Candy Darling Documentary

I was a transkid from small town America.  I was alone and miserable in a burned out mining town about 300 miles from New York City.

People had been telling me I ought to go to Greenwich Village because that was where freaks like me belongs.

Funny thing was they acted like going to live in some place like “The Village” was some sort of horrible fate.

Before I was a hippie, I was a folkie and I read everything I could find about Greenwich village and in the process I learned about the mad poets and abstract expressionist painters who lived there.

When I went away to college I was introduced to auteurs like Bregman, Truffaut, Fellini, Antonioni, Kurasawa….

I read Ginsberg, and di Prima, Burroughs, Kerouac.

I read about an artist named Andy Warhol who was making movies that were different.

I started hanging out in The Village, I saw Chelsea Girls, The Velvet Underground’s Banana Album “Andy Warhol Presents “The Velvet Underground”” became one of my all time favorite albums.

I was fascinated by what Andy was doing.

David Hockney, another artist said in one of his books that the difference between an artist  some one studies art is that the student of art asks “What does it mean?” and the artist asks, “How did they do that?”

I was more fascinated by what Warhol was doing than I was in the personalities involved.

In the early 1970s Warhol Films were the work of  Paul  Morrissey. Morrissey made several films with Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis.

While Candy was the prettiest I always like Holly best because she was not only funny but had a resilience to her.  As far as I know only Holly is still alive.

I had a super good friend in the early 1970s.  We went through Stanford together.  She ran the NTCU after I left.  Her name was Leslie StClair and she died last year.  she was a fan of Candy Darling.  she taught me some of the magic of glamor even though I liked being the one behind the cameras even better.

Leslie and I went to movies together and she talked about the glamorous actresses of the past.  She modeled herself on Jean Harlow but I saw her as more like Kim Novak, Candy Darling’s role model.  We saw a campy Kim Novak movie, “The Legend of Lylah Clair” and Leslie gained the nick name
Lylah Clair.

We were saddened to learn Candy Darling had cancer and even sadder when she died.

From The New York Times:

A Warhol ‘Superstar,’ Closer to Earth

Published: April 21, 2011

Beautiful Darling,” James Rasin’s touching documentary biography of Candy Darling, the transsexual Andy Warhol “superstar,” is a sad, lyrical reflection on the foolish worship of movie stars. Jeremiah Newton, who is a producer of the film and narrates the story, was Candy Darling’s closest friend and onetime roommate who appointed himself guardian of her legacy after her death in 1974 from cancer at 29. The movie shows him arranging her burial beside Mr. Newton’s mother in Cherry Valley, N.Y.

His reverence for Candy Darling, who appeared in a number of Warhol movies and inspired songs by Lou Reed, is not unlike her adolescent worship of Kim Novak. When Candy Darling was still a boy named James L. Slattery, experimenting with cross-dressing while growing up on Long Island, he sent away for an autographed picture of Ms. Novak. The day it arrived was one of the most important moments of his life, an acquaintance recalls.


In the days when Slattery was growing up, Ms. Lebowitz recalls, wallowing in movie-magazine images of untouchable gods and goddesses was an irresistible escape from the rejection and scorn of straight society. Even after becoming a downtown celebutante, Candy Darling, who took female hormones, resisted having the surgery to complete gender reassignment. “I’m not a genuine woman,” she said. “But I’m not interested in genuineness. I’m interested in being the product of a woman.”

Candy Darling, who naïvely regarded Warhol as her Louis B. Mayer and protector, was bitterly disappointed when he lost interest in his triumvirate of cross-dressing “superstars,” which also included Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis.

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Friday Night Fun and Culture Hazel Dickens Tribute

I just learned from my Sing Out mailing list that Hazel Dickens has died.

Hazel Dickens was an Appalachians Mountain Roots Singer song writer who at one time partnered with Alice Gerrard.  Her biography and CDs can be found on Amazon.   Working Girl Blues: The Life and Music of Hazel Dickens.

