Step back into history through the doors of a 1920’s Harlem Speakeasy! Bawdy. Raunchy. Intellectually Stimulating!
The debonair swagger of Gladys Bentley. The liberating prose of Richard Bruce Nugent. The legacy of Langston Hughes. The Grande balls of heiress A’lelia Walker. The notorious Rent parties and glorious tunes of Bessie Smith. Harlem's Poetic Rebellion.
Queer Rebels brings together internationally renowned talent, queer innovators, and emerging artists. Jewelle Gomez. Harry Waters Jr., Earl Thomas, Juba Kalamka, Crystal Mason, Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Simone de la Getto, TuffNStuff, Pippa Fleming, Oriana Bolden, Vagina Jenkins, Ginger Snapz, Elitrea, Jezebel Delilah X., and Eli Odett. Tonight we reclaim history and the urgency of our art and activism.
Come celebrate and enjoy free finger food. Behold Harlem’s poetic rebellion through multimedia, performance, and historic re-enactments of the vibrant gatherings, queer artistry and community of the Harlem Renaissance.
Celeste Chan aka Chan Dynasty is a queer API multimedia artist and activist inspired by drag queens, Chinese opera, radical queer of color cabaret, and experimental media. Ms. Chan has performed most recently at Mangos with Chili, Safety Fest, and NQAF. Watch out for her in “Rally the Troupes” at the 2010 National Queer Arts Festival. She is an artist-organizer with Shifting Narratives film collective (2008-present) and the 2010 Femme Conference. She also proudly serves on the Board of Community United Against Violence (cuav.org). Find out more at: www.celestechan.com.
KB aka Kali Boyce is a Two-Spirit musician whose adventures have brought her from teenage punk band appearances at CBGB's in New York, to post-production audio for B-grade horror movies in LA, and on to solo Drag King blues performance as King TuffNStuff in queer San Francisco. www.KingTuffNStuff.com In collaboration with Celeste Chan, Kali Boyce was awarded the "Creating Queer Community” grant by QCC, to produce “Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance” in June 2010.
Jewelle Gomez (Cape Verdean/Ioway/Wampanoag) is a writer and activist. She is the author of seven books including the double Lambda Literary Award-winning, Black lesbian vampire novel, THE GILDA STORIES. Still the only one of its kind, it’s become a cult classic since its original publication in 1991 and is taught in literature courses around the country. She also wrote the play based on the novel, “Bones and Ash,” which toured 13 US cities. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry are included in over one hundred anthologies. She has written essays, literary and film criticism for numerous publications including ‘The Village Voice,’ MS Magazine,’ ‘The Advocate, ‘The San Francisco Chronicle,’ ‘Callaloo,’ and ‘Black Scholar.’ Born in Boston, she was on the original staff of the first weekly Black television show, ‘Say Brother,’ (WGBH-Boston). A graduate of Columbian School of Journalism, she worked in broadcasting, before developing a career in Off Broadway theatre in New York City. She was on the staff of the New York State Council on the Arts (1983-93). She was a member of the editorial collective of CONDITIONS, an early lesbian literary journal and one of the first contributors to ON OUR BACKS, the erotic lesbian journal. She was on the founding boards of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Open Meadows Foundation. She’s taught creative writing and popular culture at San Francisco State University, Hunter College (NYC), New College of California and Menlo College as well as lectured at higher education institutions around the country. She’s just finished a new comic novel, TELEVISED, about survivors of the Black Power movement and is working on a play with Harry Waters, Jr., about James Baldwin. Visit her website: www.jewellegomez.com.
Harry Waters, Jr.
Earl Thomas is considered one of the top Bluesmen in the world. But Earl Thomas had never picked up a microphone in his life until he was nearly killed after losing his footing at the edge of a 50-foot ravine. Landing unconscious on a pile of broken glass and debris, he was only bruised, but not knowing the extent of the damage upon regaining consciousness, he reflected on his disappointment at not having pursued his dream of becoming a singer. He resolved to do just that if he survived and nine years later, he recorded 1991's Blue...Not Blues, a record strongly influenced by his parents’ love of blues and gospel music and his own affinity for ‘60s and ‘70s soul and rock & roll. His autobiographic, “I Sing the Blues” became a hit for Etta James, and “Git Me Some” is a showstopper for Tom Jones. Earl made his European debut at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has released nine critically acclaimed cds, has songs in three feature films and several television shows. Not bad for a kid from Pikeville, Tennessee. www.earlthomasmusic.com.
After living in Berlin, Germany for 9 years, Crystal Mason returned to San Francisco to work for 11/2 years as the Executive Director at the Jon Sims Center for the Arts. In 2008 she co-produced and did the video for the multimedia theater piece Hey, Sailor. Her last project in Berlin was a two-year long European Union funded film project dealing with multi-dimensional discrimination faced by lesbians of color and immigrant lesbians in Berlin. From 1997-2001 she also co-owned and operated Schoko Café, a women’s art and culture center. In San Francisco from 1989-1995 Crystal was an AIDS activist and organizer working with ACT UP and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in the Women’s and Children’s Program. From 1993-1995 she was the co-founder and co-artistic director of Luna Sea Women’s Performance Space. Crystal was also a regular behind the scenes and in front of the camera on Electric City Queer TV for several years. For the last 3 years Crystal has managed the art gallery at Black and Blue Tattoo.
Juba Kalamka is most recognized as co-founder of “homohop” crew Deep Dickollective. He has been a speaker, panelist, and curator for numerous activist concerns, receiving a 2005 Creating Change Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Kalamka served as director of the PeaceOUT World HomoHop Festival, which marked its seventh and final year in 2007 and featured in the documentary Pick Up The Mic. He later appeared in Good Vibrations' G Marks the Spot (2003), Orgasm!: Faces of Ecstasy (2004) and toured with the 2006 Sex Workers Art Show. His second solo recording, Ooogabooga Under Fascism, will be released in Fall 2010 concurrent to his feature in the lyric compendium The Yale Anthology of Rap (Yale University Press). He lives in Oakland with his primary partner of seven years, their daughter, a neurotic standard poodle and a lovemongering lesbian cat. He practices polyamory both locally and globally.
Named one of the “Sexiest People in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 2001, Simone de la Getto started shaking her fringe-covered behind with the San Francisco Burlesque Troupe in 1996, from there she danced with The Cantankerous Lollies in 1998 and was with them for three years. Tired of being told that she was everyone’s favorite and not knowing if it was because she was Black or talented she became the founder/artistic director of the award-winning “Best Burlesque Troupe 2004” named by the San Francisco Weekly and at The Miss Exotic World Pageant held in Helendale, California, Harlem Shake Burlesque, who upon their arrival on the Neo-Burlesque scene in May of 2003 was the First Black Burlesque Troupe paving the way for the many Black Burlesque performers that are on stage today! They were featured in 7X7 Magazine's "Top 40 Under 40" issue in 2004. Simone has performed at various venues & shows including but not limited to: The Great American Music Hall-SF, Bimbo's-SF, The Va Va Voom Room-SF, Margaret Cho’s The Sensuous Woman Show-NYC/SF, Le Boudoir-Montreal, Miss Exotic World-Helendale, CA/Las Vegas, New York Burlesque Festival-NYC, Tease-O-Rama-SF, Victoria Theatre-SF, Femme Conference-Seattle/SF, Brown Derby-LA, Fresh Meat-SF, National Queer Arts Festival-SF, Kaleidoscope 2009-SF, Tingle Tangle-SF and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Pippa Fleming has been a vocalist, writer and performer since her teenage years. Her early creative interests led her to study theater, photography and film. After a brief stint in the Army as a Media Specialist, Pippa attended the University of Massachusetts where she studied African Studies, was a Pearl Primus dance scholar and further trained in theater and dance with Andrea Hairston of Chrysalis Theater and Joi Gresham. Blossoming as a young Black lesbian in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 80’s Pippa had the good fortune of having mentors and teachers like Pat Parker, Audre Lorde, Gwen Avery and Angela Davis to light pathways of growth and understanding. The opportunity to study and develop with such dynamic women propelled Pippa into a life of artistic activism; which eventually lead to her becoming a co-founder and co-editor of Ache magazine and an event producer and Disc Jockey for DaddiGirl productions. Pippa’s mid-life travels and living have taken her from London to Hawaii where she has produced works in film, theater, music, television and has shared stages with the likes of Margaret Cho, Mario Africa and Big Island Conspiracy. In her continued efforts to celebrate and preserve Black lesbian “butch” identity, Pippa appeared in Debra Wilson’s Showtime award-winning film “Butch Mystique” and recently premiered her theatrical cabaret “Living in the Mainstream,” A Griot’s Tale of Survival, at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.
