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Archive: Dirty Looks NYC



It’s no secret – I love Christmas. The snow (should we be so lucky), the lights, warm alcoholic beverages, pine scents, tolerable members of your family. Should there be such a thing.

Evans_Bradford_Red_LightChristmas is about tradition, a precarious sentiment when you’re a queer in a season synonymous with Macy’s, normative family values and corporate capitalism. Should we embrace the holidays or deride them, forging new territory with a separatist’s zeal? I’ve always opted for the former. Sorry. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the normative.

So in the spirit of juggling the conventional with the peculiar, naff or unlikely, I’ve assembled a pedigree of my favorite “Christmas classics” for your seasonal enjoyment, ranging from the obvious (Mimi) to the self promotional (me) in what is, for the most part, an unironic playlist.

1. The Christmas Song – Peggy Lee

This is perhaps the most traditional tune here. Recorded in 1960, it really spins the sensation of warmth and coziness found in suburban fortitude, which was the way of the era.

2. Santa Baby – Kylie Minogue

A few years back, when Kylie was trying to break into the American market for a zillionth time, she thought that the best route was to light up that Rockefeller tree and put out a holiday “EP” (2 songs) – though this recording had been floating around for years. Gotta love this budget video. Is that Kylie or Amanda? We’ll never know…

3. Frosty the Snowman – Cocteau Twins

Christmas Classic. Next.

4. It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys

This was a nail in the coffin of the Boys 27 year record contract with Parlaphone. Instead of releasing “All Over The World” as the lead single to their 2009 “Yes,” the label was like, “let’s slow the song down, throw on some french horns and toss out a christmas EP.” So they dusted off this track, which was once but a 90s fanclub Christmas card trifle, for what became the Boys’ poorest charting release to date. Watch out for the dancing Christmas trees near the song’s crescendo.

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I’m not a big christmas fan, and I assume that most of you out there aren’t either, but this sounds like fun: Bradford Nordeen, curator of the queer screening series Dirty Looks NYC has co-organized a very special christmas special entitled ”Mary Boom! Christmas Special” for the upcoming Saturday, December 15. The revue style event hosted by his drag Persona Mary Boom and inspired by classic Christmas Specials like “RuPaul’s Christmas Ball,” “Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special,” “The Divine David Presents…,” and “The Kate Bush Christmas Special”, will feature a nice line-up of downtown NYC artists, performers and living legends such as Justin Vivian Bond, Dynasty Handbag, Geo Wyeth, Nicholas Gorham, the Kate Bush Dance Troupe, Nicholas Buffon and Jennifer Blowdryer. The evening will also serve as the launch for the video of Mary’s debut single “White Christmas!” directed by Josef Kraska (aka performance artist Narcissister) and co-starring Colin Self and Monica Yi you can see parts of the clip in this teaser, watch it right here:
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25 years ago writer Sarah Schulman and filmmaker Jim Hubbard (“United in Anger”) started MIX NYC, a festival for experimental queer films, showing movies that were neither shown at gay film festivals nor in museums. Since back then, MIX NYC has become one of the most important platforms (if not the most important platform) for experimental movies of queer and trans* artists and has motivated artists and film fans around the world to start their own version of the event. MIX has also become famous for its unique way of presenting its movies in special environments and in combination with arts installations and performances.

The 25th edition of the festival will take place at a venue in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn in a 17,000 square foot warehouse, which was redesigned from scratch (accoding to the MIX Facebook page the theme for this year’s venue transformation “involves cocooning and hammocks”, which sounds like fun). Like ever year MIX will feature both excting short screenings dealing with various subjects (my personal favorite is “Exploding Lineage!”, a program showing “queer of color histories in experimental film” curated by Queer Rebels Productions, trailer here), as well as feature movies like the Fifth Column documentary “She Said Boom”Cheryl Dunye’s “Mommy Is Coming” or “Desaliniados”, a three-way romance by Argentinian director Pablo Oliverio. In conjunction with its 25th anniversary the festival will also take a look back and show important milestone in queer avant-garde film from the last 25 years, curated in collaboration with the makers of the queer screening series Dirty Looks NYC.

The MIX 25 opening night entitled “You Can Have It All” (trailer above) will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 13, and will feature a special appearance by performance artist Jess Dobkin. For the complete festival program please check out the MIX website and/or follow MIX on Facebook.
A special note to all New Yorkers: The festival is still looking for all kinds of volunteers to make it happen -> check out this Facebook site for more information or sign up here rightaway.

Today is the official opening night of Dirty Looks: On Location, a month-long series of queer interventions in New York City spaces, which was successfully funded via Kickstarter about a month ago. Throughout the whole month of July, film and video works of queer artists will be installed in former queer locations around the city - 31 events over 31 days. The line-up, which is now out, is pretty amazing, combining rarely screened gems by heroes such as AA Bronson, Mike Kuchar, William E. Jones, Charles Atlas, Jack Smith or Marlon Riggs with contributions by emerging queer artists such as Kalup Linzy or Heather Cassils. For the whole program please visit the On Location website or download the a map will a full calendar right here. The event will start today at Participant Inc. with a performance entitled “Unauthorized Interviews”, a live re-enactment of an interview between Jane Pauley, Steve Rubell, Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli, embodied by Tara Mateik, K8 Hardy and friends (see picture on top).
Here’s also another one of the “location portrait” videos that were made in conjunction with the event and that reveal the history of former queer spaces:

The makers of New York City’s successful queer monthly screening series Dirty Looks are currently preparing a very exiting and ambitious new festival, that will take place throughout July and seeks to celebrate the historical roots of the city’s vibrant queer scene by rediscovering forgotten queer sites and venues. Dirty Looks: On Location is planned as a month-long series of interventions in New York City spaces: Films and video works selected by a group of curators will be installed in former queer spaces like shuttered bars, bathhouses or cruising spaces, one piece will be presented in a different location every night throughout July.

You can currently support the festival and its organizers by donating via Kickstarter through June 2, 2012 (official video on top). Donators receive awesome thank-you gifts, such as an exclusive Mike Kuchar poster, a postcard-book with all the venues, shirts designed by Curt McDowell and Luther Price or and beautiful works by a whole bunch of contempory artists such as Adam Shecter, Jonathan VanDyke, Dani Leventhal, A.L. Steiner, Gary Indiana, Gavin Lambert, Michelle Handelman or Liz Magic Laser.

UPDATE (2 June 2012): The project was successfully funded!

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