The Pleasure Issue
Bradford Shellhammer Doma + The World of Novelty Toys
Justin Vivian Bond
Love Your Prostate
Fop 1. a foolish or silly person 2 .a man who is devoted to or vain about his appearance or dress, coxcomb, dandy
Quentin Fears Copy Editor & Business Columnist Gaea L. Honeycutt Assistant Copy Editor & Health Columnist Arthur Robin Williams Sex Columnist Zackary Brett Hemenway Contributing Fashion Editor
Liz Sorrell Beauty Editor Walton Elliot Contributing Editors Eric Kerr Salty Brine Kim L. Hunt
Letter From the Editor
here are tons of magazines that focus on fashion and men’s fashion. I am not interested in creating just another fashion magazine. That sounds boring. I developed Fop because I feel there is a lack of honest, unfiltered and candid dialogue in the portrayal of gay men and gay culture within the media. I wanted to create a platform for gay men that doesn’t stereotype, confine or hypersexualize. When talking about the magazine, I think it’s important that people are sometimes reminded of its purpose. Yes, Fop is for gay men, but it’s also for their admirers. If anyone is uncomfortable with the gay element, or openly having a discussion about homosexuality at any juncture, then Fop isn’t for them. The gay element will not be something that will be hidden, avoided, shied away from, or glossed over. It will be glossy. It is the defining element of the magazine. It is the centerpiece. It will be celebrated. And it is what sets Fop apart from other fashion magazines. One Love, Quentin Fears Editor-in-Chief, Fop
Contents 8 Fop & Fab 12 Fall XIV 20 Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 24 Boots & Socks 28 Behind Closed Doors 40 Love Your Prostate 42 From Pain to Pleasure 44 DOMA 46 Pleasure N Sobriety 49 Justin Vivian Bond 54 The Rothas Brothers 62 The False Security of Fast Gains 64 Kings 67 Alder 70 Aedes De Venustas 72 Millinery Pastime
An Interview with Bradford Shellhammer
by Quentin Fears
Fop Magazine recently spoke to Bradford Shellhammer, Founder and Chief Design Officer at Fab.com, a quickly growing e-commerce site dedicated to showcasing incredible designs from clothing, furniture, art food and more. We caught up with Bradford to talk about his journey to success . . . and a bit about his personal life. (What can we say? We at Fop are nosey, and when you become as successful as Bradford we become even nosier.) To learn what it takes to make it to the top of your game, who better to talk to? Among some of his other accomplishments, he has written for Full Frontal Fashion and Dwell magazine, and was the Founding Editor of Queerty. 8 fopmag.com
Bradford, you are known for being a creative thinker and seem to have your hand in everything from writing, decorating, art sourcing, illustration, blogging, styling, and photography. What keeps you motivated and inspired to do all of these things, and to do them all so well? I feed off of other people’s energy and I always have. My productivity is directly linked to the people I meet, and the places I travel. Food, music, travel, and people feed me, and allow me to go out into the world and make things. From morning to night can you describe your typical day? How do you balance it all? I travel a lot, and when in India or Berlin or wherever, no day is the same. One day I’ll be traveling to a factory, or visiting a trade show, or meeting designers. It’s exciting to see new things, and meet new people. If in New York City, my days are pretty normal — rise at 6:00 am, gym, coffee, and I’m in the office by 8:00 am. Then meetings with our team, designers, press all day long. By evening, I usually have a dinner planned with designers, friends, or my husband. We usually dine at Cookshop. Out of all your projects, is there one that speaks of your work as a creative thinker more than others? Fab.com. It’s my baby. I was born to do this. In Fab’s DNA, my heart and soul exist. It’s not work. It’s my world. It seems as if most of your work comes from a place of self-expression. Do you see yourself as an Artist or a Curator of Style? I paint. I’ve designed. I’ve made dresses and decorated homes. But I don’t like calling myself an artist or designer. I am much more comfortable with people than I am with paint or thread, or wood or material. So what am I? I don’t know. I know I love to help creative people market their designs. I know I love to pick things — colors, themes, fonts, etc. I know I feel more than I think. I just have something to say, and a fun outlook on life. I jump on every chance to channel that. Fab.com first began as Fabulis.com, a gay social networking site. Why the transition and can you tell us more about the evolution? It’s no secret. Jason Goldberg and I started another company and
it was not successful. In failure, we found our voice and decided to follow our first love — design. What makes Fab.com different from other e-commerce clothing and merchandising sites? We’re colorful. We’re humorous. We have a point of view. We tell the stories of how things are created, and dreamt up. We want to change the world, we want to make design mainstream, and we want to make our customers feel inspired, special and creative in their own right. Most stores, online or not, just want to sell stuff.
Is it overwhelming to be a co-founder of such a quickly growing business? When did you first realize that Fab.com was going to be such a success, and how is it working with Business Partner and Co Founder Jason Goldberg? He’s my best friend. He’s the opposite of me in so many ways but just yesterday he said, “We think the same thing, we just get there in different ways.” His friendship gets me through the hard days. We knew we were going to be successful, and we never once doubted we could do great things. Congratulations on recently getting married to Georgi Balinov, a Vice President for Investment Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I hear the two of you met at Equinox. How did you go from being workout buddies to getting hitched? We found a shared love (cycling and fitness) and we shared that together. And while doing things together, we became best friends. If you fall in love with someone before they shower at 6:00 am, then that’s real love. What was it like to have Comedian/Actor Sandra Bernhardt, who is also a Universal Life Minister, officiate your wedding? Have you known her long? She was a friend of a friend and, when we met, we just clicked! She’s genuine, smart, outspoken, and iconic. We were honored. The theme of your wedding was a Black and White Masquerade Ball. You and Georgi wore Black Kato masks. How did you come up with this theme? It’s so brilliantly outlandish.
We copied Truman Capote! He threw a masked ball at The Plaza in the 60s. We reinvented it for today. How did you feel about the downfall of DOMA and the following pride week? We rejoiced as Georgi is not American and now he has a very clear path to citizenship. It’s rocked our worlds. Where do you see yourself next? It seems as if you have an endless stream of possibilities. Maybe a gay rap album? I want this to never end. My life is a dream. I pinch myself every day. I don’t want to squander this opportunity. So, I keep going, trying to make a difference, trying to inspire and trying to find ways to get inspired! That’s the secret. Finally, Tina Turner or Diana Ross? Duh! Diana Ross. Tina, she’s amazing, a force. But Diana Ross did more than entertain. She changed the world. I want to do something like that with my life.
Fall XIII Photography by: Jason Rowe
Styled by: Kellen Dougherty Hair & Makeup by: Juliet Jane 12 fopmag.com
Left Denim Jacket: Topman T-Shirt: Modelâ€™s Own Plaid Button Up: Theory Jeans: 7 For All Mankind Boots: n.d.c.
Right Fedora: Scala Henley: Uniqlo Shorts: Leviâ€™s Boots: n.d.c.
Strutured Sweater: All Saintâ€™s Denim: Leviâ€™s 14 fopmag.com
Wool Coat: Theory Black Button Up: Brookes Brothers Pants: Zara
Jacket: Theory Plaid Shirt: Ben Sherman Joggers: Zara Boots: n.d.c.
Fedora: Brizton Shirt: Zara Plaid Button Up: Theory Jeans: 7 For All Mankind Jewelry: Topman Boots: n.d.c.
