Although she has been acting since the age of eleven months (though not a recognizable one until the film E.T. when she was six), Drew Barrymore has expanded her professional talents to cover other filmmaking roles, such as screenwriting, producing (credits include cult film Donnie Darko), and directing. She co-founded her own production company, Flower Films, in 1995, which has specialized in romantic comedies (‘Flower’ is also the name for a line of cosmetics she helped create). Barrymore can also take credit as a writer: in her autobiography she details her experiences with substance abuse and publicity, and she has released a photobook of heart-shaped objects. She has been out as bisexual since a 2003 interview.
Punk rock musician and actor Billie Joe Armstrong dropped out of high school to pursue full-time work with his band Green Day (then known as Sweet Children and changed to reflect the group’s love of marijuana). Their third studio album, Dookie, became a hit, launching Armstrong’s decades-long career as a popular face of punk. American Idiot, a rock opera about a character named Jesus of Suburbia, formed the foundation for a Broadway musical based on Green Day’s repertoire, which Armstrong went on to star in for a brief run. In addition to performing with Green Day and other miscellaneous musical engagements (including a notable appearance with the Replacements in 2014), Armstrong has a secondary career as actor, making guest appearances as both himself and original characters. Armstrong has been publicly out as bisexual since an interview with The Advocate in which he describes working with Pansy Division, a gay punk band.
Caligula (“little soldier’s boot”) was the nickname of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, one of the more notorious Roman emperors. While the firsthand accounts of his reign have nearly all been lost to history, the surviving contemporary and posthumous accounts do not paint a flattering picture: over a short period the new emperor went from a beloved favorite of the army to a leader known for irresponsible spending habits and wanton cruelty. When he planned to move to Alexandria from Rome, a political play that would have crippled the Senate, he was assassinated.
From the initial biographies to an infamous film adaptation, Caligula’s story has been used as a morality play for the past two millennia, making it difficult to discern what his reign was really like. The more outrageous claims, like his relationship with his favorite horse, were likely rumors, but broader accusations of sexual deviancy (incest and homosexual relations, for example) are more difficult to address, along with the assertion that he was insane, in part due to a Roman cultural meme that paired perversity and madness with poor governorship. (Seneca’s description of Caligula as appallingly ugly and pale might be a more accessible ad hominem to a modern audience.) It is possible that Caligula was bisexual, but not impossible that accounts of him as the passive partner in same-sex intercourse were intended as slander given the Roman expectations for adult male sexuality.
Margaret Charmoli, a practicing psychologist, has also been a host of the monthly cable television show BiCities since its inception in 2002. BiCities is a play on “Twin Cities,” the nickname of its hosting location, the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area of Minnesota, and it features interviews with members of the bisexual community. Charmoli herself has been the subject of at least one interview in which she shares her expertise on the American Psychological Association and its evolving views on queer identity. As of the time of this posting she is also the Bisexual Representative with the board of directors at Reconciling Works, an organization dedicated to bettering the inclusion of the queer community within the Lutheran Church, and was part of the push for legalized same-sex marriage in Minnesota through her membership with the Minnesota Psychological Association.
Performance artist Susana Ventura (better known by her stage name of Penny Arcade) has been a fixture in the New York City Lower East Side artistic scene since she joined the budding Play-House of the Ridiculous in the late 1960s. Although she has a number of film credits to her name, including the satirical Andy Warhol production Women in Revolt, the attention she’s garnered comes largely from her live shows like Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!. Inspired by her years living on the margins of the queer community, her works incorporate drag and heavy improvisation. In response to the rising gentrification of Manhattan she helped found the Lower East Side Biography Project, which collects film footage of local artistic luminaries. In the early 2000s she unsuccessfully ran for State Assembly through the Green Party.
Aleister Crowley, the man who called himself “The Great Beast 666” and became known in the British press as “the wickedest man in the world,” was an infamous cult leader who founded his own religion dedicated to the mantra, “Do what thou wilt.” After finding the Hermetic Organization of the Golden Dawn lacking in its dedication to the occult (and himself unpopular due to his bisexuality and sexual libertinism), he set out to outdo it, and wrote the first of many texts while in Egypt. His practice turned to a focus on sexual magic (part of his overall philosophy of Magick) and he opened up a house for his disciples that was later seized upon by tabloid journalists. He was also a poet and a skilled (though callous) mountaineer. His popularity spiked in the 1960s after his death, and he even appears on the Beatles’ album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band.
A full-length documentary on Crowley, complete with spooky music and handheld camera footage, is available here.
Amanda Palmer (colloquially known as Amanda Fucking Palmer) is a bisexual indie rock musician and memoirist known for her controversial crowd funding abilities and her provocative lyrics and performances. Her music career began as one half of The Dresden Dolls, a “Brechtian punk cabaret” band, which became a popular act in the early 2000s. After going on hiatus Palmer launched a successful solo career. Her views on the financial relationship between performer, audience, and stakeholder are explored in a TED Talk.