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LISTEN: Meet Ian MacKinnon, Performance Activist and Queer Sex Time Traveler

LISTEN: Meet Ian MacKinnon, Performance Activist and Queer Sex Time Traveler


On this week's Sewers of Paris, performance activist Ian MacKinnon explores the connection between gay sex and gay liberation.

When Ian MacKinnon was growing up in the Midwest, he couldn't picture what life as a gay man even looked like. And he certainly couldn't have pictured what his life would become: parading up on stages as a performance artist, covered in brightly colored phallic objects, to shout triumphantly in one-man shows about the pride he takes in being a sexual gay being.

Ian was my guest this week on The Sewers of Paris, a podcast about how entertainment has changed the lives of gay men.

For Ian, the life-changing entertainment was a series of experimental gay arts films that verged on the pornographic. They provided an avenue into exploring what gay men fundamentally are, and it's an avenue that he's continued to examine in his own performance art. One of the most important films for Ian was Pink Narcissus, a wordless vision of sexual fantasies:

And then there was the work of Peter Berlin, whose self-created art examined the way that men look at each other's bodies:

Ian has continued the traditions established by those artistic forebears with a performance art series entitled "Gay Hist-Orgy," in which he travels through time to have sex with various gay figures throughout history:

Why is sex a recurring theme? Well, maybe it's because it's the one act that just about all gay men share, but each of us does differently. It's the thing that sets us apart from the straight world, while simultaneously connecting with each other. And in our conversation for this week's episode, Ian explained the connection between gay sex and gay liberation:

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