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QUEER QUARTERLY Issue #11 Online Edition

Q U LT U R E - A RT - N I G H T L I F E - S E X - R E V O L U T I O N







TOP 10 BY SUSAN IN ACCOUNTING This list is a personal and influential selection of songs I still get excited about whenever they are heard. I recreated a mix tape exactly as received when I was 15 from my friend Chad who had a strong influence on my musical interests. It was a mix tape of songs from records lent by his school nurse. Considering I grew up with disco, Prince, Abba and traditional Croatian songs around the house, this was a welcome departure which led to furthering my appreciation for post punk, goth music and early electronic dance. Enjoy. 1. Prefab Sprout - Radio Love 2. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Arabian Nights 3. Bauhaus - Dark Entries 4. The Stranglers - Let Me Introduce You To The Family  5. Japan - Quiet Life 6. British Electronic Foundation B.E.F. - Fascist Groove Thing 7. Visage - We Move 8. Torch Song - Prepare To Energize  9. New order- Theives Like Us 10. The Smiths - Pretty Girls Make Graves xo Mike aka Susan in Accounting FACEBOOK.COM/PAGES/SUSAN-IN-ACCOUNTING






LadyBear is just about one of my favorite things. I say this as a red blooded, drag queen lovin’ lez, who just really can’t get enough! I’ve seen her tear it up the last two years while down in Palm Springs for their Pride events in November, and can’t wait until she makes her Seattle debut. She’s edgy, she’s fierce, and she’s larger than life. We at Hard Times chose LadyBear as our covergirl for this issue, and I took the opportunity to ask some questions I had been pondering…


LAK - I first crossed your path at Palm Springs Pride 2 years back at our parties at The Ace Hotel and fell in love. How did Lady Bear come to be, well, Lady Bear? LB - Well, Lady Bear was always Lady Bear, even before pantyhose got involved. BUT, what I’m doing now with drag and performance spring from my experiences in the drag and performance art counter culture of San Francisco I’d always kind of been kind of a weirdo that dabbled in a lot of scenes, Bear, leather, political action, writing etc, but hadn’t found something that really worked for me. When I moved to to San Francisco form the east coast, I found an audience for my brand of…” je ne said quoi”. and it went from there. The real turning point came when I happened upon the legendary club Trannyshack. I had been closely wrapped up with the drag scene on the east coast, and loved it, a major “Drag fag” , or “fan of the tran” if you will. I had never really been interested in doing it myself. That changed when I started visiting San Francisco and stumbled into Trannyshack. It was as much performance art, punk rock and political reaction as it was a traditional drag show. More than that, it was a community of artists and performers that supported and inspired each other. I was hooked, I became a regular, and after a while I ended up on stage in “ Star Search”, an annual pageant for new performers. I THOUGHT it was going to be a one time thing, you know, Just so I could act cool and say I had performed on the Trannyshack stage once. I didn’t win, or even come close. The phone rang the next day, someone liked it, and wanted to book me for another show. Then the phone rang again after that show, and I’ve just gone with it ever since. I’ll keep going as long as people still like it & want to see it. LAK - What Are Your Influences? LB - So many! Making a list is like hitting a moving target because I’m always finding new people and things that inspire me. Musically: Joan Jett, Grace Jones, Wendy O’Williams & the Plasmatics. Beth Ditto. Performers/weriters: Tina Fey, David Cross. George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Alice Ghostly, Julia Sugarbaker, Be a Arthur, Stephen Colbert. The list goes on and on and changes every day. LAK - You work quite a bit, even traveling with, Trannyshack. What is that like? LB - Its great! Traveling to new cities with a show like Trannyshack, that has a national profile & fan base really brings us the best audiences. We’re not the typical S&M (stand & model) drag queens & The Trannyshack name really brings out the audiences that want to see our style of show. Also, I love traveling, getting to do so with a group of my fellow performers is really great, its like a school field trip. I love the fact that I’ve been to LA, Seattle, New Orleans and yes, even Reno, Nevada. Partying & performing with my favorite people. Another thing I like is working with local queens in other cities. We just got back from Trannyshack Austin, which was presented by the legendary Christeene Vale, whom I adore, even thought I think she gave me crabs. LAK - Any chance you will be coming to Seattle with Trannyshack in August?


