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Meadham Kirchhoff (via Sticky Magazine)
Another really nice song and video I found on the Iberoamerican pop blog club fonograma. Alex Anwandter is based in Santiago de Chile, his single “Cómo Puedes Vivir Contingo Mismo?” (“How can you live with yourself”) and the album “Rebeldes” were released last year on the artist’s label 5PM. The lyrics of the song deal with brutal murder of a young gay man called Daniel Zamudio, who was killed by neo-Nazis. The murder sent a shockwave throughout the country, Zamudio family revealed to the media that Anwandter had been his favorite artist. With the beautiful new video shot at a bar in Santiago (which is anything else but shocking), another homage to voguing culture as shown in “Paris is Burning”, the song has a real potential to spread around the world. You can currently download the song together with two nice remixes on Anwandter’s website. If you want to stream the whole album click on “Home”.
For Bushwick Open Studios (BOS) 2012, Go! Push Pops premiered their lesbian-gangsta-erotica ‘Push Porn’ on 2 screens at Homero’s Barbershop, a local business where they filmed a segment of the video with their stylist Ecua. Starring local hustla celeb “Strawberry,” Push Porn is a nastay lucid dream about drugs, popsicles and gentrification at the frontier of the avant-ghetto. The opening party and world premier of the ‘Push Porn’ included scalp design specials by Ecua the official Push Pop barber, free limited edition posters, bootleg porn & beer.
Not Your Typical Pansie-Ass White Cube
While many artists prepared for the largest yet Bushwick Open Studios by white washing their walls and spending a fortune on collector-friendly hors d’oeuvres, the Push Pops spent the months leading up to the 500+ studio strong event earning hood brownie points at a Dominican-style Barbershop on Wilson Ave. During a landmark year for both BOS and the growing (aka rapidly gentrifying) neighborhood of Bushwick, what the popular ArtFagCity Blog calls a year in which “visitors were about as likely to find artists making fairy art as artists with gallery representation,” the Push Pops shaved hearts into their scalps and humped the windows of the barbershop as they promoted the world premier of their bootleg porno.
In a neighborhood increasingly overrun by the ‘privileged poor’ where community life isn’t as integrated as we’d like to think, what began as an act of reckless summer abandon, ultimately served the task of community building and solidarity. Wielding sex appeal that could part the red sea, Go! Push Pops took feminism into the macho lair of the barbers and the macho lair of the barbers into Fine Art. At the end of the day… most of the upper crust culture vultures of the BOS cohort there to peep the artist ghetto wouldn’t dare step foot inside Homero’s despite the jiggly Push Pop junk and aggressive projectile Feminism: Bitch Bow Down! This is off the grid, in your face Lesbian Gangsta Hip Hop Feminism! We taunted from the front door. Those that did were greeted with wall to wall female produced porn, intoxicated Dominican teenagers with sharp utensils and enough marijuana residual to hotbox a semi.
While we made crossroads into the male barbershop culture, selling porn curbside to passersby as well as those that came to get a shape up, we meanwhile broke up a marriage and rattled several relationships forced to fend off jealous lovers like island mosquitoes. We almost got swallowed up in our own fantasy when rumors started to circulate that we were being spied out for a prostitution ring and we started to believe them. We were called ‘white girls’ although we ain’t all white. Push Pop co-director Crystal, being Chilean born, is bilingual and on a temporary visa which means in some ways she shares more in common with the boys of the barbershop then the MFA-clad hipsters reading her as white. Ultimately, the piece spoke most explicitly to constructions of race and realities of class. It asserted post-colonial prerogatives and posed sexual relations as one aperture in the dominant and historical narratives concerning territory, property, belonging, race, religion and social position.
Follow-up to “My Love Grows In The Dark” and second part of a series of videos for the 2011 album “Bent”.
Manon Kündig‘s colorful, free-spirited and wonderfully over the top graduation collection is the second reason why this year’s show of the fashion department of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Art really thrilled me. Like with her second year collection “Teddy Bear” I’ve posted about in 2010 and her “Blow Job” from 2011, “Bowerbird” plays with ideas of masculinity and turns them upside down: The collection draws its inspiration from a bird that can be found in the tropical regions of New Guinea and northern Australia and that builds a “Bower” structure decorated with sticks and coloured objects in order to seduce mates. Here are a couple of pictures from the show, more of them can be found on the academy’s website (Manon is the woman in the middle/left on the index page). Or you simply watch the excerpt of the stream of the show at the bottom of this post for an overview.
Dani Umpi is a writer and pop musician based in Montevideo, who has already released around 8 books and 3 albums. The song “3 Pasos” (“3 Steps”) feat. Marabish and the accompanying video were released in December last year, it was the the first single of the album “Mormazo” (out via Contrapedal). The video was shot by Luciano Demarco, I discovered it on club fonograma, a nice blog for Ibero-American pop music.
