Friday, September 24, 2010

C K Scott Moncrieff

C K Scott Moncrieff born 25 September 1889 (d. 1930)

Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff MC was a Scottish writer, most famous for his English translation of most of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, which he published under the Shakespearean title Remembrance of Things Past. Scott Moncrieff's Proust translation (volumes one through six of the seven) has earned him a place as one of the greatest translators of all time.

He attended Winchester College and while still a schoolboy, became associated with the Wildean circles of Robert Ross and Christopher Millard, with whom he began a sexual relationship which was to last into his twenties.

In 1907, he published a short story, 'Evensong and Morwe Song', in the pageant issue of New Field, the literary magazine that he edited, while at Winchester College. The story deals explicitly with sex between boys at public schools. The magazine was hastily suppressed, although not before copies of the offending edition had been mailed to parents. The story was republished in 1923 in an edition of fifty copies for private circulation only. It was never published again in the author's lifetime. Although it is commonly claimed that Scott Moncrieff was expelled for this act of rebellion, this fact is disputable: Scott Moncrieff's letters, published posthumously, mention his returning there before the war as an 'old boy', which would have been unlikely had he left in disgrace.

After Winchester, Scott Moncrieff attended Edinburgh University, where he undertook a degree in English Literature, a novel and somewhat flamboyant choice for the son of an eminent magistrate. Thereafter, he began an MA in Anglo-Saxon under the supervision of the respected man of letters, George Saintsbury. He graduated in 1914 with first class honours, winning a prestigious prize for his translation of Beowulf.

During his time at Edinburgh, Scott Moncrieff made the acquaintance of Philip Bainbrigge, a schoolmaster at Shrewsbury and the author of miscellaneous homoerotic odes to Uranian Love. He was also a close friend of Vyvyan Holland, younger son of Oscar Wilde.

He fought in the World War I, serving on the Western Front from 1914 until 1917, when he was seriously wounded in the right leg after being thrown into the air by a shell explosion from behind. He walked with a limp for the rest of his days.

While convalescing in London in 1918, Scott Moncrieff worked in the War Office in Whitehall. He supplemented his income by writing reviews for the New Witness, a literary magazine edited by the great man of letters G K Chesterton. During this time he befriended the young poet Robert Graves. He also succeeded, inadvertently, in earning the life-long enmity of Siegfried Sassoon whose The Old Huntsman he had given a mixed review.

It was at the wedding of Robert Graves in January 1918 that Scott Moncrieff met another poet, Wilfred Owen, with whom he maintained a difficult relationship for several months. Biographers of Owen disagree over whether or not this relationship was sexual. Coded sonnets by Scott Moncrieff, addressed to a 'Mr. W. O.,' suggest that his love for Owen was unrequited. However, rumours of an affair were enough for Graves to cut off correspondence with both men.

On the day of Graves' wedding Scott Moncrieff testified as a character witness at the trial of his erstwhile lover, Millard, at great personal risk to himself.

The last months of the war dealt a cruel blow. His closest friend, Bainbrigge, was killed in September 1918, and another ex-lover, the poet Ian Mackenzie, died of pneumonia the following month. Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918, Scott Moncrieff arriving at the Front too late to be reunited with his beloved.

After Owen's death, Scott Moncrieff's failure to secure a 'safe' posting for Owen was viewed with suspicion by his friends, including Osbert Sitwell and Sassoon. Sitwell reportedly told one biographer that Scott Moncrieff had 'as good as murdered' Owen. Scott Moncrieff was subsequently cut out from the attempt by Edith Sitwell and Sassoon to publish Owen's poetry, despite being in possession of some original drafts. During the 1920s, Scott Moncrieff maintained a rancorous rivalry with Sitwell, who depicted him unflattering as 'Mr. X' in All At Sea.

In 1919, Scott Moncrieff published a translation of The Song of Roland, dedicating it to his three fallen friends. The poem addressed to Owen, the last in his series of sonnets, expresses a hope that their 'two ghosts' will 'together lie' in the next life.

During this time, he also developed an interest in spiritualism after an experience at Hambleton, the country home of Lady Astley Cooper, to whom he dedicated the first volume of his translation of Proust.

After the war, Scott Moncrieff worked as private secretary to the press Baron, Alfred Harmsworth or Lord Northcliffe, owner of The Times, until Northcliffe's death in 1922. Soon after, his health compelled him to move to Tuscany, Italy, where he divided his time between Florence and Pisa, and later, Rome.

He subsequently supported himself with literary work, notably translations from medieval and modern French.

Scott Moncrieff died of cancer at Calvary Hospital in Rome in 1930 and was buried in that city. He has no grave since his remains were interred in a communal ossuary.

Although his translations of Proust's masterpiece have been revised and updated in subsequent years there is debate in literary circles as to whether these have actually improved on Scott Moncrieff's originals.

Robert Wright

Robert Wright born 25 September 1914 (d. 2005)

Robert C. Wright, born Daytona Beach, Florida, was an American writer of musical theatre.

Throughout his career he worked exclusively with his partner, the writer George Forrest, all their musicals being joint works. Most of their famous works were classical music adapted for the musical stage. They are best known for the musical Kismet (1953) based on the music of Alexander Borodin and Song of Norway (1944) based on the work of Grieg.

Prior to their career in musical theatre, the pair were contract songwriters at MGM and were Oscar-nominated three times for their songs, when their contract ended in 1942, they turned to the stage.

Forrest's death in 1999 brought to an end a loving and creative partnership of over seven decades. Wright and Forrest's professional career included work in film, television, radio, the cabaret circuit, and most notably the stage, rightfully acknowledged when they were given the 1995 ASCAP/Richard Rodgers Award for their contributions to American musical theatre.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole born 24 September 1717 (d. 1797)

Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, more commonly known as Horace Walpole, was a politician, writer, architectural innovator and namesake of his cousin Horatio Nelson.

He was born in London, the youngest son of British Prime Minister Robert Walpole. He was educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. His homosexuality revealed itself early, and he is believed to have had affairs with the poet Thomas Gray, and with Henry Fiennes Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln (later 2nd Duke of Newcastle). Gray accompanied Walpole on the Grand Tour, but they quarrelled, and Walpole returned to England in 1741 and entered parliament. He was never politically ambitious, but remained an MP even after the death of his father in 1745 left him a man of independent means.

