EBU tells Mango where to stuff their mangoes

Ryan O’Shaughnessy at the Eurovision Song Contest | EBU | r

The European Broadcasting Union today tore up their contract with China’s Mango TV after it allegedly censored two performances, saying censorship “is not in line with the EBU’s values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music.”

The organisation did not say which acts had been censored by Mango but they are thought to have included the Irish entry which prominently featured gay flags.

In their statement the EBU said the contract allowing the Chinese broadcaster to televise the 2018 contest was terminated immediately, which means Mango TV is unable to air the second semi-final on Thursday and the Grand Final on Saturday.



The first gay cookbook?



Stephen Vider | 18314

In 1960s America, the first gay cookbook appeared in the book shops and sold well.

In 1966 TIME magazine ran its famous story “The Homosexual in America” which mentioned a new publication: The Gay Cookbook by Lou Rand Hogan, with a cover design which presented an image of happy men cooking elaborate meals for their lovers.

The author of The Gay Cookbook was no stranger to the gay publishing scene. Five years earlier he had published what is now believed to be the first detective novel with a gay protagonist, titled The Gay Detective.

Who was Lou Rand Hogan? Stephen Vider, assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College and author of an academic paper on The Gay Cookbook reveals that his name was actually Louis Randall, and he was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1910.

In the 1920s, Hogan assumed one of his first alternate identities, the stage name Sonia Pavlijej. His theater career was unsuccessful, Vider says, and in 1936, Hogan began working as a steward and cook on the new luxury Matson cruise ship line. Hogan reckoned that the vast majority of the stewards employed by Matson were gay.


One of the Matson cruisers anchored in Honolulu | National Parks Service | 18315

Atlas Obscura notes that

… the loosening of censorship laws in the 1950s meant that publishing gay and lesbian literature became more common. Hogan’s The Gay Detective was meant to capitalize on this newly available consumer market. The Gay Detective was republished in 2003, in response to growing interest in its thinly-veiled depiction of gay life in midcentury San Francisco.


Lolly for leather!

The SF Eagle | Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press | r

After a ten year campaign, San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a gay and leather cultural district in the city’s South of Market neighborhood which will give the district negotiating rights in future development.

The neighborhood is home to gay and kink bars and the popular Folsom Street Fair which draws thousands of people every year.


Redefining “Glamorous”

Glamorous on Hurst Street, Birmingham was shut down after a man was glassed over the head just before 3am on March 28. Birmingham City Council voted to suspend its licence. Police, who had a string of incidents at the venue over the winter, branded the club a ‘dive’ and a ‘nightmare’. The club has now been allowed to re-open.

The licence holder said the club now needed to “camp up and gay up” after it emerged there had been a string of police reports to the venue in the Chinese Quarter.

The club must stop selling alcohol at 4am (reduced from 6am), must not admit anyone after 3am and must have four security staff on at all times.


Remembering Charles Pierce



Charles Pierce | Copyright control | Find a grave | 18310

Charles Pierce was born on July 14, 1926 and died on May 31, 1999, of cancer. He described himself as a “male actress” but had a major influence on gay and drag culture throughout his life. He combined a long career of theatre and club engagements, including in London, with numerous appearances on television in the US.

Queerty noted in 2016 that

The blazing career of self-proclaimed “male actress” Charles Pierce was launched in the clubs of San Francisco around the time the struggle for gay rights was kicked into full gear with the Stonewall riots on the opposite coast. With his dead-on satirical send-ups of screen immortals such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Tallulah Bankhead, Pierce quickly earned a devoted fan following and it was common to see celebrities of the day (ranging from Lucille Ball to Anthony Hopkins) in his audience.

Pierce was born in New York and began his show business career playing the organ and acting in radio dramas at station WWNY. He began playing in small gay clubs and went to live in San Francisco. He specialised in impersonating the female movie stars he loved while he was growing up, including Joan Crawford and Mae West.

“Few performers have Mr. Pierce’s energy and aplomb on stage,” wrote the San Francisco Examiner reviewer in 1990. “This man is an entertainer; he enjoys himself up there, lustfully commanding our attention and admiration.”

In the 1970s he brought his show for a limited run to the Fortune Theatre in London’s West End.




Mikhail Kuzmin remembered



Copyright control | 18309

A play about Mikhail Kuzmin, a gay poet from early 1900s Russia, “The Trout Breaks the Ice” is based on the life of Kuzmin, who disappeared into the official obscurity imposed by the Soviets on artists considered deviant or who were out of favour. The play’s success comes amid fears that the relative freedom enjoyed by Russian theatre is under threat.

Kuzmin was celebrated in his day for his poems on love and loss but from 1929 until the end of the Soviet Union his work was not published.

Ilya Romashko, who plays an older Kuzmin remembering his youth, said he believed Trout was not meant as a direct commentary on modern Russia. “It is really about pure emotions and a heart that loves and wants to be loved. I think that we managed to jump over that simple question, what it means to be gay in Russia, which is good. Although at the very beginning there were concerns of how it would be received.”

Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin was born on October 18 [O.S. October 6] 1872, and died on March 1, 1936.



New York’s Bijou



The Bijou’s “attractive” entrance | Daniel Maurer | 18308

The Bijou was a sex club and cinema in New York’s gay district, which opened around 1990, with a colourful history. Writing in Bedford and Bowery, Lance Richardson gives us a tour.

It is an incredible space, but then the Bijou Film Forum, like the Adonis, has its own remarkable history. In the 1950s and 60s, when drag was still considered dangerously subversive (and illegal), queens performed a famous revue here in the mafia-run Club 82, “New York’s After-Dark Rendezvous.” Elizabeth Taylor was known to drop by, along with other forward-thinking celebrities, and it’s said that Errol Flynn once played the piano with his penis.

By the 1970s, the subterranean rooms were absorbing glam rock and avant garde punk, including sounds by The Stilettos, featuring an up-and-coming Debbie Harry. Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones even took a turn at the theater in 1990, launching a music club that seems to have lasted a red hot second. Since its halcyon days, in other words, the black door has hidden queers and iconoclasts, letting them do whatever they want, street-level society be damned.

The club appears to have still been trading in 2014 when the writer visited. During his visit, nobody said a word to him, until he left.

As I pushed through the turnstile to exit the theater, the man at the box office banged on his glass window. “Next time,” he said gruffly, “exit through the back door.” How clandestine! It was the first thing anybody had said to me at the Bijou Film Forum, and I loved it.