Tag Archive | "Issue 4"

Fenuxe Interview: Oh Land


To enter Danish pop princess Oh Land’s world of dreamy soundscapes and uptempo electronica beats is to meet a more approachable La Roux, a less frenetic Nelly Furtado…a more coherent Bjork.

With fans like Elton John in her corner, producers like Pharrell working with her, and a nomination for Logo’s NewNowNext award for the Brink of Fame in her pocket, Oh Land is set to rule the States.  She spoke to Fenuxe from her Brooklyn home about her longtime relationship with gay fans, her epic live shows, and getting bitten by “the crazy music bug.”

Fenuxe: So this is for our Beauty issue and you’re…well, beautiful!

Oh Land: [laughs] Thank you!

Fenuxe: Did you ever want to model?

Oh Land: No I’ve never aspired to model or do anything of interest like that.  I always get surprised when people say I’m beautiful.  I guess in Denmark I look very…kind of plainish [laughs].  So I guess I’m just more exotic over here.  But yeah, I’ve never thought of that.  There are people who would be much better at that than me.

Fenuxe: So what can listeners expect to hear when they put on an Oh Land album?

Oh Land: They can expect an album that can make them dance as much as it can make them think, or hopefully get a moment of peace.  It’s very cinematic in a way – there’s a lot of string arrangements and dreamy choirs, but then there’s also beats and some kind of optimism in the album.  So I just hope it will make people relax and dance and do whatever they wanna do and feel at home for the moment in the music.

Fenuxe: You did ballet for ten years then had to quit after a serious back injury.  Did the end of your ballet career lead you to pursue music?

Oh Land: It was a very natural thing for me to, whenever I got sad or happy I expressed it with singing or dancing because that was what we did in my home.  But I guess I was a little bit scared to pursue that dream because music almost meant too much to me.  Because If I failed, it would break my heart [laughs].

So I started to dance and that became my passion for those ten years.  And then when I got this injury, it took me a lot of time to get over.  But the thing that kind of made me go on and be passionate about something again was music.  I just started writing all these songs, in a way like writing a diary about all these thoughts and everything that I was going through in that period.  Then, it just slowly took over and I played it to some people who encouraged me to put it up on MySpace.  That was when I got signed to a small indie label in Denmark called Fake Diamond Records.  And then it just all started.  I just got…bitten…[laughs] by the crazy music bug.

Fenuxe: Congratulations on the NewNowNext nomination.  When did you realize you had a gay following?

Oh Land: Pretty early on actually.  My first show ever since I got signed to Sony was the opening of the Pride Festival in New York.  I’ve always been in that environment from my early years at the theater,  and there’s a big gay community in ballet and in opera and acting.  So that was just a part of my upbringing.  My music has been really embraced.  I love playing in those places, I think it’s amazing.

Fenuxe: You were named most stylish New Yorker in Time Out New York Magazine.  How important is fashion to you?

Oh Land: Not more important than music [laughs].  You know, music is everything that matters to me.  Fashion should always be fun.  No matter how I look, even when I look like I have no idea what I’m wearing, I still have picked exactly what I want to wear.  So I think it’s a fun way to play with what you want to express.  Since I grew up in a very theatrical environment, clothes have always been an essential part of how to tell a story because I’ve seen all the costumes.  So I guess that’s kind of stuck with me.

Fenuxe: And you’re coming to Atlanta March 14th.  What can people expect at your show?

Oh Land: Everything’s played live and I play with a drummer and a synth player and they are both genius musicians.  So it’s a really fun show musically.  I’m also playing a bunch of instruments.  And everything we play is synced to projectors that project visuals of balloons.  So it’s definitely a very visual show.

Fenuxe: Well we’re looking forward to seeing the show, Oh Land.  We appreciate your time.

Oh Land: Thank you so much, I’m really looking forward to playing Atlanta!

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Beauty in Bloom


“Unless you live in a trailer, then don’t ever implement fake greenery as part of your taste,” said Robin Barbaree in his seminal book Any Queen Can Decorate.  If any queens out there want tips on keeping it real – and real gorgeous – then the Cobb Galleria Centre is the place as the Southeastern Horticultural Society presents the Southeastern Flower Show.

