Category Archives: gay

World cinema classics #40

Today’s World Cinema Classic is Glen or Glenda Youtube, sorry embedding disabled, a film on transsexuality directed by Ed Wood, Jr. and released in 1953. I only saw this a couple of years ago. Since the arrival of the VCR, the film has been marketed as one of the worst ever. I would have to disagree with that statement, it’s very enjoyable. There is a dream scene in this film (a bit similar to the one shown in the clip) which ranks way up there with “genuine” surrealist films such as Un Chien Andalou. By all means, see it.

The defining sentence is “Pull the stringk!”

Caveat emptor: There is the slightest of chances that I liked the soundtrack (I cannot identify it, does anyone have the details?) so much that it prejudiced me in a favorable way.

Previous “World Cinema Classics” and in the Wiki format here.

Breton’s homophobia

I’ve mentioned surrealist leader André Breton’s homophobia before, so I decided to investigate.

Apparently most of what is known of Breton’s dislike of homosexuality stems from round table discussions that were held in the years 1928 – 1932, long before Kinsey or Masters and Johnson began their clinical surveys. Participants included many of surrealism’s best known figures: Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Antonin Artaud, Benjamin Peret, Jacques Prevert, Marcel Duhamel, Yves Tanguy, Pierre Unik, etc…. Their findings were partly published in the surrealist magazine La Révolution surréaliste. For those of us without access to those magazines (and that is 99.999% of us) there is an English translation available from Verso books with the title Investigating Sex: Surrealist Discussions 1928-1932, which publishes verbatim accounts of all of these round table discussions.


Surrealist Discussions 1928-1932, page 5, an illustration of many Surrealists', and especially Breton's apparent homophobia. This excerpt from the first session on January 27, 1928.

Quoting from both sides (pro and contra):

André Breton said:

“I accuse homosexuals of confronting human tolerance with a mental and moral deficiency which tends to turn itself into a system and to paralyse every enterprise I respect.”

Pierre Unik states:

“From a physical point of view, I find homosexuality as disgusting as excrement …”

André Breton concludes:

“I am absolutely opposed to continuing the discussion of this subject. If this promotion of homosexuality carries on, I will leave this meeting forthwith.”

Some surrealists came to the defense of homosexuals, most notably Raymond Queneau who states:

“It is evident to me that there is an extraordinary prejudice against homosexuality among the surrealists.

I’d like to investigate further who was pro and who contra, but I am running out of time here.

David Bowie @61

Happy Birthday Mr. Bowie


Life on Mars (1972) by Bowie

David Bowie was 25 when he made this composition. As with many artists, their most productive and innovative period is between 20 and 30.

I loved the androgynous persona of Amanda Lear-ish Ziggy. I wonder who did the make-up.

Some Amanda Lear androgyny Euro-disco:


“Enigma (Give A Bit Of Mmmmh To Me)” (1972) Amanda Lear

Previously on Jahsonic: Seu Jorge, a cover version of “Is there Life on Mars”

World music classics #15


Juxtapoem: Sylvester James‘s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and Pierre Janet‘s reality principle. An interesting side effect of the common mental illness known as falling in love is the feeling of recapturing a sense of reality.

Nineteen years ago today, Sylvester died aged 40 of complications from AIDS.

See previous entries in this series.

World cinema classics #22


Je t’aime… moi non plus (1976) – Serge Gainsbourg

I’m not sure Je t’aime… moi non plus would work if it was made today. I saw at the local art house cinema in my mid twenties. At the time I was as much in love with the yellow truck as with the decadence of the film, the performances of Jane Birkin, and Joe Dallesandro and the cameo by Gérard Depardieu. As a fan of Serge Gainsbourg, I’m glad to showcase it here today. The striptease scene at the beginning is very typical of this film. Towards the end of this Youtube clip, the footage is underlit.

Previous “World Cinema Classics

Guilty pleasures #3


Cargo de Nuit (1983) Axel Bauer

The clip is directed by French photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino (1983). It is an homage to the movie Querelle by Fassbinder. To us, in the early eighties, Querelle was the quintessence of the macho/gay sensibility and it was copied by musicians such as Luc Van Acker on the cover of The Ship[1] album. Jean-Paul Gaultier appropriated this seaman’s aesthetic and celebrated it all through the early eighties.

Querelle (1982) – Rainer Werner Fassbinder
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Fassbinder’s adaptation of Jean Genet’s novel features surreal sets that underscore the dreamlike quality and abstraction of the novel. It was Fassbinder’s final and, by his own words, most important movie.

Digression #1: Axel Bauer is not related to John Bauer:

John Bauer

John Bauer


Volver, gay directors and campish music

Mother and child reunited after mother was believed dead

I viewed Pedro Almodóvar’s 2006 film Volver. A very good film (Pedro has yet to deliver his first dud) but not as great as Bad Education or All about my Mother. The DVD extras feature an interview by French distributor Pathé which is on YouTube here. (in French)

One of the most remarkable segments in the interview is when the interviewer compares Pedro to Woody Allen, who also features women prominently in his films. Pedro explains that the difference is that he makes films about women (as a gender group) and how they have been influential in his life whereas Woody Allen, he continues, just like Ingmar Bergman, make films about the women who have been their life partners.

The music of Almodóvar.

A part of the Volver soundtrack here. (the song ‘Volver’ itself starts around 4:00). Here is the song as performed by Estrella Morente who voices Penélope Cruz in the film. The hit tango by Carlos Gardel Volver is a leitmotiv of the film. View it here.

Like other gay directors such as the French director François Ozon, Almodóvar’s films are full of campish music. One of my fave soundtrack tracks is Luz Casal’s Un Año de Amor which is presented here as ‘Un anno d’amore’ by Mina recorded live for RAI television in 1965.

Mina is a real find! Just check Se telefonando (1966).

Unrelated to Almodóvar but within the realm of campish music: ‘Paroles paroles’ by Dalida and Delon.

I was advised on all hands not to write this book

Oscar Wilde

I was advised on all hands not to write this book, and some English friends who have read it urge me not to publish it.

“You will be accused of selecting the subject,” they say, “because sexual viciousness appeals to you, and your method of treatment lays you open to attack.

“You criticise and condemn the English conception of justice, and English legal methods: you even question the impartiality of English judges, and throw an unpleasant light on English juries and the English public—all of which is not only unpopular but will convince the unthinking that you are a presumptuous, or at least an outlandish, person with too good a conceit of himself and altogether too free a tongue.”

I should be more than human or less if these arguments did not give me pause. I would do nothing willingly to alienate the few who are still friendly to me. But the motives driving me are too strong for such personal considerations. — from the introduction to Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions (1916) – Frank Harris

Arthur Russell documentary

Arthur Russell documentary ( watch the trailer )

some more insightful Arthur Russell LINKs :

Nick The Record ( DJ Friendly Records) features
Steven Hall’s reminiscences
collaboration with Allen Ginsberg 

Tim Lawrence ( author of ” Love Saves The Day ” )
is plannin’ to publish Arthur’s biography.

WFMU Arthur Russell special ( listen )

tracklisting :

Dinosaur / Kiss Me Again
The Necessaries / More Real
Jah Wobble, Holger Czukay, The Edge / Hold On To Your Dreams
Arthur Russell / Losing My Taste For the Night Life

Nicki Siano / Move
Peter Zummo / Unisons
Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods / The Doctors Lie
Mimi / Time to Go Home Now
Indian Ocean / Treehouse/School Bell pt. 1

Arthur Russell / Wax the Van
Gary Lucas / Let’s Go Swimming
Allen Ginsberg / Voice of the Bard
Jill Kroesen / Fay Shism Blues
Loose Joints / Tell You (Today)

Via  SpiritualBolshevik

See also:  Arthur Russell