Querelle de Brest

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Querelle de Brest (1947) by Jean Genet. Cover design by Jean Cocteau.

This weekend’s viewing was Fassbinder’s Querelle (1982) which is marvellous in its new Blu-ray transfer, and a great improvement on the muddy picture of the earlier DVD release. The film is still only the briefest sketch of Genet’s novel (although Genet biographer Edmund White enjoyed it) but I like the overheated atmosphere, the phallic set designs, Franco Nero (hey, it’s Django Gay!), and the film as a whole is a fitting memorial to Brad Davis, everyone’s favourite sweating matelot. So in honour of all that, here’s a small collection of Querellerie past and present.

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Querelle de Brest was published in a limited edition of 525 copies illustrated throughout by Jean Cocteau who didn’t avoid the pornographic details. Even though copies were seized by the authorities, and the author fined, Cocteau’s involvement did little to harm his public reputation, something that’s impossible to imagine happening elsewhere. A few of the illustrations follow below, many more of the series can be found scattered across various websites.

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Tom of Finland redesigned

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Tom of Smurfland by Alessio Slonimsky.

Rest assured this is about the only time anything Smurf-related will be allowed on these pages, the blue wretches having been partially redeemed for artist writer Dale Lazarov’s pin-up challenge for the month of May. Lazarov regularly proposes homoerotic redesign challenges on his Tumblr pages, something I wasn’t aware of until reading about this recent one. The challenge was to reimagine the artist’s beefcake clones in different comics or cartooning styles but some contributors took things a little further, as with the Wyeth and Beardsley pastiches below. This month there’s the Gay Propaganda Poster Pin-Up Challenge, entries for which have been posted here. I wouldn’t mind offering something to one of these challenges myself if I can find a spare moment.

Find out more about Dale Lazarov’s “smart, wholesome gay comics smut” at his website.

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Wyeth of Finland by KnottyBits.

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Twinks of Finland by Alexander.

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Tom’s Man drawn in the style of Aubrey Beardsley by Choklit Daddy.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Tom of Finland postage stamps

May Wilson’s Snowflakes

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Snowflake Series (Pink Netting) (1965).

Discovered yesterday whilst searching for May-related pictures, some pieces from the Snowflake collage series by American artist May Wilson (1905–1986). Wilson was a mail artist as well as a collagist whose Snowflake series draws attention for its deployment of photos from beefcake magazines of the 1960s. It’s a commonplace that women often enjoy seeing gay porn but this interest hasn’t been reflected so much in art made by women. Offhand I can only think of the aforementioned Sibylle Ruppert making use of photos made by men for men. May Wilson produced similar works using glamour photos of women so her interest wasn’t solely concerned with the male form.

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Snowflake Collage (Male Nude in Woods) (1966).

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Skivvies

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Not had anything for a while deserving of the eye candy tag so here’s some gratuitous shots from a short promo video for some underwear company or other (he said disingenuously). The ad is directed by Steven Klein, and the piece as a whole doesn’t appear to have had a straight viewer in mind given the amount of shots that look like AMG beefcake or extra auditions for Fassbinder’s Querelle. And speaking of Rainer’s matelots, they’ve been in mind recently following news that the director’s Genet fantasia will be making a welcome appearance on Blu-ray later this month. The DVD format didn’t do much for those saturated colours so this is good to hear. (Underwear tip via Homotography.)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Hello, sailor
Querelle again
Sailors
Mikel Marton
Exterface

Fechtbuch von 1467

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The men with swords theme exhausts itself pretty quickly unless you want to draw continual attention to martial statuary, or those softcore beefcake photos where—as we’ve seen on several occasions—the sword is a subterfuge for other concerns. Hans Thalhofer (or Talhoffer: c. 1420–c. 1490) was a German fencing master whose Fechtbuch von 1467 is worth looking at today not least for its variety of what to our eyes, used to orderly fencing matches, look like very unorthodox moves. Needless to say, when you’re fighting for your life matters of orthodoxy are the last thing on your mind, so why not kick or trip your opponent? One of the great things about books such as this is the window they give on life as it was actually lived, not the mediated (and often erroneous) impressions we receive via film and television.

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Wikimedia Commons has many more examples such as these while the Münchener Bibliothek has a scan of the entire book.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The men with swords archive