Laura

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5.17pm. Hampton Court Flower Show. A blonde woman comes into the stand from The Water Gardens. She has a friend. They both have shopping. Bags and bunches of flowers. Tall sprigs. Bamboo shoots. Sunflowers. Echinacea. Poppies. Astrantias. Cartons of chocolates. An alpaca bedspread. The blonde woman wheezes a little. One of her eyes has an opaque colour. It lolls under her hairline. She comes right up to me and asks to see the stock, everything that we have. The pendants and the bracelets and the earrings and the rings. But she only wants one stone.
“Moonstone.” Continue reading


Excerpt—Time is Not A Line: Conversations, Essays, and Images about HIV/AIDS Now

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Speak, 2011, Ted Kerr

Artist Carlos Motta asked In The Flesh contributor Ted Kerr to guest edited the third issue of the We Who Feel Differently journal, which is a sporadic online publication addressing critical issues of queer culture, featuring analyses and critiques of international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Questioning politics from queer perspectives. 

Entitled, Time is Not A Line, Kerr’s guest-edited collections of essays, conversations, stories and images explores the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic now, looking at PrEP, nostalgia, the role of women in the crisis, and the current state of activism.

Accompanying each text are images by a variety of artists, many of whom are members of the Visual AIDS Artist Registry. The images should be seen not only in relation to the text they appear with, but as artistic expressions in their own right.

Below we excerpt Kerr’s introduction and provide links to the journal’s articles. Visit the We Who Feel Differently online journal by clicking HERE

In 2010 a version of David Wojnarowicz’s video Fire In My Belly was censored as part of the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Around the world artists, activists, along with galleries, museums and other art organizations responded by screening the video for free and sharing it widely online, hosting public discussions about David’s work and career, and organizing protests. In New York there was a march that started at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with people waving placards, chanting, and creating spectacles through their manner of dress and action. Within the crowd were people wearing masks of David with his mouth sewn shut drawn from the video Fire In My Belly. As powerful as these masks were, they struck me as being counter productive. David was being silenced again—even in the grave—oppressed by a government he understood as being implicit in his death, and we were joining him by being muzzled. To truly honor David, to fight for and with him, shouldn’t we have been chanting through masks with the mouths ripped open? Talking to some of the protesters I understood that they were trying to represent what oppression felt like for them. The protest was well covered by the media and the conversation about the censorship was sustained through out the run ofHide/Seek (helped in large part by artist AA Bronson asking that his work, Felix, June 5th, 1994 be removed from the exhibition out of respect for David and his work). Continue reading


Whiskey Blue interviews Ponyboy

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 pony1

If you go to Vancouver and say the name Ponyboy in any queer or artistic circle, it’s likely your fellow queers and artists will know exactly who you’re talking about. Drag king culture thrives in Vancouver. Since arriving on the local (and international) scene, Ponyboy has elevated a tradition built on amateur nights in seedy lesbian bars to David Bowie-worthy glam rock performance art. Here Whiskey Blue* talks with Ponyboy about how it all began and how it’s all still going.

WB: How did you first get into drag?

Ponyboy: In 2007 I moved to Vancouver from Ladner (deep in the surburbs of Vancouver) and started bartending at Lick, Vancouver’s now-defunct dyke bar. The manager at the time was quite supportive of community folks coming in and throwing their own events, often one-offs and fundraisers, so when my birthday rolled around in January of the next year, I proposed doing a benefit party for Greenpeace. A good way to draw a crowd seemed to book entertainment, and although I didn’t know the first thing about drag, the manager put me in touch with one of Vancouver’s ‘veteran’ kings who could help connect me with local performers and book the show. (This king, Sammy Tomato, ended up designing an event poster for me as well which turned into a wonderfully unexpected crash course in event planning.) Sammy ended up daring me to perform in the show myself, and while I was totally nervous and had no idea what I was getting myself into, I accepted the challenge. I kept it a secret from all my guests, even my girlfriend at the time. The event ended up bringing out quite a big crowd, we raised $700 for Greenpeace, everyone loved the show, and a month later, Sammy approached me about teaming up (along with Majik and Edward Malaprop) to start a new monthly drag king night. We had our first “Man Up” that March.

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Starfish

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 starfish

The girl’s small. Her hair is endless and black. Cascading her back. Yards of it. She comes into the stand and turns. Her head just reaches over the table. Her fingers are tiny stars. Flitting over the surface of things. Sunshine snaps at her fingernails. Breaks there. Her wrists twist away. She wants to play with everything. She moves her digits over the cloths and the tables. Her mother comes up behind her. Takes her fingers. Stops her. Whispers something. Tries to steer her away. The girl moves off towards the gold cabinet. Her eyes are dark, restless. Her fingers flit again. Her mother follows her. Tries to contain her. It doesn’t work. The girl moves again. She returns to the first place. The entrance. Her fingers flit again. This time, they discover the pearls. She picks up the bracelets and the beads. The mother comes up a third time.

“Please, that’s enough.”

“No.”

The girl goes back to the pearls. There are little studs inside a shell. Green, blue, red, cream, white, silver. She twists over these now. Her fingers lifting. She drops them suddenly. Handfuls descend. Scatter. Bounce over the cloth.

“Stop,” the mother says.

This time the mother grabs the girl’s hands. She twists. Tries to release herself. The mother holds fast. Pearl studs are still rolling. I move over to them. Continue reading


EVERYTHING BUT NOT QUITE

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Aldrin Valdez, "Sometimes (after Henry Darger)" 2013-14, digital collage
Aldrin Valdez, “Sometimes (after Henry Darger)” 2013-14, digital collage

 

Buses & Elocution

Out here in Nassau County, Long Island most of the people that take public transportation are people of color, workers earning low wages, and immigrants on their way to work or to school. When he was a teenager, BoyBoy aspired to be white, but if you had asked him then, he’d have had no idea what you were talking about. Instead say Hollister and say blond. Say not wanting to smell like the fish his sister just cooked before he went to school. Stress the soft TH sounds instead of the hard T, F not P: First, myTHology, THree, PHoenix, Four, Full, Faggot, teeTH, Five. Even Filipino, which he is. ConFused, too. He hated taking the bus.

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