Page 1

Number 154 Summer 2013 $9.95

Qweer Arts Issue

RFD 154 Summer 2013 1


Issue 155 / Fall 2013

JAMES BROUGHTON

X X XO Submission Deadline: July 21, 2013 www.rfdmag.org/upload

I can be far out and I can be way in, and both are germane. I can be proper and I can be improper, there is no opposition.

I can be shabby and I can be glamorous, they define each other.

I can perform, and I can keep absolutely quiet. —James Broughton in his journal from the 1960’s

This is an invitation to “follow your own weird” into a special edition of RFD honoring the 100th birthday of faerie filmic elder and poetic inspirer James Broughton (1913-1999). RFD invites your own “weirdness,” whether you knew James or not. If you did, send your inspirations and memories. If you did not, please go into your own weird and send us what inspires you. The new documentary BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton is a gift from the faeries to the dominant culture. It invites aliveness and allness. Ripen! 2

RFD 154 Summer 2013

Photograph courtesy James Broughton papers, 1895-1999. Kent State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives.


Representing Fey Dexterity Vol 39 No 4 #154

Summer 2013

Between the Lines Art means in ways difficult to express in words—unless the art is words. And even when it is, the artist’s intended meaning will differ from the viewer’s perceived meaning. We each find our own significance, perceiving the art from our unique perspectives. Our responses to the visual arts vary very widely, especially our responses to qweer art, which can provoke as well as bewitch. Qweer art—art cooked up by persons who see themselves as different, as other—has been exciting controversy for centuries, yet qweer artists dish it out still to people who are hungry for it, or not!—or both. We asked qweer visual artists in our community what that cooking and serving is like. How do art and otherness inform one another in ways specific to each artist’s vision, impulses and practice? We received an enormous response, so we’ve had to be selective—our apologies to those left out. We know many other artists whose work we would have liked to include—surely a sign of the vibrancy of the arts in qweer communities, both urban and rural. Think how often we encounter new forms of culture tranifesting before our eyes at gatherings—makeup, hair sculpture, fey fashion, food styling, performance, altars in the woods, installations. Artists enrich our lives and alter them. We grow in response to their work. The art submitted reflects the moment as art ever does, saying something about our time before we can find words to express it. Neither angry nor rebellious, it astonishes, inviting us into a new world—a world conjured from its makers’ spirit, intellect, passion and imagination. There is mastery in these pages, not just of the hand, but of the heart that moves it—a spiritual mastery that inspires hope. This issue is meant to honor qweer visual artists creating new perspectives, new consciousness. Representing Fey Dexterity, we celebrate Summer 2013 with a feast for your eyes, mixed with words for your heart. We call in the passionate creativity of South to keep the fires burning in the minds, bodies, studios, installations and performance spaces of qweer artists everywhere. —The RFD Collective

RFD 154 Summer 2013 1


Submission Deadlines Fall–July 21, 2013 Winter–October 21, 2013 See inside covers for themes and specifics. For advertising, subscriptions, back issues and other information visit www.rfdmag.org RFD is a reader-written journal for gay people which focuses on country living and encourages alternative lifestyles. We foster community building and networking, explore the diverse expressions of our sexuality, care for the environment, Radical Faerie consciousness, and nature-centered spirituality, and share experiences of our lives. RFD is produced by volunteers. We welcome your participation. The business and general production are coordinated by a collective. Features and entire issues are prepared by different groups in various places. RFD (ISSN# 0149-709X) is published quarterly for $25 a year by RFD Press, P.O. Box 302, Hadley MA 01035-0302. Postmaster: Send address changes to RFD, P.O. Box 302, Hadley MA 01035-0302 Non-profit tax exempt #621723644, a function of RFD Press with office of registration at 231 Ten Penny Rd., Woodbury, TN 37190. RFD Cover Price: $9.95. A regular subscription is the least expensive way to receive it four times a year. Copyright © 2012 RFD Press. The records required by Title 18 U.S.D. Section 2257 and associated with respect to this magazine (and all graphic material associated therewith on which this label appears) are kept by the custodian of records at the following location: RFD Press, 85 N Main St, Ste 200, White River Junction, VT 05001. Mail for our Brothers Behind Bars project should be sent to P.O. Box 68, Liberty TN 37095.

