Friday, 9 January 2015

The Youth Club in the form of a blog called Uth zine

Recently we spotted a new blog dedicated to all of you young rebels out there.

It is called Uth zine and is a dynamic youth culture webzine showcasing a diverse body of photographic and written talent from within the extensive archive of YOUTH CLUB, PYMCA and beyond.

UTH ZINE is a submission led platform, encouraging collaboration from photographers, artists, musicians and writers contributing around the area of youth culture and we like it, so go check it out :

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Short film on Voguing by British filmmaker Jenn Nkiru

And back on the topic of Ballroom and Voguing, we have this thrilling new short film to unveil to you peeps.
It's the first part of a series by new British Director Jenn Nkiru with the obvious title EN VOGUE.
A high-concept in your face experimental short film showcasing the unique beauty, energy & exuberance of one of NYC's last underground subcultures: Voguing & Ballroom.

The film was written, produced and directed by British filmmaker Jenn Nkiru with cinematography from Bradford Young (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pariah, Restless City, Middle of Nowhere, Mother of George) and second unit photography from Arthur Jafa (Eyes Wide Shut, Daughters of the Dust, Crooklyn). Filming was completed in summer 2013 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City with post-production finalised in March 2014 between Final Cut Studios and Color Collective NY in London and New York City.
The dancers and personalities featured in the film hail from the Legendary Houses of Ninja, Mizrahi, Labeija, Garçon, Xtravaganza, Mugler, Lanvin, Prodigy and Evisu. NYC entertainment personality and Broadway singer/actor, Dwayne Milan plays a leading role. Choreography comes courtesy of Danielle Polanco (Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, JLo) with prominent DJ/Producer MikeQ (Qween Beat Productions / Fade To Mind Records) serving as the music composer for the film.
With the production of En Vogue, Jenn Nkiru is gearing up to release a project that is “dreamlike, poetic and visually arresting.”
“This is realness. This film is art in motion– it’s performance/video art. It’s experimental, authentic and nothing like the channel has seen before. It’s special– it’s different,” says Nkiru.
Ahead of its broadcast release, En Vogue has already been picked up by the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival as an official selection and by the newly formed Curzon Home Cinemas, who have picked up the film under an exclusive license during the month of June 2014.
Further news and info on Jenn Nkiru and En Vogue can be found at:

JAMES ST JAMES - Words of Advice to Michael Alig in an Open Letter

Having been released from jail just 3 days ago, Michael Alig needn't worry about getting his head roud the modern tech-world or catching up on new trends. His buddy James St James has kindly offered a comprehensive guidance in the form of an open letter (published by WorldOfWonder ) where he points out the do's and dont's of today's society. 
It goes like this:

"Dear Michael, It’s a very different world you’re re-entering into. So much has changed in the 17 years since you last walked among us. For instance: We have talking pictures now! And cronuts! Boys are cuter in the 21st century. And dicks are bigger. These are facts. If you don’t believe me, spend an hour on Tumblr. 

Another odd thing: EVERYBODY has killer style now. Kids in Peoria are as fabulous as the kids in Williamsburg. It’s all rather dizzying, and kind of depressing. When everybody is fabulous, nobody is.

OMG. Burger King changed their french fries and the world has never been the same.
Cabs take credit cards now....

Viral videos, blogs, GIFs, memes – there’s a whole world waiting for you online. But the internet is a scary place. Things get weird fast. I suggest dipping your feet in slowly. Gently… Technology develops at light speed now, you don’t want to get left behind. 
You NEED a smart phone, a computer, a DVR, and a tablet. There are no two ways around this. And be sure to keep up on all the latest upgrades and gadgets. You don’t want to be like me. I still have an iphone 4. Its calculator is an abacus. My Grindr only has Pilgrims in my area who want to hook up. It’s OLD.
Things we don’t need any more: Phone books, dictionaries, maps, and encyclopedias. They’re all in your phone. IT’S CRAZY.
Things it takes awhile to get used to not needing anymore: Photographs, books, and newspapers. You’ll fight this, but eventually you’ll succumb. It’s a paperless world now. Adapt or die.
You aren’t going to believe this one: Clubs play top 40 now. Rihanna, Britney, Katy Perry.
That’s it. It’s very sad. The scene has changed.
Now, it’s just a thousand shrieking girls taking selfies and dancing to “Wake Me Up” by Aviccii.
95% of your time in any given club will be spent having your picture taken. 
Seriously. It’s. All. You. Do.
Picture after picture after picture.
Smile. Snap.
Smile. Snap.
Until you want to snap someone's head off.

Speaking of clubs: You’ve become a bit of a legend since you went in (YOU’RE WELCOME) and you WILL stop the room the first few times you go out. It’s an odd sensation, but even odder is when it doesn’t happen. See, you’re old now, and although many of this generation were raised on Party Monster, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a room where everybody is completely CLUELESS. They’ve never seen the Geraldos or Phil Donahues or Jenny Joneses. They’ve never heard of Angel. They don’t know or care who Julie Jewels was. They don’t even know who Andy Warhol was. A 21-year-old at WOW had never heard of Moby. MOBY. It’s weird. The generation that has the greatest access to knowledge in the history of mankind is the one that cares the least about it. So there will be places where you go where NOBODY WILL RECOGNIZE YOU and NOBODY WILL CARE. And because you are no longer a cute little twink, 20-somethings will LOOK RIGHT THROUGH YOU. Or worse: SNEER at the old man. Joy Behar once said that after 35 nobody looks at you on the beach anymore, no matter how good you look. It’s true. And it’s true everywhere.
My point: Enjoy the times people recognize you, because not being recognized when your old SUUUUUUUCKS.
You’re going to need to download the following apps ASAP: Grindr, Scruff, Jack’D, Uber, Snapchat, Vine, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, spotify, Wikipedia, Moviephone, IMDB, HuluPlus, Fruit Ninja, and Angry Birds (dated, yes, but you need to catch up)…
A crash course on social media platforms:Facebook is where you find people you went to high school with who now own pretend farms.
Instagram is all the people you avoid at parties posting pictures of their breakfast.
Twitter is just people you don’t know making pithy comments about serious subjects they know nothing about.
Pinterest is where morbidly obese cat ladies pin pictures of what Katniss would wear.
Tumblr is micro-blogging + gay porn for tweens.
And Vine is always just sx seconds of extreme torture.
Haterz gonna hate, of course, but the worst of the worst are YouTube commenters and Redditors. You have been warned.
Stay away from Beliebers, Little Monsters, and Directioners. They make holocaust deniers seem well-reasoned. And they will cut a bitch if you cross them.

Breaking Bad. You need to Netflix that shit NOW. (Also on your to-do list: Get Netflix.)
Movies. I was thinking of starting a #MoviesMichaelNeedstoSee on Twitter, because I can’t possibly list 18 years worth of important, life-altering movies off the top of my head, but here’s where to start: Donnie Darko, Bully, Gummo, Mysterious Skin, Blair Witch, Election, Jaw Breaker, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Apt Pupil, Hedwig, Spring Breakers, Funny Games, Happiness, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, Boys Don’t Cry, Velvet Goldmine, Fight Club, Bad Santa, Scream, The Ice Storm, Boogie Nights, Igby Goes Down, Rushmore, Die Mommy Die, Last Days of Disco, AI, Lost Highway, 28 Days Later, Pan’s Labyrinth, District 9, Capturing the Friedmans… and on.
Funny side note: Drug dealers almost always have Party Monster on. Or Kill Bill Volume 2. Literally WITHOUT FAIL. Every drug dealer’s apartment you will ever go to (and I’m not advising you to got to any… but) there they are. There YOU are. On a loop.
Drugs. Omg, there are so many new drugs that I’m advising you not to do. You can’t, of course, because you’re on A SPIRITUALLY ENLIGHTENED PATH now – planting trees in Angel’s name and building homes for orphans and whatnot. The last thing we need is for you to chew off some hobo’s face while high on bath salts. But there’s a WORLD of new synthetic drugs you should AT LEAST be aware of: K2, Salvio, Meow Meow…OH. There is ONE drug that you really OUGHT TO TRY. You’ll just love it, I know it.NO SIDE EFFECTS. And NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW you’ve done it.It’s called krocodil.
Really, Michael, I’m just going to get a tiny, little gram of krokodil as a getting out present…. Thank me later.Well. That should get you started.
All my best wishes for you’re newly rehabilitated life. Enjoy the new millennia, it’s been waiting for you
xxxJames St James"

In reality, Michael Alig has not been completely out of the loop and his twitter account has been alive and active for a while, gathering a considerable following of 25K followers thanks to Esther Haynes, who has been posting tweets for him, like this one, posted just on the day of his release:

And jail wasn't a completely isolated affair. As we see, Michael has been following reality tv (hopefully for the educating factor) if we are to judge by this tweet from 2 days ago

                                                                                    (click the link to read)
More on the topic: check this:


Following our post about the recent release of Michael Alig from jail, we found some of his tweets as an inmate quite hilarious really. Here is our top 20:


Monday, 31 March 2014

BALLROOM SCENE - Terminology

For those who wandered about the terminology of my previous post, here is an insight into the lingo of the Ballroom scene. 


