Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Cotton Club (1984)

The Cotton Club (1984)

The Cotton Club (1984)
Dir. Francis Ford Coppola

Joe returns to the American screen in his first Hollywood A-picture, the notoriously troubled Robert Evans production about gangsters and The Cotton Club, where black entertainers performed for all-white clientele. Showing up on and off during the film’s climactic, all-star club scene, Joe manages to make a striking impression as the infamous Charles “Lucky” Luciano. He looks like he could be Robert De Niro’s brother! Available on video/DVD.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Joe Dallessandro in Flesh (alternate title: Andy Warhol's Flesh) is a 1968

Flesh (alternate title: Andy Warhol's Flesh) is a 1968 film directed by American filmmaker Paul Morrissey.

Flesh is the first film of the "Paul Morrissey Trilogy" produced by Andy Warhol. The other films in the trilogy include Trash and Heat. All three have gained a cult following and are noted examples of the ideals and ideology of the time period. The films are also known to have broken boundaries and paved the way for future filmmakers.

The film stars Joe Dallesandro as a hustler working on the streets of New York City. The movie highlights various Warhol superstars, in addition to being the film debuts of both Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling. Also appearing are Geraldine Smith as Joe's wife and Patti D'Arbanville as her lesbian lover.

As the film begins, Geraldine ejects Joe from their bed and insists he go out on the streets to make some money for her girlfriend's abortion. This leads to Joe's various encounters with clients, including an artist who wishes to draw Joe, played by Maurice Bradell, Louis Waldon as a gymnast, and John Christian. Scenes filmed on the streets of New York City show Joe spending time with other hustlers, one of which is played by his real life brother, and teaching the tricks of the trade to the new hustler, played by Barry Brown. The film includes a scene of Joe interacting with his real life one-year-old son. Flesh concludes with Joe in bed with Geraldine Smith and Patti D'Arbanville. The women strip Joe and begin to get intimate with each other. In turn, Joe gets bored and falls asleep.

Joe Dallesandro in Trash : Andy Warhol's Trash

Warhol’s “Lonseome Cowboys” Showing To Benefit Center Advocates

Milwaukee - The Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival and the UWM Union Theatre will present a special screening of Andy Warhol’s 1968 film “Lonesome Cowboys” Thursday, January 26 at 7pm. The screening will take place at the UWM Union Theatre Lonesome Cowboysin the UWM Student Union, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Admission for this evening’s screening is free, but attendees will be encouraged to donate to the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center Advocates’ “No on the Amendment” Coalition. Donations of any size will be accepted.
Festival Director Carl Bogner explained with the current fascination with Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” was the impetus of what some critics call the “original gay cowboy movie.””We felt like this was a moment ripe for exploitation, or an unasked-for addressing of context, with this presentation of the queerest, in every sense of the word, film Western of all time,” Bogner said
According to Bogner, Warhol’s film was originally intended as a Western version of “Romeo and Juliet,” and adopts cowboy drag and wears only the merest trappings of plot. “Nominally the clash between settled folk and a rootless band of horsebacked ‘brothers’ just passing through, the film offers a barely corralled paddock of jokiness, flippantly held poses, and unchecked behavior,” he said. “The milieu’s attendant homo-sociality allows a revue of masculinities considered and a stable full of varieties of male beauty. And the menfolk here, when not trading hair grooming tips and ballet moves, head off into the sunset together.”
“Lonesome Cowboys” features such Warhol stars as Viva, Taylor Mead, and Joe Dallesandro. “With Tom Hompertz lounging around as everyone’s cowpoke of desire,” Bogner added.

Lonesome Cowboys [1968]

Lonesome Cowboys is a 1968 film by American filmmaker Andy Warhol. Written by Paul Morrissey, the film is a satire of Hollywood westerns. The film features Warhol superstars Viva, Taylor Mead, Eric Emerson and Joe Dallesandro. The plot is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, hence the names Julian and Ramona of the two leads.

