I recently had the opportunity to interview Bruce LaBruce for the first issue of Cake and Eat It, an anarchist lifestyle magazine that is coming out this spring. Bruce is a true gem, he helped to start the queercore movement with his zine J.D.s (click here to read issue #1 online), his films are simply to die for, and he is a wonderful fashion photographer to boot! Here is one of my favorite shoots by him, there’s not a lot of fashion going on here but it’s fun nonetheless:
and here’s a little sneak peek from the interview, the whole thing will come out this spring:
In your opinion, what does a queer anarchist direct action look like and what are some of your favorite ways to upset power dynamics whether interpersonally or politically?
I think civil disobedience is a good start, although I have to confess I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to participating in any action that might involve me getting arrested. Living in Canada, any infraction can be used as an excuse to prevent you from having access to the US, so I’ve always avoided getting any sort of criminal record. It’s important for me to travel with my work and represent it personally. For me the very act of making sexually explicit gay movies is a kind of direct action, particularly considering that I try to get them shown in fairly mainstream and non-gay contexts. Ever since I made punk fanzines and experimental super 8 movies in the eighties, I’ve treated the use of explicit homosexual material as an act of aggression and subversion. I’ve also used it to represent the fringe elements of a largely conservative and assimilationist gay movement, so I’m all about questioning any sort of homosexual orthodoxy. Otherwise, I do think that things are so monumentally fucked up in the world right now that the occasional brick through a window is supportable. I also support pranks (as long as they don’t involve celebrities), public indecency, sexual transgression, weather-inappropriate dressing, insubordination, disestablishmentarianism, vagabondage, insolence, trespassing, promiscuity, and love, love, and love.
What’s the juiciest rumor you’ve heard lately?
Oh I don’t know. Nobody ever tells me anything because I have such a big mouth.
What’s your favorite flower?
The peony. My grandmother grew them. Here name was Gertrude. We were very close.
It’s cute when guys… [fill in the blank]
…want to fuck you even when you’re old.
What’s been your favorite movie to make and why?
My latest movie, Otto; or, Up with Dead People, was the most fun to make because it was my biggest budget so far by about a factor of five or six and I had a longer shooting schedule than ever before. I had a better camera package and a bigger crew, so I had a lot more to play around with. It was more fun because for the first time I wasn’t trying to make something out of virtually nothing, which is my usual M.O. Although that can be satisfying also.
I felt that Otto was all at once devastatingly beautiful, somber, intellectual and hilarious, what were some of your biggest influences in creating this tone? In particular how did Gogol or Maya Deren play into your creative process?
Actually I started out looking at the cartoons of Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, and Aubrey Beardsley. Then I re-watched the great American Indie horror films Night Tide by Curtis Harrington and Carnival of Souls by Herk Harvey, both of which have that great melancholy, haunted quality that most modern horror films don’t have. Then of course I re-watched all the Maya Deren films, which have that great spooky, avant-garde atmosphere, like a dreamscape. She and Gogol were both born in the Ukraine, so I guess there’s that deeply Russian sensibility that I relate to for some reason, the despair and angst mixed with heavy spirituality and dark humour. I think I have to visit the Ukraine!
Are there any films in the works that we can get excited about or is it all very hush hush?
All I can do is tell you the working title: Gerontophilia.
Since you don’t seem to have any gossip to feed us, what message would you like to give to the next generation?
I hear that Anderson Cooper is into Blatinos.