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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Problem With Same-Sex Marriage PSAs

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM

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Oscar Raymundo's Easy Target takes one conventional argument from news media, pop culture, local politics, or queer lifestyle -- and shoots it down.

This week, the hearts of many melted after watching an Australian marriage equality public service announcement produced by GetUp!, an independent advocacy group. The video is shot in first-person and documents a relationship from lust-at-first-sight to marriage proposal in a backyard and all the trials and tribulations in between. The video has decidedly gone viral with almost 3 millions views so far, and it's already been called "the most-watched gay marriage ad of all time."

The video's popularly is due in part to the tenderness of the message and the good looks of the adorable "dream husband." The video also employs a switch-and-surprise strategy reminiscent of Prodigy's infamous "Smack My Bitch Up" music video, where it is revealed at the end that the heroin-shooting, stripper-smacking, self-destructive party junkie is (gasp!) a female. Similarly, GetUp!'s video ends with the revelations that it's two men who are choosing the type of commitment that is indistinguishable from that of straight couples.

Continue reading to see it for yourself.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Problem with Gay Bullying

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM

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Oscar Raymundo's Easy Target takes one conventional argument from news media, pop culture, local politics, or queer lifestyle -- and shoots it down.

Earlier this year, I asked Dan Savage, creator of the It Gets Better campaign, what he thought of the argument that suicide was more of a mental health issue than a bullying issue. He compared bullying to the Golden Gate Bridge. "We are putting up suicide barriers... [even though] bridges don't necessarily cause suicides," he said. How clever, that one.

Yes, from Billy Lucas's suicide to Justin Aaberg's. Then Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase, Cody Barker, and most recently Jamey Rodemeyer and Jamie Hubley - certainly bullying was the trigger, but mental health issues loaded the barrel.

The two most recent gay teen suicides are perhaps more unsettling because It Gets Better was in full swing by they time the tragedies occurred. In fact, Rodemeyer had made an It Gets Better video of his own four months before he hung himself in front of his parent's house. So wait, what do you mean our social media efforts aren't working? Well, it seems our outreach is not reaching deep enough.

Shortly after Jamie Hubley's suicide, his father released a statement acknowledging bullying as a factor, not the cause, of his son's death. Hubley had a history of chronic depression, which he documented on his Tumblr titled, "You Can't Break... When You're Already Broken." Are gay teens born this way - unfixable, already broken?

A lot of teens are bullied. A lot of teens are gay. A lot of teens are bullied because they are gay. Yet, not all of them resort to self-inflicting harm. Yet for us to be able to sleep at night, we need the evening news to report stories that have a cause (bullying), an effect (suicide), and a resolution (a YouTube video, a Ke$ha song). Unfortunately, depression rarely has a happy ending.

The problem with gay bullying is that we have resolved that curbing a culture of verbal and cyber abuse is the viable solution, while neglecting the fact that for depressed teens the bullying is only the final push over the edge. It's something else - more internally troubling - that has them convinced they should be standing there all alone, awfully close to the precipice.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Folsom Street Fair 2011: A Perfect Day for Leather

Posted on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:45 AM

In recent years, nature's running joke at the Folsom Street Fair has been to make it either blindingly sunny and unbearably hot or the first cold and rainy day of the fall -- neither one good for lots of exposed skin. But Sunday -- Folsom Street Fair 2011 -- was damn near perfect for what we consider to be (aesthetically speaking) the best day of the year in San Francisco to be bisexual -- because, well, let's just say there's lots to look at.

Read on to see a sample of the images collected by Hanna Quevedo, and see all 56 in our slide show.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Attend the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday -- and Make a Conservative Angry

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 12:00 PM

An image from the exhibit "Fear No Art" that runs concurrently with the Folsom Street Fair - MARK I. CHESTER
  • Mark I. Chester
  • An image from the exhibit "Fear No Art" that runs concurrently with the Folsom Street Fair

Do you enjoy pleasure? Read on: You may not be ready to truss up your balls and ride a lifeguard into the heart of Folsom Street Fair, but that does not leave you out of this deeply and delightfully deviant party. (We've described this gathering as what Newt Gingrich probably thinks of when he hears the words "gay sex.") Sure, there will be the usual dangling wangs, slapping crops, firm buns, sagging boobs under leather vests, and expert rope-handling. You will see things you never expected to see in your life, and things that have become unexpectedly familiar. For you are a person of the world! There will be three stages for live bands, dance areas with an exhaustive list of DJs, an art show, and plenty of fetish exhibition.

Renowned "gay radical sex photographer" Mark I. Chester and Shilo McCabe co-curated "Fear No Art," a group show of aesthetically disparate artists working in the erotic and the sexual. Read on for more about the fair and more images from the exhibit.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Claire Chafee on Why We Have a Body, Love, Humor, and a Lesbian P.I. Who Tracks Cheating Men

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM

"I think I'm a bit of a private investigator -- maybe all writers are," says Claire Chafee.
  • "I think I'm a bit of a private investigator -- maybe all writers are," says Claire Chafee.

Claire Chafee's play, Why We Have a Body, opened at the Magic Theater in 1993 and stayed there for six months before being produced Off Broadway and playing all around the country, as well as in Canada and Australia. To open its 2011-12 season, the Magic brings back Chafee's play about Lili, a lesbian private investigator who specializes in men cheating on their wives, as well as her sister Mary, who holds up 7-Elevens, and their mother, an archaeologist who specializes in the female brain.

