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MICHIGAN: Anti-Homophobia Art Piece Vandalized - VIDEO

Love does not harm

An art piece in Grand Rapids, Michigan that aims to raise awareness about how damaging homophobic rhetoric can be was vandalized last week, reports WOODTV.com.

The conceptual piece by Timothy Gabriel, which has since been restored, was damaged earlier this week when a passerby splattered some form of red paint or ink across the surface of the 8-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide installation.

The organizers of the event say that the work “depicts an androgynous silhouette, symbolizing the LGBT community, smeared with spiteful words on a cross of hateful quotes...The primary purpose of this piece is to raise awareness of the impact homophobic rhetoric has on the LGBT communities in Uganda, Russia, and around the globe. In many parts of the world, these minorities are oppressed, maimed, stoned, tortured, imprisoned for life, and executed. ‘Love Does Not Harm’ seeks to draw attention to the specific role many American Evangelicals play in this very real persecution.”

Explaining that he had allowed for a space on the back of the piece for feedback from locals, Gabriel said although most of the response has been positive, “it’s a shame that someone had to tarnish the front of it the way that they did.

He added:

"We were able to scrub most of it off the yellow section. But any attempt to move anything off the white left a stain or a residue. But it hasn't obstructed or destroyed it."

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Grindr Accuses Dutch Artist of 'Entrapment' for Luring Users into Public Art Exposé: VIDEO

6_verhoeven

Dries Verhoeven, a gay Dutch artist, is making a public spectacle of himself in a busy Berlin intersection and angering quite a few Berliners in the process. His art project is called 'Wanna Play?' and he describes it, in part, like this:

DriesverhoevenThe Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven is going on a search for answers, taking his own gayness as the starting point. For 15 days he is living in a glass space, visible to anyone who passes by. He is communicating with the outside world exclusively by means of Grindr and similar apps. The men that he meets online will be invited to join him to meet each other’s non-sexual needs. Anyone who downloads the dating app can see the profile shown here on his mobile phone. All photos will be represented without identifying marks. All chats will be rendered anonymous.

(read full 'about' page HERE)

Except that it has turned out to be not so anonymous for those who interact with Verhoeven, Same Same reports:

One particularly annoyed Grindr user wrote on Facebook that the artist had not mentioned to him that he was doing a project, and when he turned up to the square he was shocked to find his messages had been shown in public.

“Consider what it would feel like,” he wrote, “to walk into a public space looking for an address of a person you are meant to have a private encounter with, only to see your picture and your words projected onto a wall with a large group of people watching and reading, many of them pointing and laughing. People called my name!”

Another annoyed commenter added: “This is completely disgusting and not related to art at all.”

A third: “Your project is extremely exploitive and cynical, putting people’s privacy and safety at risk.”

BerlinVerhoeven's project seems to have sprung from an addiction to and subsequent dissatisfaction with the shallow social scene resulting from the rise of hook-up apps. He writes, on the project's "about" page:

I realized that many times it wasn’t sex that I was looking for, but more the affirmation that I got from the sex. The sounds of the various apps had the effect of a slap on the back, an incoming message meant interest. I felt like a teenager who needs the approval of his classmates and so conforms to their rules and their jargon. In less than half a year my texts had been reduced to simple headlines like “Hey there” and “Whats up?”, my photos did not show the man that I was, but rather a bad imitation of the typical torso photos.... The men that I met then were the trophies of my digital hunt. The more their outward appearance fit my ideal image, the higher their value in the imaginary ranking that I kept of them and of my own accomplishments. The sex was not the final goal, but it was a pleasant occupation while maintaining our Grindr market value. I felt like a superficial illustration of myself, a man that could fulfill many sexual fantasies, but who rarely went to the movies with a stranger. I hadn’t brought anyone home to the family for Christmas in years. Grindr kept me from dealing with my single life. A feeble surrogate, but good enough not to feel lonely. I decided to delete the various apps from my mobile phone.

2_verhoevenGrindr objects to the project, and its spokesman told Same Same:

“While Grindr support the arts, what Dries Verhoeven is doing by luring Grindr users under false pretenses is entrapment. This is an invasion of user privacy and a potential safety issue. “We encourage other users to report his profile by using the ‘flag’ function on our app, so we can take action to ban the user. Together, we will work to keep these users out of our Grindr community.”

Verhoeven yesterday posted a response to the outrage on Facebook:

 

Today, he added: "Up for meeting up someone who questions my project in real life. I hope to meet on a non violent basis, in an approach to mutually understand each others point of view. (Things you post here are visible to the audience. Just consider if you are ok with that)"

The project is scheduled to continue for 11 more days. You can view a livestream of Verhoeven's "Box" HERE.

