Culture Dose | Bad Gays | Velvet Goldmine | Sofi Tukker

Read: Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Ben Miller and Huw Lemmey       

We want to showcase this unconventional dive into queer history, which explores the lives of overlooked figures, from Wilde’s lover Bosie to gangster Ronnie Kray. When considering the full extent of the past, many historians aim to render queer people icons, martyrs and heroes. Yet that’s not the whole story, nor the most interesting one.

Authors Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller demonstrate that it is critical to consider ‘un-exemplary’ queer lives, which also illuminate historical realities and challenge conventional ideas of sexual identity. For instance, the modern conception of ‘homosexuality’ only emerged in the nineteenth century. Bad Gays is not a good or bad book. Instead, its challenging of binaries makes it a great one.

Watch: Velvet Goldmine

What’s better than a literal goldmine? A cinematic one – if we were miners, we would be exhilarated if this music drama was what we found at the end of the shaft. Directed by Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine is a ‘70s rock-and-roll fever dream about a journalist who seeks to track down bisexual glam-rock star Brian Slade. With characters based on David Bowie, Marc Bolan of T. Rex, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, this is a vivid portrait of the era’s extravagance, politics and sexual expression.

Style is paramount in Velvet Goldmine, from feather boas to platform boots in metallic hues. On one level, dressing is an inherently political act. The gender nonconformity of clothes signify one’s refusal to conform to the homophobic mainstream. On another level, it’s just plain fun. The film opens with a child Oscar Wilde standing in line with other children. Other children pronounce their desires to become tailors and farmers. In his trademark starched linen collar, Oscar Wilde says he wants to be a pop idol.

Who needs gold? This BAFTA costume design award-winning film certainly doesn’t when it can slink around in velvet, quoting from the likes of Wilde and Jean Genet – not to mention playing the soundtrack, which gleams.

Listen to: Sofi Tucker

Because Summer in New York…

The perfect band for going out in every sense of the word, Sofi Tukker’s music transports you to the dancefloor. Promoting inclusivity and empowerment, the band celebrates individuality through their unique blend of electropop.

Harnessing the spirit of Pride, New York-based musicians Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern know how to put on a show. So what are you waiting for? We encourage you to put on your put best purple hat and cheetah print and go to the club, ready to start “dancing on the people.” Then “meet up with friends for more / All of the promise of summer in New York.” If that isn’t a vibe for the year’s hottest months, we don’t know what is.

–Jayna Rohslau

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