Skip to content.



“For me, queer means radiant darkness, radical love, and a million and one ways to resist and decolonize. Queer is imbued with deep spirituality and sweetness.”

edward_ndopu

Edward (Eddie) Ndopu is a dis/abled queer Afro-politan activist, writer, community organizer and scholar based in Ottawa, Ontario. His work is focussed on topics such as disability justice, queer subjectivities, trans embodiment, black consciousness and anti-colonialism. He first caught my attention with his article “On Azealia Banks and White Gay Cis Male Privilege” (published on the Crunk Feminist Collective blog earlier this year) in which he critically analyzed the power dynamics of the Twitter battle between Azealia Banks and Perez Hilton. To get to know his work better I further recommend:

You can also follow him on Twitter and check out his web presentation “Re-imagining Resistance: Deconstructing Disability Oppression within Social Justice Work” + his video comment on female representation in media to the Represent. project.

<queerocracyThe latest episode of the queer web documentary series Signified features the work of the New York City based queer activist group Queerocracy, which fights agains the criminalization and stigmatization of HIV/Aids. Learn more about the work of Queerocracy on their website, they are also on tumblrFacebook and Twitter.

http://queerocracy.org
http://thisissignified.com

Gay_pride_st_Petersburg

By prosecuting Russian LGTBI organizations under the new “foreign agent law” and with the recent introduction of a Russia-wide law that bans “propaganda of homosexualism”, the Russian goverment has not only made clear that it perceives the country’s queer community as one of its biggest enemies. It has also created an even stronger anti-gay and anti-trans climate in the country by giving homo- and transphobia a legal fundament, which especially hits younger queers and queers that aren’t part of a helping community hard.
I personally don’t believe in stuff like Vodka boycotts or political pressure in conjunction with Olympia 2014 as ways to change the political situation in the country – I have a feeling that these kinds of actions might target the wrong people. I’m also kind of fed up with all the petitions that reach me every day, I have a hard time believing that they will really change the mind of the people they’re addressing.

In my opinion the only way to help the Russian LGTBI community from outside the country and to enable Russian queers to still be able to raise their voice is to support their organizations and the individuals who run them directly. Financially.
Two Russian NGOs especially currently need a lot of money: Coming Out St. Petersburg and the Russian LGTB Network, both based in St. Petersburg. Coming Out especially needs financial support because they just recently have been found “guilty” before a court in St. Petersburg of operating as a “foreign agent” and were fined 500.000 rubles (which is around 15.000 dollars/12.500 Euro). They are now collecting money on their website to pay the fine, the account details can be found here (the link on the website is unforunately broke). To find out more anout this case you can read an interview I did with the organisation’s head of communications on the website of the German Heinrich Böll Foundation.

UPDATE (July 27): Coming Out have announced on Facebook that they have managed to raise enough funds to cover the fines.  

The Russian LGTB Network also faces the thread of being sued under the same law, so they are already collecting money for this likely case. On their Facebook site they also state that donated money will be used to provide activists with judicial aid at court and to keep the organization running. Their acount details aren’t published online, but you can write them an email (fin.manager@lgbtnet.ru) and they will send it to you.

If you don’t have the financial resources to donate right now you can also help in other ways: In another Facebook posting the Russian LGTB Network has made just recently, they emphasize that they also appreciate all sorts of supporting letters and videos:

“Letters of support are also always welcome! Especially when thinking about our activists, some of which are very young, lively and warm letters and video greetings would do wonders. We can share your greetings to our regional divisions and other LGBT organisations in Russia! Especially all video greetings that are easy to forward to the activists and ordinary Russian gays are needed. If possible, please translate the letters and subtitles in Russian.”

They are also looking for people who send them articles and videos from abroad, in which the organisation and its chairperson Igor Kochetkov are mentioned, because they are not able to keep track of everything and in all languages.

Both organizations are really doing a good job in regularly posting the latest news on their websites and Facebook sites. It’s the best alternative to the sensationalist and sometimes degrading stuff especially “Western” newspapers and blogs are publishing on the web right now.

www.lgbtnet.ru
www.comingoutspb.ru

Picture on top: Activist at the gay pride in St. Petersburg, Photo: Alliance of Straights for LGBT Equality / Coming Out St. Petersburg

Von_Haze_Conduct

+++ Alexis Penney will release her debut album Window next month on my new favorite music label Ecstasy. “Praying for Rain” is a first promising leak from the record and like most of the other songs of it was co-produced by Teengirl Fantasy‘s Nick Weiss and Jamie Crewe aka Poisonous Relationship. You can stream and download it here:

+++ Berlin based artist rRoxymore, who you might know from the split single “Patriarchy over & out” she released with Planningtotorock last year, is about to release her first EP Precarious/Precious next month. The promising track “”FltNordf” gives a first taste of the four-track record, which will be out via Planningtorocks’ Human Level label. I hope that the whole EP is as groovy and deep as this:

+++ Beirut based Mashrou’ Leila (Arabic: مشروع ليلى‎), which has turned into one of my favorite bands ever over the last months and whose singer Hamed Sinno I’ve quoted here a couple of weeks ago, is currently funding money on the crowdfunding platform Zoomaal to turn their third album “Raasuk” into “the biggest Arab release yet”. If you wanna know more about the project and support this wonderful band check out this link and the video behind it.

