BUTT covered

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What I discovered is that BUTT actually matters, and I’ll tell you why. BUTT fills a hole, as tautologous as that may sound. I’m tempted to say that BUTT fills the vacuum left by the sad and lamented loss of such historically important magazines as the original Andy Warhol’s Interview, After Dark and the first five years of index (under the editorship of Bob Nickas), but since none of those magazines were explicitly and overtly, capital G gay, I guess it’s more accurate to say that BUTT has single-handedly pioneered the notion of a smart, literate and fashionable, conversational gay magazine that isn’t interested in propping up some ideologically proper or even terribly consistent image of what it means to be a homosexual, and that also manages to be dirty. —Bruce LaBruce

BUTT magazine—variously subtitled “Amazing (or Fantastic, or Hysterical) Magazine for Homosexuals”, “The Homosexualist Quarterly”, “International Fagazine”, etc, etc—ceased publication in 2012, but the best of its run is preserved in two book collections from Taschen: BUTT Book (2006), a paperback which seems now to be out of print, and Forever BUTT (2014), a hardback contained within leatherette boards. I was re-reading some of the interviews in the books recently, and feeling the loss of a gay magazine that was easily the best of its kind in the 2000s, a welcome alternative to contemporaries that were little more than glossy aspiration fodder, filled with fashion shoots and anodyne celebrity interviews.

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Issue 1: Bernhard Willhelm by Wolfgang Tillmans.

BUTT wasn’t as thoroughly sex-obsessed as Boyd McDonald’s Straight to Hell but publishers/editors Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom shared McDonald’s determination to reflect the lives of gay men as they were lived, with an equivalence given to complete unknowns (often the magazine’s own readers) as well as to successful writers, musicians and film directors. Interviews with the latter predominately concerned the subjects’ sex lives and interests, they were never promo pieces for current work. BUTT was the only magazine in the world where you might find interviewees such as Gore Vidal and Edmund White rubbing shoulders with a man like Dirty Danny (“the filthiest homosexual on earth”) or a gay refuse collector. I also loved the design which from the first issue used pink paper stock and only two typefaces for the entire run: Compacta for headlines, and different weights of American Typewriter for everything else. The minimal look established a distinct identity that inspired imitation among later titles such as Kaiserin (“A magazine for boys with problems”).

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Issue 2: Lernert in Stüssy by Jop van Bennekom.

BUTT ran for 29 issues in all, stopping short of the 30-issue barrier which smaller magazines often struggle to pass. I’m always torn in cases like this, wishing there might have been more while also being aware that magazines can outlive their initial promise if they run for too long. BUTT certainly maintained its integrity, and we have the books, of course, which is more than many other titles manage. Back issues may be found for sale online but they’re increasingly expensive, a disappointment for would-be collectors but also a sign of the magazine’s cult value. I just wish I’d bought more of them as they appeared.

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Issue 3: Ryan McGinley and Prince by Bruce LaBruce.

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Issue 4: Casey Spooner by Ryan McGinley.

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Issue 5: Ben by Slava Mogutin.

Continue reading “BUTT covered”

Weekend links 438

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Seishu Hanaoka’s Wife (1970) by Awazu Kiyoshi.

Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft & Rootwork: a colossal new addition to the Internet Archive, being a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 1936 and 1940.

• Edward Gorey is the theme du jour, so here’s some more: Gorey’s 1977 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show is revelatory, especially if you’ve never seen him talking before. Meanwhile, Laughing Squid has a previously unpublished interview in which Gorey discusses his love for his disruptive cats.

• Jeff Nuttall’s mid-century survey of the aesthetic underground, Bomb Culture, receives a fiftieth anniversary republication by Strange Attractor. The new edition is edited by Douglas Field and Jay Jeff Jones, with a foreword by Iain Sinclair and an afterword by Maria Fusco.

I have always questioned identity politics with my work. I often have characters that engage in homosexual sex but do not identify as gay (hustlers, neo-Nazi skinheads, extreme left wing revolutionaries, gerontophiles, etc.). But my films have also always been inclusive in terms of race, class, and gender. I find that the new emphasis on identity politics has really narrowed creative expression. It demonstrates a profound ignorance about sexuality, history, and human experience.

