Arthur Less is the kind of character I didn’t know I had been longing for. A midtier novelist, he’s self-deprecating, spontaneous and charmingly ignorant of his own charms. This eponymous novel (the one he’s in, not the one he wrote) starts with Arthur mourning the imminent arrival of his 50th birthday, since he’s convinced he’s “the first homosexual ever to grow old.”
Having recently broken up with his younger boyfriend of nearly a decade, Arthur is at a loss as he tries to neatly define what his life has amounted to, and what lies ahead. He reflects on and laments his “exclusion from any list of best writers under thirty, under forty, under fifty — they make no lists above that.” Then on a whim, he accepts a handful of invitations that will take him far away from the one invitation he’s avoiding: his ex-boyfriend’s wedding.
The mixed bag of invites includes a literary festival in Mexico, an award ceremony in Italy, a teaching assignment in Germany, a retreat in India, an article for a men’s magazine in Japan, and a friend’s birthday in Morocco (chapters are divided up by each location).
Throughout his travels, Arthur finds himself in a string of compromising, ego-crushing encounters that seem orchestrated to pick apart what’s left of his paltry self-esteem. Yet as the novel unfolds, the encounters reveal themselves as machinations designed not to break him, but to break him open.
In Mexico, he sits on a panel in which he’s casually asked by the moderator, “What is it like to go on, knowing you are not a genius, knowing you are a mediocrity?” In Italy, he shows up for a literary award ceremony only to find that it’s being judged by high school students. …
The renowned illustrator on redefining sex and fashion, the Manhattan dreamscape and the end of bitchy.
Robert W. Richards began his career as a fashion illustrator, traveling the globe and sketching runway shows, both enamored by and afraid of the clothes he drew. But it was when he returned home to New York for good that he began focusing not on couture clothing but on what lay beneath. Long, lean, sculpted male bodies became the chief characters of Robert’s drawings — all isolated images devoid of background and unnecessary detail. “A good drawing should speak for itself,” Robert told us. His drawings do.
Plenty of nods to fashion or labels are illustrated with whimsy and lightheartedness, yet the boys Robert depicts are often strong and severe. His most recent work — a series of nude boys with designer shopping bags — encapsulates his perfect intersection of fashion and sexuality. Here they are: simple line drawings, sexy yet soft. We spoke to Robert about his arrival to New York, his imagined-turned-real lover, and how he escaped the fashion world to illustrate a world of his own.
How did you land in New York City? I left home, in Maine, when I was very young. Just a little bit shy of 16 in the late ’50s. I went to school in Boston, but always I was conscious I wanted to live in New York. Boston was just a stop along the way for me.
Was it difficult leaving your family and small-town life? My mother didn’t want us to dream, because she had had a lot of disappointments in her life. …
Gerardo Vizmanos believes 18 is a magic number. He’s launched a series of photography booklets entitled “18,” each $18 and 18 pages long. Vizmanos’ photos are all about the male figure. Young models (mostly dancers) are posed beautifully, arms stretched, bodies bent and twisted so muscles and bones can be seen. At 18, children become adults; Gerardo suggests this is what makes the number magical. That idea comes through in his photography, “When I work with some young models, I see an idealization of the memory of my own youth, not what I was, but probably what I’d have wanted to be then.”
Gerardo’s models hold themselves in what must be awkward and uncomfortable positions, yet the poses always end up looking natural. In one photo, a model rests his shoulders on the ground, but bends backwards so his feet are behind his head. In another, one model bends his knees, positioning himself like a chair, while the other model sits on his legs. Vizmanos is meticulous about getting each pose right. “I guess I direct a lot. Maybe too much, but this is my way of working. This is for me the key aspect of every shoot. To engage with the model to get that natural pose. It’s the part I love the most.” As to how he finds models willing to bend over backwards for him, Instagram and Facebook are his main sources. They allow him to find models from all parts of the world.
Vizmanos posts a lot of his photography on social media, but has decided that paper is the best format for his work. …
Behind the scenes during our florals shoot for GAYLETTER Issue 10 featuring Andro Gin, Baby Love, Desmond is Amazing, Honey Davenport, Luka Ghost, Ryan Burke and Yuhua Hamasaki
Presented by Andersen Anderson & Z present — with DJ Young Wavy Fox
Three spectacular nights of drag at Abrons Arts Center
With Performances by Baby Love and Christeene — music by DJ Hannah Lou
Artist Michael The III and his beau, Xavid, present us with a selection of vibrating looks perfect for our next pride celebration.
What does pride mean to you?
Xavid: Pride to me is when we as the LGBTQ+ community come together as one to face bigots, bullies, politicians, institutions and media who disagree with who we are or want to put us in a box and throw us into the chimney just because we don’t fit into their “mould”.We are here, loud and proud, to celebrate who we are, who we love and the ride of our life.
Michael: Pride for me, at least this year, has been a time to reflect on the achievements and progress of our community. I’m less interested in rainbows for the sake of rainbows or viewing us all from a distance. I’m interested in learning and educating myself on the individuals who have got us here. And when it’s not time to look backwards, Pride is a time to remember that if we aren’t throwing bricks, we need to be laying them down on the ground, paving a road for more people to tread, giving more opportunities, empowering more individuals of all types, and making sure it’s love that binds each bring together.
What was your thought process behind the looks in Issue 10?
Xavid: I just wanted to have fun, I wanted it to be colourful, vibrant and with a personality that represents how I am as a gender-nonconforming individual. I wanted to exude “flabulousity” from head-to-toe.
Michael: Well Xavid did a great job styling the looks, and my thought process as the photographer was to reflect the mood of the clothing in each scenario; to imagine the clothes as part of the narrative and of course make it gay, queer, fun, everything we love for pride. …
Ty Sunderland's New York World Pride Kick-Off party