Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Back to Living Archive Festival at Kino Arsenal for the Armenian film presentation with Muzzy Hendrickson and Julian Radlmeier of Chocolate Grinder Productions. This most compelling program presented by curator Marcel Schwierin featured two films from 1969 a short subject of striking imagery and anthemic music which I found very System of a Down, and a feauture film of beautiful tableaux vivant imagery by the persecuted homosexual filmmaker Sergej Paradshonow. The second program of the 1969 Georgian film Pirosmaini by Giorgi Schengelaia about a forlorn painter was quite lovely but somber. I adore the zany Georgian filmmaker Gaga Chkheidze who is this Georgian series' special guest and is the original Lady Gaga who makes the current GaGa look like mushmeal. On Monday Miss Gaga presented her hysterical student short subject from 1979 Atlanti and the Georgian classic of 1930 Dijim Shrante/Salz fuer Swanetien by Michail Kalatosow. This movie is extroidinaire, but it was odd sitting through a silent film without the musical accompaniment of Eunice Martin. Providing a somewhat musical presence was Angela Anderson’s masterful voice-over reading the English unter titles.
I am a little embarrassed to admit this but I was one of those mean girls in high school. I was part of a clique that included a beautiful girl named Jae’mie Burelle who looked like Beyonce but with a super brain. Our leader was Angela Huston who was the neice of soul music legend Marvin Gaye, then came Shelly Harada a Japanese bombshell and classic bitch and Pilar Dominguez a devastatingly stylish and stunning Guetamalan who resembled a perfect mix of Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba. Pilar back in the late 70s did a version of the Diane Keaton/Annie Hall look that was so fashion forward and creative that it was a pleasure to see what outfit she would come up with next every day at school. Pilar also was a talented tap dancer and star of many of the Paladian Fine Art Club productions at my high school--LA High, the oldest High School in Southern California. There were a lot of gay boys and lesbians in my high school and they were quite open about their lives. The butch lesbians were fierce and even the boy gangbangers from 18th Street, White Fence, ACDC's,Crips, Bloods and the Filipino gang Satanas were afraid of these hot dykes. I got along very well with all the groups in high school and was friendly to everyone as I was very much The neighborhood oddity plus my mother who everyone called Miss Duplantier was the iron fist in the velvet glove. My mother never had to raise her voice to anyone as she could give you quite an icy look to show her displeasure and no one wanted to be on the wrong side of Miss Duplantier's thaw.
I didn’t particularly like most of the gay boys in my school who resented that I was so popular with the entire student body and never got picked on or called a faggot, even though I was a recognized queen and super freak and could get away with murder as the ultimate weirdo. I would come to school in drag every day, but not just plain every day drag but elaborate themed costumes. Sometimes I would wear a regency England outfit straight out of Jane Austin or I’d be a Southern Belle outdoing Scarlette O’Hara. What made me so popular actually was my outfits and wearing them as if it was the most normal thing in the world. I’d even ask my mother’s advice every morning before leaving the house. My mother was an excellent seamstress and helped me concoct my looks that were done on a shoestring budget of 0 dollars as we were dirt poor and would rummage through the trashcans of shops for discard. My mother also started a community garden by taking over a large vacant lot to plant fresh fruit and veggies for the entire community. Being a sharecroppers daughter my mother had the greenest of thumbs.
One of our high school guidance counsellors a Miss Judy Mays was the resident fag hag to all the current and former gay student body. Miss Mays would host these slumber parties and what not with her and Mr. Marcello the science teacher who was a Harvey Milk doppleganger but with long hair and male pattern baldness. Mr. Marcello hated me, but that’s another story. Miss Mays wanted me to be part of her little scene of young fags she ruled over but I was too rebellious for that and besides I was already involved in the punk art scene so I had three feet outside of high school and was hanging out with a much older sophisticated group of people. I didn’t realize till years later on Hollywood Blvd on my lunch hour from The LA Weekly when I ran into a girl from my graduating class who told me that the entire school was wrapped up in the very house of my stupidity and that there was all this speculation about my socalled fab life and that I was the source of constant gossip and rhubarb. This girl said that she even followed my exploits after high high reading about me in the gossip section of the LA Weekly called LA DEE DA. I was floored. I also felt guilty that I didn’t remember this girl at all. The only one in the gay clique at my highschool that I talked with was Kenny Bowman who I had known from Berendo Junior High school. In middle school Kenny sometimes would hang out with me and this Chinese boy named Paul Lee and Luis Alfaro who later became an identity politics performance artist and won a MacArthur Genius Award—how he managed to grift that I will never know.
