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Wednesday 06.25.14

Love is Strange

The trailer for Ira Sachs' latest film is adorable.

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Ira Sachs is one of our favorite directors. Last year we had the chance to chat with him about his last film Keep the Lights On, and it was an enlightened conversation. So needless to say I was super excited to finally get a look at the trailer for his new film Love is Strange. Mossy saw the film at the Tribeca Film Festival and had good things to say.

 

It stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as Ben and George, a couple who get married after 39 years together. Shortly after the wedding George is fired from his teaching post at a Catholic school “forcing them to stay with friends separately while they sell their place and look for cheaper housing — a situation that weighs heavily on all involved.”

 

The film will be out in theaters on August 22nd, but it is already received plenty of praise from those who saw it on the film festival circuit (it first premiered at Sundance.) Indiewire called it “a sophisticated take on contemporary urbanity infused with romantic ideals and the tragedy of their dissolution.” 

 

I’m a sucker for stories about old gay men (random I know). Mike Mills‘ Beginners, a semi-autobiographical film about his father’s coming out in his late 80′s, is still one of my favorite films…of all time. I’m hoping I can add Love is Strange to that list!

 

Watch the trailer below.

 

So adorbs!

 

Sunday 06.22.14

Hurricane Bianca

She'll destroy your town...

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You know what movie I loved as a kid…Mrs Doubtfire. For those who haven’t seen it (seriously?) it stars Robin Williams as a divorced man who dresses up as a fat old nanny so he can spend more time with his kids. It’s so silly and funny and was probably my first exposure to drag. I got thinking about that film when I heard that the winner of the last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio, had started a crowd funding page to raise money for a new film, Hurricane BiancaIt’s a comedy about a New York teacher who moves to small town Texas, is fired for being gay, and returns disguised as a mean lady to get revenge on the nasty town.”

I was sold from that quote alone. The movie was conceived by Matt Kugelman who is also its writer and director. So far they have raised around $60,000, but they have some way to go to raise their intended goal of $175,000. If you’d like to contribute, then now is the time. There’s all sorts of brilliant prizes like personalized voicemail messages and even the chance to be personally insulted by Bianca on her web series. 

 
Below is a short video they created for the campaign.

 

Friday 06.13.14

Lower Eastside Ladies

A drag fundraiser for Maddox Madison

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When someone you know is having a rough time you usually bringing them a cup of soup, watch some Golden Girls with them, do whatever you can to make them feel better. When that person happens to be a legend of the downtown community, soup is not enough.

 

Maddox Madison, a long time performer and staple of the East Village has recently been stricken with skin cancer. The community is rallying together to support her fight against this deadly disease. As many may know, skin cancer in African Americans is so rare it comprises only one to two percent of the population.”

 

On Sunday a bunch of her amazing friends are getting together to throw her a benefit, because healthcare in this country is fucked and she needs some coin to continue her fight against this disease.

 

If you can’t make it but still want to support Maddox then go to the GoFundMe page. There’s prizes from Reed Krakoff, Fendi, Organic Avenue, The Wendy Williams Show, Nickelodeon, just to name a few. “Those that attend will be in for quite a show, one which will be a true testament to the type of person Maddox is.”

 

With DJ duo’s The Carry Nation (Will Automagic & Nita Aviance), H.A.M.B. (Michael Magnan & Juliana Huxtable), William Francis & Jeffrey Chatterton and Sammy Jo. Hosted by Stephanie Stone, Dina Marie, Domonique Echeverria, Christie Maass, Alissa Brianna and Matthew CampRyan McNally will be collecting Donations. Plus, one night only go go appearances by Jay Roth and Rowan Pierce.

 

Be there, and be there for Maddox.

 

Give what you can, 10:00PM, Eastern Bloc, 505 east 6th St. NY, NY.

Thursday 06.12.14

The Real Thing

Xavier Dolan, an emerging filmmaker worth knowing

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Although you may not recognize the name yet, Xavier Dolan at only 25 is poised to become a household name as a filmmaker producing movies in the grandest tradition of the silver screen. The Canadian born actor, writer, and director’s fourth feature, ‘Tom at the Farm,’ which was recently showcased at MOMA’s Carte Blanche film series honoring Miram Karmitz’s independent film company MK2, keeps this promise.

 

If you’re not familiar with Dolan’s work, much of his films read like extended music videos, with lush slow-motion sequences put to Salvatore Bono songs; but uniquely, here the videos enhance the music (see Dolan’s earlier films ‘I Killed My Mother‘ and ‘Heartbeats‘). There is also ‘Laurence Anyways,’ worth mentioning not least of all as a transgender narrative — although foremost a love story — told with the tenderness such deeply human stories deserve but are often deprived, and with a magic that makes the movie-going experience spellbinding when it’s good (and here it’s really good). The irresistible Melvil Poupaud, who stars as Laurence, makes for another strong reason to watch.

 

Representing a bit of a departure from these earlier projects, ‘Tom at the Farm’ opens on vistas of Canadian countryside as Tom, bereft of Guillaume, who has suddenly died by some accident that remains a mystery for the film’s entirety, travels to his late lover’s hometown, or farmtown as it were, to pay his respects. But upon his arrival, no one seems to have expected him or to have known of his existence prior. Tom, played by the oh-so-charming Dolan, nonetheless ekes his way into their lives with a shock of dirty blonde hair, a wounded heart, and the grace of a field mouse.

 

On the eve of the funeral we meet Guillaume’s older brother, Francis, the brooding and berserk bull of this cattle ranch who throws his weight and well-appointed jaw-line around like a juggernaut, threatening Tom with physical violence if he doesn’t keep to the story that Guilaume was straight and had a beloved girlfriend named Sarah. He achieves total domination through coercion and by exploiting Tom’s unstated sexual attraction, rasping in one scene after giving him a fresh beating, “I know you like me…please don’t go.” His stated motive for preserving his deceased brother’s straight image is to protect his grieving mother, played with haunting intensity by Lise Roy, the only hold-over from the original stage production by Michel Marc Bouchard upon which the screenplay is based.

 

Suspense and violence (and the threat of violent punishment) take center stage in the film, revealing the darkest modes of human desire. The tension crackles between Dolan’s Tom and Pierre-Yves Cardinal’s Francis, epitomizing the maxim that just on the other side of disgust is lust.   Before you know it Tom, pale and purple, is in the grip of Stockholm syndrome, performing farm chores like an automaton under the hypnotizing gaze of his captor, having literally been beaten into submission. Even when a friend attempts to save him from his physically abusive, coke-snorting, man-on-man tango partner (yes that scene is as absurd and hot as it sounds), fretful Tom refuses rescue.

 

Dolan, fresh off of winning a jury prize at Cannes for his next project ‘Mommy,’ introduced ‘Tom at the Farm’ at MOMA. In his speech he referenced that in the midst of post-production he actually doubted the film’s quality, and that only after working with the film’s sound designer, Sylvain Brassard, did he realize sound’s power to reinforce storytelling. And indeed, one of the most absorbing features of the film is its expert sound design and menacing musical score. For instance, when Tom attempts to escape from Francis’s death-grip by diving into the scalloped sea of corn fields surrounding the farm (a visual that possesses on its own staggering beauty) the racing music raises the flesh to goosebumps. Gabreil Yared’s instrumentation leaves you dizzy yet again when, having abandoned another escape, Tom is hopelessly drawn back to the house of doom swooning in slow-motion on a symphonic groundswell. But, perhaps the most powerful example is during a monologue delivered by the matchless Roy, who, in painfully tight close-up remembers her son and curses the “accident” that struck him down at the age of 25. It is the terrible mounting strings in the background that complete this nausea-inducing reverie.

 

Dolan’s zeal for timing, suspense and drama have earned the film just comparisons to Hitchcock (and to that list I might add Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining‘). What is most remarkable, however, is how Dolan turns the Hitchcokian formula on its head with Tom emerging as the quintessential Hitchcock heroine, subverting gender codes of cinema and most satisfyingly appealing to the Hitchcock heroine trembling within us all.

 

One of the film’s predominant themes is deception vs. reality. Peppered throughout are phrases like “feel real,” inscribed on a painting in the bedroom Tom share’s with his dead boyfriend’s brooding older brother, dividing their twin beds. And, yet again, appearing on a neon sign that reads “The Real Thing,” in a bar scene that speaks to Dolan’s exquisite writing, and a script that must read like a noir page-turner. Fed up with all of the lies, Tom asks a local bartender to tell him why all of the townspeople steer clear of Francis (as if he needed further explanation). It is a perfectly banal outpost in a perfectly normal farmtown where the agrarian normcore wet their whistles over a pint of lager. The bartender obliges, recounting a gruesome act of violence that, despite the scene’s absence of action, leaves you nonetheless riveted.

 

So what is “the real thing” in ‘Tom at the Farm’?  Is it simply a marker by which we measure the central deception of the film, Gillaume’s grand lie to protect himself and his family from his sexual orientation – or is that, as Dolan points out himself “too on the nose”? Considering the blistering homoerotic tension between Francis and Tom one can’t help but wonder if Francis himself is a play on this theme of the “real”, here fetishized as the “real straight guy fantasy” whereby Tom is never entirely sure if Francis is going to fuck him or simply fuck him up.  Maybe it’s a reference to the limitation of all human connection, whereby you love someone and think you know them only to wake up one day next to a stranger. Still more disturbing, perhaps it is about the stories will tell ourselves about ourselves that is the real gambit. Whatever the case, undoubtedly Dolan is the real thing and you’d be wise to hang a wish on this rising star.

 

Tom at the Farm will be featured again at MOMA on June 20th.

 

 

 

Chase Quinn is a New York based culture writer. Follow Chase on twitter @chasebquinn

Friday 04.04.14

New Drag Doco Features Everyone We Love

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Sisters of the Wicked Wig is a new documentary that explores the current “drag renaissance happening in Brooklyn, New York.” The doco features Horrorchata, Merrie Cherry, Elle Emenopé and their sisters of the House of Bushwig as they explore the meaning of life, love, family, art and what it means to be a drag queen in today’s world.”

 

With TV shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race and…well, really just Drag Race, (on TV at least) it does feel like Drag is having a moment. From our perspective that moment appears to playing out in Brooklyn. We’re glad filmmakers Adam Golub and Gayatri Kaul have taken the time to document all that’s going on in the wonderful world of drag.

 

I’ve always thought that drag queens (and of course trans people, but that’s a whole other story) are the bravest of the LGBTQI community. Putting on a dress as a man and walking out of the house is a defiant, big-balled move that deserves all our respect. It looks like The Sisters of the Wicked Wig is attempting to do just that.

 

Check out the trailer below

Thursday 04.03.14

Gadgets We Love: Ultimate Ears Boom

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Sometimes it’s not about having the just-released-flavor-of-the-moment-OMG-did-you-hear-what-The-Verge-had-to-say-about-it gadget. Sometimes it’s better to spend your money on a device that’s been well-and-truly road tested, that has over 400 5-star ratings on Amazon, that GAYLETTER has spent plenty of time falling in love with.

 

Which brings us to the Ultimate Ears Boom (I know, stupid name) Bluetooth speaker from Logitech. It is, in my humble opinion, (and the opinion of all those Amazon reviewers) by far the best wireless speaker on the market. Yet you’ve probably never heard of it.

 

The Boom doesn’t have the media presence (or a terrible Juergen Teller ad campaign) to support it, but it does has everything else that really matters going for it.