+++ The hot mess below is the video for “Conduct Your Touch” by Brookly based duo Von Haze. The clip (still on top) was their directed by Todd Pendu and is starring the beautiful Andre Johnson aka Andre J (picture on top). The song can be found on their Kar Dee Akk Ake EP (out via Pendu Sound).

Daniel Kupferberg, Extended Loop, 2008

Daniel Kupferberg’s show <Antenne> is a good opportunity to get in touch with his ‘new & less new’ work. And to visit Another Vacant Space for the opening thursday evening.
Daniel is a visual artist and friend in a broader sense. His work seems kind of artsy at first sight (in a first half of the 20th century way) and I like to point out its potential openness, categories everyone can relate to: a body in space, structural positioning of a subject in its society, you in a temporary configuration of space. As it is quite easy to criticize this ‘neutral’ constellation as whiteuromalericanstraight I rather would not go for the identity of the artists here than for their gesture the works imply. The sculpture <Loop> exampifies this – provisional bolted boards form a loop, accessing and redefining a space _and_ measuring the space radius of the artist’s and the viewers body. The gesture isn’t overwhelming, it’s not about following the artist’s intention. It is rather about capturing variety and fragility, about the state of potentiality which offers realization without excluding <you>.

Another Vacant Space, Biesentalerstraße 16, 13359

open thu – sun, 14 – 19 h, until 18.08.2013.

1062482_10201353028817301_118150031_n

Tonight is the launch of berlin-based Übergang magazine, a print and online polysexual publication that covers contemporary culture through facts and fiction. The first issue has ‘Kotti’ as a theme and will include essays, poetry, short stories, interviews and art in German and English; some raunchier than others.

The event is free and takes place at Südblock from 9pm!

Facebook event

uebergang-mag.de

cakes-trans

Catch Fire was one of the earliest supporters of NYC rapper Cakes Da Killa, long before trend-hungry sites started #ing “queer hip-hop”. Two years and one flamboisterous mixtape later, Cakes is bringing his rapid-fire rhymes on tour to Europe, and Expatriarch is presenting the Berlin stop, with an equally sweet-but-deadly DJ lineup: Sick Girls, Lōtic and Bearcat. Check the full tour dates below.

MORE >>>

TransParent_Kenny_Corbin

In November 2011, Shelley “Treasure” Hilliard, a 19-year-old trans girl from Detroit, was brutally murdered. A new film project directed by feminist writer and filmmaker dream hampton entitled TransParent – A Story of Loss in a Community Misunderstood now takes a closer look at the still unsolved case, portraying both the individuals behind it and the community in which it took place. A huge part of the project produced by Detroid based poet and queer activist T Miller will be dedicated to Treasure’s mother, who still tries to deal with with the unimaginable loss and shares her own story and the story of her daughter in front of the camera.
hampton, who has had a long career as a successful writer and essayist about hip hop (she was the first female editor at The Source and co-wrote Jay-Z‘s autobiography Decoded) has announced on her tumblr last year that she is “done with hip hop” because of its misogyny. The TransParent project shows that she now focusses more one the perspective of those marginalized by patriarchical structures than on “the power itself” – which is something she just recently did in a very brilliant way with her beautiful video for THEEsatisfaction’s Queens released last year. To support the film project please watch the trailer below and donate on the TransParent Kickstarter page. The campain runs until July 31. Photo on top by Kenny Corbin.

http://transparentthemovie.tumblr.com

contessasmall

Directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, featuring House of Ladosha‘s Juliana Huxtable and Adam Radakovich, Tigga Calore, Cole Mohr, Contessa Stuto, Honor Titus, Leigh Mason, Tommy Malekoff, Nigel Zesus, and Melissa Burns. New album out in September. Download a free Gobby remix of “Candy” via Dummy.com.

www.nobra.co.uk

Abdu_Ali

“January 2012 I woke up and had an epiphany.” Baltimore-based vocalist Abdu Ali describes the moment his interest in writing poetry transitioned into one for making songs. The University of Baltimore English major originally garnered popularity for his culture blog Eat on This, started in February 2010. Now a year and a half into music making (his first EP Invictos was released last December), Ali is preparing to release his new EP, Push + Slay, with performances in both his home city and New York serving as momentum.