SF Weekly talked with Chafee about communication, the way technology has changed conversation, and how writers are like investigators.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Problem with "Post-Gay"

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

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Easy Target returns! Oscar Raymundo takes one conventional argument from news media, pop culture, local politics, or queer lifestyle -- and shoots it down.

In college, the cool thing to do was to vehemently declare yourself over whatever scene you were once in. Over the sorority scene. Over the theater scene. Or in my case, over the how-many-times-can-I-skip-class-and-still-get-a-passing-grade scene. It was as if all our adolescent efforts to fit in had transformed almost overnight into an adultlike notion that we had to shake ourselves from retaining a permanent label out of fear it would wind up ingrained on our tombstones.

This summer, while talking to the New York Times about contemporary gay pride, I had two seemingly opposing labels tacked on me: "professional gay" and "post-gay." Neither of which I wore proudly.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BDSM Duo Speaks Out Against Abuse Within the Kinky Community

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Kitty Stryker - BENJY FEEN
  • Benjy Feen
  • Kitty Stryker

San Francisco's BDSM and fetish communities have long prided themselves on being more than just an easy way to find a hookup. Of greater importance is a culture that emphasizes consent and mutual respect for boundaries. Two local activists and sex educators, Kitty Stryker and Maggie Mayhem, have caused a furor online by claiming that the community's adherence to these standards is far from perfect.

In articles such as Stryker's "I Never Called It Rape" and Mayhem's "The Creepy Naked Guy in the Dungeon," they allege that the BDSM community regularly fails to prevent abuse or support survivors who speak out. Many of their fellow kinksters responded "Me, too!" but there have been at least as many critics claiming that they're making it up, failing to take responsibility, and causing division in the community.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, Stryker and Mayhem carry the discussion into the real world in a workshop titled "Safe/Ward" at the Center for Sex and Culture. We spoke with them about the issues surrounding the workshop.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

At Fat-Pride Conference, the Stylish Show Their 'Fatshion' Sense

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Here's what I wore: a holographic cover-up from Queen Size and matching bikini from Big On Batik. You wish you could wrap that, Christo! - RACHEL CUPCAKE
  • Rachel Cupcake
  • Here's what I wore: a holographic cover-up from Queen Size and matching bikini from Big On Batik. You wish you could wrap that, Christo!

What a person is allowed to wear in a society says a great deal about who a person is allowed to be in that society. If you've gone shopping for clothes and found nothing that fits or flatters, you know how it feels to be excluded not just from fashion but from basic life functions.

If we don't reclaim the fabulousness of fatshion, then bikinis, business suits, and "skinny" jeans police our bodies and limit our lives. (I believe that Spanx -- a line of "body shaper" underwear and clothing for women and men -- really is a form of corporal punishment!) How many people do you know who unhesitatingly throw on swim togs and frolic in the water? How many people avoid this delicious pleasure for fear of being caught having a body? When was the last time you enjoyed a splash?

People of all sizes took on these issues -- and showed off their own fabulous fatshion -- at a conference last weekend in Oakland put on by the fat/queer group called Nolose. The conference was called the Bridge to Fatlandia: Exploring Citizenship While Bravely Building Fat Pride Community.

In addition to issues of clothing and fashion, conference-goers challenged the classic exclusions of fat people: from sex and love, from respectful medical care, from equal opportunity in the workplace, and also from fabulous fatshion.

Corey Alexander, who led a sex-positivity workshop, summed up the fear and offered insight on how to overcome and thrive.

"I'm often afraid of what I want, of being judged as 'too much,'" said Alexander, a fat activist, sex educator, and smut writer. "This is my hope for all of us: Being desired is not nearly enough. I want us to have our desires and also to be met fully and seen fully in that desire."

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sweet Spot: Why Women Love Watching Gay Male Porn

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 10:30 AM

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In the film The Kids Are All Right, in one scene the main characters, a lesbian couple, break out their queer porn stash to get themselves in the mood to get down. Lesbians watching porn might not seem unusual -- until it is revealed that it is man-on-man gay porn.

What? Oh yes. A little-known fact is that quite a few gay, bi, and straight women are turning to the excitement of hot man sex for their viewing pleasure.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

A Clean, Well-Lit Place for ... BDSM Gear?
Yes -- Mr. S Leather

Posted on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM

GIL RIEGO JR.
  • Gil Riego Jr.

San Francisco's leather community -- and BDSM in general -- runs a lot deeper and is a great deal more complex than many people imagine. It's often portrayed in Hollywood as the purview of serial killers and the types of people who make their own explosives and hold others against their will in underground bunkers. Our experience, however, is that those who are seriously into SM are among the most boundary-conscious and self-aware people on the planet, and their negotiation skills are often a lot better than those of John and Jane Q. Public.

Sure, some pretty harsh stuff goes on behind closed doors, but it's subject to detailed agreements, physical cues, and so-called "safe words." (We once knew a woman whose safe word was "Sacramento." Asked why she chose that one, she replied, "Why the hell else would I scream 'Sacramento' in that context?")

It's no surprise, then, that one of our contributing photographers, Gil Riego Jr., was shocked by what he found on a recent visit to Mr. S Leather, one of the best-known purveyors of SM gear in the world. It wasn't the intensity of the gear that shocked him, but rather the large, clean, well-organized space with a friendly and welcoming staff. He calls it "the Nieman Marcus of sex shops."

See some photos from his slideshow below:

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Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"