St. Genet: The Erotic “Un Chant d’Amour”

St. Genet: The Erotic “Un Chant d’Amour”

At the age of 15, Jean Genet was sent to a reformatory, The Mettray Penal Colony, where he was detained for three years.  Subsequently, Genet continued to serve time in and out of French prisons after being arrested for theft, the use of false papers, vagrancy, lewd acts and other offenses.  However, by 1949 Genet had completed five novels, three plays and numerous poems.  These works included his acclaimed Our Lady of the Flowers (1944), Miracle of the Rose (1946) and The Thief’s Journal (1949).  In 1949, when Genet was threatened with a life sentence in prison, after having received ten prior convictions, Jean Cocteau and other prominent figures, who included Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, Francois Mauriac, Colette, Andre Breton and Andre Gide, successfully petitioned the French President Vincent Auriol to have the sentence set aside.  Genet never again returned to prison.

Un Chant d’Amour is French writer Jean Genet’s only film, which he directed in 1950.  Because of its explicit (although artistically presented) gay content, the 25-minute movie was long banned.  The film takes place in a French prison, where a prison guard takes voyeuristic pleasure in observing the prisoners perform masturbatory sexual acts. In adjacent cells, there are an older Algerian-looking man and a handsome younger convict in his twenties.  The older man is in love with the younger one, rubbing himself against the wall and sharing his cigarette smoke with his beloved through a straw.

The prison guard, apparently jealous of the prisoner’s relationship, enters the older convict’s cell, beats him, and makes him suck on his gun in an unmistakably sexual fashion.  But the older inmate drifts off into a fantasy world, where he and his object of desire roam the countryside.  In the final scene it becomes clear that the guard’s power is no match for the intensity of attraction between the prisoners, even though their relationship isn’t ever really consummated.

Genet didn’t use sound in the film, which forces the viewer to completely focus on closeups of faces, armpits, and other sensual images.  The film with its highly erotic atmosphere has later been recognized as a formative factor for works such as the films by Andy Warhol.  In addition, Genet’s novels have been adapted for film and produced by other filmmakers.  In 1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder released Querelle, his final film, which was based on Genet’s Querelle de Brest.  It starred Brad Davis, Jeanne Moreau and Franco Nero.  Todd Haynes’ homoerotic movie Poison was also based on the writings of Genet.  In addition, several of Genet’s plays were adapted into films. The Balcony (1963), directed by Joseph Strick, starred Shelley Winters, Peter Falk, Lee Grant and Leonard Nimoy.  Tony Richardson directed a film, Mademoiselle, which was based on a short story by Genet, starring Jeanne Moreau with the screenplay written by Marguerite Duras.  The Maids, a play, was made into a film starring Glenda Jackson, Susannah York and Vivien Merchant.

Of particular significance to note, Genet’s play The Blacks was staged in New York.  It originally premiered in Paris in 1959, with its New York opening occurring in 1961.  The production of The Blacks was the longest running Off-Broadway non-musical of the decade.  The 1961 New York production ran for 1,408 performances, with an original cast that featured James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou and Charles Gordone.

Genet disdained the word intellectual, but it was in his role of a critical intellectual that in his later years he worked to sustain support from younger audiences and literary intellectuals for activist causes throughout the world.  Genet toured U.S. college campuses in support of Black Panther Bobby Seale after Seale’s arrest; he took credit for the recognition of gay rights in the Panther organization, mitigating the homophobia and sexism that touched many militant groups in the 1960s; he was a prominent participant in the bloody Chicago demonstrations during the 1968 Chicago National Democratic Convention.  Genet’s political commitments were pure and intransigent; despite his constant affirmation of treachery and betrayal in his novels, his work as a spokesman for activist politics illustrated his commitment to any struggle where identities were in the process of formation, whether these identities be gay, Black, or Palestinian.

Once released from prison, Genet’s personal life was a fairly isolated and solitary one, always living in small, nondescript hotel rooms.  He was found dead at the age of 75 on April 15, 1986, alone in a small Parisian hotel room.

Jean Genet: Un Chant d’Amour (1950)

(Please Click Image to Watch the Movie)

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John Amaechi Named to Salon’s 2007 List of Sexiest Men Living

John Amaechi: Salon’s Sexiest Men Living

One of the last things you expect from a former professional basketball player is humility, but earlier this year, when John Amaechi became the first NBA player to come out of the closet (considered to be sexy in its own right) it became clear during his rounds of the media that he was not only scholarly, handsome and smart, but more than happy to cut himself down to size. On “The Daily Show,” when Jon Stewart chided him about being British, he deadpanned: “There’s one [British player] in Chicago now, but he’s actually good.”

Thomas Rogers writes in Salon:

For those of us with distaste for the machismo and egocentrism that often accompany professional sports, and, despite that, a predilection for tall athletes in shorts, Amaechi’s self-deprecation is beyond refreshing — it’s hot. Combine that with a British accent, a sharp sense of humor, a delightfully screwy dental structure, and a history of vocal opposition to the National Rifle Association, and you’ve got my vote for the gay male heartthrob of the year.

It’s as if Amaechi decided to single-handedly destroy all of our preconceptions about professional basketball players at once. Sure, he’s gay. But he’s also a political activist. He’s completing his Ph.D. in child psychology. He writes poetry. He drinks Early Grey tea. He makes introspective YouTube videos about his height. He’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Professional basketball doesn’t just need more openly gay players. It needs more John Amaechis. And so do we.

