Butterflies and Bones: The Casement Project

Butterflies and Bones: The Casement Project

 

The ‘butterflies’ above refers to the fact that on his travels around the British and Belgian colonial empires, and his sojourn in parts of Latin America investigating the brutalities of various rubber companies, Casement collected local lepidoptera (butterflies) for the Natural History Museum. This is a London-based institution, he may have felt it another part of his imperial duty to do such. The London University School of Slavonic and East European and the School of African and Oriental Studies were both a focussing of relatively disorganised studies in wartime, for wartime. The persons who ran The Empire were, as Pádraig Pearse put it, strong and wise and wary. There was nothing about their ill-gotten booty they weren’t interested in – and hanging onto, thus the centralising of knowledge about the east European and Slav world, as well as The Empire.

The ‘bones’ refers to a number of things, including Casement’s own bones. An introductory voiceover (repeated twice during the performance), quotes notes made by a bureaucrat in the course of Casement’s remains being disinterred to be repatriated to Ireland fifty years after his execution. The anonymous, disinterested, civil servant notes that, despite being told by (Pentonville) Prison personnel that the use of quicklime had been abandoned some year’s prior to Casement’s execution, there was a layer of the substance in the grave. It had been poured over the body, which was in a winding sheet, and had destroyed the flesh, and, half a century on, most of Casement’s bones.

Dance is not a medium designed to convey specific messages – there are times in this show when it is difficult to work out where in Casement’s career we are. There are no obvious references to his long sojourn as a minor imperial Consular bureaucrat. There are to his encounter with King (’of the Belgians’) Leopold – pictured as an un-regal, almost gangsterish figure. (He spent most of his life in a Paris hotel, living with his ‘mistress’, his devout Spanish wife lied with their children in the draughty Laeken Palace in Brussels.

This ‘show’ is well worth seeing, despite some obvious problems – most dancers have fine ‘toned’ bodies – most monarchs and bureaucrats don’t. There are moments when the cast appear in ensemble, at one or two points not overdressed, when most of the audience’s attention inevitably wanders away from the grisly climax of this story.

Which is, of course, Casement’s brutal execution.

This Project is one of the better – and unusual – products of the centenary commemorations of 1916.

This show was part of Belfast International Arts Festival 2016. In 1916, British peer Roger Casement was hanged in Pentonville Prison and was shown in The MAC, Belfast on 13 October 2016

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT? – LGSO

LGSO
Queer people in NornIrl are used to (locally) powerful elements, namely the now-largest political party, the DUP DUP(Democratic Unionist Party) and the Free Presbyterian Church, both constructed by the late Dr. Ian Paisley, being resolutely opposed to, in essence, any rights for LGBTs.  The situation in other places, particularly other parts of the ‘Anglosphere’ can can appear wreathed in a pinko-lavender glow.  We are cosily slotting into British, especially London society, it seems.
How odd, then, was it to read and hear of the puzzlement on the foot of the BBC Proms recent ‘outreach’ to amateur LGSOorchestras.  (Most such bands are not ‘amateur’ in the strict sense of the word, being made up partly of professional musicians who teach or are ‘session’ musicians in recording studios,or are simply retired or bringing up families).
The puzzlement was caused by the LGSO (London Gay Symphony Orchestra), even liberal[ish] blatts were, on the face if things, taken aback.  The blatts seemed not to have been aware of the LGSO’s existence, including the journos who should HAVE KNOWN – LIKE THE ONES WHO DIDN’T TURN OUT WHEN IT was working with the USA choirs.  Even the local blatts, and the (two) in Islington are professional and consceintiously ‘local’ – and have Lefty histories, they were started by Communist Party people who left after Prague in 1968.  A substantial number of them didn’t want to simply dissolve into their surroundings.  That was by an organisation founded on May 1996, that has 150+  members, and gives a minimum of four concerts per annum, usually given in the C of E church Saint Sepulcre, Holborn Viaduct- the up-coming autumn one is billed for  St. S’s.usually in a church on the border of Islington and the City of London.  It first rehearsed and gave concerts in the Drill Hall a Gay-oriented arts centre, since closed down due to ‘austerity’.Drill Hall
With a bit o’luck the LGSO (there’s a similar band in Birmingham) will get ‘picked on’ by the Beeb and show their stuff.  They really ought to make records, some major bands in London, and similar large cities sell recordings of the concerts audiences have just sat through.  The LGSO filled the Royal Festival Hallsome years ago accompanying LGBT choirs from Europe and the USA.  Thus it isn’t unused to critical audiences – though the critics in the ‘straight’ press ignored the event, even though it was given on behalf of two charities.
Further reading:

