Sam Buttery Plays Leigh Bowery In Taboo

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In Jan­u­ary 1985 Leigh Bow­ery started the now infa­mous poly-sexual Thurs­day disco club night “Taboo”. Orig­i­nally an under­ground ven­ture, it quickly became London’s Stu­dio 54, only much wilder, extremely more fash­ion­able, and with­out the masses of celebri­ties – although these came flock­ing in later. For every­one step­ping through the doors it was a truly unfor­get­table experience.

Mark Davies wrote a book which later became a stage musi­cal with lyrics by Boy George, and music by George and Kevan Frost.

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Set in an aban­doned Lon­don ware­house, the partly imag­ined story takes place in the loca­tion of what was the city’s most fash­ion­able night­club, the now-legendary Taboo (1985–87) of the title. Boy George is fea­tured as one of the club’s reg­u­lars. The show also focuses on George’s life prior to and after achiev­ing fame.

The show pre­miered in London’s West End at the Venue The­atre on Jan­u­ary 29, 2002. Now in Sep­tem­ber 2012, Direc­tor Christo­pher Ren­shaw revived the show in a “site spe­cific” form in Brix­ton Club­house in South Lon­don. The pro­duc­tion was based on the orig­i­nal show with book by Mark Davies, but included sev­eral changes to the orig­i­nal soryline.

In this revival, Sam But­tery plays iconic 80s per­for­mance artist Leigh Bow­ery in Taboo, the story of bill-topping per­form­ers who defined a gen­er­a­tion, includ­ing Steve Strange from Vis­age, the inde­fin­able phe­nom­e­non that was Leigh Bow­ery, the one-man entre­pre­neur extra­or­di­naire Philip Sal­lon. And then of course, there’s Boy George, trav­el­ling from squat to super-stardom  from rock to rock bot­tom. The show inter­weaves some fan­tas­ti­cal facts of the 80s with a clas­sic love story of ambi­tion, pas­sion and betrayal.

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Watch below a doc­u­men­tary about the FABULOUS Leigh Bow­ery and the orig­i­nal Taboo for your enjoy­ment. Shown dur­ing the spring of 1986 while Leigh Bow­ery was run­ning his infa­mous night­club Taboo, this doc­u­men­tary put Leigh on the map. A witty, provoca­tive and inspir­ing film that includes a Bodymap fash­ion show, rare footage of Taboo, and inter­views with Michael Clark and Lana Pil­lay, this doc­u­men­tary also reminds us what Leigh was like before he met Lucian Freud.


Taking Off

Famous first Amer­i­can film of Czech direc­tor Milos For­man. It tells the story of a group of par­ents whose chil­dren have run away from home. The par­ents take the oppor­tu­nity to redis­cover their youth.

It fea­tures a num­ber of mem­o­rable set pieces, includ­ing an open-mic record label audi­tion which is weaved through­out the film, fea­tur­ing a num­ber of female singers (includ­ing a young Carly Simon and a haunt­ing acoustic bal­lad by a then-unknown Kathy Bates) per­form­ing old stan­dards, folk bal­lads, and rock songs; a meet­ing in which a group of gen­er­ally middle-class con­ser­v­a­tive par­ents are taught how to smoke mar­i­juana; and a rau­cu­ous but sweet game of strip poker played by the adults.

Whether Tak­ing Off is car­i­ca­ture or dead-on is, pre­sum­ably, all a mat­ter of per­spec­tive and dis­tance. But it’s def­i­nitely hilar­i­ous: A dead­pan Buck Henry effort­lessly dom­i­nates as a mil­que­toast, and the sup­port­ing weirdos are all aces. (In his first on-screen appear­ance, Vin­cent Schi­avelli leads a pot-smoking tuto­r­ial for con­cerned par­ents want­ing to under­stand their run­aways bet­ter: “That’s called ‘bog­a­rt­ing’ the joint, and it’s very rude.”) It’s also a true New York movie.


Don’t Deliver Us From Evil

Two Catholic school­girls (with the help of a retarded gar­dener) pledge their lives to Satan and a life of evil. Never released in the United States and “banned” for blasphemy.

“…we renounce for­ever Jesus Christ and all his works…”

Influ­enced by their read­ing of for­bid­den books, they decide to explore the world of per­ver­sion and cruelty.

