Author Archives: Alex Ettling

Sal Mineo – queer juvenile delinquent icon

With the arrival of a new biography of Sal Mineo by Michael Gregg Michaud, there has been renewed interest in the film work of the actor, going beyond his most famous role of Plato in Rebel Without A Cause. One of Sal Mineo’s great roles in the juvenile delinquent genre was playing the title character in Dino. The DVD of this 1957 movie, is available at Video Beat, along with several other Mineo titles. Check ’em out.


What’s on: 23 September 2010

Tune in at 7pm on Joy94.9 for current affairs and culture provided by Alex and Sam.

We cross to Sydney to speak to Mark from the Refugee Action Collective who has been protesting at the Villawood Detention Centre in solidarity with the refugees out on the rooftop. Nine detainees on the roof of Villawood detention centre in Sydney’s west have continued their protest overnight, prolonging a tense 24-hour stand-off with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). They have been on a hunger strike since Monday, and all are threatening to jump if Australian authorities don’t agree to give them refugee protection visas. The nine say they plan to jump off together late on Thursday afternoon. We’ll be asking Mark about the current crisis and what listeners can do to support the refugees.

Sam and Alex will discuss the plight of gay Tamil refugee, Leela Krishna Thinagaran Harindran, who has been locked up for claiming asylum and has now been transferred to a detention centre in Melbourne after receiving homophobic bullying. Here’s more on Leela’s story.

And hopefully, this will inspire all our local listeners to get down to Friday’s snap rally in Bourke Street mall at 5pm.

Guy will also be joining us ‘Guy’s Gay Music History Corner’, and this week we’ll be looking at the career of Blackberri, who was a pioneering Black singer-songwriter in the gay San Francisco coffee house scene of the 1970s.

More information can be found on Blackberri’s amazing career at the Queer Music Heritage website.

Check out the song “It’s Okay’ that we’re gonna play here. A recent performance by Blackberri at the National Queer Arts Festival in 2008 was recorded and a very bluesy song can be watched here.

Can you think of another place where you get your news about black queers? If not, that’s why you should support our show and left-wing shows on community radio in general. This will be our second last show before we go on hiatus.  So get it whilst you can. Hey, maybe you should start a show?

What’s on: 16 September 2010

On tonight’s show we chat with Guy Blackman about probably the most iconic Gay Liberation rock star, Tom Robinson. Tobias Manderson-Galvin, Artistic Director of Dogmeat, will come in to talk about this play about the commodification of poverty. And Jeffree Star hops off a plane from the US to join us in the studio. All that, and we’ll be playing some music from the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Sam Sparrow, Benefit, Pavement and Kate Bush. Tonight at 7pm on Joy94.9.

For this week’s Guy’s Gay Music History Corner, we look back at Tom Robinson. He is most famous for his song ‘Glad to be Gay‘, which holds the place as probably the most famous gay anthem ever written. But did you know that before this, he released a song called ‘Good to be Gay‘?

At the age of 13, Robinson realized that he was a homosexual when he fell in love with another boy at school. At that time, male homosexual activity was still a crime in England, punishable by prison. Wracked with shame and self-hatred, he had a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide at 16. A head teacher got him transferred to Finchden Manor, a therapeutic community for disturbed teenagers, where he would spend his following six years. At Finchden Manor, Robinson was inspired by John Peel’s The Perfumed Garden on pirate Radio London, and by a visit from Alexis Korner. The legendary bluesman and broadcaster transfixed a roomful of people with nothing but his voice and an acoustic guitar. The whole direction of Robinson’s life and career became suddenly clear to him.

In 1973, Robinson moved to London and joined the acoustic trio Café Society. They impressed Ray Davies of The Kinks enough for him to produce their debut album, though it sold only 600 copies. The working relationship with Davies supposedly ended when, infuriated by Davies’ lack of punctuality, Robinson sarcastically performed The Kinks’ hit “Tired of Waiting for You” to him when he finally arrived at the studio. Davies retaliated with the less-than-complimentary Kinks single “Prince of the Punks”, about Robinson. In London, Robinson became involved in the emerging gay scene and embraced the politics of gay liberation, which linked gay rights to the wider issues of social justice.