German born Rey Benedict Pador‘s bold and fascinating graduation collection “…one more try…” was one of the big surprises of this year’s student show of the fashion department of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. I watched the show online (stream here) with a friend a few days ago and we both nearly fell off our chairs when the first models walked down the runway is the fragmented, fetishy, often transparent designs. I was curious to know more about this, so I contacted the young designer, who was born near Cologne in 1983, to ask him about his intentions. Here’s what Rey wrote to me, followed by pictures of a shooting of the collection by photographer Boy Kortekaas.
“The collection is a mirror of what I like in men, of my own obsessions. This is my first men’s collection, so I had to choose a subject I’m actually affected by and I decided to deal with homosexuality. My sources of inspiration were the stereotypes of men we all have in our heads: The hunter, the warrior, the hero, the priest and the king, and I tried to find equivalents amongst the fetishes that exist in the gay scene, such as daddies, bears, twinks, queens etc. Other sources were gay literature, and even gay porn. As a reference for the clothes I was inspired by the menswear of the twineties, thirties and fourties, when every single piece had a meaning and was worn in a specific situation.
I don’t understand and never understood why labeling yourself plays such a big role for many people. If you only live in one box after the next, you will never fully become yourself. I wanted to show a group of men that have decided not to belong to a certain group. And who don’t make secret out of who and how they love. Also, transparency is very important for me. The more you see of something, the less you doubt it.“
I usually get a skeptical, when somebody is talking about “gay” or “queer” live in the “Middle East”, because not only does the term “Middle East” embrace a couple of very different countries and cultures, but also are Western ideas of a “gay” or “queer” identity obviously not necessarily compatible with the discourses around gender and sexuality in other parts of the world. This is why I hope that the 7th XPOSED queer film festival, which will focus on exactly this topic (“queer live in the Middle East”) will not perpetuate stereotyped views and perceptions, but actually open up new perspectives for its visitors.
But let’s get to the hard facts now: XPOSED 7 (“Queer Evolution”) will take place at Schwuz (opening night) and the tiny, but cute Eiszeit Kino in Kreuzberg between June 20 and 22. It will offer four short film programs (International, German, Middle East) and three feature length movies, such as the rarely-screened “Be Like Others” by filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian, a film portrait of young Iranien men, who decide to undergo sex changes (trailer below the jump).
For the full schedule and more information about the movies, please check out the program page on the festival’s homepage, follow XPOSED on Facebook or check out the following festival trailer:
Toronto based Kids on TV have just recently announced a new album entitled “Pantheon”, which will be released on September 4 via Blocks Recording Club and feature collaborations with a whole bunch of other queer artists Katie Stelmanis of Austra, Shunda K of Yo Majesty, Julie Faught of The Pining, and Reg Vermue/Gentleman Reg. The first catchy single “Bobby”, for which the guys have worked with Diamond Rings and Snax, is a tribute to the closeted relationship between the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, which lasted from the mid-fifties and ended tragically in the early sixties. The song is released with a cute video directed by KoTV founding member John Caffery (watch it in HD!) and can be purchased via ITunes.
Another exciting movie I’ve stumbled upon during the research for the “Queer Film Archive Berlin” project (see sidebar). Wildness by Los Angeles based artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang is a documentary portrait of the Silver Platter, a bar in city’s MacArthur Park area, which has been home for Latin/LBGT immigrant communities since the early sixties. The movie, which premiered at MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and was shown earlier this year at SXSW and the Whitney Biennial, explores what happened when Wu and and DJs NGUZUNGUZU & Total Freedom started a experimental party entitled “Wildness” at the Silver Platter, which brought a new clientele and new cultural impulses to the place.
As someone who is very skeptical about the idea of “taking over” long-established places as a cultural practice (which is something that has been very popular amongst queer party organizers in Berlin and other metropoles as well, think of Pork or Arm&Sexy here), I’m really curious what kind of story Wu tells and to what conclusions he comes, so I hope I’ll get to see “Wildness” sometime soon. Screening dates can be found on the film’s website, as well as the director’s blog, which I also recommend. Picture on top: Production still by Love Ablan.
South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga’s hybrid and highly reflective work removes the borders between fashion, performance and contemporary art in an imaginative and playful way. Ruga subverts ideas of beauty, gender and race, trying to “transcend all boundaries that have been put on who and what one should create”, as he points out in an interview with photographer René Habermacher, which was published on Habermacher’s blog The Stimuleye last year and which I really recommend. Germans and French internet user also find a video interview with him about (hyper-)femininity and alienation in his work on the arte website.
Athi-Patra Ruga most recent works are a beautiful tapestry series based on portraits, which he created last year in his studio in Cape Town (see “Voodoo Face” below) and the synchronized-swimming performance “Ilulwane” (blurry excerpt here), which was shown at the Performa festival in New York City in November 2011 and at during Cape Town’s Infecting the City public arts festival in March. For a proper overview over his work please check out the website of Whatiftheworld Gallery, Cape Town, who represents him.