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Normal Love is a queer band project by Berlin based musicians Pauline P aka Pauline Boudry and Inka Kamp – both former members of the legendary Rhythm King And Her Friends – and singer-songwriter Ben Kaan, who joined Pauline and Inka shortly after they started rehearsing. The trio and its beautifully clear and moody post-punk-disco-pop already has quite a reputation in the queer scene of Berlin and has played a whole bunch of successful live gigs in Germany, France and Austria in 2012. With “Fever/Suddenly” they are now releasing their first 12″ single, accompanied by a debut video for the song “Suddenly” and a free gig in conjunction with the Precarious Bodies performance festival at Hebbel am Ufer on April 12. The Normal Love debut album will be released in autumn, you can already stream five of the album tracks (including “Fever” and “Suddenly” via Soundcloud. To order the limited “Fever/Suddenly” EP please contact the band via contact@normallovemusic.com. Picture on top by Goodyn Green.

www.normallovemusic.com

Directed by Tom Kalin (“Swoon”, “Savage Grace”). From the Album Interiors (2011), out via RVNG Intl. Via David.

www.mirrormirror-nyc.com

Crime is an exciting new queer experimental goth-pop duo from Berlin, consisting of Mika Risiko of Sissters and Scream Club member Sarah Adorable, who started the project last summer. The duo has reached out to the public for the first in September with the beautiful video to their first single “This Party Blows”, followed by an extensive tour through Germany and the Czech Republic in November and December and a couple of additional gigs in Berlin in the last few months. Their latest song “Other Kids Live”, another dark, synth-heavy track, was released a few days ago on Soundcloud and we recommend giving it a listen.
As a contribution to our PICK 5 series Mika and Sarah have send us a commented list of their five favorite videos – an entertaining insight on their influences and interests. We’re especially happy about the video by Los Angeles based artist Jeepneys, who we just recently have stumbled upon, but haven’t managed to feature on the blog yet. For more contributions to our PICK 5 series by artists such as Cakes Da Killa, Alexis Blair Penney or Kool Thing please check out the section’s archive.

1. Harmony Korine – “Act da Fool”

“This theme of us against the world is touching, and the video is filmed in this slow dreamy way that mimics how she describes the pace of their everyday life in a small town. It has this feeling of going nowhere but still living for today and looking to the future. Not to mention these girls are total hot babes. It’s easy to relate to the need of going wild due to stagnation and the inability of coping with the outside world.”

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In the summer of 2012, undergraduate student at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, Yulan Grant, had the idea to make a zine. Her theme: a visual history of baby hairs, a technique of gel-sculpting the wispy hairs at one’s hairline, popular in Black and Latino culture. Given her studies in graphic design, she had no issue with the visuals, but needed writing. For this, she contacted her close friends and schoolmates at the affiliated Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, Brandon Owens and Justin Allen. Brandon wrote two haiku on the topic, and Justin, a piece of prose poetry. Before the end of the summer the zine was finished, copies printed. By fall, it had been included into traveling zine archive the POCZine Project.

Soon their zine, simply titled Baby Hair, would be traveling the country with the works of numerous other people of color that decided to bypass the publishing industry in favor of complete artistic freedom. But not before they were offered a gig by aspiring curator Johnny Sagan.

Early meetings with Sagan, under the curatorial name Snowy Wilderness, left both Grant and Allen in bewilderment. Tasks were listed off at a rapid pace and seemed both promising and abstract. The gig: Sagan, curating a series of art shows in collaboration with Brooklyn-based gallery Superchief at Lower East Side bar and gallery space Culturefix, had gotten a hold of a copy of Baby Hair and wanted Grant and Allen to produce in house zines to accompany the gallery shows. Their first project, a zine for House of Ladosha’s show THE WHOLE HOUSE EATS.

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The video below is a recording of “The Episodes”, a performance event by Oakland based writer, zine-maker, musician (Gravy Train!!!! / The Younger Lovers) and dancer Brontez Purnell, which was held at San Francisco’s The Garage between the 7th and the 16th of March and will be shown another two times at Temescal Art Center in Oakland this weekend (24th/24th). It is presented by THEOFFCENTER.
The evening opens with a screening of the beautiful B&W short film “Free Jazz” by the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, which was founded by Brontez in 2011 and debuted with a “Free Jazz” performance piece at the Berkeley Art Museum in the same year. The film is shown to the public for the first time and was recorded as well, check out the trailer here.
What I’ve posted below is the actual “The Episodes” performance – a 30-minute piece, for which Brontez has collaborated with performers Anthony R. Lucas and Sophia Wang. The piece deals with the power of everyday routines and shakes them up, with the “ultimate goal (…) to blur, destroy, (and most importantly) recreate the sacred repetitiveness of the everyday ritual of being human” (event description). It’s a lot of fun and I recommend to take your time to watch the whole thing. For a longer review of the show please visit the blog of RADAR productions, a San Francisco-based non-profit that produces literary happenings around the Bay Area.

The evening was recorded by queer performance ethnographer Mark McBeth, who explores and documents the Bay Area performance scene with videos, interviews and photography. Check out his Vimeo page for more of his recordings and his website for information about his work.

