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Myself in 2015, at the age of nineteen.

This piece was written for and performed at Hear Us Roar: An LGBTQ+ Cabaret (October 24, 2015). Although I had begun my uncloseting process about a year prior, it served as my first public “coming out.” It contains frank discussion of closeting and homophobia, which may be triggering for some readers. I also recognize that not everyone has the desire to come out, or the ability to do so safely; I hope these individuals are able to find their sense of peace and belonging with at least one other person, or even simply within themselves.

I am small — by society’s standards “too young to know.” …


On Tapestry, Blue, and the transcendent power of a damn good record.

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Joni Mitchell (L) and Carole King (R) at A&M Studios, January 1971

When I listened to Carole King’s Tapestry for the first time, I was riding down the interstate in the passenger seat of my best friend’s Toyota. I felt distinct from him for those forty-five minutes— like he was listening to a very good album, but I was craning to hear a very long and important voicemail left for me in 1971.

Tapestry is a fairly ubiquitous album. I think it’s impossible to grow up in America, especially with parents who came of age in the seventies, and not be familiar with at least a couple of its tracks (I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down…) but as I leaned forward in my seat, arms hugging my knees, all but putting my ear against the rumbling speaker — even those tracks I’d heard countless times before were reaching me for the first. …


or, The Gay Surrealist Who Never Was.

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Jean Cocteau in his studio

“Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting
and then tie it up again, but differently.”

– Jean Cocteau, Dessins (1924) trans. Pierre Chanel[1]

i. early life + work

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was born on July 5th, 1889, in a suburb of Paris. Recognized today primarily as a Surrealist filmmaker, Cocteau surprisingly considered himself neither. Instead, he self-identified as a poet — one who dealt in fantasies, and hopscotched from medium to medium in their pursuit. In recent years, art historians and cultural critics have made efforts to establish a wider breadth to our study of Jean Cocteau. While they have ventured from the realm of film study into examinations of his literary and theatrical contributions, there are still significant gaps in the discourse, especially in regard to his illustrations. Rather than a biographical effort or general survey, this article will decrease the scope and argue specific claims about his use of a certain medium (illustration). The analysis is predominately concerned with the role of fantasy in his drawn work, particularly illustrations that accompany his 1928 novel Le Livre blanc. …

About

Brian Matthews

xxiv | he/him | theatre artist, art + film historian, educator, advocate.

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