Archives for posts with tag: Picture of Dorian Gray

So, here it is.  Up and running.

My controversial, contemporary retelling of Oscar Wilde’s 1890 Lippincott version of  The Picture of Dorian Gray.

I really hope you enjoy it.

Power and prestige can be just as intoxicating for those who are powerful and prestigious as for those who seek them out…or chance upon them.

Infamy can have the same mesmerizing effect. Mass murderers, on their way to the electric chair, marry formally reasonable women.

The mother/father killler Menendez brothers, still get proposals of marriage from star struck suiters.

I have seen gown adults buckle before the very famous and the not so very famous.

The youth of Hollywood, like so many generations before them, have been levied.

Sexual expediency is a price silently adhered to any deal.

I don’t need to tell you Marilyn‘s story…do I?

It’s quaint! It’s so old fashioned…it’s happening today.

Somehow everybody knows that if you are going to go the distance in this town you better go the distance with whomever has the power in this town.

Many people masquerade as powerful and do very well thank you very much. Taking advantage of those who are want to trust them.

Gays are particularly vulnerable.

It’s best, they are told, for a life as an actor…to stay in the closet.

The closet protects and it taketh away.

To be a young, beautiful gay man arriving in Hollywood for the first time has a million, unforeseen drawbacks that seem, to the uninitiated, like wonderful gifts.

Noticed by rich and powerful men (when you have lived your life in relative obscurity) perverts the course of any fate you might believe in.

There are plenty of fate healers.

Look at him.

Picked from a legion of other boys. He feels special at last.

Boys who would not normally indulge in the crepe flesh of the elderly become their most ardent moisturizer.

Especially for a young gay man who may have been deeply closeted, living in the jet black shadow of toxic shame.

Never realizing his own beauty. His own worth.

Ignorant to the attention he receives as he walks innocently down the street.

Like Dorian Gray, shown for the first time how gorgeous he is…becomes immediately vain and arrogant.

Throws off his mantle of quiet humility and becomes addicted to the adoration of others.

Watching my gay brethren in Hollywood flocking to the shrine of the generously rewarded can be a sickening sight.

Young boys arrive uninvited from small towns in far off states armed with copies of US weekly.

Sitting in the Chateau Marmont hoping for a glimpse of Josh Hartnett or Lindsay Lohan.

Hoping to make everything better, validate and soothe away the pain of a miserable and isolated childhood.

Unless those boys are fabulously gifted, educated or similarly bequeathed the last of their youth is stolen from them by the unscrupulous.

Their talents go unnoticed. Their dreams unfulfilled, their virginity discarded to the most affluent.

Another notch in the bed post.

Get them drunk or worse.

People say, let them make their own mistakes.

It’s very hard to do.

So, the fame whores and the star fuckers line up…pig pink, shaved and waxed for the jovial grandees who take turns like so many commissioned shop assistants on the floor of the biggest meat market in the whole damned universe.

I have not written this diary properly for a few days.  A great deal is going on.   Traveling East.

It seemed like I said yes to far too many dinner invitations and ended up cancelling all of them.

I am talking to sales reps about The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Finally.  It is time.  David Gallagher is the breakout star in Super 8 so we may very well sell it.  With David looking so amazingly fit and grown up and Aleksa in Boardwalk Empire…perhaps we can sell it for what it is worth.  Anyway, I’m talking again to sales agents so let’s see.  I just want what it is worth.  Not selling it for anything less.

I am still not happy with the edit.

The desert.  We drive into the night.  The Freeway.  Homogenous America.  The same 6 restaurant chains, the same names…again and again.  Nothing to differentiate state by state.   The desert is beautiful.  Desolate, hot, 110 degrees yesterday.

I am now in Willcox Arizona, sitting in the Safeway Starbucks where coffee is twenty cents more than The Palisades.  To prove that people must be BORED beyond reason living out here I have been recognized more in the past ten minutes than the past ten months.

They are playing Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues.

So, we left LA yesterday morning.  The previous day we spent dozing on the beach then had dinner at the rancid Taverna Tony’s.  Flayed shrimp.  The Beautiful Dane’s Swedish friend arrived and we all stayed in Malibu that night leaving early the following morning with Robby.

