Tag Archives: Free Speech

Los Angeles: Controversial John Fleck Film “John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be” Screens July 18

This Saturday, July 18, Brand Library & Art Center  in Glendale, California presents a free screening of the yet-to-be-released documentary John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be which delves into the work of controversial performance artist and award-winning actor John Fleck.

10015010_10152304737575027_613484043635628837_nJohn Fleck, a radical gay performance artist, gained notoriety as one of the NEA Four, a quartet of artists–Fleck, Karen Finley, Holly Hughes and Tim Miller–whose National Endowment for the Arts grants were vetoed by agency head John Frohnmayer in 1990.  The artists’ works were considered by Frohnmayer (but not by the NEA’s peer review) to be offensive. This was at the height of the AIDS crisis. The NEA reversed funding to these artists who utilized body imagery and radical forms of expression to make art that confronted the government’s reluctance–fueled by fear and apathy–to deal with the AIDS crisis. Fleck and his compatriots fought back, and the face of public funding for the arts changed forever, with the Supreme Court ultimately upholding a vague “decency clause” on government arts funding that still limits our freedom of speech today. At that very different and extreme time, much concern was expressed about “the chilling effect” the decision could have on our culture.

During and after the Supreme Court case, Fleck worked in film and television, appearing in Falling Down, Waterworld, and Howard the Duck, and on the series Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek Deep Space Nine, Murder One, Carnivale, and True Blool. He also continued to create performance art,  winning  four LA Critics Circle Awards, eight DramaLogue, seven LA Weekly and two Backstage West awards, all for outstanding performance.

Fleck debuted his fine art in January 2014,  at Coagula Curatorial in the show “Two Johns and Whor10268624_553721054762209_5096812462146475193_ne,” hanging his paintings across from art by queer filmmaker John Roecker whose documentary Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gay Porn Stars… was at one point banned by Amazon. Fleck hung a series of nine paintings made by covering his buttocks and related regions with paint and pressing them on paper and canvas. The series, “Assy-Nine” provided the backdrop for an opening night performance piece involving Fleck wrapped in toilet paper–a reference to both the art work and his NEA-shocking piece–and his operatic, prophetic arias, all captured in Duffy’s film.

Now the film, John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be, which intercuts archival video and current footage from a range of performances and an interview with Fleck, appears to be caught in a chilling effect because of its content, not unlike his piece in 1990. According to an email exchange between the film’s director, Kevin Duffy  and Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, the longest-running and largest queer film festival in the world requested a copy of the film for consideration. Just days before the festival, Duffy learned the film would not be shown, even though Frameline claimed to “love it.” Further queries by Duffy led to him to learn that that the reason was the film’s “construction.” In an interview posted on Duffy’s Facebook page,  Penelope Boyer,  who worked for the National Association of Arts Organizations, a co-plaintiff in the NEA 4 Supreme Court case, says:

Construction is a veiled term for content, and content in this case refers to content that was controversial and that angered  and frightened John Frohnmayer, the chairman of the NEA twenty-five years ago. It is this same content that is frightening a queer film festival now.

Despite Frameline’s rejection of  John Fleck is Who You Want Him to Be, Duffy has screened the film at California State University, Long Beach and California Arts Institute, and on Saturday, July 18 will showing the film, with question and answer following, at the Brand Library & Art Center, in Glendale, CA, just minutes away from Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. The screening marks start of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the film’s licensing and distribution. The reception at 6:30 pm will be followed by the 7:00 pm screening and discussion with the artists.  Admission is free and open to the public (18 years of age and older, due the mature subject matter).  Complimentary parking is available in Brand Park adjacent to the library and an accessible entrance and parking is available on the east side of the building.

FLECK DOC POSTER FINAL BRAND

Azealia Banks Responds To LGBT Criticism, Does Her Rebuttal Have A Point?

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Rapper Azealia Banks has been the center of controversy for the past month for her recent anti-gay comments towards Perez Hilton. When it appeared that the situation had at least quieted down, Banks again went on a tirade this past week on Hilton again as well as the rapper Baauer after they had a conflict over Banks sampling his hit song Harlem Shake, The LGBT community have been vocal condemning Banks’ hate speech as it appears the concept of how inflammatory her comments have had on others.

Well now Banks has even more to say and wants to set the record straight. Overall, Banks feels like the LGBT community is set on vilifying her for something that everyone does and shouldn’t take this incident so seriously when there are other things of more importance:

“Why are all these other things like murder and sex and violence and all these other things accepted, but as soon as I call one gay white man a faggot, his feelings are more important… Freedom of speech, you know, and with freedom of speech comes the freedom to be offended, you know?”

There are such bigger problems… and then you’ve got organisations like GLAAD [Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation], which are fucking complete bullshit.

 

Is Banks right and are we impeding on her right to free speech? No we aren”t because just because you have every right to say what you want doesn’t mean that there are a lack of consequences  There are consequences to every action, even voicing our opinions. We have every right to being offended of the immature, reckless use of words that are used while kids are bullied and nearly beaten to death. A word that they will always associate with pain and fear. The concept of what fee speech seems to be lost on Banks. So free speech is not saying whatever the hell you want without people telling you how that makes them feel.

Then Banks elaborates on this weak point. Claiming all the other wronged groups of the world are still doing the same bad things. It so much is like a child when caught red handed tries to point to everyone else that has their hand in the cookie jar, rather than owning up to their wrongdoing.

Some people are Satanists, some people are Christians, some people are Jews, Buddhists, you know what I mean? Some people are still Nazis… there are some people who are still KKK members… Come on people, please. If you’re trying to call me a homophobe, you’re basically trying to imply that I’m insulting you for having sex with men. I have sex with men too – what the fuck?

I have sex with men and women, do I have to take a picture of my licking a fucking pussy? What the fuck! It doesn’t make any sense. It’s so stupid. It’s so stupid and it’s so evil. And it’s just like this stupid fucking media shit, you know what I mean? It’s the media shit. And this is why I go about myself the way the way I go about myself, and I do whatever the fuck I want. If the media is going to build me up to tear me down, you motherfuckers are not going to tear me down.

Banks clearly has never heard of the terms of internalized homophobia and internalized misogyny that these attacks have been riddled throughout this controversy. The way she condemns sexual acts of gay men as degrading, disgusting and humiliating is disturbing. And we already know all the other dark, cold realities of the world Azealia. The people you are proclaiming we should be focused on are the ones that use the slurs you’ve now become more infamous for.

This isn’t about some tortured artist that is looking to escape the man’s oppressive thumb. It’s about a pretentious ass who thinks it’s okay to act like anything as feminine is weak and then when confronted will cling to the very thing you insulted. There is no re-appropriation to words once they have been expressed in an oppressive manner.

No one is asking you to be a role model or to act a certain way but you damn well better believe that when you have something shitty to say people have every right to tell you what a complete ass backwards hypocrite you really are.

"LEVITICUS 20:13 – TO BE GAY = DEATH" Sign Is Free Speech According To Casper Wyoming – CALL TO ACTION!

The city of Casper, Wyoming can’t and won’t force homeowner Chris Trumbull to remove a sign painted on his fence that reads “LEVITICUS 20:13 – TO BE GAY = DEATH”

Says Trumbull: “I’m not doing it to be spiteful. Gay people are bashing themselves. My fence seems like the proper setting [to express an opinion].”

If it were an ethnic or racial slur they wouldn’t be politely asking him to remove it. This is passive-aggressive homophobia on the part of the city.

And whats even more disturbing is Trumbull’s comment, “My fence seems like the proper setting…” when you consider the fate of Matthew Shepard on a fence in Wyoming

Unfortunately the right to free speech does not come along with a high IQ.

But you know what else is Free Speech?

Writing and calling and mailing  this douchebag and letting him know exactly what you think about him and his sign.

Christopher S Trumbull
1042 N Kimball St
Casper, WY 82601
(307) 265-8321

FREE SPEECH AWAY BOYS AND GIRLS!