Featured in GAYLETTER Issue 8. Starring: Imp Kid, Aquaria, Harajuku, Monét X Change, Mango Sassi, The Blair Bitch, Hinkypunk, Jarry-Kate Olsen, Harry Charlesworth & Sussi.
"These hooded and bound figures represent the many LGBTQ+ victims of extreme violence and torture at the hands of their government and their own families."
April 23, 1961 — I wish I’d been alive to experience this unforgettable night in queer, musical, and American history. At 8:30pm — or maybe 8:45pm — Judy Garland took to the stage at Carnegie Hall where she’d go on to perform for nearly two hours, making international headlines with one of the many comebacks that would define her career. It was, and remains (at least in my book) the single most important performance of the 20th century; dubbed by critics, super fans and attendees as “the greatest night in show business history.” In the audience were Rock Hudson, Julie Andrews, Debbie Reynolds, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton and a slew of other queens you can hear hollering throughout the Capitol Records recording of the show that soon won five Grammy awards, including Album of the Year and the first-ever award for Best Female Vocal Performance.
The concert was recorded, mind you, unbeknownst to Judy herself and the evening proved once more that she was the consummate vocalist, one who could ‘wow’ for hours on end, not to mention live, and with the support of only an orchestra. Name someone who can do that today and win a Grammy for it — I can’t! You can’t either. This record, which remained at number one for thirteen weeks, pushing Elvis from the top spot, is still in print: a monumental achievement, a body of work unto itself, and something worth celebrating.
I suggest cancelling your Sunday afternoon plans, buying your favorite bottle of wine (or something stronger), and shutting yourself in to listen from start to finish — you won’t regret it. …
BUSHWIG took over the Beaux-Arts Court for a special Bowie-themed showcase
I was introduced to Company Gallery through Troy Michie — the brilliant collagist featured in GAYLETTER Issue 8. His very first solo show — Fat Cat Came To Play — was picked up by the gallery soon after some of his collages found themselves on exhibition in the New Museum’s well-received Trigger: Gender As a Tool and a Weapon.
I’ve since been kept in the loop with the gallery and was stoked to see they’re keeping it progressive and exhibiting works by younger artists making strides within their medium. Jonathan Lyndon Chase uses paintings and drawings as a means to explore black homosexuality and queerness, and the many illustrious formations bodies take when placed together in space. His works include point-blank homo-erotics, and various states of sensuality, however I want to point out that intercourse is never completely at play. While the bodies Lyndon Chase works with are sexualized, he delves into the poetry of conversation surrounding what a black queer body can do by placing them into scenes typically unseen: black men with flowers or black men kissing each other.
Chase focuses on the intimacy and the visceral qualities found within the everyday and as a result creates dialogues about the complexities surrounding gender, sexuality and race. In the show’s foreword by filmmaker Tiona Nekkia McClodden, she writes “[Chase’s] figures mirror each other, touch each other… and reach through each other… Lovemaking, or rather loving oneself is like this.”
12:00PM-6:00PM, Wed-Sun, 88 Eldridge St. …
I received a lovely text the other night from Chris Stewart (our managing editor) saying that he had arranged for a press visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art. We went for the Grant Wood and Zoe Leonard exhibitions, but one does not simply go to the Whitney and not check out every floor. We started at the top and worked our way down. The Wood show was a funhouse experience, and the Leonard was one of detailed thoughts.
But what stood out to me was the 6th floor, “An Incomplete History of Protest.” This show “looks at how artists from the 1940s to the present have confronted the political and social issues of their day. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction, or inspiration, the featured artists see their work as essential to challenging established thought and creating a more equitable culture.” Of course there’s no way a museum can provide a whole account of the history of protest — it goes back forever and it will go forward forever, but the show is viable proof that artists “play a profound role in transforming their time and shaping the future.”
In various forms, there is art protesting the AIDS crisis, the war in Vietnam, racism, abuses of power, sexism, and the Whitney itself. In several rooms full of affecting work, it becomes clear that the show is much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a profoundly moving experience that needs to be felt in person. …