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The perverse and the transcendent: An interview with Ron Athey
06.21.2018
09:27 am
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One of the great challenges of considering the work of a groundbreaking artist like Ron Athey is that we must consider how temporal and ephemeral his medium is.  Peggy Phelan wrote, “Performance’s only life is in the present. Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documented, or otherwise participate in the circulation of representations of representations: once it does so, it becomes something other than performance.” Athey’s artwork runs the gamut from actions at Club Fuck! and Sin-A-Matic to collaborations with performers like Rozz Williams and Vaginal Davis and includes multiple-hour staged duration pieces with a team. 

No documentation, audio recording or visual record could ever capture the drama or reverie achieved from actually attending a Ron Athey show but the existence of Catherine Gund’s documentary Hallelujah! Ron Athey: A Story of Deliverance (1997) is an excellent moving image tool to remind us how Athey altered the landscape of body modification, AIDS activism and performance art forever.

The Outfest Legacy Project is the largest publicly accessible collection of LGBTQ films in the world and was created specifically for the preservation and restoration of LGBTQ films. They will be screening Gund’s documentary in 35mm at UCLA this Friday in Los Angeles. Ron Athey and Catherine Gund will be there in person, as well as guest curator Zachary Drucker! Don’t miss out!

I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Ron a few questions about his career and the film and other things he has been working on.
Please enjoy our conversation conducted via email this week.

**Heads’ up: the images contained are graphic. But they do represent some out of this world performance work, the likes of which we will probably never see again.**


 

I read an interview where you talked about growing up in a Pentecostal home in Pomona, CA and described the experience as an “apocalyptic opera.” While the links to ritualism, body focus/faith healing and automatic writing are clearly present in your various works, would it be fair to say that the romance of opera also plays a part in your constructions?

Ron Athey:I internalized all these images from the Book of Revelations and I think that even as a child I understood that they took on something else through the hillbilly gothic lens of Inland Empire revival meetings.  I had no experience whatsoever with opera as an art form until I was fully adult and out of home. But in this school program for smart ass kids, the MGM program (mentally gifted minors), I was taken to the Pantages Theater to see Timbuktu, a spectacular starring Eartha Kitt. This had a huge effect on my sense of drama.  But back to the setting of small Pentecostal meetings in storefronts, tents, private homes- the poverty and austerity of these settings was grim.  Being raised in a neighborhood that was half Chicano (the other half black), I felt the iconography and glamour of Catholicism on a very deep level. What I lacked at that age was any way to reach the rituals.

The film Hallelujah! Ron Athey: A Story of Deliverance (Catherine Gund, 1997) playing this Friday as part of the Outfest Legacy Project covers four specific works and before you began exploring solo work with the glorious Solar Anus. Can you speak to Martyrs and Saints, Four Scenes in a Harsh Life, Deliverance and Gund’s film?

Ron Athey:The torture trilogy was almost channeled material. The height of the AIDS pandemic intersecting with the intense coming of age of the body modification scene was double high energy. These were two audiences that intersected but were also very different. I understand that I experience everything important through the archetype. As soon as the sickness and death came into my reality, it personalized as martyrology. Now I knew with that level of glorification, it was important to grab ahold of the issues, the moral polarization of “good girls” vs. “nasty girls”. The distortion of Healing: understand it, not as a restoration, but as an evolution through the sickness. This led me to concepts like the trickster shaman for Deliverance, wherein Divinity Fudge played multiple faces of a Living Icon.  It was largely the same cast of performers through this era, and I work closely with Julie Tolentino. I think the staging of 8 to 25 performers wouldn’t have been possible without these skills! Martyrs & Saints was largely made of tributes of recent deaths (Cliff Diller, David Wojnarowicz) and owning that conviction to embrace the martyrology. Four Scenes was a refining of that St. Sebastian image, the Holy Woman who was largely based on Aimee Semple McPherson, and finally Deliverance, on the concept of healing and shabby shamanism.
 

 


This screening of Gund’s documentary for the Outfest Legacy Project is not the first time you have presented something with Outfest before.  In the early 2000s, you worked with Vaginal Davis and curated an event called Platinum Oasis. Would you talk about this a little?

