Accidental Bear Interrogates Bruce LaBruce; “Hollywood is Dead.” (Q & A)

by Accidental Bear

photo by Maxime Ballesteros

It is rare that you get to chat with someone you consider a legend and has influenced your life. Well slap my ass and call me Judy, I just did. Bruce LaBruce is brilliantly off key and sharp. Bruce’s film No Skin Off my Ass  skated me through a blurry time in my life by inspiring  me with  images of homocore-queer-skinheads and exposing me to a side of gay culture I could honestly relate to other than Jack Tripper from Threes Company. There is nothing cookie cutter about Bruce and he has kept true to the integrity of his art. I imagine Bruce like myself would find beauty in a mud puddle in a dirty parking lot. That takes an untrained eye and nothing thousands of dollars of art school can teach you. My interview with Bruce is direct and to the point, no fluff. I suggest you draw yourself and bath, get a little tipsy, do some poppers and slip into the water and enjoy our chat. What happens below the water is your own business.

Bruce’s dirty, dirty past; Bio:

Bruce LaBruce is a Toronto based filmmaker, writer, director, photographer, and artist. He began his career in the mid eighties making a series of short experimental super 8 films and co-editing a punk fanzine called J.D.s, which begat the queercore movement. He has directed and starred in three feature length movies, “No Skin Off My Ass” (1991), “Super 8 1/2” (1994), and “Hustler White” (1996). More recently he has directed two art/porn features, “Skin Flick” (2000)(hardcore version: “Skin Gang”) and “The Raspberry Reich” (2004)(hardcore version: “The Revolution Is My Boyfriend”), and the independent feature “Otto; or, Up with Dead People” (2008). After premiering at Sundance and Berlin, “The Raspberry Reich” took off on the international film festival circuit, playing at over 150 festivals, including the Istanbul, Guadalajara, and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festivals. He was also honoured with retrospectives at the end of ’05 at the Madrid and Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals. “Otto; or, Up with Dead People” also debuted at Sundance and Berlin and played at over 150 film festivals, culminating in a screening at MoMA in New York City in November of 2008. His new film, L.A. Zombie, starring French star Francois Sagat, premiered in competition at the Locarno International Film Festival in August, 2010. It will have it’s French premier at the L’Etrange Film Festival in Paris and its North American premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in Septemer. 2010. The hardcore version, L.A. Zombie Hardcore, will be released at Halloween, 2010.

Q & A: Be ready to be titillated.

Accidental Bear: Where are you living these days? Is it an inspirational place to live for art?

Bruce LaBruce: I’m based in Toronto but I spend a lot of time in Berlin. Berlin, yes. Toronto, not so much.

A B:  Are you working on any top secret projects right now?

Bruce: Yes.

A B: In the early 90’s I remember watching “No Skin Off My Ass” , and being blown away. When you think of the 90’s what are some things that come to mind?

Bruce: Rwanda, landlines, Kosovo, German Reunification, dial-up, Tamagotchi, Suede, Dogme 95, raves, the Cuban Special Period, snail mail…

A B: Your work has always been  “shocking”  and scandalous from the beginning, from which comes a large following. Where do all of your out of the box and provocative ideas come from? Are you twisted (in a good way)?

Bruce: The velvet rage! All my work can be explained by homosexual panic. I have to believe that I am twisted in a good way.

A B: I have put you and your work on a creative pedestal for may years and applaud you for pushing the envelope. Do you think Hollywood is too watered down so it pleases a larger audience?

Bruce: Hollywood is dead.

A B: I have always enjoyed the raw underbelly of a scene whether music or film. Would you consider your films underground or occult?

Bruce: Both.
A B: How would the closest people in your life describe you?

Bruce: Know-it-all, absent-minded professor, alcoholic, prince, star.

A B: Cake or pie?

Bruce: Please don’t make me choose.

A B: “Alternative” has become the mainstream in music and films it seems. How do your films stay genuinely “out there” and original?

