Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance  //  July (2011)

Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance // July (2011)

QUEER REBELS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE(2011)

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ABOUT THE SHOW

Slip back into a forbidden era. Re-imagine the Jazz age. Bawdy. Raunchy. Intellectually Stimulating!

Harlem’s queer dandies meet dapper bulldaggers, sultry sirens mingle with soulful crooners; and cinematic truthtellers greet revolutionary poets in riotous splendor. Welcome to our queerest of queer Speakeasy.

From Langston’s dreams deferred to the love affair of the Empress of the Blues; from La Bentley’s tux and tails, to the liberating prose of Richard Bruce Nugent – this is Harlem’s poetic rebellion.

Tonight, Queer Black luminaries commemorate our forgotten legacies. Tonight, we reclaim history and the urgency of our art and activism.

Curated by Celeste Chan and Kali Boyce

July 1st & 2nd (2011)
African American Art & Culture Complex
7pm: food and libations // 8pm: Show
Tickets: $15-$20

ARTISTS + BIOS

Adee Roberson

Adee Roberson

Adee Roberson is a queer black writer and visual artist living in Florida. She believes in ART as a commemoration of the natural world and our ancestors. She creates through MAGIC, DREAMS, and INTUITION. As an independent, self-taught, mixed media visual artist, Adee has curated exhibitions and shown her art in numerous galleries and alternative media/art venues across North America and Europe. Her rich mixed media paintings, drawings, photo images, and fabric collages are influenced by punk and hip-hop music, ’60s and ’70s African psychedelic art, animals, nature, and her own personal experience.
Anna Martine Whitehead

Anna Martine Whitehead // Photo: Robbie Sweeny

Anna Martine Whitehead uses video, puppets, sound, and movement to address queer, deracinated, disremembered histories. In a range of capacities – including burlesque performer, puppeteer, death metal drummer, lone wolf, and cowboy crooner – Anna Martine has shown and performed at numerous galleries, theatres, and backyards in the Bay Area and beyond (including Southern Exposure, Climate Theatre, SOMArts, and CounterPULSE in San Francisco, the Bronx Museum and Gallery The in New York, The High Museum in Atlanta, and galleri bob in Gothenburg, Sweden). Her work with Jesse Hewit/Strong Behavior recently garnered a Goldie Award in performing arts from the SF Bay Guardian, and her collaborative work has been noted in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, and LA Weekly. She is a recent graduate of California College of the Arts, with a Masters in Fine Arts, Social Practice.

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Brontez Purnell

Brontez Purnell // Photo: Courtney Trouble

Brontez Purnell is a writer (Fag School, Maximum Rock n Roll) and musician (Younger Lovers, Gravy Train!!!). Most recently, he debuted “Free Jazz” and his experimental jazz company, Brontez Purnell Dance, at the Berkeley Art Museum this past February to rave reviews. Please welcome him for one night only – July 1st at “Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Crystal Mason by Morgan Weinert

Crystal Mason by Morgan Weinert

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, Crystal 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.

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Earl Thomas Blues Ambassadors  //  Photo Karen Edwards

Earl Thomas Blues Ambassadors // Photo Karen Edwards

The story of Earl Thomas & The Blues Ambassadors begins at a historical crossroads where African rhythms merge with European folk music and where sorrow creates soul. Comprised of musicians from African, Asian, East Indian, and European lineage, the band fuses contemporary styles with rich melodies and compelling showmanship. Earl Thomas, who made his world stage debut in Switzerland at the Montreaux International Jazz Festival, has released fourteen critically acclaimed CDs and worked with such diverse artists as Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Etta James, and Sir Tom Jones. Mr. Thomas comes from a long line of Tennessee bluesmen and his high-energy, theatrical performances form the heart and soul of his creative endeavors. From the band’s first single “Standing In The Rain,” to their newest release, “Introducing the Blues Ambassadors,” Earl Thomas & The Blues Ambassadors evoke social commentary through traditional blues structures and vibrant, contemporary sound. www.earlthomasmusic.com

F BJ Browne (Stephfon BArtee)  //  Photo: Brian Kuhlmann

F BJ Browne (Stephfon BArtee) // Photo: Brian Kuhlmann

F. “B.J.” Browne (Stephfon Bartée-Smith) learned to play the piano at the age of five by listening to the radio and replicating the music that he heard. The son of singer Lula Bartée, a lounge singer and background vocalist known for her work with blues, gospel, and jazz recording artists, Stephfon began playing alongside his mother at live music venues at the age of nine. At 13, he was recruited to perform with the “Ragtime Musical Revue” at Lincoln Center, NYC after performing with his mother at the Toronto Jazz Festival. He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of the Arts, focusing on vocal performance with an emphasis in Jazz; and performed with the European tour of “The Sound of America” before he was accepted to Julliard School at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts and Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. After graduating from the DePaul University School of Music, Stephfon toured the United States and Canada with “Smokey Joe’s Café,” and later, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

After relocating to San Francisco, Stephfon became an active member of the arts community. He performed at Theater Works, SFBoylesque, and Dark Porch Theater; and as a pianist in residency at Martuni’s and the Sheba Lounge. He also took up a torch in the queer artistic community as an artist in residence at the former Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory. During this time, Stephfon created and produced “Limelight: It’s time we faced the music,” which received acclaim for it’s controversial subject matter involving queer people of color and modern minstrelsy. He has performed at The Garage, SF Fringe Festival, SF MOMA, Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, ODC Theater, and Kaleidoscope Cabaret and other venues. Stephfon currently resides in Portland, Oregon where he is currently recording his first album. This spring you can catch him in Portland Center Stage’s production of the Rodger and Hammerstein’s classic Oklahoma, which will feature an all African American cast!