Leather Suit: Zara Button Down: Brooks Brother
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Photo by: Ed Baynard
An Interview with Hunter O’Hanian Museum Director What, there is a Museum exclusively dedicated to gay art? Really?! That was my reaction when I found out about the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. After living in NYC going on 10 years now, I had never heard of the place. Maybe I should be ashamed of myself for not knowing, but a quick survey of gay friends soon revealed they also had no idea either. I wasn’t the only on in the dark. So, here I shed a little light in this interview with Hunter O’Hanian, Museum Director. Hunter gives us some insight into the mission and history of this groundbreaking museum — the first and only gay museum in the world. That’s epic!
Give us a brief history of the Leslie Lohman Museum and how/why it was founded. The Museum is run by the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, which was founded in 1987 in a time of real crisis. AIDS had ravaged New York and people were dy-
ing every day. There were so many questions as to what was causing the disease and how it was spread. There was so much bias against those who
had it. When people died, in some cases families would come in and throw everything away – all of their personal belongings — including the artwork, believing that it was infected in some way. As a result, many valuable pieces of gay art — from personal homoerotic collections to Warhols and Harings were disposed of. The Foundation was founded to give a safe haven to those pieces of work. The history of the organization relates to artwork being destroyed during the AIDS epidemic. How has this changed? Today, although things may seem different, they are familiar. While people are not dying of AIDS at the same rate, it remains a chronic disease that requires a lifetime of care. Thankfully, a lot of the stigma (although not all) has ended and many of those who succumb do not have to worry about someone coming in and throwing everything away. If they do, it’s more about just plain anti-gay prejudice, as opposed to a fear related to AIDS. Our focus now, like any Museum, is to build a balanced collection that speaks to our core mission — collecting and exhibiting artwork that speaks to the LGBTQ experience. However, we do still receive some artwork from donors as part of their estate plans as they want to be sure that the work they own (either their own creations or those they have collected) will have found a serious and permanent home after they have gone. This remains a vital reason for our existence. There is definitely more acceptance of work dealing with gay themes. No question. What was the process like to apply for museum status and what took it so long? At the time it was founded in 1987, existing as a Foundation and pursing the work was the core mission. The idea of creating an LGBTQ museum was on everyone’s mind, but they knew it would take a lot of time and money, and many years before it would make sense. Perhaps, society wasn’t yet ready for it to happen. But by 2011, the Foundation board believed that applying for museum status was the important next step in the organization’s evolution. While the application was lengthy, there were no particular problems. We received a provisional five-year accreditation. We will apply for permanent accreditation in 2016. We are busy putting all of the policies and procedures in place for that final application, which will establish that we are run like any other museum in the county. What makes the Leslie Lohman Museum special? We have a very defined and specialized focus. We collect and exhibit work that speaks to the LGBTQ experience, is of high esthetic value, and is typically denied access to mainstream venues. Serving this mission is key to why we exist. We are the only museum of art in the world with that mission. It truly makes us unique.
Why is it important to have a museum dedicated to gay and lesbian art? All of our work is of the highest esthetic quality, which could be shown in any museum in the world. What makes us different is the subject matter of some of the work we show. While other museums could show the work, they choose not to because they tend to shy away from things that might be perceived as too rooted in gender, sexuality or other topics that others might not think should be displayed in main stream museums. We strive to provide leadership on how these issues can be exhibited in a professional museum setting. What are some of the highlights of the collections? Our collections span four centuries and are quite diverse. We have an interest-
ing mix of work that speaks to the lesbian, gay and transgendered experiences. We are now in the process of completing our cataloging process to fully
understand the depth of our collection and to devise a plan to make it more diverse and expansive. We have everything from Johann Winckelmann’s 1767 book on figurative beauty in antiquity to work by many 20th Century artists (Warhol, Haring, Mapplethorpe, Cadmus, etc.), who tried to explore the intimacy of what it means to be gay. Are there other themes of class, race, and social status within the gay community that are expressed through these works of art? Yes, by speaking to the LGBTQ community, we speak to topics beyond gender and sexuality. Our exhibitions talk about sorrow, intimacy, homelessness, companionship, design, aesthetics — really the entire human experience. What led you to the Leslie Lohman Museum? I learned to paint in undergraduate school and then went to law school. I practiced law for many years. But, I knew that I wanted to spend my professional life helping support organizations that support artists and those who appreciate the impact of their work. I have been very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to do that for nearly 20 years. I have worked in some pretty amazing places — artists residency programs, educational institutions and, now, a museum. It is just a natural professional path – at least for me. What can we do to raise some more awareness of the Museum? Articles like this are very important. (Thank you!) We have been working to expand our reach to let people know that we exist. We promote ourselves in as many ways as we can. Recently, our exhibitions have received favorable reviews in The New Yorker, Art Forum and The New York Times. In addition, we are often featured in The Huffington Post and in gay magazines such as Out, Next and The Advocate. These things are all very important. We have a strong social media presence. The best thing to do is visit and then tell your fiends. People will find us!
Find the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art at leslielohman.org or follow @LeslieLohman on Twitter.
1. of, pertaining to, or exhibiting sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of oneâ€™s own sex; homosexual: a gay couple. 2. of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues: a gay organization. 3. having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music. Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful, happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling; chipper, playful, jaunty, sprightly, blithe. Antonyms: serious, grave, solemn, joyless; staid, sedate; unhappy, morose, grim; sad, depressed, melancholy. 4. bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments. Synonyms: colorful, brilliant, vivid, intense, lustrous; glittering, theatrical, flamboyant. Antonyms: dull, drab, somber, lackluster; conservative. 5. Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive. awkward, stupid, or bad; lame: This game is really gay. -Dictonary.com
Boots + Socks The World of Novelty An Interview with our Resident Sex Columnist
Interview with Zackary Brett Hemenway
by Quentin Fears
From vanilla to kink Zack has some great tips on novelty toys, safer sex, and sexual exploration. So let your mind wonder and imagination take over. You are in charge of your own sexual discovery. Just remember to wrap it up, Gents. What are some of the most popular sex toys for gay men? It very much depends on the gay man. Generally speaking, mostly lube and cockrings to gay men. In recent years men, of all types, have paid more attention to their prostate. And for good reason. With several toys on the market made to be inserted anally, to be left alone to it’s magic without any manual intervention, guys everywhere have been finding a deeper orgasm. Gay men have always enjoyed masturbation sleeves, as well as leather gear. Many have scoffed at a leather harness until they tried it on. Which device is best for someone who’s new to sex toys? If you are into anal penetration you should go with a silicone dildo that is on the smaller side and that has the option of vibration. Size can matter, but when playing solo,
you will be able to hit all of the right spots on yourself within a few minutes of exploration. The vibration helps to relax your sphincter muscles. For those not into being penetrated, go for a sleeve. There are a ton of things out there for you to play with. If you want to buy someone a toy and you aren’t quite sure what to get, go for an external vibrator. It travels easily, it’s great for partner play, and it doesn’t make any assumptions.
