issue # 3 - Autumn 2014 - diversity
PROUD MEDIA SUPPORTER of:
EDITOR'S LETTER THE FEED ISSUE THREE
B Y J ES SE MATHESON
IS THIS MAGAZINE GAY? W
e are lucky to live in a society as diverse as ours, where people need not be afraid of being who they are with the threat of persecution looming over their head. Yet, even though Australia is such a strong example of an integrated multi-cultural society it has not always been this way. Even now, diversification and acceptance of differences in some areas has not yet occurred. “How can we, as creatives, diversify our work?” is the question I posed to The Feed Team for this issue. We all have topics, subjects, and issues that we enjoy writing about and situations which we feel comfortable approaching. For this issue, however, we wanted to shake things up a bit, and so for this issue our main theme and concept is: Diversity. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex community (LGBTIQ - you’ll see that acronym a lot throughout this issue) is arguably one of the most diverse communities in the world, with people from so many different walks of life, races, religions, countries and socioeconomic groups brought together by the search for sex, love and a yearning for an identity. The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) is one of the biggest LGBTIQ events in the world and manages to bring together all of these different types of people, even those who may feel that they don’t necessarily fit into the LGBTIQ community, for a festival which celebrates who they are and who they love, culminating in a dynamic display of freedom, acceptance, and empowerment. Which is why for this issue we’ve teamed up with FOUNDING EDITOR & PUBLISHER Jesse Matheson: Jesse.Matheson@TheFeed.com.au SUB-EDITOR Georgia Leaker: Georgia.Leaker@TheFeed.com.au FASHION EDITOR & STYLIST Kate Burgess: Kate.Burgess@TheFeed.com.au ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Jeremy Smith: Jeremy.Smith@TheFeed.com.au MUSIC EDITOR Joshua Manning: Joshua.Manning@TheFeed.com.au
them to create a brave new issue that isn’t afraid to be flamboyant, sexy and a little bit different. This is a magazine which acknowledges that there are stories in smaller communities, such as the LGBTIQ community, which are relevant to the mainstream and which states that we don’t need to consider these stories as being “weird”, “different” or “abnormal” to rationalise their relevance and readability, as so many other magazines do. We are doing this because The Feed Magazine is a magazine and a platform that is
DESIGN Badi PHOTOGRAPHY Dean Hood & Hamid Mousa from Hashtag Photography CONTRIBUTRORS Robert Grigor Colette Keen CONTRIBUTE Contribute@TheFeed.com.au
not created with just one “type” of person in mind, it’s for everyone. In this issue you’ll find articles which celebrate the community and discuss issues revolving around the people who make up this year’s Mardi Gras festival. This has been such an adventurous and exciting edition to create, and one which we hold very close to our hearts. Happy reading and may your pride burst with every colour of the spectrum this Mardi Gras season.
ADVERTISING Advertising@TheFeed.com.au The Feed Magazine (ISSN: 2202-3275) is published quarterly by Revesby Press. No part of the magazine may be produced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher (The Feeding Media). Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. Submissions of text, photographs or any other material will be taken as consent to publish said material. The featuring of individuals in photos within this magazine is not determine a representation of their sexual orientation.
IN THIS ISSUE... FACEBOOK.COM/THEFEEDMEDI A
Catch up on what’s happening in music and events.
WELCOME TO MARDI GRAS A few choice words from our Mardi Gras icons...
WHAT IS ‘MASCULINE’?
Discover what is it to be ‘man-like’..
OX LIVE: MEET MATTY & TYLER
Welcome the new host’s of Sydney’s very own Gay & Lesbian Radio Station
THE DEATH OF KINGS
The HIV/AIDS epidemic told through theatre.
PAM ANN IS ‘PLANE FILTHY’
A first-class interview with the hostess with the mostess herself!
WE LIKE TO PARTY!
We chat with Mardi Gras Creative Co-ordinator, Gary Leeson
CHECK YOURSELF, DON’T WRECK YOURSELF
Our ‘How-To’ Guide to partying like the pro’s - with Drag Queen commentary!
POP / RAVE / S&M / BALL
GAYS ON FILM - MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL
Will gay’s ever be more than cinematic archetypes and cliches?
OSCARS 2014 - THE ‘GAY SUPER BOWL’
Who will win? More importantly, what will they wear?
THE FEED ISSUE THREE
XI U X I U - O N AN GE L MØ - NO MYTHOLOGIES G UTS: RED C LA S S R OOM
Xiu Xiu’s On Angel Guts: Red Classroom, brings us back, with an almighty jolt, to the brutal and confronting reality of their art. Just a year on from the release of the relatively inoffensive Nina, Red Classroom, named after the revolutionary 1970’s Japanese erotic film, exemplifies the blunt lyrical style and harsh subject matter that chief lyricist Jamie Stewart seems to delight in. As always the subject matter is uncompromising, the majority of the album’s lyrical material said to be inspired by Stewart’s move from North Carolina to a crime-ridden district of LA. Drawing on those bleak surroundings, which included a park split four ways by gang warfare, a lake regularly trawled for bodies and an abandoned building where infant corpses were found, Stewart explores themes of radicalised sex (‘Black Dick’), double suicide (‘New Life Immigration’), casual intimacy (‘Adult Friends’) and double penetration (‘Cinthya’s Unisex’). What sets Red Classroom apart, however, is the marriage of these vocals with harsh, analogue soundscapes, providing a focus which transcends the often confused DIY pop sound of previous Xiu Xiu releases. Limiting their sonic arsenal to analog synthesisers, drum machines and drum kit has paid dividends, creating an exquisite simplicity and brutality which marks Red Classroom out as Xiu Xiu’s masterpiece. The urgent beat and sustained static of ‘Stupid in the Dark’ has the heart racing, releasing us from the anxiety it creates with an explosion of noise preceding its chorus. ‘Botanica de Los Angeles’ is a pop anthem transformed into an industrial masterpiece by sawing synths and reverberating tinny drums. Unrelenting throughout, and bookended by brooding, static infested, instrumentals ‘Angel Guts’ and ‘Red Classroom’, Red Classroom is supremely structured, its sonic landscape constantly biting viciously at the listener, Stewart’s lyrics marvellously unnerving. Previous albums, whilst impressive, have often meandered through their content, with seemingly little sense of continuity or focus. However, in Angel Guts: Red Classroom, Xiu Xiu has crafted a dark, spiralling masterpiece, a befitting soundtrack to a brutally tragic urban existence.
MØ’s impact on alt-pop has long preceded the arrival of No Mythologies to Follow, her debut LP. First grabbing the attention of altpop hipsters with the 2012 release of single ‘Pilgrim’ and continuing to drip feed us with more singles and an EP in 2013, she has already developed a dedicated following. MØ first appeared on the scene as a symbol for youthful restlessness, but whilst songs like ‘Pilgrim’ (“All the time I just want to fuck it up and say I’ll get a hold of it”) and ‘Glass’ (“why do everyone have to grow old?”) epitomise the ‘stay young forever’ and ‘act now think later’ attitudes of a youth in arrested development, No Mythologies demonstrates that her emotional landscape is far more diverse. ‘Waste of Time’ captures delightfully the coexistence of anger and pain in heartbreak, whilst the line “I never would’ve let you go had I been a little older” in ‘Never Wanna Know’ cries of a girl pained at an apparent lack of maturity. Musically, No Mythologies continues to expand the diversity of influence in MØ’s sound, whilst maintain a clear identity. ‘Never Wanna Know’ pushes a beachy shoe gaze vibe while ‘Don’t Wanna Dance’, probably the standout track, is riddled with indie drums and jangly guitar. MØ maintains her love of beat based genres with songs such as ‘Red in The Grey’, ‘Waste of Time’ and ‘XXX 88’ (coincidentally featuring beatmaster, Diplo), borrowing heavily from trap, hip-hop and footwork. Guitar work also continues to be prevalent through much of MØ’s work, the smooth guitar lines on ‘Maiden’ and ‘Glass’ adding an edge to the dance-beats and pop melodies that sets her apart from her contemporaries. No Mythologies to Follow is not the groundbreaking, step into the stratosphere that some may have expected. Rather, with a large portion of the album having been released, either as singles or on 2013’s Bikini Daze added to this is a spattering of new material, it is a long overdue consolidation of MØ’s recorded work to date. This apparent rehash may leave some disappointed but it is in no way a reflection on quality of what, in any other situation, would be considered a break-through debut album. We can only hope that the overexcitement caused by the excessive hype around MØ does not push her towards the margins, and allows her to continue being the innovator she truly is.
