Posts tagged gay stuff
Posts tagged gay stuff
There is a certain nighttime culture among gay men, especially those who live in urban areas like New York City, in which courtship has been replaced almost entirely with methods by which people can find and sleep with each other with the least effort possible. In an age when Grindr is a popular app found on many gay men’s iPhones, it’s hard to remember that hook-up culture, which is in no way exclusive to gay men, has existed in the days before we were connected via wires and computers. Keep the Lights On begins in 1998, a no man’s land in which homosexuality was becoming more and more accepted by the mainstream (Ellen DeGeneres, who famously came out of the closet the year before, became one of the first post-Stonewall and post-AIDS role models for gay people in America), and its main characters meet for the first time after interacting through a phone sex hotline. What was intended to be a one-night stand (“I have a girlfriend,” Paul tells Erik, “so don’t get your hopes up.”) evolves into a tumultuous ten-year relationship as the pair deals with Paul’s crack and sex addiction.
It’s not a cheery Hollywood story, but it does unapologetically depict gay culture on the precipice of the new millennium (and later, after times—if not particularly attitudes—had changed). It was also based on elements taken from Sachs’s actual life. “I was coming out of a relationship,” Sachs told me, which is not a startling revelation. Sachs’s former partner, the literary agent Bill Clegg, famously battled a drug addiction which he chronicled in his 2010 memoir, Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man. Rather than using his own film as a cathartic revenge tale, however, Sachs found that his story was a relatable one, sorely missing not only from the collective narrative of the gay experience but also as one that transcends sexual preference. “I think the distinctions between gay and straight communality have blended in the last twenty years. I think a lot of films don’t tend to reflect that, either.”
Keep the Lights On is in my top five favorite movies of the year. I talked to co-writer and director Ira Sachs and one of the film’s stars, Zachary Booth, about making the movie.
I wrote some quick thoughts about yesterday’s goings-on.
I just read Patrick Moore’s Beyond Shame and really enjoyed it (despite not being totally sold that one of the major artistic movements that gay men created in the ’70s was the hypersexual fetish subculture of the leather scene). I highlighted a ton of passages, and I’ll probably post a bunch of quotes here eventually. But I really like this one:
In the late 1970s, we begin to see a cultural acceleration that was originally generated by the media but has become the central force in American cultural life. This tendency is deeply destructive: a kind of addiction to images that requires higher and higher doses but yields ever-decreasing highs. The flipping of subcultures once they have been drained of their novelty has the strange effect of never discarding the past but continuing to recycle it in a parasitic way, leaving just enough blood for the wasted thing to regenerate a few years later. So one continues to see punks with Mohawks in the East Village to this day, worn by children with absolutely no idea what they indicate. Young straight couples saunter down the streets in full leather regalia completely denuded of its gay history. While fashion designers have been particularly guilty in the juicing and rejuicing of fashions from the 1960s and 1970s (fashion has tried to revive the 1980s but seems to find it a greater challenge), they can hardly be blamed for looking back to a time that was so much more inspiring than the present. What persists from 1969s youth culture and 1970s sexual explorations are not the ideals but the images—what the performer Penny Arcade has described as the gentrification of ideas.
Moore refers to the “Clones” a lot in this book, mostly referring to the groups of men who populated certain bars and scenes and dressed accordingly, and I find it fascinating because that still happens. There are the Hells Kitchen gays and the West Village gays and the Fire Island gays and so on, and they all look exactly like the other people within their adopted social scenes. I notice this a lot in Chicago, too, both when I come back and when I check in with friends on Facebook. There are the Sidetrack gays and the Roscoe’s gays and then the Chances gays. The west side indie-queer scene has always fascinated me, firstly because I thought they were more attractive and interesting when I lived here. Now I find the queer sensibility in that scene to be really interesting, because it’s gotten much “less gay” (in their terms, really) and more focused on a blurring of the gender lines, and it really is indicative of a trend, the same way that in some summers there are more deep-Vs at the Boystown bars than others.
Like all children, the gays of the East Village tended not to acknowledge their historical debt to the Clones, unaware that in a few years a new type of clone would arise from ACT UP that would be just as rigid in definition as any leather man cruising Christopher Street. Perhaps the relative invisibility of gay men in the East Village art scene derives from the fact that any kind of gay visibility was seen as relating to earlier Clone culture.
I don’t really have a point here, but I am really interested in the concept of the various Clones within the gay community and how the styles and aesthetics are now being shaped by gender politics.
And, additionally, an interesting take on drag culture, one that I don’t completely agree or disagree with:
Using drag as a nonthreatening way of indicating gay life in popular culture allows mainstream America to avoid their more difficult feelings about actual gay male sex. I believe that in fifty years’ time we will look back at drag and camp as the minstrel shows of gay culture—amusing but ultimately sinister and degrading, an easy way for straight culture to avoid the realities of our sexuality… What does it mean that gay men can accept drag queens as an integral part of their culture but still stigmatize transgendered men and women? Drag queens and the desexed gay men of pop culture reassure us by allowing us to avoid the complexities of actual sexual behavior.
Interesting! I tried to add the gay comedians piece to StumbleUpon, and “Gay Culture” is automatically flagged as an “adult” topic and, therefore, cannot be safe for work.
I already posted a link to this article this morning, but I implore you to read Ian Parker’s piece about Tyler Clementi’s suicide and the impending trial of his roommate, Dharun Ravi. It took me about five hours to read it, not just because it was long but because I was at work and it was so upsetting that I couldn’t read it too long at a time. This is extremely powerful stuff and should be required reading.
It Gets Betterish - Party Monster
Thank GOD I don’t ever run into high school classmates at gay bars (they’re still in Montross, primarily), but I’m glad Brent is able to express the rage that grows deep inside my heart the minute I step foot inside Boiler Room because I know that no one will walk up to me on account of the furrowed brow and the scowl on my face.
Daniel went to Michigan on Saturday morning so naturally I did not leave my apartment for the rest of the weekend, instead alternating between sitting on the couch watching Top Chef and dancing around my room while listening to this song.
He used his hands to work out the intricacies of the slacks and undershorts and brought Affenlight out into the open - Affenlight, strange synecdoche! - and bent and kissed him on the tip of the penis in a womanly way.
A WOMANLY WAY?
After folding the sweater neatly he placed it on the warped wooden floorboards between Owen’s two-toned shoes, which looked like saddle shoes of old, and, with the limberness of a man no older than forty, the soundly thrumming heart of seventeen, slid down from his chair and knelt upon it, a hand on each of Owen’s knees. Kneeling, whatever the circumstances, could hardly fail to remind him, however ironically, of childhood bedside prayer, the old Latin Mass - he’d hardly been since Vatican II - and, given the hour, vespers, ad cereum benedicendum, as they used to say.
This fucking book, I swear to God. I had to read that second passage a second time before I realized what was going on: Harbach is overwriting to compensate for the fact that he couldn’t actually detail a homosexual oral sex scene. Instead, he compared it to a Catholic prayer. Sure!
If these homos don’t fuck at some point in this book! I don’t know what I will do! Well, nothing! But I will be mad! The dudes are figuratively blowing each other out on the baseball field but God forbid the actual homosexuals (well, the faggot and a half, I guess) ACTUALLY BONE. Never before have I had so many thoughts about the politics of homosexual sex in popular literature! Ugh!
Today is National Coming Out Day. What a strange holiday!
I came out to my parents via email, because I’m really, really mature and, despite being able to talk to my mom about all of the dumb stuff that my friends do, I was actually unable to call my parents up and say, “NEWS FLASH, I LIKE DUDES.”
This is probably not the best timing, but I feel like it’s TIME that I come out to you guys because, honestly, I’m kind of tired of feeling like I have to hide that I’m gay from you, or anyone else for that matter. I started coming out to friends in November 2006 when I was dating someone, and I found that everyone was happy that I was being honest about it and - probably because I wouldn’t be friends with someone who cared anyway - no one acted like it was a big deal. And I kind of feel the same way at this point, since I don’t really think that it defines me as a person in the first place.
I came out on February 4, 2008, which was about a week after my mother called to tell me that my dad’s cancer had come back. I realized I was running out of time to be open and honest with him, and I thought, “Why not? There’s no reason why he shouldn’t know at this point.” I’ve written before that we never really talked about it, which is my only regret (of course, I feel dumb telling them that being gay doesn’t define me as a person, because it does, in a way - it’s unavoidable!), but I knew that ultimately, he didn’t care, and if he was around today he’d tell me that. And I knew that then, too, which is why I ended that email with, “I don’t think that you’d be angry or hate me because people who would feel that way toward me are, frankly, idiot assholes. I want you to know that no matter what I may have said or implied before, I do not think either of you are idiot assholes.”
Relatively speaking, my mother has handled it well. Three years later she’s now able to make jokes about me hooking up with Nate Berkus, and while the idea of my mother joking about me having gay sex is physically repellant and a notion that almost forces me into a state of celibacy, I can see this is her way of saying, “I love you no matter what, now please make me proud and only sleep with attractive people.”
I love the video of John Waters I posted above. I love the idea of him saying he doesn’t get the big deal about coming out, because in a perfect world, no one would have to! I hope that one day it doesn’t matter, that gay folks don’t have to express to others, “Yes, I am different, and that’s OK, too!” I want people to be able to live their lives without feeling bad for being different, and I want there to be a day in which everyone can just do the things that make them happy and love the people they want to love.
My mother is coming to town next weekend and we are seeing The Phantom of the Opera. Finally all of my childhood fantasies are coming soon. I can’t wait to tell my mother that her cassette tape of the highlights from this musical is what made me gay. She will love it!
Meet the gay Rebecca Black.
I don’t know what to say about this.
That thing when you and your coworker are talking about the last Groove Armada album and you both admit that you only know it because one of the songs was featured in an “artsy porno.”