After his full-length feature I Want Your Love and the premiere of his James-Franco-collaboration Interior. Leather Bar. at the Berlinale  in February filmmaker Travis Mathews is back with a new episode of his In Their Room series. The documetary project, which portrays gay men and their sex live and dating habits in their bedrooms, started in 2009 as a short film series for BUTT magazine with protagonists from San Francisco, followed by a full-length Berlin episode in 2010. For the third part Mathews has travelled to London and the result looks nice and a little bit more diverse than the previous episodes. The film, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in spring 2012, will be previewed this week at the International Film Festival Prague and premiere next month at the Fringe! Film Fest in London (April 11-14). Fore more information about Travis’ work and the ITR series please check out our interview with the filmmaker from 2011.

Zemmoa is based in Mexico City and has caused quite a buzz in her home country throughout the past few five years – especially in the club scene and the queer community. Today the singer, artist, model and style icon has released the video to her new single “Te Enterraré El Tacón” (“I’ll stab you with my heel!”), and we’ve taken the video premiere as an occasion for a little chat with her about her self-image as an artist, working as a queer artist in Mexico and the video itself.

CF: You write your own music, you co-direct your videos, you do your own styling. Is it important for you to be in charge of everything that is related to your work?

Zemmoa: If I define myself as an artist in constant learning, I think everyday are wise and always have something to teach us. We are all equal but also very unique because we have different stories and inspirations, and we all have something to say. I am 100% involved with everything I do because it’s my way to express and discuss my views on life and love, and my own point of view may seem similar to someone else, but it’ll never be the same.

I saw you directed a short film dedicated to Pedro Almodovar

I always dreamed of meeting and working with Pedro, but at the same time I’m impatient, so I did my own mini movie tribute to Pedro to treat myself and to please that dream.

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How many films have changed your life? What at first glance seems to be a tough question, becomes something pretty clear to me when I remember the first time I saw Arrebato by Spanish director Ivan Zulueta. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at the original première in 1980 – I was born four years later -, but at least I had the chance to see a special screening in an old Madrilenian porn cinema as part of the promotional events that came along with the release of the deluxe DVD edition.

Anyway, far from a porn movie, what you get for nearly two hours is a raw and deeply emotional experience through Zulueta’s inner obsessions, such as childhood memories subtly showing the so-called Peter Pan complex or his self-destructive love for the cinema itself, taken up until the very last consequences. In fact, the relationship depicted among the main characters and the cinema proves to be even more addictive and dangerous than the heroin openly injected by themselves.
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This picture was quite popular on our Facebook page and I like it a lot, so I decided to share it here as well. It was taken by Los Angeles based photographer Catherine Opie for a Rodarte book published in 2011. You can order the publication for a reduced price via Amazon, fore more information about the book check out Artbook.com. I found the picture on the consistently amazing CruiseorbeCruised tumblr.

(c) Catherine Opie / Rodarte

We’re proud to present the first video by Oakland based artist Tyler Holmes, who we’ve already featured about a year ago when he released his third album ”The Exorcism Of Tyler Holmes”. The song ”Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Stomache” can be found on the new album “Daddies”, about the video Tyler writes: ”Like the song it is about biting off more ‘romance’ than you can chew. Sometimes you choke to death so be careful. This video is me learning to chew by almost losing my life.” You can download the song here for free, the album “Daddies” can be found on Itunes and Spotify.

Credits:
Directed by Unideer Productions (Stephanie Sumler & Dawn Davidsen)
Song: Written & played by Tyler Holmes
Recorded, mixed, edited by Keith Tadashi Kubota
Vocals by San Cha & Sierra La Puerta

Catch Fire took note of my queer-feminist radio show right after it started out, which I suppose is what led to me being a contributor around here (very sporadically, I admit). Compiling a transgenre musical selection every month has kept me up to date with the music scene in Berlin (and beyond), and it’s been fulfilling to provide an outlet for women and queer(-friendly) artists who don’t necessarily get a lot of exposure elsewhere.

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“Pay It No Mind” by filmmaker Michael Kasino pays tribute to legendary New York queen and activist Marsha P. Johnson, who was one of the founders of the US gay and trans rights movement of the 60s and 70s and a central figure in the NYC gay and art scene until the early 90s. The documentary based on a late interview with Marsha and interviews with many of her friends and fellow activists recaptures different stages of her exciting (and often difficult) live such as the Stonewall Riots (which she initiated), the creation of the S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) and her role as a performer as part of the drag performance group Hot Peaches.
The interview with Marsha was recorded shortly before her mysterious death in 1992, which until today has remained an unsolved case and was just recently re-opend for investigation by the New York police (who had refused to investigate it in the last 20 years). Co-featured are gay activist Randy Wicker, former Cockettes performer Agosto Machado, Author Michael Musto, Hot Peaches founder/performer Jimmy Camicia, and Stonewall activists such as Bob Kohler, Danny Garvin, Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt and Martin Boyce. In addition to the countless number of beautiful photos the film is also accompanied by the music of Antony, whose band “The Johnsons” were named after Marsha and whose song “River of Sorrow” references her death.
“Pay It No Mind” was the screened in places such as the IFC theater in New York, the British Film Institute in London and La Mutinerie in Paris in 2012 and can now be fully streamed online. Thanks Mr. Kasino!

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