LB - I’d love to! I’l ask Heklina (Mistress of Trannyshack) when I see her later today. We are currently working on a play together based on “Sex in the City”- She plays Carrie Bradshaw, & I play Miranda. It’s completely retarded and amazing, I hope we get to bring it to Seattle someday. LAK - That would be awesome! You also work closely with Cub Scout out of LA. In fact, some of my favorite looks from Lady Bear have come from Cub Scout. What role do you play in that production? LB - Cub Scout is monthly event I’ve been doing in LA for the last two years, with my two good friends & LA nightlife stars Chris Bowen & Victor Rodriguez. I am the “Den Mother” of Cub Scout, the definition and context of that title is not closely defined. I’m just making it up as I go along. Hostess? Promoter? Cheer leader? Life Coach? Installation performance artist/circus side show? Hooker with a heart of gold? All of the above I guess. My role doesnt need to be defined because the event isn’t either. It doesn’t quite fit into the traditional models of “ dance club” (even though there is great music & dancing), or “drag show” (even though when the right song comes on & I’ve had a few cocktails, I’ve been known to go for it), we really wanted to do something different that would bring different people together instead of playing into the self-segregation that seems to rule nightlife, i.e.- gay vs. straight, Twinks vs. Bears, Masc. vs. Fems, drag bars vs. “boy bars”. That is SOOO tired. That’s why we decided to set ourselves up in the LA Eagle, traditionally a leather/bear/ cruisey space for more masculine types. Our theme “Cub Scout”, vaguely erotic? or just Ironic? Another question mark we let the audience fill in for themselves. We were hungry for something a little different & we were hoping everyone else was too. Turns out we were right-Cub Scout has been going strong for 2 1/2 years now. Which makes it the equivalent of Betty White in LA gay club years. ALSO-Cub Scout has the rare distinction of being a Gay, musiccentric party. Chris & Victor are amazing DJ’s that are devoted to their music & the art of DJ’ing, as opposed to almost everyone else out there, and as opposed to almost every other gay venue. I find it appalling that gay venues have gone (for the most part), from our noble past being the vanguard of the leading edge of the dance music scene to tired, circuity, crap. Back in the early days, at places like the Paradise Garage, people of EVERY type came out to dance together and share the collective experience amongst people that were them selves, different. This made us a lot stronger community. We’d like to create that again whenever we can. LAK - Tell us about the movie “Love & Anger”. LB - “Love & Anger” is a short film that I act in. It’s the latest in a series of shorts that are produced and written by my drag daughter, Cousin Wonderlette, She’s VERY “special”! Despite having a face better suited for radio, she makes wonderful films. All the shorts follow the evolving story of Cousin Wonderlette, and her highly dysfunctional mother Vonda, played by me. Vonda is really a terrible person who wears gaudy, outlandish costumes, drinks too much, and relentlessly mocks CW ( Seriously, I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff). “Love & Anger” is sort of a prequel, bringing showing the viewer CW’s birth (you actually see it), and formative years, as she and Vonda become a family. They started out as components of mixed multi-media stage performances, but



