I always want to start my blog with the title. Today I have none. Today has been shit. God, I’ve been fretting. Fretting about Gaza, Israel, Ferguson, bad white cops, arming black people, traveling, Alcoholics Anonymous.
I’ve been fretting about one beautiful man.
The Alcoholics Anonymous shit is the usual shit. The same characters, the same stories, the same mental illness. I sit in those rooms wondering why I’m there, if I belong to a cult? Yet, I never think about drinking. I mean, I’m not looking for an excuse to drink. That’s the very last thing I want to do.
You see, it was one of those weeks when I heard that someone in AA killed themselves. Someone I heard speak, someone I had spoken to. Someone I had lunch with, someone I had hope for. Then he blew his brains out. No obituary, no news report. Just another recovering alcoholic who couldn’t take it any more. I thought about how we collectively accept the plaudits for keeping each other sober yet when a man kills himself it was his problem. His solution. Never our responsibility. He had a six-year-old son. He dressed very well. Now he’s dead.
Since getting sober 18 years ago I have known many, many men and not so many women to kill themselves in the rooms of AA/NA. It is never easy. Yet, I have become desensitized from these terrible deaths and I hate myself for it. I’m sorry. I really am.
This week, I ate a great deal at Gjelina in Venice and these men graciously served me.
Last week I drove to San Francisco to see my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis read excerpts from his book Travels With Casey. After the reading we had dinner with Armistead Maupin and his charming boyfriend. I told Armistead that I hadn’t read his famous book Tales of the City until I got to The Men’s County Jail. I found a dog eared copy there. It was a first edition.
That night we stayed in an odd 50’s hotel/ex-motel off of trendy Chestnut Street. The following day we drove to Napa and had lunch with Gene. After lunch we wandered the giant redwoods in Muir Woods. On the way back to San Francisco we watched people flying kites on Stinson Beach.
On my way home to Los Angeles I met up with my Whitstable friend Ben Clayton in Berkeley, we ate brunch then sauntered all over the UC Berkeley campus. We talked a great deal about home. We talked about our mothers.
Back in Malibu I picked a huge bunch of bananas from the banana trees at the end of the garden, I harvested (and continue to) an abundance of figs and lemons. I sold the bananas to my friend Nicolle the pie lady at Gjelina who bruleed them.
Yesterday, I went to the Norco Rodeo with Stuart Sandford. Norco is an hour from Los Angeles. It was the whitest event I have ever been to. White people everywhere eating nachos and swilling beer. The men wore cowboy hats. The women screamed when the obedient bulls tossed their riders into the sand.
We wondered if there were other gays there. The nearest gay on-line was 3 miles away. I took pictures of cowboys. I ate tri-tip sandwiches. I was looking for bucking bronco Cody Gaines who I met the day before on Malibu beach. Cody lives in Texas. Cody loves Jesus.
Mostly I have been amusing myself in the garden. I have been sweeping paths and mending lights and restoring order. The dogs have been lazing all over the house during the day, finding patches of sunlight to flop into. At night they spend too much time protecting me from deer and raccoons. Go to sleep!
Michael came to visit from NYC. He was sweet and charming. I met the guy with a beard… and here’s a better picture of Stuart. Stuart Sandford is a very fine artist. He lives and works at the Tom of Finland House in Echo Park. My friend Martin arrived from Provincetown. He’s staying for a few days.
All in all it hasn’t been a bad month. It’s just these past few hours. I needed to sit down and write a gratitude list… and this is it. You see, I woke up today and I’m not a hounded black teen on the streets of any city USA. I’m not a hounded Palestinian in the ever shrinking patch of land they call home. I’m not a fatherless 6 year old… and lastly, I didn’t blow my brains out this week because I couldn’t take it any more… and for that I must be grateful.
Latex bondage wear ready to be washed from the dungeon at The Tom of Finland House, Echo Park.
Gay men in Los Angeles told researchers that they believed a culture that focuses on one-night stands and partying, that emphasizes perfect bodies and good looks, that prizes material possessions, that sees gay men tearing each other down as they compete for attention and that pressures gay men to fit in or conform is bound to create unhappiness, stress and unhealthy behaviors.
The word on the street in gay resort/haven Provincetown? The straights are coming, they are coming thick and fast, young affluent heterosexuals buying property, renting holiday apartments and day tripping. I was reassured by a cool, 31-year-old, straight person yesterday that this was the heterosexual ‘tipping point’. Of course (if true) the reasons are obvious. The older more affluent crowd of gay men and lesbians who bought affordable homes here twenty years ago are simply not that interesting to a less ghettoized younger gay crowd who go to Fire Island or Mykonos where a good gay thumping time is assured, where they can find an affordable share for the summer… anyway, the drag is so much better the closer you get to NYC.
Young straight men and women who used to actively avoid hanging in gay ghettos… or felt uncomfortable no longer have any reservation. This, my dears is one of the more unexpected changes that comes with ‘integration’. Our gay communities, gay clubs and gay bars will dilute as we become more heteronormative.
How do the gays feel about straight people buying into the gay and lesbian ghetto dream? I hear grumblings from some, but what can they say? We can’t restrict straight people from joining the party? Before the great shift, the Obama ‘evolution’, the Blair/Mandleson equality bill I would regularly challenge straight people who came to our clubs and bars, wondering why they were there… if they understood why gays and lesbians created safe spaces for themselves… now apparently we all live in a safe space… together.
If the war is won do we abandon the notion of a safe space, a gay bar, an LGBTQ community? Is that what we were fighting for? As it turns out, gay men are still living shameful and secretive lives… safely hidden from prying eyes. No longer behind the blacked out windows of the gay bar but on the internet where we can fully reinvent ourselves as muscle-bound avatars, 10 years younger than we really are.
The gay bar, meanwhile… becomes a themed experience for enlightened neo-liberal heterosexuals. After all, gay men don’t need to meet one another in real life when we can meet on-line, reducing our interaction before a sexual encounter to the barest possible exchange of relevant facts. Hung? Looking? Party?
The same heterosexual land grab is happening in the Fire Island Pines gay community. Straight people are buying and renting homes at a faster rate than gay people. Of course… the truth is, we never really owned the lions share of Fire Island Pines… it was always owned by straight people. Three heterosexual families who control The Pines real estate market.
In San Francisco‘s iconic gay area The Castro we are facing extinction in our natural habitat, bought out/selling out to silicone valley billions. What are we left with? Our sad LGBT ‘pride’ parade: a blinded corporate-sponsored dinosaur serving only the breweries and distilleries, no longer a political defiance… no longer worth a pilgrimage by those newly out yearning to see gays en masse… the gay parade and all it seeks to celebrate merely adds to our woes, confirming the worst about who we have become.
How long will it take for Provincetown to lose its unique identity and become just another Cape Cod town? The Pines, just another beach community on Fire Island? How long will it take for our history to be lost, forgotten or ignored by apathetic gay white men who have no interest in those who came before? The heroes who fought decades of violent oppression, the ‘gay plague’, who demanded equality… how long will it be until their names are erased?
Do you know who they are? Harvey Milk… and…
The politics of invisibility.
As the quality of our lives collectively ‘improves’, as we ‘integrate’ due to the passing of progressive equality laws why are we still facing a crisis? Why do gay men continue to struggle with life-threatening health problems at alarmingly high rates compared to straight men — alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Gay and bisexual men are still most impacted by HIV/AIDS and syphilis, they suffer higher rates of substance abuse, they are more likely to drink heavily later into life, and they are more likely to commit suicide and suffer major depression and anxiety and bipolar disorders.
