On January 26 2011 Ugandan human rights activist David Kato, co-founder and advocacy officer of the organisation Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was murdered in his home – shortly after he had won a lawsuit against a tabloid newspaper called “Rolling Stone”. The magazine had published his name and photograph amongst the ones of another 99 supposedly gay people under the headline “Hang them”. Its makers were sentenced to pay 1.5 million Ugandan shillings plus court costs to Kato and the other injured persons in this case.
The activist, who had left Uganda in 1992 and after spending 6 years in South Africa came back to fight for sexual equality, was amongst the most visible opponents of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a draconian legislative proposal brought to Uganda’s parliament in 2009. 22-year-old Nsubuga Sydney, who was the prime suspect in the murder case, was sentenced to 30 years in jail in February 2011.
On Thursday, one year after his murder, more than 100 activists have paid tribute to Kato in his hometown Kampala. In honor and remembrance of his live and his achievements Jamaican LGBT and human rights activist Maurice Tomlinson will be the first person to receive the David Kato Vision & Voice award in London tomorrow.
Also, a new documentary entitled “Call Me Kuchu” pays tribute to the live and work of Kato and other Ugandan activists. The film project by US filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall was started in 2010, shortly after the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been introduced in Uganda’s Parliament. “Call Me Kuchu” will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, February 11 and will have two more screening dates, which you find on the films website. The directors are currently seeking for support on Kickstarter to professionally finish the movie before the premiere and start a campaign for it. The donations will also cover the flights and visas for one of the Ugandan LGBT activists featured in the film, so that he or she can join the film team in Berlin. In conjunction with the anniversary of Kato’s death the filmmakers have also just released a short film, which gives a first insight on their recordings of Kato. You can watch “The Will Say We Are Not Here” on the New York Times website.
Since April 12 Gallery VeneKlasen/Werner is showing production photographs shot during the shooting of Fassbinder’s last film “Querelle” in 1982. The pictures were taken by Roger Fritz, a photographer, producer and performer, who worked on the film set as an actor and production documentarian. They were published in a book called “Querelle – The Film Book”, which was put out in conjunction with the film release, the exhibition is the first time they are publicly shown in a gallery space.
The 119 photographs are presented in three long “hanging blocks”, each consisting of three lines of photographs – an egalitarianism that makes it kind of difficult to focus on a single picture and doesn’t really take account of the different qualities of the pictures and their compositions. At the same time the show as a whole is a nice reminder of the beauty of this movie and its wonderful color compositions, so stopping by when you’re around the area of Checkpoint Charlie is definitely worth it. The exhibition runs until February 25 and gives visitors also the possibility to see “Querelle” in a little cinema space, where it is shown daily at 14:00. The film is followed by the rare Fassbinder documentary “The Wizard of Babylon”, which not only includes behind-the-scenes footage from the Querelle set, but also Fassbinder’s final interview (he died in Paris in 1982, a few month before the film was released).
Here are some more of the presented photographs, you find more of them on the gallery’s website. All of them are courtesy VeneKlasen/Werner.
“It’s all about the American Dream… I had two obsessions when growing up; going to America which is where the flag came from, and Minotaurs. First I took the sharpness and the composition of the stars, I’ve been obsessed with them all my career, and secondly I used the Minotaurs, who are half bulls and half human beings, for the prints.” (Riccardo Tisci, Dazed Digital).
There are good reasons to believe that 2012 could become the year in which Wakefield Poole, one of the pioneers of (post-)porn cinema and the sexual revolution of the seventies, is celebrating another well-deserved comeback. The revival is due to filmmaker Jim Tushinski, who since 2007 has been working on a documentary about the ex-Broadway dancer and choreographer Poole, who in 1971 decided to start over and shot “Boys in the Sand”, a low-budget gay hardcore feature, which became an instant porn classic. Tushinski’s “Dirty Poole” is completely financed through private donations and according to the movie’s website and will premiere at a couple of festivals this spring. Here’s a teaser for the movie (which I liked a little more than the official trailer):
For a little taste of Poole’s work I recommend the “Clips” section on the “Dirty Poole” website, which contains remastered scenes from legendary Pooley films such as “Boys In The Sand” and the beautiful “Bijou” (see picture on top via Flickr/mixnycqueerfilm), as well as the trailer and some clips from his beautiful bible adaptation.