Watch an interview with him, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Meet Ed, Your Digitally Rendered Mancrush of the Week: VIDEO

  Ed

Ed, the handsome man shown in the screen shot above, is the product of multiple months worth of animation, character modeling, and computer rendering. As life-like as Ed may appear his creator Chris Jones has admitted that he’s definitely still a work in progress. Using a blend of Lightwave, Sculptris, and Krita, Jones crafted layers of authentic musculature and realistic skin complete with perfectly rendered imperfections.

Check out the layers digital building blocks that created Ed AFTER THE JUMP...

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Facebook Agrees To Meet With Drag Community Members Following 'Real Name' Controversy

Heklina_drag_queen_performing

In response to a planned protest at their headquarters, representatives from Facebook have agreed to meet with Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and David Campos, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, about Facebook’s recent crackdown on the use of drag names.

Hundreds of drag queens found their public Facebook profiles deactivated last week after Facebook began to enforce its rules stating that all users must attach their birth names to personal pages. While members of the drag community were not explicitly targeted by the crackdown, drag queens seems to have been disproportionately affected given their tendency to embody their personae as public figures.

“I’ve had this name for 20 years now,” San Francisco-based performer Heklina explained to Tech Crunch “I walk down the street and people say ‘Hi Heklina.’ People know me by my drag name.”

Heklina claimed that every single drag performer that she knew in the Bay Area had been affected by Facebook’s enforcement of the policy, robbing them of the ability to keep their drag lives separate from their personal ones.

“This is like in the 1950’s when drag queens would perform at the club and then had to quickly change into their boy clothes after to keep from getting harassed,” she said, citing the many queens that were effectively forced to out themselves.

Initially Facebook responded by suggesting that drag performers attach their aliases to profiles featuring their actual names or create fan pages for their characters as an alternative. Fan pages, says Heklina, often don’t really capture what all it means to be a drag fixture in a local community.

“While many drag queens are 'out' about who they are, not all drag queens have that luxury," San Francisco Boardmember Scott Weiner wrote in a Facebook post. "Preventing drag queens from using the names that actually define who they are also puts a number of people in the untenable position of having to choose between telling the world that they’re drag queens and abandoning Facebook for their drag personas.”


Tom Of Finland Stamps Break Postal Sales Records - VIDEO

Finland

Stamps designed as a tribute to Finnish homoerotic artist Touko Laaksonen - better known as Tom of Finland -  have become the country’s biggest seller ever, reports YLE UUTISET.

The stamps, which had received pre-orders from 178 different countries, went on sale on Monday and coincided with an exhibition of Tom of Finland’s drawings and letters from the 1940s to his death in 1991.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6dd3742970b-800wiPreorders have proved most popular in Finland, Sweden, the U.K., the United States and France.

Markku Penttinen, the head of development at Finland’s postal service Posti, said:

"We haven't seen this kind of interest before in Posti's history and we probably won't again soon. Our starting point was to get Touko Laaksonen's artwork in our stamps.

"We know that he was very well-known globally. Of course the subject matter is also topical and much discussed. This equation has worked better than we anticipated.”

Despite Finland being the only Nordic country in which same-sex marriage is not legal, Penttinen also suggested that the homoerotic nature of the Tom of Finland stamps would prove too much for many other countries to swallow.

The stamps’ designer Timo Berry said:

"Tom of Finland's greatest significance is that these gay figures were given their masculinity. Previously they had been portrayed as ‘girlish.’

"It's great that these sketches that had to be sold in secret can now be publicly viewed on envelopes and postcards.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Harvey Milk commemorative stamp.

Watch a report on the Tom of Finland stamps, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Performance Artist Mischa Badasyan Plans To Have Sex With A Different Guy Every Day for A Year

BadasyanMischa Badasyan plans to have sex with a different man every day for a year in the name of art. The Berlin-based human rights activist turned performance artist is using his body to shed light the intersection of loneliness and desire created by modern hookup culture. Using gay social apps like Grindr and a variety of websites built to connect guys looking for quick flings, Badasyan’s project, “Save The Date,”  wants to explore French philosopher Marc Augé’s concept of “non-places.”

"He was writing about non-places in the big cities; places like supermarkets, shopping malls, airports, motorways,” Badasyan explained to PolicyMic. “[H]e says that people lose their identity, there's no communication, people don't feel a belonging to somewhere and that causes the loneliness of people."

By having anonymous sex in public settings like cruising areas, Badasyan says, he himself will become like a non-place, and reconnect with an aspect of gay male culture that is unique to them:

“Straight people don't have these kind of applications, so many gay chats, in terms of cruising, sex clubs, sex bars, they don't have as many opportunities as gay people."

Sex positive support for Save the Date has been widespread, as Badasyan is using the project as an opportunity to spread the word about safe sex and proper condom use. Save the Date is slated to begin in September.

Watch a performance of Mischa Badasyan’s live action painting The Hole of Glory AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Performance Artist Mischa Badasyan Plans To Have Sex With A Different Guy Every Day for A Year" »


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