Gay men with mental health problems are more likely to use illegal drugs and commit suicide. Or regularly using drugs and alcohol can lead to risky sexual behavior, which increases the likelihood of getting infected by an STD.
Our health problems, in other words, are feeding into each other, we’re literally killing ourselves through suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS at higher rates than straight men. Let’s say that again: We are killing ourselves at higher rates than straight men through suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.
Some gays are quick to point to the stresses of living as a gay man in an overwhelmingly straight world — one that passes anti-gay laws and constantly spews homophobic rhetoric — as a reason for mental health and substance abuse problems. With that argument, they are coming very close to saying that we are powerless victims who have little control over our own lives and choices, that homophobes have more power over us.
That’s a ridiculous notion — lethal and self-defeating.
Since homophobia still exists and is not going away any time soon, the victim theory, if embraced, dooms us to a life of external, homophobic stressors that forces us to drink too much, commit suicide too frequently and get depressed too often.
I wonder if Michael Alig hated the movie Party Monster as much as I did?
I wonder if someone at Fenton Baily’s World of Wonder who filmed Alig’s ‘reactions’ whilst he watched the docudrama about himself… paid him? I can’t imagine that he won’t be on Fenton’s payroll before the year is out, just like his friend and the gay douche James St. James… who I was once bored to meet in LA with Ian Drew.
Meanwhile, the soggy Michael Musto pretends Alig is a very bad man yet seems secretly in awe, unable to stop writing about him. There are articles about Alig everywhere in the gay press. Of course, The Gay Voices section in The Huffington Post want his ‘opinion’ about EVERYTHING.
The gay frenzy around Alig’s release from prison is beyond macabre. What does Michael Alig think about the progression of gay rights? What does Alig think about the overturn of DOMA? Does he have an opinion about the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?
Am I crazy? This murderer gets out of jail. A murderer who dismembers another gay man and we ask his opinion about DOMA?
For those of you who don’t know Michael Alig… and there are many… Michael Alig (born South Bend, Indiana, April 29, 1966) is the co-founding member of the Club Kids, a group of young club goers led by Alig and his long-time best friend James St. James in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996, Alig pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Andre “Angel” Melendez in a confrontation over a drug debt.
If Michael were a straight, white guy getting out of jail for killing and dismembering another man… would other straight people be fascinated by what he had to say about… the Affordable Care Act? Mind you, if he was a black man… we wouldn’t ever hear his opinion about anything… because he would still be in jail, convicted of first degree murder rather than the white man’s sop… manslaughter.
It’s so exciting to have him home in New York City! Let’s read more about Michael Alig in Vanity Fair! Imagine what it must be like to be free after 17 years! Everything’s so incredibly different! Here… play with this. It’s called a smart phone. These are ‘apps’.
Michael Alig tweet his fans. Michael looks at Manhattan as he crosses an unnamed bridge into the city and has a moment of trepidation . Did he remember dumping Angel’s body into the East River? Alig drinks Starbucks and eats Arctic Char. He scarcely seems like a man who would murder and dismember another gay man as he eloquently discusses fish seasoning.
Later, Michael forgets to take a shower because no one is telling him to wash. It’s ‘amusing’ to see Michael use Grindr for the first time and wonder if and when he hooks up… will he tell his on-line fancy… the truth? Will he conceal his true identity? The truth about his murdering and dismembering past… huh? Are you kidding? Nobody tells the truth on Grindr. A world of wonder… indeed.
“Michael you’re my hero.” The young gays squeal on social media. ‘We still love you!’ ‘You helped me become the man I am today.’ The elder ones tweet: ‘You made me true to myself.’
Michael Alig has become our best, brightest and newest gay celebrity. Hankering for a second chance in a country that loathes giving second chances to anyone. He will become a living legend, his gay apotheosis assured by Fenton Baily and Michael Musto who may make fortunes from Alig’s gruesome celebrity. Nor must we forget Ramon Fernandez, director of the upcoming documentary Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig, he too expects to win big riding on Alig’s murder and mayhem.
No doubt Alig will be invited to GLAAD events, his crimes diminished by celebrity and pithy comments about hetero normative gay life… he will champion individuality, he will sit at The World of Wonder table with Ru Paul. He will work tirelessly for the HRC.
Michael Alig will be loathed and loved in equal measure when in fact… he should be totally ignored.
Meanwhile, a truly talented filmmaker kills himself. Malik Bendjelloul, director of Oscar winning film Searching for Sugar Man. When I heard it, your personal story moved me. It’s tough to be a star. I know what you went through. I was there for a moment too. Same age. It’s very disconcerting, all that attention after years of solitude. Making art in a vacuum… then Hollywood comes calling with their lies and false promises.
Two different tales, different intentions. Two very different filmmakers.
Fenton Baily and Ramon Fernandez add a miserable, self indulgent post script to a stark and soulless documentary making themselves more money from the death and dismemberment of a brown man… no doubt delighting other soulless white people… whist you dear Malik made an inspiring documentary that touched the hearts of many and was so deserving of the international acclaim it received.
Sometimes it seems like a shit, shit world. A world where people like a gay drug addict and murderer Michael Alig get all the attention on exactly the same day a brilliant man like Malik Bendjelloul ends his own life.
Rest in Peace.
Most of you know there is little love lost between me and gay Hollywood… the gay establishment, our unelected leaders, our taste makers and moral guides… or lack of them. From Chad Griffin (who now claims to be the Rosa Parks of marriage equality) at the HRC to the bullying tactics of gay mafia org Glaad I have made my voice heard and paid the price.
During the last year I have had death threats and put up with the gay rumor mill distorting facts about me. So, today, old acquaintance Bryan Singer finds himself in my world… the shadowy world of innuendo, accusations, smears, allegations and (unlike me) the hard to remove stains of rape and pedophilia.
The gays are springing to his defense. The boy was 17. Old enough to know better. Old enough to say no. Well, as we all know, whether it is Jerry Sandusky or Bryan Singer power and prestige can be very alluring to a damaged soul and let’s face it… many young gays are very damaged. It’s difficult to say no if you think saying yes will change… everything.
Dorian Gray was a damaged soul. Just a boy. Would he give in to love… or power and prestige? We all know the answer.
I first met Bryan on Fire Island 20 years ago. He stayed at our house with Brandon Boyce and some eager young twink. Latterly I stayed with him in Hollywood, and we have kept friendly but distant ever since. When I was arrested he (and his friends) delighted in my jail time* and made snide comments about me getting into trouble. Their arrogance, like most sexually unmanageable people, was legion.
Bryan and I have discussed his boy obsessions and sex tourism. We have discussed his prescription drug addiction. We have discussed his drinking problem. We have discussed his point that it is useless to know anyone socially unless there is a sexual point.
Today Bryan finds himself at the center of a roiling sex scandal. It is of his own making. Everyone one knew… but no one said a word. Young boys on his arm, on his set, at dinner with equally vile boy obsessed Hollywood grandees… the lamentable Adam Press, the teen dating Dustin Lance Black.
If you want to get on in Hollywood straight or gay… you better learn how to please the directors and producers you meet at drug fueled, drink sodden gay parties.
