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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

GB Jones Day *

* (restored)

A crash course

GB Jones helped start the homocore scene in Toronto which later inspired the worldwide queer punk movement of the late 80s and early 90s. She was in the seminal, pioneering queercore band Fifth Column, to which current bands like The Hidden Cameras, Kids On TV, Xiu Xiu, and Lesbians On Ecstasy still pay tribute. She is an internationally shown visual artist. In 1996, the New York gallery Feature Inc. released a book of Jones’ drawings, and other artwork, entitled G.B. Jones, edited by Steve Lafreniere. Although widely available in the U.S. and Europe, copies were seized at the Canadian border and it was officially banned in Canada. A twenty year retrospective of her drawings, The Power and the Glory, was held in Toronto in 2005.  With Bruce la Bruce, she founded and co-edited the first and arguably most important queer punk zine, JD’s, in 1985. She has directed a number of underground no-budget Super 8 films. Her best known work is The Yo-Yo Gang, a 30 minute ‘exploitation’ movie about girl gangs that has gained significant cult status even though it, like most of her films, has rarely been screened. She has starred in several underground films including Bruce la Bruce’s first feature No Skin Off My Ass.  She lives and works mysteriously in Toronto.

 

 

Films

The Lollipop Generation (1993 – ?): This legendary, unfinished film, almost fifteen years in the making, about the lives of underaged porn stars is roughly to Queer Cinema what Orson Welles’ ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ is to, well, Cinema. Eternally in progress and always purportedly near completion, its current status is unknown. The artists Scott Treleaven and Paul P, who appear in the film, have confirmed that scenes were being shot by Jones as recently as 2002. A rough, short early draft of the film featuring footage shot in the early 90s has occasionally been screened at film festivals. In addition to Treleaven and P., the cast of ‘TLG’ includes Jena Von Br_cker, Johnny Noxzema, Vaginal Creme Davis, Caroline Azar, Mark Ewert, Karen Chapelle, Rachel Pepper, Diana Donato, Mitchell Watkins, and G.B. Jones.


Trailer: ‘The Lollipop Generation’

 

The Yo-Yo Gang (30 minutes; 1992): This ‘no budget film’ follows the exploits of two girl gangs, the “Yo-Yo Gang” and the “Skateboard Bitches”, as a gangwar erupts between them. The tag line for the film reads: “Gang girls frequently out-curse, out-fight and out-sex every boys’ gang around”. The theme song, “Yo-Yo” is performed by Fifth Column and the film also features songs by Human Ashtrays and by Anti-Scrunti Faction. The soundtrack, including these bands and songs, was a cassette tape only release on Bitch Nation Tapes. Cast: Jena von Brucker, Anita Smith, Beverly Breckenridge, Suzy Sinatra, Caroline Azar, Leslie Mah, Tracy, Candy, Mark Frietas, and G.B. Jones.


Trailer: ‘The Yo-Yo Gang’

 

The Troublemakers (45 minutes; 1990): The film is equally fact and fiction, documentary and performance, home movie and narrative – the line is blurred and distinctions meaningless. Shot in the condemned home of director G.B. Jones and lead actors Caroline Azar and Bruce laBruce, the total cost of the film was the price of 7 cartridges, 3 minutes in length, of Super 8 film plus developing and transfer to video with a one-to-one ratio. There are no outtakes. GB Jones: ‘“We were all really poor so I decided to make a film about what our lives were like, to really honestly portray how we were getting by. So, on one level it’s a document of how people living on the margins of society manage to exist. But on another level, I wanted the film to capture the dichotomy between how society views people like us and how we choose to be portrayed on film.’


Trailer: ‘The Troublemakers’

Visit GB Jonestown at Youtube

 

Artworks
1985 – 1994

‘G.B. Jones has an uneasy fascination with authority and uses her gender and sexual preference to exploit fantasies of rock & roll, sex, groupies, booze, drugs, money, leather, torn jeans,motorcycles and stardom as an all out assault against values that would strive for assimilation of queer culture into the mainstream. She’s every queer girl and boy’s hero, whether you want her to be or not. Believe it or don’t, she is looking out for every queer’s best interests.

‘Her obsession with power, narrative, and the detailed reworking of Tom of Finland’s stereotypical gay male erotica is apparent in the series of drawings titled “I am a Fascist Pig.” This series recalls scenes from a dyke fantasy movie such as “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” Here a beautiful blond female motorcycle cop is seduced by two punkrock babes, who tie her up and steal her bike. We are left to imagine that the cop was raped as the final scene leaves her tied to a tree, bare ass facing the audience, while the babes make a fast getaway.

‘The style the drawings take is usually casual, pencil on paper with heavy outlines and carefully rendered tits, asses, quads, biceps, et al.. and whether framed, pinned to the wall or just printed in a zine, they maintain the freshness of pages torn from a teenager’s school notebook.’ — Arnold Kemp, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

 

2003 – 2005

“ The ruined and decaying monasteries and remote, secluded spots of Caspar David Freidrich’s ink drawings are translated into this age while attempting to continue his traditions. To behold private places, to see the moment altered irrevocably, ravaged by circumstances and violence beyond our control and, afterwards, the beauty of decay. Whether discovered by chance or created by fate, the unimagined becomes visible. What was unknown becomes accessible, fleetingly merging with the aesthetic of the present till, once more, it becomes forgotten and invisible to the future.” — G.B. Jones, October 2003

 

2007
Sackhead
By GB Jones & Scott Treleaven

 

2007 – 2012

‘These works portentous and precise drawings from 2007-12 depict the side of a barn, a smoking ashtray, and hard candy; dark iterations of the landscape, still life, and pop art genres, respectively. Jones’ drawings from 2016, rendered in a looser intuitive manner, portray witches, both real and from film. Jones’ subjects span the last century, and it is important to note that her images are always revised images from those found in the media.’ — P.I.

 

 


Fifth Column

‘Fifth Column is an all-women experimental post punk band from Toronto, which came about during the early 1980s. Originally the group had been known as Second Unit, but they took the name Fifth Column after a military manoeuvre by Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, in which nationalist insurrectionists within besieged Republican Madrid, called ‘the fifth column’, would aid the four columns (north, south, east and west) outside the perimeters.

‘Independent-minded, they released their recordings, including their second full length recording All-Time Queen Of The World, themselves. In 1992 they released a single, “All Women Are Bitches”, on the independent record label K Records. Despite being controversial and receiving little airplay, the recording was voted “Single Of The Week” in the UK music publication Melody Maker. Their last full-length recording, 36-C, was also released by K Records. The band’s latest release was in 2002, on the Kill Rock Stars compilation, Fields And Streams.’ — collaged


‘Like This’


‘All Women Are Bitches’


‘Donna’


Trailer: ‘She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column’


Xtra catches up with Kevin Hegge, Director of ‘She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column’

Albums

To Sir With Hate (1985, Hide Records)
All-Time Queen Of The World (1990, Hide Records)
36-C (1994, K Records)

Singles

“All Women are Bitches/Donna” 7″ on K Records (1992)
“Don’t” 7″ split single with God Is My Co-Pilot on Outpunk Records (1994)
“I Love You, But” 7″ split single with Trailer Queen on Dark Beloved Cloud Records (1995)

Cassettes

Work (1989) Hide Records & Tapes; soundtrack for the video by Paulette Philips, cassette only release

Links

Fifth Column interviewed at PunkAcademy.com
Fifth Column’s Myspace page

Fifth Column Fan Page (in Portugese)

 

 

J.D.s

‘J.D.s is seen by many to be the catalyst that pushed the queercore scene into existence. The editors had initially chosen the appellation “homocore” to describe the movement they began, but later replaced the word ‘homo’ with ‘queer’ to create Queercore, to better reflect the diversity of the scene and to disassociate themselves completely from the oppressive confines of the gay and lesbian communities’ orthodoxy and agenda. G.B. Jones says, “We were just as eager to provoke the gays and lesbians as we were the punks.” According to Bruce LaBruce, J.D.s initially stood for Juvenile Delinquents, but “also encompassed such youth cult icons as James Dean and J.D. Salinger.”

‘The zine featured the photos and the “Tom Girl” drawings of G.B. Jones, stories by Bruce LaBruce, and the “J.D.s Top Ten Homocore Hits”, a list of queer-themed songs such as “Off-Duty Sailor” by The Dicks, “Only Loved At Night” by The Raincoats, “Gimme Gimme Gimme (My Man After Midnight)” by The Leather Nun, “Homophobia” by Victims Family, “I, Bloodbrothers Be” by Shockheaded Peters, “The Anal Staircase” by Coil and many more. Groups like Anti-Scrunti Faction were featured in the fanzine. Contributors included Donny the Punk, comic artist Anonymous Boy, author Dennis Cooper, artist Carrie McNinch, musician Anita Smith, punk drag performer Vaginal Davis and Klaus and Jena von Brücker.’ — collaged

You can download pdfs of two issues of J.D.s for free here from the great Queer Zine Archive Project Site.

