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Denise Jolly and Sonya Renee are two champion spokenword artists and activists now visiting Europe (dates below). On Thursday 13 February in Berlin, they will have a workshop @ 1730 at Waterloo-Ufer. That same night, Lady Gaby hosts a night of spoken word and poetry with both as special guests.

WORD BANK, the spokenword performance show presents: DENISE JOLLY & SONYA RENEE
Thursday 13 February @ 21:00
Schloss Neuschweinsteiger
Emser Str. 122/123, 12051 Neukölln, Berlin

Denise Jolly Be Beautiful ProjectDenise Jolly is the founder of the Be Beautiful Project, a 30 day visual and public art project that received major international coverage including Huffington Post and Global News Canada.  She is currently the 5th ranked female performance poet worldwide. Denise has taught, performed, and hosted in a wide range of organizations including universities, community centers, and private/public schools. She has also demonstrated a passion and skill for working with student populations and was a past Executive Director of Youth Speaks Seattle. She likes doing great things with amazing people and being moved by art, community and how the two work together.

Sonya Renee The Body Is Not An ApologySonya Renee believes in the life-shifting power of art; its ability to challenge, engage, and heal the human spirit. She is an author, educator, and queer activist who has mesmerized audiences across three continents as well as in prisons, mental health treatment facilities, homeless shelters, universities, and public schools. In 2011, a terribly frightening act of posting a profile picture of herself in a saucy black corset turned into an empowering unapologetic act of self-love. This founded the international movement The Body is Not An Apology which is transforming people’s relationships with themselves worldwide and attracts attention from publications like New York Magazine.

Denise and Sonya are additionally performing at the following cities:

  • München 10 Feb @ 20h Poetry in Motion, Lyrik Kabinett, Amalienstraße 83a
  • Hamburg 12 Feb @ 20h Best of Poetry Slam, Ernst Deutsch Theater, Friedrich-Schütter-Platz 1
  • Berlin 13 Feb workshop and performance as described above
  • Frankfurt 14 Feb @ 2030h Poetry Slam! Frankfurt, Café 1, FH Frankfurt, Nibelungenplatz 1



Song produced by The SHRNK, video directed and edited by Ursula Mann.
Full album stream of “Pretty Spitta” here, interview here.


We’ve already featured artist, activist and filmmaker Carlos Motta here in early 2012 when we posted about his wonderful web-based project “We Who Feel Differently”. His most recent work is the “Nefandus Trilogy”, a series of short films from 2013, which reflect on the way colonialism in South American condemed and punished sexual acts that were seen as “sodomy” based on a Christian moral system. The three films entitled “Nefandus”, “Naufragios” (Shipwreck), and “La visión de los vencidos” (The Defeated) all have a very contemplative approach, combining footage recorded during a trip to the Don Diego river in Northern Colombia and to Lisbon, with spoken text based on historical documents.
Tonight and during the upcoming weekend the triology will be shown the first time as part of the short film program of the Rotterdam Film Festival and after a preview of the films I strongly recommend going there if you have the possibility. There’s no trailer for the whole project, but the festival provides an excerpt from the “Nefandus” short film, which gives a first impression of what this is all about. For more information please check out the artist’s website, the website of the IFFR, where you can also purchase tickets.

secrets of the living dolls

At the beginning of the new year, Channel 4 of UK broadcasted the programme called “Secrets of the Living Dolls”, exploring the world of “female maskers”; men dressing in elaborate body suits and masks to transform themselves into female dolls. The programme deals with the female masking community from the aspects of individuals’ and their families’ and friends’ approach to the concept, social concerns, notion of beauty as well as the emerged family business of manufacturing a second skin for female maskers all over the world.

The way the interviewees are approached and the remarks in response, however, raised a lot of controversy especially as to whether the programme was serving to heighten awareness about trans issues or undermining the whole process.


Dominique, who is featured in an extra of “Secrets of the Living Dolls”, remarks: “For people to realise that this beautiful, big white woman is really a black man is really… mind-blowing!” Another interviewee, Joel, discusses his masking and coming out to his friends along with his girlfriend.

“Secrets of the Living Dolls” can be streamed on the Channel 4 website (UK only) along with two extra interviews. Shorter clips or the entire documentary is available on Youtube and other more or less legal streaming portals for viewers outside the UK.


