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Derek Jarman: The iconoclast filmmaker as painter
10:02 am



Derek Jarman became a filmmaker by accident. He was originally a painter, an artist who started making home movies with friends at his Bankside home in London. These Super-8 films slowly evolved into movies and one of the most exciting, original and provocative filmmakers since Ken Russell arrived. During a seventeen-year career Jarman made eleven feature films—from the Latin and sand romp Sebastiane through his punk movie Jubilee (1978) to Caravaggio (1986) and the final one color movie Blue. During all of this time, the artist, director, writer, gardener and diarist painted.

Jarman was a student the Slade School of Art in the 1960s where he was taught—like everyone else—to be an “individual.” Jarman felt he was already managing that quite well in that department without being told how. He left art school and worked as a set designer with Ken Russell—most spectacularly on The Devils in 1971 and then Savage Messiah in 1973. His painting career splits into different sections; his early work reflected his interest in landscape, form and color—something which would recur in his films—his later work reflecting his more personal experience. However, as he began making films Jarman shifted from using paint to creating pictures with celluloid.

His return to painting came after his HIV diagnosis in 1986, when he produced a series of Black Paintings—collages made from objects found on the beach at his cottage in Dungeness. He placed these objects on an oily black background—similar to the contrasting black of the tableaux he used in Caravaggio the same year.

As his condition worsened, Jarman painted larger, more abstract canvases. He given a room to paint in where he splashed the canvas with thick bright paints and scrolling words and statements. His influence came from his life, his own films and the work of Jackson Pollock. The brightness and color of the paintings were a defiance in the face of illness.
‘Landscape with Marble Mountain’ (1967).
‘Landscape with a Blue Pool’ (1967).
‘Avesbury’ III (1973).
More of Derek Jarman’s paintings after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vomit, piss, shit: Freak icon Leigh Bowery’s deliberately offensive art-punk performance art, MInty
02:00 pm



Although there is currently but a skeletal entry for Minty on, the tags alone are intriguing enough:

“Harsh.” “Outrageous.” “Provocative.” “Quirky.” “Self-Conscious.” “Stylish.” “Uncompromising.”

Who wouldn’t want to see a provocative, quirky, harshly outrageous and self-consciously stylish, uncompromising pop act? Count me in. Yes, please!

Minty were an obscure fashionista/club kid/performance art musical combo from the early 90s. If they were really known at all, they were known for the fact that freak icon Leigh Bowery was the original lead singer. Bowery formed Minty with knitwear designer Richard Torry, his wife Nicola Bateman, and club promoter Matthew Glammore. When Bowery died suddenly of an AIDS-related illness on December 31, 1994, after a time the rest of Minty decided to carry on without him. They recorded just a small number of singles—including Bowery’s amazingly foul-mouthed “Useless Man” rap—and one highly original album—Open Wide—that was, I think, unjustly neglected, although the AV Club named it as one of the “least essential albums of the 90s.” I totally disagree.

Although they hailed from London, Minty were hardly what you’d call a Britpop group. They had little to do with the likes of Blur or Oasis, but they did have a benefactor in Pulp who asked them to be the opening act on one of their tours. The outrageous, deliberately offensive avant garde group was banned from several venues in Britain when word of Bowery giving birth to a shit and blood-covered “baby” (Bateman) onstageno really—got around. To say nothing of the urine drinking, vomit and the stuff he did with the chocolate! In 1994 the Westminster City Council closed down a two-week long Minty residency at London’s Freedom Cafe after only one night.

Although Boy George would later play Leigh Bowery onstage in the Taboo musical, Minty were probably a lot closer to the Butthole Surfers than Culture Club. I have also described them as “Plasmatics meet Soft Cell” or “COUM Transmissions meet Dee-lite,” and even as “the B-52s meet Hermann Nitsch...”

Get Minty fresh after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Love and Affection: Vintage photos of gay and lesbian couples
11:39 am



A couple’s photographic portrait is an affirmation of their relationship. It states for all to see: “We love each other. We care for each other. We are proud of who we are together.”

