John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960) is an American singer, lyricist and visual artist. He was the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011. (Picture: Thomas Dozol)
Stipe is noted and occasionally parodied for the "mumbling" style of his early career as well as his social and political activism. He was in charge of R.E.M.'s visual image; often selecting album artwork and directing many of the band's music videos. Outside of the music industry, he runs his own film production companies: C-00 and Single Cell Pictures.
With the success of the albums Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), R.E.M. became mainstream music stars. Around 1992, rumors that Stipe had contracted HIV began to circulate. According to Stipe, he did not start the rumor and he does not know who did.
Not that I can tell. I wore a hat that said 'White House Stop AIDS'. I’m skinny. I’ve always been skinny, except in 1985 when I looked like Marlon Brando, the last time I shaved my head. I was really sick then. Eating potatoes. I think AIDS hysteria would obviously and naturally extend to people who are media figures and anybody of indecipherable or unpronounced sexuality. Anybody who looks gaunt, for whatever reason. Anybody who is associated, for whatever reason – whether it's a hat, or the way I carry myself – as being queer-friendly. —Michael Stipe
In 1994, with questions still swirling about his sexuality, Stipe described himself as "an equal opportunity lech," and said he did not define himself as gay, straight, or bisexual, but that he was attracted to, and had relationships with, both men and women. In 1995, he appeared on the cover of Out magazine. Stipe described himself as a "queer artist" in Time in 2001 and revealed that he had been in a relationship with "an amazing man" for three years at that point. Stipe reiterated this in a 2004 interview with Butt magazine. When asked if he ever declares himself as gay, Stipe stated, "I don’t. I think there’s a line drawn between gay and queer, and for me, queer describes something that’s more inclusive of the grey areas."
In 1999, author Douglas A. Martin published a novel, Outline of My Lover, in which the narrator has a six-year romantic relationship with the unnamed lead singer of a successful Athens, Georgia-based, rock band; the book was widely speculated, and later confirmed by its author, to have been a roman à clef based on a real relationship between Martin and Stipe. The two had previously collaborated on two books, both in 1998: The Haiku Year (for which the two had both contributed haikai) and Martin's book of poetry Servicing the Salamander (for which Stipe took the cover photograph).
"On a sliding scale of sexuality I'd place myself around 80-20, but I definitely prefer men to women. I had sex with, and enjoyed sex with, women until [in 1999] I met someone that I fell in love with, and who is now my boyfriend. That's the only real news, but when it's a slow news day I get dragged out of some closet again."Stipe currently lives in a spacious Tribeca apartment with his partner, Thomas Dozol, an art photographer.
Michael Stipe: The Biography by Rob Jovanovic
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Piatkus Books (September 27, 2007)
Amazon: Michael Stipe: The Biography
For the last quarter of a century Michael Stipe has been the lead singer of R.E.M, who from their humble beginnings toured and built a steadily growing legion of fans before breaking into the mainstream during the early 1990s. Today Stipe is one of the most instantly recognizable faces in rock and R.E.M. are held in a respect that only 25 years of excellent songwriting and hard work can justify. But Stipe is much more than just the singer. This biography will explore his nomadic early years as the child in a military family, his early love of punk and photography, his relationship with his two sisters, and the drive behind one of the hardest working men in music. When not working with R.E.M. Stipe has a strong interest in filmmaking, from pop videos and independent shorts to producing big budget full-length movies; he is also very interested in politics, he led high profile endorsements of the Democratic party in recent elections and for many years has been a champion of environmental concerns. Using first-hand testimony from those who have worked closely with Stipe, Jovanovic presents a rounded picture of this most enigmatic of pop stars.
Outline of My Lover by Douglas A. Martin
Paperback: 165 pages
Publisher: Soft Skull Pr; 1st edition (May 2000)
Amazon: Outline of My Lover
Part love story, part indictment, the debut novel Outline of My Lover traces our society's damaging obsession with celebrity.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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