With performances by Merrie Cherry, Horrorchata and Tyler Ashley
A conversation with the Brazilian literary sensation
Tobias Carvalho, 26, is already a literary sensation in Brazil. His award-winning debut story collection, As Coisas, describes the lives of gay characters in and around the city of Porto Alegre, in the south of Brazil. In brisk, steamy, and at times, chilling narratives, Carvalho captures an array of experiences from Grindr dates, to love magic, and gay saunas. As Coisas, which translates to The Things, pays close attention to intersections of technology and intimacy, the things we do for love – how young queer people search for connection in real and digital space. Before the launch of his second book, Visão Noturna (Night Vision), published in Brazil in November 2021, I spoke with the author about his story collection, As Coisas. I’d first read it when I lived in Porto Alegre, in 2018, and was taken by the spare prose and how accurate these stories represented the gay dating ecosystem of that city. The second book, Carvalho says, is not a “gay book” at all, but the third one, a novel, will be “very gay.” Here is our conversation:
How would you describe Porto Alegre to someone who’s never been? Well, Porto Alegre is a [city of 1.5 million people] in the south of Brazil, and I guess that it’s kind of known for its traditions, but it’s also a place where [the] Left has grown a lot in the 2000s. It’s kind of this place of freedom where left-wing people, parties and organizations in Latin America used to meet, and at the same time, it’s a place where there’s a lot of conservatism, you know, and the state, Rio Grande do Sul, is really conservative. …
Featuring a DJ set by Lady Bunny
Linda Simpson celebrates the second re-print of her book "The Drag Explosion" with performances by Julie J, Voxigma Lo, Paris Alexander and Linda Felcher
He is a provocateur extraordinaire – most of his oeuvre has been banned, censored, or attacked since he emerged from the queer punk scene in the 1980s.
The Death Book continues his subversive project, with the images in the book functioning as a social mirror or projective test that mine our collective unconscious, probing the depths of what we repress and censor. Just a few days shy of the United States Presidential 2020 election, Bruce and I connected on Skype to discuss his newest book. It was a gloomy day in both Brooklyn and Toronto, a fitting backdrop for our conversation which delved into death, violence, obscenity, and the psychology of taboo.
Could you tell me about the concept for the book? Baron Books, Matthew Holroyd, contacted me. He had this concept to do a series of books on death, and ask various artists to collaborate on the concept. So mine is only the second book in the series. He let me come up with whatever idea I thought would be most interesting. And I guess I took it beyond that — literally. Like, I thought it would be a good opportunity to compile all the most severely violent and crazy imagery that I’ve made over the years. It kind of has a cumulative effect. I’ve been working in gore and splatter for quite a long time. Even before my zombie movies, I was using a lot of it in my photography and at my art openings. So when you see it all together, it’s kind of startling, but I think it’s all very consistent and it really shows how my project has always been to draw attention to how this kind of imagery is so casually promoted as capitalist fodder. …
Slapping, bruising, and bleeding love in a new anthology
In an ambitious new anthology, Kink, edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, prominent American authors like Alexander Chee, Chris Kraus, Roxane Gay and Brandon Taylor investigate sexual kinks and fetishes along with several other writers from diverse backgrounds. Each story is its own individual achievement, some better than others, but presented together, the anthology makes a strong claim for marginalized literature’s commercial potential.
Kink leaves little up to the imagination. The characters are slapped, they’re bruised, they bleed. As you read, keep in mind that kink, or BDSM, is built on trust, and “play,” as it is coined by the fetish community, is practiced with specific language and symbols. It’s important to remember that each participant has a “safeword” (used when someone no longer feels safe, physically or emotionally, inside of the scene) available to use at any time. “Are you okay, Jihyun?” a man asks his wife. “Is this what you want?” He, a newcomer to play, speaks for squeamish people everywhere. While reading, at times I too I searched for my own safeword. Things I never found unsettling now made me wince, like spitting into someone’s mouth. For the reader more accustomed to kink, there are exciting moments of degradation, but for those unaccustomed, be prepared for shock and awe. The anthology, through writing that is controlled as much as it is unhinged, is filled with emotional manipulations and physical contortions. Each writer drums up their most serious literary postures, from realism to Gothic, to try and maintain the delicate subject matter. …
A book by the visionary publisher Luis Venegas chronicles a decade of his fantastic publication C*ndy
Berlin-based filmmaker and photographer Matt Lambert has become known for his art house approach to erotic film. In his fast-paced style, he merges filth, fun, and sexual fantasy with a dynamism rarely seen in the porn production industry.