ROCK AGAINST BOWIE

David Bowie (né Jones) died a short time ago, as ever on such occasions, tributes ‘poured in’, and there is no doubt that Bowie was an artist who could produce very interesting material. He could also, it should be said, produce whole albums-worth of dreck. The person who first broke ranks on the adulation was the comedian (and sharp investigative television reporter), Mark Thomas.

He noted Bowie (“the Thin White Duke”)’s Hitlerian salutes and straightforward racism, shouting “Keep Britain White”, and “Get the foreigners out” in the course of early 1970s gigs. Such people don’t ‘do’ irony, the fact that he was using African-American music crudified for honkie consumption never seems to have ‘fizzed’ on him.

He was, admittedly, one of the few people who composed ‘concept albums’ worth listening to – one on the theme of travelling from Vladivostok to Moscow along the Trans-Siberian Railway. That’s the sort of thing ‘Rock Stars’ did in those days, when not molesting under-age girls or chucking televisions out of hotel windows. Bowie was a quite inconsistent artist and some of his stuff is worthless. The guitarist Eric Clapton, of the band Cream, joined in the racist fun at his own gigs.

A result of this dangerous nonsense was the founding of Rock Against Racism, at the instigation of a professional photographer ‘Red’ Saunders, in a letter to the ‘music press’, presumably mainly NME (New Musical Express) a mass-circulation journal at the time. There already was a group called Rock Against Racism an arm of the SWP (still the International Socialists, becoming a ‘party’ in 1976). The SWP was very gratified at a sudden huge extension of its youth base.

It was less enthralled to learn that the great majority of the base thought their particular analysis of society was surplus to requirements. The SWP personnel were voted out of office in RAR, though the IS / SWP were allowed to sell their wares at RAR gigs – some of which were enormous. The racist Right found that “there ain’t no black in the Union Jack” stirred most teenagers to thump them rather than nod in agreement. Ska and reggae bands were ever-present at RAR gigs and rallies. RAR’s magazine Temporary Hoarding was first published on May Day 1977.

Despite that, the racist Right looked as if it was going to make inroads in electoralist politics, it got 10% of the vote in the 1974 London’s local elections. It certainly seemed to be making determined efforts to monopolise the streets. Kevin Gateley was killed in Notting Hill in the Summer of 1976, prior to that Enoch Powell, in April claimed that ‘Britain’ was being “hollowed from within…” a portentous remark, if not a particularly clear one. England, or at least London, experienced a number of long, hot summers. In August 1977 the National Front staged an “anti-mugging” march through Lewisham. It left the south London, largely plebeian borough in a mess, but did very little to wipe out ‘mugging’ (street theft of purses and money off isolated, working class people) mostly women out shopping.

There can be little doubt that the rank and file of the police were sympathetic to the NF. The ‘blacks’ had suddenly become a majority, allegedly, in some London boroughs and parts of other cities and towns. The ‘Asians’ were a slightly more ambiguous matter, they didn’t look all that out of the ordinary, at least when they didn’t wear ‘Asian’ clothes. And they had the proper attitude to women, they should be seen and not heard, and stay in the kitchen. The ‘Blacks’ largely of West Indian origin have now become observably English. Some third, and forth generation ‘Asians’ have reverted to wearing the sort of clothes worn in the Indian subcontinent. Given that even liberals can use phrases like “fourth generation immigrants” possibly this is not too blameworthy.

Rock Against Racism rather fizzled out in the course of the 1980s mainly because groups like the National Front did, there was nothing like an invasion (you’ll recalled Mrs Thatcher used similar language in the 1990s, when she was Prime MInister) or a ‘deluge’. It was for most towns and cities more of a trickle of immigrants. The people coming into the economy proved useful, – most of the Asians were middle class and educated. They were somewhat similar to the Poles of the ‘noughties’, nearly all of whom had skills. Despite which, the Daily Mail attempted to work up grievances against them – then they all went home.