Ron Athey: In 2001 and 2002 Vaginal Davis and myself programmed Platinum Oasis, 24 hour events at the Coral Sands Motel in Hollywood, just before its debauchery and changing times ended its reign as a crystal meth/gay hardcore sex palace. It was designed as an intervention on both the concept of the group art show, and on abject gay male space.  40 rooms, plus a stage straddling the pool and jacuzzi area.  This was a proper happening that triggered a lot of experimentation. Also the names are overwhelming and formed the repeating lineup of Bruce LaBruce, Kembra Pfahler, Slava Mogutin, Gio Black Peter, and had celebrity one offs, like Ogre of Skinny Puppy’s Japan porn room, Lydia Lunch’s tribute to the recently deceased theatre director Emilio Cubeiro, which included a slideshow of 1,000 self portraits of his own butthole taken throughout his life! Kenny Scharf drove up with his art-RV, and which happened to have members of the B-52s inside, Rick Owens designed a red toga which was custom sewn to attendees bodies in a “sweatshop” room. Ann Magnuson read from a Hollywood script that she should have gotten the part for, I could go on gushing but there was an incredible energy around this event. The hotel was donated, Outfest still had airline and hotel sponsorship, even with low artist fees we created something larger than the sum of its parts. And it was properly polymorphously perverse right up to the Sunday morning baptismal in the filthy bi-sexual jacuzzi, with Vaginal Davis in character as “I preach hate, my name’s St. Selecia Tate”.

Time and again, I seem to encounter variations of these words in reference to you and your work. What do they mean to you and how do you interpret them: Engage, Ecstatic, Extreme.

Ron Athey: How about enhance? I think, going back to the sacred, the passion play, the illustrated sermon, I don’t want to use my art time making commentary as everyday Ron Athey, about the specifics of the Trump presidency, and definitely not about the ‘art world.’ I have a deep impulse to find a higher state. Pure Immanence. Even the illusion of transcendence.  Experimenting with what sounds, sights, smells, vibrations change consciousness. I always return to that.
 

 
Growing up in Hollywood, I used to drive by Poseur and Peanuts all the time. Club Fuck! and Sin-a-matic were constantly on my radar. I know you probably have a thousand stories but do you have one story you can tell about a performance you did that was particularly inspirational to you at the time?

Ron Athey: I was lucky I was able to work through actions on these stages, for these demanding crowds. Its very different then how I see work constructed in the academy, you have to rise up. One piece I made for Leigh Bowery’s memorial event, The Trojan Whore, I kept developing. I did a version at Sin-a-matic and sitting front center were Budgie and Siouxsie Sioux.  I think it was about 1996. And it was a mummified enchanted body, corseted, bustled, boobed, and on a wheeled platform. Inside my genitals were “tucked” via surgical stapler, a two-meter strand of pearls keestered up my arse, and my lips were pieced inside out. When the pearls were removed (after I was placed in a wig and lipstick painted on the inside of my lips), the squeaky clean 2 meter double strand were looped a few times and placed around my neck. Afterwards, Siouxsie exclaimed, how on earth were the pearls so clean? Tricks of the trade.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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06.21.2018
09:27 am
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Freddie Mercury’s flamboyant birthday party drag ball
06.20.2018
08:56 am
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Freddie Mercury celebrating his 39th birthday at the Henderson nightclub in Munich, Germany in 1985.
 
It all started with a beyond flamboyant throw-down in Munich, Germany where Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury and a few hundred of his famous friends gathered together for Mercury’s “black and white” themed 39th birthday at the Henderson club. The Henderson was also used by Mercury to shoot the video for his 1985 solo single “Living on My Own” which includes footage shot at Freddie’s extravagant birthday shebang. Two months prior, Queen and Mercury set the world on fire with their set at Live Aid forever setting the rock and roll bar for greatness at a level so high it will likely forever stand as the single greatest live performance by a rock band ever. When Mercury sent out the invitations for his birthday, he requested attendees dress in drag and only in black and white. Mercury, of course, came as himself, because of course he did. I’ll leave you to think about that for a hot minute before we get to a few pieces of folklore about Freddie/Queen’s party habits as well as his follow-up birthday celebration in 1987 on the island of Ibiza.

