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Basquiat Basks Again

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Photos: Sean Keenan, Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Tom Powel Imaging, Copyright Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Courtesy The Brant Foundation

The Brant Foundation Will celebrate the inauguration of its new space in New York City’s East Village with a large-scale solo exhibition of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat that fully presents the scope of the enigmatic artist and showcases the incredible exhibition space at the same time.

Located at 421 East 6th Street, the new Brant Foundation exhibition space occupies a century-old building originally designed as a substation for Consolidated Edison. The building subsequently served as the home and studio of famed artist Walter De Maria from the mid-1980s until his death in 2013.

Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Tang Architects was in charge of the massive renovation of the building and transformed the 16,000-square-foot former substation building to accommodate 7,000 square feet of exhibition space across four open floors. The transformation also enveloped the outer space, so two new gardens adorn the adjacent structure, as well as a landscaped roof terrace.

The inaugural exhibition of Basquiat’s most important artworks has been organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton and curated by Dr. Dieter Buchhart. The exhibition will bring together Basquiat’s masterworks from the Brant Collections as well as from international museums and private collections. “The retrospective will show Basquiat as a resolutely contemporary artist who created a foretaste of our Internet society by using cut-and-paste sampling from his surroundings,” says Dr. Buchhart about the choice of Basquiat for the first show, and continues: “with the astonishing radicalness of his artistic practice, Basquiat renewed the concept of art with enduring impact.”

The Brant Foundation is pleased to premiere some of the most important works from the Brant Collection, which have been amassed since the 1980s by Peter M. Brant. This important compendium of Basquiat’s works reconnects the East Village to one of its most significant past figures. As Brant describes it: “Basquiat has been a cornerstone of the East Village art scene for decades, and to bring his work back to the neighborhood that inspired it is a great privilege. Our family is thrilled to launch The Brant Foundation’s New York space with an artist who is central to the collection, and above all to share his legacy with the community that was fundamental in shaping it.”

Spanning the artist’s entire oeuvre with works from The Brant Collections as well as several international museums and private collections, it illustrates Basquiat’s prolific yet brief career and broad range of subjects, especially his keen observations of his contemporary world while giving insight into his politics, heroes, influences, and singularity of vision.

Gluckman Tang Architects (previously Gluckman Mayner Architects) is the New York City architecture firm that in 2007 the firm designed the renovation of a former cold-storage barn in Greenwich, Connecticut, transforming it into The Brant Foundation Art Study Center. Studio Cicetti Architect of Brooklyn, New York, is the owner’s representative for the East Village building, and Melissa Cicetti, who previously worked at Gluckman Mayner Architects on the The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, continues to oversee work at the building in Greenwich. The New York landscape design firm Madison Cox Associates, designed the two gardens that flank the new East Village exhibition facility, as well as the roof terrace.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT | The inaugural exhibition of The Brant Foundation’s New York Space
March 6 – May 15, 2019
The Brant Foundation | 421 East 6th Street | New York, NY 10009
BrantFoundation.org

 

 

 

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Photographer: Ken Weingart

Groomer: Paige Davenport for Exclusive Artists using Laura Mercier and R+Co

Stills Courtesy of Heart, Baby

 

For the role as the trans woman Crystal, actor Shawn-Caulin Young, a cisgendered, gay man, immersed himself in the trans experience by representing as a trans woman for six months. Goliath’s Mikkel Hyldebrandt spoke to the actor about the world of make-believe, the power of a love story, unlikely bonds, the trans experience, and the imminent need to support the trans community.

Growing up as the youngest of four in a double-wide trailer in the desert outskirt of Farmington, New Mexico with hard-working, middle-class parents, Shawn-Caulin Young always knew he was different. With that knowledge he turned to the land of make-believe instead and spent most of his childhood daydreaming he was someone else.

Surrounded by toxic masculinity, he was relentlessly bullied for what was considered feminine traits, like his sensibility and hyper-awareness of his surroundings, and because he wasn’t into sports like the other boys, he was teased and labeled f****t because he would hang out with girls without dating them. So, Shawn would erase his true self and depended on his talent for pretending to be like the other guys in order to survive.

It wasn’t until high school that Shawn learned that he could embrace his survival trait as a gift and a talent, and he used it to feel significant in the world. In a way, his pretending switched to being acting, and that’s when he knew what career path he wanted to pursue – making a living as a storyteller.

After graduating with a BFA in acting from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, he moved to New York City and quickly landed his first film, and his career as an actor took off.

Now, he plays Crystal in the film “Heart, Baby” about the unlikely prison romance between a trans woman and a boxing champ. To fully immerse himself into the role, Shawn lived as a trans woman for six months, and once again turned to the world of make-believe to experience how living and presenting as your true self can be a matter of survival.

 

‘Heart, Baby!’ is about the unlikely prison romance between a transwoman and a boxing champ. How did you come across this story?

A few years back, writer and director Angela Shelton spoke at the 140 Conference in New York where she met Andy “Doc” Dixon. They quickly bonded and became fast friends. Doc was in prison with George, and the two had been best friends since childhood. A few months later, over some wine, Doc told Angela the story of George and his transgender cellmate Crystal. By the time he was finished, he and Angela were crying, his wife crying, even the dogs were crying! Angela told Doc this needs to be a movie. He agreed, saying only she could do it. Angela began to research and craft the remarkable love story of George and Crystal, and in the summer of 2015, she sent me the script for Heart, Baby!

 

What drew you to this story?

Crystal. She was a remarkable human being. I was fascinated by her innate ability to love beyond her given circumstance. Crystal was an Evangelical transgender woman who found the freedom to be herself inside the confines of a men’s prison! She was a devout believer in Christ who could quote the Bible three ways from Sunday while turning the fiercest look. She was beautiful and complex. Unfortunately, she was literally erased by her family. They concocted false drug charges and locked her away under a fake name to protect the family’s reputation. Despite this, Crystal was filled with love and loyalty to those around her. Crystal’s story is the heart and soul of the film. That being said, there are so many elements of Heart, Baby! that apply to today’s world. It’s not very often that you come across a story that is filled with such heart. When I read the script for the first time, I couldn’t believe it was true. How could an epic love story like this not be known? I couldn’t put it down. I read it three times in a row because I was so moved by their love. I knew I had to do whatever I could to help bring their love to the big screen.

 

What is it about the unlikely bond between a trans woman and boxing champ that is so powerful?

I’ll be the first to admit that their bond makes no sense, on paper. They were polar opposites. I think what makes this story so powerful is that these two human beings were able to find love in such a hopeless place. It shows the depths of the power of love. It was the 80s. This was a time where people could barely understand the concept of transgender, let alone accept it. Throw in the fact they were of different races and religious beliefs and their story becomes even more compelling. The idea that a straight, African-American man fell in love with a white, Evangelical, transgender woman and gave up his chance at freedom to protect her blows my mind. It’s one of the greatest examples of love of which I’ve ever heard. You can’t make love like this up! It transcends time and space. For me, it’s biblical.

 

In preparation for the role as Crystal, you decided to live as a trans woman. Why did you think that was necessary for the part?

When I came onto the project, I was solely a producer. I had no intention of playing the role of Crystal. Our casting director (John Jackson) combed the country for weeks looking for a trans actress. After a month, only ten were submitted. Of those ten, eight were African-American and obviously not a match – Crystal’s was a blonde, white woman. Unfortunately, the two actresses who remained were unable to portray her essence. We were backed into a corner. That’s when Angela suggested I do a makeup test to see if I could pass as a woman. When she sent the photos to Doc, he burst into tears. Angela was adamant that I was the best human to play the role. After much debate, I agreed with the condition that I live as a trans woman for the entire experience. I’m a cisgender, gay man who knew nothing of the trans experience. I had an obligation to Crystal, and to the entire trans community, to do everything I could to respect and honor them. The only way I knew I could do this was to live their life and see the world through their eyes.

As a cisgender, gay man, have you received any backlash for portraying a trans woman?

Surprisingly, most of the backlash I’ve received has come from media outlets that are LGBTQ focused. Several prominent magazines and organizations won’t speak to me or review the film because I’m not trans. Ironically, I have several trans friends who have seen the film and said that only I could have played this part. Many have gone on record saying they approve of and fully support my portrayal of Crystal. The fact I’m experiencing discrimination from my own community shocks and disappoints me. My job as an actor is to find empathy and understanding of the human experience. Most of the time, the characters I play have lived a drastically different life than mine. I lived as a trans woman so that I could be an advocate, knowing for myself what it’s like to live in their world. It’s interesting to me that within the LGBTQ community and media there is discrimination and hate, especially toward other LGBTQ individuals. We need to be celebrating anyone who is willing to tell out stories. I understand that it may look like I’m just another cisgender man taking a role away from a trans person, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

What was your experience of living trans? Did you experience harassment?

I had no idea how difficult it was for a trans woman to live her life, just as herself. Words cannot truly express the hell I experienced. Our government marginalizes trans individuals more than any other demographic within the LGBTQ community. There are no laws to protect against the discrimination of trans people in housing, healthcare, education, and many other basic civil rights. I naïvely stepped into the trans experience thinking it couldn’t be that bad, quickly realizing society is severely tilted against trans people, not to mention women in general. I faced oppression, degradation, objectification, mental and physical harassment. Many people are quick to jump to hatred when they encounter someone they can’t place into a category with which they are comfortable.

For six months, I committed myself to the trans experience, and I’m forever changed because of it. I was in constant fear for my survival, and I believe this is how I trapped into Crystal’s truth. Sometimes it was “We don’t serve your kind here.” Other times it was much more dangerous. One time I was followed down the street by two men who demanded I give them the attention they felt they deserved. If they had found out, I was trans, who knows what they would have done. I also had a stalker who waited for me outside my apartment in New Orleans. The experience was so terrifying; I dealt with depression and anxiety daily. It got so bad that I couldn’t even deal with my own genitalia. It began to represent all of the danger that I was experiencing from the outside world. If everyone were to experience the struggle trans people live every day, the world would be much more loving and accepting.

 

What was the eye-opening experience from having a trans experience?

In a patriarchal, heteronormative society like the United States, life is built on the foundation of suppressing anything feminine. We’ve been living in a “man’s world,” and it’s bullshit. It wasn’t until I lived my life as a trans woman that I came to truly understand this. It’s an oppressive and violent uphill climb for a transgender person to have an equal playing field. It’s important for all human beings of this world, no matter how they identify or express themselves, to have the inalienable and legal right to be who they are without jurisdiction or ramifications. With federal and state laws currently designed the way they are, not much is going to change any time soon without loud vocal action. That’s why now, more than ever, we as a community and a nation must stand up against the oppression of our trans brother and sisters. We must unite and protect them. It’s the only way we are going to survive as a global community.

 

Where can we enjoy your talents – either as producer, director or actor – next?

My writing and directorial debut, Stand/Still, is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit. It’s a psychological thriller about a middle-aged couple who turn to human trafficking in order to have a child of their own. It’s a terrifying look inside the minds of human traffickers. The short is a proof of concept for a feature of the same name which will hopefully be in production by next summer. We have been fortunate enough to have already won several awards including Best Direction as well as Audience Choice. As an actor, you can catch me on HBO in January 2019. I have an awesome role on True Detective opposite Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali. This season is going to be amazing. It’s a definite must-see!