2

RFD 154 Summer 2013

On the Covers Front: “Digapony” by Max Carlos-Martinez

Back: “Don’t Go Back To Sleep” by Virgo Paraiso, 2000, 20x16”, oil on wood Inside Front: Courtesy Kent State Archives

Production Managing Editor: Bambi Gauthier Guest Editors: Rosie Delicious and Alwyn de Wally Art Director: Matt Bucy Editor: Paul Wirhun Editor: Eric Linton Editor: Jason Schneider Prison Pages Editor: Myrlin Because this issue’s theme is artists, we have listed the artists in this issue in the table of contents rather than here where they normally appear.

“Voz del Poeta” by Tino Rodriguez, 2002, 12x24”, oil on wood


CONTENTS Announcements / Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Qweer Arts Issue

Lawrence Brose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edmund Cardoni & Keisha. . . . . . . . . 6 Ezekial Plumber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Ricardo Nelson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Once Upon a Time There Was a Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . Frank Susa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Queer Is An Attitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cuz’n aka Keith Hennessy. . . . . . . . . 14 Robbie Sweeny. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Jombi Supastar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 William Paul Plumlee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 John Butler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Max-Carlos Martinez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Quasimoda de Folleterre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Jai Sheronda. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Virgo Paraiso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Krys Fox. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Tino Rodriguez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Fussy Lo Mein (Keith Gemerek). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Tate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Imaginary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Dragon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Donald Engstrom-Reese. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Tommy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Mitcho. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 artboydancing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Franklin Abbott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Being in the Woods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jenks Farmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Lorna Dune (Michael Hemes). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Seeds of Truth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Finger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Vincent / lucius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Alwyn de Wally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Rosie Delicious (Paul Wirhun) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Praxis: Drawing Game . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rosie Delicious (Paul Wirhun). . . . . 58 Prison Pages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Myrlin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

RFD 154 Summer 2013 3


LETTERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS Sex Magick Workshops

We are very pleased to announce that the next Sex Magick 169 workshop is scheduled to occur at Wolf Creek Sanctuary, June 1-8, 2013. This workshop, now into its third decade, was originally conceived and led by Harry Hay. For the past decade the workshop has been facilitated by some of the original participants as well as more recent alumni. Following the workshop in June, we are having our first Sex Magick workshop on the Continent, at Folleterre Faerie Sanctuary in eastern France July 20-27. This is a big step for us and we are very excited to be working with some of the amazing Euro-Faeries to make this happen. It’s a new

About Sex Magick

The Sex Magick workshop is intended to explore deeper levels of emotional and physical intimacy. Where gathering Heart Circles and Sex rituals end, there are often levels of unexplored connections. The Sex Magick workshop, through its participants, manifests a container of intimacy with deep bonds between the members. Faeries who are comfortable and committed to Heart Circle process and exploring heartcentered erotic connections are encouraged to consider, learn and participate in the Sex Magic workshops. Sex Magick 169 is the initial workshop for those who haven’t attended a workshop before and Sex Magick 269 workshop is for those who have done a Sex Magick workshop previously. For more information or to register, please go to http:// www.faeriesexmagick.org Feel free to contact me if you have questions or are at all curious. Thanks for reading this! —Chas Nol

LETTERS

experience for Folleterre as well! A note about languages: the workshop will be conducted in English, but there will be a number of multi-lingual people at the workshop, including the facilitators, who will provide some translation as necessary. After all, some things are really best expressed using our native tongue, don’t you think? In November, we have plans for two workshops! One, a 269 for people who have done the workshop before, at Saratoga Springs in Northern Calfiornia. The other, a 169 for first timers and people wanting to do the workshop again, back at Loon Lake, British Columbia. This workshop is still in the early stages of planning.

