SHORPY: August 1939. “Oregon. Unemployed lumber worker goes with his wife to the bean harvest. Note Social Security number tattooed on his arm.” The jolly fellow seen here a few years back. Photo by Dorothea Lange.
Nelson Sullivan was enrolled in film school when he shot this Super 8 film at the Westside Piers, a gay-friendly area near the West Village in New York City
THE CURVE: MOCA presents Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland, the first American museum exhibition devoted to the art of Bob Mizer (1922–1992) and Touko Laaksonen, aka “Tom of Finland” (1920–1991), two of the most significant figures of twentieth century erotic art and forefathers of an emergent post-war gay culture. The exhibition features a selection of Tom of Finland’s masterful drawings and collages, alongside Mizer’s rarely seen photo-collage “catalogue boards” and films, as well as a comprehensive collection of his groundbreaking magazine Physique Pictorial, where drawings by Tom were first published in 1957. Organized by MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson and guest co-curator Richard Hawkins, the exhibition is presented with the full collaboration of the Bob Mizer Foundation, El Cerrito, and the Tom of Finland Foundation, Los Angeles.
In addition to approximately 75 finished and preparatory drawings by Tom of Finland spanning 1947–1991, the exhibition includes a selection of Tom’s never before exhibited scrapbook collages, and examples of his serialized graphic novels, including the legendary leatherman Kake, as well as a selection of Mizer’s “catalogue boards,” AMG films, and a complete set of Physique Pictorial magazine. An accompanying publication includes texts by the exhibition co-curators and a selection of images.
Growing up in the 1950s, Tom Bianchi would head into downtown Chicago and pick up 25-cent “physique” magazines at newsstands. In one such magazine, he found a photograph of bodybuilder Glenn Bishop on Fire Island. “Fire Island sounded exotic, perhaps a name made up by the photographer,” he recalls in the preface to his latest monograph. “I had no idea it was a real place. Certainly, I had no idea then that it was a place I would one day call home.”
In 1970, fresh out of law school, Bianchi began traveling to New York, and was invited to spend a weekend at Fire Island Pines, where he encountered a community of gay men. Using an SX-70 Polaroid camera, Bianchi documented his friends’ lives in the Pines, amassing an image archive of people, parties and private moments. These images, published here for the first time, and accompanied by Bianchi’s moving memoir of the era, record the birth and development of a new culture. Soaked in sun, sex, camaraderie and reverie, Fire Island Pines conjures a magical bygone era. DAMIANI
Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines
Edited by Ben Smales. Introduction by Edmund White. Text by Tom Bianchi.
Featured image is reproduced from Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines.
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An excerpt from the VICE interview with Bianchi:
VICE: And you happened to be there with a fancy, new Polaroid camera, too.
BIANCHI: I was a lawyer at Columbia Pictures at the time. At an executive conference in Miami, we were given an SX-70 Polaroid camera. It was this little plastic thing, which I took to Fire Island a little while later and started taking pictures of my friends. At the time, a lot of people were still in the closet so, as you can understand, they were extremely wary of having their picture taken. So, the important thing about this camera was that it allowed me to take the picture and a few minutes later put it out on the table for people to take a look. It made everyone immediately more comfortable and I very quickly formed the intention to show the world what a cool, amazing place the capital of Queerdom was. Or the provincial part of it [laughs].
VICE: Leafing through the book, I can’t help but notice that everyone in the pictures is unbelievable hot.
BIANCHI: Well, the reason is twofold. Gay men in my generation were called pansies or poofs – we had been raised to have very negative feelings about ourselves. It was around our time that more and more guys began to discover gyms, too. And the more guys went from ordinary looking men to “Oh, my God, look at that stud,” the more of a no-brainer it became that you had to be as close to perfect as possible. Suddenly this really beautiful community of men emerged, and they all boarded planes, trains, or buses to Fire Island every weekend.
At the same time, I wanted my sexual partners to be really beautiful, hot guys. And I never wanted anyone to think I was using my camera to seduce people, so for the most part the intimate pictures are of people I had relations with.
VICE: And then HIV came along. The sense that I got from reading your book is that the disease set the gay rights movement back quite a few years.
BIANCHI: I think it’s the opposite. I think what happened was that we were kids, partying along, thinking we were untouchable, immortal. AIDS forced us to grow up.
MORE PICS AFTER THE JUMP…
Recently, a Sissydude follower emailed me asking if I knew what Playgirl issue Marc Hampton appeared in. This made me of course, obsess. So I found his original 1974 layout… one done in the early 1990s… but, my fave find were pics of Hampton & his Vietnam buddies. So here’s a MEGA- HAMPTON post of what I found…
1861-65. “Pvt. Charles Chapman of Company A, 10th Virginia Cavalry Regiment (left), and unidentified soldier.” Half-plate ambrotype, hand-colored. Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, Library of Congress.
via MOTHER JONES (written by Maddie Oatman): Vivian Maier’s massive collection of street photography remained hidden from the public eye until a Chicago realtor named John Maloof stumbled across boxes of her negatives at an auction house in 2007. After amassing more negatives and finally googling her, he learned that she had made her living as a nanny and had died a few days earlier at age 83.
She left an oeuvre of intimate glimpses of people caught in everyday moments, as seen in this 2011 Mother Jones collection of her work.
Now, Maloof has joined with Charles Siskel and Submarine Entertainment to produce Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary due out later this year. The film draws on Super-8 footage shot by Maier as well as interviews with friends, family, and neighbors that expose more details of Maier’s life and work.
Discovering the real Maier is a challenge; as one of her friends put it, “she was a closed person” and also because most people she knew “had no idea she took photographs.” About the film, one friend insists Maier “would’ve hated every minute of it. She would never have let this happen.” Yet, says Siskel, “Vivian’s story is as powerful as her art” and he hopes the documentary “will bring her the recognition she deserves.”
Read more about Maier in Alex Kotlowitz’s essay “The Best Street Photographer You’ve Never Heard Of.”
Here I am, rockin’ out to “CATS” at age 7. Have I changed much since ’85?
This clip is made by the makers of the sketch comedy show “Pretty Things.” – M. Lucid
see it on youtube at: prettythingsss
Lady reporter Damiana Garcia got quite a treat when she received an exclusive glimpse into her future in the New Year from famous Canadian psychic JoJo Savard. As Damiana learned, great excitement awaits her! Damiana also learned a bit about who she was in past lives, the color of her aura, and her particular affinity with Julia Roberts. Plus, JoJo shared some wonderful insights into how to manifest one’s dreams and goals in 2013. Happy New Year from Damiana and JoJo!
This video was made for The WOW Report: