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When I interviewed Abdu Ali Eaton aka Abdu Ali about his “Eat On This” blog earlier this year, he had already released his first song “Banjee Musick” and told me that he was working hard on his career as an artist and performer. Since then, a lot has happened: Abdu has released his first (free) EP “Invictos” with steamy tracks by Schwarz, DJ Lemz, and JLamar, successfully merging influences from Ballroom culture, Witch Hop and Baltimore Club. He has also played a couple of debut gigs in his hometown Baltimore and New York in the last few weeks and has just recently released a new video for the EP track “360″, which pays tribute to his Baltimore community and is a great visualization of his musical approach. New Yorkers will have the chance to see him live in a few days alongside House of Ladosha and Cakes da Killa at the GAZE 4 DAZE New Year’s Eve party at Public Assembly (check out the event on Facebook).

For Catch Fire Abdu has prepared a commented picture series of his five favorite places in Baltimore and gives us a little insight on different aspects of his everyday live. It is the second contribution to our new “Favorite Places” section, which was started by Berlin based artist Rodeo a few weeks ago. Picture on top by Holly Miller.

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Zine culture has been a little underrepresented on this blog in the last few months, but this doesn’t mean we haven’t kept our eyes and ears open for exciting publications from around the world. Here’s what we’ve found. To keep us updated about new online and print magazines and interesting zine projects feel free to contact us via contact@catch-fire.com!

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Berlin based duo EASTER (Stine Omar Midtsaeter and Max Boss) are about to drop their second album this Thursday and will be celebrating the release on at Luzia, Oranienstr 34 in Berlin-Kreuzberg, where they will perform all songs of the new record. The new yet untitled album”The Softest Hard” (prelisten via Bandcamp) is the follow-up to the duo’s heavily synth-based slow-pop debut “Ur A Great Babe”, which was released in July last year. The songs “Rabbit”, “Alien Babies” and “Champagne 121212″, which have been pre-released during the last few weeks came with the beautiful no-budget videos I posted below (for more check out Stine’s YouTube page).
Since the character of EASTER’s music, lyrics and videos is rather intuitive I wanted to avoid doing a formal q&a with the duo and instead send them a couple of words that popped up in my head while I did my research. Here are Stine’s associations:

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Wu Tsang via Neon Ladosha.

Another suggestions for a nice weekend activity if you’re in New York: The next three days are the last days to visit the solo exhibition of Berlin based drag legend Vaginal Davis at Participant Inc. The show, which Artforum describes as a “fun-house tableau full of dizzying, pervy revelations”, is a tribute to the original HAG Gallery, which Vaginal opened in L.A. in the early eighties. It shows some of her most recent work such as the “Various Hags” glamour girl paintings (see picture on the left) or her totemic bread sculptures of contemporary pop stars such as Ryan Gosling or Justin Timberlake. If you can’t make it: You find pictures of the show on the Huffington Post, on the blog of Diane Pernet (who has taken pictures of the opening and of her next-morning breakfast with Vaginal) and on Art in America.

I’m not a big christmas fan, and I assume that most of you out there aren’t either, but this sounds like fun: Bradford Nordeen, curator of the queer screening series Dirty Looks NYC has co-organized a very special christmas special entitled ”Mary Boom! Christmas Special” for the upcoming Saturday, December 15. The revue style event hosted by his drag Persona Mary Boom and inspired by classic Christmas Specials like “RuPaul’s Christmas Ball,” “Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special,” “The Divine David Presents…,” and “The Kate Bush Christmas Special”, will feature a nice line-up of downtown NYC artists, performers and living legends such as Justin Vivian Bond, Dynasty Handbag, Geo Wyeth, Nicholas Gorham, the Kate Bush Dance Troupe, Nicholas Buffon and Jennifer Blowdryer. The evening will also serve as the launch for the video of Mary’s debut single “White Christmas!” directed by Josef Kraska (aka performance artist Narcissister) and co-starring Colin Self and Monica Yi you can see parts of the clip in this teaser, watch it right here:
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The beautiful “Studs” series shot by Nick Knight and styled by Simon Foxton for V Magazine earlier this year is more than just an editorial: The photographer’s fashion website SHOWstudio has not only produced a film that accompanies the pictures, but has also documented the shooting itself and has published interviews with the models. You find all that HERE. Source for the pictures below is the blog of make-up artist Bea Sweet, who was also part of the project. Full credits below the pictures.

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2012 has been a an exciting year for music by artists, who subvert and transcend stereotypes of gender and sexuality. We’ve seen a whole slew of New York artists labeled “queer rappers” like Le1f, Mykki Blanco and Zebra Katz pop up in the mainstream media. We’ve seen the hype around SSION‘s highly stylized “Bent” video series. We’ve seen Chile get a new queer anthem with Alex Anwandter’s “Cómo puedes vivir contigo mismo?”. At the same time, the subculture is flourishing more than ever – be it Seattle’s THEESatisfaction and their beautiful “awE naturalE” debut, Toronto’s Trust, or the new wave of loosely connected music acts from Berlin like Kool Thing, o F F Love, Crime or Rodeo.

What connects these acts from around the world is their strong sense for the visual aesthetic that accompanies their music. This sentiment is especially remarkable considering the small budgets all of them possess. These are the reasons why it was especially difficult to slim down the long list of great clips we’ve posted here throughout the year to just 10. We hope that with our selection we’ve managed to reflect a big part of the spectrum of artists we’ve described above (for the big picture please check out our “Music” section). Take the next three weeks to look back on 2012 and vote for your favorite video, which we will announce at the end of the year. You will find the poll at the bottom of this post, below the nominated videos.

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A few days ago Opening Ceremony has launched a new limited collection for which the label has teamed up with Yoko Ono. The new styles are based on a series of sketches for clothing and accessories Ono gave to John Lennon as a wedding gift, celebrating his “hot bod”. It took me a while to get into this, but now I really love the campyness and playfulness of the collection, so here are some of my favorite looks. More over at Open Ceremony.

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New film by Portugese co-directors Joao Pedro Rodrigues and his former art director and co-writer Joao Rui Guerra da Mata (“To Die Like A Man”), who were just recently visiting Berlin in conjunction with the Hands on Fassbinder event. The Film Noir influenced semi-documentary premiered in August at the Locarno Film Festival and follows the the directors on their trip to the former Portuguese colony Macao, where da Mata spent his childhood as the son of a naval officer, before the city’s was handed over to China in 1999. In the trailer, you see parts of the opening sequence of the film, which features Candy (Cindy Scrash from ”To Die Like A Man”) lip-synching to Jane Russell’s “You Kill Me” from Josef Von Sternbergh’s film “Macao” from 1952. I haven’t seen the film yet, so for more information please check out either this info PDF from the Locarno festival, or this entertaing excerpt from a video interview with the two directors shot during the Toronto International Film Festival or this nice review on Film School Rejects. And please don’t forget to read our essay “Magnificent Obession” about the work of Joao Pedro Rodrigues by our contributor Jon Davis.

The following performance video by New York based artist Christopher Udemezue (aka Neon Ladosha) was shot in June, where he performed in conjunction with this year’s Queerin’ Queens pride event at the Queens Museum of Art, hosted by the queer film series CIMEROSA. The live piece was based on an installation video by the artist, which consists of elements of the “It Gets Better” video by Jamey Rodemeyer (a 14 year old, who took his life at the age of 14 after being bullied), and a horrible lynching video which went viral under the title They did this to him because he was gay!” (- it shows how a man gets set on fire by a mob, supposedly in Nigeria). During the performance, the video is partially projected on the artist, who is at first dressing up and putting on make up, while carefully examining him/her-self and the audience in front of a mirror. In the second part of the performance he/she pulls the viewer’s attention further away from the projection, moving dance to a distorted version of the reggae classic “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy. But watch yourself.

http://christopherudemezue.com

Next Monday Berlin-based Australian rapper and musician Rodeo will drop her new “Leisure Forever” EP, the artist’s third release via Leonizer Records. Like Rodeo’s previous releases “When It Reigns” and “Sold Me Out” the two-tracks record, which can already be pre-listened to on Soundcloud, is wonderfully catchy, and it comes with a whole bunch of remixes by a great team of remixers. Amongst them are artists such as JD Samson, Rodeo’s Mystic Knights band mate Tusk, Toulouse based producer D.L.i.d and Black Cracker, who has also contributed a couple of rhymes to the EP track “On The Road” and shot the beautiful new video to the synth-hop anthem “Home Run”.
For Catch Fire the Berliner-by-choice has put together a list of her favorite places and things in the city, illustrated by a bunch of photos she sent us, which give a little insight into how she lives and works. (Click here if picture slider doesn’t show, picture on top by Bex Wade)

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