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Halsted Plays Himself (Semiotext(e) Native Agents) Hardcover – October 28, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[H]is book is so much more than I dared expect, a model of what a gay study can be. Nearly devoid of academic jargon, it's authoritative, comprehensive, and personally couched." -- John F. Karr, Karrnal Knowledge (blog)

"...one of the most intriguing and unusual cultural histories of recent years, a work that simultaneously serves as a valuable extension of Jones's own idiosyncratic oeuvre." -- Travis Jeppesen, Whitehot Magazine

"A collection of writings by and about Fred Halsted... Jones's much-needed monograph charts a course through queer cinema's outer limits." -- Thomas Beard, Frieze

"[A] fascinating glimpse of a bygone gay culture whose aesthetic was far less polished, more earthy, and more dangerous than our current one, defined as it is by dollars and digital media." -- Sam Biederman, Bookforum



"As a project born out of the author's sincere admiration for his subject, Halsted Plays Himself amounts to a very passionate, if not sentimental, account. Jones not only attempts to symbolically revive Halsted in this elegy, but continuously constructs imaginary scenarios which could have resulted in him still being alive, better understood, or more accepted." -- Aliina Astrova, Kaleidoscope (blog)



"[A] rich and rewarding excavation of a blazing moment in the early 1970s...[A] valuable installment in a recent, resurgent interest in queer documents from that flourishing social period, positioning Halsted's artistic legacy within a teeming moment of gay visibility." -- Bradford Nordeen, Art in America

About the Author

William E. Jones is an artist and filmmaker who teaches film history at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has made two feature length experimental films, Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), several short videos, including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998), the feature length documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many video installations. His films and videos were the subject of retrospectives at Tate Modern, London, in 2005, and at Anthology Film Archives, New York, in 2010. He has worked in the adult video industry under the name Hudson Wilcox.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Semiotext(e); First Edition edition (October 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584351071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584351078
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William E. Jones has made the films Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997); videos including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998); and the documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004). Jones's books include Is It Really So Strange? (2006), Tearoom (2008), Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (2008), Heliogabalus (2009), "Killed": Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration (2010), Halsted Plays Himself (2011), Between Artists: Thom Andersen/William E. Jones (2013), Imitation of Christ (2013), and Flesh and the Cosmos (2014). His work is exhibited by David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan; and The Modern Institute, Glasgow. His website is www.williamejones.com. He lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Dita von Krieg on April 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have been looking all over for a book about Fred Halsted, ever since I read about him in a book about the late, great Robert Mapplethorpe. Halsted was brilliant, but seriously tormented. My heart just broke reading his story. So happy William E. Jones wrote this fascinating book. Even though Halsted is still an enigma and an elusive character, I now feel like I know and understand him and the lost world he inhabited and helped create. An amazing book.
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By Brian Butterick on November 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fred Halsted was true genius whose work should not be overlooked by young GLBTQ people today. Though his metier at the time was pornography, his transgressive style definitely has come to be viewed as art today. In his work one can see his influence on other artists such as Mapplethorpe, Wojnarowicz, and Bruce LaBruce.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Ollom on April 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fred Halsted took us to a very honest perception of man to man intimacy. Though his work invokes violence and fisting, it makes us wonder about internalized homophobia and its manifestations. The suicide of Halsted is a tragedy as we would hope that he could find validation for his work in a world that only promotes financial profit more than artistic enlightenment.
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