Thanks to Anthem Magazine and writer Kee Chang for this great interview leading up to the Oct. 1, 2013 International Digital Release of THE SKIN I’M IN on iTunes and Amazon.
In 2005, at the age of 31, Broderick Fox was found unconscious on the tracks of a Berlin subway station with his head split open and a lethal blood alcohol level of 0.47. As it turns out, Fox had destroyed an entire bottle of vodka and later proceeded to fall onto the tracks—a walking blackout. The Skin I’m In concerns a human work-in-progress chronicling decades of bodily shame, addiction and suppressed sexual identity, which led to what Fox refers to as “the bottom”. Read full article
In this American Film Institute Archive clip, Dustin Hoffman recalls the process of developing the external appearance of Dorothy Michaels for Tootsie (1982) and the concatenating effects of realizing his internal sense of self did not match the external reality of what even the studio’s elite hair and makeup teams could provide.
This clip points to several different personal and cultural questions I seek to explore in The Skin I’m In. We all likely agree at this point that judgments of beauty, femininity, or masculinity are not absolutes but rather culturally constructed. But it is one thing to know this intellectually and quite another to a) feel at peace with these metrics or b) to transcend their use as the driving measures of self or others.
If self is not to be fully found in our tyrannical minds or our ephemeral bodies, then where does it reside? Explorers of nonduality would say this question is itself a trap, as it remythologizes the existence of a singular, finite, knowable self.
Making this film and dividing my identity into multiple personas, each just as real and just as “me” as the next, has certainly helped me to understand the ways in which each of us restricts and binds ourselves through personal and cultural narratives.
But on the flip side, once we see that none of our experiences, diagnoses, personalities, hopes, resentments, possessions, and appearances can fully describe “self,” but rather serve as nodes or mapping points for the experience of consciousness, we begin to glimpse the infinite possibilities for adventure, experimentation, and play in life.
It is this sense of freedom that I think many of us are pointing to via the (albeit feeble) term “spirit”–a realm I held at arm’s length for some thirty years because “spirituality” seemed fettered to religion and dogma, not a path to possibility and play.
‘Tis true that a good play needs no epilogue, but it seems fitting to close a post on gender, performance, and identity with some Shakesepare:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…
–Jaques from Shakesepare’s As You Like It (Act II Scene 7)
Thanks to Kilian Melloy for a great interview and write-up on THE SKIN I’M IN in Edge Magazine.
A few years ago, filmmaker Broderick Fox was, pretty much literally, a broken man. Now he’s whole, healthy — and the living canvas for an intricate, powerful tattoo. Fox’s own life is the canvas for his resonant new film.
Read full article here.
A compelling cover story this week in the LA WEEKLY by Patrick Range McDonald entitled Gay Happiness, the New Frontier: Are mental and physical health problems really a reaction to bigotry? resonates strongly with questions and experiences I’ve tried to explore and express through THE SKIN I’M IN. The article tries to go beyond simply blaming cultural persecution for gay men’s problems, challenging gay men and LGBTQ organizations to explore how the (American, and increasingly globalizing) gay version of “community” with its preoccupation with surface and substance (abuse) foster a large component of the sense of alienation, illness, and self-abuse that continue in gay males.
Feeling outside of mainstream culture, young men turn to the gay community which, as currently structured around bars, design, fashion, physique, and corporate sponsorship, often leads to an equally, but more troubling sense of alienation and outsider-ness from within. Gay men are also searching for a way to explore a sense of spirituality outside of organized religions that so vocally reject them, and this can be a major challenge. Of course, a new brand of spiritualized, self-exploring gays run the risk of becoming as much a trope, commodity, and clique as its nightlife, beauty, and retail therapy counterparts…
Check out the article , and share your thoughts and experiences in the feed for this post.