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Archive: Amos Mac


Yes, hip hop has seen a queer revolution in the last two years, and it was pretty exciting to see it happen. But unfortunately this shift had no actual effects on the gender balance in the hip hop business. It feels more like the opposite – while hip hop music performend by women was pretty successful in the late 90s/early 2000s with artists like Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Eve or Foxy Brown, it is nearly invisible in today’s mainstream hip hop. But of course it’s not like there are no great female MCs out there. How big the gap is I realized when I started researching music for my DJ evenings at the Berlin based SISSY party, where only female hip hop and R’n B is played. Before the first gigs I actually believed that it would be a tough job find enough music by female artists to fill a 2-hours set. But I just needed to do my homework to find out how many amazing artists are there and how ignorant I have been, especially as someone who believes to have a feminist mindset.

It is really not my aim to re-establish the term “female hip hop” with the following list or claim that there is a new female movement, this is something my music journalist colleagues would do. But I really want to share the experience I made in the last few weeks, because it has changed my perception of what contemporary hip hop is like. Some of you might already know the following artists, because many of them have been around for a while. Please feel free to use the comment section to extend this list. For others I hope this list can be an inspiration to dig a little deeper and reconsider their hip hop listening habits. And happy International Women’s Day by the way.


1. Junglepussy

Brooklyn based rapper Junglepussy is definitely one of the most exciting female MCs at the moment. Her style is weird, sexy and suberversive, her rhymes are bold and straight-in-your-face, her beats are as dark, hypnotic and might remind you of NYC rapper LE1F, who also works with with producer Shy Guy. After releasing two videos in 2013 and opening for Lil Kim at the WestGay party in June 2013, Junglepussy just recently has announced a debut album Satisfaction Guaranteed, which will released this month. Check out her Soundcloud page for the laid-back title track of the new record.


2. Brianna

22-year old Brianna Perry from Miami has started her rap career at the age of 10, when rapper Trina featured here on the track “Kandi” from her 2002 album Diamond Princess. This caught the attention of Missy Elliot, who signed her to her label “The Goldmind Inc” and invited her to support her on tour. But due to “creative differences” Brianna resigned from her contract and since then has regularly been releasing free mixtapes, which are all still availale online. I especially recommend Symphony No. 9 from 2012 and Face Off from 2011. Her debut album Girl Talk is still TBC.

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Photographer and Original Plumbing maker Amos Mac has sent us a collection of beautiful pictures from a photo shoot with New York City based writer, visual artist and performance artist Stephen Boyer, one of the co-founders of the The People’s Library and editor of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology. Stephen has just recently released his debut novel Parasite, which was published by Publication Studies in January and tells the story of a young boy, who runs away from home and becomes a sex worker in San Francisco. You can get a first impression of the book and its author by watching this recording of a reading Steven did at the St Marks Bookstore earlier this year.
The photos of Steven were taken at his home in Chelsea, where he lives in the basement of the former house of Geraldine Page and her husband and partner Rip Torn. The place is today occumpied by Page 22, an arts space managed by Page’s son Tony Torn. All pictures are courtesy Amos Mac.

Sir New York is a young high-end-streetwear/ sportswear label with a twist founded by Brooklyn based designer Auston Bjorkman, a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Bjorkman, who has also studied Patternmaking, Couture Sewing and Fashion Design in San Francisco and used to design fetish and leather gear for Mr. S Leather, describes the label’s latest collection as inspired by “dying glaciers” (<3), while combining print with different techniques and materials such as natural and technical fibers and neoprene.
The pictures of the collection I posted below were shot by photographer and Original Plumbing editor Amos Mac, who has featured the designer in the zine’s fashion issue (#5,) in 2010. The complete shooting can be found on Facebook, for an alternative version focussed on model Shaun Ross and all other Sir NY collections visit the label’s website. All pictures (c) Sir NY / Amos Mac.

Amos Mac and Rocco Katastrophe, the founders and editors of the Brooklyn based trans male culture magazine Original Plumbing, have big plans for 2013 – and I’m not talking about the flashy 2.0 edition of their “Original” snapback that they’re selling online right now (see picture to the left by Amos with model Neon Ladosha). The duo has just launched a crowd-funding campaign to revive and extend the magazine’s website, which they’ve turned into a regularly updated web zine and online community platform for trans male culture over the past two years. With the growing amount of blogs posts and articles by great contributors or video projects such as the “Talk About It” campaign the site has now reached a point where according to its makers it not only needs a new coat of paint, but has to be rebuild and restructured from scratch + needs new editors to maintain it. Furthermore, Amos and Rocco are planning to extend the website into a platform that is able to represent the trans* community in its entirety, which would make it even more important than it already is. The relaunch is scheduled for April.