Inspired by an early Sex Pistols gig, he left Café Society in 1976, and founded the more political Tom Robinson Band.

The following year the group released the single “2-4-6-8 Motorway”, which peaked at #5 in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks. The song alludes obliquely to a gay truck driver. In February 1978, the band released the live extended play Rising Free,

which peaked at #18 in the UK Singles Chart and spawned the hit “Glad to Be Gay”, originally written for a 1976 London gay pride parade. The song was banned by the BBC Radio 1.

In May 1978, the band released its debut album, Power in the Darkness, which was very well received, peaking at #4 in the UK Albums Chart, and receiving a gold certification by the BPI. Their second album, TRB Two, however, was a commercial and critical failure, and the band broke up four months after its release. [Source: Wikipedia]

Tobias Manderson-Galvin is the Artistic Director of Dogmeat, an ‘indie theatre show about the commodification of poverty’. Dogmeat is the true story of a boy who spends his days chained to a lamp post. Straight out of the newspaper pages of slum town Shanghai comes this urgent attack on humanity. The idea for the performance apparently came from watching too much Oprah and then some really awful commercial news broadcasting.

We’ll ask Tobias more about this fascinating play that is 23 September 2010 to 10 October 2010 at La Mama as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Click here for tickets.

And coming into the studio to chat is Jeffree Star, the multi-talented make up artist/designer/model/ musician. He’s touring Australia in support of his album Beauty Killer, which features ‘cupcake pop and razor sharp guitars’.

The self proclaimed “Head of the Makeup Mafia” and “Queen Bitch Supreme Among Internet Royalty” started his music career when he put some beats behind his ‘mouthy opinions and cyanide laced wit’. Star began writing “really crazy lyrics” to rap beats, in homage to his obsession with hip-hop which led to a chance encounter with Peaches drummer Samantha Maloney, who produced his first solo tracks in 2006.

Since his first EP and single releases, Jeffree has become a bit of a darling of MySpace . But the wonder of Jeffree Star doesn’t stop there; his live shows are as bold and as shocking as the man himself.

Every live show is an experiment; recently Star has had the idea of “having the fans hold up a giant mirror in the audience so I can watch myself perform”.Jeffree Star plays in Melbourne this Friday, 17 September at Billboard. You can get tickets and download one of his songs here.

Songs we play:

  • Kate Bush – Breathing
  • Dinosaur Jr – The Lung
  • The Lemonheads – Hospital
  • Pavement – Stop Breathing  (which also doubles as a tennis themed song!)
  • Sam Sparrow – Sick
  • Benefit – So Sick
  • Sonic Youth – Touch me I’m Sick
  • Hilltop Hoods – Breathe
  • Berlin – Take My Breath Away

On the show: 9 September 2010

Tune it at 7pm on Joy94.9 to hear us talk about Australia’s queer bushranger Captain Moonlight. We ask the question: why should queers support Palestine? And Guy brings in a song by the first gay country singer Lavender Country.

Damien Ridgewell is coming in to the studio to tell us about a fundraising dinner which is happening on the weekend to send building supplies to Gaza. Damien is the Secretary of Swinburne Student Union, and is also an activist in Students for Palestine which has been active in demonstration in support against the genocide being carried out against the Palestinians.  There are a number of queer people who are making a point of showing solidarity with the Palestinian people, and we’ll ask him what the connection is? We’ll also ask some of the introductory questions and find out what’s the low down with these endless ‘middle east peace talks’?

All money raised will be used for the purchase of cement, which will be used to rebuild infrastructure that remains ruined 19 months on from the Israeli invasion.

This cement will be transported on the “Viva Palestina 5 – a global lifeline to Gaza”, a land convoy leaving London on Saturday, 18th September in conjunction with convoys leaving from Casablanca and Doha.

These convoys will be timed to coordinate with a larger flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by sea at the same time as the land convoys arrive by land.

We have set a target of 500 bags of cement, which will cost $4,300

Entry: $8/ 10
Halal food and soft drink/ tea/ coffee available at decent prices
The evening will be hosted by comedian Nazeem Hussain from the comedy duo ‘Fear of a Brown Planet’
It will also feature:
* speeches from participants in previous land convoys
* Hip Hop artists Pataphysics
* Hip Hop band ‘The Brothahood’
* a raffle
* an art auction
and other exciting fundraising events!

