Last Thursday Sang Bleu Tattoo was transformed into a one off live music venue for the eagerly anticipated debut performance from Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. In and amongst the pit, this would be the first of many moshes for the Rattlesnakes who start touring in June. It’s always a breath of fresh air to hear new music at a time when our airwaves are overrun with the manufactured and mundane. Being crammed into a hot sweaty basement, as the sounds boomed from wall to wall shaking ourselves and the pentecostal church next door, it was an evening not to be forgotten. Forgoing any expectations we had, it’s truly got us excited about what’s in store for the year ahead. Check out the video from last Thursdays show below.
Check out Frank Carter’s debut art show Modern Ruin at Sang Bleu Contemporary until 17th June.
Video credits: David Ranson www.davidransonfilms.com
Intimate and erotic images lay before me; my eyes lay focus upon small flesh curvatures, awkward contortions and pink nude bodies. Aaron McElroy, Brooklyn based photographer has amassed a body of work that explores female sexuality through the narrative gaze of the auteur himself. The power of suggestion is heightened purely by the disjointedness of the dream like images; a chronicle of pleasure, addiction and beauty.
Power does not behold the anonymous, half clothed or naked. We are the dominant; our gaze captures parts of flesh that we can control as the viewer. A faceless body that openly allows us to imagine the missing pieces, manipulating the whole image with small glances. Lost identities become whole through visual domestic banality. Folds of skin, loose hair are incarcerated by one square image, but as you look deeper the habitat of this space is wholly private. Sheets strewn in the background, blank walls and random household items create an intrusion into the private sphere of the host. This no longer is an image of celebration towards the female form but instead an exploration of a male gaze towards the body. An unfolding of pleasure and fiction.
How did you get into photography?
It was really random… I’d never thought of photography as being this kind of art form – I was never interested in art. I started taking pictures because I wanted to fill up my apartment. After that I started taking classes. You didn’t need a degree to get in – it was along the lines of: ‘You like photography? Well, we’d like your money’. So I basically just got involved really quickly and it opened itself up in [...]
Perhaps the only White division fighting in the Russian Civil War that stood out so much with the intensity of its attributes and diversity in participants was the Partisan division, which evolved into the army of ataman Annenkov. According to the Division’s tradition, every volunteer covered his chest or wrist with a tattoo of an Orthodox Cross, skull with crossbones, or a snake bizarrely wrapped across the body. Some soldiers even had “God with us and Ataman Annenkov” tattooed.
Volunteers with such tattoos agreed that in the case of captivity, they wouldn’t be spared.
A nostalgic love for the old Imperial Army inspired Boris Vladimirovich Annenkov to create the Black Hussars Regiment (following the example of the former 5th Hussar Regiment of Alexandria), Blue Lancers Regiment (same as the 10th Lancers Regiment of Odessa), cuirassiers, dragoons and “Leib Ataman” regiments. Despite the need of resources and constant fighting operations, Annenkov was able to equip his army in an authentic form.
The Division’s flag was a black canvas covered with a skull and crossbones reading “God with us.” The same slogan was put on all the army’s armoured cars and carriages.
Hussars were wearing black gymnasterkas (double breasted shirt tunic), “chakchiry” (so-called hussar pants) with silver stripes and pelisses decorated with the white cords . The peaked cap also depicted skulls instead of the cockade and rosettes on the boots too.
The Cossacks of Ataman’s regiment wore papakhas, silver skulls on the gymnasterka’s sleeves, patched lapels, lampasses on the trousers and a monogrammed “AA” (“Ataman Annenkov”) on the shoulder strap.
When Russian people suffered Bolshevism oppression
Our little troop was raising riot replication
We left our homes and wives and mothers
We fought with Reds we wanted rest for others…
Two years rebutting the dark force, our deaths were counting hundreds
Documenting beautiful images created with a balance of both fascinating photographic works and as a record of a contemporary subculture currently existing in New York – Bound by Night was recently created by Elegance Bratton and published through Wild Life press.