Can you give us some tips on introducing a device to a new sexual partner? Communication, communication, communication. Seriously, communication is your best tactic when trying to introduce anything new to a partner. Our culture is swimming in sexuality, but we are typically too afraid to talk to the people we are engaging with sexually. Ask questions, tell them what you like, make plans to try out new things. Talk! A good way to get the ball rolling is to plan a date where you are not in the bedroom or situation where things could lead to sex, but you feel comfortable talking about it. The park, a secluded table at a coffee shop, etc. Let your partner know you want to talk about fun sexy things, and that they should come up with things they always wanted to try. Once you start talking, you will most definitely find inspiration. Don’t be afraid. Knowing what you want is a very sexy trait. Don’t get upset if they aren’t into what you want to try. It’s only fun if both parties want it. 24 fopmag.com
What are some of the best sleeves to use? The materials are probably the most important aspect of sleeves. There are a ton of sleeves out there, and everyone has his own taste. Stick to non-porous materials that you can part with easily. Some sleeves are thinner and introduce more texture than substance, while others have more mass and give you a more realistic feeling of penetration. If you are into mounting something, and are willing to spend the money, there are some large pieces that are molds of models. They can prove to be quite fun. Quite fun. Are vibrating products really better at relaxing the anus? Yes. Unless they are strong vibrations. The best thing for relaxing the anus is breathing, trusting your partner, taking your time, and enjoying yourself. Foreplay will be your best friend with anal relaxation. Once you get turned on and start wanting to go further, you are more than half way there. What are the differences between anal beads, dildos and butt plugs? This is a huge question. Dildos alone are so varied that one description doesn’t encompass them all. To break it down very simply – dildos please by insertion, plugs by
being inserted and staying put, and beads by the popping action of removing from the anus. There are many toys that cross the boundaries between these three, but for a beginner, I would suggest a smaller silicone dildo. You get used to the feeling of pressure, movement, and penetration. Just make sure it has a solid base. The sphincter has a tendency to pull toys in.
Steel, silicone and wooden dildos are these products made equal? Are some better then others? It depends on the purpose. Steel and most high quality silicone toys are non-porous. So, they are easy to clean. Metal toys can be warmed up in hot water. I HIGHLY recommend that. Just stay clear of using the microwave. Some companies make wooden toys with a non-porous body safe coating. They are rigid, and like steel are good for prostate and g-spot play. Glass is another material that I highly recommend. Non-porous, can be warmed, easy to clean, and often much more beautiful. No, they can’t break inside of you. Should gay men be concerned about sharing their toys with multiple partners? What are some of the best ways to keep them safe? Yes. Sex toys are usually sold as novelties. The companies don’t have to actually worry about what is body safe and what is healthy for you. Luckily, there are a ton of amazing and responsible sex toy companies out there who do care. In general, go for medical grade silicone and medical grade steel. Most glass toys are safe and sturdy. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, you can share a toy by putting a condom on it. Just be wary of using silicone lubrication with low quality silicone toys. It will melt. Nothing feels as weird as a silicone toy melting inside of you.
What are the differences in water based, oil based, silicone, and warming lubes? I hate warming lubrication. Maybe it’s just personal preference, but anyone I know who is sex positive and has used different types of lubes consistently feels the same way. Water based is easiest to clean. Silicone lasts longer and has a great texture. Oil based lasts as well, and should not be used with condoms. If you are big into masturbation, try working some oilbased lubrication in first, and then adding a bit of water-based on top. Good times…. If out of the standard lube, can you use masturbation cream for anal sex? There are many lubrications out there specifically made for anal penetration. External lubrications or masturbation creams may have ingredients you don’t want floating around on your insides. Stay clear of anything with conditioners, moisturizers and fragrances. Go for a waterbased, silicone-based or hybrid lube. Do you think Poppers are okay to use? Poppers are technically illegal. When buying them at a store you are buying a product intended for another use, although the companies who make them know exactly why you are buying them. It’s similar to buying a pipe that is intended for “tobacco use only”. It is huffing. So, it definitely isn’t good for you, but I have never heard of anyone who has died from poppers. Can you give us some tips on giving good head? The best cocksuckers are the ones who get off on doing it. If you aren’t into it, don’t do it. But if you are into it, ask what feels good. Start off slow with soft kisses and licks. Pay attention to the balls. Take your time. You want to build up the sensation. Move on to using just your mouth, and eventually include hands. Cup the balls and, if they are comfortable with it, extend one finger under the perineum to rest on the anus. Can you give us some tips on anal play and massaging the prostate? This is a huge topic. Much more than I can fit into this interview. I can say two things: 1. Love your hole. We are taught to dislike our anus. We as-
sociate bad things with it. It is a huge pleasure center, and you should enjoy it. If you don’t play with your own hole, you shouldn’t expect it of anyone else. Anal masturbation is the best way to know
what you like and to curate your own anal sexuality. 2. Anal play isn’t always about penetration. There is so much more to your anus. But when you are in the mood for a little pressure on your prostate, insert a finger past both sphincter muscles (approximately two inches) and curve the finger toward the front of the pelvis in a come hither fashion. Play around with location and pressure. When you hit the spot, it will feel like someone has grabbed your dick from the inside, your knees get week, and you will most definitely moan.
Do you think guys really last longer while wearing a cock ring? Can this be bad for your junk? Cock rings have a few purposes. The big reasons are to maintain an erection and to withhold ejaculation. It maintains an erection by controlling blood flow. It withholds ejaculation through pressure at the base of the penis. It can only be bad for your junk if you wear one 24/7 or if it is too tight. You will definitely know if it is too tight. There are many guys out there that like the way a cock ring feels and looks. They come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Start off with an adjustable ring or one that stretches until you have a better idea of what size is best for you. Side note, I really don’t like the word “junk”. My dick is not junk, thank you. My dick is beautiful. What are some toys for the bondage/sadomasochism beginner? The BDSM world is vast and varied. It’s hard to suggest toys for so many beautiful facets of that community. I would suggest starting in your own bedroom. Much of the fetishes and fantasies that develop in BDSM play come from our day-to-day lives. Before going out to buy a ton of rope, try a necktie. As opposed to spending money on a wooden paddle, start with the back end of a hairbrush. Once you get your feet wet, it won’t be long before you crave better gear. At that point, you will know what you want to spend your money on. The only danger arises when you don’t communicate to your partner. Setting up boundaries, negotiating the limits, and scripting out the play can give you enough structure to truly let go and enjoy yourself. One doesn’t get into BDSM, they allow the BDSM within them to come out and play. It’s already there. You control when and to what degree it is brought forth. What do you think about fisting? Is there a safe way to do it?
Fisting is a beautiful thing. The anus and its sphincter muscles are much more accommodating than most imagine. There are safety
precautions to take when engaging in fisting. It’s all about pace, gradual increase in diameter, and proper lubrication. Gloves are recommended as they help to smooth out any rough edges on the hand, like fingernails, and it acts as protection for both parties. It also makes clean up much easier. Zack Hemenway is a sex-positive unicorn, vegan, atheist, artist, and educator. WIth a focus in production and management, his work ranges from mask-making to brand activation, large scale exhibits, and multidisciplinary workshops.
Behind Closed Doors Photography by: Eric White
Concept & Styling: Quentin Fears Art Direction: Liz Sorrell Hair: Walton Elliot Makeup: Lauren Oâ€™Jea
Guys Vest: Blake Hyland Accessories: Blake Hyland Pants: ODD. Girl Jacket: ODD. Bustier: Nanette Lepore Pants: ODD.
Left Top: Nick Stryker Pants: ODD. Right Jacket: Blake Hyland
Suspenders: Stylistâ€™s Own Pants: YSL
Jacket: Religion Jewelty: Bande de Quartes
Guy Pants: ODD. Accessories: Blake Hyland Girl Dress: Religion Jacket: Religion Accessories: Bande de Quartes
Black Hood: Nick Stryker Pants: Blake Hyland
Guys Vest: Blake Hyland Accessories: Blake Hyland Pants: ODD. 36 fopmag.com
Shirt: Blake Highland Knee Pads: Stylistâ€™s Own
Vest: Blake Hyland Necklace: Blake Hyland Bracelet: Blake Hyland Gunmetal Leggings: Nick Stryker 38 fopmag.com
Left Dress: Religion Bracelet: Blake Hyland Shoes: Stylist’s Own Right Supenders: Stylist’s Own Pants: YSL
Your Prostate By Arthur Robin Williams MD, MBE
The prostate, Greek for “guardian”, is sometimes referred to more mod-
ernly as the male G-spot. For anyone who has bottomed and reached orgasm simply through anal penetration without any stimulation to the penis, thank your prostate. Yet surprisingly, there is not much written on the
prostate despite voluminous writings on anal sex in general.
