The Journals of André Gide

Wilde’s affected aes­theti­cism was for him merely an inge­nious cloak to hide, while half reveal­ing, what he could not let be seen openly … Here, as almost always, and often even with­out the artist’s know­ing it, it is the secret of the depths of his flesh that prompts, inspires, and decides…

Wilde’s plays reveal, beside the sur­face wit­ti­cisms, sparkling like false jew­els, many oddly rev­e­la­tory sen­tences of great psy­cho­log­i­cal inter­est. And it is for them that Wilde wrote the whole play––let there be no doubt about it…

Try to let some under­stand what one has an inter­est in hid­ing from all. As for me, I have always pre­ferred frank­ness. But Wilde made up his mind to make of false­hood a work of art. Noth­ing is more pre­cious, more tempt­ing, more flat­ter­ing than to see in the work of art a false­hood and, rec­i­p­ro­cally, to look upon false­hood as a work of art… This artis­tic hypocrisy was imposed on him… by the need of self-protection.

— André Gide, on Oscar Wilde, from The Jour­nals of André Gide

On ne décou­vre pas de terre nou­velle sans con­sen­tir à per­dre de vue, d’abord et longtemps, tout rivage.”

One doesn’t dis­cover new lands with­out con­sent­ing to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.“
― André Gide


Genesis P-Orridge’s Pandrogeny Manifesto

The Trans­for­ma­tion of Gen­e­sis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye.

This film fol­lows for­mer Throb­bing Gristle/Psychic TV leader, our beloved Gen­e­sis Breyer P-Orridge and his part­ner Lady Jaye through their “Pan­drog­yne” project, where they sought to become two parts of the same per­son through body mod­i­fi­ca­tion surgery. It is crazy, and amaz­ing, and a gen­uinely touch­ing por­trait of real love


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Based on John Geiger’s book Chapel of Extreme Expe­ri­ence, Nik Sheehan’s FLicKeR is a fas­ci­nat­ing voy­age into the life of artist and mys­tic Brion Gysin and his leg­endary inven­tion the dream machine, a device that projects stro­bo­scopic light, pro­vok­ing a “drug­less high” and cin­e­matic hal­lu­ci­na­tions. In this Hot Docs world pre­miere Shee­han cap­tures the dynamic, super­nat­ural world of Gysin, the queer cul­tural ter­ror­ist who fused sci­ence, magic and art to expand human con­scious­ness and tran­scend mate­r­ial reality.

Gysin’s biog­ra­phy is dif­fi­cult to con­dense, but he grew up in Edmon­ton before rein­vent­ing him­self as a bohemian glo­be­trot­ter who went on to become the unac­knowl­edged genius behind some of the most inter­est­ing devel­op­ments in the 20th-century avant-garde. He died in 1986. Shee­han casts him as a rad­i­cal artist intent on har­ness­ing “the vision­ary poten­tial of light” (as Geiger puts it) to rev­o­lu­tion­ary ends. Gysin was not a man but, like the machine, a way of per­ceiv­ing the world — pure energy. He even tried to make him­self invisible.

It’s incred­i­ble that nobody’s made this film before,” says Shee­han, whose pre­vi­ous cred­its include God’s Fool about writer Scott Symons and the ground­break­ing AIDS doc­u­men­tary No Sad Songs.

I was sur­prised how anx­ious peo­ple were to open up and talk about Gysin because peo­ple have so many dif­fer­ent views of him.” What is so com­pelling about FLicKeR is that Gysin remains mys­te­ri­ous and ephemeral through­out, no amount of talk­ing could ever explain him.

Sheehan’s film is pop­u­lated with a who’s who of pun­dits, coun­ter­cul­tural fig­ures and Gysin con­fi­dantes, remind­ing you that rock ‘n’ roll has always gone hand in hand with the most out-there shit: Mar­i­anne Faith­full, Iggy Pop, Ken­neth Anger and Gen­e­sis P-Orridge all wax poetic on Gysin, magic and their most mem­o­rable trips, as do younger devo­tees like Lee Ranaldo and DJ Spooky. How did Shee­han land all these stel­lar inter­vie­wees? “That’s the mag­i­cal ques­tion,” quips Shee­han. “It’s a very inter­est­ing group; they go back a long time. And because they’re cult fig­ures they’ve obvi­ously built up all these defences. So it was a very com­pli­cated and long and ded­i­cated effort to bring every­body online.”