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If Walmart Paid its 1.4 Million U.S. Workers a Living Wage, it Would Result in Almost No Pain for the Average Customer

From Alternet:,_it_would_result_in_almost_no_pain_for_the_average_customer/

The average Walmart customer would pay just 46 cents more per shopping trip, or around $12 extra dollars each year.

By Joshua Holland
April 20, 2011

A study released this week found that if the nation’s largest low-wage employer, Walmart, were to pay its 1.4 million U.S. workers a living wage of at least $12 per hour and pass every single penny of the costs onto consumers, the average Walmart customer would pay just 46 cents more per shopping trip, or around $12 extra dollars each year.

Consider that the next time you hear some corporate mouthpiece warning of massive job losses if some minimally progressive policy were enacted. You never see them arguing on the cable news shows that increasing the minimum wage will hurt Walmart’s or McDonald’s bottom lines; it’s always about the jobs that will be destroyed. According to the ubiquitous spin, large corporations, the embodiments of American-style capitalism, are so vulnerable to the meddling of no-nothing bureaucrats that any government intervention into the “free market” drives corporations away to sunnier locales or threatens their very existence. However well intentioned, it all ends up costing workers their jobs.

But the new study, conducted by Ken Jacobs and Dave Graham-Squire at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and Stephanie Luce at CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, suggests that low-wage employers could pay their workers a wage that would afford them a dignified existence without threatening their profitability.

Paying a fair wage would only result in a price hike of around 1 percent for Walmart shoppers. The researchers note that the increase would be “well below Walmart’s estimated savings to consumers” – in other words, the big-box retailer could continue to offer “low prices” without impoverishing their workers. The study’s authors noted that the 1 percent price hike was the “most extreme estimate, as portions of the raise could be absorbed through other mechanisms, including increased productivity or lower profit margins.”

While it would have a very minor impact on shoppers, it would have a profound effect on the economic security of Wal-Mart’s workforce. More than 40 percent of the additional income would go to the working poor. “These poor and low-income workers could expect to earn an additional $1,670 to $6,500 a year in income for each Walmart employee in the family, before taxes,” write the authors. Meanwhile, while Walmart’s customers are not exactly rich, those “who spend the most at the store are somewhat less likely to come from poor and low-income families.” As a result, only 28 percent of the additional costs would be paid by the poor and the near-poor.

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How Come So Many Transgender Folks Want Post-Transsexual Folks to Be Transgender When They don’t Want To Be Considered Transgender Themselves?

It surprises many people, including ourselves, that Monica Roberts and I agree about many issues that relate to intersects of oppressions due to race, class, sex/gender.

Therefore it bothers me when she goes on the sort of rant like she does here “On Transsexual Separation“.

I get called names from both sides because I think the whole “Classic Transsexual”/HBS group is full of BS and at the same time I have been around long enough to know that transsexualism and transgenderism really are two different things.

Money and ideology aside I have known too many transgender sisters who love their penis way too much to ever get SRS.  Many of those who like using their penis when having sex have claimed to  be transsexual not transgender.

The problem here is sort  of like the constant title creep one sees at work where people get more important sounding titles without increased pay or benefits.  Transsexual is seen as higher status, more serious than transgender.

The real problem is looking at both transgender and transsexual in terms of “IDENTITY” when neither term really works as a stand alone identity that actually defines anyone.

I came out before the whole post-modern ideology of identity.  Philosophically I am pretty much Existentialist.

I don’t believe someone is something based on their identifying as that something.  Example to be a writer (something both Monica and I share) one has to do more than simply “identify” as a writer.  One has to actually write and put stuff out in public for people to read.

Transsexual folks and transgender folks may well share the same feelings regarding gender. I personally believe we don’t share the same feelings for our sex organs but let’s leave that one aside. We are distinguished by our actions. Transsexualism differs from transgenderism primarily in that sex reassignment surgery is the core defining element of transsexualism whereas living full time in the gender not associated with your current sex organs is the defining element of transgender.