+++ ATMA is Jane Arnison aka Jon Dark, member of the Berlin based band Kool Thing. The band is currently working on new songs for the follow-up to their wonderful self-titled debut, and all members will be releasing new material from their side-projects in the next few months. Jane does the start with a beautiful self-recorded and produced 5-track-EP “Remedy in Motion” entitled out Jan 28th via Mad Dog & Love. The lead single “Roses” is as athmosperic and longing as the whole record and can already be streamed and downloaded. If you like the vibe as much as I do you can already pre-order the whole thing it via Bandcamp.

+++ I discovered hip hop artist Jay Boogie through the latest issue of BDGRMMR magazine, which we posted about last Wednesday (click here or see below). I highly recommend his 7-track album/EP “Pretty Spitta”, which was released late December on Jay’s Bandcamp page is described as “The sound of struggle, beauty, pain. Sex, spiritualism, opulence and self-awareness.” I have nothing to add here, except for that you can stream the whole thing here, to buy it click on “download”:

+++ sean360x is based in Paris and does very jazzy, intimate soul music with a wonderfully releaxed, funky vibe and a the right amount of creative chaos. His song “je ne sais quoi (know not)” was released in November last year as part of on the EP “one” and now comes with a nice split-screen-heavy video, which according to the YouTube info text shows the artist “embracing the uncertainties of life for 3 years through ritual and symbolism in the jenga of Paris, Haiti, New Orleans, & Alphabet City”. Check it out:


via Sang Bleu

ExecutionWe’ve already introduced you to the agenda and the history of BAD GRAMMAR aka BDGRMMR in early 2013 in conjunction with a showcase of the zine at the queer pop-up book shop BGSQD. If you missed it check out the full story told by BDGRMMR editor Justin Allen here. The fourth BDGRMMR issue entitled “Execution” is now out and features an interview with MC Jay Boogie and an interview-based portrait of house artist Tigga Calore. The combination is especially interesting since both artists are based in New York City and grew up there, and both of them were influenced by the ballroom scene and share their perspective on it.

You can check out the “Execution” issue right here, for issues 1-3 please visit the BDGRMMR ISSUU page. I also highly recommend their tumblr.


Photographer Daisuke Nakashima, whose wonderful work we’ve already featured here in November 2011, has send us a another beautiful series of pictures taken in the past months. Most of them are part of a body of work entitled “fluorescence”, which explores surfaces and textures of different kinds – especially the human skin. For more of Daisuke’s work please visit his website. You also find a pretty recent video interview with him by VICE Japan on YouTube.

browngirlsburlesqueBrooklyn based collective Brown Girls Burlesque is looking for fundings to finance their activities in 2014. You have 10 days to help them reach their goal of raising 18.000$ to cover expenses for a new stage production like a producer, stage decor, salaries for the artists, travel expenses, marketing etc.. You can support the BGB now via Kickstarter. Below you find the campaign video as well as a second teaser videos, more of their work can be found on YouTube and Vimeo.

Kickstarter link

startseite“This 90-minutes long documen-tale tells a true story about a most unique friendship, about survival at the edge of society and about the final triumph over mishaps and obstacles that seemed to have one marked for a life in the shadows.

It follows a portion of the lives of 33-year-old Maroccaine-German Mourad and 48-year-old Dutch Antoine, two drag-performers, better known as CYBERSISSY and BAYBJANE, two otherworldly spirits, who light up the stages of the international party-circuit with their boundless creativity and their well calculated freakish-ness.”

In German cinemas since Thursday. For a list of the cinemas check out the film’s website.

I’m rarely intrigued by queer art. Because it usually just literally focusses on the subject or representation without references to art forms itself. But artist Tom de Pekin, who I just happened to find on web, seems to achieve a certain language, seemingly effortless, combining some contradictions from the history of painting. You might know his art from the poster for the film “Stranger by the Lake” (org. “L’inconnue Du Lac”) Honesty, sadness and vulnerability. Inspiring!

For more of Tom de Pekin’s art please visit his tumblr.



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“Should I Really Do It” by Berlin based director Ismail Necmi was released in 2008 and has been a success at film festivals around the world in 2009/2010. The film reflects on the life of its main protagonist Petra Woschniak, whose life changes drastically when her twin sister, who lives on the German countryside and is diagnosed with cancer, is not able to take care of herself anymore. Petra quits her flamboyant live style in Istanbul’s fashion scene and moves to a small town in the North of Germany. She reflects about this critical moment in her life in conversations with a pretty unconventional therapist called Herold.

The film, which mixes documentary scenes with reenacted and fictional scenes footage, is not necessarily queer-themed, but deals with the questions that arise when life concepts collide and death as a “hard fact” overwhelms an individual’s life. Since early December you can rent and buy “Should I Really Do It” on Vimeo.

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