MUSIC . DIAMANDA GALAS Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,
Sun 2 Nov
Diamanda Gala’s is happy. ‘Very fucking happy’, and it’s all thanks to a certain American celebrity having been charged with rape. ‘If I was on stage tonight I would be cracking jokes about this mother fucker with total sadistic glee. I would be going at his balls like a fish with rabies.’ This is a woman who knows her mind and isn’t afraid to show it.
Gala's is coming to Glasgow to premier her show, Frenzy, which is dedicated to Aileen Wournos, the lesbian prostitute serial killer who was executed in 2002. ‘Now if anyone knew about rape, Aileen did,’ she says. ‘When you deal with more than 1000 or sometimes 2000 jobs a year in the sexual business with men, you know that a certain amount is going to be rape.’ She feels passionately about prejudice and discrimination, and sees people like Wournos very much as victims.
Galas is well known for her very public campaigning about AIDS, the virus that killed her brother. It is ‘life assaulting’ events like this that infuse her music.
‘My sound is what I see, it’s my opinion. Like saturated colour. When I’m on stage it’s more
‘My voice is a tool of torture to my enemies.’ Diamanda Galas
condensed, concentrated, and I’m a transformed person,’ says Galas. ‘I feel that when you discuss a subject you should bring it to the audience with power.’ And anyone who has heard her haunting songs of despair and desolation will know what she means.
Galas believes her three-and-a-half octave voice is a gift. Or, as she once said: ‘My voice was given to me as an instrument of inspiration for my friends, and a tool of torture and destruction to my enemies. An instrument of truth.’ And talking of her enemies, there are certainly a few people who don't agree with her opinionated work, seeing her as a self-obsessed woman who only wants to be controversial. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t faze Galas in the slightest.
As well as the day to day influences, Galas’ work is coloured by her heritage. Born in the US to Greek Orthodox parents, she had a traditional upbringing and was not allowed to sing in the house. ‘Being Greek, we tend to react strongly to things. Compared with many other cultures it is very extreme and intense,’ she says.
Deeply passionate about her music, she has been
influenced by blues legends such as Esther Phillips and John Lee Hooker as well as Greek singers including Fotiia Bellau and Maria Farandouri. But her favourite collaboration has been with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. On the flip side, ask her who she hates and she doesn’t hold back. ‘I hate Jennifer Lopez. When I see a picture of her it makes me vomit.’ Anyone else? ‘Robbie Williams. Bleeuuurrgggh. Oh God, whenever I see that ugly fucking thing I just want to get my fly swatter out and say, just go back in your fucking hole. They are just so narcissistic and think everyone gives a fuck about their tedious lives.’
The eagerly awaited Glasgow performance will be a mix of new material with Galas performing her take on songs including Tracey Nelson’s Down So Low and Bosie Sturdevant’s Ain’t No Grave Can Hold Me Down as well as tracks from her latest album, La Serpenta Canta. Afterwards Galas intends to relax in her own inimitable style, ‘hanging out with people after the concert, talking shit and making crass jokes’. Bring it on. (Jane Hamilton)
FILM LESBIAN MOVIES AT GFT
Gasoline: sex and oil
Why are there no ‘out‘ lesbian movie stars? Why has Hollywood never dared to release a lesbian feature? Why do so
many lesbian films and in tragedy? Good on the GFT to address some of
these issues with its enterprising season.
‘This year's films were selected in partnership with the Glasgay! team. Among what we th0ught were the best new and classic features. we included a number of films with a specific lesbian element.‘ enthuses GFT director Jaki McDougall. Gasoline. from first time director Monica Strambini. has been making waves in Italian film circles. A modern film noir. it pays homage to The/ma and Louise as well as dyke iconography. In a deserted gas station. butch mechanic Maya Sansa and her doll-like lover Regina Orioli have sex among the motorbike engines. Their passion is disrupted by the arrival of a sexually voracious mother.
Two great German actresses. Hanna Schygulla and Margit Carstensen. star in
Fassbinder's 1971 erotic study of lesbian power games. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant. A deconstruction of the servant/mistress relationship in the world of fashion. it'll be interesting to see how this mood piece has aged. Laura Nix's recent debut. The Politics of Fur. echoes Fassbinder‘s piece as it explores the power dynamic between an LA record producer and ‘her birthday present' — a would-be punk rock star.
Music of a different kind features in the feel-good lesbian movie. Calamity Jane. Has any tomboy ever been as plucky and unrepentant as Doris Day on thigh- slapping form? (John Binnie)
I The Politics of Fur. 9pm, Mon 3 Nov. I The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant. Tue 4 Nov.
I Gasoline, 6.30pm, Tue 77 Nov.
I Calamity Jane, 3pm, Sun 9 Nov.
All screenings at GFT. Glasgow
WORKSHOPS GAY OUTREACH
Shaun Levin has just published his first novella. Seven Sweet Things. about the love affair between two men, one gay and the other bisexual. Food and sex figure prominently. ‘I love to bake and when you're in love you have a lot of sex,“ he laughs over the telephone.
Shaun Levin's workshop was a big hit at Glasgay! two years ago. For 15 years the South African-born writer lived in Israel, where he taught English and worked a journalist, but for the last eight years London has been his base. He runs gay men's writing workshops all over the country. ‘Gay male writers are less afraid of being explicit about sex. My workshops are all about having fun, just diving in and not being apologetic. We explore how you can write about sex and food — subjects that are usually experienced non- verbally,' he says. At the workshop Levin promises chocolate mousse and strawberries.
Glasgay! has a comprehensive outreach programme. central to its philosophy of reaching out and making the arts accessible to all. For the last nine months I've been
Shaun Levin: eat his mousse
working with a group of gay men who will present their writing in the Tron bar. Mixing short stories. dialogue. even a little poetry. the group's writing reflects gay life in Glasgow today. There's also a chance to take part in Louise Welsh's writing workshop. Welsh has created a literary sensation with her Glasgow-set thriller. The Cutting Room. about a gay auctioneer who comes across a series of snuff photos when clearing out a Hyndland mansion. The Citizens“ will be premiering a stage adaptation of the novel throughout Glasgay! Finally there are hundreds of gay and lesbian voices talking about love and sex in the Big Sister short films which will be shown at venues throughout the city. (John Binnie)
I Shaun Levin Workshop, Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate. Glasgow. 0741 334 7726. 7-5pm. £9 (£6). Sat 8 Nov.
I GayWrites, Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate. Glasgow, 0747 334 7726. 8pm. £3. Mon 70 Nov.
I Louise Welsh, Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate. Glasgow. 0747 334 7726. 7—5pm. £9 (£6). Sat 75 Nov.
30 Oct- 13 Nov 2003 THE LIST 79