DC is Burning

Thoughts on the exhibit “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” in the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC. Open until January 2019. 


A single stream of sweat trickled down the side of my forehead as I turned the corner of 17th and G Street. Even though it was the beginning of May, the temperature soared into the 90s and the humidity clung tight to the pavement all over Washington, DC that weekend.

“Look how they’re painting over the walls,” my friend had pointed out earlier in the metro station. “So much for preserving brutalist architecture.”

I followed suspiciously behind him as we entered the Renwick Gallery, sulking about how I would rather grab a cold drink and nap until the afternoon sun disappeared west into Virginia.

“Come on, it’s a really cool exhibit about Burning Man,” he encouraged. “Haven’t you always wanted to experience what it would be like at a festival in the desert for at least a day?”

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Independence Day

Every year on the Fourth of July I remember a song from my childhood that exists in my mind as the ultimate emblem of campy Americana patriotism. I’m talking, of course, about Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.”

Released in 1993, the song was an instant hit peaking at the number 12 spot on the US Billboards Hot Country Songs. It went on to nab two Grammy nominations and win two CMA Awards for Song and Video of the Year. Continue reading “Independence Day”

Before Pose, there was Saturday Church

By now many of you have probably seen or at least heard of Ryan Murphy’s newest FX series Pose. The show–which premiered on June 3rd–is a musical drama set in the ’80s ballroom underground subculture of Harlem. It’s also notable in that it stars a cast of trans women of color–faces rarely seen on television. In fact, the show boasts the largest cast of transgender actors in television history.

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Flyer from recent screening of Saturday Church at the LGBT Center.

Before Pose, many of the actors’ first exposure to the camera came from Saturday Church, a film written and directed by Damon Cardasis in 2017. Continue reading “Before Pose, there was Saturday Church”

Film Review: First Reformed

In First Reformed–the newest film from cerebral director, screenwriter, and film critic Paul Schrader–Ethan Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller, an alcoholic Protestant minister experiencing a crisis of faith. After losing his only son to the war in Iraq and then his marriage in the aftermath, he wanders through the bleak wintry countryside of upstate New York as he waxes philosophically in lengthy voice-over narrations about the meaninglessness of life.  Continue reading “Film Review: First Reformed”

On the New Roseanne and Queer Spectatorship

The Roseanne reboot–which aired on ABC on March 27th to a whopping 18.2 million viewers–has been met with critical acclaim and a flurry of opinion pieces. The crux of the controversy lies in Roseanne Barr’s politics–both from her character and in real life.

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The Connor family reunites after 20 years in the Roseanne reboot.

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Feeling Blue in the Brooklyn Museum

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276 (On Color Blue), Joseph Kosuth (1990). Now on display at the Brooklyn Museum.

I first encountered Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts because of the #MeToo movement.

Bored one afternoon at work, I found myself wandering down a Google rabbit hole that led me to a young woman named Moira Donegan. In January of this year, as many of you may remember, something of a scandal was made of a phantom spreadsheet floating around the internet detailing a number of sexual misconduct allegations against “Shitty Media Men.” Within hours the spreadsheet went viral and caused a heated debate over the limits of female accusers’ credibility and spawned a number of think pieces from all sides. Continue reading “Feeling Blue in the Brooklyn Museum”

Film Review: Keep the Change

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Keep the Change (released March 16, 2018, in the US and now playing in select theaters) has the same look and feel as any number of mainstream romcoms. A man from the Hamptons meets a quirky girl in the city, and after some initial setbacks, they eventually give into the transformative power of love and start falling for each other. As you watch them walk hand-in-hand on the boardwalk of Coney Island and face disapproving glares from their parents over dinner, you think: Haven’t I seen this already? You haven’t.

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No me encontraron…

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Portrait of Federico García Lorca (June 5, 1989 – August 18, 1936)

Federico García Lorca, the famed Spanish poet and playwright from a small town outside of Granada, came to New York City in 1929 and briefly studied at Columbia University. During that time, it is rumored he focused more on writing than on his studies, and in the following year he completed Poeta en Nueva York, a book of poems published a decade later in 1940.

The book was published posthumously, since Lorca was assassinated sometime around the 18th of August, 1936, by militiamen supporting Francisco Franco’s fascist military coupe. Official reports from the time proffered by the Franco regime claim that Lorca was arrested and executed after confessing to the crimes of “homosexuality” and “socialism.”

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The rundown on Anchorage and Pulse

Want to know what’s catching this queer eye in news and politics? Here’s my take on some of the most hotly-debated issues crowding my Twitter feed over this past week.

Have anything to add or an opinion to share? Sound off in the comments!

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The problem isn’t “top privilege”

One of the most valuable insights I learned from studying sociology is that there is a big difference between what people say and what they do. Humans are complex, contradictory creatures whose behaviors evade simple explanations. Yet, more often than not, we opt for the simplicity of common sense ways of thinking because it’s comforting, and the alternative can be mentally exhausting.

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Photo of Rembrandt Duran by George Lewis Mott.

Rembrandt Duran’s recent think piece on gay sex, while seemingly progressive at first glance, commits precisely this type of error by treating socially constructed identities as indisputable truths. A self-professed expert on the matter, Duran begins by informing readers that the time has come to talk about “top privilege.” Extending ideas about race made famous by Peggy McIntosh back in 1989–which have recently gained cultural traction with the rise of Black Lives Matter and other social movements–the author wants to make tops (i.e., insertive partners) aware of their social and cultural advantages in comparison with bottoms (receptive partners). But what exactly he wants tops to do with this political consciousness remains unclear.

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