We have started making plans for Halloween, and I wanted to emotionally prepare you for it. Last year, I made my husband dress as a girl for the costumes, but this year we are both dressing as the (male) costumer and performance artist Leigh Bowery.
Leigh_Bowery was a larger-than-life Australian who relocated to London in the 80’s. His club, Taboo, was the subject of a Boy George-starring musical that was a big hit in the West End, but tanked in the States and cost Rosie O’Donnell a pile of money.
Leigh was constantly changing up his “look”, and influenced Michael Alig, Damien Hirst, and a young Alexander McQueen- although the last two have not yet killed anyone. (Sad postscript: Alexander McQueen has now killed himself.)
Michael most noticeably lifted the Polka-Dot Man look from Leigh. Leigh’s cast-aside material has been used to craft entire personas and careers for other people. Leigh’s band, Minty, had an extremely dirty song as a hit in the Netherlands , “Useless Man.”
The photographer Fergus Greer did a book of portraits of Leigh over six years called Leigh Bowery Looks.
Leigh is also one of best-known portrait sitters.
There’s a great film that documents some of his projects and his attempts to elevate life to an art, The Legends of Leigh Bowery.
This is a shot from the excellent UK sci-fi comedy show in which David Walliams portrays a Leigh Bowery-type character called Vulva. Strangely, when Boy George vacated the West End stage, the other half of Little Britain, Matt Lucas, took over as Leigh.
Thanks for coming on this wee journey of Leigh!