The Tao of Counterpunch
Filmmaker Tao Ruspoli’s Counterpunch interview with me on sex and politics – Part I and Part II – is now online. It’s a fun piece in which I show Tao around the Speakeasy as we discuss sex therapy, the War Business, Clinton’s blowjobs and Bush’s torture fetish, and you can see it here.
What you don’t see is that we got to know Tao almost as well as he got to know us. Tao’s Counterpunch connection is that he is married to actress Olivia Wilde (Alex Kelly in The OC; Alpha Dog) who is the “beloved niece” of distinguished award-winning journalist and CP publisher Alexander Cockburn. Tao is also the proud son of the late great “Playboy Prince” of Italy, Alessandro “Dado” Ruspoli, considered by many to have embodied “La Dolce Vita,” the sweet life of art, cinema, pleasure sex, wild parties, witty irreverence, mind-altering substances, bohemian style and spiritual philosophy that Federico Fellini immortalized in the 1960 film of that name.
Dr. Suzy’s Speakeasy, a.k.a. Block Studios, has often been labeled “Felliniesque” (as well as “Warholesque“), perhaps because of our parallel ways ob blending reality and fantasy. Colorful crews of artists, porn stars, paparazzi and truth-seekers make up both Fellini’s cast of characters and our Bonobo Gang. Annie Body is our Anita Ekberg, the bigger-than-life bombshell sex goddess, and our Annie has got her own Trevi Fountain right between her legs!. We have always been big Fellini buffs, and that flame is fanned by having our own Fellini-in-residence, Canaan Brumley, always filming us swing of the pendulum between our fantasies and realities. But no, Wallace is not exactly Marcello Mastroianni. You can carry these parallels too far…
But Dado Ruspoli lived the Sweet Life back in the day with Salvador DalÃ, Brigitte Bardot, Truman Capote, Willem de Kooning, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, Roman Polanski and the Rolling Stones. He shared a flat on the CÃ´te d’Azur with Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda. He made it chic to go barefoot on the Via Veneto and the streets of Saint-Tropez and was rumored to have been a sexual dynamo. Based upon the notion that male sexuality is like a car, his good friend DalÃ is said to have proclaimed Ruspoli to possess “the biggest limousine in Europe.”
La Vita Ruspoli is also a little like La Vita Filangieri. Yes, I too am a black sheep of the “Black aristocracy” of Italy, a deposed-princess-by-marriage to Prince Maximillian Rudolph Lobkowicz-Filangieri, descended from Enlightenment Era Neapolitan Philosopher Gaetano Filangieri, advisor to Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. But that’s another royal bunch of bloggamy…
Back to the Tao of Tao Ruspoli. Though proud of his “Dado,” Tao is an excellent film artist and a visionary in his own right. Check out some of Tao’s work here, and the extraordinary work on his Merry Prankster-style LAFCO filmmaking bus. He also seems to have inherited his Dado’s nose for pleasure. No worries, Uncle Alex, Tao did not drive his limousine into the carport of temptation. In fact, he behaved quite prudently. Though he did seem to enjoy the Nude Beer, Absinthe, Alma’s violin and Annie’s brownies. Oh, and then there was the Monkey Rocker…
Btw, Counterpunch,“The World’s Best Political Newsletter,” graciously posts some of my political writings, along with dozens of other far more eminent columnists. CP is just starting to run video interviews in this new section called Counterviews. In fact, Tao did me the honor — out of all the erudite thinkers who write for CP – of asking me to do his third CP video interview, just after his Uncle Alex and co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair. Think it’s because of the sex? Whatever the reason, it’s a good thing: Eros over Thanatos! And may Counterviews live long and prosper.
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