“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.
Whitney Houston. The pop icon. I don’t know if there’s a single person in the developed or developing world who hasn’t heard her name, one of her songs, or of her tragic downward spiral. And if there is someone who doesn’t know her story, that’s about to change, and Showtime is making sure of it. They’re premiering a feature-length, albeit unauthorized, documentary called Can I Be Me, which is largely about the pressures that Whitney faced — and, to varying degrees succumbed to — as she gained her immense fame, including her drug usage and sexuality. While it’s great that Whitney’s memory is obviously not being lost to history, there are some who are not too thrilled with the documentary, claiming it’s an uneven portrait of the late artist. I don’t know about you, but I’m gunna have to get so emotional and see it to make up my mind for myself.
Jinkx Monsoon opens up about comfort of drag
Despite their performance schedules and Instagram stories, drag queens actually do sleep. Sometimes it seems as though the top billed girls are never out of drag. Rare do we get to see them sweatpants, boy-hair, chilling with no eyebrows on. For Berlin based sleep design brand muun, they asked RuPaul’s Drag Race season five winner Jinkx Monsoon to star in their short film series “None Fits All.”
“The series explores muun’s message that true comfort is making your own choices. In a powerful statement of selfhood, Jinkx shares her choice to present herself in drag and why – despite the perceived discomfort heels, endless bobby pins and heavy wigs — this bold self is the one she’s most comfortable inhabiting.”
To coincide with muun’s campaign, Jinkx penned a personal essay on finding the superb comfort within the conventional discomfort of drag. Have a read and watch her in the film below.
Jinkx Monsoon was born when I was about 14 years old. There was a dance at my local queer youth resource center, the theme was fairytales and I decide to go as the Queen of Hearts. It was the first time I ever dressed in full drag.
I just remember looking at myself in the mirror and by all means the makeup was terrible, the hair was terrible, the outfit was basic but I still looked in the mirror and I saw the most gorgeous woman in the whole wide world. …
There is one place I would rather be this weekend than on Fire Island and that’s at the Metrograph cinema on the L.E.S. If you’ve never been, then really, what’s wrong with you? I don’t mean to cinema-shame you, but it’s kind of a must for every cultured young man (or woman.) This weekend, the theater is hosting a Fire Island cinema series and I want to let them tell you about it in their own words (cos they’re pretty great words.) “Fire Island acts as a calming tonic for those (mostly queer) folks looking for an escape during New York’s balmiest months. Former residents and visitors included Greta Garbo, W.H. Auden, Calvin Klein, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams. On screen, this 30-mile-long utopia has served as the setting of a filthy two-act play, the backdrop of a cruel coming-of-age story, an environment for sexual discovery, and a place of contemplation for a man dying of AIDS.” There’s 5 films screening over the weekend, but my picks are Bill Sherwood’s ‘Passing Glances’ starring a young Steve Buscemi and Andy Warhol and Chuck Wein’s ‘My Hustler.’ I mean, who needs the hassle of going to Fire Island when you can be transported there while sitting in a super chic, air conditioned movie theater with popcorn in downtown Manhattan?
Okay so the other night, I was downtown walking around with this boy and we happened to stumble across the Oculus and it was literally my first time ever actually seeing it in person. We walked inside and I was completely gagged at how sci-fi-futuristic and open the interior felt. Anyway, I relay this anecdote to introduce a “drive-in” screening of West Side Story that is playing in the very same Oculus. In addition to the screening, there will be live music, trivia, prizes, dinner, and drinks in addition to the screening. The dinner and drinks will cost money but free admission is lit! I mean just bring a bag and sneak your own dinner and drinks in a la sneakizi! Also, for those who may not know, the 1961 film West Side Story — adapted from the 1957 musical of the same name — is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s got everything you could want: love, murder, and great music. Plus she’s got like a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Just compare that to The Emoji Movie’s dusty ass 6%. Also, I will say that I’m not sure what will constitute the “drive-in” nature of this screening, but it could be fun to go and check it, and see a good movie with some good people in the process.
One of NYC’s most relaxing and intimate outdoor summer experiences is seeing a film in the Elizabeth Street Garden in Soho. If you’re familiar with this very inti, very divine space that appears to be plucked from the pages of an editorial, then you know of its sprawling greenery, curated sculpture collection, and, most importantly, precarious status as a city landmark. Mayor DeBlasio has taken all possible measures to destroy the garden to make way for new residential construction, and he may succeed. New construction in Soho, girl? Groundbreaking. Back to the program: every other Wednesday in the summer, the garden screens a film, and this summer, the theme seems to be — yup, you guessed it — gay. Last was La Belle et la Bette by Jean Cocteau (a French homo whose magical contributions to art and cinema will make you weep), and next is All That Heaven Allows, the 1955 flick starring Jayne Wyman and heartthrob Rock Hudson, who, for those of you who haven’t read your queer Hollywood history, was one of the first mainstream figures to publicize his A.I.D.S. diagnosis. The film follows the social conflicts that arise when Hudson, a landscaper of sorts, falls for the 50-something widow to whose garden he has been tending. At GAYLETTER, we love a cougar tale, and a bush, so this film is right up our alley. We suggest rounding up a few friends, grabbing some wine, a blanket, and supporting this local jewel. Let’s keep this place open!
