For a long time now, Jeanette Winterson has been the uncrowned queen of lesbian fiction, but Sarah Waters is about to change that. Thirty-six-year-old Welsh-born Waters’ first novel Tipping The Velvet has been adapted for TV by Andrew Davies of Pride and Prejudice and Moll Flanders fame.

Davies read the novel in one sitting. ‘I think I got to the bit where our heroine is dressed in a little guardsman’s jacket and boots, and wearing nothing else but a dildo and I thought: “I must do this show,”’ he says. ‘Although it’s about a young lesbian in 18905 London, anybody who’s grown up, anybody who’s been in love, or anybody who’s struggled to make their way in life is going to identify with Nan and go along on the journey with her.’

Waters is equally happy. ‘They’re being very faithful to the book,’ she says. ‘I went down to the set a couple of times. And indeed they got me a part in a couple of the music hall audience scenes which was terribly exciting. They dressed me in this coat thing that Nicole Kidman had worn in A Portrait of a Lady. It really felt as if I was plunged into the world of the novel. The idea that the phrase “tipping the velvet”, which is a real Victorian phrase [meaning oral sex] will be in people’s living rooms and in The Radio Times is quite odd. Certainly in terms of the book, I hope it’ll give it a new lease of life.’

Set in the variety world of Victorian male-impersonators, Davies’ pacy, playful, compelling adaptation follows the fortunes of working-class Nan Astley, from oyster girl to variety hall artiste, before the amazing twist of becoming a gay rent boy to unsuspecting punters. She finds final emancipation as the lover of a suffragette.

Newcomer Rachael Stirling (with a slightly wobbly


Born Justin Stewart in Southampton. Ontario. Canada in 1964. Bruce LaBruce has made about ten movies as a director and writer and he has starred in about half of them. Most of them were made for the price of a second hand dildo. Taking his lead from the gay pornology movement of the 1970s led by legends of gay tilmmaking such as Wakefield Poole. Jack Deveau. Peter de Rome and Bob Alvarez. LaBruce is forging what he jokingly calls a pornopoly of work that is at once filthy and strangely compelling.

He nicks from the best: Fassbinder.

.. in“ I

A ‘pornopoly’ of work that is at once filthy and strangely compelling

‘The idea that the phrase will be in the Radio Times is quite odd’

Fellini and of c0urse Russ Meyer. but he is ultimately a filmmaker you will either love or hate. If you get his perverted bag. you get it. If not. go read some Armistead Maupin.

No Skin off my Ass (1990 CO. ) is a no budget remake of Robert Altman's 1969 film That Cold Day in the Park. a raw awkward fable of a Toronto hairdresser whose fantasies are fulfilled when he succeeds in seducing a near-catatonic skinhead. As Amy Taubin of The Village Voice wrote at the time. this is “sweeter than Warhol. subtler than Kuchar and sexually more explicit than Van Sant'.

Super 8 7/2 (1994 O... ) makes obvious analogies to Fellini but is more like the funny. wise and clever film you

accent) is in virtually every scene. A delicate beauty in real life, she has forsaken the character’s butchness and it’s hard to accept her as a boy. Keeley Hawes is glorious as her troubled bisexual lover. The more explicit scenes where Rachael becomes a sex slave to sado-masochistic wealthy widow Anna Chancellor will be fascinating to see.

In terms of lesbian visibility the three part adaptation promises to be groundbreaking. The muck the popular press have already devoted to the series shows up-front lesbianism is still taboo unless it’s done for male straight fantasy.

‘lt’s far from ideal, but I think it’s a gentler climate for folk to come out in now,’ says Waters. Tipping The Velvet will help. She is working on her fourth novel about the relationship between two women in wartime England. I can’t wait. (John Binnie)

always wished Warhol would make but never did. LaBruce plays a washed up gay porn star who is given a second chance by self styled avant garde dyke Googi. This is hilarious. rude and unusually for LaBruce. contains a few lesbian sex scenes. This is his Cahiers de Porno. but You may be laughing too much to jerk off. Hustler White (1996 0000 ) is LaBruce's most well known work. mainly because it stars Madonna's former squeeze Tony Ward. This is basically Wilder's Sunset Boulevard injected with the collected juices of Kenneth Anger and David Lynch and quite simply a classic of its genre. In Skinf/ick (1999 CO. ) LaBruce takes European gay hardcore cliches and turns them on their head with a deliberately offensive stOry of Nazi gay skinheads and nice boys who like to be taken over the kitchen sink by a visiting plumber. This is crude and silly but moves with such energy and pace it is impossble not to enjoy. 'How do you get to be a porn star? You blow!' (Paul Dale‘ l was -\.rir';.".‘imedia ruin“, y, iviii’iarr/esmultimedia .comi.

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DANCE AND DRAMA SIX STAGES FESTIVAL Circa, Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 11 & Sat 12 Oct; Jimmy, CCA, Glasgow Wed 16 & Thurs 17 Oct

As part of the Six Stages festival which brings great Canadian performers to Glasgow. the multi-media dance piece Circa is by Vancouver's Holy Body Tattoo. This cutting edge company. which has brought its two previous w0rks to Scotland. is renowned for the hard physicality and intense nature of its dancing.

“Circa is more psychological and emotionally demanding than our previous work.‘ says 39-year-old gay performer/ director Noam Gagnon. ‘In these days. the notion of gender has exploded. Gender's based much more on individual perceptions. It's very wide.'

Tumlng gender on its head

Gagnon and his co-artistic director/choreographer Dana Gingras ‘play with the stereotype' of what is expected of a man or a woman. ‘We turn gender on its head. This woman at times controls. the man submits as it is in reality in any relationship. Body- politics is all about power.’

The extraordinary Kurt Weill- esque three piece band the Tiger Lillies (of Shockhead Peter fame) accompany the dancers. Anyone who has heard the falsetto voice of lead singer Martin Jacques knows you are in for an amazing, hypnotic experience. ‘Performing with the Tiger Lillies takes us out of what we would usually do and opens up our emotional range.' says Gagnon.

Another must-see is the solo female show Jimmy written. performed and directed by French Canadian Marie Brassard. The actor plays a homosexual hairdresser. She previously collaborated with Robert Lepage. arguably the greatest theatre director in the world. on The Dragons' Trilogy and The Seven Streams of the River Ota so this promises to be a real coup fOr the CCA. (John Binnin

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