Leather Narcissus (1967, USA, Avery Willard, dir. 28mins)



This film has been very difficult to find. Previously, Inventaire mentioned it was remastered by a company called to DCP, and he also posted an excerpt of the director’s previous leather manifesto. What I have uncovered this film seems to retell the classical myth of Narcissus by recasting the boy who fell in love with his own image as an archetypal Leatherman, played here by a man named only as Fernando.

Narcissus is an important myth for homosexuality because it recounts a conceit in homosexual desire to direct one’s attention not at the opposite gender – and by extension, reproducing — but towards one’s own self. This lust most often takes either an auto-erotic form or seeks it’s own specular reflection. Without the need to bestow and diversify one’s genes, it seems the narcissus is content in admiring his own.


From what bits I have found there appears to be a scene where this narcissus walks around Manhattan in full butch drag. He stares into himself through a metallic butterfly ball oblivious to the dangers of the city around him. Caught by beauty, it’s an abyssal image; a man made so simple as to be entrapped by his own skewed — but ultimately recognizable — image. 


I found two scenes for the film which were included in a compilation tape called White Hanky (don’t look it up, it means masturbation). This is a common practice in porn, especially when studios fold and sell their assets to other companies who then re-release or compile the new footage. It’s also common for erotic films from this era to depict solitary or masturbatory acts. Hardcore penetration, especially anal, doesn’t really appear until the ‘70s. This suggests that these are the only two pornographic scenes in the film. 

In the ABOVE SCENE Fernando takes his motorcycle as his object of sexual gratification. It’s the earliest Bike ‘Bate scene I’ve encountered. Most of those happen in the early-mid-70s before they largely disappear in favour of penetration scenes. I suggest you don’t watch it to be aroused. 


Above is a still from THIS VIDEO which is probably the climax of the film. Some really interesting cross-dissolves and in camera tricks circumvent the era’s propriety values and imply oral sex and same-sex kissing. Then he masturbates via a mirror onto his own image while complementing himself, basically.


The above image may or may not be part of the film. No other corroborating evidence has been found. It could be a scene depicting a sex act, it could be a narrative scene like the aforementioned Butterfly Ball sequence or it could be a result of a misnamed Google search.

It’s unclear how faithfully Avery Willard follows the myth. He seems to be more concerned with Narcissus in the act of loving himself and not the heart-spurning or suiciding sides of that story. There doesn’t seem to be an Echo and a Nemesis character who are causally important to the story, but in this context I would question if that really matters. 

Just over 15 minutes of the film still remains to be seen, including THIS wonderfully shot double-exposure sequence I first found on a trailer tape. 


I hope these Youtube videos stay online for a while, so you can all see this British documentary about John Waters, made around the time Hairspray (the first, non-musical one) was released. It’s a little annoying to listen to Jonathan Ross‘s voice-ver, but it’s so charming to see the interview with Divine in the first section:

Divine died only a week after the release of Hairspray in 1988, and this is the only footage I’ve ever seen of him enjoying the well-deserved praise for his work in the film. It also makes me sad all over again to think that he never got the chance to see how big Hairspray eventually became.

If I Had a Hammer…

…And a staple gun, and a few other choice tidbits, I could handle almost anything. Of course, I love hardware stores far too much to keep myself from picking up all sorts of specialty tools as the need arises, but I assure you that having a few key items around will make you much less dependent upon the kindness of strangers in an emergency.

All of this stuff costs only a few dollars for a serviceable version of each, and it’ll be an investment that will make up for itself in no time at all. Not only will you earn valuable brownie points with that cute college boy working at the local True Value for the summer, but you’ll also save a small fortune in dumb repair bills, and a lot of headaches from exasperated superintendents.

Hammer Time!Never, NEVER underestimate the importance of having a good, full-size hammer around the house. In a pinch, even a decent ball-pean hammer will do. Some day yoou’ll need to hang a picture, loosen an old valve on a water pipe, pull out a nail where a picture used to hang, or something else that will require something more efficient than the heel of your shoe.

There are basically two tricks to using a hammer. The most important is to swing it from your elbow, not your wrist. Little, limp-wristed, girly wrist-hammering will hurt you and it won’t do a damn thing. Hold the hammer firmly in your hand, and let the momentum of your whole forearm do the bulk of the work. The second trick it to know how much force is needed, and USE IT. If a sticky valve or tiny picture nail just need a tap or two, just give ’em a good, firm tap. If you have to drive big nail into a block of wood, tap once or twice for position and then swing like the mighty Thor — it’ll feel very cathartic, and there’ll be less chance of screwing up the nail or the angle of approach if you can drive the nail in with just two or three whacks.

Screw Me!Screw You!