Although it is commonly thought that men can enjoy receptive anal sex due to the presence of a prostate, while women cannot due to their absence of a prostate, this is not true. Indeed as many as 10% of heterosexual couples have anal sex on the regular and that’s likely not a unilateral decision. The clitoris surrounds both the vagina and the anus, suggesting plenty of room for pleasure amongst the female of the species. In fact, there are more nerve endings in the anus than the vagina and plenty reason to believe anal sex can be enjoyable for any receptive partner regardless of gender. The rectal cavity in the average person is 8–9 inches long. Bringing the focus back to the prostate, why do men have a prostate if women don’t? Aside from a theoretical evolutionary role in enhancing receptive anal sex among men, its highest priority is to expel the best ejaculate possible. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and it is primarily made of muscle. The prostate can contract and help shoot ejaculate with more force through your pipes. Typically that first big cum wad is mostly made up of prostatic secretions (aka milkshake), which protect and enhance sperm (almost 500 million!). The secretions are alkaline and contain a ton of zinc to stabilize DNA strands, making the sperm that shoot out with them the strongest.
Of course there are many ways to stimulate the prostate that don’t necessarily involve an “8- or 9-inch” helper. Manual and oral stimulation and sex toys are well known. Perhaps less well known are your doctor’s
fingers (not a reference to doctor porn). Sexual dysfunction has been around as long as sex and MDs who specialize in sexual dysfunction have produced a ton of expertise in research and treatments for men who have difficulty finding pleasure. One older technique that may still be employed is the “prostatic massage” whereby the physician has the patient lie on his side with his trousers down to determine whether he can be brought to orgasm in the exam room. Perhaps a Monday morning cure for a strike-out weekend? Arthur Robin Williams, MD MBE Dr. Williams specializes in mental health, addiction psychiatry, and LGBT health issues. He can be reached at Dr.ARWilliams@Gmail.com.
From Pain To Pleasure Acupuncture by Eric Kerr, LAc “No Pain, No Gain?” Bullshit. Your personal trainer might tell you differently, but pain is not productive and it is not therapeutic. We like to think that if something hurts we’re doing it right. Go to any gym and you’ll see everybody pushing themselves to the extreme in the name of fitness. Similarly, some people love painful, deep tissue massage, but it only leaves them sore without any lasting benefit. There is a reason why the body naturally resists when it experiences pain. Pain is information. It’s the body’s way of trying to get your attention, bringing your focus to the source of the issue. Whether it’s muscular tension or a broken bone, something is wrong or out-of-whack.
In Chinese Medicine, we consider pain to be a kind of blockage. Wherever there is pain there is stagnation. Things aren’t flowing the way
they’re supposed to. Stagnation can be physical (back pain, a sprained ankle, headache, etc.) or emotional (stress, anger, depression, etc.). The longer stagnation is allowed to build up, the worse it becomes. So how do you break up stagnation and get things moving? You can stretch, get a therapeutic massage, or you could try acupuncture. What Do The Needles Do? I am sure you are wondering how a little needle can make your pain go away. Imagine that the body is a system of lakes, rivers, and streams. There are areas of excess (raging rapids) and there are areas of deficiency (drought). Inserting an acupuncture needle into specific points is like opening up a gate or dam and letting all of that water flow freely, reducing the excess and building up the deficiency, until it levels out. This movement can help break up stagnation and reduce your pain. 42 fopmag.com
Now if that explanation is a little too woo woo for you, no worries, the Western explanation is kinda similar. When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin, your nerves send signals back to your central nervous system alerting the body of this foreign invasion. This is when shit starts moving. Feel-good endorphins are released, oxygenated blood starts flowing, your immune system gets activated. Just like the woo woo water image, all this movement makes you feel good and reduces your pain. Acupuncture is phenomenal at breaking up stagnation and relieving pain, but if you have never experienced it firsthand, I’m sure the idea of being poked with needles sounds frightening and far from the uber zen image typically conjured. Many people ask me if acupuncture is painful and I quickly reply “no.” Now don’t get me wrong, you definitely feel something when those tiny hairthin needles are inserted, but I wouldn’t call it pain. With my patients I talk a lot about sensation, because you definitely want to feel something. It may feel electric, buzzing, humming, or heavy - the list goes on and on. Sometimes you may not feel anything at all. It all depends on what you’re being treated for, what point is being needled, and of course the technique and skill-level of the acupuncturist. The more acupuncture you get, the more things start to move freely, the less intense the sensation becomes. What’s The Point? Most people already associate acupuncture with its pain-relieving abilities, but its potential goes far beyond that. A study done last year actually proved that acupuncture
can reduce stress on a cellular level. Even if you think you can handle the daily stressors that life throws your way (living in a city, commuting from place to place, work deadlines, family/relationship obligations, financial worries, lack of sleep, self-induced pressures, etc.), both short- and long-term stress are wreaking havoc on your body. Stress makes
you fat, stress contributes to premature aging, and stress can have a negative effect on your sex life. Getting acupuncture on a regular basis can help to counteract stress’ nasty effects on the body.
Acupuncture taps into the central nervous system, taking us out of the fight or flight state and puts us into the rest and digest state. This is why people who get acupuncture for issues like knee pain begin to notice their digestion improve and their sleep deepen. Because of its endorphin-releasing abilities, acupuncture usually leaves people feeling pretty blissed-out after a treatment. Acupuncture can help with detoxification process and can be very helpful if you are trying to quit smoking (or other drugs). Unlike most of Western medicine, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine looks at the whole person and acknowledges that pain is usually a sign of something deeper. Getting acupuncture is like hitting the reset button, but if you don’t address the root of your issue its probably gonna come back. A well-trained acupuncturist can help you get to the root of your issue, whether it’s pain or something more complex. To find the acupuncturist who is right for you visit: http://acutakedirectory. com/.
