Friday, May 29, 2020

JOAN OF ARC, SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON MAY 30th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Joan of Arc who was burned as a heretic on this day in 1431.

She was a peasant girl who led the armies of the King of France against the occupying forces of the English. She claimed to have been chosen by God to drive the English from France and deliver the country to her King.

Joan of Arc said that she conversed daily with Saints Catherine and Margaret and St. Michael the Archangel. Her greatest victory was the liberation of Orleans, where Charles, then Dauphin, was crowned as King of France.

She was later captured by the English and subsequently tried by the Church and burned as a heretic. The focus of her trial was upon the nature of her visions, which the inquisitors condemned as Demonic, and upon her refusal to wear women's clothing.

Joan of Arc was in essence the most courageous of all transvestites, whose insistence upon male dress and hair style, and occupation as a warrior was the excuse used by the Church for her condemnation and subsequent burning as a heretic. The Church however reversed this decision in 1909 by beatifying her, and then finally consecrating her as a saint in 1920.

Though she is a saint of the Catholic Church and a devoted Christian, it is for her courage as a transvestite and possibly as a sacred lesbian that she is included as a Heroic Martyr Saint of the Religion of Antinous.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

JAMES WHALE, SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON MAY 29th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Saint James Whale (22 July 1889 — 29 May 1957), the openly gay British-born director of such films as Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man.

His movies were modern parables about the cruelty of "normal" people towards "monsters" in their midst. 

All of those 1930s films are recognized as classics of the genre. Whale directed over a dozen films in other genres, including what is considered the definitive 1936 film version of the musical Show Boat.

He became increasingly disenchanted with his association with horror, but many of his non-horror films have fallen into obscurity. Whale was openly gay throughout his career, something that was very unusual in the 1920s and 1930s.

He tended to use gay actors who were friends of his, including Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Charles Laughton and Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester, who played the "Bride". Thesiger has tea (below) in mad-scientist garb. 

Bride of Frankenstein, in particular, is widely interpreted as having a gay subtext and it has been claimed that Whale's refusal to remain in the closet led to the end of his career.

James Whale's true genius was in making movies which made the audience sympathize with the "monster" instead of the "normal" people, who invariably were portrayed as ridiculous, comic fools.

James Whale's soaring career was dashed by homophobic studio bosses who objected to having a "pansy" directing major movies. He spent the last decade of his life as an outcast in Hollywood.
He "accidentally" drowned in his own swimming pool in the mid-1950s after having become a chronic depressive following a stroke.


His life was brought to the screen in the award-winning movie Gods and Monsters, which is a masterful adaptation of a very wonderfully written gay novel entitled Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram.


The book and the movie are about his final weeks of life with flashbacks to his childhood in poverty in northern England and his traumatic experiences during World War I and to his heyday as the toast of Tinseltown, and his plunge into obscurity — and his final plunge into the watery arms of Antinous.


It is a great irony that the only out-and-proud Hollywood director of the 1930s is remembered as a man whose name is equated with monsters.


Sir Ian McKellen, who is also from conservative Northern England and is an openly gay star of stage and screen, was nominated for a Golden Globe and for an Academy Award for his role as James Whale in the 1998 movie Gods and Monsters.


Brendan Fraser also won critical acclaim in that film as Whale's yard boy who identifies with the Frankenstein monster. His compelling portrayal suggests to the audience that all of us are gods and monsters, to some degree. But then, even Antinous was a god to pagans — yet a monster to early Christians.


And Lynn Redgrave won a Golden Globe and got an Oscar nod for her scene-stealing performance as James Whale's disapproving Swedish housekeeper — a tongue-in-cheek characterization drawn from the real-life eccentrics who performed supporting roles in Whale's wonderfully campy old movies.


THE NIGHT NIJINSKY SHOCKED
AND TOTALLY TRANSFORMED
THE WORLD OF BALLET


ON May 29th, 1912, Vaslav Nijinsky made his debut as a choreographer — with an overtly erotic staging that shocked and transformed the world of ballet.