 

Anything you’d like to add?

I am grateful for Goliath for giving me this chance to share my story. I wish more LGBTQ organizations and media outlets were like you!

Heart, Baby! Premiered on the festival rounds in 2018 with a wider release in May. Go heartbabythemovie.com to see where it is screening now.

 

By Deven Green

Well Hello, Bill Greening is a dear friend of mine who happens to design Barbie. I thought you may enjoy his story. 

Bill, tell us what you do with Barbie?
I’m a Principal Designer on Barbie Signature as well as the Barbie Brand Historian. I started at Mattel in 1999. I started working on play dolls for kids until 2006 when I started working on collectable Barbie dolls the Barbie Signature team.

2019 is a special anniversary year, isn’t it?
March 9, 2019 will be the 60th anniversary of her first debut at New York Toy March in 1959! We consider that her birthday here at Mattel. She is the #1 fashion doll in the world. It’s truly awesome the long-standing power of the Barbie doll and how many generations have enjoyed playing and collecting her. Today 58 million dolls are sold worldwide per year!

Which Barbie’s are you most proud of creating?
With the kid’s dolls, it’s very rewarding to see a child get a Barbie doll, that creates a fun happy memory. That this may be the doll they remember playing with for a life time. It’s funny because a lot of those kids what were five and six in the early 2000’s when I first started designing are now in their twenties. if I post one of my first designs on social media, I like to read the reactions and comments. Like ‘OMG I had that doll!’ Some of those Barbie dolls most remembered I designed are Cool Clips, Dream Glow, Picture Pockets, and Jam N/ Glam. In fact, the famous Saturday Night Live Barbie and Skipper spoof with Amy Poehler and Britney Spears, Jam N/ Glam Teresa is mentioned, I’m so honored!

Photographer: Dennis
Stylist: Sheryl

In the collector line, I really love working on fantasy type dolls because you can really take the design into that over the top glamour that you might only see in movies, stage production, or some eccentric pop stars wardrobe. Barbie is a blank slate and she can be anything. Sone of my favorites are Unicorn Goddess Barbie, Goddess of the Galaxy Barbie, the Haunted Beauty Barbie line because I love Halloween!

There are some dolls, that I worked on, that seem to be favorites in the gay community as well like Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill Superman, Cher, Ladies of the 80’s Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, and Debbie Harry, Dynasty’s Krystle and Alexis, Farrah Fawcett, Tippy Hedren in The Birds, The Blonds Blond Diamond Barbie doll. It’s funny because the Blonds Barbie often turns up in many funny glamour diva type memes. I know the real-life Blonds, David And Phillipe, think this is funny too.

Why do you think Barbie is so popular with the Gay community?  
I think many gay men have some sort of experience with Barbie. If they wanted a doll for themselves as a child, played with their sisters, or the best case had parents who just saw the doll as a toy not just a toy for girls and gave it to them. There is an allure with Barbie, the glamour, the larger than life persona. She’s an icon like Cher, Madonna, et cetera. She keeps serving your looks for the last 60 years. She evolves her look each decade, capturing cultural trends, fashion, and fads. She’s a little time capsule of pop culture. I always think drag queens emulate the top icons of pop culture Icons like Cher or Madonna, and I think it’s awesome when I see drag queens pay homage to Barbie. My friend Trinna Modele does Barbie in her show and the crowd goes wild. I’ve seen Violet Chachki do the 1959 Barbie look on social media.  I have a picture of Lady Bunny standing next to Karl Lagerfeld at a Barbie event dressed up like my Pop Life Barbie design, and Trixie Mattel re-created a look from one of the dolls I worked on called Golden Dream Barbie from the Superstar Forever Series. That was a big honor to see people making the comparison of social media and tagging me.

Did Barbie help you come out?
Yes, I feel like Barbie has been my friend my whole life. She’s been my side for a long time. When I was very young like around four or five, I had my own Malibu Barbie dolls. It was ok to have them as a young boy, then suddenly it wasn’t. I think my mom was afraid what the neighbors would say when I got a little too old in her opinion. Funny though my dad never had an issue with me playing dolls and often bought me them when I got him to take me to the toy store! I always still found a way to play Barbie with girlfriends and my cousin.  Around 17 years old, in 1988, I decided to start collecting Barbie. There was some resistance at first, but my Mom gave in and eventually joined me in the hobby. We went to doll shows and antique shops together and it became our time to hang out.

In 1990, I came out, I was 19. My mom really had a hard time with it. I think she always knew I was gay, but in that time period, the media was talking about the AIDS crisis, and I think my Mother’s reaction came out of a place of fear not hate. Thankfully, we had a neutral ground of Barbie collecting to keep us talking. It was a way for us to connect in a light-hearted way. The hobby gave us a neutral place to be together. My dad, in contrast, was always very cool. He believed we all walk our own path in life. My path was a gay man who collected and would eventually design for Barbie. It’s all I ever wanted to do since childhood. After design school, I landed my job at Mattel. My parents could not have been prouder. They even had a large Barbie display in their house of my work. They would show off to kids and the neighbors when they came over. Both my parents have passed away now. I’m very thankful they were on this journey with me, coming out, discovering my passion for doll design, and sharing the joy of Barbie. 2019 really gives me pause. A chance to think back, look forward and to celebrate along with Barbie.

Thank you so much Bill and congratulations.
Follow Bill on FB / IG @BillGreening

 

 

Dior: From Paris to the World

The extensive exhibition surveys 70 years of Dior’s legacy and global influence. More than 200 couture dresses, accessories, costume jewelry, photographs, drawings, runway videos, and other archival material traces the history of the iconic haute couture fashion house and its founder, Christian Dior, and the subsequent artistic directors who carried Dior’s vision into the 21st century.

On View through March 3, 2019, at the Denver Art Museum.

denverartmuseum.org

 

[artwork credit: Gianfranco Ferré, Robe Hellébore, Dior Collection Haute Couture, Spring 1995 (detail). Photo: ©Paolo Roversi/Art + Commerce]

 

 

The Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures from the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Film director Wes Anderson is bringing his unique aesthetic to a historic Austrian museum. Together with his partner, illustrator Juman Malouf, Anderson has been given full access to the museum’s picture gallery and its vast collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities, arms and armor, and historical musical instruments, for what is sure to be a one-of-a-kind show.

Showing now through April 8, 2019, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

khm.at

 

[photo credit: Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf in the Picture Gallery, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.Photo: ©khm-museumsverband]

 

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy, and the Avant-Garde

The exhibition celebrates the power of collaboration and creative relationships across painting, sculpture, photography, design, and literature in the early 20th century. Explore iconic pieces of art and literature by romantic and artistic collaborations including Dora Maar & Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí & Federico García Lorca, Camille Claudel & Auguste Rodin, Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, Emilie Flöge & Gustav Klimt, and many more.

On view now through January 27, 2019, at Barbican Centre, London.

barbican.org.uk

 

[Photo credit: Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture Capricorn, 1947. Photo: John Kasnetsis]

 

 

By Chris Azzopardi

 

Photos: Columbia Pictures

 

A pansexual man-avenger returns – this time, with English actress Claire Foy sporting the Swedish computer-hacker Lisbeth Salander’s leather gear and trademark dragon tattoo. Based on the novel from David Lagercrantz, written after original author Stieg Larsson’s sudden death, the second installment in the American-produced Millennium film series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, positions Foy’s Lisbeth as a Bond-like anti-hero. Gayer, though. And with so many dildos.

 

Foy’s latest big-screen turn follows two other memorable lead roles this year, in Steven Soderbergh’s unnerving thriller Unsane and the Neil Armstrong (portrayed by Ryan Gosling) biopic First Man, starring as his wife, Janet Armstrong. On the small screen, the 34-year-old actress took the throne as Queen Elizabeth II for two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown, which garnered her an Emmy and a Golden Globe in the best actress categories.

Here, Foy discusses that dildo scene, talking Spider’s Web director Fede Álvarez out of gratuitous lesbian sex, and why there’s an “ease” and an “openness” to kissing her female co-stars.

 

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness stepped in when you and your two guests couldn’t get into the Governors Ball after the Emmys this year. In life, do gay men tend to have your back?

(Laughs giddily) Best question I’ve ever been asked – ever! We can’t get better than that. I don’t know! I mean, I would hate to speak for all gay men; I think that’s something you’d have to ask all gay men. There are several of them in my life who I feel have my back, which is lovely. And I have theirs.

 

Do you cry while watching Queer Eye like the rest of us?

Oh my god, it’s sort of like watching – have you ever watched One Born Every Minute where you watch someone give birth? It’s like watching that, because every time you watch it, you start going, “I’ll be fine with this one, this one’s fine, there’s nothing that’s gonna get me here,” and then ultimately, by the end, you’re weeping.

 

If we’re being honest, sometimes I watch Queer Eye just to weep.

(Laughs) It’s a cathartic thing to do!

 

Your encounter with Jonathan strongly suggests that you may have attracted a fierce LGBTQ following over the years. How aware are you of your gay and lesbian following?

I wish I was more aware of it! I think I’ve never particularly noticed someone who identifies themselves in any particular group as being someone who’s watched a particular show that I’ve done. I feel very lucky, especially with The Crown, that it has such a broad appeal and that’s something that I am amazed by, that a TV program could be watched by so many different people. It’s quite a unifying thing, I think. Very rare nowadays. But I must say, I think the Queen holds a special part in quite a lot of people’s hearts, and so it’s interesting to see who kind of has been interested in me because I played her.

 

It can’t hurt that The Crown portrayed Lord Snowdon as bisexual.

Oh yeah. Well, I think there’s so much honesty (on that show) about people’s sexuality that I think is really important. That’s how I feel about Lisbeth. I think her pansexuality – I loved that she had such an open attitude, not only to her own sexuality but to everybody else’s, a kind of non-judgment (and an) understanding that there should be no judgment about people’s sexuality or what they identify themselves as. There should be more protagonists who have that message. It’s very important.

 

In the BBC’s The Night Watch, you played Helen, who gets involved in a Sapphic love triangle but identifies as sexually fluid. Do you gravitate toward characters who choose not to label their sexuality, or is that just a coincidence?

I think… no. As much as I’m interested in exploring those sides of myself, I’m also interested in exploring those sides of other people. It’s what it means to be human. People’s sexuality, their sensuality, is something that I think there’s a lot of shame about in every walk of life; it’s something that’s weirdly not talked about, and I think people are not allowed to explore and express themselves and be open and be honest about what it means to be them, and that obviously includes your sexuality. I think it’s just really important to investigate that.

 

Have you questioned your own sexual identity?

Especially nowadays, I do find the idea of people being prescriptive about sexuality and defining themselves by it… that’s why I found Lisbeth so fascinating. She sort of takes it for granted, that her freedom is expressed in that way. Why should she have to evaluate it in that way? I think that is something that I find really admirable and definitely like to encourage more in myself. That openness and that ability to allow yourself the freedom to explore everything that is out there and everything life has to offer.