If you know anything about Mercury, you know the man liked to enjoy himself, and took on the task of orchestrating nearly every detail of Queen’s debaucherous shindigs, such as the time in 1978 when Freddie booked-up the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter for the band and 500 of their guests to celebrate their upcoming record, Jazz. Dwarves were hired to walk around the party with trays of Bolivian coke and cocktail services were provided by nude waiters and waitresses. In the 2012 biography by Lesley-Ann Jones, Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury, Elton John was quoted saying that Mercury could “out-party” him any day. In 1981 when Queen and David Bowie got together to record “Under Pressure,” they powered through the day-long session with coke and booze. For his party in Ibiza, Mercury flew 700 of his pals to the island off the coast of Spain. To this day Mercury’s birthday is still celebrated at the Ibiza Rocks House (formerly the infamous Pikes Hotel where Mercury held his 1987 gathering). 

As unhinged as Mercury’s behavior could be behind-the-scenes there isn’t much evidence to cite his zealous pursuit of good times altering his ability to slay with his four-octave vocal range and commanding stage presence. To say nothing of the stone cold fact, Mercury knew how to party—something I’m sure you’ll be in agreement with after checking out the photos of Freddie partying like a pro as well as high-quality footage shot at the party to end all parties, below.
 

The invitation for Freddie Mercury’s birthday drag ball at Hendersons in Munich, Germany 1985.
 

Freddie’s black and white-themed birthday bash at the Henderson nightclub in Munich, Germany.
 
More Freddie after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.20.2018
08:56 am
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Tricia Nixon’s wedding travestied by the Cockettes, 1971


via IMDb
 
Tricia’s Wedding, a 33-minute dramatization of the solemn rite that joined Patricia Nixon and Edward Cox in holy matrimony, was the first movie the Cockettes made. Per Kenneth Turan, it premiered at the Palace Theater in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco on the very day of the happy event, June 12, 1971. Not only is the Cockettes’ movie much livelier than the televised ceremony, it includes the all-too-brief screen debut of Tomata du Plenty, some five years before he formed the Screamers in Los Angeles.

Incredibly, the Cockettes’ movie was screened in the Nixon White House. In Blind Ambition, John Dean mentions watching it in the president’s bomb shelter underneath the East Wing, John Ehrlichman’s favorite spot for “monitoring” protests. There, Dean saw Tricia’s Wedding on the orders of H.R. “Bob” Haldeman:

I knew I wouldn’t use the shelter for monitoring demonstrations, although Haldeman had told me that that would be one of my responsibilities. The only time I ever returned there was for a secret screening of Tricia’s Wedding, a pornographic movie portraying Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Cox, in drag. Haldeman wanted the movie killed, so a very small group of White House officials watched the cavorting transvestites in order to weigh the case for suppression. Official action proved unnecessary; the film died a natural death.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.10.2018
08:28 am
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Meet the priest who was Oscar Wilde’s lover and partly the basis for ‘Dorian Gray’

01doriang.jpg
 
The writer Max Frisch once wrote that an author does nothing worse than betray himself. In that, a work of fiction reveals more of a writer’s thoughts, tastes, and secrets than any work of biography.

This, of course, may not always be the case, but for many it is true. Like Oscar Wilde, whose novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) revealed more about his tastes and thoughts and secret lifestyle than he ever ‘fessed-up to in public—as he once admitted in a letter to the artist Albert Sterner in 1891:

You’ll find much of me in it, and, as it is cast in objective form, much that is not me.

The parts that were thought to be Wilde—the story’s homoerotic subtext—led the press to damn the book as morally corrupt, perverse, and unfit for publication.

As for the parts that were not Wilde, they revealed some of the people who in part inspired his story, in particular, a poet called John Gray (1866-1934), who was one of the Wilde’s lovers. Gray later loathed his association with the book and eventually denounced his relationship with Wilde and was ordained as a priest.
 
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Wilde thing: A portrait of Oscar in his favorite fur coat.
 
The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a distinguished young man, Gray, whose portrait is painted by the artist Basil Hallward. On seeing the finished picture, Gray is overwhelmed by its (or rather his own) beauty and makes a pact with the Devil that he shall stay forever young with the painting grow old in his place. In modern parlance, consider it Faust for the selfie generation. Gray then abandons himself to every sin and imaginable depravity—the usual debauches of sex, drugs, and murder, etc.—in order to “cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.” As to be expected, this has catastrophic results for Gray and those unfortunate enough to be around him.

