The bisexual painter, Tamara
Łempicka, was born on this day in 1898. Today, she is most well-known for her
revolutionary contributions to the Art Deco style and her stylized nude portraits.
Tamara’s most famous self-portraits,Self Portrait in the Green Bugatti, circa 1925(x).
Her birth name was Maria Górska and
she was born on May 16, 1898 in Warsaw, Poland. Her family lived a high class
life, her father being a Russian-Jewish attorney and her mother being a Polish
socialite. Tamara created her very first portrait at just the young age of ten;
her mother had commissioned a local artist to create a portrait of Tamara, but
Tamara was dissatisfied with the finished project and picked up the pastels to
create what she considered a more worthy portrait of her younger sister.
She spent much of her life
travelling around Europe painting and studying art and her first big breakthrough
did not come until 1925 when her work was exhibited at the prestigious International
Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. Spotted by journalists
from the American magazine Harper’s Baazar, Tamara’s polished Art Deco pieces
suddenly became all the rage with fashion magazines. Her highlight in Harper’s
Baazar led to even greater success, including expositions in both Milan and
Bordeaux. She would win her first major award in 1927, the first prize at the
Exposition Internationale des Beaux Arts for her portrait, Kizette on the Balcony.
A 1933 nude portrait of one of Tamara’s female lovers, Suzy Solidor (x).
Throughout her life, Tamara was known
for her promiscuity and had open affairs with both men and women. She was
married to a prominent Polish lawyer, Tadeusz Łempicki, in 1916 and had a
daughter by him soon after, but she would have multiple affairs during the
course of their marriage. In the 1920s, Tamara started a long term affair with
the popular Parisian nightclub singer Suzy Solidor, and as a result, found
herself at the center of Paris’s lesbian circle. Through Suzy, she became
friends with such figures as Violet Trefusis, Vita Sackville-West, and Colette.
Tamara passed away on March 18, 1980. Today,
her work is still considered to be high art and imbued with a sense of wealth. Much of her artwork has been featured in Madonna music videos
and multiple A-List celebrities consider themselves Lempicka collectors, such
as Jack Nicholson and Barbra Streisand.
On the morning of April 25, 1993, somewhere between 800,000
and 1,000,000 protesters with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force descended
upon Washington D.C., culminating in one of the largest protests in United
Demonstrators call for lesbian, gay and bisexual equal rights in Washington, D.C., on April 25, 1993 (PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) (x).
LGBT rights activist and member of the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force, Urvashi Vaid, began planning and laying the groundwork for
1993 March on Washington as far as two years in advance. In 1991, she began
sending out letters to various LGBT groups across the country to ask for their
support in the March and to see who would like to send delegates. After various
meetings throughout the summer of 1991 and 1992, a date for the March on
Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation was set: April
A group of lesbian protesters, topless and with rainbow flags in hand, cheer on the crowd at the 1993 March on Washington (x)
The March came about in response to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,
the policy which barred gay men and women from serving openly in the military,
a growing number of LGBT-targeted hate crimes, and the growing feelings of
homophobia that were taking root in the United States at the time. On the Eve
of the March, Urvashi and the other organizers released a list of demands for
which they were marching for. The list included the demand for a lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender civil rights bill, the repeal of all sodomy laws, the
demand for an increase in AIDS education, research, and patient care, and so
much more. When the day of the actual March came, the issue of same-sex
marriage rose to the forefront; around 1,500 same-sex couples gathered outside
the National Museum of Natural History to protest their exclusion from
marriage, and symbolic wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples were performed
outside of the Internal Revenue Service building in D.C.
With such a historically large turnout and with the support
of celebrity speakers and performers such as Eartha Kitt, Madonna, Melissa
Ethridge, RuPaul, and Ian McKellen, the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian,
Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation successfully brought LGBT issues to the attention
of mainstream America.
Hey everyone, today is Amber Heard’s birthday and I’m just gonna go ahead and let you all know, after doing this little article and the research, I am absolutely, unequivocally in love with her. So let me help you get there too:
Amber Heard was born today in 1986 in Austin, Texas. Heard dropped out of high school and later got her diploma through a home-study program. Raised Catholic, after her best friend was killed in a car crash, Heard became an atheist, citing her boyfriend’s introduction to Ayn Rand is where most of her beliefs stem.
Though Heard hasn’t had many big-name parts (she wasn’t really recognized in mainstream until 2008, after Pineapple Express and winning the 2008 Breakthrough Of the Year Award from young Hollywood Awards), she has been recognized as “very smart, very driven, and very talented” (John Carpenter), “amazing” by “annilhilating that character, in a good way” (Max Berry) and “doing everything that can possibly be done” with her characters (Roger Ebert) (x).
Known for her roles in Friday Night Lights, Pineapple Express, and Zombieland, most of Heard’s roles are of the horror, thriller, and supernatural variety. In 2006, Heard starred in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a horror film that follows a group of high school boys who invite a pretty outcast (Heard) to spend the weekend with them at a beach house, where they are all terrorized by a murderer. Other films Heard has had a role in include: The Stepfather, Paranoia, 3 Days to Kill, Machete Kills, Drive Angry, and The Adderall Diaries.
Heard came out in 2010 at GLADD’s 25th anniversary event stating:
“I don’t label myself one way or another–I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love; it’s the person that matters.”
Heard decided to come out publicly when she thought of her role in media and asked herself, “Am I part of the problem?” and answered with, “I think that when millions and millions of hard=working, taxpaying Americans are denied their rights and denied their equality, you ahve to ask yourself what are that factors that are an epidemic problem and that’s what this is.”
You can watch Autostraddle interview Heard, which has the above quotes, here.
Heard dated photographer, Tasya van Ree, from 2008 to 2012. In 2011, she met Johnny Depp on the set of The Rum Diary and moved in with him the next year. Both were charged with breaching biosecurity laws when they failed to report their two Yorkshire Terriers when entering Queensland for a movie Depp was in. Heard plead guilty to falsifying quarantine documents and the two charges of biosecurity were dropped, she paid a thousand dollar fine for falsifying the document, and was placed on one-month good behavior bond. Depp and Heard released a video apologizing for their crime and urging others to learn from them. The Guardian called it the “highest profile criminal quarantine case” in Australian history.
Heard filed for divorce May 23, 2016 and later filed for a restraining order against Depp. A victim of domestic verbal and physical abuse, Heard was treated like shit by the media, where many (including Depp’s lawyers) claimed Heard was making up the abuse in an attempt to get money out of Depp. Her friend, IO Tillet Wright, wrote about calling 911 after the latest incident on May 21 and neighbor, Raquel Pennington also served as a witness.
A settlement was reached August 16, 2016. Heard dropped the file for a restraining order, and dropped the charges against Depp’s friend, Doug Stanhope, for defamation and received 7 million dollars which she donated to American Civil Liberty Union and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. January 2017, their divorce was finalized.
In November 2016, along with Gabourey Sidibe and Freida Pinto, Heard read a speech by rape survivor, Emily Doe, who won Glamour’s Woman of the Year award. Heard also made a public service announcement for #GirlGaze project where she talked about domestic abuse. In December, she wrote an open letter about her experiences in Porter magazine.
Heard will play Mera, Aquaman’s wife, in DC’s Justice League and Aquaman.
Three years ago marked the premiere at the Tribeca Film
Festival of a documentary called Regarding
Susan Sontag, which retraces the life and work of the famed writer and
thinker. Regarding Susan Sontag
blends archival footage and photographs with interviews (notably with Harriet
Sohmers Zwerling and Judith Sontag Cohen), to produce a complex depiction of
Sontag. Patricia Clarkson does voiceover for quotes from Sontag’s texts. It got
funding from major cultural organizations such as the National Endowment for
the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Foundation for Jewish
Culture and the Sundance Documentary Film Program. Regarding Susan Sontag is a wonderful and layered movie that really
sheds light on the multi-faceted life of Susan Sontag, so if you’re into wlw
documentaries, definitely check it out.
Regarding Susan Sontag trailer
Regarding Susan Sontag
was directed by Nancy Kates, an independent filmmaker, producer, writer, and
consultant from the Bay Area, who’s been working all her life on projects that
center marginalized figures. She graduated with honors in 1984 from Harvard,
and attended grad school at Stanford’s film program. Her 1995 Master’s Thesis
tells the complex stories and identities of five American women who served in
the Vietnam War (including a couple who met while serving there). This was the
start in a long list of praise and awards. Aside from Regarding Susan Sontag, Kates is also well-known for her film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,
a documentary about the groundbreaking gay civil rights leader, which premiered
at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Bennett Singer co-produced this film, which
also received high praise and numerous accolades, such as the 2004 GLAAD Media
Award, best feature film at New York’s New Festival, and many audience awards
at all the major US LGBT film festivals.
Watch a Q&A with Nancy Kates about Regarding Susan Sontag right here (and you’ll find a couple more on Youtube):
Q&A with Nancy Kates at the
2014 Sheffield Doc/Fest
If you’re like me, you loved to hate Kristen Stewart in Twilight (which, let’s face it, is all around mind-numbingly awful), while (not so) secretly harboring a small (huge) crush on her (look at that, the old “I hate her so much” diversion technique).
