A collaboration between photographer Luke Austin and 50+ artists from all over the world.
It would have been more considerate of Abi to give me the Luke Austin assignment BEFORE I went to the west coast to visit my parents; they keep knocking on my door, wondering why I won’t come out for dessert and coffee and Netflix, and I can’t find the words to tell them that I’m very busy jerking off to Luke’s new book images.
Austin is a NYC-based photographer who focuses on taking intimate pictures of men. His pictures are sexy and funny, but best of all he’s got one hell of an eye for hot guys. Straight-up, good-old-fashioned hot-as fuck MEN in their underwear, shot by Austin then re-rendered by over 50 different artists from around the globe, each in their own equally distinctive styles: That’s what you’ll be getting at the launch of Austin’s new book, Double Vision, at The Highline Loft at 508 W26th St. on Thursday May 28 from 6:00-9:00PM. Double Vision is the fourth book in Austin’s Mini Beaubook series, created entirely with artists who Austin discovered through Instagram. How very “now.”
To add a few more meta-layers to this collaborative cock-cake, the exhibit will showcase a limited edition set of ‘Like’ T-shirts for the event created with NYC graphic artist Adam JK. NYC artist John Macconnell will be showing 12 of his “life-size charcoal drawings of naked men.” I’m really not happy that I’m missing this. Please go to this show for me, since I’m stuck at my parents house in the suburbs blowing my load all over these pictures. Copies of Double Vision will be on sale for $20 — will someone get me one please?!?
Mickey Boardman, outsize personality at the helm of Paper magazine and GAYLETTER friend, is organizing a benefit for earthquake relief in Nepal. The quake that killed over 8,000 people is in danger of claiming many more victims via the spread of infectious disease, a risk posed by the horribly overcrowded conditions of Nepal’s extremely poor hospitals in wake of the disaster.
CITTA is a New York based relief organization focused on bringing projects in the fields of education, health, and economic development, and when the quake hit, they were already in Nepal with an existing project. Now Citta is directing additional resources towards the crisis, specifically to curb any massive outbreak of infection. Mickey, along with many other luminaries and activists, will be hosting a fundraising event to support these efforts on Tuesday May 26, from 7-10:30PM at Acme, on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones St. (Number 9 Great Jones, downstairs). Admission is $40, with free cocktails by Svedka and music by DJ Mad Marj. Mickey is his own force of nature, and so it’s appropriate that he’s organizing earthquake relief. Stop in for a great party in service of a very important cause.
The Loisaida Festival started in the early 80s as a block party for local LES kids to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend in the hood in lieu of a fancy weekend outside the city, which was beyond the reach of the mostly Puerto Rican working class families who made up the neighborhood in those days. Now that the LES has been colonized by Scenesters, Hipsters, and Bros (half of whom probably do have fucking weekend homes to spend Memorial Day at), it’s good to visit the annual Loisaida festival, which is still going strong, to celebrate the vibrant Latin culture of the historically diverse neighborhood. “Loisaida,” by the way, is a Latinization of “Lower East Side” in case you didn’t know, and Puerto Ricans throwing a party make the bros and hipsters look like such amateurs.
This year the festival is dedicating special attention to promoting “the often overlooked contribution of Queer Latin@ artists and activists to the Lower East Side’s rich cultural fabric.” Saturday, May 23, from 1:00PM to 5:30PM is Reconstructing Queer Latin@ Loisaida in Cinema, Literature, and Art, featuring The Life, Death, and Assumption of Lupe Velez from 1:00-2:00PM, and Your Kunst Is Your Waffen from 2-3:30PM. The films will be followed by a round table discussion between eminent local scholars on the state of research on Queer Loisaida (for all you critical theory hos). The screening and round table will both be at the New Loisaida Center at 710 East 9th st. and the festival continues through Sunday, May 24.
