A new monthly party is coming to Nowhere Bar in the East Village. I can see you reading this and thinking to yourself with excitement, “finally a new place to get laid!” Well you can thank me later, but let me first tell you all about it. It’s called Pinky Ring and it’s a new “listening party” created by DJ Reaubert — who’s referring to this event as an evening of “eclectic music.” Here’s what else he had to say: “Expect to hear a mix of dollar bin discount disco, stoner boner cosmic jams and garage house. This is not a night for the basic or the banal. Dancing encouraged.” I doubt you are basic if you’re reading this, but just in case, I’d rather warn you so you avoid any issues. “The Pinky Ring is often the first choice for someone who wants to make a “statement” as the little finger does not have the same cultural or religious connotations at the index, middle, or ring finger. It also isolates the ring from your body a bit, making it more of an eye-popping statement. As a result, pinky rings tend to be among the “busiest” or flashiest of designs. It’s where you wear things when you want attention paid to them.” Next time I run out of things to say about a party I’ll let you know. Just go, have fun, don’t forget that Nowhere is your divey, friendly local E.V. bar. It’s down and dirty, just like you.
"Basura" is out now.
My very first introduction to Christeene was at the D.C. gay bar Trade. A friend sprung up from his seat running and shouting “Christeene! Christeene!” towards a strange looking woman dressed in ripped fabric, heeled leather boots and doting a bulky handbag. Christeene, when she turned around, had shoddy black bangs that wanted to cover her fierce blue contacts, and a space between her two front teeth to boot. It was a look so out of the ordinary you had no choice but to look. Not to mention she spoke with a lisp. Regardless of her appearance, she seemed nice.
Christeene — the character created by Paul Soileau — has been making music for the better part of a decade. Her gritty, transgressive queer music shocks on the surface level, but her sophisticated avant-garde approach to music has caught the attention of fashion big-wigs like Rick Owens and the international fag-rock audience.
When Slava Mogutin told us he was headed to Austin, Texas to spend some time photographing the performer at home, we knew they would be images worth seeing. Published here for the first time, Christeene and Slava’s collaboration looks dystopian — it’s as if the only thing left on earth are farm animals and one super chic punk-femme.
In between their photos they took some time to talk too, which you can read below:
Slava Mogutin: How do you introduce your new album, Basura, in comparison to the last one. …
I watched this Grace Jones documentary last weekend at home with Tyler, a glass of montepu and possibly a joint. A few minutes into the film we decided that the documentary had the right pace. Usually documentaries of pop stars are more hyped, this one wasn’t trying to do that, it felt right, it’s very well edited, beautifully shot and Grace’s music and performances throughout were doing most of the work to keep us engaged. Let me copy and paste this quote to give you a bit more context: “Sophie Fiennes’ new documentary offers an electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of this pop culture mega-icon, contrasting musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’ bold aesthetic. Fiennes goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as its subject. Taking us home with her to Jamaica, into the studio with longtime collaborators Sly & Robbie, and behind the scenes at gigs around the world...” It was such a treat to see Grace at her home in Jamaica with her family — Grace is so amazing even when she eats fish at the dinner table. She looked chic eating — you know we Caribbeans know not to leave meat on the fish. There’s a couple of screenings for this film in NYC, but I think you should go to the one at BAM this Sunday, May 20th. They are gonna be giving away signed posters because it’s her birthday! She’s gonna be 70! I just can’t believe someone can look this good at 70. Congrats Diva! Check your local listings for Showtimes.
Jesse St. John’s new single is the queer-pop song of the summer.
“Fake It”, the new single by LA-based singer and songwriter Jesse St. John feels like a queer contender for 2018’s song of the summer. Musically it’s bright, fun and pop-heavy, which makes sense considering Saint John has written songs for Britney Spears, Charli XCX and Brooke Candy. He’s also worked with singer-turned-Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Erika Jayne on her song XXPEN$IVE. “Fake It” has a total LA vibe to it too, it’s the sort of song you’ll want to blast in the car with the top down if that’s your thing. You can hear the Britney influence but it’s there with a bloghaus, Ed Banger kind of edge. “Fake It” has me seeing glitter and palm trees, not sunglasses and Advil. It’s exciting, too, to see the force behind many of today’s gay icons coming out with his own stuff. It feels like St. John is part of a burgeoning queer renaissance within pop music, material not just targeted toward us but written by us. What with Troye Sivan and Kim Petras eating up the charts, music – along with every other industry – is certainly having a queer moment.
