No secret: TPR hates Lady Gaga. She’s Matthew Barney snapped into a slim jim. A short mannequin whose outfits wear her, not the other way around. If her songs had anything going for them, it’d be a different story but she sounds like late-period Madonna, nothing at all to be proud of. That, and her infinite costumes have no context–they are there to shock, not rooted in any kind of movement except cold hard cash. If my gays could please take a pause and stop acting like Grace Jones never happened, I’d be really happy. The above video takes Gag’s song “Poker Face,” and makes it into a font ode. More lip synching otters and art homos, please.
Archive for November, 2009
I’m not sure if you will find this as interesting as I do, but WordPress, bless their hearts, provides pretty cool statistics on the back end, and I get a daily chuckle looking over the things people google that send them over to TPR. Today’s was “Karen O lesbian.” Below is a break down of the top searches since this site first launched, you might notice the need for naked, I hope people aren’t too disappointed when they realize TPR is PG-13.
|hercules and love affair||647|
|think pink radio||580|
|kim ann foxman||440|
|terrence dean book||330|
|indie gay porn||300|
|pink radio live||273|
|gay indie porn||262|
|l word cancelled||260|
|amber hawk swanson||214|
|the l word cancelled||178|
|kate cooper an horse||160|
|devendra banhart naked||146|
|justin timberlake package||94|
|pink living room||94|
|terrance dean will smith||93|
|top model trans||88|
|hercules love affair||87|
|an horse kate cooper||86|
|james zinkland porn||81|
Slowly, I’ve observed more media coverage of trans issues and while it may not always use the right language or take the most open-minded approach, visibility is still the fastest way to revolution. A result of that visibility, however, is a slow bubble to the surface of people’s heated differences in opinion, knowledge and experience on what being trans means. There are splinters and factions even among the LGBT’s, where my ultra-lefty queers are intolerant of and keep away from spaces not predesignated as safe, my gay and lesbian colleagues want to take an insider attitude with offensive “tranny” jokes, and a sad number of near and dear straight allies still need an explanation as to why a finite gender or physical change isn’t necessary to identify as trans.
This week in particular, for 7 days leading up to the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, there was a spike in published articles about the topic.
People Magazine has a brief interview with Chaz Bono, who recently came out as trans. What we have here is a celebrity-mongering grocery store glossy taking an assimilationist approach to Chaz’s romantic relationship with lipstick-looker Jennifer Elia, and insisting that it’s a heterosexual union. An excerpt from a facebook comment thread about the article: “barf.” Why? A lot feel that trying to paint our queer relationships as a variation of straight only serves to weaken the power of our unique, queer perspectives. It’s the ways in which we are different that causes people to learn and reflect about what is outside of their experience. This article doesn’t teach you anything.
The Red Eye’s blog had a better, if still problematic feature around a younger woman named Adrianna King who has overcome homelessness and is now engaged in her community. The author, Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz did a good job of telling King’s story, but there is still a hint of northsidism (a Chicago problem where people stereotype the northside as “safe” and the southside as “phobic,” and runs so deep it has caused institutionalized discrepancies in funding for GLBT services) and she never burdens Lakeview residents to take ownership of their racist attitude towards the youth that visit the local LGBT community center. To say nothing of the horrendous comments left by reader JimLkvw , this article and the online response is a prime example of the need for more mainstream dialogue about queer issues on publications like the Red Eye. It might be the only chance we get to reach people like JimLkvw.
Finally, I came across an article about some recent killings of transgendered women in Guatemala. Mind you, these horrific crimes happen all the time in all nations. But being chapine myself, I could picture what the streets looked like, what the passersby did (probably nothing), and the nightmarish sounds and words that were exchanged while these crimes happened. It’s a long way from Chicago to Central America, and to think the families and friends of these women will probably have no legal recourse, it’s important to reflect on the physical and emotional pain that is being dealt with by our transgendered families all over the world. It wasn’t until recently that the United States included gender in its anti-discrimination laws, and it’ll be some time before that legal reality translates to instances of curbed behavior.
I just shared this link with some allies from the American Psychological Association. Unfortunately, trans is still a disorder on the books, sorry to travel so near that touchy area. However I thought this page used language that was accessible to most people, particularly if you are unfamiliar. If you are reading this and you’re a post-queer, post-feminist and so far post-everything that you are so far post-over it, there’s a facebook group for you. Not to be flippant, but we can’t get anything done without allies. The basic numbers make it impossible. If you aren’t at least trying to engage your surrounding community, including those that are not just like you, who are you helping besides yourself?
