We’re tired of wearing flats when we go dancing. Thankfully, The Ailey Extension is offering a Heels Intensive this weekend, August 21st – 23rd, to teach you how to pop lock and drop in your favorite Louboutins. The classes are taught by three incredibly talented and beautiful instructors, Yanis Marshall, Danielle Polanco, and Aisha Francis. When we say incredible, we’re not kidding. These teachers get tweeted about by Beyoncé, dance with Usher and Ciara, choreograph Cirque du Soleil, and are the stars in Dancing with the Stars, to name a few of their many accolades.
Plus, if you haven’t heard of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a 2008 U.S. Congressional resolution literally declared the Company a “vital American cultural ambassador to the world.” Alvin Ailey celebrates African American experience, culture, and enrichment of modern dance. This shit is no joke, just don’t forget to bring your heels.
$30-100, ALL WEEKEND, 405 W. 55th St. New York, NY.
The performer releases a new short film
Earlier this year, Mykki Blanco announced via Facebook that he had grown bored of rap music and was searching for a different artistic outlet to inspire fans. Nevertheless, he performed at our GAYLETTER Pride Ball to a packed room that was transfixed by his every turn. Though Blanco leaving music was naturally suspect, he has since launched Dogwood Music Group and announced the label’s first release, C-ORE — a compilation set for a September 18th release — introduced alongside a new short film featuring Blanco and label signees Psychoegyptian, Yves Tumor and Violence.
“C-ORE follows four vigilantes as they track down a wanted techno-junkie in the middle of developing a new way for users to experience old earth. After liberating it and trying it for them-self, they fall into a maze of nightmarish parallel realities. Now indoctrinated into C-ORE – they seek to escape the drug by traveling to the limits of their new reality.”
The film is trippy as hell, with locations ranging from a gritty nightclub, to a remote beach that is eerie in a metaphoric re-birth type way. Like most of what Blanco does, the short is non-stop high energy, infused with interesting fashion, and — save some middle scenes — storyboarded correctly.
Directed by Jude MC, the short comes at a time when what we know to be music is completely changing. FKA Twigs just put out a completely visual album, and everybody and their mom remembers when Beyoncé dropped her latest with a video for every damn song… Many musicians are entering a cross-genre world that experiments with visuals as much as it does audio.
For his next path, Blanco has seemingly assembled a gender-bending, fashion-junkie brat back to usher in his new era of “documenting and writing about homosexuality and gay culture in remote corners of the world.” WERK BITCH! It’s 2015!
Watch the video below:
Metropolitan Bar has been hosting a Sunday BBQ for years now, I remember when I was going to FIT and I used to party a lot. Some Sundays I ended up there during the afternoon to pick up where I left off from the night before. I never ate the burgers because I really didn’t grow up eating hamburgers and I was there just to drink — also I was new to the “gay scene,” you get the drill, it was messy, messy, messy… This party Strays happens every Sunday after the BBQ, it’s a “party for the people who like the off nights. The weirdos. Cat Dancers. Hoarders.” Some of the peeps involved in this party are Lady Simon — who’ll be serving “entertainment and wit as per the usual,” plus DJ Jerk Party, DJ Lol Kim, and Michael and Erwin who plan to “serve it up!” Not sure if they are the bartenders or gogos but I am hoping the latter.
It took a while for me to figure out what was going on at this event. It’s connected to the Black Party, but also Saint At Large, and also Lee Soulja and also the Love Ball and also All Black Lives Matter...We’re used to writing about parties with a thousand people involved so I eventually got my head around it. Basically it’s a real deal, old school, legit Ball honoring some of the legends of the Harlem Ball scene. You can expect exquisite costumes, amazing energy, and Soulja and his team of runway dancers, along with all the other competitors turning it out for the crowd. There’s 12 categories including Transman VS Butch Realness, Legendary BQ Face, Team Sex Siren and Legendary Realness. There’s over $4000 in grand prize money to be won. A ball like this is sooo welcome at the moment. The main reason they’re doing it is to celebrate and pay homage to the incredible people that made the Harlem Ball scene so influential throughout the U.S. and also around the world.
Louis is stuck in Upstate New York, “for one more year,” he said. He came out when he was 13, on Facebook nonetheless, “I wrote a huge paragraph because I’d just started speaking to my first boyfriend,” — who was 17 at the time — “and was meeting people who were okay with me being gay and I felt very open about liking guys for the first time,” but there’s no specific moment where he, “claimed the gayness.” After all, he was photographed in a boa, kitten heels and tutu at age two.
Louis is a millennial, so it’s not a surprise he doesn’t have a type, although he openly expresses his distaste for white guys. “Tall is nice, but it all definitely depends on the boy. Connection is key.” For an ideal date, “It’d be spending time with someone who I really care about and feeling very content with the situation I was in. I feel like I’m constantly thinking of the next best thing to happen, so that’s something I’m working on and if I could find a boy that could help me with that it would be ideal.”
When Louis travels to Manhattan, he is either downtown with friends or uptown with family. “I did a lot of important growing up while staying in Spanish Harlem with my uncle — that’s where I’d always hang out. It’s got so much culture and such a great vibe to it.” You’ll only catch him on dating apps when he is trying to gauge the “gayness of an area.” Otherwise he spends his time “making art, stalking beautiful people on the internet, and writing lil poems.” In 10 years he sees himself “as a 27 year old with success and fame…”
We asked him about his beauty routine, In the morning he puts just water in his hair, but otherwise those curls do the work themselves. He loves coconut oil, “There’s nothing better than slathering coconut oil all over your body and then letting it absorb into your skin.”
On being a queer millennial, he’s happy there a lot of progressive folks his age trying to push the U.S. towards complete equality. “Legalizing same-sex marriage is a great first step. Now these progressives and radicals have to focus on issues like the All Black Lives Matter movement.”
