May 27, 2009

էյմի և յագուար

the next film that we'll be showing is aimée & jaguar:

SUMMARY (i hate writing summaries, here is a summary from amazon):

in 1943, while the allies are bombing berlin and the gestapo is purging the capital of jews, a dangerous love affair blossoms between two women. one of them, lilly wust (juliane köhler), married and the mother of four sons, enjoys the privileges of her stature as an exemplar of nazi motherhood. for her, this affair will be the most decisive experience of her life. for the other woman, felice schragenheim (maria schrader), a jew and member of the underground, their love fuels her with the hope that she will survive. a half-century later, lilly wust told her incredible story to writer erica fischer, and the book, AIMEE & JAGUAR, first published in 1994 immediately became a bestseller and has since been translated into eleven languages. max färberböck's debut film, based on fischer's book, is the true story of this extraordinary relationship. the film was nominated for a 1999 golden globe award and was germany's submission for the best foreign language film oscar. both actresses received silver bears at the 1999 berlin international film festival for their portrayals of "aimée" and "jaguar".

time: monday, june 1, 7:00p.m.
place: yerevan, zarubyan 34, the garden

come one come all

May 26, 2009

Gay Animals Live in the Zoo

Animals Live in The Zoo

Before arriving to Poznan, I could hardly imagine that I would spend a whole day in the Zoo, given my personal aversion from all zoos in general and the unlikelihood of setting myself upon such a journey in a city I was visiting for four days –to lecture, to visit galleries and to have incredible amount of zubrovka and other types of spirits with always hilarious and wonderful Pawel. Nevertheless, life is contingent and we can never predict our actions, neither can we predict the various hidden and legendary stories we learn when we appear in a new place.

After several drinks Pawel told me the longer version of the already quite famous story about Ninio. His colleague and friend Roman confirmed and added details to Pawel’s colorful narration…a new urban legend has emerged in Poznan, which has already made this Polish city world famous –appearing in the headlines of Reuter, Guardian and other news outlets. Moreover, Poznan is threatened to become a city for gay pilgrims from all over the world. Before this prediction would come true, we made a conscious and rational decision to visit the Zoo.

Now, what’s the connection between the emerging urban legend Ninio, the Zoo and the gay pilgrims?

Ninio is an elephant who spent his childhood in Warsaw and then was brought to Poznan last year, when he was 10 years old- perfect time to fornicate, produce baby elephants and bring new revenues to the glorious city of Poznan. A huge glamorous house was built for Ninio (which cost approx 11 mln. USD) in the best area of the zoo, with the best panorama (with the view of the “African village” and the forest around it), 24 hour hot water, electricity, luxury showers, sauna, Jacuzzi, and in addition, she-elephants –a perfect environment for a healthy male elephant in his teens to reproduce little baby elephants. All seems well-planned: neither the socialists nor the religious nationalists are complaining about the money the city spent on pharaoh Ninio…except that Ninio shows no interest in his beautiful female friends who look like models from the latest elephantine Vogue fashion magazine – 6 feet tall, slim and fashionable.

The sheer disappointment amongst the Zoo administrators and the city governors is replaced by biblical terror when our young man starts showing interest to his even younger friend – four-years old Isou. Nationalist religious parties start screaming that they can’t tolerate a gay animal in a Polish Zoo, blaming the city for its excessive expenditure and promising that Ninio will burn in hell. LGBT groups, activists, queer artists and transvestite performers all march in support of Ninio –raising money, raising awareness and producing Ninio T-shirts for sale (Pawel brought one for me from a lesbian club). A real cultural war has ranged over our young man. Now, Isou and Ninio are totally isolated, they are not allowed to “hang out” together, and the Zoo attendant told us, that is because they are both “dva samtsa” (two males). After a 2 hour long walk in the Zoo to reach our hero, we only found out that for most of the day the elephant is hidden from human eyes, confined in a smaller space (than his younger friend), imprisoned and punished as a gay villain for his attempts of sodomy and pedophilia.

The Zoo administration (according to the rumors) is planning to bring in four Dutch (!) female elephants to build a harem for Ninio and enforce a heteronormative behavior upon him. However, there is some hope that all four Dutch (!) elephants might turn out to be lesbian. I also suspect that the Catholic church will provide Ninio with a priest –gay converter.
The morale of the story: why we should not discipline and enforce morally unproblematic behavior and socially accepted sexuality to all animals inhabiting our planet. Perhaps through this incorporation of animals into human society, they will one day start ruling us and save us from ourselves -- ala “the return of the repressed”.


