Every year on Halloween, evangelical religious groups set up hell houses: horrific theatrical events that showcase sins like fornication, abortion, and same-sex relationships—sounds like a scarring experience for those who don’t take shame in these ‘sins.’ Yet for the participants in these hell houses, their artistic efforts are a form of activism. This year, Toronto-based feminist artist Allyson Mitchell, along with a crowd of community members, constructed and performed Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian-Feminist Haunted House. Outlining the horrors of feminist pasts and presents, the hand-made installation and queer-crafted performance exorcised from the grave things which scare those both outside and inside of Mitchell’s artist, activist, and academic community.
I took a trip to the lesbian-feminist haunted house to experience the spookiness.
Racism is an integral part of US culture, but the shape and nature of racism changes with every generation. This country’s roots in slavery and colonization gave way to Jim Crow, reservations, and racist immigration policies. Since the late 1960s, we’ve been living in the post-integration era where real progress in a few areas has created a pretense that racism is over. This things-are-so-much-better-now narrative continues in spite of people of color continuing to testify about how racism still affects every aspect of our lives on a daily basis.
As the context of racism changes, what it means to be a white anti-racist “ally” has transformed, as well.
Photo: Dr. Josephine Baker, an accomplished early 20th century scientist who lived with female partners all her life.
Coming out in any workplace can be a daunting task. With all the recent discussion around the lack of women in science, I got interested in investigating the experiences of queer women in science. So in the spirit of National Coming Out Day this month, I interviewed ten queer professionals and students working across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields about how they decided to come out or stay in the closet at work.
Formed in response to the fact that the world needs more art, music and culture made by and for queers, Not Enough! Queer Music and Arts festival is a celebration of all new and collaborative bands, film, performances and visual art made by queer folk!
This marks the festival's 4th year. During the last three years, artists and musicians have created 47 bands and performances (as well as multiple films and visual art pieces) specifically for the festival. Many of these groups have gone on to continue to perform and record. Inspired by the Portland festival, Not Enough Fests have happened in New Orleans and Winnipeg.
This year's festival will happen on October 19th at SMYRC in Portland, OR. Read more info on dates and times and how to attend at NotEnoughPDX.com.
Amy Rubin is the creator of the hit web series Little Horribles. The series has been called "The lesbian alternative to Girls," which I suppose is an adequate comparison, although what really fascinates me about Rubin's work is her grassroots approach. She achieves high production value, quality dialogue, and great acting without the backing of a network like HBO or a producer like Judd Apatow.
I danced to JD Samson's music years before I knew her name. As part of the Le Tigre trio, Samson's punky pop-friendly beats and vocals thumped across all my friend's high school mixtapes. Now, the proudly queer and feminist performer is releasing Labor, the second album of her Brooklyn-based band MEN. It's an upbeat, fiery electronic album that you can put on repeat three times in a row and still want to hear again. You can pre-order the album now, BTW.
I talked with Samson in September about activism, making money, and her very first band.
People often talk about a hierarchy inherent in the acronym LGBT: that gays and lesbians garner the most attention and representation, while the "B" and the "T" get left out of the conversation or are excluded on purpose, even within the queer community. Meanwhile, some identities are left off altogether.
• The Canadian iPhone app store is no longer using the word "redskin." As Native Appropriations reports, search results for a "Washington Redskins" app returns "Washington R*****ns." [Native Appropriations]
• ABC Family is developing a new horror series with genre veteran Jamie Lee Curtis. "Titled The Final Girls, the drama revolves around a group of girls who have, in essence, survived their own personal horror stories and are brought together by a mysterious older woman (Curtis) to channel the stress and scars of their experience for some greater good." [Deadline]
• According to the new Census data, women with full-time, year-round jobs are paid an average 77 cents for every dollar paid to men with full-time, year-round jobs – a gap that hasn't gotten any smaller in the last 11 years. The racial disparities of the wage gap persist unchanged, too: African American women are paid an average 69 cents for every dollar paid to all men, and 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Latinas are paid just 58 cents for every dollar paid to all men, and a mere 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. [HuffPost]
Photo: Ma Rainey and her backing band in 1925. Via NotesOnTheRoad.com
When Gertrude "Ma" Rainey—known as "The Mother of Blues"—sang, "It's true I wear a collar and a tie… Talk to the gals just like any old man," in 1928′s "Prove It on Me," she was flirting with scandal, challenging the listener to catch her in a lesbian affair. It might not seem like a big deal to us now, but back then, pursuing same-sex relations could get you thrown in jail.