QCC May 2023 News


May 2023 at Queer Cultural Center

Announcing 26th Annual NQAF 2023!

A note from Queer Cultural Center Executive Director, Anand Jay Kalra:

Murmurations of Queer Power! This phrase may seem obscure at first glance, but it holds a powerful meaning. A murmuration, in ecology, refers to a flock of starlings that move together in a synchronized, undulating dance. Just like the starlings, the queer and trans community is made up of thousands of unique individuals. But when we come together in coordinated action, we transform into a powerful collective force for hope, change, and illumination. Queer cultural organizing can create a sense of belonging and safety, even in the face of oppression and exclusion. As we constantly evolve and adapt to changes in our environment, our radical diversity harmonizes to create something beautiful and awe-inspiring – just like a murmuration of starlings.

Queer Cultural Center’s 26th annual National Queer Arts Festival embodies this message. Murmurations of Queer Power is a celebration of resilience and creativity, a showcase of the power and potential of queer cultural organizing. Despite being outnumbered and outresourced, we continue to move forward together, creating a world that is more just, more compassionate, and more equitable for all.


Murmurations: Queer Bodies of Werq Opening Reception 
Queer Cultural Center’s National Queer Arts Festival Opening Night

Date: Friday, June 9, 2023
Time: 6pm
Location: SOMArts, 934 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Tickets: $10 – $50, No One Turned Away For Lack Of Funds

Murmurations: Queer Bodies of Werq is a pulsating, swooping, living, collective of queer ecologies, on display from June 9 – 30, 2023. Join us for an evening of performances and ritual to celebrate the body of work curated by Xtal Azul & Gaia WXYZ. Additionally, this evening serves as an opening night to the 26th annual National Queer Arts Festival presented by Queer Cultural Center. 

Buy Tickets Now

Murmurations: Queer Power of Werq
Xtal Azul & Gaia Weise

Date: June 10 – 30, 2023
Time: Gallery hours are 3pm – 7:30pm on Thursdays, 12pm – 7:30pm on Fridays, and 12pm – 5pm on Saturday/Sundays
Location: SOMArts, 934 Brannan St., San Francisco CA 94103
Ticket Price: Free (with registration)

Murmurations: Queer Bodies of Werq is a pulsating, swooping, living, collective of queer ecologies featuring featuring installation, digital works, altars, and offerings that honor the relationship of queer bodies in nature. This engagement is curated by Xtal Azul and Gaia WXYZ, and is presented as part of the 26th annual National Queer Arts Festival, showing both virtually and in person at SOMARTS in San Francisco, CA from June 10 – June 30, 2023.  

Register for the event

5th Annual Queer Afro Latin Dance Festival
In Lak’ech Dance Academy
Date: June 9th – 11th
Time: Varies by day
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, 2050 Gateway Pl San Jose, CA 95110
Ticket Price: Varies from $25 – $275 AN INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATION OF UNITY – The 5th Annual Queer Afro Latin Dance Festival will be bringing together queer, trans and ally dancers and music lovers for the party and celebration of the year! 

This event is open to all – not ONLY for dancers! This festival is for all who love & support the LGBTQ+ community, and who want to be part of a magical weekend. Join us for three days of dance, music, performances, pool parties/night parties, dance competitions, panel discussions, and over 60 hours of music. 

Buy Tickets

Live & Queer LIVE!
Maya Chinchilla & Gwen Park

Date: Saturday, June 10, 2023
Time: 2pm
Location: SOMArts stage, 934 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Ticket Price: Free / By Donation

Live & Queer is a talk show/video podcast produced by QCC. We get real with Bay Area LGBTQ+ artists about what they’re doing, what inspires them, what they’re trying to accomplish, and the way their art contributes to LGBTQ+ and beyond culture & movements.

On this episode, we’ll be talking about all about NQAF with guests from some of the other shows in the festival. Join us for the first time at an in-person taping to find out more about what’s happening, what you can expect and what you don’t want to miss! This show will be both in-person and livestreamed to QCC’s Youtube channel so you can attend from anywhere around the world. The guest list will be announced soon.

Reserve Your Spot Here

Because of Black Music I Am
Valerie Troutt

Date: Saturday – Sunday, June 10 – 11, 2023
Time: Doors at 2:30pm, Show at 3:30pm
Location: Devil’s Parlor
Ticket Price: $25 General Admission, No One Turned Away For Lack Of Funds

Because of Black Music I Am (BOBM) is a two-day music festival in celebration of Black Music Month being held June 10th – 11th, 2023 in Oakland, California. BOBM is a conversation piece that brings together local artists, industry professionals, and the community to make connections, create awareness about the impact of Black music, and the need to develop new music industry infrastructures to ensure the longevity of not only Black music but Black Artists. 