Wilde disingenuously claimed he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray “in a few days” as the result of “a wager.” In fact, he had long considered writing such a Faustian tale and began work on it in the summer of 1889. The story went through various drafts before it was submitted for publication in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Even then, Wilde contacted his publisher offering to lengthen the story (from thirteen to eventually twenty chapters) so it could be published as a novel which he believed would cause “a sensation.”

It certainly did that as the press turned on Wilde and his latest work with unparalleled vehemence. The critics were outraged by the lightly disguised homosexual subtext, in particular, Wilde’s reference to his secret gay lifestyle:

...there are certain temperaments that marriage makes more complex…They are forced to have more than one life.

The St. James’s Gazette described the tale as “ordure,” “dull and nasty,” “prosy rigmaroles about the beauty of the Body and the corruption of the Soul.” And went on to denounce it as a dangerous and corrupt story, the result of “malodorous putrefaction” which was only suitable for being “chucked on the fire.”

One critic from the Daily Chronicle described the novel as:

...a tale spawned from the leprous literature of the French Decadents—a poisonous book, the atmosphere of which is heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction…

While the Scots Observer asked: “Why go grubbing in the muckheaps?” and damned the book as only suitable “for the Criminal Investigation Department…outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys.”

The last remark related to the “Cleveland Street Affair” of early-1890, in which young telegraph boys were alleged to be working as prostitutes at a brothel on Cleveland Street. It was claimed the government had covered-up this notorious scandal as the brothel was known to be frequented by those from the highest ranks of politicians and royalty.

Little wonder that when Gray was publicly identified by the Star newspaper as “the original Dorian of the same name” he threatened to sue for libel. Gray asked Wilde to write a letter to the press denying any such association. Wilde did so, claiming in the Daily Telegraph that he hardly knew Gray, which was contrary to what was known in private. The Star agreed to pay Gray an out of court settlement—but the association was now publicly known.
 
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John Gray: ‘The curves of your lips rewrite history.’
 
More on the life of John Gray, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.02.2018
01:16 pm
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Meet the David Bowie of Brazil: The wild, weird glam tropicália hybrid of Secos e Molhados
04.23.2018
01:03 pm
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Secos e Molhados (“The Dry & Wet”) was a hybrid glam-rock/Tropicália band formed in Brazil in 1971 during the most repressive phase of the military dictatorship. The band was short-lived, recording just two albums, but launched the career of feminine-sounding vocalist, Ney Matogrosso. Their name apparently refers to different categories of food in Brazilian supermarkets. Their unusual sound combined elements of baião, jazz, pop, glam and prog rock, along with Portuguese folklore, Brazilian and Portuguese poetry, and instruments of Latin American music.
 

 
Matogrosso’s distinctive voice is “sopranino” meaning that he can hit notes higher than F6. Now 76, he’s still a huge star in Brazil, but has dropped the wild costumes and make-up, concentrating more on the purely vocal aspects of his talents, and re-interpreting classic Brazilian pop songs.
 

 
João Ricardo, who founded the group, and Gerson Conrad were the other two members. Secos e Molhados recorded in a wide variety of styles. Their innovative make-up and costuming caused a sensation, if not exactly scandal, in early 70s Brazil and they sold millions of records. An urban legend in Brazil was that KISS copied their makeup from them. Although entirely possible, this seems unlikely as their albums were released only in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Portugal.

Below, Secos e Molhados performing “Flores Astrais.”

 
More Secos e Molhados after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.23.2018
01:03 pm
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William S. Burroughs on the cut-up technique and meeting Samuel Beckett & Bob Dylan
03.22.2018
09:35 am
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“It’s the stink of death, citizens!” (Photo by Peter Hujar)

This hour-long BBC Radio special opens with “Old Lady Sloan,” the Mortal Micronotz’ interpretation of a Burroughs lyric about a happy pedophage, a record the host, John Walters, borrowed from John Peel for the occasion. If the program starts out sounding like a clip-show tribute to Burroughs’ cultural influence, it’s more than that. Aside from a chat with future WSB biographer Barry Miles (identified only by his surname), a little music, and Burroughs’ performances of the now-classic routines “The Do-Rights” and “The Wild Fruits,” the broadcast is given over to Walters’ lengthy interview with the author, champion of apomorphine, and devotee of the Ancient Ones.