If Puerto Ricans and Latin American folks know how to throw a party, it follows that Queer Puerto Ricans and Latin@s are going to be KILLING IT reina, so we suggest you text Brody, Brady, and Brock right now to tell them lo siento but you’re skipping out on that Sag Harbor bro barbecue and heading to East 9th Street, because, as my Abuela always told me, “summer brojobs in the boathouse are a dime a dozen but a serious Latin@ party is something special, mi amor.”
Presented by The Dauphine of Bushwick and Cafe Dancer — With guest DJs BCALLA and Quay Dash
A new show by Rebecca Patek at The Chocolate Factory
GAYLETTER last spoke with “Dancer and Lover of Sperm” Rebecca Patek during 2013, in an interview of the same name. After spending the afternoon researching and chatting with her, my crush on Rebecca is so intense that as a gay man I’m uncomfortable. But then, discomfort is what Patek usually serves — take her 2013 show Inter(a)nal f/ear, a blisteringly funny satirical dance-and-multimedia performance exploring her experience of being raped, or her newest piece, The Future Was Looking Better In The Past, running from May 20th to May 23rd at The Chocolate Factory.
The unnerving subject at the center of “Future…” is the “Leopold and Loeb” murders. Remember those? It was that one time in 1924 when super hot, super rich teenage homos Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb gave America the “trial of the century” when they murdered 14-year old fellow trust fund kid Bobby Franks with a chisel because, like, Friedrich Nietzsche and #übermensch and “just for kicks” really. Funny thing is — and in Patek’s sly hands it WILL be funny, whether we like it or not — both murderer Loeb and victim Franks were Rebecca’s cousins on her father’s side.
“I found out about the connection two years ago, and got obsessed with it,” Patek says. “The idea of exploring ‘tainted blood’ started as kind of joke, but then you do start to think about these family strains, and look for repeating patterns, and there’s something eerie about it.”
Do your family members have feelings about you doing this piece? “Well my dad plays the voice of the defense attorney, and my mom wrote the music for it, but they haven’t seen it…they just sent me the materials without seeing the work. In fact they’ve never seen any of my work before so….” She laughs.
To hear Rebecca describe her signature equation of dance+shame and violence+satire makes the singular sound simple. “Satire means that you can get at grey areas more easily….the way language can be violent, for example, the way we read each other physically, the more subtle forms of violence and manipulation. But these power dynamics…can be shown in the body. You can use the body in the same way.” Listening to this elegant explanation while staring at a picture of her face covered in cum, I ask Patek if she’s into S&M. “My work has in the past gone to the level of public humiliation that could be called psychological S&M, yeah there’s something there…hmm…” she trails off, and I sink into my seat, smitten.
Since Patek devised and choreographed “Future” but, for the first time in her career, isn’t performing in it (though the cast does feature talented GAYLETTER favorites Sam Roeck and Chris Tyler joined by John Hoobyar, Sheila Lewandowski, David Patek, Peter Mills Weiss and Jaime Wright) — she may have to find that thrill of abjection somewhere other than the stage…..although perhaps sitting next to her parents while they encounter her work for the first time in this twisted tale of family depravity could be masochistic enough.
Paolo is a 22 year old, born and raised in Rome, Italy. He has lived in New York for 4 years now, and is studying Fashion Design at Parsons. He refers to his asthetic as “futuristic lady apparel.” Oh, OK. He told me that he’s been gay his entire life, he’s a gold star gay (for those of you that don’t know what that means, he’s never been with a woman) — “I was in Kindergarden singing and performing Celine Dion.” He had his first boyfriend at 17 and he lost his virginity at his best friend’s house with that boy. I asked him to elaborate on his sexual life: “I never had sex in a really wild place. I received a blowjob next to the Coliseum once, right in the middle of the Roman ruins…”
His go-to drink is a martini with Hendrick’s Gin and two olives. When it comes to men he doesn’t really have a type. He told me that he doesn’t discriminate, and he doesn’t have a particular body type, “I like a guy who’s taller than me, which is not that complicated to find.” He’s 5’9″. “I like a man who’s secure in himself and doesn’t justify or apologize for everything he does.” His favorite body part are his eyes (they are very pretty) and his legs — “because they look good in shorts;” on another guy he is into the hands. On what he likes to do on a Friday night: “I watch a dumb movie on Netflix, next to my lovely roommate/best friend/wife/babe with a glass of wine.”