It is worth mentioning that Blair Peach, a New Zealander was killed opposing a National Front celebration of St George’s Day (April 23rd) in Southall. It is in (far) west London, and was heavily populated by Indians – the biggest Hindu temple on the planet is in the area. Peach was part of a crowd of about 3,000 – they were managed by an astonishing number of police, about 2,500. Peach was killed some streets away clearly obviously trying to get away from a baton charge.

He didn’t manage to escape, and died next day of a physical trauma – a huge injury to the back of his head. The London Metropolitan Police took years to admit that they did it. And that they had been very heavy handed dealing with a crowd that was not being physically aggressive and was not much bigger than their own body of men. This was the socio-political ambience that Bowie and Clapton decided to throw their tuppence worth of racist bilge around.

X-Men star opens up about first on-screen gay kiss in music video

Troye Sivan had his first on-screen gay kiss in the video

Troye Sivan had his first on-screen gay kiss in the video

Actor and singer Troye Sivan has spoken about his first on-screen same-sex kiss, which took place in a video trilogy for his album Blue Neighbourhood.

The X-Men Origins: Wolverine star opened up about the emotional video trilogy which was directed by Tim Mattia.

Featuring three songs – ‘Wild’, ‘Fools’, and ‘Talk Me Down’, the videos follow a gay couple from their childhood friendship to a tragic ending.

1449284484900

“I heard these three songs but I just never listened to them in that particular order before”, Sivan said.

“You see a little girl and a little boy holding hands and everyone’s like, ‘Aww, sweet! When are you guys going to get married?’ I wanted to show that for young LGBT kids.’”

Of the passionate kissing scenes with co-star Matthew Eriksson, Sivan said he had not done anything quite like that before.

“I’d actually done it before with girls… It was my first time kissing a guy on screen. We had been friends on Facebook for a really long time but we had never met in person. The day after we met he was shirtless with his legs wrapped around me.”

Check out the video trilogy below:

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/01/02/x-men-star-opens-up-about-first-on-screen-gay-kiss-in-music-video/

Christmas carols have never been so sexy

Gay Times Logo

All-male a cappella group Hunkappella have released their latest video just in time for the holidays, and it’s a present we can all enjoy.

Taking on a variety of classic Christmas tunes, the hunky group go through more costume changes than Cher on tour, including a few revealing outfits…

Give it a watch below!

Little Game by Benny

Little Game-5 Little Game-4 Little Game-3 Little Game-2 Little Game-1

 

“Little Game is Benny’s debut single and music video as a dark alternative pop narrative on gender roles and gender equality. The video demonstrates the skewed enforcement of falling into masculine and feminine archetypes.

 

Play us like pawns
and relentlessly confined
into living up to gender roles
and having absent minds
Don’t you think it’s funny how they tell us how to live
Don’t you think it’s funny how we’re all delinquent kids
Like hush now
Don’t say, Don’t say

Hush boy, oh hush boy
don’t say a word
throw on a jersey
no one gets hurt

Hush girl, oh hush girl
Just bat your eyes
Play our little game
Play our little game

Bounded all thoughts
and corrected common sense
you’re raising suicidals
with your predetermined titles
like a mess, distressed
I am unimpressed
Your excess
A dress
Is all you’ll be
Gender roles impose control
And deceive progressive times
Welcome, to the land of the broken mind

Hush boy, oh hush boy
don’t say a word
throw on a jersey
no one gets hurt

Hush girl, oh hush girl
just bat your eyes
play our little game
play our little game

Hush boy, oh hush boy
don’t say a word
throw on a jersey
no one gets hurt

Hush girl, oh hush girl
just bat your eyes
play our little game
play our little game

We feign opulence
just to get by
put on false confidence
just to feel alive
they cant hurt me anymore
there’s nothing left to break of me
there’s nothing left to take from me

’cause baby it’s easy to fake a smile
when you’ve been doing it for a while
baby it’s easy to fake a smile
when you’ve been doing it for a while

Hush boy, oh hush boy
don’t say a word
throw on a jersey
no one gets hurt

Hush girl, oh hush girl
just bat your eyes
play our little game
play our little game

Hush boy, oh hush boy
don’t say a word
throw on a jersey
no one gets hurt

Hush girl, oh hush girl
just bat your eyes
play our little game
play our little game

hush boy, oh hush boy
hush girl, oh hush girl

play our little game
play our little game
play our little game
play our little game
play our little game
won’t you play with me

Genius is the world’s biggest collection of song lyrics and crowdsourced musical knowledge.

