QUEER REBELS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE (2012)
• International Blues star . . . Earl Thomas
• 2012 Blues Music Awardee . . . Sista Monica
• Drag King of the Blues & Queer Rebels Artistic Director . . . TuffNStuff
• Queer Black Mobile Homecoming co-founder . . . Alexis Pauline Gumbs
• Filmmaker/musician/theologian & founder of Queer Renaissance . . . Julia Wallace
• Cave Canem fellow and writer/musician/filmmaker . . . Kevin Simmonds
• Smart, scrappy Black Girl Dangerous founder . . . Mia McKenzie
• “Best Hyper literate Busking Outfit” (SF Weekly) . . . Khalil Sullivan & MAD NOISE
• Afrocentric feminist storytellers Griot Noir . . . Jessica Jordan and JDX
• Ironing Board Collective writer . . . Carrie Leilam Love
• Filmmaker and Luna Sea founder . . . Crystal Mason
• Award-winning poet/dancer/writer . . . Kebo Drew
• Poetic visionary & Vona/Lambda Literary fellow . . . Indira Allegra
• “Inspiring and brilliant young mind” . . . Maisha Johnson
• Youth Speaks champion . . . Joshua Merchant
• Punk rock dancer . . . Brontez Purnell
• Feminist fabulist . . . Alicia Kester
• Visual alchemist . . . Adee Roberson
• Arts entrepreneur . . . Anthony Julius Williams
• Afrofuturist healer . . . Elitrea Frye
• “big, bold and beautiful treasure,” . . . The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins
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.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs has a PhD in English, Africana Studies and Women’s Studies from Duke University. Alexis is the founder of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind and the co-creator of the Queer Black Mobile Homecoming Project. Alexis was recently selected for Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” and the Advocate’s “40 under 40″ list.
Alicia Kester is an award-winning writer and filmmaker living in the Bay Area. She has performed all over the country and is currently writing a play based on queer southern identities and is working on her feature film that explores notions of constructed families through the lense of loss and grief.
Anthony Julius Williams is an artist and social entrepreneur who combines theater, dance, music and video to explore issues of human potential and social justice. Last fall, he premiered “Blood Is Mere Decoration: A Ritual for Liberation” at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. The show takes a hard look at America’s mass incarceration crisis. Check it out at www.anthonyjuliuswilliams.com
Brontez Purnell is a writer (Fag School, Maximum Rock n Roll) and musician (Younger Lovers, Gravy Train!!!). He debuted “Free Jazz” with his experimental jazz company, Brontez Purnell Dance, at the Berkeley Art Museum to rave reviews. Brontez most recently toured the country with Sister Spit, reading excerpts from his novella-in-progress, “Johnny, Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger? (Diary of an American Waiter Bored at Work).”
Carrie Leilam Love has an MFA in fiction from San Francisco State University and has been published by Diner Journal and Intersection for the Arts. She blogs about fashion and culture at Ironing Board Collective, and works as a teaching artist for WritersCorps, a program of the San Francisco Arts Commission. In her free time, she plays roller derby with he Bay Area Derby Girls and curates her soon-to-be renowned 80s boot collection.
Crystal Mason, lived in Berlin, Germany for 9 years and 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. This is Crystal’s third year participating in Queer Rebels show. Crystal walks dogs for a living.
Earl Thomas and the Blues Ambassadors: With their debut CD, Introducing The Blues Ambassadors, peaking at #12 on the Living Blues Radio chart and reaching #1 on Sirius XM B. B. King’s Bluesville, and over 500 radio stations throughout the United States, Earl Thomas and the Blues Ambassadors are fast becoming a national sensation. People are talking about this slick bay area Blues band, their dynamic stage show, and interesting cultural mix of African American, Middle Eastern, European, and Latino musicians. Thomas, who made his world stage debut in Switzerland at the Montreux 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. Earl Thomas & Blues Ambassadors are not to be missed! www.earlthomasmusic.com
Griot Noir integrates poetry, theatre, movement, and music to create conscientious Afrocentric feminist performance art. Jezebel Delilah X of Griot Noir is a queer, Black, femme performance artist, writer, filmmaker, and teacher. She is co-host of East Bay Open Mic, Culture Fuck, a member of the story-telling performance troupe, Griot Noir, and one of the founding members of Deviant Type Press. She has been published in The Womynist, is a featured writer for Black Girl Dangerous, and has written/directed/produced two films that have screened in the Queer Women Of Color Film Festival. She uses a combination of performative memoir, theatrical poetry, and feminist storytelling to combat capitalism and patriarchy and advance her politix of radical love, socioeconomic justice, anti-racism, and community empowerment. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Mills College, where she focused on Young Adult Fiction and Memoir Writing.
