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#BoycottDolceGabbana Grows As Gay Rights Supporters Picket Outside Flagship Store in London: VIDEO

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Gay rights supporters lined the walls outside Dolce & Gabbana's flagship store in London on Thursday to protest the fashion designers' comments about same-sex parenting and IVF babies, the London Evening Standard reports:

Campaigners from The Out and Proud Diamond Group held placards which said "D&G Homophobia is not fashionable!" in the protest next to the shop in Bond Street.

They were joined by leading gay rights activist Peter Tatchell as they called for shoppers to boycott D &G after the duo claimed children conceived through IVF were "synthetic".

Other protest banners read "Dolce & Gabbana - put labels on clothes, not families" and "Boycott D&G over their disrespect for gay families".

Watch footage of the demonstration, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news earlier this week, the Huffington Post reported that international advertising agency DigitasLBi, which "counts Puma and eBay among its clients," announced it would drop the "D" and "G" from its name for a week and call itslef "iitasLBi".

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Bill Maher and his panelists Christine Quinn, Mercedes Schlapp, and former Rep. Jack Kingston also addressed the D&G controversy on Real Time last night, which you can check out AFTER THE JUMP.

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Are You Ready to Watch a Sexy Three-Way 'Bromance' Go Down on the Streets of London? — VIDEO

Brom

Beren D'Amico, Charlie Wheeler, and Louis Gift (from the experimental acrobatic company, Barely Methodical Troupe) star in Bromance, a video dance piece which is equal parts hot, touching, acrobatic, and magical.

Director Bert Nilson explains the idea behind it:

“It’s based on them being friends, exploring the intimacy of physical interaction between guys; of their 'bromance.' The concept of the film was to set something unusual in the real world, almost a documentary in the most abstract of senses.”

Watch the gorgeous piece, AFTER THE JUMP...

Barely Methodical Troupe won the Total Theatre Award at Edinburgh 2014 arts festival for its live performance of this piece.

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Helen Humphreys’ ‘The Evening Chorus’: Book Review

BY GARTH GREENWELL

In the Lambda Award-winning Humphreys’ luminous new book, the Second World War serves as a grand backdrop for the intimate dramas of three interconnected lives. But the war has surprising effects in this lyrical and deeply compassionate novel: for all its tragedy, it also offers unimagined opportunity, even freedom, which Humphreys’ characters will later remember with longing.

EveningchorusIn the book’s first pages, James Hunter, a young pilot shot down on his first mission, parachutes into the English Channel, where he’s quickly found by a German boat and taken prisoner. As in Tatamkhulu Afrika’s powerful Bitter Eden, the indignities and deprivations of the prison camp—cold, hunger, boredom—are rendered with sometimes startling vividness.

The men are afflicted with lice, and one day James finds a man naked in their freezing bunkhouse, weeping and unable to bear putting his infested clothes back on. “With the same precision that would have been used to sew that jacket, [James] holds each seam over the flame, moving along the stitch just before the fabric catches fire. The swollen bodies of the lice make a small pop as they burst their cargo of blood above the candle.”

More difficult to defend against is the unpredictable, brutal violence the men suffer at the hands of the guards—violence that’s all the more harrowing for being leavened by equally unpredictable gestures of humanity. One of the moving aspects of these scenes is that Humphreys forces us to see all of the men in this world—most of them boys, really—as imprisoned, thrust from lives as bakers or teachers into their roles as prisoners or guards, in neither case by their own will.

While many of his fellow prisoners attempt hopeless escapes, James takes refuge from the boredom and misery of the camp by keeping meticulous notes on the behavior of a family of birds nesting just outside the camp’s perimeter. (In a note, Humphreys says that this detail is based on the real-life John Buxton, who published a book of his prison-camp observations after the war.)

James finds in this pursuit both solace from the camp and a passion that will continue after the war—a passion he was only able to discover through captivity. “Back in that other life,” Humphreys writes, "which seemed to fade more with each passing day, he didn’t have much time to watch the world. He was too busy moving through it.”

James has left behind a young wife in England, and she too finds a kind of paradoxical happiness among the misery of the war. Rose works as a bomb warden, making nightly rounds to ensure that her neighbors have fully drawn their blackout curtains. Her days are aimless and solitary, a dog her only company. “The abandonment of routine is a response to loneliness, she thinks. But it is also far less unpleasant than one would think to live in this new unstructured way.”

This idyll is interrupted when James’s sister, Enid, joins Rose in her country cottage after Enid’s London apartment is bombed. At first, Enid is distressed to find herself in the country, where “there is nothing but vegetation and few brainless hens.”

Helen-HumphreysBut then she starts to explore, beginning a kind of survey of the countryside she at first dismissed. Like her brother, Enid finds in the beauties of nature something more than solace, a value that goes beyond her own suffering:

“Each little flower has a history and cultural references, is a superstition or cure for something. Everything is its own world, and if Enid stays there, in these worlds, she won’t have to break the surface of the large, terrifying world she actually lives in.”

Humphreys’ novel follows these characters over a decade, and we see how the tensions and revelations of the weeks Enid and Rose spend together will affect the large patterns of their lives. “It’s so hard to get life right,” Enid thinks years later. “All the small balances are impossible to strike most of the time. And then there are the larger choices. It’s hopeless.”

And yet this is finally a very hopeful book, as full of joy and small redemptions as it is of grief. This is the first of Humphreys’ novels I’ve read, and I feel at once baffled to have taken so long to discover her work and grateful to have all of her previous novels ahead of me. Quietly profound and gorgeously written, The Evening Chorus is among the most moving new novels I’ve read in years.

Previous reviews...
Kim Fu’s ‘For Today I Am A Boy’
Joyce Brabner’s ‘Second Avenue Caper
Shelly Oria’s ‘New York 1, Tel Aviv 0’
Colm Tóibín’s ‘Nora Webster’

Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for both the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award. His new novel, What Belongs to You, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in early 2016. He lives in Iowa City, where he is an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.


Irish Labour Party Member Dominic Hannigan Reveals He Got Married In London On New Year's Eve

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Openly gay Labour Party TD (Teachta Dála) member Dominic Hannigan revealed that he married his partner of two decades, Chris, on New Year's Eve in London reports Irish NewsHannigan is the first deputy to disclose a same-sex marriage and the announcement comes ahead of a referendum in Ireland on the issue of same-sex marriage set to occur in May. Hannigan told TheJournal.ie that the process of marriage in London was rather simple.

Said Hannigan:

"The marriage was just the two of us. Because we were in a civil partnership it was very straightforward, paying four quid and signing some papers.

"There was no cake or anything. The wedding was a very straightforward exchange of papers. When we had our civil partnership ceremony we did a cake and all that kind of stuff. That was the event if you like."

Hannigan decided not to let his marriage hinge on Ireland's referendum decision, and took the opportunity to marry in London although he wishes that they could've held it in Ireland. On Sunday, Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar came out to the public and Hannigan congratulated him on it.

Said Hannigan:

"Leo will be a very positive role model for them. It will help kids to come to terms with themselves. It will make a lot of people much happier in themselves and it will lead to better mental health.

"When you have made the decision to come out, that it what you have to do. There is no point in doing it on a small scale – get it done and dusted and then it ceases to be an issue."

Hannigan publicly came out 10 years ago when he was a local councillor. Although Hannigan believes Varadkar's recent announcement helps the cause for same-marriage, there are other challenges in getting marriage equality in Ireland. Hannigan warns that complacency is the main enemy in the referendum on marriage in May, and getting complacent voters to the polls presents a unique challenge.

Said Hannigan:

"It will be a very difficult referendum to win. The enemy is complacency. No doubt, family and friends of the LGBT community will come out in force.

"But my worry is that people who do not know many people affected, getting them out to vote might be difficult."


Nighttime Rainbow Lights Up London's Trafalgar Square: VIDEO

Trafalgar Square night rainbow

Passersby in Trafalgar Square, London were treated to a minor light display from 5:30-8:30 on the evening of January 21st when a fountain spray was lit up with the "world's first 'night rainbow'". The display was there to promote the release of three new upcoming LGBT television series on Channel 4: Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu.

The trio are the creations of Russell T. Davies of Queer As Folk and Doctor Who fame, and like QAF the new trio of shows will center around the ups and downs of gay life.

You can watch the technicolor display, AFTER THE JUMP...

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London Transit Authorities Reject Sexy Poster For AIDS Play 'My Night With Reg'

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My Night With Reg is a classic AIDS-themed comedy production by Kevin Elyot that has been making the rounds since 1994. For the 20th anniversary a new poster was produced, featuring actor Lewis Reeve's hanging buns, partially obscured by David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album. But while the ad met London's advertising restriction standards, Transport for London - which runs the underground - deemed it too racy and banned it from being displayed. 

The Evening Standard got a statement from a TfL press officer, confirming "if it has been rejected it means that it doesn't meet the guidance that we have set." The Standard noted that Justin Bieber's photoshopped bulge evidently does meet the guidance of the TfL.

The play's revival began Saturday and officially opens this Friday at the Apollo Theater and is scheduled to run through April 11th.


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