He's a freak just like the rest of you. He'll take you on a trip. He's more himself than any of us are him. I sound like I'm trying to introduce a circus act on the Ed Sullivan show. If my bare ass has pleased you, the next show will costume your fancy--JOBRIATH. Sweet Pie, introducing Jobriath
"So, you're one of them, huh?" says the man backstage. "What do you mean, one of them?" "Are you gay? You reporters--you all want to write about sex and perversity. I suppose you believe in what you're doing," he continues. The reporter fidgets and mutters something about preconceptions. "Well, come back later--maybe then Jobriath'll see you."
Sighing, the reporter goes back to his seat. It's the third night for Jobriath and his lead-in act, Sweet Pie; the Performance Center is half full. The stage is set with lucite/chrome drums, a piano, and various microphones. Stage-rear--for no apparant reason at all--stand three plaster choir boys, cherubic and smiling. The lights 'dim, and a body walks on. It's a man dressed in a morning coat, sandles, sunglasses, hat, and G-string. Period. Sweet Pie holds up an "Ike/Nixon '54" button: "This just shows there were things queerer than me a long time ago."
Sweet Pie removes his coat and turns around. "Who am I? I am an asshole, just like all of you." He expounds on the subject of assholes for several minutes, digressing to talk about the alternative use of prophylactics G.I. Joe duffle bags. A few Jesus jokes and some comments about menopause thrown in for good measure. The audience isn't terribly amused. Dirty jokes, blasphemy--what else is new?
Sitting down at the piano, Sweet Pie proceeds to sing and talk his way through some boogie tunes. All the time, he is thoughtfully turned three-quarters toward the audience--legs stomping and kicking. "Every loving day doesn't end in a loving way." Sweet Pie turns to a girl in the audience: "You finally went drinking in a joint with class, and all you got was a middle-age ass! Woooooooooo!"
Sweet Pie's act lasts a long 45 minutes. Finally it's time for Jobriath. 2001 sounds humm from the amps--combinations of jet planes warming up and the Magical Mystery Tour. "Jo - bri - ath," whispers a cosmic voice. Everything connected with Jobriath is cosmic--metallic frequencied vibrations. The sounds amplify, the ear drums quiver, and suddenly he appears.
From the audience, Jobriath's face looks like a beautiful witch queen's. The blonde hair is short, the profile, feminine. His cheeks are hollow--the envy of any Vogue model. He wears white pants, a silver choker, and white earrings. The stage lights make his skin and body-stocking gleam lavender.
The voice does not match the face. Against the crescendos of two guitars, drums, and piano, Jobriath's voice is strong--Jagger-like in its harshness. "Wherever you are, ahoooooooooooooo." The guitarists, rocking along in giant ski-boot clogs, fill in the "yeh, yeh, yeh's." Jobriath gestures. The movements are familiar: mouth in a circle, eyes wide, the elbows cocked, the wrists limpid, the fingers splayed. The music rises in scintillating shimmers. Jobriath leaps backstage, and returns as a "Space Clown." Pink ruffled mask coyly over his eyes, pink satin G-string in place, Jobriath mimes juggling. He pirouettes gracefully. "You're a space clown. When you cry, you bring the sky down." The guitars, augmented with a tape of exorcizing giggles, vibrate, and Jobriath stands transfixed--eyes staring at the audience.
The stage is wet with human sweat. Costume change again. Jobriath has less than a minute to peel out of his leotards. Johnson's Baby Powder eases him into a skin-tight, black leatherette suit for the finale. The lapels point upward, framing his face in devilish horns. Gyrating in simulated pain, Jobriath gasps out the words: "Take me, I'm, I'm yours." He collapses against the piano, and the audience applauds. Jobriath gives a usual entertainer's farewell: "Thank you, thank you. Have a nice night. Have a nice life."
* * *
"I don't use a single sequin," says Jobriath between shows, when asked to describe his act. He is applying makeup in a Clairol Perfect Light Mirror. Blue eyeshadow. Maybelline mascara. Vermillion lipstick. Jobriath claims he only wears make-up for shows. "I do all this because it amuses me--it amuses me to come back here and bust my ass getting into these costumes. It keeps me busy. It makes me much more myself."
No sequins perhaps, but glitter and lots of it. Sprinkle glitter in shaker cans for the face. Plastic mirrors for bracelets. Reflecting collars, spangled spacesuits, and gloves with dog-pad mirror plates. Jobriath designs all the costumes himself. He considers the outfits an integral part of his act.
Jobriath's entourage crowds his dressing room. The next show goes on in 15 minutes. A fellow with riding breeches and a blonde-streaked pageboy is peering under a trunk marked "Five Dollar Shoes;" "Where's my yellow bracelet? I had two yellow bracelets." "You look exquisite without it dear," says the lady with the English accent. She is Jobriath's hairdresser. "Dahling, would you fix me a drink; I don't want any of this horse piss." Husky men in tight pants and T-shirts, reading "Queen," hustle about the room moving microphones and wires.
Jobriath is claim amidst the clamorings. Motioning to the other musicians, he says, "That's Steve Love, Greg Diamond--as in bijou,--Jim Gregory, Hayden Wayne ... no, there isn't any name for the group. We're all the Jobriath's. He laughs, "We do have a lot of fun together, don't we boys?"
"I've never been in any other group," he continues. "I'm too egotistical for that. I guess if I split up with myself, I'd really be in trouble." Jobriath Boone doesn't talk much about his past. His protective manager, Jerry Brandt, claims to have discovered Jobriath sitting alone in all all-white room, living on beer. "You're American, aren't you?" asks the reporter. "Just say I was born on Earth," says Jobriath, "But we're planning to do a show on Mars soon--little silver men, you know."