Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gay Make Outs

It is with some shame that I admit I am a huge fan of American Idol. Ok, not huge like I buy any winner's albums, but huge like I'll get annoyed if you call me in the middle of an episode and if you don't take the hint and let me go, I'll ignore you and say "mmm hmmm" a lot until you get annoyed with my lack of attention and hang up on me.

This past season Adam Lambert was my pick. He was a power rock vocalist, which is hilarious, cause who is one of those these days? He ended up coming in second. It doesn't matter who came first, he was boring and lame. How many Jason Mraz's does the world need? We barely need one. Anyhow, Lambert was clearly the better artist, performer, etc. And clearly gay, though they wouldn't let him say that on the air. He was so good that in his first audition he sang Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and not only did I not groan with displeasure (as would normally happen when hearing that song) but instead thought, "holy shit, this guy is as good as Freddy fuckin' Mercury!" Cause he is. His voice is crazy-insane. A touch theatrical for my taste but there was really no one else on the show who even came within a million miles of Lambert. Or as he quickly was nick-named, "Glambert". He did this totally awesome cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" you can watch here if you like. He performed with KISS in platforms and huge shoulder cages, was forced to sing a medley that included the terrible "Beth"...and totally rocked it out.

Anyhow there's lots of stupidity going on this week 'cause Lambert kissed a dude on stage (and also 'simulated oral sex' pictured above) at the AMA's this past weekend. The west coast feed cut the kiss. News shows are blurring it out. Pure idiocy. It is a KISS people. It is SIMULATED sex. Fuck, have you watched a fucking Miley Cyrus performance recently?

Is a same sex kiss a big deal?

I know it's been said by many bloggers. I don't think I'm original in saying this, but a kiss is totally not a big deal. 

The fact that it is being blurred from newscasts and splashed all over the internet is rediculous at best. What is the outrage? That two men kissed? That he's openly gay?

The part I find most offensive about all the coverage is that newcasts keep saying idiotic things about how shocking it was - but refuse to come out (punny) and say that it is offensive because he's gay. They'll say it was 'overly sexual', 'inappropriate for a family show' or 'shocking!'....BUT never say 'We were surprised to see a man being sexual with another man!' which is really the truth. The fact is, he came second on AI because millions of people voted for the dude, and surely most of them must have known he was gay. Fans are even saying "I'm ok with him being gay, but I don't know if I'm ok with that."

But the reality is that's what being gay is. Not always, but damn well often. Being gay shouldn't be this sexless sanitized version of it we always see. For too long being gay has been portrayed only as the girl's bestfriend role,  a loyal listening ear who never gets kinky. Stanford on Sex and the City.  Will on Will and Grace. Sure, these are like some of the gay men I know, but most gay men I know also enjoy the occasional popper and dirty pick-up joint and have little to no interest in shopping for shoes with me. And I love them for that. I love that openness.

Sure, maybe Lambert knew this would happen, and he's gotten lots of press for his album that is coming out.

But I don't care. What I care about is that there is suddenly a very very mainstream star being very very gay and not apologizing. That rules.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Richard Kern

I briefly mentioned Richard Kern in my last post, and I thought I'd share some more Kern images for fun.

I first heard of Kern when he directed the Marilyn Manson video "Lunchbox", I was such a loyal little fan!  The good old days, when Marilyn Manson was still a good band. Aw, just listening to this song in the background while typing this gives me warm fuzzy feelings. Really.

Kern is primarily a portrait artist, though he dabbles in video direction and pornography. One might argue that any nude portrait is pornography, I would argue the opposite, and that's why I say he dabbles in pornography. Usually the subjects are just nude.

I think that Kern's portraiture possesses a unique vision that serves to express the human connection between himself and his subject, while recording subtle moments in cultural history. It is the voyeur in the artist's spirit that captures the subject in a portrait, while it is narcissism or a lack of objectivity that keeps that view out of self portraits. Not to say that one is better than the other, but it is interesting to see the way two portrait artists might capture the same individual in such different ways that the person may be unrecognizable between portraits. Somehow, the self portrait lacks this quality and ability - we as artists tend to capture only the self we wish to see.