Burroughs tells Walters about his years in England, and meeting Samuel Beckett and Bob Dylan; he observes that certain American politicians boast of their ignorance and stupidity. His (camp, I think) misogyny has softened by ‘82. What really sets the interview apart, though, is Walters’ enthusiasm, his openness, his willingness to risk sounding uncool. Here he is grappling with the implications of the cut-up technique:

Walters: What always attracted me when I first heard about that—I suppose, a lot of students at the time—it seemed to introduce a random effect, a found work, do you know what I mean? I wonder if it was so random as all that.

Burroughs: Well, how random is random? Uh…

Walters: Well, let’s put it like this. I was in a pub in Charlotte Street, of all places, in Soho, and a mate of mine had read Nova Express—this was ‘64, ‘65—was talking about this, “You must buy this book,” and started to try and explain to me his interpretation of cut-up and fold-in techniques, which he probably got wrong. And I couldn’t remember the name of the book when I got outside, and then an Express Dairy van from the Express Dairies came by, and I thought, “Express, Nova Express!” And I thought, “That’s what he’s trying to tell us. Random events can have a hidden meaning. We can get messages.” But I don’t think that’s what you see in it, is it?

Burroughs: Oh, exactly. Exactly what I see in it. These juxtapositions between what you’re thinking, if you’re walking down the street, and what you see, that was exactly what I was introducing. You see, life is a cut-up. Every time you walk down the street or look out the window, your consciousness is cut by random factors, and then you begin to realize that they’re not so random, that this is saying something to you.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.22.2018
09:35 am
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Gore Vidal and Roy Cohn debate McCarthyism, 1977
02.22.2018
09:59 am
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In 1977, Gore Vidal went head-to-head with Roy Cohn, onetime mentor of the president*, on the NYC talk show Midday Live. Cohn was promoting his new book, which sported a cover blurb by, uh, Roy Cohn: an “answer to” the recent TV movie Tail Gunner Joe, in which Peter Boyle portrayed Joe McCarthy as a crapulous commie-baiter who lied about his military service. Roy was hopping mad. He published his book-length screed a month after NBC aired the movie, and he sued the network for libel, and fought all the way to the Supreme Court. (He lost.)

Cohn’s performance is a master class in demagoguery. He accuses everyone else of lying. McCarthy is the victim of a vicious smear campaign. If elites in New York and Washington, D.C. don’t like what McCarthy stands for, it’s because they’ve lost touch with the decent, vital, God-fearing people of the heartland, who understand the stakes in the fight against Communism. Most instructive is his fluid interpretation of the word “McCarthyism.” Vidal defines the term early in the broadcast and uses it consistently throughout; for Cohn, it means anything that confers a momentary rhetorical advantage. In the same breath, he casts doubt on the validity of the concept (the word first appeared in The Daily Worker!) and tries to use it like a curse (the real exponent of McCarthyism is… Gore Vidal!).

The real fun starts when Vidal brings up the topic of personal sexual habits, which is right in the wheelhouse of Jack Kerouac’s seducer, and a subject Cohn would rather avoid:

Vidal: To me, the nicest thing—let’s be affirmative. The nicest thing that I have ever heard about Joe McCarthy was told me by Senator Flanders of Vermont: that he was a full-time homosexual. Is this true?

Cohn: No, I’m sure you’d think that merited a badge of honor, but it is not true.

Vidal: Well, I’m getting to you in a minute, but what about Senator McCarthy?

Cohn: Oh, sure, that’s your favorite topic of conversation. I know that.

Vidal: I know; it’s aroused by the obvious.

Vidal later remembered telling Cohn on this broadcast, “We regarded [you and G. David Schine] as the Damon and Pythias of the homosexual movement,” and said Cohn responded by “shaking all over in a ghastly way.” This moment, alas, does not appear on the tape; I like to believe it occurred during a commercial break. But Cohn does appear shaken by all this talk of manly love, and eager to change the subject. Immediately, he produces a sheet of paper and reads some of Vidal’s cutting remarks about LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and General MacArthur, to prove that Vidal is the real McCarthyite. (As if “McCarthyism” just meant “saying unfavorable things about public figures.”)

Don’t worry; host Bill Boggs circles back to Joe McCarthy’s sex kicks—a hot topic since the early Fifties, when, as McCarthy ginned up the Lavender Scare, the Las Vegas Sun reported that the senator himself was “the queer that made Milwaukee famous”—and Vidal makes Cohn squirm some more.

