A Star Turn for The Golden Boy
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Published in: July-August 2023 issue.

Directed by Noam Gonick and Michael Walker
Video Vindaloo

OFFICIALLY CHRISTENED Eternal Youth but generally known to natives of Winnipeg by its nickname “The Golden Boy,” the statue high above the dome of the Manitoba Legislative Building seems to have been inspired by Giambologna’s Flying Mercury in Florence’s Bargello. Visible for miles around, shining gold from having been recently taken down for a cleaning, it would surely freak out the folks of Republican Florida. DeSantis would have it banned or burned.

            A new short documentary on the statue and its site premiered in March at Montréal’s international film festival and is now making the rounds of film festivals around the continent. The queer filmmakers Noam Gonick and Michael Walker—who also stars as the Golden Boy incarnate—and he does live up to it!—live in a rent-controlled apartment across the grounds from the statue. They say the idea for the film came to them on their first date, after watching James Bidgood’s Pink Narcissus and going out to an exhibit of pieces from Berlin’s Pergamon Museum. Noam noted the similarity in build between his potential new boyfriend and a Dionysus in the exhibit. Before they left, and while the guards weren’t looking, they gave a 2,500-year-old stone Zeus a full kiss on the lips.

            Beauty is truth, truth beauty—the Keatsian credo finds resonance in this film. Nature is art, the film boldly claims. Nature is queer. The film’s title Purple City refers to a teenage acid ritual. Kids would stare into the orange klieg lights illuminating the Golden Boy until the retina burned and the city turned a psychedelic mauve. In the film, three characters drop acid and embark us on a magical mystery tour, into an underworld of lost souls, an oneiric journey charged with secret wisdom and sacred ecstasy. The montage of scenes follows the logic of rapturous trance. It begins in snowy winter, the legislative grounds festooned in a Milky Way of Christmas lights. Forward to a meadow in the heat of summer with rustic Anatolian goat herders in straw hats.

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David Tacium, PhD, based in Montréal, is the author of the novel Taking Down the Golden Boy (2018).


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