WIL D BEAST S P RE S E N T T E N S E
Since their debut album Limbo Panto, Wild Beasts’ albums have offered a firm continuity in their music, whilst continuing to evolve in a brilliant and uncompromising fashion. Present Tense, an album that encapsulates and haunts in equal measure, is the fourth of these finely scripted acts, a logical progression from 2011’s Smother. Present Tense continues Wild Beasts growth from wild, witty, alcohol fuelled fornicators to mature, contemplative gentlemen. Opener ‘Wanderlust’ explores the tendency to live over-zealously despite lacking wealth, poetically describing difference in attitudes to wealth with the line “They are solemn in their wealth, we’re high on our poverty”. Ironically, it appears it is Wild Beasts that are examining the intricacies of life in a more solemn and mature manner. ‘Mecca’ strikes at the heart of human motivation with its line “We move in fear, we move in desire” while ’Pregnant Pause’ desperately pleads for some semblance of the connection between two people that once was. Wild Beasts love for the theatrical is not lost, a lingering pause splicing the words of the title in song. As always it is vocally that Wild Beasts most notably excel. The exquisite masculine voices of singers Thorpe and Little are theatrically toned, though desperately full of passion. Electronic influence continues to infiltrate and invigorate Wild Beasts’ sound as guitar contributions are made ever more subtle. This is especially apparent on ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’ and ‘Daughters’, where the delicate guitar riffs provide more of a flourish than a motif on which to build. Percussive complexities are present though subdued on the slow-burning ‘New Life’ but burst to life on the beautifully crafted ‘Daughters’. ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’ shows another aspect of Wild Beasts, lyrically and musically direct in its execution. Melancholic in it’s mood, Present Tense exhibits a growing emotional maturity, building firmly on the base laid by its predecessor Smother. Gone are the boyish larks and lusty eyes of yesteryear, whilst pushed to the fore are the trials and tribulations that come with the responsibilities of mature adulthood. In Present Tense, Wild Beasts have crafted yet another thoroughly complete album, their most diverse and accomplished work to date.
08 FEB-03 MAR 2013
A FEW CHOICE WORDS...
THE SYDNEY GAY & LESBIAN MARDI GRAS NOT ONLY HAS A LONG AND PROUD HISTORY, BUT IS AN EVENT MANY HOLD CLOSE TO THEIR HEART, SO WE THOUGHT IT’D BE ONLY FITTING TO START THE ISSUE OFF BY SITTING DOWN WITH TWO MARDI GRAS ICONS WHO HAVE HELPED TO MAKE THE FESTIVAL WHAT IT IS TODAY AND ASK WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO THEM. BY G EO RG I A L E A K ER
marketing services. What I had discovered was that the SGLMG had gone into receivership and this group of people were coming together to rebuild, from the ground up. From there I chaired the marketing group and joined the board in December 2002. I think I sent that original email because i jumped the fence at the last party and felt bad because I didn’t pay for a ticket. I’ve spent the last 11 years making up for it though.
What has been your favourite Mardi Gras moment over the years?
S TEPH S A N DS
OR GAN I SER FO R WO M EN S AY S OM E T HIN G
Tell us about your first Mardi Gras: My first Mardi Gras was in 1993. I had just arrived in Sydney from Wagga two weeks prior and my girlfriend at the time told me I had to go see this street parade. I didn’t even know what it was really... the only mention I had ever heard of it before was in the movie “The Sum of Us”. I remember I couldn’t see much (as I was behind a huge crowd 0 8 Fon E B - 0South 3 M A R 2 0 1 3Dowling St), but I was pretty overcome with the feeling that it wasn’t just the two of us anymore. I had only known three other gay people before that parade and then (suddenly) there was thousands. To say it was a wave of acceptance of self was an understatement. My first party wasn’t for another nine years. I had turned up at the gates after being out at another club and I wanted to continue on. I was told that I couldn’t buy a ticket and I would have to go home. So I jumped the fence (well... actually I bribed a security guard to let me in the side gate). When I walked into that party, and I saw all these people, I knew I was home. It was, again, mind blowing.
How did you end up involved in Mardi Gras? I was taking some time out from work in 2002 to write a book and when I saw the organisation was in trouble, I sent an email to Michael Woodhouse offering some
There have been two that instantly spring to mind. Sitting with the 2003 board of directors around midnight in the room in the RHI when the then treasurer walked in announced that the party had sold out at 17,500 people. This meant that we had made enough money to pay for the deed of company arrangement with the receivers and put the organisation back on the right track. In those early years of New Mardi Gras, some of the directors actually put up personal guarantees to keep enough money in cash flow so the parade could happen. They were difficult times but we got through with the amazing skills of volunteers and people with big passions for the organisation and ultimately what it stands for - even the DJs played for free that year! The other moment was marching in last years parade with 300 women in the “Generations of Women” float. I had established both the Mardi Gras Women’s committee and Women Say Something in 2011 and this was the culmination of two years of hard work in increasing the visibility and participation of women in the organisation. It was the biggest all female float in the history of at least New Mardi Gras, and possible all of Mardi Gras.
What are you most looking forward to at Mardi Gras this year? I am hoping that I can get to some more events this year as I usually work, manage the Women’s Committee Initiatives and also creatively produce the Women Say Something event. There is a film in the Queer Film festival that
I am desperate to see: “Camp Beaverton: Meet the Beavers” – it’s about a group of women at the Burning Man Festival. Definitely something my partner and I want to do in the next couple of years. There is a rawness to that festival that is undeniable and we must experience that before it becomes too big or goes away completely. Of course I’m looking forward to Women Say Something. It’s always inspiring to hear women talk about how they have overcome adversity to create change and we have some great speakers and entertainers lined up for this one. And I shouldn’t say, but the finale is going to leave everyone gasping! Finally, after I’ve been to The Party and The Laneway, I’m looking forward to taking off my party shoes and putting on my recovery shoes at Extra Dirty.
What would you say is the biggest change between your first Mardi Gras and the way it is now? Well, I don’t have to climb the fence to go to The party anymore... The barricades: At my first parade there wasn’t any, people knew the boundaries and didn’t cross over. They let the parade go by all celebration and rejoicing. Now it is very structured and neat and in a way “sparkly”. The parade used to be very raw, very creative and very community focused. I think now it’s lost some of its rawness its driving passion. There was an urgency and a determination. A cause and a fight. I think now we have won a lot of those fights. The police now march with us rather than against us, and the majority of laws have been revised to protect our choices. Now the parade is mostly a celebration. It’s almost a MECA for international travellers to come and experience. But it’s not nearly as passionate. All things need to change. The parade, and the organisation, still fight for those who cannot. I hope to see floats and ideas around issues that still affect us on an international stage. For acceptance and inclusion of other minorities in our communities, such as our trans* and intersex friends. And I hope that Mardi Gras the organisation continues to be that beacon of hope to anyone who needs to find that sense of safety and community and self.
DRA G Q U EEN E X T R A O R D I NA I R E Tell me about your first Mardi Gras My first Mardi Gras was in 2001, it was my second time in drag. I left my costume to the last minute and ended up hot gluing three strategically placed plastic leaves to a nude bra and g-string, and going as “Eve” (of Adam & Eve). It was the most magical night. EVERYONE was there. It was like every gay person I had ever met, and so many new ones that I got to meet, came out to have the most amazing party I had ever been to.
How did you end up involved in Mardi Gras? In 2003, a drag show-cast that I was in, Divastated, with Ashley Swift and Vanity Faire, produced and performed in the 4am show at The Party! My Mum and Dad even flew down to see it. The process leading up to the show, helping to make 40 costumes for all the backup dancers, learning the choreography and trying to get it all done in time for the show is such a fun and crazy memory that always brings a smile.
What has been your favourite Mardi Gras moment over the years? They really are too numerous. In 2005 at Fair Day I met a boy and ended up catching the bus to Canberra with him the next day. In 2007 I fell in love at Harbour Party. In 2008 I wore a white feather Mohawk to the party, performed in the legendary “I Am What I Am” show and spent most of the night trying to prove that gay men don’t pash drag queens, very unsuccessfully. In 2009 I broke my leg skiing at Whistler and flew back to Sydney to perform a sold out season of Gentlemen Prefer Blokes with Trevor Ashley and Virginia Gay in a motorised wheelchair. In 2011 I hosted the broadcast of the Parade on TV.
In 2012 I performed for Kylie Minogue in the parade, but I don’t remember any of it because I drank too much tequila to “keep me warm” before the parade started.... So many smiles come to my face when I think about all of the fun and good times I have had during the Mardi Gras festival over the year with all of my friends, new and old.
What are you most looking forward to at Mardi Gras this year? I can’t wait to stand on stage at Sydney Theatre and perform the full-scale production of my show, Boys Like Me. Performing live is what I live for, it is my passion. I have the fascinating view point of living life on the gender divide, sometimes as Shane and sometimes as Courtney. It is fascinating to see how people react differently. It has also opened my eyes to the incredible diversity of gender and sexuality. So I decided to put all the sordid stories of my demimonde lifestyle into a show. Cause lets face it... who doesn’t love a salacious story about straight marines, twins or go-go dancers?
What would you say is the biggest change between your first Mardi Gras and the way it is now? My first Mardi Gras, in 2001, was the end of the exclusive era. It was a legendary members only party, forged out of our need for identity and solidarity. The last 13 years has seen the world evolve faster than ever and that meant the gay community and Mardi Gras had to as well. We suffered a few blows as we learnt what being gay meant in this new climate, but now in 2014 Mardi Gras is a beautiful kaleidoscope of diversity where everyone is welcome to jubilate what is great about our community and our country.