Of course, when someone cries foul, the gays think it is the victims ‘fault’. They have played victim for so long.
Somebody suggested to me this morning that it was ‘homophobic’ of those accusing Bryan of rape. No, it’s not homophobic to accuse someone of rape, it’s homophobic to forcibly sodomise someone.
Bryan’s close friends include Guy Shalem (Jane Lynch’s red carpet plus one), Transformers Producer Tom DeSanto and Teen Wolf director Toby Wilkins. Finding themselves on private jets, at Elton John’s Oscar party and vast Hollywood mansions overlooking Los Angeles. They are surrounded by a stable of beautiful young boys. They are delighted to be included. It’s always so much fun. Bryan can make anything happen. He has so many cool toys.
Bryan films a group of eastern european ‘barely legal’ porn performers ejaculating over him… then shows the video to who ever wants to see. Many do. Bryan audaciously dresses as a catholic priest for Halloween, amusing his friends with his ‘ironic’ choice of costume. Bryan loses his Ferrari in The Beverly Center parking lot and has a panic attack. He drives with the parking attendant in a golf buggy until he locates the car.
Amy Berg, the Oscar nominated documentary maker has been researching predators like Bryan for the past two years. Her explosive documentary about sexual misconduct in Hollywood will blow the lid off those who perpetrate these heinous sex crimes and those in power (sex therapists, law enforcement, prosecutors and the judiciary) who collude with wealthy pedophiles and rapists to keep their sex crimes secret.
This story is no longer just one lone victim brave enough to tell the truth about Bryan Singer.
I like Bryan Singer and rather than sneer at him (as he did me) I am hopeful that someone is keeping a seat warm for him at a Sex Addict meeting where he will find solace and understanding from many other ‘important’ Hollywood men who have fallen from grace whilst arrogantly thinking they could get away with what ever they pleased, when ever they wanted, regardless of price or consequences.
As we shall see. There are always consequences. Even for Bryan Singer… and his ilk.
From an earlier blog:
“So, this beautiful teenager arrives at a party I’m at last week in the Hollywood Hills. Fresh off the boat. He’s beautiful. He has a fresh, open face…his pale skin is flawless.
He hadn’t been in Hollywood for longer than a month but already he’s on the arm (unwittingly) of a so called LA ‘producer‘ who, it seems, has immediately pimped the boy out to the head of programming for a popular music network. The no name, no hope LA producer pimping the boy out… so that he might curry favor with the TV grandee. Just to be clear… the same LA producer hires young boys to ‘read scripts’ so he has access to their young boy world.
The whores and the pimps and the fairies…
The network head ain’t no beauty. He looks like Dobby from Harry Potter.
So the good looking kid arrives and he tells me that he’s working in NYC with an equally scummy NYC ‘producer’ who always has some starstruck kid on his arm. The NYC producer looks like he has downs syndrome, he looks like his teeth are too big for his fat, useless head. He looks like he’s wearing a wig but the fringe ain’t deep enough to cover the alcohol bloat, the never was visage. He was a bullied kid at the expensive school his mother sent him to… signed him up the moment she heard the sperm had hit the egg.
Both of these producers have one thing in common: they have loads of inherited money and never produced anything.
They might have their names attached to invisible projects, they might have inveigled their way into the production meeting of some meaningless movie, thrown a little cash behind an artless indi. But, they ain’t never winning no awards, they ain’t never been invited to no Sundance, Berlin or Cannes. They’ll go anyway, keeping their mouths shut to those who matter and lying to those who don’t.
Should I tell you who they are?
So I’m keeping my head down. I’m not saying a word. I’m instagramming the bar man, I’m already elsewhere…waiting for something real to happen. Dobby (the music TV network head) shows the man I’m standing with his very smart, smart phone. He’s so excited. There are hi def pictures and video of the same wide eyed teenager at Dobby’s huge house wearing just…a towel. Yes. The kid is wearing a towel around his waist, his perfectly sculpted body on full view and standing beside him is another, equally cut young teen.
Two young boys.
The inference? You don’t need me to explain this to you do you?
So I take this kid to one side and I ask him if he’s gay? He’s not. I ask him what he thinks of the network head showing everybody his new naked body to anyone the network head needs to impress.
‘They are good guys.’ he reassures me.
No, I say…they are anything but good guys.
You know, all he wants (this kid) is a job, a chance, an opportunity, the dream of celebrity…freedom. He can almost taste it. He knows that these men make all the difference.
His desire for a better life is palpable. He’ll drink the drinks. Undress, get into the hot tub.
You know, I love beauty. I love it. Look, I’m surrounded with beauty. My ex-friend might say, oh your just jealous. You’re just jaded because you want what they’ve got, Believe me, I do just fine. But on terms that do not compromise my integrity.
Would I show random strangers the body of some boy who stands feet from me? Knowing that those artless, semi pornographic images suggest that we are more than just…innocent friends? The network head winks, smiling…dribbling over the screen on the smart phone. Dobby’s nose is dripping from undisclosed snorting.
He says, without saying anything: That teen boy…the boy with the perfect abs. He’ll do anything..because he thinks I’m going to get him a role, find him an agent…make him the next teen sensation. LOL.
LAUGHING OUT LOUD!
He lets seasoned Hollywood gays believe that this boy will do just about anything to get on. Dobby wants you to believe he fucked the boy. Dobby is powerful. Dobby can get whatever he wants. Even the virgin ass of a young boy fresh off the boat. Particularly… the young ass of the boy standing feet away from us, oblivious that he is now the victim of rank objectification and intrigue.
Proud to be gay? Not today.
So I wrote a short email to the NYC ‘producer’ guy. I told him what was going on with his protege. He wrote back immediately…he thought it was hilarious. I reminded the fat, vodka marinated, creep…that the boy…has parents.“
* For those of you who want to know why I was in jail and why I am currently suing LA County: my civil rights lawsuit arises from the fact that I was unlawfully held in the Los Angeles County jail for 85 days, in violation of my constitutional right to post bail. (I was a pretrial detainee and eligible to post bail yet the jail did not allow me to post bail). I was denied the opportunity to post bail because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had issued an immigration hold (sometimes referred to as an “ICE hold”). An immigration hold is a request from ICE to hold a detainee so that ICE can look into their immigration status; it doesn’t mean the person has violated immigration laws or even that ICE has probable cause to believe they’ve violated immigration laws. At the time of my arrest, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department routinely denied bail to pretrial detainees with immigration holds, which is illegal under California and federal constitutional standards. Since the filing of my lawsuit, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department discontinued this practice and now permits pretrial detainees with ICE holds to post bail.
Monday morning. Brooklyn. The end of this particularly hard winter is nowhere in sight. In LA the sun shines over the glittering sea, in London my friends post pictures of balmy evenings in St James Park. I run from our place to sit in crowded coffee shops. I’m writing under a pseudonym nowadays for publications that love paying him/her but would never pay me. Funny. Doing what writers have always done: assuming different names for different opinions, different styles, different genres. Consequently, I don’t get to write my blog very often… as I traverse the continent once a month. From sea to shining sea. No one understands why I love driving 2,800 miles twice over once a month… but I do. The last trip was short and sweet. I stayed in LA a few days then drove back over the Rockies and into a 50 car wreck on the i80 a hundred miles east of Chicago on the Ohio Turnpike. Trapped on the side of the road for ten hours with two patient dogs and so many bad christian radio stations. Badly educated, right-wing bigots on the radio. Wondering out loud how they will roll back the rights of women and gays and undocumented workers, how they will keep hold of their white America. The America their ancestors battled to tame. I think about those early Americans very often as I drive over the Rockies, the hardship they suffered, the dreams they had… the cruelty they inflicted on those who lived on the land they took and the slaves they owned.
