Monday, November 3, 2008

This is just a taste. Look for the live polaroids I took of the revolutionary zombies eating members of the public nude and spattered in blood in front of the Catalonian flag in an upcoming issue of METAL magazine. Also, look out for a feature on Otto in an upcoming issue of BIZARRE magazine. Ok I gotta go to the airport! xxx Blab

Here's some shots from my recent opening in Barcelona at the Antigua Casa Haiku gallery. Sorry i didn't have time to turn them to the vertical.

Random Acts of Senseless LaBruce

This was my MoMA after party... sorry you missed it!
An Otto impersonator...
The U.S. posters for Otto. I don't really like the one with the six pack, but my distributor says it will move the merch.
The upcoming Otto party in Madrid...
Gee I've been travelling so much I can never keep up my blog. Here's what's been happening in a nutshell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

YouTube Censors LaBruce

Muthas at YouTube have deleted my trailers for my melancholy gay zombie movie Otto; or, Up with Dead People. The original one had almost 60,000 views, so at least a lot of people saw it before it was removed for "violation of terms". I suppose it was either because of the nude orgy shots intercut with meat or the scene in which Otto eats a real dead rabbit. Some hardcore fascist vegans have been harrsasing me over that scene and they also had my Otto page on MySpace deleted because of it. Most of them have attacked me in a very vulgar and insulting way without even bothering to try to engage me in any sort of dialogue, and of course without having actually seen the movie. Predictably, they don't seem to like people very much. Here is what a guy with a blog named Fawny, who at least seemed slightly more civil, had to say about the matter on his blog, under a post questionably entitled "Dead Bunnies Out of Gay Porn Now":

Bruce LaBruce’s forthcoming porno, Otto, or: Up with Dead People, promises new forms of transgression. Just what we expect! But what I didn’t expect was the stunning iconography of the movie’s still photos, depicting a handsome, grey-faced, affectless zombie, dressed in high-fashion hoodies and hiding in plain sight amid flowers and shrubbery.

The Facebook invitation to a Toronto launch party–cum-screening for Otto includes a photo gallery. I was looking forward to seeing even more pictures, since the whole campaign is superb. But dead centre in the gallery I saw a thumbnail of our hoodied zombie and thought exactly the following: “Is he holding what I think he’s holding?” I made the mistake of enlarging the picture.

Yes, zombie Otto is standing there holding a dead bunny.

Here’s a proposition for you: Nobody has the right to use a dead animal in gay porn.

LaBruce explained the provenance of the bunny on his (unpermalinked) blog:

The art department has procured a huge dead rabbit for the scene in which Otto chows down on some roadkill. I feel guilty about the rabbit, so I ask if we can at least eat it at the end of the day – roadkill gourmet – but the art director informs me that it’s already been sitting out in the sun too long. Well, I tried….

The art director stuffs the gutted rabbit with cleaned pig intestines and sashimi tuna coated with strawberry sauce, which Otto has to eat. What next, waterboarding?

Indeed, what next?

I E-mailed LaBruce “on the Facebook” to find out if that really was a dead bunny. After he eventually figured out what I stated up front (that I was writing a blog post), he replied:

As I’ve talked about in a number of interviews already, the animal in question is a hare that we purchased at a farmer’s market in Berlin, where hares are eaten as commonly as foul. So the use of the hare is no different than using, say, a turkey in a Thanksgiving scene in a movie.

In fact, I wanted to see if we could eat the hare at the end of the day’s shoot, but the carcass was left out in the sun for too long and it was inebible.

I hope that answers your question.

Here’s another question: Can you show me the contract the hare signed in order to act in the picture? I thought porn was all about consenting adults. A dead bunny is neither.

Of course I don’t buy the argument that Germans eat hare so it was all right to kill that one. Nor that it would have been better to have eaten the thing after the shoot wrapped up. (It didn’t happen, so it didn’t improve things, either.) Nor that “a Thanksgiving scene in a movie” requires a dead turkey.

Do you buy the argument that it was OK to use a dead rabbit in a gay-porno video? Thought not.

I sent him this response, although he didn't deign to post it on his blog:

I read your blog post and I must say I resent the fact that you have characterized my movie Otto; or, Up with Dead People as a "gay-porn video." If you had the opportunity to watch the movie you would understand that it is an art film that is very much about consumerism, the aversion to consuming flesh and meat, and the way that pornography and the popular media package sex and body parts as so much meat. There is a scene in the movie in which the zombie actually visits a meat processing plant and eats raw chicken as the workers in the plant debone the chicken parts behind him. Should I not have included that scene as well? The zombie in the film, it is revealed, was a vegetarian when he was alive, and his aversion to eating human flesh is one of the central metaphors of the narrative. You are certainly entitled to your opinion about whether or not the dead rabbit should have been used in the film - although I still argue it's no different from using a real dead turkey on the table in a thanksgiving scene - but to try to characterize my movie as a "gay-porn video" in order to imply that the rabbit was used in some sort of salacious or sexualized way, is totally unfair and a gross mischaracterization of the work. Furthermore, had we not used the hare in question in the movie it would have ended up on someone's dinner plate anyway (as that is what it was being sold for at the market), so I really think you should put it in a less histrionic perspective. I take my work seriously, and I have to say that out of the hundreds of audiences I have shown the film to so far, no one has suggested that this scene had a prurient or frivolous intent. Thank you for your attention.