4

RFD 154 Summer 2013

Dear RFD, This is a rough reply to the article by Jason Baumann in RFD #153, page 10-14. Specifically, his words responding to Scott Lauria Morgensen, anthropologist. Jason agrees with Morgensen up to a point. He agrees that ‘appropriation’ of Native American Cultures by “the” radical faeries (whatever that really means) is happening. I say, yes and no. The bottom line? Shall we pressure each other to conform to guilt, or shall we inspire each other via examples of our own daring desire? The immediate reaction is, are we to do so respectfully? Well, who gets to tell us *when* that is?? Morgensen the anthropologist?? Do we bow down to Morgensen just because he is “superior” to us as somehow higher on the proverbial chain-of-command (re: schooled expert)? Or do we *wear* his input, thinking it through and to how such critique may apply to us, and thank him for his time? The latter is my approach, basically. I say, it’s time to be “radical’s radically respectful” (and I have articulated this to Indigenous champions directly). That means we give ourselves permission to launch into the dynamics we feel, intuitively, most drawn to, in ongoing processes of becoming. More below! As someone who has lost a friend and spiritual guide over this topic (he refused to engage in dialogue!), I feel moved to write as best as I can while trying to expose what I see as *crucial* grey areas. Yes, more discussion (and input) is needed and wanted! Two things I want to cover here. One, my own intuitive approach, two, the excerpts below.

“Radiant Cock” by Rosie Delicious


My own approach comes as a self-taught champion who has dared to put his life on the line for topics not allowed to be discussed open-endedly today, evolving into broad-based consciousness over many years. To make this short (and better fit into the limits of RFD mail), I’ll just say that I have dared to pursue, on an ongoing basis, my intuitive desires (as far as creative intelligence goes). This means I have engaged, informally, diverse communities, in diverse situations (from pow wows to ghetto intensities, to settler sanctuaries). This includes “arting myself ” in increasingly inspired ways in more than 20 cities and other localities since 2003. See my website for more examples: www.angelfire.com/folk/magixnartz/ flouggindex.html. Amongst us, we have many who seem to uncritically buy into mainline cult-ure, so Morgensen is right to challenge us there. But what it becomes, I think, is pressure to conform to chain-of-command strictures, a.k.a. political correctness. Yes, many of we settlers have been dumbed down, and many who basically amount to “weekend warrior faes” do seem to engage in cultural appropriation-type actions. And it is easy to view ourselves when walking in the other’s proverbial moccasins. And yet, on the other hand, if we look at ourselves “radical’s radically” deeply (rather than as we’ve been programmed, ready to return, “in formation” to social givens, subordinated fully and sheepishly to neo-colonial imperatives), we can begin to see who we really are!—i.e. people daring beyond The Box, people in various stages of champion standings, people who are equals or soon-becoming equals to Indigenous depth being and seeing. In this light, I wish to promote the value of strategies of inclusiveness as far as our unsettling champion capability. Strategies which could well include ceremonies we give ourselves permission to create (not merely copying others). Of course, many of us are already doing this sort of thing (if only touching on our potential) and that’s why, I think, the Radical Faeries have such a large draw. Secondly, some excellent excerpts and food for thought from a blog called www.unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com: “These metaphors of angels, demons and zombies are a way of naming three, interconnected ways of relating to colonialism among settlers. They seem opposed or antagonistic, but they actually reinforce each other. They’ve become deeply ingrained habits, and they make it difficult to have meaningful and transformative conversations about colonialism, let alone take meaningful action. “The call-out is: “a method for either revealing privileged, bigoted or problematic behaviors to others publicly or to attempt to reveal to an individual their own mistakes and hopefully trigger some accountability.” It has roots in massmovement-based, anti-racist, anti-oppressive contexts as a tactic to challenge Upsettlers and Monarchists who are being oppressive. I am not saying that calling someone out makes you a Manarchist. I’ve been called out, and it has been scary, unsettling, transformative, and effective. “Manarchists don’t have a toolkit for engaging with Upsettlers and Monarchists: they only have the call-out, and the call-out is a sledgehammer. Sometimes it can be effective, but

