In Kevin Killian’s review of Justin Spring’s Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, Killian recounts his own close encounters with Steward, who lived in the Bay Area in the ’80s, and his divergent viewpoints with a man whom he found, while not entirely fascinating, intriguing, not only for his sexual prowess and Stud File, but for Steward’s relationship with Gertrude Stein, his life as a tattoo artist in seedy postwar Chicago, his artistic endeavors, and multiple identities during an age of homosexual persecution. It was a transitional time for Killian as well, and his initial apprehensiveness toward Steward as subject matter gives way to real understanding.
Some changes in the Oscars over the years, and especially this year – 2010 sees 10 best picture noms as opposed to 5, a woman winning best director, and no gilded Miramax flick in the bunch, right? Except that “damned Helen Mirren” still got unwanted attention from co-host Steve Martin. Kevin Killian notes what has changed and looks back on a man who maybe got the Oscar show rolling in a new direction long ago, Allan Carr, who once ruled the Hollywood party scene and blew it all on a weird Snow White night. There’s a new book out about him by Robert Hofler called Party Animals: A Hollywood Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll.
It’s another year and another Oscar party with Kevin Killian and friends. Well in posts past there have been a few grumblings about changes in the handling of the In Memorian section (this year you just might have needed some heavy glasses to actually see who had died, but Queen Latifah was great); the issue starting to shine through in 2009 – like the high beams radiating from some Oscar night bling of yore – is that the biopic needs its own category, just too darn unfair to pit an actor playing a real person versus a made up one!
HBO released a new documentary this summer by Marina Zenovich about director Roman Polanski’s long ago scandalous sexual encounter with a young girl – Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. An exile from the States ever since this event and the subsequent bumbling, showy court case, Polanski has weathered more storms in his life than most could handle; yet Zenovich, in Kevin Killian’s view here, seems to be letting Polanski a little off the hook (for such a serious charge) in her retrospective cut. Art by Danny Jock.
“Has any star, bar Arthur Kennedy, been so unjustly forgotten?” writes Kevin Killian about screen legend Richard Widmark, who died this week at age 93. If you’re under 40, you probably know Widmark only as a staple of 1970s schlock—a supporting star in everything from Murder on the Orient Express to Rollercoaster to The Swarm and Coma. But as Killian argues, Widmark was a precursor of the Robert DeNiro school, an actor who plumbed the timorous and venal corridors of the American male psyche before it was fashionable to do so.
Kevin Killian gets together with friends at his San Francisco apartment to vote on the Oscars (he and Drew, Stephen, Emily, Minette, Maizie, Georgette, etc mentioned in the review). It’s the 3rd time for Fanzine that he’s sent us their take, and again his scorecard isn’t matching up. Seems to be a year in which he might have titled the piece: "No Country for Anyone but Brits and Flukes." This year there is blood indeed! Art by Danny Jock.
While we here at Fanzine would argue that Kevin Killian, rather than being a nobody, is quite the man, he does manage to shadow, ghostlike, the celebrities of the "Art World" at Art Basel 38 in Switzerland. This is Killian’s first trip to Europe, and Twain-like, his Yankee perspective is insightful, if not a down right riot. Be sure to look for more on Killian in Fanzine in forthcoming articles this month.
If nothing else, Fanzine has no shortage of writers with encyclopedic knowledge of the movie industry over the last century. Kevin Killian returns to Fanzine with a piece on Alida Valli, via Glenn Ford. Trademark Killian writing here—fast paced and entertaining with an incredible detail. My favorite line: "It’s like she ordered two hams, and here they are."