Let’s be honest, young black men are unfairly targeted by the police force in this country at an alarming rate. Let’s just say it happens enough that even white people have started to notice it. And it’s really starting to piss everyone off. “Protect and Serve” is starting to sound as ludicrous as Fox’s tagline “Fair And Balanced.” Justice shouldn’t be an illusory thing like unicorns or cheap Manhattan apartments, it should be available to all of us. When a cop chokes an unarmed bystander to death they should be held accountable. When a cop kills an unarmed teen there should be consequences. This Saturday, December 13th tell the world that BLACK LIVES MATTER. That ALL LIVES MATTER. Head to Washington Square Park and let your voice be heard. Protest peacefully and send a message to those in control: enough is enough. As the organizers say: “This is not too ambitious. This is possible. This must happen in every major city, so spread the word. From west to east. Invite as many people as possible.” Times they are a changin'.
Featuring Bridget Everett, Perle Noire, Trixie Little, Mr. Gorgeous, Carmine Covelly & The Craig's List Quartet
The “reigning patriarch of downtown performance,” Murray Hill kicks off the festive season on December 13th with his annual sold-out show, A Murray Little Christmas. A staple of the New York comedy and the burlesque scene, he’s performed, emceed, hosted and cameo-d across the world, accruing rave reviews from the likes of the New York Times, Time Out and New York Magazine — and of course he’s a GAYLETTER favorite.
With his signature blend of comedy, music and heart, this one night only performance is an absolute must. And no cocktail holiday party would be complete without the riotous Bridget Everett, one of this year’s VIP guests, who will join Perle Noire, Trixie Little, Mr. Gorgeous and Carmine Covelli (a.k.a. Sebastian the Elf) in ensuring this is a night to remember (or not, depending on how free flowing the booze is).
A Murray Little Christmas’ home this year is (Le) Poisson Rouge, and doors open at 6:30PM. Tickets — if you’re lucky enough to find any left — can be purchased here. So get your dose of holiday cheer, and have a gay ol’ time.
Secret Behavior is a very smart magazine that on first glance seems to be all about sex (maybe a little like our magazine) but if you spend a little more time with it you realize it’s actually about intimacy. Intimacy can be found through sex, but it’s not the only way. Intimacy can be found through a gentle glance, a reassuring word, through revealing one’s truth. Intimacy is all around us. We just have to reach for it. This Friday the magazine is hosting an event filled with “poetry, art, booze, merriment” and surely plenty of chances to engage in an intimate moment or two. The poets performing at the event are Farrah Field and Paige Taggart, and the featured artists are Juliana Sabinson and Slava Mogutin. It’s at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, in of course Brooklyn. I haven’t checked out their space but from the photos I’ve seen it looks lovely and intimate.
This party has been going on for a while now, for 2 or 3 years maybe, I’m feeling too lazy to find this exact information at the moment. Whatever it’s just a party... I remember back in 2012 I described this party like this: “If you are into poppers, no pretense, great music and radical fairies, then this is the place for you.” I am not 100% sure if this is what the party is still about, but I am sure some of it might still be true. I mean poppers never go out of style. What I do know for a fact — yes I fact checked this information — is that this party is hosted by the adorable NathAnn Carrera (who’s also Djing, pictured) with Ass Troll Projections by Nicaross, plus visuals by Peter Burr. The party has moved to Brooklyn, which is great for them, because that’s where the party organizers live, but not for us that live in the city. This time around they are bringing a very special DJ, the legendary Miss Ana Matronic! The people organizing the party said that they’ve been “shouting and marching and working so hard” and that they “all need some loving right now...” This is true, we all do, so spread the love and go “bury yourself in a puddle of Woahmone.”
The musician chats with us about noise and the Internet.
Soft isn’t just an easily defined texture but a mood that flows through an album built out of 4 years of work with multiple producers. At the center is Dan Bodan, the vocalist who pulls together the dizzying sounds, aesthetics and contradictions of romance in the Internet age. Hazy yet emotionally evocative, Soft is surprisingly straight forward and coherent considering the diverse musical backgrounds of the albums singer and producers. Bodan has roots in musical theater as much as punk and noise, and Physical Therapy, one of the album’s producers is a frequent DJ at Shade and GHE20G0TH1k. Bridging the divide between singer-song-writer and the sounds of late nights spent at the club, Soft brings romance to the apocalypse. We sat down to talk with Dan Bodan about his music, reviews and life in Berlin.
You began in nightlife in Montreal? Kind of, in the Noise scene.