if it’s the only tool in the arsenal, pretty soon people will get tired of being bashed, and they’ll probably get Upsettled. It’s like throwing rocks at zombies: it may feel good, but it just riles them up, and remember: the Upsettler zombie disease is extremely contagious. “Vulnerability and accountability: these folks have cultivated a way of having conversations about colonialism where they don’t set themselves up as the ones with the Truth. It doesn’t mean that they don’t challenge colonial attitudes; it means they try to do it in a way that opens conversation and questions, rather than shutting them down. They make it clear that they’re questioning, they’re doing their own learning, and they haven’t figured it out. They’re also open to being challenged, by Indigenous people and settlers, and they learn more because folks feel like it’s safe to challenge them. This also makes them more effective allies of Indigenous peoples. “But how do you get there, if talking about it (or writing about it in an essay) isn’t enough? “I don’t know.” My note: I feel that I do (this based in my numerous intense personal spirituality), at least for creatively inclined folks with gutsy desires to speak our truths somehow and no matter what. Excerpt continues: “And they approach new conversations with compassion, even if they’ve heard the same colonial responses (“we can’t go back”—“it’s not my fault”—“it’s human nature”) a hundred times before. The burden of engaging with Upsettlers and Monarchists shouldn’t fall to Indigenous peoples. This means it’s up to us as settlers to educate ourselves and engage with others wherever we are. If people are unreceptive or dismissive, the most effective settlers tend not to reject them as colonizers, at least not at the outset; they see the intervention as part of a longer process, and try to leave space for future conversations. “Manarchism is simpler than vulnerability. Manarchists can often become their own little cliques, in their own pious corner. It’s easier to have a radical anti-colonial circle-jerk than to engage with Monarchists and Upsettlers who might be angry or dismissive. Demons and zombies can be scary, and angels often like hanging out with each other (and hitting each other with hammers). “The Manarchist possesses us, and we attack others to show that we’re good, that we know. We bash people with sledgehammers without considering pliers, or a flashlight, or a nail file. Upsettlers and Monarchists shriek in horror, and we mistake this noise for transformation. But upsettlement is not unsettlement.” See the entire article: http://unsettlingamerica.wordpress. com/2013/02/28/monstrous-settlers-zombies-demons-andangels. —Chuck d. ziNg

RFD 154 Summer 2013 5


Lawrence Brose

L

awrence Brose, the respected Buffalo-based experimental filmmaker and arts administrator (former director of CEPA Gallery), and a longtime close colleague and friend of mine, is being prosecuted—mistakenly and unjustly, I believe—on very serious federal charges, allegedly related to what the U.S. Attorney is attempting to characterize as “possession of child pornography.” As serious as actual crimes of that nature can be (which Lawrence’s case emphatically is not), there is nonetheless a lot of hyperbole and even hysteria around the whole subject in American society, much as surrounded witchcraft in Puritan New England in the 1600s and red-baiting and blacklisting in the 1940s and ‘50s, as well as considerable prosecutorial overzealousness and overreaching, leading in many cases to misdirected prosecutions such as this one. As misplaced and groundless as this prosecution is, however, the reality is that in recent years, the social hysteria and stigma surrounding this subject, compounded by prosecutorial heavy-handedness, have created an atmosphere of such intimidation that the vast majority (indeed, nearly all) of those who fall under its too-broad net—including the innocent such as Lawrence Brose—often feel themselves as having no alternative but to plead guilty, either because of the probability of being found guilty in the end anyway, even when one is not (the hysteria factor again), or because of the prohibitive costs to even an innocent defendant (especially an artist or person working in the nonprofit art world) of mounting an effective defense against the deep (practically bottomless) pockets of federal prosecutors, pockets filled by taxpayers’ money. The very fact that Lawrence has defied the odds stacked so high against him by maintaining his innocence so publicly and without the shame that silences so many faced with such charges, by refusing to take the easier route of pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit, at great risk and expense to himself, at a time when he has already been deprived of his livelihood, is in itself, at least to me, the strongest testimony to his innocence. As a member of the Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) Defense Fund, I spent much of my personal time over a period of nearly four years, from 2004 to 2008, helping to raise funds and other kinds of support (moral support, press coverage, personal testimonials, etc.) to defend Buffalo artist and art professor Steve Kurtz against very different but equally unfounded charges, in Steve’s case of being 6