And when rumors started spreading that she was, in fact, Not A Straight™, you sat back with your arms crossed, slowly nodded, and whispered: “well, duh.”
You may have guessed: today is Kristen Stewart’s birthday. The woman who has been described as Shane but for millennials was born twenty-seven years ago in Los Angeles, where she was raised. She started acting super early, and because of her schedule, was homeschooled throughout the end of middle school and high school. She already had several films to her credit, like Catch That Kid or Into the Wild, before appearing in what gave her international visibility – the Twilight franchise. Many criticized her performance, calling her wooden and too expressionless, but that didn’t stop her from making it into the top 10 on several “Sexiest Women in the World” lists in 2010.
Ever since then, she’s played strong, complex roles in many high-profile movies, and broken more than a few hearts along the way. Her sexuality was the source of many rumors over the past few years, and while she was reticent to talk about it for a very long time (which is completely understandable – and this is a reminder that no matter your level of fame or your sexuality, you don’t owe anyone an explanation about your identity), she did recently confirm that she wasn’t straight at all. It doesn’t look like she’s embracing any one label in particular, although it seems she jams pretty well with “bisexual”:
She found herself embraced as Hollywood’s most high-profile gay actor, a de-facto poster-girl for the LGBT community.
“Well, yeah,” she says. “And that’s been nothing but positive. I
mean, it’s hard to talk about. I don’t want to seem presumptuous,
because everyone has their own experience. The whole issue of sexuality
is so grey. I’m just trying to acknowledge that fluidity, that greyness,
which has always existed. But maybe only now are we allowed to start
talking about it.”
“You’re not confused if you’re bisexual. It’s not confusing
at all. For me, it’s quite the opposite.”
Right now, she’s dating Stella Maxwell, and her latest movie is Personal Shopper, a psychological thriller that looks intense and involves Kristen smoldering a lot.
Looks like jazz is full of queer ladies! Today, we celebrate the birthday of Carmen McRae, one of the 20th century’s most influential jazz singers in the US. She was apparently bisexual, got married and divorced to men twice, and later on in her life was allegedly readily seen out and about with female partners.
Born in Harlem, Carmen McRae was of Afrolatinx descent: her father was from Costa Rica, and her mother from Jamaica. She was immersed in music early on, learning piano starting at age 8. At 17, she got to meet Billie Holiday, whom McRae considered to be her primary musical influence and to whom she always paid tribute by performing at least one Billie Holiday song at each concert. Throughout her whole career, Carmen played the piano and sang with the biggest stars in jazz – Dizzy Gillepsie, Betty Carter, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong – and paid tribute to other giants such as Thelonious Monk and Sarah Vaughan. McRae toured the US and the world for over fifty years, living most of her later life between New York and California.
Newsletters and magazines have been absolutely instrumental
in LGBT history; without these kinds of publications, so many generations of
LGBT folk would have been denied access to a community, and perhaps even have gone
their whole life believing they were the only person like them in the world.
Today, we want to celebrate Bi Women’s Quarterly, a Boston-based periodical that
began in 1983.
Previously titled the Bi Women’s Network, the magazine has
been dubbed the “longest-lived bisexual women’s periodical in the world” and began
in September of 1983. In its heyday, the magazine allowed the
bisexual women of Boston to share their artwork, essays, and poetry with each other as well as report on the happenings of the greater LGBT community. The March 1990 issue featured a reader’s forum, political
cartoons that addressed biphobia, the announcement of a scholarship fund seeking to transport women to the 1990 San Francisco Bisexual Conference, an
“AIDS Questionnaire” asking readers to report on how their lives had been
affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 90s, and so much more. The vast amount of work and rallying it took for the women who came before us to carve a public space for themselves is both exciting and humbling to behold.
An illustration featured in the February-March 1990 issue of the magazine calling for readers to fight back against “bi sexism” (x).
Crawford was an American actress – an old school ‘movie star’ from Classic Hollywood Cinema. While some of
you may have seen her movies, her character is also currently on our screens every
Sunday night played by Jessica Lange in FX anthology TV series Feud.
Joan Crawford between takes on Torch Song (1953)
Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1904 (although her birth
year is disputed) in San Antonio, Texas. Rather than Lucille, she much
preferred being called ‘Billie,’ and dreamt of becoming a dancer. She lived
with her mother and stepfather, who was a minor impresario and ran the Ramsey
Opera House; but at 12, she went to St. Agnes Academy as a working student,
where she spent more time actually working (cooking and cleaning) than
studying, and briefly attended college afterwards.
started as a stage dancer and singer in the choruses of travelling revues, and
she was soon discovered and offered a contract by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in
1925. She was credited as Lucille LeSueur in her early movies, but her name sounded
too much like ‘sewer’ according to the MGM publicist. She was first supposed to
change her name to ‘Joan Arden,’ (and we’ll pass on the connotations of gender
crossing that come with that Shakespearian name ‘Arden’, and the reference to ‘Joan’
of Arc) but as it was already taken, she became Joan Crawford.