I tried sleeping in the car. Minus 6 degrees. Occasionally fellow travelers would stop by to see if we were okay. They offered cookies and consolation.
I’ve been with my boy for 8 months. We cook at home and watch bad make over TV. Every day our situation gets stronger as we over come our own and the prejudices of others. I realized that most of my male gay friends are single, even the ones with the best pedigrees. The ones who are good-looking and sweet and a ‘good catch’. I, of course, am none of those things. I am the bullet you need to dodge. That’s what they say. But the gays are eager to diss all of their friends burgeoning relationships. They are disparaging about anyone who may not be ‘ideal’. This ideal that keeps them single and lonely. They look at me sadly when they find out how old L is as if I am deluding myself that my relationship could ever work. Did I think it would work? Well, not in some fairy tale way, not the way gay writers write the perfect arrangement… the ideal. We muddle through, we miss each other when we are apart, we fight occasionally but not as much as we did when we first met. All in all, I’m happy and feel love from him and let my love flow… to him. That’s occasionally a very confusing and baffling thing for me. To let myself be loved.
In Des Moines, I met Kookie Kardashian… the morbidly obese (500lb), hirsute… older sister of Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian. She is the least known of the KKK Klan. Drinking alone in a dump of a hotel bar, reruns of KUWTK playing on the flickering TV above the tequila selection, staring absently into a soupy pina colada. Text messages remained unanswered as she pulls at her thin mustache. I introduce myself, she says she appreciates the company. Apparently, when the cameras are in her Calabasas house Kris makes her leave with the undocumented servants. Kris pokes her with a stick. Kookie said that Ryan Seacrest called her a ‘fat cunt’, that if she wanted to be on the show she should ‘get a fucking lap band’. Kookie, blinded by grief, drinks herself regularly into a blackout. She commandeered Kanye’s jet and took it to Iowa. Her brushed denim and patent leather Fendi bag stuffed with cash. If she loses the weight… Kris promised her that she and Rob can have their own show.
She told me she misses her dad.
Has anyone been watching the OWN Lindsay Lohan ‘documentary’? That girl is OUT OF HER MIND. A world without consequence will do that to you. A world where nobody has the guts to confront an addict and her worst defects. A world where she believes she is still important or relevant, a world where no one will tell her that death is imminent… like Heath, Phil, River… living in a room stuffed with clothes, jewelry… evidence of active addiction.
Despicably, this tragedy is being manipulated by entertainment industry matriarch Oprah Winfrey… the disingenuous bad mum who knew all along that her little girl would let her down. Oprah’s fake outrage is utterly disgusting.
I bought a huge green fur hat from Marc Jacobs. It’s very warm, very green and attracts many, many comments.
The people who comment fall into three distinct groups.
1. The people who comment most are African-American men and women who approach me with huge smiles and open hearts and say wonderful things about the hat.
They tell me how happy it makes them. They ask where they could get one. They love the color. They hold me at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and ask if they can touch it. Black school kids holler across the street.
2. White woman tentatively tell me how much they like it, how warm they imagine it is. They rarely look me in the eye and their diminished confidence allows them only the slightest… but genuine opinion.
3. Gay men. I sighed writing that. Gay men. I sighed again.
When gay white men (strangers) talk to me about my hat it is always with sneering disregard. They go out of their way to say something catty and unpleasant. They look at me witheringly, their comments infused with: who do you think you are wearing that absurd hat? They dress compliments up in such a way that confuses the listener.
If the African-Americans who complement my hat had not done so I would have nothing to compare the responses of the gays. I might think I was going crazy. But I’m not.
We all know what a heartfelt compliment sounds like and the gays seem incapable of giving one… unless (of course) they want to get laid.
Here are more pictures of our brief stay in Malibu and our trip home.
First, if you’re going to out someone, then out them. Itay Hod did not out Schock in his piece, he outed a “hypothetical” congressman who just happens to fit Schock’s resume. He also presented thin evidence, which consisted of hearsay from an unnamed journalist friend and video footage that he claims TMZ has of Schock “trolling gay bars.” Hod knows a Facebook post is the only place this cuts it; that’s why it appeared there and not at any publication.
Secondly, a group of several gay journalists and activists on Twitter — including Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, John Aravosis and Josh Barro — have decided that mocking Schock for exhibiting stereotypically gay attributes, like caring about his clothes and body, or following Daley on Instagram is the way of dealing with him. This is the same sort of behavior that the same people have said is harmful when it happens to closeted LGBT kids in schools. And, when I look at this happening publicly, I know that those closeted kids could be seeing it too. If it’s harmful for those kids to see athletes say anti-LGBT things, how isn’t it harmful for them to see prominent out people teasing Schock for his pants?
Chris Geidner is the sole brave gay journalist who dared criticize the velvet mafia for their inchoate name calling and bullying… aimed at Republican Politician Aaron Schock… the reason for this gay vitriol? Hunky journalist (we only agree with the good-looking ones) Itay Hod posted some ugly, muddled references on his Facebook page to a man who might hypothetically be Aaron Schock.
I’m not a fan of Aaron, he’s a typical… loathsome republican with typically unpalatable views with an unlikely sartorial edge, an atypical personal aesthetic and a body that most gay men seem to die for.
Most gay men seem to think Aaron has a ‘gay body’ so must be gay.
Rather than homosexual… Aaron Schock looks to me like a right-wing narcissus. Remember the art of the Third Reich? Remember Die Partei, Arno Breker‘s statue representing the spirit of the Nazi Party, fetishizing male perfection? Like most young contemporary gays, young nazis were encouraged to aspire to an idealized body as proof of their loyalty to the state (the state of gay) and their undying patriotism. A common right-wing obsession.
Aaron has embraced the people’s fascination with his perfect abs and pecs whilst extolling the values of racial purity, militarism, and obedience. Perhaps that’s exactly why the white, elite gays believe Aaron is a homosexual… because he is a full on, 100%, bone fide narcissist.
And, if you are wondering… defending him from the gay mafia does not make me a self loathing homosexual. It makes my blood boil that hate speak usually reserved for gay people is being used by gay people against a man who may or may not be gay.
Aaron! If you had only kept your abs to yourself, your (some might say) good looks under wraps… and your Instagram private… the gays wouldn’t have noticed you in the first place. But all those pics of you with your bronzed pecs and tight white underwear have driven the gays wild. And, like Tom Cruise before you… all the gays really want… is… to fuck you… convincing themselves and others that if they want you that badly… there’s no chance you’re straight.
You’ve confused the average gay, blindsided him with your million watt smile.
If you had been an ugly troll saying hateful things… the gays wouldn’t care less who you were fucking. Anyway, they’d have already caught you with your mouth behind a glory hole or paying for boys on rentboy.com and dismissed you with a limp wave and a meh.
But Aaron, much to their consternation, you seem to be sexually abstinent. Nobody has caught you with your pants down with anyone… male or female. Because you don’t take your pants down? The gays NEVER understand celibacy or abstinence or how all men are not exactly like them. It drives them crazy that they can’t catch you, shame you, kill the demon of homophobia within… then fuck you.