He is part of a wave of artists (and average folk alike) that are taking nude photography out of studios and shady development labs into the mainstream home. The digital era has changed pornography and therefore our depictions of perversion; we can now find "anything" but also create "anything" we can imagine. An artist like Kern seeks to find new and dynamic ways of exploring these expressions that allows the viewer to think differently about sexual diversity, while maintaining his artistic credibility. These are not simply nudes for the sake of sexuality, perhaps the sexuality exists within the model, and Kern captures it, or it is projected by the viewer.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sasha Grey

I like a bit of porn here and there, enough to have favourite stars. Like Alisha Klass, my long time favourite. She's my fave because it seems mostly like she actually not only wants to be there, but is also enjoying herself. This is key to good porn for me. Oh, also, she doesn't have big dumb fake boobs. It seems I have a type though, I'm totally smitten with that black-haired pale skin thing, I guess because it is the opposite of me. Well, not exactly, but in a way.

I say I must have a type because I have a new crush. I saw a great documentary on the industry called 9-5 Days In Porn. It was a good watch, and there was lots of screen time for Sasha Grey. I have grown to appreciate what it is she is trying to do for the industry, herself, the art of sexuality. Also, her name is pretty cerebral for a porn star, in that the Sasha is for the guy from KMFDM and the Grey is for A Portrait of Dorian Grey, or maybe the concept of a sexual 'grey area' based on the Kinsey Scale. It is not genius, but it is much more amusing than "cherry holes" or whatever lame porn name most stars have. Also she's in an industrial music band. She's recently been in Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience", which I'm looking forward to seeing. She produces and directs her own films but is also pretty popular in the mainstream sense, winning a lot of awards and accolades in the industry. I'm intruiged by this 3rd...or fourth? Or seventh wave of feminism, if you want to call it that. I'm intruiged by the choice to go into porn knowing the dangers and challenges, and by the strength it must take to set out to own your own empire.

So I caught this interview with her from Playboy and I thought I'd share here, as a worthwhile excuse to post some smut which has been greatly lacking in these parts lately. I completely agree with her point about violence vs. sexuality. The pictures are quite atypical for Playboy which is refreshing. They actually remind me of old-school Playboy shoots much more than anything recent, which could be explained by the shoot being done by photographer Richard Kern. A refreshing lack of tinfoil lips and fake tan.

PLAYBOY: Your Lolita-inspired photo shoot in our December issue is stunning, and Richard Kern is a master, but you're a creative person yourself. When you’re starring in someone else’s work does it make you itch to be calling the shots yourself?
GREY: It definitely does. This shoot was Richard's, but it’s a great challenge when you arrive to a set to do something you don’t normally do. They put me in clothes and hair and makeup that I probably would never wear, but it’s fun because you’re playing. Lately I’ve been getting my creative kicks shooting a lot of my own stuff. I’ll think of set designs and we’ll build them, sometimes something I thought of the night before. It’s fun to be able to do that and not feel constrained.

PLAYBOY: How does a Playboy shoot compare to a porn shoot?
GREY: With Playboy you get better hair and makeup. It was a nice change to be using people from the fashion world for that. But really in terms of photography and video, I think the adult industry is further behind than it ever has been. Stylistically we’re in a real rut. We still paint girl’s faces with too much blush and too much foundation and tease their hair and everybody has to overexpose every photo they take and it all looks the same. You could take pictures of me and replace my head with another girl’s and people would never know. There’s a lack of creativity and personal touch. And nobody wants to challenge that idea.

PLAYBOY: But porn is a market-driven industry, no? Isn't the adult industry just giving people what sells? Is the rut due to uncreative producers or uncreative consumers?
GREY: I don’t think people always know what they want until it’s given to them. I just create stuff that I would want to see. And I’m trying to get to a point where the only person I’m working for is myself. That’s why I started my own company. We’ve finished several movies now. The fifth is my favorite. It's called Cold, Black Water and comes out in November.