This music video for “Primatology,” from the album Bad News in a Party Dress by NYCensters Bambi, is no minor nutshell. Everything about it summarizes the group: DIY, campy, striking and friggin’ hysterical. Recorded on a Flip (have you seen the camera’s subway ads?) in the American Museum of Natural History among tourists and grade school field trips, you can almost see each band member’s smirk behind their clandestine lip synchs. All five players go through the motions but there are only two actual vocalists on the record, only hinting at the cheeky humor engrained in this clan of rogue theatre punks. At almost every turn, double entendres and back handed references make you think twice about the detailed stories unfolding on each track. Songs like “Rosemary’s Baby’s Daddy” and “Motorbike” contain equal amounts of hard guitars, girl group harmonies, and Prince-y falsettos that mix inside a kitchen sink held together by singers Kevin Townley and Hannah Cheek. Their narratives swirl around monsters, emotion and vice–ingredients for a dark grungy stage, and when you realize no one is doing “musical theatre” quite like this, it starts to make more sense when you know that the album was partly recorded in Chicago with Bobby Conn. His brand of classic rock drama and science fiction concepts make an appropriate mentor for Bambi, who is more or less expanding on Conn’s premise that rock and roll should be aggressive and girly, fierce and nerdy all at the same time. Bad News in a Party Dress is available at CD Baby.
NYT Posts Article About Miss J’s New Book, Omits His Book and Fatherhood, Leaves That For The Gossip SitesNovember 12, 2009
I was a little excited at first that a black gender queer icon made the splash page of the New York Times. The big news is that Miss J, (or J. Alexander) has a new book , Follow the Model, Miss J’s Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise and Power, and I’m happy that my favorite part of America’s Next Top Model has finally taken a step out of that spotlight and is making one of his own. Obviously, he’s been working hard for years and all the interviews I’m reading about the publication has fierce quotables from the walking diva. However, whatever journalistic skills NYT reporter Cathy Horyn has were thrown out the window when she went to interview him. Instead of talking about the book, she asks him to show her how to walk. Not that I wouldn’t have: the opportunity to have the fiercest stilleto coach give you some non-slip tips doesn’t come around too often. But besides failing to mention his book (he’s not a real author, right?) Horyn also purposefully ignores the big book reveal that all the blogs are birth-squealing over–Miss J has a seven year old son. It’s all about timing with these things, people. Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the hugest fight for queer families’ rights, and the N.Y.F.T. won’t talk about it with their fashion freak cuz she ain’t a square portait of what a family man should be. I’m not buying it – their recent interview with Pedro Almodovar also didn’t ask him about his big gay life, but they DID ask the straight sitting next to him, Penelope Cruz, about her possible nuptials. There is no way Horyn didn’t get an advance on Miss J’s book, and to omit the juicy and leave it for *every *single *other media outlet means NYT chickened out on another one. This wouldn’t be so upsetting if it didn’t constantly position itself as a beacon of level-headed liberalism. To me, failing to talk to an out there, queer speaking, snappy black queen about his family is a clear indication that “well spoken” high rise dwellers just aren’t ready for non-nuclear families, not the way they pretend to be. UGH, and just as I went back to get a link there is a front cover story on the Octomom. WTF.
- *Photo/makeup: Karl Giant. Dress: Machine
The chaotic disappointment in recent weather, legislation and job prospects has been building up – these days, bad news is shrugged off as another in a long line. Within that environment, maintaining an outlook that keeps motivation high gets more challenging and it’s only the thick skinned that can stand another bruise – more and more it’s common to make sarcasm and snark the bitter lemonade that refreshes us out of depressive thoughts. So when Taylor Mac dared to tackle the idea of loving the world and everyone in it through a five-part, five-hour performance entitled The Lily’s Revenge, I was excited but still skeptical about the entertainment value of an entire evening devoted to positive thinking. Though, immersing my physical body in a queer creative space with him at the helm was probably a good bet: more than 40 performers integrated vaudeville, dance, live music, film and audience participation into a story so ambitious it’s daunting to attempt a summary. But by the first intermission, it was clear that Taylor has made what could be his magnum opus, converting the entire HERE Arts Center into a world of kiosks and mini stages where the audience is assumed to be intelligent and engaged with the transformative power of art. Show and tell would be nothing if it was all talk, and in The Lily’s Revenge, Taylor leads by example in his quest to rid us of romance fatigue and reinvigorate efforts to ask ourselves hard questions about what we really want.
Which is not to say that he didn’t have HELP. Each of the five part extravaganza had its own director, burlesque legend Julie Atlas Muz and Faye Driscoll were on to choreograph, voice over work by Justin Bond and an endless list of players were having a great time while obviously working SO hard. There are three intermissions, but the first two are fully structured, designed to maintain engagement: World Famous *Bob* plays host and we were instructed to stay off of our phones and participate in the Kyogens–performances and activities during intermission addressing nuances of the larger production. Aside from being posited as serious conversation starters, these shorter pieces are as clever as they were fun. Taylor sang songs by himself in the bathrooms that were “flushed from the show,” in the dressing room was “Discussion Disco” — a dance party with the actors where you can talk to and booty bounce with them. There are mini-burlesque nooks, the “Context Corner” is an out of the way library with all the textbooks the play referenced and a computer logged onto a site about the plays conception (link here). There’s a bride and groom photo booth, marriage-themed dummies you can beat with a stick and proposal installation where a man in a tux and with a giant ring will get down on one knee and propose to you. Needless to say there was no rest for the weary, so what is The Lily’s Revenge so worried about?