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Juba Kalamka  //  Photo: Morgan Weinert

Juba Kalamka // Photo: Morgan Weinert

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. www.jubakalamka.com

Kirya Traber  //  Photo: Bethanie Hines

Kirya Traber // Photo: Bethanie Hines

Kirya Traber is a nationally awarded spoken word artist, a two-time 4-H Club president, a biracial child of a Swiss-German single mother, a social misfit, a country girl in the big city, and one of the most compelling poetic voices of her generation. In 2004 she became a Brave New Voices Slam champion and has since featured at the United States Mayors Summit, Green Build International, and on tour across the nation with Sister Spit, among other notable stages. Her publications include Tiny Little Maps to Each Other by First Word Press, Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out by Inanna Publications, and her self published chapbook, black chick. She is currently working with Youth Speaks Inc where she develops and facilitates spoken word workshops for Bay Area teens, and she plans to attend graduate school for an MFA in acting next fall.

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Griot Noir  //  Photo: Diana Martin

Griot Noir // Photo: Diana Martin

Griot Noir (Vanessa Rochelle Lewis, Jessica Jordan, and Chanel Timmons) is comprised of three queer, black, femme, and feminist women. They integrate poetry, theatre, movement, and music to create conscientious afrocentric feminist performance art.

Oriana Bolden by O Bolden

Oriana Bolden by O Bolden

In lieu of corporate jobs and/or the academy, oriana bolden makes films, videos, photographs, seriographs and trouble where and whenever she can. Until such time as there is an end to oppression of all peoples of the world, the vast majority of her work centers on people trying to get free. bolden prefers not to identify as a “starving artist,” but, proudly proclaims that she is a (underpaid and overworked) justice-seeking hustler with an artistic flare. Swing by www.projectprojecting.com to see what she is up to at any given moment.

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TuffNStuff by Diana Martin

TuffNStuff by Diana Martin

TuffNStuff, the last Delta Drag King, is the love child of Eartha Kitt and Howlin’ Wolf. TuffNStuff has been named “a trailblazer,” “a trans hero,” and “a Dapper Daddy.” S/he is dedicated to bringing the legacy of gender bending Blues to our community. www.kingtuffnstuff.com.

Ms. Vagina Jenkins by Linda Costa

Ms. Vagina Jenkins by Linda Costa

Since 2003, The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins has been gracing stages from London, England to Paris, and Kentucky with her sensually charged brand of classic burlesque. The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins uses African American vernacular dance, the conventions of vaudeville and lowbrow theatre as well as feminist/ queer performance techniques to create art that defies audience expectations and re-defines the boundaries of the modern art making process. The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins has been called “Atlanta’s Best Burlesque Dancer”, a “big, bold and beautiful treasure.” Critics have called her “Sophisticated”, “Complex”, and “Unique.” No matter the adjective, The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins is sure to knock your stockings off!

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m.a. brooks

m.a. brooks

m.a. brooks creates textured landscapes of movement/gesture/text and is interested in reconstructing cultural memories from black, queer and colonized histories. In San Francisco, m. a. has been dancing with aerial dance company, Fly Away Productions, since 2009 and in June of 2010 was granted a Djerassi choreographer’s residency. m. a. also organizes Dirtstar 2011: Take Root! featuring radical perspectives on queer sustainability.

Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance  //  June 4th (2010)

Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance // June 4th (2010)

QUEER REBELS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE: A NIGHT OF BULLDAGGERS, SISSIES, AND FOOD (2010)

African American Art & Culture Complex
7pm food and libations
8pm
Tickets: $15-$20

ABOUT THE SHOW

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.

Curated by Celeste Chan and Kali Boyce

ARTISTS + BIOS

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Jewelle Gomez

Jewelle Gomez

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.

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Crystal Mason Photo: Crystal Mason

Crystal Mason // Photo: Crystal Mason

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.


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2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Juba Kalamka Photo Juba Kalamka

Juba Kalamka // Photo: Juba Kalamka

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 Awardfrom 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 GoodVibrations’ 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.

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Simone de la Getto Photo: Dave Golden

Simone de la Getto // Photo: Dave Golden.

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.

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2010 Queer Harlem Artist bio Pippa Fleming Photo: Grace Duenas

Pippa Fleming // Photo: Grace Duenas

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.

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Oriana J. bolden Photo: Robinberg

Oriana J. bolden // Photo: Robinberg Photography

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

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2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Kortney Ryan Ziegler Photo: Nicolas Righetti

Kortney Ryan Ziegler // Photo: Nicolas Righetti

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?

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Tuff n' Stuff

TuffNStuff // Photo: Lydia Daniller

TuffNStuff, the last Delta Drag King, is the love child of Eartha Kitt and Howlin’ Wolf.

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2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Elitrea Photo Sara Seinberg

Elitrea // Photo: Sara Seinberg

Elitrea is a spiritual healer, a light worker, a poet, and musician working on the theory of evolution and love.

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Ms. Lady Vagina Jenkins

Ms. Lady Vagina Jenkins // Photo: Knottie Photos

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.

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2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Miz Ginger Snapz Photo: Brian Buck

Miz Ginger Snapz // Photo: Brian Buck

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.”

2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Jezebel Delilah X Photo: Virgie Tovar

Jezebel Delilah X // Photo: Virgie Tovar

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.

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2010 Queer Harlem Artist Bio Elijah Ask Odett Photo: Robinberg

Elijah Ask Odett // Photo: Robinberg

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.

FUNDERS & SPONSORS

This event received a Creating Queer Community Commission from Queer Cultural Center funded through the San Francisco Foundation.