SEX… in a fashion

The DMA’s exhibit on the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier exudes sex appeal with a big dose of flamboyance

Fashion-1

DRESSED TO KILL IT | Gay fashion pioneer Jean Paul Gaultier oversees his own exhibit (Below) as an Animatronic mannequin, a fascinating technology that only accentuates the brilliance of the designs. (Photography by Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

 

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

For a man best known for creating the Valkyrie-like conical breastplate that shot Madonna into the pop culture stratosphere, Jean Paul Gaultier is a surprisingly humble person. While he’s clearly delighted to have his fashions on display — as they are at the Dallas Museum of Art in the traveling exhibit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which runs through February — he makes one thing plain: He does not consider fashion “art.”

“My work is not art,” he says flatly. “My job is to make clothes that have to be worn. My role is not to create in the abstract but to be inspired by the needs and desires of the people. So I am in service to that. Art is art — it is a personal vision of the artist.” He pauses, then adds with a smile, “My collections are my babies, though.”

While the designer himself may not consider his work product “art” in an academic sense, there are probably few who would agree with him. More so than most fashion designers, Jean Paul Gaultier’s style is instantly recognizable, even without seeing the label.

He almost single-handedly moved the bustier from the boudoir to the arena stage, cladding Madonna in a corset for her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, immediately making legends of them both.

It’s not just brassieres, but lace bodysuits, silk leotards, men in skirts — Gaultier takes fashion rules and sets them on their heads, turning out wearable art (there, we said it) that is both old-fashioned, even classical, and futuristic — but always oozing sex.

“My love for fashion belongs to the fact I saw a movie from the 1940s when I was 12,” he says. “In the movie, they did a beautiful description of couture.” (Now, when he works with a film director — as he did recently with Pedro Almodovar on The Skin I Live In, or Luc Besson on several films — “it is like I return to that [moment]”.)

But really, the germ of his style was started by what a pre-teen Jean Paul found in his grandmother’s wardrobe.

“I was fascinated by the whole world of my grandmother’s closet — it was beautiful and different,” he says. “It was underwear that could be worn as outerwear. I stole my ideas from her.”

Though not just her. Gaultier was inspired by television, by old movies, by showgirls — anything that offered a view of beauty he could re-imagine on the runway.

“My definition of beauty — there’s not one type. Beauty is beauty — you can find it in different places,” he says.

It’s a keystone not only of his design style, but of the DMA’s astonishingly exciting exhibit. (Anyone who doesn’t think a Gaultier gown deserves formal museum treatment obviously hasn’t seen the show.) In just a handful of rooms, we move from camp to punk — with many, many visits to edgy haute couture.

In the first gallery, visitors are introduced to Gaultier himself, talking about his fashions via a quasi-Animatronic mannequin that captures his actual face and voice, projected with unnerving authenticity. That happens with a lot of the mannequins, some of whom seem to look back, even judge you. (One Mohawk’d man in tights and a codpiece seemed to be flirting with me; I bet he does that with all the boys.) Lanky sailor boys in striped Apaché T-shirts look as if they leaped from a Tom of Finland drawing; that cone bra is also unmistakable.

Walk further, and the second room oozes the dark romance of a bordello, approximating (with its window-like display cases) the red-light district of Amsterdam. “I think when you exit this room, they should give you a cigarette,” I told another patron. She didn’t disagree.

Another room shows the movement of the pieces, sort of, with a moving catwalk that is like a time machine of Gaultier runway fashions, including representative designs from his famous Men in Skirts that took MOMA by storm some years ago. That’s only the most obvious example of the genderbending that is a Gaultier hallmark — and a central theme of the sexual forthrightness of the DMA’s exhibit.

“Androgyny is part of the thing that interests me,” he says, “that moment when the young can pass to adolescence [and] their beauty is between feminine and masculine at the same time. I use it to show in reality how [both sexes] can assume [the identity of the other sex]. In Scotland, you will see me in kilts and they are very masculine — it’s not feminine to wear a skirt [in that context].”

That, Gaultier says, is the essence of freedom, showing that “men can cry just as well as women can fight.”

And this exhibit shows that a designer can be an artist with a bold sense of sex — even if he doesn’t think so.