have grown in scale & audience following, to the point where they are stand alone films. “Love & Anger” is our longest and fiercest production to date and has been accepted by several film festivals including San Francisco’s Frame Line. Want to see a screening/performance in Seattle? Contact Cousin Wonderlette or myself on Face Book. LAK - While stalking you online I also discovered that you are a roving reporter for Peaches Christ? What is this about? LB - Yes! I have been working with the Church of Christ almost since the beginning of my drag “career”- Starring in the Midnight Mass production of “Bear-Barella” was the first big show where I was a lead/featured performer. Peaches has occasionally paused in conversation to say “You’re welcome!…you know for your drag career”. She’s charming that way. I’ve done a series of filmed nightlife segments, “Ladybear’s Creatures of the Night”, for Peacheschrist. com, designed to document San Francisco’s Drag, Art-tard performance and counterculture nightlife scene. PC & and I both sprang from the fertile soil of San Francisco’s underground, and we wanted to document and share it with as many people as we could. Kind of like a nightlife “Trevor Project”. Maybe we can inspire some queen who’s stuck in a really tired place like the mid west, or Sheboygan (thats right Wisconsin-I dissed you! Bring it!), who has no idea things like goth drag queen zombie dance parties exist. IT GETS BETTER SHEBOYGAN! Come to San Francisco, we’ll show you! LAK - How do you feel about the current drag culture? How do you think powerhouse shows like Trannyshack, or TV shows like RuPauls Drag Race have influenced the culture? LB - That is a complicated question. On the one hand, it’s better than ever. I think drag is an ever evolving art form that will only benefit from there being more avenues and mediums for queens to express themselves. These days, with a little motivation, anyone can make a movie, or music, or create art and promote it, and themselves get it out to a huge audience on the web. There are so many queens out there taking it to new places, and I love that. That being said, I’d hate to see main stream exposure water down or commodify drag culture to the point where it’s a “ Will & Grace” type situation. I think drag is an amazing art form, that has always had an inherent social and political context-its been an overtly political act for man to run around in a dress. I wonder if that’s going to end when marketers figure out how to use drag to sell things, just like they have taken over other culture. LAK - Evidently you have a neat trick with a 40 of beer that’s all the rage. Do tell... LB - Well, I do believe you are talking about one of my signature numbers. Audiences everywhere seem to love it, but it’s really devoid of any artistic or intellectual merit that I could convey (or defend) in print. It’s more of an “experience” I like to share in person. I’d love to come on up and show Seattle first hand. LAK - That would be my dream! What’s ahead for Lady Bear? LB - Oh god. Half the time I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow.






F A I T H no M O R E BY KATEY PANTS There are a lot of things I don’t believe in.

comfort with atheism, I grow annoyed that

historical progression as being created by in-

Yes, I am an atheist, but I want to get some

people lump my non-faith in as a belief sys-

dividuals. We are products of our society—

of those other things out of the way before

tem. (It’s not.)

constantly in motion and always changing.

I tell you how I see the world and why my atheism matters to me.

Hence, I am what I am because of how we People often ask me what I DO believe in

all are.

since I’m apparently spending my time holed So, here it goes: I don’t believe in God. I

up like a troll wherein my only comfort is

I believe in dialectics. I believe that because

don’t believe in gods. I don’t believe in an

my third cup of coffee (half true). Others ask

it makes history make sense and because it’s

afterlife. I don’t believe in astrology. I don’t

what stops me from killing myself everyday.

really hard. I painted myself into a corner

believe in destiny. I don’t believe in Karma.

Others have asked how I expect to have any

seven years ago and accidentally became a

I don’t believe in fate. I don’t believe in free

morals. And others have asked why I am rip-

Marxist and am totally okay with that. I be-

will. I don’t believe in the individual. I don’t

ping off other religious traditions like being

lieve I am a radical. To be a radical is to see

believe in Heaven. I don’t believe in Hell.

in relationships. (Yes, of course, Christianity

a problems at their roots, and at our roots I

I don’t believe in being a total dick about

invented relationships).

think our culture is unabashedly racist, sex-

that to everyone in my life. I don’t believe

ist, homophobic, and has a real disdain for

I should use my atheism to colonize other

With that, it seems important to write about

the poor. This does not mean we are inca-

people. I don’t believe you’re stupid solely

what I do believe in.

pable of changing that.

