For this issue, No. 8, we felt it important to share the kinds of queer stories and images that you can’t see anywhere else. By this we mean louder, brighter and more celebratory than we have ever attempted. GAYLETTER Issue 8 features a kaleidoscopic assortment of brilliant people from the first trans model Tracey Norman to the always radiant Amanda Lepore. There’s a feature on clowns and jesters, some cocktails, an almost naked trip through Europe and a reflection on the artist David Wojnarowicz. Plus so much more. Making a magazine is a long, loving journey, but we’re grateful we get to work with friends we’ve made over the years, and emerging talent looking for space to make enriching work. Collaboration is a big part of our editorial mission, and that includes the conversations we open up to readers. We encourage you to share the stories that catch your eye with your friends and lovers. We hope you find some inspiration in this issue. This issue also features original artwork, photography and stories by Tyler Akers, Lia Clay, Francesco Dama, Vincent Dilio, Andrej Dúbravský, Boy George, Matthias Herrmann, Tommy Kha, Naruki Kukita, Bruce LaBruce, Troy Michie, Slava Mogutin, Gio Black Peter, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ben Zank and many more. Enjoy it!
Beefy bodies, green-juice and Elizabeth Taylor drag in the new video
“Riding in your car on the road straight through to nowhere.” So sets the tone for Ssion’s latest single “At Least the Sky is Blue” off the forthcoming album O. The opening line is miserable at best; a cliché sung by teenagers, that has been metabolized into a cultural phenomenon of sorts — who hasn’t dreamt of driving away from it all with the windows open nowhere in front of you?
Cody Critcheloe — the artist behind Ssion — is a mastermind of this kind of banal beauty. He made his name as a singer, making music off his laptop, but has since re-focused on directing. After his music career took off in late-2000s, Ssion’s been on musical-hiatus since 2012’s Bent. The name hasn’t completely gone away though. His film-treatments, which dabble mostly in surrealism, has found him working with the likes of indie-stars Perfume Genius and pop-icons like Kylie Minogue.
When we heard Ssion was coming back with an album it was easy to say ‘yes’ when Cody asked to collaborate on some pages for GAYLETTER Issue 8. In conversation with Bruce Labruce, Cody said that “At Least the Sky is Blue” is a very honest song, inspired by his time spent in L.A. doing ketamine, which he confessed is “such a fun drug.”
On a lyrical level, “At Least the Sky is Blue” indulges in that revery, but the music video has it’s own narrative breakdown. Just under six minutes of footage amount to a pulpy, tacky and totally far-out storyline that includes beefy bodies, an in-house green-juice bar, an 80s Mercedes-Benz, and a dream sequence staring Ariel Pink as a white-haired Elizabeth Taylor. …
On a perfect mid-summer day, we traveled to Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn to shoot a story for GAYLETTER Issue 7 tittled ‘TV’ — the story was very simple, we just wanted to recreate what we often do with our friends: gather at someone’s house to watch TV, usually with some nice blankets, comfortable looks, snacks, smokes and lots of wine, beers or whatever is available after 5 hours in. It became a joke to us that we would go watch TV at a friends’ house and then end up sleeping on the floor until 4:00am. It’s prob the best thing to do while it’s cold in NYC. It’s like Netflix and chill but without the sex.
We headed to our shoot with photographer Cody Chandler (who scouted the location), a groomer (Boswell from Best Barber), a stylist (Christopher Rao) a few models and our small team. During breaks we hung outside — the breeze was right, the sun felt perfect.
Cody took a few behind the scenes pics of Alex, Elvis and Chris during a smoke/vape break…We thought we’d share them with you here.
Alex, Elvis and Chris wear pants by Marc Jacobs.
Surprise, you dear readers are the first to get a glimpse at the latest issue of GAYLETTER Magazine — Issue 7. It’s our Fall/Winter edition and it is full to the brim with some very enjoyable stories, interviews and explorations into the queer world of 2017.
We’d like to give a big thanks to all those involved, starting with our cover image, photographed by the endlessly talented Kostis Fokas. We knew the moment he shared the photo with us that it had to be on our cover.
Inside issue 7 we have contributions by Tyler Akers, Ross Bleckner, Tom Capelonga, Cody Chandler, Vincent Dilio, Benjamin Fredrickson, Brian Kenny, Matthew Leifheit, Danielle Levitt, Benoît Loiseau, Andrés Mañón, Slava Mogutin, Daniel Nicoletta, Gio Black Peter, Manuel Solano, Cyle Suesz, Luis Venegas, Gerardo Vizmanos and more.
This is an especially prideful issue, so we encourage you to carry it prominently as you move through the world. As we say in our editor’s letter, there’s a young queer kid out there who more than you could ever know needs to see that our flag, and you, exist.
She got filthy!