- *Photo by Ves Pitts
Considering the breadth of issues that were addressed, it seems a lot. I couldn’t possibly recount every revelatory moment or laugh out loud minute (this is probably the longest TPR post ever). However Act II, arguably the strongest section, features a parade of flower costumes so on point, designer Machine Dazzle WILL get his pink wings in thespian heaven for his work (side note: I overheard someone say the costumer has only one assistant for the love of jeebus). Written in iambic pentameter, this portion was executed with such confidence and ease, the Shakespearean layers of literal and figurative profundity had me audibly saying “wow.” Playing the Master Sunflower, Daphne Gaines wields talent like a gymnast–tough as an ultimate fighter but with a benevolent grace. Addressing identity, agriculture politics, notions of beauty and personal fears of independence, “Act II: Ghost Warrior” could in itself be a crowning achievement.
- *Photo by Lucien Samaha
The story arc follows an lonesome flower and its quest to marry a real human bride. In order to do so, the Lily must become a man and yes, hour by hour all the heavy, politically queer connotations of that premise fall into place. However, the allegory here was not just in the big concepts represented by the passing of time, the meaning of love or the paralyzing effects of nostalgia, but also in the significance of committing to an all-day art experience. The purposeful inclusion of many collaborators and the thoughtful methods outlined to keep the audience involved is a statement concerned with the speed of our present culture and the coldness of virtual communication. The questions it asks are bold and confrontational, but the generous and kind place they come from are in the interest of preservation of community. Notable writers and performers usually have a signature, and Taylor’s is when he breaks character and looks at everyone right in the eye to express a sincere interest in your personal journey. Scores of techniques, a huge cast and constant movement of the action make most remarkable that whenever he bubbled up, Taylor Mac had the audience hanging on his every word. His facility for easing in and out of serious and comedy, sincere and sarcastic, actor and himself are the qualities that not only exemplify greatness, but inspire others to be so. In the 5th act, where the Lily’s journey was almost over he says, “If you live long enough, you play every part.” The truth is, not everyone is trying to play every part, but the infinite varieties of hurt and accomplishment prove that you wind up doing it anyway. Taylor’s way is to embrace your role as it changes and use it bring others closer. He certainly is.
The run is SOLD OUT but you can get last minute tickets. Thursday – Sunday, through November 22nd at HERE Arts Center, 145 6th Avenue, (between Spring and Broome, entrance on Dominick) New York, 212-352-3101.
I’ll really do my best to not have walls and walls of Tegan and Sara posts for the next few weeks. That is however, what happens when The Risen lesbian twins give us a new record that contains the same winning formula that made their last record, The Con, so damn good. Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, is still on the production decks, members of the Rentals still in the backing band and an urgent need for jolted acoustic pop hooks make Sainthood a compelling release. While the first listen was TWO MEHS down, the 2nd listen was way better and the 3rd was making me happy (TIP: listen to it on real stereo speakers and not your computer’s). It’s something that really makes you appreciate the slow ascension of a band–that kind of gradual artistic and commercial development doesn’t happen too often these days. In any case, the record has many pleasures but I’m presently geeked on the their feature on Tiesto’s new album Kaleidoscope. The song “Feel It in My Bones” has the Quinn sisters front and center of a sensitive electro-dance jam, and I know I should focus on their own merits but I’m a sucker for female-emo harmonies over nuanced synth riffs. Stream and download that song below.
They just put out a little teaser on the web, and I was ready to buy the first BUTT calendar when it was available. After a really shitty month, imagine my amazement when finding the large envelope in the mail today! I immediately KNEW what it was and I hadn’t even ordered it yet! It’s a weekly calendar with photos of men from all over the world, and I’ll go ahead and mention the preponderance of nice-looking Latinos. To keep costs down, the paper stock is a little thin, and each page is totally detachable. Week to week, many of the days have gay anniversaries pre-listed for your hip edification. To name just a few, examples include Harvey Milk’s birthday, the day the U.S. Supreme court struck down a Texas Sodomy law (which was in 2003 WTF), the day Tennessee Williams choked, the first day Leigh Bowery went on display all week at a London art gallery, and the final live show of the Germs. From the press release: From almost every corner of the globe, BUTT fans have submitted their most candid and racy photos, which have then been carefully selected and sequenced over 54 weeks. There’s also a handful of bonus portraits by some of the magazine’s marquee contributors like Bruce LaBruce, Alasdair McLellan and Wolfgang Tillmans. Stay tuned at the BUTT Blog for details on how to get your own!