On 2 disposable cameras, I documented some of the people and places of this year's Afropunk Atlanta.
The purpose of this panel is to focus on how to create a safer and more inclusive world for all LGBTQ + youth, one that’s “free of hate.” I can’t think of better reason to do a panel than this. A world free from hate would be glorious. In some ways it’s such a lofty goal it feels almost unattainable. How about we aim for a world with just a little less hate and work from there? A good place to start is by joining this conversation featuring Carmen Carrera (pictured), Jiggly Caliente, Wes Moore, and a Hetrick-Martin Institute Youth Advocate. Hetrick-Martin is the “host agency for the groundbreaking Harvey Milk High School, devoted to serving at-risk youth and founded in 1985 in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education." It’s an amazing school, and safe space for LGBTQ+ teens. The talk starts at 5pm today at VFILES, 12 Mercer St. in SOHO. I’m going to be there, I hope you can make it.
I don’t know a lot about cognac, but I do know that it’s liquor, which is pretty good place to start with me. I have yet to meet an alcoholic drink I don’t like, well besides port, but that’s only because I had a bad experience as a 15-year-old getting drunk, home alone on the stuff. I spent the evening watching Bill Hicks’ stand up, then I tried to write my own jokes, I thought they were hilarious, but then I was wasted on port. I ended night by vomiting, and was sick for the next 24 hours.... Back to cognac. This Thursday, October 12, is your chance to get to know cognac, “the spirit that started it all.” For $50 you’ll get one cocktail at each location, along with a custom tote bag and information on how Cognac came to be the backbone of the classics.” The bars you’ll visit are “Amor y Amargo, Boilermaker NYC, Mace, Nitecap, and Pouring Ribbons.” I can attest that Mace is a great East Village bar, so you’ll be in good hands there. It’s getting to that time of year where a nice strong drink is exactly what we all need. But who am I kidding, a nice strong drink is needed all year round, especially in these dark times. So drink up, and learn something. It’s OK to get sloshed when it’s educational. Right?
As I write this, CNN is on and my parents just landed in Vegas. Yes, landed. Prior to Sunday night’s atrocity, they were looking forward to two nights in the city that a survivor of the Las Vegas Massacre called “adult Disneyland.” Blech, so yeah, this news is terrible. Wolf Blitzer just reported that while semi-automatic weapons are legal to sell there, they are illegal to use. How does that make any sense? The demographic that supports and surrounds the debate around the 2nd Amendment is perverse. All of the facts shoved in our face every few months or so, and all of the American civilians that have been buried are more than enough proof that something must change. How many times have we said this? After I spoke a great deal about this with my parents, who are off to have some cute trip through picturesque Arizona, my gays at the office, and reading a shit ton on the internet, I realized: I am a gay against guns. This Thursday, GAG asks you to join them for another meeting to help them plan a rally in direct response to Sunday’s terrorist attack and other ways to motion for better gun legislation. News also broke that the US voted against the UN’s proposed (and passed, thank god) ban on the death penalty for homosexuality. Time to stop saying the shit needs to change and do something about it; it’s time to mobilize.
You probably all heard about the hurricanes that have hit the Caribbean so far this year. Irma and Maria, were probably the meanest ones so far, those bitches have not been very nice to the islands, especially what Maria did to Puerto Rico. The country is not in a good shape and as we all know the Cheeto-faced imbecile in the White House doesn’t really care, it seems that he learned that Puerto Rico is part of the United States just last week. Earlier this week he said “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack...” I mean what a dick? As if Puerto Ricans had any control over this natural disaster. He’s the most insensitive, disgusting man alive. I am stating the obvious, but I just had to let it out. Now let’s focus on something that we can do something about — here’s an event that we should support in any way we can, it’s a hurricane relief and fundraiser taking place at MoMa Ps1. “Continuing our efforts to support Puerto Rican relief initiatives and aid communities that have been affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria, MoMA PS1 is hosting a fundraiser organized in collaboration with MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach and NYC City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.” You must RSVP — click here, there’s a minimum donation of $20, you can pay there or in advance via mariafund.org. “All proceeds will benefit the Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund.” Let’s come together and do what we can to help. If we don’t, no one will!
