy crown can be a little restrictive when art defies expectations. I’ve raved about the song, “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears” by Lavender Country for years now, but the cheeky title always seems to conjure (erroneous) images of a queer Hee-Haw novelty act. While Lavender Country is sardonic, and most certainly witty, they’re absolutely devoid of camp. Their self-titled 1973 album is simultaneously brutal and heartfelt.
 

Patrick Haggerty in drag during a 4H play, 1959

Patrick Haggerty grew up on a dairy farm in Washington state, but with a supportive father who allowed him to dress in women’s clothes and try out for cheerleading wearing glitter. After being dismissed from the Peace Corps for his sexuality, Haggerty made his way to Seattle and formed Lavender Country in 1972. The eponymous album was recorded with help from the Seattle gay and lesbian community, and it’s now recognized as the first openly gay country record. It’s been a rare collector’s item for years, but was recently released on North Carolina label, Paradise of Bachelors.
 

Only known band photo

The songs are often overtly political—you can hear it most explicitly in what is arguably the record’s foundational anthem, “Back in the Closet.” Turning a critical eye to the counterculture of the 60s and 70s, the lyrics tell the story of a literal revolution, where feminists, workers, Black Panthers and gay people fight for a new world. They emerge victorious, but after the dust settles, gays are marginalized once again, this time by their so-called comrades. It’s the kind of bitter story-telling that’s just so darned perfect for country music.
 

 
But it’s the aforementioned “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears” that I heard first and it remains my favorite Lavender Country song. Haggerty describes it as, “both the boon and the bane of Lavender Country,” with its scandalous title and pull-no-punches lyrics. A lesbian DJ friend of his was even kicked off the radio for playing it. It’s definitely their best-known track since it was up on YouTube years before the re-release of the record, and though Haggerty has since made peace with his most infamous song, it definitely eclipsed his larger artistic project at times . Don’t let the incendiary title mislead you though. With lyrics like, “I’m fighting for when there won’t be no straight men, ‘cuz you all have a common disease, can’t give very much, for loving and such, but you take wherever you please,” it’s a scathing take-down of the worst tendencies of masculinity and as feminist as anything.
 

 
What I can’t stress enough is that Lavender Country isn’t “merely” just a groundbreaking album in terms of gay visibility and explicit politics, it’s a really, really excellent country album. I don’t just recommend it for the novelty of them being the first gay country band—anyone who digs Graham Parsons or Emmylou Harris will find it a beautiful record.
 

Lavender Country’s Patrick Haggerty in 2000 at Seattle Pride
 
Via Pitchfork

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Why was transgender punk icon Jayne County banned from Facebook?


 
Punk pioneer, transexual trailblazer and Stonewall Riots veteran, Jayne County is a national treasure. However, the most recent coverage of County has not been on her legacy to punk rock or transgender history, but rather a petty bit of Internet activism. It appears the groundbreaking transexual foremother was banned from Facebook for 24 hours, presumably for her affectionate use of the word “tranny”—the exact phrase being, “I am having a party tonight and all my breeder, fag, dyke, tranny and shemale friends are invited!”

To call Jayne County an “icon” insinuates that she’s a paragon of her field, and that doesn’t quite do her justice—she just has too many fields. She came from Georgia to NYC in 1968, a draggy outsider who knew she’d find a more vibrant (and safer) community in the New York arts scene. New York was no picnic however, and Jayne quickly found herself fighting for gay rights in the Stonewall Riots. Before she was Jayne, she picked “Wayne County” as her nom d’arts alter-ego—a reference to her love for Detroit music. As Wayne she acted for Jackie Curtis, then onstage for Andy Warhol in Pork. By 1972 she had started an early protopunk band, Queen Elizabeth.

County’s hand in punk wasn’t just relegated to her androgynous persona and raunchy stage antics—the 1974 stage show, “Wayne at the Trucks” was an early rock theatre experiment, very reminiscent of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs tour. In 1974, Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys were regulars at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, and County appeared in the 1976 punk film, The Blank Generation. By ‘77, Wayne County & The Electric Chairs had developed a following in Europe, and Wayne began her transition to Jayne, making her the first trans rock star. She’s never stopped moving, and even now sells her art as she cares for her ailing mother in Georgia. I highly suggest you check out both her music and her autobiography—Man Enough To Be A Woman. She’s a lovely, fascinating person with an unbelievable story, and we at Dangerous Minds couldn’t be more pleased to get an exclusive interview with her.
 

