ROBERT OPEL sealed his 15 minutes of fame when he streaked the 1974 academy awards presentation. As Elizabeth Taylor looked on, a bemused David Niven quipped, “ that gentleman will go down in history for stripping down and exposing his short comings.”
A one time speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, Opel changed his political party and ran for Los Angeles city council as a nudist, (unsuccessfully) then became a freelance writer & photographer for The Advocate, The Hollywood Star, and editor of the short lived, but notorious Finger Magazine.
After the Oscar streaking, Robert appeared nude at a city council meeting held by then chief of police Ed Davis. The council meeting was about banning public nudity at nude beaches. Robert was immediately arrested and placed in jail for 6 months.
After his release, broken and discouraged Robert again reinvented himself by moving to San Francisco and opening the first homoerotic/fetish art gallery called
Fey Way Studios.
Featuring the early works of Robert Mapplethorpe, Tom of Finland, Etienne, The Hun, Charles Gatewood, Charlie Airwaves, AJay, and many others. Fey Way Studios was the first gallery to present fetish art in a public forum.
Along with lovers Anthony aka Harmonious and high priestess of SOMA leather scene, Camille O’ Grady, the trio were something to contend with in the late 1970s.
During the gay pride parade of 1979, Robert satirized the murder of Harvey Milk & Mayor Moscone by homophobe cop for Christ, Dan White. White had been given a reduced sentence using the “Twinkie defense.” He claimed too processed sugar had clouded his mind when he committed the murders. Opel reenacted the murder atop his gay pride float. Dressed as Dan White he posed the question, “ what would happen if a queer~gay~ homosexual~ pervert~ cock sucker~faggot shot and killed an ex~cop? Would he get away with murder?”
Every news broadcast led off the evening programs with coverage of this story.
Two days later, Robert Opel was murdered execution style in his gallery by Robert E. Kelly and Maurice Keenan. Written off as a drug deal gone bad, the only witnesses were Robert’s ex~ Anthony aka Harmonious and Camille O’Grady. They had been tied up,
(very poorly adds O’Grady) and placed in the back of the gallery.
All artworks in this exhibit were originally presented at Fey Wey Studios for one short year~ March 1978 thru July 1979.
They are a historic time capsule some considered the end of the golden age of the
“My inspiration to open Antebellum Hollywood was based on my obsession with Robert Opel & Fey Way Studios. I like to think of Antebellum Hollywood as the Fey Way of the 21st century.”
Rick Castro~ curator
“I love the sense of freedom & sentimental smut my uncle brought to us all. I wish everyone that same sexual freedom, be it passionate sex and/or hardcore fucking to all this Valentine's Day.”
Robert Oppel- nephew to Robert Opel.
“ Whatever is considered bizarre now will be the standard of the future”~
“Who knew we would be the voice of reason”~ Camille O’Grady
“One day they’ll all wear black”~ Camille O’ Grady~ The Advocate~ 1980
after a week on non~ stop instillation antebellum dream exhibition~
ROBERT OPEL: THE RES~ERECTION OF FEY WAY STUDIOS
is almost ready!
with a few minor touches, tweaks and paste ups we will be ready for show time~
friday~ february 14th, (VALENTINE'S DAY) @ 6PM the doors will open!
check out some pics of antebellum hollywood
AND CHECK OUT OUR WRITE UPS ON OTHER BLOGS~~
TOM OF FINLAND BLOG~
DAVE NAZ BLOG
all photos courtesy~ robert oppel~ ruben esparza~ ricardo carranza~ tony bays~