 

Our current political climate, where we have an administration attacking people who are not heterosexual males, seems like a good time for Lisbeth to resurface.

I just think that’s crazy. The beauty of humanity is that we’re diverse and interesting and all different shapes, sizes, colors – everything. (Diversity) should just be applauded and amazed and accepted and worshiped and adored. I don’t think the world becoming smaller is the biggest danger that we face.

 

Besides Helen and Lisbeth, have you played other LGBTQ roles?

I always thought my character Sawyer Valentine in Unsane was bisexual. I just did. I felt she was a very modern, young woman, and I think there’s an openness with this generation that definitely wasn’t around when I was younger. A kind of openness and understanding about sexuality and how it can be open in that way, that didn’t really exist when I was in school, so I think Sawyer probably grew up slightly with a bit more of that mentality.

 

For Night Watch, you said your kissing scenes with your female co-stars, Anna Maxwell Martin and Anna Wilson-Jones, were preferable to kissing scenes you’ve had with male actors.

(Laughs) Yes…

 

All these years later, is that still true even after co-starring alongside Ryan Gosling?

(Laughs boisterously). I mean, male or female, I’ve been very, very lucky in who I’ve had love affairs with onscreen. Just, when you’re with another woman there’s an ease and an understanding and a respect and an openness that is just a natural way of being. It’s a dynamic that happens; it’s just easier to be more open when you’re with a woman, in general, for me. So it’s much easier to have those conversations of going, “Oh god, this is really weird, sorry about that.” “Did I do anything weird with my mouth in that kiss? I’m really sorry.” You can be more honest about it, I suppose. And that’s not a gender thing. I’ve definitely done scenes with male actors where it’s not felt open, but it’s felt that you can laugh about it and be silly about it and take it for what it is – which is pretty silly. It’s a pretty odd, strange thing to do, to kiss someone in front of 250 people.

 

In Spider’s Web, you wake up in bed next to Sofia, played by trans model and actress Andreja Pejić. Sex isn’t depicted but suggested. What kind of talk was there regarding how intimate Lisbeth should be onscreen with other women in the film?

There was a sex scene originally in the beginning of the movie.

 

The very beginning, right out of the gate.

Yeah, exactly. And that’s why I questioned it. I said, “What is the purpose of this? What are you trying to tell the audience with this sex scene? Are you trying to say that she’s a pansexual woman and here she is having sex with a woman and this is an important part of her character?” And I said, “Or is it titillation?”

 

Right, to indulge the male gaze.

Exactly. Lesbian relationships in movies are often used not as truthful depictions of two women making love with one another; they’re often (done) as a way of titillating the male and appealing to men. And so I asked pretty openly and bluntly (laughs): “How would you shoot it? Why is it necessary here? What are you trying to say?” “If we do do this, it’s gonna be as raw and honest and truthful to the actual experience. I’m not doing anything that’s gonna be because it looks cool; it has to be really real.”

And I think when we had that conversation it sort of made (Fede) realize (the) purpose of this. You can communicate the relationship that two people have to one another without having to have a sex scene. I think that as an audience member I don’t particularly enjoy watching sex scenes. Isn’t like I watch them and go, “Oh, great!” I just think, “Oh god, let it be over.”

 

And watching it in a theater with 300 other people…

Yeah, exactly. I think passion is such an important part of a love drama. I think it needs to be there. People have sex, therefore sex scenes need to be portrayed in films. But I do think it needs to be portrayed for a reason. There has to be a dynamic that’s interesting, and it needs to be not just at the opening of a film – two women having sex with each other for no real purpose, just to say, “Oh, by the way, she has relationships with men _and_ women!” And so Fede was like, “I’ve thought about it and I think, actually, we don’t need it. I think it sends the wrong message.”

 

When you read that there would be a suitcase of dildos in the movie, what went through your mind?

I thought it was brilliant. It’s proper Lisbeth. Not only is she doing some sort of espionage, but she also will enjoy the humor of knowing that all those kind of really macho airport security guys will have to search a case of dildos.

 

So, does this film hold the record for the most dildos in a Claire Foy movie?

Oh, I think so. There’s definitely room for a few more, though!

 

Claire, that suitcase looked packed, though.

Come on, we could get a couple more in there. (Laughs)

 

As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. Reach him via his website at www.chris-azzopardi.com and on Twitter (@chrisazzopardi).

Daunting Dimensionality
By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Neon Heart Blue Lightning (2015), Hand Painting/Silk Screen/Neon, 44 x 44 in, Edition: Unique

Rubem Robierb successfully captures the beholder’s attention compelling the viewer to extract the underlying message of the artwork – a particularly powerful trait of Robierb’s art.

Rubem Robierb’s most significant artistic talent is his ability to bestow the seemingly banal with monumental proportions. Case in point: His BulletFly Effect paintings that combine the beauty and delicate innocence of butterfly wings with a bullet body to create a powerful metaphor of violent transformation. His use of figures, that span from commonplace to iconic, are given new and profound meanings that reveal themselves as the beholder discover the subtle signs that Robierb so masterfully hides in plain sight.

His work carries an innate connection to the pop art movement where he, like Andy Warhol, creates a visually compelling dimensionality and figurativeness that conveys powerful messages to the beholder. His link to the contemporary art movement is also apparent with references to Damien Hirst whose use of natural elements creates a constant dialogue between life and death. Robierb’s strong inspiration from street art is also evident in many of his works constructing politically laden layers to his artworks. In turn, the constant play on the permanence of all things life links him to contemporary Banksy.

Rubemrobierb.com

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N 12 (2012), Plexiglass on Metatic Paper, 16 x 16 in, Edition: 7

BulletFly Effect Series (2012-2014)

Robierb has developed his BulletFly Effect series over several years, adding even more layers to the strong visual and symbolic figure that combines butterfly wings and bullets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diptych Butterfly I – White on Black (2016), Hand painted/SilkScreen/Diamond Dust, 72 x 46 in (each wing), Edition: Unique

Diptychs Butterflies (2016)

Robierb evolves his signature figures by dismembering to combine painting and sculpture on a larger scale. The wings have become human-scale, and the bullet body hast materialized into a larger than life sculpture – together a powerful symbol of hand and human-made power.

 

 

 

 

 

Metamorph-US Mural (2015), Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Metamorph-US – BulletFly Murals (2015)

At the beginning of 2015, Robierb was commissioned by the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to bring his BulletFly Effect series into the heart of the city. His art project Metamorph-US transformed a Downtown Fort Lauderdale building with a 300-foot mural of large-scale butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

Now or Never (2015), Hand Painting/Silk Screen/Neon, 44 × 44 in, Edition: Unique.

HEART (2015)

With HEART Rubem Robierb strikes yet another nerve in contemporary American society by showcasing the fact that human emotion often gets transferred to a plethora of external communicative objects like signs, emojis, words, and symbols.

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry Not Sorry (2017), Hand Painting/Silk Screen/Neon, 34 x 74in, Edition: Unique

Money Talks (2017)

Gathering inspiration from the pictures, symbols, and phrases that are drawn or written on money across the world, Robierb distills the significance and layers these motifs add to the currency. By using different techniques and textures, he lets the money reveal the layers of what the money is actually saying about our shared values.

 

 

Thoughts & Prayers Soup Can (2016), Silk Screen on Paper/Diamond Dust, 20 x 20 in, Edition: 30

Thoughts & Prayers (2018)

The expression ‘’thoughts and prayers’ has been co-opted in today’s supercharged political discourse, losing its value of comfort and understanding. Robierb’s artwork questions its currency in today’s world by painting mass-produced soup cans (with a distinct nod to Warhol) and creating over-size and empty boxes as a metaphor of how society mass-produces feelings that are delivered in throw-away packaging.

 

Prayers & Thoughts Boxes (2017), Stencil on wood, 18 x 18 in, Edition: 30

UNAPOLOGETIC LINES

The exhibition features a sizable collection of fashion illustrator Marc-Antoine Coulon’s work, including captivating portraits of fashion icons Tom Ford, Gianni Versace, Anna Wintour, Madonna and Beyoncé alongside Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, and Audrey Hepburn, among many others. “Unapologetic Lines” show now until January 27, 2019, at SCAD FASH in Atlanta. Visit scadfash.org for more.

 

Picasso. Blue and Rose

For the first time in France, this exhibition will span the Blue and Rose period (1900-1906) of Picasso’s body of work. The exhibition is organized as a continuum rather than as a series of compartmentalized episodes and reveals Picasso’s early artistic identity and some of the enduring obsessions in his work. Picasso Bleu et Rose is now showing at the Musée d’Orsay until January 06, 2019. More info at musee-orsay.fr.

 

La Biennale Venezia

For architecture and installation aficionados, you should plan a visit to La Biennale in Venice, Italy. For the past three decades, the international architecture exhibition in the Giardini park in Venice has showcased the work and structures of world-renowned architects from all over the world. Dazzling structures, new materials, and new technologies make this exhibition a marvel that should be experienced before November 25, 2018 where it ends. More at labiennale.o

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 

Located between Bastille and Nation, in a former foundry in the eleventh arrondissement of Paris, the Atelier Des Lumières has opened its doors to a digital art experience that will immersive you into the artworks in a highly unique way.

 

Using 140 video projectors and a state-of-the-art spatialized sound system, the multimedia equipment covers an exhibition area of over 35,000 sq ft that extends from floor to ceiling creating a monumental, immersive art experience. The Atelier Des Lumières has two areas for visitors: La Halle and Le Studio.  In ‘La Halle,’ a continuous cycle of immersive digital exhibitions will be projected, alternating between shows devoted to significant figures in art history and more contemporary artists.

 

The Atelier Des Lumières opened April 13 with a long-term program devoted to Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and Egon Schiele (1890- 1918). The exhibition, which will run until November 11, immerses you in the works of these artists, who were closely related to the Nineteenth-century Vienna Secession – an Austrian art movement of artists who resigned from the official art association to create modern art. The digital visualization and virtualization of the artworks enables visitors to not only behold Gustav Klimt’s frescoes but also get a unique immersive experience that at times surrounds you entirely by an artwork. By projecting the works over all the surfaces in the Atelier Des Lumières, the beholder experiences an unprecedented scale and clarity of the art making it possible to focus on other details or view the art in its entirety or from a whole new perspective.

 

The short program will focus on another artist who symbolized Viennese creativity: Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000), who was greatly influenced by the Secession.

With Gustav Klimt as the key figure in the Austrian modern art movement, the exhibition takes you on a journey through a hundred years of Viennese painting. The immersive display takes an original look at the works of Klimt and his successors through a presentation of the portraits, landscapes, nudes, colors, and gilding that revolutionized Viennese painting at the end of the nineteenth century and in the century that followed. In an explosion of color, the Atelier Des Lumières links between the various eras and provide a visual and musical journey through the creative works of the past and the present.

 

In ‘The Studio,’ the visitors will discover the work of experienced or emerging artists. As an area devoted to contemporary art, it gives carte blanche to digital artists who are capable of creating unique visual worlds.

 

As President of Culturespaces and curator of the Atelier Des Lumières, Bruno Monnier, explains: ‘The role of an art center is to decompartmentalize, and that is why digital technology is so important in twenty-first-century exhibitions. Used for creative purposes, it has become a formidable vector for dissemination, and is capable of creating links between eras, add dynamism to artistic practices, amplify emotions, and reach the largest possible audience’.

