Sep 19, 2014

Sep 14, 2014

Sunday matinée

"After Auschwitz---no more poetry!"


"Alles hängt mit allem zusammen," (everything is connected with everything) would Norbert Elias say, the German sociologist and first recipent of the Theodor W. Adorno Price. It wouldn't be an Adorno saying however, because the man himself, the heavy thinker of "Critical Theory" and its Frankfurter Schule, would never say (or think) things as simple as this.

Theodor W. Adorno

But there you have it. We wake up, tumble upon a link to The New Yorker and read an article on Theodor W. Adorno and his Frankfurter Schule and learn that "he died of a heart attack in the shadow of the Matterhorn."


The Matterhorn

That's us here in Switzerland, folks, the Matterhorn is right around the corner. And yes, alles hängt mit allem zusammen, Adorno suffered his attack, was brought to the nearest hospital and died there, an unassuming Spital located in Visp, Valais, Switzerland, unassuming except that yours truly spent a whole week in the same hospital, his first time ever as a hospital patient, waiting for his foot to unswell so that Dr. Ursprung could repair his broken fibula.

Sep 6, 2014

"I've been a good mouse" --- This is heaven (teaser)

Finally a new teaser (we're still handicapped by a torn retina). John and Alex are heading back to the field for the third day of the festival when Alex begins asking questions about his past.


“I was a paramedic, right?” Alex says as I’m driving us up the ramp behind the condo to get on Route One.
“Yes.”
“Paramedics earn money.”
“Yes.”
“Enough to own a car.”
“Yes.”
“You have an idea where it could be, my car?”
“It was at your place last time I saw it.”
“Which was…?”
“Yes,” I say.
“I mean, would be easier if you don’t have to chauffeur me around all the time.”
“The idea was that you shouldn’t go back to your place for a while. That’s what the psychologist said.”
“Her replacement.”
“Her replacement.”
“Okay. Let’s compromise. I’ll pick up the car, is all. Where do I live?”



Gallery (11) (Michel Plaisir)


"Le coeur tout zébré d'amour" Michel Plaisir (oil on canvas)
(All rights reserved; reproduction in whichever form only with the permission of the artist)

(More artwork in our gallery

Aug 17, 2014

"They don't use bathrooms in Enid Blyton stories"--- This is heaven (teaser)

Until the crack of dawn, Alex and John spent some quality time in John's bed. Ben spent the night elsewhere (as an escort of John's A-level service). For additional context (e.g., the allusion to "executive mansions") have a look here, or there


There’s a knock on the door. I’m sort of confused, wondering whether anybody ever took the pains to knock on this door before. “Yes,” I say in the end. It’s Ben, and he looks overnighted the way you would expect A-level escorts to look overnighted, especially escorts on an accelerated learning curve. So he waves a slip of paper, hands it to me and says: “You know.” He sheds some clothes and slips under the remaining corner of the blanket, graffiti briefs and all. There’s a sense of slapstick to this which isn’t lost on any of the participants, including Alex, the perfect future husband this morning who rises to prepare coffee. “Don’t tell mother,” Ben says as if these are his last words. Alex fetches the check from my distracted hand. “From the Executive Mansion,” he reads.
“What?” Ben says.
“That was the name of the White House in Lincoln’s days.”
“Oohh,” Ben moans and spreads his extremities.

First cover of Enid Blyton's  "Five on a Treasure Island"

Aug 11, 2014

Today


The view around 17:00 --- the view is downhill, and the weather is also downhill, since four weeks

Aug 9, 2014

Timeless drama --- This is heaven (teaser)

The shortest teaser ever (John speaking):



I recall an exchange with a teacher in high school with a guttural name, Grothe or something, a man without qualities save one, nose hair. The class was about Shakespeare---the play, Romeo & Juliet. I was asking how someone could have the guts to build timeless drama on a walkout by the postal service---if it was a walkout that is, I forgot why the letter about Juliet’s “death” didn't reach Romeo---or, absent the letter, plan B, why timeless drama depends on minor gaps in the space time continuum, i.e., if Romeo would have returned from Mantua twenty minutes later he would have hit upon a reawakened Juliet and everything would have been roses by another name. So I ask this, and Grothe is baffled, he stutters, he’s left without words, I have him by his nose hair, I really do, and then I go too far and spoil everything---I forgot what I said but I totally miss the Perry Mason moment until it’s too late to say ‘I rest my case.’ Hold on, now I remember what I said, I said: “the classical drama depends crucially on people not having cell phones.”



