What to Expect from Queer Eye Season 3

Queer EyeReady to cry some more?
The Fab 5 are hard at work on the next season of Queer Eye, and while they obviously can’t tell us much of anything about the heroes we’re going to meet…

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What to Expect from Queer Eye Season 3

Queer EyeReady to cry some more?
The Fab 5 are hard at work on the next season of Queer Eye, and while they obviously can’t tell us much of anything about the heroes we’re going to meet…

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‘Queer Eye’ Merchandise and Licensing Rights Land at IMG

IMG has landed the exclusive global merchandise and licensing rights for Netflix original series “Queer Eye.” The new multi-year partnership will see IMG and “Queer Eye” build a robust licensing program of products, experiences and collaborations focused around the core areas addressed in the show. These include fashion and accessories, home design and décor, health, […]

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Queer Eye Season 3 Is Happening and The Fab 5 Are Going to a New Location

Queer EyeThe boys will be back!
Netflix has renewed Queer Eye for season three, as if they’d ever be willing to part with the fab five, and production is set to start July 16 in…Kansas City,…

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We Need a Celebrity Nailed It After That Delightful Queer Eye Crossover

Nailed It, Nicole ByerHave you seen the Queer Eye guys compete on Nailed It?
It’s only a seven minute video that was uploaded to Netflix’s Youtube page, but it’s some of the best seven minutes…

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How Queer Eye Leveled Up in Season 2 With 2 Very Special Episodes

Queer EyeWhen the Queer Eye revival debuted on Netflix earlier this year, it was an instant heartwarming success.
Over the course of eight episodes shot in the greater Atlanta area, we watched as…

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How Katja Blichfeld Went From Anxious ‘Super Christian’ To Queer Stoner Icon

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Why is Netflix’s Queer Eye connecting so much with viewers?

The show relaunched on Netflix last month, more than 10 years after the original series.
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Meet Muna: The ‘queer pop’ band who caught Harry Styles’ eye

Meet Muna: The band mixing pop and politics on Harry Styles’ world tour.
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Modern Love: Is There Something Queer About Being Single?

In a society that rewards marriage, a woman asks why the single life should have to be condemned, even by the Supreme Court, as one of loneliness.
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A ‘Drag Race’ Queen Kicks Off Pride By Re-Creating A Queer Classic

RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Alexis Michelle kicked off Pride month in the “gayest” way possible, teaming up with Broadway’s Andrew Keenan-Bolger for a spirited take on “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again.” 

The tune is a perfect pick for Pride, of course, given its history. In 1963, Judy Garland and a 21-year-old Barbra Streisand performed the duet on “The Judy Garland Show,” and it remains a staple of queer playlists 54 years later. 

Michelle, 32, will return to New York nightspot Feinstein’s/54 Below June 13 for a special Pride installment of “It Takes A Woman… An Evening with Alexis Michelle.” The show, which features musical direction by Brandon James Gwinn, sees the drag queen tackling songs from Broadway musicals such as “Cabaret,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “La Cage aux Folles,” as well as hits by Streisand and Lady Gaga.   

“I fell in love with theater when I was 5 years old,” Michelle, whose real name is Alex Michaels, told HuffPost in May. “The best I can do – as a gay man, a queer performer and a drag queen – is live my life honestly, openly and authentically, and let that authenticity be reflected in my performances. I really do believe that if we all live authentically, that behavior in and of itself has the power to change the world.”

Alexis Michelle stars in “It Takes A Woman… An Evening with Alexis Michelle” at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York on June 13. Head here for details. 

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Russell Elliot Hopes His Sexy New Video Inspires ‘Queer Joy And Pleasure’

Russell Elliot is back with a sexy new song and video.

HuffPost Queer Voices first introduced you to the queer R&B artist’s music in 2014, and since then he has released a number of queer-themed tracks and clips. This latest video, for the song “On You,” is described by Elliot as a “sex jam” and he emphasized that songs like this one can be just as important as blatantly political work during tumultuous times of social unrest.

“I want queer joy and pleasure to stay visible in these tough times,” Elliot told The Huffington Post. “So many people said, ‘You can’t put out a sex jam. People want to feel angry, not sexy.’ I say we’re allowed to hold both. I’m writing my senators. I’m at JFK and Stonewall and on the National Mall chanting with my sisters. I’m also grinding one out on the dance floor. Because they can’t take that from us. I think we’re allowed to hold the resistance and our hard-earned joy in equal measure. I’ll go a step further and say I think we need to draw on both to fortify us if we’re to get through this.”