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Oscar: Only the Shallow Know Themselves

I

IT is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

Oscar: Only the Shallow Know Themselves

Oscar Wilde’s dramatic portrayals of the human condition came during the height of the Victorian Era that swept through London in the late 19th century. At a time when all citizens of Britain were finally able to embrace literature that the wealthy and educated could only once afford, Wilde wrote many short stories, plays and poems that continue to inspire millions around the world.

Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854. In 1871, Oscar was awarded the Royal School Scholarship to attend Trinity College in Dublin. He did particularly well in his classics courses, placing first in his examinations in 1872 and earning the highest honor the college could bestow on an undergraduate. In 1874, Oscar crowned his successes at Trinity with two final achievements. He won the college’s Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek and was awarded a Demyship scholarship to Magdalen College in Oxford. Oscar continued to do well at Oxford and after graduation he moved to London to live with his friend Frank Miles, a popular high society portrait painter. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry. “Poems” received mixed reviews by critics, but helped to move Oscar’s writing career along.

In December 1881, Oscar sailed for New York to travel across the United States and deliver a series of lectures on aesthetics. The 50-lecture tour was originally scheduled to last four months, but stretched to nearly a year, with over 140 lectures given in 260 days. In between lectures he made time to meet with Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman.

When he returned from America, Oscar married Constance Lloyd. Constance was four years younger than Oscar and the daughter of a prominent barrister who died when she was 16. She was well-read, spoke several European languages and had an outspoken, independent mind. They had two sons in quick succession; with a family to support, Oscar accepted a job revitalizing the Woman’s World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889. The next six years were to become the most creative period of his life. He published two collections of children’s stories, The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888), and The House of Pomegranates (1892). His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in an American magazine in 1890 to a storm of critical protest. He expanded the story and had it published in book form the following year. Its implied homoerotic theme was considered very immoral by the Victorians and played a considerable part in his later legal trials. Oscar’s first play, Lady Windermere’s Fan, opened in February 1892. Its financial and critical success prompted him to continue to write for the theater. His subsequent plays included A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright.

In the summer of 1891, Oscar met Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, the third son of the Marquis of Queensberry. Bosie was an undergraduate at Oxford and already well acquainted with Oscar’s novel Dorian Gray. They soon became lovers and were inseparable until Wilde’s arrest four years later. In April 1895, Oscar sued Bosie’s father for libel after the Marquis accused him of homosexuality. Oscar withdrew his case but was himself arrested and convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years of hard labor. Constance took the children to Switzerland and reverted to an old family name, “Holland.”

Upon his release from prison, Oscar wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a response to the agony that he had experienced in prison. It was published shortly before Constance’s death in 1898. He and Bosie reunited briefly, but Oscar mostly spent the last three years of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. Sadly, he was unable to rekindle his creative fires. Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900.

The Life and Times of Oscar Wilde

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Old Lady High Lavender Gay

Quentin Crisp: High Lavender Gay

http://www.bubbleshare.com/album/264831/mini?interval=6&size=580×435&style=square

Quentin Crisp: High Lavender Gay

Interested readers will find an earlier article here.
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My Articles for Monday, September 10, 2007

Quoted: And You Can See Why…. Technorati: Photo of the Day, Photograph of the Day, image, images, picture, pictures, photograph, photographs, photography, Another Legendary Dancer Urgently Needs a Fan Club, personality, celebrity, Hollywood, culture, cultural, social, society, socialite, blog, blogs, blogger, bloggers, blogging, bloggery, weblog, weblogs,

[tags: blogs]

“Photos of the Day: Legendary Sexy Dancer Desperately Needs a Fan Club!!”

Vivacious, energizes large crowds and provides her very own 24-kt. gold pasties! These beautiful, colorful photographs are presented in stunning high-resolution. You absolutely have to take a sly little peek at these gorgeous photos!!

[tags: photograph, celebrities, humor, dancer, sexy, entertainment]

An extremely rare, stunning collection of photographs by Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Lee Balterman, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harry Callahan and Robert Mapplethorpe. A beautiful photo-gallery is included for each photographer. Audio by Philip Glass: “The Photographer.”

Again, this is an extremely rare, “must see” collection!!

[tags: blogs, Passionate Reflections in Photography, photographs, celebrities, music audio]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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Photo of the Day: You Can’t Go Home Again

Lump and Split: Order is in the Mind of the Tagger

There was a time when it was assumed that God had created a perfectly ordered the universe.  Within that universe, we assumed that each thing had its own place, clustered with other things like it, but also each being essentially different from the other things in the cluster.  The clusters were themselves clustered, creating a Grand Tree of Everything, each branching determined by a perfectly unambiguous definition.

But, although God knew all of the the definitions, it was often hard for mere mortals to grasp exactly what it was that He had in mind.  What were the most relevant principles guiding decisions about likeness and difference?  For example, did it matter more where they lived, how they looked, or how they behaved?

Finally, we got past the notion that there must be a single right order.  Now, for all of those who want to know their universe the task of creating order in the world is more like:  Go forth and lump and split.  “Lump” and “split,” are, surprisingly, technical terms currently in use among professional indexers.  A “Lumper” takes things that seem disparate and combines them because they have something similar.  A “Splitter” tends to take two things that are lumped together and separate them into smaller categories. Indexers tend to be one or the other, their technique driven by their personality.

So, go forth into your world and Lump and Split.  Order is in the eye of the tagger.

Read more here: Social Tagging

You are invited to look at the manner in which I tag in my own home library:



(Click Image to Enter My Library)

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