Sunday, February 21, 2010

An interesting article on The Plays of Clay Shaw

These homoerotic scenarios and allusions to homosexuality suggest that Clay Shaw was aware of the gay milieu and his own desires at a relatively young age, and further supports the sustained importance of this aspect of Shaw’s personal life. While I will later further discuss the literary and biographical connections between Shaw and non-normative sexuality, specifically S/M, for now I only mention that these gay resonances in Shaw’s work reinforce his longstanding same-sex desire. Given the need for mid-century gays to be discrete, Shaw’s sexual identity led to his involvement with the gay subculture of New Orleans, which then included such figures as David Ferrie and Perry Russo—and, according to some reports, Lee Harvey Oswald. Jim Garrison called Oswald “a switch-hitter who couldn’t satisfy his wife” (Phelan 151). Sources in the older gay community, both unknown and as famous as Gore Vidal,2 claim Oswald was a gay hustler who worked the New Orleans bars. When asked if Oswald seemed gay, New Orleans attorney Dean Andrews said that Oswald “swang with the kids” (Kirkwood 138), the Latino “gay kids” whom he called “Mexicanos” (130). Andrews remarked that he didn’t know “squares” to hang out with gays, reckoning “birds of a feather flock together” (138). Andrews, who received a phone call from “Clay Bertrand” asking Andrews to defend Oswald soon after Lee’s arrest, claims these gay Latino youths had earlier accompanied Lee to Andrews’ law office (these were likely anti-Castro Cuban exiles). The sunglasses-sporting “hepcat” Dean Andrews was known in the New Orleans gay community as a sympathetic lawyer. Andrews said he had already received multiple requests from this articulate gentleman “Clay Bertrand” (a name Andrews took to be a pseudonym), to defend gay youths who had been arrested.
Clay Shaw was the only person ever to be prosecuted for the murder of President John F. Kennedy. He died of lung cancer in 1974. Or did he?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cannonfire post, alleging that Gore Vidal and Clay Shaw were friends and/or lovers, is spooky, and all the more so in light of Vidal's outspoken defense of Oklahoma City mass-murderer Timothy McVeigh as a "true patriot."

" ... whatever became of Clay Shaw? [His niece] answered that he went off to stay with a friend who maintained a villa in Italy. Presumably, Shaw there spent his few remaining days in peace ... Who among Shaw's friends had a villa in Italy?"

SALERNO, Italy (Reuter) - American author and social critic Gore Vidal was rushed to hospital in the southern Italian town of Salerno Friday after suffering a hemorrhage but was in a stable condition, doctors said. Vidal, 70, was taken to the San Giovanni hospital shortly after 6 a.m. following a rectal hemorrhage. A hospital official said he would undergo tests Saturday and a decision would be made then on how long to keep him in hospital.
Vidal has a villa on the Italian coast.

“Ive had my time with presidents.” Vidal raises his fingers to signify a gun and mutters: “Bang bang... Just a mysterious lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital,” he says in a wry, dreamy way.

"[Kennedy] didn't impress me as a good president ... I'd known him all my life and liked him, but he wrecked his chances with the Bay of Pigs ... Then, because everyone was so keen to elect Bobby once Jack was gone, lies started to be told about him — that he was the greatest, and the King of Camelot.”

Vidal adds menacingly: “Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking people like me are looking for heroes. There aren't any, and if there were, they would be killed immediately.”

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: Shaw dying of lung cancer: Ruby died of lung cancer, what...4 months after being diagnosed? I believe Judyth Baker and the cancer virus. The lung cancer virus, supposedly possessed by Oswald in Mexico City, trying desperately to pass it on to an assassin close to Castro.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the only references you'll find on the Net to Vidal's "significant other," Howard Austin, is this:

John Gilmore reminiscing:

According to my agent at William Morris, George Litto, I fit the bill perfectly. The contract was sent over by Litto to my personal manager, Howard Austin, who was then handling Tony Perkins. Howard was Gore Vidal's live-in secretary. They stayed together in Vidal's Upper East Side place.

I often saw Tony Perkins in Gore's apartment. Once he came with an attorney who was helping him out of a vice jam. Tony was on a day bed, wringing his hands and crying.

After he had left, Howard told me about Tony's exploits in the subways and movie theaters. He couldn't stay out of the back rows and public men's rooms, and was in hot water for groping a cop staked out to collar "sex offenders."

Apparently Vidal met Austin in the mid-1950s in Hollywood while working as a script doctor there. Fifty years later, only now do we learn that our "teenage role models" like James Dean, Sal Mineo, Tony Perkins, and a young and sexually ambivalent Dennis Hopper, were all members of director Nicholas Ray's personal "gay harem."

Safe bet that Nick Ray and Howie Austin were good buddies too. This also makes me wonder about Paul Newman, who was part of a strange threeway with Joanne Woodward and her "fiance" Vidal.

Another thought comes to mind: Since James Dean, Dean Stockwell, and Dennis Hopper all hung out at old queen Samson de Brier's "occult salon" (frequented by Kenneth Anger), was Gore Vidal in his "Hollywood period" ALSO a big fan of Aleister Crowley and "Do what Thou wilt"? Iconoclasm can take you some odd places, especially if, like Gore Vidal, you're a "Dorian Gray" type ...

9:40 PM  

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