………………………

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Visit DallasVoice. com/ category/ Photos to see more of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Southwest issues follow-up statement on Leisha Hailey incident

The Internet is out at the house (screw you, AT&T), so I’m attempting to post this from my phone (wish me luck). Below is a follow-up statement from Southwest Airlines regarding Monday’s incident involving Leisha Hailey. Note that the statement says the incident occurred in El Paso, as opposed to St. Louis, as previously reported. I can’t post the link here, but what is it about El Paso and same-sex kissing? Anyhow below is the statement. I’ll try to get more when I’m back on the grid in the a.m.

Updated Information Regarding Customers Removed from Flight 2274

Additional reports from our Employees and Customers onboard flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers. At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin. Although we have reports of what Customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft. We do not tolerate discrimination against anyone for any reason. In this situation, their removal was directly and solely related to the escalated conversation that developed onboard the aircraft.

Our tenets of inclusion and celebration of diversity among our Customers and Employees—including those in the LGBT communities—anchor our Culture of mutual respect and following the Golden Rule. The more than 100 million people who fly Southwest each year reflect the great diversity of our country and our Company — and ALL are valued and welcome. In fact, we’ve been recognized as a leader in diversity throughout our 40 years of service.

Our Customer Advocacy Team reached out to extend goodwill and a full refund for an experience that fell short of the passengers’ expectation.

—  John Wright

‘¡Gaytino!’ tonight at Latino Cultural Center

Latin flair

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing).

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

—  Rich Lopez

Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gays war against Christianity, says prominent ‘culture war’ Knight

Robert Knight will once again tell us who we are, what we want, and why we do what we do:

Like other terms that swiftly achieve common usage, “sexual orientation” is rarely examined. Yet “sexual orientation” is more than a neutral term that can be used to describe anyone’s sexual inclinations. It is a radical challenge to the beliefs of all major Robert-Knightreligious faiths because it attacks the notion that sexual behavior has moral dimensions. It especially challenges Christianity.

The underlying concept of “sexual orientation” is that all sexual behavior is equally valid and equally valuable to society. There are no good choices or bad choices, just desires. “Sexual orientation” laws are the legal embodiment of the old ’60s slogan, “If it feels good, do it.” However, the orthodox Christian view is that people who embrace sinful behavior as an identity are to be challenged like any other sinner, and they should be assisted in resisting temptation and overcoming it. They are to be encouraged to repent and avail themselves of the healing power of Jesus Christ. “Empowering” a particular sin serves only to trap sinners and encourages them to continue practicing their sinful behavior. That is why “supporting “gay rights” based on the relativist notion of “sexual orientation” is the opposite of Christian compassion, however well meant.

Over the past 90 years, a steady campaign has unfolded to overthrow Christian morality and replace it with an amorality that says desires in and of themselves validate behavior. It has been advanced largely by hijacking the rubric and moral capital of the black civil rights movement and attempting to apply such rhetoric to gain support for same-sex behavior. The political Left has long been at war against sexual morals for strategic reasons.“

Robert H. Knight, How the Concept of “Sexual Orientation” Threatens Religious Liberty, 4 Liberty University Law Review
[ADF Alert]

Uhm, Mr. Knight: “Sexual orientation” is not a mere term. It’s not political rhetoric. Sexual orientation is science. Is research. Is truth about the human condition’s full spectrum.

Sexual orientation isn’t an “If it feels good, do it” notion. Instead, it is an “If it *is* you, live it” reality. So it’s one thing to choose religious beliefs that both see and bring problems to certain people on the basis of their relational cores (a.k.a. sexual orientations). But these anti-[certain citizens] theological convictions must deal with the world as it actually exists, not vice versa. And of course civil government must deal with this actuality free from church interference.

Does supporting rights based on scientifically-recognized sexual orientation free from some people’s personal faith (and in ways that fully match pro-gay people’s faith beliefs) constitute an attempt “to overthrow Christian morality and replace it with an amorality that says desires in and of themselves validate behavior“? Of course not! The truth is that folks like Robert Knight have, for decades, been using their own cherry-picked sense of what is and is not kosher under Christian moral code (incidentally: non-kosher food is totally fine) to replace America’s actual range of citizenship with only a limited span, all of whom agree to sidle whole hog onto the religious right’s own myopic vision. The anti-LGBT throngs’ constant message: That everyone else must deny their own feelings, beliefs, and learned interpretations of constitutional law, so as to allow “pro-family” values an unfettered reign. Which for LGBT people always boils down to either living a fake life or losing fair and equal citizenship. Which for both LGBT people and allies means a denial of their own morality (or even the possibility that such people could have moral compasses).