Country Star Ty Herndon: 'I'm an Out, Proud and Happy Gay Man'

people-logo

11/20/2014

ty-herndon-600Five years ago, country singer Ty Herndon finally recognized that he had a very important story to share.

“During an Anthony Robbins seminar, I realized I had an incredible story that could possibly help someone’s son or daughter or grandchild’s life not be as difficult as mine has been,” he tells PEOPLE. “Maybe they wouldn’t have to go through as much pain and suffering. It’s time to tell my truth.”

That “truth” is about a part of himself he has kept secret for his entire career: “I’m an out, proud and happy gay man,” the Nashville artist revealed to PEOPLE during a sit-down in New York Tuesday. (Herndon appears on Entertainment Tonight Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, his first TV interview about his journey.)

The revelation was many years in the making for the 52-year-old singer, who first wondered if he was gay when he was about 10 years old and then began coming out to close family members at 20.

“My mother probably knew I was gay before I did. I remember sitting down with her and having the conversation,” recalls Herndon, noting his career path in country worried her. But, ultimately, “she was more concerned about me having a happy life. You have to be able to do that in your own skin, and [my family] has seen me struggle with being gay my whole career.”

Country Star Ty Herndon: 'I'm an Out, Proud and Happy Gay Man'| Country, Chely Wright, Kacey Musgraves, Ty Herndon

Ty Herndon

Valeisha Kelly-Pedigo

Some Early Snags

While his professional start was promising (he was earning steady airplay with hit singles including “What Mattered Most,” “Living in a Moment” and “It Must Be Love”), the singer hit some snags along the way – including an indecent exposure charge for allegedly exposing himself to a police officer in 1995 (the charge was later dropped in a plea bargain) and subsequent time in rehab for drug addiction.

“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. They’ve been my mistakes, and I own them,” says Herndon, who was married to women twice before coming to terms with his sexuality. (He says both ex-wives knew he was gay.) “I’ve done a lot of work around forgiveness with people that I’ve hurt and people I’ve not been honest with because of my sexuality.”

Herndon’s revelation follows fellow country artist Chely Wright‘s coming out to PEOPLE in 2010.

Longtime Partner

Wright, a close friend of his, played a big part in his coming out – as did his longtime partner, Matt. A mutual friend introduced the couple, and they spoke on the phone for six months before meeting. As a one-year anniversary and Christmas present, Matt brought them to that fateful Anthony Robbins seminar in 2009 that reminded him of his own struggle – and his wish to spare others that pain.

“I was 10, sitting in church and horrified that I might be a homosexual. Whatever that word meant, I knew that I probably was one,” Herndon recalls. “And I know there’s a lot of those kids still out there. Telling my story is an opportunity to help just one of them,” says Herndon.

“They can be loved by God, they can be married one day, they can have a family, they can give their parents grandkids,” Herndon adds. “And they’re not broken, they’re not sinners and they’re perfectly beautiful.”

Both the singer and his partner are practicing Christians, and Herndon says it’s taken time to reconcile his faith with his sexuality. But he’s getting there.

“I sit on the tailgate of my pickup truck, and I meditate, and I talk to God,” he says. “That’s really all I need to know. I have a connection to something bigger than myself, and no one’s going to tell me that I can’t have it. We get to choose who we love, and that includes God, and he loves us back.”

Aside from religion, Herndon has had to redefine his place in another establishment: the country music community. As he sees it, the genre has made great strides, which was again demonstrated when Kacey Musgraves won top honors at the CMAs for her LGBT-approving hit “Follow Your Arrow.”

“There’s never been a song more affirmative of that in country music, and it’s our CMA Song of the year,” says Herndon, who “welled up in tears” during that moment.

“I felt so proud of my city. I hope that trend continues; I pray it does.”