Itay Hod and his jacked up supporters are crude, repellent people. Old fashioned bullies… judgmental and prescriptive. If you dare disagree with their group think assessment you will be damned to hell… just like Chris Geidner…
For a bunch of guys who loathe judgement in others the gays sure got judgmental about the rest of the world. Since the Supreme Court DOMA decision the gays have woken up… emboldened, embracing their power. Like children, testing their parameters, the boundaries of what can and what can’t be said or done. Sadly, after a life time of hibernation, they have taken on the attributes of their worst enemies.
Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, John Aravosis, Josh Barro.
They are, after all, just men. White gay men, looking down their noses at the rest of us.
While the affluent, white gays sink into a sanctimonious swamp the rest of the LGBTQ alliance look on at them with barely concealed embarrassment.
Their treatment of Schlock, their asinine assumption that he is gay based on pics of his bare-chested, manicured body… his trousers, his shoes… says more about them and the type of gays they are… than the kind of straight man Schock is.
Dodgy circumstantial evidence convicts Aaron Schock of homosexuality in the court of the velvet mafia. Using gossip and here say, bad shoe pics and plaid pants as indisputable proof of his gayness.
This is BULLSHIT!
I thought is was who we were fucking and loving rather than who we were aping that made us gay?
Perhaps Aaron Sch-jock is truly asexual? Maybe he’s waiting for the right guy… maybe he’s a pedophile practicing abstinence… or suffers erectile dysfunction and hates the gays because they are so obsessed with hard cocks?
What of it? It’s all conjecture until he tells us what he is if he feels so compelled.
The guy is a republican hater who dresses like a european and loves showing off his abs… have you seen Instagram or Tumblr recently? Based on this proof… this ‘criteria’… the whole world (hopefully) would be gay. All of my young straight friends are posting pics of their abs and their shoes on Instagram and Tumblr every day.
Haven’t we got past this crap? That only pansies and girls do that sort of thing?
God forbid, what happens if Aaron comes out? Like Ken Mehlman before… who caused untold harm to fellow gay people. If indeed Schock is gay and comes out? There will be a parade. It will take the baying gays about ten seconds to shamelessly forget his homophobia, objectify his abs… go to his pool parties and drink his vodka whilst he condemns immigrants, destroys women’s rights and turns a blind eye to racist colleagues.
But don’t worry… he’ll be out and proud.
If a woman, an individual woman multiplied by billions, does not believe in her own discrete existence and therefore cannot credit the authenticity of her own suffering, she is erased, canceled out, and the meaning of her life, whatever it is, whatever it might have been, is lost. This loss cannot be calculated or comprehended. It is vast and awful, and nothing will ever make up for it.
I never met Nigella Lawson, not yet.
I only meet women like Nigella when they become irrelevant.
In my distant social orbit, light years from the warming sun of acceptability, circle the flotsam and jetsam of international society. Isolated by ignominy, the ex wives of current politicians, media titans and corporate mega moguls float in and out of the rooms of AA, expensive treatment centers in the Arizona desert, The San Fernando Valley and Malibu.
Aping the lives they once had with limitless funds, they buy a few stems of bruised tuba rose* from the same florist who once filled their many mansions with exotic blooms. Sumptuous bouquets placed on valuable escritoire, on silvered night stands, on grand dining tables.
As she leaves, she stands briefly on the threshold, looking down at her guilty feet and apologizes for the frugal fist of sweet smelling blooms. The florist looks on piteously knowing that her younger, more glamorous successor can spend whatever she pleases.
These cast off ex-wives, these frosty women, their faces wet with angry tears, looking to half-baked sober life coaches in first-rate treatment centers to recalibrate their lives. Drinking away their sorrows, dumped by men whose power they loved and whose money they spent. Yoga, sobriety, macrobiotics, spending, using, crying… nothing seems to work because all these women want is the sweet taste of revenge.
This week, one very lucky ex-wife gets her dues. She waited patiently on the sidelines of her ex-husband’s life to witness the crushing downfall of her Nemesis. Today, American born, Kay Saatchi is not only back in Charles’s life but has had the delicious pleasure of helping dispense the woman who caused Kay pain beyond description: Nigella Lawson.
Kay is delightful. I’ve met her on numerous occasions in Los Angeles. Of course she’s delightful! A man like Charles Saatchi wouldn’t marry an idiot. Kay is everything a powerful man would want, she is elegant, super smart, she has exquisite taste. Kay, nowadays, is sober. Yet, when Kay was drinking, she had an unpleasant habit of blacking out and talking gibberish about Charles. She couldn’t and wouldn’t stop. Even her best friend wouldn’t know how to stem the tirade. Her life, it seemed, could only be nothing… without Charles.
She would disintegrate into a seething mess of Charles Saatchi resentment.
The only hook Kay had in her ex as she watched in increasing horror as Nigella used Charles as a spring-board into her own rock solid career as international domestic goddess… was her/their daughter Phoebe who Kay moaned constantly was ignored by her father. When I asked Phoebe if her father ignored her over Christmas dinner a few years ago… she denied it, looked sadly at her drunk mother and told me that the only problem parent… was Kay.
Now, things are different. Kay is sober (unlike Nigella) and Kay’s undying love and loyalty for her ex husband has been rewarded by his begging Kay to help oust Nigella. Kay will never be Mrs Charles Saatchi ever again but she has made herself indispensable to him during his time of need, once again firmly cementing herself back into his life.
It is hard to explain to ordinary people the intoxicating effect of unlimited cash, how women like Kay and Nigella and now Trinny Woodall would willingly get involved with brooding Charles Saatchi. A man who throttled his ex wife in public. A man so ruthless he recruits his vulnerable ex-wife to destroy his current wife.
Do yourself a favor and read Andrea Dworkin’s Right Wing Women: the politics of domesticated females. Money and power are everything to some women. It defies logic and rationale. The patriarch, the provider, the batterer… do what ever you will to me and for me… I am yours forever.
The harsh glare of media scrutiny is lighting up every dark corner of Charles Saatchi’s famously private life during the trial of his former employees, The Grillo Sisters. It must be a painful time for secretive Charles. During the trial there was constant mention of the grown women (who were no more that indentured servants) as ‘family’ yet, as Deborah Orr points out in the only pro Grillo piece on offer this week…
“You cannot insist that someone is in your family, then cry fraud when they behave as if they are.”
The rich are different. They like to live beyond scrutiny, they operate without care for consequence. Partially, this week, on a micro and macro level justice was done. For servants like the Grillo sisters and for ex wives who crave revenge… like Kay Saatchi.
* Princess Diana‘s favorite flower.
Tuesday, a woman I know sent me a revolting picture of a skinned, live puppy attempting to escape a pot of boiling water.
The similarities between these two emails far outweigh the differences.
Black, known to his friends simply as Lance has been around my life as long as we have both been making gay films. Despite how we have been described, Lance and I are NOT friends. Never have been, never will be.
Recently, Lance’s films have fallen by the wayside. His famous friends and perfect Hollywood pedigree can not augment his startling lack of talent. Despite the luxury of many recuts his film Virginia remains almost unwatchable. One of his producers told me that Lance cannot and should not direct.
