The Enigmatic Providence Journal Editor Who Ignited the Newport Naval Sex Scandal
Matthew Lawrence and Jason Tranchida present:
“SCANDALOUS CONDUCT/NEWPORT 1919: The Enigmatic Providence Journal Editor Who Ignited the Newport Naval Sex Scandal”
Who was John Rathom and why should we care? As editor of the Providence Journal a century ago, this mysterious Australian almost singlehandedly took a homophobic Navy entrapment scheme and turned it into a national scandal, one which brought homosexual “scandalous conduct” into daily newspapers and almost derailed the career of a future president. This talk will look at this colorful huckster, a man who invented his past and made up war stories to sell papers, and ask what it means when justice prevails but for all the wrong reasons.
Please note: this event takes place on Zoom; registration is required.
This is the first program in Scandalous Conduct/Newport 1919, a site-specific installation and series of public programs related to the Newport Sex Scandal, a largely forgotten, but hugely important moment in the history of LGBTQ+ rights. The series was created by Matthew Lawrence and Jason Tranchida, and originally planned for summer 2020; programs will now take place throughout 2020 and 2021. For more information on the whole project, visit scandalousconduct.com.
Scandalous Conduct/Newport 1919 is supported by grants from Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Brown Arts Initiative, and the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County.
Jason Tranchida & Matthew Lawrence are a collaborative team in Providence who have worked on multiple art and curatorial projects including Headmaster, a project-based print magazine featuring original art and writing commissions. Headmaster frequently spotlights forgotten moments in gay/queer history, from an illustrated biography of singer Antonio Variações (the first confirmed AIDS victim in Portugal) to a sculptural biography of Alan Turing (published 18 months prior to the hit film The Imitation Game that made Turing a household name).
Jason and Matthew have also produced a number of curated events including After School Special, a night of performance and interactive sculptural work at the RISD Museum. For the inaugural PVDFest, they received a public art grant from The Avenue Concept to produce AV Club, a looped video program screened inside a downtown gay bar.