Fantasy island - Page 4

Myles Cooper and Alexis Penney are making San Francisco ground zero for gay pop creativity

Alexis Penney (left) and Myles Cooper (right): new gay pop icons

"Myles [Cooper] and I nerd out over music and songwriting over text message. He's totally a visionary," Weiss goes on to enthuse. In the separate but connected sounds of Cooper, Penney, H.U.N.X. and Teengirl Fantasy, all the wonderful gender-blur and sexuality of 1992 -- when Lennox went solo and Boy George burst back into the limelight via The Crying Game — are remade anew, at a time when lifestyles feels like strait-jackets. There is inspiration to be taken from these artists' love and support for one another on a daily and a big-picture basis. It's the kind of force that can make changes within a broader culture, at least on small, rippling levels. This is gay pop in 2010: not striking mannered classic gay or rock poses, but instead allowing fabulous and tricky versions of one's self to manifest and bloom.

"I could talk for days about nothing," Penney says at one point, just before another night of High Fantasy begins. But really, she has something to say: "My relationship with music is that if I can't connect emotionally with it, I just don't like it." And another thing: "I get really messy and really wasted but I always know where I'm at and who I am." And another: "I always respect the person who you remember from the party. I want to be irreverent and confident enough to look like a freak." And another: "Everyone wants to be something, but not everyone admits it to themselves." And yet another: "I'm 23, I've tried every drug, I've never said no to sex, and here I am — I'm totally crazy."

And — what the hell — one more thing: "I've got a lot to give. I've got a big heart, and a big boner."

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