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

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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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 was born in Canton, Ohio. He received a B. A. from Yale University and an M. F. A. from California Institute of the Arts. He has made the films Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), which won a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, the documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many videos including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998). His work was included in the 1993 and 2008 Whitney Biennials, and he has had retrospectives at Tate Modern (2005), Anthology Film Archives (2010), and the Austrian Film Museum (2011). He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, two California Community Foundation Fellowships, and most recently, a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. He lives in Los Angeles.
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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: #648,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William E. Jones was born in Canton, Ohio. He received a B. A. from Yale University and an M. F. A. from California Institute of the Arts. He has made the films Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), which won a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, the documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many videos including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998). His work was included in the 1993 and 2008 Whitney Biennials, and he has had retrospectives at Tate Modern (2005), Anthology Film Archives (2010), and the Austrian Film Museum (2011). He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, two California Community Foundation Fellowships, and most recently, a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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