RuPaul speaks about society and the state of drag as performance art

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Few artists ever penetrate the subconscious level of American culture the way RuPaul Andre Charles did with the 1993 album Supermodel of the World. It was groundbreaking not only because in the midst of the Grunge phenomenon did Charles have a dance hit on MTV, but because he did it as RuPaul, formerly known as Starbooty, a supermodel drag queen with a message: love everyone. A duet with Elton John, an endorsement deal with MAC cosmetics, an eponymous talk show on VH-1 and roles in film propelled RuPaul into the new millennium.

In July, RuPaul’s movie Starrbooty began playing at film festivals and it is set to be released on DVD October 31st. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone recently spoke with RuPaul by telephone in Los Angeles, where she is to appear on stage for DIVAS Simply Singing!, a benefit for HIV-AIDS.


DS: How are you doing?

RP: Everything is great. I just settled into my new hotel room in downtown Los Angeles. I have never stayed downtown, so I wanted to try it out. L.A. is one of those traditional big cities where nobody goes downtown, but they are trying to change that.

DS: How do you like Los Angeles?

RP: I love L.A. I’m from San Diego, and I lived here for six years. It took me four years to fall in love with it and then those last two years I had fallen head over heels in love with it. Where are you from?

DS: Me? I’m from all over. I have lived in 17 cities, six states and three countries.

RP: Where were you when you were 15?

DS: Georgia, in a small town at the bottom of Fulton County called Palmetto.

RP: When I was in Georgia I went to South Fulton Technical School. The last high school I ever went to was…actually, I don’t remember the name of it.

DS: Do you miss Atlanta?

RP: I miss the Atlanta that I lived in. That Atlanta is long gone. It’s like a childhood friend who underwent head to toe plastic surgery and who I don’t recognize anymore. It’s not that I don’t like it; I do like it. It’s just not the Atlanta that I grew up with. It looks different because it went through that boomtown phase and so it has been transient. What made Georgia Georgia to me is gone. The last time I stayed in a hotel there my room was overlooking a construction site, and I realized the building that was torn down was a building that I had seen get built. And it had been torn down to build a new building. It was something you don’t expect to see in your lifetime.

DS: What did that signify to you?

RP: What it showed me is that the mentality in Atlanta is that much of their history means nothing. For so many years they did a good job preserving. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a preservationist. It’s just an interesting observation.

DS: In 2004 when you released your third album, Red Hot, it received a good deal of play in the clubs and on dance radio, but very little press coverage. On your blog you discussed how you felt betrayed by the entertainment industry and, in particular, the gay press. What happened?

RP: Well, betrayed might be the wrong word. ‘Betrayed’ alludes to an idea that there was some kind of a promise made to me, and there never was. More so, I was disappointed. I don’t feel like it was a betrayal. Nobody promises anything in show business and you understand that from day one.
But, I don’t know what happened. It seemed I couldn’t get press on my album unless I was willing to play into the role that the mainstream press has assigned to gay people, which is as servants of straight ideals.

DS: Do you mean as court jesters?

RP: Not court jesters, because that also plays into that mentality. We as humans find it easy to categorize people so that we know how to feel comfortable with them; so that we don’t feel threatened. If someone falls outside of that categorization, we feel threatened and we search our psyche to put them into a category that we feel comfortable with. The mainstream media and the gay press find it hard to accept me as…just…

DS: Everything you are?

RP: Everything that I am.

DS: It seems like years ago, and my recollection might be fuzzy, but it seems like I read a mainstream media piece that talked about how you wanted to break out of the RuPaul ‘character’ and be seen as more than just RuPaul.

RP: Well, RuPaul is my real name and that’s who I am and who I have always been. There’s the product RuPaul that I have sold in business. Does the product feel like it’s been put into a box? Could you be more clear? It’s a hard question to answer.

DS: That you wanted to be seen as more than just RuPaul the drag queen, but also for the man and versatile artist that you are.

RP: That’s not on target. What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn’t change what I decide to do. I don’t choose projects so people don’t see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me. I think the problem is that people refuse to understand what drag is outside of their own belief system. A friend of mine recently did the Oprah show about transgendered youth. It was obvious that we, as a culture, have a hard time trying to understand the difference between a drag queen, transsexual, and a transgender, yet we find it very easy to know the difference between the American baseball league and the National baseball league, when they are both so similar. We’ll learn the difference to that. One of my hobbies is to research and go underneath ideas to discover why certain ones stay in place while others do not. Like Adam and Eve, which is a flimsy fairytale story, yet it is something that people believe; what, exactly, keeps it in place?

