last night @ ANTEBELLUM HOLLYWOOD
we premiered ROBERT OPEL: THE RES~ERECTION OF FEY WAY STUDIOS
this is a dream exhibit for antebellum.
when i was 14 years old i was watching the 1974 academy awards presentation. as david niven was about to introduce elizabeth taylor, a streaker ran by him as naked as can be. i was floored, as was the millions of people watching. to this day it is one of the most notorious live moments in tv history.
i later found out the streaker was an artist named ROBERT OPEL. he became a photographer for THE ADVOCATE, an editor for FINGER magazine, THE HOLLYWOOD STAR & DRUMMER.
the following year, (1975) robert entered his mr. penis character to the CSW pride parade. during the early years the parade went down hollywood blvd and las palmas ave., where ANTEBELLUM HOLLYWOOD now resides. for his efforts robert was shunned, beat up and thrown in jail for public indecency. always the activist, robert then appeared nude in front of LA police chief ed davis, and the city council hearing for public nudity. robert was jailed once again. this time for 4 months.
after his release robert reinvented himself and high~tailed it to san francisco where he opened the first homoerotic/fetish art gallery.
for one short glorious year FEY WAY STUDIOS presented artists, (underground at the time) like~
TOM OF FINLAND, JOHN WATERS, ETIENNE, AJAY, REX, DIVINE, CAMILLE O'GRADY, CHARLIE AIRWAVES, ST. BERNARD, CHUCK ARNETT, ZACH, WILLIAM MORITZ, BUD LAWSEN, ROBERT MAPLETHORPE and many more.
during the 1979 SF pride parade, robert opel created a live performance piece atop his float. dressed as dan white, he posed the question~
"if i, a gay, homosexual, pervert, cock sucker faggot shot an ex-cop what would happen to me?
would i get away with murder?"
two days later on july 7th, 1979, robert opel was murdered @ fey way studios.
the press said it was a drug deal gone bad, others close to him felt it was political retribution.
i've followed the robert opel & fey way story all my adult life. i even wrote a script!
i opened ANTEBELLUM HOLLYWOOD way back in 2005, with robert opel & fey way studios as my role models.
now with the loving help of robert's nephew~ ROBERT OPPEL, i've realized my dream exhibition.
ROBERT OPEL: THE RES~ERECTION OF FEY WAY STUDIOS
@ ANTEBELLUM HOLLYWOOD.
this historical exhibition is on display until march 22nd, 2014
our hours are~
weds~ tea salon~ 5pm~ $5 cover
thurs thru sat~ 1pm till 7pm~ $5 cover
for more info~
photos courtesy~ joe birdsong, robert oppel, and steven mcnicholls~ antebellum correspondents