I could swear we reviewed this lovely book, but I can’t, for the life of me, find the review anywhere in the archives. Nonetheless, on what will be a hot and sweaty Gay Pride weekend, here’s a lovely slide show that is drawn from the book Affectionate Men: A Photographic History of a Century of Male Couples, 1850-1950 as well as another, Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together 1840-1918.
Oh no they’re not…they’re just breathing hard!
Thursday, June 5. 7:30 – 9 p.m.
LGBT Center, 208 West 13th Street, Kaplan Assembly, First Floor
Admission: FREE, no reservations required.
Join the largest New York gathering of Cockettes since their theatrical catastrophe at the Anderson Theater in 1971. In 1968 this psychedelic-fueled gender bending troupe of men, women, children, Gay, straight and in-between became legendary for their performances at San Francisco’s Palace Theater. At the cultural forefront of Gay Liberation, these bearded hippie drag queens showed generations to come the creative potential within us all. Moderated by Steven Watson, chronicler of the American avant-garde and author of Factory Made, The Beat Generation and The Harlem Renaissance, and hosted by John Waters’ superstar Mink Stole and HRH Lee Mentley of the Hula Palace, the evening promises to be historic. Cockettes scheduled to appear include Scrumbly, Sweet Pam, Rumi, Fayette, Harlow, Jet, Tahara, Sebastian, Toots Taraval, Jim Campbell and Dolores DeLuce.
Contact: Robert Croonquist at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Cockette Symposium is one of a series of events in New York the first week in June will bring a dozen of the original Cockettes together on the East Coast for the first time since 1971 to mark the donation of the Martin Worman Cockettes / Gay Theater Archives to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theater Division at Lincoln Center.
The other events include:
The Northeast Radical Faeries and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Present
AN EXTRAVAGANZA TO BENEFIT FAERIE CAMP DESTINY
Monday, June 2. Bazaar, Refreshments and Films from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Performances at 8 p.m.
At Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue at 10th Street.
Admission, $30. Bake Sale and Bar, Faerie Wares and Services—Priceless
Rumi Missabu of the Cockettes & the Camaraderie Art Salon present:
A COCKTAIL OF GLAMOR AND ANARCHY
Wednesday, June 4. 8 p.m. with a possible second show at 10 p.m.
At Monkeytown, 58 North 3rd Street between Wythe & Kent, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bedford subway stop.
Admission FREE with two drink minimum. Dinner reservations encouraged, 718 384-1369
Further info at: mailto:email@example.com
The Cockettes emerged from the communal movement in San Francisco in the late 1960’s. Founded by Hibiscus and other members of beat writer and publisher Irving Rosenthal’s Kaliflower commune, the Kitchen Sluts, as they were first known, would entertain as they delivered food and newsletters from Rosenthal’s Free Press to an intercommunal food network of over 300 households. Known for their outrageous bearded drag, sequins, glitter and camp, the queerly androgynous troupe made street theater and performance history on the stage of the Palace Theater at the Nocturnal Dream Shows, midnight showings of camp film classics. Word of their shows spread by word of mouth and through San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. The Cockettes were officially discovered by Rex Reed, Truman Capote and Joanna Carson and were whisked off to New York where they were feted by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland and held court at Max’s Kansas City. Their cockeyed optimism was welcomed by many but at odds with the irony and cool of New York during the Warhol era. Those who flocked to see their premiere at the Anderson Theater included Anthony Perkins, Allen Ginsberg and John Lennon. As Sylvia Miles said, “Everybody who was anybody was there.” And they were not amused; the evening was a catastrophe. Angela Lansbury is said to have risen from her seat midway through Act One and exclaimed, “Get me the fuck out of here,” and Gore Vidal quoted Arthur Laurents’ Gypsy, “Having no talent is not enough.” After the glitter settled, the Cockettes returned to San Francisco where they created their most successful shows. Cockettes who became famous in their own right include disco diva Sylvester, Café Society pianist Peter Mintun and Cockette guest star Divine.
The Martin Worman / Cockettes / Gay Theater Archives
Martin Worman was a playwright, director, actor and lyricist during the height of the Gay Liberation movement in the 1960’s through his death of AIDS in 1993. A Vietnam Era veteran from Paterson, New Jersey, Worman left Fort Dix for a life in the theater in San Francisco where he was a member of the legendary troupe known as the Cockettes. He wrote book and lyrics for several of their most renowned shows including Hot Greeks and Vice Palace which featured John Waters’ superstars Divine and Mink Stole. He was known as “The Cockette Who Can Read” because of his multiple academic degrees, a secret he carefully guarded from the street-based, anti-professional ethos of the time.
