July 23, 2009

Gay portrait icons

The National Portrait Gallery in London asked random 10 gay celebrities to come up with 6 suggestions of people who are / were an inspiration to them for a portrait exhibition. And the result is, at least to Johann Hari, a disaster because it would have been a much better exhibition if it had been properly curated.

Now, who would I nominate as my 6 gay icons? Here they are: two film makers, two actors and two authors.

1. Kenneth Anger: granddaddy of the underground (gay) cinema. His films (especially the psychedelic stuff) are hard going for 21st century eyes, but the gay imagery is still totemic.

2. Derek Jarman: Renaissance man for our dark ages. Painter, film maker, writer, gardener. Both Mr Jarman and Mr Anger were fantastic to have tea with and had me gushing as a fan!

3. David Bowie (as Ziggy Stardust): glam rock rarely looked so gorgeous in the 1970s and never since. But he still looks gorgeous today aged 62.

4. Ewan MacGregor: nominated for the ease he has in portraying and handling his own sexuality on screen, never bashful to get his kit off, and completely unselfconscious about his heterosexuality. I wish all gay men were like him!

5. Le Marquis de Sade: for his magnum opus The 120 Days of Sodom, still an essential read if you want to understand human sexuality.

6. Boyd McDonald: author and editor of Straight To Hell: The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts magazine, Cruising the Movies and a raft of "chap books" with true homosexual reportage. Saint Boyd was able to make you laugh out loud with a roaring hardon. Not many authors are capable of that.

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