Check out the clip above and head here to see more from Elliot.

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This Dinner Party Handbook Is The Perfect Way To Learn Queer History

An awesome new project is in the works that will provide fodder for an inclusive conversation about queer history while bringing people together in a dinner party setting.

“Serving Pride: The Queer History Dinner Party Handbook” is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign but its creators hope to have the handbook complete by June ― just in time for Pride 2016.

“Coming out is, in some ways, one of the most important political acts we do as queer people,” co-creator Joey Stern told The Huffington Post. “We say to friends and family ‘See me, see me like this.’ Learning about our history, teaching others about our history, thats how we say to each-other ‘See us, see all of us.’ It’s not just learning history, but learning it together that really solidifies that experience. You’re not alone, you’re part of vast and connected community.”

Resources like “Serving Pride” are more important than ever, in an era when its easy to lose sight of our history as LGBTQ people and our collective struggles.

Head here to check out the Kickstarter campaign and keep your eyes peeled for more from “Serving Pride: The Queer History Dinner Party Handbook.”

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Queer Brooklyn Art Collective, Party Duo Shutter Their Practice

A New York nightlife-based art collective and end event production duo will end their practice together, with their final collaboration taking place on New Year’s Eve.

Back in 2014, HuffPost Queer Voices engaged in a long-term examination of the NYC nightlife community both historically and today called “After Dark.” The Culture Whore, made up of Dream Dommu and Paul Leopold, were featured in this series, and just over two years later the pair will end their collaborative practice and pursue careers as individual artists.

“The Culture Whore (TCW) really happened because we loved the community we found going out and wanted to make it more accessible,” the pair told HuffPost. “There’s definitely been a renaissance in New York nightlife over the past few years, specifically queer nightlife and centered around Brooklyn, and we’re proud that TCW has been a big part of that. There is incredible art being made in New York City every day by truly brilliant queers, and TCW has always been a platform to bring that to a wider audience.”

Over the past four years, TCW has proved an important part of the queer art scene in Brooklyn, providing space for identity exploration and creative production in spaces that are largely DIY or underground. From raves that deconstruct the queer themes of Harry Potter to events questioning the nature of surveillance in the digital age, TCW’s events have proved important to a large number of the queer people navigating this outer borough.

As Leopold and Dommu move on to differing paths, the pair emphasized that it’s crucial queer nightlife in New York continue to revolve around the DIY.

“The underground is really about space. We need to support non traditional spaces so that they can survive,” Dommu continued. “Always choose a DIY space over a traditional bar or club. Sometimes people take for granted that the underground is just there when you want it, but if we all don’t support the underground it could literally be priced out.”

As for the legacy of The Culture Whore and its memory within the historical consciousness of this community, Dommu and Leopold emphasized that TCW has always been bigger than the two of them.

“We want TCW to be remembered as being bigger than us, a community and a moment in time that honored the past while shaping the future,” they said. 

The Culture Whore’s final party, called “Night Riders,” is a collaboration with Rify Royalty and will be on Dec. 31 in Brooklyn.

Check out photos from previous Culture Whore events below and head here to read more.

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This Artist Is Using ‘Artivism’ To Break Down Queer Stigma And Stereotypes

A Venezuelan artist is making a bold statement about queerness and art’s power to aid in the breaking down of stereotypes related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity.

 

The “I’m Not A Joke” campaign from Daniel Arzola is a series of images inscribed with compelling truths about human diversity that encourages individuals to live as their authentic selves. He wants the images to eventually appear on buses and subways, exposing audiences to the realites of queer experiences in an attempt to breakdown prejudice in a form of activism that he calls “Artivism.”

 

Much of Arzola’s work comes from personal experience as an LGBT person growing up in Venezuela. “I had an violent adolescence because of [Venezuela’s intolerance],” he told The Huffington Post. “When I was 15-years-old they tied me to an electric pole and tried to burn me alive. I was able to escape that but I spent six years not being able to draw because they destroyed all of my drawings. After escaping that I transformed everything into lines and colors instead of returning the violence – I wanted to break the cycle.”