In high school Kenny and a chunky but funky black/Italian girl named Monica Belutti were the only kids who knew about punk rock and went to clubs like Ginos 2 , Circus and The Sugar Shack. Later Kenny turned into a pre-op transsexual and became the pre-iminent Grace Jones impersonator. He looked more like Grace then Miss Grace or her brother who was also a Grace Jones impersonator. Kenny performed as Grace for years as the star of The Cosmetics Troupe at Some R, Some ARn’t at Peanuts Disco on Santa Monica Blvd at Fairfax in the eastern Russian quartier of West Hollywood . It was at Peanuts that Kenny met the love of his life this muscular,hunky and very masculine cute ginger haired boy from the Midwest. It was love at first sight and Kenny wound up giving up his career at Peanuts and moved to Ohio with his lover and together took over the running of his husband’s family business. Sadly Kenny came down with Mrs. AIDS and died in the mid 1990.
But getting back to my mean girls days. The meanest of our little group was definitely Shelly Harada. Shelly I had known the longest since we had gone to elementary school together and had a definitive love/hate relationship. Shelly was related to the first boy I ever fell madly in love with who was her cousin and my best friend from 1st to 3rd grade. My mother even adored his mother, and my mother wasn’t very friendly with other parents. This boy’s family moved to Japan and I was heartbroken. This boy looked very much like the Japanese American artist Dean Sameshima, which is why I have always had a place in my heart for Dean because he looks so much like my first BFF.
Well Shelly Harada was one wild Japanese girl who was nothing like the stereotype of meek , humble and submissive Asian woman. She ran around with a lot of boys, and I am surprised she didn’t wind up preggers. I was the editor of our high school newspaper called The Blue&White and Shelly was one of my staff members, and boy did we get into some knockout sluggo fights over editorial decisions I made. I was always being undercut by the faculty advisor Mrs. Marcia Grimmer who always took sides with Shelly just to spite me. Mrs. Grimmer thought I was too arbitrary and weird for my own good and wasn’t featuring me most of the time. Shelly was the star of one of my early super 8 films and photographed gorgeously. After high school she went to Cal State Northridge and developed quite the rep with her sexual antics that became even more outlandish in college once she was away from her mother’s supervision. I lost touch with her in my sophomore year at UCLA, and to this day I don’t know what ever became of her. Pilar Dominguez became a top model working for Ungaro in the 80s along with another one of my punk rock friends the beautiful Kathy Foy who is now a nurse. Pilar married some rich guy and is now living the high life in Switzerland. She and her two gorgeous sons came to see me perform in 2008 in Zurich for CHEAP Blacky and in 2009 also in Zurich with Macho Family Romance. Pilar’s sons are mega hunks and inherited amazing bodies and looks from their hot parents. The last time I saw Jae’mie Burelle was in the early 80s at the club Power Tools. She was the same funny self deprecating girl of yore, and came up to me after I performed a set with the glam band Gore Gore Girls. Jai’mie said blonde hair suited me. I recognized her immediately from the stage with her wild Chaka Khan flowing hair in the audience. She looked exactly the same as she did in high school. Haven’t seen or heard from Jai’mie since that night at Power Tools in the mid 1980s at the Park Plaza Hotel in MacArthur Park. It was the night that New York artist Keith Haring got into a fight with one of his Puerto Rican lovers named Juan over some hot Mexican dude Keith was flirting with.
Don’t know what ever became of Angela Huston who was very sophisticated and classy and after high school was always dating rich sexy Jewish men, so I guess she probably married one of them. When Marvin Gaye’s father killed him I ran into Angela near our old South Central LA nieghborhood, and that was the last time I saw her coming out of a Mercedes Benz dressed aces high going into a liquor store.