 
Dangerous MInds: First of all, how did you make your way from Dallas, Georgia all the way to New York City?

Jayne County: From Atlanta to NYC was a trip indeed! I first heard about Sheraton Square and The Stonewall from a group of gay hippies that I was hangin’ out with on 14th Street in Atlanta. 14th Street at that time in 1967 was the hub of everything that was cool and different in the repressive state of Georgia! It was wild and all types were welcome! Straight, gay, men, women and anything “in between”!

There was a big crackdown on anyone and anything the least bit different and unfortunately for me and my friend, drag queen Davina Daisy, that included being shot at by a truck full of chicken-carrying rednecks from Alabama! Rednecks would bring in the chickens they had raised on the back of their trucks to be sold at the local farmers market. Davina and I were prancing down 14th Street dressed in all our 60’s finery, and that included something that in those days was called “semi drag”!  We would go, “Ooooooooo Miss Woman !!! Lookatchew! In SEMEYE DRAG, lookin guuuud!!!” Semi drag was a term that just meant that you were not in full drag, which was usually reserved for Halloween or very special occasions! Full drag was good for Halloween because Miss Alice Bluegown, (the police) couldn’t legally arrest you for female impersonation.

In Atlanta there was a law that if a male’s hair touched the tip of his ears, he could be arrested and thrown in jail for impersonating a woman! The Southern Baptist Church, which controlled just about everything in those days, wanted to make sure that their young, straight Christian men didn’t mistake one of these demon possessed sodomites for a woman and commit a horrible, unforgivable sin!

By law you were required to wear a couple of articles of men’s clothing so people wouldn’t mistake you for a “real woman”! That’s the way it was! Your clothing was policed, and you could be put in jail for wearing the wrong attire! Back in those days, no one used the term “trans.” I didn’t even know what a transexual or transvestite was!

If the police caught you, sometimes they would drag you down to the police station and hold you down and shave your head. More than likely you would be severely beat up or raped or both! The cops would sit back and do nothing or laugh of even take part in the “festivities”! Such was life for trans people!
 

 
That day Davina and I were shot at, you could actually hear the bullets zinging past our ears! It was a truck full of rednecks! You could hear the chickens in the back of the truck just a cluckin away! I turned to Davina and told her that I was getting the hell out of there! I bought a one-way ticket to NYC and that was that!

DM: How did you get into theatre? You got involved with Warhol through Jackie Curtis, correct?

JC: Yes, I got in to theatre because of the fab Andy Warhol drag queen, Jackie Curtis. I say drag queen to avoid confusion because Jackie didn’t call herself a drag queen! She just called herself Jackie! She stated in an article that she wasn’t a man and she wasn’t a woman. She said,  “I’m just ME! Jackie!” At the time this seemed quite revolutionary! She wrote a play, called Femme Fatale, while stirring speed into her coffee every day upon waking up! It was performed at La MaMa [Experimental Theatre] as a sort of a tribute to the song by The Velvet Underground. I played a lesbian prison inmate named Georgia Harrison. In the play I swatted flies with a fly swatter then ate them! Like that nutty guy in Dracula! Don’t ask me why—it was art! Patti Smith was also in the play sporting a three-foot long cock ! A phallus like they used in ancient Greek theatre! She played with her over-sized Oscar Meyer, rubbing it and thumping it against the furniture shouting out lines like, “Hey, imma gonna fuckka you witha my hot pepper,” and “benda over Rover! And letta my big pizza taka over!” At one point she started waving it in my face and I started beating it with my fly swatter! It was ridiculous! The entire play was ultra offensive!!!
 

Above, from Rosa Von Praunheim’s City of Lost Souls
 
DM: You were a part of the Stonewall Riots as well—can you tell me a little bit about that?

JC: The Stonewall Riots were a turning point for gay people’s rights. People, especially the obvious femme queens and drag queens, were totally fed up with the treatment we were receiving! The queens stood out like sore thumbs, so naturally it was the queens that got all the shit on the streets! You had to know how to run fast! And some carried weapons like those fab metal tipped teasing combs! The ends could be sharpened and become very adequate weapons! Of course hair spray in the eyes was another good one. Some of the girls hid knives in their highly teased up wigs! It got really bad when the cops started doing “sex searches”! Taking the drag queens into the women’s rooms and forcing them to show their genitals to the officers. Some of the pigs were laughing at the queens who were in tears and begging to be left alone.