The Loves of Ondine (1967)

The Loves of Ondine (1967) Dir. Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey

An 18-year old Joe walked right off the streets and into film history when Paul Morrissey asked the teenager who stopped by to watch filming to step into the scene. On-screen for 23 minutes, Joe steals the film by stripping down to his jockey shorts and wrestling speed-freak Ondine in a Greenwich Village apartment. Unavailable on video at this time, but frequently screened at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and fully detailed in the book Little Joe, Superstar.

Joe Dallesandro's Biography


One of the 10 most beautiful men Scavullo said he ever photographed. The "Little Joe" of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." The Valentino of the Underground. The crotch on the Sticky Fingers album cover. The only guy at the party willing to return a punch from Norman Mailer. The actor whose performance made George Cukor understand what it meant to be a drug addict. The beauty wily enough to catch a fainting Tennessee Williams and then get out of the hotel bedroom while the going was good.

The naked guy in those Andy Warhol movies.

Okay, so they weren't really Andy Warhol movies. They were Paul Morrissey movies. Andy had all but stopped shooting films after he was himself shot by a crazed feminist in June of 1968. So, the naked guy in those Paul Morrissey movies, the gorgeous young man whose body spoke volumes; spoke so loudly, in fact, that lots of folks didn't realize the kid could act until they watched the films a second or third time.

These are distinctions that don't necessarily make Joe Dallesandro proud. Nor do they cause him to hide his head in shame. At 18, he was an unlikely pioneer, the first film actor to be overtly worshipped as a nude sex symbol. As to the young man himself, he couldn't have cared less. He was just doing his job. Clothed or unclothed didn't seem to bother him. Besides, who the hell would see these movies anyway?

Joe Dallesandro was born in Pensacola, FL in 1948 to teenaged parents, a father who was stationed at the Naval base and a mother who would serve time for grand larceny when Joe was just five. By then, his dad didn’t think he could handle raising Joe and Joe’s little brother Robert on his own. Both of the boys were placed into an adoption facility in New York and then brought up in a series of foster homes. Joe was a troublemaker at school, his difficulties compounded by his short stature and even shorter temper. It also didn’t help that one of the families ran their home like Fagin’s in Oliver Twist, entreating the kids in their care to ransack neighborhood buildings.

A frequent runaway, largely to get his absent father’s attention, Joe found his allegiances and surrogate family among gangs of his peers on the streets. His father eventually planted both Joe and his brother at their grandparents’ house in Queens, but even there, outside their purview, he enjoyed a life of petty thieving and vandalism, then moved on to stealing cars for kicks.

Fairly good at his trade, he had the misfortune to be driving a stolen vehicle while approaching the Holland Tunnel and decided to crash the tollgate. A police chase ensued, resulting in the 15-year old getting a slug in the right leg, just above the kneecap. Sentenced to Camp Cass, a juvenile rehabilitation facility in the Catskills, he earned fifty cents a day cutting down trees. It was here that a ritual among disenfranchised boys begat his famous “Little Joe” tattoo, a trademark looked for by fans in all of his films, and assured longevity by Joe’s persistence in going over the lines again and again and again with his little needle dipped in India ink.

He escaped from Camp Cass after three months and hitchhiked with a friend across country, first down to Juarez, Mexico, where they lived for a spell in a cave, then back up to Los Angeles, where Joe was to find himself the object of particular attention…from other men. He was offered money to pose nude for a little magazine called Physique Pictorial, ostensibly a physical culture and bodybuilding publication, but surely intended for consumption by a gay clientele and run by Bob Mizer, who photographed thousands of young men in tiny posing straps or in the altogether at his compound in LA from 1945-1993. Joe was to become one of Mizer’s most famous models after the fact.

As a teen, Joe realized that he could use his good looks to his advantage, though he maintains he never saw himself as particularly attractive, only allowed others to see him as they wanted to see him. He did nude photos for several photographers in the mid-sixties, but was back in New York, unhappily married, and all of 18 when he literally walked into his completely unanticipated career. While visiting a friend in the Village, he heard that the “Campbell’s Soup” guy was making a movie in one of the apartments and so he and the fellas went to watch.