Captain Moonlite was a bushranger living around the time of Ned Kelly. Unlike Ned, he was formally educated – an engineer, a lay preacher and professional soldier. He also had a passion for gold, swindling and easy living, and his charisma and notoriety made him a media celebrity of his day. He wound up in Pentridge for robbing a bank and then afterwards, he took to bushranging with a gang of young men.

While waiting on death row, Moonlite finally “came out” and writing of his passion for his friend James, he asked to be put in the same grave. Wearing a ring made of James’s hair, he was hung and buried in Sydney.

Living in a world where AFL footballers still dare not come out, Y-GLAM tells the story of one bushranger, who also hid his sexuality, one hundred and thirty years ago. ‘Captain Moonlight‘ is written and directed by Sarah Cathcart (CARGO: The True Adventures of Mary Bryant) and performed by the Y-GLAM members.

Written and directed by Sarah Cathcart
Performed by the Y-GLAM Performing Arts Project
Tues Sept 7 – Sat 11 at 8pm – 5 shows only
Auslan interpreted performance Thurs 9th Sept at 8pm
Tickets: $15 Full $10 Concession
Bookings: 9388 1942
The Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre
Cnr Sydney Road and Glenlyon Road, Brunswick
Gold, guns and gays…

Y-GLAM Performing Arts Project, now in its twelfth year, is a program of Merri Community Health Services and is for young people aged 14 to 25 who are same sex attracted or transgender. For more information about Y-GLAM please call 9355 9900.

On this week’s Guy‘s Gay Music History Corner, we are delving into the world of gay country music.

Patrick Haggerty founded the band Lavender Country in 1972, and released the album, ‘Lavender Country’ the following year. It has the distinction of being the first openly gay country album.  Lavender Country was a Seattle-based country music band, which was published by Gay Community Social Services of Seattle. The song we are going to play is ‘Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears’ and you can watch a youtube clip of it here.

What’s on – Thursday, 2 September 2010

Tune in at 7pm tonight: we talk about The Greens deal with Labor that excluded any change to the ban on same-sex marriage. We talk about where pop music is going in this coming decade. And on Guy’s Gay Music History Corner we talk about taxi driver-cum-70s gay singer-songwriter, Michael Cohen.

The Greens have just signed a deal with the ALP, to support their forming a government. Significantly, it includes no agreement to remove the ban on same-sex marriage. hmm. The three rural independents, Andrew Wilkie in Tasmania and the WA National, are all still in talks with the Liberals and Labor to form a majority to govern. Who will come out on top in the end? And what will it mean for the queer community?

[This panda has made its decision about who it supports in the election. It might just be going with the fashion though.]

This election has seen a lot of attention on The Greens and the role of ‘independents’ in politics. On the show we’ll discuss whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for democracy and social change in Australia. I think the person who mocked up the picture below has made up their mind. But hey, the panda seems to be Green supporter, so…

Also on the show, we’ll be playing some of our favourite songs from 2010 (so far), and we’ll make some preliminary predictions on where this new decade of music culture seems to be going? Do we have enough perspective to describe the 2000’s in a way like we can describe the 80’s or 60’s? We’ll quiz Nick on what he reckons!

Mr Guy Blackman will also join us for our regular segment ‘Guy’s Gay Music History Corner’. Today, we are talking about Michael Cohen who was a gay NYC cab driver. Cohen also happened to be a singer-songwriter active in the 70s, who released some of the first openly gay music. And it’s great!

We’re going to play a song called ‘Evil and Lusty’ which is off his first release. Watch a youtube clip of the song here. It’s somewhat harder to find than his two albums that came out on Folkways in 1973 and 1976. Sadly, Michael Cohen never got the attention he deserved and after these three albums, he stopped making music and fell into obscurity. He died in 1997 from an AIDS related illness.

Just for the record, Alex’s favourite gay song EVER is a Michael Cohen song called ‘Bitterfeast’ that is available on a fantastic compilation (very easy to find) put together by music critic Jon Savage. It is called Queer Noises 1961-1978: From the Closet to the Charts.

