Who is Angie Bowie? She’s an author, activist, model, icon, and former wife of legendary rocker David Bowie. She’s coming to Queens Library at Central at 6:30 p.m. on May 22 to talk about her book, Pop.Sex, along with her children’s book Cat’astrophe (written to help raise funds for Malachi House, a hospice for the homeless in Cleveland), and her memoir Lipstick Legends, which recounts adventurous tales of the glam rock world of the 1970s. She took a few minutes to chat with Queens Library about her work and the importance of libraries.
WHAT IS POP.SEX?
It’s the story of popular sexuality from the beginning of time until now; the story of the characters that have given us our archetypes. It’s another way of understanding how the world works.
I wrote and researched it for 12 years, then added to it for another two, made re-edits and more edits until finally my partner said, “That’s it! Publish POP.SEX already.” There is so much information that another sentence would have thrown the reader on the floor! Intel overload!
WHAT ERAS AND HISTORICAL FIGURES FACTOR LARGE IN YOUR NEW BOOK?
The goddess Aphrodite; Catherine the Great; the amazing women generals from Vietnam and the women empresses of China; the Celtic princesses and queens. Women role models from all eras and of all ages.
WHAT WAS THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU LEARNED DURING RESEARCHING THIS BOOK?
EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! One’s job as a writer is not necessarily to present all we have learned, but to select and craft a filter that refines the information. It was a big-time learning experience. Some information is better not broadcast, lest it bring a group of people into ridicule, criticism or danger.
Also – I learned that the human spirit, for all of its good intentions, does not change the personality template of man. Mankind can soar with talent, be dwarfed by self-doubt or riddled with cowardice due to lack of moral fiber. One can be jealous, industrious, acquisitive, vain, arrogant, deceitful, heroic, and sometimes humans respond in a disciplined and logical or emotional and hysterical way — when the audacity of the event baffles the mind.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FINALLY PUBLISH THIS BOOK?
I had been doing research and writing about this subject for years. I often talked about it with my mentors, one of them being the late, legendary NYC rock photographer Lee Black Childers. I filed his advice away and went merrily on for a while, but the questions came flooding back. The news reported that the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was taking a hard line against homosexuality and nothing could be said or done in Russia that glorified this lifestyle. I learned that India and Nigeria were pursuing legislation to criminalize homosexuality. Then an Italian pasta maker said he would never use gay models in his advertisements for spaghetti. I snapped.
We are in the 21st Century and these opinions, made into policy, were going to be restraints on the freedoms that we had fought so hard to achieve in the 1960s and 1970s. It was happening all over again. I vowed at that moment to complete my work on POP.SEX and publish it in 2014. I could not abandon my mission once I understood the urgency of my commitment.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO TALKING ABOUT AT QUEENS LIBRARY?
Always the most recent: POP.SEX and Cat'astrophe -- but I love Lipstick Legends and so I hope the audience members have some great questions about that book!
DO YOU THINK LIBRARIES ARE STILL IMPORTANT TO SOCIETY IN THE DIGITAL AGE?
Yes I do! I think of a library as an outreach program, where we can sit and read learn and be alone with our thoughts and imagination. The computer age is upon us and 1 billion folks are registered on Facebook. George Orwell warned us of the tabulation of humans and how Big Brother would control our behavior; how corporations and the military-industrial complex would round out the power bases on the earth. All of that has happened and we are in the throes of discovering what that means and how to cope with that.
As in the past, knowledge and learning will be rationed either by money, opportunity or industrial pre-selection. Categorizing and profiling will be fought only by institutions like the public libraries who are the curators of our freedom.