Review: The Great Tamer *****

Last weekend my partner and I went to Dimitris Papaioannou’s latest production ‘The Great Tamer’, at the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam. The show starts slowly with repetitive actions but picks up speed and does not bore. The overall feeling I got was that there was some kind of storyline that was just beyond my grasp. However, this did not bother me in the slightest. Instead I watched how bodies were pulled out of the ground, were dissected, and buried. Body parts from various actors were used to form one whole new person. How astronauts walked on stage as if it was a moon landscape and how several references were made to famous paintings. Coincidence? I think not.

THE GREAT TAMER (2017) / a new work by Dimitris Papaioannou / trailer from Dimitris Papaioannou on Vimeo.

The audience laughed at various moments, and seemed at times to be as wonderfully lost in the work as I was. The ending seemed to complete the circle. Almost leading us back to the beginning before fading to black.

Check out the trailer or better yet, go see Papaioannou’s work for your self. Its worth it. I promise.

A Diversifying Hollywood. Finally

It has taken a long time. And they are late, but Hollywood has finally produced a film that portrays Africa in a positive, in fact very good light. It is a fictional African country of course, but it is a step forward. The American actor Chadwick Boseman plays the Black Panther. The Black Panther is the superhero protector of Wakanda, a fictional country somewhere between Ethiopia, Sudan, The DRC, and Kenya.

The Black Panther is in the same universe as some of the other well-known Marvel super heroes, The Avengers and the X-Men. To have a black super hero finally be in the spotlight and have a stand alone story line of his own feels good. First Luke Cage and now Black Panther. It looks like Hollywood is finally truly diversifying. It’s a start. Lets hope the trend sets in.

Looking for Dutch Caribbean Gay and Bi men

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Photo source

Hey guys!

As you probably know, this year I pursue an masters degree in Medical Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. My thesis project examines some aspects of the sexual health of Dutch Caribbean men who live in the Netherlands and have sex with other men. In the context of this research project, I want to talk with gay and bisexual guys (and everything in between) from the Dutch Caribbean about attitudes towards sex and safe sex practices. If you would like to talk to me, or know someone who might, please let me know. It will be anonymous and won’t take much of your time. Please also feel free to share this message on Twitter and Facebook.

e-mail: joel.illidge@outlook.com

Thanks so much for your help!

Women’s March Amsterdam

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A few friends and I spend a nice Friday evening making signs for the women march that took place in cities all over the world on Saturday, including the one I live in, Amsterdam. I was surprised by the large turn out. This is the first time I have seen such a world wide backlash agains a US president. Despite there being a lot of criticism of white women’s intention, I think that the protest yesterday, at least in Amsterdam, was diverse (perhaps not enough), and well intended. Most of the people holding signs protesting for ALL women and not just white women were actually white women. What disappointed me was the lack of men in my own circle of friends that did not attend the protest. In the end this protest was not just agains the misogyny, sexism, racism and anti-immigration stance of Donal Trump, but it was agains the type of rhetoric that we have been hearing in many European countries such as The Netherlands, France and Austria to name a few. At some point, we, those who do not agree with these far-right nationalist views have to take a stand. We have to come out for what we believe in. And we cannot do this alone. We need our allies. As a person of color, I stress that we should be mindful of including our white allies in this resistance. People of all colors, genders, and social strata in between should stand together. Together we are stronger.

The Silent HIV Crisis Sweeping the American South by TONIC

Gay black men are hardest hit by HIV in the American South. TONIC post a short video about some of the hardships that gay black HIV positive men face in Mississippi.

Find TONIC’s video description here:

TONIC (VICE’s new health channel) travels to Jackson, Mississippi, one of the hardest hit Southern cities, to investigate why black gay men are getting diagnosed and falling to a disease that can be managed. We’ll discuss issues tied to systematic racial discrimination, such as low income and poverty, lack of access to adequate health care, limited HIV testing and education and stigma attached to the virus. We’ll meet heroic social workers and researchers struggling to bring HIV+ the care they need, as well as HIV+ men who are speaking out about their disease in hopes of changing the stigmas attached to it.

HIV diagnoses in the United States have generally plummeted since the 1980’s, and treatment strategies are now so effective that some are beginning to talk about the end of the AIDS epidemic. However, for gay black men in America, the chances of getting HIV in a lifetime are still one in two. In some Southern states, the rates of infection for black men who have sex with men rival rates in underdeveloped countries like Botswana. Once diagnosed with HIV, these men are unable to access the medicine, clinical resources and psychological support they need to keep life ­threatening AIDS diagnoses at bay.