wheres the poison?

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i just watched The Legend of Leigh Bowery, a “chronicle of the colorful escapades” of Bowery, a fashion designer, club promoter and artist in London in the 1980’s. he was one of the preeminent club kid/party fashionista, like James St James and Micheal Alig in NY.
Bowery was a fashion designer and had collections featured in NY and Tokyo but he mostly seemed interested in creating pieces for himself. he was one of those people that friends say was “living art”…Bowery created spooky, goofy, shape-shifting, bedazzled pieces for himself to wear out to clubs and parties. in a way it was performance art…Leigh would advertise openings or performances where his entrance was the main event…sometimes followed by an enema onstage. Leigh was a boisterous, colorful, all-consuming character and became quite famous with the clubbers and New Romantics of London…think boy george and adam ant.
(additionally, the new romantics are interesting because they were like the anti-punks. while punk kids were dressing to embody anarchy and violence, new romantics were comparatively more flamboyant; more dramatic, more frills and decadence, luxury and narcissism. very Oscar Wilde.)
like so many other polysexual artists and club kids of the 80’s, Leigh died of AIDS at the age of 33.
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see more of Fergus Greer’s photo set…

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so, some highlights from the documentary….


1) Micheal Clark, a dancer, had Leigh create a couple different costumes for his dance troop. Leigh even ended up performing in some of the works. this piece features one of my favorite Bowery designs, a sort of S&M/mexican wrestler/14th century dandy with a cape and sequins unitard…yes!
and theres boobies and a wicked horse costume in this…
Vodpod videos no longer available.


2.) Leigh had two different bands, the first was called Raw Sewage and consisted of Leigh and two other leading male clubbers, wearing black face and lip synching to Run DMC.
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thats Leigh on the left. also in this picture, you can see a pussy wig on the right…a whole lot of gaft tape, glue and the crown of a wig.


3.) his other band, Minty, played original songs and included bizarre stage shows…
after the interview with this idiotic slag, around 1:50, Minty plays “Useless Man” and gives birth…

you can see in this interview that Leighs wearing safety pins in his cheeks, many of his costumes involved wearing plastic accessories over his mouth held in place with safety pins. as a result, he had permanently open wounds that looked like dimples…

mouth


4.) in 1988, Leigh had a one man show at the prestigious d’Offay’s Dering Street gallery in London. the show consisted of Leigh modeling different costumes on a chaise lounge behind a two-way mirror, so that Leigh would only see himself while visitors watched him primp and preen. it was the ultimate depiction of narcissism and self-absorption. that piece is Leigh’s costume culture ecapsulated.
i love it.
heres a long video of the piece, but you get to see a couple more costumes. the background noise is recorded traffic sounds and was part of the exhibit…

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“the agenda isnt beauty or ugliness, those are all your [the viewer’s] ideas…that seems like a restrictive moral stance which is horrible to me”

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