Brontez Purnell

Queer Self-Sabotage: Brontez Purnell Unleashes ‘100 Boyfriends’

Five years ago, veteran Bay Area performer and artist Brontez Purnell unleashed his audacious comedy short through NakedSword Film Works. Now he’s back with one of the most anticipated books of 2021.

In “100 Boyfriends Mixtape,” a 14-minute comedy short produced Jack Shamama and NSFW (which you can see on NakedSword!), Purnell made his directorial debut with a semi-autobiographical “video mix tape.” Relying on his punk rock aesthetic to give the world a peek into his singularly unique perspective, the dancer, musician and artist delved into the often messy world of queer love, sex and relationships.

Brontez Purnell

Now he’s back with the slice-of-life book 100 Boyfriends. Released earlier this month, the book is described as “a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting the urge to self-sabotage. As they tiptoe through minefields of romantic, substance-fueled misadventure―from dirty warehouses and gentrified bars in Oakland to desolate farm towns in Alabama―Purnell’s characters strive for belonging in a world that dismisses them for being Black, broke, and queer. In spite of it―or perhaps because of it―they shine.”

Brontez Purnell

Armed with his signature deadpan wit, Purnell finds humor in even the darkest of nadirs with the peerless zeal, insight and horniness of a gay punk messiah. Jim Piechota of the Bay Area Reporter described the book as a “deliciously voyeuristic collection of salacious vignettes” that drenches us in “the sights, smells, sounds, and hedonistic delights of orgasmic connection between a series of unnamed narrators and the parade of men who flow into and out of their lives.”

Brontez Purnell

Purnell―who can also be seen in I Want Your Love on NakedSword―also authored the cult zine “Fag School,” is the frontman for his band The Younger Lovers, and founded and choreographed of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. (You can read a previous interview with him on The Sword, where he talks about I Want Your Love, “100 Boyfriends Mixtape” and more!).

Brontez Purnell

He is also the author of a novella (Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger), a children’s book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down. The recipient of a 2018 Whiting Writers’ Award for Fiction, he was named one of the 32 “Black Male Writers of Our Time”by T: The New York Times Style Magazine in 2018. He is also the director of several short films, music videos, and the documentary Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock. Born in Triana, Alabama, he’s lived in Oakland, California, for more than a decade.

Check Brontez out on NakedSword!

Brontez Purnell


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