The Swedish friend (whose name I refuse to remember) is a clumsy idiot and I don’t expect revising my opinion any time soon.  They call each other Bagel.   Within ten minutes of meeting me he had knocked my phone out of my hand.

Robby and Miles returned from their wedding weekend, apparently the bride and groom washed each other’s feet in the Christian ceremony.  Robby looked great.  They are such sweet boys.

Very clean feet.

The Dane sings Riders in The Storm in Danish which is funny.

Picked up a huge SUV at The Dane’s insistence.  Expensive, gas consuming behemoth.

We drove to Glendale Station where we picked up another Dane, a girl called Lucie who used to work in the fashion and textile department at the Met in NYC.  We had a great deal to talk about.

It seemed like a good idea to fill the car with friends but as it turns out the idiot friend and the Dane have a very specific sort of relationship and Lucie is his ex gf who he took two years to get over.

I began to reassess.   My farts stink.

We drove from LA to Phoenix.  Dinner at The Royal Palm Resort which is incredibly beautiful.  Taco Tuesday.  Luxury on a budget.  The Swede nipped off with his good-looking friend and bought two dresses from H and M for him and the Dane which they changed into in the parking lot.

We stopped in a gas station and a man told his friend very loudly that the dress wearing men should be arrested.  As we drove deeper into Arizona the dresses caused me some panic as I really did not want either of them to get shot.

As you can tell from my voice.  I am trying a little too hard.

Stayed in a small motel with wi-fi and a big black dog.  The room cost us $60.

We are on our way to Marfa, Texas to the Donald Judd hangers.

If you want to see all of the videos from this trip…go to my YouTube channel.

We are off soon.  Long journey ahead.  They are playing Joe Jackson’s Stepping Out.  The Starbucks girl is blending caramel frapaccino and I will never see Willcox Arizona ever again.

Duncan Roy and Wendy Asher

Oscar Wilde enjoyed the extravagant promises of the Victorian Age, capturing the imagination of London’s aesthetic elite. However, beyond the enlightened few, everything about the man provoked consternation to the prudish, hypocritical Victorians—from the green carnation in his buttonhole to his sensational novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Like his suits, Wilde, a tireless self-promoter and purveyor of the unforgettable bon mot, was exquisitely tailored. While young, he was best dressed in bold plaid, plus fours, starched shirts with high, tight collars or gabardine suits cut short above the hip. Wilde traded his own slender, youthful visage (French
pleated hair and Cupid lips) for a bloated middle age rife with extravagant capes and voluminous fur-lined coats.

In his revisionist biography of Oscar Wilde, Who Was That Man?, Neil Bartlett describes how Wilde became a huge man with a penchant for young, willowy boys. He was an intriguing mass of contradictions: The love letters he sent to his wife, Constance, are as beautiful as the letters he sent to the dark-hearted “Bosie,” his lover. The innocent stories he wrote for his beloved children were a counterpoint to the pornographic tales he created from his forays into London’s dank underworld.

The pornography attributed to Wilde in the British Library, under the pseudonym “Teleny,” reveals his sado-pedophilic fantasies. Young boys figure highly in these violent, disturbing texts. The virginal youths are deflowered by older, cruel men, their innocence torn from them.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is the reworking of these same themes that lead Wilde to his pessimistic and wholly modern conclusions about our shared horror of the loss of youth and how we might reclaim it.

When casting for a perfect Dorian, I was not interested in hiring a great beauty, but rather, a young boy. After all, beauty is subjective, youth indisputable.

For the movie’s Dorian Gray, it was imperative that our actor, David Gallagher, look effortlessly chic. David is very much the stick-thin look of right now and Dior Homme (as reinvented by our costume designer, Hedi Slimane). Dressing the literary youth icon of our age was a perfect solution for us and Dior: Slimane set his homoerotic boy-man aesthetic against the new Puritanism of American mainstream culture.

It is Lord Henry Wotton who appeals to the youthful Dorian Gray and speaks for the moisturized 40-plus generation, when he says to Dorian: “I wish that I could change places with you. To get back my youth; I’d do anything in the world. You are the type that the age is searching for and is afraid that it has already found. The world has always worshipped you—and it always will.”

