10 songs to get you in the mood for the macabre
As luck would have it, Halloween falls on a Friday this year. In other words, all of New York is about to turn into a crazed, liquor-drenched nightmare in the best and worst ways possible. There’s the grandiose annual Village Halloween Parade that starts at 7 P.M., alongside a laundry list of other events happening all across the city tonight and tomorrow, all of which is to say you have absolutely no excuse not to get the most mileage out of your trendy and/or slutty costume and put everyone else’s to shame. Even if this day used to mean nothing more than a pillowcase full of candy and reruns of Halloweentown on Disney Channel, we all know once you get older it usually just winds up being an opportunity to get too drunk and hook up with that one hottie in the UPS guy costume (no? just me?).
Anyway, since there’s a lot to get to this weekend (don’t forget to check this week’s GAYLETTER for our top picks), we put together a new, spooky playlist of 10 songs to get you in a proper mood for the macabre. We’ve merged dark electronic and dance music with low-key sinister vibes for our mix this time around, which includes the likes of Cakes Da Killa, Future Brown, XXYYXX, Mr Twin Sister, and many more. So go ahead and hit play, climb into that costume, and start getting scary. We’ll be expecting photos.
Listen if you like: séances, slasher movies, Patrón, the devil, having sex in costumes.
Follow us on 8tracks for further mixtapes.
Shade is back with a special Halloween edition that’s all about going to hell and coming back for baptism in order to be saved. Yes honey all the praying you do everyday, it’s gonna pay off. The party is brought to you by Ladyfag and Seva Granik and this time around it will take place at a new space, “a never-before-danced-upon abandoned factory floor, at a new, epic Brooklyn location...with our most epic installations to date...we are going ALL OUT!!!” If you’ve ever been to Shade, you know it’s the REAL deal, so just imagine attending a Shade with everyone in Halloween costumes! Also, some of the proceeds from the event benefit Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth so don’t at all feel bad about how fucked up you got the night before. Apparently for this edition they are flying in some major talent, I have a feeling it’s Jesus. Music will be provided by Matrixxman, Fatherhood, Physical Therapy, Michael Magnan, Max Mcferren and more. Baptisms by ADHOC, Amanda Lepore, Chromat, Culture Whore, Drew Elliott, Florent Belda, Macy Rodman, Marie Karlberg, Peter Cedeno, Russian Denis, SSION, Stephanie Stone, Yadim Carranza & VFILES. If you see any of them ask them for some holy water — or just some regular water if you are thirsty, it’s important to drink lots of water at these rave parties so you can keep dancing — you know what I mean ;)
The NY-based arts and music project throws an all-queer CMJ showcase
The CMJ music festival has a pretty horrible reputation here in New York. With its vow that anyone with even a semblance of a band gets a spot in the lineup, this type of festival tends to attract the dregs of the music world, not to mention the fest’s extremely chaotic schedule. Hell, this year even suffered a fucking Ebola setback. Nevertheless, last week’s CMJ did manage to see its fair share of interesting events; namely, Homoground’s official showcase, which took place last Thursday night at Brooklyn venue Friends and Lovers.
Homoground is a project dedicated to promoting visibility for queer people through music and art, providing quality podcasts of new music, weekly mix tapes, a video channel, and events like last week’s eclectic CMJ showcase. Billed as CMJ’s only all-queer lineup, Homoground’s showcase included an array of different music styles, from the piano and acoustic-guitar driven music of Brett Gleason to the grunge rock of Brooklyn duo Clinical Trials, who had their very own blow-up doll on stage with them. Despite a small turn-out, the show’s buffet of different styles and Homoground’s overall support still proved a breath of fresh air amidst CMJ’s usually ridiculous hustle. Tucked away in Friends and Lovers’ dark, smoky back room, the event had an intimate appeal that ended with the spotlight on electro groups Glitterlust and Bottoms, who took that intimacy to another level once the former’s lead singer made his way through the audience grabbing guys during their synthy songs.
With its solid lineup and freewheeling energy, there’s no question that, should they choose to throw another CMJ event next year, Homoground is a project to keep your eye on in the coming year.
Listen to Homoground’s podcasts here.
Touted as the most ambitious exhibition ever presented by the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art — Classical Nudes and The Making of Queer History attempts to “trace the same sex gaze as grounded in classical form from Antiquity to the modern day.” Now that’s a lot of ground to cover. To make things more digestible, the curator Jonathan David Katz has divided the show into four distinct periods following a chronological order from Antiquity to the Renaissance on to the 18th and 19th Centuries and finally exploring Modern times. There are nearly 100 objects of sculpture, painting, drawing photography and video by artists that include James Bidgood, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Paul Cadmus, F. Holland Day, Jim French, Jean Jacques Pradier, William von Gloeden, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe and Lyle Ashton Harris, just to name a few. I must say the homoerotic energy is pervasive — at times blatant and other times more subtle, it almost made me want to shout “We’re Here, We’re Queer and We’re NOT going shopping!” (an old Act Up slogan from a march on 5th Avenue protesting the Catholic church). Seriously this monumental show just made me prideful, go have a look, it’s up until Jan 4th.
Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus and 2012 (I just love saying the full title) is one of those films I can watch over and over again. A few weeks ago I had my first experience with psychedelics, so last weekend I was super excited to re-watch it (a mescaline trip is a central part of the plot). The film stars Michael Cera as a young arrogant American traveling through Chile, and Gaby Hoffmann as a maternal, carefree girl who he unintentionally invites to join him and his three Chilean friends on an adventure to a remote beach to try a local hallucinogen — the mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactus. The film’s director Sebastián Silva based the film on a real life encounter, he calls it “a story about the birth of compassion in someone’s life.” That’s a pretty spot-on description for the film. Its takeaway is simple — underneath all our stupid layers we all want the same thing — to be seen and understood. The film gets to this conclusion in a very natural, entertaining way. It’s short, sparse, easily digestible — like all the best trips should be.
Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer from the electroclash band Fischerspooner are hosting the official release for their new book today, Oct. 28th, at VFILES in SoHo. The book tittled Fischerspooner: New Truth, “visualizes the colorful beginnings of Fischerspooner with photography, costumes, ephemera, documentation of performances, props, studio portraiture and film stills. Original essays by Klaus Biesenbach, Gavin Brown, Jeffrey Deitch, Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner, provide unique and personal accounts of Fischerspooner’s historical and conceptual implications. Edited with an introduction by Meredith Mowder.“
In addition to the book they are going to be celebrating the “archival reissue” of the T-shirt “Artists Have More Fun” by Jeremiah Clansy — the shirt will be exclusively available at VFILES.
We had a peek at the book and it feels like a personal diary, it contains lots of interesting images highlighting the band’s relationship with performance art, their amazing wigs, their costumes, and all the elements and diverse references that made up their unique performances. It’s an interesting look at their process and an insight to how much Casey loves to wear sexy little underwear. He’s a fan of getting nudey — clearly aware that sex sells!
Here are some inside images from the book:
FREE, 6:00-8:00PM, VFILES, 12 Mercer St. NY, NY.
An interview with collector Robert Swope
Can you imagine going to the flea market, opening a random box and discovering hundreds of photographs of men dressed as ladies from the late fifties to the mid sixties? Where, you’d wonder on earth did they come from. The answer, as it turned out, is a retreat in Hunter, New York called Casa Susanna for heterosexual transvestites. “Founded by Susanna, aka Tito Valenti, the resort embraced men who dressed like women providing a safe haven for the exploration of gender roles in a time when it was not common to do so.”
The archive consisting of 189 color photographs, 144 black and white photographs and 7 photographic Christmas cards now on view at Wright (980 Madison Ave. NY, NY.) is being auctioned off this Oct. 30 with an estimated value of $100,000-$150,000. The archive is owned by the collectors Robert Swope and Michel Hurst who originally unearthed the collection in the flea market. Please take this rare opportunity to pop uptown to see these miraculous photographs. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Robert on the eve of the auction to ask him some pointed questions about the archive.
If you don’t see the answer to one of the questions this body of work provokes for you please come to a talk the two collectors are having at Wright Oct. 28th from 6:00-8:00PM and ask away — I’m sure it will be a lively conversation — I’ll be there with bells on.
Did the dealer at the flea market where you purchased the archive have any idea of the value of the photographs? Did they mention where they procured the images from? No. They came from a self-storage unit.
What was your reaction when you discovered the first few photographs? Could you make sense of them? I knew immediately that they were something special and figured it out fairly quickly — I think when you see them altogether they speak for themselves and tell a story.
Briefly describe how you followed the trail back to Casa Susanna? We were contacted once the book came out by a P.H.D. candidate who was doing research in this field and clued us into the resort Casa Susanna.
What has become of the property? I believe the property is currently for sale and they are using the Casa Susanna connection as a selling point.
Do you believe that all these men were heterosexual? I think that some were probably gay.
Why are you selling the collection now? My partner and I are selling our design collection at the same time and decided to sell the Casa Archive as well — we have taken it as far as we can.
Who do you think would be the ideal buyer for the archive? An institution would be a great place for the collection — somewhere that it could be made available to be seen.
How would you say the Casa Susanna drag is different from today’s drag? This is the thing — these guys were NOT drag queens — they were not doing a parody of women — as drag queens do — they were trying to be real women.
Were wives welcome at Casa Susanna? Did the men bring them along? Wives were welcome andmany participants did bring their wives.
How did all these images taken by various different photographers wind up in the same collection? I believe the collection was most likely the property of Susanna Valenti herself, particularly since one of the albums had her business card attached to the cover.
Will you miss the archive once it’s gone? Yes, I am quite attached to it.
V gave a wild performance at the downtown institution The Cock
The awesome indie food magazine Put an Egg On It just released their 9th issue and I can’t wait to see it. This Sunday is their official launch party. For those of you who are not familiar with the publication it’s “an irreverent digest-sized art and literary magazine printed on green paper from New York City. It’s about food, cooking and the communal joys of eating with friends and family. The magazine is biannual and features personal and photo essays of dinner parties, special art projects, illustrations, as well as practical cooking tips and recipes.” This Sunday you are in for a real treat, basically all guests eat and drink for free until everything is gone. There’s going to be beer, sake and snacks provided by Momo Sushi Shack. Ralph McGinnis (one of the editors of the magazine) told me that it’s “first come first serve for drinks and food, sooooo…when it’s gone it’s gone.” A word of advice, if you are greedy and don’t know how to share please stay home, it’s not attractive looking so hungry in public.