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CONTENTS IN THE USSR | LGBT RUSSIAN IMMIGRANTS 20 BACK BY CHLOE BELLE PASNIK | ARCHITECT, DESIGNER, AUTHOR 26 BYMARK ERIN WEAVER | SELECTING JEWELRY FOR YOUR PARTNER 40 BYGIFTING SELMA DANFORTH & SEÁN’S WEDDING | VENUE IN ICELAND 44 BYDANIEL SHARON LEVINE COLOR TRENDS 54 BYCARJOHN AXELROD
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by Mark Adams I can remember the good old days when there were 500 or so channels to watch. I can also remember the days when there only 6 channels, four of them network affiliates. If you were lucky, you could pickup maybe another two independent stations that carried mostly re-runs of old comedy series and maybe some old "Tarzan" movies. Ahh, Tarzan and that loincloth. The stories I could tell...but I digress. Now, in addition to the channels you can get from your local cable company that we're paying close to a month's rent for, there are a plethora of "streaming" services. Even though I'm sure that all my readers in this fine publication know exactly what I'm talking about, let me just say that"streaming" is like what’s On Demand on your cable system or, in some cases, like Direct TV Now, Sling, and YouTube TV. These are somewhat similar to cable, with the usual channels such as Discovery, MSNBC, CNN and the like. The only real difference is, you have to pay extra for streaming services but, unlike the crappy OnDemand on your cable box menu, you can watch them (mostly) without commercials. I’ll get into that “mostly” thing in a bit. There is one free 8 savoirflairmagazine
streaming service that stands out, Pluto TV, but it has lots of commercials, and the live TV section can have a delay of several hours such as seeing Morning Joe on MSNBC at 1 in the afternoon. This is a minor inconvenience, and even could be good if you had a rough night before, but it is free of charge. Also there’s no Discovery network, which would be fine if you don't want to discover anything, and lacking most of the networks that you get with a paid cable service. There are several ways to access these streaming services. If you have a cable box/DVR from your cable company, they may...just MAY...have links in their menus to access these services, although they tend not to list many, as they'd rather you'd spend the money with them. Those selfish you-know-whats. Many of the newer TVs are what they call "Smart TVs” and, till recently, I had one of those "Stupid TV"s and swore I'd never need another smart piece of equipment..that sounds dirty. Though my equipment is just fine. Just thought I'd throw that in. The alternative to Smart TV is something like an Amazon Fire Stick, or a Roku, both of which work the same way, are pretty inexpensive, and hook up to one of the HDMI connections on the back
of your TV (if I've lost you already, just move ahead to the next paragraph). You then access this new device through the source menu on your TV. This bring up the question: Which service offers the most? Pretty generally, "most people" agree (I've heard our "President" use those three words a lot, and no one seems to question him…) that Netflix has to be at the top of any list or even Direct TV Now for a cable like streaming experience. Netflix offers more original programming and a bigger variety of programs than the others. Like most of the services, you can select your programs a variety of ways, including by genre.
There is a large variety of LGBT movies available, though many of them are the stuff that you used to pick up on VHS at your favorite movie rental place in the same good old days I mentioned earlier. One of my recent favorites on Netflix was "Insatiable," a series consisting of 12 episodes, all of which myself and my not-really-better-half watched in two days. "Insatiable" tells the story of an overweight teenage girl who slims down and discovers that...well, I don't want to ruin it for you. It's well-written, well-acted, and... well, it's funny. And cutey Chris Gorham is one of the leads. Is it gay-themed? I don't want to give too much away. There will be a second series of this later this
year, so you have plenty of time to catch up. That's another great thing about the streaming services. In most cases, you don't have to wait a week or so to find out what happens. Binge on. The second most-popular streaming service would have to be Amazon Prime. With this one, you not only get the programming from Prime, Amazon and Roku too allow you to download the app Pluto TV, Sling and Direct TV Now as well as featuring their own movies, original films and TV shows, many are LGBT themed. Like Netflix, Amazon, in addition to TV series and older movies, offers its own original programming that can be hit or miss. Definitely a "hit," is the series "A Very English Scandal" which is a fact-based three-part British television miniseries based on John Preston’s book of the same name. In 1965, Jeremy Thorpe, played by Hugh Grant, a continues on next page savoirflairmagazine 9
STREAMING TELEVISON continued from previous page
Liberal Member of Parliament, must contend with disgruntled ex-lover Norman Josiffe, (Ben Whishaw) who he met in 1961 and had a relationship with for several years. There you go... While on your Amazon Prime check out "The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel," written by the same team that brought you "Gilmore Girls" and the much-lamented "Bunheads" from a few years ago. Worthy of all the Emmys it won last year. Also the popular ‘Transparent”, the story revolves around a Los Angeles family and their lives following the discovery that the person they knew as their father Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) is a trans woman. The series ran for 4 seasons until, on November 19, 2017, Tambor hinted that he was leaving the show, announcing “I don’t see how I can return to Transparent”, after two sexual harassment allegations were made against him. He was officially fired from "Transparent" on February 15, 2018. Him too! All 4 seasons can be seen on Amazon Prime. Amazon also has LGBT features that may or may not give you a rise, if you catch my drift. Next on the list is Hulu. This one's a little different - it currently consists of shows from network programs, excluding CBS, which has its own streaming service. There are two membership levels to Hulu - the higher-priced subscription gives you programming commercial free. The cheaper one means you have to sit thru, what they claim, are fewer commercials than what you'd see if you watched them on real TV. and I'm not sure the like the idea of paying to watch commercials, altho, I guess, that's what I do monthly with my cable company. Yeah, it's a lot of background work to go thru. You could, theoretically, drop your cable service altogether (wouldn't that be nice…), but you'd could get some kind of antenna
to pick up local TV off the air, like they used to do in the stone age or services like Direct TV Now and Sling do offer a few local channels. If new programs are the only local tv you watch, many local news programs have live streaming apps that can be downloaded on Amazon Prime or Roku. Or you could drop service to Basic Cable, and watch everything else streaming. So many choices. I guess it all depends on how much you watch, and if you ever want to leave your house again.
