Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gay Director James Broughton 
Fathered Pauline Kael's Daughter

What did I learn from the Film Comment review by Phillip Lopate of the new biography of critic Pauline Kael? That there was a gay aspect to her private affairs, one that produced a daughter.

Long before she landed at the New Yorker and made expert use of her vaunted perch to instill fear among filmmakers and raise the level of criticism, Kael enjoyed sexual liaisons with James Broughton, a gay artist of many talents and intellectual pursuits.

Broughton's name in my mind was always associated with his underground movies, none of which I've seen, his writings and role in birthing the Radical Faeries. News to me that he also fathered Kael's kid.

From the review of "Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark":

For starters, Kael was extremely guarded about her private life and changed her versions of the past frequently. The freshest material here, for those who know her public persona well, are the first chapters that take us through her childhood in Petaluma, California [up to] her first unhappy sojourn in New York City (which crystallized a lifelong dislike of the place); her failure at playwriting; and her love affairs with several gay or bisexual men.

“Again, Pauline was making a mistake that heterosexual women in the arts often made: They were surrounded by attractive, bright men, unafraid to engage in emotional discourse, and they mistakenly thought that a passionate friendship could turn into an enduring romance,” writes [biographer Brian] Kellow. An affair with the experimental filmmaker James Broughton produced a child, Gina, whom Kael raised by herself, Mildred Pierce–like, heroically supporting them with a number of odd jobs, including running a laundry.

1 comment:

DavidEhrenstein said...

Not exactly a bolt from the blue. This was known for YEARS. Pauline was a Major Fag-Hag who, back in the day was convinced her feminine wiles could turn gays straight. So she nailed Broughton who rued the day. He had no relation whatsoever with the result of her RAPE.

She was scarcely alone in this. Back in the day many women made this their speciality. It was of course a lot easier to do when gayness was utterly outlawed. In moresophisticated realms you had couples like Cole and Linda Porter where there was no illusion whatsoeevr and He adn She led separate lives. Or Paul and Jane Bowles -- who got married to please their respeictive parents, and led separate lives.

Philp Lopate is the most naive sophisticate I know. We were both friends with the late gay experimental filmmaker Warren Sombert. Lopate thinks he understood Warren. But being terminally straight he has not so much as a clue.