Go here for the previous teaser of This is heaven, and here for a selection of chapters of the Green Eyes.

Gallery (9) (Steve Walker)

"At five in the morning," Steve Walker (1961-2012)
(There's more art on our gallery page)

Aug 6, 2014

"Guilty sex is good sex" --- This is heaven (teaser)

Alex and John are spending quality time in John's bedroom. Context: (a) there was this bizarre intermezzo between Taylor and John, of which Alex witnessed the beginning; (b) Barbette Bienpensant, Juliette's sister, is a professor of metaphysics; (c) there was this bizarre episode in Juliette's hotel room, with Alex administering a post-coital checkup (not what you think); (d) there was this bizarre episode between Alex and Godehart; (e) the boys had the opportunity to discuss Shishito peppers on the menus of San Francisco restaurants.

It's over the top, folks, this teaser, and short, and unsafe for work. Enjoy.



“I’m glad about Taylor,” Alex says, “nature loves symmetry.”
“Huh?”
“Guilty sex is good sex.”
“How would you be able to compare, with your amnesia?”
“I’m pontificating, you’re right. But still, makes sense, doesn’t it?”
“You had no reason feeling guilty,” I say.
“Well, I made up for Godehart, didn’t I,” he says. “The exchange of bodily fluids lubricated by the trade of guilty feelings.”

___________________

"The exchange of bodily fluids lubricated by the trade of guilty feelings." 
___________________

I slip under the blanket and hope for his hair-fidgeting routine. He doesn’t bite though, his hand lands on my thigh.

Aug 3, 2014

Coming out and of age in China (2) (reblogged)


Here's the second part of a wonderful story by Massoud Hayoun, an Arab-American who went to China at the age of 19 to learn Mandarin. The piece---originally published by Gawker---is here reblogged with the permission of the author. The first part sits under this link. All illustrations are by the Chinese artist Jin Linfu.

My sexuality was transgressive, once upon a time. In China. Exquisitely so, because it showed itself only under the cover of darkness, hushed in back rooms, crammed into what was the only gay bar in Beijing (not for prostitutes) at the time and in Chinese—a language I could speak in without fully hearing myself. A language I'd speak the truth in, however filthy. A language my family, my God, my countries would never understand.

In that sense, Chinese is, perhaps more than any other, my mother tongue. I can conjure the heart arrhythmia of that era—saying things I never would have said in English, in what has now become my most familiar—and preferred—of foreign languages.

Nowadays in New York, I've taken an apartment in Chinatown, on the off chance I'll have some sensory experience that recalls what I only know how to refer to as my original sin, that year of study abroad in China. That sin being the excitement of being wanted for the first time, by other men. To me, those were the moments where I suddenly started to have worth.


That is, before I realized that being wanted sexually is, in this life, the height of intimacy for me. I don't say that with much disdain. It's mostly a choice, of late. With all the men I've slept with since China, the sights, sounds and smells of being momentarily wanted have become too familiar. Grotesque. Mediocre. If I stay with the same man for too long—sometimes more than an hour, I suddenly water down into a puddle of inauthenticity.

Aug 1, 2014

Gallery (8)


"Your sweet ...," Vilela Valentin


(find more art here)

The headless horseman --- This is heaven (teaser)

Alex and John are meeting Godehart in the Blue Moon to commiserate about the German's ouster from the festival contest. One paragraph into this Inspector LaStrada will make his appearance, the homicide detective who is in charge of the investigation of Neill Palmer's death. And the talk about the goldfish bowl? Bit complicated, have a look here.