The Exhibition Klimt, Hundertwasser, and Poetic_AI exhibitions will show at the Atelier des Lumières, the first Digital Art Centre in Paris, from April 13 to November 11, 2018. More info at www.atelier-lumieres.com.

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 

Timothy McNeil’s feature debut, Anything, stars Matt Bomer who plays the trans woman Freda, and John Carroll Lynch who plays Early, a newly widowed man that moves to L.A. to assert his independence and strikes up an unlikely friendship with the transgender sex worker. Goliath talked to first-time filmmaker Timothy McNeill about the movie, its controversy, and inclusive message of love.

 

Give us a little background on the movie?

It started off as a play in 2007 and had a good run into 2008 where Mark Ruffalo saw the play – and he asked me to write a screenplay based on the play. He then asked me to direct as well which was a surprise to me as I’d never directed a movie before. The movie was shot May and April of 2016, and it was a very interesting process that allowed for a lot of thought to go into it. There was no rush, and it was a turtle-like process.

 

‘Anything’ was adapted from a play to the screen – how do you think that comes forward in the film?

I have always loved watching plays being made into films, so I already learned a lot from how filmmakers succeed and fail in the process of adapting a play to the screen. One of my ideas was to purge the too many ‘writer-ly’ impulses in the script. I like the idea of a play of having a lot of space, time, and internal life, and in a movie, you have the opportunity to expand much more on that.

 

The movie has been well received at festivals but has also received criticism from the transgender community for portraying (yet another) trans woman as a prostitute. How do you respond to that criticism?

It’s been hard to hear the criticism – but if any movie is going to be at the source of the controversy, I’m happy that it’s our movie. I hope it can be part of the dialogue, because of the controversy. It has a lot to say. As a writer, I’m drawn to stories of people that have had their rights suspended, oppressed, or repressed. Unfortunately, that is something you see in the trans community. They are marginalized because of their sense of self and working as a sex worker is, unfortunately, part of the marginalization.

 

 

Matt Bomer plays the trans character, Freda – how was it to work with him? And how did he prepare for the role?

Matt is maybe the most disciplined actor I’ve ever worked with. His work ethic is extraordinary. He has a sincere desire to get it right. I love him as a human being, and he is just the sweetest, most genuine mensch. I think he has a really big career ahead of him – like with all the actors in the film.

 

The casting of Matt Bomer also met criticism from the trans community for casting a cisgender male to portray a trans woman. What do you think of that criticism?

I saw Matt Bomer act in the Normal Heart, and when I approached about this role, he immediately responded to the material on a soul level. I don’t desire to put actors in a box and keep them from playing something they really want. It’s part of my filmmaker code, and I hope the trans community understands that, when I saw Matt Bomer, I knew that I had found him and that I had found her.

 

 

What is it about the unlikely connection between a man from the deep south and the trans woman from Los Angeles that is so poignant?

I think it’s the story of oppression and repression. When I moved from Mississippi, I came to L.A. at 28, and I was struck by being in L.A., and I felt a sense of freedom  – an ability to reinvent oneself more than what I had experienced before. For me. L.A. set me loose because the city does that to people. It’s what happens early in the film where Early (John Carroll Lynch) is being opened up to opportunity and understanding.

 

How do you see this movie dealing with trans representation – especially in Hollywood?

The idea of focus on this issue and the controversy of this movie is just the beginning. How people respond to it another piece of the puzzle. When our stories are told, they will change perception. It’s happening right now, and places like LA and New York City are at the forefront of changing that perception. It’s an ongoing battle, but as long as complex stories like this are brought to the mainstream, we can influence and shift society. I feel like we’re in a revolution right now, don’t you? This is how society is remade, and we shift to live in a better world.

 

Anything you’d like to add?

I would say this, I have been a very fortunate first-time filmmaker. I worked with a cast that came into this with an open heart and desire to be part of the change. The same goes for the entire crew. The movie has a lot to say about love in a unique way. The setup of the movie may seem standard, but it seeps into people, and I don’t think they will be disappointed.

 

‘Anything’ opened across the U.S. in the middle of May.

DRENCH Pool Party

GAGA and #IAmMidtown present Drench (rescheduled from May 20th) – the W Downtown pool party with a purpose on June 24, 1-6 pm. Drinks specials and DJ sets by Neon the GlowGoBear and Ron Pullman – become a GAGA member and get free access at gagapac.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shine: Joining Hearts 31

The main event of the summer returns on July 21 to the Aquatic Center in the middle of Piedmont Park. Three levels of partying, and DJ sets by Mike Pope and GSP. Tickets and info at joininghearts.org.

 

 

Drag Queen Story Time

Join HRC Atlanta, For the Kid in All of Us, PFLAG Atlanta, and Edie Cheezburger at the Out Front Theatre Company on June 23 at 10 am for a delightful and fun reading of “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.” Tickets at hrcatlanta.com.

 

 

 

 

Pentatonix

America’s premier acapella group will be performing at the beautiful Chastain Park Amphitheatre on July 31.

 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Drag – Drag Queen Bingo

The next PALS Atlanta Drag Queen Bingo at LIPS Atlanta has gone DISNEY! Our favorite Fairy Godmother, Bubba D. Licious, hosts a fun and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious night on June 12. Tickets a palsatlanta.org.

 

 

 

 

Peach Party Atlanta

Three days on June 15-17 with parties all over Atlanta including the Heretic, Midtown Tavern, XION, and the new District. Tickets at universe.com.

 

 

 

11th Annual Wacky Hat Party

For the Kid In All Of Us asks you to don your craziest hat and finest outfit for a night of fun and fundraising on June 16. Party and give back in style at the Piedmont Park Aquatic Center! More info at forthekid.org.

 

 

Atlanta Pride Presents Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro

As part of the Atlanta Pride’s annual Stonewall Celebrations, Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro perform at the Fox on June 20 with their stand-up shows. Tickets at foxtheatre.org.

 

The White Party Benefiting CHRIS 180

Wear your whitest whites on June 9 for the annual White Party benefiting CHRIS 180’s LGBTQ+ Youth programs. The cocktail party takes place at the gorgeous Mason Fine Art – more info at whitepartyatlanta.org.

31st Annual HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner & Auction

The HRC Atlanta’s Gala Dinner & Auction is one of the largest fundraisers in the country for the Human Rights Campaign. The black-tie event on Saturday, May 5 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta includes a live and silent auction and dinner. It is a celebration of excellence in the LGBTQ movement and of the successes in the pursuit of equality while putting a focus on the fight ahead. More info and tickets on hrcatlanta.com.

 

Shaky Knees & Shaky Beats Festival 2018

Get ready for two consecutive weekends of bigger and better music lineups at the new Central Park location. Shaky Knees on May 4-6 will feature a 50+ band lineup including Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, and The National, and Shaky Beats on May 11-23 highlights some the best EDM acts out there like Kygo, Zedd, and Marshmello. Check out the extensive schedule, and get your passes at shakykneesfestival.com and shakybeatsfestival.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Todrick Hall American: The Forbidden Tour

The singer, songwriter, dancer, Broadway actor, and multi-talent, Todrick Hall, is visiting Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on May 6 with his Forbidden Tour. The show will feature a brand new storyline with all-new songs, extravagant costumes, and over the top production and choreography. Tickets at foxtheatre.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Service with Vicki Powell, Brian Rojas & Chelsea Starr

The second installment of the popular Sunday Service on Sunday May 13 will feature DJs Vicki Powell, Brian Rojas, and Chelsea Starr that will spin a beat to make your mama proud and dance the night away on the eve of Mother’s Day.

 

Deep South presents Jasmine Infiniti

DJ Jasmine Infiniti – also known as The Queen of Hell – will play at the Music Room on May 19 for another edition of Deep South. The New York Native blends dark and industrial sounds with break beats to create a unique and highly danceable soundscape. Opening sets by Robert Ansley (Deep South/Cardio) and Beyun (Afro Acid).

 

 

The Championship Tour with Kendrick Lamar

The first rap artist to ever win a Pulitzer, Kendrick Lamar, is coming to the Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood on May 25 with his Championship Tour along with the whole TDE crew including SZA, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Lance Skiiiwalker, Sir, and Jay Rock.

 

 

 

 

Hamilton at the Fox

The Broadway mega sensation is coming to the Fox Theatre on May 22-June 10. The story of America’s Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, features an award-winning score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway. More info and tickets (if they’re not sold out!) at foxtheatre.org.

By Paul Hutnik

Photo by Dima Bocharov

 

 

Russian Artist and Producer Alexander Abramov, Widely Known on Instagram as Abramov Lex, Releases First Two Volumes of a Five-Part Series of Revealing Art Photography Books.

 

Abramov Lex bares all in “Uncovered,” his coming of age story about a man who isn’t afraid to speak his truth, follow through with his vision and be exposed, both body and soul. The five-part series of art books tells the story of Alexander Abramov. The Russian artist and producer portrays different characters in unique worlds full of action and emotion. Through images and notes from his personal diary, Alexander explains to the world who he really is. “I started keeping journals 18 years ago. My diary is about awareness of my homosexuality, about my experiences and explorations of the world: first feelings, first love, first sexual encounter. It is also about human imperfection and struggle, drugs and fears, scars and past troubles. On the whole, it tells of becoming the man I have wanted to be: a man who is able to inspire others to makes changes for the better.”

 

Processed with VSCO with dog1 preset

In “Uncovered,” Alexander depicts five characters: a Wrangler, a Mercenary, a Woodsman, a Journeyman, and a Seafarer. He posed for more than 5000 pictures at multiple locations with celebrated Russian photographer Dima Bocharov. “I knew it would be a long process, but as a person who has never been a professional model and also never published a book before, I had no idea it would be this challenging.” “Uncovered” Vol.1 Wrangler and Vol. 2 Mercenary are available for pre-order on his website, www.abramovlex.com.

 

As a gay man who was born in the Republic of Kazakhstan and lived his young adult life in Russia, Alexander Abramov knows from experience the horrible situation with gay rights in these countries. For this reason, he is donating 10% of proceeds to the Russian LGBT Network, to help protect the gay youth of his native countries. The Russian LGBT Network is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Alexander developed the idea for “Uncovered” three years ago when he first moved to New York City from Moscow. He had three motivations: the first was his love and passion for photography. The second was his desire to share stories from his life that he thought a lot of people, especially the LGBTQ community, might identify with and would find interesting and inspiring. Lastly, he wanted to create; something he has loved to do his entire life. “I’m a man who is not afraid to open his soul,” he says. “Аfter all, I always remember, life only gets better when we are able to be honest, and when we are willing to give something to others, especially our spirits.”

 

Revealing his body for the book wasn’t as easy.  “I grew up a very sick child,” he reflects. “I had problems with my lungs, and at the age of 13, I underwent a serious operation on my intestines, which left me hospitalized for four months and put an end to my normal existence as a man. I was tall, 6’2, but very skinny, probably around 130 pounds.”