On the evening of May 11, 2015, the world watched with gaping mouths and finger-snapping YAAASSS BITCHes as Kennedy Davenport wiped the stage with Katya Zamolodchikova in a lip sync battle for their lives. Katya, the blond, kooky, insecure, Soviet-inspired, mostly pretty, very bendy audience favorite, was sent home from the competition. “Katya, you may doubt yourself sometimes, but I have no doubt that you are a star. And a hammer, and a sickle,” RuPaul said. “Now, sashay away.” Today, Katya is a star — an All Star, actually — but this isn’t about her.
This past winter, we invited one of our favorite collaborators, Slava Mogutin, into the studio for a photoshoot. Born in Siberia, Slava spent his early adult years as an acclaimed writer and journalist in newly post-Soviet Moscow. As one of few openly gay voices in Russian media, he pushed hard on the country’s barely-there tolerance for homosexuality. By 1995, facing threats of criminal convictions and jail time, he was forced to flee, with the United States granting him political asylum.
So we decided to pair Slava with Katya Zamolodchikova. Get it? They speak Russian; they have Soviet roots; they’re gay. Instead, Brian McCook arrived. Brian is the Boston-born performance artist whose life has been linked to his Katya character since her breakout success on RuPaul’s Drag Race. But one of the first things he told us was, “I’m not doing Drag Race drag today, OK?” What followed was a chaotic collaboration between two formidable artists. …
Writing this while gagging with excitement and giggling (but also yasssing internally, externally and extraterrestrially)…
We are so happy to present GAYLETTER Issue 6 to you, our wonderful newsletter readers first. Let’s just go head and write out the words written on the sweater, HBA designer Shayne Oliver is wearing, on our cover: cocksucker, faggot, homo, Mary, queer, pansy, fairy, nellie and fem. Yes. That felt good. It’s 2017 and with orange Cheeto face in the WH, and LGBT rights being attacked all over the shop, we felt it was time to use our cover to take a stand for queers around the world. Photographers Inez & Vinoodh were on board with our mission and excited to shoot Shayne in the amazing sweater by artist duo David McDermott & Peter McGough.
Also in this issue: Ms. Katya Zamolodchikova, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, photographed by Slava Mogutin; the Academy Award-winning director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins; trailblazing photographer Bob Mizer; the legendary duo Pierre et Gilles; musician Kevin Abstract; artist Celia Hempton; custodian of the Tom of Finland Foundation, Durk Dehner; and, so much more.
If you plan on ordering a copy, thank you! Read it in public and show the world that you exist. We’re here, we’re queer. Please don’t hide.
Katya Zamolodchikova photographed by Slava Mogutin for GAYLETTER Issue 6
Surprise! Issue 5 of GAYLETTER Magazine is out. We are so thrilled to finally be able to share what we have been working on over the last few months. To kick things off, take a peek at the cover which features the one and only, Marc Jacobs. When we first approached Marc we told him that we wanted to feature him because he represents everything that GAYLETTER stands for. We wrote to him saying that we thought he is a “true individual, creative and shameless (in the true meaning of that word).” Terry Richardson photographed Marc in the famed Keith Haring bathroom at the NYC’s LGBT Community Center in Manhattan. We sat down with Marc in the same space for a conversation that covered everything from taking Cher to the Met Gala to how you stay friends with your exes, to Marc’s favorite technique to combatting stress — he takes naps. Also in the issue is artist Laurie Simmons on her friend, photographer Jimmy DeSana, Irish pop-musician Roísín Murphy, fashion designer Palomo Spain, superstar TS Madison, model Laith Ashley, and so much more. Get yours girl.
Chris Mears flies through the air with the greatest of ease
Let it be known that Tom Daley isn’t the only hot guy on Great Britain’s diving team. If you have any interest in toned, scantily clad, elite divers who also happen to DJ in their free time, you’ve probably come across Chris Mears. He’s the one with the fabulous scar and gorgeous eyebrows. He was once told he had a five percent chance of living. Now, he’s on the road to the 2016 Olympics. We photographed the 22-year-old in Los Angeles, where he spends his off- season, at El Matador beach in Malibu. Afterward, we asked a few personal questions. He couldn’t have been more forthcoming.
So, how’d you get that scar? That’s a crazy, long-ass story. I had glandular fever where the glands in my stomach swelled up to a ridiculous size and basically put crazy pressure on my organs, causing one of my organs to rupture and burst. Then all the blood in my body was in my stomach, and it didn’t go well. I had this surgery where I was given a five percent chance of surviving the operation. Somehow I pulled through. How? They don’t really know. They said it was a medical phenomenon. So that was crazy. And then I went into a coma for six days. But now I’m all good.
I know a lot of people either love their scars or they hate them. How do you feel about yours? My scar is the favorite part of my body because it shows everything I’ve been through.