It’s clear, though, that St. John creates more than just a fun pop song. On “Fake It” his lyrics are ultra-relatable and contemporary, capturing the unique emotions that come with being queer in the social media age. He sings, “Ever make you feel like a fraud, living just so people see it, wish that I was pretty enough to not think hard.” St. …
Grace Jones is an icon. Most of us know this, but it bears repeating. Her music has influenced, to some degree, pretty much every pop act to follow her. And her image has always pushed it for me. So last week, I was excited to see that Thee Suburbia, one of my fav Brooklyn queens (clock her in GAYLETTER Issue 7’s makeup wipe story!) is taking her appreciation of Grace Jones to the next level. This Friday, May 18th, she’s debuting her new monthly Grace Jones tribute show — and dance party! — called Pull Up To My Bumper. The party takes its name from Jones’ hit single “Pull Up To The Bumper,” off her pivotal 1981 album “Nightclubbing.” The party’s objective is to honor Jones’ Studio 54 era and “throughout the night it will have a progressive house vibe. For the debut party, DJ Eric Bloom will be giving the beats.” Thee Suburbia will perform along with Ruby Fox and Philadelphia’s Vinchelle. Merlot and a couple of other lovely queens are hosting and you can get your photo taken by Gypsy Hill. There will also be a pop-up lash shop and comic vendor. It sounds like it’s going to be a great night. If for some reason you can’t make it though, don’t stress girl. The party will happen every third Friday of the month. Go ahead and pull up to the bumper and honor a true queen!
This summer the Bureau at the LGBTQ Center in NYC will host its most ambitious exhibition to date. Liz Collins, whose work plays with weaving and functionality using both synthetic and natural materials, will take her carpet and wallpaper designs to dramatically transform the Bureau in Cast of Characters. The salon-style exhibition will feature portraits of 95 LGBTQ artists, both emerging and established. Collins, working inside of large-scale fiber weaving, takes common structures like chairs, or drywall and transforms them into elaborate, deliberate and beautifully paletted pieces that hold their weight in big museum shows like Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, but also in the small gallery setting as well. Cast of Characters “features a remarkable group of artists showing special works in a site-specific context. The show opens during PRIDE month and will be a grounding and celebratory site for folks to see a broad representation of LGBTQ creativity and life today in a context that queers a design strategy originated in traditional and formal domestic spaces.” Featuring artists GAYLETTER loves and supports, like Vincent Dilio, Doron Langberg, Zanele Muholi, Mickalene Thomas, Kia LaBeija, Troy Michie and more, the enormous group was cast to set the precedent for how large of a scale there is for queer representation in 2018. It opens to the public on June 15! Make a pledge.
A signing and celebration of Jack Pierson's new magazine, Tomorrow's Man 4.
Penny Arcade has been performing for 50 years. That alone is something to applaud. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not into celebrating longevity alone, but Penny has been producing powerful and relevant work for every one of those 50 years. Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! Is undoubtedly her most important work. The show came out in 1990 at the height of the censorship culture wars, lead by fuck-face conservative politician Jesse Helmes. Penny has performed the show in over 30 cities, in dozens of countries. This Friday she is performing the show at the newly renovated Performance Space New York on 9th St. It’s a super cool, massive space that has been under renovation for about a decade (maybe not that long, but it’s felt like it.) “At Performance Space New York, Arcade will be joined by a star-studded cast of erotic dancers including Blaine Petrovia, 2017 USA National Pole Dancing Champion; Kevin Aviance; and Jantina, aka the Burlesque Booty Queen; among others.” The show has always featured erotic performers, Penny tells us why they’re so important: “Erotic dance is a powerful feminist art form, it is the only thing created by women that controls men, unlike the myriad of things men have created to control women.” I mean, how can you not love this woman? See you Friday Mama! You can attend other performances on May 11, 12, 17, 18, 19.