During the Victorian era many gay and lesbian couples proudly expressed their love for each other in studio portraits. Unlike the common belief that such relationships were “the love that dare not speak its name,” as Oscar Wilde so famously described same sex attraction in his poem “Two Loves,” gays and lesbians often dared to show their love. Indeed, many gay and lesbian couples more or less lived openly together throughout their lives. This was far easier for women than for men as women were expected to live together if they were not married, or to live with the euphemistically termed “female companion.”

Men, no historical surprises here, had their own haunts for meeting like-minded souls. In London these could be found in the “Molly houses” and gentlemen’s clubs or pick-ups haunts at Lincoln’s Inn, or St. James Park or the path on the City’s Moorfields, which was charmingly referred to as “Sodomites Walk.”

Theaters and circuses were also well-known dens of homosexual activity—this can be traced all the way back to Elizabethan England, when male prostitutes plied their trade at theaters.

The armed forces, in particular the Royal Navy was notorious for gay relationships—understandable with all the horny seamen looking for any port in a storm. Apparently word got around.

It is a moot point that the change in public attitude towards homosexuality commenced with the Labouchere Amendment to the Sexual Offences Act in 1885, which “prohibited gross indecency between males.” This was the law under which Wilde was infamously prosecuted and the law that heightened discrimination against gays.

Before that there had been the Buggery Act—against anal penetration and bestiality—which was introduced during the reign of Henry VIII. This led to numerous executions (hangings) and imprisonments. It was briefly repealed, then reinstated by Elizabeth I. However, there were few prosecutions under the act and it was repealed again in 1828—though “buggery” remained a capital offense. James Pratt and John Smith became the last two men to be executed for buggery, in 1835.

The Labouchere Amendment outlawed homosexuality and made it more difficult for gay men to live the lives they desired. Labouchere did not include lesbians in the act as he believed drawing attention to lesbianism would only encourage sapphic desires amongst most Victorian women.

So even when gay relationships were outlawed in England, they still thrived in open secret. In America, the sodomy laws varied from state to state. What one state tolerated or had no opinion about, another state punished. However, as with England in the Victorian era, America gay and lesbian couples would often openly express their love for each other in portrait photographs.

This collection of beautiful, brave people gives us a small visual history of LGBT relationships from the 1860s-1960s. Many of the couples are unidentifiable, but where possible their names have been given. (Editor writes: Mild disclaimer: Of course it’s difficult to say that in all cases these photos are of gay couples.)
Anna Moor and Elsie Dale, 1900.
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The B-52s and Friends’ Art Against AIDS commercial, 1987
12:25 pm



In 1987, the B-52s produced an incredible public service announcement for AMFAR (The Foundation For AIDS Research) with the late NYC-based video artist Tom Rubnitz (best known for the “Strawberry Shortcut” and “Pickle Surprise” videos) and several of their closest famous friends. The colorful tableau vivant recreated the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s album cover with the flowers spelling out “Be Alive”

Along with the B-52s, you’ll see Korean video artist Nam Jun Paik, Allen Ginsberg, Dancenoise, “voguing” pioneer Willi Ninja, Nile Rodgers, Joey Arias, Tseng Kwong Chi, Mink Stole, ABC’s David Yarritu, “Frieda the Disco Doll,” John Kelly as the Mona Lisa, Lady Bunny, performance artist Mike Smith, Kenny Scharf, David Byrne and then-wife Adelle Lutz, model Beverly Johnson, NYC “It Girl” Dianne Brill and Quentin Crisp among many others.

If this isn’t eighties enough for you already, note the presence of “Randee of the Redwoods” (comedian Jim Turner) the acid-fried MTV “presidential candidate.”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Moms Mabley, the original wise old black lesbian comedian: ‘Comedy ain’ pretty’
06:31 am




“He said, ‘Now what would you do if I died?’ And I said ‘Laugh.’”