If you want to support this ambitious make-over project please donate generously via Indiegogo and you will be rewarded with great thank you gifts such as one-month free access to queer/trans* related video portals, collectable stickers of pop icons, the sold-out 1st edition of OP, handmade shirts & bags, a personal dance lesson by Jessica 6 choreographer Georgia Maxine Sanford or a private dinner with the OP makers. And if all of this doesn’t convince you, I’m pretty sure this official campaign video will:

-> Donate here!

Over the past few years Brooklyn based photographer, publisher and writer Amos Mac (picture by Elisa Shea) has been doing an amazing job in documenting and pushing forward queer and trans* culture in the US and worldwide. I’ve already posted about Amos’ work as the founder and editor of the wonderful trans guys magazine Original Plumbing and his new Translady Fanzine, this time I want to focus on his colorful and powerful portraits of queer, trans* and gender non-conforming artists, performers and musicians, such as OPM co-founder Rocco Katrastrophe, Cody Critcheloe aka Ssion, the House of Ladosha Crew, Hunx or Black Cracker.
The pictures shown here are only a collection of personal favorites taken from the photographer’s website and his tumblr, where you find many more facets of his work. The one on top of the gallery, a portrait of Cunty Crawford Ladosha, was just recently shown at the exhibition Testimony: A Living Exhibition Of Queer Youth at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. Amos’ latest project is a video campaign entitled “Talk About It”, which seeks to adress adult suicide in the queer community and strengthen the trans community from within.

Cunty Crawford Ladosha by Amos Mac, 2012

Cunty Crawford Ladosha, 2012

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Fashion has always been a genre New York based artist K8 Hardy both likes to passionately criticize for its commercialism and elitism, while and at the same time tries to reinvent and develop using her own DIY approach to manipulate it as a way of expressing individualism. After publishing four issues of a zine entitled FashionFashion between 2004 and 2008 and and creating her own fashion collection (“J’APPROVE“) in collaboration with JF and Son in 2010, Hardy just recently presented another artistic attempt to subvert the fashion business: On May 20 she staged a runway show as a contribution to the Whitney Biennial, which both deconstructed the rules of the catwalk, while at the same time opened up the ritual to new forms by using cheap material like clothes from thrift stores and letting the models walk in slow motion sideways, backwards, and in their own freestyle. The set of the show was designed by Oscar Tuazon, another Biennial artist. “I wanted to do a fashion show so that we can look at fashion in a different context outside of commercialism and outside of the marketing that’s usually associated with a fashion show,” Hardy said in an interview with (sic!) ELLE. “I wanted to make a statement with the looks of a more democratic expression outside of luxury.” Here’s a collection of pictures + an embeddable slideshow and a blurry video of the show, found on Amos Mac’s tumblr, New York Magazine online (by Bek Andersen), Art in America (slightshow) and on the artist’s YouTube page (video).

K8 Hardy's "Untitled Fashion Show" by Bek_Andersen

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Artist Zackary Drucker is currently finishing an experimental short movie project in collaboration with film maker Rhys Ernst and has now brought it to Kickstarter got raise money for the remaining production and post-production expenses. “She Gone Rogue” will premiere at the first Los Angeles biennial at the Hammer Museum and was shot at locations in Berlin, New York City, Los Angeles, the Mojave Desert and Crystal Lake, Pennsylvania, featuring appearances by legendary queer performers such as Holly Woodlawn, Vaginal Davis (who will also both be part of the Camp/Anti-Camp event in Berlin later this month) and Flawless Sabrina. Here comes the very entertaining trailer to this very promising looking project. You can donate here.

For even more Drucker you should get yourself the first issue of Translady Fanzine, a collaboration with photographer, performer and and co-founder of Original Plumbing magazine Amos Mac, which was published in an edition of 1.000 copies last year and is still available on the zine’s website and in a couple of bookshops in Europe and the US.

You find more pictures from the zine under this article about it in the Huffington Post. The picture on top is from the series “Home is Where the Heart is; Home is Where You Hang Your Heart,” from 2011, (c) Luis de Jesus Gallery, L.A.

My blog neighbour Johnny Murdoc has recently published an essay called “Queer Print: Keep The Counterculture Coming“. For his text which introduces the reader to the flourishing gay/queer zine culture he has interviewed three guys running their own zines: Christopher Schulz (Pinups Magazine), Darren Ankenbaur (Handbook) and Amos Mac (Original Plumbing). These interviews will be published in the following days in their complete length on Johnny Mordocs blog. The feature with Christopher Schulz (the guy on the picture above) is already online, check it out here. Thanks, Johnny!

UPDATE: Click here for the interview with Darren Ankenbauer.

UPDATE II: Amos Mac here.