The festivities kick off with an opening night party Thursday the 24th at the Galleria.  Then the show officially opens Friday morning for three days of demos, a juried competition, and enough floral design and décor tips to make a gay man weep.

Organizers have lined up nearly 30 inspiring horticulturists, designers, chefs, and landscaping experts to reveal the secrets to their success.  You’ll get the dirt on dahlias and daylillies, the do’s and don’ts of landscape design, and the keys to baking the grandest gluten-free cakes.  In other words, you can shut that bitch-of-a-neighbor up about his “perfect” home.  It’s a win-win!

And who is at the helm of this year’s show leading 2,000 volunteers?  None other than former mayoral candidate and honorary gay Mary Norwood, who is co-chairing the event with her husband Felton.  They have a long history with the Flower Show, although one of them is definitely the expert.

“He and I have entered the flower show every year as a husband and wife team and he is talented and I’m spectacularly untalented,” Mary Norwood told Fenuxe.  “So I would label the flowers and he would arrange them.”

Norwood is excited about Saturday night’s appearance by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, as well as the musical theme of this year’s show – In Tune with Blooms.  Musicians will be singing and playing throughout the weekend, emphasizing the pleasure of music in the garden.

So whether you want to beautify your home or just bask in glamourous surroundings for a day, the Flower Show is it.

“You’re going to walk in and it’s going to be ‘wow,’” Norwood says.  “We’ve got gorgeous gardens, wonderful landscapers.  We have great speakers.  I think it’s just going to be a lot of activity and fun and breathtakingly beautiful.”

Southeastern Flower Show

Feb. 25 – Feb. 27

Cobb Galleria Centre

http://www.sehort.org/flower_show

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Showing Some Skin


A-List stars don’t make it to the silver screen by having razor burn and crow’s feet.  They follow a regimen to stay at the top – and no, the regimen doesn’t involve massive amounts of trans fat or cocaine.  Stick to this list of skin saviors and you’ll be on stage thanking your stylist’s assistant’s personal trainer in no time.

Pevonia Age-Defying Caviar Balm – $73.50

Repair, smooth out, firm up, and energize with this cutting-edge anti-aging formula from Pevonia.

Pevonia Easy-Glide Shaving Emulsion – $38.00

Do you like it smooth, not rough?  Keep it that way without the burn or the sensitivity.

EvolutionMAN Lip Balm SPF 15 – $10.00

You got a purdy mouth, boy!  Moisturize and protect it for the long haul thanks to Evolution Man.

EvolutionMAN Revitalize Eye Gel – $24.00

Bye-bye bags, lines, dark circles, and puffiness.  Say hello again to the sparkle that catches his eye!

Visible Solutions One Minute Wonder – $40.00

This cleanser from Visible Solutions is the key to uncovering the silky-smooth skin you deserve.

Dirty Boyz Play Clean Bum & Ball Balm – $14.00

Even Oscar trims the hedges.  Keep your boys and your business end clean and reap the rewards.

Dirty Boyz Play Clean Body Massage Candle – $18.00

Aromatherapy candle, soothing moisturizer, and sensual massage oil wrapped into one.  Genius!

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Hit the Lights


Seeing an actor come alive on stage is a thing of beauty.  When they’re experiencing a downfall and fighting with every fiber of their being to overcome, it can be a soul-charging experience.  Even more beautiful is seeing a local theater company go through the same thing, and rising up to allow their actors’ to come alive on stage yet again.

It was December 2009 and Synchronicity Theatre was in trouble.  “’The dark times’ as I like to call them,” says Rachel May, co-founder and artistic director of Synchronicity.  The economy tanked.  Ticket sales and funding declined, creating a debt of nearly $120,000.  It was time for hard decisions.

“Our board and I got together and said ‘Listen, none of us want the company to fold and we believe in what we are for this community.  If we want to be sustainable for the long term, then we have to make some very hard choices,’” says May.

