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Out of the closet: ‘Gay jeans’ reveal your true colors
04.23.2014
07:02 am

Topics:
Fashion
Queer

Tags:
Gay jeans

Gay jeans
 
Everyone knows that one of the best things about jeans is that they conform to your body over time. The more you wear them, the more they fit you specifically, as the rugged denim wears down and molds itself to your bones and musculature.

Betabrand has come up with a clever concept that takes that one step further: the jeans start out dark indigo, like any other jeans, but as the fibers wear down, they expose a gay-friendly rainbow of colors instead of the usual white.
 
Gay jeans
 
As lead designer Steven B. Wheeler commented, “I like the idea that the jeans come out of the closet over time, and their true colors are something that develops over time and look unique to everyone.”

To be honest, in the sample pics featuring the models, I can’t really see that much difference. But (a) the more you wear them, the more colorful they get, and (b) maybe it’s part of the fun that you see it better up close and personal.
 
Gay jeans
 
Betabrand appears to have met its crowdfunding goal with yards to spare (402% as of this writing), but there are 21 days to go until their funding deadline is over. If you order before that time, you’ll qualify for the 10% off discount, meaning you can get a pair for $88.20 instead of $98.
 

 
via Dis

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Sex Freak’: A young RuPaul performs on cable access TV. No band, no budget, all charisma
04.16.2014
01:07 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Queer
Television

Tags:
RuPaul


 
Despite my ardent endorsement of RuPaul as “America’s sweetheart,” she’s been catching a lot of criticism lately, and not from a bloodthirsty religious right (who apparently know how to better pick their culture wars these days). A feature on her hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, called “Female or She-male,” has been cut from the air after many trans advocates found it offensive. In the segment, contestants were shown pictures of body parts and asked to guess what gender or sex of person possessed said body part. Anatomical “guessing games” have certainly historically demeaned queer people, and a lot of of folks were understandably upset, finding the game “othering.” Many trans advocates have have also argued against Ru’s use of the word “tranny,” as they maintain it’s a slur used to describe trans women and not gay men who do drag.

For the record, I’m not speculating on anybody’s body parts (which is vulgar and cruel, when done without invitation), nor am I ever calling anybody “tranny,” but I do think time will show that RuPaul is on the right side of history. On the first count, the body parts used for “Female or She-Male” were done with volunteer participants—it was not some zoological expedition intending to “expose” the “unreal” women.

On the second count, “transgender” (as opposed to “transsexual” or “transvestite”) wasn’t even a concept until the term was coined in 1979 by early trans celebrity Christine Jorgensen (interestingly, many gay men accused her of homophobia, arguing she implied that gay men were women trapped in men’s bodies). Additionally, at least until 1992,  “transgender” included “transsexuals, transgenderists, and cross dressers” according to International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy.

Terminology changes rapidly to accommodate developing ideas in gender theory. To expect everyone to retrofit their own identities to the latest language—language which may or may not even stick around for very long—ignores the context and history of our foremothers (or forefathers, or forebearers, or whatever).

From a purely technical standpoint, to say that “tranny” is a slur only used to describe a single type of gender nonconformity gives the bigots who use it epithetically way too much credit—they’re not differentiating between sex and gender. I’m sure RuPaul has been called “tranny” in her life (and though identities as a man, doesn’t really care too much about pronouns or identity in general). I think it’s pretty inconsistent that she now be barred from using the word, especially since Ru is so supportive of any and all gender expression.