My sexual identity is pretty much fixed—I’m a Kinsey 6, if not a 7—but I acknowledge that this means I’m sexually repressed. I believe, after Freud, that everyone has some bisexual potential, and the tendency to increasingly entrench gender identity as innate and immutable is really preposterous. It also leads to strict rules about sexual representation—how gays, lesbians and transgender people “must” be portrayed, the policing of representation, a kind of proprietary stance about who is allowed to portray these characters.

It really boils down to a naivety about sexuality, and a complete failure of the imagination. It discourages people who may have the potential for some kind of sexual fluidity to express themselves. I’ve always been a “bad gay,” but now this political correctness has made me feel even more alienated from the notion of “gay identity”—particularly since the new assimilationist model is so conservative and dull.

Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce discussing art, porn and politics with Hoçâ Cové Mbede

• “Who is Barbara Baranowska? Despite the so-called Polish Poster School’s fame, certain people were seemingly forgotten. Perhaps they even wanted it that way…” Daniel Bird on an elusive artist. Related: Selected works by Barbara Baranowska.

• “I don’t think I’m ever mean-spirited and I try to understand human behaviour even though it’s impossible,” says John Waters.

Nine Dimensional Synod Of Oblique Pleasures is a very welcome new release by The Wyrding Module.

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…The Resplendent Illegibility of Extreme Metal Logos.

Apocalypse Burlesque — Tales of Doomsday Eros: a new book by Supervert.

Rare booksellers rallied against an Amazon-owned company and won.

B. Alexandra Szerlip on the 80-year history of the ballpoint pen.

Anjelica Huston: how we made The Addams Family.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 270 by Okkre.

The Cabinet of the Quay Brothers

Hoodoo Man Blues (1965) by Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band | Evil Hoodoo (1966) by The Seeds | I Been Hoodood (1973) by Dr John

Weekend links 319

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The Sapphic Sleep Web by Oliver Hibert.

• “Google isn’t willing to say whether or not it’s censorship. That they don’t have to even address this is what’s so shocking, It seems like cowardice.” Dennis Cooper talking to Andrew Durbin at Frieze about Google’s unexplained deletion of his long-running blog. Cooper’s case has been covered by arts sites and some newspapers but I’ve yet to see any mention at all on the main US gay news sites despite Cooper being a notable gay author. I’ve cast aspersions at those sites in the past for their obsession with terrible pop acts and off-topic trivia (one site still reports every last fart of Britain’s Royal Family as “news”); this recent issue only reinforces their irrelevance.

• Creating Jerusalem: Alan Moore on the most important book he has written. Related: Alan Moore uses nine-year-old’s fan letter on new book’s cover.

• “Whatever side of the aisle you’re on, HL Mencken is as relevant as ever,” says Paula Marantz Cohen.

To say that Goodbar is an obsessive and symbolically overdetermined film would be an understatement: the film compulsively reiterates themes, visual motifs and parallel narratives, a relentless and repetitive reiteration of ideas that lends that film the aspect of a Freudian dream landscape, a baroque, Boschian sequence of fantasies, projections and illusions.

Bruce LaBruce on Richard Brooks’ film of Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Mare Teno by Michel Redolfi, performed by Thomas Bloch, Susan Belling & Michel Redolfi.

• From 2015: Suicide’s Alan Vega Talks Fiery Record With Big Star’s Alex Chilton.

• Mix of the week: The Takeover with Front & Follow & The Geography Trip.

• Psychic Spaces & Neon Nirvana: The Art of Oliver Hibert by S. Elizabeth.

• How William Burroughs‘s drug experiments helped neurology research.

Yello, absurdist Swiss pop pioneers, return with a new video, Limbo.

• Morphologies Masterclass: Ramsey Campbell on HP Lovecraft.

Cliff Martinez on horror, homage and The Neon Demon.

• A City of Dust: photos of London by Lewis Bush.

Dust To Dust (1986) by Ginger Baker | Neon Sisters (1992) by Thomas Dolby | Limbo (1992) by Sandoz

Weekend links 288

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Untitled drawing by Jean Gourmelin.

• Yet another book featuring my design work (interiors this time) has been published in the past week. Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction is an 850-page selection of novels, novel extracts and short works from a prolific Finnish author of the fantastic. Many of the selections are being published in English for the first time:

From cities of giant insects to a mysterious woman claiming to be the female Don Quixote, Leena Krohn’s fiction has fascinated and intrigued readers for over forty years. Within these covers you will discover a pelican that can talk and a city of gold. You will find yourself exploring a future of intelligence both artificial and biotech, along with a mysterious plant that induces strange visions. Krohn writes eloquently, passionately, about the nature of reality, the nature of Nature, and what it means to be human. One of Finland’s most iconic writers, translated into many languages, and winner of the prestigious Finlandia Prize, Krohn has had an incredibly distinguished career. Collected Fiction provides readers with a rich, thick omnibus of the best of her work—including novels, novellas, and short stories. Appreciations of Krohn’s work are also included.