So who’s really been on the strategic path in this country? Is it (1) those who’ve fostered better understanding of the world’s diverse people and connected dots about how and why all humans can and should coexist civilly and peacefully; or (2) the crowd that’s undertaken a complex, highly financed, extremely (even admirably) tactical, decidedly code word-laden “culture war” against supposed undesirables? Because from where we sit, we see one side that would give anything to stop fighting and simply live, and another, highly-motivated crew that refuses to let that easy reality come to pass. We see a war that we never wanted or declared, but are now conscience-bound to fight.




Good As You

—  David Taffet

Whether aboard elephant or donkey, ‘culture war’ wall-writing is easy to see

More and more Republicans are admitting that regardless of their own personal feelings on the subject, LGBT civil rights are clearly headed in one easily discernible pattern. A pattern that will surly remain mired in some level of a culture war swamp for the foreseeable future, but that will undeniably make professional anti-gay activists look silly (At best) for wasting so much time on a fight they were never meant to win.

This from conservative pundit Michael Barone:

On gay rights, we also see something in the nature of a truce. Polls suggest majority support for Congress’s repeal of the ban on open Screen Shot 2010-12-30 At 2.26.24 Pmgays in the military, and the Marine Corps commandant, who opposed the change, promised to work hard to implement it.

Same-sex marriage is accepted in Massachusetts and nearly gained majority support in referenda in Maine and California. But many states have passed constitutional amendments banning it. It is unlikely to pass muster with voters or legislators in most of the South anytime soon, if only because most black voters are opposed (blacks voted 70 percent against it in California).

There’s a sharp difference between old and young voters on same-sex marriage, and my guess is that young voters will continue to favor it by wide margins as they grow older — but maybe not. In the meantime, discrimination against or disparagement of gays and lesbians is increasingly frowned on by larger and larger majorities.

A Truce in Culture Wars as Voters Focus on Economy [National Review Online]

We would add that as discrimination and disparagement decrease, the already-unlikely chance that young people will grow older and swing more conservative on marriage equality concurrently dwindles. Because we’re not talking about a mere policy matter or fiscal issue, subjects where opinions do sometimes change in accordance with life experience. When we talk about equality, we are talking about people. Neighbors. Friends. Loved ones. Roommates. Talk show hosts.

Among the current crop of young people, there are very few who can say they’ve grown up without knowing an LGBT human being. When considering this, the familiar mantra surely rings true: When they know us, they don’t vote against us.

As for the one area where Barone sees potential for delayed progress: marriage in Southern states? Well, it likely won’t matter any way, as it’s highly likely that this conversation will ultimately decided by the courts, where minority rights are not, should not, and will not be stymied by majority resistance. And In fact, continued resistance in the face of court victories will only help to highlight how wrong-headed it is to use personal, largely faith-based condemnations to stop equal protection and due process. There will be more actual dialogue which will shush down the contrived talking points.

When we have these important conversations, we win. And by “we,” that means everyone who’s ready to put these tired, offensive, personally weakening conversations behind us so that we can move on and discuss actual societal issues. Like that new show where the brides compete for plastic surgery.




Good As You

—  admin

Gen. Wesley Clark On ‘This Week:’ DADT Puts Military In ‘Culture War Crosshairs’

Wesclark

Christiane Amanpour devoted most of ABC’s This Week today to the seemingly endless debate over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and hosted pundits and professionals from both sides of the repeal dispute.

Among them was former NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of repeal who contends DADT unfairly thrusts service men and women into the “culture war crosshairs.”

“What we need to do is take the military out of the crosshairs of the culture wars,” said Clark. “Let this policy be decided and give the men and women who are leading the armed forces the opportunity to do their job, get the policy implemented.” Indeed: there are bigger wars to fight than those surrounding people’s private love lives.

Clark also said he agrees with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and the group’s Vice Chairman, Gen. James Cartwright: wartime is the right time for repeal. “I do agree with the point that the chairman and the vice chairman made,” explained Clark. “If the military’s focused on war, this is the ideal time to do it, because we’re talking about building teamwork around a common purpose.”

