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#NZFW: The Lucid Collective

Did you attend any NZ Fashion Week shows over the past week? I was fortunate enough to attend the (first) S/S 2014 ‘COLD WASH’ menswear range for ‘The Lucid Collective’ at the Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland Central. The handsome crowd packed-out the swanky gallery; sipping complimentary Hopt soda, Liberty Brewing Company Beer or Thomson Whiskey NZ while mingling and admiring the majestic art through out the space. Heads turned as six dapper men took their positions on small benches, to model the garments. The colour palate was off-white, grey marl and contemporary black in utility shorts & pants, wrestler tops, long sleeve symmetric tees and beanie headwear. Impressive clothing brand for Gen Y entrepreneurs: Chloe Swarbrick & Alex Bartley-Catt. This duo are (disruptive) innovators in the fashion landscape. Catch them if you can.

http://thelucidcollective.com

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Interactive Art: Don’t Talk To Strangers

Recently, I went to this intriguing art exhibition called ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ at Bridge Gallery Studio, off Karangahape Road. When I arrived after 10am (opening time), there was no one there, and was alerted to a note in the window to call a mobile – in this instance. I went away and returned 30 minutes later to find a welcoming young French woman who offered me tea. I declined, after just having coffee. There was a collection of eclectic objects on tin shelves, that all had a hand-written (personal) story attached, ranging from a thimble, painting, nail set, dried flower, postcard, book and so forth.

“Attendees can choose an existing object from the gallery to take home with them, in a sort of trade-like marketplace. Participants are also given the opportunity to write a small note to accompany their object, sharing its past, or its significance for its former owner. It’s all very sentimental.”

I wrote my note and left my object after discussing the content on the shelves (and their previous owners) with the curator. I always speak to strangers, including today when I asked a complete stranger to jump over my fence, as I had accidentally locked myself out of my house. Sometimes gifts are warranted, other times a kind exchange of words is ample for an ever-lasting memory.
Strangers can shape our world and alter our mood – for the better.

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Interview with L.Y.C (Love Your Condom): Ricky Te Akau

1. When/why was LYC initiated?

L.Y.C is a community-focused programme designed to create a condom culture across Aotearoa New Zealand. L.Y.C encourages all gay and bisexual men to use condoms and lube every time they have sex. It is a sexy, upbeat call to ‘love your condom’. ‘Love your condom’ is about moving us past all those lame excuses not to be safe, and inspires us to not just tolerate, but love the sexy confidence that comes with condom covered cocks.

L.Y.C recognises that gay and bisexual men, the people most at risk of HIV, are influenced by their partners, whānau, friends, colleagues, employers and the environment in which they live. While it is essential that L.Y.C reaches and affects all gay and bisexual men living in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is also necessary to reach the people who can support, influence and enable gay and bisexual men to use condoms and lube every time they have anal sex. L.Y.C. Was originally launched in 2009 in it’s first iteration as ‘Get It On!’.

2. What is your role at NZAF?

I am the Social Marketing Coordinator Maori and look after aspects of online and mass media of L.Y.C. with a particular focus on Takatāpui and their whanau.

3. What is your opinion on sex work?

I believe in choices especially choices that empower individuals and allow lives to be lived and no judgements be made. As the old adage says sex work is the oldest profession and has been happening since the dawn of time . . . I think the stigma attached to sex work and workers is a new one.

4. Do you know the current statistics of HIV/AIDS in NZ?

The best place for the most up to date information would be to visit our website at NZAF http: http://www.nzaf.org.nz/

5. What services do NZAF & LYC offer?

Again all our NZAF services are listed on our website with LYC being the social marketing arm that promotes safe sexy times and being empowered in making the right decisions.

6. How could other people in society support NZAF?

There are no boundaries to assisting NZAF be it with your time in volunteering or through donating in a monetary sense. Our doors are always open.

7. What other organisations do NZAF work with?

The list is endless! We work with and support various organisations who likewise support LGBTQI and heterosexual people in either HIV prevention, people living with HIV and those who are there for assistance.

8. Tell me about the last World HIV/AIDS conference you attended in Melbourne last month?

Melbourne was an amazing opportunity to be able to see what other countries are doing in research, prevention and assistance for those affected directly and indirectly with HIV/AIDS. Some 15,000 passionate people from around the world attended and this brought about effective networking, sharing and valuable knowledge.

9. Why do you think HIV/AIDS is still so stigmatized in modern society?

The lack of knowledge around transmission and those that are affected by it. More education around the epidemic is needed and with this would come greater acceptance.

10. What do you think of the word ‘WHORE’?

The word has been bandied around for years and is inexplicably connected with prostitution . . . and in this sense is used in a derogatory way. I’m not one for name calling . . . and don’t think WHORE is an offensive word.

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5 Steps to Hit the Marketing Jackpot by Going Viral on Social Media

Originally posted on Red Website Design Blog:

Going viral on social media can catapult the most mundane and unheard of business into a marketing realm never thought possible. Whether it results in a massive upsurge in customers, social media followers or even blog readers the results can be instant and long lasting.

It isn’t easy to go viral though, in fact it’s pretty damn hard, but follow the 5 steps in this infographic from WSI and you’re giving yourself every chance.

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Interview With NZPC Founder, Sex Work Activist & Former Sex Worker: Catherine Healy

1. When/Why did you establish NZPC?

We established NZPC in 1987 to support each other and to address the illegality of our work in the face of police arrests and the potential of HIV to affect our work. We were determined to make conditions related to our work safer and had to to build awareness that legislative change was needed for this to happen.

2. Do you directly work with sex workers’ Catherine?

Most of my work involves direct work with sex workers on a daily basis.

3. What is your stance on underage sex work?

NZ shifted its focus to one of protecting sex workers who are under the age of 18, as opposed to one of prosecuting these young people. This used to be the case before the law changed in 2003.

4. Do you know the current statistics of sex workers in NZ?

I’m aware there are thousands of people who are either sex workers, or who have been sex workers, and who live and work quietly in New Zealand. There are many more people who pay sex workers.

5. What services do NZPC offer?

We focus on working safely, and supporting sex workers to access relevant information which can assist them to do this. People who are considering sex work approach NZPC as do those who want to move away from sex work. We support all.

6. How could other people in society support NZPC?

We are aware there are many individuals and organisations who support NZPC by referring those sex workers who may not know about us, to us. This is important support.

7. What other organisations do NZPC work with besides Women’s Refuge?

We work with a tremendous variety of organisations from Family Planning Association to Sexual Health Services to the NZ AIDS Foundation as well as government organisations.

8. Tell me about your involvement in decriminalizing prostitution in NZ? This bill was passed in 2003?

NZPC was instrumental in pushing for the decriminalisation of sex work. I first presented to a select committee as a representative of NZPC calling for this change in 1989. Decriminalisation of sex work has improved the occupational safety and health of sex workers throughout NZ. Street based sex workers were most frequently arrested and convicted of soliciting and it was a demeaning experience.

9. Why do you think ‘sex work’ is still so stigmatized in modern society?

Sex work is stigmatised because non sex workers are not really listening to the diverse voices of sex workers, and are only happy when sex work is depicted as a horrible “empty” experience. Sex workers would say it’s a lot of different kinds of experiences and want to be treated normally, and not as some problem to be fixed.

10. What do you think of the word ‘WHORE’?

WHORE is understood by sex workers to mean, “We Honour Ourselves with Respect and Empowerment.” It is a word which has been reclaimed by sex workers everywhere.

RIP Robin Williams

Originally posted on New York Theater:

robin-williams_1Robin Williams is reported to have died today at age 63.

He was such a strong performer that his brilliance shines through even when he was just voicing a cartoon character, as in this scene from Aladdin:

From Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Coroner Division: “At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.”

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Do You Date Online?

Have you ever used Match.com? I did 10 years ago and dated three men who turned out (respectively) to be an engineer, an art historian and a barrister. Not bad odds. So what about Tinder? I had a quick look at this app and it looks like sex comes easy – to some. Slide the screen across to the left, and simply choose the heart to accept, or X to decline. It’s great to meet people fast in your vicinity, if you get a match – then what? What about Zoosk? You can download this app and connect with people easily too – however you need to pay (handsomely) to chat or message people. I think a lot of us find ‘window shopping’ for potential hook-ups, dates, sex or relationships appealing right? You select and speak to men or women, on your terms without any physical contact. It bets wasting time blind-dating or speed-dating perhaps? Make sure you articulate what you want on these digital dating sites, and it might keep you busy for a while, until the novelty wears off. There are also other dating apps that are globally popular including: Let’s date, e Harmony, OK Cupid, PlentyofFish, Howaboutme, Badoo and Grindr for gay men.

Digital dating is something that is here to stay: transactional relationships, casual intimacy and the occasional marriage.

What are your thoughts? Does it work for you? Why or why not?