oriana j. bolden is an Oakland-based documentary filmmaker. Her current cinematic work is centered around alternatives to incarceration, visions of climate justice, interdependence and the beauty of complexity. In 2005 oriana started a freelance production company and its not-for-profit community media production hub, proj-ectPRO:JECT (www.reelchange.org). oriana’s work has screened in film festivals around the world, as well as been optioned by and featured regularly on Free Speech TV (Dish Network Channel 9415). For well over 10 years oriana has facilitated powerful media by teaching and/or producing media with students and activists from Oakland to Johannesburg and beyond. oriana believes that communication is a Human Right. For more information about oriana and proj-ectPRO:JECT please visit www.reelchange.org
Kortney Ryan Ziegler is an award-winning filmmaker and scholar. Their work has screened across the United States and in countries such as England, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, and The Netherlands. They are also completing a dissertation in African American Studies from Northwestern University with a proposed graduation date of December 2010. The film hokum: draws on ideas of sex, gender, and black masculinity and a soundtrack by queer Harlem artists such as Gladys Bentley and Ma Rainey, to ask of its audience: what does it mean to take pleasure when viewing the queer black female body?
TuffNStuff, the last Delta Drag King, is the love child of Eartha Kitt and Howlin' Wolf. www.kingtuffnstuff.com
Elitrea. Photo credit: Sara Seinberg.
Elitrea is a spiritual healer, a light worker, a poet, and musician working on the theory of evolution and love.
For the past 7 years, queer burlesque starlet Vagina Jenkins has been gracing stages across North America. An ecdysiast exemplar, Vagina Jenkins style is reminiscent of classic Vegas glitz and glamour. Ms. Jenkins act defies audience expectations, wows them and leaves them wanting more.
Ms. Jenkins got her start at the 2003 Michigan Women’s Music Festival. And has since graced many stages, including but not limited to; South By Burlesque (Austin, TX), Miss Exotic World (Las Vegas, NV),The New York Burlesque Festival ’08, The Femme Conference ’08 (Chicago, IL), Moxie: A Queer Cabaret of Caliber (Atlanta, GA), The Southern Comfort Conference ’06 and ’07 (Atlanta, GA), Big Mamma’s House of Burlesque (Charlotte, NC) , Atlanta PRIDE ’08 and Toronto Pride ‘09. Vagina Jenkins is currently at work on a burletta in tribute to African American burlesque legend Ms. Toni Elling. Ms. Jenkins hopes to premiere her tribute act at the ‘10 Miss Exotic World Pagent in June 2010. Be sure to check www.VaginaJenkins.com pictures, updates and details as she completes this stunning piece of neo-burlesque herstory! Photo credit: Knottie Pictures.
Full of sass, class, and a whole lotta ass, Miz Ginger Snapz has brought her own special brand of spice to the burlesque stage for almost 5 years. She has performed at various venues up and down the West Coast and in Vancouver B.C. including the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival 2008 and 2009, Tease-o-rama 2007 and 2008, Kaleidoscope 2007-2009, and FemmeCon 2008. She is also a member of the Seattle-based collective, Tempest Burlesque. Ginger Snapz is dedicated to producing anti-oppressive art and promoting diversity and body positivity on the stage. She recently produced an overwhelmingly successful burlesque tribute, “The Wiz: A Queer Multicultural Cabaret.” In her spare time, Ginger Snapz is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington and a faculty member on the UW Bothell campus where she teaches “Burlesque and Feminism.”
Jezebel Delilah X is a righteous Faerie Queen from the ancient dynasty of Kush. Descending from a long line of Black activist freedom warriors, she was born by erotic and empathetic divination. For pleasure, she snorts poetry dust off the quivering bellies and delicate inner thighs of virgin boi rebel-leaders, dom-fucks dying super deities for justice and equity, and dispenses life pollen in the form of literature, literacy, and advocacy to the oppressed and the marginalized.
Elijah Ask Odett is an even keel of chaos and an undeniable artist/performer. His nomadic charisma began in Tucson, Arizona; prior to making his path to San Francisco he traveled to the heart of Detroit where he started making his mark on the community with creative grassroots urban art, spoken word, and photography with Detroit Summer. Between the desert and the SF queer oasis he has spent his time modeling his identity and sure to find him helping create an outlet for the artists at various events throughout the Bay Area.
This event received a Creating Queer Community Commission from Queer Cultural Center funded through the San Francisco Foundation.
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