Already acclaimed as the world's greatest dancer, Nijinsky choreographed Claude Debussy's "L'apres-midi d'un Faune" (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn) for the Ballet Russes. A standing-room-only audience was crowded into the Théatre du Chatelet for the premiere.

Nijinsky himself danced the title role as the lustful faun trying in vain to seduce a group of nymphs.

Almost immediately after the curtain went up, gasps were heard in the audience. Nobody had ever seen ANYTHING like this on stage and most people could not recognize it as "dance" at all. They were accustomed to pretty ballerinas in tutus and agile men on pointed toe.

Nobody was prepared for THIS  an Art Nouveau frieze of two-dimensional Minoan Knossos mural characters that come alive and "walk like Egyptians."
And nobody certainly was prepared for his ad-lib pelvic humping. This impromptu "onanistic climax" at the end of the piece caused men to boo and ladies to swoon. 
Asked why he had rutted a scarf on stage, he answered, "It wasn't I ... it was the faun!"

The Titanic sank in April 1912, ending the "Gilded Age," and Nijinsky wanked on stage in May 1912, totally transforming the Arts. The stage was set (literally) for the Great War and total transformation of global political, economic and cultural structures.

The world would never be the same again ....


We consecrate Vaslav Nijinsky as a Saint of Antinous and as a living incarnation of Antinous/Pan/Dionysus. St. Vaslav Nijinsky knew how to live Homotheosis every day of his life ... which means living daily the Divine Spirit of Being Gay ... and he knew how to express this ineffable spirit through dance as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF COMUS
GREEK GOD OF DRAG QUEENS



MAY 27th is the Greek festival of Comus ... the god of drag queens! 

Comus is the son of Dionysus which means that he is the son of Antinous, because Antinous is often depicted as Dionysus.

During his festival, the worshipers of Comus would dress in clothes of the opposite sex and have fun dancing all night. He is the god of cross-dressing, partying, comedy and comedians. 

Art above by Edmund Dulac shows Comus in red wig and green frock leading his followers in a wild dance in his role as the god of festivity, revels and nocturnal dalliances. 

He is a son and a cup-bearer of the god Bacchus. Comus represents anarchy and chaos. His mythology occurs in the later times of antiquity. During his festivals in Ancient Greece, men and women exchanged clothes. 

He had a wreath of flowers on his head and carried a torch that was in the process of being dropped. 

Comus was often depicted with Momus (illustration left), who was the deity of satire and mockery and who later became the familiar court jester.

Unlike the purely carnal Pan or purely intoxicated Bacchus, Comus was a god of excess. 

He is the god of drunken revelry, merrymaking, the source of jokes and comedy, especially anything which provokes a huge belly laugh. He is the god who makes a party go with a swing. 

His festival was a time of fun and frolics, with men dressed in drag and women sauntering about in male garb.

27 de maio é o festival grego de Comus ... o deus dos travestis! Comus é o filho de Dionísio. Durante seu festival, os adoradores de Comus vestir-se-iam nas roupas do sexo oposto e dariam o divertimento dançar toda a noite. Ele é o deus do travestismo, da festa, da comédia e dos comediantes. A arte por Edmund Dulac mostra Comus na peruca vermelha e no vestido verde que conduz seus seguidores em uma dança selvagem.

27 de mayo es el festival griego de Comus ... el dios de los travestis! Comus es el hijo de Dionisio. Durante su fiesta, los adoradores de Comus se vestirían con ropas del sexo opuesto y se divertirían bailando toda la noche. Él es el dios del travestismo, fiesta, comedia y comediantes. El arte de Edmund Dulac muestra a Comus en la peluca roja y el vestido verde que lleva a sus seguidores en una danza salvaje.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

EMPRESS REGINA FONG
BELOVED SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON MAY 26th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Reg "Regina Fong" Bundy, a blessed saint of Antinous, who was born on this day in 1941 and died on April 15, 2003. A brazenly gay cabaret artiste — she disliked being called a drag queen — she was a well-known AIDS charity host who  influenced a generation of post-Stonewall gays in Britain with acerbic send-ups of politics and popular culture.