Mark Adams has been a popular contributor to LGBT Media for many years, writing extensively on film and video of interest to the community. You can email him at email@example.com with any of your favorites for a future scribbling.
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Book Review x 3
Book Review x 3 REVIEWS by Terri Schlichenmeyer “And Then We Danced: A Voyage into the Groove”
by Henry Alford c.2018, Simon & Schuster | $26.00 / $35.00 Canada | 229 pages You can’t stop your feet. They need to move, to tap-tap-tap, to side step, and do-si-do. The music’s on and you gotta move.You can’t help it, your toes gotta go and in “And Then We Danced” by Henry Alford, you take the lead. Think of all the times you danced in your life.
Your first was likely some bouncy-toddler thing you did, and the adults around you laughed. Later, you endured embarrassing and awkward boy-girl classes, or school events until you became cool (even if only in your mind) and snuck into clubs. You’ve danced at weddings, for fun, for joy; and Alford has danced for work. He’s a journalist who immerses himself in his subject in order to write about it but, in the case of dance, he’s been immersed his whole life. Dance, he says, is a “universal language.” If you suddenly found yourself in Siberia and you began dancing, nobody would mistake what you were doing. It’s an art, yes – but it’s so much more. Dance, he says, is a way of “Social Entrée.” Cotillions and debutante balls are good examples, dancing in a club falls into this category, and if you ever took classes from an Arthur Murray studio, you get the picture. Politics can step onto the dance floor, Alford says. Think about your favorite candidate on the campaign trail, dancing with potential constituents. Or think of the Cakewalk, a dance that was “Originally devised as a way for slaves to mock their masters…” Teenagers know that dance can be a form of rebellion; icons such as Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham knew that, too. Dance can be a form of emotional release, happy, sad, or angry, and it can involve one’s entire body, almost without thought. Any good church choir can tell you that dance is spiritual. With the right group, it can bring on feelings of nostalgia. And dance, if you need it, can be healing. There’re a few pleasant little surprises to this book about moving your body: it’s also author Henry Alford’s memoir, and it’s a series of mini-biographies of dancers you may know and admire. And it’s delightful. Part of the reason is that Alford uses his youth as example here: he was a gawky kid who tried very hard to ignore his gayness, an attempt that made junior high boy-girl dances understandably more awkward. His tales are mostly universal (who didn’t hate forced dance class?) and they’ll make you laugh, while anecdotes of researching to write this book – Alford dives into dance, remember – are woven between the life stories of Murray, Duncan, Graham, Savion Glover, Toni Bentley, and other dancers, as well as lighter-side dance history through the ages. Yes, there are “Awww, naw” moments along here with the Nae Nae, but the joy in this book supersedes any sadness. All in all, it’s a quickstepper, and for a hoofer, ballet lover, line dancer, or anyone who shimmies and bops, “And Then We Danced” will have you on your feet.
“Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation”
by Robert W. Fieseler c.2018, Liveright | $26.95 / $35.95 Canada | 343 pages You’ll never forget that one night. The drinks were cold; the weather, warm; and you were out to have fun with friends you loved and those you hadn’t yet met. You’ll never forget the table, the music, the lights, or the name of the bar – and if you did, as in the new book “Tinderbox” by Robert W. Fieseler, there was probably a reason… Sunday afternoon, June 24, 1973, started like every other Sunday at the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Bar manager Buddy Rasmussen opened the place for its weekly Beer Bash, at which patrons could drink all afternoon for a lowered price. Buddy had come with his “lover,” Adam, and as other regulars filtered in, the music started, drinks flowed, continues on next page
Book Reviews continued from previous page and the Up Stairs Lounge filled mostly with gay men, a few allies, and good times. That the Up Stairs Lounge even existed is remarkable: just a few years after Stonewall, gay men were still openly persecuted, legally and otherwise. It was unlawful in many places, for instance, for a man to dance with another man; gay sex was once punishable by life in prison. But there was the Up Stairs Lounge, quietly advertising with a canopy out front and welcoming to the public, although there were rules in place. It was, perhaps, the breaking of one of those rules that started the trouble: early that evening, witnesses remembered a fight over hustling (forbidden activity in the Up Stairs Lounge) and two men were kicked out. Though no one will ever know for sure, it’s believed that one of them walked down the street, purchased a container of lighter fluid, returned, and dumped the can’s contents onto the wooden steps of the hundredyear-old building. He dropped a flame and walked away. Within seconds, says Fieseler, “No one was going into the Up Stairs Lounge… nor was anyone coming out.” And if that doesn’t chill you, there’s a lot more about “Tinderbox” that will, starting with what immediately follows those words: page after page of stomach-twisting details of death by fire and the horror of publicly burning alive. Author Robert W. Fieseler shares the details and oh, my, they’re wretched. That’s only part of the shock of this book. It continues with controversy within religious organizations, gay-friendly and otherwise, and birthing pains of activism that seem as painful to read as they must’ve been in life. As he’s telling the story, Fieseler continues to remind readers that officials seemed not to care about solving this crime, despite that there were survivors to mourn the thirty-two who died in the fire. And then there were the families who turned their sons away, even in death. Through all this, Fieseler asks – and answers why we largely don’t know the whole of this tale. His answers are multitudinous, compassionate, important in a historical context, and emotional. He says, of this account, “With the last bodies laid to rest, the story faded from minds” but “Tinderbox” makes it one you won’t likely forget.
“Whiskey When We’re Dry”
by John Larison c.2018,Viking | $28.00 / $35.00 Canada | 400 pages It was right here a minute ago. You saw it, but now it’s gone and you have to find it. Beneath a newspaper, atop a shelf, under a blanket, wherever it is, it was just right here – and as in the new book “Whiskey When We’re Dry” by John Larison, you’d search years to have it back. Jessilyn Harney never knew her mother. She died in childbirth, leaving Jessilyn’s father to raise Jessilyn and her brother, Noah, who was five years older. Noah took care of Jessilyn when their father drank too much syrup. He was a good brother, making sure she was warm, dressed, and protected – until the year she turned thirteen and, as young men are wont to do, Noah had a fight with his father and he rode away.