Following his father's politics, he was a devotee of King George II and Queen Caroline, siding with them against their son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, about whom Walpole wrote spitefully in his memoirs.

Walpole's home, Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham, was a fanciful concoction of neo-Gothic which began a new architectural trend. In 1764, he published his Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, setting a literary trend to go with the architecture. Strawberry Hill is undergoing a major restoration project.

From 1762 on, he published his Anecdotes of Painting in England. His memoirs of the Georgian social and political scene, though heavily biased, are a useful primary source for historians. In one of the numerous letters, from January 28, 1754, he coined the word serendipity which he said was derived from a 'silly fairy tale' he had read, The Three Princes of Serendip. He also authored the often-quoted epigram, 'Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel'.

His father was created Earl of Orford in 1742. Horace's elder brother, Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (c.1701–1751), passed the title on to his son George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford (1730–1791). When George died 'unmarried', Horace Walpole became the 4th Earl of Orford. When Horace Walpole died in 1797 the title became extinct.

[Painting Horace Walpole, Fourth Earl of Orford (1717-1797), ca 1759 by Allan Ramsay (1713-1784)]

Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar born 24 September 1951

Pedro Almodóvar Caballero is a Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer. He is the most successful and internationally known Spanish film maker of his generation, having won numerous Academy Awards, BAFTAS, Golden Globes and many more both as writer and director.

His films, marked by complex narratives, employ the codes of melodrama and use elements of pop culture, popular songs, irreverent humour, strong colours and glossy décor. Almodóvar never judges his characters actions, whatever they do, but he presents them as they are in all their complexity. Desire, passion, family and identity are the director's favourite themes. Almodóvar’s films enjoy a worldwide following and he has become a major figure on the stage of world cinema. The success of his movies has brought awareness to the cause of equal rights.

Against his parents' wishes, Pedro Almodóvar moved to Madrid in 1967. After completing the compulsory military service, the young man from rural Spain found in Madrid of the late 60s the city, the culture and the freedom. His goal was to be a film director, but he lacked the economic means to do it and besides, Franco had just closed the National School of Cinema so he would be completely self-taught. To support himself, Almodóvar worked a number of odd jobs, including a stint selling used items in the famous Madrid flea market El Rastro. He eventually found full-time employment with Spain's national phone company, where he worked for twelve years as an administrative assistant. Since he worked only until three in the afternoon, he had the rest of the day to pursue his own interests.

In the early seventies, Almodóvar grew interested in experimental cinema and theatre. He collaborated with the vanguard theatrical group, Los Goliardos, where he played his first professional roles and met Carmen Maura. He was also writing comics and contributing articles and stories to a number of counter-culture magazines.

Madrid’s flourishing alternative cultural scene became the perfect scenario for Almodóvar social talents. He was a crucial figure in La Movida Madrileña (Madriliene Movement), a cultural renaissance that followed the fall of the Franco regime.

Around 1974, Almodóvar began making his first short films on a Super-8 camera. By the end of the 1970s they were shown in Madrid's night circuit. These shorts had overtly sexual narratives and no soundtrack.

After four years of working with shorts in Super-8 format, in 1978 Almodóvar made his first Super-8, full-length film. In addition, he made his first 16 mm short, Salome. This was his first contact with the professional world of cinema. The film's stars, Carmen Maura and Felix Rotaeta, encouraged him to make his first feature film in 16 mm and helped him raise the money to finance what would be Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón.

Since then he has made 16 cinematic films including Matador (1986), his first major international success Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), All About My Mother (1999), Talk To Her (2002), Bad Education (2004) and Volver (2006).

He can also be credited with bringing two Spanish stars to an international audience - Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.

A theatrical version of All About My Mother was staged in the West End in 2007.

His next film, Broken Hugs, will star his most recent muse, Penelope Cruz.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Richard Fairbrass

Richard Fairbrass born 22 September 1953

Richard Fairbrass is an English singer and television presenter, born in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey and raised in East Grinstead, West Sussex. He is the singer with the band Right Said Fred alongside his brother Fred Fairbrass, who became very popular for a short time in the UK in 1991 with their number 2 hit I'm Too Sexy, which they followed with the number 3 Don't Talk Just Kiss and in 1992 Deeply Dippy, which was a number 1. Since then they have only occasionally troubled the lower reaches of the charts although they have had success in Europe and elsewhere.

I'm Too Sexy has entered popular culture and is often spoofed or parodied in shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy.

He is very open about his sexual orientation (bisexual) and once co-hosted (with Rhona Cameron) a TV series aimed at a lesbian and gay audience called Gaytime TV on BBC2.

In 1994 he was joint winner of Rear of the Year with Mandy Smith.

In 2001 he co-presented the television game show The Desert Forges for channel Five.

Right Said Fred returned with a new album in 2007 following a successful appearance in a Daz 'soap opera' commercial.

Ironically [or not] brother Fred was always sexier...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pavel Tchelitchew

Pavel Tchelitchew born 21 September 1898 (d. 1957)

Pavel Tchelitchew was a Russian-born surrealist painter.

Tchelitchew was born near Moscow on the estate of his aristocratic family. He was educated by a series of French, German, and English governesses, who encouraged his interest in the arts.

His father, a follower of Tolstoyian principles, supported his desire to become a painter. In spite of his father's liberal views, however, the family was expelled from its property in 1918 following the revolution of 1917.

Tchelitchew joined the White army, and the family fled to Kiev, which was not yet under Communist control. While in Kiev he continued his studies and produced his first theatre designs.

By 1920 he was in Odessa, escaping the advancing Red armies. He went on to Berlin via Istanbul. There he met Allen Tanner, an American pianist, and became his lover. In 1923 they moved to Paris and Tchelitchew began painting portraits of the avant-garde and homosexual elite. His work was much admired and bought by Gertrude Stein.

In addition to becoming an accomplished painter, he also became one of the most innovative stage designers of the period and designed ballets for Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes in Paris.

His first US show was of his drawings, along with other artists, at the newly-opened Museum of Modern Art in 1930.