THE FEED ISSUE THREE
WHAT IS ‘MANLINESS’? BY R O B ERT G R I G O R
ontemporary society has long encouraged men to get in touch with their feminine sides, with flamboyant fashion, grooming regimes, and the delicate art of ‘man-scaping’, but rarely do we stop to dissect the qualities of masculinity that are considered so inherent within them. Big muscles, a chiseled jaw with rugged facial hair and a fast car? Clichés aside, what exactly does it mean to be ‘man-like’ in the modern world? Having a gym membership? Or a wardrobe full of suits and ties? Does one even need a penis to qualify as masculine? Sydney-based drag king Sexy Galexy attempts to answer this question in her new show ‘Manliness’, in which she
explores her own personal experiences in understanding masculinity, while also challenging the preconception that “being a man” is reserved solely for men. Hell, if men can shave their legs, surely women can wear the pants! When asked point-blank what manliness means to her, Galexy is careful not to give too much away. “That’s what the show is about! A young child not understanding what [manliness] means, but wanting to aspire to be a man, and then sort of tripping through life and trying to do research and trying to find out what it is. Because manliness is just so broad: it’s not just one thing.” Broader than the shoulders of a masculine
archetype, the one (wo)man performance is one in which Sexy Galexy uses some of her own life experiences to tell the story. “It’s my story, it’s a fact and fiction story, from my childhood ‘til now, of my journey discovering my own manliness, and the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs and the strange things that happen to you through life that contributed to me wanting to discover it.” It’s obviously a difficult conclusion for her to come to in a one-hour performance, particularly because these days, society in general is having a lot of trouble pinpointing masculinity. In order to get to the bottom of it, Galexy conducted research for the show. “I asked women, and I asked all sorts of men about what they considered manliness to be, and a lot of men didn’t know. A lot of people were quite traditional; a lot of people were quite modern. So it’s a very, very broad spectrum.” Every boy goes through the motions when he’s growing up and attempts to establish his manliness, but who is to say that one man’s masculinity is the same as the next? Or indeed, as Galexy shows us, who is to say that women cannot discover their masculine sides the way men so commonly now indulge in their feminine ones? Performers of drag, both male and female, have been blurring the lines and bending genders long before it was the theme of your local high school’s senior fund raiser. Drag queens have been donning frocks and full face make-up since what feels like the dawn of time, but a recent trend in some of Oxford Street’s key drag identities has been to complement their gowns with a full faced beard – taking the gender bending aspect of drag to a whole new level. Is there a rise in the queens breaking through their femininity to combine with such masculine extremes, creating a new kind of androgynous drag king/queen hybrid? “Well, you see the thing with drag,” Galexy said, musing on the question. “And this is why I love drag queens, is that they’re not trying to be women. They’re caricatures, and they’re entertainers. So it doesn’t matter where they take their look… In the queen scene you have those twists happening all the time, and I think it’s great.” See Manliness @ Gingers at The Oxford Hotel, Feb 20th & 25th, 8pm - 10pm. Tickets: $15 - $40.
What would you “say” to Dancing on that Ceiling? You would say “Lead the way”. With thanks to our presenting partner IVF Australia It’s the biggest and loudest Women Say Something we have ever done! This year we are celebrating success with accomplished women who will entertain, inspire, and empower you with the theme “Dancing on the Ceiling”. Since February 2011, Women Say Something has been on its own pathway of success, climbing ladders year after year. Continuing to motivate women and our male friends with issues, stories, and music relevant to us all.
We have pulled out all the stops for this one. You will hear from a politician, a comedian, a Lieutenant Colonel, an Editor in Chief, an athlete, a business woman and an activist to name a few. You will be the judge in determining the winner from three finalists in the Women Film Something competition. And there will be, as always, a few surprises on the night including a finale that will leave you gasping yet dancing! We take pride in ensuring this event is available to all. We have different ticket
We have grown from a small event at the Colombian Hotel to our current home base at Slide Lounge with larger shows in Melbourne and Paddington Town Hall. We have celebrated the stories of nearly 100 women and empowered thousands more.
options as well as our “Pay what you can afford” option. The venue is wheelchair accessible and there will be Auslan Interpreters on the night. And the fun won’t stop with the finale. Head to Slide Lounge and jump the queue to get free entry to our official after-party ‘Chick’. All this and everything else you love about Women Say Something from 6.30pm on Friday the 28th February. That’s the night before the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade and Party, so what better excuse to pack your bags and come to Sydney for the weekend. If you haven’t already got them, tickets are available through the Mardi Gras website. Starting at $30 for show only, or through to a premium dinner and show experience complete with three courses of fine food and wine, there is an option for everyone. But BE QUICK as this event always sells out.
This year we are breaking through our own ceiling with thanks to the generous invitation from Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and moving to the fabulous Sydney Town Hall. How exciting that women will be celebrating and saying something in the grandest space of them all.
For up to date details of speakers and entertainers, please find us on Facebook or sign up to our newsletter. Come and join us, along with 1000 others to dance on that ceiling and say something. PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH IVF AUSTRALIA
SYDNEY TOWN HALL, SYDNEY FRI 28 FEB, 6.30PM | TICKETS FROM $30 + BF FOR TICKETS AND INFORMATION VISIT
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH GAYDAR.NET
JOEY NEGRO (UK) / PAUL GOODYEAR (USA) GI JODE / AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED SAT 22 FEB, 3PM - 11PM | TICKETS FROM $129 +BF | FLEET STEPS, MRS MACQUARIE’S POINT, SYDNEY PRINCIPAL PARTNER
VO DK A OF FINLAND
INTRODUCING: MATTY & TYLER BRINGING GLITTER TO THE AIRWAVES AND PUTTING OXFORD ST’S BEST DJS IN YOUR POCKET - WE HAD A CHAT WITH THE NEW OX LIVE BOYS ABOUT WHAT THEY’LL BE UP TO DURING THE MARDI GRAS SEASON...
hile they may not have a history working in the media, Matty and Tyler are extremely excited to jump onto the helm of one of the fastest growing LGBTIQ radio stations in Australia, which reaches 49,000 local listeners every month - OX Live. “It’s really exciting. It’s something I wasn’t expecting to happen... I’ve supported it from the beginning, listening to it on the first day it launched,” said Matty. “It’s easy listening, good for parties, good for chilling out. I’ve always been a fan.” “It’s an amazing opportunity definitely. Being approached for radio is very exciting so I’m looking forward to it,” said Tyler. “When Brooklyn (OX Live’s Station Manager) told me about it, I listened and really enjoyed it and thought ‘yeah, I could
totally be a part of this’.” Replacing OX Live fan favourites, JQ & Casey, Matty & Tyler believe they can bring a new, younger perspective to the show. “I think our show will appeal to a broader audience, not just a certain type of gay person,” said Matty. “We’ll cover a lot more... We both don’t just love Kylie and we’re not all about glitter and sparkles.” “We’re two completely different people so it’s going to bring a whole new level to OX Live,” said Tyler. “We’re a younger generation.” While OX Live keeps the party pumping with non-stop tunes, Matty & Tyler want to bring some variety into the mix. “I don’t want it to be a one-dimensional show,” said Matty. “I personally have
a lot of opinions... I had a lot of issues when I came out as a young person and adjusting to life as a gay person. “If I can help a young gay guy who has just turned it on in the western suburbs of Sydney and help provide an answer and to bring across that it will be ok... That is something I want to bring to the show.” Of course with Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras just around the corner, Matty & Tyler’s event calendars are filling up fast. So which events have caught the boys’ eyes? “I’m sort of getting to the age where I’m done with the whole ‘oh, just go to The Party’ so I want to appreciate it more culturally,” said Matty. “I wouldn’t mind going to the smaller events like the Mardi Gras Film Festival or the museum if they do that this year.” Tyler, on the other hand, wants to hit as many events as possible: “I’ve only ever been to the after-party for Mardi Gras so this year will probably be my first ‘proper’ Mardi Gras.” On Parade Day, March 1st, Matty & Tyler will be counting down the Top 100 gay tracks of ’13/14 all day as voted by their listeners. Station Manager, Brooklyn Ross said “It’s OX Live’s own version of a famous Australian day radio countdown, except it’s voted by gays and has all of their favourite pop and dance tracks of the year as you’re getting ready for the parade. “Matty and Tyler will be hosting during the day, speaking to a few special guests that might drop in as their song gets listed in the countdown.” With 2013 being a huge year for pop music, the boys clearly have their work cut out for them, but which tracks do they think are worthy of making it all the way to the Top 10? “KE$HA! Or maybe even Beyonce?” said Tyler. “Work Bitch by Britney, Applause By Lady Gaga... Wrecking Ball has to be there, that’s top five material,” said Matty. To listen to Matty & Tyler, download the OX Live App from iTunes and head to OXLive.com.au to vote for your favourite song and artist in the Top Gay 100 Countdown.
chance to present the truth in a way that dramatised versions don’t allow. One character talks about the uniquely Australian response to HIV/AIDS and about how there is a greater tolerance for bad behaviour in Australia, that we understand that people are not perfectible so we are more inclined to cope with what goes wrong in a pragmatic, sane and sensible way: “We believed in prevention. The idea that prevention was better than cure, was cheaper than cure, and the mobilising of people around behaviour change, modest behaviour change, backed sometimes by law, but by education and discussion, all of the things that work for a highly literate educated society were a good idea, were a good public policy.” This is the second time I have worked with director Adam Deusien, as part of a creative team, along with Fiona Green as dramaturge. We all agreed we didn’t want this to be a nostalgic trip down memory lane, nor a lecture. For this reason, the voices of these men are carried in the play by four gorgeous young actors who imagine the men as they were in the 1980s and exude the same energy and vitality. Joining them is an “elder statesman” who acts as a Chorus, guiding us through the music and stories of the time, while giving us tips on the Hanky Code, how to put a condom on a banana and sharing the intricacies of Stump Sex. See The Death Of Kings @ Gingers at The Oxford Hotel, Feb 13th, 18th & 19th, 6.30-9.30pm. Tickets $25 - $45.
THE DEATH OF KINGS SOME STORIES ARE BEST TOLD BY THOSE WHO WROTE THEM, WHICH IS WHY WE ASKED COLETTE F. KEEN TO TELL US ABOUT HER SHOW, THE DEATH OF KINGS. In 2010 I was talking with a friend who was concerned that the stories of the LGBTQI community’s response to the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic were going to be lost. This started me on a journey to talk with people who have experienced the joy and sadness of being part of a community in the 1980s that had finally come into its own, only to have this terrible epidemic hit at its heart. The stories in The Death of Kings are of people who lived through those early days and are essential in piecing together our collective story of love and loss in the fight against HIV. The discussion of HIV/AIDS is often attached
to safe sex messages or doom and gloom, however there is also a place to celebrate this generation of gay men. The men interviewed were witnesses and vital participants in the Sydney community’s response to the virus at a time of partying and unadulterated fun. To set the scene I asked them what was it like to be young and gay in Australia in the early 1980s: “It was this wonderful joy of living and experiencing and growing and being yourself and being part of the community…I was young and pretty and I had no fear...I was busy, busy, busy.” By using these stories verbatim I have the
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Glitter Ball (Youth Event, Under 26 Only) When: 13th February, 6.30pm - 10.30pm Where: Red Rattler
Presented by youth group Twenty 10, the Glitter Ball is a party for young gender, sex and sexuality diverse people, providing a drug & alcohol free event featuring performance workshops leading up to the event, DJs, VJs and a photo booth! If you want to help out or perform on the day, email: Jesse@Twenty10.org.au.
Make Play Workshop @ Object Australian Design Centre When: 6 - 20th February Info: Object.com.au
Featuring a series of creative classes taking place over the Mardi Gras season, the Make Play Workshop will allow punters to learn that a hot glue gun and some sequins go a long way in making that ultimate party outfit. Create your own creature mask or design a garment, bling your runners and learn how to make bespoke eyelashes. At the end of it all, learn how to shoot, cut and upload your Mardi Gras adventure video for all your friends too see!
Little Black Dress Run When: 16th February Where: Centennial Park
Ready. Set. Glam! Coco Chanel once said “One is never overdressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress”, although you can bet she wasn’t jogging through Centennial Park with drag queens when she said it. Leave the heels at home and grab your joggers for this one to help raise some funds for Camp Goodtime.
Queer Thinking When: 15th February, 11am - 7pm Where: Seymour Centre Tickets: $15 + bf
Being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer is not all fun and games. This is where Mardi Gras gets serious. Listen to speakers share their stories and perspectives on the LGBTIQ experience from persecution in sub-Saharan Africa; history and evolution of drag and transgender communities; and making safer schools for students.
Toy With Me When: 16th Feb - 3rd March Where: The Beresford Hotel
They may not come alive at night, but your toys say more about who you are than you think. A new exhibition created by photographer Richard Hedger looks at the relationships between people and their childhood toys, highlighting the relation between their toys and their inspirations, social/racial/cultural backgrounds, motivations, passions, memories, cultural heritage and identity.
For more event information, visit: mardigras.org.au
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PAM ANN IS ‘PLANE FILTHY’ POLITICA LLY CORRECT POLICE BE SURE TO S IT DOWN , FASTEN YOUR S E ATBELT A ND GE T COMF Y, BECAUS E THI S INTERV IE W I S GOING TO BE A HELL OF A RIDE . BY J ES S E M AT H ESO N
am Ann is a bold, controversial and downright dirty woman, which is lucky for us because she’s back in Sydney with her new show titled ‘Plane Filthy’. She’s a unique talent, not just because she’s so fabulous that some can’t tell that she’s not a drag queen, but while many comedians think some topics should be avoided, such as plane crashes, Pam Ann does not. For her, a black mark on an airlines’ safety record is another hilarious punchline, so watch out Vietnam Airlines! “I went to Cambodia recently to see Lilly’s family [Ann’s popular Chinese character... don’t ask why her family lives in Cambodia]. The Cambodian Angkor Wat Airlines used some of the old Vietnam Airlines (which recently crashed in Laos, with no survivours) and I swear to you I was like ‘fuck my life right now’, I mean there’s nothing I can do,” Ann said. “It’s just like, ‘I’ve just got to get on it and just pray’. I know I don’t believe in god but I’ve just got to hope for the best.” Pam Ann’s comedy is heavily observational, poking fun at, and sometimes reenacting, various stereotypes and caricatures of individual airliners, hostesses, and their represented ethnic groups, many of whom come to see her show. However, while one may be quick to think her jokes are simply racist, she believes they are not. “I’ve never called myself a racist, I’m not a racist in any way, shape or form. I think people put that on you because you’re politically incorrect to what they see as ‘normal’... What I talk about is what I see and it just happens to be a little edgy. I have no filter. I do a show and talk about different cultures that are a stereotype rather than a racist slur. I think it’s a place where it’s funny.”
While her jokes may not be racist, Pam Ann sure knows how get people fired up. “If I say the word ‘Aborigine’ in a sentence, people get freaked out like ‘what is she going to say?’ It’s like ‘what the fuck are you scared of man? I mean, what the fuck? They’re here, they’re not going away. They’re black, you’re white, big fucking deal. I don’t give a shit.’ “When I went to Darwin they said ‘why do you want to come here?’ and jokingly I said ‘I want to birth an Aboriginal child’. Well it caused an uproar!” Speaking of interracial relationships, Ann recently said goodbye to her longtime Jamaican lover (who may or may not actually exist). “You can’t keep them long. It’s like a souvenir, you’ve got to put it back on the island. I tell you they’re very expensive. He was very cute, but it’s finished. You’ve got to throw them back like fish. “I was just worshiping at the shrine of Jamaican cock.” Having flow all over the world, Pam Ann knows a thing or two about where to find the best cock. Which is why we asked “where do the best men live?” “I like chocolate, I like PuertoRican, so for me New York City because you can have everything here. EVERYTHING. It’s like a big melting pot. In New York you’ve got Jewish, and some of them have a nice sized cock too, so I would say for me the best place for cock would be New York, New York.” We’re already booking our flights Pam Ann, but we couldn’t let her go without asking her for some words of inspiration for aspiring air hostesses: “Smile like you give a shit and care.” See Pam Ann in ‘Plane Filthy’ @ the State Theatre, 49 Market St, Feb 27th & 28th. Tickets: $59.90 - $89.90
THE FEED ISSUE THREE
Fair day is where Mardi Gras kicks off with around 70,000 visitors flocking to Victoria Park. There’s a slew of entertainment on the main stage with hundreds of community-orientated stalls and events (including The Feed Magazine’s very own). It’s also a great way to work on that tan and grab some fresh air!
There is no pool quite like the Ivy’s, and there is no pool party quite like the annual Mardi Gras Pool Party. Put the two together and you have the ultimate afternoon out. Strip down to your swimwear best and make a splash or enjoy a relaxing cocktail amongst the beautiful people
Where: Victoria Park Time: 10am - 7.30pm FREE!
Where: Ivy Pool Bar Time: 2pm - 11pm Tickets: $55 + bf
Picture an al fresco party by the beautiful Sydney Harbour with the iconic Opera House in the background and sun-kissed bodies in the front. Grab a drink and dance the day away to the beats of DJ Paul Goodyear (USA), Joey Negro (UK) and GI Jode.
They don’t call the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade the biggest parade of its kind in the world for nothing. Grab a ticket to the Diamond Seating for the best views (raised platforms, cocktails and DJs, you can’t go wrong), The Flinders Seats offer a secured seat get to Oxford St early to stand amongst the crowds. This is where the magic begins...
Where: Mrs Macquarie’s Chair Time: 3pm - 11pm Tickets: Concession - $129 + bf. General - $139 + bf
Where: Oxford St & Flinders St Tickets: Diamond Seating - Friends With Benefits Members Only. The Flinders Seats: Adult - $139
WE L I K E T O PA RTY ! THIS ISN’T YOUR AVERAGE KIKI. LASERS FLASH, LIGHTS DANCE, MUSIC BOOMS AND DIVAS PARTY ALL NIGHT LONG. THIS IS THE PARTY.
he Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Party is one of the biggest on-going events in Australia and one of the largest LGBTIQ parties in the world, taking over four large-scale venues at Fox Studio’s Entertainment Quarter. Every year thousands of partygoers are treated to a line-up of local and international acts and DJs, often with a few surprises kept up their sleeves which helps make The Party unlike any other. Where else can you see Cindy Lauper busting out onstage in a Marie Antoinette outfit, or have David Guetta and Kelly Rowland perform ‘When Love Takes Over’ side-by-side? They’ve had Kylie Minogue, Eurovision’s Loreen, The Presets, Village People, Delta Goodrem, Boy George, Olivia Newton-John, RuPaul and Sneaky Sound System grace the stage, and the question on everyone’s lips is who will be next? We spoke to Mardi Gras’ Creative Consultant, Gary Leeson (the hunk to the right) about what goes into creating an event of this magnitude: “We actually started working on this Mardi Gras party I’d say a month after the party last year. We start off with a smallish team probably with around six or eight people and the team expands and expands and expands. “The creation of The Party is a joint effort, an event brought together by SGLMG’s own staff, partners and volunteers. Between each party there is close to zero downtime,” Leeson said. “We bring in production partners and lighting designers, sound people... at this point, with people working on the party full-time or part-time, even now it’s probably around a hundred people.” Each year The Party takes on a new concept or theme which shapes the look and feel of the surrounding areas. From light installations, onstage scenery, props and chandeliers, no two parties look the same. “We are carrying on with the Kaleidoscopic season theme [for the party] but I think the subtext of that is ‘come together’... we are multifaceted, we’re multi-coloured and it’s really the one time people can come together in such a big group and that’s why our tagline has been ‘There’s Only One Party’ because there is only one party like this in Australia,” said Leeson. The Party’s four venues, The Royal Hall of Industries (RHI), The Hordern Pavilion (Hordern), The Dome and The Hi-Fi, each represent a distinct style of music, fashion and taste, each catering to a different ‘type’ of person. This, according to Leeson, allows his team to change the overall look and feel of each venue. “The scenic in the RHI is very Kaleidoscopic,
I can’t wait for everyone to see it. “For the Hordern we’ve picked out a kind of ‘fractured’ element. We all know it’s a great space for lasers and things like that, it lends itself to that sort of look, so colour wise we’ve gone for a kind of metal palette of silver and gold,” with Leeson stating the silver was more like a titanium. Leeson and his team are careful to not go overboard with the scenic however, saying that “those spaces tend to have their own sort of natural identity and if you work against that and try and turn it into something else, it doesn’t work on the night.” However, party veterans who know and love the event may tell you that no matter how many lasers, lights or mirror balls are burning on the night, it’s the people who really make The Party ‘THE PARTY’, and Leeson agrees. “The Mardi Gras party belongs to the people who attend it and I think that’s what makes it stand out... I think it’ll be sexy, it’ll be glamorous... that’s why I encourage people to dress up a little bit. I get why people want to be comfortable, but the days of sneakers and cargo shorts are over!” He urges: “Everybody get into it a little more and be a little bit more glamorous and that could even mean just wearing a super cool pair of undies or something like that, or the most fabulous costume ever created.” It’s not just what people are wearing that makes the party though, but the different types of people who come along on the night. “I hope the bears, the drag queens, the queers and the muscle boys come and everybody parties together. Instead of, for once, kind of being off in your own little scene, you get to interact with those people: that’s the magic of a Mardi Gras Party. “You often find yourself going off, having a bit of a break or a bottle of water, and all of a sudden some bizarre drag queen or some really cool bears start talking to you and you’ve met your new best friend for the night and you end up going on an amazing adventure with these people.” The Party sounds like it’s gearing up to be one of glitz and glamour, but we couldn’t leave Leeson without prodding him for some insider info on any possible surprises on the night, here’s what he had to say: “That’s the thing with a surprise, it’s not a surprise if you talk about it,” he laughed. “So yeah, there will be surprises.” For more information on The Party including who is playing and how to buy tickets, visit: mardigras.org.au
MARDI GRAS PARTY IS THE WORLD’S WILDEST, SEXIEST, BRAVEST AND MOST OUTLANDISH PARTY. PUMPING, SWEATY, MAGIC, MESSY, DEBAUCHED, STICKY, LAVISH, LOUD AND PROUD. IT’S AN EXHILARATING, MULTI-SENSORY JOURNEY FROM THE MOMENT YOU WALK IN WITH SPECTACULAR SHOWS AND THE HOTTEST DJS SPINNING ACROSS A SPRAWLING LANDSCAPE OF FABULOUS PARTY SPACES. THIS IS NOT JUST ANY PARTY. THIS IS THE PARTY! PRINCIPAL PARTNER
VO DK A OF FINLAND
MAIN IMAGE: ANN-MARIE CALILHANNA
DERRICK CARTER (USA)
KIM ANN FOXMAN
ADAM LOVE ALEX TAYLOR ASTRIX LITTLE COURTNEY ACT DAN MURPHY DAN SLATER DERRICK CARTER (USA) DOM DE SOUSA KAM SHAFAATI KATE MONROE KIM ANN FOXMAN (USA) KITTY GLITTER LEOMEO (FR) MATT VAUGHAN SHALYN SVETA TINA ARENA YO! MAFIA & MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED...
KIM ANN FOXMAN (USA)
MARDI GRAS PARTY SAT 01 MARCH 2014
10PM - 8AM
TICKETS FROM $125+BF
PLAYBILL VENUES & ENTERTAINMENT QTR, MOORE PARK, SYDNEY #THERESONLYONEPARTY
THE FEED ISSUE THREE
CHE CK YOURSE LF, DON’T WRECK YOURSELF A ‘H O W - T O ’ MARDI GRA S GUID E
BY K AT E B U RG ES S
Everyone remembers their first Mardi Gras. For mine, I managed to find myself truly in the ‘thick’ of things when I was confronted by a sizable gentleman wearing nothing but a metal cod piece, which both concealed and protected absolutely nothing. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the total exposure of flesh in all different shapes, sizes and colours, but I wish I’d known what I was getting myself into. So if 2014 will be your be your Mardi Gras deflowering, here is our ‘how-To’ guide compiled with expert advice from drag queens and party veterans, Krystal Kleer and Bree-Vin Amyl.
A MARDI GRAS IS OT A SPRINT... MARATHON, N
parties all the warm-up Even if you skip events throughout the and cool-down straight for the parade festival and go, it won’t be a quickie, and The Party vises: early Bree-Vin Amyl ad ve gotta go in “Obviously you’at at the parade. Start se to get a good , make sure you have m arriving at 4p vodka handy... I always your bottle of e Midnight Shift, it’s super recommend Th drag queens all the time, camp and full of at’s aways a good party. ey have so get in there, th g spot as well: th It’s a great viewinhere so you can watch screens everywinside and get a drink.” the parade from ardi Gras [the festival] is rty’ and the Krystal says: “M to know you paen ds now, a massive ‘get is fri l al a ‘we’re de you ra pa al tu ak ac ing... M e sure, like th ’ er th ge to y rt de let’s pa ing up to the para go to events lead Wash.” Fair Day and Day
WARDROBE? A NY THING GOES! ALMOST ...
The Mardi Gras fe kaleidoscope, so stival theme this year is the best place to start is to go get your colour on! Bree’s big tip: “B ig shoes. Big, bi g is definitely my bi g tip. You wanna shoes stand up and stand out fro m th Krystal wants to e crowd!” see original outfi year: “Avoid ange ts this ls and devils, beca very cliché. Thin use it’s k just wear underw outside the box, don’t ea to wear underwea r. And if you are going r, Bedazzleify things make them cool ones. !”
IN EVERY S ENSE OF T HE WORD... B E GAY! You
never know who you m into, so do ht bump says Krystan’t be afraid to talk ig some of th l: “Be nice, be kind. I’to people just by w e best friends I’v ve made been fun aanlking up to them, eIt’sever had always Bree ad isd easy.” es everyon the right svid e to get ou t on and remem e of the bed for M b e happy, don r what it’s all aboardi Gras it’s all fun. It’t take anything too sut: “Stay ’s all about e and suppo coming torigously, rt in g ether o n e you love ea ch other, baenother. Make sure you meet. Y nice to That includoeu never know...” everyone s even suppo favourite p rtin everyone, eevople: “Lots of love angd your less kisses r e n to the eople not necessa who you mfo rily like, jusp ay t be nice,” te lls Bree.
FE STAY SA
make st way ntoe piece e b e th in o eves Bree beli make it homeardi Gras scars u M sure yo any permanent with without y in groups: ou par ty y ta LOs re s u G s f to o is make always lots round, s y a lw a “A here are fficers) n Oxford friends. nTd Lesbian Od o e n o (Gay au can always fina little unsafe.” n and yo you’re feeling st par ties, the fure Street ifh any of the be people you sha As wit through the u drink. , happennsot how much yohol consumptio’rne o , u it with s watch the alc make sure yo g,” oin “Alway t too drunk, t you’re d don’t gein control of wha ur always e. icking ynony, p s e d re lu says B rystal, this inc “It’s quite fu st For K ions wisely: ys been the mo s e it a alwa companra s has noet ... People just ues I have G i rd a M very tim ent for m ’t terrific evse to get drunk. hE people I didnw o u it n c w k x e e u n n a ave go o with people yofools of gone, I h with. G bsolute g like goin oing to make a aren’t glves.” themse
STYLING BY: KATE BURGESS / PRODUCED BY: JESSE MATHESON THE FEED ISSUE THREE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: DEAN HOOD & HAMID MOUSA
POP S&M SPECIAL THANKS TO: JORDAN & SACHA MATHESON, UMMI OSAKA AND BREE-VIN AMYL SHAKUHACHI - shakuhachi.net / ISAAC VIVIER and SUBOO from IV Collective - ivcollective.com.au / DON’T WANT NO SCRUB - dontwantnoscrub.bigcartel.com / PROVOCATOR - provocator.com.au / LIMEDROP-
limedrop.com.au / CONVERSE, TANNER and RED WING from Footage - footage.com.au / NUDE FOOTWEAR - nudefootwear.com.au / EQUIP - equipyourself.com.au / HOUSE OF PRISCILLA - houseofpriscilla.com.au
DIVERSITY MAKE-UP BY: JESSE WAKENSHAW & DANIELLE MURIHHY
MO D EL S : C HA R IS U P PAL, C HRIS ABEL, T YR ON L AWL ESS, MAT T H AR D EN, ZINNIA JOTHI JANI F, S A B A R A S O O L , JOY F LETC HER & KRYS TAL KLEER
BALL NEON SQUIRE SHOES - squireshoes.com.au / SAXONY - saxony.com.au / MINTY MEETS MUNT - mintymeetsmunt.com / KARDASHIAN KOLLECTION - kardashianshoes.com.au / MAGDALENA DUMA - magdalenaduma. com / SERPENT AND THE SWAN - serpentandtheswan.com / CINNIE HO - cinnieho.com / ALICE KRUSZELNICKI - alicekruszelnicki.wordpress.com / SKIN - skinhellomidnight.com / SOLES - solesfuturetold.com / PUP’N’PUSSY - pupnpussy.com.au
L-R: Joy: Hat, Jacket, Crop Top, Shoes - SHAKUHACHI, Shorts - ISAAC VIVIER. Chris: Top - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB, Shorts - PROVOCATOR, Shoes - CONVERSE. Charis: Top - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB, Leggings - LIMEDROP, Shoes - NUDE FOOTWEAR, Bracelets: EQUIP.
Saba: Top and Skirt - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB, Shoes and Backpack - SHAKUHACHI, Necklace - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA. Matt: Top - PROVOCATOR, Pant and Bumbag - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB. Zinnia: Shirt - ISAAC VIVIER, Top - LIMEDROP, Shorts - SUBOO, Beanie - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB, Necklace - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA, Ring and Flower Bracelet - EQUIP, Bangles - SQUIRE SHOES, Shoes -NUDE FOOTWEAR.
L-R: Joy: Vest - MINTY MEETS MUNT, Bra - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA, Shoes - KARDASHIAN KOLLECTION. Chris: Hat and Harness - Stylist’s Own, Shorts - SAXONY. Tyron: Shirt and Pants - PROVOCATOR, Harness - SAXONY.
Saba: Top - SHAKUHACHI, Shorts - ISAAC VIVER, Handcuffs - Stylist’s Own, Ring and Necklace - EQUIP, Boots - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA. Zinnia: Bikini SUBOO, Dress - SERPENT AND THE SWAN, Headband and Belt - Stylist’s Own, Bracelets - EQUIP, Boots - SOLES SHOES. Matt: Vest - SAXONY, Shorts - PROVOCATOR, Chocker and Cuffs - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA. Dog Bowl, Collars and Leads from PUP ‘N’ Pussy.
L-R: Charis: Dress - SHAKUHACHI, Necklace and Gloves - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA, Bracelet - EQUIP, Shoes - SKIN. Matt: Shirt and Pants SAXONY, Collar and Cuffs - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA, Belt - TANNER, Shoes - Model’s Own. Zinnia: Shirt - SHAKUHACHI, Pants - MINTY MEETS MUNT, Necklaces - EQUIP, Shoes - KARDASHIAN KOLLECTION. Saba: Dress and Necklace - MAGDALENA DUMA, Bangles - SQUIRE SHOES.
Joy: Top - HOUSE OF PRISCILLA, Skirt - MAGDALENA DUMA, Necklace - EQUIP, Shoes - SKIN. Tyron: Shirt - SERPENT AND THE SWAN, Pants - SAXONY, Cuff - EQUIP, Belt - TANNER, Shoes - SQUIRE SHOES. Chris: Shirt - SAXONY, Shorts - PROVOCATOR, Belt HOUSE OF PRISCILLA, Shoes - SQUIRE SHOES, Watch - Model’s Own
L-R: Matt: Top - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB, Pant - CINNE HO. Zinnia: Top - SUBOO, Skirt - ALICE KRUSZELNICKI, Shoes - SKIN.
Joy: Top and Shorts - DON’T WANT NO SCRUB, Shoes - SHAKUHACHI. Charis: Vest - MINTY MEETS MUNT, Top - SHAKUHACHI, Pants ALICE KRUSZELNICKI, Shoes - MINTY MEETS MUNT. Chris: Top - CINNIE HO, Pants - PROVOCATOR, Shoes - RED WING
G AY S O N FI L M THE FEED ISSUE THREE
S I SSY, V IL L A I N S AN D G AY-BES T- F RIEN DS.
BY J ER EM Y S M I T H
n early cinema, gay and lesbian characters were essentially invisible. The great 1995 documentary on the history of LGBTQI representation in Hollywood, ‘The Celluloid Closet’, opens with a clip of two men dancing in an 1895 Thomas Edison short named ‘The Gay Brothers’; showing that gays have been depicted in the movies since the very beginning, although hidden in plain view. Cinema evolved to rely on homosexuality as a source of humor, creating the stock cliché character of ‘the sissy’. No more than a joke, a punch line, and obliquely gay, ‘the sissy’ was designed to make men feel more masculine by occupying the space between men and women. “Oh it’s sad, believe me, missy, when your born to be a sissy without the vim and verve,” sang the Cowardly Lion in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. From the sissies of the 20s, 30s and 40s, came the moral panic figure of the tragic villain. This figure was self-loathing, duplicitous, untrustworthy, mentally sick, cruel, sometimes evil or piteous, doomed to madness, despair or suicide. From classic Hollywood films came characters such as Mrs. Danvers in ‘Rebecca’ and Peter Lorie in ‘The Maltese Falcon’, and in modern film characters such as Prince Edward in ‘Braveheart’, Xerxes in ‘300’ and, most recently, Javier Bardem’s role as Raoul Silva in ‘Skyfall’. In the 80s, the tragic figure of the AIDS victim was added to this litany of woe. As gay screenwriter of the time, Arthur Laurents states: “The fate of the gay character in literature, plays, films, is the same as the fate of all characters who are sexually free; you must pay, you must suffer. Certainly if you’re gay, you have to do real penance, die.” Over the next few decades a gradual positive change in the representation of these characters had begun as part of a bitter culture war, with gay rights at the epicenter. The emergence of New Queer Cinema in the 90s created an entire new genre of film, and in the mainstream came the emergence of ‘the gaybest-friend’ (GBF), or the gay supporting role. In an interview, Paul Struthers, the new director of the Mardi Gras Film Festival (MGFF and Queer Screen, nominated the representation of LGBTQI characters and their stories as the most important aspect of Queer Screen, particularly for younger audiences. Established by queer students and filmmakers in 1993 as an independent community-owned and operated organisation focused on queer film and screen culture, Queer Screen has become one of the largest
OUT IN THE LINE UP - FEB 20TH
(See TheFeed.com.au for a full interview with the director, Ian Thompson) A film which shines the torch on the taboo of being gay in the surf world that stands out as this year’s most intriguing film. Shot in and around Sydney and other international surfing locales, the film follows the journey of David Wakefield, a former state champion surfer who gave it all up for fear of his sexuality being discovered. 20 years film festivals of any kind in Australia, and one of the top five queer film festivals in the world. Although great strides have been made in mainstream culture to represent LGBTQI characters and stories, according to GLAAD’s most recent ‘Where We Are On TV’ report, only 3.3 per cent of series regulars on television will be LGBTQI in 2013, down from 4.4 per cent in 2012. The numbers for cinema, which aren’t measured, would potentially be similar. At a time when increasing segments of society are starting to recognise that much of the success of gay rights over the last decades can be attributed to the normalising of gay relationships through their depiction in film and TV, US Vice President Joe Bidden, when announcing his support for gay marriage, credited the landmark TV sitcom ‘Will and Grace’ as having done more to shift public opinion on gay rights than anything else. For young LGBTIQ people growing up in heterosexual households, they are starved of images or representations of people like themselves and stories similar to their own. Their cinematic vocabulary becomes one of innuendo, subtext and reading between the lines at what is unsaid. Ideas of identity as a young
later you meet Thomas Castests creator of gaysurfers.com, an online community for gay surfers. The pair eventually end up becoming friends, going on a float at Mardi Gras last year with comedian Pam Ann outing David on live TV. From there, these two guys decide to travel the world meeting other gay surfers to share their stories of life in the fiercely heterosexual surfing world. person are formed not from within but externally, by culture and especially by films and TV. We learn from movies what it means to be a man or a woman, what it means to have sexuality. When you don’t see yourself portrayed in films or you see the negative characters of the past, you begin to see yourself as being wrong. Art needs to hold a mirror to life and LGBTQI people need and deserve to see someone like them reflected back. Catering to this important role, Paul Struthers highlights the addition of the film ‘Geography Club’ in this year’s MGFF line up. Struthers describes as “basically ‘High School Musical’ without the music, which happens to have a central gay character.” Another film, ‘G.B.F’, questions the problematic nature of the ‘gay-best-friend’ trend. Is this the victory we have been longing for, to go from invisible, to an object of laughter, to be feared and pitied, to finally be a commodified accessory? In posing this question, Paul Struthers identifies another important role and objective of Queer Screen: to appeal to everyone in the community, not just the LGBTIQ community. The core of the festival is LGBTIQ characters and stories, however the line up this year features several films with
M A R DI GR AS FIL M FESTIVAL 201 4 C.O.G - FEB 22ND
A funny, dark journey of self-discovery and enlightenment not to be missed, ‘C.O.G’ is based on an autobiographical short story from the acclaimed bestseller and satirical, master gay writer, David Sedaris. The film is basically a cultured gay man’s version of the Sean Penn hit ‘Into The Wild’, without the tragic ending.