The other most useful thing you can have around the house is a Phillips head screwdriver. that’s the one with the x-shaped tip, in case you’re wondering. A flat-head screw driver will also be handy to have around. If you’re worried about having too packed a toolbox, you can always get a screwdriver handle with a reversible bit, Phillips on one side and flat-head on the other. But if you’ve managed to get this far in your life without owning a screwdriver, I assure you your streak of good luck won’t last forever.

Someday you’ll have to open the back of that computer, or attach that shelf to the wall, or tighten that table leg, or hang those curtain rods, or chip that ice out of the freezer (which is, of course, a foolish and dangerous use for a screwdriver, but a use nonetheless). The screwdriver is your friend, believe me.

Pinch me, I’m dreamingSlip-joint pliers are universally handy. Purists will say that everything they’re useful for is the wrong way to use them, but that’s all horsecrap. Got a bolt to tighten or loosen? Plier it, baby. Missing a knob on the stove? Fire it up with your friendly pliers. That showerhead leaking again? You know what to do. You can tell if you’re using pliers for the wrong thing if it seems like it takes too much hand strength to get a grip on something, but the beauty of pliers is that they’ll still get the job done if you work at it. And get a pair that can also be used as a wirecutter.

Monkey BusinessOf course, we can’t forget our trusty friend the adjustable monkey wrench. This is the one that you should be using all those times when pliers don’t seem to work well. If you have a bike, for instance, you probably already know that a monkey wrench and one or two Allen wrenches (see below) are your magic best friends at tune-up time. You can think of this as a hardcore pair of pliers. If pliers can grab it, a monkey wrench can grab it better, and give you more leverage. I suspect that when I eventually start to learn car repair, I’ll develop a whole new appreciation for the monkey wrench.

Stick 'em upNo party would be complete without the amazing staple gun. Maybe Martha Stewart can work wonders with a hot-glue gun, but trust me — it’s the staple-gun that can really hold the world together. Do curtain rods and drapery hooks seem too labor-intensive? A few well-placed staples behind a fold will hold things up until Mom’s next visit. Is that phone cord tripping all your dates when they come by to pick you up? Secure that baby up against the baseboard and show it who’s boss. Found the perfect kitchen chair at the Salvation Army and then discovered the upholstery’s rotting away? that’s right — a staple gun and a piece of fabric (and a hammer or screwdriver, depending on how the seat’s attached) is all you need to raise it from the dead. And any staples you use are removed in seconds flat with your trusty flat-head screwdriver. See how it all comes together?

The Big LThis may seem a little more special-interest, but a set of Allen wrenches will make you very happy if you own a bike or any piece of do-it-yourself furniture from Ikea. They’re those black, L-shaped doohickies with the hexagonal ends that often end up in people’s junk drawers. Those babies are the keys to the kingdom if you ever have any intention of taking apart that Sufflör bookshelf or Krokshult table that’s taking up space in the corner, or putting that new bottle holder on your mountain bike once and for all. There couldn’t be anything easier to use — just find the right-size end that fits in the bolt, and twist a few times using the other side of the wrench as a handle. Bolts that require Allen wrenches usually only require a twist or two since they’re flat don’t get knocked around a lot. But there’s no way to grab ’em at all unless you have the right wrench.

A Cornucopia of Delights

I’m no fool, OK? I’m not so deluded as to think that I would have a chance with any models or really beefcakey guys. South American TV stars, maybe. This is just a wish list based on my picks of the images that one gets bombarded with nowadays.

I still maintain that I would prefer a guy who’s smart as a whip and can tell good jokes to one who’s purely a pretty piece of tail. that’s why it’s such a disappointment when supermodels talk. I will admit, however, that good bone structure and a nice bum are good bonus features. So close your eyes and pretend with me for a minute that each one of these guys is a witty, erudite, articulate rocket scientist or something.

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20

I Really Dig Leather

But you might have guessed that. I like the feel of it, the look of it, the smell of it, the way it can conform so easily to the body beneath it, and all that other stuff that you can read at any of a million other web pages out there. This shit turns me on, but it’s such a delicate balance. I can’t buy into the whole notion of an attraction to leather (OK, I’ll say it — a fetish) being synonymous with S&M or or any of the other rigorously codified culture that seems to have sprung up around it. I love creative and intense sex, but all that’s just not my scene. I can get past the goofy anachronism of a lot of the standard leather “look” because something about it still works, but so many guys go so over the top that it backfires. Leather can go from zero to cheesy in about two seconds if a guy’s not careful. Or it can go from zero to damn sexy in about as much time.

Did I have a weird, supressed childhood fascination with the Fonz? With Roddy McDowall as the Bookworm on “Batman“? Do I have some issues with either latent or coveted machismo? Was I subjected to contraband Tom of Finland drawings at an early, impressionable age? Maybe it was those Ghost Rider comic books. Who knows? I sure as hell don’t. I just like to revel in it once in a while. And anyway, if think this is extreme, you should hear about my inexplicable fascination with nerdy, skinny guys with glasses.

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