"About seven years ago, I got a curious, unexpected email from former Nightcharm editor John Calendo. He’d discovered my personal blog from a comment I left on a Nightcharm article, and wondered if I’d be interested in contributing to the site.
I was stoked. As a 22-year-old college student, for a rate of five cents a word, I’d just landed my very first paid writing gig. To boot, it was well-known site that I already enjoyed reading, and I’d have license to follow my curiosity through any topic in the realm of gay sex, psychology, and culture — really, what else is there? (Kidding.)
To avoid blowing future job applications if someone were to Google my name, I wrote under the not–so–cleverly–disguising pseudonym “Matt P.” Years later I was pursuing work in political campaigns and figured that writing for such a provocative site was a little too risky, even withholding my full name, and said a temporary goodbye. Since then I went through a couple more career roundabouts — like a true millennial I’ve had to try a little bit of everything — and wound up most recently as an editor for a mainstream LGBT print magazine in Colorado. This spring, I got the exiting news from publisher David K. that Nightcharm was going to return in a new form.
Anyone who followed this site before knows the images and content on Nightcharm were extremely explicit, bringing an “underground” vibe — almost none of the writers used their real names, and although we were commenting on life and politics it certainly wasn’t the kind of stuff you’d show to your friends, Aunt Sally and the world by linking to it in a Facebook post.
Now that we’re resurrecting Nightcharm, that will be different. The world has changed a lot in the last few years, and this time we’re coming out.
Your sexual nature shouldn’t have to be some dirty secret you keep in the back corner of your sock drawer; it isn’t separate from the rest of the things that make your life your life, whether social, intellectual or spiritual. Neither will the new Nightcharm, your milleau of art, culture, spirituality, commentary and more. We’re cleaning up the “hardcore” element — OK, maybe you still won’t wanna plaster Nightcharm across your office computer screen in view of your manager (unless you work somewhere really cool) — but we’ll make sure it’s full of topics you can feel more free to discuss among friends, and a site you could comfortably flip through on mobile in your corner coffee shop. (Don’t worry, it’ll still be sexy too.)
At the same time that all these cultural changes are happening, the Internet has been rapidly evolving. As its connectivity becomes even more ubiquitous in our lives we’ve come to expect web media to be more democratic and interactive, and a richer aesthetic experience. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that the Internet can be a resource and enhancement to your life, but we know that you don’t live here. What you read or do online should leave you informed or inspired with something to take away.
We’ve got all those ideals in mind: Our goal is for Nightcharm to be a place where you hang out, enjoy the view, express yourself and gather ideas and fodder for real conversations with real people in your life.
So please feel free to make extensive use of the comment section (we’ll be following conversations and might even join in), share your favorite art and photography (we’re selective, but eager to feature and promote talent by posting a few pics and a link to your portfolio), and tip us off to anything thought-provoking or enlightening you’ve stumbled across online.
If my story with Nightcharm tells you anything, it’s that you have no idea where that could take you. What are you waiting for?”
Out of the Past
In the Guardian we read: “There was an unmistakable horror vibe at this year’s BFI Flare, as the London LGBT film festival is now known. The lineup included a strand of 80s frighteners with certified gay appeal, including The Lost Boys and A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2; an indepth talk on queer slasher history; a tongue-in-cheek feminist house-of-horrors installation called Killjoy’s Kastle; and Monster Mash, a short about gay gorehounds hooking up at a Halloween party. (One comes as Carrie, the other as Regan from The Exorcist. It’s cute.)
Of course there are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender fans of horror, a genre packed with alienated yet sympathetic figures forced to create strange, thrilling new lives outside mainstream society. But the appeal goes deeper than personal identification. Horror is the realm of the unquiet dead, a place where hands burst from graves and corpses lurch to life – grotesquely fantastical expressions of very real psychological truths. One way or another, hidden histories, repressed emotions and neglected traumas will out. Pain left to fester will erupt from the past into the present. And it won’t be pretty.
That’s why there’s reason to be cheerful about a wider shift in LGBT film-making that has nothing to do with horror, but everything to do with acknowledging and embracing the past.
Almost any gay film festival today will include examples of three overlapping kinds of film: stories with period settings; documentaries about LGBT history and heritage; and films about older characters. Call it a backward turn – but backward in a good way. This fascination with the past is less about nostalgia than about taking stock, raising awareness and preparing for an uncertain future.
There has always been queer onscreen expression, overt or covert, but it was only in the 90s that an LGBT film movement gained widespread recognition. This was New Queer Cinema, which emerged from the Aids crisis and collectively constituted an expressionistic cri de coeur of alienation, anger and desire. (Think My Own Private Idaho, Poison, The Doom Generation.) As legal, social and medical progress was made, the dominant tone of LGBT film-making softened from radical revolt to aspirational accessibility, favouring coming-out tales and opposites-attract romcoms about accessing love and acceptance on basically mainstream terms (Beautiful Thing, Jeffrey, Latter Days).”