Once they have stepped over the line, they find it impos­si­ble to stop. Soon they are con­tem­plat­ing the ulti­mate evil act.

It’s a film that should be viewed only by those with very open minds.


Even Dwarfs Started Small (Werner Herzog, 1970)

In an unadorned room of a police sta­tion, a dwarf is seated on a chair, hold­ing an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber in his hand. He is pho­tographed and then inter­ro­gated about acts of vio­lence he com­mit­ted dur­ing a revolt.

The story thus turns back in time, to when the dwarfs, detained in a cor­rec­tion facil­ity, took advan­tage of the director’s absence to rebel. Once they take the head­mas­ter hostage – he does noth­ing but laugh and shout dec­la­ra­tions of revenge – the group is free to act as they please.

The set­ting is dis­tress­ing and sin­is­ter, where each event is more sur­real than the last: the dwarfs sink into acts of van­dal­ism and gra­tu­itous cru­elty to things and peo­ple, in a crescendo of frenzy and madness.

Sub­ti­tles in Eng­lish avail­able (CC)

John Waters Introduces ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’

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The Girl Can’t Help It is the gar­ish acme of Cin­e­maS­cope and DeLuxe Color, mon­u­men­tally loud and bla­tantly exploita­tive —a ver­i­ta­ble Parthenon of vul­gar­ity and a supremely unfunny com­edy that is pure eau de Fifty-Six. This satire of Elvis and Mar­i­lyn (or rather, of their clones) shim­mers with radioac­tive pinks and cobalt blues; at once stri­dent and sta­tic, the movie defines the atomic-Wurlitzer chrome– tail­fin Fontainebleau-lobby look. Producer-director-co-writer Frank Tash­lin is one of the very few Hol­ly­wood direc­tors who broke into movies as an ani­ma­tor and, like the Dean Martin–Jerry Lewis come­dies that pre­ceded it, The Girl Can’t Help It is some­thing like a live-action Looney Tune.

Appro­pri­ated by John Waters some 15 years later as the only suit­able way to intro­duce his 300-pound gender-blur Divine in Pink Flamingos.

Grotesque stereo­types col­lide with billboard-sized car­i­ca­tures. This proto Pop Art pathol­ogy might be too painful to con­tem­plate were it not for the exotic life forms flour­ish­ing around its periph­ery. Cli­max­ing with a rock show per­formed for an audi­ence of teenage white zom­bies, The Girl Can’t Help It is pop­u­lated by all man­ner of failed honkers and would-be cool cats—as well as Fats Domino, the Plat­ters, a gospel-shouting Abbey Lin­coln.

The coolest pres­ence ever recorded by a Hol­ly­wood cam­era may be Lit­tle Richard, first seen stand­ing entranced before a piano—as if won­der­ing whether to pul­ver­ize or incin­er­ate it.

In Alba­nia, is any­thing so bad it’s good?” “Lit­tle Richard was “…the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.“
Here, our beloved Pope of Trash intro­duces Frank Tashlin’s gem­stone for every­one to enjoy.…

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TV Party: The Sublimely Intolerable Show

Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party blew the dust out of New Yorker’s air ducts for four odd years from 1978 to 1982. The hour-long live, unscripted show took advan­tage of New York’s early-ish cable access world — a world man­dated by a deal that cable net­works could have their lit­tle monop­o­lies as long as the pub­lic was granted free access to a cer­tain per­cent­age of air­time. It’s a deal still going on all across Amer­ica today, and after watch­ing a lit­tle TV Party, you’d be a damn fool not to get involved. You see, TV can be fun, and you can make it! As for TV Party — essen­tially a show­case for what O’Brien and friends thought of as cool — it’s not for every­one. But those who like bizarro tele­vi­sion, the down­town New York scene of the day, or cult movies and TV with a cap­i­tal C (Liq­uid Sky or Robin Byrd’s porno talk-show, for instance) will get a seri­ous kick from this exper­i­ment in ‘social­ist TV’ — the TV show that’s a party, but it could also be a polit­i­cal party.