I believe in nuance. There are multiple, con-

I believe in what is here and now. And when

tradicting, conflating, co-existing, plural

I talk to anyone and wake up everyday, I

truths, and stepping away from the one all

smile knowing that this is what I have. And

Personally, I am reluctant to speak about

knowing Truth has been a really good thing

that’s complicated, contradicting, terrible,

my non-faith. Thanks to Richard Dawkins

for how I think about the world.

depressing, and amazing. And that’s totally

for believing in something or nothing. Phew. That’s better.

and Sam Harris, atheists have gotten a bad

okay with me.

rap for being arrogant secular elitists. Due

I do believe in science. And I think science

to people’s intense personal convictions

is a product of its society. Thus, it is always

I know that my life and most other lives are

about their faith, I normally encounter ex-

changing and always in conflict. I do believe

on average under 1,000 months long and I

tremely defensive reactions to my non-faith

in evolution, but I am really grossed out by

would like to spend that time not fucking

that leave me feeling more like a therapist

Social Darwinism. I do believe that society


than someone whose ideas should be taken

creates individuals and not the other way

seriously. And, due to society’s general dis-

around. I worry about how we talk about





HOW LIL’ KIM CHANGED MY LIFE BY JARRETT EDWARD Growing up in the ‘90s and being culture-obsessed, how could I not like the queen bee of hip hop, Lil Kim? I fondly remember my middle school years. I would ride the bus to school while listening to 50 Cent, Ja Rule, and most importantly Lil’ Kim on my blue MP3 player. I was obsessed with rap and hip hop culture as almost everyone was at the time. I wanted to make beats for a living and had dreams of popping bottles in nightclubs with scantily dressed women (a goal I think it is safe to say I’ve achieved). In the late ‘90s and early 2000s it was really hard to ignore this type of music as well as the cultural phenomenon that was associated with it. Media outlets such as MTV, TRL and VH1 were blasting this music and culture at anyone who would listen. This culture is definitely one of the biggest influences on my life thus far. The mentality associated with this culture will stick with me forever. To this day I still want to live in excess just like these rappers did. This was a time when hip hop was in full swing. The whole Tupac/ Biggie drama has been pushed to the wayside, and rap wasn’t about fighting anymore. It was about having fun and making it to the top. Rappers were getting bottle service at the hottest nightclubs (a new idea at the time) and living in giant mansions with Range Rovers and Ferrari’s, and giant pools with water slides! Who wouldn’t want that life? Keep in mind that this was pre-recession and the economy was booming. The mentality was “get rich or die trying,” a phrase so famously coined by the legendary 50 Cent. This idea of “hood” mentality was engraved into my mind through music videos, interviews, and lyrics. I was taught to watch out for myself, get ahead, and be nice to people who are nice to me. Who would have thought that I could have learned all of this through rap songs? Now let’s talk about something even more fun, fashion! The style associated with this hip hop culture is still influencing my person-

al style today. Back then, male rappers were wearing oversized tshirts, giant gold chains, and fitted baseball caps. Surprisingly, today most of this is still very in style. I mean, I’m always down for a huge, shiny, gold chain. Oversized t-shirts are all the rage these days with iconic brands such as Boy London selling “one size fits all” t- shirts to promote the oversized look. Fitted caps are also back but are being reinvented by popular brands such as MishkaNYC and Supreme. Nearly everyone is sporting a fitted ball cap whether it be an iconic Yankees cap or my hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now back to my queen. Lil’ Kim is notorious for her effortless style and most notably her wigs. This is definitely on trend in today’s fashion. Nearly everyone is dying their hair crazy colors from blue to orange, much like Lil’ Kim was doing over a decade ago. We can see modern day artists such as Nicki Minaj emulating her colorful hairstyles. It’s safe to say that everyone should be jealous of Lil’ Kim’s wig collection.

