You think you’ve seen it all, and then you see Scooby-Doo masturbating. But, hey, we go to the Dirty Show to be shocked. And from Feb. 12-20 at Bert’s Warehouse Theater in Detroit, you can expect to be, with naughty art that you’ve probably never witnessed before. In public, anyway. In its 11th year, the show’s become a fearless cultural phenomenon, housing genre-busting works by many national and local gay artists like these:
Douglas Of Detroit
What the iconic photographer Douglas Juleff did years ago, when homosexuality was shunned, would be considered tame compared to the other X-rated works. Still, the nude muscle-men photos are perhaps the most important in the show, says Dirty Show creator Jerry Vile, because of their back story: When the Detroit police came across a photo of one of their officers with a nightstick and a hard-on, they raided Douglas’ home and destroyed his prints and negatives. Before Douglas’ death in 1999, a local store purchased the few that survived. “The Douglas of Detroit story is one of the saddest history lessons and shows how far we have come,” he says. How neat, then, that they’ll make their first public appearance outside of Bookbeat at the Dirty Show.
Rick Castro’s known for his kinky shots of men, so his show piece isn’t exactly what you’d expect from the filmmaker/photographer/fetish-gallery owner: It’s of elongated toenails. “Whenever I think I may have seen everything, here comes a new one,” says Vile, who snatched a Castro after doing a show in Los Angeles, where the artist lives. Yes, it’s just the one. But the icon, who was a wardrobe stylist for shoots in Vanity Fair and GQ before he began photographing Santa Monica Boulevard hustlers in the late ’80s, has promised to include more in next year’s show – and even make an appearance.
Horse Does Human
There was a rumor going around that homoerotic painter Marc DeBauch died, but he wants you to know he’s very much alive. And so is that horse giving that guy a, ahem, ride. Vile says it’s “some of the most hardcore subject matter that we have ever shown.” No kidding. But during the last two Detroit shows, all of his raunchy works went. If that’s any indication, his man-and-his-mustang piece – along with a fantasy portrait of the president who, Vile says, “appears to be as hung as that horse” – should gallop right out of the gallery and onto the wall of someone with a certain farmboy fantasy.
“Why does erotica have to be young and blond? Nothing against them, but what about us older, chubby girls?” asked former prostitute/porn star Annie Sprinkle a couple of years ago when she spoke with us. As California artists who’ve challenged the essence of erotica, Sprinkle and her partner Beth Stephens, an art professor, are doing something a little different for this show: a simplistic conceptual video dealing with cancer and a long lip-lock. Vile says, “It’s very erotic and also pretty profound. It should be seen, not described.” Much like Sprinkle’s infamous tit prints.
Oh, those dirty Detroiter minds. Former Michigander Mike Williams, who sold a sculpture of a man drenched in guy goo, returns again, and David Keeps – an ex-local and former editor of Details magazine – makes his Detroit Dirty Show debut. Also participating, our own BTL columnist Charles Alexander, who says of his work: “I doubt that anyone might be aroused by my art piece. On a one-to-10 peter-meter, it’s maybe a two-incher. If that.”
A lot goes into the execution of a Bad Behaviour composition, but it starts with a fantasy. The Aussie duo’s interpretive photographs – described by Vile as “big-production beefcake” – are actually some of the most reserved art in the exhibit. Travis de Jonk and Ross Brownsdon’s photo “Dog Poker” features muscular men sitting around a poker table in mutt masks, harnesses and briefs. “You know that dog is going for that bone,” Vile quips. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
You might know Eric Nash through his painterly landscapes, but his pieces in this show are charcoals of Scooby-Doo, Spiderman and a “Horny Rabbit” jerking off. The Los Angeles artist’s expressionistic work explores the merging of the Internet and modern sexuality that, according to Vile, is more emotional than erotic. No one wants to think of Scooby like that, anyway. We think.
Barker Goes Bigger
What was already a pretty graphic Clive Barker photo – “Shooter,” featuring a man erupting like a geyser – is getting an enlargement for an exclusive piece. Vile praises the horror-movie maven’s photos, gushing that he’s never seen better work from a debut photog (or bigger tools), as Barker seems sure of his artistic voice. He was all about stimulating shock as he obsessed about the shot of semen from that man weapon during our interview last year. But from the sound of this piece, he may be instigating a bit more than that.
The Dirty Show
Bert’s Warehouse Theater
2739 Russell St., Detroit
Tickets: $15 (Advance), $20 (Door)
For full schedule, visit http://www.dirtyshow.org.