Indira Allegra’s experimental video poem, Blue Covers, has screened at festivals and events nationally and internationally. She is a former member of the Artistic Core of performance project Sins Invalid and currently co-director for Artists Against Rape for Fall 2012. Indira is a co-editor of the blog, Bodyimagenation, and has contributed work to Cherokee Writers From the Flint Hills of Oklahoma: An Anthology and Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award and ForeWord Book of the Year Award. Indira has also contributed to the online anthology Chicken Skin and Impossible Trees, Rivets Literary Magazine, Wordgathering Journal of Disability Poetry, Make/Shift Magazine and the 2008 Artists Against Rape Chapbook. She has forthcoming work in Dear Sister. Indira is a 2007 Voices of Our Nation’s Arts alum and 2011 writer for the Intersection of the Arts, Interdisciplinary Writer’s Lab. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry.
Julia Wallace creates media and art intended to heal and transform. Julia is a multimedia consultant, filmmaker, musician, composer, theologian, founder of Queer Renaissance, a multimedia movement based on the premise that we can create the world anew, and co-creator of Mobile Homecoming, a national intergenerational experiential archive project that seeks to amplify generations of Black LGBTQ brilliance by using multimedia and building intergenerational family of choice across time and space.
Kevin Simmonds is a writer, musician and filmmaker originally from New Orleans. His books include the poetry collection Mad for Meat and two edited works, Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality and Ota Benga Under My Mother’s Roof. He wrote the music for the Emmy Award-winning documentary Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica and the stage work Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey in Verse, which ran at the National Black Theatre Festival and the FOKAL Centre (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) and was featured on PBS News Hour. His fellowships and commissions include those from Cave Canem, Creative Work Fund, Fulbright, Pulitzer Center and San Francisco Arts Commission. He spends his time in San Francisco and Japan. http://www.kevinsimmonds.com/
Khalil Sullivan is a doctoral student in UC Berkeley’s English department where he studies the phenomenology of US popular music and lead singer of the Bay Area’s premiere new music ensemble–MAD NOISE. In 2011, MAD NOISE was voted Best Local Band in UC Berkeley’s the Daily Cal and SF Guardian and the editors of SF Weekly named the band “Best Hyperliterate Busking Outfit”. A graduate of Princeton University, Sullivan has emerged in the SF Bay Area as an artist deeply invested in intelligent art that combines emotional connection and critical engagement. You can stream and download MAD NOISE’s “Noise Complaint” album at soundcloud.com/madnoise.
Joshua Merchant is a writer, activist, and native of East Oakland. Combining a masterful eye for detail, startling vulnerability, and unflinching courage, Joshua explores queer issues, black identity, and the complexities of their intersection. In 2011, he won the title of Youth Speaks champion and represented the Bay Area at Brave New Voices. Later that year, he became the Berkeley Slam’s youngest Individual World Poetry Slam (IWPS) representative. He continues to work with Youth Speaks, as well as “I Go,” a non-profit youth poetry organization, and has performed at the Davis Symphony Hall, the Warfield, and venues across the country. Joshua is one of the great young voices of slam. www.joshuamerchant.tumblr.com
Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her stories, which are literary and lyrical and hella quirky, and which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award (’09) and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award (’11). She just finished a novel and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. She is the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog. She is a nerd who will correct your grammar, so watch out for that. www.blackgirldangerous.tumblr.com/
Sista Monica is a 2012 Blues Award nominee and has shared the stage with Etta James, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, The Neville Brothers, Koko Taylor, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and other greats from the world of blues and R&B. Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, she has performed internationally and received numerous awards (United Kingdom’s Best Blues Female artist, Bay Area Music Awards). Tom Hyslop of Blues Revue magazine said, “She’s star material all the way… (Her) huge voice and incredible chops give her one of the best instruments around.” Don’t miss her! www.sistamonica.com.
T. Kebo Drew is Managing Director of QWOCMAP (www.qwocmap.org). Born in Memphis, Drew is a 2nd generation activist. Kebo is an award-winning poet, dancer and writer who has performed throughout the U.S., Latin America and Europe. A Cave Canem Poetry Fellow, Drew has won the Audre Lorde/Pat Parker Award and Astraea Emerging Lesbian Writers Award. She also won the Irene Weed Dance Award and Robert Kuykendall Dance Scholarship. Her film, “Ain’t I A Woman,” celebrates the luminous enduring beauty of Black Femmes and Black transgender women.
The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins has been gracing stages from London, England to Paris, and Kentucky with her sensually charged brand of classic burlesque since 2003. 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! www.vaginajenkins.com
TuffNStuff: Drag King of the Blues is the love child of Eartha Kitt and Howlin’ Wolf. TuffNStuff has performed at venues ranging from SF Pride, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Brown University, Transgiving, Fresh Meat, and University of Oregon. Gay.com wrote, “TuffNStuff: Drag King/Blues Man” dazzles the crowd…performing both original tunes and blues classics while burning up the guitar with slide and finger picking.” Singer/songwriter TuffNStuff is dedicated to bringing the legacy of gender bending Blues to our community. TuffNStuff aka KB Boyce is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Queer Rebel Productions. www.kingtuffnstuff.com