How do you think the Noise scene began your evolution to where you are now? I think maybe just an appreciation for the fact that there is an underground. And also finding the pitfalls of that underground. You can’t necessarily grow into certain things if you’re compartmentalized into one little scene. It has its niche so if you grow bored of it you kind of have to leave it.
When you moved to Berlin did you feel like you found similar pitfalls? Yeah, well I got into the art world and that’s another pitfall. I think my childhood was pretty boring so when I got to Berlin and it was so affordable and so free and there was no stress regarding where to live and how to work; the world was my oyster. I worked in the art world as a photo assistant to a lot of the better editorial photographers in Germany, and I was working in a dark room developing their contact sheets.
How did you move from the visuals of being in the art world and working with photographers into being a musician and developing your own sound? I think it was always hand in hand, because at university I studied film and photos. I just always knew that you have to have a really strong aesthetic quality to whatever you do because otherwise your message can get really screwed up.
How have you reacted to reviews? I’ve made a list now of everyone who I sound like according to reviews and it’s very long. I kind of feel like finding a computer scientist to put all the mentions into a program and get samples of all those voices, and depending on how many times they were mentioned come out with a tone and see if that tone is actually similar to mine or not. Or just completely bullshit.
How would you describe Soft? I think when the album first came out there was a lot of misunderstanding because people were expecting something from me to go more obtusely weird and weird is just kind of a stupid adjective to ever describe yourself as because it’s meaningless.
I’m curious about the way your songs have this universal appeal that isn’t just a gay love song, or isn’t something that I can only relate to if I’m at the club until 6 in the morning. I try to write them in such a way that if someone can’t relate to what it is I’m writing about then they can at least listen to it as a kind of theater. And if they are going through something, even if it’s not what I’m thinking about when I’m writing but they think it is, then that’s something therapeutic to them.
You’ve been in Berlin 8 years now, how have you found living there, relationships, making your way in Berlin versus Montreal? I haven’t dated too many people in Berlin and when I have they have been primarily American. There’s something that I need in language, which is funny because I’m half French. There’s something that I need, maybe it’s a certain sense of humor.
How do you see your music fitting into the music coming out today? You don’t just listen to something because it’s weird, you listen to something that’s very important. Is the FKA Twigs album very good, I don’t know, but I know it’s very important. That’s what bothers me more; you aren’t really able to formulate a love for something because you have to go into it with this love. The hype machine is one thing but it’s this idea of having social value right from the get go, you know the Kanye thing, he’s kind of the king of that and he makes it work. It’s something relatively new in the last 10 years; that people need to be historicized immediately.
A lot of your music deals with digital romance, how did you find yourself online? I should say that my online community wasn’t a gay thing, it was gaming. Romantically I developed normally I think, I mean I’m emo, well I’m over emotional. I sought out creative communities online, I mean there was porn so I could deal with my sexuality myself in 5 minutes. I felt ostracized for being a bit of a loner more than for being gay. At least until High School, when things got easier for me and I was just hanging out with stoners and sneaking out to raves. My first real community was the rave scene. Just kids who were finally doing art, whatever that meant.
You also write from the perspective of a hacker, how did that find its way into your music? I wrote ‘Romeo’ as a tribute to the hacking community. I was a hacker when I was young but I just hacked into porn websites. Eventually, Anonymous and Hacktivism started to erupt and I began to just romanticize it and I found it to be a really undeveloped place in pop music. There’s a few people, like Unicorn Kid I guess, him and I were exploring that, we would chat because we were doing it around the same time. So when I saw the Hacktivists coming under attack and the tribulations of it, me and my friend were talking about it, man what’s it like to be a hacker in the world finding out the world is really awful, how does that really feel? It’s like hacking into your girlfriends account and finding out she’s fucking other people. Oh the curiosity killed the cat. It’s like the scientists who research the environment and how they have to deal with massive depression because they’ve just discovered doomsday.
We’re big fans of podcasts at GAYLETTER (well at least I am). Here’s a relatively new one that I’ve been enjoying lately. It’s called StartUp and it’s all about starting a business, or more precisely a for-profit podcasting network. This American Life and Planet Money’s Alex Blumberg quit those gigs a while back and then decided to create the network. StartUp follows that journey in real time. You get to hear him make terrible pitches to Silicon Valley investors, find a business partner, find a new office space and deceive a 9-year-old boy. It’s a chance to listen into every aspect of the adventure, warts and all. It’s fascinating to listen to especially for us since we’re doing a similar thing — building a business. The podcast is already up to episode #9 so you if you haven’t heard any yet, you have plenty to catch up on. And while you’re there, check out their 2nd podcast, it’s called Reply All and is about the Internet. It’s also great.
