To pay homage to an inspirational woman such as Josephine Baker was a daunting prospect, and something I put off for a while. Not only because of who she was in terms of the history of dance, show biz, and her relevance in black culture but also the political statement of the piece.
Firstly I needed to bring together all the elements of the act. The right music, the correct moves and, of course, the persona. I enlisted the help of a dear friend and the head of the Bees Knees, Aliya Floyd. Her expertise in Charleston and the popular dance moves of the time were perfect in what was needed to make a true salute to Josephine. Naturally, I studied her range of facial expressions as well, which I feel is her signature – and a whole piece of choreography within itself.
London, 9 August, 1967. At the height of his short-lived fame, Joe Orton – anarchic playwright and cause célèbre of the English theatre – is found murdered at 25 Noel Road, Islington, his brains bashed in by his long-term lover and one-time collaborator Kenneth Halliwell. Divided in life by Orton’s hard-won success as a writer, the two are forever united in death when Halliwell savagely bludgeons Orton with a hammer then takes a fatal dose of sedatives.
…and see you in 2018!
Righteousness is never pretty, and it tends to often respond after the fact. The fallen hero, or at least the figure shrouded in mystery, is suddenly found to be a creature of ill repute, tarnished, and therefore, in need of emotional and psychic exile. Works, and the man, need to vanish.
Such a figure is Donald Friend, advertised on the chat show circuit in Australia as the country’s greatest paedophile artist. (He has been regarded as the finest of figurative draughtsmen.) The title is, in a sense, a typical introduction to what is an old confusion: is the art of an immoral, criminal artist to be treated as its creator?
Now, you want to know how many years in jail your collection of internet pornography is worth. Of course you do. (Your dead-wood porn is quite safe. Nobody has been prosecuted for having feelthy postcards since Pontius was a pilot; it’s all internet stuff these days.) I am here to tell you.
What connects Madonna, the latest Wonder Woman film, Halle Berry, 80’s boy band Bros, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, photographer Herb Ritts, Cher, Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen and Pop artist Allen Jones? Whitaker Malem.
I was never really one for comic books. Both of my brothers would read them avidly: everything from Marvel comics to Manga, but personally I found them boring and stereotypical. Even as a child, I could see that their representations of characters, especially female ones, were unrealistic. Wonderwomen with tits like artillery shells, virginal Lois Lanes – they all seemed entirely geared towards men and their desires, masquerading as action comic heroines. Of course, there were powerful women within them – Captain Marvel and Black Widow to name but a couple. But despite all their super strength and heroic aura they were still drawn with the sort of overtly sexual features that men find sexually titillating.
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It’s not a bad life playing piano in a smart restaurant. That is if you like playing the piano better than working in an office. You need to be tolerant. Public taste is predictable but your repertoire has to cover a wide range of mood and sentiment; especially if you take requests. Also, you have to balance being impressive enough to command respect and unobtrusive enough not to fuck up the conversations.
I’d fetched up in Savannah after my concert career led me to near starvation. In a classy eatery with a decent piano, I was guaranteed at least one square meal a day and time out mornings and afternoons to give music lessons or stay in bed. I liked Savannah. It had enough tourists and well-heeled locals to support a clientele year round.
It was never too late for a first time. That’s what Lacy thought.
After a few days in Montreal, the strangeness of this new, foreign city no longer overwhelmed her. She loved hearing people speak in French as they drank espresso and nibbled chocolate croissants in cafes. Even the parking signs were a glorious challenge that made her double-check if she was following the city rules or not. Promoted at work six months earlier, she traveled one week every month. Conferences in Boston, advertising pitches in Seattle, or now in Montreal, as part of a special digital media panel at McGill College.
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Abigail Ekue’s Bare Men is showing for the first time outside of her native New York. We take a second look at her work. Why? Because we love it and we just can't get enough of it…
Bare Men continues to challenge hegemonic notions of masculinity in a way that is both assertive yet nurturing, capturing the beauty of the male body but also the strength, playfulness, and tenderness of spirit. The result is at times touching, at others, highly erotic. It is always thought provoking.
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DESIRE: FROSTRUP & EROTIC REVIEW
100 of literature’s sexiest stories, chosen by Mariella Frostrup and the Erotic Review.
Strict mistresses, naughty maids, handsome gardeners and disarming strangers; literature is awash with love, sex and desire. This collection brings together 100 of the best examples, hand-picked by Mariella Frostrup and the Erotic Review.
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