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Furious idiot rails at NBC affiliate for changing its peacock logo to the ‘colors of gays’
01:37 pm



If you were paying any attention to the news on Friday, the big day when the Supreme Court handed down its decision banning state-level curbs on gay marriage, thus making gay marriage legal in all 50 states, it seemed that everything was coming up rainbows, from the White House and Niagara Falls to Disney World and One World Trade Center, and that’s not even mentioning approximately 57% of the user icons on my Facebook feed, and I’m betting yours as well.

Of course, the ruling elicited, in addition to unmeasured outpourings of joy and exultation, plenty of expressions of feckless, petulant resistance from those who are not on board, or not on board yet, with the concept of gay marriage. Starting with the Justices themselves, Justice Scalia just about blew a gasket, claiming that now the United States “does not deserve to be called a democracy” (?!) and Chief Justice Roberts, curiously, wrung his hands over the fact that the “the proponents of same-sex marriage” had “lost, and lost forever ... the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause.”

As if it were the responsibility of oppressed people to go without their fundamental rights so that ........ bigots can have some kind of edifying teachable moment? That’s the best I can do with it. Today it was reported that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is now insisting that county clerks in Texas have the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples if the clerk has a religious objection to same-sex marriage, which frankly ushers in a bizarre new chapter in legal theory (“I’m sorry, I can’t serve you alcohol at this bar, I’m a Muslim…...”).

Anyway, of all the spittle produced in behalf of monolithically hetero weddings, my favorite is probably the bit of outrage produced by Don Stair, most likely a resident of Arkansas, who, confronted with images of celebratory rainbows everywhere, decided to reach out and let a local TV affiliate know that he disagreed with their choice to join the bandwagon and switch to a rainbow logo. The problem is, the channel in question was KARK, an affiliate of NBC, and their logo is a rainbow peacock, exactly the same as it has been for literally decades.

Here was Stair’s message, on Facebook, as displayed by KARK:

(Screenshot via KARK 4 News on Facebook)
With admirable economy, KARK responded to its viewer’s outrage in the following manner:

The NBC peacock logo has actually been around since 1956, predating even Ellen DeGeneres, the Village People, Stonewall, and Dan Savage. Soon enough, some of KARK’s more liberal viewers joined in to make fun of Stair:




via Addicting Info

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘In the future everyone will be bisexual’—Alice Cooper, 1974
10:33 am



Man, the fuckin’ ‘70s… It’s no secret or surprise that teen magazines’ content started to skew a bit more adult in that decade, mirroring significantly more permissive times, but I was floored by the August, 1974 issue of SPEC, a sometimes quarterly, sometimes bimonthly, typically more pin-up heavy special publication of 16 Magazine. While 16 tended to keep details of teenybopper stars’ sexual lives obscured in favor of probing questions into Bobby Sherman’s favorite (sorry—FAVE, always fave) color or David Cassidy’s fave dessert, SPEC offered up a Grand Funk “Be Our Groupie” contest, a ridiculous shirtless crotch-shot centerfold of Rick Springfield, and an advice column addressing how to touch a guy if you want to turn him on, fittingly written by a gentleman named “Rod.”

And as if to prove that clickbait is nothing new, here’s what ultimately grabbed me:


OK, I was curious what I’d need to do to marry an Osmond, too…

It speaks volumes about values dissonance over the decades that that could be printed at all, let alone on the COVER of a magazine, let alone the cover of a magazine for junior high and high school girls. And not even JUST on the cover:


Sooooooo I’m still confused—is Alice Cooper or is he not a fag? We’ll have to refer to the ridiculous interview to find out:

SPEC: People say all kinds of things about you.
Alice: I know, I know.

SPEC: So what’s the story, Alice? Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you bisexual? Which?
Alice: Oh, I’m straight. I’m attracted only to members of the opposite sex—girls, that is.

SPEC: But you have a girl’s name, you wear all that make-up. Don’t you expect people to get the impression that you’re not straight?
Alice: Well, I have a girl’s name, but that’s kind of a goof. And lots of men who perform wear make-up—that’s a theatrical tradition, it has nothing to do with sexuality. And I do not attempt to look like a girl, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m not a transvestite—I don’t imitate women. Did you ever see a woman who looked the way I do? If one did, she’d really get called a weirdo!

SPEC: Nevertheless, we get all these letters saying “Alice s a fag!” I’m sure you get them too. How do you account for that?
Alice: To some extent, I must admit, we do encourage that impression. But I’m not a “fag”—you know I don’t like using that word because it’s insulting to gay people.

SPEC: What impression do you encourage?
Alice: Oh, you know, bizarre, kinky, neither-here-nor-there. But I never went out of my way to lead people to believe that I was actually homosexual. After all, make-up and costumes have nothing to do with homosexuality—the only pertinent behavior is whether or not you’re attracted to people of your own sex.

SPEC: I understand you’ve been criticized by people in the gay liberation movement for exploiting homosexuality and making fun of it.
Alice: I’m sorry they feel that way, but there are a lot of gay people who don’t mind what I do also. It’s all in fun, and it’s certainly not meant to be malicious in any way whatsoever.



SPEC: Don’t you think a lot of your fans want to believe that you’re gay?
Alice: Yes, I know they do. Isn’t it curious? They’ll read this interview, and they’ll say “Bull! We know he’s queer!” Nothing I could say or do could convince them that I’m not.

SPEC: Why do you think that is?
Alice: I figure it probably makes these kids feel far-out to think that they can dig a performer who’s supposedly gay. I think it’s groovy of them.

SPEC: Would you admit it if you were homosexual?
Alice: Of course, and I wouldn’t just admit it, as if it were something you’re supposed to conceal. I’d just be it. I’d be natural about it, and I don’t see where it would be very much different for me, except I’d be making it with men instead of women.

SPEC: Aren’t you even just a little bit bisexual?
Alice: You mean do I mostly like girls, but do I like boys sometimes? No, I only like girls, but if I could have chosen my own sexuality, I think I might have chosen to be bisexual.

SPEC: Why is that?
Alice: It would give me twice as many people to pick from!

SPEC: Do you really mean that?
Alice: Sure—I think in the future everyone will be bisexual. And everything would be so much simpler then—you’d just make love with anyone you liked, and it wouldn’t matter what sex they were, and maybe it also wouldn’t matter what color they were, or what age, or anything, except that you liked them.

That’s a way better chat than you were expecting, no? Me too. I’ve conducted a fair few interviews and I can’t imagine in a million years bluntly asking someone if he or she is gay, and Cooper handled that all really well—especially for 1974. It goes on for a bit longer, with a lot of silly, if period-appropriate, shockrocker gobbledygook about pansexuality as a panacea for social ills blah blah blah. What’s transcribed above is the worthy stuff.

Here’s some more rare ‘74 vintage Alice—a mimed version of the Billion Dollar Babies cut “Sick Things,” from a short-lived TV mystery series called The Snoop Sisters. They were actually NAMED “Snoop” AND they were snoops, you guys. Why did that not last?

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Portrait of Jason’: 1967 doc about a gay African-American hustler is hilarious and heartbreaking
09:44 am



Portrait of Jason
”The most extraordinary film I’ve seen in my life is certainly ‘Portrait of Jason.’ It is absolutely fascinating.”—Ingmar Bergman

During a winter night in 1966, director Shirley Clarke brought her friend, Jason Holliday, to her apartment atop the Chelsea Hotel in New York City and filmed him for twelve consecutive hours. Over the course of the evening, Jason drinks and gets high as he tell stories of his life as a gay, African-American man. Clarke took the footage and edited it down to 95 minutes, resulting in Portrait of Jason (1967). In the film, Jason is charming, entertaining, funny, contradictory, and boorish. His stories concerning class, race, sexuality, and identity alternate between humorous and tragic, all told by a man who appears larger than life.

Portrait of Jason is a landmark film. In this setting, an individual was allowed to simply tell his story over the course of a film’s standard running time. Its cinéma vérité style brings to mind Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, as well as the films of John Cassavetes, but Clarke’s work is a truly unique movie experience. This mainly has to do with Jason Holliday (a/k/a Aaron Payne), the only person who appears on screen.
Jason Holliday
Jason talks about his life as a prostitute, houseboy, and drug user, as well as his dreams of becoming a nightclub performer, in a completely engaging, charming manner. His enthralling, yet heartbreaking tales of racism and homophobia—at a time when the ink on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had barely dried, and, due to anti-sodomy laws, sex between gay men was still illegal in most of the United States—are told with a laugh and a shrug. So be it, he says; through it all, he’s had a ball. It’s obvious he has a knack for storytelling, and though what he’s experienced may be true, it all feels like a performance.
Jason Holliday
Early on, Jason talks of being a hustler able to sweet talk anyone into anything, and you can clearly see why, because as a viewer you are taken in by this man from the get-go. Having said that, about half through the film I found myself exhausted by Jason’s stories and continuous, riotous laughter. When reading up on the film, I discovered that’s part of what Clarke was trying to get across; as the director later commented, her subject “is both a genius and a bore.”
Jason Holliday
At a certain point, after hours of storytelling and consumption of that truth serum known as alcohol, it appears his façade has cracked and the bona fide Jason/Aaron begins to emerge—or does it? Part of what makes Portrait of Jason so fascinating is the inability to know what is genuine and what is performance.
Jason Holliday
Nevertheless, I do believe it’s safe to say that Jason is struggling. Among other aspects of this life, he grapples with what kind of person he is; he admits to being both a deceiver and someone who “can be hurt in a second.” Though he has lived a unique life up to that point, a kind most will never know, it is through his contradictions, his inherent humanity, that we can see aspects of our own existence. Jason’s continually trying to make sense of who he is, all the while shifting between the walls of protection he has erected and allowing himself to be vulnerable, constantly moving forward as he smiles through a life filled with sadness and regret. Even if we rarely talk about those facets of being, it is through Shirley Clarke’s dazzling character study that we can relate, which is why Portrait of Jason endures.
Jason Holliday
In 2013, a restored version of Portrait of Jason arrived in theatres. It’s now available on DVD and Blu-ray via Milestone Films. If you have any interest in reading more about this incredible film, you’ll want to check out Milestone’s press kit.