He claims that he loves my British Academy Award nominated film AKA. Yet, for all his ‘love’ of my work… he and me have never really connected. I’m not… a) a young blonde boy, b) a Hollywood grandee, c) interested.
Like so many gay men in Hollywood he is ruthlessly ambitious.
Lance Black (born to the Morman faith) is an affluent, white, gay man. I stress this because it defines who he is as a so-called gay activist.
We see each other at gay apartheid (white only) parties in the Hollywood Hills. I am usually the plus one.
He lives in a nice house on Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood. It is sparsely decorated. For all his riches Lance lives a frugal life. One might say the house lacks imagination which is odd for such an imaginative man. One of the bedrooms in his humble home is reserved for the two surrogate children he is planning in his not so distant future.
The only fly in the ointment? He will not have children unless married. Sadly, his seeming inability (like so many gay men in Hollywood) to keep just one man, a man to marry… the bassinets remain empty. He is drawn predominantly to much younger gay men. The subject of child rearing, when discussed, often leads to amicable separation.
It seems that Lance may have found in Tom Daley a young man he can marry who shares his desire for an immediate family. Let’s wish him all the best and that child-birth comes quickly… he doesn’t want to be an old dad, too old to play football with his young child.
Lance’s pre occupation with a nuclear family is at odds with how I would determine an activist. But Lance is no ordinary activist. He passionately wants for all gays to perfectly ape what heterosexuals seem to have. Nothing less than full integration will do. He fights vehemently for the gays to participate in the traditionally right-wing institutions of marriage and the military.
He hangs primarily with a gang of affluent white men who share similar mores.
Gay activists like Lance Black were quick to blame California’s African-American voters for the defeat of Proposition 8, the anti gay marriage amendment. People for the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert, criticized “the speed with which some white gay activists began blaming African Americans—sometimes in appallingly racist ways.”
Black is wedded to right-wing gay organization the HRC who once famously refused to support the rights of trans people then issued a groveling apology. Not learning from their white gay mistakes the HRC recently silenced the voices of trans and queer undocumented activists outside the Supreme Court during the DOMA Supreme Court decision, again… apologizing after the fact.
The gays at the HRC, it seems, have a very narrow view of sexuality. The LGBTQ coalition leaves many affluent, white gay men feeling uneasy and confused. Unsurprisingly, like so many gay men, Lance questions the legitimacy of bisexuality. A nettle the gays prefer not to grasp…
Read more about the dark practices of the HRC here.
“In recent years, HRC has been working to contradict its former reputation as an organization overly focused on issues of concern to affluent white gay men, combating long-simmering charges of transphobia within the organization.”
When Lance first started calling himself an activist and regularly going to Washington to meet President Obama I bumped into him at Cafe Solar de Cahuenga on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood. Solar is a tatty south American coffee shop/restaurant popular amongst young actors and writers within sight and sound of the busy 101 Freeway.
I praised him for his film Milk which he valiantly produced and won an Oscar for writing. I didn’t ask him about the controversy whirling around the gay gossip vortex in which we are both hapless victims.
Amongst the back stabbing gays his success and authenticity were being questioned.
Hadn’t he stolen the Milk project from another gay producer? Did he in fact write the script that won him the Oscar? Some people said that Ron Nyswaner had in fact written the final script that Gus shot? The gays told me that he took his Oscar everywhere. That he couldn’t put it down. They scoffed that he used his power and prestige within the gay community to snare impressionable young boys. They said that he should have been wearing a condom when he was fucking his ‘boyfriend’ in the infamous shots of Lance with a cock in his ass… if he was at all interested in being an ‘activist’ he should have been wearing a condom. They said that he should practice what he preached. They said that the original documentary about Harvey Milk was far better than the film.
Harvey Milk made Lance Black famous. What Milk would have made of Black personally… I wonder. What Black would have thought of Milk if he had met him contemporaneously… I wonder. Milk was a charismatic, bombastic, driven, older jewish man. Lance channels Milk’s political inclusivity when he claims that all he wants to do is ‘give people hope’, this wholesale appropriation of Milk’s legacy… sticks somewhat in the caw.
Lance hangs with Milk’s contemporary and true activist Cleve Jones. Lance riding Cleve’s activist coat tails? Cleve seduced by Hollywood glamour?
What kind of political activist is Dustin Lance Black?
Whilst whistle blower and trans hero Pvt. Chelsea Manning rots in jail, ‘activist’ Lance Black lead the ‘human rights’ charge on The Castro for San Francisco Pride. SF Pride chose to controversially exclude Manning from the official Pride demonstration in fear of upsetting Pride’s corporate donors.
Back in Hollywood, Lance sits writing on his own in the middle of the coffee shop sipping green tea. Everyone could see him there. We talked about British equality legislation fashioned by Waheed Ali. I told Lance about British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell. He seemed enthralled by Peter’s unique brand of direct action so I organized an introduction. When the time came for him to meet with Peter… Lance bailed.
I sent a dismissive note.
We didn’t speak again until he started dating a dear friend of mine who was at that time living at my home.
My friend is perhaps one of the sweetest man I know. Kind, considerate, thoughtful, intelligent, curious and recently out of the closet. In fact, history repeating itself, my friend came out for Lance. My friend made the first move.
Knowing that my friend was falling for Lance I tried to stay as impartial as I possibly could. It didn’t last long. I was furious. I was supportive and kind for as long as I could be. I asked Lance over to the house for his new boyfriend’s birthday lunch. Lance bailed.
During the next few months of their relationship I watched my friend fall apart. My friend started therapy. He was torn and confused and miserable.
At one particular gay pool party Lance rudely left without telling my dear sweet friend that he was leaving. Lance ended up at another Hollywood party, at Roland Emerich’s surrounded by more young boys.
My friend was distraught.
Thankfully, when Lance took my friend to The White House he didn’t bail. They ran around with Don Lemons stealing Christmas cookies. They had access all areas. They hung in the Oval office. My friend was delighted to see history being made… for affluent white gay people.
I maintained my impartiality.
I have no opinion about Lance and Tom. Sadly, others do.
Tom Daley is being scolded in the bully chat rooms by the petit bourgeois gays for ‘making the first move’ as if his teenage innocence and delight can be construed as a devious attempt at star fucking.
The British public love Tom Daley and they will not let him get hurt or tangled in anything other than a relationship they deem appropriate. For the time being they will give Lance Black the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that the British press will keep tabs on Lance. If he thinks for one gay moment that he can get away with any duplicitous behavior around Tom Daley… he had better think again.
The problem is: no one expects gay men to have morals, or stick to the rules. Gay white affluent man have written their own rules and nobody dares question them. They have become a super elite, their access to the world stage unparalleled. But with wider acceptability comes broader scrutiny.
Elton John once said in front of me, “10 gay men run the world… and I know all of them.”
Tom Daley is a beloved young British boy. We may begin to see this corrupt, elite gay world through his teenage eyes. It is a shadowy world of sexual un-manageability, pedophilia and other unsavory obsessions.
It is not what the elite gays want you to know, whilst they paint a public picture of themselves that makes them seem… just like you.
Gay and Lesbian cinema is enjoying a well deserved revival and two very special films are garnering a great deal of post Sundance attention.
By way of full disclosure, I was once very friendly with John Krokidas who stayed in both my ex boyfriend’s house on Fire Island and our house in London.
The similarities between Concussion and Kill Your Darlings, both opening in NYC this weekend, are legion.
