Party Out Of Bounds

Hustle With His Muscle: The John Sex Video Lounge

Tseng Kwong Chi, John Sex, 1982, Color C-print On Dibond (Courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Tseng Kwong Chi, John Sex, 1982, Color C-print On Dibond (Courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

I know what you’re thinking, dearest and closest Filthy Dreams fanatics, it’s been awhile since we’ve had one of our promised yet rarely delivered Friday Party Out of Bounds posts. My only excuse? In the days before and now, after, Marion and my “Fear and Loathing”-esque road trip to manic insanity, time has just flown by (or more likely, spun by in a flat circle but that’s another story for another time). Why I think that phone endlessly ringing must be Betty Ford  calling, but of course, queens, I’m not answering.

Well, don’t get your knickers…or panties, if you prefer, in a knot, Mary, because the series is back with a vengeance featuring my favorite sleazy, schmaltzy nightclub performer–John Sex!

So grab a cheap well-drink and let the John Sex Video Lounge rock your body!

Lounge lizard, male stripper, one of the “Jet Set,” Vegas meets the East Village nightclub act in assless chaps and a man who could really hustle with his muscle, John Sex bumped and grind-ed it across the stages of many of Downtown, New York’s most notorious nightclubs from Danceteria, the Pyramid Club, Club 57, the Saint, Paradise Garage, Area, The Tunnel and more. Unmistakable and unmissable, Sex is notable for his gravity defying, usually glittering platinum hairdo, which was precisely held into place by a careful concoction of “Dippity-do, Aqua Net, egg whites, beer and semen.”

John Sex by Ande Whyland

John Sex by Ande Whyland

Born in Long Island as John McLaughlin, though Sex often claimed his stage surname originated as an Americanization of his Irish family’s name “Sexton,” Sex moved to the big city in 1979. Sex attended the School of Visual Arts where he met fellow Downtown artists and club frequenters Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, who also introduced Sex to a series of East Village performers and artists such as Joey Arias and Klaus Nomi. In addition to his schooling, Sex also worked as a male stripper, a talent that would not go unused in his performance career.

Given the name “Sex” by Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias “during a period of rampant promiscuity,” Sex began to develop his own uniquely hilarious act in the short-lived but legendary Club 57. Merging dancing, singing, camping, acting and more, Sex’s performances could only be described as performance art. As Sex explained in an interview in 1986 on CNN, “they put me in that category because when I was onstage, I did everything at once. It was a multimedia show.”

Sex often performed with his aptly named backup singers, The Bodacious Tata’s, featuring fellow performers Wendy Wild, April Palmieri, Micki French, Myra Schiller and others. Cutting a striking figure onstage with his giant hair, light-up jackets and other trashy attire created by Katy K, Sex’s personae was a hysterical parody of rockstar excess and a demented version of Tom Jones’ Vegas lounge singer cheese.

If that weren’t enough to be a Filthy Dreams favorite, Sex also owned a pet python named Delilah. How sweet! Who wouldn’t want that in a Manhattan apartment?

Sadly just while his music career began to take off, Sex passed away from complications from AIDS in 1990 when he was 34 years old.

So let’s all waste away this beautiful July Friday by staring longingly at our screens and repeatedly toasting Sex’s campy masterpieces with the tackiest, brightest and most syrupy drink you can find!

And for the grand finale:

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