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Thursday 04.16.15

Film: San Cristobal

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We got a very interesting email from a very gifted Master’s alumni from the NYU graduate film program about his short feature titled San Cristóbal. The 29 minute film tells a poignant love story about a character named Lucas visiting his sister on a remote island in southern Chile and while there falls for a hot hot hot young local fisherman Antonio who clearly must live in the closet. What this young Chilean filmmaker named Omar Zuniga Hidalgo accomplishes with a flawless emotional arc in the brief half hour of screen time is remarkable, haven’t been moved by a love story, gay or straight, so profoundly in a long time. May have something to do with the fact that my last lover was from a remote village north of Buenos Aires in neighboring Argentina and our relationship shared a fate similar to the protagonists in this short.

 

Fortunately we have a rare opportunity to see this film in combination with a few others screening this Thursday at 7:00PM at the First Run Festival that showcases work made by NYU Grad Film-Tisch School of the Arts students and recent alumni. From what I can tell looking at the festival schedule San Cristobal, which won the coveted Teddy award at the Berlin Film Festival is up first, so technically you can watch it and bail if you have elsewhere to go on a busy social Thursday night.

 

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7:00PM, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center at NYU, 36 E. 8th St. NY, NY.

 

 

Wednesday 04.15.15

MARTIN GUTIERREZ: CAN SHE HEAR YOU

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We are officially fans of the artist Martin Gutierrez, we wrote up his first show last year at Ryan Lee gallery in NYC. It was a gender bending exhibition that included photography, film and performance art. We now recommend you to go to his second show, on view at the same gallery. This mixed media exhibition features “music videos, a site-specific installation, and two new series of photographs…” The large colorful and stylized photographs can easily fit into the pages of a high fashion magazine, they show a variety of characters (mannequins and the artist himself).

 

“Gutierrez continues to investigate identity, both personal and collective, through the transformation of physical space and self. Interested in the fluidity of relationships and the role of genders within each, he employs mannequins as his counterparts to explore the diverse narratives of intimacy.” He incorporates a variety of materials into his work, such as “plastic leis, table skirts, vinyl, and tape, transforming them into authentic sets, accessories, and costumes that reference iconic films and people, including Milla Jovovich in Jean Paul Gaultier for The Fifth Element, Showgirls, and Brigitte Bardot.” Gutierrez is a very versatile artist, not sure if he’s sexually too, but he’s able to do hair and make-up, costume, set design as well as lighting, directing and photography. Werk!

 

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FREE, 10:00AM–6:00PM, RYAN LEE GALLERY, 527 W. 26TH ST. NY, NY.

Tuesday 04.14.15

#BTS GAYLETTER ISSUE 2 COVER SHOOT

Video by PENT UP STUDIO

Friday 04.10.15

Film: Naomi Campbel

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OK, simmer down now queens, this is not a documentary film about supermodel / actress / badass Naomi Campbell but rather a searing film about a trans woman from Chile named Yermén trying to formulate a plan to get sex reassignment surgery. Yermén is in her mid thirties living in a run down apartment on the outskirts of Santiago, and thankfully doesn’t hook for a living but instead works a phone line as a spiritual guide reading tarot cards for her clientele. Here’s the crazy part — Yermén tries out to be a contestant on a reality TV show because the prize (if she is cast) is a plastic surgery of her own choosing. While sitting in the waiting room of the casting she meets a woman who dreams of looking like Naomi Campbell, hence the title.

 

The film, by directing duo Nicolás Videla and Camila José Donoso presses the boundaries of classic documentary filmmaking, a goal successfully reached by the Art of The Real Series, Documentary Redefined. “Elements of raw,corporeal reality and documentary scenes shot on video in the middle of the night alternate with a minimalist fictional plot which is primarily an opportunity to follow Yermen’s transformation into the person she has always been.” My dear friend, and GAYLETTER co-conspirator, William came along to the screening and offered me two delicious candies laced with THC for the event, thank you! We went across the street to the classic P.J. Clarke’s for burgers after the screening to discuss our experience of the film and as William so poignantly noted, “It sure sparks conversation.”

 

$14, 9:30PM, Francesca Beale TheateR, 144 W.65th St. NY, NY.

Friday 04.03.15

The Last Boys

Barry Marré's first photo book

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Barry Marré’s latest photo book, The Last Boys, is sensual; his portraits are just as much about the beautiful men as they are the shadows draped across their torsos, the colors of the wall, or the undies pooling on their thighs. It is not simply an exploration of Marré’s subjects, but of the relationship between photographer and model, atmosphere and objective.

 

While the handsomeness of his work is not easily overlooked, Marré’s dedication to the tensions between rawness and composure, strength and vulnerability, hints at a story behind each image. “Letting go is a striking motto for me. Exactly in those moments in between the postures my best images arise.”

 

But even if you’re not in it for the more subtle narratives, the images — as well as the boys — are simply stunning. Admire the light on his clavicle, or the green of his eyes, or just the texture of his foreskin, either way The Last Boys will leave you wanting more.

