Arthur Allen’s debut film Winning Dad had me laughing, crying, smiling and learning, and it’s effects reverberate well after the ending credits, which would be the goal of any independent director, and one in this case who also played double duty as the starring role of Rusty, a charismatic character who is set up to go solo on a camping trip with his boyfriend’s bigoted father in hopes to win him over through his charming and puppy like qualities, but WD takes a few twists and in some moments we see the smiles fade and Rusty’s character shows a darker side.
At brief times WD rubs up against the cheesier side of a “hetero-normative” romance in it’s paradoxically queer-love-struggle based story, but this only helps relieve some of the tension that the secretive and manipulative characters create around them that often ends up in tear shedding from the characters and the audience. WD is less of a edge-of-your-seat movie and more of a sink-into-your-seat movie so you can hide all the FEELS, and with that comes our great recommendation to go check it out at the Seattle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival TODAY (Tuesday 10/13) at The Egyptian Theater at 7pm and either way add it to your movie collection when it becomes available for purchase this December (check out Winning Dad’s website for more info).
Want to win tickets for you and two of your friends to see Winning Dad today? Just tweet this article and be sure to tag @nark_magazine, we’ll pick two winners by 5pm.
Photos by Caitlin Donohue; text design by Jovan Israel
Mexico City illustrator Jovan Israel was one of the only boys invited to the Sad Girls y Que secret Facebook group. For rabid intersectional internet feminists, this fact implies many things. For the less informed, I will elaborate.
A week ago I had a photoshoot with Israel. At a certain point, it became clear we'd entered the world of his drawings, where everything is bright, gender roles have disappeared and you can't stop talking about how beautiful everything is. He was on a bridge in the botanical gardens of the Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s Central Park, fall-stepping with heavy feet because I suggested it would give the camera more time to catch him mid-air (this kind of worked). In the middle of our stoned horsing around, we heard piano music. There was a white wooden piano under a canopy at the garden's entrance and an off-duty park security guard had started to play it. Everything was a bright shade of green that made me super calm about the afternoon rain, which we hadn't planned on. I had this weird sense of balance.
Israel's work is a land full of cats, blunts, girls and genderqueer chola aliens in cut-off jean shorts, Destiny’s Child shirts and combat boots. Over here, Hello Kitty with tits and a dick. Over there, a portrait of Audre Lorde with an uncharacteristically long (for Tumblr) caption in Spanish that talks about her importance as an activist. His work reflects a shifting gender identity in Mexico and explores the boundaries of the culturally-specific definitions of sissy and trans in a way that is easily consumed and shared via the internet. He counts among his collaborators zine makers from around the continent, including Beth Siveyer's Girls Get Busy feminist platform.
When you think of political illustration in Mexico, you inevitably flash on José Guadalupe Posada, a populist printmaker whose work was filled with the violence of the country, with death and dying and corruption and class warfare -- things that are sadly still present hundredfold in the Mexico of 2015. Israel’s work is political too, but not in the confrontational ways that Posada's was. Israel's pieces are solution-focused. They establish space for one’s self, regardless of terrorism or an institutionalized fear of violence. A year ago, the Instituto de Juventud (Institute of Youth) asked him to illustrate a pamphlet combating teen pregnancy, drug use and domestic abuse. These are real problems in the country, no less dire for the drug war that rages around them. He remembers sitting on the metro the day they were handed out to the public, watching people throw them in the trash and die from laughter over slangy conversations in the panels. They represented something new, something that was really only meant to be understood by a new generation of Mexicans.
The 24 year old got his start drawing fashion illustration, filling the Internet with renditions of his favorite images from magazines. But he got tired of drawing the same angular body over and over. Sitting by a bank of cactus, Israel removed a sheet from the stuffed folder of work that he brought with him. He showed it to me, a drawing of a quartet of women morphed and screwed to reflect the discomfiting effects of the fashion industry. "I should do more stuff like this," he reflected. Nowadays, every body type under the sun shows up in his work, lovingly drawn bellies and thighs among them.
The work's activist bent is clear, so it makes sense that Israel's creative endeavors go beyond the page. This winter, he and friend/fashion designer Eduardo "La Mendoza" Mendoza Laguna started a reggaeton-heavy queer party in Mexico City called Mami Slut. They created the event (there have been two parties so far) so that they and their friends could get into Latin rhythms, dodging the electro pop that tends to dominate gay bars. Israel designed the party’s logo, a chola with her eyes low, face framed by gold hoops. The day we went to the park, Israel and I had a brainstorming session about how Mami Slut’s twerk contest could avoid the peer pressure trap. He wanted to make sure that it didn’t end up being a bunch of people on stage twerking because their friends made them get up there. We agreed that Israel would have to take a more proactive role in framing it next time. It's his party, after all.
I asked Israel, while we were sitting by yet another pond, this one covered in lily pads that looked straight out of The Little Mermaid, how he’d describe his own work. He laughed, thought, said “loco,” thought some more, and stuck with his original answer. I guess in a world that's crazy, it's the crazy people who are the most sane.
Bottom Forty is a special place, existing right here in our current time and space, where the underground is pushed hard, and, it is literally underground in the Kremwerk basement. It's your chance to be in a safe, queer powered environment open to everyone, dancing to the most forward thinking selectors in the underground dance scene. It is an audio/visual experience created with much love and care, and they are excited to pump up your Saturday night again this weekend, so come on down as they put special guest and local hero Recess on display!
Photos by Rachel Robinson
It's the best party ever and now we're back for more. We really enjoyed seven minutes in heaven with you, and for some, even more minutes, Roseanne Becky would be super proud of our really tacky closet in her honor, and JTT loved watching all you people tongue bath each other.
This month (aka this FRIDAY) we're gonna Make Out in SPACE, so brush your teeth and get your cosmic lips ready (just don't wear green....).
Photobooth photos by Rachel Robinson
Bottom Forty, the best basement journey through light and sound in town, and here's your pretty pretty faces from it! Join the Bottom Forty crew again this Saturday night at Kremwerk with special guest SEAN MAJORS, plus an afterhours situation provided be JEREMY SCHMIDT, it's gonna get really, really pretty in there. But who cares cuz you need to DANCE FOOL.
Photos by Rachel Robinson
Ok, so, basically, funnest party ever. For years and years we've skirted around each other, looking for validation before movement, wondering if we had the confidence, and now we've just erased all that and offered free shots and BAM EVERYONE BE MAKING OUT. See for yourself!
We're going to theme our booth monthly now, this month's theme will be 7 minutes in heaven, featuring a closet booth to make out in that looks like Becky's closet from Roseanne circa 1992. Next month, in space maybe? Let's find out.
JOIN US FOR MORE TONSIL HOCKEY THIS FRIDAY AT THE EAGLE!
Photos by Rachel Robinson
Andy Butler's dance music project Hercules & Love Affair is named for the implacable strong man of Roman mythology. Herc, as fans of historic dreamboats will already know, was the son of top god Zeus. He slayed the nine headed Hydra, bamboozled the girdle off of the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta and managed to clean out the Stables of Aegus in a day (they were gross.) For queer dance floor enthusiasts, Butler cuts no less of a heroic figure. On his Instagram, he jets across the world, a successful ginger Adonis. He wears bowler hats and oversize zippers in London, swim trunks and a come-hither scowl on Moroccan beaches, an all-white utilitarian R. Swiader looks with bare feet in the streets of LA.
Here is your Hercules, now about that Love Affair. Butler's explained in the past that the band's moniker refers to the coupling of Herc and his young babe Hylas, the hero's companion until Hylas was seduced by water nymphs. Before his watery downfall, the curly-haired Hylas and Herc were in much in love, traveling the world as Hercules beat the beasts. Even the powerful have hearts, and groins, Butler reminds us as his club tracks wrap around you, driven by classic disco sounds and the powerful voices of the singers with whom he creates. One needs only sink into the flow of "Do You Feel The Same?" featuring Belgian vocalist Gustaph, melt into the video's swooping fluorescent desert visuals to feel, really feel that emotions shouldn't be restricted to dance floor ecstasies.
Next week, Butler and Hercules & Love Affair singers Rogue Marie and Gustaph come to the Pacific Northwest for a Nark tour (they'll be in Seattle on Sept. 16 and Portland Sept. 17.) We caught up with the band leader for some banter on artistic counterparts, self care strategies and about staying blissfully pedestrian on hook-up apps.
Photos by Kevin Kauer / Nark
NARK MAGAZINE: What do you look for in an ideal collaborator?
ANDY BUTLER: Collaboration happens in all kinds of ways with this project, both visually and musically. The unifying detail among my collaborators is that they are people who have something striking to say, who bring a fresh perspective that resonates with me. At this point, a voice that I find captivating is as big of a draw as a good deal of musicianship or intuition. Perhaps just as important is willingness and a constructive attitude. I am too old to put up with antics anymore!
NARK: When you recruited Rouge Marie and Gustaph into Hercules, how did the dynamics and sound of the band change?
AB: Rouge and Gustaph are pretty phenomenal performers, real “show people”. They have kept me on my toes and continue to elicit a desire in me to bring a more developed sonic element to the show (more thrill, if you will) to meet their virtuosic and dramatic abilities. The group's personal dynamic is the most solid it's ever been.
NARK: What are you hoping to accomplish in your endeavors as a solo artist? What aspects of yourself as an artist are heightened when you're on your own?
AB: I am just not interested in being solely tied to any project. I have written songs since childhood, long before any notion of Hercules existed and that voice needs an outlet. My compositional voice is a unique one. I will always be writing and producing music, and it already takes so many different forms. I might want to pitch some beats to a hip-hop artist, write a piece of art/classical music, or do an ambient techno record. My personal musical endeavors, of course inform Hercules but I don’t want to have to link every piece of music or art I create to the project.
NARK: Describe your perfect night at the club.