The film is also chock full of bril­liant archival footage, par­tic­u­larly of Gysin, his art and his intensely fruit­ful and influ­en­tial col­lab­o­ra­tions with William S Bur­roughs. We visit the “Beat Hotel” in Paris where these sedi­tious kooks built a poor-man’s lab to trans­form the world through all man­ner of strange exper­i­ments in per­cep­tion. “That’s one of the things about Gysin and Bur­roughs and these guys, it’s this com­bi­na­tion of the silly and the sub­lime,” Shee­han says. “We have to remem­ber how incred­i­bly brave they were. They did not accept what soci­ety was offer­ing — it was all lies. And they were very moral, good peo­ple in their way. With Nazi Ger­many they saw what could hap­pen to a gov­ern­ment [if] we get a lit­tle too trusting.

That ele­ment of rebel­lion has some­thing really serious.”

Shee­han feels Gysin’s gay­ness was fun­da­men­tal. “A shaman to me is always a pan­sex­ual being,” says the gay Cana­dian film­maker. “These guys all came out of that period where queer was really hard­core, it was part of their rad­i­cal art — and of course it was illegal.”

Shee­han says his film “wasn’t so much a biog­ra­phy of Gysin or a story of the dream machine as a story of the dream machine as a biog­ra­phy of Gysin — the way the two fuse together. I think [the pro­duc­ers] were expect­ing it was just going to be this cute story about this spin­ning lit­tle machine, not these crazy queer mystics.

The dream machine is [Gysin’s] ulti­mate work, this end-of-art thing that went beyond some­thing you made to some­thing you cre­ated indi­vid­u­ally in your own head.”

One chal­lenge that Shee­han encoun­tered was how to rep­re­sent this inter­nal, neu­ro­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non on screen, so there are many shots of peo­ple pressed up close to the device, eyes closed, nar­rat­ing their expe­ri­ences in ecsta­tic tones. It calls to mind Eric Emer­son in Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls who just “groove[s] on myself” as coloured lights play over his body, a tran­scen­dence through nar­cis­sism. The dream machine isn’t much to look at — sort of like a twirling lamp­shade — so you have to take people’s word for it. But whether you can imag­ine what they are see­ing or not, the ideas behind the machine are what matter.

One of the things I really wanted to do is put things in the present tense, to give it some rel­e­vance,” says Shee­han. “The idea of try­ing to build a machine to change your world, we’re doing that all the time, aren’t we?

The Beats came to fruition in the late ‘50s in the Eisen­hower years where the world was pet­ri­fied by the bomb and con­for­mity was every­thing. Well, where are we now? We live in this time when we recently had this rightwing Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, which turned into a tor­ture state. There are weird par­al­lels. It was the old mes­sage: Don’t trust the man, he doesn’t always have your best inter­ests at heart. And the dream machine is the per­fect metaphor for this: Get rid of tele­vi­sion, get rid of cin­ema, make your own inner movie, be your own per­son.”

In its enthu­si­asm for this long-gone cul­tural moment and its most beguil­ing cat­a­lyst, FLicKeR has great poignancy. At one point P-Orridge sug­gests that the con­trol that Gysin and his com­rades were fight­ing against is now dif­fuse and all-pervasive, and that rather than deserv­ing to be lib­er­ated by the ulti­mate mind trip, the inert pub­lic now “deserve to have their bot­toms smacked.”

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Chad Sell’s Drag Race Illustrated

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What bet­ter inspi­ra­tion could an artist ask for than a bunch of amaz­ing drag queens? They’re styl­ish, sexy, and sick­en­ing! My work cap­tures the fierce per­son­al­i­ties and per­for­mances of those fab­u­lous fake ladies in a clean, clas­sic style.’

With their larger-than-life pres­ences and glit­tery cos­tumes, the gender-bending stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race are the per­fect sub­jects for por­trai­ture. Illus­tra­tor and comics artist Chad Sell, best known for his his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Logo on RPDR web­comics, and his work on the upcom­ing iOS game Dragopo­lis,  pays awe­some, witty trib­ute to the ladies in an exten­sive series that cap­tures his favorite con­tes­tants’ finest moments.

Check out Chad’s work at www.chadsellcomics.com.

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I Want Your Love Banned In Australia

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I Want Your Love, is the first fea­ture film directed by Travis Matthews. It fol­lows the first sex­ual rela­tion­ship two male best friends embark upon one night in San Fran­cisco, before one of them leaves for the Amer­i­can Midwest.

I Want Your Love was meant to be screened at gay film fes­ti­vals in Aus­tralia, at the end of a global fes­ti­val tour, but the board has banned it from being shown any­where in the country.

James Franco recently col­lab­o­rated with this film’s direc­tor, on a film that explores sex as a story-telling tool in addi­tion to cen­sor­ship and per­sonal, sex­ual and cre­ative bound­aries, Inte­rior. Leather bar. A short film which pre­miered at Sun­dance fes­ti­val. It is based on the 1980 gay film Cruis­ing, which had 40 min­utes of graphic sex scenes cut, and aims to explore the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of gay sex and censorship.