Worman continued his musical collaboration with Cockette Richard “Scrumbly” Koldewyn, writing musical revues and plays, most notably the 1972 musical Rickets: A Day in the Life of the Counterculture. Influenced by the theater of Bertolt Brecht, Worman viewed himself as a cultural worker and saw theater as a weapon in the struggle for Gay Liberation. In 1975 he co-founded the San Francisco-based Gay Men’s Theater Collective whose award-winning play Crimes Against Nature was brought to New York. There Worman assisted Robert Wilson and Jack O’Brien, directed Lola Pashalinski in her Obie winning performance of Steven Holt’s Cold, Lazy and Elaine and adapted Sherwood Anderson’s The Man Who Became a Woman for Steven Keats at Theater for the New City. At his death he was Associate Professor of Theater at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he adapted Meridel LeSeuer’s Midwest populist writings to the theater. The 90 hours of interviews he conducted with Cockettes in 1987 during the height of the AIDS epidemic include a deathbed interview with disco diva Sylvester. His unfinished dissertation at NYU on the history of the Cockettes became the basis for David Weissman and Bill Weber’s acclaimed documentary The Cockettes.
Worman created extensive archives of his work in the theater, including 600 pages of Cockette interviews transcribed by his partner Robert Croonquist who safe-guarded the archives and is now donating them to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theater Division at Lincoln Center.
For other reasons altogether, I was in search of the source of the quote:
Now…a quip of that nature can only have come from a limited handful of sources…I was initially guessing Oscar Wilde…Mark Twain probably said something similar. But no. It was our dear, dear Noël Coward, of course, putting the words in the mouth of his beloved Gertrude Lawrence as she played "Amanda Prynne" in Private Lives (a role he wrote specifically for her, with him playing opposite as "Elyot Chase".)
And so…apropos of nothing other than my own recent reading of The Letters of Noel Coward (a delectable read of the first order)… and, of course, it’s Friday and it’s been a long week…here, ladies and gentemen is the estimable Sir Noël Coward potently–and inimitably–singing one of his own, most famous, but hardly cheap, songs.
Howzabout some hip-hop tuba? Opera rap? Well, you got that and a whole lot more unpleasantness in a 25 minutes of the "worst music of all time" in one piece.
This is truly boggling. Apparently the result of polling data used to determine the most hated parts of music. Then they squonched all of that alltogether and voila! you have this audio din that just has to be heard.
Here’s how the description of the finished product:
The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children’s choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance–someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example–fewer than 200 individuals of the world’s total population would enjoy this piece.
You can give it a listen to here. Pretty hysterical at points.
FULL-TIME PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITY WITH THE KINSEY SICKS!
What could be more thrilling? More life-changing? More fun? More nauseating?
The Kinsey Sicks, America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, is seeking a serious and skilled performer for a long-term full-time commitment as an actively performing swing. We are looking for:
* Substantial stage experience
* Strong musicianship
* Great talent in comedy and comedic improvisation
* Comfort with drag performance
* Ability to portray a comic character in an ensemble context
* Ability to learn complicated 4-part vocal arrangements in limited time
* Willingness to travel, perform live, and potentially appear on screen
* Willingness to chip in on some of the less glamorous aspects of travel and performance (including stage/dressing room set-up, meeting/greeting audiences, selling merchandise after shows)
* Decent business skills, progressive politics, good communication and the ability to work in a team.
A cappella experience is a plus but not required. Being part of the Kinsey Sicks is incredibly fun. You should be too. We want you to be as excited about what we do as we are. This position is open until filled.
Send a resume to info@kinseysicks.
The Kinsey Sicks will be touring throughout the spring and early summer, and we will audition qualified applicants as we tour. Let us know if you can make it to any of the following places:
April 10: Cleveland, OH
April 11-12: Providence, RI
April 13-14: Lincoln, NE
April 16-18: Hamilton, NY
April 23: Richmond, KY
May 11-15: Las Vegas, NE
May 17: New Hope, PA
June 6: Dallas, TX
June 7: Salt Lake City, UT
June 14: Spokane, WA
July 11: San Francisco
July 12: Seattle
Please circulate this email among your friends who perform, or who sing in choruses, or who otherwise are exceptional talents who might fit well with the Kinsey Sicks.
WHO WE ARE:
For over 14 years, the Kinsey Sicks, America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, has served up a feast of music and comedy to audiences across the US and abroad. Combining award-winning a cappella singing, sharp satire and over-the-top drag, the Kinsey Sicks tours full time, having performed in 37 states as well as Mexico, Canada and Europe. The Kinsey Sicks have had their own Off-Broadway run at New York’s legendary Studio 54 as well as an extended run in Las Vegas. They have released five CDs and are the subjects of two feature films: "I Wanna Be a Republican," released in 2006, and "Almost Infamous," slated for release in 2008. For more information, visit www.kinseysicks.