Book Reviews For a few years, Jessilyn did what she could to help her father
wanted to find Noah before the law did…
run things, but he’d gotten addled in that fight, and was never
Reading “Whiskey When We’re Dry” is like opening dozens of
the same. Sensing the truth, perhaps, he schooled her on sharp-
little gifts at Christmas: each time a surprise occurs, it’s a de-
shooting for protection, and he talked of marrying her off. Six
light – the last, no less than the first. Author John Larison does
days after he left on a solitary ride, Jessilyn found his bones
that over and over again, gifting readers with a great opening,
scattered. Not knowing what to do, she asked if the nearby
exceptional characters, and plenty to unwrap.
Mormon family might take her in, and she was denied.
Set in the years following the Civil War, in an unnamed state,
That was when Jessilyn went into the old wooden box that
this book offers a lot to fans of many genres: for sure, this is
Noah left behind. She found some of his outgrown clothes –
an oater, complete with hosses and outlaws. With stunningly-
things that fit her fine – and she became Jesse.
described scenery, it’s a book for adventurers.There’s a gauzily-
Women on the frontier stuck out, he learned, but a baby-faced
told romance with another woman here, and small crushes on
man was mostly ignored. Still, he was soft and that cost him;
gun-slinging men. It’s un-PC, so beware! There’s heroism in this
he was unwise to the world, and that cost more, though guns
novel, but not where you might anticipate it.
would ultimately protect Jesse and they’d generate money in
Take this book on that last-minute vacation you’ve got. Take it
wagers with fools who thought a lad wasn’t good with a Colt.
to bed, and don’t expect to sleep. Take “Whiskey When We’re
But Jesse didn’t want money; he only wanted one thing. Noah
Dry,” take, it, take it wherever you go. If you’re in need of a
had taken up with some outlaws, and there was a bounty on
sweeping epic that offers plenty of mini-shocks throughout, it’s
his head, dead or alive. Sharp-shooting was fun, but Jesse only
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Back in The USSR
LGBT Russians Immigrants By Chloe Belle
Left; Russian Model Photo by Vadim Vexler, Ufa, Russia
Russia might feel far away from the US but the New England area is home to a relatively large Russian population. According to the 2017 American Community Survey, approximately 185,000 people in New England report Russian ancestry. That’s around 1.3% of all residents. Several New England areas are also home to the highest percentage of US residents born in Russia. Almost 8% of people in South Windham, ME were born in Russia. The same can be said for almost 5% of residents in Terramuggus, CT, and Harwichport, MA. Despite this significant Russian-born population, most Americans are not particularly in touch with Russian culture or current events. It was during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi that media here in the US began regularly and extensively reporting on life in Russia, with a particular focus on LGBT rights. As a diverse group of international athletes prepared to attend the Winter Games, media reports emerged about policies affecting LGBT individuals in Russia. Perhaps most widely discussed was the federal law passed in June 2013 banning the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” around children. These issues may seem distant to many of us from America, but they all too real for many of the LGBT Russian immigrants now living in communities around the United States.
“Back in Russia I never had a real boyfriend,” says Andrey, a 32-year-old small business owner who lives in Provincetown and Florida with his partner of 11 years. “It just wasn't that easy, everything had to be behind closed doors or in hiding.” Andrey came to America to work for the summer as a J1 student when he was 21. Following his first summer working in Virginia Beach, he returned to finish his journalism studies at the state university in his hometown of Nizhny Novgorod, a large city not far from Moscow. Andrey mentions that being in Virginia probably wasn’t the best for his situation as “a scared closeted gay” but says that the winter in Russia was hard after being in the US for four months. When he began planning his second summer in America, he simply didn’t know where to go. Deciding to “take faith into [his] own hands”, Andrey Googled gay communities in the US and found an article listing various places with large gay populations. Among bigger locations like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, he found Provincetown, which was described as “a gay paradise village.” Andrey went
straight to the map and was awed by Provincetown’s ocean surroundings. It had always been his dream to live by the ocean, something which was never possible where he lived in Russia. This combination of factors pushed any further doubts out of Andrey’s mind, and he made his way to Provincetown for his second summer in the US. Luckily, he says, he didn’t have a reason to go back to Russia after that summer as he met his first love, Andy, and discovered what his life could be “without constant fear and hiding.” New England has become an inclusive, welcoming homeland for LGBT individuals from all over America and further afield. Specific communities like Provincetown and Northampton, MA, Providence, RI, and Burlington, VT are famous for providing loving and open attitudes towards their LGBT residents, and LGBT New Englanders can generally access a wealth of resources in their local communities. The six New England states were also some of the first to recognize same-sex marriage in the US. The situation in Russia is continues on next page
Below: In front of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki, Finland. In 7 September 2013 a group of activists painted the pedestrian crossing stripes with rainbow colors to protest the Russian anti-LGBT sentimentality and legislation, notably the bans on “homosexual propaganda”. Photo: Murrur
Back in The USSR continued from previous page
photo: Lee Towndrow
Masha Gessen, a Russian-American writer quite notably different. Although homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993, Russia is generally described as socially conservative when it comes to same-sex relationships. There is a lack of laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender expression, and there are not specific legal protections for LGBT Russians. Masha Gessen, a Russian-American writer who has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and a variety of other high-profile American publications, has described the situation for LGBT individuals in Russia at length. Gessen’s family moved to Boston from Moscow in 1981 when she was a teenager, but she later returned to work as a journalist. In that time, she sat on the board of directors for the LGBT organization Triangle, launched the pink triangle campaign in response to the Russian propaganda law, and wrote her highly acclaimed book The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. In a 2013 article for The Guardian, Gessen estimated that, “For years I was the only publicly 22 savoirflairmagazine
out gay person who was not a full-time gay activist.” She described how she was given “a privileged perch” because of her dual Russian and American status and said that her ability to earn money as a writer for western publications mostly protected her from discrimination. “Other Russians were not in a hurry to come out,” she notes. Indeed, while living in Russia, Andrey found that gay relationships were mostly kept behind closed doors. He says that he met the first boy he ever kissed in a gay nightclub in Russia “but our relationship was never brought outside of that club or his apartment. If we went out to eat or walk around, we had to pretend that we are friends, which is specifically hard for gays like me that look gay and can't hide it very well.” In that sort of situation in public, he says, you couldn’t help but feel that everyone was staring. “You’re just in the constant fear that in one of those unfortunate moments you'd end up in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people around,” he says. Andrey still held this mindset when he met Andy in Provincetown and attempted to hide from the other Russian students in town. “I didn't let him hold my hand or hug or kiss me out on the street for the first couple months,” he says. “I know now that I had nothing to be afraid of, it was just how I lived my whole life before and it was difficult to adjust.” As the summer continued, he began to feel more comfortable and stopped wanting to hide, but he says that it took him some time to stop caring about other people’s judgements after living in Russia where hiding was so normal. “I would say that the complete change didn't even happen for [a] few years.” Being gay in Russia was a very different experience. Andrey describes it as “literally being afraid for your life constantly if someone even suspected that you were gay or the truth ever came out to the wrong ears” and refers to the mindset one would have to create to make the situation bearable. He was bullied by classmates in school because he “looked a little girly”; he was called names and still bears physical scars from these years. “It’s like they knew, and I didn't,” he says. Andrey had