He hopes to be making clothes in the future since he’s studying fashion design, “if I don’t I’m wasting a lot of money on tuition.” When it’s time for bed he wears a loose t-shirt with underwear in the winter and just underwear in the summer. He also seems very comfortable when he’s not wearing any briefs. Have a look at the selfies he took for us below wearing our GAYLETTER classic T-shirt. You’re welcome!
I can still see a 20-year-old me, cowering in front of my Facebook screen after the NYC Queer filmmaker and former contributing editor of BUTT Magazine Adam Baran publicly reamed me for posting a status which he found revolting and bourgeois (it was). His endlessly sophisticated proclivities include a deep appreciation for David Lynch‘s iconic TV show “Twin Peaks,” of which I have never watched a full episode. I will, however, be contributing to the Kickstarter campaign he has going for his new film, “Northwest Passage,” which follows the dark and incredible journey of a Twin Peaks super fanboy whose real life becomes as strange and Lynch-ian as….well….Lynch, and you should contribute too. Here’s why.
Nowadays Travis Blue is something of a legend in certain NYC circles, but in the early nineties he was a lonesome and cruelly abused gay boy living in rural Washington, until the magical day when David Lynch shows up to film his new TV show in Travis’s backyard. Stepping through the looking glass into the world of Lynch’s imagination, young Travis becomes a fixture on the set, and then in the passionate subculture of Twins Peaks fandom. As Travis’s fascination with Laura Palmer, the show’s gruesomely murdered heroine, becomes an obsession, Travis falls deeper down the rabbit hole as his life takes on the properties of his drugged-out, trick-turning TV role model, bringing him to the teetering edge of a similar fate.
Transcending Twin Peaks, and more than just a tale of superfandom, “Northwest Passage” is a thrilling/creepy/sexy look at one gay boy’s jaw dropping coming-of-age tale, and Baran sees it as an exploration of “how we as a society process fiction.” It bears echoes of “My Own Private Idaho“ and “Mysterious Skin,” only Travis’s story isn’t scripted, it’s all too real. When Adam fist met Travis he wanted to collaborate on a fictionalized piece, until he realized that the real life of his subject was weirder and more exciting than anything he could script, and the four year documentary process began. The film trailer on the Kickstarter page looks dope as hell, and the prizes Adam’s offering are amazing, especially if you’re a fan of the show (at one level of contribution the actress who played Lucy will record your phone’s voicemail in her iconic nasal simper). To hear Adam talk of his own journey with Twin Peaks (making the teenage pilgrimage from Jersey to Manhattan to gulp down the show at the old Museum of Radio and Television), as well as his flat out awe for the twists and turns of Travis Blue’s amazing life (and it takes a lot to impress this queen), it’s easy to see how the story will make a fantastic movie in his capable hands, full of as many laughs and screams as the show itself was (so I’ve heard).
I might just binge watch Twin Peaks this summer, but before that I’m gonna buy one of Adam’s handsome “Northwest Passage” mugs. I wanna see Travis Blue’s story on the big screen; let’s help Adam put it there. There’s two events where you can pledge to the Kickstarter on site: On Friday May 15, there’s a Twin Peaks Party at Videology at 308 Bedford Ave. BK, NY. from 9:30PM to 11:30PM featuring performances by Macy Rodman, Severely Mame, and A Place Both Wonderful And Strange; Friday May 22 is Twin Peaks Drag Night at Nowhere Bar at 322 E 14th St. NY, NY. with DJ Hot For Crime.