 

It wasn’t until Alexander was 20 that he started to think about going to the gym. It took over ten years to get to his current weight of 230 pounds. He is finally at a point where he feels confident with his body. Still, posing for nude photos was something he had never done before.  Alexander was careful and selective about using his nudity in a tasteful way.  “Because I have known Dima for many years and he and I have done many photo projects together, it was not hard for me to take my clothes off. What was hard was to be naturally sexy, appear relaxed and to not pose too much. Of course, it is very difficult to surprise people in the age of universal exhibitionism, but these nude images that we captured definitely deserve some attention.”

 

Taking clippers to his head for the second book, “Mercenary,” also required courage but he did it for the sake of the story. “I hope these beautiful images will resonate and inspire people to be the best versions of themselves, inside and out, as well as inspire them to travel to gorgeous places and live outside of their comfort zones.”

 

Alexander Abramov began his career in the media business as an assistant in a PR agency specializing in corporative events in his hometown of Karaganda, which is in Central Kazakhstan. After he moved to Moscow, he got a job at a magazine as a producer of photo projects. While there, he dabbled in fashion, creating a few collections that appeared on the runways of the Russian Fashion Week. Russia, however, experienced a financial crisis and Abramov was forced to leave fashion for a more lucrative career back in PR, again as a photo producer. It eventually led to an opportunity in TV where Alexander Abramov became an executive producer of a makeover reality show on one of the biggest entertainment TV channels in Russia. He remained in TV for five years until he decided to move to the USA.

 

“It’s been a long, winding road to where I am now but all of my past experiences in magazines, fashion and TV have contributed enormously to the making of this series. They are all part of the fabric of the man that I’m excited to reveal in ‘Uncovered’”.

 


Learn more at abramovlex.com and dmitrybocharov.com – and follow Abramo on IG @abramov_lex.

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 

Karamo Brown’s TV career launched suddenly and in full force in 2004 on The Real World as the first African-American out gay man on the show. Or on TV in general. Now, he is back on TV as the charismatic leader of a super-powered pack of gays on the reboot of Queer Eye which launched early February on Netflix. Goliath got a chance to talk to Karamo about his journey to become the man he is today – and how QE is shaping up to be a voice of reason in our time.

 

When Karamo Brown participated in The Real World in 2004, he didn’t expect the rollercoaster ride that was set off by him being the first out gay African-American on the show. Although he experienced immense support, he also let the sudden rise to celebrity get the best of him, so when the show stopped airing, he started partying like the best of them, and pretty soon his phone stopped ringing – because who would want to work with talent that had clearly lost his way? Now, Karamo is back on TV with the reboot of Queer Eye and is part of the new Fab Five; and after over a decade away from television, perspectives have indeed changed for Karamo. “This time, I have a clear purpose, and a vision of what I want to do,” he explains,”and I know that show business has two components – show and business. Last time, I forgot about the business and was all about the show. That’s certainly different now.”

 

After auditioning alongside more than 10,000 candidates across the world, and after making it to the final top 100, Karamo was locked down with the other candidates for the equivalent of speed dating, so producers could determine what cast would work best together off and on screen. Karamo instantly became friends with Tan (fashion) and Bobby (design), and later they were introduced to Jonathan (grooming) and Antoni (food), and the group instinctively stayed together until they were all finally cast as the new Fab Five.

 

The show, which aired on Netflix early February, has already made plenty of waves and has received acclaim for their new take on the original concept of making over clueless straight guys (and even a gay one) in their own environment. But although the QE reboot, which has let the ‘for the straight guy’ go to be even more inclusive, follows the original’s premise, it is also wildly different. While the first version would focus almost entirely on the makeover, the new QE introduces a surprising and very honest emotional depth, not only for the ‘victims’ but also for the hosts. “I have participated in reality TV before, so I really wanted to put that emotional depth forward in the show”, Karamo explains, “I had conversations with myself, with the guys, and with the producers to make sure that when we approach our heroes we not only fix the outside, but we also give them the tools to fix the inside. We all wanted it to be as authentic and emotional as possible, not only for the heroes but also for us. It was important to all of us to build that deeper connection.”

 

The result is a reality TV show that boldly and quite surprisingly takes on issues like homophobia, religion, politics, racial tensions, and even police brutality; and does so in an honest and deeply emotional way that not only displays the feelings of the makeover victims but also lays bare the experiences of the hosts whose personal stories of religious upbringing, rigid family structures, and racial disparities serve not only as moments of personal growth but as learning lessons of perspective to the people that receive the makeover – and to the world.

 

One episode particularly displays the innate strength and transformative power of the show: The fab five are pulled over by a police officer as a prank on their way to see their next makeover guy. For Karamo, the incident takes on a highly personal and intimidating aspect that happens to spark a much broader conversation about race and police brutality in today’s America. The outcome is an incredibly touching moment between the two where mutual understanding and respect is suddenly the standard and not the exception for their interaction, and it even seems to create a possible pathway to a common ground. Who would have thought that of a makeover reality TV show? “Every week, we receive a piece of paper with an overview of the person’s background, and that’s it,” Karamo tells us, “so, we have to figure it out organically, and luckily, we were able to connect with all of them, so it happened very organically, and we could get to what was really going on.”

 

That connection and the ability to get to the root cause of things is also what will undoubtedly determine the legacy of the new QE. Tan (fashion) mentions in the first episode that the first version was about tolerance, about getting gays on TV, and now it’s about acceptance and tolerance. Karamo hopes that the show’s legacy will be about respect: “At the end of the day, you must respect your fellow man and woman. I get messages from people that are very right-wing telling me how impressed they are, and how they feel that the show is helping them have a better conversation.”

 

Karamo is also hoping that the same respectful conversation can be transferred to the current debate on gun control measures. As a former student of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Karamo was devastated to see the school where he attended 10-12 grade and graduated from was the scene of another horrific mass shooting. “I had my high school reunion there, and to see the hallways and school grounds where I used to roam now being a place where kids were in harm’s way is heartbreaking,” Karamo says and continues, “As a father of two boys, I can’t accept a world where schools have become war zones and need metal detectors. But I also think the conversation starts somewhere else.” Much like his own experience of being able to bridge a seemingly abysmal gap between people, Karamo thinks the solution is starting a sensible conversation that focuses on understanding both sides instead of just yelling your standpoints. As he says: “We need to wake our asses up. This is the point where we ask to see the manager and bring them in the room to have a face-to-face, and we hear both sides of the table. We’re the adults here.”

 

There is no doubt, with the overwhelmingly positive reception of Queer Eye, that the show is well on its way to garnering the same lasting impact as the original. And it is also clear that the impact could have a far wider reach than the original. Karamo hopes that there are at least three to four more seasons of QE in the future – and then he has his eyes set on getting a daytime talk show! “I think there is a spot for a gay black man in daytime TV right now – and I’d like to be the one to fill that,” he muses – and we would definitely be here for Karamo putting his makeover superpowers to work on daytime television as well!

 

 

Karamo’s 6in10.org nonprofit organization

Karamo is the founder of 6in10.org, an HIV awareness organization with a dedicated mission to eradicate the 6 in 10 HIV statistic plaguing gay and bisexual black men; a statistic that has sadly only worsened over the past years which now means that 1 in 2 gay or bisexual black men will be affected by HIV before 40. The organization provides tailored mental health support through viral campaigns and community engagement. Learn more at 6in10.org.

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 

Photos: PR

Source: Out.com

 

Whether it’s because gay filmmaking has gone ’mainstream’ or because the quality of queer cinema is advancing gay films without being labeled as ‘different’ is hard to say. One thing is certain: some of the best films of 2017 were indeed gay-themed.

 

While not receiving the most media attention, these movie picks pioneered in each their own way to cast light on the gay experience in a completely non-condescending way. So, when you celebrate love this Valentine’s Day (or on any other given day!), and if you missed these in 2017, why not put on one of these picks on? Each of these superb films will no doubt provide you with the opportunity to learn a little bit more about yourself – and maybe about each other?

 

Dream Boat

The documentary about a gay pleasure cruise is a sensitive and surprisingly revelatory reflection on the gay male that discloses the innermost feelings and desires of its subjects. Abs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ornithologist

Paul Hamy plays a scientist who embarks on a journey through a wilderness that turns surreal and metaphorical of his own erotic exploration and religious revelation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom of Finland

The biopic about the gay erotica icon (played by Pekka Strang) tells the story of how Touko returns from war only to find himself struggling with his sexuality. Once stateside he realizes his sexual desire through his now iconic artwork.

 

BPM

The movie takes you on an emotional journey through the time of AIDS activism in ‘80s Paris. Both tragic and euphoric it displays fears, emotions, and politics at a particularly fragile time in gay history.

 

 

My Life as a Zucchini

The story of a boy’s self-awareness and innocence when it comes to being gay is the foundation for this wonderful animated film that is simply a must-see whether you like animation or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Assignment

Michelle Rodriquez shines as the hit-woman formerly known as hit-man after a crazy scientist performs gender reassignment surgery on her. A thrill ride that also explores gender controversy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris: 05:59: Theo & Hugo

A love story set in the PreP-era with a renewed consciousness and new take on emotional intimacy wonderfully portrayed by the two main characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Own Country

A Yorkshire shepherd is on a destructive path until a Romanian immigrant enters his life to set him on a new path, but not without twists and turns.

 

A Quiet Passion

This sexually discreet biography of poet Emily Dickinson played by Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) connects to director Terence Davies’ own spirituality of his gay experience.

 

Staying Vertical

A casual fling, an unexpected pregnancy, and child challenge a gay man and the society around him to revise desires and wishes for the future intermixed with sexual identity.

ON THE ATL AGENDA

 

More to Love

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, More to Love kicks off the day of hearts with their Dangerous Liaison event on February 9 at Amsterdam Atlanta. The event will celebrate love in all shapes and forms and while raising funds for Lost-n-Found Youth. With a Marie Antoinette theme, the night will bring you a riveting performance by Penni Posterior and beats by DJ Chris Gris.

 

Love on the Rocks

The Wimbish House on Peachtree will host the annual Love on the Rocks Valentine’s cocktail party on February 18 that raises funds for Joining Hearts. Your $45 admission gets you specialty Tito’s cocktails, delicious bites and dessert by Sun in My Belly, and a special performance by Atlanta’s own Peaches.

joininghearts.org

 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Share the love and discover how dance reveals our deepest humanity and capacity to endure. The Ailey company returns to the Fox Theatre for one week only February 14-18 with a selection of their most inspiring pieces.

 

 

 

 

Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet

Multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and world-renowned singer, Diana Krall will return to Atlanta Symphony Hall on Friday, February 9 for her “Turn Up The Quiet World Tour.”

 

 

 

Deep South Presents Horse Meat Disco

For the first time in Atlanta Vicki Powell and Deep South present London-based Horse Meat Disco on February 17 at the Heretic. The popular disco party has revived the carefree music style and brought it back to the dancefloors all over the world.

 

 

 

Steamlounge Oysterfest

The corner of Peachtree and 12th Street is the new venue of this year’s Oysterfest on February 24-25 where you buy buckets of roasted or chargrilled oysters and eat away in a communal style social setting. Great fun and delicious but messy eating.