Cohn: I hate to eliminate or eradicate the one plus you ever did give to Senator McCarthy, but the statement and the charge is totally untrue.

Vidal: You would know.

Cohn: Well, I don’t know, you’ve been around a man for a certain period of time, you know his wife, uh, you know his family, uh, you see him, I suppose you can know as well as anybody can know, and if I knew or didn’t know, I’d wanna have a little more proof before I start throwing it around the way you’ve done.

Vidal: But Senator Flanders did.

Cohn: Well, that’s McCarthy—Senator Flanders apologized for having made a statement which was not based on fact, but based on something somebody told him, which when he checked it out, felt was so unfounded that Senator McCarthy deserved and received an apology from Senator Flanders—

Vidal: I would be happy to see that.

Me too. When 67 senators voted to condemn McCarthy on December 2, 1954, the New York Times reported that Flanders apologized for one thing only: comparing McCarthy to Hitler.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.22.2018
09:59 am
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Princess Tinymeat: Meet the obscure genderbending trashglam post-punk goth offshoot of Virgin Prunes
02.08.2018
01:14 pm
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Princess Tinymeat promo poster

The extremely extreme Irish post-punk band the Virgin Prunes was formed in 1977 by vocalists Gavin Friday and Guggi (Derek Rowen), along with third singer Dave-iD Busaras, guitarist Dik Evans (brother of U2’s The Edge), bassist Strongman (Guggi’s brother Trevor Rowen) and drummer Anthony Murphy (known as Pod) who would leave almost immediately, but later rejoin the group. Pod was replaced on drums by Haa-Lacka Binttii (né Daniel Figgis, a former child actor who was in a 1969 stage production of Waiting for Godot with Peter O’Toole among other things) who also contributed tape loops and keyboards. Binttii performed only on their first two singles “Twenty Tens (I’ve Been Smoking All Night)” and “Moments and Mine (Despite Straight Lines)” and two compilation tracks, “Red Nettle,” which was a part of the famous NME cassette release C81, and “Third Secret” which appeared on a Cherry Red comp called Perspectives and Distortion. (Both tracks are included on the Prunes’ essential rarities album Over the Rainbow.)

After this Binttii was kicked out of the group. What in Satan’s name would you have to do to be kicked out of the Virgin Prunes I wonder?
 

 
When Binttii resurfaced a few years later with his new project Princess Tinymeat (a reference to Montgomery Clift’s penis size as revealed by Kenneth Anger in his bitchy gossip classic Hollywood Babylon) it was with a single called “Sloblands” that featured a rather provocative cover (both sides have Figgis with his own meat and two veg out!) and a confrontational abrasive/hypnotic sound that called to mind Swans and also somewhat presages the sound of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Some of it was abstract, some slightly poppier, if not exactly commercial either. The project’s trash/trans esthetic could be described as being somewhere on the continuum between Frank Tovey/Fad Gadget and Coil on one side and Alien Sex Fiend and Pete Burns’ Dead or Alive on the other, although this is not quite giving Figgis his due as the music heard on Princess Tinymeat’s three singles and sole album, the Herstory compilation of 1987, is much smarter, evil sounding and far more considered than either of these later named acts. Still, I’d put Princess Tinymeat in the category of “Batcave bands,” like the Specimen.

The core of the group besides Figgis were Tom Rice on guitar, Ian Sissy Box on bass and C. Zappa on drums and frankly, aside from this, there is virtually no other information to be found—anywhere—about Princess Tinymeat and this would appear to be the way Daniel Figgis would prefer it, as his own website’s bio page doesn’t even mention the group (or his tenure in the Virgin Prunes for that matter) saying only…

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.08.2018
01:14 pm
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Meet Gay Bob, ‘the world’s first gay doll for everyone’—penis included!
02.06.2018
07:56 am
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The 1970s were the great libidinous decade of unbridled gay consciousness. With the Stonewall riots in the rear-view mirror and the lethal threat of AIDS entirely unknown, the image of the strapping male homosexual became a quasi-accepted topic of pop culture contemplation. The Boys in the Band transferred from stage to screen in 1970, Tom of Finland’s arresting images were increasing in visibility—a man named Hal Fischer would even catalogue the strictly codified practices of gay apparel in a semi-serious volume called Gay Semiotics.

