Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wild Boy, 1932

Wild Boy 1932 by deanv41
Wild Boy 1932, a photo by deanv41 on Flickr.
I'm reading Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, a book first published in 2000 that I've wanted to buy ever since. The new edition is updated since 2006. It's a huge treasure-trove of lost history, illuminating the Berlin of Cabaret in a very vivid and graphic way.
The author, Mel Gordon, began his research when he was working with Nina Hagen on her Weimar Cabaret review in 1994. Surprised by the dearth of visual imagery of such a fabled time, Gordon ended up amassing so much pornographic ephemera that he decided to publish a definitive book on the subject. It thoroughly destroys the arguement that the sexual revolution for Gays & Lesbians began with Stonewall, pointing to Berlin and Paris as the true birth places of the movement for sexual liberation. Berliners shocked even their French counterparts with ever-more ribald performances and outrageous social and sexual transgressions.
Here's a photograph of one of the Wild Boys, a group of polymorphously perverse queens that defied all social convention. Weimar Berlin evolved in a dismal economic period after the moral collapse of WWI, existing in the tenuous interlude between that calamity and the next one that rose with the Third Reich. Gordon's wonderful book helps put Berlin back at the very center of Gay history, political resistance, and avant-garde development.

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