 

 

Joris Laarman’s Lab: Design In the Digital Age

On February 18 through May 13 the High Museum will feature the first museum survey for the Dutch designer, Joris Laarman, and his progressive design lab whose work redefines the boundaries between art, science, and technology. The exhibition will comprehensively explore Laarman’s creative prowess, and curiosity through a range of furniture designs applied projects and experiments that blend emerging technologies with skilled craftsmanship.

 

 

By Gregg Shapiro

 

Gay filmmaker Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven, and others) daringly and successfully enters new and exhilarating territory with his latest film Wonderstruck (Amazon Studios). Based on the book by gay young adult author and illustrator Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck tells two seemingly unrelated stories, fifty years apart. One, shot in black and white and set in 1927, is about Rose (Millicent Simmonds), a young, deaf girl obsessed with silent movies (and one actress in particular), whose world is about to change dramatically with the birth of the talkies. The other story, shot in color and set in 1977, deals with Ben. Following the sudden death of his single mom, Ben embarks on a journey to New York where he attempts to track down the father he never met. I spoke with Haynes in October of 2017.

 

Gregg Shapiro: Todd, if you don’t mind, I’d like to begin with the most obvious question. What was it about writer/illustrator Brian Selznick’s young adult novel Wonderstruck that made you want to adapt it as a movie?

Todd Haynes: I didn’t read the book first, I read the script. The script had already made a major move towards cinema. It demonstrated somebody bitten by the bug of how to really evoke, use and consider all the components of movies in the storytelling through cinematic language. Cinematic language without words that goes beyond words. It’s not a story that’s driven by dialogue. He already was considering sound and the edit and all the things at the sinew of cinema storytelling. That was infectious. Maybe other directors would be like, “That’s my job! Back off, dude!” I was thrilled by that.

 

GS: Do you think it was because it was his own book that he adapted that he could see it cinematically?

TH: John Logan, the screenwriter from Hugo (Martin Scorcese’s 2011 screen adaptation of Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret), had said to him to enter the process and not to show it to anyone until he felt like he’d gone deep into that process, of thinking about it as a film. He did that! It’s not just bringing his drawings to life. It’s something very much about cinema. Cinema is in the content; it’s not just in the form. The little girl is a lover of movies and a follower of this actress. We don’t know all the reasons why. Also, what the change from silent pictures to sound indicates for this deaf child is an observation of profound magnitude.

 

GS: That comes across in the powerful scene when Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is leaving the theater, and she sees the signs about the renovation and the arrival of talkies.

TH: And it’s really powerful for deaf audiences.

 

GS: W.C. Fields had a famous quote about never working with children or animals. What can you say about your experience of working with children?

TH: Everything that one says about children in this film has to be contextualized because the children are always changing as they grow up and different ages of childhood are so different. The age of 12, which all three kids are scripted to be around, is its own kind of child. A level of sophistication, wisdom, and knowledge about the world that has not yet been contaminated by the hormonal explosion. Right? That renders a kind of wisdom and depth and clarity, I think, that we may never match in life. I found this age to be an exception in almost every way, or at least in heightened moments. Almost parallel to how I felt about cinema in the moment before sound comes in. Reaching a level of sophistication and new ideas and innovations that was remarkable. It’s like what happens with kids right before puberty. It’s a unique moment. These two ideas join in this film. The actors that I cast demonstrated that to me in many ways.

 

GS: How much time would you say that you spent in museums as a child?

TH: I spent a lot of time in museums. I grew up in Los Angeles, so I spent more time in art museums than in museums of science. I didn’t have the Museum of Natural History as a location in my childhood the way these kids do in Wonderstruck and the way that many of the people with whom I worked on Wonderstruck did. Brian Selznick lived in New Jersey and would visit New York and go to the museum. Mark Friedman, my production designer, spent countless hours at that museum. In fact, both Oakes (Fegley, who plays Ben), who is from outside Philly, and Jaden (Michael, who plays Jamie), who is a New York City kid, spent a lot of time at the museum when they were kids.

 

GS: Wonderstruck is your first PG-rated movie, as well as being based on a novel with a young adult readership, which means that, as a filmmaker, you are going to be reaching a whole new generation of moviegoers. What does that mean to you?

TH: It means everything to me. That’s why I made the film. I wanted this to be a special gift to kids today, and be a film that embraced kids making things with their hands, building little buildings. Ideally, kids getting off their phones and doing things that we all did as kids, that I think kids still do. Having glue and tape, and marker stains on their fingers, and wanting to make things. In the stories of both kids, those creative practices and hobbies and interests are the very things that take them through life and let them figure out who they are and get to where they need to be. That’s absolutely true of the Rose story, where we see the before and after. One suspects that Ben is going to be just fine, given his curiosity and interest in doing things creatively.

 

GS: With the exception of Safe, your feature films have all been set in time periods of the past. Can you please say something about your interest in bringing the past to the screen?

TH: I think the past, at a really selfish level, demands of me to continue to be a student of history and cinema and to continue to learn. One could apply those same interests and drives to contemporary stories, but I think I feel like I get to time-travel myself in making these movies. To feel like I have touched something tactile about the eras in which I have made films. I also think it sets up a frame for the audience to think about their own lives and their present lives in relation to the past. All films have frames around them, but some of them are made explicit. I think a period film makes that explicit. A question that the film is asking you.

 

GS: You once again worked with Julianne Moore on Wonderstruck. What makes your working relationship special?

TH: Our working relationship is special not because she only does her best work with me. Speaking for myself, I appreciate her remarkable talents, from film to film to film, whether I’ve made them or not. I’m so continually bowled over by how well she knows the medium of film. How risky she remains as an actor. How unobsequious she is with the audience. She doesn’t need to be liked to feel induced to do a project. That’s not what motivates her; a kind of affection for the character or to make an audience melt by her charms. She’s interested in something else, and it’s riskier and continually intellectually challenging. She’s an insanely brilliant person. I think a lot of this happens at her core, in some weird chemistry that she has with the medium of film.

 

GS: Wonderstruck has already won one award – the ICS Cannes Award for best director. What would it mean to you if it won a Best Picture Oscar?

TH: It’s hard for me to think about things like that. It ultimately gets in the way of why I make movies and how the movies are valued over time. I’ve been very lucky to feel like my films retain interest for people well beyond the years of the awards season. We all talk about it; we’re all aware of it. We do campaigns for our movies with those goals in mind. But there’s a part of me that needs to try as much as possible not to think about it. I have too many other things to do to talk about the movie, so I don’t fixate on stuff like that.

 

The Wonder of it all: an interview with Todd Haynes

By Gregg Shapiro

 

Gay filmmaker Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven, and others) daringly and successfully enters new and exhilarating territory with his latest film Wonderstruck (Amazon Studios). Based on the book by gay young adult author and illustrator Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck tells two seemingly unrelated stories, fifty years apart. One, shot in black and white and set in 1927, is about Rose (Millicent Simmonds), a young, deaf girl obsessed with silent movies (and one actress in particular), whose world is about to change dramatically with the birth of the talkies. The other story, shot in color and set in 1977, deals with Ben. Following the sudden death of his single mom, Ben embarks on a journey to New York where he attempts to track down the father he never met. I spoke with Haynes in October of 2017.

 

Gregg Shapiro: Todd, if you don’t mind, I’d like to begin with the most obvious question. What was it about writer/illustrator Brian Selznick’s young adult novel Wonderstruck that made you want to adapt it as a movie?

Todd Haynes: I didn’t read the book first, I read the script. The script had already made a major move towards cinema. It demonstrated somebody bitten by the bug of how to really evoke, use and consider all the components of movies in the storytelling through cinematic language. Cinematic language without words that goes beyond words. It’s not a story that’s driven by dialogue. He already was considering sound and the edit and all the things at the sinew of cinema storytelling. That was infectious. Maybe other directors would be like, “That’s my job! Back off, dude!” I was thrilled by that.

 

GS: Do you think it was because it was his own book that he adapted that he could see it cinematically?

TH: John Logan, the screenwriter from Hugo (Martin Scorcese’s 2011 screen adaptation of Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret), had said to him to enter the process and not to show it to anyone until he felt like he’d gone deep into that process, of thinking about it as a film. He did that! It’s not just bringing his drawings to life. It’s something very much about cinema. Cinema is in the content; it’s not just in the form. The little girl is a lover of movies and a follower of this actress. We don’t know all the reasons why. Also, what the change from silent pictures to sound indicates for this deaf child is an observation of profound magnitude.

 

GS: That comes across in the powerful scene when Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is leaving the theater, and she sees the signs about the renovation and the arrival of talkies.

TH: And it’s really powerful for deaf audiences.

 

GS: W.C. Fields had a famous quote about never working with children or animals. What can you say about your experience of working with children?

TH: Everything that one says about children in this film has to be contextualized because the children are always changing as they grow up and different ages of childhood are so different. The age of 12, which all three kids are scripted to be around, is its own kind of child. A level of sophistication, wisdom, and knowledge about the world that has not yet been contaminated by the hormonal explosion. Right? That renders a kind of wisdom and depth and clarity, I think, that we may never match in life. I found this age to be an exception in almost every way, or at least in heightened moments. Almost parallel to how I felt about cinema in the moment before sound comes in. Reaching a level of sophistication and new ideas and innovations that was remarkable. It’s like what happens with kids right before puberty. It’s a unique moment. These two ideas join in this film. The actors that I cast demonstrated that to me in many ways.

 

GS: How much time would you say that you spent in museums as a child?

TH: I spent a lot of time in museums. I grew up in Los Angeles, so I spent more time in art museums than in museums of science. I didn’t have the Museum of Natural History as a location in my childhood the way these kids do in Wonderstruck and the way that many of the people with whom I worked on Wonderstruck did. Brian Selznick lived in New Jersey and would visit New York and go to the museum. Mark Friedman, my production designer, spent countless hours at that museum. In fact, both Oakes (Fegley, who plays Ben), who is from outside Philly, and Jaden (Michael, who plays Jamie), who is a New York City kid, spent a lot of time at the museum when they were kids.

 

GS: Wonderstruck is your first PG-rated movie, as well as being based on a novel with a young adult readership, which means that, as a filmmaker, you are going to be reaching a whole new generation of moviegoers. What does that mean to you?

TH: It means everything to me. That’s why I made the film. I wanted this to be a special gift to kids today, and be a film that embraced kids making things with their hands, building little buildings. Ideally, kids getting off their phones and doing things that we all did as kids, that I think kids still do. Having glue and tape, and marker stains on their fingers, and wanting to make things. In the stories of both kids, those creative practices and hobbies and interests are the very things that take them through life and let them figure out who they are and get to where they need to be. That’s absolutely true of the Rose story, where we see the before and after. One suspects that Ben is going to be just fine, given his curiosity and interest in doing things creatively.

 

GS: With the exception of Safe, your feature films have all been set in time periods of the past. Can you please say something about your interest in bringing the past to the screen?