Well people simply snapped! We started throwing bricks, setting fire to trashcans or anything else that would burn . Turning back buses, chanting “Gay power! Gay power!” Marching up and down Christopher St. with our fists in the air! Causing mayhem anyway we could think of. It lasted three days and things were never the same again! We had had enough!!! It was time to fight back!
 

 
DM: At what point did Wayne become Jayne, and what was that transformation like for you, personally and also artistically?

JC: I remember being so thrilled when my breasts began growing ! My roommate at the time was the legendary underground rock-n-roll photographer, Leee Black Childers, who just recently passed away, bless his heart! Leee was a close friend for many many years and knew me better than anyone else on planet Earth, including members of my own family who don’t really know the real me at all ! Leee was and will always be a big piece of my life ! It was funny to watch Leee’s reaction to my breasts becoming large! He couldn’t even look at them! He would quickly cover his eyes when I would trick him in to seeing them! I had been Leee’s friend Wayne for years. We would go bar hopping together and go see all the bands at the Fillmore East! Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Iron Butterfly, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Led Zeppelin, oh I could go on and on!!! We were both big rock fans! And Leee was used to being pals with Wayne . And he had to watch Wayne disappear right before his eyes and Jayne take his place! As I think back it must have really been hard for him! I’m sorry Leee, my dear dear ole friend, but I had to do it!

In Atlanta I saw The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, The Shangri Las, The Ronettes, The Shirelles, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Turtles, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Sonny and Cher, The Supremes, Tom Jones, Otis Redding, Peter and Gordon, etc., etc., etc. I saw all the greats!  And when glam came in, I was right there! I started experimenting with both sexuality and gender during the so-called “glam movement” which Leee and I played a big part in. We both worked for David Bowie’s Mainman Records and I was one of their signed artists alongside of Bowie, Iggy And The Stooges and Lou Reed. I had been dressing as a woman on and off my entire life—since age three or four. I can actually remember doing it at age five and six! But during the glam period I began taking it more seriously. And in 1974, I began taking female hormones A few years later I read a book that Leee brought home called Canary Conn. It was the story of a M to F trans woman—true story and it had a huge influence on me. But I didn’t change my name officially from Wayne to Jayne until 1979. It was a gig at CBGB! There were these big pink posters up all over NYC with a really good and very femme photo style drawing of me saying WAYNE COUNTY ! But the “W” was Xed out and a “J” was put in over it! It looked fantastic and it was my first gig as Jayne County!
 

 

”(If You Don’t Wanna Fuck Me, Baby) Fuck Off!!”

DM:You were a pioneer on the punk scene since before punk was punk—how did you transition artistically to music?

JCOh I have always been heavily in to music so there wasn’t really much of a transition from theatre to music! In fact I mixed my music and theatre together ! My big stage show and musical, “Wayne at the Trucks,” was a forerunner of Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” tour and was produced by Bowie’s MainMan Records! When punk happened, it was a reaction to the over excesses of both glam and progressive rock, but at least Bowie’s music contained a lot of great rock and roll and some really amazing androgynous images. Punk rock had to happen in order to sweep the slate clean and make two and three chord music featuring guitars, bass and drums once again the focus point of some of the best rock and roll music ever created!

DM: Your success in Europe was much more distinct than in the US, where you’re considered more of an “artist’s artist.” What do you think the difference is between US and European audiences?

JC: European audiences seem more ready to accept what the artist is trying to do on stage and will usually cheer the bands on, even when the bands sometimes appear to be struggling just to keep themselves from falling apart right there in front of your eyes, as in the cases of The Cramps and Johnny Thunders. American audiences are too quick to judge and shout, “Get off!” at you! In America the audience want you to go overboard to prove to them that you are valid! In Europe it’s just, “Shit, we are so glad that you’re here!”

DM: Recently, some sanctimonious (self-appointed) social media police reported you on Facebook for hate speech—what the hell happened?

JC:I’m laughing my big egotistical head off right now. Oh no, I said “head!” Someone may be offended by that mean ole powerful word and report us to the trans authorities! Anyone could you know? That’s how easy it is now for some uptight “new” version of an old, fuddy duddy, party poopin’ Baptist church lady, to report you!

And I must say that since the crap hit the fan about the transfascists trying to burn books by banning one word at a time, my following has skyrocketed! I seem to have hit a nerve! And that nerve is that thousands of people disagree with them! They are actually trying to silence people that disagree with them as well by trying to pressure papers and magazines like The Huffington Post not to print articles by people that have a different opinion from them! Now that is pure evil! Self appointed, condescending little academic snobs that think they have some divine right to lord over the rest of us by telling us what words we can and cannot use. In other words, they want to let the homo and transphobic bigots take our words from us and use them against them! You can ‘t do that! It won’t work ! You can ‘t erase words like “tranny,” “shemale” and “gender bender,” just because a bunch of psychos try to use the words against us!