  • HOUSE - a literal re-creation of "home" - in the sense that these groups became real-life families for individuals that might have been exiled from their birth homes. 
  • Femme Queens - preoperative male to female transsexuals, often known for their alluring beauty and uncanny "realness."
  • Butches - a term used to describe either aggressive lesbian women or female-to-male transsexuals.
  • The term "woman" - only reserved for either heterosexual, biologically born women or feminine lesbians that did not identify with the "butch" title.
  • "Trade" - describes men whose sexuality might have been in question even if their masculinity was not.
  • "Butch Queens" - a term used to describe any biologically born male that presented himself of as male, "Butch Queens Up in Drag" on the other hand came to signify gay men who dressed in drag specifically for the balls, but still lived his everyday life as a man.
  • Old way is characterized by the formation of lines, symmetry, and precision in the execution of formations with graceful, fluid-like action. Egyptian hieroglyphs and fashion poses serve as the original inspirations for old way voguing. In its purest, historical form, old way vogue is a duel between two rivals. 
  • New way is characterized by rigid movements coupled with "clicks" (limb contortions at the joints) and "arms control" (hand and wrist illusions, which sometimes includes tutting and locking). New way can also be described as a modified form of mime in which imaginary geometric shapes, such as a box, are introduced during motion and moved progressively around the dancer's body to display the dancer's dexterity and memory. New way involves incredible flexibility.
  • Vogue Fem (the spelling being an English appropriation to fr. femme, feminine) is fluidity at its most extreme with exaggerated feminine movements influenced by ballet and modern dance. Styles of Vogue Fem performance range from Dramatics (which emphasizes stunts, tricks, and speed) to Soft and Cunt (which emphasizes a graceful, beautiful, easy flow). 

There are five elements of Vogue Fem: hand performance, catwalk, duckwalk, floor performance, and spins and dips. When competing in a Vogue Fem battle, contestants should showcase all five elements in an entertaining fashion.
  • Hand performance refers to the illusions and movements of the arms, wrists, hands, and fingers.
  • The catwalk is the upright sashaying in a linear fashion.
  • The duckwalk refers to the crouched, squatted, foot-kicking and scooting movements requiring balance on the balls of the feet.
  • Floor performance refers to the movements done on the floor using primarily the legs, knees, and back.
  • The dip is the fall, drop, or descent backward onto one's back with one's leg folded underneath. Mainstream dance forms popularized the dip, which is occasionally called the "death drop" when done in dramatics style. Due to popular media, the dip is sometimes incorrectly termed the "5000", "shablam", and "shabam"; such misnomers likely stem from older commentators chanting the word "shawam" when a voguer successfully completed a dip.

