Here is Gemma. She is always cracked out in the middle of King's Cross, speaking nonsensically, mostly about being an indigenous supermodel and always sporting a revolutionary outfit for the day.
This is the first time I've seen Gemma dressed as a boy. You can't really tell, but she's got a turban under the hat and a sweater for a skirt. The necklaces are amazing and that pile of books? She is not reading them. They are complementary props. Gemma knows how to pull together and rock a look.
On this day, she was very subdued. Not the usual strutting and whirling about, off her rocker babbling to fellow down n' outs in this plaza. People always try to take surreptitious photos from afar, but if you go up and ask Gemma is happy to strike a pose. There are a lot of characters in the Cross, but none quite so special. Even the hookers don't appear to have a story. But I'd love to know Gemma's.
You think I could pick up a lucrative addiction to gambling. Or the STOCK MARKET. But no, I'm addicted to Words with Friends - and Strangers (shout outs and hat's off JpTaffy, Kaddy12658, Audumbelle, AnnM1, Jilly Jube, Lyoninthesun, AHead, LaMikey and all the rest around the world who are crushing me with obscure letter combinations). Yeah "adz" and "qis" are used in daily conversation. But "fags" and "cunt"? This game says they are "not acceptable words". I'm playing PC non-words with friends!
Fellow addicts understand the fear and distress I felt upon receiving this message. Take your turns!
Finally, fellow blogger Paul V has just released his book, "Born This Way: Stories of Growing Up Gay". It's a collection of some of the best photos and stories from his popular blog of the same name.
I'm a big fan of the blog and the hardcover is now only $10 on Amazon.
From the Press Release: Born
This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gayis a collection of adorable childhood photographs accompanied by sweet, funny, and at times heartbreaking personal stories. Collected from around the world and dating from the 1940s to today,
these memories speak to the hardships of an unaccepting world and the
triumph of pride, self-love, and self-acceptance.
Checked out Five Decades of Francis Bacon at the Art Gallery NSW with my friend Ric. I'm just going to admit right now that I thought Francis Bacon was an old world explorer or philosopher.
Turns out he was the creator of a TON of creepy art you would never want to hang on your walls:
He did a lot of hybrid human/creature stuff. And I took away a few things from the exhibit.
1. His work was probably inspired by his supremely cluttered workspace which was described in curatorial terms as "disorganized". In reality, it was an unrepentant massive shitpile that probably came to life in the wee hours to look like the ungrateful dead (see above).
the artists thrives on chaos.
2. He was proud to never have gone to art school. This is because Bacon didn't want to learn about "styles" but rather invent his own. Fair enough. But he dabbled in styles imitating both Van Gogh and Picasso.
3. If you were lucky enough to sit for a portrait by Bacon, you needn't worry about sitting still.
Imagine the correspondence:
Dear Ms Rawsthorne,
Would you please come sit for a portrait? I would like to paint your infinite beauty.
Dear esteemed Mr. Bacon,
I should be delighted. I cannot WAIT to see the results of your stunning artistry.
At the moment she was shown the results of her sitting, Ms Rawsthorne's expression was strikingly similar to the artist's interpretation of her face:
Through tears, and the nagging thought she should have combed her hair, Lady Rawsthorne imagined this image to be an expression of her soul. And she truly believed, much like Dorian Gray, that her outside beauty would never age or turn hideous. It was important for her to embrace this fate.
Dear esteemed Mr Bacon,
You have captured my beauty exquisitely! Print it, frame it, hang it in the heirloom attic!
She made it a ritual each time she steeled herself to gaze at the portrait, to recite Bacon's quote: "I would like my pictures to look as if a human being had passed between
them, like a snail leaving its trail of the human presence... as a snail
leaves its slime."
I just spent five days in Napier, New Zealand - home of art deco, a devastating 1931 earthquake, and my friend Peter Cross.
Peter was a performer and writer (he is an Executive Producer on my film Violet Tendencies, and his short Shopping is now hot on the festival circuit), who had often written of growing up in Napier on his blog. After Peter passed away this past july of cancer, his long-time partner Richard was tasked with bringing him home, and asked me last minute if I would join him on the trip. Not sure if I was asked to be company or comedy...but we had a very memorable journey together.
Richard and Napier - a dapper pair
We spent lots of time getting to know Peter's relatives. These kids were great and we had fun ordering LOTS of bread and wondering about this fish in a bag:
Grant took us around to several of Peter's old haunts and places they frequented growing up. As Grant drove, Richard got emotional and apologized for being
"such a mess". Grant said, "Do you have hay fever"? Ha!
Here is Peter's first family home. His was raised very modestly by his single mother, Marie. He never met his father, a traveling salesman, who took to the road and disappeared when Marie fell pregnant.
Everywhere we went - meeting Peter's friends for drinks or dinner, it was always mentioned how astonishing it was in that era for a mother to have kept and raised a child out of wedlock. The social climate in Napier, NZ in the 1950's would have mandated a single mother give the child up for adoption or make "other arrangements". Marie Cross must have been a very courageous woman.
At the council for some admin related to the interment of ashes...
We went to get Peter's plaque at "Headstone World" - clever marketing, who could forget Headstone World? And located beside "Baby Factory" - only steps from cradle to grave!
Peter was a huge monarchist and remained loyal to the royals all his life. I don't really understand how someone born with so little could be so obsessed with people who were born with everything, but there you have it. His devotion began early on, and one of his fondest memories as a child was seeing the Queen off when she visited Napier.
In going through his things, Richard found this hardback book - befitting title and all - that Peter had checked out and never returned to its owner: Napier Boys High School.
But of course, Peter Cross!
Richard tracked down the school's headmaster and personally returned their property - 40 years later! It's a small town and Richard is now known all about Napier as, "that nice man from Darlinghurst". The night before the big day, we played with our food at a fabulous restaurant with creative food combinations and a lot of wine.
I asked Richard what he was going to say graveside and he admitted he'd been putting that part off.
Peter was an actor, so we thought perhaps reading some
Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage..."? But Richard started instead into the lyrics from Showboat, "Life upon the wicked stage ain't nothing what a
girl supposes...". I suggested a mash up - it's the Bard and
Hammerstein together again for the first time. Richard said, "Peter would
never forgive me." We were at least two bottles of wine down.
Richard ended up reading a poem from the Sydney memorial. Though he feared not being able to finish the emotional rollercoaster, he persevered admirably.