Godehart is expecting us at a bar table where he had a few shots already. “How did it happen,” we ask. Well, he failed to get the earphone working again. And the confusion. Whether he talked to the mayor. No, the mayor had disappeared. He talked to Beeblebrox though.
“Beeblebrox was very upset, I did better than Roper, he said. I should register a protest.”
“With whom?” Alex asks.
“My guardian angel, I presume.”
And the paper work? Did they at least provide him with a copy of the paperwork? No, nothing. Hamblin is basically incommunicado. And so is the City Club. A bunch of thugs. He learned his lesson, and orders another round.



Sorry to interrupt this, real quick: (a) have you seen the movie Sleepy Hollow with Jonny Depp as inspector Crane and Christopher Walken as the headless horseman (Depp stays a bit too much in character, doesn’t he?)? The horseman is Irish folklore, there are also headless versions without horse; (b) talking hyperboles; (c) you recall inspector LaStrada. He’s entering the premises of the Blue Moon as we speak, and he looks tonight like a horseless, headless inspector who wears a fishbowl under his arm, I swear.

Jul 29, 2014

Coming out and of age in China (1) (reblogged)

Cool, folks, cool, the first part of a wonderful story by Massoud Hayoun, an Arab-American who went to China at the age of 19 to learn Mandarin. The piece---originally published by Gawker---is here reblogged with the permission of the author. It will easily count as one of the best examples of gay writing this year...


He would have been my first, I suppose---a Korean student at some other school in Beijing's Wudaokou university district.

I'd met him on a website. You're the first and only person I've ever admitted that to, handsome reader. I suppose I want to feel closer to you.

I was 19, Arab-American, studying Mandarin and poli sci at a Chinese university. I was exceptionally awkward, and still under the impression that no one knew I was gay. They all knew and indulged me my illusions of illusiveness.

(Just an illustration)

He was in his mid-20s. School was hard for him, he said, in our brief chat on a website for gay men in Asia.

I'd heard of a class of Korean students like him---unsuccessful and blowing their family's money away learning Mandarin, while China busily worked itself into the world's second-largest economy. Their parents wouldn't let them come home until they obtained a certificate of completion, and the Chinese universities appeared keen to keep accepting international student tuition fees, even if they were from the same students, year-in, year-out.

He was foreign---not just in the sense that we were of two different nationalities, living in China. He was a bad student, a rich kid, a magnificently athletic loser with a Rocky-like neanderthal chin and tall nose, the kind of man who is called, in Chinese, a baijiazi, a son who spoils his family's wealth. Fresh, preppy. He wore clothes my Chinese friends paid twice as much for at the bazaars: Korean fashion. His man-bag was made of real leather. He was a petit bourgeois; every lock of hair had been calculated and every pore tightened, perhaps surgically, because he had the time, money and inclination. He turned me on.

The view this morning


The Signalhorn seen from our chalet 

(How to explain this? You've heard of Trotzki vs. Stalin? Along those lines. The snowflakes are fake, but the rest is not. This morning, around 7 AM)

Jul 25, 2014

Gallery (7)



"Les amores Kabuki" Hideki Koh

"Room service, room service" --- This is heaven (teaser)

Professor Bienpensant sent us on a wild goose chase into the hotel chamber of Juliette, where Alex performed a "post-coital checkup" on Romeo (not what you think). Now we're in the truck, going to meet Godehart in the Blue Moon.

Alex laughs. Chuckles. Slaps my shoulder (even though that’s difficult to do because we’re driving). “This is your influence,” he says.
“What?”
“The post-coital checkup, this is so you, you could have invented this.”
“What?”
“You are contagious, dude. This is so you.”
“Never heard of a post-coital checkup.”

He roars. “Gotcha, gotcha.”

“It felt like absurd theater, somehow, the ‘check-up.’ Like Ionesco.”
“Yonesco?”
“Yes, Absurd Theater, nineteen fiftieth, Ionesco, funny version of Beckett.”
“Beckett? Waiting for Godot?”
“Yes, but funnier.”
“Absurd is when you don’t know whether it’s funny or not, isn’t it?”
“Ooh-kay,” I say.
“This is so you. I love you man” (slaps my shoulder again).
___________________

"Absurd is when you don't know whether it's funny or not, isn't it?" 
___________________

“That's not a compliment, or is it?”
“Absurd theater … I have no sense of my personality, dude, I don’t know who I am. But I’m sure, I wasn’t like this before. ‘Post-coital checkup.’ This is your influence.” He kisses my cheek. “‘Dude’ is meant as a compliment.”
“Thank you.”

"Room service, room service!" --- a still from Mel Brook's Spaceballs (1987)

Gallery (5) --reposted

(Pedro Palanca died yesterday from HIV-related liver complications --- we posted this only 10 days ago:)

"Drinking men," Pedro Palanca
(We asked Pedro about the year of the painting, and the title, and he wrote back: "Oh this one has many titles... but in fact it's about grape distilling (an old fashioned way) to make wine or pisco and it is still practiced (but not so promoted). The piece dates from 1996-1997")

(For more art, go here)

Jul 24, 2014

"That's not enough!" (French for beginners)

Please read this...it's only one paragraph  from the London Review of Books connecting our recent Foucault post (by Mr. E.) with our own faux-French background with our quest for happy endings (just so that you know, Alain Robbe-Grillet was the inventor of the nouveau roman)...please read this:

Alain Robbe-Grillet

"By now, most readers in France had ceased to care [about Robbe-Grillet]; even his intellectual champions lost interest, although  [Roland] Barthes stood by him. ‘Transgression’ had come to mean l’écriture féminine and gay erotica; Robbe-Grillet’s hetero-sadist fixations looked decidedly démodé, quite possibly reactionary. (Fredric Jameson wondered whether his books had become ‘unreadable since feminism’.) At the party for  Barthes’s 1977 inaugural lecture at the Collège de France, Foucault confronted Robbe-Grillet: ‘I have told you this already and I will say it again, Alain: when it comes to sex, you are, and always have been misguided!’ Barthes rose to his defence, reminding Foucault that Robbe-Grillet was, at the very least, a pervert. Foucault replied: ‘Ça ne suffit pas!’"

Jul 18, 2014

Post-coital checkup --- This is heaven (teaser)

We know Romeo and Juliette are spending quality time together, and now what? While Bienpensant and John do jury duty at the festival, the professor receives a very disquieting email that seems to come from Juliette:


She grabs my elbow and pulls me up. “It’s Juliette,” she cries, “Juliette. She talked about you. I need your help.” She drags me across the field.
“What is it?” I ask.
“Juliette,” she say (cries) again, “Juliette. Oh my God.”
___________________________

There it dangles, the do-not-disturb sign, perhaps swinging a bit on its knob in response to all the excitement.
___________________________

We arrive at the stand where Alex interrupts his conversation with Ben. Barbette has already clutched Alex’s hand and hands him the iPhone. Alex reads for an eternity. Yet a second later he pockets the phone, says “you take over” to Ben, and “we take your car” to me, and hurries toward the exit. Bienpensant and I hustle behind. This is not the moment to begin a conversation about Shakespeare.

Balcony in Verona (not the Atlantic Sands Hotel)

The Atlantic Sands Hotel is two minutes away, parking takes more time than driving. “What is it,” I ask Alex. “A suicide letter,” he says. We scale the echo chamber of a staircase. Room 312. There it dangles, the do-not-disturb sign, perhaps swinging a bit on its knob in response to all the excitement.

Jul 15, 2014

Gallery (5) (reposted)


"Drinking men," Pedro Palanca
(We asked Pedro about the year of the painting, and the title, and he wrote back: "Oh this one has many titles... but in fact it's about grape distilling (an old fashioned way) to make wine or pisco and it is still practiced (but not so promoted). The piece dates from 1996-1997")

(For more art, go here)

Jul 13, 2014

The fountain of Geneva (5) --- "Infinite Jest"

John and Alex, our friends from the Green Eyes, are being told the back story of the Fountain of Geneva, the most phallic object on the planet (in a liquid sense). Hadrian, the visiting Roman emperor (117-138 AD), had to help the Swiss locals deal with a ravaging Nordic tribe, the Muttoni. And he did so, apparently. Richard Zugabe, librarian of the city archives of Geneva, explains how (his last sentence was: "Nothing was ever heard of the Muttoni again.")