Notes on Voguing

Many people know about it, some are Voguers themselves, others are already over it, but to many Voguing is still a relatively unfamiliar term. There are many an article written about it and I will try to point them out here.
First, how it all started? Where and when....
As any other underground movement/subculture, Voguing was born as an answer to socio-political pressures on a group of individuals. In this case particularly black and latin LGBT communities in Chicago and New York.
The correct term to use, we should point out, is actually Ballroom (or simply Ball) Scene. Voguing is the main style of this scene, but not the only one as we will see further on.
It is widely considered that Voguing dates back to late 70s and took its name from Vogue magazine, as the competing dancers would flip to pictures of models posing, and imitate them, trying to outdo each other in the process. This really refers to Voguing as a style and attitude, but many will argue that the true birth of the ballroom scene is to be traced back to the notorious culture of Harlem drag balls in 1920s and 1930s New York. (ref: and and other claims even go further to suggest that the scene was born in Chicago as early as 1900s (ref: )
To define Ballroom, it is really a competition where different teams, called HOUSES perform against each other in various categories such as Fasion, Dance, Runway, Modelling, Face, Creativity and more. If the early balls were diverse, they were also very much white owned. This changed in the sixties, when Harlem's gay black community staged its own events. It wasn't until the following decade that the 'Houses' that supported the balls became formalized. In 1977 an imperious, elegant queen named Crystal LaBeija announced that a ball she'd helped put together was being given by the House of LaBeija, as in House of Chanel or House of Dior and the trend was formed. (ref: Michael Cunningham).
As the movement developed, it incorporated other forms of dance such as Waacking (high speed arm movements and hand gestures) and body popping. Largely an underground movement, it became relatively big trend by the end of the 80s when it suddenly experienced a mainstream breakout moment in the early '90s, when first Malcolm McLaren's 1989 release "Deep in Vogue" climbed the dance charts and then Madonna's take on "Vogue" became a blockbuster pop hit. Perhaps you've also heard of  Masters at Work’s 1991 classic “The Ha Dance” which is one major source for sampling for most of the New Way voguing sound. Then we had Jennie Livingston's 1990 documentary "Paris is Burning" which is a great film, argues "but not one that does its subject justice. There is more to the ballroom scene than chopping, mopping, "fierceness" and shade; and there is more to voguing than striking a pose.  As for Drag, it is a form of control. By looking good one can feel good. By looking powerful, one can feel powerful. One can be powerful. Therefore, beauty begets control.
Today, ballroom culture and voguing has become an integral part of the black gay urban experience. Voguing culture has evolved. It's riding a new wave of exposure, through thousands of fan-posted YouTube videos, the massive viral reception that accompanied the five-member Vogue Evolution team's televised run on America's Best Dance Crew in 2009, and Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" video, which features Leiomy of Vogue Evolution and centers on her signature "Leiomy Lolly" hair-whip dance move, also co-opted by Britney Spears and Beyonce. We've seen Kelly Rowland throwing shapes in more than one recent videos while the likes of Azealia Banks are coming up with soe sick beats - voguing style of cource. Lately, less formal groups of young voguers called kiki houses are springing up alongside the established houses. A more aggressive style of voguing has taken over, as "vogue fem" (or "vogue femme") continues to dominate the floor. Like most styles of dance, Vogue Fem is more about a look and feel than a hard-and-fast set of rules. It can encompass ultra-feminine, ballet-like "soft and cunty" movements on the one end, and hyperactive, stunt-driven "dramatics" on the other. Wild hair tosses, heart-stopping drops, and angled twirls became the vogue fem hallmarks. With the new style, dancers began to gravitate towards nervier, more anxious music with sharp orchestra hits, cascades of percussive crashes, and super-choppy samples. The gracefulness and glamorous poses of the Old Way [generally accepted division into Old Way (pre-1990) and New Way (post-1990)] made room for more attention-grabbing moves, and the amped-up speed garage sound of the new tracks wouldn't feel out of place on contemporary dance labels like Night Slugs or Fool's Gold."
But let's look back at the visual documentaries that turned the focus of the new generations to the legacy of Voguing and contributed to its revival of late. "Paris Is Burning" has introduced a wide audience to the language, style, music and culture of voguing. The 2005 documentary "How Do I Look" acts as a kind of riposte to Paris Is Burning, going further into ballroom culture and featuring some Paris Is Burning cast members who felt they weren't portrayed fairly. The main source for modern ballroom footage is unquestionably the YouTube channel Ballroom Throwbacks (recommended to us by Niall Connolly) , which has been grabbing and uploading candid footage of modern balls for a few years now. Also worth watching is The Luna Show, in which Butch Queen Face legend Luna Khan hosts some great short interviews with many stars of the ballroom scene.
As far as reading goes, the main books dedicated to the scene are:
Voguing And The House Ballroom Scene Of New York City 1989-92 - an excellent coffee table book produced by Soul Jazz, this time on the House Ballroom scene of New York as documented by Chantal Regnault
Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene - Gerard H. Gaskin's radiant colour and black-and-white photographs take us inside the culture of house balls. Comprised of photos taken at balls events in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., is a collaboration between Gaskin, a camera-laden outsider who has been attending balls for twenty years

Sources and further read:  (with free music download links)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Fashion Galore : in memory of Isabella Blow

Since Showstudio opened the new wing of Somerset House just over four years ago, it kick-started the trend of showcasing the most important fashion talent of our time. That trend continues today with the opening of their latest must-see show "Fashion Galore". It celebrates one of the most important visionaries in recent history, the late Isabella Blow and features highlights of her extensive (and rather exuberant) wardrobe. Expect to be immersed in a world dominated by wonderful creations by her friends Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen, numerous hats and avant garde head pieces and as many frocks and gowns and one-off designer dresses that offer a feast to the eyes and feed the imagination of any viewer.
Last night's private view of the exhibition proved how loved and respected Isabella actually was. Despite her disbelief in our appreciation, Isabella was an icon for every club kid or fashion student in London and around the world and last night's launch saw over 200 guests, some of whom close friends and family, many of her peers, fashion insiders, designers and editors, all raising a toast in her memory with a slight air of sadness still, for her passing was rarher premature.
The guestlist (which included pictures next to each name as I discovered) included pretty much every important person of the London social/fashion scene i e: Grace Jones, Honor Frazer, Henry Holland, Stephen Jones, Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes, Princess Beatrice of York, Stella Tenant, Mary J Blige, Nick Knight, Philip Treacy, Daphne Guiness, Liberty Ross and Boy George to name but a few. Canopies were being served from a bird cage with two crows on each side and the cocktails were coming from every direction.
The show itself is a real treat with a healthy mixture of video footage from her personal archive, photographs and of course the fashion collection which was aquired and preserved by her friend and fashion icon Daphne Guiness. On display are also some of her most memorable editorial spreads, collaborations with some of the greatest photographers like Steven Meisel, David Lachapelle and Sean Ellis.

Isabella' s sister Lavinia

Make a note in your diary, the show is opening today. Whether you will be looking for an inspiration for your next outfit or just looking out for a creative spark, you do not want to miss this show.