Free hugs for everyone! Last night, BLK DNM creative director Johan Lindeberg and...
Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Ruffian are back with another adventure from their...
2011 May 16
Ruffians Brian Wolk and Claude Morais are back in the Big Apple after several weeks on the West Coast. This week, they share their interview with Rick Castro of Antebellum Gallery and discuss fetish tea, Tony Ward and more!
“The art of fetish is an age-old craft spanning epochs, cultures, socio-economic strata. It has been studied by figures ranging from the Marquis de Sade to Sigmund Freud. Rick Castro, owner and curator of Antebellum Gallery, simply defines fetish as human obsession, which can manifest itself in love for shoes, leather, bondage—or perhaps the ritualistic drinking of tea. Mr. Castro is a Renaissance man living in Hollywood, and his extraordinary aesthetic background in photography, fashion, and film is evident in his tremendously sophisticated curatorial skills. Trained under the likes of Herb Ritts and Joel-Peter Witkin, he is not only a collector, but also a highly respected photographer. His work appears in many published volumes including 13 Years of Bondage and, most recently, in the Dior Homme campaign. We were lucky enough to be invited to high tea in the garden of his jewel box gallery. We were served in grand style, and of course, no fetish tea would be complete with out a pig mask-wearing butler who was at Master Castro’s beck and call whenever he rang the bell.
Brian: I was reading about the great events that changed your life in your Wikipedia entry. Let's start with your love of tea.
Rick: My tea master lives in Vancouver. He has served tea to the Queen, and orchestrated the world tea party that was held in LA. I became obsessed with tea after I went to London for the first time in 1996, but my tea master is the one who taught me all the ins and outs. There are so many different ceremonies.
Claude: You also cited A Clockwork Orange as a life-changer...
Rick: I read it first in my aunt Nicky's new and used bookstore in El Monte, CA. It must have been 1969. Reading it was an epiphany for me in language, and the violence was portrayed as glamour. It was beautiful and scary, and it made sense it would become the future and norm in our culture.
Brian: Fashion is definitely a fetish—a commercial fetish, perhaps. In terms of your process, is it different when you do fashion photography verses your art fetish photography?
Rick: I never intended to do fashion. In the 80s, I was a stylist, a costume maker and a designer. IIncidentally, Rick Owens was my patternmaker. When I decided to go into photography, it was a reaction against fashion. I started to explore photography, and fetish as my subject matter was a natural choice.
Claude: Did you have a mentor when you went into photography?
Rick: As a stylist, I worked with Herb Ritz and observed his lighting, which is an important part of my work. He was obsessed with golden light, which is also known as the magic hour. I also worked for George Hurrell, from whom I learned a lot about glamour photography. A hard light diffused makes everything look incredible. I asked Joel-Peter Witkin to take me to buy my first camera, and he took me to a camera shop in Albuquerque, where he lives. It’s a Nikon FG and I still have it.
Brian: Do you miss film now that you use digital?
Rick: I don’t miss the trouble and the expense. I never enjoyed being in the dark room. Digital is cleaner, but you can never replace a nice fiber print. But you have to respect digital for what it is—a different art form. Would you like a cookie?
Rick rings the bell and the pig servant returns and pours more tea.
Brain: Tell us a little about Hustler White and your collaboration with legendary film maker Bruce La Bruce.
Rick: When I started to take photographs, I discovered that street hustlers were better than real models. One of my favorite subjects was Zac, who I met while I was pulling out of a Carl’s Jr. drive-thru. I saw him exiting the bus with a cowboy hat bandana, and his shirt was stuffed in his back pocket. He told me stories of his time in prison, and saving Charles Manson from a fire. These tall tales are also known as “yarns” (due to their often fictitious nature) and became the inspiration for my first zine. It was pre-internet, and queer kids created their own world because they had nowhere else to go. When I met Bruce in 1991, I told him I had been documenting these street boys on VHS and was going to name the documentary Hustler White. The reason for the title is they used to wear white jeans because at night, you can see them on the avenue.
Brian: Wow, what a great piece of urban fashion anthropology!
Rick: Bruce said he would like to collaborate and make it into a feature-length film, so we wove the stories into a narrative. We originally cast a real hustler for the lead role named Monty, but within 3 weeks he had stolen the production car, a guitar and paintings, married a girl, and got another girl pregnant, so we decided he was a security risk. So at that point I called my friend, Tony Ward, and pleaded with him to take the role. Remember, this was post-Madonna sex book, and he was pretty famous at this point, but he read the script and said yes. I thought he was the modern day Joe Dallesandro. He was perfect for the role.
Brian: Tell us a little about your interest in bondage…
Rick: I've been into it since I was four. As far as photography, I am interested in capturing the moment. When I photograph, I have to worry about the lighting, the position, etc. When I shot the Dior Homme editorial, the look of the ropes and they way they were tied over the clothing was critical.
Claude: Why did you open the gallery?
Rick: I opened the gallery in 2005, and it was a life-long dream to specifically open a fetish art gallery. I consider myself a fetish person. I understand obsession, so I thought I was the right person to bridge fetish to mainstream…to fuse art with fetish. I like to show contemporary art mixed with vintage erotica. I don’t have a roster of artists that I use over and over. I like the discovery process and mixing things together in an eclectic way for each show.
Brian: Tell us about your salons…
Rick: Well, I have had tea salons with human furniture, bondage demos, a fetish book club, and fetish film nights at the Egyptian theatre just behind the gallery.
Claude: Were there any events or people in your childhood that affected your work?