Because we publish both this blog and the "hard copy" magazine, White Crane, we get on a lot of press lists for various publicists in the entertainment, publishing, recording and fashion business. The sheer stereotypical nature of the kinds of press releases we receive is stunning, really. The only metric that seems to make any difference whatsoever to whoever is sending out the press releases is that they see the word "gay" somewhere in the search, and their feeble little minds automatically assume "fashion" "sex" "consumers" "vacuous dance music" and the most superficial kind of idea of "beauty" imaginable. In fact, using any variation of the term "imagination" in the same sentence is a stretch. Actually having looked at a copy of the magazine, or exploring our website to determine something of what our interests might be seems to be too much to ask.
This morning was a perfect example of the stark dichotomy of choices with which we are presented virtually every day. In yesterday’s mail we received the first run of Mark Thompson’s newest book, a beautiful book of his own photography. More on this in a moment.
[Full disclosure: White Crane Institute helped with the production of this book, and we have been sponsoring a touring exhibit of some of the photography in the book, providing it to LGBT communities around the country.]
We were also in receipt of a press release…the second one, now…about some pretty boy cranking out monotonous "dance music" (I love to dance, but what passes for ‘dance music’ these days is, quite simply pathetic.) Shirt open to his six pack, sexuality ambiguously alluded (I’m not big on "sexual allusion" myself…Rosie O’Donnell "alluded" to Tom Cruise for years…and that’s just too weird for words).
Anyway, silly me, I decided to give it a listen, since the publicist (a little more full disclosure here…yours truly was a publicist in the music industry, and a band manager at one point, no less…so I have a soft spot in my heart — not my head, though — for music publicists, and artist trying to break into the biz) had gone to the trouble to send a MP3 file.
The lyrics say it all: Hey…you remember when / I read your mind? / Thoughts of you run through my head / and make me want to touch myself / The odds are so right / I know you know I’m the special one…Let’s make love like / we’re strangers…
Like strangers. Wow. Great. With HIV/AIDS making a comeback like it’s a viral Taliban, I hope they use a condom. What a great musical message to put out to young Gay men…a population that is seeing a significant uptick in sero-conversion, we should note. What really burns my admittedly senior citizen ass is the marketing of this cookie-cutter pretty boy, all pumped and smooth like every other cookie-cutter pretty boy, draped in female flesh (used like skin props) and expecting that just because this fellow is (debatably) a) young and b) attractive, that every red-blooded Gay man is going to run right out and buy his drivel music because he has digital abs. Let’s be clear here: his voice is unremarkable. The music is indistinguishable from any other cut on just about any other current "dance music" disc. There is nothing about this–and I use the term very loosely here–"singer" that recommends him other than his shaved body. If you like that sort of thing.
Look at the photos accompanying this post…one is the cover of Mark’s book, Fellow Travelers: Guides & Tribes [Fluxion Editions, 2008] and "the Stranger" with the models who are so weak from hunger they have to lean on him for support. Tell me…which huddle would you want to be in? You want to "make love like we’re strangers," like this bimbo (I really think "bimbo" ought to be the male version and "bimba" the female) suggests? So OK…maybe you don’t want to get all muddy…but those are definitely not "strangers" in that picture. You might actually connect with someone…your own self, for instance… your own history as a queer, like Mark Thompson is documenting in his beautiful book Fellow Travelers?
I hesitated to even talk about the singer, who shall remain anonymous here. Why give shallow exploitative product placement any kind of publicity at all? But the contrast between this dreck, and Mark Thompson’s new book was so dramatic to me, I thought they ought to be thrown into contrast. Mark’s Fellow Travelers book is available in limited edition at http://www.markthompsongayspirit.com/
The empty nutrition of the mess of potage with the six-pack is available…anywhere. In a word: feh.
We want to thank one of our readers in Sweden for sending us this. Not quite sure what the message is, but it seems a nice sort of soft Bible porn. Gives a whole new twist to the phrase "left behind."
There are some nice left behinds in this. Some nice right ones too. Enjoy:
The incomparable musical masters Milton Nascimento and James Taylor singing Nascimento’s "Vendedor de Sonhos" ("Vendor of Dreams").
Vendedor de sonhos
Tenho a profissão viajante
De caixeiro que traz na bagagem
Repertório de vida e canções
E de esperança
Mais teimoso que uma criança
Eu invado os quartos, as salas
As janelas e os corações
Frases eu invento
Elas voam sem rumo no vento
Procurando lugar e momento
Onde alguém também queira cantá-las
Vendo os meus sonhos
E em troca da fé ambulante
Quero ter no final da viagem
Um caminho de pedra feliz
Tantos anos contando a história
De amor ao lugar que nasci
Tantos anos cantando meu tempo
Minha gente de fé me sorri
Tantos anos de voz nas estradas
Tantos sonhos que eu já vivi