Thursday nights: are queer politics and culture nights!

On this week’s show we will be talking to Fareen about Muslim/queer identity. We will have Ryan I in the studio playing a few of his indie-pop songs like ‘Ex-Mormon High School Dropout’. And we’ll be looking back at the gay S&M-ish musical act from the 70s, Smokey, as part of Guy’s Gay Music History Corner.

And of course, we’ll be weighing up life’s eternal dilemma: staying in or going out? So tune in for the options, the enlightenment and the entertainment.

All That False Instruction, (7pm, Thursdays on Joy94.9 )

Fareen has lived and worked on several different continents. Born in Canada and raised in Africa to Muslim parents of Indian origin. We’ll be talking to Fareen about her muslim upbringing and how her sexuality has intersected with this.

Fareen holds a B.A. in political science, and M.A. in Development and an Masters in Womens Health. As a day job, she makes a living researching and implementing international development projects that explore the intersections between multiple forms of marginalisation.

Ryan I, is a local songwriter, who will be joining us in the studio to play a few of his songs and storytell about ’em. On the theme of religion, we saw Ryan play at the Equal Love fundraiser a few weeks ago, and were blown away by his whole set, but in particular his song ‘Ex-Mormon High School Dropout’. We’ll find out more about the story behind this song (perhaps the title says it all!), and we’ll also get Ryan to stick around a play another song and some songs by other artists that he’s listening to at the moment. We here that this may include some tracks by Perfume Genius and Sally Seltmann. Why don’t you ‘like’ Ryan on Facebook by clicking here.

We’ll also have Guy Blackman coming in to play a ye olde song from the gay past. This week it’s Smokey and the song ‘Strong Love’.

‘Strong Love’ also happens to be the song that has inspired the title of Guy’s forthcoming compilation on Gay Liberation era music.

Listen in to hear more about who Smokey is and click here to see some of the cool record labels.

Tonight! On your favourite current affairs and culture show

An eclectic show tonight: We have someone on to discuss Indonesian film, we take a look back at a lesbian separatist songwriter, Alix Dobkin, and we talk to some folk from a gay wedding business. Join the gang tonight at 7pm on Joy94.9.

On ‘Guy’s Gay Music History Corner’, our regular guest, Guy Blackman, will be fresh off Doug Pollard’s Digging Deeper segment. He might be a bit emotionally drained, so we’ll go easy on him. This week he’s bringing in a neglected classic from the NYC coffee house scene. 

Alix Dobkin is the name of the songwriter and the band was ‘Lavender Jane’. The song was ‘Talking Lesbian’ from 1973. There’s plenty of information on the internet about Alix Dobkin and she’s also written what looks like an interesting memoir. Check out her website here.

Also on the show we’ll have the folk from Idotoo coming in to the studio to tell us about their business–it does gay and alternative weddings. Their website says that Idotoo is:

for those who aren’t afraid to be who they really are – Gay, Goth, Geek, Green, Rockabilly, Adrenaline Junkie, Circus freak, or just a little bit non-traditional.

We bumped into them at the same-sex marriage rights rally on Saturday. It will be interesting to find out about this segment of commerce.

We’ll also have Debora Mahatmasari from the Indonesian Film Festival, coming in to talk about their opening night tomorrow, and indeed, the rest of festival that goes until next Thursday.

Indonesia is our closest neighbour, yet you would probably agree that most of us know very little about Indonesian culture. What are the stories being told on their cinema screens?

The opening night film is 7 Hearts, 7 Loves, 7 Women (7 Hati, 7 Cinta, 7 Wanita) and starts at 8pm at ACMI.

Exploring the idea that love is often more a curse than a blessing, this film follows the transformative journey of Kartini, a romance-weary obstetrician.

Through a parade of patients, Kartini deals with a kaliedoscope of views on the matters of the heart, while fending off the advances of her colleague.

Kartini’s resistance to love is challenged by the arrival of an eccentric female junior obstetrician who opens up her heart, but also stirs up her troubled past.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director and lead actress.

So join us at 7pm tonight on All That False Instruction. You can twiddle with your dial to 94.9 if you live in Melbourne. Or anywhere else where the internet roams, you can click  on