Joan Crawford, still from Today We Live (1933)
at the MGM rivalled that of MGM actresses Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo, and
she made a smooth transition from silent movies to talkies – which was not
always the case for other actors. She often played the young, hard-working
woman who found love and success at the end of the movie, which was quite
popular with Depression-era audiences and especially women.
having a contract with studios also meant having an obligation to be in movies,
the quality of their script notwithstanding. Furthermore, her popularity
declined in the late 1930s. So, like many other actors of her time, she was
dubbed ‘Box Office Poison’ in 1938, a label designating actresses whose talent
was indisputable, but whose high salaries didn’t reflect their ticket sales.
Trailer of Mildred Pierce (1945)
the ending of her contract with the MGM, she signed with the Warner Brothers in
1943, and managed an Oscar-winning comeback with Mildred Pierce in 1945, which
revived her career for several years, and gave her a second Academy Award
nomination in 1952 for Sudden Fear.
But then again, passed 40, she had to struggle with ageism in Hollywood, as
roles became scarce for women her age. Garbo had left the industry, Shearer as
well… She starred alongside Bette Davis in horror movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? which garnered publicity mostly
for the rivalry between the two actresses, though their performances were
outstanding and earned Davis her tenth (and final) Oscar nomination. She
retired from the screen in 1970, and from the public scene in 1974.
Joan Crawford and Bette Davis discussing their script on the set of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) From Bettmann/Getty Images.
Crawford’s private life is often depicted as chaotic. She was married four
times, first with actor and screenwriter Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1929-1933), then
with actor and director Franchot Tone (1935-1939), with actor Philipp Terry
(1942-1946), and finally with Pepsi-Cola CEO Alfred Steele (1955-1959). She
adopted her daughter Christina as a single mother in 1940, then her son
Christopher while married to Philip Terry. After the death of her last husband,
she adopted identical twins Cathy and Cynthia in 1947.
disowned her two eldest child, and Christina wrote an infamous book entitled Mommy Dearest one year after Crawford’s
death, in which she depicted a mother more worried about her career than her
children, obsessed with her look, who was often drunk, and physically and
psychologically abusive. It was denounced by many of some of Crawford’s
friends, co-workers, as well as her two youngest daughters and ex-husband, but
confirmed by others. The book became a bestseller, and made into a movie with
Faye Dunaway in the leading role.
Joan Crawford with her four adopted children, Christina, Christopher, and the twins, Cathy and Cynthia, in the early 50s. From Underwood & Underwood/Corbis.
she was famous for her numerous husbands and love affairs with men, she was
allegedly also attracted to women. But it was kept secret – as always, what was
publicised was what the public was willing to hear, and what would profit their
contractors: love affairs with men, and feuds with fellow actresses. For
example MGM paid $100000 in 1935 to prevent the release of a pornographic
lesbian movie Crawford had appeared in at the age of 19 – but on the contrary,
they fuelled the rumours of a feud with fellow actress Bette Davis on the
filming of What Ever Happened to Baby
Jane? (see the documentary or the FX series’ first season to know more about it!)
women having affairs with other women? Mum’s the word of course where the studios are concerned. This is why
there are far less clues about Crawford’s romances with women – but still, here
is what we know:
Garbo and Crawford met as co-stars for the filming of Grand Hotel(in which they didn’t have scenes together), Garbo famously
took Crawford’s face in her hands and said, “What a pity; our first picture
together and we don’t work with each other. I’m sorry. You have a marvellous
face.” Crawford later commented that, “if there was ever a time in my life when
I might have been a lesbian, that was it.”
Director Dorothy Arzner and Joan Crawford during the filming of The Bride Wore Red (1937). The filming drawing to an end, there were tensions between the two women who apparently only communicated through messages. There are only rumours about their romance, but Crawford said, reflecting on her film directors, that she liked to think that they had all fallen in love with her – and that she knew it had been the case with Arzner.
But then she also got on well with one of the first women directors in Hollywood, Dorothy Arzner, and according to the latter’s biographer, their relation went beyond mere
friendship. She was also rumoured to have had liaisons with actresses Martha
Raye, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Stanwyck, and Alice Delamar. But mind you, nothing
can be really confirmed.