Rick: I had an aunt who owned a bookstore, and that was one of my first exposures to literature and art. My mom worked there and used to pick me up after school. That was where I had some of my first experiences with erotica, as they used to keep nudist magazines under the counter in brown paper bags. Incidentally, next door at the candy shop, where I used to buy caramel corn, Bob Mackie used to be the counter boy, which I recently confirmed this year when he came to the gallery to pick up a piece of art a friend purchased for him.
Brian: How did you meet and discover Tony Ward?
Rick: It was 1984, I was thumbing through Intouch (a naughty boys magazine at the time) and saw a picture of Tony while I was working with Albert Sanchez, who was the West Coast photographer of Interview. I called his agent and he said, “If you can pay for his bus fare then you can have him." He came up from La Jolla and we hit it off immediately. He was my first subject on my first photo shoot, and we have been friends ever since. In fact, we have the only Tony Ward-themed toilet which I will give you a tour of now.”
2011 May 16
Patrick McMullan View Gallery
CNN's dapper Anderson Cooper has been tapped to host the CFDA Awards on June 6th at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. (AC and CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg are chummy). Coop made a rare Fashion Week appearance last September at DvF's Spring 2011 show. Previous hosts for the ceremony include Tracey Ullman, Fran Lebowitz and Jeremy Piven.
2011 May 16
Photo credit: Alexi Lubomirski for Harper’s Bazaar. View Gallery
Britney Spears looks all grown up on the cover of the June issue of Harper's Bazaar, shot by Alexi Lubomirski. In a telephone interview with Laura Brown, Brit Brit continues to be a little dullsy in the soundbite department. As she once sang, "Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme more..."
On Gaga! "She's unique and extremely talented. I love her spin on everything."
On Madonna! "I actually saw her a couple of weeks ago at a party. I guess she's really taught me to stay true to myself."
On touring! "I love to dance, so it's very exciting. The tour rehearsals have been going really well. I think it will be my best show yet."
PLUS! "I'm pretty normal, you know. Like I said, the type of day I love is just like everybody else's. I'm like everybody else."
2011 May 16
This week, our beauty-food-fashion guru, Francesco Clark, takes on Lady Gaga and her perplexing contribution to culture.
"Gaga is not a vegan in any sense of the word. She seems to devour everything she sees. She showed up in an egg to one awards show, wore meat to another, and liberally pushes every boundary we thought had already been pushed. Who adds exoskeleton parts to their face? And while you may never actually follow her trend, there’s something about her that has drawn so much attention. The ick factor had already been pulled a couple times—Angelina Jolie wearing a vial of blood is one memorable instance—but not like this, mainly because Jolie was still a stunning woman, but with a vial of blood. Gaga embodies it, and the 2011 incarnation was literally con carne. So with her persona leading the trend in pop-music and some fashion circles, one perplexity comes to mind – how is it we embrace and celebrate such a wild, free, and unabashed spirit, yet when it comes to beauty, we are trending to all looking the same?
We are told to go to this aesthetician for her microdermabrasion, that dermatologist for his injectibles, the surgeon for the perfect nose, and that’s not counting the endless list of people to tone, recenter you, and just make you so like Heather and Heather from the movie, Heathers. It almost feels as though, it’s okay to be different, but please, please, anyone else other than me.
But maybe everyone’s tired of the perfect photo, and now we care more about the personality, the humor, and the overall spirit. Seriously, did you ever imagine a more perfect surprise to fashion magazine covers than Tina Fey? She could wear a beef jerky body suit and still be endearing. But oof, the smell…maybe just a beef jerky bracelet would suffice."
2011 May 16
Courtesy photo View Gallery
The latest rocker to embrace the coconut water craze: Rihanna. Naturally, the songstress opted to join Vita Coco's other musical backers Madonna and Anthony Kiedis by starring in the company's latest campaign. “I love Vita Coco," she says. "It’s real coconut water from hand-picked coconuts. It’s delicious and so good for you!” Donning her electric red locks on the beach...the Little Mermaid references abound, non?
2011 May 13
Photo Courtesy of O View Gallery
The new issue of O, The Oprah Magazine hits newsstands next week, but the magazine gave us an exclusive preview of its feature on Ms. Winfrey's fashion hits and misses that creative director Adam Glassman and Oprah's stylist Kelly Hurliman picked. Glassman gave Chic some details on what Oprah wore on one of her most iconic episodes. We won't make a you get a car, you get a car, you get a car joke—though tempting.
"One of the biggest highlights was the Celiné red suit that Oprah wore on the premiere show when she gave away all those cars in 2004. I had it made for the magazine for a cover shoot, but for whatever reason, we didn't use it. She said, "I have a perfect place for this!" She was the only who knew about those cars. They had tied red ribbons around every key so she knew that red would match the key and that would be the picture that would go around the world. She's very smart like that. She wears red very well, I will say. She loves green, too. That's one of her favorite colors. People always seem to think purple is her favorite color because of The Color Purple. Yes, she likes purple. But yellow is the one color that she doesn't often wear. She likes to say that yellow is best for a kitchen or a living room. There is always a funny banter between Oprah and Gayle King, because Gayle's favorite color is yellow. She's always like, "Why don't you get this yellow shirt?" and Oprah's like, "No! You can wear the yellow. Pick another color."
One of the coolest cats in the biz is Dennis Basso, and today...
Twenty years and who’s counting? INTERMIX is, darlings! And...
WHAT: Dareen Hakim Le Parisien Clutch. WHY: Remember this name...