Photographer Thomas Roma's new book In the Vale of Cashmere is a series of hauntingly beautiful black-and-white portraits taken in the wooded cruising grounds of Brooklyn's Prospect Park - known as the Vale of Cashmere - and is dedicated to Roma's close friend Carl Spinella, who could often be found in the Vale before dying in Roma's arms of an AIDS-related illness in 1992.
“These brilliant photographs, capturing the dialectic between desire and disappointment, anxiety, and comfort, ultimately remind us of our own continuous rites of passage as human beings. Roma’s photographs are truly saving graces,” says Henry Louis Gates, Jr., director of African-American research at Harvard University, says of Roma’s work.
In addition to the book, Roma's pictures can also be seen at Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere, on view from 29th October until 19th December at the Steven Kasher Gallery, 515 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001.
LAST NIGHT EVERY GREAT FILM SHOULD SEEM NEW EVERY TIME YOU SEE IT
Watching Doctor Who - post-2005, when the series was relaunched - is an exercise in managing expectations. You hope it won't be the dog's dinner it always turns out to be, but it almost always is. Partly that's down to Steven Moffat's disastrous stewardship (this Change.org petition to remove him lists many of the ways in which he's poisoned Doctor Who, and there's a good dissection of his tenure here), and partly it's down to the fact that Great Britain just can't make decent TV anymore. America does that instead.
So I greeted the launch of the show's ninth season both warily and wearily, my pessimism tinged with hope: maybe this time it'll be better. But why, I hear you ask, even bother watching a show that you dislike? I did stop for a while, during the Matt Smith years. I disliked him, and I disliked Amy Pond even more. And so I watched very few of the Matt Smith episodes. The casting of Peter Capaldi was a game changer. After what I call the "Disney's Junior Dr. Who" years, here was an actor with gravity and presence. But he, too, has been dragged down by Moffat.
There's so much wrong with The Magician's Apprentice it's hard to know where to start. The excruciating (and dull) electric guitar and tank sequence might be a good place, but this shameless bit of padding is too obvious a target. (Wait, did I say padding? That suggests there's some semblance of plot to be found elsewhere.) Missy is back, of course, having apparently died last time around. But she's a Timelord, we can forgive that. Missy is a Marmite character, and if she was the first bad guy whose character consists entirely of smart arse one liners, it might be cute. But every character in Moffat's universe talks like this: Missy is simply River Song dressed up as Mary Poppins. (Sidebar: Smart arse one liners are why modern Doctor Who is so loved by [mostly white] middle-class people. They do like to think they're better than everyone else.)
Davros is also back. I can't remember if he's supposed to be dead or not. Moffat (like his predecessor) kills everyone for the shock value, then brings them back anyway. It must be said actor Julian Bleach's Davros is truly excellent, but he's wasted here, and any goodwill is almost immediately thrown out of the window by the horribly ill-judged scene of the Doctor begging and grovelling before Davros for Clara's life. Presumably, it's supposed to reinforce the seriousness of Clara's predicament, but we know that whatever happens to her will be magically undone. Unfortunately, we can't un-see this diminished Doctor.
Shock, horror, both Clara and Missy are exterminated in the big Dalek playroom. What are we to make of this, except, "Oh. Well, they're not really dead, are they?" Speaking of which, Skaro, home planet of the Daleks, which was destroyed in an earlier episode, is back from the dead too. Moffat doesn't seem to understand - or care - that voiding the consequences of actions (very serious actions) drains away any real sense of menace. Everything has a great big reset button.
About that Dalek playroom. It's a great big control room of some sort with lots of Daleks milling around in it. All kinds of designs of Daleks, from the 1963 original, to 1988's Special Weapons Dalek, through to the post-2005 variants. The only ones missing are 2010's universally loathed Paradigm Daleks, which seem to have been quietly buried. The point of this Dalek porn isn't clear. It's fun, but pointless. Anyone could get a bunch of different Daleks together; in fact, people often do. Those people are called fans, and the events where they assemble their classic Daleks are called conventions.
This is what happens when the lunatics take over the asylum.
AND TIME Courage isn't just a matter of not being frightened. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway
T he KAOSweekly Doctor Whothrowback continues, with clips from the BBC's official Doctor Who YouTube channel.
This week, the death of Adric. Before the series returned in 2005, the death of a major character was just that: their death. It therefore meant something, even if you didn't like the character (and Doctor Who fans don't like Adric). I've always liked Adric; there is, somehow, something sexy about this tragic gay boy from space.
AND TIME Courage isn't just a matter of not being frightened. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway
W elcome to our weekly throwback to Doctor Who (the original series, as opposed to the sub-Spielberg, pseudo-soap 21st century reboot), with clips from the BBC's official Doctor Who YouTube channel.
This week, the first Doctor visits the dentist in The Gunfighters (1966). Doctor Who fans hate this story, but I love it to bits. It is, to coin a phrase, a goddamn laugh riot. And it's a musical, of sorts, with the The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon punctuating the action.
The creative apocalypse that wasn’t. About that. "Steven Johnson insists that widespread concerns over easy access to free stuff in the digital age was all Henny-Penny-the-sky-is-falling; according to Johnson, 'creative careers are thriving,' a point he argues by ignoring pundits, experts, and anecdotal evidence, instead focusing on the inarguable evidence of Data Journalism."
Rentboy.com CEO Jeffrey Hurrant: “Twenty years we’ve been doing it [running Rentboy.com]. And I don’t think we do anything to promote prostitution. I think we do good things for good people and we bring good people together. And I hope that justice will be done in the end.”
Sex and the City's Rentboy mentality. "Problem is, unlike gay marriage and gay porn and gay strippers and gay sex and gay awards shows, gay prostitution, like straight prostitution, is illegal, and everyone knows that. There hasn't been that much media attention paid to that argument, and that's in huge part because the thing we don't talk about isn't sex - it's our brazen demand to have access to it 24/7 without fear of retribution, legal or otherwise."