The Sub­limely Intol­er­a­ble Show aired Jan­u­ary 8th 1979, with O’Brien (writer, Warhol-ite and once New Wave gad­about) loosely hold­ing the reins — flog­ging the horse or let­ting it stum­ble down rocky inclines, how­ever he, his guests, audi­ence or callers saw fit. Aired in black and white, the night’s guests included Comp­ton Mad­dox and John Moses play­ing weird gui­tar tunes, Klaus Nomi singing opera, and Andy Sher­noff cov­er­ing the Beach Boys, (backed by Tish and Snooky of Manic Panic fame). Down­town direc­tor Eric Mitchell plays a clip of his movie Kid­napped while plug­ging the New Cin­ema The­ater, direc­tor David Sil­ver and Kate Simon do ‘White Peo­ple Talk About Reg­gae,’ and finally Deb­bie Harry, Chris Stein (also of Blondie and later offi­cial co-host of TV Party) and Richard Sohl help O’Brien with the viewer call-in seg­ment while pass­ing a joint.

Accord­ing to O’Brien’s TV Party web­site, David Let­ter­man once told Paul Scha­ef­fer on air that “TV Party is the great­est TV show any­where, ever,” and for those of us now corn-fed on the GMOs that are Two and a Half Men and their ilk, it’s hard to argue. The show thrives on O’Brien’s heart­felt dif­fi­dence (hard to man­age, true) and an anything-can-happen dan­ger­ous­ness that’s impos­si­ble to fake. It appears effort­less because in many ways it was, semi-professionals aided and abet­ted, and total ama­teurs did lit­tle things like; oper­ate cam­eras and run sound. In fact the first five or ten min­utes of Sub­limely Intol­er­a­ble have no sound at all, noth­ing but ran­dom pops (as peo­ple scurry to fix the prob­lem) and (also accord­ing to the TV Party web­site) Jean-Michel Basquiat typ­ing super-graphics like “Oh no! No sound! Fuck!” Top-notch scen­ester enter­tain­ment makes up for defi­cien­cies O’Brien encour­aged. Mad­dox and Moses’s pre-ironic ironic num­bers bub­ble dan­ger­ously, with O’Brien and Deb­bie Harry et al danc­ing in lab coats. Klaus Nomi’s unearthly soprano aria and equally alien demeanor are stun­ning and bizarre. Sher­noff is cool enough — while point­ing out how even the most insipid Beach Boys song comes with a super-sharp chord pro­gres­sion — and direc­tor Mitchell seems baf­fled and is baffling.

White Peo­ple Talk About Reg­gae rides a dan­ger­ous edge; the audi­ence mocks, Simon and Sil­ver seem defen­sive talk­ing about the ‘music of uplift­ment,’ and then a joint starts mak­ing the rounds. The joint stays for the ‘viewer call-in’ seg­ment which always closed the show. It’s emblem­atic of the off-the-rails genius of the show. Sure, the tech­no­log­i­cal aspects are junk, and per­for­mances or inter­views hit-or-miss, but let­ting uncen­sored live callers on the air is pure gold. O’Brien and crew are unas­sum­ing in their great­ness — they’re the cool kids at school who’ll actu­ally accept you (even though you know you’re a total geek) just because they’re self-secure — shin­ing as they wade through call after call ques­tion­ing their sex­ual prac­tices and eth­nic­ity. This stuff is not for the eas­ily offended, but it’s a tes­ta­ment to the power of a slick hand will­ing to let the chips fall wherever.

The first 10% of this show sums up what we don’t get on TV any­more. Tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties. TV Party was live and impro­vised, and this meant casual dis­as­ter. This early episode gets off to an artis­ti­cally ago­niz­ing start–the sound per­son is late, over­dos­ing on drugs or both. Or it was the bro­ken down equip­ment. Once the sound kicks in the show gets lively. Comp­ton Mad­dux, a droll singer song­writer, is backed up by Deb­bie Harry and Glenn; the unique futur­ist soprano Klaus Nomi does one of his post-modern arias; Adny Sher­noff, of the Dic­ta­tors, plays the Beach Boys’ “Be True to Your School” backed up by pom pom girls Tish and Snooky, the Manic Panic design­ers. Down­town leg­end direc­tor Eric Mitchell announces the open­ing of the now famous New Cin­ema the­ater and shows a clip from his film “Kid­napped” with Arto Lind­say, Dun­can Smith and Anya Phillips. Brit direc­tor David Sil­ver and pho­tog­ra­pher Kate Simon do the “white peo­ple talk about reg­gae” seg­ment. Blondie’s Chris Stein and Deb­bie Harry and the Patti Smith Group’s Richard Sohl drop in to smoke a reefer and take calls from all the cra­zies in cable land. Chris explains all this isn’t chaos, it’s art.