In 1934, he moved from Paris to New York City with his then partner, writer Charles Henri Ford. He and Ford were at the centre of a social world of wealthy, artistic homosexuals, such as Lincoln Kirstein, for whom he also designed ballets. He also designed for Balanchine's fledgling American Ballet.

From 1940 to 1947, he provided illustrations for the Surrealist magazine View, edited by Ford and writer and film critic Parker Tyler.

Tchelitchew's critical reputation declined in the 1950s and 1960s along with the decline of interest in figurative art.

In 1952 Tchelitchew became a US citizen, but shortly afterwards moved to Frascati, Italy. He suffered a heart attack in 1956 and died on July 31, 1957 in Rome, with Ford by his bedside.

[Centre picture: Charles Henri Ford reads as Tchelitchew paints Peter Watson's portrait]

Luis Cernuda

Luis Cernuda born 21 September 1902 (d. 1963)

Luis Cernuda, born Luis Cernuda Bidón in Seville, was a Spanish poet and literary critic.

The son of a military man, Cernuda received a strict education as a child, and then studied law at the University of Seville, where he met the poet and literature professor Pedro Salinas. In 1928, after his mother died, Cernuda left his home town, with which he had all his life an intense love-hate relationship.

He briefly moved to Madrid, where he quickly became part of the literary scene. His mentor and former professor Salinas arranged for him to take a lectureship for a year at the University of Toulouse. From June 1929 until 1937 Cernuda lived in Madrid and participated actively in the literary and cultural scene of the Spanish capital. Cernuda collaborated with many organisations working to support a more liberal and tolerant Spain. He participated in the Second Congress of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals in Valencia.

The central concerns of this poet are evident in the title of his life's major opus: La realidad y el deseo ('Reality and Desire'). He published his first collection of verse, Perfil del aire ('Profile of the Air'), in 1927. Several books followed, and he collected new and already published poetry under this title in 1936. Subsequent editions would include new poetry as new books inside La realidad y el deseo. Expanded on almost until his death in 1963, in this work the poet explores desire, love, subject, object, history and sexuality in poems which draw influences from romanticism, classicism, and the surrealist avant-garde.

Cernuda is known as a member of the Generation of '27, a group of Spanish poets and artists including Federico García Lorca. He broke new ground with Los Placeres Prohibidos ('Forbidden Pleasures'), an avant-garde work in which the poet used surrealism to explore his sexuality.

Deeply influenced by André Gide, Cernuda embraced his homosexuality at an early age and made homosexual desire and love the core of his poetry. Or, at least, unlike other gay poets at the time, in his poetry he was never ambiguous about the fact that the objects of his desire and love were men. One of the most influential poets in contemporary Spanish poetry, he is definitely a crucial ground-breaking figure for homosexual writing in Spanish.

During the Spanish Civil War, Cernuda fled to England, where he began an exile that later took him to France, Scotland, Massachusetts, California and finally settling in Mexico; he never returned to Spain.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chuck Panozzo

Chuck Panozzo born 20 September 1948

Chuck Panozzo (born Charles Salvatore Panozzo in Chicago) is a bass player. A longtime member of the rock band Styx, he founded the group with his fraternal twin brother, drummer John Panozzo, who died in July 1996. After three decades as a Styx mainstay, Chuck Panozzo left the band shortly thereafter, though he has reappeared with the band occasionally.

Styx is an American arena rock band that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s, with such hits as Come Sail Away, Babe, Lady, Mr Roboto, and Renegade. They were the first band to have four consecutive multi-platinum albums. After a hiatus during which several band members were involved in solo and other group projects with varying success Styx reformed in 1995 and have continued to record and tour with some success, although failing to match their 80s heyday.

In 2001, Panozzo announced he was gay and living with HIV, having been diagnosed in 1991. A serious illness in 1998 gave him the determination to get well, return to performing and come out as a gay man with HIV. Since his coming out he has been involved in campaigning for AIDS awareness and gay rights. He has also survived prostate cancer.

Chuck Panozzo's Official Website

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Brian Epstein

Brian Epstein born 19 September 1934 (d. 1967)

Perhaps few individuals were less likely to create the public image and oversee the career of the world's most famous rock group than Brian Epstein. Born into a family of affluent Liverpool Jewish furniture merchants, Epstein seemed destined for a career in their business. He was attracted, however, to such 'unmanly' pursuits as fashion design and the stage, which, along with his closeted homosexuality, put him at odds with his family's aspirations.

Epstein left school at sixteen to work at one of his family's stores until he was called up for military service in 1952. After only a year of active duty, he was discharged for unspecific psychiatric reasons - actually he had been arrested for impersonating an officer in a club and referred to a psychiatrist who uncovered Epstein's homosexuality. Epstein subsequently enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but before completing his studies he returned to his family's business, where he became the manager of the store's record department.

It was in this capacity that, in October 1961, he first heard of the Beatles, a Liverpool band whose fans were seeking their recordings. Epstein was unable to locate these records and, intrigued by the mystery, ventured into the Cavern Club, where he encountered John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and then-drummer Pete Best.

Within two months, although he had no entertainment or managerial background, Epstein had signed the group to a contract. Over the next year, he transformed the group's image from that of leather-clad ruffians to 'Mods' attired in fashionable suits with longish hairstyles, creating, in effect, an androgynous look for his protégés.

Epstein also successfully negotiated the Beatles' first recording contract with EMI Parlophone, replaced Best with Ringo Starr, and became the manager of various other successful Liverpool acts, including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, and Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas.

By 1964, when the Beatles and his other acts took America by storm, Epstein seemed to personify worldly success. He was, however, living in an almost constant state of anxiety lest his homosexuality - and his attraction to rough and often abusive young men - become public knowledge, as male homosexual acts were still illegal in Britain and any scandal might negatively affect the Beatles' career.

It has often been suggested that Epstein's devotion to the Beatles was based on an unrequited love for John Lennon. Speculation about a possible affair between them has existed since the two holidayed together in Spain in 1963.

In 1966, the Beatles decided to stop performing live and concentrate solely on studio recording. Although this decision resulted in such breakthrough recordings as Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), Epstein felt that he had effectively lost control over the band and suffered from acute depression, exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse.

