William E. Jones

Mousse 56
2006-2016 A Small Anthology

 

10-year anniversary special issue: a selection of essays, interviews, conversations, and projects appeared in the first ten years of Mousse.

Featuring: Chantal Akerman, Cecilia Alemani, Jennifer Allen, Kai Althoff, Bruce Altshuler, Ed Atkins, Lutz Bacher, Darren Bader, Alex Bag, John Baldessari, Phyllida Barlow, Kirsty Bell, Andrew Berardini, Jonathan Berger, Michael Bracewell, Tom Burr, Maurizio Cattelan, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Stuart Comer, Lauren Cornell, Nicholas Cullinan, Roberto Cuoghi, Nick Currie, Massimo De Carlo, Gino De Dominicis, Gigiotto Del Vecchio, Simon Denny, Brian Dillon, Jimmie Durham, Dominic Eichler, Peter Eleey, Matias Faldbakken, Luigi Fassi, Elena Filipovic, Morgan Fisher, Isa Genzken, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, Liam Gillick, Massimiliano Gioni, Isabelle Graw, Ed Halter, Jens Hoffmann, Judith Hopf, William E. Jones, Omar Kholeif, Alexander Kluge, Jiří Kovanda, William Leavitt, Elisabeth Lebovici, Andrea Lissoni, Helen Marten, Chus Martínez, Nick Mauss, Lucy McKenzie, Fionn Meade, Simone Menegoi, John Menick, Ute Meta Bauer, Massimo Minini, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Trevor Paglen, Stefania Palumbo, Francesco Pedraglio, Otto Piene, Laura Poitras, Elizabeth Price, Seth Price, Laure Prouvost, Alessandro Rabottini, Carol Rama, Filipa Ramos, Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roelstraete, Esperanza Rosales, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Fender Schrade, Stuart Sherman, Frances Stark, Jamie Stevens, Hito Steyerl, Sturtevant, Sabrina Tarasoff, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Oscar Tuazon, Giorgio Verzotti, Jan Verwoert, Francesco Vezzoli, Adrián Villar Rojas, Peter Wächtler, Ian Wallace, Klaus Weber, Cathy Wilkes, Christopher Williams, Jordan Wolfson.

Mousse is a bimonthly magazine published in Italian and English. Established in 2006, Mousse contains interviews, conversations, and essays by some of the most important figures in international criticism, visual arts, and curating today, alternated with a series of distinctive articles in a unique tabloid format. Mousse keeps tabs on international trends in contemporary culture thanks to its city editors in major art capitals such as Berlin, New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles.
Mousse (Mousse Publishing) is also publisher of catalogues, essays and curatorial projects, artist books and editions.

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Cruising the Movies : A Sexual Guide to Oldies on TV
By Boyd McDonald


Introduction by William E. Jones

Ronnie Reagan’s bizarre legs are sufficient reason to watch John Loves Mary (1949), a picture so ordinaire it needs this bizarre touch. When the faces in this historic still from the Museum of Modern Art are cropped, Reagan could pass for a butch lez from the Women’s Army Corps who is about to put the old make on a fluff (Patricia Neal).
—from Cruising the Movies

Cruising the Movies was Boyd McDonald’s “sexual guide” to televised cinema, originally published by the Gay Presses of New York in 1985. The capstone of McDonald’s prolific turn as a freelance film columnist for the magazine Christopher Street, Cruising the Movies collects the author’s movie reviews of 1983–1985. This new, expanded edition also includes previously uncollected articles and a new introduction by William E. Jones.
Eschewing new theatrical releases for the “oldies” once common as cheap programing on independent television stations, and more interested in starlets and supporting players than leading actors, McDonald casts an acerbic, queer eye on the greats and not-so-greats of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Writing against the bleak backdrop of Reagan-era America, McDonald never ceases to find subversive, arousing delights in the comically chaste aesthetics imposed by the censorious Motion Picture Production Code of 1930–1968.