Country Star Ty Herndon: 'I'm an Out, Proud and Happy Gay Man'| Country, Chely Wright, Kacey Musgraves, Ty Herndon

Ty Herndon

Valeisha Kelly-Pedigo

Upcoming Plans

Herndon, who is in the midst of his return to the industry, clearly is part of that trend. Last year, he released the autobiographical Lies I Told Myself and he’s been touring with fellow singers Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs. He plans to release a solo album next year.

Though he understands his revelation is a big one, he views it as a beautiful starting point for the next chapter of his life.

“[Being gay] is just an addendum. I’m a gay man, and I’m looking forward to living the rest of my life authentically and happy,” Herndon says.

Now that he’s out, there are a lot of uncertainties ahead, from how fans will react to where his career will go. But “I’m feeling very blessed,” Herndon says.

“I just want to show up for the causes that I believe in. And be able to walk down the street and hold this man’s hand that will be my husband one day, and I know we’ll have kids one day,” he adds.

“I’m still the same person. Fans just know a little more about me now.”

Country Singer Billy Gilman Comes Out As Gay in Personal YouTube Video

BillboardBy

billy-gilman-2014-lost-in-translation-billboard-650

Country singer Billy Gilman came out as gay online Thursday, hours after fellow country act Ty Herndon revealed he was gay as well.

The former child country star — best known for 2000’s tender “One Voice” — broke the news in a personal video posted to YouTube, addressing his fans with a clear nervousness.

“Today a fellow country artist and friend made it easier for me to make this video,” he says in the clip. “And I wanted my fans who have stuck by me for many, many years to know.”

 

Gilman tells a story of being caught by a reporter in Rhode Island at a local fall festival while he was there with his partner — “somebody who I am now, happily, sharing my life with,” he says. “And this reporter took a picture of us and it was in that moment that I knew that I’d rather it be from me than you reading it somewhere else and probably filled with not-truth.”

The singer continues, with an explanation of how difficult it is to be a gay country singer and how he has felt prejudice in Nashville based on rumors over his sexuality.

Billy Gilman Grows Up: From ‘One Voice’ to ‘Say You Will’

“Being a gay male country artist is not the best thing,” he says. “If people don’t like your music, that’s one thing. But after selling over 5 million records, having a wonderful life in the music industry, I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff. … It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed to be a gay male artist, or a gay artist, or a gay person, but it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that because I’m in a genre in an industry that is ashamed of me for being me.”

Gilman thanks Herndon as well, who he says he’s “known and been a fan of, and congratulations on such a courageous effort.”

“I’ve been going back and forth on how to approach this and rather than do it on some talk show, I thought I’d do it in front of a simple camera, very personal,” Gilman says. “I’ve been an advocate for so many things in my life I thought now why not be an advocate for me and for the cause that I believe in with my whole heart.”

 

 

R&B artist Russell Elliot debuts beautifully choreographed music video

Queer R&B singer Russell Elliot has released his debut single Around, and the accompanying video is a wonderfully executed story of unrequited love.

The clip, choreographed by the award-winning Kuperman Brothers, also features dancer Alonso Guzman as his love interest.

Russell told Smoothie Tunes: “The song is about a boy I met in college. He wanted me but not meaningfully. He wanted me but not as badly as he wanted heteronormativity, or privilege, or comfort.

“Around is the confrontation I couldn’t bring myself to address in the moment. Frankly, it’s the “go fuck yourself” I never gave him in person.”

 

 

Openly Gay Musician Of The 1940s Billy Strayhorn To Have Music Relived In London

the-gay-uk-logoBy The Gay UK, Oct 26 2015 10:53AM

You might not know who Billy Strayhorn is but he was openly gay musician and composer in the 1940s when a time when homosexuality was deeply frowned upon.

CREDIT: CC Carl Van Vechten / Via WIkipedia

CREDIT: CC Carl Van Vechten / Via WIkipedia
Billy Strayhorn is a jazz composer of colour who has often been overlooked in musical history. However his story is of an early LGBT pioneer, choosing to live an open and authentic life as an openly gay man.
To celebrate his life on Friday 20th November at Cadogan Hall, a concert entitled ‘Lush Life – The Songs of Billy Strayhorn’ will celebrate his contribution to the music scene.
The performance is being put together by Alex Webb, and will feature performance including David McAlmont.
Strayhorn was born one hundred years ago. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1964, he died in 1967 with his partner Bill Groves by his side.