If you have the opportunity to see the 2014 HBO documentary Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley, don’t pass it up. Clearly a labor of love, Goldberg recreated Mabley’s act as a young performer at Berkeley in the ‘80s and was obviously very inspired by her work. The doc was originally called Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin’ To Tell You and was supported by Kickstarter donations. Then HBO bought it and no doubt asked for a title change to include Goldberg’s household name due to the relative obscurity of its eponymous subject some forty years after her death in 1975.


“What’s she got that I ain’t had thirty years longer?”

Unless you’re a real comedy nerd or over the age of, say, 55-60, you probably have little direct experience of Jackie “Moms” Mabley or remember seeing her on television. She could be seen mostly on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, maybe Laugh-In and various talk shows doing a toned-down version of her “blue” stage act. She was billed as “the funniest woman in the world” and was one of the first female stand-up comics, black or white, if not the very first. (Even Phyllis Diller claimed to be indebted to Moms Mabley.) I only really knew of her via seeing her albums in the comedy album cut-out bins of the late 1970s or hearing snippets of her stand-up on a long-running radio show called The Comedy Hour that used to air after The Dr. Demento Show back then. Her act was that of a straight-talking, dirty-minded, toothless old black lady who made jokes about chasing young men around. I had but a vague awareness of her at best, so I can be forgiven for assuming that her comic persona was something akin to the way she might be in real life, but exaggerated a bit, like say Minnie Pearl.


“Did you know I was on President Nixon’s enemies list? Yes darlin’, I told Tricia that if the Pilgrims had shot bobcats instead of turkeys for food, we’d be eating pussy for Thanksgiving.”

Nothing apparently could be further from the truth: The mismatched old lady clothes and the Gilligan hat merely clothed a character that Jackie Mabley had developed—and aged into—from the late 1920s onwards on the black vaudeville touring circuit, or the “Chitlin circuit” as it was called, including the big rooms of Harlem, like the Apollo Theater. “Moms” had a costume, the character’s “look” completed when she took her false teeth out. In real life Jackie Mabley was a proud and defiantly out butch black lesbian woman, at a time when the very concept of such a person would probably not have computed even to people who worked with her on a day-to-day basis. Offstage the dresses she claimed to buy from the S&H green stamps catalog were exchanged for the sort of smartly cut men’s suit that Janelle Monáe might favor. (She can be seen in a man’s suit in 1933’s Emperor Jones.)

Moms Mabley was one of the great 20th-century comedians, up there with any of them, although she’s little recalled today. She’s also someone who figures into the civil rights movement and the nascent gay liberation movement, too. (Even if few actually knew it at the time. It’s not like she was trying to hide her sexuality from the world, because she obviously wasn’t.)


“That man so old… he’s older than his birthday.”

As Goldberg states at the beginning of the doc, the reality is that not all that much is truly and factually known about Moms Mabley’s life. One can surmise certain things, or know what sort of money she made ($10,000 a week, which was a fortune then and not too bad by today’s standards either) or find posters of her on a bill at the Apollo and YouTube clips of her TV performances, but the details of her life are quite scarce and ephemeral at this point. Most people who would have known her or worked with her in her heyday would be long dead. Goldberg deserves thanks for rescuing this fascinating woman’s life story and helping restore her rightful place in comedy history, not to mention her role in helping white TV viewers and nightclub audiences of the 1960s to understand the POV of a wise old dirty-minded black woman. Had she been a few years younger, it’s easy to imagine Moms Mabley in a Norman Lear-produced sitcom of the ‘70s and as well-remembered today as say, Redd Foxx is, another risque black comic who was lucky enough, for posterity’s sake, to be born 26 years later.
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The drag queen who kept a mummy in her closet, an unsolved mystery
11:47 am



In the May 2, 1994, issue of New York Magazine there appeared an astonishing story by Jeanie Russell Kasindorf about a certain noteworthy discovery in the West Harlem apartment that had previously belonged to Dorian Corey, one of the drag queens who made such an impression in Jennie Livingston’s singular 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.

In August 1993, three years after the release of Paris Is Burning, Corey died of AIDS-related complications, and her extensive costume collection was passed on to her friend and caregiver, Lois Taylor. As Taylor was sifting through the piles of clothing in Corey’s apartment, she came upon a large trunk containing a mummified body with a gunshot wound to the head. There was little question that the body had been there for some time.

Police identified the body as Robert “Bobby” Worley, who had spent three years in prison for rape and assault in the mid-1960s and had not been seen by his family—or anyone else, for that matter—since 1968. For various reasons (see below) it became apparent that there was a strong likelihood that Worley had been killed between 1968 and 1978. None of Dorian’s associates could recall her ever mentioning Worley, let alone confessing to any crime. There was some speculation that Corey had shot Worley during a failed robbery.

Kasindorf did discover some clues about their relationship: Worley’s brother Fred claimed that Bobby had called him while drunk and had rambled extensively to someone named “Dorian,” having apparently fought with her. Lois Taylor also told Kasindorf that Dorian had written a short story about a transgender woman who killed her lover in revenge after he pressured her to have a sex change. But these loose ends don’t add up to anything like a full account of how Worley died.

Here’s an excerpt from Kasindorf’s article:

“The first thing the body was wrapped with was a Naugahyde-like material,” [Detective Raul Figueroa] said, “with tape around it. It was that cheap brown material that they make fake-leather jackets out of. Then I think there was some other material around it. Then they put it in plastic bags.”

Figueroa said the body was “half-way” between mummified and decomposed. “When you have all this wrapping, no air is getting to it,” he explained. “But it is still losing liquid out of its body. So the body sort of floats in its own soup.” The skin was in very bad shape. “It was like very old fabric,” Figueroa said. “If you touch it, it’s going to fall apart.” Figueroa spent several days treating the skin so he could take ten fingerprints off it.


The most exquisite detail I got from Figueroa was the tale of the flip-tops. When they pulled apart all the layers of wrapping, out fell little rings from old flip-top beer cans—the detachable kind that haven’t been used since the seventies. This convinced Figueroa that Bobby Worley died at least 15—maybe as long as 25—years ago.

“The doctor put that it could have been dead one to fifteen years so as not to commit himself until we had all the proof,” Figueroa said. “But given the fact that the brother hadn’t seen him since the late sixties, plus the fact that Naugahyde was popular in the seventies, plus the rings, it was obvious.”

I asked Figueroa if he thought the person who wrapped the body in imitation leather was trying to emulate the Egyptians. I thought it possible that Dorian Corey was into high camp with dead bodies as well as live ones.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “People just wrap a body in whatever’s available. It’s just spontaneous. You wrap it up. Then you put it in a suitcase. Then you put it in the closet. Then you just look at it periodically and wish it would go away.”

Interestingly, according to a user on reddit, Joseph N. Rubinstein and Jason Kim are working on an opera titled Legendary that is about the New York drag scene of the late 1980s and also deals with the mysterious Dorian Corey revelations.

After the jump, read full story from New York magazine…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma: The Cockettes crash and burn in New York City, 1971
03:20 pm



The Cockettes are a well-established part of post-Stonewall queer history as well as of the history of the San Francisco counterculture. By embracing their inner freaks, Hibiscus (a.k.a. George Harris) and his squad of burly, bearded, campy hippie drag queens were a de facto extension of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters as well as perhaps a West Coast version of the scene that was coalescing around John Waters in Baltimore—little wonder that it didn’t take long for Divine and the Cockettes to appear on the same stages.

The narrative of a cult underground sensation blossoming into beloved crossover darlings actually never happened for the Cockettes—that narrative arc was interrupted by a disastrous month or so when they took their act from their native San Francisco to New York City, the place where all real sensations were (and to some extent still are) validated for widespread hipness and national cultural consumption. New York was dazzled and enthralled by the Cockettes for a week or two that happened to coincide with Halloween, but when they took their underground shtick to the cavernous confines of the Anderson Theater on Second Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets, the allure, for the glitzy audience jammed with celebrities, burst like a soap bubble.

Getting information about the Cockettes’ catastrophic visit to New York isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but we are lucky to have access to one unparalleled contemporaneous source, a long analysis of the Cockettes’ trip by Maureen Orth that appeared in the November 25, 1971, issue of the Village Voice. (That lengthy article is available for you to read at the bottom of this post and is HIGHLY recommended for a fuller understanding of what happened to the Cockettes that week.) Unlike most of the disappointed reviewers who panned the Cockettes, Orth knew the troupe personally; she even traveled with them from San Francisco on a plane ride that must rank as one of the most bizarre in history, so she was in a position to see the disaster unfold with an unusually objective perspective, understanding the reasons that led to the letdown with some comprehension of both the seedy Bay Area values and the glitzier New York City logic. “Performance for the Cockettes is mostly an excuse to live a freaky life style,” Orth wrote, noting that the Cockettes, like the true freaks they were, were mostly broke-ass hairdressers or retail workers, unlike most of the better-heeled glitterati in New York City.

The Anderson was a strange venue for an act like the Cockettes. It was not a hip venue: In the 1950s it had been used as a Spanish-language theater, and in the 1960s its main programming was Yiddish-language fare. Hipper days were to come: In 1977 CBGB took it over and renamed it CBGB’s 2nd Avenue Theater, booking Talking Heads and Patti Smith, among others, but the experiment didn’t take: by 1979 it was no longer in use.

Difficult to make out, but the marquee reads, “The Cockettes and Sylvester, Opens Nov 7”
From 1969 to 1971, the Cockettes made a name for themselves with their ridiculous and campy shows, mostly held in a Chinese restaurant on Washington Square in North Beach called the Pagoda Palace Theater. The shows usually took place at midnight, which meant there was often an awkward encounter as patrons of the restaurant left, as throngs of drag queens collected on the sidewalk to begin their entertainment for the evening. Rex Reed and Truman Capote both saw the Cockettes in San Francisco, and both gushed about it—the imprimatur of two unchallenged camp authorities as Reed and Capote primed the pump for the disappointments to come.

A “San Francisco rock lawyer” by the name of Harry Zerler—he worked for Columbia Records but he had never produced a show before—sought to bring the Cockettes to New York, but he was likely a little bit in over his head; it might have been better if the Cockettes had used someone with more experience. But this point is inseparable from the basic problem of the Cockettes not fully understanding what they were getting into. Essentially, Zerler was seeking to parlay a shocking cross-dressing act into an overnight sensation based on two useful quotations from Capote (“This is the most outrageous thing I’ve ever seen”) and Reed (“Will the Cockettes replace rock concerts in the ‘70s?”) that were well-nigh made to appear in a newspaper ad.

It was some trouble finding a venue, but eventually The Cockettes were scheduled to kick off a run in New York City at the Anderson Theater in early November. Travel and lodging was expensive, given that the entire group numbered 45, including Sylvester plus entourage—Orth estimates Zerler’s outlay for the escapade at $40,000. When they landed at JFK, they actually didn’t know where they were going to stay in New York. There had been a rumor that they were going to have to sleep in cots in the basement of a house in Connecticut, but they ended up at the Hotel Albert on 23 East 10th Street; its reputation as a “rock and roll fleabag” probably makes staying there sound more fun than it actually was—as Orth observed, “On a good day the hallways smell somewhere between old socks and vomit.”

The story of the Cockettes’ time in New York City conforms satisfyingly to a rise and fall narrative. The Cockettes hit New York during Halloween season, and opening night was November 7. The show selected for opening night was a Cockettes standby called “Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma.” For the whole period leading up to the premiere, the Cockettes were the toast of the town. Orth writes: “During the week before opening I must have gone to 27 parties with the Cockettes, on the East Side, on the West Side, in the Village, in penthouses, lofts, museums, and basements, gotten a total of 15 hours of sleep, met two thirds of the freaks of New York, and began to suspect that all of Manhattan was gay.” In the aftermath of the opening night debacle, this series of parties, and the lack of rehearsal it implied, would loom large as a possible reason for the disappointing outcome. They somehow got access to Marlene Dietrich’s silver limousine to get around, but when they couldn’t use that, the “taxi drivers usually turned off their meters.” They hung out with Robert Rauschenberg and some of Warhol’s Factory hangers-on, and attended a SCREW magazine anniversary party.


