If you’ve ever been to Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair in New York or Art Basel, you know that these sorts of bazaar-style, art-driven spaces feel like highly competitive arenas. They’re driven by art, of course, plus consumerism and all of the trendy-folk who love to go out to see and be seen. If that’s totally not your schtick, I get it. It can be exhausting to pretend your fabulous, or even care, but this weekend you’re in luck! Back for its 20th edition is Postcards From the Edge. Featuring postcard size works from a handful of celebrated artists like Catherine Opie, Nicole Eisenman, Nayland Blake, Tom Bianchi, Marilyn Minter and many other queer-focused photographers and painters, over 1,500 works displayed will all be on sale from Friday through Sunday for an eye-popping $85 with proceeds going towards the organization celebrating their 30th year! That means even if you’re struggling to make rent, you could budget your funds right (say no to brunch this weekend) and end up owning a serious piece of art. Here’s the catch: The works are shown anonymously, so you’ll have to spend a particular amount of time assessing the works if you’re after a particular name. I chatted with Esther McGowan, Executive Director of Visual AIDS and she said, “Saturday is very busy, with collectors vying to grab artwork that they think is by a well known artist. Sunday is more chill, with a great special – BUY 2 GET THE 3RD FREE!” Because I’ve been to many similar fairs, I wanted to get the inside scoop: Was there any way of spotting the well known artists? How can we beat crowds? She just told me to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to spend time looking at a lot of art. “It’s not always easy to spot works by well-known artists – sometimes they create a work for us that is in a different style than their usual.” Good to know!
From Black Box to Black Velvet, the dance artist explores being an "other."
Last year, GAYLETTER had the privilege of seeing Shamel Pitts‘ stunning solo show Black Box – Little Black Box of Red at the 14th St. Y Theatre. We were amazed by the physicality of the performance in combination with the multimedia effects of sound, set pieces, lighting, and projection. After the performance we became aware that the work was originally performed in Pitts’ apartment in Tel Aviv for an intimate crowd, then later at Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theatre in Tel Aviv, and then again as part of the APAP Showcase in New York.
Pitts returned to the 14th St. Y Theatre early in 2018 with Black Velvet. He allowed us to photograph the rehearsal and answered some of my questions I had about the new work and his partnership with artist Mirelle Martins.
How did these different spaces and audiences change the performance and the message Black Box carried? Black Box, is a personal testament shared with universal sentiment. It is very crucial to the work that the audience feels the intimacy of their viewing. The viewing should feel almost like seeing the performance through a peep hole. The lighting artist for Black Box, Tom Love, manages to keep this intimacy of viewing through how he focuses and scales the light projection. The only light source in the work is through a projector, which projects only black light into the performance space. My job as the performer is to allow myself to be seen, and yet to know that I am alone. …
Dear readers, wherever you are... if you are able to attend the Women’s March or please do. “Join the world! On January 20th NYC will raise its voice again to demand equality for all humans at the 2018 Women’s March on NYC...Over the past year, basic rights for women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, the religious and nonreligious, people of color and even Mother Earth have struggled to survive under the weight of the current administration.” The main entrance point will be between at 72nd & Central Park West. In NYC the rally starts at 11:30AM, meet at Central Park West & 61st/62nd streets. Later, after the Women’s March from 3pm-6pm head over to Club Cumming for their Outreach party. Grab many drinks, it’s Saturday afternoon and day drinking is smart because if you can control yourself you’ll end up in bed earlier and wake up the next day fresh. After the march you know damn well you’ll deserve a few drinks. The bar will be giving half of the money to the organization She Should Run, which is “dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of women in public leadership by eliminating barriers to success.” Darren will be playing music and you’ll be getting wasted or trying to score your next DA, hey it’s all for a great cause.
“It’s the dawn of a new age of Asian Dominance, caucasian slaves, non gender binaries, and Melanin Opulence!” Despite what you are thinking, Gia Gunn actually didn’t write that, it was the organizers of this party. She did, however, bring Drag Race some of the best Asian one-liners the show has ever seen: “Just got off the boat, you know, a little trip from Asia.” It’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Asian queens slay, unless you’re thinking of Kimora Black, but over the last year a handful of queer-Asian centric parties have popped up across Manhattan and Brooklyn providing a space for queer-Asians to mingle, get drunk, carry, slay and of course, do fucking drag. Off the curtails of spaces curated by the promoters behind BUBBLE_T, Onegaishimasu is a new queer Asian-Pacific Islander party “showcasing the beauty and vibrant richness of the community, and those with MELANIN all over NYC.” Their hosting a swimsuit fashion show based on those queens who are “C.U.N.T.” but the flyer also says come in your best “S&M looks,” so… I guess pack a bag if you want to compete. She’s a two look party! Hosted by iconic asians like everyone’s favorite Massive Goods, plus a bunch of other really sexy people I’ve never heard of before like Henry Bae, David Chan, E.T. Chong, Paulie Wog and The Henry who is one of my fave go-gos in New York. Onegaishimasu actually means “Please.” I like that because “Please” can be inserted into many sentences: Please fuck me, Please go away, Please stop talking, Please blow my back out, bitch, Please! I’m sure you’ll think of some other campy things to say when you’re there.
I haven’t found a binge worthy show in foooooorever. I’m talking about the kind of show that makes a 16 hour flight bearable because you’re so into it. I just so happened to take a 16 flight home from Australia last week where I was visiting my family. For part of the journey I watched the brilliant British series The Night Manager. Starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie, the 6 episode series is adapted from the John Le Carre novel of the same name. It’s about spies and illegal weapons dealers and is filled with enough action, beautiful people and glamourous international settings to rival any of the best James Bond films. Hugh Laurie plays a truly vile villain who you just can’t wait to be taken down, and Tom Hiddleston plays the spy determined to do just that. I finished the last episode last night and was screaming at the screen during many of its intense moments. It was agony-inducing entertainment and I loved every second of it. The show is produced by Le Carre’s son, so I am hoping that he can convince his dad to whip up some more material so we can have a second season, 6 episodes was not nearly enough.
The multimedia event took place at American Medium in NYC
Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon is a massive show at the New Museum. When we decamped for the opening night party it felt like every queer who makes the art world buzzy was there for a peek at the many who are contouring what we know as gender. Amidst sculptures, photographs and paintings, a delicious collage featuring vintage pornography hung on one of the gallery walls. It was by no means an in your face work, but its subtlety seemed to toy with everything Trigger is about: gender, sexuality, race, subverting the socio-political identity. Troy Michie has been working in assemblage for several years now. Having come out of grad school pursuing research-based work (the pornography and other images in his work are sourced), his first solo show up at Company Gallery Fat Cat Came to Play continues his ongoing exploration of blackness, queerness and sexuality within assemblage. While earlier works deal more explicitly with sex, his solo show takes queerness seen as a fashion and elaborates on the socio-political/socio-economic characteristics built into the Zoot Suit. Popularized by jazz musicians and typically seen worn by black men, this fashion was co-opted by butch lesbians in the 50s and has a silent queer history itself. Company exhibits several new works with sourced materials from vintage Vogue pages, to some of Michie’s own repurposed clothing. Most noteworthy is a customized zoot suit he had made by a local Texas tailor. It sits among 2017 back issues of The New York Times, beginning with Inauguration Day. Michie, who has Mexican relatives, wanted to explore labor and how that’s convoluted into daily fashion, especially in the tumultuous lens of contemporary American politics. The show nods at queerness, blue-collar labor, and how fashion — an armor of its own — has been dictating class structures since the beginning of the 20th century.