On August 27, 1967, Epstein was found dead in his London home from a barbiturate overdose. Although his death was ruled accidental, many have presumed it was a suicide. Ironically, he died a month to the day after legislation decriminalising homosexual acts between adult men went into effect in Britain.

For three decades following his death, Epstein was vilified by the popular music world as a controlling figure who tried to suppress the Beatles' creativity - and who was accused, falsely, of having cheated the group out of millions in income. All the while, the fact that the world would not have heard of the Beatles had it not been for Epstein's relentless efforts on the group's behalf was blithely overlooked.

In recent years, however, his reputation has been reconsidered and perhaps he will at last receive the honour due to the creator and manager of the group who permanently changed perceptions of popular culture. Paul McCartney summarised the importance of Epstein to the Beatles when he was interviewed, in 1997, for a BBC documentary about Epstein. He stated: 'If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.'

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jack Robinson

Jack Robinson born 18 September 1928 (d. 1997)

Jack Robinson was an American photographer famous for 1960s celebrity and fashion photography and documenting the New Orleans of the 1950s.

Jack Uther Robinson, Jr. was born in Meridian, Mississippi. He grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, an area famous for racial injustice, the Blues, and social and religious conservatism. His father was a mechanic and auto parts dealer.

Robinson attended Clarksdale High School, from which he graduated in 1945. He then enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he completed five semesters before dropping out in 1948.

In 1951, he began his professional career in photography, working as a graphic artist for an advertising agency in New Orleans. He took numerous photographs of the city and his friends, many of them artists and photographers. His early work captured the charm of the French Quarter and documented New Orleans night life. It also preserved valuable glimpses into the New Orleans gay subculture of the 1950s.

Among Robinson's most fascinating images are photographs of the Mardi Gras festivities in the years between 1952 and 1955. Some of these document the celebrations in the gay area of Bourbon Street, especially around Dixie's Bar of Music, then one of the most prominent gay bars in the country.

In addition to architectural photographs, society portraits, and Mardi Gras pictures, Robinson also took a number of photographs of young gay couples, romantically posed. These photographs are striking because of their rarity, and touching because of their sincerity. At a time when there were few precedents for posing gay couples, Robinson conveyed homoerotic attraction in a number of ways, including having the young men stare deeply into each other's eyes and touch tentatively. The very awkwardness of these embraces conveys a profound sense of commitment.

During the New Orleans period, Robinson fell in love with a young man named Gabriel, whom he photographed incessantly, often in the nude. The Gabriel photographs are especially distinguished by their play of light and shadow and by their sensuality.

In 1954, Robinson and Gabriel travelled to Mexico. There the artist captured Mexican scenes in large and medium format photographs.

In 1955 Robinson and Gabriel moved to New York where he quickly became noted for his fashion photography. He was sought out by many of the top designers and others in the fashion industry. By 1959, one of his photographs graced the cover of Life magazine, signalling his arrival as a top commercial photographer.

Carrie Donovan, then a fashion reporter for the New York Times, commissioned Robinson to shoot several fashion layouts in the early 1960s and continued to work with him when she became editor of Vogue in 1965. Robinson's work appeared in Vogue over 500 times between 1965 and 1972.

Vogue's legendary editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland recognised Robinson's particular gift for portraiture. In addition to commissioning fashion photography from him, she also commissioned portraits of celebrities, especially the rising stars of music, film, television, and literature.

By 1970, Robinson had established himself as one of the leading commercial photographers in the world. He travelled to Europe to record the fashion innovations of the great design houses. His work was regularly featured in the most prestigious fashion and celebrity magazines of the day.

Robinson's art documents the social changes that occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s as reflected by the new stars of the worlds of fashion, art, literature, film, the stage, and, especially, music. He photographed virtually every musician that we think of when we think Woodstock and the Summer of Love.

Robinson documented the Nixon White House, the unbridled decadence of New York's club scene, and the unequalled elegance of Jacquelyn Kennedy in full formal regalia. In addition, he captured both the era's haute couture, as epitomised in the fashion of designers such as Emilio Pucci, Pierre Cardin, Yves St Laurent, and Bill Blass, and also the casual look that is perhaps even more representative of the time.

He also made particularly sensitive family portraits. His photographs of the wedding of Peter Allen and Liza Minnelli, with mother-of-the-bride Judy Garland, reveal a particular gift for family portraiture.

But even as Robinson succeeded professionally, his personal life became increasingly problematic. His relationship with Gabriel failed. He suffered from the stigma associated with homosexuality. He increasingly turned to drugs and alcohol for solace. Frequently in the company of Andy Warhol and his entourage, he became part of New York's frenetic club scene.

Such fast living soon affected Robinson's work. His daybooks and list of commissions reflect the deterioration of his life. As jobs dwindled, he was forced to move from his fashionable studio at 11 East 10th Street. Finally, in December of 1972, he retreated to Memphis, where his parents and older brother lived.

Broken and addicted to alcohol, Robinson sought help from a long-time friend, who sponsored his membership in Alcoholics Anonymous and helped him recover his emotional health.

In Memphis, Robinson abandoned his career as a commercial photographer. He began painting and soon took a job as assistant to noted artist Dorothy Sturm, who designed stained glass windows for churches at Laukauff Studio, one of the largest stained glass studios in the country. Although he was undoubtedly lonely, and in the words of a friend 'full of anger and angst,' he seemed to enjoy his anonymity and seldom revealed that he had once been a leading photographer in New York City.

In 1976, Robinson left Laukauff Studio to work at another glass studio, Rainbow Studio, where he was to remain for the rest of his career.

Robinson fell ill in November 1997 and was soon diagnosed with cancer. He died on December 15, 1997.

Robinson left his estate to his employer, Dan Oppenheimer, owner of Rainbow Studio. Oppenheimer was surprised to discover in Robinson's small and spartan apartment over 140,000 negatives. In 2002, Oppenheimer opened the Jack Robinson Gallery and Archive in Memphis. It is dedicated to preserving and promoting Robinson's legacy.

Although Robinson soon slipped into obscurity, his work has recently been rediscovered, thanks to the efforts of the Robinson Gallery and Archive and to several recent exhibitions in Memphis, London, and New Orleans.

