“I can’t remember when I first saw the book Idols by Gilles Larrain. All I know is that ever since I got it, it’s been a huge influenceon me. Idols is one of the best photographic books I’ve ever seen. It was published in 1973 and is a collection of studio portraits of trannies, gender-benders, and just generally awesome looking people in New York City. It’s an incredible time capsule. There are Warhol people, like Taylor Mead and Holly Woodlawn, and members of the San Francisco-based psychedelic drag queen performance troupe the Cockettes. There’s a photo of the artist Al Hansen, (a.k.a. Beck’s grandfather), covered in silvery paint and dressed up like some kind of Roman soldier, and an unrecognizable, teenage Harvey Fierstein, looking like a young, pretty Jewish lady (well, almost). Most important, these people all had the best style. The greatest fashion always originates with drag queens. The outfit you’re wearing today was probably invented by a drag queen ten years ago.” —Ryan McGinley, Vice Magazine, New York City 2010
Idols, an authentic compendium of 1970s’ New York style and attitude, and a confirmed masterpiece, began with an awestruck Larrain visiting Max’s Kansas City in the explosively liberating early years of the gay rights movement, and befriending Taylor Meade and John Noble. Once they came to be photographed, the rest followed. Idols represents a generation of New York’s most talented, outrageous, glamorous, and mostly gay personalities, after spending hours applying original makeup and costumes to pose for Gilles in his now legendary SoHo studio.
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