Tag Archives: Hue Too’s News

FOUR THINGS WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT GAY HISTORY

Jack Drescher, MD.

Jack Drescher, MD.

Jack Drescher, MD, one of the world’s experts on the psychology of gay men, lectured at FIT last week about the history of psychiatric views on homosexuality. (He was invited by Daniel Levinson Wilk, Associate Professor of American History. )

Turns out Hue didn’t know nearly as much as we thought we did. For example:

1. Pioneering psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud considered homosexuality to be a result of “developmental arrest,” and nigh impossible to treat, but he didn’t judge it as perversion. Only later did psychiatrists pass judgment on it.

2. At the American Psychiatric Association convention In 1972, Dr. John Fryer spoke to the membership about his life as a gay psychiatrist. At that time, a psychiatrist could lose his or her license for being gay, so to conceal his identity, he spoke through a microphone that distorted his voice, and he wore an oversized suit and mask. Creepy!

A landmark 1972 panel on the question of whether homosexuality is mental illness, featuring a moving speech by Dr. John Fryer, right.

A landmark 1972 panel on the question of whether homosexuality is mental illness, featuring a moving speech by Dr. John Fryer in disguise, right.

3. When the APA voted in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the DSM (the official list of mental disorders), it was the first and only time the membership has voted on a scientific matter.

4. Conversion therapy, the effort to change the sexuality of gay people, is now illegal in some places because it is considered consumer fraud. In other words, any claim that it can be “successful” is false.

Hue plans on reading Drescher’s book, Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man, to learn more.

HOW TO CONVINCE STRANGERS TO GIVE YOU MONEY

Hue loves it when FIT alumni follow their dreams. So does Kickstarter, the “crowdfunding” website that helps entrepreneurs gather seed money for their artistic projects.

Amy Lombard, Photography ’12, succeeded in her Kickstarter effort to publish a book of photos of Ikea showrooms, complete with customers who look like they live there.

On August 5, FIT’s Office of Alumni and Faculty Relations put on Kickstarter School: Bring Your Project to Life, a panel discussion of three alumni who have launched successful Kickstarter projects, plus Nicole He, Kickstarter’s Art, Fashion and Photography Project Specialist, and Sass Brown, Assistant Dean of FIT’s School of Art and Design.

Here is their best advice. (Or you can watch the video of the presentation.)

1. Start by surfing Kickstarter.com and backing lots of interesting-sounding projects. Even $1 will get you email updates about each project. Not only will you learn what makes a compelling pitch, but you’ll also learn to avoid common pitfalls.

2. You’ll need to choose little prizes for each donation level. The most popular giveaway will be your actual product, but think of desirable tie-in products and other offers that help funders feel like insiders. For a $20 donation, Heather Huey, an FIT Millinery alumna whose photo book project was funded, offered a shoutout on her collaborator’s popular Tumblr page.

3. You’ll have to choose a length of time for achieving your funding goal (if you fall short, you get nada!). He (we mean Nicole, not some mysterious as-yet-unmentioned man) recommends 30 days. Less isn’t enough time to build momentum; more and the momentum flags.

Stefan Loble, Entrepreneurship, raised almost ten times what he planned to for his line of easy-care pants. For him, Kickstarter was a way to take pre-orders and get paid before he went into production.

4. There will be delays. Keep your backers in the loop with regular updates.

5. Make a video to promote your project. But don’t worry if it’s amateurish. He thinks some of the most compelling videos have been just a guy mumbling into a camera.

6. Get critical feedback on your page before launching. Not just from friends – from people who will tell you what they really think.

7. Be ready. Have a prototype done. Convince would-be funders that all you need is money. (There are failures out there. Beware the doom that came to The Doom That Came to Atlantic City!)

8. If your project does get funded, be ready to go into production!

THE LIFE OF AN ARTIST: BOOKMAKER, EDUCATOR, ADVOCATE

On Valentine’s Day, artist Beth Thielen spoke at FIT as part of ARTSpeak’s series, “Open Book: Conversations on Art and the Book.” Instead of love letters, she brought books.

Thielen is an artist known for her beautiful and fascinating book structures, like this one:

Beth Thielen’s “The Tower,” a tiny architecture from which four books unfold.

Take that, Kindle.

She loves the primitive technology of monoprints, a printmaking technique in which each impression is unique. The imperfections make the images look antique and wise.

But the technology that truly mystifies her is the interaction of writing and consciousness. “These little scratches of black on white paper jump through 12 inches of air into my mind,” she said. (Hue finds that the scratches jump more easily through 36 inches of air; perhaps it’s time for reading glasses.)

Beth Thielen, at right, with an admiring audience.

She talked about teaching art to inmates in California prisons, and she showed both their work and hers that they inspired. The images of struggle in the face of natural and cultural disasters were often haunting, but the forms–pop-up books, a miniature house–retained a sense of play.

“There’s something about people in prison and artists that understand deeply the need for freedom,” she said.

A collection of Thielen’s art books.

Her presence in the prisons served a second purpose, perhaps just as important: watchdog. When she was teaching, a prison guard killed an inmate; she helped ensure that justice was served.

“Almost all the prison art programs in California are gone,” she said, “which means there’s a lot less transparency in the system. It troubles me.”