PLAYBOY: In the past you've described your work as performance art. Do you consider what you do pornography?
GREY: It's both. And it depends on how you define pornography.

PLAYBOY: Do you have a personal definition?
GREY: I think 80 percent of what we see on television is pornographic. And this is the same thing that Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner were talking about when they started out. We’re in wars and we watch people get killed and there are video clips of people being beheaded on the Internet, but we laugh and joke about that. At the same time we’re still so sexually repressed. But somehow the violence is more acceptable. People complain about adult film, but I’m much more worried about people becoming numb to violence than numb to sex.

PLAYBOY: But how do you define pornography?
GREY: I don’t. It’s not something I care to define.

PLAYBOY: In that case, why not define your work purely as art?
GREY: Because some of it's porn. And I don’t think that’s a negative. It’s like junk food. We all need a little McDonald's once in a while. It’s cheap and easy and available and it might not be the best, but it gets the job done.

PLAYBOY: You’re starting to direct your own stuff. Which directors have influenced you most?
GREY: Catherine Breillat and Gerard Damiano. Damiano didn’t care about money, he didn’t care about anything, he just wanted to make art films with sex. And he made Deep Throat, one of the most famous porn movies in the world. I also love Goddard, [John] Cassavetes and Michael Mann.

PLAYBOY: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
GREY: Yes and no. I feel like the term “feminist” has become so watered down that it's almost become meaningless.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel like there are parts of the industry that are demeaning to women?
GREY: Yes, but it primarily has to do with the business side of the equation. The days of “I was pressured into doing this” and so forth, those horror stories aren't such a big problem anymore. There are always going to be damaged people and problem areas, but that’s not the entire industry. I think people are more manipulated financially. Sure women get paid more than men as performers, but men control the entire back end. And most of the time performers don't get residuals. It's a day rate and that's it.

PLAYBOY: You’ve gone the route of starting your own company. Is that the answer to the financial manipulation?
GREY: It’s either that or start a union and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

PLAYBOY: Do you have ambitions outside the adult industry?
GREY: Well my book comes out in December. It's photo-heavy, but there's a decent amount of text in there by me. I didn't want it to be just, “this photo is from this day on this set” because that gets boring real quick. So it’s more about my sex philosophy.

PLAYBOY: What is your sex philosophy?
GREY: Well if I tell you now you won’t buy my book!

PLAYBOY: You seem like a different kind of porn star than people are used to.
GREY: I'd like to believe that I evoke a different idea of what an adult star is supposed to be. I think society is often uneasy with young women who present both their sexuality and intellect. In one respect I am happy to have the ability to shine a positive light on our sexual freedom, but most female celebrities who are considered sex symbols aren't thought of as strong individuals intellectually. Men like Matt Damon and George Clooney are thought of as both. I would like to see that shift.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There's some people who have a lot of time on their hands who have decided that both Beyonce and Gaga are mind control tools of the illuminati. Well, I won't bore you with repeating it, if you want to know about it, you can go here and see. Anyhow, while wasting my valuable time reading this garbage, I came across this:

Which seeks to explain Lady Gaga's VMA outfits as inspired by Alice in Wonderland characters. I don't know if this is the work of some fan with a good imagination or was truly Gaga's intention, but I think it's pretty awesome.

Damn you! Damn you Gaga! Stop amusing me so.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

GaGa Again

I gotta say, I'm still really not that into Lady Gaga. I am sort of half trying to like her, since she is somewhat how I'd imagine the lovechild of Marilyn Manson and Madonna to be. My main issue is I can't really dig her music. But what is music these days but image anyhow? If Gaga was only selling me her image (or only selling me images) I'd be a fan.

Because this my friends, is pretty.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Illustrator of the Month - November

Garance Doré is a fashion illustrator living and working in France. She has a fantastic blog that features her mind-bogglingly good illustrations as well as her street fashion photography. Oh, and she's also the Sartorialist's girlfriend. She recently designed a range of t-shirts for The Gap which featured her illustrations, that sadly aren't available in north america. Anyhow, without further ado, here are her fantastic illustrations.