To say that New York was excited about the Cockettes is putting it mildly. Promoter Danny Fields was quoted as saying, “I haven’t seen such enthusiasm from the press since the Rolling Stones’ tour of the U.S. in 1969.” Opening night had sold out and the impossibility of securing a ticket became the talk of the town. The signs of impending disaster were there for those who cared to see it. The Cockettes, never very professional in the first place, were overtired and scattered from all the partying. The Cockettes had “barely rehearsed” and the sound system at the Anderson had not been installed until the very last minute.

So it was that an act that had made its name with trashy, scarcely rehearsed, low-rent, free-form parodies of decades-old cinema classics like Footlight Parade, Phantom of the Opera, and Busby Berkeley movies took to the stage of the Anderson Theater on November 7, 1971, in front of a sophisticated NYC audience bearing the highest expectations: “The Anderson was jammed. Hundreds of fashionables pushed and shoved their way through the one open door.” Orth supplies a partial list of the notable people present, as follows:

The [Women’s Wear Daily] photographer was beside himself. How could he shoot Gore Vidal, Allen Ginsberg, Angela Lansbury, Alexis Smith, Robert Rauschenberg, Rex Reed, Peggy Cass, Diana Vreeland, Nan Kemper, Clive Barnes, Sylvia Miles, Kay Thompson, Bobby Short, Elaine, Bill Blass, Estevez, Tony Perkins, Dan Greenburg, Nora Ephron, Mrs Sam Spiegel, Jerry Jorgensen, Ultra Violet, Candy Darling, Taylor Mead, Gerard Malanga, John Chamberlain, Cyrinda Fox, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis, the entire cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the President of Gay Lib, a dozen Vogue editors, two real princesses, and the night clerk at the Hotel Albert?

The stage of the Anderson was far too big, which had the effect of unnecessarily diminishing the Cockettes’ threadbare stage sets. More to the point, devilish and campy goings-on undertaken by a bunch of down-and-out drag queens in an out-of-the-way San Francisco Chinese restaurant at midnight played very differently when placed under the bright lights of a New York theater.

The critical reception was harsh and unequivocal. Gore Vidal said, “Having no talent is not enough,” while Women’s Wear Daily simply pronounced it “dreadful.” The great Australian rock critic Lillian Roxon was one of the only figures to defend the Cockettes, in the pages of the Daily News, shrewdly noting that the troupe was fifteen years ahead of its time. That judgment may well have been correct.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dig these awesome ‘gay pulp’ paperback covers from the 1970s
11:56 am



I stumbled upon these fantastic covers of “gay pulp” paperbacks from the 1970s the other day and immediately became entranced with them. I saw a few of them at the blog Knee-Deep in the Flooded Victory and immediately knew I had to find out more. It turns out that these covers date from 1974 and 1975; they are from the “RAM-10” series from Hamilton House, a company about which I have no information.

It may not be apparent how unusually striking these covers are—for a nice gallery of more standard-issue gay paperback covers, you could do a lot worse than this post I did for DM a couple of years ago. You’ll see that the more usual style of gay pulp covers relies on well-nigh abstract juxtapositions of male silhouettes and that male/Mars symbol in garish colors. Not so for the RAM-10 series, which uses documentary-style photographic portraits of males dressed up as gay archetypes in front of a field of light blue or blood red, while a vertical line pierces the book’s title and author in a stately serif font. Actually, the covers remind me a bit of Gay Semiotics, the brilliantly deadpan monograph that photographer Hal Fischer published in 1977—high praise indeed.

Naturally, the blandly suggestive titles also elicit a smirk. Saddle Buddy, Holler Uncle, The Big Pipe, The Meat Eaters, Jump Squad......

All of these covers were a bit small in the formats I found them—it’d be great to get better scans of these titles. Who was the designer of these covers? Who was the photographer? I was able to get all of the covers except one—the missing volume is #102, which is E-Mission, by Chad Stuart, and that’s a shame, because according to Drewey Wayne Gunn in The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film: A History and Annotated Bibliography, that was a good one: “I particularly recommend E-Mission (1974) by Chad Stuart (William Maltese).”