Some new faces at the popular drag festival Bushwig 2017
Founded by Horrorchata — a local though now more visible Brooklyn nightlife star and promoter — Bushwig began in 2012. Having doubled in attendance every year since its debut, 2017’s iteration was held at the picturesque Knockdown Center in Queens. The two-day boutique performance and music festival billed nearly 80 performers both known and unknown on the circuit, reaffirming their commitment to “fostering innovation and creativity in performance.”
This year delivered shows from rising stars such as Candy Sterling, Untitled Queen, Wednesday Westwood, Suburbia, and Kandy Muse, to name very few, plus New York City staples like Charlene, Tyler Ashley and Merrie Cherry. Alyssa Edwards, who most recently starred in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2, headlined Saturday night at the festival. I had many people ask me, “Are you going to Bushwig?” while working GAYLETTER’s table at Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair.
We sent Jason Leavy, who introduced himself at NYC’s DragCon, to Bushwig to photograph some of the standout personas who, though not slated to perform, still came in top-notch looks. “Bushwig proved to be an amazing local event, but somehow still dragged me out of urban New York,” Leavy said. “The Knockdown Center was laid out perfectly, and had ample space for exploring and making friends. My favorite area, known properly as ‘Love Down Low’, boasted tattoos, seriously delicious food, cinema, and gorgeous natural light. I was glad to hear that it seemed like there was a balance of Bushwig first-timers versus returning queens.”
Taking pictures during the earlier portion of the all day event, Leavy captured delicate portraits of knockout Queens on 35mm. …
“I miss the old New York” is something I hear often enough to make me wonder, as a young and beautiful twink, what the hum and hustle must have been like to cause so much nostalgia. What was life like before Mayor Giuliani’s Quality of Life campaign during the 90s destroyed so much queer history and culture? I could imagine it was grittier, certainly more raw, what with Times Square having previously been a burgeoning center for sex and drugs. At its core, it seems to me that the nostalgia is based in what freedom used to exist in the same spaces that are now occupied by throngs of life-sized Elmos and Cookie Monsters. Getting back to what used to unite people seeking out refuge (and getting off in some dark space) is the inspo for the project Dirty Looks is bringing to NYC this weekend. Their LA event, a 24-hour porn theatre called Sesión Continua, is coming to Brooklyn to showcase a marathon of early, pre-VHS, gay and lesbian pornographic films that flirt with the avant-garde. Reminiscent of the storefront porn theatres that once flourished, this quasi-installation welcomes you back in time to a 25-seat space sure to enhance the intimacy of watching porn with strangers. The screenings à la Sesión Continua exist in free fall: no set attendance times, no schedule. Come and go as you please, just please don’t cum and go. That’s rude and breaks health code.
We photographed some of the cuties who visited and supported us at this year's Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1
The other night I finally sat down to watch La La Land. After all of the turmoil surrounding that film, I packed my vape, wore my objective glasses and told myself: I’m not going to be upset if I like this movie. Well, that really didn’t matter, because I didn’t like it. I found it boring, except for that dinner scene, and most surprising was how awful the score was. It got me thinking that, musical or not, soundtracks are so often overlooked by the average cinephile. Clearly some queers have ideas for revamping the soundtrack to their favorite flicks, like Marco Gomez. Cruising, a 1980 American crime story about a serial killer who targets gay men stars Al Pacino and Karen Allen (I live for her bone structure). Under the moniker False Witness, Gomez “presents an opportunity for critique on modern queer aesthetics” through a “sonic reinterpretation” of the film. The majority of the victims in Cruising are those involved in the 1970s leather scene. The bodies at stake in the film are still very much at large in our community, with Folsom Street Fair and Folsom East drawing huge crowds every year, so while the plot line of the film may hit a bit too close to home, Gomez plans to infuse contemporary electronic music as well as some selected tracks from the 70s and 80s to “reframe and examine the cultural and sociopolitical contexts of the film.” Hollywood should really take some notes on what queer cinema and queer performers are doing. We need less City of Stars and white composers winning Oscars — this seems like a fine place for the academy to start their research! This Friday, Sept. 29th at the Spectrum!