TH: I think the past, at a really selfish level, demands of me to continue to be a student of history and cinema and to continue to learn. One could apply those same interests and drives to contemporary stories, but I think I feel like I get to time-travel myself in making these movies. To feel like I have touched something tactile about the eras in which I have made films. I also think it sets up a frame for the audience to think about their own lives and their present lives in relation to the past. All films have frames around them, but some of them are made explicit. I think a period film makes that explicit. A question that the film is asking you.

 

GS: You once again worked with Julianne Moore on Wonderstruck. What makes your working relationship special?

TH: Our working relationship is special not because she only does her best work with me. Speaking for myself, I appreciate her remarkable talents, from film to film to film, whether I’ve made them or not. I’m so continually bowled over by how well she knows the medium of film. How risky she remains as an actor. How unobsequious she is with the audience. She doesn’t need to be liked to feel induced to do a project. That’s not what motivates her; a kind of affection for the character or to make an audience melt by her charms. She’s interested in something else, and it’s riskier and continually intellectually challenging. She’s an insanely brilliant person. I think a lot of this happens at her core, in some weird chemistry that she has with the medium of film.

 

GS: Wonderstruck has already won one award – the ICS Cannes Award for best director. What would it mean to you if it won a Best Picture Oscar?

TH: It’s hard for me to think about things like that. It ultimately gets in the way of why I make movies and how the movies are valued over time. I’ve been very lucky to feel like my films retain interest for people well beyond the years of the awards season. We all talk about it; we’re all aware of it. We do campaigns for our movies with those goals in mind. But there’s a part of me that needs to try as much as possible not to think about it. I have too many other things to do to talk about the movie, so I don’t fixate on stuff like that.

 

The Wonder of it all: an interview with Todd Haynes

By Gregg Shapiro

 

Gay filmmaker Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven, and others) daringly and successfully enters new and exhilarating territory with his latest film Wonderstruck (Amazon Studios). Based on the book by gay young adult author and illustrator Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck tells two seemingly unrelated stories, fifty years apart. One, shot in black and white and set in 1927, is about Rose (Millicent Simmonds), a young, deaf girl obsessed with silent movies (and one actress in particular), whose world is about to change dramatically with the birth of the talkies. The other story, shot in color and set in 1977, deals with Ben. Following the sudden death of his single mom, Ben embarks on a journey to New York where he attempts to track down the father he never met. I spoke with Haynes in October of 2017.

 

Gregg Shapiro: Todd, if you don’t mind, I’d like to begin with the most obvious question. What was it about writer/illustrator Brian Selznick’s young adult novel Wonderstruck that made you want to adapt it as a movie?

Todd Haynes: I didn’t read the book first, I read the script. The script had already made a major move towards cinema. It demonstrated somebody bitten by the bug of how to really evoke, use and consider all the components of movies in the storytelling through cinematic language. Cinematic language without words that goes beyond words. It’s not a story that’s driven by dialogue. He already was considering sound and the edit and all the things at the sinew of cinema storytelling. That was infectious. Maybe other directors would be like, “That’s my job! Back off, dude!” I was thrilled by that.

 

GS: Do you think it was because it was his own book that he adapted that he could see it cinematically?

TH: John Logan, the screenwriter from Hugo (Martin Scorcese’s 2011 screen adaptation of Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret), had said to him to enter the process and not to show it to anyone until he felt like he’d gone deep into that process, of thinking about it as a film. He did that! It’s not just bringing his drawings to life. It’s something very much about cinema. Cinema is in the content; it’s not just in the form. The little girl is a lover of movies and a follower of this actress. We don’t know all the reasons why. Also, what the change from silent pictures to sound indicates for this deaf child is an observation of profound magnitude.

 

GS: That comes across in the powerful scene when Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is leaving the theater, and she sees the signs about the renovation and the arrival of talkies.

TH: And it’s really powerful for deaf audiences.

 

GS: W.C. Fields had a famous quote about never working with children or animals. What can you say about your experience of working with children?

TH: Everything that one says about children in this film has to be contextualized because the children are always changing as they grow up and different ages of childhood are so different. The age of 12, which all three kids are scripted to be around, is its own kind of child. A level of sophistication, wisdom, and knowledge about the world that has not yet been contaminated by the hormonal explosion. Right? That renders a kind of wisdom and depth and clarity, I think, that we may never match in life. I found this age to be an exception in almost every way, or at least in heightened moments. Almost parallel to how I felt about cinema in the moment before sound comes in. Reaching a level of sophistication and new ideas and innovations that was remarkable. It’s like what happens with kids right before puberty. It’s a unique moment. These two ideas join in this film. The actors that I cast demonstrated that to me in many ways.

 

GS: How much time would you say that you spent in museums as a child?

TH: I spent a lot of time in museums. I grew up in Los Angeles, so I spent more time in art museums than in museums of science. I didn’t have the Museum of Natural History as a location in my childhood the way these kids do in Wonderstruck and the way that many of the people with whom I worked on Wonderstruck did. Brian Selznick lived in New Jersey and would visit New York and go to the museum. Mark Friedman, my production designer, spent countless hours at that museum. In fact, both Oakes (Fegley, who plays Ben), who is from outside Philly, and Jaden (Michael, who plays Jamie), who is a New York City kid, spent a lot of time at the museum when they were kids.

 

GS: Wonderstruck is your first PG-rated movie, as well as being based on a novel with a young adult readership, which means that, as a filmmaker, you are going to be reaching a whole new generation of moviegoers. What does that mean to you?

TH: It means everything to me. That’s why I made the film. I wanted this to be a special gift to kids today, and be a film that embraced kids making things with their hands, building little buildings. Ideally, kids getting off their phones and doing things that we all did as kids, that I think kids still do. Having glue and tape, and marker stains on their fingers, and wanting to make things. In the stories of both kids, those creative practices and hobbies and interests are the very things that take them through life and let them figure out who they are and get to where they need to be. That’s absolutely true of the Rose story, where we see the before and after. One suspects that Ben is going to be just fine, given his curiosity and interest in doing things creatively.

 

GS: With the exception of Safe, your feature films have all been set in time periods of the past. Can you please say something about your interest in bringing the past to the screen?

TH: I think the past, at a really selfish level, demands of me to continue to be a student of history and cinema and to continue to learn. One could apply those same interests and drives to contemporary stories, but I think I feel like I get to time-travel myself in making these movies. To feel like I have touched something tactile about the eras in which I have made films. I also think it sets up a frame for the audience to think about their own lives and their present lives in relation to the past. All films have frames around them, but some of them are made explicit. I think a period film makes that explicit. A question that the film is asking you.

 

GS: You once again worked with Julianne Moore on Wonderstruck. What makes your working relationship special?

TH: Our working relationship is special not because she only does her best work with me. Speaking for myself, I appreciate her remarkable talents, from film to film to film, whether I’ve made them or not. I’m so continually bowled over by how well she knows the medium of film. How risky she remains as an actor. How unobsequious she is with the audience. She doesn’t need to be liked to feel induced to do a project. That’s not what motivates her; a kind of affection for the character or to make an audience melt by her charms. She’s interested in something else, and it’s riskier and continually intellectually challenging. She’s an insanely brilliant person. I think a lot of this happens at her core, in some weird chemistry that she has with the medium of film.

 

GS: Wonderstruck has already won one award – the ICS Cannes Award for best director. What would it mean to you if it won a Best Picture Oscar?

TH: It’s hard for me to think about things like that. It ultimately gets in the way of why I make movies and how the movies are valued over time. I’ve been very lucky to feel like my films retain interest for people well beyond the years of the awards season. We all talk about it; we’re all aware of it. We do campaigns for our movies with those goals in mind. But there’s a part of me that needs to try as much as possible not to think about it. I have too many other things to do to talk about the movie, so I don’t fixate on stuff like that.

 

 

By Gregg Shapiro

 

Few gifts are as reliable as books, especially during the holiday season. The following recommended titles are by LGBTQ authors in the fiction, poetry and non-fiction genres.

 

For Music Lovers

 

Almost everything you need to know about Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out (Backbeat Books, 2017) by Martin Aston can be found in the title, as the author traces “the sound of lavender” from the 1920s to the 21st century, and includes a multitude of black & white and color photos.

 

The second such comprehensive history of LGBTQ music to be published stateside this year is Darryl Bullock’s, David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music (Overlook, 2017), which begins with the tragic losses of talent in 2016 (including those who died at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando), and then ventures back to New Orleans in the nineteen-teens before spinning forward, like a record, to the present day.

 

Award-winning, Grammy-nominated, Guggenheim fellow and composer/pianist/activist/ educator Fred Hersch has many notable achievements to his name, not the least of which is being an openly gay, HIV+ man in the world of jazz. He writes all about it in his memoir Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype, 2017).

 

 

 

For Memoir Lovers

 

Bill Hayes’ breathtaking Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me (Bloomsbury, 2017), interweaves essays with journal entries, photos, and poetry, to tell the story of the writer’s romantic relationship with the late writer and scientist Oliver Sacks. Speaking of Oliver Sacks, his just-published 10-essay collection The River of Consciousness (Knopf, 2017) is one of two books he was working on at the time of death in 2015.

 

Logical Family: A Memoir (Harper, 2017), the long-awaited memoir by Armistead Maupin, the beloved author of the Tales of the City series, is a revealing chronicle of the gay writer’s journey from the deep South to Vietnam to San Francisco.

 

The unpublished manuscript that became Arch Brown’s A Pornographer: A Memoir (Chelsea Station Editions, 2017) was discovered in 2012 following Brown’s passing, and recounts his interviews and interactions with the actors in the audition process for his erotic films.

 

With the controversial proposed ban on transgender personnel serving in the military on everyone’s mind at the time of this writing, Tell: Love, Defiance and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights (ForeEdge, 2017) by Major Margaret Witt with Tim Connor takes readers back to the 1993 passage of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and its 2011 repeal.

 

For Poetry Lovers

 

Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (FSG, 2017) compiles the work of lauded gay poet Frank Bidart in one stunning setting, including the new collection Thirst, featuring outstanding poems such as “Ellen West”, “Herbert White”, “In Memory of Joe Brainerd”, “The Second Hour of the Night” and “For the AIDS Dead”.

 

Things are lost (weight, memories, causes) and found (a drag queen, and birds, lots of birds) in award-winning lesbian poet Cheryl Dumesnil’s lustrous poems in Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016).

 

Prolific, young, queer Native American poet Tommy Pico’s first poetry collection IRL was published in 2016. Nature Poem (Tin House, 2017) Pico’s second, book-length epic poem merges poetic and texting language for an unforgettable read.

 

 

 

 

For Fiction Lovers

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll never read anything quite like St Sukie de la Croix’s slim, sexy, shocking and sparkly new novel The Blue Spong and the Flight from Mediocrity (Lethe Press, 2017), even if you are familiar with his historical writing, including 2012’s critically acclaimed Chicago Whispers or his humor/commentary columns in sundry LGBTQ outlets.

 

In Marriage of a Thousand Lies (Soho, 2017), the dazzling debut novel by SJ Sindu, we meet Lucky and Krishna, a married Sri Lankan-American couple who are, in reality, actually a lesbian and a gay man. The pair’s sham marriage is threatened when Lucky reconnects with her first lover Nisha, who is preparing to enter an arranged marriage.