Better known as the editor of the Straight to Hell paperback series—a compendia of real-life sexual stories that is part pornography, part ethnography—McDonald in his film writing reveals both his studious and sardonic sides. Many of the texts in Cruising the Movies were inspired by McDonald’s attentive inspection of the now-shuttered MoMA Film Stills Archive, and his columns gloriously capture a bygone era in film fandom. Gay and subcultural, yet never reducible to a zany cult concern or mere camp, McDonald’s “reviews” capture a lost art of queer cinephilia, recording a furtive obsession that once animated gay urban life. With lancing wit, Cruising celebrates gay subculture’s profound embrace of mass culture, seeing film for what it is—a screen that reflects our fantasies, desires, and dreams.

About the Author
Boyd McDonald (1925–1993) was a writer for Time and IBM, a journalist, and founder and editor of Straight to Hell, a celebrated fanzine that bore a variety of subtitles, including “The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts” or “The New York Review of Cocksucking.”

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William E. Jones
Halsted Plays Himself

Fred Halsted’s L.A. Plays Itself (1972) was gay porn’s first masterpiece: a sexually explicit, autobiographical, experimental film whose New York screening left even Salvador Dalí repeatedly muttering “new information for me.” Halsted, a self-taught filmmaker, shot the film over a period of three years in a now-vanished Los Angeles, a city at once rural and sleazy.

Although his cultural notoriety at one point equaled that of Kenneth Anger or Jack Smith, Halsted’s star waned in the 1980s with the emergence of a more commercial gay-porn industry. After the death from AIDS of his long-time partner, lover, spouse (and tormentor) Joey Yale in 1986, Halsted committed suicide in 1989.

In Halsted Plays Himself, acclaimed artist and filmmaker William E. Jones documents his quest to capture the elusive public and private personas of Halsted–to zero in on an identity riddled with contradictions. Jones assembles a narrative of a long-gone gay lifestyle and an extinct Hollywood underground, when independent films were still possible, and the boundary between experimental and pornographic was not yet established. The book also depicts what sexual liberation looked like at a volatile point in time–and what it looked like when it collapsed.

William E. Jones is an artist and filmmaker who teaches film history at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has made two feature length experimental films, Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), several short videos, including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998), the feature length documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many video installations. His films and videos were the subject of retrospectives at Tate Modern, London, in 2005, and at Anthology Film Archives, New York, in 2010. He has worked in the adult video industry under the name Hudson Wilcox.

“[A] fascinating glimpse of a bygone gay culture whose aesthetic was far less polished, more earthy, and more dangerous than our current one, defined as it is by dollars and digital media.”
Sam Biederman, Bookforum

“As a project born out of the author’s sincere admiration for his subject, Halsted Plays Himself amounts to a very passionate, if not sentimental, account. Jones not only attempts to symbolically revive Halsted in this elegy, but continuously constructs imaginary scenarios which could have resulted in him still being alive, better understood, or more accepted.”
Aliina Astrova, Kaleidoscope (blog)

“[A] rich and rewarding excavation of a blazing moment in the early 1970s…[A] valuable installment in a recent, resurgent interest in queer documents from that flourishing social period, positioning Halsted’s artistic legacy within a teeming moment of gay visibility.”
Bradford Nordeen, Art in America

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William E. Jones
Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton

Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton telescopes 350 years, the period from the 1620s to the 1970s. It is what artist William E. Jones imagined Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy would have looked like had it appeared in the pages of Drummer magazine. In preparing the book, Jones condensed Burton’s vast 450,000-word masterpiece of 17th Century English literature to a small fraction of its length, and paired the excerpts with vintage images of leather men at work and play. Robert Burton was fascinated by the variations of human sexuality, albeit more as an observer than as a participant. He wrote about sex in covert Latin passages that are newly translated in Jones’s book. Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton is a delightfully perverse condensation of Burton’s speculations on the sexual proclivities that subsequent generations of gay men put into exuberant practice.

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