Regina Fong was not just a "queen", she was an "empress" — the last of the Russian Imperial Dynasty of the Romanoffs. Forget Anastasia (and Ingrid Bergman in a '50s film), Regina Fong was the REAL heir to Russian nobility. Like so many Russian aristocrats, she sought asylum in monarchical Britain after the Russian Revolution. There were indeed members of the Russian Imperial family who lived (albeit rather modestly) on the grounds of Windsor Castle during the 20th Century. Empress Regina lived (albeit rather immodestly) in London's West End.

Her Imperial Highness (HIH) Regina Fong did in fact become an Iconic cult figure on the European Cabaret stage. Known to friends as Reg (pronounced "Redge"), she lost her battle to cancer April 15, 2003.

But Reg, by creating Her Imperial Highness Regina Fong, a flame-red-wigged champion of gay rights, was insistently committed to being the knight in shining red armour who carried the banner of charities involved in transforming the AIDS epidemic from mortal tragedy into spiritual triumph. She reminded us all that gay cabaret, especially in London at that time, was (and continues to be) a central part of gay life.

After the "Gay Liberation" in the late '60s and '70s, drag queens and cabaret artistes were pushed to the back of the room, to more mainstream, homogenized images of gay life.

Regina Fong, and other Gay pioneers like Lily Savage, changed this forever and brought Gay Cabaret back to its rightful spot in the London Gay Scene. The Cabaret Tent at London Gay Pride events as the epicenter of Gay culture in good times and bad is the direct legacy of this valiant drag queen — er, ahm — cabaret artiste!

Our own Knight Stephanos personally knew Empress Regina Fong and conferred with her often in the legendary Black Cap gay bar in the heart of the Camden Town District of London. And so it is fitting that KNIGHT STEPHANOS (pictured right with Her Imperial Highness) explains her Sacred Significance to us:

"Happy Birthday Regina Fong even though you and the Black Cap are now gone.

"What can one say in this current day except to pay a tribute to the one and only Reg...Regina Fong, Queen if them all….

"Regina Fong the Empress of Camp. Queen of the Black Cap.

"You Reigned supreme. Sage of the rejected, muse to all that were affected.

"Daily she held court at the corner of the front bar, vodka and tonic, laughter, dialogue quite chronic. Nightly you drew the crowds: shaking us from the  melancholy of the expected life, denial waking strife.

"Cabaret Artiste beacon of hope, torch carrier of all who could but strive to such heights.

"Black cap memories to be had everyday at the end of the front bar at 11:00 am. Sitting to Michael Jeffries swapping war stories giving advice...in comes Steffens and Camp David...last of the Polari...Vada, Vada, Naff, Convo...Laughter, drinks, and scams galore.

"Always aching for the next adventure of days gone by…. If you could smell and hear the wonder of the front bar of the black cap...nicotine stains and morning shakes...characters and creatures of a world gone by...but not forgotten...bastions of an age of defiance, survival, and overwhelming urge to be fabulous.

"Happy Birthday H.I.H. Regina Fong ... the likes of you could never be wrong."

Monday, May 25, 2020

ANTINOUS THE ASTEROID IS A NEIGHBOR
WHO COULD VISIT US WITH A BANG



THE Sun aligns in Gemini today with Antinous ... or rather with Antinous the near-Earth asteroid which could one day pay us a visit ... with a bang.

The Antinous Asteroid … officially called "1863 Antinous," was discovered in 1948 by an American astronomer named Carl. A. Wirtanen. 