 

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Buy the book here.

Thursday 04.02.15

Luke Smalley – Retrospective

Here's a sneak peak from the exhibition

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I had this girlfriend once, I’m sure you know the type, you’d make plans with her and if something better came up she’d ditch you and take the better offer. Well, I’m not that kind of girl, BUT, I will say I was all set to write about Sebastião Salgado’s opening this Thursday when I got a last minute email from ClampArt about a Luke Smalley - Retrospective and had to write about it instead (sorry Sebastião). Luke died suddenly at the age of 53 but left behind 3 distinct bodies of photography this exhibition addresses titled Gymnasium, Exercise at Home and Sunday Drive. Once a model and personal trainer, Luke graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in sports médecine —  a propos for the development of his minimalistic yet graphic athletic, aesthetic sensibility.

 

His first series, Gymnasium, took 15 years to hone and then Luke moved on to his foray into color with his second body of work titled Exercise at Home, that followed Gymnasium “in it’s themes of adolescent growing pains acted out under the guise of earnest athleticism.” Oh, OK ,the images are so homoerotic yet transcend this category into a whole other territory of refined artistry. I got so excited when the gallery forwarded three images, one from each body of work, I could barely write. Take the time to attend the opening (6-8PM) and if it’s not possible because something better came up make sure you see this show before it closes on May 9th.

 

 

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All images courtesy of ClampArt, NYC.

The opening reception is on April 2, from 6:00PM-8:00PM, at ClampArt, 531 West 25st. NY, NY.

 

Tuesday 03.31.15

BABY TEA :: SAT 3/28

An event presented by Dauphine of Bushwick & Cafe Dancer

Saturday 03.28.15

THE MAN BEHIND BEST BARBER

We visited the new babershop in Hells Kitchen to get our hair did

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A few weeks ago, we went to visit a new barbershop Best Barber that recently opened on February 3rd in Hells Kitchen, NYC. We didn’t go for makeovers or anything like that, we just wanted to refresh our looks (we both needed an update). The mission of this new barbershop is “to elevate the entire barbershop experience to one befitting a modern person.”  We are always looking to be elevated and we love being modern, especially when it comes to beauty (we gotta stay fresh.) We didn’t know what to expect of the place, but when we arrived we were very impressed. The interior of Best Barber is exactly what we like when it comes to a barbershop, it’s clean, modern, minimalist, with lots of white and just the right amount of design details. We met the shop’s owner Boswell Scot, who also cuts hair at the salon.

 

We each sat down with Boswell for a quick consultation before our haircuts. We told him about our major problems with our hair and all the obstacles that we face in our every day lives simply because of our hair. Just kidding! We had very casual conversation about our hair. We were offered champagne, a detail that also confirmed that we were right at home.

 

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Tom got his haircut first, he sat down on the chair chatting away saying how he wanted his hair, while I was peeking around enjoying my drink…

 

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Boswell turned that hair cut out. Then it was time for my haircut, I looked a mess, my hair really needed some help…

 

 

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Yes, he made my hair cunt too!

 

 

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They carry Malin +Goetz which has my favorite hair products, I’ve been using them for a while now.

 

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Here is a picture of the lovely staff, service with a smile.

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We asked Boswell some questions, we were curious to know more about Best Barber and hair:

 

What was the biggest surprise about running your own business? How easy it is. I’ve never had so much fun in my life.

 

What’s the most popular hair style at the moment? Short sides with length on top. It’s a strong, classic look for almost everyone.

 

What’s your prediction for hair style on men in 2015? Two words; long hair. I think you are going to see more men with longer hair this year. Long hair on a guy can be super sexy and it’s also a nice contrast to the short styles that have dominated the last few years.

 

Who’s the best tipper? That guy who hasn’t had a good haircut in a very long time or maybe ever. Then he ends up at in my chair and magic happens. That person tips very well.

 

What advice do you have for someone going bald? The same I offer to men with grey hair …own it. If you have thin hair, go with a very short cut and stand very tall. Confidence is sexier than hair.

 

What’s the difference between you and a high end salon? Best Barber is unlike any other grooming experience. Our tagline is “Handsome Made Simple” and that is reflected in every aspect of our business. From the design of the space to the online appointment booking, it’s enjoyable, efficient and effortless.

 

What are the prices for a haircut? Is it the same for a trim? We offer haircuts for $45 and single blade buzz cuts for $25. We also offer hot towel shaves for $45, beard trims for $20 and moustache trims for $10. The drinks are complimentary.

 

How do people book for a haircut? We have made booking an appointment easier than ever. Visit www.bestbarber.nyc

 

What’s Best Barber’s philosophy? Getting a haircut should be something you look forward to. A great haircut can change your life. A Best Barber haircut will get you laid.

 

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Click here to book an appointment.