Simply Divine Cut-Out Doll Book


David Cronenberg’s Videodrome

The pres­i­dent of Civic TV Chan­nel 83, Max Renn, is always look­ing for new cheap and erotic movies for his station.

When his employee, Har­lan, decodes a pirate video broad­cast show­ing tor­ture, mur­der, and muti­la­tion called “Video­drome,” Max becomes obsessed to get this series for his channel.

He con­tacts his sup­plier, Masha, and asks her to find the party respon­si­ble for the transmission.

A cou­ple of days later, Masha tells that “Video­drome” is real snuff movies. Max’s sado-masochistic girl­friend Nicki Brand decides to travel to Pitts­burgh, where the show is based, to audition.

Max inves­ti­gates fur­ther, and through a video by the media prophet Brian O’Blivion, he learns that that TV screens are the retina of the mind’s eye, being part of the brain, and “Video­drome” trans­mis­sions cre­ate a brain tumor in the viewer, chang­ing the real­ity through video hallucination.


Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Aaron Dilloway

WEDNESDAY 2/20/2013 10pm-4am
WIERD is proud to present a live per­for­mance by
Gen­e­sis Breyer P-Orridge and Aaron Dil­loway
With DJs Anarexia, Tesco Jane, Frankie Teardrop
Home Sweet Home 131 Chrystie St. @ Delancey NY

Aaron Dil­loway has been releas­ing and record­ing music since the age of 16. He was a mem­ber of exper­i­men­tal bands Couch, Galen and Uni­ver­sal Indi­ans. He is a for­mer gui­tarist and tape manip­u­la­tor for the exper­i­men­tal band Wolf Eyes, which he left in 2005 to live most of that year in Kath­mandu, Nepal. While his wife did her grad­u­ate work there, he roamed the streets record­ing every sound he could, many of which are used in his recent record­ings and performances.

Cur­rently he runs the noise record label, record store and mailorder Han­son Records, which he began in Brighton, Michi­gan in 1994. Han­son then moved to Ann Arbor, Michi­gan for sev­eral years, before finally set­tling in Ober­lin, Ohio, after a brief return to Ann Arbor. He per­forms solo using eight track tapes and vocal sounds, and records mod­u­lar syn­the­sizer music as Spine Scav­enger. Recently, he has played with an ever-changing cast of sound artists under the name The Nevari Butch­ers. — hansonrecords.net/

Gen­e­sis Breyer P-Orridge (b. Neil Meg­son) is a musi­cian and artist whose career began in Hull, Eng­land in 1969. She was a found­ing mem­ber of the hugely influ­en­tial bands Throb­bing Gris­tle (founders of Indus­trial music) and Psy­chic TV.

In 1993, P-Orridge began the art/life project of becom­ing a sin­gle pan­drog­y­nous entity along with her (now late) wife Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge. — genesisbreyerporridge.com


Klaus Nomi

Klaus Nomi was a leg­end in the New Wave scene in New York in the late 70s. He was an incred­i­ble show­man with a stun­ning, oper­atic countertenor.

After intro­duc­ing him­self to the scene in New York, he played the punk and new wave clubs around the city with vary­ing bands.

In 1979, when David Bowie came to New York to per­form on Sat­ur­day Night Live, he asked Klaus Nomi to be a backup singer.

For the next three years, Klaus was what you’d expect from an avant garde, new wave, pop opera per­former: cel­e­brated and well respected in the under­ground scene and more pop­u­lar in France, Ger­many and Japan than in the US.

He put on incred­i­ble shows and did TV appear­ances that were unfor­get­table to the few peo­ple who saw them, but there was some­thing wrong.

Klaus prob­a­bly felt sick more often than he should, had trou­ble keep­ing any weight, and prob­a­bly felt con­stant fatigue.

In 1983, Klaus’ ill­ness caught up to him. He was one of the early vic­tims of AIDS.