The door was open. The boys poked their heads in and the camera was running…and pointed in their direction. Joe Dallesandro’s first entrance was quite literally that. Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey were shooting footage for one of their marathon films and weren’t having much luck getting anything they liked. It was Morrissey who then suggested that Joe, the most picturesque of the bunch, step into the scene. Warhol agreed. Joe was approached and decided to get involved. “It looked like a home movie,” he recalled. Already aware that men liked to photograph him, he was perfectly willing to have a go, even when they asked him to strip down to his underwear and wrestle the male lead.

A year later, his footage was included in the 86-minute extract now titled Loves of Ondine (1968), and there was Joe Dallesandro in his jockey shorts smack dab in the middle of the film’s ad in The Village Voice. His 23-minute improvised scene prompted Variety to note: “This Joe Dallesandro is good-looking enough and natural acting enough to have a showbiz career beyond Warhol.”

Beyond Warhol at the time meant Paul Morrissey, because it was Morrissey who tapped into the qualities of this young street kid and became his mentor. Joe wasn’t a talker by nature. Andy liked talkers. Though Joe would play key roles in both Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys (1969), which was investigated by the FBI for rumors of an on-screen rape and obscenity, and San Diego Surf (1968), the only Warhol feature never released, it’s unlikely he would have come to fruition had it not been for Morrissey’s keen eye for faces.

Three films, Morrissey’s critically-acclaimed Trilogy, managed to bring the underground to the cultural surface. Flesh (1968) tells the story of a day in the life of a male hustler. (Midnight Cowboy was in production and Warhol and Morrissey beat it to the punch.) The flesh of the title belongs to Joe and we’ll see plenty of it before this day is out. It’s somehow appropriate that the first extensive full-frontal nudity by a male in the movies should come from a man whose beauty is objectified and desired by all who see it. It’s also instructive that it can be yours for a price. For both female and gay audiences, the first gorgeous naked man they could lay eyes on at the cinema was also a liberating icon. With Joe there was a slight androgyny, but a distinct ambiguity about his sexuality.

He’s more than just a body, though. If that were his only appeal, his legacy would be a footnote. Dallesandro was an innately charismatic and sincere presence on screen. Audiences could project their fantasies onto him. They not only wanted him physically, they wanted to take care of him. Fans wrote letters offering to help him out, naturally assuming that the young man named Joe who played young men named Joe in all his movies—movies that were improvised, no less—had to really be the person they saw up there on the screen.

Trash (1970) was next, hailed by Rolling Stone as “a masterpiece” and “the best film of the year,” telling the tragicomic story of heroin junkie Joe living in squalor with his girlfriend (transvestite Holly Woodlawn) on the Lower East Side. Heat (1972) is Morrissey’s take on Sunset Boulevard, with Joe playing a callous ex-child star with a ponytail down to his butt who’s willing to sleep with anyone, including a faded B-actress played by Sylvia Miles and her lesbian daughter, to revive his career in tawdry Tinsel Town.

Between films, Dallesandro was also juggling his time as a husband and father, working at the Factory doing any number of jobs: answering phones, checking in and out film prints, acting as projectionist, handling security, and running the elevator. The Trilogy took the abandoned boy from Queens off his crash course toward likely incarceration and set him on a celebrated tour through Europe where the films were hailed as great social comedies and Dallesandro was treated like a star.

Joe followed The Trilogy with the Morrissey-directed Italian monster movies Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula (perhaps better known as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Dracula), both X-rated gorefests rife with absurd humor and Joe’s deliberately anachronistic New Yawk accent.

Tired of the Warhol scene, and frustrated by the perception of their ownership of him, Joe stayed on in Europe where he had offers to make movies and somehow hoped that those productions would do for him what European films had done for the careers of Eastwood and Bronson.