 

The Huffington Post chatted this week with Arzola about “Artivism,” his artwork and what he hopes to see accomplished through the “I’m Not A Joke” series.

Want to see more from Arzola and his “I’m Not A Joke” series? Head here to check out the artist’s Tumblr.

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FABRICATIONS: Meet Queer Fashion Designer And Artist Ben Copperwheat

This is the twelfth installment in a miniseries titled “FABRICATIONS” that elevates the work of up-and-coming queer individuals working in the fashion world. Check back at HuffPost Gay Voices regularly to learn more about some of the designers of tomorrow and the way their work in fashion intersects with their queer identity.

Originally hailing from the United Kingdom, Ben Copperwheat is a queer fashion designer and artist living and working in New York City. His clothing is heavily informed by both his background in screen printing and his work throughout a variety of facets of the fashion industry, and his designs have appeared on the likes of Boy George, Liza Minnelli and Pat Cleveland. Read the interview below to learn more.

ben copperwheat

The Huffington Post: What has your journey as a queer artist and fashion designer entailed?
Ben Copperwheat: I was born in Luton, England, 30 miles north of London and lived the first 28 years of my life in the United Kingdom. I had an interest in art at a very young age and drew pictures of Disney characters in my childhood and Madonna in my teens while listening to the pop music my mum would play. At 18 I enrolled in the local art college and, with the nurturing of wonderful tutors, I went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts at Bath Spa University. My aspirations led me to London and the Royal College Of Art of which I graduated with an MA in Printed Textiles in 2001. This jumpstarted my career and since then my journey has been a wondrous ride of exploration and growth.

After graduating I taught textiles for fashion at Northumbria University in England. This was great as I enjoy working with students, but it also enabled me to pursue print design projects with a variety of different people and companies. After two years working in London I felt ready for a big change. It doesn’t get much bigger than New York City! I had visited New York twice before and had fallen in love with its fizzy energy and sky-high possibilities. My cousin was already living in NYC, so this made the transition easier.

ben

Upon arrival in 2003 I applied for jobs, and almost immediately I was offered a position as a print designer at Calvin Klein Jeans. I worked at CKJ for five years and I had a great time. I learned a huge amount about the fashion industry, met some lifelong friends and travelled the world to cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris, London, Barcelona, Dehli and Jaipur, shopping for inspiration. During my time at CKJ I also designed print collections for Stephen Burrows, Sue Stemp and Peter Som. In 2008 I desired more freedom so I left my job and transitioned to a freelance print designer.

In 2009, in partnership with my cousin Lee Copperwheat, came the formation of the clothing label COPPERWHEAT. We produced five seasons for New York Fashion Week in a variety of venues including Soho Grand Hotel, the Maritime Hotel and Cappellini store in SoHo. This was a huge learning curve, a tumultuous ride, the outcome of which was some beautifully made, very cool clothes. Ultimately, this label and partnership was not meant to be. In 2012 we went our separate ways, at which point I threw my creative energy into what I know best: screen printing. This juncture felt like a new beginning, and came with it a freedom of expression more vibrant and unrestrained than I had previously experienced. With a print area built into my duplex apartment in Bushwick, I went for leather and printed clothing, wallpaper and interior fabrics. I started selling pieces in Patricia Field’s store on the Bowery and producing commissioned outfits for clients.

liza

Where have your designs appeared?
Through my work with Stephen Burrows, my prints have adorned the bodies of Liza Minnelli, Pat Cleveland, Gail O’Neill, Alva Chinn, Anna Cleveland and Lily Cole. With the label COPPERWHEAT we were featured in Dazed, Surface Magazine, Vogue Italia, Style.com, collaborated with Palladium Boots, Singer Miguel and Bruno Mars. For my own brand, Ben Copperwheat, my prints have been worn by NBA star Russell Westbrook, commissioned for Will Sheridan, Rod Thomas of Bright Light Bright Light and, most recently, I designed the stage outfit for the Boy George/Culture Club reunion tour and merchandise T-Shirts. Boy George debuted this outfit on “American Idol” in March 2015.

boy george

What does it mean to you to be a queer designer? How does your queer identity intersect with your work?
Queer has always been a tough word for me to embrace, as growing up in England I was bullied for my sexuality from as early as I can remember to the age of 8. Queer was one of the words I was called, along with “bent” and “puffter.” I feel, as time goes on, the word “queer” is becoming more of a friend. So, therefore, to be a queer designer, living in New York City is a gift. I feel incredibly grateful to have the freedom to express myself through my clothing, art and interactions in such a vibrant culture — especially when there is so much oppression and suffering throughout the world. I have been openly gay/queer for over 20 years, so my queer identity is without a doubt synonymous with my work. Bright color and graphic pattern are predominant features in my designs, which is not the norm in current fashion and art. I feel “queer” represents that which is not the norm.