Regardless, I find the latest social justice culture’s obsession with “pure” language to be a bit wrong-headed, not to mention politically impotent, so I thought I’d like to post a reminder of what it is that makes RuPaul so groundbreaking. Here we see a 1986 clip from the brilliant Atlanta cable access program, American Music Show, one of the longest running public access shows, ever, and a veritable treasure trove of weirdo outsider performance. Ru is seen here performing “Sex Freak,” from his very first 12 inch EP release of the same name. It’s a spoken-word techno song, and he romances the camera with an amazing resourcefulness—no band, no budget, yet all that charisma and confidence still shines through!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Finland to release Tom of Finland postage stamps
04.14.2014
12:48 pm

Topics:
Art
Queer

Tags:
stamps
Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland
 
You may not recognize the name Touko Laaksonen, but you almost certainly are aware of his attention-getting drawings of gay men, as well as his pseudonym, Tom of Finland. Tom of Finland’s drawings, during the second half of the twentieth century, were some of the most defiant and liberated depictions of gay men, so much so that they unquestionably achieved iconic status—and most likely, dictated some fashion trends on its own.

Yesterday the Finnish Postal Service, known as Itella, unveiled 33 new stamp designs. The most surprising inclusion, and as time passes most likely the most controversial, are the three depicting “male drawings by Tom of Finland.”
 
Tom of Finland
 
According to Itella, Tom of Finland had reached the status of a Finnish cultural hero worth celebrating in stamp form: “His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.”
 
Tom of Finland
 
Tom of Finland
 
Same-sex marriage in Finland is currently illegal, if you are under the mistaken impression that all Scandinavians are reflexively tolerant and thus won’t even blink at a little male sex play on their envelopes. In February the Finnish parliament began to debate a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, but the measure has not become law yet. The stamp issue may put a spotlight on the debate.

Tom of Finland’s images of leather-clad bikers mark the early boundary of what can be considered contemporary queer art designed for mainstream consumption. They shred the boundaries between porn and art. What makes them so intriguing, in a way, is that the male figures have a sensitivity accorded them that makes them something beyond mere “beefcake.” They’re images of pure fantasy, without being oppressive; they are obscurely real. In contrast to the once dominant gay stereotype of the “fairy,” “ponce,” etc., Tom of Finland’s bikers were unquestionably empowering. We salute the progressive minds at Itella who worked to make these stamps a reality.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Thrown out for kissing: A quaint guide to gay discos, 1978
04.14.2014
08:09 am

Topics:
Queer

Tags:
disco
gay rights


 

With the first gay and lesbian couples finally permitted to legally marry in the U.K. only a few weeks ago, it is kind of sad to run across the special guide to London clubs published by New Musical Express in 1978. The “Gay Scene” category was both transgressive for the times, but quaint, and included the private, prohibitively expensive Maunkberry’s, frequented by the music and entertainment elite, as well as the Bang Disco on Charing Cross Road (opened in 1976) at the top of the list, a “good mixture of gays and punks.” The category leads with the bummer of a caveat:

Habari! Habari! Hungry for play? Well, let love and joy abound on your London safari. But first a note to all you guys ‘n’ gals, cuties ‘n’ chickens, rent boys ‘n’ muscle men, leather lovers ‘n’ sock eaters: REMEMBER, British Law permits homosexual activity IN PRIVATE between two consenting adults of 21 and over. Any sexual contact in public is forbidden.

gay scene dir
 

Sabotage Times recently mentioned in a fascinating history of London’s gay clubs:

1976 was a groundbreaking year for the development of gay discos in London with the arrival of Bang: London’s first gay superclub. Held at The Sundowner on Charing Cross Road every Monday night, subsequently opening on Thursdays due to popularity, Bang had a 1000+ capacity; a good, loud sound-system; all the hot, new disco imports played by experienced DJ’s Gary London, Talullah and Norman Scott; and dramatic lighting effects operated by the venue’s very own lighting engineer.

As 1976 was the year of the first commercially available 12” single it was perfect timing for a night like Bang – improved audio quality and extended track length for a bigger and better dancing environment.