Some African Americans now use the “N word” within their own community. They have taken the word away from the racists and made the word their own and by doing so that word cannot harm them! It’s the intent behind the word, not the word itself that is harmful. Trans activists have it completely wrong! And some people are standing up to their bully tactics of forcing their narrow-minded views on the rest of us! No means no, and I will not be intimidated or silenced by any self-appointed guardians of a delusional morality! It’s in your head honey, not mine!

The word tranny belongs to me! You will not take it away from me, because some transphobic bigots are trying to use the word to hurt me! The word does not harm me because I do not allow it to do so! The intent behind the user of the word is what should concern us, not the word itself!
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Out of the closet: ‘Gay jeans’ reveal your true colors
04.23.2014
07:02 am

Topics:
Fashion
Queer

Tags:
Gay jeans

Gay jeans
 
Everyone knows that one of the best things about jeans is that they conform to your body over time. The more you wear them, the more they fit you specifically, as the rugged denim wears down and molds itself to your bones and musculature.

Betabrand has come up with a clever concept that takes that one step further: the jeans start out dark indigo, like any other jeans, but as the fibers wear down, they expose a gay-friendly rainbow of colors instead of the usual white.
 
Gay jeans
 
As lead designer Steven B. Wheeler commented, “I like the idea that the jeans come out of the closet over time, and their true colors are something that develops over time and look unique to everyone.”

To be honest, in the sample pics featuring the models, I can’t really see that much difference. But (a) the more you wear them, the more colorful they get, and (b) maybe it’s part of the fun that you see it better up close and personal.
 
Gay jeans
 
Betabrand appears to have met its crowdfunding goal with yards to spare (402% as of this writing), but there are 21 days to go until their funding deadline is over. If you order before that time, you’ll qualify for the 10% off discount, meaning you can get a pair for $88.20 instead of $98.
 

 
via Dis

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Sex Freak’: A young RuPaul performs on cable access TV. No band, no budget, all charisma
04.16.2014
01:07 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Queer
Television

Tags:
RuPaul


 
Despite my ardent endorsement of RuPaul as “America’s sweetheart,” she’s been catching a lot of criticism lately, and not from a bloodthirsty religious right (who apparently know how to better pick their culture wars these days). A feature on her hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, called “Female or She-male,” has been cut from the air after many trans advocates found it offensive. In the segment, contestants were shown pictures of body parts and asked to guess what gender or sex of person possessed said body part. Anatomical “guessing games” have certainly historically demeaned queer people, and a lot of of folks were understandably upset, finding the game “othering.” Many trans advocates have have also argued against Ru’s use of the word “tranny,” as they maintain it’s a slur used to describe trans women and not gay men who do drag.

For the record, I’m not speculating on anybody’s body parts (which is vulgar and cruel, when done without invitation), nor am I ever calling anybody “tranny,” but I do think time will show that RuPaul is on the right side of history. On the first count, the body parts used for “Female or She-Male” were done with volunteer participants—it was not some zoological expedition intending to “expose” the “unreal” women.

On the second count, “transgender” (as opposed to “transsexual” or “transvestite”) wasn’t even a concept until the term was coined in 1979 by early trans celebrity Christine Jorgensen (interestingly, many gay men accused her of homophobia, arguing she implied that gay men were women trapped in men’s bodies). Additionally, at least until 1992,  “transgender” included “transsexuals, transgenderists, and cross dressers” according to International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy.

Terminology changes rapidly to accommodate developing ideas in gender theory. To expect everyone to retrofit their own identities to the latest language—language which may or may not even stick around for very long—ignores the context and history of our foremothers (or forefathers, or forebearers, or whatever).

From a purely technical standpoint, to say that “tranny” is a slur only used to describe a single type of gender nonconformity gives the bigots who use it epithetically way too much credit—they’re not differentiating between sex and gender. I’m sure RuPaul has been called “tranny” in her life (and though identities as a man, doesn’t really care too much about pronouns or identity in general). I think it’s pretty inconsistent that she now be barred from using the word, especially since Ru is so supportive of any and all gender expression.

