Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Queer Artist Centerfold: Travis Wood

Travis Wood

Stage Name:

Contact info:

Long Beach, CA

Zodiac sign:

Your medium/genre:
Multi-Media Performance Artist: Monologue/ Dance/ Film

Describe what you do:
Questioning Queer Identity in America

Turn on’s:
Beards, Artists, Nerds, Tattoo’s

Turn off’s:
Webbed toes

Describe your perfect date:
A Disney film followed by hot sex.

Pet peeves:
A lack of common sense.

Fave sex idol:
James Dean, Hugh Jackman

1ST crush:
10th grade. His name was Scott. He was a dancer, singer and actor. He was Jewish with curly hair. I knew I was Queer the minute I saw him!

Fave music:
The Breeders, Throwing Muses, Cyndi Lauper, Xiu Xiu, PJ Harvey, Queer Core

Top movies that inspire you:
My Own Private Idaho, Swoon, The Living End, Edward II, The Last of England, Miyazaki films, Derek Jarman films

Fave quote:
“On my darkest days I wear my brightest colors.” –Cyndi Lauper

Reading List:
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Collected Poems by Allen Ginsberg, Damien by Herman Hesse, Queer by William Burroughs, Becoming A Man by Paul Monette

One of your obsessions:
Constantly thinking of ways to be creative.

Tim Miller, Ian MacKinnon, David Drake, Danielle Brazell

Fave queer Artist(s):
Ginsberg & Jarman

Fave queer from history:
Allen Ginsberg and Derek Jarman

Most Pivotal Performance/event/etc:
I was a freshman in HS and saw a performance artist spray cheez-whiz over her body as she went into a monologue about the evils of George H. Bush. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a performance artist too.

Fave performance experience:
I camped out to see the West Coast Premiere of RENT. I got front row center seats. The cast was spitting on me during the entire show. I couldn’t have been happier.

Most frightening performance experience:
I was in a production of Tony Kushner’s “A Bright Room Called Day” as Baz. During a “fight scene” an actor got carried away and threw me across the stage. It was incredibly frightening and amazing at the same time.

Places performed:
I've appeared as a "performance artist" in clubs, alleys, street corners and festivals throughout California. I have performed with the Knightsbridge Theater Company, Dream Circus Theater Co., Chakra Explorers, A Queer Exchange, Corpus Delicti Butoh Performance Lab, Highways Performance Space, Queer Mondays and Gathering of the Tribes.

Orange County High School of the Arts, Cypress College (Acting & Directing), Los Angeles City College (Acting/ Directing for Film), Eric Morris, Mark Majarian, Danielle Brazell, Tim Miller, Malia Ma (Butoh), Joe Talkington (Butoh)

What do you (does your art) stand for:
Breaking Queer Stereotypes, Embracing Queer Stereotypes

Fave prop or costume:
A dress I made out of Frontier Magazine Sex & Cosmetic Ads.

Thoughts on the LA queer art scene:
The LA Queer Art Scene is very elitist. I am very thankful for Highways and Queer Mondays for bringing me closer to the fringe artists with incredible talent that often get overlooked at other venues/ events.

What is your Vision for the Queer Future:
Creating our own future based off Queer ideas and stopping the Heteronormality of queer culture.

What do you see as the future for queer art:
Using technology to reach more people thru queer art and performance.

What are your upcoming plans/shows/events/include dates and info:
Currently working on my Cinema Degree, Turning Grimm Fairy Tales into Queer Stories, Working on Monologues and performances inspired by my Queer life.

Sample of Work:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Queer Artist Centerfold: Steven Reigns

Name: Steven Reigns

Contact info: www.stevenreigns.com and www.thegayrub.com

Birthplace: St. Louis, MO

Zodiac sign: Scorpio

Your medium/genre: Poetry

Describe what you do: I write poetry and teach poetry workshops. For the past 5 years I’ve also been involved in a durational performance art piece under the mentorship of Linda Montano.

Turn on’s: original thinkers, kindness, and dedication to the community.

Turn off’s: selfishness, laziness, and the shaving of body hair.

Describe your perfect date: I abhor dinner and a movie dates. I like life and dates to be an adventure.