Interview | Talking to Stonewall survivor Titus Montalvo.
The day Treva Throneberry disappeared. "In the mid-eighties the cheerful high school student vanished. After more than a decade had passed, her friends and family in her tiny North Texas hometown of Electra had no idea where she was—or if she was dead or alive. They certainly didn't know that almost two thousand miles away her fate was kept secret by a teenage girl named Brianna Stewart."
The pictures that show London’s disappearing gay scene.
Talking to some of London's biggest drag queens about the scene in 2015.
On London's growing "chem sex" scene. "I had gone out may way to avoid this more extreme fringe of gay sex culture. But eventually I decided to give it a go. My first chill out was at a fancy house in North London. I got there and found five guys ranging from the ages of 20 to 40. They were all good looking, high and not wearing any clothes. Skipping over the vulgar details, I decided to leave at some point the next day."
Africa's children | A Congolese child's tale: David Lewis Dieumerci at 10 years old. "In 2005, the Guardian featured 10 newborns in countries across Africa. Five years later, we returned to talk to them and their parents. Now we revisit the 10-year-old David in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to hear his story and learn more about the opportunities and challenges he and his family face."
Africa's children | A Ugandan child's tale: Wyclif Kukiriza at 10 years old. "In 2005, the Guardian featured 10 newborn babies in countries across Africa. Five years later, we returned to talk to them and their parents. Now we revisit the 10-year-old Wyclif to hear his story and learn more about the opportunities and challenges he and his family face."
Africa's children | A South African child's tale: Angel Siyavuya Swartbooi at 10 years old. "In 2005, Angel Siyavuya Swartbooi was one of 10 newborns from countries across Africa who were featured in the Guardian. Five years later, we returned to talk to them and their parents. Now we revisit Siya at 10 to hear his story and learn more about the opportunities and challenges he and his family face."
Africa's children | A Malawian child's tale: Innocent Smoke at 10 years old. "In 2005, Innocent Smoke was one of 10 newborns from countries across Africa who were featured in the Guardian. Five years later, we returned to talk to them and their parents. Now we revisit the 10-year-old Innocent to hear his story and learn more about the opportunities and challenges he and his family face."
Singapore | The city state's ban on HIV-positive visitors has been relaxed, with foreigners with HIV now able to visit for up to three months. But they will still be prevented from working or staying long term.
Australia | Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard U-turns, declares support for marriage equality. (Ed: A bit late in the day...)
Carbuncle Cup | London's 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the Walkie Talkie) "wins" the Carbuncle Cup. "The London skyline is dominated by this thuggish comedy villain of a building, which has melted cars and caused winds strong enough to knock people over."
Review | No House To Call My Home: Love, Family, And Other Transgressions, by Ryan Berg. "A very different kind of book, and maybe what’s most impressive about it is how uninterested Berg seems in his own experience of the two years he spends working in the New York foster care system. It’s not that he’s an absent figure, or an unsympathetic one—we see his exhaustion, we follow him home and watch him drink to assuage his frustration, we experience his mounting despair as his efforts seem increasingly fruitless."
Review | I Can Give You Anything But Love, by Gary Indiana. A "marriage of forms — memoir and novel... Moving and it moves, too, especially once it starts to roll to an end, which it does with a well-crafted novelistic pace."
Hollyoaks showrunner admits mistakes with gay asylum seeker story: "We disappeared up our own arse."
Cold Feet was a classic drama of the 90s – and that's where it should stay. "It was born in a time where Manchester seemed to buzz with sharp-suited women, turn-of-the-millennium optimism and affordable houses in which attractive people would sit drinking red wine out of enormous glasses."
Watch | Miles + Cal, season 2, episode 201; Fridays, episode 1 - Comedown; new webseries #NoHomo; #3siders, episode 5 - Three Musketeers; new web series I Hate New York, episode 1 - A New York Birthday; Where The Bears Are, season 4, episode 1; Ken - episode 2.5 - Brother 2 Brother; Real Eyes Realize Real Lies, episode 4 - The Most Known Unknown...
Sixty music videos that raised LGBT visibility. Gil Scott-Heron: The revolution lives on. "Political activist, rap pioneer and poet Gil Scott-Heron shaped the sound of today – from Talib Kweli and Kanye West to Kendrick Lamar. His friends and famous fans on why he still matters."
Interview | Talking to Loyle Carner about his awkwardly confessional hip-hop.
Sierra Leone sprinter Jimmy Thoronka offered UK sports scholarship. The young athlete absconded from the 2014 Commonwealth games for fear of contracting Ebola at home and ended up sleeping rough in London.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo scrapped amid plagiarism claim.
Rafael Nadal now a fading force after US Open defeat to Fabio Fognini. "The 14-times major winner is no longer displaying his trademark powers of recovery after failing to go past the quarter-finals in any of the slams this year."
The mothers of all disasters. "Massive hurricanes striking Miami or Houston. Earthquakes leveling Los Angeles or Seattle. Deadly epidemics. Meet the 'maximums of maximums' that keep emergency planners up at night."
And finally, Walter addresses mental illness in the LGBT community; Andrew takes on the haters; the Baddie Twinz discuss hate in the LGBT community; Rogue "Marbie" Scott gets married; Martin returns (briefly!); and why some gay men queen out with friends and then turn hyper "masc" when they go out?
See you kids next week - it's been emotional! Zee Jai
"I would also like to take this opportunity to squash the persistent rumours about mysterious 'disappearances' and emphasize that rural and urban areas are now enjoying a life of harmony and peace. I'm sure you're glad to hear this. And I'm happy you're glad."