3/16/16 O&A NYC WITH Tod Roulette- ART: 20 Years of Bearing Witness of AIDS In The Paintings Of Hugh Steers

By Tod Roulette


Wednesday, March 8th at 6PM Alexander Gray Associates, which represents the estate of the late artist, Hugh Steers hosted a probing discussion on the artists paintings. The 600 pictures completed over eleven years are found in Hugh Steers: The Complete Paintings, 1983-1994. The book tirelessly assembled for over five years by the nonprofit AIDS organization, Visual AIDS whose offices are doors away from the gallery. Continue reading

1/25/16 O&A NYC WITH TOD ROULETTE: Auction Of Lesbian Heiress Marion B. ‘Joe’ Carstairs Will Be Held at Doyle

By Tod Roulette

NPG x139735; Marion Barbara ('Joe') Carstairs by International News Photos

An auction of property from the celebrated lesbian heiress Marion B. ‘Joe’ Carstairs will be held on January 27th, 2016 at Doyle New York, 175 East 87th Street, New York. The collection consigned by the Estate of Jacqueline F. Rae will be open to the public on Monday, January 25, 10am-6pm and Tuesday, January 26, 10am-2pm.  The objects reveal a courageous life live in the open at the turn of the twentieth century. 

I believe LGBT grandchildren have an uncommon closeness with their grandparents. I am sure many an anecdote swirl about these intercessory parents of parents who bridge in an often-breached understanding between LGBT grandchildren and their parents. Grandma’s and grandpas, papas and nana’s seem to ‘get it’ when they see their next generation suffering because of their sexual identity. Grandparents pride and love for the offspring is sustaining in so many ways and so it was for Barbara Carstairs, mostly known as ‘Joe’.

Carstairs negligent father, a Colonel happened to be the son of one of the founders of Standard Oil Company. Her careless, often drugged up and carefree mother told her in 1918 that she knew of her daughter’s lesbianism. Her mother warned her to buckle down and get married or she would be disinherited. In that same year, her grandmother had set up a trust for her boyish granddaughter and nothing for Joe’s her daughter in law. Her grandmother died in 1921 and her estate was valued at $30 million dollars (an income of $145,000 a year in 1918). Carstairs’ protective grandmother trust afforded a security, privacy and protection that rebelling and closeted gays, lesbians and drag queens could never imagine.


Joe didn’t have to change pronouns at work when co-workers asked about what she did over the weekend or whom she might be courting at the time. Hell, Joe didn’t have to go to work. She had her own private island, which today has less than 15 buildings on it and is offered today for over $50 million U.S. Dollars. You can buy a biography of her life online for less than $1 (The Queen of Whale Cay by Kate Summerscale, 1997) to find out more about this speed racer, cross dresser and World War 1 Red Cross ambulance driver in Europe. She also had a stormy affair with actress and singer Marlene Dietrich. “…She was not a literary, intellectual type; but she nevertheless gave the impression of being a fictional creature, a product of her own imagination, a being who ‘Just was” writes Summerscale.


In keeping with her own eccentric character, Carstairs had a doll she named Lord Tod Wadley that wore tailor made clothes. It is here in this sale, along with a companion dolls and photographs in lot 248 with an estimate beginning at 500-800. Photographs of black residents from Whale Quay, Bahamas and nearby islands by Life Magazine photographer Wendy Hilty are estimated a mere $200-300, circa 1950’s. There are a lot of contact sheets depicting Duke and Duchess of Windsor visiting the island, seven lots featuring Marlene Dietrich memorabilia.

If you love history, LGBT archival information or simply digging through other people’s crap you should take the time to visit the sales room at Doyle to see the passage of time gone by and the effects of a bold accomplished woman who died in Florida after selling her beloved Whale Quay in 1975. She was cremated with Lord Tod Wadley.

12/20/15 O&A NYC- ART: Vaginal Davis- Come Save Me Daughter

By Tod Roulette


Escape the cyber discount holiday shopping and remakes of remakes of Bing Crosby films; instead stretching your eyes and mind at Invisible Exports Gallery, 89 Eldridge Street (not far from the New Museum on Bowery Street). The exhibit is titled, Come On Daughter, Save Your Mother the work of Vaginal Davis (also known as Dr. Vaginal Creme Davis). Vaginal is homo-core punk, bi-lingual, bi-racial performance intersex singer cum artist and for almost ten years has lived, worked, taught and lectured in Berlin Germany. She has made art and music since the early 1980’s; Vaginal has adopted many personas– Clarence-a white supremacist rocker, Graziela Grejalva to aging deviant, John Dean Egg III and a singer in Afro Sisters. This is not your mother’s white Christmas, nor is the art. Continue reading

9/24/15 O&A NYC With Tod Roulette- Art: Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence

By Tod Roulette

Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo-Evidence Installation View (2). Photo by Jonathan Dorado. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

On May 8th, 1996 South Africa became the first country in the world to constitutionally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Photographer Zanele Muholi began to collect a series of images based on South African lesbians one year after the South African government legally recognized same sex marriage. It is against these political and historical firsts of granting rights that make the facts presented in Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence the photography exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum until November 1, 2015 depressingly hard to accept. Continue reading