Or you can buy a special box set of meticulous recreations of the entire run of the J.D.s zine for the unpunk rock but rather art world price of $80 (Canadian) here.

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Jamie, Hey, Jamie, Mr. Sight for Sore Eyes, you! Thank you for the good wishes! I hope you’re doing great and that I’ll get to see you again soon! xoxo ** James, Thank you, J. Ha ha, I appreciate the conceptual knife gift, that’s plenty. ** MANCY, Thanks, bud! ** David Ehrenstein, Thank you, sir. Is Johnnie Ray the guy who sang ‘The Little Cloud That Cried’? ** Sypha, Thanks, James. ** Featon, Kind words, thank you, and fellow GbV love is the best. ** Dominik, Thank you, thank you, D! ** Damien Ark, Ah, I’m chuffed that I somehow caused you to stream the GbV lexicon, and I’m amazed it only took a couple of days. Thanks, Damien. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Really good Bookworm show. ’11 x 14′ is both my very favorite Benning film and one of my top 10 films of all time, so yes! There’s also a lovely little precursor film of his called ‘8 x 10’. Thanks, man. ** Robert Siek, Thanks so much, Robert! Mm, it was a fun day here, but it wasn’t particular birthday oriented, other than indulging in a plate of Hard Rock Cafe nachos at the conclusion. It was fine. At the moment I would say I feel pretty happy to be based here in Paris and can’t imagine moving back to LA, but you never know what’ll happen. Being an old fashioned guy when it comes to NYC, I think living in Manhattan is the coolest way to go. So I like hearing that. Where in Manhattan, if you have a choice? ** Chris Cochrane, Thank you, Chris, and, yes, talk to you on Sunday! ** Bernard Welt, Thanks, B! You’re older than me? Can I just say that being older is just super peculiar. I don’t get it all. It’s just really weird, or maybe less weird than I thought it would be. Yeah, maybe that. Amazing things yesterday? Not so much, but, for the record, first (all with Zac) a meeting with the French distributor of ‘PGL’, then a falafel, then a bus trip to Bourget to see the Michael Heizer show at Gagosian (excellent, duh), then a visit to the nearby and wonderful Air And Space Museum, then a bus trip back to Paris, then nachos at Hard Rock Cafe, then (sans Zac) metro to my home, ‘like’ all the FB birthday wishes, sleep. Whoo-hoo! No doubt: re: your adventures and fine art viewing. Always happy to hear any details. Superb about the possible Recollets stint in July. I just saw Chrystel the other day. She was in a good mood. Love of love to you, bud. ** kier, Hey, Kier! I’m, of course, so, so, so happy you liked my concert containing intended non-stop bliss. Oh, I just told Bernard right above this what I did yesterday if you want to scroll back up. It was nice, no huge big, but very nice. The Heizer was terrific. No, sad story: A few years ago I was in touch with Heizer’s assistant, and he managed to talk the very mercurial Heizer into allowing Zac and I to visit ‘City’, which he doesn’t let people do, so we flew to LA to prepare to drive out and do that, at which point the assistant told me Heizer was getting cold feet about the visit, but he thought he could talk him into it, so we drove out and got a hotel near ‘City’, and then, for five days, we waited for Heizer to relent and less us visit, and every day the assistant said, ‘He’s in a bad mood today, but I think he’ll say yes tomorrow’, but he never did change his mind, so we just stayed in this weird hotel for five days and eventually gave up. It was sad. Oh, my God, that’s so awesome that you shared the PGL notebooks! I can’t wait! Can I share? I hope. Everyone, As I think most of you know, in ‘PGL’ the main character does drawings to help realise his exploding project, and the drawings were actually done the great artist Kier Cooke Sandvik, who also designed a roadside shrine that’s in the film too, and Kier has shared some of his preliminary drawings and work he did to prepare to make the drawings and shrine in the film, and he shared them for all and sundry, and, naturally, I highly encourage you, whether you’ve seen ‘PGL’ or not, to go peruse them. Here. Thank you, wow! And your site! I’ll be so there too! Great, great, such a great birthday gift for me! Thank you, my pal. I hope your lifting of 2+ kg today is breezy, really breezy. Was it? So much love to you! ** David Saä Estornell, (Warning: Google translation) Muchas gracias, David. Siempre eres tan amable. Como siempre, me encantaría tomar un café cuando te apetezca. Sólo házmelo saber. Mucho amor y respeto a ti! ** Steve Erickson, Ha ha, I did have birthday nachos at Hard Rock Cafe! I’m so predictable. Thank you! Yeah, take it way easy on yourself until your head is styrofoam-light again. ** JM, Thanks, man! ** Jay, Hi, Jay! Thank you very, very much! Today’s your birthday? Whoa. A very, very, very happy one to you! So, I don’t really do astrology, but I guess we’re both Capricorns, which seems like pretty good sign to be, if one into into that stuff. Enjoy! Blast off into your day! ** _Black_Acrylic, Much appreciated, Ben. I just watched Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno a couple of months ago for the first time, and, yes, it’s totally incredible! ** Nik, Hi, Nik! Really good to see you! Happy you’re writing and negotiating the travails. emperor x … no, I don’t know what that is. I’ll go find out. On Jan. 14th we’ll get feedback from our producers on the TV script. Once they’re on board with the script, it goes to ARTE, and then I don’t know how long they’ll take to read it and meet with us. We’re getting there. Thanks a lot, man! ** Bill, Hi, Bill. Welcome home. Yeah, we’re very happy the PGL screenings are at the Roxie, so cool. Ooh, up to you, but just to say ‘PGL’ is not really film I think will work very well on people who are too inebriated, eek. Mm, no other SF plans. I don’t think we’ll be there too long. I think they’re just housing us for the two nights. But, no, just see friends and maybe some art or something. ** Brendan, Thank you a lot, B-ster! So cool to see you! You good? ** Misanthrope, Uh, please don’t remind me, ha ha. I’m trying to just pretend the numbered years stopped being counted somewhere in the past. Snow! Yes! I told Bernard what I did, which wan’t very festive or wild or anything of that sort, but I enjoyed myself. ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal! How cool of you visit! Thanks a lot, man. How are you? What’s going on in your world? ** Right. Today’s formerly dead and now restored GB Jones is quite old, so it’s naturally a bit out of date, and it has an early blog more roughshod look, and etc., but she’s great, so enjoy what’s there, I hope. See you tomorrow.