What DOMA Means for You: The Law & LGBTQ Marriage Rights By Kim L. Hunt
On June 26, 2013, many in the LGBTQ community held their breath as they awaited the Supreme Court’s decision on two cases that directly impact same-sex couples. The first case focused on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Section 3 of the act was stuck down by a majority of the justices. It prohibited the Federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The second case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenged the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, a law that banned same-sex marriages. Coming just short of ruling Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the justices threw out the case because the law’s defenders had no standing in the lower courts. The DOMA victory came down to an age-old tension in America — states rights versus Federal rights. This is the same tension that led to the Civil War, accommodations for creating the interstate highway system, and a host of other public rights and goods. These sometimes require new laws, departmental guidelines, and constitutional reviews to allow the Federal government to impose its will on states. The Supreme Court essentially ruled that the Federal government had no right to define marriage for states, which typically regulate “domestic relations”. Marriage licenses come from the state, not the Federal government. So, now we have this legal limbo in the US for an estimated 646,464 same-sex couples. Marriage equality is the law of the land in 14 states and the District of Columbia, but not in the rest of the country. Unfortunately, a large proportion of same-sex couples live in states where same-sex marriage is banned or not allowed. Furthermore, these states don’t always recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states. For married same-sex couples that live in states where their marriages are recognized, the DOMA decision has opened the door to over1,000 benefits that straight couples often take for granted. Among the benefits are access to your spouse’s social security, military and pension benefits, and the ability for U.S. citizens to sponsor their foreign spouses for green cards. Same-sex couples that live in states with civil unions or domestic partnerships, or other family recognitions short of marriage, do not have access to Federal benefits. Even for those in the LGBTQ community who are not thinking about getting married any time soon, the DOMA decision is one more step toward removing second-class status, but there is still much work to do. There is still the state-by-state battle for marriage equality to ensure recognition and rights for LGBTQ families. And, there are the many intersectional issues that will keep us busy for a very long time, such as those related to homelessness, access to wellness, bullying, employment discrimination, and violence against transgender and gender nonconforming people. Kim L. Hunt is Executive Director of Affinity Community Services, a social justice organization that works with and on behalf of Black LGBTQ communities, queer youth and allies to identify emergent needs, create safe spaces, develop leaders, and bridge communities through collective analysis and action.  Williams Institute, “Marriage for Same-Sex Couples”. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/headlines/marriage-for-same-sex-couples/
Pleasure N Sobriety An Anonymous Account
by Quentin Fears
My sobriety date is December 11, 2011. When did you first realize that you had a problem with alcohol? Was there a dramatic event that lead to your realization? Every person in AA has a different experience when they hit their “bottom”. But, really...your bottom is whenever you decide you’ve had enough. For some, it’s winding up in the hospital. For others, it’s spending several nights in jail. For me, it was when I realized that
alcohol fueled something inside of me. An anger that I let out on all of my closest friends. Towards the end of my drinking I couldn’t get drunk without having an emotional breakdown. So, my “bottom” was
an emotional one. Sure, I had drunken times that led me to the hospital and things of that nature, but it wasn’t until one of my best friends (who later ended up in AA, too) told me I should get help that I realized that was even a possibility.
How much were you drinking? Every day. I was working at a restaurant a few blocks from my apartment and when I got off of work I would go to the liquor store and buy a bottle of wine. I would go home and drink the entire thing by myself (pre-gaming, if you will) and then go out. Before this I worked at a restaurant called 44 1/2 where I would get drunk on the job. It was “allowed.” That’s where my drinking really took off. I couldn’t work a night shift there without my trusty vodka & sprite by my side. I wasn’t necessarily dependent on it, but it made me feel more comfortable in my skin. Being a gay man I often felt uncomfortable in my own skin- not good enough, muscular enough, funny enough... alcohol helped me loosen up. Were you doing drugs other than alcohol? Oh, yes. Once I was drunk, I became a lemming. Put anything in front of me and I would snort it, swallow it... just not shoot it. I never got into needles. Cocaine became a big part of my social life. On any given night, if it was offered, I would take it. In my mind, it allowed me to keep drinking without getting too sick and drunk. 46 fopmag.com
Were your friends drinking as much as you at that time? Some were and some weren’t. But, it was pretty manageable for a while. Until it wasn’t. After a while, my close friends started to see a change in me when I would drink. I got mean. All of the emotions that I was constantly bottling up came out when I got drunk. My close friends at the time drank just as much as I did. So, I never thought I had a problem. What was the first AA meeting like for you? Were you nervous? I was very nervous. I remember meeting my friend who took me to my first meeting on a Saturday morning at 9:00 am. That was the first time I had been up that early on a Saturday in a LONG time. We were walking towards a church that I often visited for Sunday morning services. That was the location of the AA meeting! Today I take it, as a sign... that God was leading me to the right place. The only thing I really remember during that meeting was that the speaker was a woman, and she shared about how she used to live in the East Village and her life while she was drinking and drugging became one block. Her apartment, job, bar, etc... was all in the same block. I could relate. My life had condensed itself into one neighborhood — Hell’s Kitchen. I lived, worked, and socialized in Hell’s Kitchen. That really stuck out to me. I didn’t want my life to be stuck in a four-block radius. I wanted a bigger life. Do you think there is a lack of venues for gay men to hangout and meet each other that don’t involve alcohol? Yes. It all involves alcohol. Drag bingo, drag brunch, Black Party, Pier Dances, Pride, Halloween, etc. Gays use any and all of these as an excuse to drink. Ha-ha. It took me a long time until I was 100% comfortable stepping into a gay bar without having a drink in my hand. I hear you have a boyfriend and you are planning on moving in together. How did the two of you meet? I do! Well, we actually started talking on the good ol’ Grindr. But, once I saw his face, I recognized him from the AA rooms. So, I knew exactly who he was. Once I shared that with him the conversation quickly changed from being just a hookup to more of a “Let’s get to know each other” kind of thing. He had 2 1/2 years of sobriety at the time and I only had four months. It’s suggested for people with under a year not to date at all so they can focus on themselves. So, we were very cautious and took our relationship slow at first. Neither one of us wanted to get hurt. But, we soon discovered that we had a connection that was unlike anything we had ever felt. There were some people in the AA rooms that judged us for “breaking the rules”, but nothing in AA is a rule! Just a suggestion. Some work for you and some don’t. If I had stepped back and said, “I’m not going to date you because I have under a year of sobriety”, then I wouldn’t be in the beautiful relationship over a year later. In general what kind of men are at AA? All kinds! I mainly go to gay meetings because I can relate the most in those rooms. And one thing that kept me coming back was the hot men! So many hot men. But then, you form real friendships and relationships with these men and the fact that they’re hot and you want to sleep with them goes out the window. And you’re left with a beautiful, intimate friendship. The friendships I’ve made in AA are unlike any friendships I’ve ever had. There are professionals, actors, musicians, lawyers, government employees — all kinds of men.
Do you think you would have met someone like your current partner if it weren’t for AA? Nope. Being sober and working the AA program has allowed me to be
present and show up for my own life. I wouldn’t be able to show up for this relationship, and deal with the good and the bad, if I was out there drinking and high all of the time. I have a clear head and a clear mind. AA has given me the gift of rigorous honesty and the ability to tackle life head on, and I wouldn’t be able to partake and give my fair share in a relationship otherwise.
Now that the two of you don’t drink what do you do for entertainment? I’m assuming a lot of sex. But, of course! Ha-ha. We do plenty of fun things! We go to the gym, go to the theatre, lots of dinner and movie dates, and we spend time with his family out on Long Island often. We’ve been on several vacations together already. We spend lots of time in the park, talking about politics and current events. He got his MBA from Yale, so he challenges me a lot to stay updated in current events. I learn a lot from him on a daily basis. Do you have the same friends as you did before AA? Is it difficult to find friends that respect the fact that you don’t drink? I do. All of the same friends, plus new ones! My friends who aren’t sober are totally supportive of it. I have people in my life that didn’t think I necessarily needed AA at first, but they’ve seen a change in me. So, they’re grateful for that. I’ve never really had a problem with friends and family not supporting me. I’m fortunate to have that because getting and staying sober isn’t an easy thing to do. But, thank God I have beautiful people in my life who help make it an easier process for me. Overall, How has your life changed after AA? Do you feel fore filled? I felt like I was missing out on things at first for the first few months...but, now I don’t. I’m right where I need to be. My priorities are much different. I wake up early every day and make my own breakfast! I never did that before. I was always hung over. Instead of passing out and coming to every day, I now go to sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. I’m starting to live the life beyond my wildest dreams. Does that mean I’m on Broadway yet? No. That simply means I’m being taken care of and I show up for my own life every day. I’m very grateful for my sobriety.
