Matthew Lawrence — blogger, event planner, and man about town — and Jason Tranchida — designer, artist, and man about town — met seven years ago at a bar where both worked as DJs.
Tranchida says they started Headmaster magazine, an arty, biannual look at masculinity and sexuality, because they both sat behind computers all day and wanted to produce something tangible.
That something is a smart, queer, and quite naughty mix of painting, photography, and stories. And on October 7, Lawrence and Tranchida will host the Providence launch party for the latest issue, Headmaster No. 4, from 6-10 pm at the Dark Lady, 19 Snow Street. There will be music from DJ Belligerent Ghost, vintage porn projection, and cocktails from some New York-based mixology bloggers.
The Phoenix caught up with Lawrence and Tranchida for a Q&A via email.
AS HEADMASTERS, YOU GIVE THE ARTISTS WHO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR MAGAZINE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS. HOW DOES THAT WORK?Matthew: We look carefully at every artist's work before devising their assignment. Some of the assignments are very specific (for instance, we asked Providence artist Monica Shinn to pay tribute to Portuguese new wave fado singer Antonio Variações) while others are left more open (in this issue, we asked Naima Lowe to translate her 16mm film work to a print layout).
Jason: Each assignment is unique and written specifically for that artist, and in Headmaster No. 4 we have projects looking at the gay men of Beirut, the furniture of Saint Petersburg, and the eerie happenings of the Bridgewater Triangle.
Matthew: Everyone's assignments need to be turned in by their own specific due date, too.
THIS IS YOUR FIRST ISSUE FEATURING WOMEN ARTISTS. WHY WOMEN? ANY DISCERNiBLE DIFFERENCE IN THEIR APPROACH?Jason:Headmaster calls itself the biannual art magazine for man-lovers, and some of our most enthusiastic supporters from the very beginning have been women artists. We've actually been planning this issue since we started two years ago.
Matthew: This issue had some hiccups. One contributor fell off a horse and broke her collarbone, and our contributor in Beirut had to re-concept her photography project after violence erupted in her neighborhood this May. But those kinds of details aside, it was just as great working with these contributors as with the men of the first three issues.
Jason: From now on you'll be seeing more of a mix of genders in each issue.
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: AT YOUR LAUNCH PARTY, THE PAINTING ON THE COVER OFHEADMASTER NO. 4 — A MAN WITH BEARD, MUSTACHE, AND HOLLOW EYES — WHISPERS AS YOU WALK BY. TELL ME THE TALE, IN 150 WORDS OR LESS.Matthew: The man on the cover is fictional but he actually does have a backstory. He lives in Bridgewater, Massachusetts — just like Cassandra Complex [who painted him] — and he is an ex-con from the Bridgewater State Correctional Institute for the Sexually Dangerous and Criminally Insane. He is not actually sexually dangerous.
Jason: "I am the true chicken man," he whispers.
Matthew: You'll have to pick up the issue to get the full story.