So, cheers to this great woman and legendary actress who managed to have a long career in movies while surviving Hollywood sexism and ageism – on screen and behind the scenes – and, had a place amid the secretive – though not so secret now – Hollywood Sewing Circle!
On this day in 1948,
Lady Day herself was released early from Alderson Federal Prison in West
Virginia for good behavior. Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz and blues singer,
had been arrested for narcotic possession a year earlier on May 16, 1947.
One of Billie’s trademarks was the white gardenias she wore on the left side of her hair during performances. (x)
Eleanora Fagan was
born April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia. It wasn’t until the late 1920s as a young
singer in Harlem when she would take on the name Billie Holiday as her stage
name – a combination of her favorite actress Billie Dove and the man presumed
to be her biological father, Clarence Holiday. After several years of singing
in various New York nightclubs, Billie was signed to Brunswick Records in 1935.
She collaborated with various hotshot musicians and pianists at the time,
including Teddy Wilson and Artie Shaw. Billie enjoyed a whirlwind career
throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and with songs like “What a Little Moonlight Can
Do,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” “Strange Fruit,” and “I’ll Be Seeing You,” Billie
was not only one of the most influential musicians of her time but she was also
one of the most popular celebrities in America. Although people relied on
Billie’s music for crooning, soulful depictions of heterosexual relationships,
the woman behind the celebrity façade was known to have many relationships with
women. The most well-known of Billie’s same sex affairs were with heiress Louise
Crane and actress Tallulah Bankhead.
Billie Holiday is photographed at Club Ebony with jazz trombonist Dickie Wells (left) and actress Tallulah Bankhead (right), who Billie had a torrid love affair with in the late 1940s. Courtesy of Jet Magazine, 1951.
introduced to opium early in her career, Billie would struggle with drug
addiction for the majority of her life. One night after a show in Philadelphia the police raided the hotel Billie and her band were staying in, later charging
Billie with possession of heroin. On the advice of her managers at Columbia Records,
Billie declined legal representation and was sentenced to serve a year and a
day in Alderson Federal Prison. After being released early for good behavior,
Billie joyously returned to her home in New York City. She later recalled being
greeted by her beloved dog Mister, him jumping on her and knocking her hat off,
and “lapping me and loving me like crazy!” Her manager Ed Fisher devised the
idea for Billie to perform a comeback show and on March 27, 1948, Billie sang
to a sold out crowd at Carnegie Hall. The American public loved Billie Holiday
with a voracity that was hard to conquer despite the hardships she faced in her career.
“Portrait of Billie Holiday” photographed by William P. Gottlieb at her famous comeback performance held in Carnegie Hall mere weeks after she was released from prison. (x)
Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty today in 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados and grew up in Bridgetown. She recorded under producer, Evan Rogers, in 2003 and signed with Def Jam Records after impressing their then-president, Jay-Z, after auditioning. She started to come across the air waves in 2005 with her deubt album, Music in the Sun, and followed this with her 2006 album, Girl Like Me which brought us popular singles such as ‘Pon De Replay’ and ‘SOS’. She took over creative control after her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, which came with a change in her public image, or rather, the way she presented herself. She won her first Grammy with her famous single ‘Umbrella’ which she collaboarted on with Jay-Z. She released four more platinum albums, one of which was a Grammy winner, 2012’s Unapologetic. A lot of her singles are some of the best-selling singles of all time, including: ‘Take a bow’, ‘We Found Love’, and ‘Stay’ among others. She is the youngest artist to have fourteen #1 Hit Singles on Billboard 100 and has won eight Grammys, twelve American Music Awards, two Brit Awards, and won the inaugural Icon Award at the 2013 American Music Awards.
As a fashion icon, Rihanna released a line in 2011 with Armani. In 2014 she was the face of the French house of fashion, Balmain. June that same year, at the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Rihanna won the Fashion Icon Award, saying: “Fashion has always been my defense mechanism.” In December, she announced that she was now the creative director of sportswear fashion brand, Puma. In 2015, Rihanna became the face of Dior, the first black woman to do so. In 2016, she worked with Manolo Blahnik to create an all denim fashion shoe line and collaborated with Label Dior to create her own line of sunglasses, Rihanna which you can find on Instagram.
She played in Battleship as Petty Officer Cora Raikes, Home as lead character, Tip Tucci (which is on Netflix!), and you can catch her on the final season of Bates Motel, as Marion Crane, starting this Monday. And keep a lookout for her in Ocean Eight as Nine Ball to be released next year!
More Reasons To Love Ri:
When a man professed his love for her while presenting her an award, she dabbed in response.