May 23, 2009

"իգական փորձանք," ջոն ուոթերս


you are invited to the screening of FEMALE TROUBLE (1974) written, produced, and directed by john waters, an american satire framed around the theme "crime is beauty" (and also gender stereotypes, concepts of beauty and fashion, family economics and structure) that inspired judy b to title her celebrated work GENDER TROUBLE. the film features the all-time star divine, who appears in almost all movies by waters, david lochary, mary vivian pearce, mink stole, edith massey (edy), michael potter, cookie mueller, and susan walsh.

time: monday, may 25, 9:00p.m.
place: yerevan, zarubyan 34, the garden

come one come all

Queer Pride Armenian Reading NYC

Gartal and the Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York present

"An Evening of Literary Pride"

June 20th, 2009, 6 PM

LGBT Community Services Center - Room 410
208 W. 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, NY 10011
212 620-7310 /
Subways: ACE, 1239 to 14th Street
Suggested Donation $5

Gartal and AGLA NY have asked writers and poets to read selections related to the issue of pride, a loaded term for Armenians and queers alike. Hosted by Arthur Nersesian, famed East Village novelist of such books as The Fuckup, Chinese Takeout, Manhattan Loverboy and his most recent, The Sacrificial Circumcision of The Bronx. Introduced by Nancy Agabian, author of the new memoir Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter. Reception to follow.

Readings by:

David Ciminello
Amy Ouzoonian
Aaron Poochigian
Margarita Shalina
Hrag Vartanian


David Ciminello’s fiction has appeared in the literary journal Lumina. His short story "PD XOX" appears in the forthcoming anthology Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City. His poetry has appeared in Poetry Northwest. His original screenplay Bruno (a finalist in the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting) was produced and occasionally appears on DVD as something vaguely resembling the original story. David has received his MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. He currently lives in New York City where he works as a writer and teaching artist.

Amy Ouzoonian is a writer, performance artist and editor. She is the author of Your Pill (Poems, Foothills Publishing), Editor of In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief (Poems, Sherman Asher Press). She is currently a graduate student at The New School and is working on a series of performance pieces that incorporates her work with music and dance called "Waiting Journey." She lives and creates in Queens, NY.

Aaron Poochigian attended Moorhead State University from where he studied under the poets Dave Mason, Alan Sullivan, and Tim Murphy. After traveling and doing research in Greece on fellowship, he earned his Phd in Classics from the University of Minnesota. Forthcoming translations include Sappho’s poems and fragments for Penguin Classics; Aeschylus, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes in the Norton Anthology of Greek Literature in Translation; and his edition of Aratus’ astronomical poem, The Phaenomena, from Johns Hopkins University Press. His original poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Arion, The Dark Horse, Poetry Magazine and Smartish Pace. He now lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY.

Margarita Shalina was born in Leningrad and raised on New York’s Lower East Side. Her poetry has appeared in Poems for the Retired Nihilist V. 2 (Fortune Teller Press, UK, 2007),, New York Nights, and as a broadside for Poetry Motel. She has written essays for ZEEK Magazine and Three Percent, the website that accompanies Open Letter Press. She was a contributing translator to Contemporary Russian Poetry (Dalkey Archive Press, 2007) and is the Independent Press Buyer for St. Marks Bookshop. She lives in New York.

Hrag Vartanian
is an Armenian-Canadian writer, critic and cultural worker. He lives in New York and his work has appeared in the Art21 blog, AGBU News, the Brooklyn Rail, NYFA's Current, Huffington Post, Modern Painters and contributes a street art column, "Re:Public", to ArtCat Zine. He serves on the board of the Ararat Quarterly and the Triangle Arts Association. He also blogs daily at He is gayly married and hopes that one day his marriage will be legally recognized across America and around the world.

: Since 2002, Gartal ("to read" in Armenian) has been an independent forum for both established and emerging writers of Armenian descent and/or writers dealing with Armenian themes to read their poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and dramatic texts to the public. Coordinated by writer Nancy Agabian, Gartal brings together, via the dual acts of reading and listening, diverse Armenian constituencies, from the progressive to the traditional. A particular effort is made to give voice to Armenian stories that haven't been widely heard, including those of mixed race, various religions, different economic backgrounds, and queer Armenians. For more information about the series, visit or email

: Since 1998, the purpose of AGLA NY has been to provide space for lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender Armenian-Americans, their partners, and their allies to come together as a community. The forum to network fosters our visibility and strengthens our cultural and ethnic ties to the queer communities and Armenian communities to which we each belong. We meet monthly at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York, NY. For more info, visit,

May 9, 2009

Գրական արհեստանոց

Գրական արհեստանոց
{մայիս - հունիս 2009}

Ուտոպիանա մշակութային-ստեղծագործական հասարակական կազմակերպությունը և Կանանց Ռեսուրսային Կենտրոնը շարունակում են «Գրելու փորձ» հերթական հանդիպումները, որոնք անցկացվելու են «Այցելելով արխիվը» ծրագրի շրջանակներում:
Շուշան Ավագյանի վարած մեկամսյա գրական-թարգմանչական հանդիպումների ընթացքում մասնակիցները կկարդան անգլերեն լեզվով ժամանակակից ամերիկացի գրողների տեքստեր ու կքննարկեն/կմեկնաբանեն այդ տեքստերի գրական/շարահյուսական հատկությունները, ինչպես նաև կկատարեն թարգմանչական փորձեր` անգլերենից հայերեն: Հետազոտվող խնդիրները կկենտրոնացվեն սուգի գրական պատկերումների ու այն խնդիրների շուրջ, թե ինչպես է գրականությունը հակագրում վկայության, ցուցմունքի փորձը: Հանդիպումները տեղի կունենան մայիսի 26-ից հունիսի 19-ը, յուրաքանչյուր երեքշաբթի և հինգշաբթի:

Մասնակիցները պետք է լավ տիրապետեն բանավոր ու գրավոր անգլերեն լեզվին:

Հետաքրքրված անձինք թող ուղարկեն մի համառոտ էլ.նամակ և հասցեներին մինչև մայիսի 15-ը` ներկայացնելով իրենց ու գրելով մասնակցության հետաքրքրվածության մասին, ինչպես նաև կցելով իրենց CV-ները:

May 5, 2009

is this an accurate representation of lgbt groups in armenia?

Forced Out: LGBT People in Armenia (February 2009)

Report on ILGA-Europe/COC fact-finding mission

Written by Aengus Carroll
and Sheila Quinn

LGBT people in Armenia suffer from a high level of hostility, discrimination, social exclusion, hate crimes and violence. Homophobia is deeply rooted in the Armenian society. Stigmatisation is so pervasive that most LGBT people are forced out of communities and deprived of any chance to openly express their sexual orientation or gender identity. And yet they are forced to come out and organise into associations and groups if they want to be able to stand up for who they are.

The joint ILGA-Europe and COC report is the first of its kind to be published about same-sex relationships and LGBT people in Armenia. It explores identities, common human rights violations, the landscape of LGBT organising, health and HIV/AIDS, and relevant legal aspects. It also provides recommendations to the Armenian government, donors, LGBT activists and international organisations.

May 2, 2009

questions from christian garbis

On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 2:40 AM, Christian Garbis <***> wrote:

Hi, My name is Christian Garbis. I am a writer from the US living in Yerevan. My blog is called Notes From Hairenik, and I also write for the Armenian Weekly, which prints in Boston. I want to write an article about the Gay and Lesbian community in Armenia. I've already spoken to Mamikon Hovsepyan and several other gay men, but I wanted to get the viewpoint from lesbian women as well. Mamikon suggested that I contact you.

If you don't mind, could you answer some questions for me?

1. What has it been like for women who are lesbians living in a monoethnic and traditional society where homosexuality is not really tolerated or accepted? Homosexuality is a taboo subject for Armenians in general (including the US) that people do not want to address or understand. Please give an overall view and even a personal view if you would like to.

2. What are the reactions from family members when they learn that their daughter/sister is a lesbian?

3. Do lesbians face prejudice and scorn from people in society? How are lesbians treated? Are lesbian women assumed to be heterosexual for instance by society or do lesbians make there sexual orientation obvious to others?

4. Do you see future changes in the way society tolerates homosexuals in Armenia?

5. Finally, perhaps a strange question. Some Armenian men I spoke to would consider marrying a woman to have children so long as the wife-to-be accepted his gay lifestyle and personal needs. Do some lesbians wish the same from straight men to have children? Has this been done?I may want to use quotes from your answers (whoever answers this message). If you could write your name, that will be helpful. Your name will be changed for the article, do not worry about that.

Thanks for your help and regards,



May 1, 2009

es el mer hangsti tuny:)