Serial Mom is a cult classic and one of those films that gays of a certain age (my age) are likely to be big fans of. My first boyfriend was obsessed with this film. He would quote it ad nauseam, it was very annoying, because I had, and still have never seen it. That might change this Thursday as the movie is screening at the Village East Cinema. Serial Mom was directed by the brilliant John Waters and is “about a seemingly perfect suburban mother, who secretly will murder anybody over the slightest grievance.” To be clear, this isn’t your usual film screening, it’s much, much better. It’s hosted by drag queen Hedda Lettuce and is interactive. “With comedy, and commentary, Hedda highlights the highs, lows, and absurdities of the early-90s film.” Fill up a flask with some brown, liquor, smoke some greens before you leave the house and head to this beautiful East Village cinema for an unforgettable night with the incomparable Kathleen Turner (she plays Serial Mom). It’ll be a carry, in all the right ways.
A conversation with filmmaker Marcelo Gutierrez
Over the course of the last two years, New York-based filmmaker Marcelo Gutierrez, a queer visual artist originally from Colombia, created a short film — Tender Roses for Tough Climates — that explores what it means to be a contemporary romantic through his own personal experiences.
Within the film’s three distinct acts, Gutierrez studies — through intimate poetry and quixotic visuals that sometimes illustrate but always elevate the overall theme — three discrete takes on romanticism. In the first act, a childlike, but wise, soul ponders the idea and significance of childhood imagination. Within the second act, an aspiring actress practices the same iconic line from Titanic over and over — “I’m through being polite, goddamn it…now take me down!” — landing somewhere between romanticized inspiration and delusion. The third and final act traverses the romanticism of falling into a fleeting love and giving yourself over to it wholly despite knowing it’s not destined to last.
Tender Roses for Tough Climates is a film that grows on you over time — at least, that was my experience with it. The first time I viewed it, I was entranced by the visuals — almost to the extent that I didn’t notice much else. Yet, I returned for more. The second time I viewed it, I did so with my eyes closed so that I would only notice the poetry. It was at that point that I realized how fucking beautiful and relatable TRFTC is. Then I watched it again — this time with my eyes and ears both open — and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. …
When I was kid I saw Pulp Fiction for the first time. I was in 9th grade, at a new school and I had no friends. I loved the movie so much that I recorded it onto a tape. I would listen to the audio from the movie on my walkman. I remember the first week at the school they had a swimming competition. The whole school had to go and watch the swimmers race. I was sitting on the bleachers alone when a kid asked me what I was listening to “it’s Pulp Fiction” I replied. “The soundtrack?” he asked “No, the whole movie. Wanna listen to it?” Needless to say, I didn’t make a friend that day. But looking back I realize that I would totally be friends with that kid. He’s awesome. I mean, that’s a pretty serious movie-nerd move to listen to a bootlegged audio-only version of a film you love on your walkman, at school sports event. This Wednesday, May 24th, is a chance for all you other Pulp Fiction fans to see the movie on the big screen at Brooklyn Bazaar, and best of all, it’s free! The venue’s restaurant and bar will be “open before, during and after the movie!” So eat, drink and enjoy Tarantino’s 1994 classic. My 14-year-old-self is so fucking excited for you!
This event is sooooo up my alley! Sofia Coppola’s 2006 retelling of the life of young Marie Antoinette, played by Kirsten Dunst (in Converse Chuck Taylors) is, in the words of A.O. Scott “A thoroughly modern confection, blending insouciance and sophistication, heartfelt longing and self-conscious posing with the guileless self-assurance of a great pop song.” Each ticket to this event gets you “a champagne cocktail and decadent puff pastry from Ladurée, the same french bakery that provided the pastries featured in the film!” I mean, what else could you ask for? While $32 is a little pricier than your average movie ticket, I would say it’s well worth it for pastries and a cocktail. At time of writing all advance tickets have sold out, BUT they will be selling tix at the door 30 mins before. My advice: get there 40 mins before to make sure you can grab one. Get on it. Je vais te voir là bas!
We’re super excited about this year’s iteration of Mix NYC, the enlightening queer art festival that takes place in NYC each year. This “film forward” iteration “prioritizes the visions and labors of undeserved and underrepresented femme communities, trans communities, and communities of color. That’s right kids, we’ve curated BAD ASSED films for your tender queer hearts to give you all the psychic courage you need to stand up and resist tyranny in these harrowing times.” It all takes place at The Dreamhouse, which is the newish space at the Spectrum in Ridgewood. Opening night happens at 8:00PM on February 2nd and features a slew of short films on topics as broad as “AIDS, alienation, disconnection, the urban landscape, condoms, bedbugs, hustling, sex toys of every description and cellphone apps.” Apparently these are all the things that “keep queer people apart and bring us together.” The screenings continue each night until Feb. 5th. There’s too many films to list, but trust, it’s an amazing selection of queer stories being told. Click here for tickets!
The Metrograph cinema is one of those places that I don’t want anyone to know about, but I also want to support just to keep it open. Which is why I want to tell you about their current film series, ‘Based on a Book by Patricia Highsmith,’ as you may have guessed, pays tribute to the 20th century writer known for her well-drawn portrayals of psychologically damaged characters. You may know some of the films based on her novels. There’s Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Todd Haynes’ Carol, and Hitchcock’s Strangers On The Train. These, plus Purple Noon (René Clément), The American Friend (Win Wenders) and The Cry of The Owl (Claude Chabrol) will all be screened as part of the series. Highsmith’s “stories are gripped with unspoken desire, lucid about the role of class in international society and helped define the modern suspense-thriller. Although Highsmith was often leery of the films made from her books, they’re truly important outgrowths of her lasting influence.” I would go for no other reason than to see the theater, it’s really beautiful. But these great films are of course soooo worth seeing.