The Jack Robinson Archive

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bryan Singer

Bryan Singer born 17 September 1965

Bryan Singer is an American film director. Singer won critical acclaim for his work on The Usual Suspects, and is especially popular among fans of the sci-fi and comic book genres, for his work on the first two X-Men films and Superman Returns.

Singer was born in New York City. He was adopted by Norbert and Grace Singer and grew up in a Jewish household in New Jersey. He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, then studied film making at New York's School of Visual Arts and later the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles. Actors Lori and Marc Singer are his cousins. He is Jewish and openly gay, and has said that his life experiences of growing up as a minority influenced his movies.

Singer is also executive producer and directed the pilot and first episode of highly regarded TV medical drama House.

Singer is said (or rumoured) to be involved in a number of possible or 'in development' projects at present including: a Superman Returns sequel; a remake of Logan's Run; a Warner Bros. film called U Want Me 2 Kill Him? about a 14-year old British boy who was charged with inciting his own murder, a reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, and a film of Augusten Burroughs' Sellevsion.

Sir Frederick Ashton

Sir Frederick Ashton born 17 September 1904 (d. 1988)

Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton began his career as a dancer but is largely remembered as a choreographer.

Ashton was born at Guayaquil in Ecuador, in the artistic neighbourhood called Las Peñas, the original founding site of the city.

When he was 13 he witnessed a life-changing event when he attended a performance by the legendary Anna Pavlova in the Municipal Theatre in Lima, Peru. He was so impressed that from that day on he knew he would become a dancer.

In 1919 he went to England to attend Dover College and then to study under the famous Leonide Massine and established a working relationship with the ballet troupe belonging to Marie Rambert and Ninette de Valois. Rambert discovered Frederick's aptitude for choreography and allowed him to choreograph his first ballet, The Tragedy of Fashion [left] in 1926, starting a tremendously successful career as a choreographer.

He began his career with the Ballet Rambert which was originally called The Ballet Club. He rose to fame with The Royal Ballet, becoming its resident choreographer in the 1930s. His version of La Fille mal gardée was particularly successful. He worked with Margot Fonteyn among others. His broad travesti performances as one of the comic Ugly Stepsisters in Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella were annual events for many years. [Ashton pictured in rehearsal with fellow 'sister' Robert Helpmann]

The choreographer's emotional life focused on the unattainable and the unsuitable, and it often wreaked havoc in his ballet company, as when, in the case of the heterosexual Michael Somes (Fonteyn's principal partner), the beloved enjoyed and exploited favoritism to the point that other dancers signed a petition of protest.

Ashton, like so many other famous gay men of his epoch, including Cecil Beaton and Noël Coward, was necessarily discreet, but he was not closeted. The British high society in which he moved enjoyed the scintillating company

Ashton was a member of the circle of gay men who surrounded Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother, whom he taught to tango. When she heard that Ashton, a formidable mimic, did imitations of her, she allegedly retaliated by imitating his own queenly manners.

Ashton was a great friend of the Paget family and was a frequent visit to the family seat at Plas Newydd; it was here that one of the Paget daughters, Lady Rose fell hopelessly in love with him; he rebuffed her advances and at one point returned her letters - after having corrected her spelling! Despite this, they remained friends.

In 1962, he was knighted for his services to ballet. He died in 1988 at his home, Chandos Lodge, in Eye, Suffolk, England.

Roddy McDowall

Roddy McDowall born 17 September 1928 (d. 1998)

Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall was born in London on to a Scottish father and an Irish mother. His mother, who had herself aspired to be an actress, enrolled him in elocution lessons at the age of five; and at the age of ten he had his first major film role as the youngest son in Murder in the Family (1938). Over the next two years he appeared in a dozen British films, in parts large and small.

McDowall's movie career was interrupted, however, by the German bombardment of London in World War II. Accompanied by his sister and his mother, he was one of many London children evacuated to places abroad.

As a result, he arrived in Hollywood in 1940, and the charming young English lad soon landed a major role as the youngest son in How Green Was My Valley (1941). The film made him a star at thirteen, and he appeared as an endearing boy in numerous Hollywood movies throughout the war years, most notably Lassie, Come Home (1943), with fellow English child star and lifelong friend Elizabeth Taylor, and My Friend Flicka (1943).

By his late teens, McDowall had outgrown the parts in which he had been most successful. Accordingly, he went to New York to study acting and to hone his skills in a wide variety of roles on the Broadway stage.

McDowall was praised for his performance as a gay character in Meyer Levin's Compulsion (1957), a fictionalised account of the Leopold-Loeb murder case; and he won a Tony award for best supporting actor as Tarquin in Jean Anouilh's The Fighting Cock (1960).

After a decade's absence, McDowall returned to Hollywood, and over the last four decades of his life he appeared in more than one hundred films, encompassing a wide range of genres from sophisticated adult comedy to children's fare, from horror to science fiction, usually as a character actor. He also made regular character appearances on TV in such series as the original Twilight Zone, The Carol Burnett Show, Fantasy Island and Quantum Leap.

[McDowall pictured with Natalie Wood. Any Hollywood star pictured with Natalie Wood is quite likely to be gay]

His best known appearances include those in The Subterraneans (1960), Midnight Lace (1960), Cleopatra (1963), The Loved One (1965), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Planet of the Apes (1968) and its various sequels, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), The Poseidon Adventure (1973), The Legend of Hell House (1973), Funny Lady (1975), Fright Night (1985), Fright Night II (1987), Only the Lonely (1991), Last Summer in the Hamptons (1993), and It's My Party (1995). His last film role was the voice of Mr Soil, an ant, in A Bug's Life (1997).

Although McDowall never officially came out, the fact that he was gay was one of Hollywood's best known secrets.

[Pictured: Roddy is offered a hot sausage by Tab Hunter]

McDowall died of cancer at his home in Studio City, California, on October 3, 1998. At the time of his death, he held several elected posts in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was a generous benefactor of many film-related charities.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

George Chakiris

George Chakiris born 16 September 1934

George Chakiris is an American dancer and Academy Award winning film actor.