Below, a look at the Brixton Fairies, a much-needed support network and lifeline for British gays and lesbians in the ‘70s:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Found photos from Kansas City’s 1960s drag scene
04.10.2014
06:59 am

Topics:
History
Queer

Tags:
drag queens


 
Vintage drag is always a treasure, but my excitement over these gorgeous pictures increased exponentially upon learning they come from the Midwest and they were only recently discovered, by total chance. In 2006, an undergrad named Robert Heishman was rummaging through a Kansas City salvage yard in hopes of finding a subject for a documentary class. He came across some slides, discreetly labeled, “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City,” and after flipping through some commonplace family photos, he hit drag queen gold and purchased the lot for $2.

Two years later Heishman’s friend Michael Boles found a shoebox of similar pictures, some of which turned out to be from the exact same parties as Heishman’s pictures. They combined their findings into a collection they call, “Private Birthday Party,” which contains over 200 photos from Kansas City’s incredibly vibrant 60s drag subculture. The bar that hosted these events would post a sign that read “Private Birthday Party” to keep the event covert—same-sex dancing was illegal in Kansas City and gay bars experienced regular raids. Knowing these photos were taken in the knowledge that they could have been used as “evidence” makes them all the more lovely a record of frolic.

With the help of writer Emily Henson and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America, they hope to identify and contact as many of the performers and party-goers as they can find, and they even believe they are close to uncovering the identity of the photographer.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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John Waters calls it ‘the worst taste thing I ever did,’ Divine in ‘The Diane Linkletter Story’
04.09.2014
07:44 am

Topics:
Drugs
Movies
Queer

Tags:
John Waters
Divine
Diane Linkletter


 
In my tireless quest to become a John Waters completest, I’ve been perusing his interviews and writings for lesser-known films. So imagine my thrill at finding his 1970 16mm short, The Diane Linkletter Story on the humble platform of YouTube! (Okay, don’t hate me because I didn’t even have to trek my ass down to a repertory cinema. I’m in my 20s. Do those even still exist?) For the uninitiated, Diane Linkletter was the daughter of Art Linkletter, a family-friendly media father-figure, and host of such wholesome television fodder as, Kids Say the Darndest Things!. Art was also a staunch conservative, and by the late sixties he was touring the country, giving lectures on the growing “Permissiveness in this Society.” But what really solidified his “brand” as the nation’s moralizing Republican dad was his “duet,” with Diane, “We Love You, Call Collect.” (If you’ve never heard it, click the link, and try not to puke.)

The spoken word recording is among the most insipid drivel I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard “The Christmas Shoes.” Over a maudlin score, Art and Diane read aloud a fictionalized correspondence between father and daughter. The daughter has run off to join the counterculture, and the father gives loving advice while begging her to come home, or at least call. This wild child is breaking her dear dad’s heart, and the listener is meant to sympathize with the family, but ultimately blame the daughter and the decaying morals of our time. It’s quite the pearl-clutcher.

Tragically, in October of 1969,  just months after the release of “We Love You, Call Collect,” Diane Linkletter jumped from a sixth floor window to her death. Perhaps from grief, maybe he believed it or maybe even to do some damage control, Art Linkletter quickly told the press that Diane had only jumped under the influence of LSD. When Diane’s toxicology report came back clean, he still stuck to his story, with a second career as an anti-drug crusader. Art and his late daughter even won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording, and Art maintained that all proceeds from the record went “to combat problems arising from drug abuse,” whatever that means.

Starring Divine as Diane, and Waters regulars Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary as Ma and Pa Linkletter, The Diane Linkletter Story is a satirical interpretation of Diane’s final moments, similar to the style of drug moral panic films of the time. It even opens and ends with excerpts from “We Love You, Call Collect.” But that’s not the worst of it.

Waters actually made the movie the day Diane’s death made it in to the papers, and showed it before the funeral even happened.

I think the film is a gem, and it’s not like the surviving Linkletters were going to make their way up to Baltimore to see it. Waters has since praised the idea as an excellent exercise in creativity—instant movie-making from the headlines of today. And before you get too sensitive, he’s since found out what everyone with half a nose for Republican careerism had already suspected—that Linkletter always knew Diane’s death wasn’t drug-related, but in fact used his daughter’s suicide to push his anti-drug political agenda—so who’s in bad taste now?
 