‘G.B.F’ - FEB 15TH
DUAL - FEB 14TH
C.O.G received the grand jury prize for best new American cinema at the Seattle International Film Festival and was selected for the influential Sundance film festival. Yet all of these reasons pale in comparison to two words making this film a must-see: Jonathan Groff.
FREE FALL - FEB 14th
One of the most mainstream looking films of the Queer Screen line-up, it is surprising to know that this film has been the subject of major controversy which began when the film received an R rating in the US simply because it contains gay characters talking about gay sex. Starring everyone’s favorite Megan Mullaly of ‘Will and Grace’ fame, the film is a campy coming-of-age story with an important message about the trend that is the ‘gaybest-friend’. A combination of ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Pretty In Pink’ and ‘Clueless’, promises to be a lighthearted fun teen comedy featuring that favourite teen movie trope of the important message delivered at the high school prom.
Described as the lesbian ‘Before Sunrise’, the story begins with technical problems forcing a plane from Denmark heading to Greece to land at a Slovene airport, where lead character Tina meets Iben, a quiet young Danish girl. Iben asks Tina to take her for a midnight drive around the town and they grow closer, while at the same time realising they are at different stages in their lives: one is hiding a big secret and the other is simply trying to find her place in the world. Nobody does quirky cool as well as the Scandinavians and Iben is a quirky whimsical character meeting a more rational Tina. A charming, sweet, Hipster romance movie sure to be a tear-jerker.
Clips of the intimate scenes between the devastatingly attractive leads and their intense chemistry are already making the rounds on YouTube with its trailer hitting 3 million views, very high for an independent, foreign language gay film. With word of mouth and already viral clips, this film looks like it will become a gay erotic classic. How could you make a similarly tragic and dramatic modern day ‘Brokeback Mountain’? Make the main character not only married with a wife and child but also a policeman who falls in love with one of his colleagues. With that you have the making classic double-life sexual drama which will inevitably involve nasty confrontations, fraught sexual tension, homophobic friends and family, rough sexual encounters and a bittersweet ending.
crossover appeal to the wider community. Struthers contends that there’s a greater need today than merely seeing yourself represented on screen: “You want to see someone on screen who is gay but that’s not the essential thing, it’s secondary.” Struthers nominates the popular 2011 British romantic drama film ‘Weekend’ as a perfect example of this because “it was just two people who fell in love, it wasn’t about them being gay, it was centered on their sexuality; those are the types of films I love because all my straight friends love that film as well”. Perhaps in the current gay zeitgeist of gay marriage and the normalisation of gay relationships, this is the ultimate victory: when straight people can enjoy a film about a gay couple falling in love, not because they are gay, but because they are two interesting characters. In 2012, popular gay film and TV website ‘Backlot’ did a seminal list of the top 100 gay films as voted by their gay readers.
Interestingly, the top audience-rated film on the list wasn’t a grand critical success or a classic in the vein of ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Milk’ or ‘A Single Man’ rather it was a small indie film called ‘Shelter’ about the romance between a young gay man and his best friend’s brother. Unlike the other films mentioned which, though beautiful and powerful, deal with characters from the past who died tragic deaths, ‘Shelter’ is an upbeat modern day romance with a happy ending that doesn’t make the sexuality of the protagonists the defining feature of the story. This type of gay character representation is a departure from the more alternative ethos of the New Queer Cinema movement founded in the 90s. The movement defined a form of sexuality that was fluid and subversive of traditional understandings of sexuality. The films shared a rejection of the hetero-normative
society and feature the lives of LGBTQI people living on the fringes of society. Arguably, if a normalised and more conservative representation of LGBTQI characters is to represent the ultimate victory in gay representation, then surely something unique and countercultural in the act of being gay is lost? This difference of opinion in the representation of gay characters highlights both the prevailing move towards LGBTIQ normalisation, and the opposite movement in celebration of LGBTIQ countercultural uniqueness. A battle being played out on a larger scale in the wider LGBTQI community conversation into the future. From invisible, to sissy, to tragic villain, to supporting GBF, the ultimate victory in the quest for gay representation could be the best of both arguments: fully rounded human beings who can still celebrate the uniqueness of being gay.
For more information on the Mardi Gras Film Festival, including how to purchase tickets, visit: Queerscreen.org.au/mgff/
THE FEED ISSUE THREE
O S CAR S 2014: WELC O M E TO TH E ‘GAY S U PER BO WL’ BY J ER EM Y S M I T H
t is a truth that gay men love the Oscars, or at least it’s an age-old stereotype, so much so that countless talk show hosts, comedians and cultural critics have referred to the Oscars as the ‘gay Super Bowl’, referencing, of course, the most religiously watched event of American ‘straight-dom’, the NFL Super Bowl. Apart from Madonna, Beyoncé or Lady Gaga’s new music videos, there is no visual event that gay men eagerly anticipate more than film and theatre awards shows like the Tonys, Golden Globes and the king of them all, the Oscars. In my mind, as a platinum card-carrying gay man, the same attractions that drew gay men to the Catholic Church for centuries, draws gay men towards the entertainment industry and award shows now. Minorities have always been drawn to industries and communities in which they can find safety and self-expression. For many centuries the church represented a place where men were not compelled to marry and could live with other men without fear of persecution. As much as the priesthood, hairdressing and fashion can be said to be the small corners of society were gay men have always etched out their existence, so too the arts have offered a safe harbor in a cold straight world, where the talents of gay men are allowed to flourish in relative freedom. Although the history of Hollywood has a complicated and deeply flawed relationship towards LGBTQI people, it nevertheless is quietly recognised that Hollywood is run on gay male fuel. From the actors and actresses to the set designers, costume designers, hair and make-up artists, publicists and agents, every area of the movie making industry is influenced by gay men. The drama, beauty, fashion, ritual, tradition, pomp and pageantry of the Church in many ways mirrors the set up of the Oscars (take one look at the Pope and tell me it’s not true). Melding with another great gay passion, - fashion - the Oscars is full of beautiful celebrities in haute couture walking down a red carpet to the giant Kodak Theatre to be blessed by the Oscar gods and handed a fetishised, and somewhat phallic, gold statue of a masked naked man holding a sword. But are the Oscars themselves actually
that gay? No openly gay actor or actress has ever won a lead actor Oscar. Gay or bisexual actors and actresses, Charles Laughton, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness, Rex Harrison, Marlon Brando, and Jodie Foster were not out at the time of their win or only posthumously discovered to be gay. Only Best Supporting winners John Gielgud and Angelina Jolie were openly gay or bisexual at the time of their award. Tony Richardson and George Cukor won Best Director while still in the closet, and John Schlesinger, director of ‘Midnight Cowboy’, remains the only out director to win the award. No overtly LGBTQI themed film has ever won Best Picture. ‘Ben Hur’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and ‘American Beauty’ all had some gay themes and innuendo, but none can be described as a gay film. Worst still, the greatest gay film of all time and instant classic, ‘Brokeback Mountain’, lost to the far inferior ‘Crash’ in what turned out to be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. Since the 2000s the Oscars have been slowly coming out of the closet, becoming gayer and gayer, with recognition of audience and industry demographics and changing social norms. Ironically, straight actors and actresses have been both nominated and winning Oscars for playing gay roles for years. The use of the word ‘brave’ in describing straight actors playing gay roles is an example of persistent problematic views of homosexuality in Hollywood. Christopher Plummer, Sean Penn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Hillary Swank, Tom Hanks, William Hurt all owe their Oscar wins to playing an LGBTQI character. The biggest gay themed film of the year is the AIDS drama ‘The Dallas Buyers Club’ with hot favourite for Best Supporting Actor, Jared Leto, playing a transgendered prostitute. The biggest gay snub this year was the failure to nominate ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’, the French lesbian drama which won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Foreign Film. This year’s ceremony promises to be one of the gayest yet with the world’s favourite lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres, hosting. The future looks a lot gayer for the Oscars in terms of the ceremony itself, Directing, Producing, Best Picture and the technical awards, yet the future remains bleak for gay actors and actresses. Hollywood has come a long way in terms of gay rights, but money seems to always triumph human rights in this industry and homosexuality in actors doesn’t sell.
WHO WE THINK WI LL WIN... Overall: Gravity’ will win seven Oscars, followed by ’12 Years A Slave’ with four
Prediction: Cate Blanchett, ‘Blue Jasmine’ Should Have Been Nominated: Emma Thompson ‘Saving Mr. Banks’
Cate Blanchett’s Oscar for her stunning performance in ‘Blue Jasmine’ is the most bankable Oscar outcome this year. As sure as night follows day, Cate will win her first Best Actress Oscar.
Best Supporting Actor:
Prediction: Jared Leto, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Alternative: Michael Fassbender, ‘12 Years A Slave’ Should Have Been Nominated: Will Forte, ‘Nebraska’
Another easy to predict category, Jared Leto has won almost all of the other award ceremonies Best Supporting Actor awards this year and is the clear favourite for the Oscar.
Best Supporting Actress: Best Picture:
Prediction: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Alternative: ‘Gravity’ Should Have Been Nominated: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
Prediction: Lupita Nyong’o, ‘12 Years A Slave’ Alternative: Jennifer Lawrence, ‘American Hustle’ Should Have Been Nominated: Scarlett Johansson, ‘Her’
Despite the fact that Steve McQueen’s masterpiece, ’12 Years A Slave’, scored one nomination less than ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Gravity’, it remains the film to beat among the nine nominees.
