Blab November 2002

Blab November 2002
Well the big day has arrived, Platinum Oasis II, except I've spent so much time writing about the preamble that now I really don't care to discuss the actual event. But just to be nice I'll run over some of the highlights, in a kind of cantankerous, Lizzie Grubman kind of way. The Coral Sands is buzzing with all sorts of unsavoury activities as soon as the doors open at four p.m. This year there is a glory hole room, at least two fisting suites (it's virtually the new handshake), and a peep show in which you can videotape yourself having sex while a live feed broadcasts the act to other rooms. In one very popular space NYC spoken word artist Nicole Blackman reads titillating tales of the senses to one blindfolded listener at a time in The Courtesan's Tales. In another, famous dyke photographer Cathie Opie holds court at a lesbian separatist tea party, but that doesn't stop her from coming over to my room and inviting me to do a collaboration with her at some point in the future. Delighted. The Velvet Hammer, an L.A.-based burlesque troupe, has its space dressed up like something it purports to be straight out of Fellini's Satyricon (it's supposed to be a Pasolini theme, but hey, at least they got the Italian filmmaker part right), while Toronto's own Will Munro languishes in his room, which he has chosen to leave virtually untouched (why tamper with the decor of the Coral Sands if you don't have to?), displaying his pop art underwear in drawers, on the bed, and on his own skinny body, not to mention on the skinny bodies of several young things that he has accumulated since arriving in L.A. only the day before.
One of the most popular installations, entitled "Odeum - Worldwide Hate," by John AesNihil and Stanton Levay, the latter being both the son and grandson (don't ask, but think Chinatown) of famous Satanist Anton Levay, is decorated in early and late Third Reich, chock full of every conceivable piece of Nazi memorabilia you can imagine, and several inconceivable ones you can't. A couple of the volunteers from Outfest are literally in tears over the inclusion of this shrine of evil, but as Vaginal Davis, one of the organisers, argues, how can you have an event based on the life of Pasolini without referencing fascism? Salo? Hello? Anyway, apparently the dykes get it, as a whole slew of them will end up fucking on the swastika-covered bed by the end of the evening. Not to be confused with the lesbian separatist tea party. (Just kidding — I actually support lesbian separatism. In fact, I think we should give them their own homeland. Might I suggest Baffin Island?)

One of my favourite installations is by artiste Michael Casselli. It kind of reminds me of a chill-in room for the electric chair set. Here's the description from the catalogue: "The room is set with rings of electrical discharge running diagonally up the walls. There are four separate circuits that are timed to discharge in a random sequence, periodically synching up together. The units produce ozone, which give the room a specific smell. These are all high voltage, low amperage supplies and the room will end up resembling a Frankenstein movie prop gone awry. The sparks will be the only source of light supplied in the room and they also produce the sound source. My desire is to create a dis-ease, a feeling of uncertainty and possible danger to the viewers."

Funny, that's how I also felt in the fisting suite. Not to mention the lesbian separatist room. To give the whole affair a kind of Pasolini's The Decameron flair, popular avant-garde designer Rick Owens has lugged three industrial sewing machines to the Coral Sands and has converted one of the rooms into a mini sweat shop, his worker-bees whipping up designer togas for the Platinum Oasis participants. I have a nice chat with Rick, whom I have only known previously as Stupid Good Rick, the arch-nemesis of my Hustler White collaborator Rick Castro, also known as Bad Rick. As I am now the arch-nemesis of Stupid Good Rick's arch-nemesis, Bad Rick, I guess it's time for us to become friends, as fellow arch-nemeses sometimes do. He seems like a very nice guy, so I snap him with my Pasolini corpse and sign the Polaroid for him. He also introduces me to his friend the wonderful Arianne Phillips, the famous film costumer who has been outfitting Madonna for the past ten years. She tells me that while she was in Toronto working on Hedwig and the Angry Inch she and her friends would spend their evenings wondering how in the world they could track down Bruce LaBruce, but they never did. That's one thing you've got to hand to Toronto: nobody ever meets anybody that they're really looking for.

One of the most exciting performers I meet at P.O. is Deadlee, the hardcore, street-wise Cholo gay rapper, who has a debut CD out called Seven Deadlee Sins. (Check out his hot web site at Deadlee is totally ghetterosexual, and I mean that strictly as a compliment. In fact, we hit it off so well that he will come up to see my solo photo exhibition in San Francisco at peres-projects a month later to discuss the possibility of starring in one of my upcoming pornos, L.A. Gangbangers. But that's another sick story. Back in my room, which we have completely wrapped in white paper, the carnage is getting pretty carnal. Slava is on the bed in his pig's mask and suit and tie, and as I pop photos of him he does a slow pig striptease. The photographic assistant I've hired is the same one who helped me shoot Kembra Phahler's "Wall of Vagina" last year, so he's already seen everything. Slava can't get it up as usual in such circumstances — he's a little camera shy — so he asks if we can find some cute Latino guy to stick his bare ass in through the window so he can get aroused. My photographic assistant goes for a stroll through the Oasis and comes back five minutes later with not one but two nubile young porn stars that he's, ahem, headhunted from another room. They proceed to give Slava the Pig good head. Suddenly my room has become a lot more popular. A whole bunch of annoying homosexuals have gathered outside the door and window to get a load of the load that Slava is sure to soon blow in the faces of the willing cocksuckers. Just to separate the Pasolini men from the Allan Carr boys, I direct St'Eve to throw the bucket full of pig's blood on the fornicating porkers. A bloody-spattered orgy ensues, looking like a cross between a bathhouse and an abattoir. But is it art?

After the photo shoot I attempt to take Polaroid's of the public in the blood-spattered room posing with the run-over corpse of Pasolini, but people seem to be taking too many liberties with the body. I don't get the impression that enough people are respecting the dead, so I retire the room for the evening. Later, at about six a.m., after I've explored the other rooms, I lie down in the bed beside the body. I've grown kind of attached to the little guy, although I'm too shy to initiate anything serious.

At about eight a.m. Miss Davis emerges as St. Salicia Tate, her Mormon drag alter ego, and baptises those who have sinned at Platinum Oasis, submerging them completely in the dirty, cum-and-cigarette-butt-filled Jacuzzi. Then Glen Meadmore and his Hot and Horny and Born Again Country Band finish off the event with several gospel hymns. It's very spiritual.
Speaking of spiritual, when I get back to Toronto I'm met at the airport by the Muslim, who has been away in India and Africa for several months. He's looking very dark and handsome, the eastern sun having brought out the Arab ancestry in his skin. He's wearing a royal blue Indian-style suit and little dark glasses, and my heart melts when I see him. In the car on the way back to my place he tells me that in October he's moving back to Africa for good — permanently. I kind of expected something like this to happen, considering he's always felt a kind of racist vibe in Toronto that has only been exacerbated by the events of Black Tuesday. Anyway, I'm pretty devastated. I cry all the way home.