In keeping with the times, in 1978 a man named Harvey Rosenberg introduced to the market a variant of the Ken doll (of Barbie and Ken fame) that was explicitly homosexual. The doll, straightforwardly named “Gay Bob,” distinguished itself from Ken primarily in its wardrobe and in its possession of a penis (although, as we’ll see, the term “anatomically correct” is not quite accurate).

Gay Bob’s blond hair, unlike that of Ken, came all done up in a perm, and naturellement Ken sported a blue earring in one ear. The doll came with a single accessory in the form of a purse, and the box that the doll came in was fashioned as a closet, in order to make it possible for Gay Bob to come out of it. Indeed, on the front of the box was printed the text “Come out of the closet with Gay Bob—the world’s first gay doll for everyone.”
 

 
Two print advertisements for Gay Bob survive from the era, and they give differing prices for the doll. The one just above this paragraph cites a price of $14.95 with a $1.50 fee for postage and handling. (Keep in mind, the base price of $14.95 is about the same as $60 today.) The ad further down mentions that you can get one for $19.50 (which is about $75 today). 
 

 
Rosenberg was not a homosexual—press coverage of the day invariably pointed this out—but merely a canny entrepreneur seizing on an opportunity. Most accounts of Gay Bob’s arrival on the market refer to the product as having been introduced in 1977 but the bulk of the press coverage stems from the summer of 1978, most prominently an Associated Press article made the rounds in the first week of August 1978. (The Anniston, Alabama Star ran the AP story under the headline, “Are you ready for ‘Gay Bob?’”)

A couple of weeks before that, Howard Smith, in his well-known “Scenes” column in the Village Voice, published a spiffy 10-paragraph item about Rosenberg’s creation that is a model of witty journalism. Smith describes Gay Bob thus: “Dressed in blue denims and plaid shirt, the 11 inch vinyl creation is neatly coiffed, wears one earring and sports a full-fledged cock.” Smith also pressed Rosenberg on a specific way in which, despite the ad copy, Gay Bob was not anatomically correct. To Smith’s sensible question, “How can you have a homosexual toy figure that doesn’t come with an anus?” Rosenberg lamely replied that “the special requirements of the mold” made it impossible.

Smith’s report ends with an amazing paragraph that has the feel of parody but probably was not.

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.06.2018
07:56 am
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Beautiful homoerotic art and comics by Felix d’Eon (NSFW)
02.01.2018
12:46 pm
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A piece of art by Felix D’Eon inspired by his love of vintage Golden Age comics.
 
Felix D’Eon was born in Guadalajara, Mexico to a French father and a Mexican mother, though the young family would leave Guadalajara soon after his birth and take up residence in Southern California. After high school, D’Eon would enroll in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he would often sketch images of his friends—many of which were gay men or in his own words, “anyone I found cute.” Influenced and inspired by the city’s openness to gay lifestyles, D’Eon decided to start creating more symbolic pieces of work reflective of the many lifestyle choices made by the residents of the city. Here’s more from D’Eon on what drove him to create art which revealed the depth of diversity within the LGBTQ community in San Francisco as seen through his eyes:

“I feel that no one was represented in this artwork except for this very narrow range of people, and I really like the idea of being able to extend this narrative of love and history and just a romantic image of our ancestors to include a wider part of the queer community.”

D’Eon’s style is heavily influenced by Edwardian dress as well as children’s books, vintage sheet music and comics associated with the Golden Age which featured the first glimpses of Captain America and his nemesis the Red Skull. His mother was fond of giving the young D’Eon vintage books she loved, which would also influence the budding artist’s style. His work would quickly evolve to include a much more significant sphere of the LGBTQ spectrum such as those identifying as gender neutral, transgender and gay people of color. D’Eon’s delightful Instagram is filled with more than 3,000 posts from the Chicano artist and self-described activist including his joyful illustrations and homoerotic photography. D’Eon maintains an Etsy shop where you can purchase his original art—something you can also do on his website where you will find, among other things, greeting cards which I can safely say won’t be available in an aisle of your local CVS, but should be.

The images in this post merely scratch the surface of D’Eon’s large body of work. Much of what follows is NSFW.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.01.2018
12:46 pm
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