Back in The USSR urges and fantasies about men but says that although in some ways he knew he was gay, in others he didn’t simply because he didn’t know what being gay was for a long time. He dated girls and tried to make himself believe that he would change to be like everyone else during puberty. Describing this time, he says, “I was just so busy pretending that nothing is happening, and I'm not any different than the others.” It wasn’t until he was 18 and in college that he stopped denying to himself that he was gay. However, he was still afraid. He didn’t come out even to his close friends and couldn’t act on his feelings for a classmate who he was in love with. Beyond this, he feared the military duty he would have to serve for a year after he graduated. “I personally, the way I am, can’t imagine that I would have survived a year in the army, surrounded by a [sic] closed minded guys that just are looking for a slight reason to take their frustrations [out] on someone.” Being perceived as gay in this setting is, in Andrey’s words, “basically your guaranteed ticket to never seeing a sunrise again.” Moving to the US changed Andrey’s path and when his visa expired after his summer in Provincetown, he applied for political asylum. His application was a risk and he knew that he could be sent back to Russia, but he worked through the winter to research his application, which included many articles he found “about gay people being repressed and harassed, the gay parades being shut down by local authorities and people in them being beaten up and sent to jail.” After a meeting with an immigration officer that April, his application for asylum was approved. Meanwhile, the situation in Russia was still tumultuous for others like him. Gessen has said that in the early 2000s, Russia’s larger cities somewhat resembled the US of the early 1990s with respect to gay rights. Being gay may not have been a point for public discussion but it was no longer associated with such a heavy burden of shame or criminalization. However, Russia then moved away from this with an increasing focus on “family values” and in the 2013 Guardian article, Gessen described how “the time when we felt our story was just a decade or two behind that of gays and lesbians in western Europe or
the US seems impossibly distant now.” Andrey echoes this, saying that he believes the situation for the LGBT community in Russia has gotten worse since he left in the mid-2000s. In his view, the new internet age plays a role in these changes. “That wasn't the case back when I was growing up, so it wasn't a problem,” he says, referring to the era of the internet that we now live in. “If you didn’t want to know about gays, you just wouldn't talk about it, and young gay people, like me, didn't have an easy access to needed information, so it was hard to define and understand your urges and feelings, because it basically just didn't exist.” Now, the internet allows young people who might be struggling with their identities to understand what they are going through and be comforted by the knowledge that they aren’t alone. The current law, in his opinion, aims to control that information for young people “so they wouldn't know that its ok to be different, in hopes that if they hide it long enough, it would just go away on its own.” continues on next page
Our army is an army of liberation of the workers, Stalin, 1939, Vintage Soviet propaganda poster, playbill of the USSR savoirflairmagazine 23
Back in The USSR
continued from previous page
Andrey suggests that Russian attitudes towards the LGBT community, both in the government and the general population, are a reflection of generations of Russians who have been raised with a fixed mindset about “how life is suppose[d] to be, that anything different is looked at as wrong and evil.” He also notes that one of the most common questions he receives is about his feelings towards the President of Russia. “I don't like to get too involved in the politics, but here, in the US, when people find out I'm originally from Russia, they like to ask me how I feel about Putin,” Andrey reports. He likes to believe that these people are asking because they care about the repression of LGBT individuals in Russia. Andrey always tells people that although he doesn’t like the political stance against LGBT rights, he also believes that it comes from an effort to make the majority of Russian people happy. “So if most people in the country hate or are afraid of LGBT people and felt this way for a very long time, then the easiest thing to do is to satisfy them in their hate and fear by putting up more laws that would create an illusion that they are save [sic] from the "evil" and the government is on their side.” Many LGBT Russians like Masha Gessen and Andrey have left Russia and made their homes in other countries where they can express their sexual identities without fear. As well as the many resources for LGBT individuals and families which are available in New England, there are also groups which serve the Russian LGBT community specifically. The RUSA LGBT network, for example, has a Boston chapter which regularly meets to offer inclusion and cultural events for Rus24 savoirflairmagazine
continues on page 60
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PROFESSOR By Erin Weaver Mark Pasnik is a unique and multi-talented creative mind. The Boston-based innovator holds architecture and design degrees from prestigious institutions like Cornell University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, but he doesn’t restrict himself to these fields. As well as architecture and design, Pasnik is a successful author, curator, and professor. Perhaps his strongest quality is the fact that he doesn’t confine himself to the design status quo. His creative focus is summed up in the projects he chooses, which tend to extend beyond aesthetic beauty, being strongly situated in the spaces they inhabit. “For me the most interesting projects are those that engage the cultural world around them,” says Pasnik, quoted on Houzz.com this year in an article describing him as an “LGBT design pro” alongside other big names like Nate Berkus and Eileen Gray. Pasnik’s achievements include being a founding principal of the multi-disciplinary award-winning firm OverUnder which designs books, exhibitions, and cultural and educational buildings. Formed with Rami el Samahy, Chris Grimley, and Marcus Springer, over, under also takes on bigger urban projects everywhere from Guatemala City to Abu Dhabi. They have worked with the Cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and MIT Press, amongst other prestigious clients. Pasnik is also a co-founder of Design Biennial Boston and director of the pinkcomma gallery, which aims to encourage and showcase a more experimental architecture scene in Boston. In addition to all this, Pasnik is a professor at The Wentworth Institute of Technology and has also taught at RISD, California College of the Arts,
Carnegie Mellon, and Northeastern. In recent
erally be divided into two forms after the mid-
years he also authored the widely acclaimed
century, with these being glass and steel boxes
book Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the
following the legacy of the Miesian grid and the
New Boston (The Monacelli Press, 2015) which
concrete buildings influenced by the late work
won recognition from a variety of publications
of Le Corbusier which were labelled as Brutalist.