Chakiris was born in Norwood, Ohio to Greek immigrants. He made his film debut in 1947. For several years he appeared in small roles, usually as a dancer or a member of the chorus in various musical films. He was one of the dancers in Marilyn Monroe's Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and also appeared as a dancer alongside Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas. He can also be seen in the 'Chop Suey' number in the musical film Flower Drum Song.

His biggest success came with the film West Side Story (1961), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Bernardo. He also acted (along with Gene Kelly) in Jacques Demy's French musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967).

Chakiris has also appeared on Broadway and television. In the early 1960s, he embarked on a career as a pop singer which resulted in a couple of minor hit songs (In 1960, he recorded one single with legendary producer Joe Meek).

After film work dried up, he worked steadily through the 1970s and 1980s, appearing on such shows as Medical Center, Hawaii Five-O, Dallas, Murder, She Wrote and the TV daytime drama Santa Barbara. Chakiris last acted in a 1997 episode of the sitcom Last of the Summer Wine and has given occasional television interviews since then. He is mostly retired and has taken up jewellery-making as an occupation.

Wilhelm von Gloeden

Wilhelm von Gloeden born 16 September 1856 (d. 1931)

Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden was a German photographer who worked mainly in Italy. He is mostly known for his pastoral nude studies of Sicilian boys, which usually featured props such as wreaths or amphoras, suggesting a setting in the Greece or Italy of antiquity. From a modern standpoint, his work is commendable due to his controlled use of lighting as well as the often elegant poses of his models. Innovative use of photographic filters and special body make-up contribute to the artistic perfection of his works.

Von Gloeden was a minor German aristocrat from Mecklenburg who, suffering from what appears to have been tuberculosis, came to Taormina in Sicily in 1876. He was wealthy and provided a considerable economic boost in this comparatively poor region of Italy, which might explain why the homosexual aspects of his life and work were generally tolerated by the locals.

Von Gloeden, who in the 1880s had started photographing boys, but had also made portrait studies of local peasants and engaged in some landscape photography, turned his hobby into a profitable business in the 1890s when his family fell on hard times financially. Already a local celebrity in Taormina, his work (and his models) drew to Sicily such luminaries of the times as Oscar Wilde, the 'cannon king' Alfred Krupp, Richard Strauss, as well as the German Kaiser.

The bulk of von Gloeden's work stems from this time period up until the beginning of World War I. His idyllic 'illustrations of Homer and Theocritus', i.e. pictures of skimpily clad boys in classical poses, were also reproduced as postcards and enjoyed popularity as souvenirs for tourists.

Von Gloeden generally made different kinds of photographs: the ones that garnered the most widespread attention in Europe and overseas were usually relatively chaste, featured clothes such as togas and generally downplayed their homoerotic implications.

More explicit photos in which the boys were nude and which, because of eye contact or physical contact were more sexually suggestive were traded by the Baron 'under the counter' to close friends.

Still, considering the prudish and homophobic atmosphere of the time, it is remarkable that von Gloeden and large parts of his work were generally accepted and respected. The popularity of his work in Germany, England, and America can possibly be attributed to four major reasons:
- He was a consummate and talented photographer.
- The Classical and painterly themes in which his work wreathed itself served as a cultural 'badge of protection'.
- At that time male-male-love 'did not speak its name' and was thus totally unthinkable to many who saw his images.
- New printing technologies enabled the mass reproduction and sale of his work in postcard form.

In total the Baron took over 3,000 images, which after his death were left to one of his models, Pancrazio Bucini, also known as Il Moro for his North African looks. In 1936, over 2,500 of the pictures were destroyed by Mussolini's police under the allegation that they constituted pornography. Most of the surviving images therefore come from private collections.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Michael Patrick King

Michael Patrick King born 14 September 1954

Michael Patrick King is an Emmy winning director, writer and producer for television shows. He started out doing stand-up and sketch comedy comedy but eventually moved into writing for television.

His most famous work has been for Sex and the City where he wrote all the season finales and premieres since the second season. King has also recently directed the show's film adaptation.

He has also written for another HBO show, Lisa Kudrow's post-Friends project The Comeback, and as well as for broadcast shows Will & Grace, Cybill, and Murphy Brown.

He is openly gay.

Peter Watson

Peter Watson born 14 September 1908 (d. 1956)

Victor William (Peter) Watson was a wealthy art collector in England in the 20th century. He is most well-known for funding the literary magazine Horizon, edited by Cyril Connolly, and for being the principal benefactor of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He also provided financial assistance to Francis Bacon.

In 1930, photographer Sir Cecil Beaton began a lifelong obsession with Watson - who was for a time the lover of Beaton's rival Oliver Messel - though the two never became lovers.

Watson drowned in his bath on May 3, 1956. Some have suggested that he was murdered by his lover, Norman Fowler; a rich young American (from whom Bacon stole £300 to go gambling). Fowler died in similar circumstances in the West Indies just a few years later.

David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz born 14 September 1954 (d. 1992)

David Wojnarowicz was a gay painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and activist who was prominent in the New York City art world of the 1980s.

The first American gay artist to respond to the AIDS crisis with anger and moral outrage, he used his art as a polemical tool with which to indict those he held responsible for the AIDS epidemic and to document his own suffering.

Wojnarowicz had no extensive formal training. Born in Red Bank, New Jersey into a severely dysfunctional family in 1954, he dropped out of high school soon after acknowledging his homosexuality as an adolescent. He was a street kid in New York City at the age of sixteen, turning tricks in Times Square and keeping company with hustlers and other outsiders.

Wojnarowicz found salvation in making art and writing. Yet the rawness of his life experiences would always be the stuff of a highly personal and confrontational art.

As a young man, Wojnarowicz hitchhiked across the United States and lived in San Francisco and Paris for several months. In 1978, he settled in New York.

By the early 1980s he had become, like graffiti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, a vital fixture in the East Village art scene in lower Manhattan.

Wojnarowicz had his first solo exhibitions in New York in the early 1980s. In 1985 he had a major exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His growing prominence as a nationally recognised artist is witnessed by invitations to participate in the 1987 and 1991 Whitney Biennials at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Wojnarowicz came to maturity as a contemporary artist and writer during a decade when the arts sought increasingly to address issues of gender, race, and ethnicity. A younger postmodern generation of artists gave expression to these concerns in non-traditional media and often worked in multimedia.