 

Monday 03.23.15

Sunflowers 3

Video by PENT UP STUDIO

Saturday 03.21.15

DRINK THE BAR: GRADISCA

You gotta go for the cutting up with Miss Bini

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There is a very special woman making the drinks — more like exotic creations — behind the bar at Gradsica, the Italian restaurant on W. 13th Street in NYC that occupies the same space that the infamous nightclub The Reno Sweeney once did. Her name is Cristina Bini and beyond being a regal blond from Florence, Italy, she has this rare intelligence and touch when it comes to liquid libations. Cristina said she got her major experience at The Art Gallery Hotel in Florence in their famous Fusion Bar by Ferragamo. There she was concepting cocktails to accompany the fusion cuisine of Italian, French and Japanese food that was no small feat. As she explained to me with a heavy yet sexy accent, “I put my fantasy inside the drink.” We were handed the “Tonight’s Special Cocktail” card upon arrival and became instantly intrigued. It read, “Italian Bullshot.”  It consists of house infused rosemary vodka, celery salt, white pepper, Modena balsamic reduction and vegetable broth served with tortellini. Wow, really? William, our fierce website developer/dear friend and I decided to wait for Abi to order.

 

Once he arrived, fresh from a prior engagement in Chelsea, we ordered the Bullshot. Several well crafted minutes later this unique, amber, warm drink arrived with three tiny tortellini perched atop the glass on a toothpick. Here are our reactions to the drink: The nose has woody undertones with strong rosemary overtones, almost like a roast, it excites the nostrils to the point of stinging. It’s a most unusual, subtle and smooth flavor, a broth like none other. William dipped his tortellini in the liquid — so delicious— mine was equally tasty dry.”This cocktail is the perfect appetizer” quipped William “…warms the stomach. Custom savory.” After a peek at the restaurant’s special cocktail menu, that all sounded devine, we decided to go “off the grid” again and ask Cristina to make another one of her go to classics that would accompany our meatballs and tuna tartare appetizers. She nodded and said “OK, I make you a Pachanka.” We were puzzled so I asked her to write down the spelling and as it turned out the drink is called “Paco Taibo,” roast pepper, gold tequila, lemon juice, a touch of sugar, pear garnish and black pepper. We all agreed — so subtle again, fruity but not sweet, spicy but not overpowering, not at all obvious. Perfect for a first date! Abi noted it was “very intelligent, good for bottoming” — takes the bite out of the tequila but keeps the smokey flavor of the liquor. Custom sweet.

 

 

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We were feeling Gradisca, the subtle lighting, smooth cocktails and a most conducive environment for kicking it at the bar. We finished our appetizers with Abi commenting on the meatballs. “When something is this good you just want to swallow it,” then we moved on to the martini portion of the evening. Cristina put away her blow torch she used to blacken the roasted pepper and began to make a celery martini: 1 stick of celery muddled in a tall glass, gin double strained and a touch of olive oil. We all agreed the celery has a strong presence. The drink was not as subtle as the prior two. The olives have a buttery flavor amply supplied atop the drink. I asked the hot chef, well actually the man running the kitchen (the chef was in Italy) about them and he told me they are castelvetrano olives, William’s favorite. I repeat, this is not a dirty martini, even though the olives had a definite impact, this is not for dirty martini lovers.

 

At this juncture we took a break from our cocktailing when the beautiful fresh Caprese salad arrived, you know the classic mozzarella and tomato deal but this one was beyond. Abi added, “When you order something so simple, and it impresses you, you know something is right in the kitchen.” Yasss, and as you can see through a slotted window from the bar into the kitchen there is a lot “right” in that kitchen. Moving on to our next cocktail of the night Cristina chose a gorgonzola martini, yes, can you imagine a gorgonzola martini? The mention of it rendered William speechless. It was made from gorgonzola, a touch of dry vermouth and vodka. The flavor was definitively unusual — the taste is much lighter than it appears, not gimmicky, very unexpected. The vodka makes the cheese light and fresh, not heavy and earthy, yet it does have a kick — you must try one. We peeped the food menu and Cristina recommended the special (Cotoletta di pollo all bolognese: breaded pan fried farm raised chicken cutlet topped with parma, prosciutto and parmigiano with duchess potatoes) BUT as we were all sharing, we chose two of the divine pastas instead, a carbonara and a pappardelle.

 

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We weren’t finished just yet, Cristina had one more treat in store for us, a paprika basil martini. Paprika, basil, gin double strained. A cheer rose up from us in unison, “That’s amazing.” It’s so smokey because of the smoked paprika. “It’s a correct martini — the integrity of the martini is retained even though it’s flavored” Abi noted. Also a subtle finish we now knew was a signature that many of Cristina’s drinks embody and a delightful compliment to the two impeccable pastas. I definitely had a “moment,” the drinks, the food, my friends, the rain, “The Girl from Ipanema” softly playing, freshly blown hair….what a fabulous night. We all agreed we must do this again, thanks Cristina, truly a rare bird you are.

 

Most cocktails are priced around $15, Gradisca 126 W. 13th St. NY, NY. Reservations required but the bar is first come first serve.