and building related associations.
This bold book was heralded around the US
In Pasnik’s book Heroic: Concrete Architecture
as a deft and groundbreaking work which re-
and the New Boston, written with co-authors
brands the concrete architecture built in Boston
Michael Kubo and Chris Grimley, the architect
between 1960 and 1976. The Boston Globe de-
reflects on the controversial movement known
scribed the book as “fascinating”, noting that
as Brutalism. Pasnik himself was introduced to
Pasnik and his co-authors had created a partic-
the style as a child while exploring construction
ularly timely argument in Heroic: “as Bostonians
sites where his grandfather worked on build-
from Mayor Marty Walsh on down express dis-
ing projects. He found the style inspiring. In the
appointment in recent architecture, most nota-
book, Pasnik and his co-authors move towards
bly the block like Seaport District structures de-
the label of “Heroic” rather than “Brutalist”, ar-
signed by a handful of high-profile firms, there
guing that Brutalist has a negative connotation
are lessons to learn from the age of monumen-
which can lead to the misreading of buildings
tal concrete.” Similarly, other notable archi-
designed in this style. Although many members
tects like Michael McKinnell said that they had
of the general public may not be aware of it,
moved away from calling themselves Brutalists
important examples of Brutalist architecture
after reading Pasnik’s book, saying, “now, I say
are being threatened with demolition and dis-
‘I’m Heroic!’”. In a review for the Dallas Morn-
figurement. These include the J. Edgar Hoover
ing News, Mark Lamster described Heroic as “A
FBI Building in Washington, D.C. and Boston City
bravura history, capturing the energy, optimism,
Hall. Modernist architecture in the US could gen-
idealism and creativity of an architecture that continues on next page
Below: Boston City Hall, Government Center, a classic example of Heroric AKA Brutalistic Architecture featured in Pasnik’s book Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston
MarkPASNIK continued from previous page
figured out. Pasnik and Grimley certainly sum up
is too often dismissed.” In creating an architec-
Trump’s aesthetic: “chintzy glamour.”
ture and design book which is timely, engaging, and accessible, Pasnik has shown that he’s not
Pasnik has been a strong advocate for the bold
just a great mind; he’s also someone who can
Brutalist (or, rather, Heroic!) style of architecture
effectively communicate his creative intellect
and this extends beyond his Boston base. With
to the wider public.
OverUnder, Pasnik has taken on various preser-
So what does this highly accomplished gay creator do in his spare time? Pasnik and his partner of 18 years live in Boston and New York respectively, but the architect’s interests have also gotten him involved with life in Washington, D.C. In August of 2018, he challenged Donald Trump’s criticism of the aforementioned FBI Building in Washington, D.C. in an essay published in The Boston Globe. Pasnik, along with co-author Chris Grimley, asks why Trump har-
vation projects in the Middle East, Central America, and the US. He has overseen everything from academic buildings to vacation homes, with each maintaining over, under’s legacy as “intuitive environments that enable people to move, live, and learn.” However, these are not just architectural endeavors; OverUnder also take on urban, environmental, and graphic design projects. This innovative mindset is echoed at the pinkcomma gallery, located in Boston’s
bors such disdain for this architectural movement. Having spent a decade researching this style of architecture in Boston, Pasnik and Grimley surmise that the reasons for Trump’s derision are both political and aesthetic. They describe how the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, designed in 1964 by Charles F. Murphy and Associates, is “guilty by association with a group of people Trump detests.” Pasnik and Grimley also note that Brutalism as a movement came up in the Kennedy-Johnson era of the 1960s and as such it “became synonymous with the modern international bureaucratic order that the nation was then attempting to build, an order that Trump is now recklessly disassembling.” They offer a searing take on Trump’s chosen aesthetic with its gold, chandeliers, and Rococo style, describing his design eye as offering “unabashed ornament and superficial projections of wealth” which stand in stark contrast to the Brutalist movement and its representation in the building Trump so derides. The authors have Trump
Mark Pasnik at the September 2016 exhibition TAILORED by Bryony Roberts described as a collection of shapes that interlock with human bodies.