Both are first features by writer/directors in their 40’s, both incredibly accomplished, both fatally flawed during the middle of the third act and both produced by lesbians. Concussion, produced by the venerable Rose Troche. Kill Your Darlings, by equally lauded Christine Vachon.
Thankfully, both have found their way into the mainstream at a time when the mainstream have developed an appetite for gay and lesbian culture.
After their opening night screening Troche, when asked what had changed for gay and lesbian film since she showed Go Fish at the Angelica twenty years earlier, said, “Social Media.”
We, as gay and lesbian film makers, are no longer so isolated, so dependent on traditional media to get our message to what was once a niche market but has become, due to the marriage equality debate, a broader church.
Kill Your Darlings is a ‘bigger’ film than Concussion. There is a great deal of Oscar talk around Darlings and film industry infra structure to support that claim. A period film, a grander stage, a huge cast. My gay friend who saw it before me called it one of the ‘best films they had ever seen’.
There are flaws in both of these low-budget movies that maybe, with a little extra cash, could have been resolved.
Yet Darlings suffers most for its low budget.
When all is said and done, Darlings is a cold film, lacking substance. It seems scared of embracing man/man man/boy emotion. The characters lack depth and focus. It is a cruel film. Not least because it deals with a murder. Yet, the murder only really becomes apparent toward the end.
Described thus on IMDB… the film does nothing of the sort.
Before the murder is picked at like an unsightly, syphilitic scab in the middle of the third act Krokidas sets up a youth orientated world where older men are vilified, where young boys (Daniel Radcliff and Dane DeHann) run from party to party, taking drugs, reciting poetry and jacking off .
Young, attractive, sexually ambiguous, entitled, partying college students vaguely remind one of Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisted but sadly… without the wit, subtext or the huge budget.
Poor Michael C. Hall playing David Kammerer, the soon to be murdered older man, turns up periodically looking forlorn and pathetic in his period coat and beard like a homeless person had wandered onto the set by accident. Both he and the equally talented Jack Houston are horribly underused and sidelined while the less talented ‘youth’ continue to take drugs and quote Yates.
If Kill Your Darlings had really focused on the murder, the resulting trial and aftermath this film might have succeeded. Yet, the backdrop becomes the foreground, the story held hostage by pretentious fluff and circumstance.
Unaware of this compelling murder story before I saw Kill Your Darlings. I Googled Kammerer, Ginsberg and Carr.
I remembered William Burroughs coming to my 21st Birthday party. I began to see how the story had been massaged by Bunn and Krokidas to suit their own 21st Century gay agenda.
How do gay men want to present themselves and our history?
The murderer in Darlings is a bad gay not because he murdered a so called predator (his defense) but because he subsequently got married and had kids and didn’t ‘come out’.
The ‘older man’ is dispensable… worthless… the murder almost… forgivable.
Even though the victim Kammerer was seven years younger than forty-year old Krokidas is now, the writer and director show this character little compassion. Krokidas directs the audience to incorrectly believe that Kammerer was somehow a much older pedophile rather than a love struck gay man… that he deserved to die.
One final note.
The spectacle of Daniel Radcliffe being fucked in the ass, his hairy legs forced over his shoulders is perhaps the most daring yet superfluous, unnecessary and redundant scene in the entire movie. Sadly, it is for what this film will be remembered, which is not what the writers intended.
Both Concussion and Darlings are very white films. There are no black people at all in Concussion which I found utterly baffling.
Kill Your Darlings has perhaps one of the most racially offensive scenes where Radcliffe and DeHann are the only white faces in a black speak easy imagining what trouble they could cause by manipulating the clientele if they were negro puppets frozen in time.
As a metaphor it was sickeningly on point: this is how white gay Americans treats black gay Americans.
How could this appalling white casting have happened? Whilst Darlings can use the ‘period’ excuse… Concussion cannot.
The colorless casting issue aside, Concussion, because it seems to comfortably inhabit the parameters of a low budget film is a more accomplished and polished tale.
‘After a blow to the head, Abby decides she can’t do it anymore. Her life just can’t be only about the house, the kids and the wife. She needs more: she needs to be Eleanor.’
Concussion as described on IMDB only scrapes at the surface of what this ingenious film unpacks.
Concussion’s provenance is by way of the IFP script lab and Sundance Post Production fund.
The delicate performances, elegant settings, this thoughtful and spare film (compassionately told) delighting from beginning to end… well, until mid-way through the third act.
Concussion is Robin Weigert‘s film. Her performance is sublime.
Weaving interconnecting tales of Suburban and urban lesbian life, an ordinary sexually unsatisfied house wife strays into a world of sexual diversion. Selling her sexual self to other woman. It’s as simple as that yet the adventure she chooses becomes our teachable moment. Those who crave sex over emotion, or emotion over sex.
The questions posited pester long after the film ends.
Films about double lives are always intriguing. How those two lives collide. Picking up the children from school juxtaposed with violent images of remembered s and m sex.
Abbey is an interior decorator who is renovating a small apartment in lower Manhattan. She uses the apartment to meet women who hire her as a sex worker. After the loft is sold and her secret life revealed a choice has to be made.
Will Abby stay with her wife or move on?
I’m not going to spoil it for you other than to say that the answer gets lost somehow in a melee of loose ends.
Both Concussion and Kill Your Darlings are welcome at a time when almost every Hollywood studio is contemplating larger budget gay themed movies. Gay film makers must continue to tell stories that use the language and locations of our own lives. Although I had problems with Darlings it is imperative that these films go on being made.
White, gay male youth orientated stories have become bankable. White female middle-aged lesbian movies… not so much. Powerful white gay men in Hollywood make sure that some gay stories get applauded whilst others (Liberace) are ignored.
The Weekend by Andrew Haigh (Creator of Looking for HBO) although breaching the straight/gay divide was not given the ‘A Gay’ benediction Krokidus is currently enjoying. The gay men in The Weekend were too old, poor and took public transport… some of the criticisms I heard from the velvet mafia. The film was consequently marginalized by Hollywood gays.
John Krokidas waited ten years to enjoy the dream of making his movie come true, within that ten years the face of film making, gay film making, distribution and post production have undergone a revolution. The culture, the matrix from which these films are conceived and born has changed beyond recognition.
Krokidas could not have made this film ten years ago. Nobody was interested in making films like this.
The recently democratized means of production and distribution allow any young (or not so young) gay film maker the freedom to tell our tales without masking their truth.
For too long gay film makers were advised to turn their back on their own stories for fear of marginalizing their careers.
For those of us who waited, remained tenacious it is maybe too late to find a place at the table. Yet, I am thrilled for those… like John and Stacie who do.
I was asked to direct this movie, or a movie like it, ten years ago.
It was a script based on the autobiography of Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson.
I read the script, I met the producers, I met Michael Keaton who was, at that time, attached to the project.
Now, I don’t remember the script, I don’t remember the producers.
I remember meeting Michael Keaton in an obscure room in Santa Monica. Michael was very quiet, not at all enthused.
I remember asking myself why he would want to make this movie. I remember sharing ideas about performance and parameters.
He didn’t want to do an ‘impersonation’.
Another script about Liberace arrived, a more dynamic, dramatic and excessive script. It piqued my interest.
It began with Liberace’s final moments in the back of a limousine.