For my generation, Ball Culture is something known and experienced through “Paris is Burning”. The famous price winning documentary film portrays the people involved in the scene in the late 80s, the rules of it, but keeps the distance of the anthropologist’s eye.
By starting chronologically where the film ends, the picture book “Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-1992″, offers a different look on the phenomenon, by being temporally set when balls and voguing gains the attention of the mainstream. Madonna’s single “Vogue” hits the charts in 1990.
The book offers three types of photos: the formal studio portraits by Chantal Regnault in a papier glacé look can be seen today as documents for the relativ fame the protagonists of “Paris is Burning” reached, after they confessed in the film they wanted it so much. Journalistic photos taken at balls and casual-but-posed outdoor snapshots portraits gives a conterpoint, a more spontaneous mise-en-scène of the selves.
In addition to the pictures, interviews with protagonists done for the purpose of the book in the last two years gives an often nostalgic look backward. But most interesting is the introduction text by Tim Lawrence, who describes the late 80s Harlem ball scene as part of a 150 years old tradition.
“Voguing” is currently on discount, you can order it via Soul Jazz’ website, you also find more information about it there. Here are some more preview pictures (via Dummy, (c) Chantal Regnault)
+++ Berlin based Kool Thing (picture on top by Emma Haugh) has just released a beautiful free 3-track EP entitled “Light Games”. You can stream and download it here (new video to “Light Games” soon):
+++ The Magnetic Fields will release their new album “Bottom of the Sea” on March 6 via Merge Records. Here’s the stream of the album track and cute queer hymn “Andrew in Drag”:
+++ Check out new videos by Austra (“Spellwork“) and Trust (“Bulbform“), a side project of Austra drummer Maya Postepski +++
+++ Travis Egedy aka Pictureplane has just released a free remix album of his debut ”Thee Physical” from last year. The album entitled “Dimensional Rip 7″ can be streamed and downloaded via DIS magazine. Here’s the video to the Extreme Animals remix of “Body Mods”. It may sound familiar to you.
I’m happy to annouce that Aerea Negrot’s “It’s Lover, Love” is the winner of our third Catch Fire Music VideoAward. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who voted! The simple but beautiful clip was shot by Pablo Zuleta Zahr, a Chilean artist based in Berlin, who I’ve just interviewed in order to get some background information on the production and himself as an artist. Here’s what he wrote me.
UPDATE: Aerea has also send us a little statement to the song and the video as well as a picture of the shooting. You find both below.
Tell me a little bit about your background, you live in Berlin now, what do you do here and where are you from?
I was born and raised in Chile, and moved to Germany 1999 when I was 20. studied Art/Photography in Dusseldorf, and since 2001 I started coming to Berlin, until I finally moved here a bit later. Since then I had several exhibitions, mostly using video and photo as a medium.
How did you get in touch with Aerea?
Katrin, her manager, is a friend of mine. Katrin had told me they had a vague idea for a possible video, that somehow was related to a project I wanted to do in an old people’s home. Katrin though we could join forces for the shooting. We arranged a Skype conference and they send me the song and after listening to the track I got inspired and then brought up another idea. The initial idea I had for the track, was also one idea I though could work as an art collaboration in which maybe we could split material, I could use some scenes for the art context and others for the videoclip. But, as usual, that idea turned out to be too expensive. Instead of stressing ourselves, we gave ourselves 2 days of experimenting before going back to something that would cost money.
What would you say was the basic idea for the video?
Since the original idea was too expensive, the next plan was to meet, dress up, talk, drink coffee and try things out. We had shared some personal stories before the first day of experimenting, and there was this idea we wanted to try out in a graveyard. That curiosity lead us to the final idea of using the water surface of a basin In the graveyard. Somehow the energy of the place is still there although u cant really see any tomb or anything. My was to do a one shot/ no cut video that would show Danielle performing in front of the water that would reflect her movements with the sky in the background.