At his performance last week at Culturefix bar and gallery in the Lower East Side, he entered the space in a sun hat, floral print sun dress, pastel leggings and pair of basketball sneakers. “When I was younger I was so deep in the church, and a lot of my musical performances with the shouting come from being obsessed with the choir and the preacher,” he tells me. His music is a hybrid art—an intermingling of feminine and masculine, reality and fantasy, religion and politics. “So at this fuckin’ party I see the world staring at me,” he opens his newest track “TOLD ‘EM [PIGGLY WIGZ]” (stream + download below). His hat falling off halfway through his set in a frenzy of jumping and sweat, the audience could hardly look away.

When you write lyrics, do you approach them as a poem or a song?

That’s how I first started. I would write poems and then think, this could be a song, too. As I got more and more into music I had
to adapt to structure. It’s funny because at the beginning of last year I started thinking about verses, bars and going by the typical structure. But lately I’ve been getting back to how I used to be. Fuck that structure, I’m just gonna do me and be organic and write how I feel. If I don’t want to repeat a chorus again, I don’t. If I don’t want to write sixteen bars, I don’t.

Do you always have producers make beats for you, or do you ever make any of your own beats?

I’m debating about getting into more beat making, but I actually like being the writer working with a producer. It makes it more special—you just vibe out and you create things. I feel like I know my place and I know what I’m good at, so that’s how I approach it. MORE >>>

Pohnert Habitat One (still 1)

The exhibit of Habitat One, a video painting diptych by Alexander Pohnert, proved a rich experience to savor with repeated viewings. This artist is exploring the opposites of unity and separateness; expressing it through the visuals, the subject matter, and deeper references to medical science and queer culture.

I related Pohnert primarily with performance art. However, he has been revisiting video (examples of past work) as a medium. This exhibit, Habitat One, was located at SHIFT; a concept and art space an Köpenicker Str. 70 here in Berlin. The porcelain tile and whiteness of the space was perfect for his installation.

He choose two flying subjects, a bat and a flock of birds, to represent the concepts of separateness and unity. The bat represents the solitary subject. While bats do often roost in groups, when darkness comes, they tend to fly off alone in search of insects as food. Pohnert visited a forest at night with a chiropterologist, a bat researcher, to study and track a bat. They used an ultrasound device to transpose down the inaudible radar clicks bats use for sight and location of their prey.

You can hear these sounds alongside others in the soundscape that Philip Marshall created in collaboration. Marshall is the driving force of the cassette-only label, The Tapeworm. A graphic designer by training, he is also a self-taught sound creator. Pohnert previously met Marshall and knew the two would eventually collaborate. ”Give me a riddle, I like to solve it,” said Marshall to me. That was part of his impetus in Habitat One. He riddled and then created a soundscape which included field recordings of bats and birds, samples of pianos, and generous manipulation of the waveform itself. Marshall commented that he enjoyed the creativity and freedom Pohnert granted him.

Alongside these bat field recordings, is the video Pohnert captured of their search at night. Tracking a bat is not easy. Only with an ultrasound device could they seek and track a bat by listening to the radar click’s intensity and frequency. This sound faded in and out as they chased the bat in the darkness. The video painting you see captures this frenzy of almost useless activity; of motion and desperation to find a solitary bat. Yet, there is beauty in the video of blurred forest plants seen only in the concentrated light of a flashlight; shadows of limbs – people and trees. MORE >>>

Audre Winterfeldmarkt j

In 1995 the Berlin Film Festival premiered the documentary A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde by filmmakers Ada Gray Griffin and Michelle Parkerson. The film is a portrait of poet and feminist activist Audre Lorde, who shaped both the women’s movement, the Black liberation movement and the LGTB movement of the 70s and 80s by making the links between them visible and fighting for the recognition of the differences between the marginalized. In her work the lesbian woman and mother of two children dealt with the intersections of discrimination and oppression in Western societies, especially by giving black women and women of color a strong and passionate voice, seeking to empower them and building new communities and secure spaces.
berlin_lunchHow this happend on a very practical level and how much Lorde’s work is still relevant and important today is made visible in the new documentary Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by filmmaker and activist Dagmar Schultz. The film premiered at last year’s Berlinale and assembles video- and audio recordings and footage of Lorde’s various stays in Berlin, where she worked as a guest professor at the John F. Kennedy institute for North American. It is one of the lesser known chapters of her life. The recordings and interviews with friends and colleagues reveal, on how many different levels Lorde left her footprints here – be it by empowering German black women and women of color to build their own community, or by addressing racism and structures of exclusion within the German women’s movement and the German society as a whole (especially after the racist attacks after the wall came down).
The Berlin Years is really worth watching, especially at a time where the question of intersectional discrimination and the post-colonial heritage of Western societies is more virulent than ever, both in the academic field and in political activism. The documentary is out on DVD with a distribution in German (via Edition Salzgeber) and North America. More more details check out www.audrelorde-theberlinyears.com.

More posts: