Following Edward Snowden Modeling Pics Leak, BlackBook Uncovers 5 Other Political Figures’ Modeling Pasts

Edward Snowden

Photo via Ryot.org

Yesterday photos leaked that showed controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden’s modeling past. We would never have guessed such an influential political figure made such a cute (albeit twinkish) male model, so we did some digging and uncovered some other men in politics that have had surprising (and sexy) secret modeling pasts.

 

Vladimir Putin for Versace 

Vladimir Putin

 

Anderson Cooper for Vivienne Westwood

Anderson Cooper

 

Mitt Romney for Calvin Klein

Mitt Romney

 

Joe Biden for Polo Ralph Lauren

Joe Biden

 

Thomas Jefferson for Versace

Thomas Jefferson

All artwork by Alexander Cavaluzzo

Combating Putin’s Anti-Gay Stance, One Tracksuit at a Time

Despite the shocking fact that there are no gay people in Sochi, you might still be pissed off about the Russian government’s repressive attitude toward their country’s LGBTQ communities. On the eve of the 2014 winter games, what’s an art-and-civil-rights-loving Olympics fan to do? One option is to head to the Purple & Gold benefit event this Friday from 7-9 p.m. at Louis B. James Gallery, where Print All Over Me is launching a capsule collection of printed tracksuits sporting work from the likes of David Benjamin Sherry, Kalup Linzy, Ryan McNamara, and Jack Pierson. Proceeds benefit the Russian LGBT Network.

“These uniforms directly engage with the systematic and legalized discrimination that the Russian government has perpetrated on the LGBTQ people,” says Print All Over Me president Jesse Finkelstein.” While uniforms are typically expressions of national patriotism or strength, these tracksuits are a reminder of the basic and universal vulnerability that gay, trans, and straight people are all born into. While the Olympics can be fun theater, where states play out their various partisan fantasies, these tracksuits are for the weak and precarious.”

Print All Over Me also enables you to produce your own clothing (or pillows, tote bags, etceteras) simply by uploading imagery via their website. If none of the commissioned tracksuits strike your fancy, we might recommend creating one based on any of the totally heterosexual images of Vladimir Putin that the internet has to offer.

Main image from left: Tracksuits by Lucas Michael, David Benjamin Sherry, and Ryan McNamara. (All tracksuits have matching tops and bottoms).

 

 

Putin Frees Former Oil Tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released from Russian prison camp following a pardon from Vladimir Putin. For the first time in 10 years, the former oil tycoon is a free man and is reunited with his family in Germany.

The former chief executive of Yukos Oil was one of Putin’s biggest political enemies. Putin’s pardon came as a surprise given that two weeks ago additional criminal charges against Khodorkovsky were in the works.

In 2004, Khodorkovsky was ranked the wealthiest man in Russia (despite having been arrested in 2003). In a televised meeting at the Kremlin, Khodorkovsky debated Putin over government corruption and implied that officials were accepting millions in bribes. How did that go over? Putin was quoted saying to a former head of BP “I have eaten more dirt than I need to from that man.” Trumped up embezzlement and money laundering charges followed, and before you could say “lack of due process,” a speedy trial and sentencing led to his arrest. Khodorkovsky lodged numerous petitions to the European Court of Human Rights. As Yakov Smirnoff would say, “What a country?”

Is this merely a kind-hearted pardoning from a once cold-hearted man?

Freeing his most powerful critic from Penal Colony No. 7 at Segezha deep in the sub-Arctic forest near the Finnish border could deflect international complaints about Putin’s human rights record as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics at Sochi, a mere few weeks away. (Coincidence that Pussy Riot is also scheduled to be released?)

In an act of defiance, Khodorkovsky thanked people for their support. “To me, my family and all those who were unjustly convicted and continue to be persecuted.”

Amnesty International named Khodorkovsky a “prisoner of conscience,” and the oil baron was considered the Russian equivalent of anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela. But unlike Mandela’s “long walk to freedom” through excited crowds after his 1990 prison release, Khodorkovsky swiftly jumped onto a private jet for Germany to be reunited with his family. Maybe the Mandela comparison is a bit extreme (one was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, while the other accumulated grand wealth through drilling oil), but Khodorkovsky represented the Kremlin’s misuse of the judicial system, curbing the law, and of its refusal to permit dissent. His arrest was personal: Khodorkovsky was Putin’s prisoner, the demonstration of the absolute power of one man in the Kremlin who enjoys his omnipotence.

Let the games begin?

God Save the Queens: Star-Studded Benefit for Russia’s LGBT Community

The new Secretary of State at the Vatican, Pietro Parolin, said the other day that the subject of celibacy within the church is open to discussion. Responding to a question during an interview with Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the man regarded as "the most powerful official at the Vatican after the pontiff," said, "Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church."

"The efforts that the church made to keep ecclesiastical celibacy, to impose ecclesiastical celibacy, have to be taken into consideration," added the 58-year-old prelate from Italy. "One cannot say simply that this belongs in the past." (Now if i can only get this guy to talk to my girlfriend.)

The world is changing. Amid the usual doom and gloom, skirmishes, war and all the tragedy our media shows us, there are movements forward. I was the best man at a wedding between two women the other day. Rights and fair play are at least discussed. Society is more forgiving. Lindsay Lohan will get another chance. And we almost forgave Weiner and Spitzer—which is destined to be a talk show…OMG a reality show! How fun!

But then we have Russia. Vladimir Putin—who looks like the gayest man alive in every photo I’ve seen him in—is leading a regime of oppression against LGBT citizens of his beloved homeland. An event to raise awareness and loot to support our oppressed friends over there entitled "God Save the Queens" will light up XL Nightclub on Saturday night beginning at 7pm.

Lyle Derek and Noah Valentyn have put this shindig together and they should be rewarded for their efforts. By all means attend and tell everyone you know about it. Things can be done! I mean is any gay bar or club selling Stoli anymore? Shouldn’t all the clubs take a stand on this? I say fuck ’em in the wallets…It always works with my girlfriend.

A star-studded benefit for Russia’s LGBT community, God Save the Queens! To Moscow, With Love, will feature performances by Katrina Darling, Joey Arias, Miss Guy, Sherry Vine, Mistress Formika, Tina Burner, Dallas DuBois, Maddelynn Hatter, Michael Cavadias and Cher Noble.

Miss Guy will also DJ. I am assured there will be some surprises as well. It’s $20 at the door, shows at 7:30 and 9:30. The gala is hosted by Mudhoney Salon and Any Old Iron. Your door dollars will benefit the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, which is working to stop the violence in Russia.

Lyle sent me this:

Hi Friends:

I hope this finds you well. I am producing a party next Saturday that is a real labor of love! This party is supporting a friend’s organization called the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance which is working on the sad situation in Russia for our LGBT brothers and sisters.

Of all my events over the years I am so proud of this one. And it really needs your support and I would love it if you could join us and get tickets for this wonderful group who are taking direct action. Let’s all come together on this night and celebrate and send Moscow lots of love!

I would truly appreciate it if you would get tickets to this one and if you cannot go please spread this around on Facebook and emails, etc. Let’s show Russia some real New York love!

And the show is one of the most exciting NY line ups in ages—and we have some real surprises in store too! I hope to see you there and share a Pink Russian with you!

xoxox

Lyle

I had a chance to ask Lyle some questions.

What is the situation for LGBT people in Russia?

We have spoken to some of the queens in Russia and as we all know, it is rough for them, but they have a thriving gay scene and drag scene despite it all. Russians are a very strong and resilient people, but I am by no means an expert on this issue. Like many, I am just concerned and this is a sad state in this day and age. We have come so far and had such a great year here and it’s like the dark ages there.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

We hope to raise awareness for the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, and some funds would be great too. They are friends of ours and we want to help them. They are from Russia and working in Washington now on this issue directly. They will be at our event Saturday and will speak about what is going on and they know much more about what is going on than I do, so we hope everyone comes, we all get the facts and the night makes an impact.

What is going to happen at the event?

"God Save the Queens" is really a drag spectacular with Mistress Formika doing a rare drag appearance. We have the legendary Joey Arias and Sherry Vine and many more who will do numbers in the theme and spirit of our event. The scandalous Katrina Darling who ruffled the real queens’ feathers last year with her Playboy spread will open the show with a sexy burlesque number and Miss Guy is going to close the night with his new track "God Save New York," which he did with Debbie Harry.

Are you excited about doing this at XL?

Doing this at XL made so much sense as they are the epicenter of gay culture and are doing it with such class. A lot of venues wanted this show but XL at The Out Hotel just made perfect sense to us and we will be doing another God Save the Queens right before the Olympics and in London and Los Angeles to continue to help the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance. The one thing this is doing is bringing the global LGBT community together and that is good. It’s going to just grow before the Olympics.

Is there hope?

Of course there is always hope. Look at the great year we had with the Supreme Court. It was a long road to that victory. And Russia will be next.

What do you feel is appropriate regarding the Olympics in Russia? A ban? A boycott of advertisers? An armband of solidarity?

We need to take our anger to the Olympic Committee and the government, not companies that have nothing to do with Putin or his policies. I think the blogger Dan Savage was very irresponsible by putting false information about Stoli out there and started this boycott. All of our performers find that a waste of time and Stoli has been supportive of LGBT events for decades and continue to be. We should all stand together, not have this animosity for folks who our on our side.

Are Russian gays eligible for political amnesty in the USA?

I am not sure if they are, but after Russia took in Edward Snowden, I hope our country would welcome the queens from Russia. Gays never give up secrets.

Get "God Save the Queens" tickets here!

 

image of Joey Arias via

‘Vogue Russia’ Faux Pas

Vogue Russia has just released its first issue under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Viktoria Davydova, and already it is stirring up controversy. Not only is the January 2011 cover girl, Alina Kabaeva, not a model but rather a gold medal-winning rhythmic gymnast, and wearing a gold Balmain dress that has already been seen on many other covers, but Alina is also the reputed mistress of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Needless to say, (previous) fans have taken to online forums en masse and are not impressed. Your move, Vogue Russia.

Lily Allen So Not Into Vladimir Putin

imageHere are some Lily Allen fun facts! Did you know she can play the glockenspiel? Or that these days, she cringes when she re-listens to her debut? And in turn, she may soon depart from pop music? And of all the people in the entire universe, do you know who she doesn’t care for lately? If you guessed Perez Hilton or George W. Bush, you’re wrong. If you guessed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, congratulations! You’re correct. You may skip to the front of the bread line and collect your Asiago demi post-haste.

As it turns out, Putin needed Allen to cancel a gig close to where he was watching some hobos slap each other for a jar of bouillon cubes or something, but I’ll let Allen convey the details: “I went to Saint Petersburg to play a gig a couple of years ago and it got canceled because a few hundred meters up the river Putin was watching a bare-knuckle fist fight.” The hitch? “Last minute, he decided to go and watch a bare-knuckle fist fight and therefore my concert got canceled because of security issues. So whatever, Putin — I’m not into you.” Shame. The pair would have so much to commiserate over helpings of apple babka, namely scenes from Bush’s creative adaptation of Night On Bald Mountain.