Jumat, 09 Desember 2011


Abe (Alberto Putra Migliavacca), Milo’s nephew, backstage at his tooth-filing.

I have known Milo my entire adult life.

We both came to Bali as drop-outs — he from the world of ‘haute-schmuttah’ in Milan; me from architecture school in Sydney — and we have both stayed on, for almost 40 years, as ‘New-Balinese’ converts.

He rules the West Coast rag-trade spiritualists and I am the East Coast’s answer to Billy Graham, with a dash of Eddie Izzard. We each have our own favourite priests and ecclesiastical foibles (weaknesses for pretty faces and strong thighs among them).

Milo has ended up with a circle of born-again Hindu angels, a mixed-bag of gorgeous nieces and nephews (courtesy of his brother Ezio, a Legian lothario) and a band of merry men (his Seminyak banjar and attendant priests).

I go to palace cremations and make videos.

Now read on…

Milo in the rainbow warrior boat during Dr. Mario Veglia’s ashes dispersement in Sanur Bay, on 27th November, 2011.

4th December 2011: An Italo-Balinese dynasty is born — Major Hindu Ceremony at Seminyak Home of Bali fashion Giant

Today all the players in Milo’s life in Bali to date are gathered to celebrate the consecration of the kemulan shrine in his new family house temple. The shrine will become the earthly abode of his father’s recently Hindu-ized soul.

Milo has for decades been a devout Hindu — often traveling to India with his beloved guru, Pedanda Gunung and a contingent from Seminyak, his adopted hometown.

By consecrating a ‘family’ house temple — which involves the Hindufication of his late fathers ashes (Balinese religion is nothing if not infinitely flexible) — Milo’s entire family will be officially entered into the the Hindu-Balinese faith, full-time.

I arrive to find a garden full of glitterati and cogniscenti and fashionista — veritably le tout Seminyak.

It is a solemn occasion and the celebrity high priest Pedanda Gede Made Gunung is wearing a special Siwa-ite moon crescent tiara and pearls.

Milo for his part has turned a gold- trimmed South Indian ‘sari’ into a sporty twin set. I am in vintage Milo, wearing my order of the Shocking Pink Heliconia. The house is draped with orchids (Milo’s passion) and eye-candy, in the form of Abby, Putri and Luna, Milo’s nephew and nieces, who are having their teeth filed tomorrow, once the glitter-dust has settled.

At the end of the rituals, Bali TV interviews Milo and the high priest as today is something of a novelty in Bali — the internment of a spirit of (‘Bhatara Kawit Italia’ as the high priest calls Milo’s father) into a family house temple.

I am so proud of Milo for taking such a big step — Balinizing his entire family, and his ancestors, for that matter, back to the days of Lucretia Borgia (an ancestor, on his Mama’s side). It is admirable also that Milo has kept together such a disparate bunch of expats and helped lead them towards a lighter reality.

Bravo Milo!

26th November 2011: Poet-Filmmaker-Painter John Darling dies in Perth after a long illness

‘Ketut’ John Darling was Bali’s most devoted poet-filmmaker. He produced a dozen gems in a career tragically cut short by illness. His ‘Lempad of Bali’, made with the late Lorne Blair in 1980, opened the world’s eyes to the wonders of the Balinese culture. ‘Ketut’ John covered the mammoth cremation of the last great Raja of Denpasar (Cokorda ‘Gambrong’ Pemecutan X), the aftermath of the first Bali Bomb, and the great Inter-Hash piss-up held in Nusa Dua in 1997, amongst other less sensational Bali subjects.

I posted the following obituary on Facebook today.

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20th December 2011: Bali is my Homo

Last month bulldozers moved in on Bali’s only gay beach bar as young homosexualists were seen nailing themselves to the future Alila hotel’s timber screen façade samples in protest. The trendoid ‘New Asian’ architect of the future Alila Pooftah has already decreed the once hallowed pansy park a “no flower” zone. A few miles away Bali’s most celebrated Arja dance drag performer, Ni Liku, was swiveling her hips on the lap of warrior princes at a police brigadier’s wedding.

The Balinese, and the Indonesians for that matter, adore girly-boys, but the territorial prerogatives of developers take precedence over heritage homosexualist sites, it seems.

The thick pandanus-fringed shores of the beach between the new ‘W’ hotel and the Bali Oberoi — once the sacred noontime turf of nimble-footed sexual predators — is now almost devoid of pandanus bushes.

The paradox is: New Asian, Muscle-Mary resort architecture — that strain of the applied arts that has lots of brown things in straight lines, equally spaced — is now the favoured style of straight fashion-victims worldwide.

Perth-born, porn-film-star Widjie Weinberg — who now operates a time share business out of Seminyak — was last year roped in to star in “Cowboys in the Pandanus”, a homage to the heydays of the gay beach.

Amazingly a Singapore production company then made an ugly copy-cat production starring Janet De Neefe and Wham-Bham Tengkiu Nyoman entitled “Cowboys in Paradise”, which caused quite a stir.

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Images from the PENILEMAN for Ida Ayu Kompiang Oka Sutarti and the

tooth-filing of her grandchildren, Puri Bongkasa, 24th, 25th November 2011

Photos by Made Wijaya and Tim Street-Porter