If Wilde’s sensational sodomy trial had happened today, would the acclaimed wit have ended up in prison? Given that we find it hard to throw celebrities in jail, perhaps not. But Wilde’s predilection for sex with underage boys? I am sure that his hard drive would have been littered with unsavory images of children.

Once in prison, Wilde was given a thin gray cotton shirt and pants. Issey Miyake—or Kim Jong Il—might have gotten a kick out of this minimal Bauhaus look, but Wilde loathed it and woefully described his prison uniform in the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. A couple of years later, he was dead. (“It’s either me or the wallpaper.”) But as hard as I look, I cannot discover what he was buried in. Except, of course, shame.

This article was edited by Black Book for whom the piece was originally written.  It has been pointed out to me that Hedi lent us the clothes for Dorian rather than designing them for the film.   I have also been asked what happened to the film.  How did it do?  Well, in my own estimation it did OK.  It closed the London Lesbian and Gay film Festival, opened the Miami G&L film festival and opened the New York G&L film festival amongst others.   It had a small life and then vanished.

random Malibu interior

I climbed Runyon.  It didn’t shift the feeling of rage that shook my body after a curt little note from Adam at the American Foundation for Human Rights.

I met Adam after the Precious event at the Chateau Marmont.  I showed some interest in the human rights work he is involved in.  I offered to help.  We became Facebook friends.  I offered to take Adam to lunch.  Adam said he was available after Thanksgiving.  I emailed him once again today.

Adam replied that he didn’t have time to meet to discuss the Foundation before say, February.  He is ‘stressed’ too stressed, apparently, to think that maybe somebody like me could actually help.  Adam will be appearing, however, in a choir, carving pumpkins and decorating his Christmas tree with ‘friends’ and ‘family’ during the holiday season. Adam, as you can imagine, is ‘single’.

Before I launch into this I just want to remind you that I have devoted my life as an artist and filmmaker and now TV personality to serving the gay community.  My last gay film, The Picture of Dorian Gray a reworking of the original text by Oscar Wilde was either the opening or closing night film at 5 major gay film festivals around the world and played in over 300 others.  This film followed in the footsteps of 5 previous films.  When Jimmy Kimmel said publicly, mockingly that he had not heard of me my response was why should he?  He doesn’t go to gay film festivals but there are many thousands of us who do.  Before becoming a filmmaker I made theatre primarily for a gay audience.  My credentials as a bone fide, committed, gay artist and cultural aficionado are without doubt.

I watched the promotional video on the site of the American Foundation for Human Rights.  The gay men at the heart of the Prop 8 human rights case were dressed anonymously, the lesbians like a man and a woman.  The representative for the Foundation earnestly telling the rapt audience that they were going to find ‘justice’.   The straight lawyers from ‘across the political divide’, already married to heterosexuals, were coming together so that gay men and lesbians who ‘deserved’ equal rights could get married just like them.  As usual, they spent time invoking and quoting and channeling the ubiquitous Dr. Martin Luther King, as usual ignoring the irritation this causes black men and women who are loathed to let the gays appropriate their tireless martyred hero.

Why should that be you wonder?  Why should the black community want to hold so preciously onto Martin Luther King?  Why do they feel that their struggle is so different to ours?

Well, for a start the gays can’t muster enough of a consensus to find one man or one woman who speaks their truth or to their condition.  There is no face to the voice that whines and complains.  I suspect the black community loath comparisons between their struggle and ours because we so rarely struggle.  Because they really did struggle: appalling, life threatening, daily, no reprieve, at the back of the fucking bus struggle.

If you take time and look at Dr King’s timeline scarcely a month passed when he was not actively risking his life for equal rights, where he marched in hostile neighborhoods,  where he calmly faced a sneering, Glenn Beck type media.

When he was assassinated there were riots in 130 cities, 20,000 people were arrested.  There were riots in 130 cities.

Dr King galvanized his community as a leader could galvanize ours.  Where is our fearless leader?

When did the gay men you know really fight for equality?  When did the gay man you know last risk his life or risk being arrested or simply hand a leaflet to a person outside of WeHo or Chelsea or your cities gay ghetto?  When did he take real risks for what he believed in?  When did he let someone who never previously met a gay man know him so that that someone could put a face to the notion on the ballot before he/she voted?

