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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.

www.daniumpi.com

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.“

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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 homepagefollow XPOSED on Facebook or check out the following festival trailer:

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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.

www.wildnessmovie.com

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.

 

“…The Naivety of Beiruth” (2007), Photographer: Chris Saunders

“Untitled” – Intervention for the X-Homes Hillbrow project (2010), Photographer: Nadine Hutton

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Directed by Mitch Moore
“Join My Militia” (Produced By Arca) out via Itunes
“Mutant Angels EP” (7″ vinyl) out via UNO NYC/OHWOW
http://soundcloud.com/mykkiblanco


Download “Rise” (written for the documentary Coral Rekindling Venus)
for free or donate for coral reef conservation over here.
http://antonyandthejohnsons.com

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The film and video series TMI – curated by Aykan Safoğlu & Todd Sekuler – will accompany a Larry Clark retrospective on display at C/O Berlin – International Forum For Visual Dialogues. The series has been created to reflect upon the dynamics of working across, through and against generational differences. ‘TMI’ – or ‘too much information’ – signifies the transgression of barriers of privacy and intimacy, and the centrality of resistance in narratives of family and community. The series hones in on issues of alleged danger or contagion, seeking to unpack them and to explore how emotions such as fear and shame are critical to creating and maintaining cultures of censorship and taboo. Beyond the dualisms of the acceptable and the taboo, the public and the personal, and the self and the other, the series delves into the neoliberal power structures that regulate social and political dynamics of ‘excess’. It explores personal and sociopolitical aspects of generational transformations and resists essentialized notions of time, space and experience.

The series will open on June 5 with Annika Eriksson’s Berlin premiere of It Did Happen Soon (2012). This video work emerges from research done into the writings and experiences of iconic Berlin based collective Kommune 1, often described as Germany’s first politically motivated commune. Here the experiences of some of the leading figures and of the movement are pushed into temporal ambiguity as the narrative around the desire and drive for transformation is transported into an ambiguous time and space. Documentary material merges with material from science fiction narratives in a three-part loop delivered by a young actor.

Annika Eriksson: It Did Happen Soon, video still, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and NON Gallery Istanbul + KROME Gallery Berlin.

(Full program below the jump)

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Tyler Holmes is one of the shiny jewels of the vibrant queer music scene of the Bay Area, and I have a feeling that 2012 could become his year, if it isn’t so already. I discovered the handsome guy and his music last autumn by stumbling upon his self-produced and self-released third album “Hipsterisms” (free download via bandcamp) and instantly fell in love with its twisted, eclectic, atmospheric songwriting and his beautiful voice.
Tyler is currently touring the west coast to promote his new album ”The Exorcism Of Tyler Holmes”, which will be released online June 1st, and I’m happy I can already offer you a stream + download of two tracks of the new album: The hypnotic, fragile ”White Nectarine III” and the clattery goth pop track “Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Stomach”, which both seem to suggest a shift away from the folk influences on “Hipsterisms” to a more synth based sound and songwriting. For more of Tyler Holmes music (including a his very special version of “Video Games“) please check out his bandcamp page, for news about the album release and upcoming shows follow him on Facebook or his twitter site.

UPDATE: You can now download the full album for free via Bandcamp.

I missed to do a proper write-up about the first issue of the San Francisco based Das Einhorn when I got it, but I hope I can make it up to editor Paul Bookstaber (former The Sword blogger) and his team by announcing that the second issue of the local slut culture guide for the indie type of gay guys and their friends is now officially available through http://daseinhorn.com. I haven’t ordered #2 yet, but the preview on the website reads as kinky and entertaining as the “The Pity Sex Issue”, and with a modest prize of 6 bucks you just can’t really go wrong – especially after the printed version of BUTT has shut down.
Amongst the contributors of the “Second Issue issue” of Das Einhorn are local Bay Area heroes such as Alexis Blair Penney and street artist Jeremy Novy, and I’m also really looking forward to another piece of writing by L.A. based blogger and Slick It Up designer David Mason (“House of Vader”), whose refreshly non-pc essay about the multiple facets of steroids in the first issue I really enjoyed. For more info check out the zine’s website or Facebook page.

Filmmaker Daniel Peddle’s 2005 documentary is not only a powerful portrait of the lives of six aggressive women from NYC, but also one of the few film documents of the city’s lesbian ball scene. The movie was released on DVD in 2006 by Image Entertainment, but can no longer be ordered for private purposes – the current copyrights holder 7thart Releasing only distributes it to public institutions (lowest rate 60$). When I did some research for the Queer Film Archive Berlin project I found a YouTube link where a user uploaded the whole movie in 6 parts, and it seems like film’s current distribution company is tolerating the fact that the movie can be streamend online – it’s been there for nearly a year already and already had more than 90.000 clicks without being taken down. The quality of the stream is rather low, but at least there’s a way to get an impression of the film as long as there’s no other way to get it.

Directed by Grant Worth and David Riley (Mirror Mirror).
Self-titled debut album out via Mexican Summer, stream it here.

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