He would make 18 feature films while in Europe throughout the rest of the 1970s. His baptism into a movie world without Warhol was having a woman squat and pee on his face in the sex-farce Donna e bello (1974). He played a sexy young man on his way up the crime ladder in L’Ambizioso (The Climber; 1975), a mute who has fathered a gaggle of children with his sister (Alexandra Stewart) in Louis Malle’s bizarre dreamscape Black Moon (1975), a family man from the country who’s corrupted by Parisian prostitute Sylvia Kristel in La Marge (The Streetwalker; 1976), a New Yorker looking for his kidnapped girlfriend and running from knights on horseback in Jacques Rivette’s Merry-Go-Round (1978/1983), a dead bisexual husband whose wife drinks a vial of his sperm and has a baby boy by him in Queen Lear (1978), and a selfish American actor in Catherine Breillat’s Tapage Nocturne (1979).

The best of his European films, and his personal favorite of all his work, is Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus (1975), Serge Gainsbourg’s sexually provocative riff on his famed international hit song. Joe plays a gay garbage truck driver who falls in lust with a flat-chested café waitress, played by the beautiful Jane Birkin (Gainsbourg’s wife), because she looks like a boy from behind. The only way he can consummate their relationship is by entering the backdoor, but every time he attempts to do so her screams of pain bring unwelcome intervention. Je T’Aime is a cult classic waiting to be discovered.

Joe Dallesandro is a cult classic waiting to be re-discovered, an enigmatic figure who not only survived his turbulent “Wonder Bread years,” but endured requisite battles with drug addiction and alcohol, multiple marriages and love affairs, and the devastating suicide of his younger brother. He has worked only sporadically in films since his return to the states in 1980, most notably as Lucky Luciano in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club (1984), but also, among others, as a gangster in Sunset (1988), a religious zealot in John Waters’ Cry-Baby (1990), a psychotic paratrooper in Private War (1990), a trailer scuzz lusting after Drew Barrymore in Guncrazy (1992), a sleazy photographer in Mika Kaurismaki’s L.A. Without A Map (1998), and a brain-damaged hit man in Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey (1999).
Ambivalent about his fame as a Warhol Superstar, he cannot escape the power of his allure in those films, nor the power his image has wielded over each succeeding generation to discover him during the last 40 years. As the first openly eroticized male sex symbol of the movies to walk naked across the screen, he not only transcended the convention of being an actor, but he spoke to our fantasies and liberated the male nude as an object of beauty in the cinema. He likes to tell interviewers that all he ever had to do in a Warhol/Morrissey film was show up. He’s right. He’s a natural.

Personal life

Dallesandro's brother Bobby died in an autoerotic asphyxiation-related accident on December 31, 1977.

Dallesandro has been married three times. His first wife was named Leslie (the daughter of his father's girlfriend); they had a son, Michael, circa 1968. He has one other son, Joseph A Dallesandro Jr, born November 17, 1970 by his second wife Terry (Theresa), who divorced him in early 1978. He has since married again to Kim (Kimberly), and has a grandson by his son Joseph, a grandson and a granddaughter by his first son, Michael.

He currently manages a hotel in the heart of Hollywood, where he lives with his cat Booky. He has said: "I've lived such a full life. I've had such great things. There were some hardships, but overall everything has been great."


Joe Dallesandro on the cover of The Smiths' eponymous debut album; still from the Warhol film Flesh.

Dallesandro met Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in 1967 while they were shooting The Loves of Ondine, and they cast him in the film on the spot. Warhol would later comment "In my movies, everyone's in love with Joe Dallesandro."
Joe Dallesandro on the cover of The Smiths' eponymous debut album; still from the Warhol film Flesh.
Joe Dallesandro on the cover of The Smiths' eponymous debut album; still from the Warhol film Flesh.