Every time we say Dr Kings name in regard to our struggle we choose to overlook the history of slavery, emasculation, lynching, rape, child abuse, murder etc. etc.  But mostly we choose to ignore our own dirty little secret:  the appalling racism that exists in the gay community.  Let me say it again:  we simply overlook this most shocking fact.  Endemic RACISM in our own community.

  • According to a 2008 study, racism against gay Asian/Pacific Islander men leads to socially and contextually prescribed sexual roles for that may also contribute to the practice of unsafe sex among this group.
  • According to a 2000 survey conducted of LGBT African-Americans in nine U.S. cities, a third of respondents reported negative experiences in predominantly white LGBT organizations and with white LGBT persons in bars and clubs.
  • In 2005, Les Natali, the owner of a gay bar named Badlands located in San Francisco, was criticized by the city’s Human Rights Commission who determined that thirteen instances of racial discrimination by the staff occurred. Examples include refusal for entry by African-Americans, white patrons being served first even though African-Americans were first in line among others.Badlands was picketed by a diverse group of community activists over several weeks to bring attention to the situation and a group, And Castro For All (AC4A) was formed that has continued to promote dialog about racism in LGBT communities.
  • In 2006, there were reports of verbal attacks on gay Latinos by gay whites in The Castro district of San Francisco. John Mendoza, a protest organizer against racism in the Castro, said he was told by a gay white male to “go back to Mexico, you fucking wetback, where you belong”. A rally was staged in response.
  • Drag queen and performance artist Chuck Knipp has been criticized by anti-racism advocates for his character Shirley Q. Liquor. Knipp performs his act in blackface, and makes comments about blacks and black culture which some people consider offensive. Several protests have taken place and Knipp has canceled several of his shows.
  • Some LGBT media outlets have been criticized for not putting a racially diverse representation of gays and lesbians in their works, like magazines such as The Advocate and gay-themed television series such as Queer as Folk.Shows such as LOGO’s Noah’s Arc utilized more gay people of color in their casts.
  • The late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe produced a work called The Black Book which many gay, African-American artists have called fetishistic, racist, and demeaning.

Thought you might not know that stuff.  Think you might hesitate before quoting Dr King next time?

As usual this Human Rights Foundation is merely a money making machine for more over paid lawyers. Lawyers and more lawyers feeding off of the carcass of our community.  Using the same old routes expecting a different destination.

Why is it so difficult for us to find our own Dr King?  I want my own brave, eloquent gay leader?  Can we get ourselves a leader who galvanizes our community?  I very much doubt it.  Unless he’s a porn star of course or Ellen.

Another thing.  When I walk the streets in my gay neighborhood I get pestered for cash all the time by pro gay marriage beggars.  Can we spend our communities money wisely-I suggest we spend it on pro-gay aren’t we fab type advertisements, on outreach, on being visible to people who might not know who we are but hold the deciding vote?  So, when and if the time comes we are known, that our faces and stories are known beyond our gated community.

I am sure Adam is a very nice boy.  I am sure his friends and family will appreciate his ‘time’ during the holiday season.  I am only sorry that, as usual, there seems to be no time for those of us who have engaged successfully with changing the law in our own country without pissing off a community that suits a comparison but not a shared culture.

Some of us want to get involved, feel included without being shoved condescendingly to the sidelines by prissy queens who seem, by their Facebook profiles to know tribes of identical men with identical, mediocre hair cuts and manicured histories and no idea what it is to be risky beyond snorting crystal and barebacking.

P.S.  I had a dream that every man I ever objectified lay in a pile of naked, rotting pink and brown tangled limbs.  Every man I ever slept with, fantasized about, intrigued with.  Every man from straight college man dot com, from Sean Cody dot com, Corbin Fisher dot com-they were all there. Rocky, Max, Tucker, Rider, Sean.  A mountain of dead bodies, a heap of  pristine white underwear, blue jeans, teeshirts, huge piles of expensive sneakers.  Every man I ever wanted, however briefly, a useless, decaying memory.