An inside look at the sacred suburbs and theatrical New York City
Throughout childhood, photographer Meryl Meisler was told that because she was Jewish, she would never go to heaven. Instead, she would be stuck in purgatory — a spiritual limbo. With a medium format camera in hand, Meryl set out in the 1970s to make sense of a changing world not “meant” for her. Her photographs, collected in her book “Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy ‘70s Suburbia & the City” (Bizarre) provides an inside look into those sacred suburban spaces many admire from the outskirts, but have hard time truly fitting in.
Meryl’s relationship to Long Island and New York City played an active role in both her coming of age and eventual coming out. The theatrics of New York City nightlife are seen a plenty in her photography, and there are handfuls of the suburban mundane too. From prom nights, to family dinners, to dance parties and beach-bods, the subject most present in Meryl’s photography is a documentarian’s bravery. It took bravery to photograph certain scenes, and it also took bravery for her subjects – many of them queer and people of color – confident enough to be themselves in front of the lens at a time where freedom of expression was heavily suppressed by greater-white society. Many of the images in this book are previously unseen. Printed side by side, the images show how necessary all these different signs of strength can partner with general empathy.
Aside from exploring the characters in the world around her, Meryl explored her identity using self-portraiture as well. …
Fashion's cult-favorite archive receives a proper publishing treatment.
If you didn’t already know of stylist David Casavant’s extensive archive of conceptual menswear, his book, aptly titled David Casavant Archive (DAMIANI), is the perfect introduction. The collection of images melds together the stylist’s various collaborations between artists and his archive denoting the various views Casavant’s collection inflicts on culture, ranging from the celebrity to the individual creative. If you’re new to the archive, it’s best to skip to the ending where you’ll find the archive’s proper credits. It features some of the most influential fashion from the last 20 years including Helmut Lang, Gucci, John Galliano, Raf Simons, Maison Margiela, Jil Sander and more.
The press release notes, “The David Casavant Archive is a private collection of the world’s rarest and most culturally potent contemporary design, with focus on designers from the late ‘90s to the 2000s, notably Helmut Lang and Raf Simons. Curated over the span of a more than a decade, the archive distinguishes itself through Casavant’s distinct vision of youth and attitude. David Casavant Archive is a natural extension of Casavant’s vision to make fashion accessible, alive and relevant for the times.”
Flipping through the pages, I was struck with an assortment of images ranging from snapshots of a youthful provocateur to snippets of both traditional and digital works of art. While the placement of the photographs do not follow any sort of pattern, this assorted approach to layout allows for surprise. As I leafed through the lightly glossed pages, what stopped me on multiple occasions were the editorial mood boards; screenshots of effortlessly influential fashion collected most likely prior to the shoots. …
Featuring Deon — Hair by Greg Cooper Spencer — Photography by Vincent Dilio — Directed by Boswell Scot and Abi Benitez — Music by Gess + 88MPH
You don’t need us to tell you to go VOTE because you are already going to VOTE on November 6th. But just in case you were thinking of skipping this one (I know, you would NEVER) we thought we might just remind you why it’s so important. OK, so first thing first, VOTE because you can vote. There’s a lot of people in this country who don’t have that option (undocumented immigrants, felons, those under 18, Green Card holders) if for no other reason VOTE in honor of them. Second: this election has more tied races than probably any election in history (a few hundred votes will likely decided many of them). In 2016 Trump won by a mere 70,000 votes. That. Is. Nothing. If only 0.2% more people under 40 had voted he would have lost. Third: whoever wins the house gets to draw the redistricting map that will be in place for the next 10 years. Google “redistricting” if you want to know how big a deal that is. Lastly, enough is enough. It’s time to put the big orange menace in his place. It’s time for some checks and balances for the President. We can’t take another two years of him raging unchecked. Wherever you are, whoever you are, at the voting box you matter. Your vote matters. I know at times it feels like it doesn’t, but that’s what they want you to feel. Don’t believe them. Tell the Republicans to sashay away. If you need help finding your closest voting station click here. Go Vote!
GingerNutz reminds us fashion is for fun, and any animal can model!
A wearer of many hats, writer Michael Roberts mixes his bounty of interest in his latest book, GingerNutz Takes Paris (MW Editions). Inspired by his close friend, foreword-writer and fashion icon Grace Coddington, we follow GingerNutz, the world’s first orangutan supermodel, around Paris. The illustrations, hand-drawn by Michael, feature our heroine at photoshoots, parties, iconic Parisian sites, and fittings at the ateliers of designers from Dior to Comme des Garçons. The outfits featured throughout the story were selected by Grace herself, lending her hand back into styling. A former model herself, Grace long helmed the fashion pages at American Vogue serving as Creative Director for thirty years. Prior to writing and illustrating books, Michael served as Fashion Director of both Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. His former titles explain the palpable love for clothes noticeable on each page.