Two shows were cancelled.  Three out of the four staff members were laid off, leaving May as the sole staff member to try and right the ship.

The pressure was on for May.  “It was hard on her,” says Dolly Evans, chair-elect of the Synchronicity board.  “It’s very challenging to have a vision for your organization and have to drop back and I think that she had to redirect and reevaluate.”

May led the charge without any other staff members for six months, but she wasn’t alone.  “The people in our greater community were rallying around who we are,” she said.  Former staff members worked for free.  Volunteers came from all over offering help.  Past donors stepped up.

By June 2010, Synchronicity had paid down its debt to $70,000.  They hired two staff members in September.  The debt was paid down to $39,000 by October.  Their goal is to pay off $30,000 more this year.  “If things go better than expected, we’ll pay the whole thing off this year,” says May.

And now they have a dynamic three-show repertory coming up and are ready to bring the beauty back to the stage.

“I remember when we finally got the e-mail that said ‘We’re back,’” says Suehyla El-Attar, an artistic associate of Synchronicity.  “And they were actually back. It was like, ‘I don’t know how you did it, but thank God.’”

101 Humiliating Stories

One of the most heralded shows of 2009 gets a remount as Synchronicity Theatre, in partnership with PushPush Theater, bring 101 Humiliating Stories back to Atlanta.  East Village lesbian performance artist Lisa Kron wrote this one-woman show about returning to her conservative Midwestern town to speak at her high school reunion.

Shelby Hofer, co-founder of PushPush, reprises her role from the 2009 production.   “We just don’t get a lot of work like this in Atlanta,” she told Fenuxe.  “It’s really raw, honest material.”

101 Humiliating Stories

March 14 – 23, 2011

7 Stages Mainstage Theatre

http://www.synchrotheatre.com/

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Decatur native Lauren Grunderson wrote this modern day revenge comedy set in the North Georgia mountains.  A woman decides to settle things once and for all with her abusive husband by enlisting the support of her gay best friend Simon and a stripper named Sweetheart.

Simon is portrayed by gay actor Clifton Guterman, who sums up the characters’ motivation.  “We’re getting out and maybe in the process we’ll show this asshole what a horrible person he is,” he says.  “It all sounds really serious and dark but it’s actually seriously funny.”

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

March 3 – 27, 2011

7 Stages Mainstage Theatre

http://www.synchrotheatre.com/

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MetroFresh in the Garden


Maintaining a healthy, beautiful body begins with what you put into it.  Is it fresh?  Does it have oodles of nutrients?  There’s one Midtown mainstay that can answer those questions with a resounding “YES” every time.  And they’ve got a gorgeous new location to prove it.

MetroFresh celebrated five years of serving “Fresh, Food, Fast” to Midtown’s hungry hordes by renovating their flagship location and introducing a brand new “Rockstar Breakfast” menu.  Then they capped it off by partnering with the Atlanta Botanical Garden to open up the much-anticipated MetroFresh in the Garden.

Plans for the expansion began when representatives from the Botanical Garden approached MetroFresh owner Mitchell Anderson last summer to see if he was interested in submitting a proposal.  “I thought, if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it really right,” the former Doogie Howser, MD and Party of Five actor told Fenuxe.

Part of doing it really right involved renovating and expanding a Garden cafe space to offer both indoor and alfresco dining in the midst of one of the city’s most sacred, peaceful landscapes.  “It’s a beautiful, beautiful spot,” Anderson says.

The Garden setting won’t be the only difference from the celebrated Midtown Promenade location.  The Rockstar Breakfast won’t be making an appearance at the Garden, but there will be a full coffee bar and assorted breakfast breads and pastries.  Lunch will stay relatively the same, and dinner will not be served.

But just because MetroFresh has some impressive new digs, it doesn’t mean they won’t be sticking to their core mission of preparing gourmet soups, salads, sides, and sandwiches using only the freshest ingredients.  They’ll even be taking inspiration from the many offerings in the Garden’s new Edible Garden.