1st crush: I haven’t really ever thought about my first crush. I had a swim instructor when I was very young, he must have been in high school. I remember being fascinated by his small swimsuit which I had never seen before...it was a Speedo.

Fave music: I love a good lyric.

Reading List: I have a large “To Be Read” stack of books. Almost all of them are poetry.

One of your obsessions: Soap.

Fave queer Artist(s): Frank O’Hara was rocking my world a couple of years ago. My obsession with him has now calmed into just an intense crush.

Fave queer from history: This is a hard one. Sophie had an easier choice. I can’t decide between the queens who started the Stonewall riots and the ACT UP activists stopping traffic and chaining themselves to buildings. All of those people get my props.

Most Pivotal Performance/event/etc: Books have opened my world more than performances. I love performance art but wasn’t exposed to it when I was young. Seeing Morrissey for his Your Arsenal tour in 1992, when I was 16, was quite amazing. He was so gay, sensual, and sexy. I also met one of my best friends that night.

Fave performance experience: I’ve had great experiences at public reading. About 8 years ago I was asked to be the keynote speaker at an annual American Library Association (a group of glbt librarians and allies) gathering. I was honored to speak to such a group. I kept looking at the crowd and thinking, “You are the people that helped shape my life.”

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The University of South Florida, Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University.

Awards/Grants/Honors: I’m pleased to have received 2 Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs grants and several grants from Poets & Writers.

What do you (does your art) stand for: I want my work to give voice to the overlooked, under represented, and under appreciated.

Thoughts on the LA queer art scene: I love LA and I’m pleased to be surrounded by so much queer art. There is Ian MacKinnon’s Queer Mondays, Hank Henderson’s HomoCentric, Noel Alumit’s Promising Series, Eloise Klein Healy’s lesbian press Arktoi Books, Lambda Literary is here, Charles Flower’s Bloom is headquartered in West Hollywood. We’ve got the One Institute and the June Mazer Library. I love being surrounded by so much queer artistic activity.

What do you see as the future for queer art: As our community evolves so will the stories that come from our community. I look forward to witnessing both. In terms of queer cinema, I really hope there is a move away from the hustler narrative. I’m so tired of that storyline.

What are your upcoming events: I’m teaching a free workshop on April 19th in honor of National Poetry Month at the West Hollywood Library at 6:00 PM
West Hollywood Library
715 San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA

I'm collecting rubbings from GLBT historical markers. It's a participatory project and I'd love to have more people submit some: www.thegayrub.com

My book Inheritance was also recently rereleased by Sibling Rivalry Press and can be purchased here:

Sample of Work:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Queer Artist Centerfold: Jean Natalia

Name: Jean Spinosa

Stage Name: Jean Natalia

Contact info:

Birthplace: San Leandro, California

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius with a Virgo Rising

Your medium/genre: Theatre, Cabaret, Film

Describe what you do:
Actor, Performance Artist, Dancer, Writer, Director, Producer, Choreographer, Club Promoter; Creator and Host of Wig Out! Get Your Wig On!.

Turn on’s: Kindness, Gentleness, and Bravery

Turn off’s: Rudeness, Callousness, and Cowardice

Describe your perfect date:
Tea, music, sandwiches, sweets, savories, delightful conversation and it all turning into a spontaneous spazzy dance, more tea, and then off to an unknown adventure.

Pet peeves:
My biggest pet peeve is when people do not pay attention to or take into consideration nuances and details.

Fave sex idol: Freddie Mercury

1ST crush:
1978 Peter Frampton in Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then the crush on Freddie Mercury came soon after that.

Fave music:
I love any and all music which has character and is inspiring; From 20’s, to Glam, to Death Metal, to Gypsy, to Punk, to Rock Operas, to Piaf, to Mozart, to 60’s Go-Go, etc..

Top movies that inspire you:
One of my all time favorites is It’s a Wonderful Life

Fave quote:
"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.
A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.
If there won't be dancing at the revolution, I'm not coming"- Emma Goldman

Reading List:
Keith Johnstone: Impro
Respect for Acting: Uta Hagen
The Blessings of Friendship: Mary Engelbreit
Don’t Look Back: Mary Engelbreit
Your Private Sky: R. Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller’s Universe- Lloyd Steven Sieden
The Dictionary and Thesaurus of Emotions: Jeremy Whelan

One of your obsessions: Tea

I’ve always believed very seriously that each person should be their own “hero”.

Fave queer Artist(s): Ian MacKinnon

Fave queer from history: Each person at Stonewall June 28, 1969

Fave performance experience:
I had a dance company called Punk Rock Ballet. We performed a piece with the Punk Rock Orchestra at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in SF. I was doing a back flip off my dance partner and as I was upside down for that split second during that flip, time stopped and I could hear all the violins in one ear and then the crowd’s reaction out of the other ear at the same time. It was an amazing moment and I’m afraid trying to articulate it doesn’t do it justice.

Most frightening performance experience:
During a play many years ago, an actor accidentally slammed his shoulder blade into my eye socket and I had 45 minutes of dialogue to go. The hit caused a severe concussion that took three weeks to recover from. Worst moment on stage ever.

Places performed:
MOCA, Son of Semele Theatre, Highways Performance Space, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LACE, The Parlour, Supper Club LA, Thunderbird Theatre Co., Transmission Theatre, Groundlings, Makeout Room, El Rio, The Casanova, Castro Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Key Club, The Stone, Trannyshack, Bordello, Boardners, El Cid, Mbar, Cavern Club Theatre, Somar Theatre.

San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts; Performance Emphasis
American Conservatory Theatre San Francisco, CA
National Academy for Theatre and Film, Puppetry and Mime Bulgaria
Institute of Modern Art with Moscow Art Theatre Moscow
The Groundlings West Hollywood, CA

Six years private vocal training, two years percussion training, and over ten years of dance training.

The Kennedy Center A.C.T.F. Meritorious Achievement Award

Fave prop or costume: Wigs

Thoughts on the LA queer art scene:
LA is quite alive with innovative new works thriving with originality and energy. I find that everyone is highly supportive of each other. It’s an exciting time.

What do you see as the future for queer art:
The future of queer art is open to so many possibilities, I don't want to project anything. I just would like to be surprised and invigorated by it and have the honor of continuing to contribute to it.

What are your upcoming events:
Wig Out! Get Your New Romantax On! Fri April 15, 2011
And then
Wig Out! Get Your Wig On! continues every last Thursday of each month at Three Clubs in Hollywood.

Samples of Work: youtube.com/jeanspinosa

photo by: Henry Horenstein

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Queer Artist Centerfold: Martin Matamoros

Name: Martin Matamoros

Stage Name: Martin Von Sexxxy

Contact info: To hear my latest recording go to soundsofasteroth.bandcamp.com

Birthplace: The Bronx.

Zodiac sign: Cancer (but everybody thinks I'm a Leo).

Your medium/genre: Music, acting, painting, drawing, and fabulosity.

Describe what you do: I am the lead singer of Sounds of ASTEROTH which is an art-rock-pop band. I also write, direct, and act in original plays. Lastly, I paint and draw, and oh yeah... I'm a great kisser.

Turn on’s: A really big... BRAIN!

Turn off’s: A really tiny... intellect.

Describe your perfect date: A perfect date knows how to give good conversation. He loves old movies and doesn't smoke or drink. He is witty without trying and above all... he thinks I'm the hottest thing since fire.

Pet peeves: Cologne abuse

Fave sex idol: Marilyn Monroe of course.

1st crush: He-Man

Fave music: Sounds of ASTEROTH

Top movies that inspire you: Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Barbarella, and BelAmi

Fave quote: "Never hold in a fart" Martin Von Sexxxy

One of your obsessions: I'm obsessed with the dog I am currently dog-sitting. I literally think about her all day. SHE LOOKS LIKE AN EWOK!

Influences/mentors/heroes: My influences are EVERYTHING. My heroes are Celia Cruz, Marry Poppins, Joe Medina. I am my own mentor/parent.

Fave queer Artist(s): Mickey Mouse and Me.

Fave queer from history: Tallulah

Most Pivotal Performance/event/etc: Lip-synching to I Want Your Sex in Jr. High.

Fave performance experience: All of them and none of them. My emotions about performing are all over the place: terror, exhilaration, happiness, dissatisfaction, pride etc...

Most frightening performance experience: I experience a feeling of terror before most of my performances so once again my answer is all of them.

What do you (does your art) stand for: It's only really meant as a creative interpretation of my experiences. I can't pretend to be more than I am. Everything is a form of biography. I can only hope that my biography is as interesting to someone else as it is to me lol.

Fave prop or costume: My space-bubble

Thoughts on the LA queer art scene: Like any other scene it is boring, elitist, and takes itself way too seriously. Oops, I meant to say I think it's awesome.

What is your Vision for the Queer Future: My hope is that we stop trying to turn into boring straight people. We are the last of the eccentrics and hopefully it'll stay that way.

What do you see as the future for queer art: Is there any other kind of art?

What are your upcoming plans: My plan is to record a new album and shoot a Sounds of ASTEROTH movie, but I try not make to many plans. I can croak at any minute.

Sample of Work: soundsofasteroth.bandcamp this is a free download of my latest recording.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Tyrannicides (514 BC)

Check out this hot revolutionary Ancient Greek couple. Trynancide means the killing of a tyrant, or someone who has committed the act for the common good. The most famous Tyranacides are handsome Harmodius, and the striking Aristogeiton, lovers of ancient Athens. Harmodius and Aristogeiton were sexy martyrs to the cause of Athenian freedom who became a symbol of democracy when they sacrificed their own lives to kill the tyrant Hipparchus. Carrying knives hidden in myrtle wreathes they assassinated Hipparchus at The Panathenaic Games in 514 BC.

Later Cleisthenes, a noble Athenian of the Alcmaeonid family, commissioned the sculptor Antenor to create a statue of the heroic lovers. It was the foremost commission of its kind and so the couple became immortalized in the first statue ever to be paid for out of public funds.

Edward Carpenter, English mystic, socialist philosopher, and out gay activist from turn of the century England wrote of the Tyrannicides,
“If the love of Harmodious had been for a wife and children at home, he would probably not have cared, and it would hardly have been his business, to slay the tyrant.”

And their story is also told in a popular drinking song,

“In a myrtle branch I will carry my sword,
as did Harmodius and Aristogeiton
When at the Feast of Athena
They slew the tyrant Hipparchus.
Ever shall your fame live in the earth
Dearest Harmodious and Aristogeiton,
For that you slew the tyrant
And made Athens a city of equal rights.”

Sunday, April 3, 2011

1st Known Gay Couple: Khanumhotep and Niankhkhanum

Khanumhotep and Niankhkhanum (2400 B.C)

I've been looking at examples of Gay Love from History as research for a new show I am creating about Gay Love and I was wondering who the earliest known gay couple was. Obviously gay love dates back to the dawn of humankind but who are the first gay lovers on record?

It turns out the first known gay couple dates back to the 5th dynasty Egypt, Niankhkhanum and Khanumhotep royal manicurists of The Great House.
All we know of them today is what we can gather from their shared tomb in the pyramid of King Unas. The couple was very close to the king and shared the title of Overseer of the Manicurists and was quite possibly responsible for the personal grooming of the king. The tomb walls show scenes of men shaving the back, beard, head, legs, and groins of customers.
Niankhkhanum is often depicted in a position of dominance in relation to Khanumhotep. And Khanumhotep is the only person in the tomb, besides women, depicted smelling the lotus flower. The couple's relationship was apparently so intimate that their names are actually combined to read as one in some places in the tomb: Niankh/Khanum/hotep. And the love they shared was apparently so strong that they were meant to be eternally united in this way.

There are many depictions of them on the tomb walls inspecting goods, fishing or hunting together, or sitting with their arms around each other. There are even some, in the deepest part of the tomb, where the men are shown embracing nose to nose and their belts are touching almost as if they are linked together. It is the most intimate embrace possible in Egyptian art. And it is there in the offering chapel deep beneath the Causeway of Unas and the hot sands of Egypt where the two men stand in an embrace meant to last for eternity.