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contents

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dumping #dumpstoli

walker marches to own beat

nikolai

getaway

on detroIt and russIa

at the moVIes wIth dorothy

become who you are

soundcheck

those in the gay community who do not live under a rock I am sure have already heard (many, many times over), from one medium or another, that russia now has an anti-gay propaganda law. russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law into effect on June 30, 2013. this new legislation bans …

“I am a child of the rave,” explains out music award winner Jason walker. “I go to the dance floor to forget my troubles and to let the music take over. when a hard beat pierces through my body, it’s hard to find a better feeling than that.”

If you don’t know him, nikolai has been a critical part of detroit’s Party scene for several years. he can be seen performing at Gigi’s, on stage and on the decks, along with other nightspots that he has had the opportunity to spin at such as Liquid and menjos. notably, this young man is also of russian descent, and ...

Former pro-race car driver and retired underworld wheel-man brent magna (hawke) comes home one day to find his world turned upside down. his apartment has been ransacked and his wife is missing. his cell phone rings. a mysterious voice on the other end of the phone (Voight) tells him to follow instructions or else …

the world first met Jason walker when the skinny white boy won the …

september 2013

photos by tony lowe

september 2013

5


Flame // become who you are

Dumping #DumpStoli written by Austin VanKirk

T

hose in the gay community who do not live under a rock I am sure have already heard (many, many times over), from one medium or another, that Russia now has an antigay propaganda law. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law into effect on June 30, 2013. This new legislation bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” with the ostensible aim of protecting Russian children from the threat of education—while engendering a fear-based, retrograde thought method. This law applies to citizens and foreigners alike. For those of you, like myself, that too often find themselves under a rock, more complete information on this topic can be found through a quick Internet search—there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of information or opinions on the web. I do not have enough space in this column, or in this magazine, to rant about how ridiculous this anti-gay propaganda law is, so I will not. Instead, I want to shift attention to the responses that this law is eliciting across the globe. With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia quickly approaching, some participating nations are expressing concern for the safety of athletes and spectators during their stay in regressive Russia. Due to the vague nature of the law, simply styling one’s hair in a “gay” way could result in law enforcement issuing a fine or arresting the perpetrating individual. Petitions are springing up in other, more progressive nations to cancel the Olympics; others are insisting that they be moved to Vancouver, Canada, where the last event was held; and still others that have decided the best way to show their disapproval is to dump Russian vodka down the drain and refuse to drink, sell, or in anyway deal in Russian vodka. Created and spurred on by author Dan Savage, the Dump Stoli Campaign (#dumpstoli) is gathering steam around

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the world. The idea is that the proxy boycott of the Russian company will somehow force Russian lawmakers to retract or change the law. Now, I’m not a big fan of vodka, so I don’t really care if it is dumped, but this response—although well intentioned— appears misguided to me for a couple of reasons. First, Stoli (formally known as Stolichnaya) may be Russian owned, but the actual vodka is made in neighboring, and slightly more LGBT friendly, Latvia. Any damage done by this boycott is not really going to affect Russian citizens in anyway—instead, we are harming the (as far as I know) neutral Latvians. Second, Stolichnaya is not a representative of the Russian government. In fact, the company’s website (www.stoli.com) now proudly and largely displays its support for global LGBT rights: “Stolichnaya® Premium Vodka stands strong & proud with the global LGBT community against the attitude & actions of the Russian government.” Why are we punishing Stolichnaya if the company is on our side—especially since making such a statement could land it in a heap of trouble with the Russian government?

its mind on LGBT rights? Has anyone looked at a map lately? Russia is a huge country: it has many companies, many industries. The boycott of one product is not going to plunge it into economic turmoil as a threat or punishment. At most, I have to imagine, this boycott is simply an annoyance. Russia may be a large country with many of its own issues to attend to, but it is not completely unaware of global events. Russian politicians enacted this law with full knowledge of the globally changing attitudes toward LGBT rights—it knew people would be pissed off— especially with the 2014 Winter Olympics in sight. This says to me that the motives for this law (which was passed unanimously in the lower house of Russian Parliament) are grander and grimmer than what can be confounded by a vodka backlash. While some claim that the boycott is “working” in that Stoli has responded by issuing pro-LGBT statements, I must remind these individuals that the vodka producer is not the Russian government and cannot repeal this law.