But let’s for the sake of a coffeehouse debate toss those distinctions aside…  If people who wish the title without the messy, somewhat painful, and risk of complications surgery… leaving aside monetary and health issues… For the sake of argument, that satisfies the point of transsexual requiring some existential action, we say that, hormones, electrolysis, facial feminization surgery like F to M top surgery are enough to show intent as well as identity.

Okay then, people who do these things are transsexual, based on the above argument.  Does this return transgender to being just another word for transvestite or cross dresser?  If we are using the above argument for the legitimate use of ‘transsexual’ by most, then why do we need the term ‘transgender’ at all?

One of the things I love most about Monica Roberts is her recognition of multiple forms of oppression impacting people’s lives and the problematic nature of “identity politics” based on individual aspects of oppression.

Without identifying as transgender I find many people who are leaders in transgender activism to be far more likable and much closer to me in general life/political outlooks than I find the HBS/Classic Transsexual set.

At the same time I so often find myself completely infuriated by transgender folks who insist on telling me the life experiences of post-transsexual women aren’t real, or are a form of elitism.

People who read this blog know that my having been transsexual and having had sex reassignment surgery is but a small part of who I am. Classifying all my life experiences based on a set of symptoms and a medical course of action is pretty damn reducto ad absurdum.

In many ways I am far more shaped by having been part of SDS/Weatherman and having a left wing take on life than by having dealt with transsexualism during that same late 1960s/early1970s time frame.  That left wing hippie aspect set me apart from many of my sisters then and is a big factor in my present day support of human rights/equal rights for all. Having a specific ethos, rather than an identity separates me from both the identity based transgender movement and the equally identity based CT/HBS movement.

When ever either faction goes after the other I find myself thinking the whole horizontal hostility thing is both stupid and counter productive.  The big difference between Monica Roberts and the HBS/CT mob is that I generally like her over all politics far better and will voice my arguments with her position with respect.  Respect is something that has been lost in these counter-productive trans-wars…  By both sides…

Quarter-Million Dead and Not Counting

From Common Dreams:

by Donna Smith
Published on Thursday, April 21, 2011 by

After this past weekend of horrific storms and tornadoes, it was clearly appropriate for our elected officials to declare a federal disaster in some areas. With the designation comes some federal money and help for the storm-ravaged areas and residents. Few would quarrel with our government stepping up and stepping in when so many lives and so many livelihoods have been damaged and lost. It is the right thing to do, and some suffering will be mitigated.

Over the past four years since the making of SiCKO, Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, an estimated 45,000 people each and every year have died simply because they lacked access to healthcare. The US healthcare dead are dead not because the care wasn’t available – it just wasn’t available to them. They did not have the financial means (either the cash, credit or correct insurance coverage) to demonstrate to a healthcare provider or doctor that they should be treated and that their lives should be saved.

That’s tipping toward the quarter-million dead mark soon enough. The US healthcare dead could fill Trenton, NJ, or the Palm Springs area of California, or Daytona Beach, FL, or Canton, OH, or Boise City, ID, Rockford, IL, or Ann Arbor, MI – to name just a few of the cities with populations roughly equivalent to those killed by greed not disease or injury just since 2006 and 2007 when SiCKO was being produced and when it was released.

And the bankrupt due to healthcare crisis? That’s a tsunami of devastation raging through working families and communities where no one steps in to help. Homes and dreams are lost. Future plans are altered forever. In 2010, nearly 1.6 million people filed for bankruptcy in the US. Estimates that more than 60 percent of those who filed did so because of medical crisis would make the number of US financial casualties due to healthcare crisis a million or so every year gone broke.

Is that not a disaster with enough dead and enough suffering and enough long-term human and economic consequence in these United States to warrant a column-inch or two above the fold or radio or television coverage once in a while or a leading news position somewhere? Mainstream media? Liberal media? Anyone? Who does the daily death count? 123 dead every day. Who reports the financial death? 2,739 gone bankrupt every day. Who reports?

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