The only gay in the village turns thirty-eight today. Five years after the end of Little Britain, Matt Lucas has done everything from play Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Benny in Gnomeo and Juliet, and Kristen Wiig's roommate in Bridesmaids. Last year he and longtime collaborator David Walliams reteamed for a BBC mocumentary called Come Fly with Me, scheduled for a second season this fall. In December 2006 Lucas and Kevin McGee, his partner of four years, celebrated their civil partnership with an over-the-top ceremony at which the elaborately costumed guests included Elton and David, Neil Tennant, Courtney Love, Graham Norton, Stephen Gately, Will Young, and novelist Ben Elton. Within two years they divorced and ten months later Kevin killed himself.
Since his fiction debut forty-two years ago, The Ghost of Henry James, David Plante has written a new book every couple years. His best known works form the gay-vague Francoeur trilogy -- The Family, The Country, The Woods -- about a French-Canadian American family with Native American ancestry and seven sons, just like his own. In 2009 Plante published his 19th book, The Pure Lover [Kindle], a remarkably concise memoir of his nearly forty years with his Greek partner Nikos Stangos, four years his senior. Richard Labonté chose it as a favorite of 2009 and Pulitzer-winning critic Michael Dirda said, "out of the fragments, Proustian moments and sharply felt memories of a happy and painful past, David Plante has made a lovely book, joyful, plangent and true."
Poet, philosopher, novelist, newspaper columnist, playwright, painter, actor, and atheist, Pier Paolo Pasolini was also a communist until he was kicked out of the party in 1949 for being gay, which they discovered when he was charged with corrupting minors and obscene acts in public. He was twenty-seven and he was not convicted, but he had to leave their small town northwest of Trieste and, with his mother, moved to Rome. Enduring difficult years being unemployed or underemployed, he published his first important collection of poems in 1954, followed the next year by his first novel, Ragazzi di vita [Boys of Life], which caused a sensation for its raw look at the aimless lives of petty criminals and sometimes hustlers in Rome's roughest neighborhoods.
In 1957 he helped write Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, and three years after that he landed his debut acting role. The following year, 1961, he directed Accattone, the first of his twenty films. In Teorema, Terrence Stamp plays a stranger who moves in with family in Milan and one by one has sex with everyone: the religious maid, the artistic son, the frigid mother, the wallflower daughter, and lastly the father, then leaves and they all fall apart. That was an original screenplay, but many of his later and most celebrated films were adaptations of classics, often infused with nudity and sex: Oedipus Rex, Medea (starring Maria Callas, not singing), The Decameron, Canterbury Tales, Arabian Nights, and 120 Days of Sodom. Several of his movies featured Ninetto Davoli, his boyfriend since 1963 when he was fifteen.
Throughout the summer of 1975, as he was trying to complete his version of de Sade, Pasolini warned friends he would be killed by the mafia. In November, he picked up a seventeen year-old hustler and was murdered by being run over by his own car. In 2005, the hustler recanted his confession and said three men with Southern Italian accents killed Pasolini. Key details of the crime make it seem impossible to have been perpetrated by a lone person. A longtime friend, the artist Giuseppe Zigaina, is just one of many who believes the always theatrical, always contrarian Pasolini organized his own death. He was fifty-three. Forty-one years after its release, 120 Days of Sodom was named by Time Out's Film Guide as cinema's all-time most controversial film.