The festival will include an artist’s brunch, mixer, panel, and live music. The day one lineup includes SF poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin, vocalist The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, singer SoLauren, rapper JWalt, saxophonist Howard Wiley, and MoonCandy Live House Music Ensemble. The day two lineup includes singer-songwriter Aime Cota, poet Marvin K. White, and The Valerie Troutt Jazz Soul Project.  These events have been made possible by grants and donations from the Akonadi Foundation, Eastbay Community Fund, The African American Art and Cultural Complex, and The Queer Cultural Center of San Francisco. QCC is proud to host the second day of this live music event. Address will be sent out to registered attendees.

Get Your Tickets Now

Queer Ancestors Project Resists!

Date: Thursday, June 15, 2023
Time: 7pm
Location: Virtual live stream on Queer Cultural Center’s Youtube
Ticket Price: Free / Donation

Queer Ancestors Project Resists! is a free virtual panel where emerging artists share their experiences connecting with Queer/Trans ancestors and creating prints that envision ways to a world with justice, peace, and joy. 
Plus, there will be a linocut demo!

Register Your Spot Now

& seeking

Date: Friday, June 16, 2023
Time: 8pm
Location: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Ticket Price: $20 – $40, Pay What You Can Available

& seeking is an immersive performance by OYSTERKNIFE interrogating their Afro-Diasporic lineages inside the Christian church, using Igbo masquerade, church mime, experimental video, house music, and choreography. The NQAF showing is a preview building towards our full show at Grace Cathedral in February 2024.
OYSTERKNIFE––derived from a famous Zora Neale Hurston essay––was born out of a longtime creative friendship between Gabriele Christian and Chibueze Crouch. Feeding a desire to subvert theatrical upbringings that often ignored our complex Black + Queer (or BlaQ) experiences, we’ve formed an interdisciplinaryapproach that nourishes fuller versions of our work. Through nonhierarchical collaboration, we revise common historical narratives to negotiate with the archives on our own terms.

Buy Your Tickets

Mighty Real: A Sketch Variety Show
It’s Qwere

Date: Saturday, June 17, 2023
Time: 7pm
Location: SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street San Francisco, CA 94103
Ticket Price: $30 – $50

Recalling ’90s-era comedy TV shows like In Living Color, All That, and SNL, Mighty Real: A Sketch Variety Show features segments of comedy, spoken word, song, and dance.
The all-female cast will perform never-before-seen sketches along with memorable favorites from the sold-out 2022 Mighty Real production, including the laugh-out-loud family dinner scene featuring the sassy, opinionated, tipsy, unfiltered character Aunt Tea, and Gwen Stafani’s 2004 hit “Hollaback Girl” becomes a hilarious music parody, “Take It From a Black Girl.”
Now in its fifth year, Mighty Real by ItsQwere takes its name from the 1978 Billboard chart-topping hit “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” by Sylvester, the Black, flamboyant, San Francisco chanteuse whose unmatched acrobatic vocals made him an international music sensation and a queer icon still revered over 30 years after his passing.
                     Buy Your Tickets Now

Across Prison Walls: Building Community Through Letter-writing
A.B.O. Comix

Date: Thursday, June 22, 2023
Time: 7pm
Location: Virtual, streaming on QCC Youtube
Ticket Price: Donation

Join A.B.O. Comix for an introduction to penpalling with incarcerated artists. The workshop is geared towards both first time writers and long term prisoner support advocates looking for community support.

A.B.O. Comix is a collective of creators and activists who work to amplify the voices of LGBTQ prisoners through art. By working closely with prison abolitionist and queer advocacy organizations, we aim to keep queer prisoners connected to outside community and help them in the fight toward liberation. The profits we generate go back to incarcerated artists, especially those with little to no resources. Using the DIY ideology of “punk-zine” culture, A.B.O. was formed with the philosophy of mutual support, community and friendship.
Reserve Your Spot Now

Handle With Care: The Future of Art Handling
Art Handlxrs*

Date: Thursday, June 29, 2023
Time: 6pm
Location: Virtually streamed on Youtube
Ticket Price: Free / Donation

This panel will explore the future of art handling and the importance of care, organizing and diversity in the art world. The conversation will feature leaders in the community and it will focus on uplifting individual and collective efforts that improve the conditions and sustainability of the industry.
Reserve Your Spot Here

Remembering Club Q
Panel & Afterparty

tanea lunsford lynx

Panel Information
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2023
Time: 6pm
Location: James C Hormel LGBTQIA+ Center (SF Main Library 3rd Floor), 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Ticket Price: Free
Afterparty Information
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2023 following the panel
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Location: STRUT, 470 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114 Ticket Price: Free

Remembering Club Q is a two part event that honors and celebrates San Francisco’s famed 90’s queer women’s monthly dance party through film and archival photos, a panel, and an afterparty! There will be a panel at the Main Library in San Francisco featuring Club Q founder and legendary DJ, Page Hodel, choreographer, Richelle Donigan, and other special guests. Get your dance on at the after party hosted by Strut that follows this event in the Castro. These events are hosted and curated by local artist, tanea lunsford lynx.

