December 2000

BY Bruce LaBrucePublished Nov 17, 2016

In honour of the recent appearance of Vaginal Davis at Vaseline, the hip bi-weekly club upstairs at the El Mocambo run by Will Monroe here in Toronto, I offer some recent bitter emails I've sent to the legendary L.A.-based six foot six black drag performer and old friend, just to show you how our Vulcan minds meld:
"We just keep losing all the greats," as Bette Davis said of the passing of Gloria Swanson on Carson. Well, Gloria Swanson didn't pass on Carson. At least I don't think she did. My life is a joke with no punch and judy line these days. Wasn't that one of my best jokes ever, vis-à-vis "The Cider House Rools": Never let Lassie direct a movie. I thought I'd almost bust a gut. Have you borrowed it?
Anyway, like I was saying, too many lonely hotel rooms. I can't sit still. I'm always over-stimulated. I was almost overcome with a moist-eyed nostalgia today while listening to some old answering machine messages. You see, some art type in Vancouver roped me into contributing some super 9 to some dumb festival there, so I'm giving them some never used for good reason footage of me jerking off, test material for stupour eight and a laugh, and I thought I'd use old answering machine messages for the soundtrack, a little tricky I learned from Candy Royale. And so I listened to the very first messages that you and Glenn sent me. "What is this salty discharge," quoth I to myself, wiping me eyes as I listened. (A Seinfeldism.) But I also laughed because almost every message Candy and I received for four years was people exhorting us to get out of bed because it was well into the middle of the afternoon. Those were the days, and still are. I've been on a bender since Vancouver. It hasn't been pretty, nor have I. I'm making Dorian Gray's portrait look like a production still from the Loretta Young show. (Another great gone.) Still, I feel like a twenty-year-old. It's like a house without a bathroom — uncanny.
Milano started out disastro but ended up marveloso. The gallerist loved me to death, and he's straight, and the whole shebang was bankrolled by my new patron saint, Ernesto Esposito, a famous shoe designer who designs shoes for the likes of Marc Jacob, Luis Vuitton, and such. He owns a shoe factory in Venice. It's like an obscure Fassbinder movie. He's from Napoli, and he wants me to go there to shoot a movie, and in Capri, where he has a house. He calls me son of Warhol (don't tell Margaret-Taylor Meade). He's quite the art collector — he bought his first painting at the age of 18 — an Andy Warhol electric chair! Good choice. You and I could retire on it. Anywho, he's a slightly rotund, balding 47yr old delightful man who showed up at my opening with a guy who makes most male models seem homely — a filmmaker of sorts who was introduced to me as "one of your new stars." Thang kew! Like Debbie Reynolds says in Vincente Minnelli's production of Goodbye Charlie, when she discovers that she's a philandering man named Charlie reincarnated in the gorgeous body of sexy woman: "I don't even have to go out and see a Brigitte Bardot movie anymore. I can just stay at home and pull down the shades!" (Christ, what ever happened to Hollywood writers?). So anyway, Ernesto brought his brother and father to my show, and both of them ending up buying photographs. we ended up selling 12 G's worth of photos on opening night. But you know, it's so strange because it just seems like an indulgence to me, a whim, this photographic business. It's just something I'm doing because no one, but no one, will give me money to make another movie. You'd think that my last feature had been The Postman. And they're still throwing money at Kevin Costmore. Jesus wept. But Ernesto will come through.
Coinkadinkally, a Canadian famous writer in Vancouver named Michael Turner proposed to write a movie for me to star in and direct, an investigation into the life of the famous male nude photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden. When I proposed it to Ernesto, he was very keen on it, owning as he does quite a lot of original von Gloeden's himself. I will play Jurgen Anger, a haggy old washed up filmmaker who goes to Taormina in Sicily, which von Gloeden put on the map in the ‘20s with his photos. I'm trying to do a documentary on him, doing research on local trade strictly for anthropological reasons of course. I have a sexy, harsh Catholic Italian female interpreter who hates me, is totally homophobic, and translates everything wrong and talks pejoratively about me in Italian in front of me all the time without me knowing what she's saying. One of her seven brothers is my driver, but on a boating excursion he disappears, and I am blamed somehow. (Taormina is also where Antonioni's L'Aventurra was shot.) It's also a little bit Godard's Contempt. I think it's time for me to go Nouvelle Vague, don't you? So it looks like Italy is my destiny for the moment.
Well, Christ, I don't know what else to say. I'm dating a telephone repairman who's on Zoloft. He has muscles like Popeye. I met him at the Barracks, Toronto's gay s & m bathhouse. He's a clone, kind of. He reminds me of my father. The quiet, masculine type. I'm all excited that you're coming to T.O. Where are you staying? OK I gotta go get wallpapered. Love to the kids. Bruce