Dallesandro played a hustler in his third Warhol film, Flesh (1970), where he had several nude scenes. Flesh became a crossover hit with mainstream audiences, and Dallesandro became the most popular of the Warhol stars. New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote of him: "His physique is so magnificently shaped that men as well as women become disconnected at the sight of him." Apart from his voluptuous beauty, and relaxed attitude to nudity, his on-screen presence has a compelling enigmatic quality. This derives from what often seems (especially in his Warhol films) a bored or surly withholding, and almost comical physical inertia.

As Dallesandro's underground fame began to cross over into the popular culture, he graced the cover of Rolling Stone in April 1971. He was also photographed by some of the top celebrity photographers of the time: Francesco Scavullo, Jack Robinson, Richard Avedon.

Dallesandro also appeared in Lonesome Cowboys (1968), Trash (1968), Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Andy Warhol's Dracula (both 1974) also directed by Morrissey. These last two films were shot in Europe, and, after the films were completed, Dallesandro chose not to return to the U.S. He continued to star in films made mainly in France and Italy for the rest of the decade, returning to America in the 1980s. He made several movies without Warhol and Morrissey, and is known for his portrayal of 1920s gangster Lucky Luciano in Francis Coppola's The Cotton Club. He also appeared as a religious zealot in Cry-Baby by John Waters.

Dallesandro has a famous tattoo on his upper right arm that reads "Little Joe", and was portrayed as the hustler "Little Joe" in Lou Reed's hit 1972 song "Walk on the Wild Side", which was about the characters Reed knew from Warhol's studio, The Factory. A Warhol photograph of the large crotch bulge of Dallesandro's tight blue jeans graces the famous cover of the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers. Dallesandro explained to biographer Michael Ferguson, “It was just out of a collection of junk photos that Andy pulled from. He didn't pull it out for the design or anything, it was just the first one he got that he felt was the right shape to fit what he wanted to use for the fly.”[2] The 1980s British band The Smiths would later use a still photograph of Dallesandro from the film Flesh as the cover of their eponymous debut album.

John Waters has praised him as "A wonderful actor who forever changed male sexuality on the screen."

Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus (1975) -Joe Dallesandro & Jane Birkin

Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus (1975) Tribute Film, Pretty and rare jewel. Directed by Serge Gainsbourg.

Early life

He was born in Pensacola, Florida. His father, Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro II, was an Italian-American sailor, and his mother was 16-year-old Thelma Testman. By the time Dallesandro was five, his mother was serving five years in a Federal Penitentiary for interstate auto theft. His parents divorced soon afterward. Dallesandro and his brother, Bobby, were taken to New York with their father, who worked as an electrical engineer. Both boys were eventually placed into the Angel Guardian Home in Harlem, prior to being fostered by a couple in Brooklyn. The senior Dallesandro would visit them about once a month at their foster parents' home.

Dallesandro attended a Catholic school until second grade. He and his brother lived with the family until they ran away and were removed from the family by social services. At the age of fourteen Dallesandro and his brother moved to Queens to live with their paternal grandparents. He was kicked out of school for punching the principal, who had insulted his father.

As a teenager, Dallesandro supported himself by prostitution and later nude modeling, appearing most notably in short films and magazine photos for Bob Mizer's Athletic Model Guild. Dallesandro also appeared in at least one gay pornography film. In a later interview, Dallesandro said: "My hustling days were more about trying to take care of myself. Having met those people kind of calmed me down. They showed me a different part of life. My attitude was that it widened my life experience... I realized later that I was looking for a father figure and someone to love me."[1] The street-wise young hustler 'Ned' who appears in Martin Duberman's memoir Cures has been assumed to be Dallesandro.

Joe. Heat, Trash

Joe Dallesandro

Joseph Angelo D'Allesandro III (born December 31, 1948) is an American actor. Although he never became a mainstream film star, Dallesandro is generally considered to be the most famous male sex symbol of American underground films of the 20th century. He starred in "Flesh" as a teenage street hustler. Rolling Stone magazine in 1970 declared "Flesh" the "Best Film of The Year", making D'allesandro a star of the youth culture, sexual revolution and New York art scene of the 1970s. [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]