South End, which is yet another example of co-director Pasnik’s ongoing commitment to heralding the inventive and the original. The pinkcomma website describes the gallery as showcasing Boston’s new architectural underground in its subterranean space. Pinkcomma is a continued on page 30
Above and below: the Westport Beach House which is a stunning example of OverUnderâ€™s thoughtful modern design. Resting on posts, this environmentally friendly home features large unobstructed glass windows, traditional cedar shingles, skylights, metal roofing, and a passive solar orientation. The interior has an open concept design, with an unique natural wood vaulted ceiling. Itâ€™s the perfect mixture of the best in traditional home features such as a peaked roof with modern elements of glass and metal, all working in stunning harmony.
continued from page 28
study in innovation, celebrating what is new and experimental and encouraging artistic exchange in Boston’s design scene. Like many of Pasnik’s projects, this is about more than just architecture. Pinkcomma branches out across various disciplines including graphics, interiors, urbanism, industrial design, and more. In Heroic, Pasnik and his co-authors say that “through their very durability, Heroic buildings remind us of our changing attitudes, for better and for worse.” This durability and commit-
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Dog-Friendly Home Design Our community loves our dogs, for those of us that donâ€™t have children, as any dog lover will tell you, dogs are the ultimate substitue. We pamper them, dress
fortunate to be building a new home, here are some possible add ons for your precious canine.
MEETING YOUR DOG'S NEEDS Some of the most common accommodations that homeowners make for their dogs include a dog
them up, buy the very best organic food and treat
door so their pet can get in and out of the house
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As dogs get older and deal with more mobility is-
nity in force. Whatâ€™s more 60 million households in
sues, some homeowners are willing to invest in a
the United States contain at least one dog, and the
special elevator so their pet can continue to get
number is growing by the year. In fact, dog ownership has increased by almost 30 percent in just the last decade. So the next time you remodel or if youâ€™re 36 savoirflairmagazine
up and down the stairs without someone carrying them. Others don't go quite that far and put ramps by furniture that their dog can walk up and down when she can no longer jump up.
A TIDY FEEDING STATION
lution that some custom home builders have come
Tripping over your dog's bowls of food and water
up with is to build a dog-feeding station into the end
is both frustrating and wasteful, but it might have
of a cabinet. It's neat, out of the way, and dogs spill
seemed like an inevitable problem until now. One so-
less when their bowls can't move as easily. continued on next page
Dog-Friendly Home Design continued from previous page
BUILT-IN DOG BED AND WASHING STATION Dogs are lovable and exuberant, but they can get
JR • N•
in the way when it's time to complete household chores like laundry. Building a resting area underneath a laundry room storage shelf is one way to solve this common problem. You can train your dog that he needs to lie in the bed if he wants to be near you while you're washing and drying clothes.
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Gifting Your Partner or Partner To Be Jewelry by Selma Danford Gifting a stunning piece of jewelry to someone you love is a thoughtful gesture. Choosing the appropriate piece of jewelry, though, can be challenging. What if your partner doesn’t like what you chose? Don’t worry– it’s not as difficult as you might think! When is it appropriate to gift jewelry? It’s a great idea to gift jewelry if it’s for a partner or someone you’ve been dating for a while but don’t give jewelry if it’s for someone you’ve been dating for a short time or to your partner that doesn’t like or wear jewelry. For the latter the piece will just be tucked away in a draw or safe deposit box and relegated to the forgotten. When choosing jewelry as a gift consider the following: Think about your partners personality and style (not just something you
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like for yourself), ie. it’s not for you to borrow. Also gift a piece of jewelry to remind your partner of your relationship, such as, if you met in Provincetown, something reminding them of the sea such as a bracelet with high quality imbedded Tanzanite stones or if your first date was dinner and cocktails, perhaps a cocktail ring. Designer jewelry is great if your partner already has some items from a particular designer. Never, ever regift jewelry given to you, very trailer park trash to do so. ￼
stone earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches or rings. A word of caution: be careful of buying someone your just dating a diamond ring unless you’re proposing! ￼
Tips for Buying Jewelry
No matter what stage your LGBT relationship is in adhere to these gifting jewelry guidelines. You should always, research, research and research more. In other words no impulse purchases since this leads to inferior jewelry and a disappointed partner. At the same time, be careful of becoming too consumed with making the right decision– this often leads to a point where you can’t make any decision at all. Feel confident in your purchase by conducting some initial research. Look into these items before visiting a jewelry store. continues on next page
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Though every LGBT relationship is unique we amassed a list of appropriate gifting jewelry at each stage of a relationship from dating to marriage. 1.) The first gift: a bracelet or watch 2.) Early stages of dating: a simple earring, earrings or pendant. 3.) Dating Anniversaries or Valentines Day: Nice bracelet, Watch inscribed. 4.) Time to get married: Diamond engagement ring or band of course! 5.) Wedding anniversaries: Diamond or other gem-
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Gifting Your Partner Jewelry continued from previous page
1.) Knowledge of metals and gemstones available. 2.) Vintage pieces and the various eras of jewelry. 3.) Fashion trends and styles. 4.) Always search for reviews of the jewelry store you plan to visit.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
I know many of you would beg to differ...Choose a quality piece, even if it means spending a little bit more since it is created to last, with high-grade metals and gemstones. It will also be properly designed and finished. Remember, quality doesn’t always mean “bigger.” Don’t think you have to choose the biggest piece to make your partner happy.
Likes and Dislikes
This piece of jewelry is for your partner, not for you. No borrowing. Don’t impose your own preferences into your decision, but try to keep the other person in mind. If you’re purchasing a ring or bracelet, it can be helpful to know the individual’s ring size or wrist size. Try to bring another ring or bracelet to the jeweler to check size. If you can’t sneak an item out of the house without your partner knowing. Don’t stress this, though. When you purchase from a reputable jewelry store, you can always bring your loved one back in to resize the piece, if necessary.
Add a personal touch, something highlighting that you chose the piece just for them. A person’s birthstone, an engraving or a design with a special meaning between you two.
Just in case; the return policy
If you’ve done your utmost to find a piece of jewelry that your partner likes but sadly doesn’t you may need to return the piece of jewelry it’s best to ask the jewelry store about their exchange or return policies. A custom designed piece generally will not be able to be returned. Also engraving a piece may negate a return so you might want to wait until after your partner has seen the gift, engraving later if you have any doubts. Understanding these policies up front will help eliminate confusion and help you feel confident in your decision.
An Experience Jeweler Is A Must Always work with a jeweler you can trust who is LGBT community friendly. When you visit a reputable jewelry store, you can expect: high-quality jewelry and an experienced staff who can work with you to help you understand your partner’s style preferences.
