Sunday, July 12, 2009

stefan george b. july 12th 1868

Come to the park they say is dead, and view
The shimmer of the smiling shores beyond,
The stainless clouds with unexpected blue
Diffuse a light on motley path and pond.

i can't imagine what it must have been like to be gay in the 19th century. my initial impression is that you'd sit around in something like the pose george is assuming in that picture. i suspect that in whatever century you might choose & despite some fun times, it's never been a ball.

which is something i think the great german filmaker, rainer werner maria fassbinder was exploring in his laugh out loud film, satan's brew. well, that & artistic inspiration & all the myths surrounding it. i remember sitting w/my buddy sam satterfield on a saturday night at new college, watching fassbinder's film for the first time & he & i being the only ones laughing hysterically. you can look up the plotline yourself but it revolved around a 3rd rate poet going through writer's block & deciding he needed to channel the spirit of the great 19th century symbolist poet, stefan george. unfortunately, he didn't know that george was gay & goes through ridiculous moments trying to channel him in a less active gay way. there's a scene in a public men's room that would give larry craig a hard-on. as far as i remember, it's the shock of trying to be gay that forces him out of his writer's block.

i miss fassbinder a lot & not too many people seem to be doing the same. he died young in 1982, not even 40 years old but he'd made 43 films(& an epic 15hour version of alfred doblin's novel, alexanderplatz berlin). he was as gay as the day is long & a brilliant filmmaker. he got better & better & more daring as he went along. his last film, querelle, from genet's novel, was extraordinary to me but fell flat w/a lot of critics(kind of like another great out gay filmmaker, pasolini). a film about gay male sexual desire & its disruptive social force, it echoed pasolini's examination of dominant male power & its corrupting destructive power in salo.

querelle's force of expression began w/satan's brew & fassbinder's imaginative speculative nascent gay cinema. w/o any of these artists, greg araki's phenomenal mysterious skin wouldn't exist.

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