Oh dear: not only are we on the same page, we're in the same sentence. I don't feel much like making movies for vapid people who don't really appreciate them anyway. I hate industry types too, and I hate ambitious young filmmakers in especial. They've got nothing to say, and they're saying it. I'm beginning to think that you-know-who couldn't finance a cool-aid stand. He's trying to get money from porn companies, but they're so damned cheap, they don't want to spend even 50 lousy G's on a movie. He tried to get money from one of my distributors of my porno, and they said they would be interested in a "collaboration," but one of them wanted to write it! They just don't get it at all, do they. How many ways can you write a cock into a glory hole? What is it, Rashomon?
I hate people in general I guess. People have accused me of misogyny in the past ("vicious lies, malicious invention," as Elizabeth Taylor spits in Boom, another reference point for my Italian movie, shot as it was on Capri), but I always tell them its only a sub-set of my greater misanthropy. So you snagged a part in Gideon's Crossing? What is that, about a Bible salesman? Black men are always called Gideon on TV. I'm so glad they wouldn't let you use Vaginal in the credits. It's nice to know that some things are still banned. You and Eminem. Eminem almost got banned in Toronto the other night. Wait till they hear you're coming to town.
I'm fed up with magazine people too. They expect the world, and pay nothing. I'm not some green kid fresh outta NYU. I gotta be thinking about retirement soon. Do you know this porn star Billy Herrington? He emailed me. He's the current colt man of the year. Maybe I should hitch onto this guy's tail. Anyway, I'm glad you're as mizrahi as I am, except I am getting it regular from the telephone repairman. I also tricked with a 56 yr old this week with one of the biggest I've ever seen. I met him on the net. It was like blowing grandpa! Christ, I need help. Then I thought I scored this hot 18 yr old on the net, but when he came over he was fat! Well, not obese, but kind of doughy. I sent him on his way. I feel like doing nothing today. Nothing nothing nothing. I'm going to watch L'Avventura. Like I need more ennui. Later skater, bruthe
P.S. Send Jeffreyland my fond regards from the promised land. P.P.S. I'm gonna plug your Toronto appearance in my little column in Eye weekly, and I'll mention that you need to get laid. P.P.P.s. Oh I forgot to tell you about Rebecca. She's hilarious. She's really kind of kooky in a good way, like she's always on a lark. She was being chauffeured around Milan in a car by this really hot Italian guy who was constantly on his cell phone. She was flirting with him shamelessly. You can tell she likes a little blue in her collar. She took me to this party at the Pucci store and I met Pucci's daughter, who had with her the Pucci dress Marilyn Monroe wore in some movie or other. They just bought it back at an auction for the Pucci museum for tens of thousands. Rebecca introduced me to these two guys who do publicity for Pucci; they also did Prada for ten years, so they're way up there. They were flabbergasted to meet me in the flesh, all star struck. I went to dinner with them and this former redheaded model and her husband, and then we ended up at a small party at the home of that former fashion scribe for the New Yorker. What's her name again? Rebecca had begged off, citing fatigue. You get the impression she spends a lot of time in bed with a room service tray on her lap, a phone jammed under her chin, watching television with the sound turned down. Kind of like me. In fact, she emailed me later and said she'd gone back to her hotel room and watched Cassavetes Gloria dubbed in Italian. B

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