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Armistead Maupin & Chris Turner at Burning Man

Armistead Maupin and Chris Turner

Armistead Maupin

The brilliant writing of Armistead Maupin, is beautifully woven into the fabric of LGBTQ culture and history.  Those wonderful characters portrayed in his many books are fascinating and so easy to relate to. During Burning Man 2013 we had the great pleasure of joining the crowd listening to Armistead reading from the manuscript of his upcoming novel, “The Days of Anna Madrigal.”  It’s a must read, especially if you are a fan of Tales of The City, a “Burner” or witness of LGBTQ history. Also had the pleasure of shooting a candid portrait of Armistead and his partner Chris Turner at the Celestial Bodies bar at Burning Man.

Honoring Jimmy Langham at sea

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The Gallery has been edited 3-24-2015 [click here]

Jimmy Dale Langham

March 22, 1962 – October 24, 2014

In remembrance of Jimmy, Donald Ferguson, his partner, hosted a gathering of family and many friends from all over the country, March 22, 2015, in San Francisco for one last time to honor Jimmy and spread his ashes at sea near the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Jimmy” never a James was born in Mississippi, but considered New Orleans as his home.  As a young man he worked his way through college to receive a degree in Advertising and Design, and moved to New Orleans where he worked as a Graphic Artist for several years until he met his long time partner and spouse Donald Ferguson.  Jimmy and Donald moved together to New York City where they spent ten years.  Jimmy was the chief Graphics Designer for Donald’s Public Relations firm, Geduldig and Ferguson.  When that firm merged with a global PR firm in 2004, Jimmy and Donald were relocated to San Francisco for four years, then “retired” to Palm Springs, CA. in 2008.  They kept a second home in New Orleans until after Katrina, but have made multiple visits yearly to Jimmy’s favorite place. Jimmy and Donald were together for 23 years, legally marrying November 1, 2008.  Jimmy is survived by his loving partner and spouse Donald, his mother Mary Lou Hughes, his older sister Pam (David) Walker and younger sister Donna Hays.  He has three nephews, Donovan and Christopher Hays and Tyler Langham, and a niece Madison Olivia Cliburn.  He is also survived by all of the members of the Ferguson family who embraced him fully, and his many Palm Springs friends and friends throughout the country.

Jimmy loved to party and loved life and friends!  His favorite quote was:

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.

May he Rest in Peace.

Jimmy Langham Celebration of Life

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Celebration of Life for Jimmy Dale Langham.
Palm Springs, CA. Tuesday, December 30, 2014.

Jimmy Dale Langham

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Jimmy Dale Langham

March 22, 1962 – October 24, 2014

A Celebration of Life for Jimmy Dale Langham, was held in Palm Springs, CA. Tuesday, December 30, below is a link to the slide show of photos from Jimmy’s life, compiled by Palm Springs photographer,  Eddie Fleming.

“Jimmy” never a James was born in Mississippi, but considered New Orleans as his home.  As a young man he worked his way through college to receive a degree in Advertising and Design, and moved to New Orleans where he worked as a Graphic Artist for several years until he met his long time partner and spouse Donald Ferguson.  Jimmy and Donald moved together to New York City where they spent ten years.  Jimmy was the chief Graphics Designer for Donald’s Public Relations firm, Geduldig and Ferguson.  When that firm merged with a global PR firm in 2004, Jimmy and Donald were relocated to San Francisco for four years, then “retired” to Palm Springs, CA. in 2008.  They kept a second home in New Orleans until after Katrina, but have made multiple visits yearly to Jimmy’s favorite place. Jimmy and Donald were together for 23 years, legally marrying November 1, 2008.  Jimmy is survived by his loving partner and spouse Donald, his mother Mary Lou Hughes, his older sister Pam (David) Walker and younger sister Donna Hays.  He has three nephews, Donovan and Christopher Hays and Tyler Langham, and a niece Madison Olivia Cliburn.  He is also survived by all of the members of the Ferguson family who embraced him fully, and his many Palm Springs friends and friends throughout the country.

Jimmy loved to party and loved life and friends!  His favorite quote was:

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.

May he Rest in Peace.