Who does Ben Copperwheat design for? Who is your audience and how do your designs cater to them?
I design for anyone who is looking for something different and visually exciting. My designs are a cross between artistic streetwear and high-end fashion. Whomever wears them brings their own personality and dimension to the prints. I have fans and clients of all ages and backgrounds. I wear my designs daily as I find this to be the most comfortable form of self-expression and I am regularly stopped on the street by a cross-section of admirers. I am inspired by the world around me — in particular New York City — and I feel my work reflects this.

Historically the fashion world has been extremely queer friendly — what role do you think the fashion world has played within mainstream acceptance of LGBT identity?
I feel it definitely has played a part in mainstream acceptance, especially Vivienne Westwood, with her embracement of all things queer. Also, other designers in tandem with popular music, specifically artists such as Madonna working with Jean Paul Gaultier, Lady Gaga with Alexander McQueen, Pet Shop Boys with Jeffrey Bryant to name a few. On the other hand, designers such as Dolce & Gabanna and Giorgio Armani are trying to turn the clock back with recent comments. Such is the push and pull nature of progress.

ben

What does the future hold for Ben Copperwheat?
With 15 years working as a designer and turning 40 this coming September, I feel that I am only just starting to realize my full creative potential. To be an artist/designer is a lifelong vocation, so with, I hope, at least another 40 years left on this planet I have many great things to come. I am currently in a group show curated by my friend Walt Cessna, “#INTERFACE Queer Artists Forming Communities Through Social Media” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York. I am also planning work for a solo art show in NYC. I would like to show solo again at NYFW when the time feels right — branch out more into interiors (wallpaper/murals/fabrics). I am turning my apartment into a “museum” of my work, where every surface is printed/painted. Design costume and sets for theater. Get back to painting — I started out as a painter while at art school. Continue to nurture relationships with recording artists and performers and design more stage outfits. My ethos is that prints can be applied to anything. The nature of my work is very versatile, and I intend to continue to evolve in this way.

Want to see more from Ben Copperwheat? Head here to check out the website. Missed the previous installments in this miniseries? Check out the slideshow below.

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Sarah Deragon’s ‘The Identity Project’ Challenges The Way We Think About Queer Identity

“The Identity Project,” from photographer Sarah Deragon, challenges the way that we compartmentalize and think about queerness and identity.

The photo series captures the way subjects want to present themselves to the world around them and communicate their personal ways of self-identifying. Mainstream understandings of what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) tend to be narrow and specific, but with “The Identity Project,” we can see the infinite shades and hues of queerness that make up the spectrum of human identity.

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The Huffington Post chatted with Deragon this week about her work and how the project has grown.

The Huffington Post: What is your driving vision for The Identity Project?
Sarah Deragon: My main vision for The Identity Project is to expand what we normally understand to be the LGBTQ communities. I wanted to create a photo project that allowed participants to self-identify and stand up and be seen for who they really are. I honestly thought that the project would be a small collection of 50 or so photographs, but the response to the project was so profound that I decided to expand it and travel to several US cities like New York City, Portland, Chicago and soon Austin to photograph more people. I imagine that this will be an ongoing project for me throughout my lifetime.

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Don’t Miss Provincetown’s Film Festival, An Unofficially Queer Cultural Event By The Beach

Unassuming is the name of the game in P-town, a quirky beach community at the tip of Cape Cod. But the Provincetown International Film Festival, now in its 17th year, consistently delivers one of the finest cultural events in the region. As always, a delightfully queer lineup underscores the outstanding selection of narrative features, documentaries and shorts.

The festival kicks off on June 17 with writer-director Leslye Headland’s “Sleeping with Other People,” exploring the complexities of monogamy. From James Franco, “I Am Michael,” the dramatization of a buzzy 2011 New York Times article about gay activist Michael Glatze, closes out the week on June 21.

