Friday, 27 November 2015
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Who would have thought even us gayers had their own god? This was just one of of the fascinating facts I found out at Sunday's Armchair Tour of the ‘Queer People’s Knick Knack Emporium' - an LGBT perspective on some of the collected articles held by the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Our true "Divine Being" is apparently not Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Betty White, Ethel Merman, Bette Midler, Madonna or Cher; it is Tu Er Shen (The Leveret Spirit), a Taoist Chinese deity who oversees the love and sex between male homosexuals - the patron god of gay men. His name is more often colloquially translated as the "Rabbit Deity" or "Rabbit God".
From the Singapore LGBT encyclopedia:
According to Zi Bu Yu - a collection of supernatural stories written by Qing dynasty scholar and poet Yuan Mei - in "The Tale of the Leveret Spirit", Tu Er Shen was originally a man named Hu Tianbao who fell in love with a very handsome, young, imperial inspector in 18th-century Fujian Province during the early Qing Dynasty. However, because of the inspector's higher status, Hu was afraid to reveal his feelings. One day, Hu was caught peeping at the inspector's bare derrière through a gap in a bathroom wall when the latter went to the toilet, at which point Hu confessed his reluctant affection for the other man. The imperial inspector had him sentenced to death by beating for offending a nobleman.Inevitably, the popularity of The Rabbit God (at least in southern China) in the late 18th century led to unwanted attention from the more puritanical elements of the establishment. Later Qing dynastic governments tried to exterminate the cult of Hu Tianbao.
One month after Hu's death, he is said to have appeared [as a leveret, by some accounts] to an elder from his home town in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, King Yama, ruler of the Chinese Hades, had decided to redress the injustice by appointing him the Rabbit God. As such, his duty was to govern the affairs of men who desire men. In the dream, he asked the man to erect a shrine to him. When he awoke the elder obliged by exhorting his fellow village folk to raise money to erect a temple to Hu Tianbao and named it the Rabbit Temple. In return, the Rabbit God responded to his adherents’ prayers without disappointment. Yuan mentioned that people who had underground love affairs, secret agreements and unobtainable desires could visit the Rabbit Temple.
However, you can't keep a good rabbit down! The cult survived in varying degrees in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. And in Taiwan, the "god of gays" survives even to this day...
From the Huffington Post in January 2015:
"In Chinese history, 'rabbit' was a derogatory term for homosexuals," said Lu Wei-ming, who founded the [Wei-ming temple in Taipei] in 2006, at a time when gays were excluded from most religious ceremonies.
He wanted to create a welcoming environment for a flock that had long been ostracised. "This was a group with no one to look after them, and I wanted to fill that void," said the 28-year-old priest, adding that Wei-ming is the world's only shrine for homosexuals.
Liberal attitudes have led to the flourishing of gay culture on the island nation, with Taiwan's parliament debating a bill that would make it Asia's first to legalise same-sex marriage.I am sure we could come up with some far more fitting "ceremonies" to perform in front of that altar.
Lu said mainstream Taoist society remains stuck in a conservative mindset, although the most vocal opposition to Wei-ming temple has come from members of Taiwan's small yet active Christian community. He described instances of Christian activists protesting in front of the temple, including one pastor who attempted to perform an exorcism before the altar of the Rabbit God.
If you happen to be in Taipei at any stage, visit Chinatownology blog for directions...
Monday, 23 November 2015
Saturday, 21 November 2015
...a fully-poseable Michaelangelo's David!
As a reviewer over at the Boing-Boing blog puts it :"The stop-motion animation possibilities are endless."
Reserve yours today at the Japanese "Good Smile" online shop.
Sunday, 15 November 2015
"I know [sex] does make people happy but to me it's just like having a cup of tea."
"I suppose some people would find me shocking in a way. I used to like shocking people when I was a kid. I used to pull my knickers down in the garden and show the neighbours my bum or dance on the shed naked. And it did shock them."
"My biographer said that my parties reminded them of a vicarage tea party, with sex thrown in."
"It's been a rollercoaster life but it hasn't been boring."
The notorious brothel madam Cynthia Payne aka "Madame Cyn" - immortalised twice on screen: by Emily Loyd in Wish You Were Here; and in one of our all-time favourite films here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Personal Services starring Julie Walters - has died. Shares in luncheon vouchers have plummeted...
