• scissors
    June 28th, 2011adminActivism, Istanbul, Parties & Night Life

    Gay Pride Parade, passing a Catholic cathedral on Istiklal. Quite a sight!

    It is remarkable to attend a Gay Pride Parade in a majority-Muslim country. I believe Turkey is the only country that can claim such a thing… Though “gay pride” is certainly NOT widely accepted.

    Hell yes!

    For many years, I attended San Francisco Pride, perhaps the most famous Pride event in the world. But Istanbul Pride felt very different. The biggest contract was the audience/non-participants. Whereas, in San Francisco, the audience members are a wild, effusive and diverse crowd, the crowd in Istanbul looked generally confused… many  people did not know what to make of the radically queer gay men and brazen, unapologetic lesbians…

    Interviewing an out Turkish gay man, in English and Turkish

    The message and “feeling” of Istanbul Pride was also different — in a sense, more basic. Rather than the highly commercialized bacchanalia of San Francisco Pride, Istanbul Pride was a demand for acknowledgment (and a celebration of sexual identity, being queer and having fun!).

    My friend

    My fabulous former flatmate, Angela, from Barri, Italy. I miss her lasagna with all my heart.

    As I mentioned, the public reaction interested me the most, so here are some photos I took of confused, “every day” Turks:

    Looking down at the parade, in amusement

    Disapproving glares from the mosque

    I wonder what is going through his head...

    Shoppers at the mall

    And, here are some more general PRIDE PHOTOS — enjoy!

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  • scissors
    December 3rd, 2010adminActivism, Economy, Graffiti/Street Art, Greece

    The graffiti crews of Greece...

    This above photo  is the first image I captured after arriving in Thessaloniki. Maybe I took the picture because I feel like graffiti is very Greek, at least of late. Of course, I could also bring up this whole historical saga related to classical Greek and Roman graffiti — but that is not what I mean. Rather, I’m talking about the Greece of the 21st century, which I saw already in upheaval when I visited Athens and surrounding cities in the summer of 2009. Now, in 2010, the problems already highlighted one year ago — social and economic — are even more urgent. While this piece does not suggest social upheaval (it’s plainly graffiti, like something you could see in Rome, Berlin or New York), it was eye-catching …and I’m always drawn to street art in different cities.

    Smashing something so big to make it feel more small.

    One night, my friend,  Adriane, wanted to withdraw some euros from the ATM. We were planning to head to the Ladadika district for some drinks (which, incidentally, used to be a part of the Jewish district,  but that’s for another post). Anyway, we absolutely could not find an open ATM. All the bank machines were locked up behind heavy metal doors.

    A photo that accurately conveys much of my Athens experience in 2009. This photo, by the way, was taken across the street from my ghetto hostel.

    However, we soon discovered why. Upon passing a bank, with smashed windows and “Sabotage the system” stencil art, we made the connection. Yes, there had been a protest earlier, commemorating the police shooting of an innocent young boy in Athens ten years ago. And, on this anniversary, the ardent and angry young Greeks took to the streets. Perhaps their anger was larger and heavier than just one tragedy. Perhaps it was a passionate dissidence against a clearly broken system, a thoroughly distressed people, a stagnant political order. But I’m not Greek. I was just a tourist, looking for a drink. So, who am I say?

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