Justin Vivian Bond No Introduction Necessary By Salty Brine
Photo by: Amos Mac
Would you be willing to share the story of your first kiss? I actually talk about my first kiss in my book TANGO: My Childhood Backwards, and in High Heels. It happened in the basement of The Women’s Club on Prospect Street in downtown Hagerstown, MD. One evening during rehearsals for my first real show (I had been cast as Kurt in “The Sound of Music” by The Potomac Playmakers, a community theater in my hometown. I was dared by the boy who was my older brother Friedrich Von Trapp to kiss my younger sister “Marta” (Carrie Whiteley). Carrie was, and still is, an adorable blonde with big doe eyes and very pretty lips. I wanted to kiss her anyway and we were quickly developing a crush on each other. So, I made the older boy (who was from a well-off family according to my mother) pay me a dollar to kiss her. Afterwards, I thought it was only fair to split the kitty with her, so I gave her 50¢ and we spent our money on soda pops from the machine in the lobby. I think we had TaB. It was the “first kiss” for both of us, and
we must have enjoyed it because we made out a lot more after that. We are still friends. TaB was banned from the market for a while because it was full of saccharine, which was found to cause cancer in lab rats. I don’t know what happened to Friedrich. Your career has always been, and continues to be, full of song. What have you discovered about the power of the human voice as a musical instrument? Well, of course, I love the human voice and always have. When I was young, my grandmother used to hold me on her lap and we would swing under the willow tree in her back yard, and she would sing to me. My grandmother had a powerful voice with a wild vibrato, and I imagine she’s where I got my singing voice. When I don’t feel well, I focus on whatever ails me and hum into it with my vibrato. It usually makes me feel better. It’s the best hangover cure — humming. You're a terrific storyteller. Thank you What is it that draws us to stories... be it movies, books, lyrics, plays or banter between songs during an evening of live music? What makes us lean in? I think the reason we crave good stories is because we’re constantly trying to figure ourselves out. Hearing other people’s narratives gives us the opportunity to compare our perceptions of things with someone else’s, and hopefully, that makes it easier to negotiate our way through this life. A good storyteller is giving us a gift, and usually, they’re also good listeners or they wouldn’t know anything so they’d have fuck all to say. When you were 14 years old, what did your bedroom look like? I had an antique bed that belonged to my grandfather’s side of the family, which my dad and I refinished. And I had a huge shelf full of books and a record player. One wall was completely covered with movie star photos and posters from films of the 1940s that I ripped out of a cache of old movie magazines I bought at a yard sale. I also had a few of my own watercolors framed along with a beautiful needlepoint hummingbird made by my best friend Susan when she was in the psych ward. And, a reproduction of a Beaux Arts poster given to me by one of the girls who was in the hospital with her. They would take the teenagers from the 50 fopmag.com
psychiatric hospital to the mall once a week so they could get out and do something “normal”, and I would meet them there. When I admired the poster this very nice, but kind of crazy, girl bought it for me. I still have it rolled up in a tube somewhere. I think breakfast is marvelous, and fascinating — whether it be eggs benedict or coffee and a sidecar. So I’m wondering... What’s for breakfast? Today, I was terrible. I reheated some crispy fried wontons for myself and, then a little while later, Sammy Jo, my upstairs neighbor, came by with lavender mango polenta coffee cake. Sammy is my ex and he’s an amazing DJ, and one of my best friends. Usually, my breakfast choices are much healthier. Most days, I make myself a smoothie and oatmeal. But today, I just felt like being trashy and cleaning out the fridge. So, I got rid of those wontons, and yes, they were delicious! Do you wake up in the morning knowing what you’re going to wear? Does it find you? Do you tear your closet apart, trying on 10,000 things before you find the right outfit? If I’m traveling in the morning, I lay out my clothes the night before. I’m a list maker. Thanks to my obsession with Joan Didion I’m always prepared to leave town at the drop of a dime. I have two of all my personal items — one on the shelf and one in a bag. If I’m traveling, I plan every outfit for the trip in advance. If I’m home, I just throw on something comfortable during the day and get a bit more lavish at night. Diana Vreeland said, “You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody. I’m not talking about lots of clothes.” How do you define style? Is it linked with identity? I was talking about this will some friends last night. I think style is defined by taste and taste is a reflection of what you’ve got an appetite for. I love looking a certain way. I am not into being fussy or overdone so I try to keep things simple, elegant and fun because that’s what comes naturally to me. Most days, I just throw on a cashmere sweater, matching pants, some earrings and lipstick. I love it when other people just get crazy and flashy and trashy, but I never feel honest when I do that unless it’s for the stage. And, even then, I hate to feel like I’ve got to outperform my costume. People have been building and occupying cities for centuries. What do you think compels us to create metropoleis? (I wanted to say metropoli but spell-check says I’m wrong.) Also, do you obey spell-check? I spell things however I want. Here’s one of my recent tweets:
Yisss Botches, Munty mod it hume on hair bee cee clette unt she didn’t bite it like Nico. Tonk hew.
My friends thought I was too drunk to ride my bike home. I figured, if I could come up with that tweet, I would do just fine. I don’t know if it put them more at ease or not, but evidently, I made it home in one piece. Novelist crushes? Didion, Purdy, Tom Spanbauer, Laurie Weeks, Eileen Myles
Your show Mx America is a big hit. You’ve been touring it around the country and now it’s back in New York. Do you discover shows in a new way when you leave New York? What does playing in other cities and towns reveal about your work? It’s really fun to play other cities because I’m something new and unusual to them, and that’s exciting and refreshing. But, I still love my hometown audiences best because we have an ongoing conversation, and I’m always so grateful when I get to be at home and working while surrounded by my friends and family. Do you ever have stage fright? It has always depended with whom I’ve been onstage. So, YES! I’ve been terrified. But, I’m not going to name names. Speaking of naming names, sexiest cab ride? Weirdly, they don’t seem to be as sexy now that those horrible computer screens are in there, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the full spectrum of sexual peccadilloes in both New York and London cabs. I like a bit of danger on occasion. What’s next for you? Any projects you’re excited about that you’d like to share? I haven’t traveled to Europe in a couple of years, but I’m gearing up to tour to the UK and France, so that’s exciting. I’ve also got some fun things in the works that I’m not quite ready to announce, but I’m bringing Mx America to USC in November, and you should be on the look out for my Christmas shows. I’m always performing somewhere. Be sure to buy my perfume and CDs on my website justinbond.com. And, if you want me to tell you a story, the audio version of TANGO is now available as well. Since this is Fop Magazine, I thought I’d ask... Do you ever feel foppish?