Part V --- "Infinite Jest"


There is a silence. “Cool,” Alex says. “You are going to elaborate?”
“I will try.”

“They got OD’d on this Megalo-wine,” I say, “they had no tolerance for the stuff.”
“Right, that would be hypothesis number one. It had been my working hypothesis until I discovered yet another document in the archives with an imperial order issued on the fifth of September of the same year, sending a platoon of Army Engineers across the Passo di Monte Moro into the Saas valley.

Saas valley, including Lake Mattmark, seen from the Passo di Monte Moro

“Hadrian had been given a tour of the place, so you can assume that he was shown Lake Mattmark, a pearl of a mountain lake sitting right above the grounds of the Muttoni settlement.”
“Above the grounds? Above?”
___________________

The ice barrier would collapse and the water would gush down the valley and destroy everything in its path. 
___________________

Gallery (4)

"Triumph over empire," Wes Hempel

(For more art, go here)

Jul 11, 2014

"Mouth open," "motherfucker," "it hurts," "my thighs are apart," FKA Twig --- 2 weeks (Clip)

(This seems to be the thing now. Jezza Smilez has the clip on his site, and so on:) 


(Lyrics)

I know it hurts
You know I’d quench that thirst
(I can treat you better than the)
You say you're lonely
I say you'll think about it
Cause you're the only
One who resonates that chaste, mouth open like (High)

Jul 9, 2014

The fountain of Geneva (4) --- the Muttoni's last meal

John and Alex, our friends from the Green Eyes, are being told the back story of the Fountain of Geneva, the most phallic object on the planet (in a liquid sense). Hadrian, the visiting Roman emperor (117-138 AD), has to help the Swiss locals deal with a ravaging Nordic tribe, the Muttoni. And he does so in a circuitous way. He starts a school for erotic talent, the School of Antinous, named after his late lover. Richard Zugabe, librarian of the city archives of Geneva, tells the story. 

Part IV --- the Muttoni's last meal

“Yes, right. So, Hadrian would inspect his Antinousians lined up and fitted in Praetorian garb---the spectacular helmet with a feathered, Cherokee-like crescent fitted to the top, the breast-plate of chased bronze molded to the perfect fit of toned pecs and rippled abs, the humble belt with a loop for the scabbard and a notch to rest the shield. With the belt coming off everything else would drop, creating a wealth of quick opportunities behind (or in front of) the bushes.

Hadrian and Antinous, British Museum

“Trained personnel would see to the maintenance of the bespoke outfits. Hadrian, by the way, had by now been in residence for several months. His entourage had grown considerably with the addition of specialists from all walks of court life, spokespeople, equerries, not to mention personalized assistants who would handle Antinousian emails.”

“Huh?”

“Just to see whether you are still with me. So Hadrian would now select one or more of his pupils, meaning they were to join him on a dais fashioned for group activity---tiger skins, couches, cushions, ancillary toys---but the account I’m referring to is about a one-on-one from the early days of the program.

___________________

There he stands, naked, his genitals sparkling in the morning sun
___________________

The elected youth, Anaximandrius, takes Hadrian’s hand---it is his task now to seduce the Emperor---and lead him to the dais. He invites Hadrian to recline on a couch, then unties his sword and hands it to his personal assistant. Next comes off the helmet.

Νικασίτιμος οἶφε Τιμίονα --- Freshly excavated

"Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona"
(From the Guardian:)

Wild, windswept, rocky and remote, Astypalaia is not an obvious place for the unearthing of some of the world's earliest erotic graffiti.

Certainly, Dr Andreas Vlachopoulos, a specialist in prehistoric archaeology, didn't think so when he began fieldwork on the Aegean island four years ago. Until he chanced upon a couple of racy inscriptions and large phalluses carved into Astypalaia's rocky peninsula at Vathy. The inscriptions, both dating to the fifth and sixth centuries BC, were "so monumental in scale" – and so tantalisingly clear – he was left in no doubt of the motivation behind the artworks.