 

There’s no shortage of the titular characters to be found in Difficult Women (Grove Press, 2017), the short story collection by award-winning bisexual Haitian-American novelist/essayist/memoirist Roxane Gay.

 

Queer actor and writer Tara Jepsen’s debut novel Like a Dog (City Lights, 2017) follows 30-something skateboarder Paloma as she rolls through life in the Central Valley, looking after her opiate-addicted brother and finding meaning in stand-up comedy.

 

The follow-up to Dale Boyer’s 2016 debut novel The Dandelion Cloud, Thornton Stories (OhBoy Books), subtitled “Tales Out of School,” returns readers to the town of Thornton, Illinois through a series of interconnected tales in which the characters attempt to “make sense of loneliness and love.”

In season full of LGBT fare, venue tells true tale of gender, courage and love in its season-opening play

By Matthew Holley

Get ready, LGBT Atlanta. This month, Theatrical Outfit embraces a multifaceted, intricate journey of discovery in the Southeast premiere of Boy.

The play, a recent Off-Broadway hit by Anna Ziegler, was inspired by one man’s true story of gender reassignment that hearkens and exposes issues currently playing out on America’s public stage. The real-life journey was documented by Oprah and BBC, with further details explained in the best-selling biography, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl, by John Colapinto.

Set in the years 1968-1990, Boy begins when a celebrated doctor influences parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after an accident to the child’s genitals. Having his gender picked for him, years later, the penalties and harsh certainties of that choice unfold with deep consequences surrounding identity and self worth.

The play does not shy away from drama, but it’s written with humor and sweet moments as well that create an emotional roller coaster ride. The story covers big ground as the main character learns to love himself and others, all the while rediscovering who he truly is.

Boy features Tom Key, Theatrical Outfit’s Artistic Director and Clifton Guterman, its Associate Artistic Director, with direction by Melissa Foulger. It runs September 28 – October 15. In anticipation of a particularly LGBT-inclusive season at the venue, Goliath Atlanta speaks to Guterman, who takes on the starring role, about the Boy’s compelling journey.

What made you decide to take on Boy?
It’s the role of a lifetime. I followed the New York production very closely, then I got a hold of the script. We did it last January in a public reading here at the theater as part of a festival. We got a great deal of positive feedback about the script, I worked on it, I played the role in the reading.

Our artistic director was able to watch it, and together we just decided that it was something we really wanted to do at this time in 2017, with a great deal of discussion about gender identity and loving who you feel on the inside you were always meant to love, and being who you feel on the inside.

What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
The big question that the show asks is, Does nature or nurture determine who and how we love? Are we inherently one thing or are we shaped by our society around us? Can people really be altered into being someone else?

There’s a lot of debate about that, but the real question I think is sort of listening to our children and listening to our inner self and letting young people be who they really, really feel that they are.

Does the play ultimately explain the complex true story?
This particular case was very important in terms of its failure in a way in which they were convinced that they should raise the child as a girl. They tried for a long time, and it didn’t work out.

Now, the general practice in the medical community rarely reassigns gender to a child who’s had trauma or born intersex or damaged in some way. They wait until puberty or until the child is able to make the decision and have free will and be a part of that choice. I think the audience will identify with that.

Want To Go?
What? Boy
When? September 28 – October 15
Where? Theatrical Outfit
84 Luckie St. NW
More info: theatricaloutfit.org
Theatrical Outfit principal rocks an Atlanta stage resume all the way to an LGBT-inclusive fall season.
By Mike Fleming

Gay Atlanta theater buffs of any tenure already know the name Clifton Guterman. The Georgia-born actor and associate artistic director has seen steady work on stage and off with companies from New York City to Atlanta’s own Actor’s Express, Alliance Theatre, and now Theatrical Outfit.

After memorable roles in all those places, it’s the latter company, which has had the privilege of his know-how since 2012, that brought him to our attention yet again as the theater gears up for its fall season. Always gay-inclusive in its staffing and its productions, Theatrical Outfit redoubled its efforts to present LGBT fare as part of its 2017-2018 roster of shows.

As Associate Artistic Director, Guterman is integral to the process. With both Anna Ziegler’s Boy and Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement in the lineup, the 41-year-old Ormewood Park resident took some time to tell us a little about the theater, as well as a few tidbits about his personal version of living out and proud in the ATL.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in Atlanta off and on since 1994, and I’m from teeny-tiny Iron City, Georgia, population 350 (or so). I’m married to my best friend, Chad, since 2013, and we’ve been together since 2008.

Give us a brief rundown of the resume that got you to Theatrical Outfit.

I obtained a B.A. in Drama from UGA and an M.F.A. in Performing Arts from SCAD. I’ve lived in New York, traveled the country doing regional theatre, and have worked on the artistic staffs of Actor’s Express, the Alliance Theatre and now Theatrical Outfit. I’ve always had an administrative job in the arts alongside acting work, luckily. 

Tell us about your role at Theatrical Outfit.

As Associate Artistic Director, I manage our casting and work very closely with our Artistic Director, Tom Key, on season planning, literary management and community engagement. I also contribute to the marketing efforts for our programming.

What’s on tap for the fall season?

Our Season of Character is thrilling, with all shows featuring protagonists who might be labeled “other” in some way. Two plays will speak directly to the LGBTQ community and put “us” front and center. Boy, this fall, is based on a true case about a child born a boy but raised a girl after an accident, and the complexities around gender identity in adulthood that unfold. It’s tender, humorous and oh-so-timely. I’ll play the lead, and I cannot wait to share it with Atlanta.

In late winter, we’ll present beloved local playwright Topher Payne’s Arrangement, a Mad Men-era comedy about four neighbors, a gay couple and lesbian couple, who pass as each other’s spouses under the chilling glare of the Lavender Scare of 1950s Washington politics. Expect high style, gorgeous decor and costumes and cocktail party quips. And a big dose of poignant realism too!

What is it about Theatrical Outfit that makes it so special.

Entering our 41st season, we’re Atlanta’s second oldest professional theatre company. We’re nestled in the heart of downtown in the old Herren’s restaurant building – the first Atlanta restaurant to voluntarily de-segregate in 1962. Inclusion is literally in our facility’s bones.

Our contemporary bowl shaped theater is 200 seats and cozy. Our production values are top notch, and we attract and hire Atlanta’s top actors, directors and designers. We aspire to create a compassionate, joyful and just community by producing world-class theatre that starts the conversations that matter. We produce soul-stirring art that entertains and not simply entertainment. 

What other affiliations do you have outside Theatrical Outfit?

I’m an Associate Artist with Actor’s Express, serve on our local Actors’ Equity Association liaison committee, am an adjudicator for the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, and a Rainbros Peer Coach (and helped found its Gays for Plays). In addition to stage work, I’m also a film, TV and commercial actor represented by Atlanta’s Houghton Talent.

What do you do for fun?

Atlanta neighborhoods now have so many exciting restaurant choices. It’s hard to keep up! My husband and I love to dine casually at bars or chef’s counters because we met at one in NYC. We enjoy walking our Miniature Schnauzers, Baxter and Boris, to our very chill neighborhood dog park, and when we’re able, we escape the city and de-stress in quaint and gay-friendly Blue Ridge, Georgia.

If you were to die tomorrow, what would your legacy be?

I strive daily to make Atlanta theatre welcoming, compassionate, inclusive and celebratory. The performing arts can be so competitive, and in other cities that can breed anxiety, bitterness and, ultimately, jaded artists. It’s a business, but it’s made up of creative and brilliant souls. People first is my motto.

What else? Anything you want Gay Atlanta to know?

Atlanta’s arts scene is growing rapidly and deepening yearly. In this divisive political climate with threats to cut arts funding, non-profits need your support more than ever. Atlanta theatres need your beautiful butts in our seats. Subscribe to our full seasons. Serve on our boards. Donate to institutions whose work moves you. We come together and connect over universal truths, no matter our race, gender, sexuality, citizenship status or place of origin. And boy, do we need that unity now more than ever.

Theatrical Outfit is at 84 Luckie St NW. Visit theatricaloutfit.org

Local song and dance man Robert Ray brings it in Too Marvelous for Words
By Matthew Holley

Broadway vet and legendary Atlanta thesp Robert Ray is bringing back his critically acclaimed original show, Johnny Mercer…Too Marvelous for Words at Theatrical Outfit for two nights only this weekend.

The show follows the illustrious career of the Georgia born, award-winning composer, highlighting his greatest hits with accompanied dialogue and audience interaction. Now for those not in the know of Robert Ray, his incomparable career, or the powerful history of Johnny Mercer himself, have no fear, for Peach ATL has all the deets that every gay who’s any gay needs to attend this ‘Marvelous’ production.

Who is Robert Ray?

Ray is an experienced professional piano player, Broadway veteran, concert producer and all-around powerhouse entertainer. He is a local legend having starred in several productions on Broadway and while in New York City won awards as Best Cabaret Artist.

After a ten-year absence from the stage, he returned with critical praise in the lead role of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert at gay Atlanta theater Out Front last year. Ray was nominated by GaVoice readers as Best Actor for that tour de force performance.

But Ray’s talents far exceed the stage. He was musical director and writer for three sold-out productions of Heartstrings at The Fox Theatre, culminating in a national tour. Heartstrings helped to raise money in the fight against AIDS and support those who are affected by the disease. You may also catch him serenading patrons with his piano skills at the ever popular Campagnolo a few nights a week.

What is Johnny Mercer… Too Marvelous for Words about?

This Broadway style musical revue originally appeared at Libby’s Cabaret in 2002. Johnny Mercer was a native Georgian and accomplished singer/songwriter. Throughout his musical career, Mercer won four Academy Awards out of the impressive 18 Academy Award nominations he received for Best Song.

While some may not even know Mercer’s name, they are well aware of his music. Mercer is composer of some of his era’s most iconic classics. He helmed musical backdrop for the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set and filmed in his hometown of Savannah. He’s responsible for songs like “Too Marvelous,” of course, and other classics like “Moon River,” a song that immortalized the historic Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Too Marvelous for Words is a testament and celebration of Mercer. Ray has expertly selected two-dozen of Mercer’s best songs into an electric all-performing musical extravaganza featuring seven singers and a dynamic six-piece orchestra.

Who brings the show to life?

Too Marvelous for Words stars Ray and the cabaret’s original co-stars from 15 years ago, Marsha Dupree and Shawn Megorden, two of Atlanta’s dynamic leading ladies.

This time, Ray adds eye and ear candy for gay fans in the form of Truman Griffin, Forrest Flemming and Chris Saltalamacchio. While the original production only featured Ray and his two female counterparts, he tellsus that the insatiable talents of the male trio, as well as their bodacious bods would add the right amount of flavor.

The cast will perform Mercer favorites such as Mercer favorites as Goody Goody, You Must’ve Been a Beautiful Baby, Jeepers Creepers, Come Rain or Shine, Blues in the Night, Fools Rush In, I Remember You, PS I Love You, Skylark, In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening, Satin Doll, One for My Baby, Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River and Accentuate the Positive.

Sold! Where and when?

Too Marvelous runs Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5, at Theatrical Outfit, 84 Luckie St. NW Atlanta, GA 30303. Visit robertrayproductions.com.

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