Miss Payne's excellent modern competitor for Debrett's, Entertaining at Home has been of invaluable help over the years, with its tips on "Understanding Your Slave", "The Live Lesbian Show", "Upon Discovering a Secret Double Mirror in the Bedroom", "Is Three A Crowd?", "The Spanking Party" and "Raid Etiquette for Policemen" among many other things a busy hostess might have otherwise neglected. It has pride of place on our shelf.
RIP Cynthia Payne (24th December 1932 – 15th November 2015)
Friday, 13 November 2015
Each table seated 13. Upon each rested an open umbrella, a bottle of bourbon and 13 copies of a poem called The Harlot. The speaker’s table was strewn with horseshoes, old keys, old shoes, mirrors and cardboard black cats. Before it reposed an open coffin with 13 candles.Nathaniel Leverone, originator of the Anti-Superstition Society celebrates Friday 13th with Judt Kurtz, Bernadine Stevens, Patty Allen, Tani Sawa and Connie Jean.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
“I pity the young because I think it’s very different for them; and because they see all those reality shows and they think ‘I could have a go at that’ but it doesn’t work out that way.”
“I’m doing exactly the same as I’ve always done. It’s what’s around me that’s changed. I mean, Arthur Askey and Julian Clary, they’re not exactly the same. But the process is the same."
"I know I'm incredibly privileged to do something I love and to meet wonderful people. Acting keeps you moving and gives you a reason to get out of bed. It certainly stops you sitting down and feeling sorry for yourself, because you know there's something you've got to be doing and you've got to get on with it."
“I think the fact I’m still working is my proudest work achievement.”
“The three ages of man: youth, middle age and 'my word you do look well'.”
One of the last surviving members of the golden age of British radio and television comedy, the legendary June Whitfield CBE is ninety years old today.
In her long, long career she played alongside generations of the greatest and most popular British comedians including Roy Hudd, Julian Clary, Morecambe and Wise, Arthur Askey, Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd, Benny Hill, Pat Coombs, Reg Varney, Peter Jones, Leslie Crowther, Ronnie Barker, Bob Monkhouse, Peter Butterworth, Dora Bryan, Richard Briers, Dick Emery, Harry H. Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell (Steptoe & Son), as well as appearing in three Carry On films. With Terry Scott, first in Happy Ever After then Terry & June (both shows having viewing figures in their millions), she was among the top-rated performers in light entertainment television during the 1970s.
It is, however, for her remarkable "renaissance" as 'Gran' in Absolutely Fabulous that shamefully-not-yet-a-Dame-but-a-national-treasure-nonetheless June found a massive and avid new audience across the world. This much we know.
Her anecdotes about early 20th century theatrical life and her part in it, however, are perhaps less well-known:
In 1952 she was cast in a Noël Coward musical, Ace of Clubs, and found herself swept into a glamorous new life.I dare say 'The Master' wolfed it down...
“After the show, we would go to the Café de Paris – I saw Bea Lillie, Liberace, Marlene Dietrich. And I adored Coward; I wanted to curtsey every time I saw him.
“His parties at his house in Gerald Road in Belgravia were star-studded. I remember he and Kay Thompson playing two pianos on a raised area – wonderful. And we would play 'The Game'. It’s like charades, you act out a book or a play without talking, but of course people would do saucier and saucier things, like 'Lady Chatterley’s Lover'. Although the clever thing was to do it without being saucy.”
While in a Coward show, “you became part of his family”, she recalled. When young June asked a few of the cast back to her house for drinks, 'The Master' requested an invitation. “My mother nearly died on the spot,” she says. “We didn’t get anything special for him though – we only had salads and cold meat, and wine and beer.”
As he did, we adore June Rosemary Whitfield CBE (born 11th November 1925).
Many happy returns, Ma'am!
Friday, 6 November 2015
Monday, 2 November 2015
With the "Festival of Light" Diwali coming up (11th November 2015), it is appropriate that the V&A's continuing celebration of all things Indian should turn its attention to glittering, sparkling lights...
And so it is that some 60 jewelled objects from the the fabled private collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani are on show this autumn/winter at our favourite museum in London.
Featuring spectacular jewellery and ornamentation from the Mughal period to the present day, including original works by the best Indian craftsmen and those in the West including Cartier and Paul Iribe, some of the aigrettes and brooches alone are enough to get one salivating.
I think we may be going along. Just to measure up for the appropriate turban with which to wear them, of course.
Bejewelled Treasures: the Al Thani Collection is on at the Victoria & Albert Museum until 28th March 2016.