 
Below, a cringe-worthy “showdown” takes place when douchey conservative TV host pits Art Linkletter (on phone) against Timothy Leary, the man he blamed for his daughter’s death:

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Do not run’: Hints for straight college girls encountering lesbians, 1988
04.08.2014
09:52 am

Topics:
Amusing
Feminism
History
Queer

Tags:
lesbian


 
New York magazine’s music critic Jody Rosen posted this gem on his Twitter and added, “...priceless period piece unearthed yesterday by a friend packing for a move.”

 
Man, how times have changed since 1988. My favorite “hints” and tips are:

1.  Do not run from the room. This is rude.

2.  If you must back away, do so slowly and with discretion.

15. Do respect her Individuality. She is a lesbian, but she is also Mary, Pam and Lori…

h/t Gawker

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Bifurcated Girls’: Surprisingly smutty sapphic fashion spread on (gasp) women in trousers from 1903
04.08.2014
07:47 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Queer

Tags:
pants


‘Gay Girls in Trousers’ from an era when “gay” meant “happy” or “carefree”...

Usually, the prurient fodder of the past is merely the quaint cheek of the present, but this 1903 “article” from Vanity Fair (a short-lived trashy mag unrelated to the Condé Nast publication of today or its 1913 to 1936 predecessor) just screams Dangerous Minds—“Bifurcated Girls” is downright tawdry! First of all, the term “bifurcated,” meaning “split in two,” has some distinctly labial implications. I think the last time I referred to a woman as “bifurcated,” it was in reference to a pair of yoga pants that appeared conducive to very intimate frictions; to me, the term implies a cleft right up to the fundaments. But while it’s hard to imagine the social vulgarity of an inseam that remains a safe and comfortable distance from the vulval cleft, it’s the overtlesbian subtext that steals my heart.

The “spread” itself (no pun intended), is has a distinctly Russ Meyer kind of vibe, with models engaging “tomboyish” behavior like “rough-housing,” and spanking—you know, just the sort of normal stuff that totally platonic and heterosexual lady-friends do! There’s one man in the entire shoot, but his presence feels very, very incidental, with only a handful of women even acknowledging him. (“Oh him? That’s Jeff. He’s cool.”) And if you’re not sold on the obvious Sapphic symbolism, please note the photo depicting a femme-ier lady actually pulling a giggling bifurcated woman out from under her bed.

Dian Hansen, author of the fascinating History of Men’s Magazines series, believes this issue of Vanity Fair to be the foundation of American girlie mags, and the single pampered man in the midst of some kind of gender-bending trouser orgy seems to support her claim. But I like to think a few actual girlies-who-like-girlies got a kick out of it—there’s some solid cleavage and thigh on display!
 

 

 
More “Bifurcated Girls” after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Boyfriend twin: ‘Because what’s sexier than dating yourself?’
04.08.2014
07:25 am

Topics:
Queer

Tags:
couples


 
Couples that look alike can be a little weird. Couples that dress alike can be kind of creepy. Couples that look and dress exactly alike kind of terrify/fascinate me. I think it’s a combination of my general aversion to matchy-matchy cutesy couples stuff, compounded with my science-fiction instilled fear of dopplegangers. Or maybe it’s because I’m a straight lady and it’s just never crossed my mind that I could resemble a boyfriend very closely?