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Questions by Sharon Levine, Photography by Kristin Maria (www.kristinmaria.com) Seán is a lighting designer and technician from Vermont, working in theater and television and now studying to be a sommelier. Recently he worked on the Olympics in South Korea and the World Cup in Moscow, Russia. Daniel is an architect from California, he works on public projects restoring and renovating public schools and assisted living facilities. We live in Astoria, Queens (New York City). How did you meet? We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party in Brooklyn. Over tacos and champagne Seán regaled Daniel with stories of his family farm in Vermont and adventures abroad. We went on our first date to Dave Busters Restaurant/Sports Bar/Arcade of all places, and had a great time(and went home with at least one stuffed bear). What was your proposal like? It was an impromptu proposal. After we threw a dinner party a couple friends stayed behind to hang out a bit longer. Seán decided right then to get down on one knee and ask Daniel to marry him. It was sweet and simple. We made more of a production of the wedding. 44 savoirflairmagazine
How did you pick Iceland for your wedding? When we made the decision to have a destination wedding, Iceland was the natural choice. It was where we went on our first vacation together and during that trip we fell both in love with Iceland and deeply in love with each other. Iceland’s natural beauty and incredible culture was something we had to share with our friends and family. What did you like best about it ? Iceland is such a beautiful country, with the most kinds of rainbows the world has to offer. On our venue and photo scout day we saw no less than three and on our wedding day were blessed with a double rainbow that grew to a quadruple rainbow! The rugged and otherworldly landscapes contrast with the friendly and kind nature of Icelanders. Everyone we worked with was incredibly helpful and accommodating. We had excellent planners in Pink Iceland and they really took care of us and our guests above and beyond anything we expected. They treated us like friends rather than clients and to this day we are friends.
How many guests? special guests? wedding party? We had 64 guests out of around 100 that we invited. It really blew us away that so many of our family and friends were willing to make the trek to celebrate with us, even Seán’s four month old niece was there. Including guests from around the country like California, Alabama, Minnesota, Arizona, and Vermont, and around the world like Puerto Rico, Serbia and London. Our friends, family, and made family in New York were able to join us including our bosses and fellow community organizers. The wedding party consisted of two “Best People” each. All four are our closest friends and huge parts of our life in New York. Please describe the decor. True to Icelandic style, our decorations were modest compared to many American weddings. Hótel Búðir is so well decorated in an eclectic romantic style that we didn’t need to do anything to make it look spectacular. There were a lot of candles and we added some fresh eucalyptus and fern accents, and stones from the beach, on the tables, with copper wire twinkle lights running through.
The beginning of the ceremony lead by Bjarni Snaebjörnsson with the wedding party. savoirflairmagazine 45
SeĂĄn is a lighting designer and technician (as were a large part of the guest list) so he rented lighting from a local company, had his friends help to create a magical and warm theme around the ceremony and reception. Not exactly part of the decor but an integral part of our experience, we had a violinist and guitarist play acoustic music for our ceremony, including an Icelandic ballad about love and our first dance to La Vie en Rose. What was the most memorable moment? Well, of course, there was the part where we got married. We both wrote our own vows that told the story of our lives together while making promises for the future ahead. It was a beautiful moment shared in an amazing setting with those that mean the most to us. 46 savoirflairmagazine
Outside of thatâ€Ś.There was a point after the ceremony when we were taking photographs. We had sent our guests on a boozey bus tour of the remarkable SnĂŚfellsnes Peninsula around Budir. As we stood nibbling fresh crow berries on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, our guests arrived on the same beach. We could see them froliking around in their fancy dresses and suits on the black sand below. We climbed down and joined them for a bit, enjoying the stunning location filmed in Game of Thrones. The sea myst and shafts of sunlight streaming through the grey clouds made for a magical moment as we danced, laughed, lept, cheered and pretended to be fleeing from the oncoming dragons. Other special moments? There were so many. During the dinner our best people gave amazing toasts and speeches. There was
an unplanned toast from Seán’s father that started with the Grateful Dead ended with an actual war story and brought the house down. At the end of the reception our lovely wedding planner played our processional song, Halo, by Beyonce. Our friends and family gathered with us in a large circle singing along. All of this framed by the near mythic landscapes of Iceland. It’s impossible not to feel surrounded by elves and faires while standing in the mysts, a sea air with a giant glacier looming behind you, friends and family cheering and singing.
rip in the earth where the tectonic plates were separating, or a giant geyser shooting steaming water 50 What are your favorite stories of guests or experiences feet into the air. from your event? Since we planned our ceremony three hours out- After the last sight we stopped in historic Borgarnes side of Reykjavik we provided transportation for at the Settlement Center for the rehearsal dinner. our guests. Rather than a simple shuttle we set up We selected from their traditional Icelandic menu a a guided tour of the Golden Circle the day before nut loaf for vegetarians and horse meat for the adthe ceremony. The bus stories are hysterical. Every- venturous. After an epic day of traveling and hiking one mingled and grouped up telling jokes, passing and sightseeing we arrived at the Hótel Búðir a glowaround schnapps, regaling unsuspecting New York- ing beacon in the darkness of the Icelandic night. In ers with stories and sing alongs. We traveled in our spite of many of our guests exhaustion (many arown car following along. At each stop someone rived via red-eye flight that morning) most gathered would grab us and just start laughing hysterically in the hotel lounge for cocktails and snacks, until we and then be awed into silence by a giant waterfall, a continued on page 50 Below: The wedding party struts through the Icelandic landscape, the Snaefellsnes peninsula glacier hides in the clouds.