“The independent filmmaking community continues to produce remarkably high quality work, here and abroad, and our feature lineup is a testament to that!” said Connie White, artistic director of PIFF. “We are thrilled to welcome these new films and filmmakers to Provincetown in June, and we know that filmgoers will be engaged and entertained by these adventurous, thought-provoking and accomplished films.”

The lineup for PIFF 2015:

Opening Night Selection
“Sleeping with Other People” — directed by Leslye Headland
sleeping with other people

Closing Night Selection
“I Am Michael” — directed by Justin Kelly
i am michael

Spotlight Selections
“The End of the Tour” — directed by James Ponsoldt
the end of the tour

“Grandma” — directed by Paul Weitz

“Tab Hunter Confidential” — directed by Jeffrey Schwartz

Narrative Features
“99 Homes” — directed by Ramin Bahrani

“Beatbox” — directed by Andrew Dresher

“Breathe” — directed by Mélanie Laurent

“Fresno” — directed by Jamie Babbit

“Funny Bunny” — directed by Alison Bagnall

“Learning to Drive” — directed by Isabel Coixet

“A Little Chaos” — directed by Alan Rickman

“Meet Me In Montenegro” — directed by Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen

“Nasty Baby” – directed by Sebastián Silva

“The New Girlfriend” — directed by François Ozon

“People, Places, Things” — directed by James C. Strouse

“Radiator” — directed by Tom Browne

“The Second Mother” — directed by Anna Muylaert

“Shaun the Sheep” — directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

The Stanford Prison Experiment” — directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez

“The Summer of Sangaile” — directed by Alanté Kavaïté

“Tangerine” — directed by Sean Baker

“Ten Thousand Saints” — directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

“Those People” — directed by Joey Kuhn

“Tired Moonlight” — directed by Britni West

“Wildlike” — directed by Frank Hall Green

“Yosemite” — directed by Gabrielle Demeestere

Documentary Features
“Alentejo, Alentejo” — directed by Sérgio Tréfaut

“The Armor of Light” — directed by Abigail E. Disney

“Best of Enemies” — directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville

“The Birth of Saké” — directed by Erik Shirai

“Call Me Lucky” — directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

“City of Gold” — directed by Laura Gabbert

“Clambake” — directed by Andrea Meyerson

“Danny Says” — directed by Brendan Toller

“Do I Sound Gay?” — directed by David Thorpe

“Harry & Snowman” — directed by Ron Davis

“In My Father’s House” — directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg

“Larry Kramer In Love with Anger” — directed by Jean Carlomusto

“Listen to Me Marlon” — directed by Stevan Riley

Live From New York!” — directed by Bao Nguyen

“Love Between the Covers” — directed by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt

“Out to Win” — directed by Malcolm Ingram

“Outermost Radio” — directed by Alan Chebot

“Packed In a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson” — directed by Michelle Boyaner

“Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict” — directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

“The State of Marriage” — directed by Jeffrey Kaufman

“The Wolfpack” — directed by Crystal Moselle

The 17th annual Provincetown International Film Festival takes place June 17-21 in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Siamese Spots, Queer Female Music Duo, Releases ‘Banter’

Are you ready for this ground-breaking queer female music duo?

Siamese Spots hit the scene earlier this month with their debut track “Banter” — and we’re big fans.

The twosome is comprised of openly transgender artist Chase Marie, who has previously been featured on HuffPost Gay Voices, and Tahlia. The pair hails from the trenches of Oklahoma and cites bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Sleater Kinney and Garbage as influences.

The band is currently writing their debut record, which will be out sometime in 2015.

Check out the video for “Banter” above and visit Siamese Spots’ bandcamp page here.
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Kristin Chenoweth, Queer Eye’s Fab Five and Gary Busey on Oprah: Where Are They Now? – OWN

Watch on our new night and time! Tune in Friday, January 3, at 9/8c.
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Kristin Chenoweth opens up about her misfit childhood and two marriage near misses. Then, Queer Eye’s Fab Five reunite 10 years after a groundbreaking debut. Plus, Gary Busey reveals the truth about cocaine, sobriety and motorcycle helmets.

