Heroes of the Revolution: Patrick Cowley

Art by Rob Goldstein
The Rainbow Flag

Patrick Cowley was a gay liberationist who died as his brilliance was reaching its peak.

He is sometimes called the father of electronic dance music.

His influence is still clear in contemporary house music and techno.

Cowley played synthesizer on Sylvester’s 1978 hits “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat)” and he collaborated with Sylvester on his 1982 hit, “Do Ya Wanna Funk”

At 32, Patrick Cowley was among the first to die from the AIDS Epidemic.

Going Home is on the last track of Mind Warp, Cowley’s last album.
Cowley released Mind Warp in October of 1982, a month before he died from AIDS, which was still called GRID.

Cowley’s music embodies the energy and defiance that sparked and sustained the early Gay Liberation Movement.

“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
John F. Kennedy

Liberating the human mind and human sexuality from the constraints of fear, bigotry, hate, and superstition is what gay liberation was about.

The revolution is never over!

Happy Pride Month!

‘The City” (c) Rob Goldstein 2016

PATRICK COWLEY
Going Home 1982
by DISCOS BOLICHEROS
Internet Archive

Sylvester
“Do You Wanna Funk” 1982
by DISCOS BOLICHEROS
Internet Archive

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The Way

One way to do it, he says, is to douse yourself in
alcohol and set your bed on fire.

In the hole men chew their veins out; now that’s
ambition!

These are lectures on Blood and the Way.

With God’s love we are never abandoned.

He is the way and a way out

–unlock–pull trigger–

“I’m a hustler, he says, I never go back to
the same trick twice for a cigarette!”

As a finale we laugh ourselves to death.

Rob Goldstein (c) 2014-2017 All Rights Reserved

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We ain’t going back!

I wondered how today’s young generation of LGBTQ artists were dealing with the rise of Trump.

I found defiance:

Now if you think that we gon bow down and run
Think we’d be bothered? You got water in your guns?
Bitch, you got the wrong bitch
Bitch, you got the wrong bitch
You got the wrong, wrong bitch
And if you think we gon cower and be scared
Think I won’t keep marching with my fist up in the air
Bitch, you got the wrong bitch
Bitch, you got the wrong bitch
You got the wrong, wrong bitch

This cut from Butch Queen by Rue Paul and Ab Soto is defiant and hilarious:

 

We’re not going back. We’re not going anywhere. We are going to rise up and finish our revolution.

And we’re gonna win!

#TheResistance

 

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 1, Section 3– Saints and Self-Destruction

I ask Norse about his drive to write poetry.

He feels like a man without category.

He is not from the élite and he is not entirely of the poor.

He is not working class but he is not rich.

Norse was 53 in 1969, the year of the Stonewall Riots.

He was 60 when he published Carnivorous Saint and became
the poetic voice of the gay liberation movement.

Norse discusses recently published letters he received as a
young writer from W.H. Auden.

Auden advised Norse to accept the locked doors of the
literary world as a sign of his true calling in life as a saint.

Screenshot of an of W.H. Auden's letter to Harold Norse from the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series in which Auden tells Harold Norse to accept locked doors ihn the literary world as a sign of his true callling as a saint
A section of W.H. Auden’s letter to Harold Norse from the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series

When Norse speaks of a politically correct left, he means an academic
élite that restrains the use of a certain kind of language even when it’s
essential to the work.

Section 3 of the interview closes with a question of identify:

“It seems to me that you’re making more than a writer when you take
an illiterate and give him the ability to express himself with a self
conscious understanding of his real social and political position. That
is an extremely powerful thing to do and it can be devastating.”
*
*


Interview with Harold Norse, Part 1 Section 3- Saints and Self Destruction

 

Scan of a typewritten note from Hal the Difficult to Rob the Impossible concerning a vast tureen of nearly finished chicken soup in the refrigerator
An interoffice memo left on the fridge one day.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 1 section 2:  The Pain of Becoming Literate

An Interview With Harold Norse, Part One, Section 1: The Art of Teaching
Header image is a flyer for a production of Bobby.  The figure is a shaman.

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Song A Day Challenge, Day 5: The Good Gay Stuff

Thanks to Danica from Living the Beautiful Life for nominating
me for the Five-Day Music challenge.

The Rules are:

Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you.  (Optional)
Post the name of the song and video
Nominate two (or one) different blogger each day of the challenge

I close the 5 Day Song A Day Challenge with a short  compendium
of music performed by openly gay performers.

Prior to the release of ‘Caravan Tonight‘ on Mercury Records in 1974
popular music assumed everyone was straight.

Steven Grossman’s decision to come ‘out’ when he recorded ‘Caravan Tonight’  was one of millions of decisions made by everyday people who decided to celebrate their lives instead of living in shame.

Revolutions are fought and won by everyday people who choose to stand up for themselves and push back.

Succeeding generations of everyday people sustain these revolutions when
they use their newly won freedoms to push back and free others.

Enjoy!

Steve Grossman – Can’t Papa Blues, 1974

 

Steve Grossman – Circle Nine Times 1974

Tom Robinson – Glad To Be Gay, 1978

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel, 1978

 

 

Patrick Cowley – Menergy, 1981

 

The Tom Robinson Band: Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, 1992

 

K.D. Lang – Constant Craving, 1992

 

Melissa Etheridge – I’m The Only One, 1993

 

Lost The Love – Joan Armatrading, 1995

 


Me’Shell Ndegéocello – Leviticus: Faggot, 1996

 

Me’Shell Ndegéocello: Who Is He And What Is He to You, 1996

 

George Michael – Flawless, 2004

 


Rayvon Owen – Can’t Fight It, 2016

 

 

Tom Goss – Son of a Preacher Man. 2016

I nominate:

 

 

 

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