A new documentary on the ill-fated career of glam rocker Jobriath, Jobriath A.D., screened last night at the BFI London Lesbian and Gay film festival and has received a very warm critical reception. In a glowing review in The Guardian, critic Andrew Pulver writes…
[...] in this fantastically revelatory documentary by Kieran Turner, Jobriath has been thoroughly rehabilitated: as a charismatic performer in his own right, the unwitting victim of record-industry hubris, and an unlikely, reluctant martyr for gay rights.
Haven’t heard of Jobriath? In an article previously posted on Dangerous Minds, R. Metzger, a Jobriath fan, described him in succinct fashion:
If you’ve never heard of Jobriath Boone, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Obscure even by “rock snob” standards, Jobriath was the first really openly gay rock star. David Bowie and Lou Reed flirted with bisexuality, nail polish and make-up, of course, but Jobriath was in his own words, “a true fairy.” He wasn’t just “out of the closet” he was out like a police siren with the volume turned up to eleven!”
And in an article published yesterday in The Guardian, Marc Almond pays homage to his hero and explains why Jobriath may have been too much too soon:
Jobriath (born Bruce Wayne Campbell) was a readymade entity with no big backstory, yet to those in the know he was thrilling and seductive, a guilty secret. I remember, before hearing a note, taking a journey to the big city to buy his first album, the eponymous Jobriath, on import. Its striking cover showed him with porcelain skin and film-star ruby lips, a fallen, broken, beautiful statue. On a first listening, the music is a baffling mix of glam, musical theatre and 1970s rock. At a time when we craved simple guitar chords and a Starman chorus, Jobriath seemed just too musical, too clever – not pop enough. His voice had a touch of Mick Jagger at his most sluttish (like that other wonderful US glam import, David Johansen of the New York Dolls). He was a mix of wide-eyed innocent and world-weary punk. And though there was a nod to Ziggy in the vowels, Bowie he was not.
For me, above all else, he was a sexual hero: truly the first gay pop star. How extreme that was to the US at the time. His outrageous appearances on the hallowed US rock show The Midnight Special prompted shock, bewilderment and disgust. Everyone hated Jobriath – even, and especially, gay people. He was embarrassingly effeminate in an era of leather and handlebar moustaches.
Jobriath A.D. will have its US premiere on Apr 14 at the Florida Film Festival.
Here’s the trailer:
Previously on Dangerous Minds: Jobriath, Rock’s Fairy Godmother