11 Comments

  1. Hey Dennis,
    Hope you had a solid birthday.
    G.B.’s Sackhead is a really interesting series. Do you know is she did the lettering as well, or was it Treleaven? I love that she continued the Ton of Finland aesthetics into other territories and with such skill!
    I have been good. Nearly done with school for good–just one last class–which is nice. How have you been? I read the Artforum piece about PGL and I’m super excited for your and Zac’s next film. Still hoping PGL somehow finds it’s way down to Texas– def a film that should be seen on screen.
    Ghostly,
    Cal

  2. hello dennis

    belated birthday hugs, exclamation mark,

    i really like GB Jones drawings, especially the soft fag in the ash tray ones and those hot kathy acker type ‘s, cough

    a few days ago i was looking in a old book and i saw some drawings by cynthia plaster caster from the late 70’s ? ooh they were timeless, Dead Flowers was the name of the book, kinda a catalogue of a show

    dennis, do you think there’s a weird excavating of the lower east side ny early 70’s and early 80’s music and art scene all over again ?

    im not complaining its just seems odd, its all incredible work form that period but uugh, or is the late 70’s ny scene a mirror to our late 20’s

    dennis, here is my present to you, its less than 180 seconds, form 1980, i utterly adore it, when they waterboard me il rabbit hole into this and drown laughing

    love you dennis, ya big hunk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc7Hny8uLr0

  3. I’m so happy to make the acquaintance of GB Jones, and am especially loving her zine work.

    My own effort The Call is starting to take shape. I have 2 artists, a writer and a designer all on the cast list, and I plan to start on my own text this weekend. Also the new deadline for the Dundee Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards has been announced for early February so I’ll see if I can sort out some funding for this thing too.

  4. Did you also eat cold sesame noodles yesterday?

    Today has been the first day of this winter where New York went from being cold to COLD. I felt OK today till the weather started messing up my sinus, bringing my headache back, and I quickly rushed back inside.