• “Not only is the nature of Rollin’s choice of images close to [Clovis] Trouille’s, the director structures his movies in a similar fashion, crowding his movies with dreamy horror iconography. Rollin has specifically cited the influence of Trouille’s paintings on his work alongside that of other Surrealist painters working in a figurative style.” Tenebrous Kate explores the influences (and influence) of Jean Rollin’s erotic horror films.

• “[Morton] Subotnick might just have been the first person to get a club full of people—including the entire Kennedy family—dancing to purely electronic music when he played his Silver Apples Of The Moon at the opening night of New York’s legendary Electric Circus.” Robert Barry interviews the pioneering composer.

• “What I actually wanted to do was make music that contained all that was new in the 20th century,” says Irmin Schmidt in an interview with Bruce Tantum. Good to read that Rob Young is writing a biography of Can.

• “…gay mainstream culture was never really about expressing individuality, for me. It always seemed very conformist,” says Bruce LaBruce in conversation with Mike Miksche.

• At Dangerous Minds: Paul Gallagher on the making of Ken Russell’s The Devils, and Martin Schneider on the return of Paul Kirchner’s wordless comic strip, The Bus.

• Two years ago a group of Russian urban explorers climbed the Pyramid of Cheops at night. They’ve just returned from South America, and have a report here.

• In the wake of their new album, Kannon, Jason Roche asks “Are drone-metal icons Sunn O))) the loudest band on the planet?”

Junji Ito returns to horror with two new titles. Related: Fuck Yeah Junji Ito.

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 527 by Jóhann Jóhannsson.

Anna von Hausswolff‘s favourite albums.

Touch (Beginning) (1969) by Morton Subotnik | Rapido De Noir (1981) by Irmin Schmidt & Bruno Spoerri | The Gates of Ballard (2003) by Sunn O)))

Weekend links 256

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Of a Neophyte, and How the Black Art Was Revealed unto Him by the Fiend Asomuel. Aubrey Beardsley for the Pall Mall Magazine, 1893.

• The occult preoccupations of the 1970s appear to be in the ascendant just now. Whether this is mere nostalgia or something in the zeitgeist remains to be seen but BBC Radio 4 aired an hour-long documentary on the subject this weekend entitled Black Aquarius. The guest list implies an inevitable focus on film and television but Matthew Sweet covered a lot of ground, taking in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, Dennis Wheatley, The Process Church, and Alex Sanders, the public face of British witchcraft in the 1960s and 70s. Earlier this week at AnOther the focus was on Maxine Sanders, High Priestess of the Alexandrian coven and putative fashion icon even though she was generally photographed naked. Maxine and husband Alex are unavoidable when reading about UK occultism in the 1970s; among other things they were occult advisors to Satanic rock band Black Widow, and also released an album of their own in 1970, A Witch Is Born. Of more interest is Sacrifice by Black Widow, a 55-minute concert for German TV’s Beat Club.

• Jacques Rivette’s OUT 1 (1971) is a film more talked about than seen, in part because of a running time that exceeds 12 hours. So news of a Blu-ray release later this year is very welcome.

• “Bruce LaBruce: taking zombie porn and gay homophobic skinheads to MoMA”. The director goes through his filmography with Nadja Sayej.

• “Art is anarchistic, and when it becomes categorized, it loses impact.” RIP Bernard Stollman, founder of the amazing ESP-Disk record label.

• Magickal (and pseudonymous) synth music by Mort Garson: Black Mass (1971) by Lucifer, and The Unexplained (1975) by Ataraxia.

Kevin Titterton on Angelo Badalamenti and the soundtrack that made Twin Peaks.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 149 by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

Rare Decay, a free bonus track from Aurora by Ben Frost.

Alan Garner is celebrated in a new collection, First Light.

• At Dangerous Minds: The Residents’ radio special, 1977.

Black Sabbath (1969) by Coven | Black Sabbath (1970) by Black Sabbath | Her Lips Were Wet With Venom (Satan Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas 1 & 2) (2006) by Boris & Sunn O)))