You are currently browsing the archives for 2019.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 140 entries.

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

  • Posted on March 23, 2019 at 2:00 am

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

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad

  • Posted on March 22, 2019 at 2:18 am

Monday, September 23, 2013

Over the past week, diplomatic actions have averted — or, at least delayed — military strikes on Syria by the United States. Wikinews sought input from a range of international experts on the situation; and, the tensions caused by Russia’s support for the al-Assad regime despite its apparent use of chemical weapons.

Contents

  • 1 Interviewees
  • 2 Wikinews Q&A
    • 2.1 China
    • 2.2 Iran
    • 2.3 Russia
  • 3 Related news

File:Ghouta chemical attack map.svg

Tensions in the country increased dramatically, late August when it was reported between 100 and 1,300 people were killed in an alleged chemical attack. Many of those killed appeared to be children, with some of the pictures and video coming out of the country showing — according to witnesses — those who died from apparent suffocation; some foaming at the mouth, others having convulsions.

Amongst Syria’s few remaining allies, Iran, China, and Russia continue to oppose calls for military intervention. In an effort to provide a better-understanding of the reasoning behind their ongoing support, the following people were posed a range of questions.

Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

  • Posted on March 22, 2019 at 2:08 am

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As gas prices have risen in the United States, the regional transport authority for southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA, has seen a sharp increase in ridership, which has caused overcrowding on the trains.

“As fuel prices have continued to rise, SEPTA ridership has steadily increased and is the highest in 18 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. Monthly ridership was 22 percent higher last month than a year ago.

“They have crushed loads on their rail lines, already where people are standing, and there’s not enough seats,” said Rich Bickel, the director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“At peak times some railcars are standing room only and commuter parking lots are nearly full. All Regional Rail lines are running near full capacity and the train station parking lots are at about 90 percent capacity or more,” SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.

While SEPTA awaits new Silverliner V trains from Hyundai Rotem, which begin arriving in 2009, it had hoped to lease eight rail cars from New Jersey Transit, at an agreed-upon rate of US$10,000 per month. However, due to problems with insurance and liability indemnification, the deal fell through, according to Casey.

SEPTA has entered a new agreement to purchase the eight rail cars from NJ Transit. The transit authority will pay US$670,000 for the cars and assorted supplies plus one additional inoperative car which will be used for spare parts. The rail cars will be operated using a SEPTA provided locomotive as they are not self-propelled.

The cars are being disposed of by NJ Transit because it has switched from single-floor cars to double-decker cars.

SEPTA is expecting to raise US$3.1 million by selling rail that has been out of service since 1981 at auction.

SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

U.S. automaker GM plans to close 1,100 dealerships

  • Posted on March 21, 2019 at 2:27 am

Friday, May 15, 2009

American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM) announced plans Friday to shut down about 1,100 of its dealerships, in an effort to evade bankruptcy and lower its expenditures.

GM’s move comes a day after Chrysler, another U.S. car maker, released a list of 789 dealerships that it was closing. Unlike Chrylser, GM will not publicly announce the dealerships that it intends to shut down. Instead, dealerships whose franchises won’t be renewed after October of next year will receive a private letter telling them of the decision.

At the moment, GM has 6,246 dealers in the U.S. It intends to reduce that number to 3,605 by the end of 2010. GM said the dealerships that were to be closed are “underperforming and very small sales volume U.S. dealers.”

“They’re dealerships that are in most cases hurting, losing money, and in danger of going out of business anyway,” said GM’s sales, service, and marketing vice president in a telephone conference. “It’s a move that people could argue should have been taken years ago but this leadership team had no choice but to do it today.”

The dealers that are to be closed represent 18% of the firm’s dealership network, but only 7% of GM’s 2008 revenue.

U.S. automaker GM plans to close 1,100 dealerships
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Business Brief for December 14, 2005

  • Posted on March 20, 2019 at 2:25 am

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

These are short blurbs about current events in the business world.

Contents

  • 1 A World Bank lead economist speaks on Bird Flu
    • 1.1 Sources
  • 2 Gold prices drop
    • 2.1 Sources
Business Brief for December 14, 2005
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Wikinews interviews Frank McEnulty, independent candidate for US President

  • Posted on March 19, 2019 at 2:10 am

Saturday, February 16, 2008

While nearly all cover of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, there are small political parties offering candidates, and those who choose to run without a party behind them, independents.

Wikinews is interviewing some of these citizens who are looking to become the 43rd person elected to serve their nation from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

First off is Long Beach, California’s Frank McEnulty (b. 1956), a married father of two with an MBA (Venture Management) and BS (Accounting/Finance).