Pleasure Park is his fifth publishing project, produced as both a film and zine, inspired by the legacy of Tom of Finland. Debuting on Men.com in early 2020, the film is a stylized documentary of a group of adult performers, friends on a hot summer day, shot at the Tom of Finland Foundation, at Tom’s former residence. The cast includes Sean Ford, Joey Mills, Angel Rivera, River Wilson and Tannor Reed, with a live music performance by Taco Guillen of SCUM and several of its East LA Latinx members. The accompanying zine was released in early December 2019, illustration and graphic design crafted by Stefan Fähler, and it is available at the Tom of Finland Store.
Having worked with Christeene and Rick Owens on their infamous music video, Butt Muscle, and the picture book Vitium, a collaboration with his husband Jannis Birsner, Lambert is no stranger to voyeuristic sensibility and sensual oddity. Recounting the experience of making Pleasure Park, he describes, “there’s definitely a big throwback to queercore punk zine culture which we started to play with in Vitium. With Tom’s work being such a conscious and sub-conscious influence on my work, it was so inspiring to create this in the context of the foundation and at the house which holds such a magical and hedonistic spirit.” …
Hustlers, cocaine, depression and then some — quite a weekend, but also the subtitle to The Rest of It, an autobiography from acclaimed biographer, historian and activist Martin Duberman. In particular, Duberman focuses on 1976 – 88, the darkest, most difficult period of his life. His book offers an intimate view of the intense personal struggles that ran parallel to the professional successes for one of the LGBTQ movement’s most important figures.
It opens with depression, the void Duberman fell into after the death of his mother. From there, in search of inclusion, acceptance and some kind of solace, Duberman careened among various therapies, eventually returned to the theater, and overindulged in the titular hustlers and cocaine. Drugs, sex and an extraordinary book deal temporarily lifted him out of despair, before a massive heart attack and growing depression pushed him into rehab and a reevaluation of his life.
Duberman paints a raw, honest portrait of his struggle to find balance between his desire for excess and his burgeoning career as a history professor and prominent gay activist. He doesn’t shy away from the undignified aspects of his life, nor in the gossipy passages do his gay, activist and literary co-conspirators go unnamed (Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Vivian Gornick and Kate Millett each make an appearance).
When this chapter of Duberman’s life comes to a close, he is working to found the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the City University of New York, the country’s first university research center dedicated to LGBTQ issues. …
This book is not for you; it’s for Ocean Vuong’s mom. She was the daughter of an illiterate farmgirl and an American soldier. War made and unmade them. As Vuong wrote in his poem “Notebook Fragments,” “An American soldier fucked a Vietnamese farmgirl. Thus my mother exists. / Thus I exist. Thus no bombs = no family = no me. / Yikes.”
When war ended, the Oceans lost contact with their grandfather for almost two decades. They were forced to leave Vietnam for Connecticut when police realized Vuong’s mother was mixed race. Vuong was 2 years old.
Vuong’s mother won’t read her son’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, because she can’t read. Dyslexia runs in the family, Vuong suspects, and he links his approach to language with the ways he’s had to cope with the learning disability — “Because I write very slowly and see words as objects,” he says. After publishing his first book of poems, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, in 2016, he told the Guardian, “I’m always trying to look for words inside words. It’s so beautiful to me that the word laughter is inside slaughter.”
Beauty is a primary concern. “All this time I told myself we were born from war — but I was wrong, Ma. We were born from beauty,” he writes. Seeing beauty everywhere, he preserves it in careful, lyrical prose: “I never wanted to build a ‘body of work’ but to preserve these, our bodies, breathing and unaccounted for, inside the work.” …