DS: What keeps people from knowing the difference between what is real and important, and what is not?

RP: Our belief systems. If you are a Christian then your belief system doesn’t allow for transgender or any of those things, and you then are going to have a vested interest in not understanding that. Why? Because if one peg in your belief system doesn’t work or doesn’t fit, the whole thing will crumble. So some people won’t understand the difference between a transvestite and transsexual. They will not understand that no matter how hard you force them to because it will mean deconstructing their whole belief system. If they understand Adam and Eve is a parable or fairytale, they then have to rethink their entire belief system.
As to me being seen as whatever, I was more likely commenting on the phenomenon of our culture. I am creative, and I am all of those things you mention, and doing one thing out there and people seeing it, it doesn’t matter if people know all that about me or not.

DS: Recently I interviewed Natasha Khan of the band Bat for Lashes, and she is considered by many to be one of the real up-and-coming artists in music today. Her band was up for the Mercury Prize in England. When I asked her where she drew inspiration from, she mentioned what really got her recently was the 1960’s and 70’s psychedelic drag queen performance art, such as seen in Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis, The Cockettes and Paris Is Burning. What do you think when you hear an artist in her twenties looking to that era of drag performance art for inspiration?

RP: The first thing I think of when I hear that is that young kids are always looking for the ‘rock and roll’ answer to give. It’s very clever to give that answer. She’s asked that a lot: “Where do you get your inspiration?” And what she gave you is the best sound bite she could; it’s a really a good sound bite. I don’t know about Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis, but I know about The Cockettes and Paris Is Burning. What I think about when I hear that is there are all these art school kids and when they get an understanding of how the press works, and how your sound bite will affect the interview, they go for the best.

DS: You think her answer was contrived?

RP: I think all answers are really contrived. Everything is contrived; the whole world is an illusion. Coming up and seeing kids dressed in Goth or hip hop clothes, when you go beneath all that, you have to ask: what is that really? You understand they are affected, pretentious. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s how we see things. I love Paris Is Burning.

DS: Has the Iraq War affected you at all?

RP: Absolutely. It’s not good, I don’t like it, and it makes me want to enjoy this moment a lot more and be very appreciative. Like when I’m on a hike in a canyon and it smells good and there aren’t bombs dropping.

DS: Do you think there is a lot of apathy in the culture?

RP: There’s apathy, and there’s a lot of anti-depressants and that probably lends a big contribution to the apathy. We have iPods and GPS systems and all these things to distract us.

DS: Do you ever work the current political culture into your art?

RP: No, I don’t. Every time I bat my eyelashes it’s a political statement. The drag I come from has always been a critique of our society, so the act is defiant in and of itself in a patriarchal society such as ours. It’s an act of treason.

DS: What do you think of young performance artists working in drag today?

RP: I don’t know of any. I don’t know of any. Because the gay culture is obsessed with everything straight and femininity has been under attack for so many years, there aren’t any up and coming drag artists. Gay culture isn’t paying attention to it, and straight people don’t either. There aren’t any drag clubs to go to in New York. I see more drag clubs in Los Angeles than in New York, which is so odd because L.A. has never been about club culture.

DS: Michael Musto told me something that was opposite of what you said. He said he felt that the younger gays, the ones who are up-and-coming, are over the body fascism and more willing to embrace their feminine sides.

RP: I think they are redefining what femininity is, but I still think there is a lot of negativity associated with true femininity. Do boys wear eyeliner and dress in skinny jeans now? Yes, they do. But it’s still a heavily patriarchal culture and you never see two men in Star magazine, or the Queer Eye guys at a premiere, the way you see Ellen and her girlfriend—where they are all, ‘Oh, look how cute’—without a negative connotation to it. There is a definite prejudice towards men who use femininity as part of their palette; their emotional palette, their physical palette. Is that changing? It’s changing in ways that don’t advance the cause of femininity. I’m not talking frilly-laced pink things or Hello Kitty stuff. I’m talking about goddess energy, intuition and feelings. That is still under attack, and it has gotten worse. That’s why you wouldn’t get someone covering the RuPaul album, or why they say people aren’t tuning into the Katie Couric show. Sure, they can say ‘Oh, RuPaul’s album sucks’ and ‘Katie Couric is awful’; but that’s not really true. It’s about what our culture finds important, and what’s important are things that support patriarchal power. The only feminine thing supported in this struggle is Pamela Anderson and Jessica Simpson, things that support our patriarchal culture.
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An interview with gossip columnist Michael Musto on the art of celebrity journalism

Sunday, October 7, 2007

There are two things one can expect on a trip to see Michael Musto at the offices of the Village Voice: a 20-minute round-trip wait for the elevator and rapid fire answers from one of the most recognizable gossip columnists in the United States. Musto, in addition to his appearances on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the E! network, has been writing his column for the Voice since 1984. He has recently compiled the best of them in a book released this year titled, La Dolce Musto: Writings by the World’s Most Outrageous Columnist. He was Carrie Bradshaw, replete with a prodigious use of puns, before Sex in the City was a thought. His column is a romp through his life, spats and opinions on socio-political issues. As David Thigpen of the Chicago Tribune wrote, Musto is “a funny and caustic satirist who masquerades as a gossip and nightlife columnist.”

Musto, a Columbia University graduate, is a rarity in today’s celebrity world: he is accessible. He often corresponds with his readers and his public functions are a mix of parties, nightclubs, academic lectures, university panels and film premieres.

He is friendly and frank, and he welcomes people to join him in his world (“I just got a message that Michael Lucas died!” he says staring wide-eyed at his phone; the message turned out to be false). Wikinews reporter David Shankbone spoke with Musto about his life and his relationship to the world of celebrity journalism. And he did not hold back.


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What Happens When You Get Teeth Implants In Apple Valley Mn?

November, 2017 byadmin

Implants are used to replace missing teeth so smiles can be made whole. Individuals can find themselves missing teeth after injuries or decay occur. Unfortunately, missing teeth can lead to issues with chewing and even speech difficulties. One of the primary reasons people seek Teeth Implants in Apple Valley MN is for cosmetic improvement. With this information, individuals will better understand what they can expect from the process.

The Surgical Procedure

The first step in the process of getting Teeth Implants in Apple Valley MN is the surgical procedure. This procedure places the titanium implant rod into the gum socket. It will eventually serve as the root of the tooth, once bonding has occurred. The procedure is carried out in the dental office and is typically done under a local anesthetic. If multiple implants are being put in place, the dentist may utilize a general anesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable for the patient.

Bonding is the most important step in the process of replacing missing teeth with implants. Bonding occurs over a period of weeks and months as the body accepts the titanium implant rod and begins to grow new bone cells around it. Bonding allows the titanium implant rod to become a permanent part of the jawbone so it can act as a normal tooth root would.

Parts of an Implant

There are three main parts of an implant and these work together to ensure the implant will be able to perform as naturally as a human tooth would. The following are the components of the implant:

* The titanium implant base

* The abutment

* The prosthetic tooth

Once all three parts are joined, only the prosthetic tooth shows the gumline. The result is a natural-looking tooth replacement that is meant to last a lifetime. It is important individuals see their dentist on a regular basis for maintenance.

To learn more about this dental treatment option, visit website. Contact Dakota Dental & Implant Center and allow them to schedule a consultation appointment today. With an implant, individuals can overcome the issues that prevent them from having a beautiful and complete smile.

Adam Folkard and Nick Norton ready for more men’s softball

Monday, March 19, 2012Hawker, Canberra — Coming off a national championship win for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) men’s open team in mid-February, Australia men’s national softball team representatives Nick Norton and Adam Folkard are getting ready for more softball later this year, including the Australian club championships to be held in Brisbane in June.

Folkard and Norton have both won the World Championships and have each won a total of ten national championships with the ACT side. They are both named to the current men’s national team, which has roughly thirty players, and believe they are likely to survive the December cut down to eighteen players who will represent Australia at next year’s World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.

The World Championship is one of the two most prestigious available to male softball players. The other is the International Softball Congress, an event Folkard and Norton have both competed at.

As national team representatives, there are a lot of expectations for them. In Australia, there is almost no financial support for the men’s game so they must cover most of their own costs, including travel to and from international competitions. According to Folkard’s father, these costs can be prohibitive. In one year, when Folkard was a representative on the men’s U18, U23 and Open team, it cost A$15,000 for travel and other expenses just for Folkard. When costs for bringing family members such as Folkard’s sisters to major international tournaments, the costs were even higher. Folkard, his father and Norton all joked this cost his father an investment property to allow Folkard to continue to compete at the highest level. Both Folkard and Norton currently work as tradesmen to support softball playing.

Beyond money, the national team requires players to be actively involved in wider softball community. Players must represent a club at the club championships in Brisbane if they want to retain a spot in the squad. Folkard plays for a Western Australian club and Norton plays for a Sydney based club, driving down from Canberra to play every Sunday during the season.

Folkard and Norton have both played softball at the highest level in the United States, where the men’s game is not yet fully professionalized but still presents more opportunities for players than are available at home. For several years, Folkard has gone to the United States for three-month stints, playing for teams in Chicago, Pennsylvania, and New York. One side he played was sponsored by Ernst and Young. Folkard currently plays for a Canadian side and has been trying to convince Norton, whom he has grown up playing softball with, to join him like Norton has done one previous season. According to Folkard, playing with a North American club has certain advantages. The clubs pay for his travel to and from Australia, and pay for Championship rings. When asked how North American clubs sign Australian players, he said they follow men’s softball in Australia and call up players to offer contracts. Australian men’s players gain additional exposure to potential clubs when they compete, with some sides approaching them during the North American season and seeking to contract them for the following season.

Both men would love the opportunity to play softball in the Olympics, but believe such an opportunity is unlikely. According to them, softball at the Olympics is a women’s game intrinsically linked to men’s baseball, and men’s softball is unlikely to ever be considered on the programme as a result.

Folkard and Norton both play for the same club in the ACT territory club competition. Their team has secured a grand final berth for the match in ten days. They are waiting to find out who they will play against based on a match this weekend. Both have previously won this competition.

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Mumbai officials demolish 39K shanties; 200K homeless

December 25, 2004

Officials in Mumbai, India, demolished over 6,000 shanties today in a push to eradicate the capital city’s slums. In total, 39,000 shanties have been flattened, displacing over 200,000 people, in the city’s biggest-ever demolition drive, which began in early December.

When complete, over 2 million people are expected to be displaced. After wiping out the least desirable shanties, next in line for demolition are the illegal ‘well-off’ shanties and neighborhoods, according to the legal and bureaucratic motions that have been executed toward cleaning up Mumbai’s appearance by lowering the dominance of shanties, which make up 62 percent of Mumbai’s housing.

“As far as eye can see, there are mounds of wood, tin and tarpaulin, the remains of 6,200 illegal homes, flattened by a heavy excavator running on tank-like tracks and giant motorised claws,” the Indian Express reported about today’s destruction. [1]

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said that citizens would see a change within six months. “Every chief minister likes to be remembered, and I’m no exception,” said Deshmukh, who despite having an empty exchequer, also announced that Rs 31,000 crore will be spent on new roads, sea links and rail lines. [2]

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Why You Need To Visit Dentists In Manassas

byAlma Abell

It is very important to understand that regular visits to dentists in Manassas necessary for much more than simply having your teeth cleaned. The majority of people do not realize that dental checkups are important for your oral health, as well as the early detection and prevention of more serious health issues, such as oral cancer and gum disease. During your checkups your dentist will examine your teeth and take x-rays in order to determine whether or not there are any signs of infection or decay. These teeth cleanings also help to maintain and then improve all of your oral health.

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Preventative Care

When you visit dentists in Manassas they will focus on preventative are, to ensure that your smile and teeth remain healthy for years to come. While it is important that you use home maintenance tips, such as flossing and brushing daily, having your teeth professionally cleaned is just as important as it helps to rid your mouth of plaque and tartar build up. It is highly recommended that you have a dental checkup twice yearly.

When you are deciding if you need to schedule your regular dental visit, you should consider that it is much easier for your dentist to prevent major issues than repair them. If you have poor oral hygiene for a long period of time, it can lead to a number of serious problems such as infections, bond loss and even gum disease. When you visit your dentist regularly, it will help prevent these with early detection, prevention of tooth decay and teeth cleanings.

Your oral health is an extension of your overall health. In fact, it has been proven that when people have an unhealthy mouth, they also have a number of other health issues. Additionally, poor oral hygiene can lead to low birth weights in babies and even premature labor. The fact is that all of these potential issues could be prevented with regular and professional dental care from your general or family dentist.

There is no reason to put your health at risk when you can easily rectify any problems that you have with a biannual visit to your dentist.

European Court of Justice rules ISPs not obliged to reveal identity of people suspected of illegal sharing

Friday, July 20, 2007

It is compatible with the EU legislation that Member States exclude the personal data communication related to the internet traffic when this is requested in order to allow the prosecution of violations of the royalties in civil cases.

According the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the supreme court of European Union, the EU laws do not oblige ISPs to hand over personal data of people suspected of illegal sharing of copyrighted materials over the net.

The ECJ has been asked for a preliminary ruling on question “Does Community law…permit Member States to limit the duty of operators of electronic communications networks and services, providers of telecommunications network access and providers of data storage services to retain and make available connection and traffic information generated during the supply of an information society service to where it is required in connection with a criminal investigation or the need to protect public safety and national defence, thus excluding civil proceedings?” And its opinion, presented by advocate general Juliane Kokott, is that member states are allowed to ‘exclude’ revealing personal data on internet traffic in civil cases. This does not apply to criminal cases, where such compliance would be required.

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Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Democratic governor of Illinois in the United States, Rod Blagojevich, 51, along with his chief of staff John Harris, 46, were arrested Tuesday morning by the FBI on federal corruption charges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that federal agents raided Blagojevich’s home this morning and took him into federal custody. The arrest comes after a three-year investigation into Blagojevich’s “pay-to-play politics.”

Specifically, the Department of Justice alleged that Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat previously held by President-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich, as governor, has the sole authority to appoint someone to complete Obama’s term. Authorities believe the process to select a new senator was tainted after authorities secretly recorded several of Blagojevich’s conversations. They believe that he was attempting to sell the seat in exchange for financial benefit for himself and his wife.

Documents from the FBI and from U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald identify the people whom Blagojevich was considering as Senate Candidates 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. According to Fitzgerald’s press release, Blagojevich told an advisor that he wanted to “get some (money) up front, maybe.”

In Illinois, a new state ethics law will take effect on January 1, 2009, so Blagojevich was trying to embezzle as much money as he could before that date, said Fitzgerald.

Authorities also believe that Blagojevich was trying to withhold state financial assistance from the owner of the Tribune, the Tribune Company, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. They allege he was trying to get members of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune fired by threatening to complicate the sale of Wrigley Field by Tribune Company.

On December 8, Blagojevich responded to the reports that federal authorities had wiretapped his phone conversations, saying that “I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful and the things I’m interested in are always lawful.”

If convicted, Blagojevich could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

This is not the first time in Illinois history that a governor has been arrested for corruption charges. In 2006, George Ryan was indicted and is now serving a 6½-year prison term.

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When To Contact A Social Security Lawyer

byadmin

Social Security law is quite complex. If you believe that you will not be able to work for some time due to a physical or mental disability you should seriously consider taking advantage of a free consultation with an attorney that focuses on Social Security law in Kansas City. You need to understand how an attorney can help and what this help will cost.

The legal fee is straight forward, the attorney is bound by law to charge the lesser of 25 percent of the back pay you are awarded or a maximum of $6,000. Very little money is needed up front, in the majority of cases any out of pocket expenses that the attorney has are simply reimbursed when the case is concluded. There is no fee payable in the event you do not win your case; the attorney takes you as a client based on contingency.

Why should you hire an attorney?

There are numerous benefits to hiring a seasoned Social Security attorney; number one, they know Social Security law in Kansas City inside-out.

Your chances of being granted disability benefits are considerably higher when you have an attorney. Statistically, those who do have skilled legal representation are far more likely to be approved than those that “go it alone.”

The laws that apply to Social Security disability as well as the numbers rules and regulations that must be followed make it difficult for a layperson to fully understand the best way of presenting their case.

When to hire an attorney:

The best rule to follow is “the earlier you consult with an attorney, the better.” Even if you are considering filing an application for benefits you should first arrange for a no cost, no obligation consultation. The best attorneys can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and if it looks like you have a good case, they can begin by helping you with the initial application without delay.

Social Security law in Kansas City is complicated, for you to have the best chance at getting disability benefits you should hire a seasoned Social Security attorney. You are invited to contact the Grundy Disability Group, LLC and take advantage of a free initial consultation.