Its funny how our little mean girl clique had so much power. Even the teachers and administrators bowed down to us. The only one who made fun of others in the group was Shelly Harada who was like I said the ultimate bitch. We all had falling outs with her many times, but she would say something funny and get back into our good graces. The only one in school who ever challenged our authority as the mean girl hierarchy was this very good looking tall and muscular black boy in my AP classes named Fulton Caldwell. I had a secret crush on him. Fulton was actually a smart jock on the track , basketball and swim teams. I hate sports but even went to see Fulton in a swimming match just to see him fill out his speedos. Another boy on the swim team was this gorgeous Mexican boy named Rueben Guevara who could have become a movie star and was much better looking then John Travolta in his prime. Rueben looked very much like Travolta with his shiny dark hair, red full pillow lips and pale skin.
Back to Fulton Caldwell he was not having me and my mean girl clique, and was quite clever in the way he tried to override our power in the school. I had to give him credit where credit was due. Fulton never liked me, but he did respect me because I got good grades and I think he secretly could tell there was more to me then just being some popular person who lived only for their popularity. Fulton’s was best friends with Stanton Lewis who was the school dreamboat, a light skindidid brother with green eyes, the broadest shoulders and the best body you’ve ever seen on a teenage boy. Stanton looked like a black surfer boy and was sweet and very personable. After high school he went to a historical black college along with Rourke Brown who was also a light skinned black boy who was a bit of a campus cutup and dressed like someone from the 1920s but he wasn’t consciencely being retro. Everyone in Rourke Brown’s family had this look from the 1920s. His sisters all looked like Betty Boop and his brothers looked like Cab Callaway or Duke Ellington. It was very odd. Rourke was always wearing a newsboy cap and pants with suspenders and wing tipped shows, and shirts with cufflinks. He had a great style, but didn’t think anything of it. Both Stanton and Rourke liked me and so that prevented Fulton from just dismissing me altogether. One time in AP History with an award winning teacher at our school who had a PhD named Dr. Feinstein, Fulton and I got into quite a serious and heated debate on religion that really rocked the classroom and Dr. Feinstein being the good educator that he was just let us argue it out. Both Dr. Feinstein and Fulton Caldwell were really impressed with my knowledge and ability to quote bible versus and text from heart. This freakish ability of mine for memorization of the strangest things took the entired class by hook and by crook. Well I had to thank my years in Theocratic Ministry School where I also committed to memory bits of Hebrew and Greek. So funny that years later I would use some of this in my performance persona of the Right Reverend Saint Salicia Tate. To this day I can’t believe what possessed me to go off like I did that day in class I was like some speed preaching religious zealot version of Camille Paglia.
Monday, June 10, 2013
The second day of Living Archive openings at KW-Kunst Werker,Institute of Contemporary Art
was actioned swacked in downtown Mitte. I can never find KW even though I have performed there twice in the last few years.Luckily I ran into Anjelika from CHEAP Jewelry and her cute young son, and she pointed me in the right direction. So glad I got there early because I was able to listen and watch Susanne Sachsse’s magnificient video installation Series Ladies twice and was ready for more, but I didn’t want to be greedy as there was a big line of people waiting for my earphones. Later in the evening there was a mob scene around the installation which is a good sign as people usually aren’t able to focus on any individual piece during an art opening. La Sachsse and Ludwig Schoenherr’s Happy and Stupid Structures presentation by film historian Marc Siegel were the most talked about pieces and looked heavenly.
Series Ladies had me laughing out loud-its charms are many and varied, with a delicious soundscape score by John Blue, fashion forward make-up,hair and styling by the ever brilliantine Tan Binh Nguyen,and production design by Turkish hunkster Senol Senturk. Its all about the details and the detailing with this video exhibit is utterly divoon. You will be hearing a lot from Frau Sachsse in the coming months so be prepared as she conquers the art cosmos.