I should have also told him that I was born on a farm below the poverty line and my father was a hunter and trapper and he killed animals for fur and meat as part of the income he used to raise his family. He hunted to put meat on the table. I was raised seeing animals being killed all the time as part of the natural cycle of life and death. At nights riding home with my father in the family car he would sometimes swerve to hit a racoon or a rabbit. He would stop the car and throw the fresh road kill in the trunk. If the pelt wasn't too damaged he would skin it and stretch the fur and cure it and send it to Hudson's Bay Company just as he would if he had hunted it with a gun or trapped it. That's just the way he was raised to make a living. So obviously I have a completely different perspective when it comes to animals, road kill, and what is and isn't proper or moral. Some of my siblings ended up being vegetarians. I was a vegetarian for three years starting when I was eighteen but I gave it up when I started having dreams about being chased by hamburgers.

Incidentally, I wonder if these guys have seen the British TV show "The Road Kill Gourmet", in which a chef goes around the country looking for fresh road kill, cooks it up gourmet-style on the spot, and eats it.

Anyway, I'm posting the trailers in question here in case you haven't seen them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Body and Seoul

I love airport buildings like in Seoul that look like gargantuan metallic sci-fi whales.

The Seoul Tower lit up at night in a fiery display. My host Jin Park and I walked all the way to the top of the hill, which was exhausting.

In an old section of Seoul, the Starbucks is forced to surrender its cultural imperialism and feature its sign in Korean. Yay!

Remember when gay fan dancers used to haunt the Toronto Yonge Street gay bars in the seventies and early eighties? At the time I though it was tragically kitsch; in retrospect it was exotically outre. Ban gay marriage; bring back fan dancers.

Nearby is the old school style of architecture.

Here are a couple of monstrous buildings in dowtown Seoul. I like them because they are futuristic ugly.

This is what much of Seoul looks like. It's very modern ugly by day, but glamorous by night, like Tokyo.

Here I am with Jin Park, my hostess with the mostest, as we bridge the gap between East and West in a magnanimous gesture of international friendship.

Here I am in a thoughtful mood waiting for the bus for downtown.

This is what the Puchon area looks like, where Pifan was held. It was the rainy season, so it pissed rain from morning til night during most of the festival, which was good because everyone went to see the movies where it was nice and dry.

This is what one corner of my living room looks like.

This is the great hydroelectric monster of Seoul.

I like the names of the gay bars in the Itaewon area, aka Homo Hills. This is the gay area for Koreans who are into westerners, so it's full of obnoxious ex-pats, including some hot American soldiers. I preferred the Nagwon Dong gay district, which is more rice on rice. My gracious host, Jin Park, of Pifan, took me there and we had a blast.

Nothing says "party" like the Mona Lisa.

Hey, I though this was supposed to be in Nashville.

Here I am with Rodrigo and Marco from Toronto's own Rue Morgue magazine. They were also at Pifan, the Puchon Fantasy Film Festival, and in fact their film, Facts in the Case of Mr. Hollow, won the best short prize. The fellow on the left is Nacho Vigalondo, the director of the Spanish time travel sci fi movie Timecrimes. He was a charming fellow.

The Korean soldiers at the train station were only mildy annoyed when tourists asked to pose for photos with them.

This was another real Korean soldier at the train station. Pretty cute.

This is my favourite. I call it "Two Nude Men Sharing Log Head with Brain and Flowers."

This is some of the bizarre imagery at Dorasan Station, a train station between the two Koreas. Outside we were told only to take photos toward the station, not in the other direction. It was very Orwellian.

This is a diagram of the tunnel we went down into, the tunnel that the North Koreans tried to burrow underground to Seoul in the sixties and seventies. They were planning on invading Seoul with about 30,000 soldiers, but the South Koreans detected the tunnel and put a stop to it. It was fun, sort of like going under Niagara Falls, but without the Falls.

This was our South Korean tour guide. She was hardcore. She chewed me out a little after I snapped my surreptitious photo. But she forgave me later when I gave her a tip. She was a little on edge because a few weeks earlier a South Korean tourist had been shot and killed by North Koreans when she strayed out of the designated area, so relations between North and South were a little frosty at this time.

This building is camouflaged so you may not be able to see it.

Here's the cute soldier again. After the camera incident he told me I was a bad boy!

This was a real Korean soldier at the DMZ. A real cute one. Behind him lies North Korea. You weren't supposed to take pictures of it, but I took one anyway just to see what would happen. One of the soldiers (not the cute one, unfortunately) ran over and demanded to see all the digital photos I had on my camera. Fortunately the one I snapped of North Korea turned out blank so I wasn't executed.

I recently travelled to Seoul, South Korea to show my zombie movie Otto; or, Up with Dead People at Pifan, the Puchon International Fantasy Film Festival. I took a day trip to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. It was kind of tourist-y, but disturbing, political tourist-y. I hadn't had so much fun since Auschwitz. This is a fake Korean soldier in one of the DMZ museums.