Do if for Laura…actually do it for Adam.
With Cheryl Donegan, Richard Haines, and NADA x PAOM
Our friend Richard Haines is at it again tonight, hunty. The legendary fashion illustrator and one of our favorite bloggers (What I Saw Today) is serving it up with the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) to present the work of multidisciplinary conceptual artist Cheryl Donegan in collaboration with Print All Over Me. This unique and totally immersive fashion/performance event celebrates the opening of NADAs new performance space at “Basketball City” on the East River piers by the Manhattan Bridge.
PAOM is an online community where pro and aspiring designers can upload digital designs and then profit from their eventual physical production, and Donegans collab with them is all about the idea of “being on the surface,” using a unique scanning and virtual body mapping process to turn digital fabric strips into wearable garments. The conceptual piece at the center of her approach explores “the quotidian, fluid relationship between the tactile world and the virtual one.” The best part is, Richard Haines will be drawing the models live as we watch, and that’s what makes this event a dont-miss. Runway show meets performance art with our fave fashion illustrator? Get to the east river piers, queen!
May 14th at 7:00PM at NADA’s new performance spot in “Basketball City”, 299 South St. NY, NY.
Walt Cessna, curator of Interface, sits down with us at the Leslie Lohman Museum to talk art and politics in the 21st century moment.
Walking through the shops and outdoor cafes of SoHo on a spring day can be soul crushing, and overcoming the desire to snuff out your cigarette in that snatched blonde’s $35 plate of truffle fries can take tremendous focus. Surrounded by people whose level of wealth is eclipsed only by their level of Basic, you feel the loss of the vital art that once thrived and then died here, the ghost of which now stares at you blankly from the glittering sockets of a limited edition Damien Hirst skull.
If you’ve ever felt this way, head to the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art on Wooster Street to see curator Walt Cessna‘s show, “Interface: Queer Artists Forming Communities Through Social Media.” There is still a living heart buried in SoHo, and on a day when the New York Times is announcing Chrystie’s first “Billion Dollar Art Sales Week,” signifying everything that is wrong with the art world, “Interface” at the Leslie Lohman is a sexy and fascinating exploration of what’s right with it.
Photographer/club kid/former fashion terrorist Cessna has gathered a truly heterogenous group of “mostly New York-based artists with active studio practices” who all “have (or have had) active relationships with social media” in an effort “to understand how this truly 21st century confection could create community and bring success to these artists.” What emerges is a titillating and uplifting picture of the 21st century working artist: entrepreneurs who can tap into the queer potential of a democratized online world to display their work, interact with fans and markets, and connect to each other outside the tyranny of galleries who must cater to the über rich.
“The show is a bit of a hodgepodge,” Cessna says, “painting, photography, illustration, video, installation, performance, sculpture, embroidery and needlepoint, everything but the proverbial kitchen sink.” Furthermore, there seems to be no prevailing similitude between how the artists in the show use social media; their various relationships to it are as different from each other as their work is. This broad spectrum of relationality underscores how the social media experience has changed the art-making, not just the art-promoting, game: while most of the artists have utilized various online platforms to build their brands, show their work, and find markets that say “yes” in a world of galleries saying “no,” some of them have gone so far as to incorporate a consciousness of social media into their actual creative process. Take Ben Copperwheat, whose “Divas” series featuring depictions of Madonna, Diana Ross, Joan Rivers, and BritCunt Margaret Thatcher is on display in the show, and who embraces the use of Instagram so thoroughly that “the nature of the square format has led me to create my compositions to work within the space to maximum effect.”
The means of distribution is shaping the work at the site of its production. In reading the artists’ statements it’s clear that Cessna has gathered creators whose relationships to social media aren’t all peaches and glitter; plenty of the artists speak of it with annoyance, or ambivalence, or an admission that the relationship has changed over time. Artist Chick Byrne captures a kind of generational ennui, remarking that “social media had its birth for me around the time I turned 12. AIM and chat rooms were it, and everybody was typing…. Now that I have spent more than half my life on social media, the appeal has mostly faded. My online presence is minimal and my eagerness to use it just as low.”