There is also fine work on hand in this group exhibition by Nanna Heidenreich, Angela Melitoupolous, Stephan Geene, and Martin Ebner who designed the gorgeous pink Living Archive poster and logo. The VIPs in attendance: Ellen Blumenstein chief curator at KW, Anja Lueckenkemper, assistant curator at KW, Knut Ebeling of Weissensee Kunsthochschule, Till Sperrle who did the excellent layout for the Living Archive Catalogue, Katharina Fichtner of the Canadian Embassy, Adela Yawitz of KW, the beautiful Bolivian/German theorist Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz with girlfriend Falke Pissano, Birgit Kohler, Milena Gregor, Annette Lingg and Nadine Yoss of the Arsenal Authority,Marieta Kestig, Haji Hendrickson, Ruth Schoneger who did the fab editing of Series Ladies with her super hot and very young looking mom,Schonherr muse and former prima ballerina Beatrice Cordua, Tan Bihn Nguyen, Yorgos, the hunky Byzantine/Ottoman art god, the Brazilian connection of Karim Anouz, Mario Brandao with a visiting New York pal,DJane Olga Damnitz, Angela Anderson, Eunice Martin, Neboja Tabacki who is designing sets and costumes for Susanne Sachsse’s production of the Snow Queen at the Parkauer Theatre, Dorothee Wenner and her perfect daytime glamour,Uli Ziemons and a glowing Arsenal Empress Stefanie Schulte Strathaus. Thursday evening it was back at the Arsenal for South Afrikan muscle sex god Darryl Els’ Shifting Grounds: Reflections on National Identity in the Archive where he presented the groundbreaking film Come Back Africa Directed by Lionel Rogosin-USA/South Africa 1958. This movie which was the first title in the Arsenal’s collection has recently been restored with b&w photography that shimmers, and features a cameo singing performance by the Great Miriam Makeba looking stunningly delicious and seductive. I’ve never seen Ms. Makeba this young. No wonder the wealthy director of the film went cookoo for the Coco when he saw her. Darryl also told me that Harry Belafonte couldn’t resist the lusty exhuberance of the youthful Miriam Makeba when he stole her from Mr. Rogosin. Thank you Mr. Els for rediscovering this film and for your background information. Can’t wait to see the other films that Darryl will present. After his screening was a Melbalic panel discussion with Angela Melitopoulos, Stephan Geene, the hilarious Marc Siegel who can liven the bleakest funereal procession, cute and cuddly baby otter of a curator Anselm Franke and the charming Berlin scholar Gertrud Koch.
Was able to sneak away from Living Archive for a moment to meet up at the Cheese Endique Trifecta with visiting academia royal Dr. Professor Jose Munoz of New York Universities Performance Studies Department. The effervescent Dr. Munoz was in high spirits taking a break from his fellowship duties in Bavaria to shout a personable “Howdy” to the locals taking his Vagimule Doll out for a scrumptious dinner at the Italian boite Sale E Tabacchi off of Friedrich Strasse at Rudi Dutschke Strasse 25 in Stadt Mitte. We were joined by the glamorous Frau Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel. The food is out of this world, though our elderly waiter we could have done without. The atmosphere quite compelling which took the the form of a young humpy swarthy type sitting in the patio with his parents who all agreed was stellar by starlight eye candy cream d’mint.
So sad to report the death of Hollywood golden age star Esther Williams. She passed last week at the grande old age of 91. Metro Goldwyn Mayer created the new filmic genre around the fetching Ms. Williams with the aqua musicale. My favourite quote of Miss Williams that she said to horndog Peter Lawford, “Keep your hands to yourself! I’m not part of your stroke”. When they appeared together in the 1948 film On an Island with You. My fav of her many films was 1949’s Neptune’s Daughter where she sang along with Ricardo Monteban the Oscar winning ditty “Baby its Cold Outside”. I also liked her in Million Dollar Mermaid where she played former aquatic star Annette Kellerman, Take Me Out to the Ballgame 1949 with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munschin and Betty Garrett,Easy to Love 1953 with that snipey little alcoholic faggot Van Johnson, Pagan Love Song 1950 and Jupitar’s Darling her last musical at MGM both co-starring Howard Keel and Pagan featuring the dancing married couple Marge & Gower Champion.
In her autobiography she wrote about having a torrid love affair with Victor Mature and that heman actor Jeff Chandler was a straight crossdresser. Both items I completely believe. Miss Williams began her career when MGM wanted a sports star to compete with 20th Century Fox and their icescapdes pics starring Olympic ice skater Sonja Henie.