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Icelandic lore says trolls caught in the sunlight turn to stone. Daniel and Seán look out at the sea over one such troll in the shallows. continued from page 47 made our way through the dark to the roaring bonfire at the nearby beach. All that evening our guests told us of the things they experienced. Can you describe the cake and cuisine? At the reception dinner we skirted American tradition and offered food more in line with Icelandic tastes, a choice of local lamb, lentils or fresh caught fish. Hótel Búðir gave us top tier food, very well prepared and presented, stunning in flavor and originality. A guest favorite quirk was that Budir serves their butter on a volcanic rock topped with sea salt and caraway seeds. Many an instagram were taken! After the reception we shared a classic Icelandic cake called Kransakaka which is a tower of Marzipancake rings decorated with icing and chocolate and at midnight we pulled out the Icelandic favorite of HOT DOGS! Served up with all the toppings, fried 50 savoirflairmagazine
onions, Bearnaise sauce, mayo, caviar… Outside of the reception we had a bubbly brunch that included all the staples as well as cured fish, Icelandic Skyr, truffles, and dried meats. For lunch we served up some Meat Soup which was just stellar. What was special about your honeymoon ? We went to Majorca and Lisbon on our honeymoon. In Majorca we stayed at a small resort near Palma, and then rented a convertible Fiat to get to our airbnb in the absolutely adorable village of Alaro. In Portugal we stayed in the Barrio Alto neighborhood of Lisbon and took a trip out to see the castles in Sintra. Wine tasting was one of the highlights of our honeymoon since both areas produce great wines. We hiked, swam, visited museums, ate all the Jamon Serrano and Pastel de Nata, and relaxed in the places that felt like home. After the fairy tale wedding we continued on page 52
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Friends stayed after the wedding for more time in Reykjavik, taken next to Hallgríímskirkja, the Lutheran cathedral.
er than a beach resort or island getaway we found the place that embodied us and our relationship. It was an amazing experience and we cannot stress enough how Pink Iceland is largely responsible for that. Having a planner that is involved in the local community and understands the culture of where you are having your wedding is key. Eva Maria held our hands, took care of the many requests we had, and took care of the three million things we never even thought about. Pink Iceland’s professionalism and dedication to their clients allowed us the step back, enjoy our time and really experience our wedding. The other important thing to keep in mind while planning a destination wedding is that you will be best served by shaping your wedding to your destination, rather than forcing your destination to adhere to your wedding ideals.
continued from page 50 were blessed with our honeymoon was the exact perfect follow up. Is there anything you'd like to add? We are inordinately blessed. Our families are welcoming and loving and embraced us both and we were able to have a wedding that showed who we truly are. When planning a same sex wedding there is always that fear. That aunt, that uncle, that sibling who may have been fine with your relationship before, suddenly rears their head with “ideas” about same sex marriage. DO NOT let that deter you. Express your wedding plans truly and honestly.
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New, Unique Car Color Trends by John Axelrod The LGBT community is trend setting and car colors are no exception. Many of us get bored with the usual car hues; whites, silvers, blacks, and grays (and, for that matter, even fire-engine red). If you’re on the hunt for interesting new or recently introduced colors—“double-take” hues that are more eye-catching that the usual, we have found them. We’ve come up with some car colors that are not off the rackl. Which one is your favorite? TOYOTA PRIUS C IN TIDE POOL PEARL It’s as adorable as a toy in a baby’s nursery. This eco minded vehicle is appropriately blue. The bright color is an attention getter with a clean new look. Black wheel well accents and reverse feathered side vents make it ready to race with any Mini Cooper on the road. Cute, sensible and different, you won’t have any trouble finding this little Toyota in the mall parking lot!
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SUBARU FORESTER IN JASMINE GREEN METALLIC This is one of the more subtle new car hues on the horizon, although different from any car color that has preceeded it, it wonâ€™t turn heads the way many of the new car hues do. It has enough silverery essense in the green to make it, the more common line. This is tree hugger appropriate. continues on next page
VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON IN TUMERIC YELLOW This is one of the less shocking yellows used in car manufacturing. The brightest yellows can be seen in several SUVs which makes the phrase big and bold come into mind. But this VW is really a nice sophisticated mix of gold - mustard. It works well as a car color. It gets away from the lemon metaphor.
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Car Colors Trends continued from previous page
FORD MUSTANG IN ROYAL CRIMSON METALLIC The Mustang has undergone several transformations to its current sixth generation. The Mustang created the “pony car” class of American muscle cars, affordable sporty coupes with long hoods and short rear decks, and gave rise to many competitors This deep crimson ‘pony’ with a glossy sheen, is ready for a chase scene in a film and the good guys wouldn’t be driving it. If you’re drawn to bad boys or girls this is your color and car. Sleek and a little menancing this American made sports car gets attention and a few ooos and ahhhs whereever it goes. It’s one of those car hues you either love or hate. If you’re sick of black as a car color this could be a fascinating substitue for your next new ride. continued on page 58
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Car Colors Trends continued from page 56
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Back in The USSR continued from page 24 sian-speaking LGBTQ immigrants and the people who support them. They also work as activists to promote civil and human rights for LGBTQ people everywhere. This sort of culture in organized groups, communities, and individuals has made it easier for Andrey to settle in Provincetown. “I’m very grateful that I could stay here and I found so many people willing to help,” he says, reflecting on his free life in the US. He is aware that the situation is still difficult in Russia. This past summer, Andrey met a 19-year-old gay student from Russia who told him how difficult it was for him to live there, always hiding and never able to feel free. “He said that even if he managed to meet his love in Russia, which is very hard to do, he could never have that life that he wants, out of the shadows, have kids and be married,” Andrey says, reflecting on the fact that this is still the case 11 years after he
left the country. “The life that we can have here, in America.” Andrey attempted to help the student find a way to stay in the US, where he could be accepted and have the life he wants and deserves. He believes that people in America can help, even if it’s only one person at a time who may pass the help along to someone else in the future. “Even though I can’t change the situation in Russia for many, many unfortunate souls, I can try and make a difference one person at a time, just like someone made a difference for me once.”
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Articles of interest to the LGBTQ community including LGBT Russian immigrants, Male couple weds in Iceland, Architect Mark Pasnik, Selecting...
Published on Nov 12, 2018
Articles of interest to the LGBTQ community including LGBT Russian immigrants, Male couple weds in Iceland, Architect Mark Pasnik, Selecting...