Here’s a clip of Jason talking about his experience as a houseboy, in which he touches on issues of class and racism:

More ‘Jason’ after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Meet Allanah Starr, the world’s first and only trans, double F-cup, porn star and stand-up comedian
01:11 pm

Pop Culture


If you’re in Paris for the month of June, you have the possibility of catching a unique comedy performance, as Allanah Starr is performing at La Nouvelle Seine at 3 Quai de Montebello every Friday at 11 p.m. until the end of the month. The title of the show is “The Life of a Real Woman with a Fake Passport.”

The show’s promotional text runs in part, “Allanah STARR raconte son histoire, celle d’un petit garçon né à Cuba, devenu femme aux USA et qui est maintenant Show Girl à Paris,” which means something like, “Allanah STARR tells her story, that of a little boy born in Cuba who became a woman in the USA and is now a Paris showgirl.”

According to this interview with Abby Ehmann, Starr was born in Cuba, but her father was a “political prisoner” and left for the United States when his son was five years old. She has been living as a woman since 1998: “It was definitely the best decision I ever made regarding my personal happiness. I am 100% certain this was my destiny and that I was born with a gender identity disorder. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a girl.” She has appeared on Maury several times, and her best-known movie is likely Allanah Starr’s Big Boob Adventures.

According to Tristan Taormino, Starr participated in the world’s first porn scene “between a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual and a female-to-male transsexual (FTM).” Starr’s counterpart in that scene was Buck Angel.

Starr’s cup size is listed as “FF” on the page with that interview, while over at Boobpedia she is listed as being an F cup. “I’ve had 30 actual surgeries and countless procedures,” says Starr. “Of course, I plan to do much more. My first operations were my nose job and an otoplasty (I had my ears pinned back). Since then, it has become a hobby of mine. I always say I collect shoes, handbags, Hollywood memorabilia and surgeries.”

In her show Starr tells jokes and lip-syncs to Eartha Kitt’s “Champagne Taste,” among other light classics. Here, check it out for yourself:

via Technikart

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Homosexuals’: Mike Wallace interviews Gore Vidal & early gay rights activists, 1967
09:37 am



Gore Vidal and Mike Wallace 11 years later, in 1978. Vidal later resented television appearances, saying he was forced to do TV because no one read anymore.

1967 was an intense year for gay activism. In the UK, the the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 decriminalized gay sex for men over the age of 21 in England and Wales (No mention of lesbians?). In the US, however, only Illinois had revoked its sodomy laws That’s it. Illinois. Until the next decade it was just, “Hey, enjoy your one state! Hope you like the midwest, homos!” The 10th Amendment aside, gay activism was gaining more traction and publicity in the US, and this amazing little edition of CBS Reports—subtly titled “The Homosexuals”—was a pretty groundbreaking piece for gay men, despite its conservative conclusions.

Mike Wallace does a great job with the interviews. There’s a tragic one with an anonymous man on probation who had already been to jail three times for “committing homosexual acts.” Wallace says he’s “in therapy,” and the man identifies himself as “sick,” alluding to a domineering mother as the source of his sexuality. There’s a fantastic interview with Gore Vidal too, but my favorite is the representative from The Mattachine Society, an early gay rights group whose stated goals were:

1) Unify homosexuals isolated from their own kind
2) Educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican and Jewish peoples
3) Lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social variants
4) Assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression.

During an era where “identity politics” was just getting started, this was an incredibly sophisticated set of political objectives. The Mattachine Society had already been around since 1950, and the group’s original organizing principles were based on the Communist Party’s. Most the the original members were active communists, and founder Harry Hay actually recommended his own expulsion from the the party, which did not technically allow gay members. (They actually ended up dismissing him for security reasons, but declaring him a “Lifelong Friend of the People.”)

This little documentary really covers a range of self-acceptance, from the man who believed himself to be sick to the open and unashamed Vidal and the Mattachine members. Wallace however, makes his opinions clear, saying matter-of-factly:

The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of one-chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits. And even on the streets of the city — the pick-up, the one night stand, these are characteristics of the homosexual relationship.


Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘How Far Will You Go?’ Meet Smokey, the outrageously gay 70s cult rockers
12:42 pm



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
03:11 pm



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
03:59 pm



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
02:20 pm



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
04:01 pm



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
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