Wikinews interviews Frank McEnulty, independent candidate for US President
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Aussies ignore flag ban at Big Day Out festival

  • Posted on March 17, 2019 at 2:02 am

Friday, January 26, 2007

Despite pleas from Big Day Out promoters to leave the national flag of Australia at home, many of the 55,000 music lovers have turned up to the Sydney event covered in it.

Co-promoter Ken West caused a stir when the flag was “banned” from this year’s Big Day Out in Sydney after organisers branded it a “gang colour” and symbol of hate. Organizers of the rock festival had planned to confiscate any flag or bandanna bearing the national symbol at the gate. The organizers defended their action claiming Sydney was “a hot bed of racism.” They had already moved the event from the traditional time, Australia Day, to avoid these “nationalistic overtones.” The Prime Minister John Howard responded by declaring that the Big Day Out should have been cancelled unless organisers reversed their decision to ban the flag.

After widespread outrage on talkback radio, and condemnation of their action by the Prime Minister and state Premiers, Australians have literally worn their hearts on their sleeves by draping the Aussie flag over their shoulders or wearing t-shirts, tattoos or bikinis with it printed on it. Event organisers allowed hundreds of fans to bring Australian flags to the event, backing down on their earlier call to leave the emblem at home.

Melissa-Rose Heap, 18-years-old, of Kogarah, said she and her friends had fashioned the Australian flag into dresses after the banning controversy.

“We made them into dresses because they said we weren’t allowed to, and that’s not right,” she said. “They shouldn’t be able to tell anyone that we can’t be proud of Australia.”

Aussies ignore flag ban at Big Day Out festival
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

  • Posted on March 16, 2019 at 2:33 am

Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Canada approves revision to previously anti-competitive broadcaster acquisition

  • Posted on March 16, 2019 at 2:24 am

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE)’s most recent bid to buy Astral Media’s television and radio services for CAD$3.4 billion has been approved on Thursday by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Canadian regulatory body which supervises broadcasting and telecommunications.

The CRTC rejected BCE’s initial bid for Astral in October, citing concerns over market competition. According to Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC, BCE’s most recent bid protects Canadians’ interests because BCE will have to invest in new Canadian programming to the tune of $246.9 million in addition to selling almost two dozen of Astral’s services.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you think this decision really protects costumers’ interests?
Add or view comments

The CRTC said they will also be imposing a number of competitive safeguards. For example, BCE is required to adhere to certain sections of the CRTC’s code of conduct for commercial arrangements, the purpose of which is to limit potential behaviour which would stifle competition as well as to treat independent programming services and distributors fairly. It must also provide to its competitors “reasonable access” to advertising opportunities on its radio stations.

When the deal is completed, BCE’s share of the English-language and French-language market will grow to 35.8% and 22.6%, respectively. BCE will be required to keep running all of its local TV stations while maintaining their current levels of local programming.

Canada approves revision to previously anti-competitive broadcaster acquisition
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized

Cocaine found in frozen mango puree shipped to Montréal, Canada

  • Posted on March 13, 2019 at 2:46 am

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced Tuesday that they had seized approximately 160 kilograms of cocaine discovered in buckets of frozen mango puree imported from Mexico.

Investigations led the police to a shipping container destined for the Port of Montréal, in the Canadian province of Québec. A CBSA officer at the Container Examination Centre in Montréal identified the suspect container. The drug was found in brick-shaped plastic wrapping of about 4 kilograms in weight each. There were 1,200 buckets of frozen mango puree in the shipment, not all with cocaine inside.

RCMP Sgt. André Potvin told reporters that the value of the shipment was significant and was the largest maritime port drug haul in the force’s history. At CA$20 per half-gram, “that’s in the vicinity of $38 million,” said Potvin.

The investigation by the RCMP Drug Section, CBSA Intelligence officers, the Marine Security Enforcement Team and the Port of Montréal Security Group, determined that an import company, named Quality Mexport, was allegedly a front for the drug-smuggling operation.

Five Mexicans, holding visitor status in Canada, were arrested in the matter. They are:

  • Juan Manuel Huerta Canela, 31;
  • Jose Gerardo Bernal Vasquez, 52;
  • Jose Luis Navarro Ochoa, 33;
  • Jesus Manuel Villa Quiroz, 32; and
  • Alfonso Strag Estrada, age 50.

The suspects have been charged with importing and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The charges are allegations at this point in time.

Cocaine found in frozen mango puree shipped to Montréal, Canada
»

  • Filed under:
    • Uncategorized