Fops are the most whimsical and adorable spectacles I can imagine. It makes me so happy to see someone walking down the street really feeling themselves. I’ve always believed that wearing bright colors in winter is like giving a gift to everyone around you. I try to do that whenever I can, and I’d be proud to be considered a fop under almost any circumstance. Love, Mx Bond
Photo by: Amos Mac
The Rothas Brothers The Skater Boys You Wish Were Your Neighbors Photography by: Matthew C. Lange
Concept & Styling: Quentin Fears Art Direction: Liz Sorrell Grooming: James Burks
LEFT: Button Down: Carhartt Watch: G-Shock Pants: Carhartt Sneakers: Volcom Grimm Mid
RIGHT: Top: The Mountain Black Kitten T-Shirt Jacket: Altru Pants: WeSC
Hat: Lifetime Collective Shirt: WeSC Button Down: Lifetime Collective 56 fopmag.com
Sweat Shirt: WeSC Jeans: WeSC
Button Down: Carhartt Watch: G-Shock Pants: Carhartt 58 fopmag.com
Button Down: WeSC Shirt: The Mountain Pants: WeSC
Shirt: The Mountain Watch: G-Shock Pants: Carhartt 60 fopmag.com
Hat: Lifetime Collective Button Down WeSC Jeans: Lifetime Collective Shoes: Volcom
The False Security of Fast Gains YOU-ARE-A-DINAMO!! By Gaea L. Honeycutt
After launching your business last year, the growth was phenomenal within just six months. Clients sought you out, and the biggest challenge was making time for all of them. The business volume was so high that you hired a few employees to help manage it. In fact, you barely had time to network and build more relationships. Lately, you’ve noticed a slight shift in the volume. Maybe a drop of 10%, but business is still good. You’re busy, your staff is busy and everyone is happy. You’ve cut back a little on some perks, but no one’s complaining. It’s still a great ride and you’re not worried. Things slow down some times. But here’s my question to you: Why is business slowing down? Is it seasonal? Is it uncertainty over the Federal shutdown? Are trends changing in your industry? How do you know when trends that affect purchasing change? Or, is the industry evolving? In six months, in a year, what will the business look like? Will there sales increase, decrease or remain in a plateau state? These are important questions, people are depending on you for their livelihood … including yourself. One mistake made by entrepreneurs who experience early success, or
who quickly transition from being employed in an industry to profitably consulting in it, is a failure to conduct market research and develop a business plan that leverages data. Market research tells you not only who’s most interested in buying your product, but why. It tells you the history of the industry and outside factors that can impact your business. And it can tell you what types of business models, or approaches, have been most successful. Think it won’t happen to you? Consider the Washington DC Metro Area. Right now, businesses are reeling from Sequestration and the 2013 Shutdown – two unexpected blows in a still recovering economy. Part of what makes the regional economy thrive, and survive, is how many companies work in government contracting -- including small companies that perform parts of bigger contracts; freelancers that support big and small contractors; and the nonprofits, service and retail business that rely on the contractors and their employees. Layoffs are abundant and businesses are facing troubling losses. What was once a stable source of income is now completely unpredictable. Throughout the area, companies who specialize in working with the government are exploring options for diversifying into commercial markets. The more entangled a business is with the government, the bigger the impact. Their solution is diversification. They understand what the trends and changes mean, and can confidently move in a new direction or continue on the current path. And the difference between them and you is that they know their markets, audiences and industries well. Do you understand your business, clients and industry enough to nimbly navigate through the changes that are sure to come? If not, take the downtime that the approaching holidays bring to write or revise your business plan. There’s no replacement for the peace of mind planning brings. Gaea L. Honeycutt is President & CEO of G.L. Honeycutt Consulting, LLC a consulting firm providing business development and advisory services. A serial entrepreneur, she is also is Co-founder & Immediate Past Chairman of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Kings Behind the Music by Quentin Fears
The music of Robert Maril, Stephanie Bishop and Emily Bielagus is refreshing with beautiful tight vocal harmonies, strings, and banjos. They are folk, country, indie and something they call “queercore”. Listening to their music brings me back to the days when I was one of the only gay black boys travelling to Asheville, North Carolina to see Ani DiFranco perform live. Just because of that they have a special place in my heart. How did all of you meet? What role does each of you play within the group? Robert: I met Emily at a gay nudist campground in Pennsylvania, where on day two of our friendship, we white water rafted together. We didn’t know it was nudist until we arrived. I promise. I sing and play cello and sometimes guitar. Steph: Emily and I met in the silliest way possible. She posted an ad on Craigslist saying she was looking to start a band. We got together a couple of times to play (we both sing and play guitar) and I was like, “Hey, do you know a queer cellist by any chance?” Robert: And I am a queer cellist. What are the odds? How did you come up with the name Kings? Is there some bigger meaning — especially since there are two female members? Robert: It’s a play on several things. First, I like the gender**k aspect of
it — that we’re two lesbians and a gay guy calling ourselves Kings.
Also, we’re based in Brooklyn, which is Kings County. I can’t remember where the name initially came from, though. 64 fopmag.com
What does being a queer folk trio mean to you and your music? Does everyone in the group identify as Queer, and how much of a role does politics play in your music? Robert: Yeah, we’ve called ourselves a queercore country trio from the start. It was always really important to me to not only embrace our queer identity (we all three identify as queer), but to not let it get buried in the details. Country music, as you know,
isn’t historically a haven for gay people, and we’re here to stake our claim in its landscape. That’s not to say that all the songs are about the queer experience —far from it — but all the songs are about our lives and thoughts, which to some extent automatically queers them. Of course, our first single was about a lesbian wedding gone haywire, so... Steph: The themes in our songs are pretty universal and not outright political. That said, as Robert mentioned, there’s something intrinsically political about the fact that we’re three queer people performing within a genre that hasn’t always embraced the queer community.
What are some of your musical influences? Robert: My personal touchstones for this project are groups like the Indigo Girls and Dixie Chicks, but with a lot more intricate, crazy harmonies that harken back to my days singing choral chamber music. Steph: Robert, you’re such a lesbian! I’d add Jackson Browne for his songwriting, Fleet Foxes for their harmonies, and Dolly Parton for being a badass. Who writes most of your music? Robert: Toward the beginning of the band, the women wrote the bulk of music, with me stepping in and helping on arrangements and “Kingsifying”. As we’ve grown, though, we’ve been writing as a trio and it’s one of the things I’m proudest of in my adult life--it took me 31 years, but I wrote a song. Steph: One of the nice things about how our sound has evolved is that we’ve all written songs individually, in pairs and together as a band. I feel like creating within those different spaces helps to keep things dynamic and surprising. Right now, I have October blaring on repeat. What is the song about? I love the line “ help me break the silence, help me pierce through this noise”. Emily: It’s honestly pretty literal. I wrote that song during a really painful break-up, where I was saying goodbye to the first real love of my life. There was a lot of love left
there, but also so much hurt, and I was constantly experiencing two feelings at once: “I hate this person, I miss this person. I am so glad we broke up, I wish we were still together.” I really believe that’s what heart-
break is — when two impossible, opposing truths are both true (and not true!) at the same time, battling inside you. I tried to capture that.
When can we expect a complete album? Robert: Our debut EP, Bones — five whole songs recorded at Seaside Studios in Brooklyn, produced by our friend Eric Beug — comes out soon!
What do you see Kings doing in the next year? Robert: Speaking personally, I’d love to go on an actual tour with the band and then get back into the studio. We already have at least another album’s worth of original material that I’m already excited to get on tape. Err . . . computer. Steph: I also want to write, write, write! I feel like we’re in a place where we’ve zeroed in on what we want to sound like as a band, and I’m excited to create within that framework while stretching its boundaries. Emily: If we get to play Newport Folk Fest in 2014 (or any year), I will be so ecstatically happy that my feet will never touch the ground ever again. I want to tour this EP to lots of music festivals next year, but yeah, Newport has been a life-long dream of mine. Any dance tracks in the future? Robert: It’s a very quiet, secret dream that someday we’ll have the resources to have someone do a dance remix of something. My other life is as a DJ in gay NYC and--maybe this is pure egotism--I love the idea of hearing our song on the big sound system, the beat thumping, gay guys sipping their vodka sodas and bopping their heads in time. What are the greatest strengths of the group as a band and as friends? Robert: In the, not even, two years I’ve known them, these two women have become as close to me as anyone in this world who isn’t family. Closer. They’ve given me a safe space to grow and change and experiment, and a net to land in when I failed. You can hear that in our music, I think. Steph: We love to find meaning and make sense of things together, all while finding the humor in literally everything. We all have astoundingly different personalities, which is precisely why I think this whole thing works. Emily: When the three of us sing a really bananas harmony together,
and we’re all in tune, and we’re all matched in frequency and volume and intention: that moment feels just like flying. I don’t understand
why or how our three different voices come together so well, but they do. Like Steph said, all the elements we bring to the table are unique to one another, and I think the strength of Kings lies in the middle of a sort of Venn diagram. Our aesthetics and personalities are so different but that middle, overlapping point is where something that feels kind of otherworldly happens. It’s the most fun.
