Recently released with book launches in Los Angeles and New, Art and Queer Culture by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer is now available. As the authors write:
“Spanning 125 years, Art and Queer Culture is the first major historical survey to consider the ways in which the codes and cultures of homosexuality have provided a creative resource for visual artists. Attempts to trouble the conventions of gender and sexuality, to highlight the performative aspects of identity and to oppose the tyranny of the normal are all woven into the historical fabric of homosexuality and its representation. “From Oscar Wilde to Ryan Trecartin, from the molly houses of eighteenth-century London to the Harlem drag balls of the 1920s, the flamboyant refusal of social and sexual norms has fuelled the creation of queer art and life throughout the modern period.
“Although the book proceeds in a chronological fashion, it does not propose a progressive narrative in which homosexuals become increasingly adept at negotiating the circumstances of censorship and overcoming the terms of stigma and invisibility. The dialogue between art and queer culture does not move towards ever more affirmative images of equality and dignity. Rather than countering homophobia with ‘positive’ images of assimilation, many of the artists and photographers featured in this book draw upon, and even draw out, the deviant force of homosexuality. Continue reading “Art and Queer Culture”
“Otherwise: Queer Scholarship Into Song” took place Friday at new York’s Dixon Place, presenting a musical review/book party featuring the unconventional transformation of recently released queer scholarly works into original songs. Notably, a review of the evening appeared in today’s New York Times. The writer seems a bit mystified:
“Queer theory, with its impenetrable jargon and radical utopian politics, may seem to have little in common with musical theater beyond an overlapping fan base. But at Thursday’s event, a dozen scholars and the performers invited to interpret their recently published books proved that even if it lacks a beat, you can still dance to it.
“It’s a really queer version of a book launch,” Kay Turner, the organizer and M.C., said at the start of the show. “Tonight we’re going to eat each other’s words and put them into song.”
“The musician David Driver, whose credits include both Dunkin’ Donuts commercials and experimental opera, captured the evening’s spirit of fond mockery when he asked: “Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? Total SiriusXM show — all academics, all the time!” Continue reading “Dancing to queer theory”
It’s commonly thought that teenagers these days are so much more hip about gender and sexuality than their parents ever more. But this perception can obscure the facts that concepts of “normality” and “fitting in” still drive much of the culture of the young, As discussed today in Huffington Post:
“Popularity in middle and high school operates as a heterosexist reward system. Who “fits in” and who does not has a great deal to do with heterosexuality and gender conformity, which makes it difficult for LGBTQ kids to engage in the school social scene. For adolescents, school is (significantly) about social connections, social possibilities, social hierarchies and navigating through them. A great deal of school social life is about reinforcing the “normalcy” of heterosexuality and marking those considered to not measure up as “weird” or “less than” in some way. Continue reading “Heteronormativity in school”
“Last May I had the pleasure of hearing Mariela Castro, daughter of current Cuban president Raúl Castro and niece of the infamous dictator Fidel Castro, speak while she was visiting on her extremely controversial trip to the United States,” writes David Duran on todays’ Huff Post. “ The following night I was fortunate enough to be granted direct access to her at a private event where I was able to hear more about her efforts to change Cuba with respect to human rights issues, particularly LGBT rights”.
“Mariela’s mother, Vilma Lucila Espín Guillois, was a revolutionary who was the head of the Federation of Cuban Women and helped change policy and the lives of women in her country. Continue reading “Cuba still leading in human rights”
For anyone who hasn’t heard about Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree, this book is much more than a tome (900+ pages) about parents and special-needs kids. Solomon has written a tour-de-force discussion on difference and identity worthy of anyone’s attentions, especially those of us who do not conform to the tyranny of normativity. Julie Myerson wrote a wonderful piece on the book in a recent New York Times Book Review. While the later chapters in Far From the Tree each could be their own separate books about specific conditions of being, the first 200 pages are pure gold. As Myerson begins her review,
“How does it feel to be the mother of a teenage dwarf who’s desperate to start dating? What if you love the daughter you conceived when you were raped but can’t bear to be touched by her? And, as the father of a happy, yet profoundly deaf son who’s forgotten how it feels to hear, how do you deal with your memories of the times you played music together? Continue reading “Far from the tree”