The tagline of the Tumblr is, “because what’s sexier than dating yourself?” but I don’t think, as a friend of mine suggested, that this is an expression of narcissism. If anything, it appears to be a loving gesture of selfless devotion. But damn some of these couples are just uncanny. The attention to detail is astounding, right down to accessories, and what appears to be coordinated eyebrow grooming. At the same time… there is an element of sweetness to this kind of commitment that I can’t ignore. Can something be adorable and terrifying at the same time? Like the Rabbit of Caerbannog? My verdict is ultimately “awww, that’s sweet,” but then again, I’m hopelessly sentimental, even under the most unorthodox of conditions. Mazel Tov, you crazy kids!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via boyfriendtwin

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Born in Flames’: Feminist terrorism in a post-capitalist dystopia
04.04.2014
07:57 am

Topics:
Feminism
Movies
Queer
Race

Tags:
Adele Bertei
Born In Flames


 
It’s been a hot minute since I watched a movie that really blew me away with its concept and vision, and I I have no idea how I only just discovered 1983’s Born in Flames. Everything about it is in my wheelhouse. Set in an alternative New York City, Born in Flames is a feminist telling of the injustices plaguing society after a socialist revolution. It goes without saying that a theoretical “post-capitalist patriarchy” is the subject of much debate among socialist feminists—the more “vulgar Marxist” of us believe that capitalism is the very foundation of oppression, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a socialist feminist proclaiming that the abolition of capitalism will be a silver bullet to end all sexism.

Of course, in Born in Flames, the “revolution” has actually changed very little in regards to the state or social order. Police still exercise an absurd amount of power, often wielding it violently, communities are still reliant on mutual aid for essential services like childcare, ghettos remain dilapidated, and meaningful work is scarce. A workfare program has been instituted to alleviate unemployment, but this triggers a macho backlash. Now, exacerbating the sexism and misogyny that pervaded pre-revolution, men are rioting, under the impression that women and minorities are taking all the “good jobs.” It’s by no means an unheard of scenario—phony revolution fails to placate the people, and the reactionary tendency is to blame the marginalized for social and economic woes.

The plot of the film centers on two factions of women, each with their own pirate feminist radio station. Radio Ragazza is run by a white lesbian named Isabel, played by Adele Bertei, a prominent figure in New York’s “No Wave” scene—she played organ and guitar in James Chance and the Contortions, and fronted The Bloods, rock’s first openly lesbian group. A black woman named Honey (played by an actress plucked from obscurity by director Lizzie Borden, and billed only as “Honey”) runs Phoenix Radio. When a famous feminist activist is arrested and dies in police custody, foul play is rightfully suspected, and unrest in the women’s movements grows. A vigilante Women’s Army appears, intervening on assaults against women in a stampede of bicycles—the media labels them terrorists, but Honey and Isabel, who once perceived these sorts of renegade tactics as a bridge too far, begin to see the need for escalation. The ideological leader of the Women’s Army is Zella, played by Florynce Kennedy, a real-life civil rights lawyer and feminist. (In the movie, Zella likens violence to urination—saying there is a time and a place. In real life, Florynce led a mass urination on Harvard’s campus to protest the lack of women’s bathrooms.)

Eventually, both radio stations are burned to the ground, but Isabel and Honey combine forces to create “Phoenix Ragazza Radio” from stolen equipment. “Ragazza” means “female friend, and “Phoenix” is the mythical bird that rises from the ashes; some may find the metaphor a bit heavy-handed, but the anti-obscurantist in me loves it. The pair join the Women’s Army, who are now moving to take over TV stations. Large-scale armed struggle appears inevitable. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but climax is astonishing, especially now, in a post 9-11 America.

Shot partially with a documentary-style narrative, the storytelling of Born in Flames is ambitious but expertly executed. Director Lizzie Borden, who also directed the 1986 classic, Working Girls, a feminist flick on the lives of high-end escorts, manages to masterfully weave FBI reports, news broadcasts, and radio transmissions with a traditional dramatic movie. Though it’s a fast-paced and brutal, much of the plot is centered around women’s negotiations and strategies—it’s a cinematic exploration of the old political question, “what is to be done,” and it directly addresses the question of necessary violence. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Eagle-eyed viewers will spot Eric Bogosian (in his first onscreen role), future Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and Ron Vawter, one of the founders of the avant garde Wooster Group.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Adele Bertei: ‘Adventures in the Town of Empty’

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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