One can safely assume that the names of the authors are psuedonyms, as Gunn’s quote above suggests. William Maltese, who wrote a few of these volumes, was formidable enough an author of gay pulp fiction that there is a bibliography dedicated to his work.

101. Tall Timber, by Wolfe Bronson

103. Saddle Buddy, by Tex Shulanski

104. Hunk, by Dick Baldwin
Many more 1970s gay pulp covers after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Tom of Finland safety blankets, in case a really gay fire breaks out
01:47 pm



Jalo Finland is a Finnish company that specializes in stylish fire prevention and safety products. The company’s slogan is “Safety Can Be Beautiful.” Most of its products are expertly designed, hipster-ready smoke alarms, some of which are shaped like moths for some reason.

A few months ago Jalo Finland introduced a line of Tom of Finland-themed fire blankets. In case you’re not aware, Tom of Finland, born Touko Laaksonen in Kaarina, Finland, was almost certainly the 20th century’s leading practitioner of homoerotic fetish art of the “leather daddy” variety, often involving muscled and hypermasculine sailors, bikers, lumberjacks, construction workers—and possibly firemen??

Each one costs 44.90 Euros, which is about $50.

The following product descriptions, which come straight from the Jalo Finland website, are pretty hilarious too.

The Leader”: “Rugged, masculine and ripped. The Master has a ‘take charge’ attitude, always ready to be in control in case of fire. Not sure how to use a fire blanket? Craving further instructions? Just turn it around and look at the rear. Never keep your fire blanket in the closet. This couple demands to be out.”

The Hero”: “If you’re holding out for a hero to pull you from the rough surf and give you mouth-to-mouth, then this is the duo for you! The Hero is strong and dependable. He’ll sweep you up in his muscled arms - and put out any small fires. Keep this lifeguard’s best assets on display at all times, and be ready to grab hold in case of emergencies.”

The Aviator”: “Primed for action in their uniforms, these airmen wearing a leather aviator jacket and a flight suit unzipped to a perilously low altitude, are clearly qualified to put out small household fires. Just give the straps a good tug to release the fire blanket inside. Like a parachute, this product could save your life.”

The Dog”: “Down boy! This K9 owner is classically geared up, dressed head to toe in leather, with his pup between his legs, he’s ready to put out any small kitchen fires, even if it means getting down on all-fours. You certainly won’t be in the dog house if you always keep this fire blanket ready.”
via Trey Speegle

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson was in an ‘80s punk band and their album just went up on Bandcamp
11:48 am



Buddy Cole. QEII. Over 100 waiters. As a member of the god-tier sketch troupe The Kids In The Hall, Scott Thompson’s contributions to comedy have been indelible, and as a rare openly gay public figure as far back as the ‘80s, Thompson blazed a courageous social trail as well. I’ve been a fan of his work forever, but the news that he’d been in a mutant punk band in the late ‘80s, contemporary to the emerging popularity of KITH, came as a surprise to me. The band was called Mouth Congress, and Thompson co-founded it with KITH writer Paul Bellini (the same Bellini as the recurring towel-clad-man character in many KITH sketches) and Jeff Goode, now a producer/host of Thompson’s Scott Free Podcast. And their stuff was rather a lot of fun. Via Chart Attack:

Over the past month, some kind soul has uploaded a trove of Mouth Congress recordings to Bandcamp. So far, the dump includes 15 albums, with names like The War On Flowers and A Fey Breeze, featuring should-be classics “Paul Jude Bellini” and “How to Strip for Your Husband” alongside live show recordings, sound collages, sketches, and a who’s who of cameos from the comic group that the pair were hanging around. It’s a time capsule of Canadian punk, comedy and queer culture, and as good an excuse as any to tune out for the rest of the day or week or whatever.

Here’s the Bandcamp playlist. You can buy the digital album here, if you like. Some material is NSFW so any nine-to-fivers reading this, you might want to use your earbuds.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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