Tonight, I belatedly learned of the death of one time porn star Taron O. Webb, aka CocoDorm's Pimp. The news came not through any gay news site, or even from the big gay porn news sites like The Sword and Queer Me Now, but by word of mouth, from a friend. Taron's passing wasn't covered by them: the life of a young black man isn't newsworthy enough, even if he was once a part of the industry those sites cover.
With no reputable news coverage of his passing, we're left with his Facebook page, flooded with condolences from friends, family and fans. Their words - and Taron's own - tell us a little about him. One moving post is left by one Moe Marquize, a former partner:
"They say never wait until it's too late to apologize & for that I'm so thankful I had a opportunity to tell you in person... how sorry I am & also to let you know I forgive [you] as well. People coming into [your] life at the unexpected time, and you was one of them. Now looking back every obstacles I had to overcome I overcame them from the lesson I learn from you (my first) and for that [you] will always remain in my heart... words can't explain how hurt I am right now, but I'm know your in a better place. I will always love you Taron O. Webb R.I.P (tore this pic up almost 7 years ago, every time I wanted to threw it away I couldn't, I'm glad I didn't."
Taron was seriously ill towards the end of his short life. On the 4th May, he posted, "Life is rough and can get very depressing watching your body deteriorate before your very own eyes having surgery after surgery and most of all doing it all alone with no one there to encourage you but yet I'll still lift my hands up until the Lord Jesus Christ and tell him thank you anyhow, thank you for what you have given me, thank you for being my God and my guide, and thank you that heaven is my final destination in the name of Jesus Christ thank you."
Two weeks later, he was dead.
Moe Marquize posted on 18th May, "Nobody will never know, you was my first my everything, I love [you] soo much Taron O. Webb I thank God I got to hold you right before you took your last breath.. I'm soo hurt right now, I can't stop cry.. please god, I need help."
That's what's left, lives touched, lives devastated. Those of us who knew of Taron through his performances - a short chapter in an even shorter life - are saddened, shocked, confused by the the jarring juxtaposition of sex and death, of youth and mortality. And there will be those who will write Taron off for the path he travelled; "another dead porn star", as if witnessing him having sex diminishes him, but not the viewer.
But he mattered. His life mattered, and his passing matters.
LAST NIGHT EVERY GREAT FILM SHOULD SEEM NEW EVERY TIME YOU SEE IT
El tercero (The Third One)
The plot for this one is straightforward. An affluent older gay couple in Buenos Aires meet a younger guy online, and invite him over for dinner - and a threesome. And that's exactly what happens in this Argentinian movie. TLA's promotional material, including the cover art, makes the most of the film's ménage à trois, but there's more to this delightful little film than sex. The sex goes on for some time, but the real action occurs around the dinner table. As David McAlmont once sang, there's nothing wrong with a little communication, and this film says a lot. Emiliano Dionisi is a standout as the young Fede, and writer/director Rodrigo Guerrero's film is intimate, surprising, and thought-provoking: don't miss it.
I Am Divine
Faggots aren't very good at history, it seems. I first discovered this when I saw Crayton Robey's Making The Boys, which started off with a vox pop of young gays. None of them knew about The Boys In The Band. I didn't, either. And why would we? Who teaches us LGBT history? If you're lucky, you have an elder. If not, you've got Lady Gaga and Beyonce. A recent episode of RuPaul's Drag Race featured a John Waters challenge, with the womens required to recreate scenes from Waters' films, such as Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble. The gurls appeared to be in awe of Waters, but I wonder how many of them had actually seen any of his films, as opposed to being aware of him as a famous person? (Seriously, do any of us believe for a second that Pearl or Violet Chachki know a single thing about John Waters?)
As for me, I'd only ever seen Pink Flamingos (thanks to my very own beloved elder), but Female Trouble was quickly shoved into the DVD after I watched this absolute gem of a documentary. It really opened my eyes to the legend that was - is - Divine, and left me craving more. I learnt something, but millions of faggots won't. Ain't that a shame?
Like faggots everywhere, I once knew Joan Crawford only from the character assassination that is Mommie Dearest, and the career bookend Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (arguably, Crawford's last picture). But thanks to my beloved elder, and the Tired Old Queen At The Movies, I started looking at the rest of her oeuvre. I watched Mildred Pierce and Sudden Fear, and I was hooked. I started buying every Crawford picture I could get my hands on: Autumn Leaves, Johnny Guitar, Harriet Craig, Humoresque... Each movie left me more intoxicated than before. And then I reached 1932's Grand Hotel. Crawford was Crawford, younger and as mesmerising as ever, but there's only so far back in time you can go before the picture starts to break up, and becomes unreadable. Grand Hotel didn't translate for me; it felt, at times, like watching a YouTube web series in black and white. The make-up on the men jarred, the music overbeared, and the cuts were awkward. It was slow. So I stepped away from Miss Crawford for a while, worried that her remaining pictures would be unwatchable. I shouldn't have worried: I came back to The Shining Hour (1938), a decent flick, and Mannequin (1937), a real pleasure. It's always a thrill to see Joanie as an immaculate wage slave, right before she meets Mr. Right and ends up in mink. And she stars alongside tragic hunk Alan Curtis, who died in 1953, aged just 43.
As a Crawford fan, I've always been a little wary of Bette Davis. Yeah, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? is her picture, and All About Eve is legendary, but I've still only seen a few of her movies, in comparison to dozens of Crawford's. For my birthday, my best friend Rogue "Marbie" Scott gave me Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud, by Shaun Considine, a book that spans the careers of both stars, as well as the rise and fall of the Hollywood studio system. I don't think I've read anything more jaw-droppingly. Think you know the best and the worst of Crawford and Davis? Read this book. Of course, it left me wanting to know more about Bette, and specifically, Mr Skeffington, described in the book as "five months of war, sheer hell". Despite the unpromising title (what were they thinking?!), the picture is fascinating, with Davis' character Fanny aging horribly (she wears a rubber mask), but still trying to attract the boys. Faggots of a certain age will get that.
Where the wild things aren't. "It has become harder than ever to find quick, recreational sex... Where are the men of stereotype, the randy fellows who are always ready for casual tumbles? Are the guys with insatiable libidos now hiding somewhere outside of West Hollywood and the West Village? These days, even finding an online hook-up takes too long.
"I'm an outsider. They hate outsiders. Oh, they're polite enough - that's how they are. You don't know the things they've made me do trying to protect myself. And how ashamed I've been sometimes because of them. You don't know how they are. But you'll find out, as I have."
"I would also like to take this opportunity to squash the persistent rumours about mysterious 'disappearances' and emphasize that rural and urban areas are now enjoying a life of harmony and peace. I'm sure you're glad to hear this. And I'm happy you're glad."