Offering a “gay take” on the events of January 6th seems beside the point, given that President Trump’s actions and those of the mob that stormed the Capitol represent a threat to all Americans, to democracy itself, and to world peace. Suffice it to say that some 40 LGBTQ organizations signed on to a statement by GLAAD calling for the “immediate and unequivocal removal of Donald Trump as president of the United States”; the Human Rights Campaign issued its own message to the same effect. While Vice-President Pence has declined so far to invoke the 25th amendment, the House of Representatives will likely vote to impeach President Trump tomorrow; the timing and outcome of a Senate trial remains uncertain. In the meantime, the inimitable Randy Rainbow brings us “Sedition!”
Gay Books, Arts, and Culture
The Tom of Finland Foundation announced the winners of its 2020 emerging artist competition; between the winners’ gallery and the compendium of all entries, there is plenty to look at (NSWF; 18+ only, please). Listen to Magnus Hastings talk about his new book of stagey, supersaturated queer portait photography, Rainbow Revolution, in an interview with Out & About Nashville. [ Buy @ Bookshop ] Or if “butts and monsters” are your thing, check out Zach Brunner’s Instagram feed, colorful in every sense of the word. And now, at last, designer Achie Alled-Martínez is offering the fashion accessory you never knew you needed: Le Cockachief is a “100% silk twill handkerchief” with phalloi buried in the retro paisley print.
Ocean Vuong’s acclaimed 2019 novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous will be made into a movie, the author said. The book, which The Washington Post called “a lyrical work of self-discovery” and “permanently stunning,” takes the form of a letter from a gay, Vietnamese immigrant to the United States to his mother. [ Buy @ Bookshop ] And in his new book Queer Legacies: Stories From Chicago’s LGBTQ Archives, historian John D’Emilio digs into the collection of the Gerber/Hart Library to offer a “kaleidoscopic look at the communities built by generations of LGBTQ people.” [ Buy @ Bookshop ]
RuPaul talks about drag with Stephen Colbert in this segment from The Late Show. Olly Alexander’s character doesn’t believe AIDS is real in this trailer for It’s a Sin, the much-anticipated new show from Queer as Folk creator Russell T. Davies. Continuing a theme from last week, Davies recently weighed in on whether straight actors should play gay roles: “You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. But Jim Parsons, who played Michael in the revival of The Boys in the Band, has a different take: “It’s important that gay characters are portrayed as well-rounded and completely human individuals,” he told The Lost Angeles Times. “And there are plenty of straight actors who have played gay characters brilliantly.” At CBR.com, Anthony Gramuglia tackled GBTQ representation in animated TV series for adults, arguing that shows such as Bob’s Burgers are “YEARS ahead of Hollywood.”
The pandemic continues to break down the boundaries between film and theater. January 8th saw the streaming of David Bowie’s musical play Lazarus, which ran on stage in 2016 and returned online to mark the fifth anniversary of his death. The original video for the song “Lazarus,” with a gauze-blindfolded Bowie levitating above a nightmarish hospital bed, seems prescient. But it is still a stretch for Bowie biographer Simon Critchley to suggest, as he did recently, that Bowie can “show us a way out” of our “dystopian world”: “Retreating from it to our own private lockdowns and peering out suspiciously through windows and screens, feeling lonely and yearning for love,” is not an answer. Still, Critchley’s biography Bowie should be worth a listen. [ Buy @ Bookshop ] Meanwhile, Circle Jerk is available for streaming through January 17th; the off-Broadway play about “white gay supremacy” (whatever that is) stars Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley.
Finally, “Straight males of Reddit, what’s the gayest thing you’ve ever done?” has garnered more than 16,000 replies since January 1st (NSFW; 18+ only). Fortunately, Stephen LaConte has excerpted some highlights on Buzzfeed, to save us all the trouble.
The fallout from the big New Year’s Eve party in Mexico continues. Drag Race stars Miss Vanjie and Silky Nutmeg Ganache were recently spotted partying without masks, according to PinkNews. Meanwhile, BuzzFeed News talked with the anonymous activists behind the Instagram account @GaysOverCovid, which has garnered a mix of praise and condemnation for naming gay men who flout COVID restrictions. And Aspen Gay Ski Week will go on this year, but according to the Aspen Daily News it “will not host any in-person events.” Here’s hoping people play by the rules.
The arts and gay rights in some of the most LGBTQ-unfriendly parts of the world have been in the press lately. Freemuse, an NGO that advocates for “freedom of artistic expression and cultural diversity,” released a report entitled Painting the Rainbow: How LGBTI Freedom of Artistic Expression Is Denied. The report documents examples of laws, censorship, and other forms of harassment around the world, including in the United States. The movie Welcome to Chechnya, which documents efforts by Russian LGBTQ activists to exfiltrate their Chechnyan peers beginning in 2017, is now available on HBO. Sergey Khazov-Cassia writes about gay literature and censorship in Russia. A EuroNews podcast entitled “Cry Like a Boy” documents “when Dakar was the ‘gay capital’ of West Africa” and the “colonial roots of homophobia in Senegal.” And Sudanese activist Ahmed Umar documents his return to his homeland after 10 years abroad in The Art of Sin; watch the beautiful (and painful) trailer here.
The U.S. Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee “will consider issuing stamps honoring three deceased drag icons”: Marsha P. Johnson, José Julio Sarria, and Sylvia Rivera. “The advisory panel recommends ideas for commemorative stamps,” according to the Bay Area Reporter, “but it is up to the U.S. postmaster general to make a final determination.” Sadly, Louis DeJoy seems likely to stay in the job “well into the Biden administration,” according to Slate.
The World Academy of Science, Engineering, and Technology announced that the 2021 International Conference on Gender Identity and LGBT Rights will be held May 6th and 7th—in Dubai, of all places. One wonders how carefully they thought this through: “Article 177 of the penal code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy,” according to Wikipedia. “The most common depiction in the local media of LGBT people involves foreigners, disease, and sex crimes such as rape.” Count me out.