For example, Wojnarowicz expressed himself in film, installation art, sculpture, photography, performance art, painting, collage, drawing, and writing. Indeed, he became as fine a writer as he was a visual artist.

Before being diagnosed HIV-positive in 1987, Wojnarowicz tracked in his confessional art a life that vacillated between sensual abandon and despair, bringing into focus a dark vision of existence that drew upon the examples of Arthur Rimbaud and Jean Genet.

Also influenced by Pop Art and the example of the writers of the Beat movement of the 1950s, Wojnarowicz drew upon images of popular culture and uniquely American idioms, though often rendering them ironically or satirically.

With the onset of his disease, Wojnarowicz turned fiercely political. The tragedy and injustices of the AIDS epidemic within the gay community became the central subject in his art and writings. He took to task the medical community and the federal government for their indifference to the pressing health issues of gay men. He passionately protested the fact that, as he put it, so many people were dying 'slow and vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country'.

Wojnarowicz took a public stand against homophobia in published interviews and essays that earned him the vitriolic ire of the conservative religious right, specifically Reverend Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, Senator Jesse Helms, and John Cardinal O'Connor.

Wojnarowicz was the first American gay artist to step forward in anger and give expression to his moral outrage. His 'post-diagnostic art', as he called it, indicted all those he held responsible for the social and private horrors of those dying from AIDS, including himself. Toward the end of his life, his defiant art was a polemical and poignant record of his cruel demise.

Of all the media and formats for which Wojnarowicz is known, the works that combine image and text are the most complex and moving, offering the best summary of his art.

The buffalo imagery from the famous video for One by U2 is taken from a David Wojnarowicz image.

Wojnarowicz died of AIDS on July 22, 1992.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Charles Kains Jackson

Charles Kains Jackson born 1857* (d. 1933)

Charles Philip Castle Kains Jackson was an English poet closely associated with the Uranian school.

Beginning in 1888, in addition to a career as a lawyer, he served as editor for the periodical the Artist and Journal of Home Culture, which became something of an official periodical for the movement. In it, he praised such artists as Henry Scott Tuke (to whom he dedicated a sonnet) and Henry Oliver Walker. He also befriended such similar-minded contemporaries as Frederick William Rolfe, Lord Alfred Douglas and John Addington Symonds.

The homosexual and pederastic aspects of the Artist declined after the replacement of Kains Jackson as an editor in 1894. The final issue edited by Kains Jackson included his essay, 'The New Chivalry', an argument for the moral and societal benefits of pederasty and erotic male friendship on the grounds of both Platonism and Social Darwinism. According to Kains Jackson, the New Chivalry would promote 'the youthful masculine ideal' over the Old Chivalry's emphasis on the feminine. Jackson's volumes of poetry include Finibus Cantat Amor (1922) and Lysis (1924).

Kains Jackson was a member of the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for homosexuals founded in 1897 by George Ives, which was named after the location of the battle where the Sacred Band of Thebes was finally annihilated in 338 BC. Other members included Samuel Ellworth Cottam, Montague Summers, and John Gambril Nicholson.

*actual birthday unknown

Philippe I, Duke of Orléans

Philippe I, Duke of Orléans born 12 September 1640 (d. 1701)

Philippe I, Duc d'Orléans was the second son of Louis XIII of France and Anne of Austria, and thus the younger brother of Louis XIV of France. He was known as Monsieur at the French court, Monsieur becoming the traditional name of the King's eldest brother from 1660. He was born at St Germain-en-Laye.

In 1661, he was made Duke of Orléans, and married his first cousin Henrietta Anne Stuart, sister of Charles II of England, also known as 'Minette'.

Traditionally, in the French court, a king's younger son was not given significant responsibility, and Philippe was no exception. His mother discouraged him from traditionally male pursuits such as arms and politics, and encouraged him to wear dresses, make-up, and to enjoy traditionally feminine pursuits. This was part of Queen Anne's effort to distract Philippe from challenging his older brother's rule and position.

As an adult, Monsieur continued to enjoy wearing feminine clothing and fragrances, but also proved to be a brave and competent commander in the field. He fought with distinction in the 1667 promenade militaire against Flanders during the War of Devolution, though he hastened back to his life at court immediately after victory was assured. Monsieur resumed military command in 1672, and in 1677 won a great victory at the Battle of Cassel and took St Omer. Louis XIV, it was said, was jealous of his brother's success, therefore Monsieur never commanded an army again.

Monsieur's favorites, invariably handsome young men, dominated contemporary and historical commentary about his role at court, particularly one man who shared his princely rank and much of his life: Philip of Lorraine-Armagnac was three years younger than Philip of Orléans. Handsome, brutal and devoid of scruples, he was the great love of Monsieur's life. He was also the worst enemy of Monsieur's two wives...

As greedy as a vulture, this cadet of the French branch of the house of Lorraine had, by the end of the 1650s, hooked Monsieur as though harpooning a whale. The young prince loved him with a passion that worried Madame Henrietta and the court bishop, Cosnac, but the King understood that, thanks to the attractive face and sharp mind of the good-looking cavalier, he would have his way with his brother.

Under these circumstances it is no surprise that Monsieur's first marriage was unhappy. In January 1670 his wife prevailed upon the King to imprison the chevalier, first near Lyon, then in the Chateau d'If, and finally banish him to Rome. But by February Monsieur's protests and pleas persuaded the King to restore him to his brother's entourage. The death of the Duchess in the following June was popularly attributed to poison, although there was little evidence for Monsieur to have perpetrated such a deed, whereas some of his mignons had earned her enmity and she theirs — and were suspected.

Subsequently, Monsieur's confidante the Princess Palatine Anna Gonzaga arranged his second marriage to her husband's niece, Elisabeth Charlotte, daughter of Charles Louis, Elector Palatine of the Rhine [pictured]. 'Liselotte' converted to Roman Catholicism before entering France in November 1671.