Regardless, I find the latest social justice culture’s obsession with “pure” language to be a bit wrong-headed, not to mention politically impotent, so I thought I’d like to post a reminder of what it is that makes RuPaul so groundbreaking. Here we see a 1986 clip from the brilliant Atlanta cable access program, American Music Show, one of the longest running public access shows, ever, and a veritable treasure trove of weirdo outsider performance. Ru is seen here performing “Sex Freak,” from his very first 12 inch EP release of the same name. It’s a spoken-word techno song, and he romances the camera with an amazing resourcefulness—no band, no budget, yet all that charisma and confidence still shines through!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Finland to release Tom of Finland postage stamps
04.14.2014
12:48 pm

Topics:
Art
Queer

Tags:
stamps
Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland
 
You may not recognize the name Touko Laaksonen, but you almost certainly are aware of his attention-getting drawings of gay men, as well as his pseudonym, Tom of Finland. Tom of Finland’s drawings, during the second half of the twentieth century, were some of the most defiant and liberated depictions of gay men, so much so that they unquestionably achieved iconic status—and most likely, dictated some fashion trends on its own.

Yesterday the Finnish Postal Service, known as Itella, unveiled 33 new stamp designs. The most surprising inclusion, and as time passes most likely the most controversial, are the three depicting “male drawings by Tom of Finland.”
 
Tom of Finland
 
According to Itella, Tom of Finland had reached the status of a Finnish cultural hero worth celebrating in stamp form: “His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.”
 
Tom of Finland
 
Tom of Finland
 
Same-sex marriage in Finland is currently illegal, if you are under the mistaken impression that all Scandinavians are reflexively tolerant and thus won’t even blink at a little male sex play on their envelopes. In February the Finnish parliament began to debate a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, but the measure has not become law yet. The stamp issue may put a spotlight on the debate.

Tom of Finland’s images of leather-clad bikers mark the early boundary of what can be considered contemporary queer art designed for mainstream consumption. They shred the boundaries between porn and art. What makes them so intriguing, in a way, is that the male figures have a sensitivity accorded them that makes them something beyond mere “beefcake.” They’re images of pure fantasy, without being oppressive; they are obscurely real. In contrast to the once dominant gay stereotype of the “fairy,” “ponce,” etc., Tom of Finland’s bikers were unquestionably empowering. We salute the progressive minds at Itella who worked to make these stamps a reality.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Thrown out for kissing: A quaint guide to gay discos, 1978
04.14.2014
08:09 am

Topics:
Queer

Tags:
disco
gay rights


 

With the first gay and lesbian couples finally permitted to legally marry in the U.K. only a few weeks ago, it is kind of sad to run across the special guide to London clubs published by New Musical Express in 1978. The “Gay Scene” category was both transgressive for the times, but quaint, and included the private, prohibitively expensive Maunkberry’s, frequented by the music and entertainment elite, as well as the Bang Disco on Charing Cross Road (opened in 1976) at the top of the list, a “good mixture of gays and punks.” The category leads with the bummer of a caveat:

Habari! Habari! Hungry for play? Well, let love and joy abound on your London safari. But first a note to all you guys ‘n’ gals, cuties ‘n’ chickens, rent boys ‘n’ muscle men, leather lovers ‘n’ sock eaters: REMEMBER, British Law permits homosexual activity IN PRIVATE between two consenting adults of 21 and over. Any sexual contact in public is forbidden.

gay scene dir
 

Sabotage Times recently mentioned in a fascinating history of London’s gay clubs:

1976 was a groundbreaking year for the development of gay discos in London with the arrival of Bang: London’s first gay superclub. Held at The Sundowner on Charing Cross Road every Monday night, subsequently opening on Thursdays due to popularity, Bang had a 1000+ capacity; a good, loud sound-system; all the hot, new disco imports played by experienced DJ’s Gary London, Talullah and Norman Scott; and dramatic lighting effects operated by the venue’s very own lighting engineer.

As 1976 was the year of the first commercially available 12” single it was perfect timing for a night like Bang – improved audio quality and extended track length for a bigger and better dancing environment.

Below, a look at the Brixton Fairies, a much-needed support network and lifeline for British gays and lesbians in the ‘70s:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Found photos from Kansas City’s 1960s drag scene
04.10.2014
06:59 am

Topics:
History
Queer

Tags:
drag queens


 
Vintage drag is always a treasure, but my excitement over these gorgeous pictures increased exponentially upon learning they come from the Midwest and they were only recently discovered, by total chance. In 2006, an undergrad named Robert Heishman was rummaging through a Kansas City salvage yard in hopes of finding a subject for a documentary class. He came across some slides, discreetly labeled, “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City,” and after flipping through some commonplace family photos, he hit drag queen gold and purchased the lot for $2.