Meanwhile, on the opposing side of the divide, Elaine Donnelly from the conservative Center for Military Readiness, harped on statistics suggesting 67 percent of combat Marines  think a repeal would hurt their unit’s effectiveness.

“For anyone to say that it’s OK to make military life more difficult and more dangerous, I don’t think that’s really fair, because it’s like putting stones in someone’s rucksack,” she insisted.

Here are links part one and part two of the discussion, which also included Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez, who was discharged under DADT, the Log Cabin Republicans’ Clarke Cooper, Tammy Schultz from the Marine Corp War College, as well as Bob Maginnis, a retired Army Lt. Col. who now works for the Family Research Council.

Not surprisingly, Maginnis echoed Donnelly’s “burden” argument, while also trying to shift blame to Bill Clinton, DADT’s signatory president.

Of course a right winger on the wrong side of history would try to make “Slick Willy” the center of attention, rather than the cold, hard facts, as reported from our troops themselves: repeal would have little to no on unit cohesiveness.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Audio: Ya know, ‘normal’ families, like those where a hetero dad wages daily, unprovoked ‘culture war’ on his LGBT neighbors

6A00D8341C503453Ef013480E952A6970CGay soldiers painted as grenades lying in wait to destroy “normal” families? The word “so-called” used to denigrate loving couples? Monolithic rejection of an entire West Coast city’s values system?

Why it’s just another day at the office for Matt “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’” Barber:

( click to play)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Rogue Band of Homosexual Activists Chain Themselves to White House Fence Yet Again [Liberty Counsel]

Uhm, “even proponents don’t cite benefits — they simply say it’s about equality“? Well that’s essentially like saying “even accountants don’t cite 2 + 2 — they simply say 4.” Because in both instances, it’s the summation of the parts that leads to the solution — a solution that can be represented in shorthand terms.

Now if you’ll excuse us, Rice-A-Roni executives needs us at the secret “San Francisco-style social experimentation” lab. You did know that company is a front for the homosexual agenda, right?




Good As You

—  admin

Peter LaBarbera: DADT Repeal Would Destroy Culture, Weapons

LaBarbera-751700.gif There's nothing more flamboyant and over-the-top than a right wing crusader. No, not even a drag queen.

With all their self-righteousness indignation, social conservatives provide us, the viewing public, with some real gems of what would otherwise be performance art. Take, for example, Peter LaBarbera, leader of the Americans for Truth.

He's just full of outrageous musings, like when he described San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair as "the most immoral and outrageous sexual behavior that ever disgraced the streets of any American city."

Few of LaBarbera's past hits, however, have been as entertaining as his theory about Don't Ask, Don't Tell's inevitable, yet slow-going, repeal.  According to LaBarbera, it's all part of a plot — and why wouldn't it be?

"America does not need a post-moral military, but it may be what we deserve," said LaBarbera this weekend while discussing lesbian Maj. Margaret Witt, whom the Air Force has been ordered to reinstate.

"The irony," LaBarbera concluded, "is that if President Obama and his determined 'queer' allies succeed in turning our Armed Forces into a driving force for immorality, it will only hasten the deterioration of our culture to the point, ultimately, where weapons and soldiers cannot save us from oblivion. If America rejects God, her prospects are dim."

While my years on the LGBT beat have trained my brain to translate most of the right wing's queer codes, I'm still a bit stumped as to how weapons would help "save" a culture from the homosexual scourge.

Unless, of course, LaBarbera means to use the weapons on us. If that's the case, his theory puts gay rights on the same monstrous level as Godzilla. And that's the truth.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

… and Mayor McCheese always seemed a little light in the loafers

mccheese.jpg

Those scamps at the American Family Association have chosen another target of their boycotts: McDonald’s. The family restaurant apparently isn’t “family” enough for Donald Wildmon and his followers. They don’t object to Ronald serving the queers or even working there, but for the corporation supporting the gay community by “promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.” That includes, apparently, advertising in support of the San Francisco Gay Pride parade and having one of the chain’s bigwigs serve on board of the Gay and Lesbian National Chamber of Commerce.

Wow! I had no idea how tiring it was to blog on the weekend. I’m gonna run out and get a Big Mac. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones