Entering the Forest of Acephale

A video concept by Ron Athey, for the late great Jon John, based on two posthumously created relics. Structure inspired from Georges Bataille’s directions to the secret society of Acephale, “Prohibitions on Entering the Forest” with a finale that nods to…

Entering the Forest of Acephale

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A video concept by Ron Athey, for the late great Jon John, based on two posthumously created relics. Structure inspired from Georges Bataille’s directions to the secret society of Acephale, “Prohibitions on Entering the Forest” with a finale that nods to Lindsay Kemp’s performance in “Sebastiane de Derek Jarman 1976 scène de la danse priapique.”
Directed and conceived by Ron Athey
Videography by Graham Kolbeins
AD Liam Hughes
Art Direction by Hermes Pittakos 
Cast of characters:
Peacock Boy in sling – Lucy, aka Latex Lucifer
Peacock Boy in feather bed with fakir shoes – Hermes Pittakos
10 foot pole dancers:  Divinity Fudge, Cassils, Yunuen Rhi, Lauren Davis, Missy Munster
Shaman: Pony Lee
Sound Design: Yakovlev. Text a cut-up of Genesis P-Orridge’s Esoterrorist spoken by Athey.
Objects:  The peacock feather buttplug and fakir ‘bed of nail’ shoes were imagined by Jon John on his deathbed, as relayed to his collaborator and travel companion, Paul King. These concepts were realized by the designer/inventor Jochen Kronier.  Paul, who is also the executor and champion of Jon John’s artist’s estate, approached me to bring these objects to life/action. In the name of love and inspiration we honor his legacy.
The phallus sticks and peacock feather bed were designed by Hermes Pittakos and executed by Hermes and Karen Lofgren.  Special thanks to Paul Donald for organizing the 5 meter chains for sling suspension! And Cristy Michel for rope harness work.
Deep gratitude to the late Nacho Nava for organizing the day shoot and night production of this performance at Mustache, and for Civic Center Studios Los Angeles for accommodating us, day and night!
Jon John’s archive can be accessed through the Queer Artist Archive maintained by Professor Dominic Johnson at Queen Mary University London.

Statement: Jon John, an artist whose work sat in many categories, but primarily the post-modern ideas of Romanticism. Two of Us, Love on Me. I first met him in the flesh at the Abode of Chaos in Lyon, flesh hooks in the ass coming out of a shipping container. We talked about pole-dancing, bod-mod, sacred theatre, and of course, his love of gold. After a few communal meals at the Abode, I said, “honey, we’re in France, I’m not eating hippie food for lunch,” and we took a stroll for one of those gourmet cuisines the south is famous for. And talked and took chances revealing aspects of each other beyond the persona. We developed into various collaborations, Jon John toured with me in Messianic Remains and Sebastian, spent time both in my Los Angeles and his Bayonne, dead of winter in Saskatchewan and Chicago! London life at the same time. It gutted me in 2015, when i realized he wasn’t just sick, he was going to die of cancer. He had vision and magic and so many passions. Incredible capacity to love friends. I hope this video honors him in the idea of a phantom life project. That the love and generosity of these performers coming together for this means the world to me. My co-producer in this, and a great lover of Jon John’s, Nacho Nava, also died since this was started. RIP Nacho. RIP Jon John. Love Eternal.

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