“It will really be instructive,” Anderson says.  “We have a whole blackboard next to the service counter listing what you’re tasting that day from the garden.”

So the next phase of MetroFresh’s growth begins appropriately enough in a garden, which only cements the eatery in Midtown diners’ minds as a beautiful “urban oasis.”

MetroFresh in the Garden

1345 Piedmont Ave.

Atlanta, GA 30309


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Punta Cana


By Ernesto Francisco

“¡Relájete y Diviértate!” are some of the first words you will hear upon arrival to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  Warm smiles and seductive glances await you in this sun-drenched corner of the Caribbean.  Your only option is to do just as the locals implore – relax and have fun!

A short three-hour flight will settle you into tranquility mode and get you ready to start the fun.  After your arrival, as your shuttle transports you to the luxurious all-inclusive resorts surrounded by smooth sand and clear blue ocean, you will know immediately that you’ve arrived in paradise.

If you’re looking for a place to party the gay nights away, the capital city of Santo Domingo is only four hours away by luxury coach or a short twenty-minute flight.  If you prefer a more surreptitious method of meeting a hot guy while strolling the beach in your sexy swimwear, then this is the place!  The Dominican people tend to be really friendly and revel in the chase – relax and take it all in stride.

A trip to the Palma Real Shopping Center will definitely satisfy those who live for shopping.  For a more budget-friendly and “local” flavor, a trip to the center of Bávaro will provide you with a labyrinthine experience to fill your bags with souvenirs, local handicrafts, and newfound treasures.

If you crave all things local, then head to a local merengue or bachata club and mingle!  I highly recommend La Discoteca Tropicana.  It’s located in a natural underground cave and plays hot music with three bars and two dance floors.  Many of the gay/bi/curious entertainers from the resorts hang out here after shows, so there will be no shortage of a good time to be had.

After a hot night at the club, a romantic or introspective nighttime stroll along the beach will be just the thing you need.  With the gentle roar of lapping wavelets to the sublime feeling of the nocturnal ocean air enveloping the senses, you will be transported worlds away from the hustle and bustle of daily Atlanta life.  This, my friends, is relaxation at its finest; thus, consider your goal of relaxing and having fun fulfilled in Punta Cana.

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Spend the Night with Jake & Rufus


Photography lovers and amateur stalkers of gay musicians, rejoice!  Photographer Tim Hailand gives a glimpse into the worlds of two unique, intriguing public figures with his intimate new books One Day in the Life of Jake Shears and One Day in the Life of Rufus Wainwright.

The title says it all.  Hailand snaps photos from the moment each wake up to when they fall asleep.  The subjects contribute a handful of their own writing which makes it read much like a diary.  There’s even a Wizard of Oz motif included.  Most of the day is shot in black and white while the subjects’ “highlight” of the day is presented in color.

Shears’ book begins with an introduction by his friend Elton John, who marvels at “the energizer bunny in his DNA.”  The camera follows as Shears wakes, showers (yes, there are nude shots), rehearses, lunches with friends, tries on show outfits, works out, and plays a sweat-soaked show.

The singer addresses several issues, including his move beyond the Puck-like character he’s been known for (“Somewhere in the last few years I Frenched my boyhood goodbye,” he writes).  He also explains his displeasure at Scissor Sisters being labeled as camp and just a gay band.

Wainwright’s book covers similar ground photographically, as he plays some morning piano in his underwear, rehearses, plays with his baby nephew, tries on show outfits, and plays a show before winding down with a smoke in a backstage stairwell.

The colorful tenor talks about how these pictures captured him in the midst of grief following the death of his mother to cancer.  There’s a touching passage accompanying pictures of Wainwright and his sister Martha singing together at his show, saying it was their “mother’s favorite thing in the world.”

Hailand’s subjects are definitely worth this kind of peak behind the curtain.  It takes a certain kind of gravitas and creative curiosity to deserve a collection like this and Hailand presents a strong case for why these two are so fascinating to so many.

One Day in the Life of Jake Shears &

One Day in the Life of Rufus Wainwright

Hailand Books

http://www.onedayinthelifeof.org/

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