Astronomers had known for some time that asteroids were plentiful between Mars and Jupiter. But no one had expected to find any in the Inner Solar System ... certainly not near Earth.

But Wirtanen turned his Lick Observatory telescope inward and discovered eight asteroids in our own vicinity. 

These Inner Solar System bodies are called "Apollo Asteroids" all named for Classical deities, including of course Antinous.

Apollo Asteroids are collectively named after the first one to be discovered. The asteroid "1862 Apollo" was sighted in 1932 and then lost until 1973. 

Apollo asteroids are so small and faint that they are difficult to see except when close to the Earth.

Astronomers fear 1862 Apollo may one day strike Earth, however, they currently do not expect 1863 Antinous to hit Earth … assuming it does not stray from its current admittedly erratic orbit.

Antinous is about 2 km (1.2 miles) in length and spins on its axis one revolution every seven hours. It takes more than three years to orbit the sun.

Antinous Asteroid is a "Mars Crosser" and also an "Earth Crosser" or even "Earth Grazer" planetoid ... meaning it crosses the orbit of Mars and also the orbit of Earth ... and comes very close to Earth.

Antinous came close to the Earth in 1992 and 1999 ... 18 million miles (30 million km) and it is supposed to come past Earth again in the 21st Century ... but hopefully won't hit us! 

A collision with an "Apollo Group" asteroid 65 million years ago may have been one of the causes of the extinction of the dinosaurs. A closely related group, the "Amor Group" of asteroids, come close to Earth but do not cross its orbit.

The art of Asteroid Astrology is very arcane ... only a minority of astrologers employ "Astrals," as astrologers call these planetoids ... and then usually only a couple of major ones such as Chiron and Lilith. 

Quite honestly, they are so new that astrologers haven't quite agreed on what they mean.

The whole focus on asteroids got a boost when astronomers officially down-graded Pluto from a "planet" to a "minor planet" or "dwarf planet" ... the same category to which Chiron belongs.

So astronomers and astrologers alike are having to take another look at their definitions as humankind's knowledge of the cosmos grows by quantum leaps.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

WE JOYOUSLY CELEBRATE
PANSEXUAL VISIBILITY DAY 2020


MAY 24th is Pansexual Visibility Day. Much like Bi Visibility Day, when bisexual people remove their invisibility cloaks and instead don their beautiful bi vis jackets, Pan Visibility Day is a day to celebrate and recognise those who identify as pansexual. 

To help you do that, here are five things you should know.

1. The word pansexuality originally comes from Greek ... just like the Greek god Pan in the poster here. 

Pan means ‘all’, and is related to words like panorama. Pansexual people aren’t attracted to all other people, but they are attracted to people of all genders. This is different from being attracted to everyone; in the same way that a heterosexual woman will not be attracted to all men and a lesbian woman will not be attracted to all women, pansexual people will experience attraction to specific people and not others.

2. It’s nothing to do with saucepans or frying pans. Pansexual people have nothing against old jokes but the one about being sexually attracted to pans isn’t just old, it’s also just not funny.

3. Pansexuality is different from bisexuality but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, while being pansexual means being attracted to people regardless of gender. Pansexuality and bisexuality are not in conflict. In fact, some bisexual people also identify as pansexual, and vice versa. Pansexuality is included under the bisexual umbrella, which covers anyone who experiences sexual or romantic attraction to more than one gender.

4. There are lots of famous pansexual people! Recently, the fabulous Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual, saying ‘I’m open to learning more about who I am’. Other notable pansexual people include Miley Cyrus, Angel Haze, Laci Green and of course the not-quite-superhero Deadpool.

5. Being pansexual is just one part of who someone is. A pansexual person may also be trans, or disabled, or a person of colour, or all three. Pansexual people come in all ages and sizes and enjoy a range of activities and hobbies. On pansexual visibility day it’s important to remember that we’re celebrating pansexual people from all backgrounds and all walks of life.

Happy Pansexual Visibility Day!