New York is famed for its art, its gay scene and every possible connection between the two. Chelsea (known for its “muscle queens”) alone already boasts some 230 art galleries with quite a bit of homosexuality on show: from Andy Warhol and Richard Prince to the French Colombian painter of masculine bodies Luis Cabalero. The Leslie-Lohman gallery in Soho has completely dedicated itself to “gay & lesbian art.” It results in a parade of penises sometimes, or butch masculine bodies. In spring they had a nice exhibition of photographs of boy prostitutes from Baltimore and surroundings. The Fales Library of the New York University currently has a show titled “Pansy, Dyke, Homo, Fag: 150 Years of Queer Culture,” which, as you’d expect from a library, consists of mainly books and manuscripts. They show a letter from Bosie to Oscar from May 1895 (Oscar Wilde at his second trial and almost behind bars and Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas safe in Paris) with the beautiful final sentence: “I am always your own loving and devoted boy, Bosie”.
New York yearly hosts the Film Festival “New Fest”. This year the seventeenth edition of this LGBT film festival took place from the 2nd till the 12thh of June. In eleven days the festival showed about eighty feature movies plus more than one hundred short films from many different countries. Way too many to see them all, so here’s a selection from this avalanche of films.
The first movie I saw was so-so. “Good Boys” by Yair Hochner. A Dennis Cooper/Gus van Sant like movie about three boy prostitutes, an intoxicated woman who’s also a prostitute and a daughter in Tel Aviv. There’s a lot of action without a real story line. The boys aren’t really nice either; one’s an ok actor, another is sort of cute. It’s all very violent without much credibility. They do show a couple of funny sex scenes with clients and one trick in a toilet. We get to see the well-hung main character, who likes being taken from behind, completely naked, we catch another one from the back only, but his thing dangles nicely from under his crack. All in all: not great.
In 1980 the then eighteen-year-old Benedikt Taschen started a bookshop in Cologne. Four years later he published his first art book and since then Taschen Verlag has become a household name in the international book world. Taschen’s publishing company has specialized in sumptuous coffee table books that, unlike the largest part of the art book productions, are very friendly priced. Another remarkable characteristic of this publishing company is that they do not just stick to so-called high art, but also have room for commercial and sub cultural art expressions.
New York has got more than one gay parade per year nowadays. It starts in the first weekends of June with the parades in the suburbs Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. Then there was the first transgender parade on Friday this year, Saturday saw the “Dyke Parade” and then there’s the big New York Gay Parade on Sunday. The first three are rather smallish affairs of a couple of hundred people each. But their future looks bright as more and more gays and lesbians flee the Village and Chelsea to cheaper areas such as Astoria, Williamsburg and Brooklyn.
It promises to be a seductive and colorful summer with the swimming trunks and briefs of Schiesser. This label turns every man into a perfect beach boy. From a Baywatch lifeguard to an unconventional Caribbean surf dude. Schiesser’s Baywatch theme makes you think back to the eighties. Beach shorts and briefs come in classic colors like red and denim and are real eye catchers because of their use of authentic badges and contrasting seams. The pockets with velcro strip are really handy. Prints are hot this summer, so swimming shorts with flower print are the must-haves this season. The Sunshine Reggae theme presents them in kaki with sand colored flower print.
Job Cohen: "People have to learn to demand the right to be the way you want to be"
It has been two years ago already that we had a talk with the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen. He finished that interview by expressing his wish that the Gay Games would come back to Amsterdam. Because of the fantastic atmosphere and the great success of last time. No one could’ve predicted that through only a few dramatic incidents in Amsterdam the liberal and tolerant character could change so much. Mayor Cohen got a lot of criticism that he wasn’t on the ball enough. The people expect law and order and the effects of measures are not always immediately noticeable.
The film maker Ismail Merchant has died after a brief illness on May 25 at a hospital in London. Born in Bombay to a middle-class Muslim textile trader, Ismail was the only son in a family of six daughters. Educated in Islamic and Jesuit schools, he was well versed in the Qu’ran and English literature. In college he showed an early penchant for his later career by staging plays. When he came to New York in 1958, he gave up his family name (Abdul Rehman) for the more cosmopolitan Merchant.
A Sicilian court has recently convicted the Italian department for driver’s licences, because it had seized the driver’s licence of a gay man. The office had noticed that the man had been debarred from military service because of his sexual orientation, and therefore doubted his ability to drive a car. According to the presiding judge homosexuality is “merely a personality disorder,” which doesn’t affect someone’s driving proficiency.
On July 7, scholars, activists and artists opened the first-ever regional conference on Asia’s gay, lesbian and transgender communities in Bangkok, tackling issues from discrimination to how films portray transsexuals.
More than 500 delegates from East Asia and other countries, including Israel, Pakistan and the United States, came for the three day event, although the organizers had initially expected only about 50 to 100 delegates. “Gay, lesbian and transgendered Asia has arrived. It is here and it is real,” declared Peter A. Jackson, an Asian History fellow at the Australian National University and a co-organizer of the event.
A team of Japanese researchers say they have developed a potent new drug that blocks HIV from entering human cells and causes almost no side effects.
The drug, named AK602, was unveiled at the international conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Kobe early July. The scientists say that the drug’s main feature is that it shuts out the AIDS virus at the point when it tries to intrude into a human cell. Current AIDS medicines sometimes lose their effectiveness in a few days because the virus changes and develops a resistance to those drugs.
The highest ranking gay police officer anywhere in the world, Brian Paddick, leads the investigation into the attacks which occurred in London on July 7.
Paddick has never made a secret of his sexual orientation, but this didn’t harm his career. The grandson of a policeman, he grew up in South London. In 1976 he joined the Metropolitan Police and progressed through the ranks. He gained operational experience in Brixton in 1981 when the area was hit by race riots.
Early June the European Human Rights Court came with a remarkable ruling, condemning the Austrian government for long term persecution of gays on the basis of article 209 of their criminal law and at the same time sentenced that two of the victims should be compensated for damages estimated at a record 106.000 euros.
The two men who filed the suit had been sentenced to prison terms, G.B. by the Landesgericht Wels three months on probation, and H.G. by the Landesgericht Innsbruck one and a half years without probation, from which he actually spent one full year in jail.
The city of Amsterdam is going to give gay specific policy in Amsterdam a new boost. This is the result of a discussion which mayor Job Cohen and alderman Aboutaleb have held with Frank van Dalen, chairman of COC Holland and Hans Docter and Tania Barkhuis of COC Amsterdam. Vice chief of police Wijdings and other Amsterdam police officials also attended this meeting.
The commissions will speedily discuss some projects developed by COC, in order to start execution soon. This is about projects aimed at security in the neighborhood, education system and care for homosexual Muslims.