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The Design Issue 2001

Shout at The Devil

Back in the 50s, you were arrested as a sodomite just for having Vaseline in your back pocket.
December 1, 2001, 12:00am

"When I first got the call from Unilever (the company that makes Vaseline) I knew what it was about, but I wanted to get her to say it out loud." Will Munro is talking to me at four in the morning about an impending lawsuit with a company that makes things slidey. Unilever is concerned about these gay parties he has at Toronto's El Macombo where young lads from all over the city dance dirty to Mötley Crüe and then end up falling in love and going out for a few months.

"I knew they were going to get mad after what happened with the Fruit Loops parties," he adds, referring to the lawsuit Kellogg's pushed on another gay night, forcing them to call it Fruit Loopz. Munro's art and parties have been making people squirm and shake since 1993 when he stitched together his first "crusty punk underwear." Today, his carny mirrors and rock underwear are but the tiny foreskin of the enormous penis of work he has under his belt. Of course, he doesn't want to talk about that.

He tells me he likes to party and he likes to sew and he likes to cook but he hates talking about art. Instead, the sinewy and attractive post-adolescent draws our conversation back to his recent battle with Vaseline. "I played dumb and asked her what the problem was. She paused a lot and said the night had 'implications.' Then she said she wasn't going to make it more explicit but 'When you have an event with a certain group of people and they are involved in certain acts and then there's another product involved, then you have to consider the depreciation of the trademark's good will and --' and another awkward pause followed. "It was fun to make her uncomfortable but it was also kind of depressing. I kept thinking of how, back in the 50s, you were arrested as a sodomite just for having Vaseline in your back pocket. Talking to her reminded me of how little things have changed since then."