Help fund the new LGBT road film from writer/director Nick Corporon
Stories focusing on male prostitutes have a long history in film. Ranging from Gregg Araki’s devastating Mysterious Skin to Gus Van Sant’s classic My Own Private Idaho, the male prostitute in film is often seductive, fearless, and a little dejected — characters rife for both adventure and tragedy. Writer and director Nick Corporon (of this year’s excellent short film Barbie Boy) is adding a new iteration of the character for upcoming film Retake. Focusing on middle-aged, lonely Jonathan, the film follows him as he hires a young male prostitute (Luke Pasqualino of Skins and The Borgias) to accompany him on a road trip from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon. Insisting that the prostitute take on an invented character, “Brandon,” it quickly becomes clear that Jonathan is trying to relive his past while “Brandon” is trying to escape his own. An examination of “love, loss, identity, and the delicate balance of moving toward an uncertain future,” Retake is already promising to be a gripping heartbreaker.
In order to make the film a reality, Corporon and his team have taken to Kickstarter to crowdsource for the project. With incentives ranging from signed DVDs and postcards to polaroid cameras, walk-ons and speaking roles, and dinner parties with the filmmakers, now’s definitely a good time to help fund the film. There’s only a week left so go support some LGBT indie filmmaking before it’s too late.
Watch a concept teaser for the film below:
Critic, playwright, mother, lover, one of the most controversial writers and social critics, campaigner for civil rights, anti-war activist, one of the most intelligent women in America, writer of 17 books, lover of both men and women — Yes I am referring to none other than Susan Sontag, America’s last great intellectual rockstar. The woman just could not stay away from conflict. She so poignantly said, “I guess I go to war because I think it’s my duty to be in as much contact with reality as I can be and war is a tremendous reality in our world.” How right she is. Thankfully HBO is airing a brilliant documentary this month on Susan aptly called, Regarding Susan Sontag that chronicles her life with archival footage of herself and those that loved and respected her with her own words read by actress Patricia Clarkson.
On writing, Susan explains, “It’s a way of paying attention to the world, you’re just an instrument for tuning into as much reality as you can.” Often she criticized that reality as she found critics to be the most interesting writers of our time. The accolades are many — coming from some of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century, many who are featured in this smart, snappy documentary. She is worthy of the praise, and this film is worthy of your time.
The film premieres Dec. 8 at 9:00PM on HBO and airing several dates in December.
It was super late at night, maybe 3AM or 4AM and I couldn’t shut my mind off so I popped open my computer and started scanning new releases on Netflix when I came across this peculiar documentary, La Bare. It’s a film about male strippers in a hot heterosexual club in Dallas aptly called La Bare. Directed by Joe Manganiello (yum yum yum) who played Big Dick Richie in Magic Mike and financed by him as well, La Bare offers a straight up, behind the scenes look at male strippers shot over eight days.“The arc of the film is really the difference between male and female fantasies and how they manifest themselves — men just want to see naked women, where women want a show” Manganiello says. So true, as we see in the film when the men perform as bad cops, cowboys, business men and the like all to the adoring shrieks and money offerings from the ladies. I was totally entranced by this film, these studs are hot! One stripper explained further, “A woman wants to be preheated the way an oven is where as a man is just a microwave you turn on and off.” Oh OK, however you want to cook it this film is a fascinating watch in this post feminist world.
I’m not sure what you are going to be doing this Saturday, December 6th, but we are running away from the cold in NYC to host a party in Miami. Yes! Art Basel is full of homosexuals and everyone always ends up at the Twist (for those of you that don’t know it’s the trashiest and gayest place in South Beach — we love it!), but this year we’re giving the queers another place to go! We’re bringing them a party right in the heart of Wynwood. We’re teaming up with a group of cool peeps including Kim Ann Foxman, Honey Soundsystem, Mystic Bill, Kodex Agency, Miami Eccentrics. It’s also hosted by Sal Esparza of Queen!, with an installation from San Francisco artist Phillip Fillastre.The event is hosted at this cool space The Social Lubricant, for some reason I find that to be a great name, I mean when you go to a party, you definitely want to be reminded of the use of lubricant, that’s like the sign of a promising night, trust me with my past experiences in Miami it would’ve been very helpful if I had a sex kit ready with me at all times. Come party with us, it’s Miami Art Basel 2014 bitches! Yasssssssssssss! Click here for tickets.