Two years later Heishman’s friend Michael Boles found a shoebox of similar pictures, some of which turned out to be from the exact same parties as Heishman’s pictures. They combined their findings into a collection they call, “Private Birthday Party,” which contains over 200 photos from Kansas City’s incredibly vibrant 60s drag subculture. The bar that hosted these events would post a sign that read “Private Birthday Party” to keep the event covert—same-sex dancing was illegal in Kansas City and gay bars experienced regular raids. Knowing these photos were taken in the knowledge that they could have been used as “evidence” makes them all the more lovely a record of frolic.

With the help of writer Emily Henson and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America, they hope to identify and contact as many of the performers and party-goers as they can find, and they even believe they are close to uncovering the identity of the photographer.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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John Waters calls it ‘the worst taste thing I ever did,’ Divine in ‘The Diane Linkletter Story’
04.09.2014
07:44 am

Topics:
Drugs
Movies
Queer

Tags:
John Waters
Divine
Diane Linkletter


 
In my tireless quest to become a John Waters completest, I’ve been perusing his interviews and writings for lesser-known films. So imagine my thrill at finding his 1970 16mm short, The Diane Linkletter Story on the humble platform of YouTube! (Okay, don’t hate me because I didn’t even have to trek my ass down to a repertory cinema. I’m in my 20s. Do those even still exist?) For the uninitiated, Diane Linkletter was the daughter of Art Linkletter, a family-friendly media father-figure, and host of such wholesome television fodder as, Kids Say the Darndest Things!. Art was also a staunch conservative, and by the late sixties he was touring the country, giving lectures on the growing “Permissiveness in this Society.” But what really solidified his “brand” as the nation’s moralizing Republican dad was his “duet,” with Diane, “We Love You, Call Collect.” (If you’ve never heard it, click the link, and try not to puke.)

The spoken word recording is among the most insipid drivel I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard “The Christmas Shoes.” Over a maudlin score, Art and Diane read aloud a fictionalized correspondence between father and daughter. The daughter has run off to join the counterculture, and the father gives loving advice while begging her to come home, or at least call. This wild child is breaking her dear dad’s heart, and the listener is meant to sympathize with the family, but ultimately blame the daughter and the decaying morals of our time. It’s quite the pearl-clutcher.

Tragically, in October of 1969,  just months after the release of “We Love You, Call Collect,” Diane Linkletter jumped from a sixth floor window to her death. Perhaps from grief, maybe he believed it or maybe even to do some damage control, Art Linkletter quickly told the press that Diane had only jumped under the influence of LSD. When Diane’s toxicology report came back clean, he still stuck to his story, with a second career as an anti-drug crusader. Art and his late daughter even won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording, and Art maintained that all proceeds from the record went “to combat problems arising from drug abuse,” whatever that means.

Starring Divine as Diane, and Waters regulars Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary as Ma and Pa Linkletter, The Diane Linkletter Story is a satirical interpretation of Diane’s final moments, similar to the style of drug moral panic films of the time. It even opens and ends with excerpts from “We Love You, Call Collect.” But that’s not the worst of it.

Waters actually made the movie the day Diane’s death made it in to the papers, and showed it before the funeral even happened.

I think the film is a gem, and it’s not like the surviving Linkletters were going to make their way up to Baltimore to see it. Waters has since praised the idea as an excellent exercise in creativity—instant movie-making from the headlines of today. And before you get too sensitive, he’s since found out what everyone with half a nose for Republican careerism had already suspected—that Linkletter always knew Diane’s death wasn’t drug-related, but in fact used his daughter’s suicide to push his anti-drug political agenda—so who’s in bad taste now?
 

 
Below, a cringe-worthy “showdown” takes place when douchey conservative TV host pits Art Linkletter (on phone) against Timothy Leary, the man he blamed for his daughter’s death:

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Do not run’: Hints for straight college girls encountering lesbians, 1988
04.08.2014
09:52 am

Topics:
Amusing
Feminism
History
Queer

Tags:
lesbian


 
New York magazine’s music critic Jody Rosen posted this gem on his Twitter and added, “...priceless period piece unearthed yesterday by a friend packing for a move.”

 
Man, how times have changed since 1988. My favorite “hints” and tips are:

1.  Do not run from the room. This is rude.

2.  If you must back away, do so slowly and with discretion.

15. Do respect her Individuality. She is a lesbian, but she is also Mary, Pam and Lori…

h/t Gawker

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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