Belay My Last! Billy’s Brokeback Scarf in Santa Fe.

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In my review of Santa Fe Opera’s "Billy Budd" I make the obviously idiotic claim that this production is not especially homoerotic. "Belay my last!" as they say in the US Navy. Claggart takes Billy’s scarf, keeps it on his person until he is killed by Billy — at which point Captain Vere takes it from Claggart’s body. Vere then keeps the scarf forever.

Shades of the jacket in "Brokeback Mountain".

This supports the idea that both men have a special attraction for Billy — and only Vere’s could possibly be construed as pure.

My friends have also pointed out several other possibly homoerotic moments in the show that I have failed to mention. Maybe it was that dreary lighting.

Dave Gregson

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