Twenty three years on from Jennie Livingston’s seminal documentary Paris is Burning which followed young LGBT African American and Hispanic individuals recreate spaces to feel at home within outside of their biological families and through the space of the ballroom; Bratton shows the rest of the world that this culture hasn’t disappeared but simply adapted to our current time.
Unfortunately homophobia, racism and transphobia haven’t been eradicated in the last two decades and what is possibly more upsetting is in Bratton’s introduction where he explains to the reader that since the late 80s the AIDS epidemic has never really slowed down for this community and is still spreading to the most vulnerable at a ferocious rate.
Many of the individuals shot in this book fall in to the subcategories of the ballroom competitions of Femme Queen, Butch Queen, Sex Sirens, Thugs, Voguers, Pretty Boys and so on which are all perfectly explained to us in the introduction.
However much hardship the individuals in this book have experienced, the elements of transformation that fashion and dance offer these young people creates a space of celebration and empowerment. Bratton also presents us with a space which is actually very private and its in own way quite exclusive, many of our own experiences of this culture exist through spectating its re-appropriation through pop culture.
It is so rare to see images where notions of fashion are explored without a barrier of unattainability or exclusivity manifesting themselves, rather Bratton’s images show us an area of hope [...]
Simon Paccaud is a Swiss artist, who took up residency at Sang Bleu earlier this month in preparation for his debut show in London. On Thursday 30th April we held the opening for Simon’s show entitled Mimi Siku and celebrated at The Passage with live performances from the man himself.
It’s your first time in London, what are your initial thoughts of the city?
It’s a pretty classy town from what I saw I think it’s different from where I come from anyway. There’s a good mix of people, and a lot of cultural diversity. This city has an energy to it that lends itself very well to hip hop culture. During the ten days I have been here I feel like the city is always moving.
How has being in London inspired the pieces you have been working on for your debut show in London?
Well, in the pieces I have created have been inspired by my time here. Ideally I think I would have spent more time here to really know more about the city. But yeah it inspired me, at the same time it’s like many things in my work I use codes that are pretty clear, that come from the street or the popular culture.
Could you explain what Mimi Siku is? How did its formation take place?
It’s just a re-appropriation of the film “Little Indian, Big City” and I have friends who call me Mimi Siku. It’s kind of like that guy who’s coming from a different environment (I have lived 10 years in the mountains), just a little besides, who discovers the towns and that’s just what I’m doing for a while. For 10 years, I do everything to climb on buildings or ride full of places. Acting like it was [...]
Alexandra Rayne is a working in the sex industry and is london based. We took some time to discuss sex work, politics and BDSM.
So to start with would you like to tell us how did you start to do sex work? Did it come before or after your involvement in sex/kink/swinger scene? How does both influence each other?
Sex work was always at the back of my mind to try out, ever since I was a teenager and stumbled across a coffee table book of Dominatrix photographs at a friends parents place. I was kinky, but I wouldn’t have conceptualised it that way back then. I guess I figured that my fantasies were entirely normal and it was everyone else that was kinked.
I started out as a dancer, but found that whilst it was good fun (and I enjoyed the club environment) the interactions with customers were….unsatisfying. There was something so banal and flat about dancing to the same songs over and over, so unsexual and not very stimulating for me. I think intimate, one-on-one sessions were always going to be on the cards. I used to get in trouble at the club because I would sit down beside customers and fall into a deep conversation about kink with them – and forget to hustle for a dance!
Eventually I started escorting, and then I got into professional submission, which was about 5 years ago. It seemed like a good fit for me.
Sex work is still bearing a high stigma in western societies, how do you articulate it with your daily life? When does your job become an identity ?
Sex work will always be stigmatised for as long as female sexuality and female power are coded as a threatening [...]
In addition to Simon Paccauds show opening, Sang Bleu and Denim Tears will be hosting the first Sang Bleu Party of the year at The Passage 27A Dalston Lane from 10pm til late.
DJ Gohan (Peur Bleue)
Shha kuumba feat vermimisiku
Rap performance 11pm
Set Times TBA