In one of the best and most important films of this decade, ’12 Years A Slave’, Lupita Nyong’o’s performance is the beating heart of the film. Playing the role of a horrifically abused slave on a cotton plantation, her performance is masterful, heartbreaking and deeply haunting. Nyong’o deserves to win.
Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron, ‘Gravity’ Alternative: Steve McQueen, ‘12 Years A Slave’ Should Have Been Nominated: Spike Jonze, ‘Her’
For nine of the past 10 years the film that has won Best Picture has also won Best Director. That changed last year when Ben Affleck director of Best Picture winning ‘Argo’ (2012) wasn’t nominated for Best Director and Ang Lee won for ‘Life Of Pi’ (2012). ‘Gravity’ is similar to ‘Life of Pi’, a 3D shot film with spectacular visual effects directed by master of the craft.
Prediction: Matthew McConaughey, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Alternative: Leonardo Di Caprio, ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Should Have Been Nominated: Robert Redford, ‘All Is Lost’
Although I am predicting a McConaughey win for his role as the HIV positive cowboy who started an unapproved AIDS medicine drug smuggling business in the 1980s, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood’s leading ‘man-most overdue for an Oscar win’ Leonardo Di Caprio won for his controversial role in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’.
OT H ER C AT E G O R IES :
Best Animated Feature: Prediction: ‘Frozen’ Alternative: ‘The Wind Rises’
Best Documentary Feature: Prediction: ’20 Feet From Stardom’ Alternative: ‘The Act of Killing’ Best Foreign Language Film: Prediction: ‘The Great Beauty’, Italy Alternative: ‘The Hunt’, Denmark Best Cinematography: Prediction: ‘Gravity’ Alternative: None Best Costume Design: Prediction: ‘The Great Gatsby’
Prediction: Spike Jonze, ‘Her’ Alternative: David O’Russell. Eric Singer, ‘American Hustle’ Should Have Been Nominated: Joel and Ethan Coen, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
The word is: if the popular but overrated 10 nomination juggernaut that is ‘American Hustle’ is to win any major award its best bet is to win Best Original Screenplay. It’s the favourite in this category to win and could very easily pull it off. I’m predicting Spike Jonze to win for his darkly satirical and brilliantly original screenplay for his masterpiece ‘Her’.
Best Adapted Screenpplay:
Prediction: John Ridley, ‘12 Years A Slave’ Alternative: Terrence Winter, ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Should Have Been Nominated: Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’
As ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993) put a human face on the Holocaust, so has ’12 Years A Slave’ humanized American slavery.’12 Years A Slave’ will easily win Best Adapted Screenplay.
Best Film Editing: Prediction: ‘Gravity’ Alternative: ‘Captain Phillips’ Best Original Score: Prediction: ‘Gravity’ Alternative: ‘Philomena’ Best Original Song: Prediction: ‘Let It Go’, ‘Frozen Alternative: ‘Ordinary Love’, ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ Best Production Design: Prediction: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Alternative: ‘Gravity’
Best Visual Effects: Prediction: ‘Gravity’ Alternative: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Prediction: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Alternative: None Best Sound Editing: Prediction: ‘Gravity’ Alternative: ‘Captain Phillips’ Best Sound Mixing: Prediction: ‘Gravity’ Alternative: ‘Captain Phillips’
THE FEED ISSUE THREE
S E E . THINK . C HA NG E . SEEING THE B IG P IC TU RE
BY J ER EM Y S M I T H
an cinema change the world? At what point does art no longer merely reflect what it is representing but change it for the better? ‘The Big Picture Festival Film Festival’ answers this with a resounding yes in a manifesto unique to the film world, which defiantly seeks to transcend the film as entertainment and the happily ever after ending cinema is often subject to. Perhaps it is a defining feature of the Australian psyche to be profoundly morally opposed to something that seems unfair. Australian humanitarian Bill Crews, the founder of ‘The Big Picture Film Festival’, describes an encounter with the unjust as a “feeling we get at the back of our neck”. The fight for social justice motivated Bill Crews to found a film festival devoted to people taking a stand against injustice and who’ve brought about social change. After being referred to Eddie Cockrell, now Festival Director for ‘The Big Picture Film Festival’, by quintessential Aussie film critic David Stratton, Crews stated that he wanted to show movies that made a difference. He was seeing something that others in the film festival business weren’t: that a certain kind of film was falling through the cracks of the mainstream and human rights film festival circuits. A certain type of social change movie with “passion, optimism and endurance” which wouldn’t get booked into a larger
film festival which, according to Cockrell, gets “lost in the tower of Babel”. From the experience of last year, Cockrell found that when you distill these films down to a dozen or so and present them in the space of a week, the effect is a powerful context in which these films shine. The festival includes films from mainstream, Australian premiere films, ones that have been overlooked, ones which didn’t get a wide release or went straight to DVD. In keeping with the social change manifesto, the festival includes a catalogue that lists what you can do to help, as well as websites and links which audience members can access information on to learn how to make a difference. An expert on the issue represented in each film is on hand for a Q&A afterwards. This year’s line up includes dramas and documentaries covering issues from political oppression, genocide and gun-control to euthanasia. Rejecting the notion, however, that all films either must have a Hollywood happy ending or be unbearably depressing, Cockrell uses the example of the 1988 Best Picture winner ‘Rain Man’. “When the movie starts Dustin Hoffman’s character has an affliction, when the movie ends he has an affliction, so the movie isn’t
about him getting better, it’s about him negotiating his journey.” The types of films the festival screens often don’t have a happy ending, they highlight an issue without solving it, raising awareness for that issue. Sometimes, the films are like ‘crying into a hurricane’ overwhelming in their gravity and scope. Cockrell admits that they don’t mind showing films “where people go backwards instead of forwards, as long as their journey is an inspirational one.” These types of films outlined by Cockrell represent a challenge a majority of Hollywood’s representation of so called ‘issue films’. Stanley Kubrick famously criticized Hollywood’s defining story of the Holocaust in ‘Schindler’s List’ saying “the film is about success, the Holocaust is about failure.” A telling rebuke to the familiar Hollywood social film which needs a relative happy ending, closure, a resolution. Last year ‘The Big Picture’ film festival screened the landmark documentary ‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God’ which shone a light on the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, an issue that remains unresolved. The film doesn’t have a happy ending, but encompasses a horror whose scope is only now being fully realised. ‘The Big Picture’ film festival may be the first activist film festival, a dramatic call to arms for social change and a better world.
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I AM TOO YOUNG
A MO N G ST TH E B UB B L E S WI TH: BATH S JOSHUA MANNING CAUGHT UP WITH WILL WIESENFELD, THE MASTERMIND BEHIND ELECTRONIC ALT-POP ACT BATHS, TO TALK ABOUT HIS SOPHOMORE ALBUM OBSIDIAN, ANIME AND THE MIDDLE AGES. A dark and swirling alt-pop masterpiece, Bath’s latest album Obsidian is full of morbid poetry flowing freely over off-beat production. Various media and reviewers have attributed Will’s morbidity to his recent sickness, having been bedridden for a long period of time with E. coli, but he tells us this is somewhat of a misconception: “Those plans for writing a darker record happened well before I got sick, it was just something I wanted to do, regardless of how I felt,” he explained. “I’ve always liked really dark movies and this video game, Silent Hill 2, which I think is the most dark, sinister fucked up thing ever.” Visual media plays a very important part in Will’s inspiration, being a big fan of anime movies and their ability to draw us into another world. “There’s this thing, I don’t remember the exact phrase for it, not Ghost Rules, but something like Ghost Rules. Basically if you’re telling something within the same medium, so basically if something is animated all the way through, whatever story you are telling is going to have the same emotional weight all the way through. “Where as when you see a live action movie and it jumps to really intense CGI, even if it’s so real that you don’t think about it, you really have to make an effort to suspend your disbelief.” It’s a beautiful concept and one that rings true with the emotional value of Pixar and Dreamworks movies. Its kind of off-putting that Will, seemingly such an up beat and happy person with a love for the fantastical, has such dark obsessions. However, he’s made clear that Obsidian isn’t necessarily based around his own feelings but is more an immersion in emotions that intrigue him. “I needed to do it as an album, not just a song or two on an album that was mostly happier. I needed that full immersion to make that stuff feel more real.” Whilst Will’s obsession with darkness goes far beyond his sickness, he does admit it had some effect on the record: “It shifted the focus. So many lyrics I’d written before were focused on death, but the sickness made me think so much more about apathy and so the writing from then on became more focused on that.” Indeed apathy is a much scarier prospect than death. After all, apathy is a suspended state of existence. Will quite agrees, “It’s
more harrowing to me. Human beings experience death all the time, it’s part of the circle of life, but severe apathy is something that is very difficult to comprehend or understand.” This new obsession with apathy drew him to the stories taken from the Middle Ages. “I was reading stories about people who had to wheel barrows full of dead people and just dump them in pits, everybody was sick all the time, there was nothing good happening for hundreds of years. They felt nothing.” Musically Obsidian has added a preciseness
to Bath’s sound. According to Will, this was not an attempt to move away from his usual lo-fi sound production, even though he’ll admit he was taking a more pop sensible approach and looking to write “things to remember”. It was simply the result of having access to better gear. “I didn’t have good studio monitors so the mixes [on Cerulean] didn’t matter so much and everything was compressed to hell. The weird lo-fi aesthetic was sort of part of a gimmick to make use of having those shitty speakers. [Obsidian] is more true to the way I want to make music.”