When Gertrude Met Susan


Design by Homogenius (Ella Gant)

June 24, 2014
When Gertrude Met Susan
Hosted by Kay Turner
MCCLA (after-party at The Lexington), 7:30pm

This Lesbian Literary Love Fest takes the form of a cat fight! Join Brooklyn-based performer, writer, and professor Kay Turner as she emcees a showdown between Gertrude Stein and Susan Sontag to determine who’s hottest. Twenty Bay area Gertrude and Susan imitators square off on-stage for a hilarious competitive reading of Stein’s love notes to Alice and Sontag’s sexy journals to herself. Then the audience votes to decide which of these lesbian icons writes with the hottest pen! The NYC production resulted in a tie; San Fran queers must break it. We seek vicious partisans—devoted Gertrude fans and undying Susan supporters. Dress up! Wigs are de riguer: the pate or the pile with streak o’ gray.

When Gertrude Met Susan is one of Kay Turner’s recent queer pedagogy projects that lift queer texts off the page into the common space of performance and audience engagement. Lessons are otherwise learned….



Photo: Anna Mulé

Photo: Anna Mulé

Kay Turner is an artist working across disciplines including writing, music, performance, and folklore. Turner’s recent performance works include ‘The Black Kiss’ (with Mary Beth Edelson), Brittany, France, 2014; ‘Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song’ (original songs presented at Dixon Place, Manhattan, April 4, 2013); ‘What a Witch,’ (lecture and performed reading of fairy tales, A.I.R. Gallery, Oct. 18, 2012), ‘Breast Exam Revisited: Am I Not My Sister’s Keeper’ (SOHO 20 Gallery, Backlash Show opening performance and video installation, July 2012), ‘ Show Some Raw Emotion,’ songs and love letters celebrating love between women (February 2012), ‘Rethinking Memorial: Ephemeral Gestures for September 11,’ Brooklyn Arts Council (September 2011), ‘When Gertrude Met Susan,’ Dixon Place ( February 2010), ‘Extraordinary Rendition,’  Hamilton College Art Department (April 2009), and ‘Creating Queer Genealogies: The Spinster Aunt Project,’ ( with Ella Gant), Denniston Hill (September 2009). Turner has written songs and performed in numerous bands, most notably the punk lezzie ‘Girls in the Nose’ (GITN), active 1985-1996 in Austin, TX and the Brooklyn-based rock intellectual trio “The Pages” she works with currently.

Turner’s books include the recent Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (Wayne State University Press, 2012), Baby Precious Always Shines: Love Notes Between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (St. Martins Press, 1999), and Between Us: Lesbian Love Letters (Chronicle Books, 1996). She holds a PhD in Folklore and teaches adjunct in Performance Studies at NYU. From 2000 to 2013 she served as Folk Arts Director for the Brooklyn Arts Council. Turner’s future projects include a new book rethinking the witch figure; a performance work with music based on the Grimms’ fairy tale ‘Frau Trude,’ the passionate story of a witch and a girl; and a tour of ‘Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song.’ Contact Kay Turner at [email protected]


Photo by Dixie Sheridan