Lil’ Kim’s personal style is something to be marveled. Let us recall her infamous 1999 VMA outfit which consisted of a purple clamshell pasty paired with a asymmetrical, one shouldered, metallic, purple jumpsuit. This is the exact moment when I realized that I needed to go into fashion. This was definitely the most inspiring thing I had seen at the time. Not to mention, Lil’ Kim effortlessly paired this ensemble with a beautiful purple wig. With purple hair being a staple in my life, I can’t help but gravitate towards this look. Lil’ Kim is a fashion icon who pushed the boundaries and helped bring underground style to the forefront of fashion. Lil’ Kim was doing “day drag” before any of us had even heard the word. She helped inspire me to become the person I am today through both her mentality and her wardrobe.






Masculinity – adjective 1. Pertaining to or characteristic of a man or men: masculine attire. 2. having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness. By definition, masculinity has everything to do with a man and their innate qualities of being. Or does is have everything to do with men? And are these qualities actually innate? After spending and incredible amount of time and research on the topic, author and researcher C. J. Pascoe challenges this binary definition of masculinity by dissecting and observing it through a feminist and queer theoretical lens. I myself, have also spent a significant amount of time (30 years) doing similar work exploring gender and sexuality not by choice, but by merely existing and living. I would like to say we have both become very aware of these dynamics and social issues only we see and experience them from different perspectives. What that struck me the most about Pascoe’s work is its focus on the sociology of masculinity, removing it from the individual and placing it outside the body. Pascoe challenges the idea that masculinity is inherently expressed by “virtue” of being male, in what seems like an attempt to disembody masculinity, exploring it through its manifestations within actions and interactions between young people. Pascoe also mentions masculinity as it appears through physical posturing, decoration of the body, touch, and through the expression of sexuality. In fact, Pascoe uses queer theory to support her in “uncoupling the male body from definitions of masculinity (p11).” The only way an observer could effectively and accurately position masculinity as visible and tangible or according to Pascoe as “ a recognizable configuration of gender practices and discourse” is by removing masculinity from the inside of a person and placing it on the outside. The idea of masculinity being created through discourse and actions is a somewhat new and revolutionary claim. Author Kosofsky Sedgwick examines the history of the effeminate gay man in their article How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys. Sedwick uses journal articles and diagnostic manuals to explain how masculinity has been studied and understood throughout the last several decades. The problem throughout history was not the homosexual male but the effeminate male, which was the true aberration. These articles highlighted the pressures society puts on the effeminate male to become the masculine individual required in order to be accepted as normal and functional. There are even suggestions included in the articles on how to draw the masculinity out the boy body through conditioning meant to impact behaviors and attitudes. I also personally experience and examine masculinity, or the lack thereof, from inside my body. The only aspect of my personal sense of masculinity that occurs outside of my body is how others process and calculate it through my actions and interactions. I can consciously attempt to manipulate my actions or physical body including my tone of voice, the words I use, the subjects I talk about and even the way I stand, to enhance a masculine sense of self if need ed. I could also manipulate my expression of masculinity through decorating my body with clothes, jewelry, and accessories that could accentuate my masculinity. Each of these aspects is manipulation of my own body that has potential to impact my sense of masculinity. If you took away my body, you would take away my potential to personally

attain this masculine identity. The articles Sedgwick uses also support the notion that masculinity is from within. These researchers and psychoanalysts told homosexuals that in order to be happy and healthy, they must “grow up and act masculine (p141).” Sedwig intended to highlight the hypocrisy that comes with accepting homosexuality but not gayness by citing examples of published works that suggest the effeminate boy is not just a nonconformist but an individual with a psychopathology. Unfortunately as Pascoe also points out, things have not changed much. Boys in high school call each other fag and ridicule the effeminate qualities while separating them from the actual fag (gay) boys. Even homosexual s believe this to be true. Gay men often brag about being “straight acting” and they are vocal about wanting nothing to do with “femmes.” Sedwig labels this fear effeminophobia. I am very familiar with effeminophobia. For a short time in my life, I tired to fight against effeminacy portrayed by males thus fighting my own sense of self and being. The world outside my body told me that all “fags” were effeminate, perverted, weak, mentally ill, and destined to be single and lonely. How did they discern a “fag” when they saw one? They recognized the “fag” cues when seeing or hearing them. I was determined not become that “fag” we all expected I’d grow into. In fact, I fought hard against the effeminate boys because they were they gay men that received the most visibility and were the first thing people always thought of when issues of homosexuality came up. I agreed with the authors mention in the Sedgwick article, you don’t have to act gay to be gay! I quickly learned this faggotry was the thing people recognized and hated about gay men and I too jumped on that wagon. By hating other effeminate gay men for giving me a bad name and reputation in society, I began to hate my effeminate self. I absorbed the social norms and ideals around masculinity that were occurring outside of me, which became internalized and embodied. To this day I am still challenged by masculinity both on the inside and out. I understand the concept presented by Pascoe in how masculinity operates and manifests through discourse. I also identify with some of the outdated concepts of masculinity mentioned by Sedgwick that are still prevalent in our society. As for me, I have reclaimed my inner fag, by manifesting my unique and genuine sense of self, disregarding the pressures to be masculine. I am supportive and nurturing of others that find themselves is the same process of self discovery. That being said, I also find that I ascribe to the masculine ideals set within the gay community by building a body that balances (or potentially makes up for) the lack of masculinity from within. In fact, my naked body is the epitome of hyper masculine sexuality. The way I decorate this body however, conflicts with the masculine body frame it contains. I appreciate the tension commonly experienced through the perception of others, from the mixed signals they receive. From the outside it appears I live in a tough, muscular, and masculine body but the person or personality that resides in this body is not necessarily reflective of that. Both my personality and my body are the parts of me where masculinity ebbs and flows. My relationship to masculinity is developed within these essential parts of my being. Ultimately, if you took my body, you would take away my masculinity.



High Femme/Low Brow BY KATEY PANTS



Feminist and Femme. If you catch me on a less cranky

have many genders. That’s part of being queer. And when

identity. This wasn’t always the case. During my forma-

happens is we essentially create caricatures of competi-

day I might be happy to use these terms as part of my

tive feminist years I was constantly (and not academi-

cally) having intense and deeply personal conversations

with other women, gender queers, and trans people about our shared experiences under patriarchy.

Our sharing turned into study and reflection about our

similarities. It also turned into tough conversations about our differences and privileges and how these differences affected our understanding of a very complicated world.

straight ideals carry over into our conversations what tive petty lezbos fighting for masculine spectrum peo-

ple. This is inaccurate at best and sexist at worst. Having dated femmes for a long time, hearing conversations

about ‘femme competition’ seemed to regulate, decide, and confine my sexuality. When femme solidarity move-

ments assume a heteronormative sexuality, is that soli-

darity a powerful form of activism or merely reinforcing a binary we claim to be combating?

Years later, I tongue in cheek identify as a “radical sell-

My larger political questions are around the very con-

salary, business cards, and the thought of being in a 6

terms can come with a lot of intense assumptions that,

out”. I have a full time job in human resources, a car, a

hour processing session around feminist politics sounds like hell on earth right now.

However, I have something that keeps drawing me back

to observing communities dialogs. The community I am in is a robust one, full of smart well-educated queers (ac-

ademically and not) and a lot of self-identified feminists. Many of these feminists are also self-identified femmes. We’re having conversations about a lot but in particular,

about femme solidarity. For those not familiar with the

term, femme solidarity is a pretty amazing concept. So it

goes: femininity is not valued in this world. Femininity is often seen as the weak, artificial, stupid, shallow coun-

terpart to masculinity. Thus, as femmes and/or feminists

cepts of femme coming from assigned femininity. These

on a broader political level, can not only reinforce sexism but also perpetuate other injustices such as racism,

transphobia, and class privilege. Myths of femininity have often aligned with what kind of femininity is the most valued. That most valued historically has been

white womanhood. Myths of femininity have traditionally gone to those assigned and socialized as female. That has added to a culture where transwomen are the most subject to violence and the most invisible. Myths

of femininity in relation to class privilege have erased working class modes of living and have also assumed

that most femmes have access to housing, health care, and education.