AB: My perfect night at the club has changed over the years, but not too drastically. Essentially, it's about a brilliant, risk-taking DJ playing music that excites me to a place where I lose myself in dancing, with friends that are in it for the same reason. It is a rare occurrence, and becoming even rarer.
NARK: You've spoken about the importance nightlife played in your life as a gay young person. How do you think the significance of clubs has changed or not changed for the little queers of today?
AB: Little queers are still cutting their teeth at the party. The club is key, it’s still a prime place to test their talents and congregate. I wish I saw a bit more substance and less hedonism, more clubs fostering outsider art movements, more scenes that are conducive to thinking, rather than just “escaping”. We're all so easily caught up in nonsense and overstimulation, and it is really easy to get stuck in the superficial and flightier side of nightlife culture.
NARK: You're from Denver. I know very little about place besides weed and sunshine. What are some hidden gems that a first time visitor should check for?
AB: I haven’t been in a minute. But Twist and Shout Records is a definite required stop, as is the Tattered Cover Book Store. There are some great thrift shops on the west side, which shall remain nameless. Wax Trax Records is a fun visit too.
NARK: You're also someone who's dealt with being on the dance music circuit for a minute, along with all that entails. What are your favorite self care tactics?
AB: Self care definitely starts with only consuming water, Red Bull and the occasional Diet Coke. Deep breathing, particularly when the temper is triggered, at airports and places like that. Say yes to the occasional dinner with promoters as it is gracious and keeps me socially engaged and counters my hermit tendency. Don’t stress eat. And say a prayer when the nerves get you.
NARK: Kill fuck marry: Angela Lansbury, the robot from Short Circuit, Bill Clinton.
AB: Kill the robot from Short Circuit. I dated a few robots and they are the WORST. Marry Angela Lansbury -- she will be such a great companion, a wonderful knack for storytelling and a voice that will put you to sleep at night. And fuck Bill Clinton. He is a pig I am sure and I can be a sucker for a Southern accent. Ha that sounded weird.
NARK: Fill out a gay sex app profile for us. (We know you got a man, just roll with it.)
AB: God I don’t know really, I can be after so many different things when I am single. But here goes:
I’d use a picture of myself in a very pedestrian setting because if I can try to avoid being recognized, I do. Shirt on, a nice smile. A good shot but not the BEST one. I like it when someone says, “Wow you are way sexier than your pictures.” Ha.
For "what I am into" -- I am into sexy big dudes named Frank.
For "what I am looking for" -- I am looking for an outsider/non-scene oriented, rugged beauty who is big, gentle and wants to run away with me. If he likes Disney movies and Coil its a major bonus.
Damn LA, you're a riot. We're pretty stoked you like eating whip cream and cookies off Bennett's unmentionables (BUT WHO WOULDN'T) and we're even more stoked to be on permanent rotation in your fine city, now existing on the first Saturdays of the month- but hey, don't bother looking at your calendar, we'll give you a spoiler... that's THIS SATURDAY. Ok?
So come get wet and enjoy some find dancing from James Cerne and Nark, with a her-formance from Cupcake Canne, and your NSA host Shawn Morales, see you this Saturday at PRECINCT!
Without further adieu, photos by Jeromy Lucido
I know I know, who can remember ALLLLL the way back to June of this year? It was a simpler time, when people arrived to parties in horse-drawn carriages and go-go's did the charleston in wool dresses, but hey, you still looked good and here's the proof of it.
The good thing is that we've modernized Dickslap now, so it's happening again THIS weekend, FUTURE!!!! See you Saturday at The Eagle, SF.
Without further adieu, photos by Shot in the City
Wow, that was such a fun Dickslap, so fun that it kinda wiped our memory of it's existence altogether! But now that it's a month later and we've finally come to and recovered from our tequilamnesia we are posting the proof that you were there, you were hot as fuhhhh, and we managed to release naked people on to the streets of Seattle.
SO LET'S DO IT AGAIN TONIGHT- CHANNEL UR FUGLY SLUT // MAKE OUT WITH COUCH CARR (or a hot dog) // BRING YOUR JUMBO TAMPONS
Without further adieu, photos by Rachel Robinson
Photos from the best party ever round two have arrived and they are hot and slobbery. The Make Out Party cuts to the chase, you get to ask cute people to make out with you and then get free jello shots for being an awesome flirt and then later there's photos that will make your mom cry with joy/fear/delight/disdain and isn't that really everything we want all bundled up into one package?
So join us again this Friday (and 2nd Fridays, keep it in mind on your calendar, you will flirt HARD that day) with resident Futurewife, Rachel on the photos, free shots in the make out booth, and some new lips to meet.
Photos by Rachel Robinson
Thank you again to everyone who came down to our big new crazy pride mega-rave for Everyone, it was a life changing experience for all! Really! You all turned it out, and it was the most diverse grouping of people we'd ever seen, everyone jamming together and having the best time, that was truly a Pride experience.
So good in fact that we are having a round two this weekend in VANCOUVER for their Pride Weekend, are you going up? Well then you better GO to it, and if you aren't going up, then you BETTER GO UP!
Photos by Rachel Robinson