Whereas Monsieur's first wife had been known for beauty, charm and wit, no one accused Liselotte of those graces, and some said that this lack explained why she fared better with Monsieur (who personally took charge of her toilette for public occasions) than did his first wife. She gave him his only surviving son. She also became known for her brusque candour, upright character, lack of vanity, and prolific foreign correspondence about the daily routine and frequent scandals of Versailles. Her letters record how willingly she gave up sharing Monsieur's bed at his request after their children's births, and how unwillingly she endured the presence of his mignons in their household, which caused the couple to quarrel. But she frequently acknowledged that Monsieur's treatment of her was less offensive than the importunities his entourage made at her expense, and the lack of protection he afforded her and their children against the hostile intrigues she believed were directed at her by spiteful courtiers.

Monsieur failed to stand up to Louis XIV's insistence on marrying his daughter Françoise Marie de Bourbon (Mademoiselle de Blois) to Monsieur's son and heir, Philippe d'Orléans in February 1692. But when, years later, the King rebuked him for his son's indifference toward her, Monsieur defended his son with such vehemence that a footman felt obliged to enter the King's chamber to warn the royal brothers that their argument was being overheard by the entire court. Monsieur is the only man known to have raised his voice to the adult Louis XIV, though he did not live to see the King again.

Monsieur was an art collector and perhaps also a shrewd investor. Monsieur enjoyed court life, gambling, chasing young men, and ceremony. Despite the fact that his debts and dalliances often cost the King, the brothers spent much time together. Orléans' loyalty was never in question; he raised the standard of fraternal fidelity in a dynasty in which the Frondes had established princely rebellion as a tradition. His unabashed effeminacy probably deprived him of the credit he deserved among his countrymen and in history. Louis XIV, however, seems to have fully appreciated their relationship, as he treated Monsieur, publicly and privately, with respect and leniency.

He died at Saint-Cloud in 1701 of an apoplectic fit brought on by his heated argument with the King.

Graeme Obree

Graeme Obree born 11 September 1965

Graeme Obree, nicknamed 'The Flying Scotsman', is a Scottish racing cyclist who twice broke the world hour record, in July 1993 and April 1994, and was the individual pursuit world champion in 1993 and 1995. He was known for his unusual riding positions and for the 'Old Faithful' bicycle he built which included parts from a washing machine. He joined a professional team in France but was fired before his first race. He has suffered from clinical depression and twice attempted suicide. His life and exploits have been dramatised in the film The Flying Scotsman. Obree created some of the most radical innovations in the history of bicycle design.

Obree was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in March 2010.

In 2011 Obree disclosed in an interview with the Scottish Sun that he is gay and that his difficulty with coming to terms with his sexual orientation contributed to his earlier suicide attempts. 'I was brought up by a war generation; they grew up when gay people were put in jail. Being homosexual was so unthinkable that you just wouldn't be gay. I'd no inkling about anything, I just closed down.' He came out to his family in 2005.

Friday, September 10, 2010

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence born 11 September 1885 (d. 1930)

David Herbert Lawrence was an important and controversial English writer of the 20th century, with his output spanning novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. These works, taken together, represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, sexuality, and instinctive behaviour.

Lawrence's unsettling opinions earned him many enemies, and he endured hardships, official persecution, censorship and the misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in voluntary exile, self defined as a 'savage pilgrimage'. At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E M Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as 'the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.' Later, the influential Cambridge critic F R Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical 'great tradition' of the English novel. He is now valued as a visionary thinker and a significant representative of modernism in English literature.

Lawrence was a twentieth-century maverick in his open and formally adventurous discussion of all sexual issues and especially homosexuality. Perhaps no other major modernist author was so continually absorbed in the subject of homosexual desire, a theme that continually informs Lawrence's work.

Lawrence's greatest exploration of homosexual subject matter can be found in the novel, Women in Love (1920). Here, Lawrence and his wife Frieda are depicted as Rupert Birkin and Ursula Brangwen in a tale based partly on Lawrence's clamorous relationship with the writer Katherine Mansfield, her husband, the literary critic John Middleton-Murray (Gudrun and Gerald of the novel), and Lady Ottoline Morrell (Hermione Roddice).

It was during the composition of Women in Love that Lawrence, frustrated by his failure to forge a deeper bond with Murray, evidently had a sexual relationship with a Cornish farmer named William Henry Hocking in the town of Tregerthen.

The short-lived affair was the culmination of a long-standing struggle with homosexual feelings. 'I would like to know why nearly every man that approaches greatness tends to homosexuality, whether he admits it or not', Lawrence wrote to a friend in 1913. Lawrence told another acquaintance, 'I believe the nearest I've come to perfect love was with a coal-miner when I was about sixteen.'

Yet Lawrence's inability to intensify his relationships with either Murray or Hocking generated his most forthright fictional examinations of homosexual desire, an intense five-year absorption in the subject that included not only Women in Love and Aaron's Rod (1922) but the treatise Goats and Compasses (1917) - which he destroyed - and the self-suppressed Prologue to Women In Love.

Lawrence, D. H. (1885-1930) [GLBTQ Encyclopedia]

Gilbert Proesch

Gilbert Proesch born 11 September 1943

Gilbert Proesch is an Italian-born artist and is the Gilbert in Gilbert and George.

Gilbert was born in San Martino, Italy, and studied art at the Wolkenstein School of Art and Hallein School of Art, Austria and the Akademie der Kunst, Munich, before moving to England.

Gilbert first met George Passmore on 25th September 1967 while studying sculpture at St Martins School of Art, London. The two claim they came together because George was the only person who could understand Gilbert's rather poor spoken English.

They were initially known for being performance artists early in their career but are now best known for their their large scale photo-montages, frequently tinted in extremely bright colours, backlit, and overlaid with black grids so as to resemble stained glass windows. Gilbert & George themselves often feature in these works, along with flowers and youths, their friends, and echoes of Christian symbolism. The early works in this style were in black and white, with red and yellow touches in later series. Later these works moved to use a range of bold colours. Their recent work has returned to a more sombre and darker palette.

The matching business suits which they wore for these performances became a sort of uniform for them, and they rarely appear in public unless wearing them. It is also virtually unheard of for one of the pair to be seen without the other. They refuse to disassociate their performances from their everyday lives, insisting that everything they do is art. The pair regard themselves as 'living sculptures'.