He likes sunny days, making someone he cares about happy, and his ability to not take people so seriously. “I am trying to live for myself and no one else, I like that.” For anyone else growing up queer, Louis says, “Disregard standards and norms that people expect you to live up to because of your queerness and do things that you genuinely enjoy. Make sure you define yourself as a person.”
We asked Louis to take some selfies wearing our GAYLETTER classic t-shirt — he even took a mirror outdoors with him, so creative, have a look!
Hi Chris Harris, we got your email, thank You! We get lots of emails about happenings in NYC everyday, but we thought yours was particularly good. Chris performs under the name Chris of Hur (pictured, we’ve seen you perform, we are fans!) — she told us about the monthly performance showcase that she runs at Macri Park called DOODz. “The music vibe, helmed by Gringo Starr and Rami Lollipop, steers towards danceable punk, rock, and soul — while staying entirely away from anything even resembling diva pop or electronic dance...a punk/soul dance night with draggidy art faggidy #showzah! At midnight we throw up a clamp light and put on a show!” For this edition of DOODz the performers are Alberto Cortes, Boy Georgia, Erika Klash, Glace Chase, Glossy, Sasha Velour, Ann Artist and more. The resident emcee is Lady Simon. I’d say it’s Friday night! Pop a Miley, or have some puffy, puff, puff and start your weekend right.
“What do gay people do when they’re not having sex?”
On the Domestic Front: Scenes from Everyday Queer Life answers that age-old question. Opening August 14th at the Leslie-Lohman Museum, this collection of prints, paintings, and photographs explores both the uniqueness and universality of everyday queer life. Split into four distinct parts, Home, Work, Play, and Fantasy, the exhibit chronicles the shifting landscape of the LGBTQI movement. “The queer fight has shifted from our right to be different toward the right to be “normal” and unremarkable. Queer genre imagery is a weapon in our battle to secure what we might call the radicality of the ordinary.”
The selection of work comes from the Museum’s private collection, offering an opportunity to see work that has, in some cases, never been displayed publicly. Some of the featured artists include Saul Bolasni, Joan E. Biren, Del LaGrace Volcano, and Caleb Cole. It might just sound like photos of queer people doing regular things, but 3 critical questions revamp the imagery: “Do we perform these activities in distinctive “queer” style(s)? Do we represent them artistically in a distinctive way? And, do we look at such images differently?” From the age-old to the hyper-relevant, this exhibit has answers for everyone.
Below is a preview of the show — All images courtesy of Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art:
FREE, Opening Reception 6:00-8:00PM, Leslie + Lohman Museum, 26 Wooster St. New York, NY.
Pixar doesn’t make bad movies. I know that’s an obvious statement but it bears repeating. They put such time and effort into making movies they rarely miss a step. Every time I see a Pixar movie, I promise myself I’m not going to cry, but god dammit they get me every time. Wall-E is a particularly big achievement for the animation company in that it features barely any dialogue and instead relies on the body language and expressions of a trash collecting robot from the future to propel the story forward. Thursday night you have the chance to see this mesmerizing film on the big screen, outdoors, in a very unusual setting. As part of their seventh annual Summer Movie Series the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which is actually a massive former Navy aircraft carrier, is screening the movie on their flight deck, overlooking the Hudson River on one side and the New York City skyline on the other. This should be self-evident, but get there early to get a good spot. While the flight deck is obviously humongous, you can be guaranteed that plenty of people will show up to this. And remember to take your litter home with you, don’t let Wall-E down!
A group exhibition curated by William J. Simmons in Los Angeles
We’ve all got our own queer fantasies. Surprisingly enough, not all of them are about TD Bank flying the rainbow flag. OHWOW Gallery’s current exhibition, Queer Fantasies, explores the voices and histories that deviate from these increasingly normative and commodified discourses. It opened on July 11th and it goes down this week, on August 15th. But if you’re hoping for ‘alternative fetish,’ you’re missing the point. “The artist in the exhibition come from different backgrounds and do not all depict explicitly gay subject matter in their work; they explore various existing histories through queer representation.”
Curated by critic and art historian Willam J. Simmons, the exhibit challenges stereotypical depictions of “the queer lifestyle” through a range of media from installations, to sculpture, to painting, film and photography. The group of artists spans across generation, gender, and background, coming together to create “a critical tool for the reformulation of normative art histories.” Hmm… sounds dense. Essentially, there’s some intellectual art happening here that’s finally telling stories that aren’t about upper-middle-class white people and the AIDS crisis. Lean in, there’s a lot to hear. So, if you are in LA, you still have a few days to check it out.
11:00AM-6:00PM, OHWOW Gallery, 937 N. Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
It’s been a while since I’ve found a new podcast worth listening to. Last week I was thrilled to discover You Must Remember This. Created, written and hosted by Karina Longworth, a former LA Weekly film writer, the podcast is an addictive, gossipy, journey through Hollywood history. Episodes either focus on a star (Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Marlon Brando, Madonna) a topic, like the wonderful “Tales of Celebrity Drunkenness” episode or in the case of the last 11 weeks, Karina has been telling the story of the Manson murders and all the ways the infamous cult was connected to Hollywood in the late 1960’s. The podcast began in April of 2014, and over the last 39 episodes Karina has mastered the art of storytelling, not just in the way she’s able to subdue her voice to create suspense, but also in knowing what listeners want to hear. She doesn’t hold back when it comes to juicy details (who knew Sean Penn, in a jealous rage once bound and gagged Madonna in her house?) Celebrities of the 20th century, they’re just like us...just richer, crazier and able to get away with pretty much everything! And thank god, because without bat shit celebs Karina wouldn’t have such incredible stories to retell.