 

Let me tell you why I have such a boner for this device.

 

 

I’ve been using my Boom, pretty much daily, for the last year. The secret to this device is its cylindrical design that allows sound to project out from all sides. It’s not called the “Boom” for nothing, it’s incredibly loud considering it’s size, and crystal clear — the bass is deep and satisfying.

 

It runs on a rechargeable battery that gives you around 10 hours of listening time — more than enough for a long weekend away. Which is where this device really shines. It’s the ultimate speaker to travel with, I’ve taken it all over the world, it’s solid and easy to throw in suitcase without worrying about it being knocked about. It’s splash proof and shock proof — it can go anywhere.

 

The other cool thing about the Boom is that it’s able to connect with another Boom and double the sound, but honestly, unless you’re throwing a massive, loud-ass party you’ll never need that much volume.

 

I love the simplicity of this device, it looks great and there’s nothing to fiddle with, just turn it on and it automatically connects with the last device you paired it with.

 

The Boom is a must have device, putting the Beats by Dr. Dre ‘Pill’ and all versions of the Jambox to shame. Plus it gets the GAYLETTER stamp of approval, which is honestly, kind of a big deal.

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Ears ‘Boom’ comes in 5 colors and is available for $175.65 from Amazon, with free shipping. 

 

Thursday 03.20.14

‘Sexercise’ By VFILES

x Cody Critcheloe x Kylie

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As an Australian gay man I am wired to automatically love Kylie Minogue and her musical output. Her 12th album ‘Kiss Me Once’ is her first since she moved to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label — yet another of her continual attempts to crack the American mainstream. Because everyone knows until you make it here you’re not really famous – you’re basically just Sylvia Night mid-breakdown.

 

I’m not sure this is going to be her Billboard #1, but it’s certainly getting gay men gagging and giving straight men boners. The new video for ‘Sexercise’, which is apparently an actual thing (that we obvs do plenty of), features Kylie looking AMAZING in a leotard; bouncing, gyrating and getting sweaty wedgies inside what looks like a school gym.

 

The song was written by Sia, a hugely talented solo artist in her own right who pays the bills/buys small countries by writing pop’s biggest hits for other singers. There’s also a lyric video by Roman Coppola (wtf) and a collaboration with VFILES featuring stunning male models and surely directed at her gay fanbase. Not that we’re complaining.

 

 

 

Watch the video below:

 

Tuesday 03.18.14

Gadgets We Love: Wello Health Tracker

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Honestly, it feels like everyday there’s another personal tracking device appearing on the market. Here’s one we’re really excited about. The Wello Health Tracker is a phone case  that very easily measures, and tracks, your overall health. This device is not messing about. Just hold it with two hands for a few seconds and it will measure your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen level, and when you attach the provide breathalyzer it will also track your lung function. It’s like a 5 second trip to the doctor.

 

It uses low energy Bluetooth 4.0 to connect with your phone, and the Wello app, and has a battery that will power it for up to 2 months on a single charge. It’s perfect for those moments when you’re coming down after a big night and you’ve seriously convinced yourself that you may be about to die. Nope, it’s just a regular old panic attack.

 

 

Friday 03.14.14

Claire Milbrath is a Groin Grazer

A photographic exploration of men's crotches.

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We were fascinated by Claire Milbrath‘s Groin Grazing photo series when we first saw it a few weeks ago. Claire lives in Montreal and has been photographing groins for the last 5 months. She started the series in response to the constant objectification of female bodies in mainstream media. We wanted to learn more about the series and her very understandable fascination with men’s bulges so decided to send her a few questions.  

 

How old are you? Where are you from? How long have you been photographing for? I’m 24 yrs old, I live in Montreal, and I’m from Victoria, British Columbia. I started taking pictures when I was 13, but not seriously until I was about 17.

 

How long have you been photographing men’s groins for? Only in the last 5 months.