    I got a download of Sneaks’ HIGHWAY HYPNOSIS today, as well as confirmation that I’ll be reviewing it for Gay City News. Judging from the credits, Eva Moolchan plays all the instruments on it. That was the case on her debut ep, except for one song where Mary Timony contributed keyboards, but every other song there just consisted of her vocals over bass guitar and a drum machine. She hasn’t entirely abandoned that minimalism, but she’s willing to use samples and far more elaborate keyboards to vary her sound while venturing towards elements of more conventional hip-hop and dance-pop (without ever exactly sounding exactly mainstream, but something akin to Missy Elliott producing ESG.) There’s a big jump in achievement and ambition here.

    This weekend’s big project: making lots of headway in my Kamran Heidari program notes and getting past the 2/3rds mark.

    Bruce LaBruce certainly isn’t getting rich off his films, but he gets them produced regularly and released in the US, while Jones seems mostly forgotten, at least beyond the art world.

  5. I KNEW you were gonna end up at Hard Rock for nachos. Makes me happy and, who woulda thought Hard-Rock nachos would be a treasured memory of Paris?
    Yeah, actually, I know I always say this but working on some posts for you–the incredible Hilma af Klint at Guggenheim, the Frankenstein exhibition at Morgan Library, and a show curated by a friend of mine that I really hope you’ll host the post for for, cause I’ve already bragged about my “in” here. It’s good stuff, though.
    I’m working on Straight to Hell with Billy and a book for Billy’s Pictures and Words series, as well as the poetry and short fiction and stuff on dreams (which is what’s mostly kept me busy lately). As usual, I have trouble coordinating. I check here almost every day but sometimes I don’t have time to go through everything.
    I’m three months older than you. Have been for years.
    I’m about 40 miles from Misanthrope. We’re supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow, or 3-5, or 3-7, or flurries. The events of the past couple of years have left me completely uninterested in learning what the future may bring.

  6. Dennis, Love love love GB Jones. Duh.

    Yes, Bernard and I live about 40 miles apart. I beg him to hang out all the time and he never responds. It must be me. Or him.

    I’m going to ask you something that you of course don’t have to answer. But I’ll answer first. I really thought that I would never live to see 30. Frankly, I figured I’d suicide by then. Lots of depression and the like (not to mention the two failed (and feeble) suicide attempts before I was 23). Now I’m 47 and like, HUH? Did you ever imagine living to the age you are now? Or did you ever think, man, I’m never gonna make it past X?

    Of course, now I want to live until I’m 250 years old. People think I’m kidding. But I’m serious. I want to see what happens. I want my flying car and all that. I want to go to Mars (or to be alive when someone else does). Etc. If the body holds up, then yeah, I’m a do it. 😀

    That’s a good day, sir. I’m telling you, you ever have to be in DC, I’m buying you a cake from that cake shop I like. Or at least the raspberry champagne cupcakes. And maybe some epic eclairs from Walls Bakery. Fucking huge, creamy, puffy ass eclairs. Shit, my mom’s supposed to make you her mashed potatoes that everyone loves. Hmmmmmmm…

    I actually do some great blueberry muffins myself.

    I think I’m going to do some writing tonight. Started that new chapter last weekend. I’m primed to carry on. Read that how you will.

    I was late in the FB birthday wishes. Check it out, yo. I think you’ll like it all right. Because I’m goofball.

    See you on the other side…of tonight.

  7. lol nachos at the hard rock. you know most are owned by the seminoles. the one in Athens has a great green Heart cloak. the food there is primo. watched Les Garcons and lol I had to make it up… Lemmy captures a young band and makes them do meth… some great stuff but weird and unsavory

  8. Lovely to see the G.B. Jones day again, Dennis.

    I should be able to catch a nap in between the sour beer event and PGL, should be ok. Let me know if you’re up for a meal or something before one of the screenings.

    I don’t know if you’ll still be in town, but Fred Frith is playing on 2/6, with Bill Laswell and Charles Hayward as Massacre. Not sure if that’s a part of Frith’s oeuvre that you like, but I loved the original Massacre and enjoyed the Hayward version as well.

    Bill

  9. Happy Birthday Dennis! Yay GB! Also, thank you for the invite to the Permanent Green screening in SF. Won’t make it as I’m living in Berlin again (I know, it’s even hard for me to keep track). Have a great one and say hi to the gang for me. Much love, DL

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