Bruce: Ha ha. A friend of a friend of mine used to say, when someone called somebody “alternative”: “alternative to what? Good looking? Talented?”.
I am not alternative. I am no one’s alternative to anything. People looking for alternatives don’t find me an appropriate one. That’s how I remain “out there”. I’m not even an alternative to the alternative.

A B: Two of my favorite things are art and porn which are two words I think of when your movies popped up in my head. Have you ever had any protests  at any of your films over its content?

Bruce: Yes, there have been protests. My favorite was when people picketed the Institute of Contemporary Art in London for showing my neo-Nazi porn movie, Skin Flick. And that was the softcore version!

A B: What emotions stir in you when I say censorship?

Bruce: Emotions of publicity.

A B: What are some of your guilty pleasures in life?

Bruce: Reality TV, poppers, The View, amphetamines, Macs, meat, anal sex, French fries, bathhouses, Coca Cola Classic in a can.

A B: With most people spending far too much time on the internet these days, it has made it easy for “Big Brother” to track people’s every move. Is it possible to live off the grid?

Bruce: Only if you pull a Jeremiah Johnson.

A B: Facebook, Twitter, Manhunt, Grindr, Twat Licker (kidding, made up that last one) etc. Is being so connected to the world on a second to second basis a good thing?

Bruce LaBruce and LA ZOMBIE star Francois Sagat

Bruce: You better register the domain. Oops, too late! I just looked it up. I think the influence of social media is overplayed. The internet itself was the quantum leap, not so much social media. Although it has had the negative effect of giving everyone the delusion that they’re famous.

A B: Are you a gadget man? No, I’m not talking sex toys silly!

Bruce: No I’m a Gidget man!

A B: Growing up, my gay role models were always super flamboyant, bizarre and “icky” for lack of better words. Today, do think queer kids have any gay role models?

Bruce:You mean like Merv Griffin, Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly? The gay role models of today make those flamboyant fairies of yesteryear seem like glamorous, urbane sophisticates!

A B:  What do you think about the divisions within the queer community (Twinks, Lesbians, Bears, Leather etc) Do you have any Bear friends or at least bearded scraggly friends?

Bruce: Oh yes, of course. I’m all inclusive. I have twink friends, lesbian friends, straight friends, transexual friends, regretter friends. I’m friends with bears, Muslims, leather queens, people of colour, people without pigment, pig people, pockmarked Jew fairies. I don’t discriminate.

A B: I wanted to personally thank you for showing us Tony Wards cock in Hustler White. Tony has exploded all over recently in ad campaigns. Have you stayed in touch?

Bruce: Well, he does have a cameo in my latest movie, L.A. Zombie. He plays a homeless person and he made his own costume.

A B: Do have your eyes on anybody your would love to work with in the future?

Bruce: Lindsay Lohan.

A B: Are there any successes that you are most proud of? Even if it was a super hot trick you brought home

Bruce: My Cuban homosexual husband.

A B: My Barbara Walters moment. Have you been a victim of bullying in your life or been the bully?

Bruce: I was badly bullied in public school. It sucked.

A B: Do you feel as if you have a stronger bond with the gay community or the art community? Or are they one in the same for you?

Bruce: My bond with both is tenuous at best.

A B:  If someone is needing a Bruce LaBruce fix, (good short film plot) what do you suggest?

Bruce: Heroin!

A B: What are some things you are looking forward to? Project wise or personally?

Bruce: I am looking forward to the fall of advanced capitalism.

A B:  Speaking of personally, do have a “special friend” ?

Bruce: I’ve been married so long I can’t even remember what a “special friend” is. Do you mean someone with learning disabilities?

A B: Dog or cat person?

Bruce: Neither nor.

A B:  Is there anything you would like to say to young artist/ film makers struggling to make it happen?

Bruce: Don’t get up on the piano!

A B:  Thanks so much for playing!!!

Bruce: You’re welcome!!! xxx Blab

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