Liberace is often damned for claiming he wasn’t gay, for never admitting to his HIV status. That those around him at the end of his life went to extraordinary lengths to hide that he died of AIDS.
Of course, there are still people, (living people) who never admit they are HIV positive.
Such is the shame around HIV and AIDS.
But equally there were many people at the time of Liberace’s death who went to extraordinary lengths to reveal that he died of AIDS.
They exhumed his already buried body to prove their point.
There were too many people eager to shame him. For that’s what they wanted to do. Shame the gay man.
Liberace never said publicly that he was gay. He denied it. Again and again.
I sympathise with his denial. It was his choice, a choice we now condemn.
In these prescriptive times if you are not willing to say you are gay… someone else will.
Liberace was a brand.
It’s understandable that Liberace lied on oath. He had everything to lose.
In those miserable homo-ignorant times there were plenty who would have delighted and profited from his downfall.
Reading the reviews for this film a theme emerges: Loneliness.
There are countless other references to this ‘lonely’ man Liberace. His ‘lonely’ mother, his ‘lonely’ boy friend Scott.
Scott was ‘damaged’, Scott was a ‘gold digger’, Scott was a ‘lonely soul’. Scott was ‘played too sympathetically because he’s in jail for burglary’.
It seems like the prophecy of fearful mothers comes to pass in this movie, that their gay sons with end up alone, abandoned, unhappy.
The relationship between Scott and Liberace may seem familiar to any powerful, older man who lets a younger man into his life:
“They establish a bond that is a blend of romantic love, father-son affection, brotherly playfulness, and prostitution.”
Liberace, like Brokeback Mountain before it brings into hard focus the lives and loves of queer men.
There is the obligatory delight and revulsion (in equal measure) of the kissing. Two men kissing.
Two men kissing seems to remind many straight men that a tender intimacy can exist between men and that may very well interfere what they imagine we do.
The gay butt fucking they imagine… immediately… after meeting one another.
Men kissing, like men getting married, seems to inflame the homophobe.
I’m wondering why Steven Soderbergh wanted to make this movie, why a gay director wasn’t chosen?
Did he do it because it seemed like a cool thing to do? A straight man, so comfortable in his own skin that he can work with queer subject matter?
It still feels to me like straight boys (actors and director) getting together to prove a point.
With so many talented and extraordinary gay directors in the world how did this end up being made by a bunch of straight guys?
Was Liberace too difficult and distasteful and potentially divisive for a gay director?
When ever I have stood before a queer audience with my queer films (confirmed by other queer, male directors) the audience who have the most problems are those who want to say: I didn’t see me.
Gay man are desperate to see themselves and their lives as they live them in TV and film. It is perfectly reasonable for them to expect this.
Rather than the gay freak, the gay priest, the comedy gay… they, understandably, want to see themselves fairly represented. They want to see gay detectives, gay wedding crashers, gay teachers, plumbers, gay undocumented workers.
Many reviewers of Liberace: Behind The Candelabra smirk at the foolishness and naivety of the straight women who swooned at this obviously gay man.
I once researched a documentary about fag hags. All the women I spoke to who identified as fag hags felt adored and listened to, appreciated, respected by a man. Even if that man was gay.
Those women provide the clue to Liberace’s denial and downfall.
Liberace wasn’t lonely. He was a performing artist who found solace and validation, like many do, on the stage.
Every night he performed he bathed in the glory of his screaming fans. The unconditional love of his audience.
An adoring audience of many thousands will never be any match for the love of just one man.
I remember saying that to Michael Keaton as I sat there in that small room realizing who Liberace was.
It started with a short message and ended up with a whole bunch of choices I never expected.
Not in my wildest dreams.
I’ve read what you had to say. Now it’s my turn.
Stepping away from the mess. It’s not so messy. It seems like it was planned.
This pantomime. Look at the cast of unusual, freakish characters. Look at them.
Boys and men, trans and women.
Young girls. Yes. They are here too.
So you wrote me a poem. No title… of course.
We were connected .
When it expires we are expired.
The order? It was a good idea. It was a great way to formalize the end of our association. I can only imagine that you feel much the same way I do.
I wish we had never met.
Don’t you shudder whenever you think about it?
I understand why you needed to rewrite the narrative.
I took advantage of you?
You had far more to lose by telling the truth.
When assigning blame, I take full responsibility. I should have walked away.
Everyone I trusted advised me to do so. Everyone I trusted.
Instead, I pinned my hopes on you. I found your interest in me all at once baffling and inspiring.
A romantic relationship was impossible.
Because I am a broken, sick man. Incapable of intimacy.
You sold me:
A big fat lie.
Yet, we never talked about my lies. Yes, I lied to you about almost everything.
Lies I had held onto for a very long time.
This man is a liar. Just like me. Did you ever think that?
The last time I checked, and that was some time ago, you seemed very happy wearing your new clothes, your relationship, your job and your family.
I am delighted. You will make a much better job of being a gay than I ever could.
Your ability to form and maintain relationships will mean that you’ll have everything you always wanted. Everything you ever dreamed.
The questions I wanted to ask… I have no reason to ask.
The truth set you free and I am very proud of you… even though I have no desire to set eyes upon you ever again.
May 6th 2013
When did you have time to write that? Was it really meant for me?
Did you wonder if I should reply? Did you think I could?
There are no words left.
The storm rattles the house, thunders down the drain pipes. Torrents of rain over the mountain. Hammering down onto the wide, new leaves.
Make some toast and lime marmalade. Boil some eggs. Stand naked in the warm rain.
I haven’t written anything for so long.
Perhaps I just ran out of things to say.
Roger Ebert died. He wrote to me recently urging me to write more. I have no idea why.
The house in Malibu is filled with my things again and the garden, this beautiful spring, overwhelms me.
Moving back in gave me the opportunity to start editing once again. I threw out three huge boxes of old clothes. Cashmere, labels, everything loved for a moment back then. Helmut, Yves, Issy, Comme des Garcons… boxy shirts from another era, trousers that I can (after my op) still get into but have lost interest in.
I kept all the Helmut Lang couture. It’s just too special.
I feel myself floating over the surface of my life.
The road trip across the USA was spectacular. Chicago, Denver, The Rockies, Utah and Vegas. Just me and the dogs and a car full of art and luggage. I met lovely people and saw cities I had only ever heard of.
I never went over the speed limit.
The operation to have my gall bladder removed was painful but since having the surgery I feel wonderful.
I didn’t realize how much pain I was living with. How the pain made me grumpy, listless and intolerant.
Now, without that girdle of pain, without the imminent GB attacks… I feel perfectly happy. Peaceful.
I can concentrate. perhaps that’s why I need to write?
During the past few months so much has happened. Things I can tell you and things I can’t.
Yet, after the moment passes, I can’t be bothered to write it down.
Editing the huge amount of stuff I own to a few essential pieces. Taking my old stuff to vintage stores, consignment stores and auction houses has been cathartic and profitable. Who knew things were so valuable?
But more than that. It feels like I am winding down. Not is a morbid way.
With less stuff and less girth (since the op I lost a great deal of weight) I feel not only lighter but more agile, more energy to do important things (for me) more time to devote to others, causes, delights.
As you know, those who know me, I like my decisions to be made for me. I LIKED my decisions to be made for me.
Recently I have taken control of the reigns. Less at the mercy of Duncan Roy. Do you know what I’m talking about?