Viewers who pride themselves on political correctness might want to stay away from The Advocate for Fagdom – and the films of Bruce LaBruce in general. Though his work has never satisfied all tastes, Bruce LaBruce is a satirist and provocateur without whom the New Queer Cinema movement of the late 20th century could never have happened.
His career began with queer underground magazines that made a tongue-in-cheek attempt to inject homoeroticism into the style of the often homophobic punk rock and skinhead scenes. The invention of the initially fictitious “Homocore Movement” was born partly out of LaBruce’s attraction to rough and aggressive punk boys, but proved so stylistically alluring that it grew into an actual subculture.
His films came not long after. Low-budget, uninhibited, Andy Warhol-inspired works like No Skin Off My Ass, Super 8 ½, Hustler White, Skin Flick and The Raspberry Reich are simultaneously sexy, shocking and funny while shining a light on bizarre subcultures. They turned LaBruce into an underground hero – and apparently Kurt Cobain’s favorite filmmaker. His films challenge conservative gay culture and break down any concrete, status quo ideas audiences may have about gay life and sexuality.
The Advocate for Fagdom is a consistently compelling documentary that offers up numerous perspectives on the notorious filmmaker. There is a plethora of footage from throughout LaBruce’s career and a thoroughly impressive collection of interviews with admirers (John Waters, Harmony Korine and Gus Van Sant among them). There is also some exciting footage that takes us behind-the-scenes of L.A. Zombie with porn stars like Francois Sagat, Matthew Rush and the late Erik Rhodes.
Longtime LaBruce fans will find plenty of backstage insight to enjoy. And for anyone unfamiliar with his work, younger gay viewers in particular, The Advocate for Fagdom is a pretty great place to start catching up. Diving into any director’s filmography can be a daunting task, but these films in particular are often so abrasive and intentionally crude that they can be off-putting to the uninitiated who don’t know exactly what to expect. This movie, though, gives a clear idea of what these films are all about and should leave viewers wanting more. The Advocate for Fagdom hits DVD shelves on November 20th, but you can pre-order your copy now at TLAgay.com. – Rob O