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Spanish Queer Cinema

Spanish Queer Cinema


Since the Catalan government passed the first of Spain’s regional governmental laws on same-sex partnership in 1998, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer culture in Spain has thrived. Spanish Queer Cinema assesses the impact of this significant cultural expression on Spanish Cinema and evaluates the role LGBTQ film has had in creating and shaping identity and experience.Focusing on films from 1998 to the present day, Chris Perriam skilfully analyses the development of LGBTQ filmmaking and filmwatching in Spain and places this within the wider cultural context. Covering lesbian cinema, gay and queer documentaries and short films, as well as mainstream features, the book investigates how LGBTQ films are distributed and how audiences react to them. It includes discussions of film festivals, cultural centres and social networking sites and it places the filmwatching experience within the context of other cultural activities such as television viewing, reading, surfing, downloading and festival–going. It assesses the importance and impact of Spanish queer cinema on the construction of LGBTQ identities and experiences.

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What If the Avant-Garde Were the Moral? On Early John Waters and the Future of Queer Culture

Though I love them all, my two favorite films by John Waters are two of his earlier works: Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble. Perhaps in the current cultural moment of bareback porn and kink on demand via myVidster, words like “transgressive” have lost their meaning or feel a bit retro, but in the context of the ’70s, boy, those films were simply that.

Divine, who was to John Waters what Kim Novak was to Alfred Hitchcock, was more drag anarchist than drag queen. She resisted the impulses that typically dictate how drag gets represented in mass culture — camp and glamor — and carved out a third way, a kind of pre-punk sensibility, that made those early performances so bad-ass.

With Female Trouble Waters introduced the world to cha-cha heels, in the magnificent scene where Dawn Davenport, Divine’s character, goes on a rampage after not receiving the shoes for Christmas. And no one depicts a rampage better than John Waters. No one. The scene with her parents in the living room is one of the best moments in cinema. If camp has a boundary, a wall, an outer limit, they reached it.

Waters does not offer lush, visually breathtaking shots where the camera lusts over its subject; his early guerrilla filmmaking resisted that. His camera is more a co-conspirator that’s in on his antics. Waters is a director of movement, especially when it came to Divine.

The thing you have to appreciate about Divine — and you absolutely must appreciate this — is how she opened a scene. Of course, there are performers of technique, actors who can master a dialect or immerse themselves fully into a character, or even actors who can quite simply exude a luminescent quality. But as Pauline Kael would suggest, to enter a scene, now that’s something that requires talent, one of the rarest, most fun, and most precious elements of an actor’s craft. And Divine could enter a room. She could open a scene. She could focus your attention skillfully.

And what of John Waters and his influence? In her Starbooty phase RuPaul definitely inhabited a persona with a Watersesque sensibility. I also can’t help but think that Lady Gaga is a John Waters invention. Had Divine lived a few more years, she would have worn that meat dress first.

From a political perspective, especially with regard to queerness, the children of Lorde and Foucault rule that roost. It makes me wish that my generation took up Waters and his work more, because the subversive energy of his early films provides not only a lens but a landscape that helps us think innovatively about the possibilities of not only queer politics but queer practice.

Though Mapplethorpe probably gets the most credit as the ultimate queer outsider artist of that era, we forget about John Waters, along with his spiritual sibling, the Italian queer director Pier Paolo Pasolini, both of whom introduced poop eating to movie audiences, Pasolini in Salo, the breathtaking and equally disturbing interpretation of de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, set against a backdrop of Italian Fascism, and John Waters in Pink Flamingos. His dominant sensibility, revealing the influence of Jean Genet, seeks to reconfigure the value system not merely to shock but to totally disorient, disembody and ultimately displace. What’s a more rewarding cinematic experience than total disembodiment? To watch those films is to enter a liminal space, with Divine the channel.

Waters is never quite cynical. Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble resist the apocalyptic, dystopian feel of some films when they try to enter into “edgy” territory. What’s more radical than challenging the normal is presenting the perverse, the bizarre, the odd as if they were normal. As Jon Caramanica suggests, “[t]he avant-garde need not be moral.” But what if it were?

I want to single out Female Trouble and Pink Flamingos because I think the films together signal a moment, a sensibility carried over. I mean, Waters plays with similar themes in different ways throughout his career, but the intensity and potency of those early films compels me to remain with them. I am especially interested in John Waters because in our post- or arguably post-post-marriage-equality moment, I wonder if we can find in those early works something of value that helps us imagine the future and the possibilities of not only queer politics but queer culture.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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