we need to both value the feminine and each other. I am

If the priority of femme solidarity is based on sexist ideas

term “femme solidarity” but something is ringing hollow

instead of justice and liberation, then it is something that

seeing a whole new generation of feminists using the with me.

of femme competition and what we define as feminine, personally I want to stay away from.

For instance, I have overheard unfortunate gross hetero-

Liberation starts when we start talking about our differ-

date because I’m femme). The thing is our narratives,

to see a femme politic that places destroying white su-

normative terms like ‘butch scarcity’ (i.e. I can’t get a our politics, our lives, our families, our identities are nuanced, complicated, contradicting, and uncomfortable. Femmes don’t just sleep with butches. Femmes aren’t

just coming in and stealing your girlfriends. Some of them transition genders. Some have no gender. Some

ences in a real, nuanced, and thoughtful manner. I want

premacy and transphobia at the core. From there we can build solidarity from a place of fun, humility, care, and

accountability wherein all femmes and not femmes can receive community and solidarity.




In just over a year and in the midst of only its second incarnation, Portland’s Queer Music Festival has already managed to make a formidable name for itself—and become a draw for bands, artists, and fans from virtually everywhere. Over twenty bands, a slew of headliners, two venues: all this adds up to one music-packed day in July. Orchestrating a festival like this—one that last year boasted over 600 attendees—seems like something that would take years to construct. But it didn’t. “It actually came to be quite suddenly last year. I woke up after attending a concert and I thought about people in the queer community and how we really didn’t have a dedicated music festival for them,” Samuel Thomas, the festival’s principal organizer, remembers. “We should be the epicenter of LGBTQ musical talent and innovation—our voices shouldn’t have to struggle to be heard. Because of my experience in the music industry and with music festivals, I felt like I could contribute something—so I called up some friends and said, ‘Let’s do this.’” And do “this” they did—and then some. For such a young endeavor, Thomas has managed to corral some impressive headliners, including Imperial Teen from San Francisco and Sacha Sacket from Los Angeles. But this day in July isn’t all about headliners—loads of acts fill up the bill. How does one go about amassing enough talent to fill up two separate venues and an entire day? “We received over 80 applications this year,” Thomas said. “We had to narrow it down to just 24 acts total. While it’s always a difficult task, it really allows us the chance to discover some amazing performers. The best part about having a grassroots festival is that it attracts talents from all ends of the musical spectrum. We have up-and-comers—like popular local rapper Jeau Breedlove or the electro-pop of Seattle’s Noddy—mixed in with the uber-talents like garage-rockers Magic Mouth and the eclecticism of NYC’s Fein & Dandee. We could not be happier with the high caliber of talent at this year’s festival.” Among this ever-growing, stellar lineup is Seattle’s own Secret Shoppers, who’ll make the three hour trek to take part in the festivities. “I think Seattle and Portland musically are such melting pots,” Shoppers’ Garrett Vance said. “Mostly it’s a good thing, but the mere saturation factor can make it harder for the individual band to stick out more, but for the listener it’s a great thing. You can get lost in any sort of music you want.” Routinely described as a “lush-pop” band, Vance reflects a bit on the band’s sound. “We wanted to make pop music that has a sort of ethereal edge to it, but was still danceable and political in its message. It’s funny, I think the nature of this type of music is sometimes the listener tunes the lyrics out, but when you pay attention it’s pretty dark, pro-