With a mix of swooning nostalgia and electrified conviction, Walt harkened back to the days of the Early 1980s East Village art scene, stitching that moment to the present with common threads of a “do-it-yourself aesthetic and punk ethos,” as well as a seismic shift in the economic and practical aspects of how and where art gets consumed. Today it’s tumblr feeds and Facebook walls, in 1982 it was subway cars and bathroom stalls. It was a time when the prevailing gallery system was being challenged by radical means of dissemination, as well as artists who were determined to subvert the calcification of the “proper” art world. Many of these artists were queer, and their ability to think outside the box was a result of lives that had been lived in society’s margins. Walt looks for this unabashed ferocity in queer artists today, dismissing those who put “less of their penis online and more of their commerce,” — those who might sublimate authentic queer radicalism for the kind of bourgeois self-consciousness that can sometimes emerge in the wake of increasing online success. Cessna has no patience for artists who “look correct but have no politics,” especially in an age when the problematic side of social media can mean that “hitting the like button excuses you from having to think about it at all.”
With its focus on queer methods of resistance and conscious art-making for a new age, “Interface” could not have a more appropriate home than the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Founded like a giant “fuck you” to death during the darkest days of AIDS, a time when gay businesses and galleries faced extinction as gay corpses mounted with no end in sight, Leslie Lohman has been serving queer resistance since day one. They own their space (as well as the 7,000 sf of space next to them which they’re about to take over), and in 2011 they made the critical jump from a gallery to a fully accredited museum — the strategic importance of which should not be missed: as a museum with an endowment, rather than a gallery dependent on sales (which must always be sky-high to satisfy the vice grip of ever-rising SoHo rents), the Leslie Lohman can perform a critical function in our community, allowing their rotating guest curators to build shows that don’t need blue-chip sales, shows that can focus instead on queer artists who deserve to be seen but haven’t yet received the powerful benevolence of exposure in prestigious galleries. Thus, Walt Cessna can fill his show with the artists who he knows to have politics as rigorous as their aesthetics, without giving a shit as to whether or not they can command million dollar price tags.
Walt talked passionately about how the Leslie Lohman is not known enough by the young and the hip of the NYC queer art world, and his hopes that this show can help enlighten that particular crowd to the vital role the museum can play in furthering the kinds of democratization and destratification that social media platforms have already begun for queer artists. The museum can promote those who might be stuck in what Walt called “a kind of online purgatory, where they’re known as an Internet celebrity, but they’re not in the galleries yet. Here, the fans get the chance to physically view the artists’ work, and something happens in that space between the viewer and the work that can’t happen online.”
Below is a preview of what you’ll see at the show:
‘Interface: Queer artists forming communities through social media’ is on view from May 15-Aug 2, 2015 at Leslie-Lohman Museum, 26 Wooster St. NY, NY.
Watch it online for free!
I am totally enamored by artist Kehinde Wiley. For one thing he throws the most fabulous (and generous) parties in his massive, exquisitely appointed SoHo loft on many of the calendar’s holidays. But more importantly Kehinde,“has carved out a place for the heroic African-American figure in classical Western portraiture.” That’s quite a feat for just one man! Last year this intimate documentary by Jeff Dupre was brought to BAM — Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace. For those of you that didn’t get a chance to go and see it, now you can watch it online for free. All I know is that the film deals with the artist’s exploration of female portraiture to reveal another side of black femininity. In the opening of the trailer for the film Kehinde states,“Everything is political, If I were to paint a bowl of fruit I would be a young, black American male painting a bowl of fruit.” How true. Watch this film, then take this brilliant opportunity to go see Kehinde’s current retrospective called Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, now up at the Brooklyn Museum until May 24th.