It's not often that income tax audits make big news, but the mammoth of an audit that's been thrown Venus DeMars andLynette Reini-Gambell, a married couple and a relatively successful musician and poet respectively, has been getting some local press in their home state of Minnesota. This MinnPost article features an interview with the couple in which they discuss the details of the situation, but in short: the Minnesota Revenue Department is claiming that the couple's respective artistic careers are not profitable enough to qualify them as "professional" artists and is demanding around $100,000 in back taxes for work-related tax deductions the couple has claimed over the years.
It's a given that the Middle East has a long way to go as far as LGBT acceptance is concerned. Remember that sound byte of Ahmadinejad claiming that Iran doesn't have any homosexuals? Turkey is supposed to be the most secular and liberal Muslim country in the Middle East, yet its religious, right wing government still considers homosexuality to be a disease.
Artistic mediums always have innovators, those people who weren't afraid to try new things with paint, words, light, film. Director Jeffery Schwarz's new film I Am Divine creates a portrait of how revolutionary drag superstar Divine brought drag from society's margins to the mainstream in his fearless and innovative way.
Elena Kostyuchenko (in the yellow hat) at the pro-gay Day of Kisses protest.
On January 25, 2013 the Russian State Duma swiftly passed a bill banning the "promotion of homosexuality." The bill will have to undergo two more readings and be signed by the Russian president before it becomes law. If this happens, it will give the Russian government the right to fine publications and individuals up to half a million dollars for "promoting homosexuality." Meanwhile, the law does not define what constitutes "promoting" and conflates homosexuality with, among other things, pedophilia. LGBT rights activists speculate that the passage of this law will lead to the government shutting down organizations, websites, and print publications that support the already besieged Russian LGBT community.
Protests for LGBT rights in Russia have a history of violence. Along with those brave enough to participate in them, protests often attract thugs calling themselves Russian Orthodox activists who pelt the LGBT protesters with eggs and physically attack them. The thugs discuss their plans for the beatings in their online forums on V Kontakte (a Russian version of Facebook), and cover their faces with scarves and masks in order to avoid being identified. Although the police are always present at such protests, the Orthodox activists seems to have their tacit approval.
Spin Magazine recently ran a comprehensive and funny piece called "The 50 Biggest White Girl Rap Moments Of All Time." Being a white woman who vehemently loves rap music, best believe I ate that ish up. Some MCs mentioned were genuinely talented (Dessa, Princess Superstar), others... not so much. There is, as the magazine states, a "checkered" history in white girl rap (cough cough Kreayshawn cough cough Fergie). One artist who didn't make the cut (but certainly will next round) is the one and only Kalyn Heffernan of Denver's Wheelchair Sports Camp.
I'll admit, I kind of fudged when I said this would be a three-part series about zine artists I love. Honestly, I could probably do a fifty part series on zine artists I love, then publish it as a memoir called Can I Be You? But I'm not doing that, and instead, I'm going to take a few minutes to tell you about something really important. A couple of weeks ago, you might have stopped by the Portland Zine Symposium (or any zine fest anywhere) and thought to yourself "Wow, there are a lot of white people here, where are all the zinesters of color?" Or at least, that's what I was thinking. I scoured the entire space looking for people of color only to find one table all alone, in the back of the warehouse. One amazing table, to be sure,, but I still left wishing for something more. I'd imagine Daniela Capistrano had some similar thoughts when she founded the People of Color Zine Project in 2010 in order to make zines by folks of color accessible, available, and distributable for all, because really, these things can be incredibly hard to find in such white dominated DIY, activist, and artist communities.