Reserve Ticket For Panel Reserve Spot For After Party

Octavia of Earth Volume 2 Release
Skip The Needle / Uncaged Library Arts & Information

Date: Friday, June 30, 2023
Time: 7pm
Location: Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art
Ticket Price: Free

Skip the Needle will play a concert featuring the full set of music from Octavia of Earth, Volume 2. Octavia of Earth is an original docu-musical inspired by the life of writer Octavia E. Butler and created by Uncaged Library Arts & Information. For more information, head to uncagedlibrarianmusic.org.

A big thank you to OMCA for hosting a free night of music for the Bay Area!

Buy Now

The Changer And The Changed
Dazié Grego-Sykes

Date: Friday – Sunday, June 30 – July 2, 2023
Time: 7pm Show Times
Location: EastSide Arts Alliance, 2277 International Boulevard, Oakland, CA, 94606
Ticket Price: $20 – 40, Pay What You Can tickets available

The Changer and the Changed is a multi-disciplinary retrospective and performance memoir by Dazié Rustin Grego-Sykes that explores our role as change agents, calling on Queer Black resilience and joy as extensions of truth and self-actualization.
Dazié Rustin Grego-Sykes is a performance artist, author, and educator. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing and won the Best of SF Fringe Award in 2017. He is known for his solo plays AM I A MAN and NIGGA-ROO, Currently, he serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Skywatchers in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.
Derrick Miller-Handley is an artist and designer born and raised in the Bay Area. His work examines trauma, sanity, identity and mythology—finding form in sculpture, graphic design, motion, and installation.
Buy Tickets Now

QCC Cabaret
Various Artists

Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Time: 7pm
Location: Virtually on QCC’s Youtube
Tickets: Free / Donation-Based

Join QCC for a night of sparkling performances and captivating entertainment at our virtual QCC Cabaret! This year’s show promises to be a moving and entertaining celebration of the 2023 National Queer Arts Festival, featuring some of the newest and brightest talent in the LGBTQ+ community. We are proud to provide a lineup that includes a wide variety of queer and trans artists selected from an open call for submissions – to be announced very soon!
From soulful singers to exhilarating dancers, from side-splitting comedians to thought-provoking performances, we guarantee a night of unforgettable performances. This cabaret is not just a celebration of queer artistry, but also a fundraiser for the Queer Cultural Center to continue the tradition of the National Queer Arts Festival. When you donate and register for this event, you’re contributing to an arts organization that uplifts the artistic and financial development of queer artists and culture. Join us on June 28, 2023 at 7pm PT on QCC’s YouTube channel to show your support and celebrate incredible queer artists!
                     Reserve Your Spot Now

Murmurations: Queer Power of Werq Gallery Closing Reception
Queer Cultural Center’s National Queer Arts Festival Closing Night 

Date: Friday, June 30, 2023
Time: 6pm – 9pm
Location: SOMArts, 934 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Ticket Price: $10 – $50, No One Turned Away For Lack Of Funds

Join us for an evening of performances and ritual to celebrate the body of work curated by Xtal Azul & Gaia WXYZ. This night serves as a closing night party to the 26th annual National Queer Arts Festival presented by Queer Cultural Center. 
                       Buy Your Ticket

San Francisco Trans March

Date: Friday, June 23, 2023
Time: TBD
Location: Dolores Park
Ticket Price: Free

The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco’s largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world. It’s always the Friday of Pride weekend and thousands of people attend.

Several activists organized the first Trans March on June 25, 2004 with a gathering in Dolores Park followed by a march to Civic Center. A few hundred people attended the first march, twice as many the next year and it’s been growing ever since.
The SF March is organized and run entirely by volunteers from the community. It gets better and better every year, so come be a part of our history!

More Information   OPPORTUNITIES

Looking for a way to get involved with NQAF this year? We’re looking for volunteers! Join our box office volunteer team and get access to two NQAF events of your choice. Please help spread the word!

Reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

To apply, click the link below!

Apply Now

Are you a performance or visual artist? Queer Cultural Center is currently accepting video submissions for our virtual QCC Cabaret, streaming on our Youtube Channel in late June 2023 as part of our 26th annual NQAF. All selected artists receive a $250 honorarium. Late submissions are currently being considered until May 12, 2023!

Submit Now   A NQAF-filled Live & Queer!

If you’re hungry for more info about NQAF this year, check out our latest episode of Live & Queer, featuring QCC’s very own Executive Director, Anand Jay Kalra! Anand joins Maya to talk about docu-musicals, the National Queer Arts Festivals and the inner workings of QCC. Check it out now! Watch Now     LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT


We acknowledge we are on unceded ancestral homeland of the original inhabitants of this land otherwise known as the San Francisco Bay Area.
Click below to access our visual land acknowledgement created in partnership with The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone  and Inés Ixierda for the National Queer Arts Festival. Visual Land Acknowledgement  

If you are non-Indigenous, we invite you to pay a Shuumi Land Tax to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust – an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.

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