Re: Gregory Markopoulos and queer aesthetics

From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Dec 03 2009 - 12:07:34 PST

While it might be seen as possible that some filmakers were using Greek imagery in order to lend legitimacy to work that might be spun as being pornagraphic as opposed to art, could it not be just as possible that the filmakers were drawn to such imagery as for them it represented a more free and civillised point in time where gay people were accepted and even respected! As such, things such as pillars could be read as either signifiers to say this is a more advanced society (in the film) or as a sort of badge or emblem of freedom etc.

As for Gregorys attitude to the U.S. souring AFTER he left for Europe, my understanding was that attitudes towards gay people in the U.S. and in particular in the experimental film scene of the time, played a big part in him leaving the U.S. in the first place. Basically he was driven out of both.

It's ironic to me that Gregory was so lambasted and attacked for being "too obsessed with this homosexual thing". To me it seems he was obsessed with beauty in general terms and that his films may have some homosexual themes because well, he was a gay filmaker and that was a part of his life. It's not often after all that Hollywood films are attacked for being obsesssed with hetrosexuality! Perhaps this underlines the extent to which people were not used to seeing gay voices expressed on screen at the time. However it seems strange to me that Gregory should have been singled out for such viscious attacks when his work is not confrontational in the way that say the work of Jack Smith or Kenneth Anger might be seen as. (I'm thinking of Kustom Kar Kommandos while I write this and having a giggle).

Perhaps that itself was what really riled people up, for being a gay man and daring to make serious films. It was easier to write off jack smith and Kenneth Anger as just freaks but Gregory was more difficult in that way. OTOH maybe it was just cowardice and Gregory was an easier target compared to Kenneth or Jack who might seem more threatening. You could end up subject to a satanic curse or well, anything really! ;)

I guess we can only speculate.

What I do know is that Gregory Markopolous films are very special and well worth going to see if the opportunity ever arises.



--- On Tue, 12/1/09, Chuck Kleinhans <email suppressed> wrote:

> From: Chuck Kleinhans <email suppressed>
> Subject: Re: Gregory Markopoulos and queer aesthetics
> To: email suppressed
> Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 10:49 PM
> I appreciate this elaboration by Marc
> and Fred.  As I said, I'm no Markopoulos expert; Ron
> Gregg would be the right person to ask for more details.
> I think Fred is right about Markopoulos' life long and deep
> involvement with classical Greece.  It might be
> interesting for someone to work out more of the  use of
> sanctified high culture by pre-Stonewall gay male
> filmmakers, since it seems one prevalent strategy for
> validating a stigmatized sexuality.  We can see some of
> this in Blood of a Poet and other Cocteau films, some parts
> of Kenneth Anger's work, Willard Maas (I'm thinking of
> Images in the Snow with its strong Catholic overtones), and
> perhaps Charles Henri Ford and Charles Boultenhouse (haven't
> seen their work for ages, so I'm guessing there). 
> After a certain point it seems that the outlaw and bike boy,
> drag queen and superstar (to use Juan Suárez's book) themes
> and images took over which are much more clearly resident in
> camp.  Another way to pursue this might be through
> re-reading Parker Tyler's analysis  of "sleepwalkers"
> and Sitney's use of them to define the trance film and look
> at Markopoulos through that lens.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.