Franco crit­i­cised the Board in a YouTube video, say­ing adults should be allowed to choose what they watch. He said: “I don’t know why in this day and age some­thing like this, a film that’s using sex not for tit­il­la­tion but to talk about being human, is being banned.”

Matthews issued a state­ment on the ban, say­ing that he wasn’t “shy­ing away from sex” in the film. He added that he used sex “as a tool to show char­ac­ter devel­op­ment, inter­per­sonal issues, inti­macy, play­ful­ness and some­thing over­all closer to the real­ity I’m famil­iar with.”

Six months ago the Board allowed Don­key Love, a doc­u­men­tary about a Colom­bian folk tra­di­tion where men have sex with don­keys to pre­pare them for rela­tion­ships with women, to screen at film fes­ti­vals in Syd­ney and Melbourne.

A peti­tion to remove the ban already has over 2,500 sig­na­tures. Aimed at Les­ley O’Brien, direc­tor of the Aus­tralian Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Board, it says that while the film con­tains “actual sex, it is shown within a non-violent, intel­li­gent and artis­tic narrative.”


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.


Dirty Girls: 1996 Teen Riot Grrrls YouTube Sensation

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In high school, Michael Lucid was an artsy, friendly kid who floated around from one cam­pus clique to the next. “I was more approach­able and kids felt com­fort­able talk­ing to me,” he says of his time at Santa Monica’s Cross­roads School, where he grad­u­ated in 1996.

Because Lucid was like­able and trust­wor­thy, his teenage peers granted him the kind of insider access into their lives that most film­mak­ers only dream about cap­tur­ing on film. Film­mak­ers like Larry Clark (Kids, Was­sup Rock­ers), Cather­ine Hard­wicke (Lords of Dog­town, Thir­teen) and Pene­lope Spheeris (Decline of West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion, Sub­ur­bia) all launched their careers by mak­ing films that depicted the harsh real­i­ties of Amer­i­can teenagers’ lives, but Lucid had an advan­tage over all of these film­mak­ers: he was him­self a high schooler when he shot his gritty, painfully inti­mate doc­u­men­tary Dirty Girls, which has now become an instant cult sen­sa­tion ever since it was uploaded to Youtube this month.

It was ini­tially shot by a 17-year-old dur­ing the course of just two school days. Maybe you’ve seen the still frame of two messy-haired young girls being inter­viewed in a high school audi­to­rium — an image that’s become ubiq­ui­tous after hav­ing been reblogged thou­sands of times by fans on Tumblr.

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Lucid’s short doc­u­men­tary starts out with the fol­low­ing text: “In Spring of 1996, my senior year of high school, I doc­u­mented a group of 8th grade girls who were noto­ri­ous for their crass behav­ior and allegedly bad hygiene.…” The eighth grade girls he’s refer­ring to are the film’s epony­mous dirty girls, a clique of fem­i­nist riot grrrls led by sis­ters Amber and Harper, who became cam­pus leg­ends when they put on a punk rock show at the school’s beginning-of-year “alley party” and smeared lip­stick all over their faces. Lucid remem­bers the per­for­mance being provoca­tive and angry, so much so that it sparked an ongo­ing flurry of gos­sip — and the coin­ing of the term “dirty girls” — that con­tin­ued through­out the school year of ’96.

That Dirty Girls is Lucid’s biggest Inter­net suc­cess is ironic, con­sid­er­ing his day job writ­ing, per­form­ing and upload­ing web videos for World of Won­der, the pro­duc­tion com­pany behind shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and fea­tures like The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Party Mon­ster. And, in an oddly fit­ting twist of fate, he’s returned to inter­view­ing and report­ing — but through his drag per­sona, Dami­ana Gar­cia, whom he refers to as “an intre­pid lady reporter,” appear­ing in World of Won­der videos online.


The Punk Singer: The Kathleen Hanna Documentary

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The first ques­tion that the men­tion of a doc­u­men­tary about Kath­leen Hanna prompts is usu­ally, Why hasn’t one already been made? Cred­ited as a founder of the third wave of fem­i­nism and Riot Grrrl – Hanna has been a sem­i­nal rad­i­cal activist, musi­cian, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, and cul­tural icon for over twenty years. She’s also been a light­en­ing rod for con­tro­versy, and a famously pri­vate per­son. Five years ago, she dis­ap­peared from the pub­lic eye, and is only now re-emerging.

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The Punk Singer com­bines twenty years of archival footage and an inti­mate look at four con­sec­u­tive sea­sons of Hanna’s present life, to tell the story of what hap­pened, and who she is now. Through archival footage and inti­mate inter­views with Hanna, “The Punk Singer” takes view­ers on a fas­ci­nat­ing tour of con­tem­po­rary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fear­less leader.