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Thursday, October 09, 2014


Was invited to a delicious waffle bruncheon Sunday afternoon at the spacious home of Jan Lindmeyer the sexy psychologist friend of hunky film scholar Christian F. Weber. Jan lives in my famed Berlin kiez of Rote Insel in a charming 19th century apartment building with fabulous views and perfect light. The food and drink was overflowing and later we were joined by a young hot lesbian couple who are colleagues of Jan who live in Kreuzberg and were the pure definition of warmth and saaphic charm.
I am the ultimate dinner party girl, attending at least three a week, and Wednesday was invited to a South Asian feast by the delightful Ruth Schonegger the famed film editor and collaborator of Laurie Anderson.  I’ve known Ruth since the CHEAP Jewelry days of 2001 in Berlin and she is the personification of personable and a dynamo of a gourmand. For ages Ruth lived in  East Berlin but two years ago she moved near me and this was the first time I got a chance to see her giant pre-war flat that is like a small palatzo. The apartment has been in the family of one of her best friends since World War I and  is located on Barbarossa Strasse with unbelievable views, a genormous terrace, monstar kitchen and one of the nicest bathrooms I have ever seen in Berlina with ceramic fresco tile straight from Felini's Satyricon.  Ruth and I had a girlish catch-up on our very busy womanly lives giggling and laughing like teenagers until the wee hours. Sometimes life in Berlin can be just so wonderful with its simple glamour and continental poovah!

Saw Gone Girl the style over nonsence David Flincher flicker where brittle blondine Rosamund Pike turns horrorcidal nalga maniaca because of the flagrante de-dickto mad cunnilingus skills of maudlin doll haired blacktor Ben Affleck. It’s the romcom movie of the yeastie yeart!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


One of my sexiest, smartest, longtime LA pals is the great and glorious Jeffreyland Hilbert who is originally from the white supremacist state of Idaho. Jeffrey was the mastermind behind the infamous Hollywood queer nitespots Sit&Spin, Trade, the original CHEAP club, Eyes of Laura Mars and Hai Karate who is also the owner of the alternative advertising agency Kustom Kreative. Jeff emugged me that one of his good friends Michael Engel a master mixologist from Seattle Washington would be coming to Berlin, Germany for the first time, so of course I had to put on my Julie the activities coordinator from the Loveboat hat and welcome the vivacious Mr. Engel and his powerhouse juicy PacificNorthwest posse to my adopted hometown by providing them with some suggestions of places to go and see. Mr. Engle and his cliqa were renting a beautiful designer penthouse apartment on Erkelenzdamm in Kreuzberg that they were paying a small fortune for. I had just received an invite to the Fantastic Man/Gentlewoman launch at a Kreuzberg boutique called Voo on Oranienstrasse, so I figured that my visitors would enjoy going to a media oriented Berlin shindig that was just around the corner from where they were staying. We arrived at around 8:30pm and the place was jam packed with a morass of attractive young people who looked like they were happy to be anywhere. The store Voo was decorated in that bunker chic style that is becoming quite popular in Berlina proper. There were very few people that I recognized, but since I am pretty much a recluse who hardly ever goes out and especially to these kind of social events ---really what did I expect? I did run into Boris Lauser the raw foods chef and that golden boy beauty of all beauties Karl who use to be the assistant and sometime muse to Wolfgang Tillman. Karl and his young friends were the only ones exuding charm. I particularly was enamored of a tall Swarthy looking pal of Karl’s----maybe of Middle Eastern extraction or what Shari Frilot of the Sundance Film Festival calls a “stranger baby”. This kid had the most expressive eyes and lovesexy lean musculature. Another of Karl’s boyfriends that he introduced me to was a tiny yet compactly built pud of a youth who surprisingly was able to spin me around in an unexpected dance twirl. There were of course a lot of men with awful beards and unflattering facial hair, but not too many of those irritating John Belushi Saturday Night Live Samurai hair buns, ---I really detest the hair buns where its shaved at the sides like a modified mullet. I believe this style is called a top knot, but should be a bonafide hair don’t. I have never been a fan of long hair on men unless their hair is ravishingly gorgeous the ways some hesher rocker boys hair can be. But this man bun trend is just beyond ill, ill, ill. I’ve even seen some Negroes doing a variation of this hairstyle and if it looks horrid with white straight hair it looks worse with black kinky folicles.

Getting back to the Voo/Fantastic Man/Gentlewoman party. I felt that it was a little tacky for them to be selling copies of the magazine. Usually at a launch soiree you comp the magazine in question providing an ambiance of generosity and good will. But I guess these days of corporate branding and danger capitalism the spirit of giving doesn't exist. At the very least there were free drinks in the form of an open bar, but a true party should have more then just free flowing alcohol, there should be a buffet and gift bags with some products and perhaps a t-shirt. Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom the duo behind Fantastic Man/Gentlewoman who also created Butt Magazine, though I don’t believe they have much to do with that magazine anymore which is mainly an online venture that is produced in New York by the affable hunks Michael Bullock and Adam Baran. Jonkers and van Bennekom are Dutch and building their luxury fashion empire seems to be their main concern these days. As the late Dorian Corey of the Jenny Livingston film Paris is Burning would say, "Shoot an arrow in the air, if it goes real far, hooray for you . . ."


On the way to Kreuzberg on my bicycle I passed the container where another Dutchman named Dries Verhoevan has been camped out for several days as part of an insipid art project that is part of the Trefpunkt Festival at HAU. When I first heard about this dubious endeavor it sounded half baked to me, but little did I realize it would cause a public furor which has apparently brought Hebbel am Ufer to its knees and its Belgium Artistic and Managing Director Annemie Vanackere may have to step down if she is to save the reputation of HAU from this debacle. One of my students sent me this open letter which really encapsulates the drama perfectly, and its something that the HAU administrators cannot ignore as its from someone at another revered Berlin art institution providing the harsh criticism and not just shrill fagdom:

I would like to draw critical attention to your project "Wanna Play?", as I believe it is important that you, Hebbel am Ufer, your (unwilling) participants, and the general public understand that your project's proposed position is untenable, due to its moral imperative (considering the phenomenon of Grindr as "tragic" for homosexuals, for example) and its biased rhetoric (in its conflation of the concept "closeted", for example). You have already decided to "prove" what you want to prove in the set-up of your performance principles. This is not only unsound research, bur sloppy artistic practice, showing a deep disrespect and an offensive exploitation for the individuals you manage to entrap in this action. Furthermore, what your narrow-minded focus on Grindr and the homosexual population dangerously ignores is the problematic posed in general by contemporary technologies and practices of social media communications and self-presentation, problematics that belong to a critique of the "society of surveillance" and not of a single application for which you are cultivating a fetishistic fascination. These are problematics that emerge from the instruments of neoliberalism and embodied practices of managing individual expression, desire, and consumption, and can be traced across a variety of platforms - from Facebook to Tindr to Instagram to LinkedIn, and your simplified representational logic that reduces this problem to "tragic" homosexuals advances nothing more than stereotypes and public confusion. Your complete lack of ethics in your ignorance of basic protocols of privacy, consent, and participation is unjustified, and to use the excuse of "art" as a space where "anything is possible" and you are just doing "your work" is hand-in-hand with what Hannah Arendt sensitively described as the "banality of evil". What is "evil" according to Arendt's reading of Eichmann is simply the refusal to think, or even, that no thinking was ever a thought to begin with. Your project lacks thinking: you do not think about the implications this has for individuals' personal feelings, you do not think about the the implications this has for the public imagination in relation to what they know or do not know about homosexuals, you do not think about the deeper and much more complex mechanisms of neoliberalism and identity-performance politics that go beyond simple representational logic, and you do not think of what responsibility an artist - as an agent of imagination - has towards society as a whole. Your work here offers no discursive possibility in its public mockery of live human subjects, so to use the word "discourse", which refers to thought, when you yourself do not think, is a devaluing of the genuine intellectual work being done by the likes of other scholars, artists, and activists who are tackling the same "subject" as you. You offer nothing more than polemics, making your project into a poster-perfect PR campaign for neoliberal selfishness, rather than what could have been, if you had engaged in thought, a genuine conversation about what it means for the soul to live under the sign of technosexually mediated capitalism today.

Ashkan Sepahvand
Curator, Department of Literature and Humanities
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin