Monday, May 28, 2012

Call for Participation: Small town Boys

Dear Small Town Boy (past, present, future… or none of the above),

I am days away from embarking on a residency at Queen’s Nails Projects, during Playback >. It’s a week-long, television-themed residency which will culminate in a few public screenings of the 10 artists' works created therein TBA. In the week or so that I will inhabit the gallery space, I plan to shoot a video piece that is a cross between a karaoke booth, a “lip-sync for your life” performance, and/or a solo dance portrait, among other things. I am taking my inspiration from video karaoke booths in the mall, the artist Rineke Dijkstra (esp. The Buzz Club video stuff, on view now at SFMOMA), and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

I am making a homemade greenscreen and asking people (this is where you come in) to show up and be in front of the camera as the song plays: it’s Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy.” You can do whatever you’d like: dance, sway, “lip-sync for your life” to it, look into the camera lens and cry, whatever. I’ve even made a DIY karaoke version of the video to help you lip-sync! I would like to video people one at a time. In post-production I will cut all the performances into one video.

The song, as your homosexual ass may already know, is about growing up gay (in a smalltown), getting fucked with or ‘bullied’ (as they say, nowadays) and finding your freedom by forging your own path the-hell-outta-there. It predates all that “It Gets Better” nonsense. It’s one of the classic gay liberation anthems (in my book), and like it or not, the song’s storyline parallels many of our own stories before we got to the SF Bay Area.

I acknowledge that it may not be your story at all, as it wasn’t really mine, but there’s still something about the song I identify with. This could be a time to reflect on how the song does or doesn’t reflect your experience back to you, how sometimes leaving home isn’t an option (or a desire), and how it might feel “more queer” to stay. We can talk about it. I’ll have drinks & snacks for you.

The song is 5 minutes, and if you commit to showing up, I’ll commit to having already set up the lights (ideally), so it’ll be real easy: you can warm up, then I’ll press play (I’ll have the karaoke video handy if you want to lip sync-along) and hit record on my camera. Let's make a date!

The dates I’ll be there: 
Wed. May 30th
Thurs. May 31st
Fri. June 1st
Sun. June 3rd
Mon. June 4th
*11-6ish (later or earlier by appointment)

Queen's Nails Projects
3191 Mission Street
SF, CA 94110

Get in touch (email, call, text) to schedule your close-up! Or just drop by! Also, if you know anyone whose alley this might be up-- tell 'em!

Yours truly,
(5-one-oh) 520 - 3390
chrisevargas (at) gmail {dot} com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

OP blog: Failures To Communicate

Greg & I co-wrote a piece for the Original Plumbing blog about our new video "Work of Art! Reality TV Special." We were so excited to do it, because we love OP and we want people to watch our video and love us! But we posted it earlier today and honestly folks, it felt like we just threw it away into the void. Like composting or recycling, you hope maniacally separating your refuse is doing some good for somebody (or some future somebodies)—but you're just not sure. That's what my blogging feels like. Very self-righteous, but very unsatisfying—usually.

Sorry for that bit of a downer rant. Despite it all, we're still glad that we wrote it and it exists. We're also especially thrilled Amos so generously let us post it on the OP blog, and we loved putting down, in writing all that we were thinking about when making the piece. So it's not all bad, I suppose. I think it's worthy of your time. You should read it: Failures To Communicate

Saturday, May 19, 2012

BaBeL2: Biennale of Critical Housing

I'm thrilled to be part of a video program screening tomorrow at this event in Rome (Italy--for God's sake!) Babel2: An Independant Bienale of Critical Housing (site mostly in Italian). The video program, curated & presented by Tobaron Waxman with introduction by Francesco Macarone Palmieri aka Warbear (my new Facebook friend), is thematically conceived of with "landscape, border, zone and territory, in a transgender spectrum" in mind. If I were you and I were in Rome, I'd go. 

The first Biennale of Critical Housing in Rome is a project-laboratory for experimentation, reflection, research and debates focused on the world, spaces and meanings of dwelling."

* Info on the video program, TOPGRAPHIXX: Trans in the Landscape

* Facebook group for the events

Trailer for the program:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Work of Art! Reality TV Special

Finally! This week Greg Youmans and I unleashed a new Falling In Love... with Chris and Greg onto the world the first of what we will arbitrarily demarcate as "Season Two." In the latest installment Greg & I compete on a mildly popular, ever-addictive Bravo! TV reality television show to be "The Next Great Artist", but can we make it through a double elimination? Take a guess! Watch and see why we are doomed to only make failed queer art ("and not in a good way")...

P.S. My Mom was totally convinced that Greg & I were for real on a reality show! She said she was almost halfway through when she realized for sure we hadn't been. Happy Mother's Day, Momz!

Greg's incredible "works on paper" that got him tragically (SPOILER ALERT) rejected from the competition. Sad... and misunderstood (like a real artist):

"For Your Information" a work on paper by Greg (2012)

"Preoccupied" a work on paper by Greg (2012)

Don't forget to LIKE us on Facebook! It means the world to our fragile egos.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The RADAR Spectacle!

Remember last Summer when Greg and I went to the Yucatan Peninsula to luxuriate on the white sand beaches of Akumal and completely indulge our creative fancies all in the name of art? In other words, remember when Greg and I went to Mexico for 10 days to hang out with a bunch of other queer artists (all with some sort of writing based practice), and write a script for our own collaborative video series Falling In Love.. with Chris and Greg? Well, we could not have done it unless we applied and were selected to do so as RADAR Lab Writers! RADAR has been so supportive to both Greg & I and our work, and is an amazing model for a not-for-profit arts organization (or any arts organization, for that matter): they do consistently great public programming, they include established & upcoming, local & imported writers in these programs, and they actually pay the talent! As a working artist trying to cobble together a living (or at least pay for materials), this is huge. Take note, other people.

This Friday, RADAR is having its annual benefit to fund this very important and visionary free queer artists retreat! On the bill are some very VERY impressive people, including but not limited to Armistead Maupin, Peggy Noland, Annah Anti-Palindrome, and Falling In Love... with Chris and Greg (impressive by proxy). We'll be premiering a new installment in our video series: A Falling in Love...with Chris and Greg Reality TV Special: "Work of Art!" (2012, 13 min.) Yes, that's right folx, we've finally done it. We're venturing into competitive reality television, and have inserted ourselves into the highly troubling, but very addictive Bravo TV, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. This is a SF, US, World premiere! So please come and help us birth it into existence. (Gross).

There will also be an art auction where one with money to throw around can bid on work by Edie Fake, Sara Thustra, Jibz Cameron (aka Dynasty Handbag), Amanda Kirkhuff, Paul Madonna, and more. For the poor and cheap, there will be a raffle. I LOVE a raffle!

4th Annual RADAR Spectacle
@ Verdi Club
2424 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA 94110
$15/door (or
Doors: 7pm
Performances: 8pm
Cash Bar
Light fare provided

For more info, the Facebook Event: 4th Annual RADAR Spectacle

Interview with Greg Youmans & I on RADAR's blog: Chris and Greg are a SPECTACLE!