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Feelin' Fruity with Seth Bogart

 

Bogart directed and styled the Hunx music videos and developed a visual language that coherently translated the band’s bubblegum oldies sound. Videos like “Lovers Lane” and “You Don’t Like Rock and Roll” are little vignettes within a broader Bogart dimension, unified by a consistent colour pallet, sound, clothing and gesture.

 

In 2014, Bogart launched his own clothing brand: Wacky Wacko. Each garment features Bogart’s own illustrations and paintings, all distinctly queer in theme and exploding with joyful anarchy. The clothes, like all things Bogart, maintain an edge despite being delightfully unserious. It should come as no surprise that Bogart is also an avid painter and sculptor (evident also from his music video set designs). His “Shrimp Toothpaste” sculptures and “Boob-Face :)" tees are physical manifestations of his punk rock playhouse imagination.

 

“I never cared about getting good at something or learning how to actually do it the right way. I don’t like to read the manual, I just wanna get wet and try things," Bogart says in regards to avoiding defining himself as either a painter, sculptor, performer, etc., etc., etc.

 

On the weekend of April 20th, Bogart brought his infectiously “faggy” magic to America’s forgotten city, Detroit. Bogart’s artwork was included in the new Tom of Finland exhibit at MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit), which opened on the 19th.

 

Bogart showed four ceramic pieces (in the shapes of lube, a ball gag, a banana cocking holder and handcuffs) and a painting (“Jerking Off”): fitting for the exhibition, marking him as a descendant of Tom of Finland.

 

As if that weren't enough, Bogart was also in town to play at the birthday party of one of his most respected idols: John Waters. “He’s definitely had a huge impact on me," Bogard said about Waters. “I love people who create their own worlds and he is the master." Those familiar with Waters’ work can recognize the significant influence he’s had on Bogart’s self-created world: a dirtier millennial iteration of the Waters classic, Hairspray.

 

I love people who create their own worlds.

 

The performance also marked the reunion of Hunx and his Punx, who have been dormant since 2014. Seth went on to release his self-titled solo album in 2016, leading fans to believe the Hunx era was officially over. The venue was El Club, a fresh new edition to a desolate area in a devastated town — owned by the Hunx and his Punx’s first publicist. Bogart hand-painted the walls of the club bathrooms the year previous. A trip to the bathroom at El Club proves Bogart can transform even the most dull of spaces into a carnivalesque and colourful whirlwind.

 

El Club has become the watering hole for the city’s burgeoning creative scene and in the short time since its opening has established itself as a much needed, multi-purpose community space. John Water’s birthday at El Club was a weekend-long event, complete with a pop-up shop, where Wacky Wacko clothes were sold alongside pieces from 69 Worldwide, Eat da Rich and others.

 

On the night of the Hunx reunion, El Club harboured a bustling crowd of characters dressed to the nines in Waters/Bogart theme, there to celebrate two queer punk icons. Entering the club from the otherwise desolate street felt like entering a supernatural subcultural portal. Seth and his band mates mixed amongst the crowd of diehard fans and Tecate drinkers, melting into a vivacious hub of leather and studs.

 

Bogart hand-painted his own leggings just before walking on stage for the band’s performance, exemplifying his own Midas touch, an ability to turn just about anything into an official Bogart artwork. The reunion fulfilled high expectations and was as brilliant a comedy show as it was a rock performance due to Bogart’s incomparable stage presence. His candour kept the crowd constantly laughing by asking honest questions like, “You guys, is this a good reunion? Or a bad reunion?” and honouring the 4/20 performance date by exclaiming “Lets smoke the daddy!”

 

Between the art show, the pop-up and the performance, the weekend was a feast of Bogart’s talent. Fans in Detroit witnessed firsthand that Bogart is the living exception to the age old adage, “jack of all trades, master of none."

 

Today marks the premiere of Bogart’s latest venture: his own TV show with World of Wonder, the producers behind the the sensation that is Rupaul’s Drag Race. Feelin’ Fruity will be the ultimate manifestation of Bogart’s wacky, sassy world, allowing Bogart to combine his work across disparate mediums into a single narrative.

 

“It's my entire dimension,” says Bogart. “I did the music, writing, casting, producing, acting, and did the set design with the help of my amazing friend Christine Stormberg aka Hardcore Tina." Feelin’ Fruity will be a variety show featuring a number of Bogart-approved and affiliated characters, such as Kathleen Hanna, Tammie Brown, John Early and Manila Luzon. Judging by Bogart’s superhuman ability to succeed at creative venues, the show will likely mark another accomplishment on his DIY quest to conquer all things art.

Text and images by Cassidy George.