Mens Fashion Done Right by Quentin Fears
Photo by: Zenith Richards
Meet David J. Krause and Nina Zilka the Founders of Alder New York, 2011.
How did the two of you start a menswear line? We met as students at Pratt Institute and immediately realized we had a very similar design aesthetic. We designed women's wear for a few years before switching to menswear. We find menswear exciting and natural for us; we've always been interested in the practicality and subtle details of a garment, and subtlety works more naturally with menswear than womenswear. In your mission statement you talk about creating a design that feels comfortable and familiar, with a fresh point of view. What is it about your clothing that creates that fresh point of view? As designers, we often start with a really classic item, like a suit, and then start playing with it. What if it was denim, and double breasted, and slimmer. We like classic, we like heritage, we like the history of a piece, but we like to freshen it up and make it relevant to our view point. How difficult has it been to create a clothing line that actually cares about the quality as well as the aesthetic of its final product? Really, not all that difficult, because it would never occur to us to do something other than that. It can be frustrating when we aren't satisfied with our factory's first runs.
The great thing is that being local, it's much easier to have them fix the problems than if we were producing in China or Indonesia, where it can take months to fix a problem- which is why those problems often go unfixed. I hear the two of you are roommates. Is that true? Yes, it's true. We're roommates, business partners; we even co-teach together at Pratt. And we like to hang out on the weekends! It's a very rare bond, but we both agree that we can't imagine not having each other to lean on and rely on. Fashion, and running a small business, can both be so daunting. When one of us is stressed or down, we have the other to pick us up. Plus, it's really really fun to design and work with your best friend. Do you two ever have design disagreements. If so, how are they solved, thumb war? Actually, no, I truly can't think of a time we've disagreed on a design. I swear! I think we both really value the other's opinion, so if one of us has an idea, we're going to be open to it, because we like where each other's brain take us. Where do the two of you draw your inspiration from? A lot of times, the environment around us. We live in Bed-Stuy which has
a very large Muslim population, but also this street influence, so you get these guys walking around in long, to the calf, dress shirts, and then pairing them with leather bomber jackets, which inspired our Fall 13 collection. This season we were going to the
beach all the time and day dreaming about yachting, so that informed our ultimate Prepster designs for Spring 14. 68 fopmag.com
Can you describe your creative process? Do you work to music? Right now Iâ€™m obsessed with Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop.â€?
Well, please check out our summer mix at aldernewyork.com/blog/ if you want to see what we're listening to in the studio...Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" is indeed on the mix tape. In terms of creative process we come together at the beginning of the season and look at each other's Tumblrs and various images we've been pulling for the last few months, and work from there... It generally takes us three
weeks of straight designing before we start patterning, and then it's a constant back and forth between our sketches and the real garments to see what we like. Who are your favorite designers and style icons? We're inspired by people on the street much more than anything else. What kind of guy do you design for? Someone who like to look good and appreciates the subtlety and details of a garment. If you weren't designing what would the two of you do? We'd always be making something.
Aedes De Venustas
An interview with Karl Bradl on Perfume & More
By Walton Eliot What inspired you to open your store? Passion for fragrance. It was pure coincidence that my business partner Robert Gerstner and I opened up the store almost 19 years ago. It wasn’t really planned and things fell into place. What inspired you to launch your first fragrance? The first creation was a collaboration with L’Artisan Parfumeur for our 10th anniversary. We’ve met with the perfumer who is about to become a superstar in the world of fragrance – Bertrand Duchaufour. He created an Eau de Parfum that resembles the boutique’s vibe. It’s based on mysterious materials such as incense, iris, and pepper. When we started our own perfume house in 2012 the idea was to give the most talented perfumers in the industry a platform where they can create with no limits. Usually commercial brands have many restrictions, work on budgets, and base the creations on focus groups. We love to challenge the perfumers to create something extraordinary. When developing a new fragrance, What’s on your playlist? Depends on my mood. Currently, I listen to Mount Kimbie, James Blake, Young Magic, Mister Lies. What famous person, dead, alive or fictional, male or female, gave birth to your second fragrance, Iris Nazarena? I didn’t have any person in mind. The fragrance was inspired by the beauty of Iris Nazarena. It’s an extinct iris species that grows in the mountains East of Nazareth. 70 fopmag.com
In regards to your store, why the peacocks? The boutique’s interior is based on vintage finds from antique markets around the world which I collected throughout the years. I stumbled upon the peacocks at one point. I love the vibrant iridescent plumage of color. To me they represent a symbol of beauty. The Burning papers you carry are innovative… are they an upgrade from incense? Karl: They used burnig papers in the 16th century. It’s a cleaner version of incense... less smokey. The paper burns down in seconds and it removes odors from any space with their frankincense and myrrh scent. If you were a candle what would it be?
I hope I’ll never be a candle but if I have to pick one it would be “Cellarius.” The fragrance in this candle has been created by my favorite perfumer Oliva Giacobetti and is based on the smell of an old-world astronomical observatory. “Cellarius” is the name of Dutch-German cartographer Andreas Cellarius who created the star atlas Harmonia Macrocosmica in the year 1660.
As fashion repeats itself, potpourri is becoming stylish again. What are some practical uses for it in the household? Put it in bowls or urns and it will diffuse beautifully without being overpowering. I personally like to stuff it in a pouch and put it in my suitcase and drawers. Make sure to switch it out once in a while. Don’t let it collect dust. Which of your candles is burning in Tilda Swinton’s living room right now? I don’t believe she’s ever shopped here but she’d strike me as someone who likes clean, earthy scents like the “Indica” candle. The candle is based on the aroma of Hindu Kush grass (discovered by botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785). Also, Cire Trudon’s “Abd El Kader” candle which is based on Morrocan mint tea. Could you give me the fragrance profiles for the following three people? -Macy Gray She seems like a strong woman with a powerful persona. I can see her wearing earthy fragrances with a hint of rose or incense. I’d probably show her L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Voleur de Roses, Frederic Malle’s collaboration with Dries van Noten or Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles. -Mr. Rogers Old-fashioned cologne type of fragrances such as Acqua di Santa Maria Novella or Hierbas de Ibiza Acqua Colonia -Bjork Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecule, L’Eau d’Hiver by Frederic Malle or Iris Nazarena by Aedes de Venustas
A Rainy Day Accessories Story Photography by: Karen E. Evans
Styling: Quentin Fears Grooming: Matthew Green
Necklace: Heidi Gardner
Necklace: Heidi Gardner 74 fopmag.com
Hat: Goorin Brothers
Hat: Goorin Brothers
Necklace & Ring: Heidi Gardner
Hat: Goorin Brothers Ring: Heidi Gardner
The Pleasure Issue Fall 2013
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