Each year, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art curates an “ART & AIDS” exhibition. This year’s show is called 35 Years of Survival and will serve to commemorate the 35th anniversary of GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis). “The artworks, created in a variety of media, are the products of GMHC clients and weekly therapeutic art classes run by GMHC’s Volunteer, Work & Wellness Center. Art instructors donate their time to teach classes for GMHC’s clients (who include both professional and non-professional artists), and teacher David Livingston, along with GMHC board member Osvaldo Perdomo, curate the exhibition.” There will also be a panel discussion featuring Sally Fisher, Luna Luis Ortiz, Nelson Santos, and Robert Vázquez-Pacheco. The panel discussion will be moderated by museum cofounder Charles Leslie. All you need to do is register/RSVP, which is free, and show up! That RSVP comes with a guaranteed seat in the panel audience, also — yas! If the event is filled I am sure if you ask them they'll let you stand or sit on the floor. As queer people, it’s important for us to interact with queer art, how else are we to understand our collective and not-as-collective struggles?
Harvey Fierstein’s trailblazing play about the complexities of gay identity during the late 70s/early 80s has blazed back onto the New York theater scene, and it’s burning for just a little while longer. Torch Song centers on Arnold Beckoff (Michael Urie), a femme queen also known to her audiences at the Industrial Stud as Virginia Hamm (think Magnolia Crawford meets Trixie Mattel): she’s cynical, disillusioned, and funny as fuck. The play follows Arnold as he navigates love and loss in gay New York City and beyond. It’s bitingly hilarious (watching Arnold get fucked in a backroom while having an entire conversation with the audience is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen) and totally heartbreaking, especially when Arnold and his mother duke it out during her visit from Florida (my mom and I were weeping and laughing during their entire exchange). You only have a few days left to see this show, so you better sprint there before it closes. It’s playing at 2econd Stage Theater through December 9th. Tickets range in price.
A review of Joseph Rodriguez's recent documentary photo book Spanish Harlem, El Barrio in the '80s.
Here at the GAYLETTER office, we’re surrounded by photo books. Some are fine art, some documentary. Some portraiture, some erotic. A few of the books are by photographers we’re friends with or have worked alongside, while others we’ve received as gifts or to review. The newest book in the GL library is Spanish Harlem by Brooklyn-raised photographer Joseph Rodriguez.
Before I dive into my glowing review of the book, I’ll pass on a few words from the press release to give my thoughts some context.
“Spanish Harlem, New York’s oldest barrio, is the U.S. mecca where Puerto Ricans first established themselves in the 1940s. One of America’s most vital centers of Latino culture, Spanish Harlem is home to 125,000 people, half of whom are Latino. Shot in the mid-to-late 80s, Joseph Rodriguez’s superb photographs bring us into the core of the neighborhood, capturing a spirit of a people that survives despite the ravages of poverty, and more recently, the threat of gentrification and displacement. In a now-distant landscape littered with abandoned buildings, ominous alleyways, and the plague of addiction, the residents of Spanish Harlem persevered with flamboyant style and gritty self-reliance.
“The heart of the work comes from Rodriguez’s intimacy and access. The trust and familiarity he built with his subjects — repeated visits with no camera, then no photographing, then little by little, a peek here, a shot there — allowed him to transcend surface level sheen and exploitation to capture images that reveal the essence of the neighborhood and of the era. …
Lots of people hate when others use “Yasss” and I am not sure why because I find it simply fun. So, for those of you out there that hate it, stop hating, it’s just a fun, light, gay, word to say! Just relax… The name of this party made me smile so much that I had to include it in this week’s letter. What makes this party’s name the best is that it’s a combination of two super gay exclamations: “Yas” and “Mama.” When you add the word Mama to the end of anything it takes the carry to a whole new level. Mama gets it lit! I sound like a millennial, I know… but, yas mama. That’s the t t Mama. The party is presented by the lovely Horrorchata who also will be DJing along with Hanna Lou and guest DJ Sol Nova. Expect salsa, hip hop, Cumbia, Reggaeton, and more, it’s Latina night Mama. The flyer is written in Spanish and the legendary Selena Quintanilla is on it, so that is a big plus. I just got back from DR and so my English sounds super ESL again, so this party is perfect for me too. The girls are saying that it will be “una noche de baile y puteria,” that translates to a night of dance and whoring? Sounds good. Shows by Jenn D’Role and surprises. Esa es la que hay, Yas Mama.
The new monthly party included special guests Lil Kim, Amanda Lepore and Zeke Thomas
Gio Black Peter is probably one of the funnest people we know. He’s also a lovely guy and a proud whore. Which is great since he created a party named after his life of whoring. The Whorer Party is held in a 2,000 sq.ft. private dungeon in Brooklyn (you’ll have to email to receive the address). “You can dance, you can chill, you can watch or you can fuck. It’s great being an adult. We are expecting 200-250 hotties so arrive early. Music is by Gio Black Peter, Tyler Stone, _ \ • / _ jeaneon and Rembrandt Duran. Video installation by Brian Kenny & Rich Juzwiak. Performance by Boy Radio. Live photo sessions all night by Tayte Hanson.” We’re told that they will have a special guest for the night, the amazing Straight To Hell magazine. Gio told us to invite all our readers and “the whole GAYLETTER crew of hottie twinks that work for you.” I’m not sure who he’s exactly referencing, as some of our team are aging out of the twink category, but I’m sure they’re still welcome to attend. This party is very adults only (duh) if you’re not comfortable with nudity and people fucking in front of you, you probably shouldn’t show up. Whatever you do, please just practise safe sex: condoms, PrEP, whatever that is for you, take care of it. The thing that is great about these parties it how respectful of everyone people generally are. People are super conscious about consent and boundaries, which is amazing, and as it always should be.
Queer as he was, the painter shocks, educates and quiets in a namesake show.
When thinking “gay artist,” David Hockney is not the first name that comes to mind. Known for his figurative works and naturalist style, the artist — now 80 years-old — has crisscrossed various mediums in hot pursuit of transposing reality into realism. “David Hockney,” now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a retrospective look at the artist’s career now into its 60th year.
Ian Alteveer, head curator, begins with Hockney’s early works made during his homosexual awakening while studying at the Royal College of Art. London, at the time, was about to become a hot bed for mod culture, and with the decriminalization of homosexuality still five years away, Hockney’s early works celebrate a latent politicization of his blatant sexuality. “Between 1960 and 1962 Hockney produced a body of work dealing explicitly with his homosexuality. He called these pictures ‘propaganda’ for gay desire, and they are full of self-referential codes, literary references and stylistic variation.” There is a foreboding joy on each of these canvases that include Walt Whitman’s poetry and obviously sexual geometry. “Cleaning Teeth, Early Evening (10PM) W11” (1962) illustrates two biomorphic figures (sourced from his discovery of graffiti-like scrawls found in London Underground stations) with Colgate toothpaste for cocks and at the disposal of one another’s mouths. One can’t help but think that Hockney, queer as he was, got satisfaction out of a particular shock value, not to mention inadvertently scandalizing others by adding the initials of his school crushes beside these queer figures. …
Are you a theatre queen? A Broadway bitch? If so, listen up closely, hun. What Would The Neighbors Say? is “an emerging theatre company with a mission to provoke questions through untold stories” and it’s hosting — alongside Alan Cumming and Daniel Nardicio — an event benefitting Puerto Rico in the wake of the destruction brought by hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Tr*mp. The event will be at Alan’s new East Village club, Club Cumming, which not too long ago was the beloved Eastern Bloc. Of course, it’s not a benefit event without some cool acts! These will include “queer musician and visual artist José Rivera Jr., Ani Taj of the Dance Cartel and ‘On Your Feet’ Broadway star Emanuel Lopez Alonso.” There will also be auction prizes from Chita Rivera, photographer Michael Kushner, and Broadway’s production of Hamilton — a musical that my queeny ass has been a fan of since the get-go. You bet I’m one of those people that knows every lyric. Early bird tickets cost just $20 through the weekend. Don’t throw away your shot! Click here to get your ticket.
Just two years ago, transgender actors and actress were still mostly marginalized by Hollywood. With the help of showrunners like Jill Soloway, and actresses like Laverne Cox, the market for transgender performance has exploded across the television and film industry. When Tangerine came out in 2015, it was considered a breakthrough dramedy, both for its focus on two transgender leads who also happened to be sex-workers in Tinseltown. The film follows Sid-Nee, fresh out of jail, and Alexandra, her bff and trusted confidant in the trade game. They have whip-sharp mouths and walk a mile a minute. When Sid-Nee discovers her pimp has been unfaithful while she was behind bars, the two go nuts (respectively). Scenes include car-wash blowjobs and smoking meth in dive-bar bathrooms. Though the content of the two girls lives are incredibly dramatic to them, it’s easy to laugh at their grandiosity. Their inherent suspicion for everything in the world comes from a place of marginalization and trying to survive in a reality that would prefer them dead. On Wednesday, Nov. 29th, Nighthawk Cinema will be hosting a screening of the film with an intro by the director Sean Baker. Something to remember was that Tangerine was filmed entirely on an iPhone, featured two transgender women in the lead roles and wasn’t mentioned at the Oscars. That’s garbage! A portion of the evening’s ticket and drink sales (including a Bourbon cocktail called Sid-Nee) will go toward the Ali Forney Center — the NYC based LGBT center helping homeless LGBT youth. It’s sure to be a lovely evening.
Four rooms. Ten DJs. If that doesn’t ring any bells, you must have never been to the Holy Mountain. And if you haven’t, or even if you have, this is a perfect opportunity to “Climb up the mountain and fall down the rabbit hole to a kaleidoscopic land where words drip from the page and the line between real life and imagination begins to blur.” Sounds like the last time I dropped acid, tbh. But this edition of Holy Mountain is special — it’s the third anniversary of the party, as well as a celebration of the iconic Amanda Lepore’s birthday. Everyone’s gunna be there: La’fem Ladosha, Aquaria, Boomer Banks, Jordan Stawecki, Kyle Farmery, Linux, and a ton of others. There will be performances by Ian Isiah and Love & Hip Hop’s Dreamdoll as well as sets by numerous DJs. It’s safe to say it’s going to be lit as hell. If you’re looking for an excuse to trip balls, gargle balls, or simply get into some mischief à la Alice and her Wonderland adventures, look no further. Important to note is that this is not a budget party, aka you gotta pay to get in, queen. The cover charge goes like this: $10 before 11:30. $15 before midnight, $20 after. Or, if you come in full psychedelic giddyup, your cover will just be $15 no matter how fashionably late you pull up in the trippy ass fairytale pumpkin carriage of yours that is Lyft (or Uber, if you’re that bitch).