Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jobriath A.D.

Jobriath A.D., dir. Kieran Turner, 2011, USA, 102 min.  [trailer]
Tuesday 6/19, 9:30 @ Victoria, JOBR19V

The true fairy of rock’n’roll
“Asking me if I’m homosexual is like asking James Brown if he’s black.” In the 1970’s, glam rock stars like David Bowie flirted with innuendoes that they might be bisexual, but Jobriath openly identified himself as “the true fairy of rock’n’roll.” He signed up with promoter Jerry Brandt, who spent lavishly to promote Jobriath, but the pair seemed unable to translate the saturation publicity into success. Jobriath’s picture was plastered on 2,000 buses in New York, Paris, and London, but there was no chart-topping single, no triumphant world tour, and not even enough record sales to cover the pre-release promotion costs. Jobriath rocketed from Broadway star to has-been in the blink of an eye. Sadly, Jobriath was ahead of his time in another respect: he was among the earliest AIDS fatalities, dead in 1983 at the age of 36. This documentary tells his story, pulling no punches in laying a large share of the blame at the feet of Jerry Brandt, and goes on to show some of the artists who were influenced by Jobriath’s two albums (which are now available on iTunes, a testament to their artistic staying power). It’s a fascinating story of what might have been, a cautionary tale about how not to do music promotion, an homage to the music itself as well as the artist, and a period piece. Audience reaction to the animated interludes was decidedly mixed, but on the whole the film was easily better than your average “behind the music” retrospective. Worth seeing, recommended.

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