It is encouraging, I think, to see members of the LGBT come together on a global scale in support of Dump Stoli, but I do not think it is the answer. It seems to me, as a person with little higher education in the ways of foreign policy, that the most effective method of bringing greater equality to Russia is through larger political and economic pressures on a collaborative international scale. Further, the International Olympic Committee needs to get on board to find away to protect our LGBT athletes so that they can have an uninhibited, uncompromised chance to fulfill their I can imagine the catharsis one might dreams of bringing home the gold. feel when dumping a full bottle of Although Dump Stoli means well, it vodka down a sewer. It gives that helps this situation far too little, and in member of an oppressed sub-cultural some instances, is hurting bystanders in group a chance to feel like he is the process i.e. Latvians. Let’s all take a making a difference, like he is fighting second to think about this situation on back. I understand that desire—too a global scale. As far as I can tell, this often do I myself feel like I want to isn’t working as well as we thought. It’s make a difference, but am not really time to go back to the drawing board. sure how. With that being said, this recourse surely is neither the best nor But then again—what do I know? the smartest way to respond to this Have your own opinions on the problem. Let’s assume for a moment Dump Stoli campaign or the politics that Stolichnaya is in deep cahoots with surrounding the 2014 Winter the government, and let’s assume that Olympics? We want to hear them! Feel the company operates entirely upon Russian soil. Is the boycotting of one free to vent to us (or disagree with us) specific export really going to be a on Facebook: http://www.facebook. large enough push for Russia to change com/flamemagazine

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Flame // sound check

WAlKER mARCHES to oWn BEAt written by Jason Burtt

“I

Billboard #1s (“Foolish Mind Games” change. “There’s so much poverty, and “Set It Free”). so much anguish, so much hate in the This month, he returns with the brand world,” Walker continues. “People new track, “Beat Don’t Stop”. In it, are finally beginning to realize that we Walker pleads with the DJ to keep must celebrate our differences; come the beat pumping because it unites together, spread love, compassion revelers on the dance floor. “The club and understanding. We’re so close experience has always been about to the prize, it’s vital that we don’t let The world first met Jason Walker togetherness for me,” he reveals. the beat stop now.” when the skinny white boy won the “Being surrounded by the people you Was there a time you thought TV talent show, “It’s Show Time at love and experiencing the emotional the beat might actually stop? Maybe after 9/11? Or when the the Apollo”. Soon afterward, he journey as one.” was signed to JVM Records, a label But the song is more than just an market fell? Or even the recent headed by dance music icon Junior anthem for gay dance floors. It’s a Boston bombings? Vasquez. Over the next five years, call to arms that encourages fans Never. We will never let that happen. he released two full-length albums, to keep fighting for progress and At moments of weakness, that’s when a string of top ten hits and two

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photos by karl giant

am a child of the rave,” explains Out Music Award winner Jason Walker. “I go to the dance floor to forget my troubles and to let the music take over. When a hard beat pierces through my body, it’s hard to find a better feeling than that.”


we are strongest.

The music industry remains in crisis too. How has the decline affected you? The same way that it has everyone. It sucks. People steal now because it’s easy and they can. The old musical paradigm is broken and a thing of the past. It’s just one of the many obstacles we artists face today.

Through it all, we persevere. How do you feel about the Supreme Court hearings on same-sex marriage? I’m feeling optimistic. I feel like we gays are entitled to be as miserable in love as straight people. (Laughs) That was a joke!

How do you feel about NBA star Jason Collins coming out? Anyone who comes out has my admiration. And anyone who comes out on such a grand scale and in such a public way, has it even more.

Did you come out or were you always out? Darling, we all have to come out at some point. We aren’t born with rainbow tattoos on our arms.

Your big break was on the TV show, Showtime at the Apollo. How did the audience treat you? The audience was not nice to me at first. Not at all! When I walked out onstage they shouted obscenities at me. It was really terrifying!

It had to be strange for a skinny white boy to be competing on the stage of Showtime at the Apollo. It was strange. But after I started singing, there was an immediate shift in the room and I quickly won them over.

You ended up winning! It was awesome! I can honestly say now that singing at the Apollo was one of the best nights of my life.

Have you considered competing on The Voice? The jury is still out on that one.

What are you doing to keep the momentum of your career going? I’m always writing and recording new music. Today’s artists today have to. Gone are the days of putting out new music every couple of years. Now you have to do it every couple of months to stay relevant.

Who are some of your favorite remixers? Pig & Dan are incredible! Armin Van Buuren and Bimbo Jones are amazing too! I also love Quentin Harris, Sasha, Mr. Guetta, Calvin Harris, John Digweed.....the list goes on and on.

Are there other dance artists out there that are keeping the beat moving? Of course! Kristine W, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Ultra Nate, Inaya Day, Chicane, La Roux… again, the list goes on and on.

What’s your message to dance fans? Never give up on our music. Electronic music has proven itself as a viable entity. Some of the best memories are made on the dance floor.

What do you do when you’re not singing and dancing? What else it there?

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For more information, visit http://jasonwalkermusic.com

september 2013

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Nikolai

On DetrOit anD russia written by Tony Lowe

I

photos by tony lowe

f you don’t know him, Nikolai has been a critical part of Detroit’s Party scene for several years. He can be seen performing at Gigi’s, on stage and on the decks, along with other nightspots that he has had the opportunity to spin at such as Liquid and Menjos. Notably, this young man is also of Russian descent, and based on recent events we wanted to ask him how this cultural upheaval of rights, and basic human compassion has affected him and our culture.

