Archives for posts with tag: Terry Richardson

Bruce Weber, Fern Mallis, Ralph Lauren

Last Wednesday I found myself at the 92nd Street Y supporting my great new friend Fern Mallis in the most recent of her Fashion Icon interviews, Bruce Weber.

Even though these charming conversations have become legendary within the fashion industry… receiving great reviews from all who attend, there’s very little on-line that proves that they happen at all other than tiny, badly edited clips.

Fern deserves her own YouTube channel and somebody needs to organize this for her tout de suite.

Indomitable Fern is known most notably for her creation of New York Fashion Week but more importantly she is the consummate glass ceiling smasher.   A brusk Russian jew prone to surliness, an inability to suffer fools, she also has a huge charisma and charm that softens her incisive questioning.

One feels that if anybody can, Fern can.

Interviews with Donna Karan, Polly Mellen, Tom Ford, Andre Leon Talley, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang charting the genesis of their personal style, describing the homes where they were brought up, relationships with their parents and their personal adventures within the fashion industry have moved and delighted her audiences.

I arrived at her Bruce Weber interview expecting a great deal.   In the theatre sat fashion luminaries Grace Coddington and Ralph Lauren.

The lecture series was announced, Fern introduces a short film by Bruce Weber with notable scenes including his own days as a model, numerous famous names and an elephant Bruce likes to take pictures of draped with naked boys.

The problem with Bruce Weber?  He’s not that interesting.  When all is said and done Bruce is a married man obsessed with the homoerotic.  With his wife Nan, sitting in the audience it would have been difficult for any great interviewer to ask pertinent question about the other elephant in the room.  The humongous pink elephant in the room.  The question I wanted answered… like all the others who sat with bated breath wondering if Fern would go there.  The question we wanted answering but was never answered, “Bruce Weber, are you gay?

In 2013 post DOMA this would not be an unusual or impertinent question.  He has, after all is said and done, devoted himself to photographing naked, young, super-fit, white boys.  He is brilliant at photographing naked white boys because he loves them.  He worships them.  Everything else he photographs dulls by comparison.

Bruce says that taking a picture of a beautiful boy is like a ‘handshake or a hug’ I would go further… every time he takes a photograph of a beautiful, naked, white boy he is fucking that boy, caressing his ass, sucking on his cock.  The photographs and the films of beautiful, naked, white boys ooze sensuality, eroticism and the merest suggestion that we are only one shot away from seeing them hard and proud… shooting jizz all over their perfect white bodies.

Bruce Weber, are you gay?

Bruce Weber, why do you only shoot white boys?  Why is there never a black or asian or pacific islander in any of your pictures?  Why do people like Grace Coddington or Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren let you get away with this appalling racism?

Bruce Weber, have you (like Terry Richardson) ever used your power and prestige to encourage those boys you photograph to do other more extreme things for your camera?

I had lunch with a friend on Saturday who was also at the interview and (once we had discussed Terry Richardson sexual unmanageability problems) both lamented Weber’s lack of openness.  We concluded that if we are truly looking for clues about this maybe closeted, married sixty-five year old man we may look no further than a dull, almost forgettable story he told about a beautiful man carrying an air conditioning unit.

Walking in the street Bruce stops and, risking a ‘punch on the nose’ asks a half-naked man carrying an air-conditioning unit if he can take his picture.  If it is his true intention to simply take a picture why would the man want to punch him on the nose?  If Bruce’s intention is to seduce the man… then a punch on the nose seems more likely.

I can shamelessly ask to take anyones picture if I only desire to take pictures.  But if I am shamed by my desire for you, I want you to open yourself up to me, let me take you to a quiet place and take pictures of you as a means to watch you do things you keep private… then the implicit threat of violence seems more likely.

Beneath the chubby, bandana wearing kindly old grandfather facade lurks a self loathing homosexual, terrified of clearly and truthfully expressing his desires.

The interview was not as great as it could have been because we all colluded with Bruce Weber’s charade.  If we could have gotten past the crust of self-hatred then a perfectly brilliant interview might have happened.  No such luck.

Finally, Bruce expressed his frustration… hatred even for the democratization of photography, for Instagram, for Facebook postings.  In Bruce’s perfect, elite white world manned by an army of assistants, he advised us that we should take our most treasured digital images and have them printed on expensive paper and make books as perfect keepsakes.  Bruce lives in a world of perfect keepsakes, of platinum blonde golden retrievers bred by east coast breeders.  Bruce lives by the sea, in the mountains, in the city keeping his eyes peeled for perfect boys who may or may not become stars in a world where naked Russian dancers come on seven month adventures around the world.

“Sergei, come travel with us.”

A faux commune of beautiful, young, white men, strumming guitars in the moon light. Warmed by flickering log fires, sitting on Navajo blankets and always naked, their abs and lats and still wet hair glistening from skinny dipping in crystal clear water and always ready for another perfect photograph.

Hush now, the girls have gone to sleep.  Let me lay beside you and enjoy you for a little while.

The narrative is always the same in the cult of Bruce.  The gently spoken, self loathing homosexual who needs his wife’s permission to buy another dog….

The past few weeks have been really interesting.

Annoyingly I’ve not been able to write about most or any of it and will not be able to in the foreseeable future.

As I have said before, as life gets really interesting the blog becomes less relevant.   Real life interrupts blog life and for that I am very grateful.

Eventually, when I am allowed, I will explode all over the blog and tell all but for the time being I am keeping my BIG MOUTH SHUT.

I am having to be covert.

Presently staying with friends whose main morning preoccupation is to read really bad news out loud off of the internet.  The corruption, the greed and the misery we create around the globe gleefully read out loud to their increasingly cynical children.

Frankly, there is no reason for a young child to have the worst possible news read out to them first thing in the morning as they prepare for school.  Scares them.  Scared me when I was a kid.  All that bad news about nuclear weapons.  I had a recurring nightmare about the atom bomb exploding.  On my own walking home from junior school up Windmill Road, Whitstable just in sight of my family home…when the atom bomb detonates.  A blinding light then a fierce, hot wind.  All I could think about was that I had to get home.  Of course, there was no home to get back to.

Right now my friend is telling her 8-year-old, “Brain damage is linked to cell phone use…”

Like a fairy story.

They had a lunch here on Sunday for two German friends.  A well-known actress and her film industry husband.   Within two minutes of arriving he announced the death of Perry Moore a man I knew in passing from New York.  Perry produced the Narnia films.  Years ago Toby Mott, Noreena Hertz and I had lunch with Perry and Tatum O’Neal at Freeman’s on Rivington when it was hot to have lunch there.  Perry and Tatum were both very drunk and weirdly abrasive.  Terry Richardson joined us for coffee.

Toby Mott, Noreena Hertz and? NYC

I was not shocked to hear about Perry’s death as it was somehow gay inevitable.  His father sadly telling the press that his son was on fine form the day before.  Well, nobody ever expects the death of a healthy young man, no father ever expects to bury his son.

Unless, of course, their son leads a double life.  We live, as gay men, lives away from our loved ones. Compartmentalized, fine one day..dead the next, slumped in the bathroom…oxycotin overdose.   It is too familiar to me.  So sad.

It would not surprise me if Jake ended up like Perry.

Anyway the German made some flip remark about Perry dying and gay people in general.  He didn’t realize that I was gay.  He didn’t realize that I was half Iranian so later made equally racist, inappropriate remarks about Iranian films winning the Berlin Film Festival.

Sometimes you just have to take the bullet so…I challenged him.  Within minutes he was threatening to punch my fag lights out.  His wife apologized for his behaviour.

They left.

Scratch most white Germans and a jackbooted Nazi goose steps out of the wound.

Samia Saouma my Lebanese ex-friend, gallery owner who lives in Berlin and is arguably one of the chicest women in the world was once applying her lipstick in the back of a cab when her white driver told her that she was a rag-head whore who should prepare for her next trick out of his cab.

Nice.

Recently I took down a whole heap of posts from this blog.  Blogs about him.  Removed until they had no internet traction.  Yesterday I reinstated them without his name attached.  Self censorship is not a good thing.  I also reinstated the Angry Reader blog that obviously came from ‘you know who’.

It amuses and disturbs me in equal measure that he would think that every achievement, everything of which I am proud he considers worthless.  This coming from a man who has achieved NOTHING before he was thirty years old (17th May) when I, in comparison, achieved so much!  Much more than anyone ever predicted.

By the time I was thirty years old I had written and directed plays, opened a restaurant, renovated houses, travelled the world.  Christ!   I did all that as well as being mentally ill, making enemies, etc. etc.

Achievement is not to be judged by others but rather owned by oneself.

I know that he gets drunk, stoned and lonely.  I know that deep down he would prefer to resolve rather than reload.  Time will tell.  Time, as I have often quoted, is the greatest distance between two people.

I know that the we he suggests laugh at me has always laughed.  They want me imprisoned or dead.   They condemn me and they condemn my friends for being my friends.

He, on the other hand, may be surrounded by friends, family and lovers but at the end of the day he has to face himself, as we all do, in the mirror.  I saw him wrestle with his conscience.

At that moment when I was most proud of him I should have just walked away.

As for the film?  It takes shape before my very eyes.  Working with CP in quite a different way than I have before.   That’s all I can say.  That’s all I want to say.

I still have no interest what so ever to meet, engage or have sex with any man.

Oscar party week.  I am not involving myself until Saturday.  Kick off festivities with Sharon…we will do the do…the merry dance.   Still, if I am honest, I can’t really be bothered.

I want to make my own film now…not celebrate the achievements of others.

P.S. Tatum O’Neal wouldn’t remember me.   She and Melanie Griffith once broke down together in an AA meeting.  Crying about the relationships they had failed to have with their children.   Meg Ryan looks like Melanie Griffith.  They must have had work by the same surgeon.  Meg Ryan wouldn’t remember me either.