 

 

 

 

 

How did you come up with the idea? I’m tired of the excess of female body imagery in fashion and media. I started doing a lot of work for Vice recently, and during that time their fashion issue came out featuring 2 spreads that blatantly objectified women and didn’t do much else artistically. So I pitched a shoot that objectified male bodies; I wanted it to mimic the cK body ads from the 90s, rippling muscles, bulges in underwear, etc, etc. It was Vice’s idea to focus solely on the crotch area.

 

Have you shown the series in any galleries? No. One gallery in Paris is looking to purchase a couple prints but it hasn’t been confirmed. I would love to show them in that setting though.

 

 

 

 

 

Who is most interested in this work? Who have you gotten the biggest response from? Women. Mostly feminist blogs and news sources. I’ve gotten a lot of women contacting me just saying things like “THANK YOU, MADE MY DAY” which gives me a nice feeling.

 

Are all the men you photograph your strangers/friends/lovers/family members? Where did you find them? I was in British Columbia for xmas holidays at the time of the shoot so luckily the stylist there, Mila Franovic, recruited all the models. They were all her friends and her boyfriend’s friends. They were very nice. I have been accumulating a small privatecollection of my own male friends and lovers as well.

 

Are the bulges all real? Everyone asks this question. I would say 75% of the bulges are real. We had to use a zuchini for a couple looks, you can probably tell which ones. All of the images that feature more ‘raging’ style bulges are real however. A few of the models were very equipped.

 

 

 

All the men seem to be really “packing” was that important for the photos? And if so how did you ensure they would have big fat dicks that looked good in a pair of tight Acne Jeans? Lol, big fat dicks. I think going big was necessary. I wanted to mirror the same ridiculous beauty standard I see constantly in mainstream representations of the female body. Mila sent me a list of names with corresponding dick sizes, like “John – medium size, Paul – huge” Hah I almost started listing The Beatles right there. It’s cool that they were all so open about what they were working with.

 

 

 

The men in the photos are all hard, how did ensure that was the case before you took the photos? Did you help any of them? It was a stressful process for the models. We’d set up the shot and the model would go into a bedroom, look at porn and get it going, using a condom as a cock-ring. Then he’d call out asking if we were ready and I’d take the photo as fast as I could. It was high pressure. One model was a stripper and he brought a pump. He did three outfits all on the same boner. We were very impressed. His penis turned blue. The whole thing made erections seem very functionary or animalistic.

 

There’s a retro look to the photos, can you tell me about that? I think my photography has a retro look as I shoot on expired slide film. But also that retro-porn vibe, maybe makes it more humorous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of your other work is also quite sexual, has sex always been an interest to you artistically? No, actually. I started doing sex-related art just so I could get my work published. But producing that kind of art got me thinking a lot about gender and sex representations in the media. I think it’s important to continue to challenge gender roles and body image; it’s so boring to keep producing the same kinds of imagery. Also it’s fun.


The series also has a fashion element to it. Is that something your also interested in? In some ways putting the bulge behind a designer pair of jeans legitimizes the viewer, makes them less pervy for staring at a man’s crotch. Too much of a stretch? Well the shoot was for Vice‘s Fashion issue, but I don’t think the designer brands are supposed to take away from the eroticism.

 

Any plans to do more in the series? Yes, I’m definitely not done exploring this theme!

 

Monday 03.10.14

Larry Kramer’s The Normal heart

Here's the trailer for HBO's rendition of the famous play about the AIDS crisis.

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It’s directed by Ryan Murphy and features Julia Roberts (in a wheelchair)…but don’t hold that against it.

 

It also stars the talented Mark Ruffalo and is on HBO. So that’s something.

 

The film “will highlight gay activists and their allies in the medical community that fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city in denial.”

 

Glad they finally got around to making this, it’s about time Larry Kramer and his allies were recognized for all the great work he did during the peak of the AIDS crisis. Can’t wait to see the finished film.

 

 

http://youtu.be/yaaTQLMEETw