Gender Performance and Drag

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Gender Performance and Drag

The celebrated philosopher Judith Butler rejects both the notion that gender is an essential characteristic of persons and the claim that sex determines ones gender. “Sex” refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. “Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Many assume that sex determines gender, that the sex one is assigned at birth determines his/her behaviors, traits, interests, and career throughout life. This assumption fails to notice that the expectations for “women” vary from Hollywood, California, to the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, i.e. a Hollywood fashion model would be seen as odd in Vicksburg, Kentucky, and a mountain woman, wearing Brogan boots to hoe the fields would be seen as odd on Rodeo Drive, or maybe not so much any longer. According to Judith Butler, gender is a performance, it is something each of us does on a daily basis; everyone does drag every day, blending mixtures of masculinity and femininity. Not only are the images in these photos in drag, but the viewers attending this gallery exhibit are also in gender drag, i.e. performing male or female in the way that they decorate their bodies, move as they walk and carry their books and supplies.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History have been one long challenge to the notion that sex determines gender. Indeed, gender stereotypes make sense only within a heteronormative/heterosexist society. Amusement is apparent on the faces of two moms, a lesbian couple, when someone asks them who will teach their son how to build a tree house or work on cars. Gay dads wear the same expression when someone asks them who will teach their daughter how to be a woman: heterosexuality is assumed normal in order for these questions to make sense. Lesbians, gay men, bisexual persons and transgendered individuals negotiate gender traits on their own terms. LGBT lives break the gender binary and make freedom from gender stereotypes possible for all persons.

Ron Williams’ images capture gender as performance. From frivolous to somber, confrontational to campy, the individuals captured in these photos refuse to be reduced to a spectacle for the viewer to catalog or label. These images may be received by some as celebratory and others as challenging, but they are each undeniably and richly human. If the images provoke feelings on the part of the viewer, that may say more about the viewer him/her/hierself* than it does about the image. I know that, as a 52 year-old gay man, these images in the Ridley Gallery, on the Rocklin campus, in Placer County, make me feel at home and at peace. These are my sisters and brothers, the Hogwarts family that I discovered onlyafter I left the family that physically birthed me. Both families gave me life.

Johnnie Terry/LGBT Studies and Philosophy Professor

*Hier or Zie is a non-gendered pronoun used to refer to individuals who reject the gender binary.

 

Genderally Speaking – gender expression photo exhibit – Sierra College

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A Sierra College student critique of “Genderally Speaking.”

“The pictures exhibited by Ron Williams were so unique and definitely not something that you see everyday. In his picture you could see how full of life these men and women were and how confident they were in themselves, something many of us strive for. It was beautiful to see picture full of smiles, colors, and confidence especially when these men and women face so much prejudice and discrimination based on societies narrow definition of normal. The makeup and the clothing were so extravagant and colorful that it automatically made you happy and made you question your own wardrobe, haha. I think there’s truly something to be said about being so unapologetically yourself and knowing whom you are and being comfortable with that. And I appreciate the photographers quote-

“Whether it’s masculine or feminine, I believe people passionate about their gender expression, in radical and creative ways, are the bravest of souls”.

Gender expression is an important part of our lives and to see someone basically flipping society on it’s head and saying screw it, I’ll do what I want is really inspiring and hopefully will be influential in loosening the boundaries we put on men and women to conform to the rules of gender. My favorite picture was a close up on a male in drag and the little smirk and fierceness in his eyes emitted so much confidence that for a few seconds I felt encouraged and confident myself. Drag queens could really teach society a thing or two about confidence and self-expression in a time where self acceptance is a rare virtue and many men and women feel pressure to look like one another. It makes me happy to know that we are no longer in a time where a school is sued for an exhibit like this one and where we are educating people about LGBT culture and the impact it has had on our society that we often will ignore.

1970 – G. Mark Mulleian’s Crucifixion

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Mark Mulleian’s
Homoerotic Crucifixion has been stolen.

I first met Mark Mulleian in 1970 while living in the Morning Glory Commune in The Haight Asbury. We were all fascinated with Mark’s Crucifixion painting. Ron Raz an up and coming New York was the model. I published my memoirs in 2012, and reconnected with Mark again after nearly 45 years, here’s the excerpt from, “San Francisco’s Sissy Native Son.” by Ron Williams.

“Upon the gallery wall was an enormous canvass eleven by seven feet:  “The Crucifixion,” a work in progress. It lay upon scaffolding for the artist and at 90 degrees on the opposing wall, a life size wooden cross for the model, Ron Raz himself, to hang upon (un-nailed) during the hours he modeled for the Crucifixion. We found it a revolutionary work of art as well as a controversial painting. Mark beautifully enhanced the Crucifixion with the chiseled muscular features that he transposed from Ron Raz’s masculine body onto the canvass. From my perspective it was an erotic Jesus with, perfect biceps, muscles and to-die-for and perfect abs. Even the naked feet depicted with nails driven directly through the ankles into the cross were fascinating and aesthetically arousing. 

We all knew it would be controversial to publish a spread about the artist and the “The Crucifixion,” but we couldn’t pass it up; it seemed out of the context of what we were doing with the “Organic Morning Glory.”  But then so was Mark Mulleian, who was a Vietnam veteran and a bitter one at that. He had been angered by U.S. policies in Vietnam War and nearly court-martialed for carrying dismantled rusted parts of his rifle in a gunnysack to protest the war.”

Today the whereabouts of Mark Mulleian’s  Crucifixion painting is unknown, it disappeared from Mark’s storage locker, several years ago.

http://www.mulleian.com/biography.htm

Paul Deegan writes about Mark Mulleian.

 

www.mulleian.com