vocative shit that’s being said.” Secret Shoppers, Queer Music Fest veterans, have—of course— played with the likes of Peaches and YACHT. “Peaches was definitely awesome,” Vance remembers. “I remember her wearing the giant baby head necklace, bobbing along to our set, which was the most flattering thing ever—she actually watched. She wanted to hang out and almost came back to our house afterward, but the person whose place she was staying at lived across down, was too tired, and nixed the plan.” While there’s no Peaches (yet?), there are plenty of other reasons to spend the weekend in Portland—like the festival’s size and scope. Anyone who participated in 2011 remembers it’s one of the most-attended queer events in Portland outside Pride. Thomas cites uniqueness and camaraderie among last year’s highlights—and points out Portland’s Queer Music Festival is one of the only ones of its kind in the world. “There are a lot of music and arts festivals, but it’s rare to find one that is dedicated to promoting and presenting only music. I am also incredibly proud of our community— last year we assembled over 30 acts on two stages with only three months of planning time. That’s pretty incredible. I can’t wait to see how we come together this year.” Red Cap Garage—the site of Portland’s biggest, most-attended Pride block party—played host last year. This time around, Thomas has expanded the festival’s reach—moving things over to Someday Lounge and Backspace. The changes allow organizers to have an all-ages stage, something Thomas contends is vital for the community and the festival’s ongoing success. With all this growth and opportunity comes the chance to inch toward slightly more ambitious goals. “I just want it bigger and better—I want people to walk away saying, ‘That was awesome’ and I want them to come back next year.” Thomas doesn’t rule out the possibility of someday having Scissor Sisters or Gossip or Rufus Wainwright—or all three: “It could be a really fantastic experience.” Based on present trajectory, perhaps that’ll be on the horizon sometime soon. In the interim, party-goers, music aficionados, and revelers will bask in the glory of a grassroots celebration featuring some of the best music the Northwest has to offer. The tried, the true, the known, the popular—and undoubtedly an assortment of hidden gems. Things kick off at 2pm on Saturday, July 22. For more information— including ticket information and complete lineups—search Portland Queer Music Festival on Facebook. For other queries, email Samuel Thomas -









This time of year always makes me reflect on how we as humans decide to define and label ourselves.

Am I not Lesbian because I am not a woman, but feel like one some

day’s? Am I Gay because I sleep with dudes? Am I Bisexual because I

have had sex with women? Am I Transgendered if I choose the pronoun

“She” and my body is a “He”? I am I Questioning if today I love a drag queen, tomorrow a girl and the next a transsexual? Am I Queer because I

am a rebel who defies labeling myself? Am I an Ally because I have and defend my straight friend’s choices to do and be whoever they want?

I suppose the importance of labels is that it helps you and other people

relate to each other, an opening to a conversation, a perceived immediate connection, a way to relate. I understand that there is safety in numbers and it can be very comforting, maybe even necessary in times when one feels completely alone.

Yes I have written a bit on this topic before and for me the reason I have chosen the word “Queer” (as defined in the dictionary) as my label is be-

cause I have not found a better word that defines me, still looking. However, Queer is just a word, one little word, and any one word and /or letter cannot completely define this complicated and loving human being!

Life is a collection of all of our individual experiences. It is what makes us all unique. Sure we all have moments of absolute clarity, as well as

absolute confusion, but isn’t that the beauty of life? We live 90% of our life in this beautifully unclear, undefined but possible place that is grey, somewhere between black and white! We get to decide who we are every

single day, every single moment and this is what adds to our collective experience as humans with each other on this planet!

Do we define ourselves by the bodies we inhabit? To me what is truly

revolutionary is NOT defining yourself! Get married, don’t get married, be gay, don’t be gay, be a woman, be a man!

Am I LGBTQQA? Yes, that and sooooo much more! Keep on adding

those letters people once we have the whole alphabet covered we can start enjoying all of our experiences undefined! Now that is a REVOLUTION I can feel proud of!




Hard Times Volume 11  

Hard Times is an idea, a concept, a reaction to our collective cultural and financial recession/depression. Hard Times has expanded coverage...

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