The drawings – themselves printed on creamy stock paper – harken to classic illustrations from magazines’ past, giving the pink fabric-bound book a vintage, elegant feel. Whether it’s read by a child or an adult admirer of what is considered to be in vogue, GingerNutz Takes Paris serves not only as a reminder of the fun side of fashion, but also as a tribute to Grace’s unwavering influence and the original (and dare we say returning) fashion capital of the world.
Scenes from after hours at The Dreamhouse
Dance music's best kept secret is back for the sake of the future.
It’s been eight years since Body Talk. After the massive success of singles like “Dancing On My Own” and “Call Your Girlfriend,” Robyn stepped back from the pop conversation. The distance has done her well. With Honey (Konichiwa Records), out this past weekend, the Swedish singer-songwriter has evolved beyond the ultra-assertive 2010s electro-pop that she mastered. Body Talk was built to interject the market, to force you to see and hear Robyn from the margins. Here, those pulsing dance floor hymns have loosened into a language more fluid, and more house, with a bit of R&B and disco for influence. The nine tracks are invitations to groove, to dig your hips into the beat, rather than just thump your chest against it. It’s body contact over body talk.
Robyn the Fembot has been decommissioned for now, her hard edges and staccato rhythms have been shelved. Honey is delivered by a more realistic voice, concerned with the effect of light on water, with “strands of saliva,” with “every color and every taste.” Robyn, speaking with Interview said: “There was such a physical pleasure and sexuality to making music and creating this soundscape in which my body could experience those kind of feelings again.” She’s let the music – intimate, seductive, and emotional – teach her to feel again. Recovering from emotional trauma, Robyn writes how love and sensuality can help us cross the emptiness that loss creates. On title track “Honey,” Robyn asks, “Won’t you get me right where the hurt is?” Pleasure, she suggests, can be one path to healing pain, and honey is some of the most ancient nutrition. …
Scenes from the magical lesbian soirée at La Respuesta in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Special thanks to Discover Puerto Rico for the introduction...
Edmund White wrote that Fire Island “is a place of rituals, where dinners, tea-dances and sex parties rhyme in the ‘imagination with the rituals of medieval Japan or Versailles.'” The author is most certainly not alone in attempting to encapsulate the ethos and ennui of Fire Island. It is the setting for several iconic photographs and novels, including the abounding if not most quintessential Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran. This past summer, Brooklyn-based photographer and GAYLETTER contributor Matthew Leifheit spent his days and nights out among the island’s most storied locations. Holding residence at Cherry Grove’s Belvedere Guest House, Matthew traipsed among Fire Island hot stops to construct and document the “composite sensibility, of the past rhyming with the present, of anarchy blended with grandeur” that delineates the island’s lore.
A bit of the island’s magic has been corrupted in recent years with the introduction of dating apps, harsher drug culture, and wicked storms, which have severely damaged the famed beaches along Long Island’s south shore. Yet while the homosexual histrionics of Fire Island culture may have shifted, Matthew’s Fire Island Night, opening October 26th, 2018 at Deli Gallery, suggests the thread of sexuality, intimacy and companionship that has long defined gay male culture may not be lost in the queer (possibly near) future.
Fire Island, for all that it is worth, will continue to benefit from artists creating works focused on the location. Whether they reflect on its past or reimagine it’s present, each year we return to the rituals of Fire Island that continue to magnify homosexual taste in the world. …
A top surgery fundraiser for Miami local, King Femme, with the city's burgeoning queer nightlife brigade.
“My studio is like a stage set of my family’s home.”
Athleticism, sportsmanship, camaraderie, bromance, love. We show affection and indulge in intimacy in many different ways. Mark Beard, the American artist and noted set designer, has been exploring the myriad dynamics which exist in relationships between men. Most popular are his drafts on paper of the male form and canvases varying in scene, but never without his signature, Adonis-like men.
Mark’s work promotes antiquity, employing a saturated palette and details of yesteryear. There are Marines in uniform, wrestlers in singlets, a cohort of guys shirtless and wearing suspenders. Like Thomas Eakins before him, Mark’s realism seems to signify that masculinity is inextricably tied to industry. Muscle, grit, competition all are underlying if not major themes. The artist has worked for Abercrombie, American purveyor of hot blondes and juicy pectorals. Mark was fortunate enough to cherry pick his choice of models to draw and paint. The selection of models he uses (most are friends of friends and run in theatre circles) has continued to grow over the years.
With all of the focus around the male form, it was a worth while question to consider how Mark sets about choosing his models, and what is the studio experience like for the artist. “My studio is like a stage set of my family’s home,” Mark told Elvis Maynard. With photographer Aaron Williams, Elvis attending a private sketching session with model Mic Adilardi to document the artist at work inside of his space. “I used to try and live as a modernist, but it wasn’t really me.” Mark said. …