Revolution is Love — A book launch celebrating a year of Black Trans Liberation
Hosted by Aperture Foundation, Qween Jean and B. Hawk Snipes with Ceyenne Doroshow, Bronz3 Godd3ss, Lady Jasmin van Wales, Mariyea, Linda La and many more...
Grindr Goes Public
A trip to the New York Stock Exchange for the launch of $GRND with performances by Lady Bunny, Jorgeous, Crystal Waters, Jaida E. Hall, Cece Peniston and Saucy Santana
Games are often used as metaphors for life. Whether recreation or competition, they condition players to enjoy the buzz and endure the struggle, to brave the painful upset of loss and savor the short-lived exhilaration of winning. Captivated by this rise and fall, Brooklyn-based artist Luke O’Halloran is interested in the sport and symbols of risk, chance, and possibility. From infinitely spinning slot machines to flurries of playing cards thrown into the air, his work often freezes fleeting moments in a blur of movement. But there are quieter examples too. Featured here, O’Halloran’s pencil-drawn portraits show scenes of friends building houses of cards, each filled with a sense of mounting tension that signifies the fragility of life.
“It is impossible to pose them, and I don’t interrupt or ask for a pause,” O’Halloran explains. He doesn’t stage the scenes either. Instead, he spreads a deck of cards out on a table and lets the sitter begin building while he snaps reference photos. In these tableaux, the subjects seem suspended in trance-like superposition, imagining a range of possibilities as they delicately select placements. Focus and finesse are key, and commitment to each moment must be unwavering, or the cards will fall. Once translated into drawings, the resulting portraits are gracefully understated. Each balances an economy of careful lines with tight details scrupulously inscribed through spare hatch marks, exacting the defining features and gestures of each participant with a pared-down complexity.
“Liz & Kenny building a house of cards” (2022). …
Violet + Gottmik’s Halloween
When you’re seeing two of the most iconic performers in contemporary drag, what’s more exciting than being in the front row? For me, it’s getting to be backstage with my camera. That’s where the show behind the show takes place.
After many years of taking portraits of queer performers, icons, nightlife personalities and artist colleagues, I had never photographed Violet Chachki or Gottmik until their Halloween show in West Hollywood. The vibe backstage was ideal for capturing a different side of these fierce fashion queens — away from the public I was able to capture a tender, more nuanced side of the queens — without sacrificing the impressive level of drag and performance. And with these two, there’s always plenty of wit, tea, banter and reading.
For many queers, Halloween is our favorite holiday, it’s when we get to dress up and live out some fantasy that doesn’t fit into the everyday. For Violet and Gottmik, it’s Halloween all year long, something I take pleasure in watching on stage, backstage, on screen, and through the camera lens.
Up next, catch Violet Chachki and Gottmik in a limited run of their show “Christmas Misfits: A Drag Holiday Extravaganza” in a few cities in the USA.
While their spectral iridescence is reminiscent of gasoline splashed on pavement or the psychedelic images made by infrared cameras, Caitlin Cherry’s recent paintings are actually inspired by a phenomenon of glitching LCD screens. A few years ago, Cherry noticed that when looking from the side, at a slant, the colors on her laptop screen would begin to invert, a process better known to photographers as solarization. Depending on the adjusted level of color distortion, a figure with brown skin appearing a shade of deep orangey bronze might flip, changing to the hue most its opposite on the color wheel, an alienoid blue. Translating pixels into paint, Cherry experimented with imitating this inversion, developing the signature kaleidoscopic style that characterizes her portraits of Black women, many of them luminaries like Cardi B. and Dominique Jackson. The effect is a visual dissonance, the chaotic layering of multiple disagreeing lenses, offering an expressionistic line up of pop culture provocateurs who have helped redefine femininity and the limits of self-transformation. “Black women have never sat comfortably in an idea of what female-ness is,” the Richmond-based artist asserts, “Even if they don’t realize, they are playing by a set of queer politics.”
Cherry often pulls her source material from the latest movies, TV, music videos, award shows, and social media. “I’m frantically archiving because the pace of culture has sped up,” she laughs, “the overturn is quicker than it used to be.” She is interested in the noise of niche celebrity culture — fleeting, marginal fame, people becoming commodities, perpetual social performance — how tech trends seem to be establishing a broad landscape of new role models, resulting in a less streamlined sense of normal or natural. …
GIVE HER HER FLOWERS
Legends of Drag tells the tale of 79 “queens of a certain age” across the U.S. Brooklyn icon, Charlene, shares her thoughts along with some legendary portraits.
Michael R. Jackson
Michael R. Jackson used to work as a Broadway usher mere blocks away from where his new musical, A Strange Loop, is running at the Lyceum Theater. His show, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical, was in development for 18 years, and what began as a one-person monologue gradually evolved into a full musical production. After garnering rave reviews during its Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons in 2019, winning a Pulitzer for drama in 2020, and attracting a star-studded roster of producers, like Jennifer Hudson, Alan Cumming, and RuPaul (to name a few), A Strange Loop opened on Broadway in April 2022.
Jackson is from Detroit, Michigan, and came to New York City as an undergrad to study playwriting at NYU. To walk down 7th Avenue with him now is surreal, in part because of the ubiquity of banner ads for A Strange Loop. Look down every single street near Times Square and you’ll see them fluttering overhead, purple and orange, like a fabulous series of sunsets right above the traffic. As we weave around tourists and taxis, I ask if he’s used to the feeling yet of seeing his work celebrated like this, he replies, “used to?” and chuckles to himself.
A Strange Loop is about Usher, a big Black queer Broadway usher who’s about to turn 26. Usher is writing a musical about a Black queer Broadway usher named Usher who’s writing a musical, and finds himself caught in a series of loops born of his own self-perceptions. …
Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival 2022 in Los Angeles
ELLSWORTH KELLY POSTCARDS
Folsom Street Fair SF 2022
The annual event returned to San Francisco for their 39th year celebrating sex positivity
The GAYLETTER Back Page
Valentin Amour doesn’t want to be pinned down — figuratively, at least. Born in a small town near the west coast of France, the 29-year-old was trained as a ballet dancer until shirking the art form in their early twenties. Any who have recently encountered the performer through social media, Onlyfans, or scenes for Lucas Entertainment will understand that Amour’s appeal requires little explanation. With a penchant for jockstraps and an ever-arched back, they’ve captured the attention of hundreds of thousands.
The theatrical moniker “Valentin Amour” is a marriage between the performer’s given name, Valentin, and their pseudonym “Amour” — chosen with help from their mentor, Austin Wolf. Beyond its ring, Amour was drawn to the the name for its campy allusions to sex and romance and representation of Amour’s heritage.
Despite the relatively conservative climate in which they were raised, as a child Amour was free to express their sexuality. Like many, they found joy in playing dress-up with their mother’s frocks, fashioning makeshift nails, and dancing ballet. After taking weekly classes in their hometown, they attended a boarding school and later a conservatory for dance in their early teens. At 20, after completing a masters in contemporary dance, they joined a professional ballet company with a focus on modern techniques like Martha Graham. However, Amour’s ballet career was short-lived. After one year dancing professionally, they felt bored by the discipline’s petty politics and quickly left ballet.
In the years that followed, they found their footing as a porn star. …
Hurricane Relief Fundraiser for Puerto Rico
Organized by Vena Cava and hosted at the Rosemont, all proceeds went to Brigada Solidaria del Oeste