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With Russia, specifically its government, eliminating even the most basic of protections from LGBT people, how does that strike you as a younger person in a culture that is striving to put our community on equal footing with the rest of the population?

Many believe that the Olympics should still be moved from Russia to keep LGBT athletes safe from being jailed, or even possibly killed. And the Olympic committee has upheld that there should be no show of support for political views while competing. Do you think there will be a huge It’s very unfortunate because I’ve show of support internationally always wanted to go to Russia for a as well as from the vast group of while to learn more of the Russian athletes competing?

language, but it’s a reminder that while it may be slow moving here in the U.S, we are making good progress, but we have to continue to elect officials into office who mirror My father’s side is Russian; the lineage our deeply held beliefs. We cannot goes back to when people were continue to criticize our government and our president based on biased escaping from Stalin’s executions. opinions and support candidates who do not support us.

So you are of Russian descent, how much Russian are you? Where in Russia is your family from?

september 2013

I believe there will be those who will show their support, and there will be those who are afraid. I don’t think that while in the international spotlight that there will be many problems. Russia is a very proud country with a very rich culture, and I think they’ll want to showcase that as opposed to bringing any more negative attention.


Outside of the worldview, our own nation is still struggling with making many of the rights we feel separate us from everyone else into reality. How soon do you think marriage will be nationwide? The U.S. has come very far within a few short years. The more younger people who come of voting age and actually exercise this crucial right they have to vote, I could see marriage legalized within the next four to six years, as long as we vote the right people into office to push it through without fear of political retaliation.

What do you think is changing for us here in Detroit? Detroit is a different story . . . I feel that if anything were to change in Detroit it would have to come from the state or federal level. The city itself has far too many other problems to focus on.

We know you’re a DJ and a performer around the City, is there anything else you would like people to know about you? A lot of people have opinions about me, but the majority of them can’t even tell you my real name, where I’m from, or in a lot of cases why they even feel that way. I would like people to actually try holding a conversation with me before making judgments.

Is there anything you would like to say to new, younger entertainers coming into the scene? A little bit of humility and respect go very far. You’re only a cute new face for a few months, after that it’s your personality that’s going to make you the money. Also, don’t feel the need to fit a stereotype. Embrace your masculinity. Don’t ever feel that you can’t fit in because you don’t act, talk, or look “gay.”

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4 / 5 stars

in theaters august 30, 2013 written by Dorothy “Joan” Stevenson

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ormer pro-race car driver and retired underworld wheel-man Brent Magna (Hawke) comes home one day to find his world turned upside down. His apartment has been ransacked and his wife is missing. His cell phone rings. A mysterious voice on the other end of the phone (Voight) tells him to follow instructions or else his wife will be killed. Reluctantly Brent complies, stealing a car and wreaking havoc throughout the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. At the mercy of the mysterious voice whose objective at first remains unclear, Brent commits a series of violations on a strict time table all in the name of eventually saving his wife’s life. There is a slight complication when the actual owner of the car, a teenage girl (Gomez) tries to take her car back at gunpoint. Brent is ordered to kill her, but refuses. This pleases The Voice who then tells Brent he made the right decision because he will need her to complete his tasks, but if she gets out of the car it’s all over for Leanne, Brent’s wife (Buding). The Kid, who is a capable hacker, is none to happy about being along for the ride, but is smart enough to eventually figure out what The Voice is planning, and how to gain an advantage to possibly beat him at his own game.

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Getaway starts with little preamble. Two minutes in and the adrenaline starts pumping. It’s like every driving game you’ve ever played all at once, that is If you like car chases. That’s pretty much what keeps you engaged, plus, the car pile-ups and a few explosions for good measure. For my money, everyone in the film is upstaged by the real star of this movie: the Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake, with 600 horsepower and a 5.4 liter V8 engine. You had me as soon as Brent turned the key and unleashed the roar. The car was outfitted with several cameras so that The Voice could constantly monitor the car and driver’s every move. It also provided a handy gimmick for the director to capture the action. A fair portion of the footage is seen through CCTV cameras. Aside from the car, Ethan Hawke proves capable enough, but doesn’t really distinguish himself, not that it really matters. Anyone could have played Brent. Former Wizard of Waverly Place Selena Gomez is an eye-opener as a tough, foul-mouthed, gun-wielding waif who sports a hoodie and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap. It was nice to see her do something that was so NOT Disney. Jon Voight is the ultimate manipulator, calling all the shots; sitting calmly at his computer screens sipping martinis while watching his puppets dance. All My Children fans will recognize Rebecca Buding (Greenlee) as the kidnapped wife. Getaway is really just a series of car chases strung together by a passable premise, but I did find it very entertaining. Let’s be honest—it was the CAR I loved, but still you might find this film very enjoyable

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ethan hawke as brent magna agna selena Gomez as the kid Paul Freeman as the man bruce ruce Payne as distinguished man rebecca budinG udinG udin G as leanne m magna agna Jon VoiGht ht as the VoiCe Ce C e

photos Courtesy oF warner bros. piCtures

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