RFD 154 Summer 2013

a “bioterrorist.” Actually, Steve’s federal indictment came down to charges of mail and wire fraud pertaining to a contractual technicality rather than any actual “bioterrorism,” but there is no doubt in my mind that it was because of his and his collaborators’ political radicalism and art activism against GMOs and biological weapons development that he was targeted. In other words, the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued its very tenuous case against Steve from at first purely political (suppression of dissent)—then face-saving—motives, until the case was ultimately resolved when newly assigned federal Judge Joseph Arcara (newly assigned to Kurtz’s case, that is, replacing the original judge) very wisely saw how baseless the case was (and had been all along) and dismissed it as “insufficient on its face.” But although the case never even made it to trial, it still cost Steve, his codefendant, and their supporters nearly a quarter of a million dollars up until the point of dismissal—not to mention years of career disruption for Steve in his work as a practicing artist in his professional prime. What’s more, the case ruined the health of Steve’s more elderly and already ailing collaborator, the distinguished scientist Bob Ferrell, who, unlike Steve, was tragically browbeaten into accepting a plea bargain, i.e., admitting to guilt on lesser charges, too weak physically to hold out, as Steve did, until total vindication could be won by the eventual dismissal of the case. I urge all my colleagues in the arts, and all who care about personal privacy rights, artistic freedom, and civil liberties, to support Lawrence Brose, financially and otherwise, in his own brave battle to hold out against this unmerited and relentless prosecution, which has already taken an enormous toll on him and those near and dear to him professionally, personally, and financially. —In Solidarity, Edmund Cardoni, Executive Director, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center Tax deductible donations to Lawrence’s defense can be made through the National Center for Reason and Justice. http://ncrj.org/lawrence-brose/ NCRJ works for child-protective laws based on science, fairness, and good sense, and supports people who are falsely accused or convicted of crimes against children. Also, please visit the defense fund website http:// lawrencebroselegaldefensefund.com. The website continues to update with supportive testimonials and contributions to the art sale to benefit Lawrence’s defense. w


It is always twilight in one’s cell as it is always twilight in one’s heart. And in the sphere of thought, no less than in the sphere of time, motion is no more. Oscar Wilde, 1895 De Profundis Film still from Lawrence’s film De Profundis, with Agnes de Garron

RFD 154 Summer 2013 7


RFD Magazine Launch/Qweer Art Show We are excited to announce a special RFD Magazine Launch/Qweer Art Show for this Summer’s Qweer Arts issue at the Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Prince Street gallery space from 12-14 July. Artists in this issue, as well as local qweer artists will be represented. Magazines will be for sale with special incentives to subscribe. We look forward to seeing you there! Here are the details: Leslie-Lohman Museum @ 127B Prince Street, Soho, NYC Opening party: 12 July from 6 - 9 p.m. Gallery hours: 13 & 14 July from 12 - 6 p.m. Opening Party will be hosted by the NYC (dis)Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, with refreshments served. We are looking for volunteer help to hang the show on the afternoon of Friday, 12 July, and to gallery sit during the Gallery hours on Saturday & Sunday. Please contact Rosie Delicious via eggmananda@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering and/or participating in the show. Our thanks to Leslie-Lohman Museum for hosting this special event celebrating Qweer Artists everywhere & our Summer 2013 Qweer Arts issue magazine launch.

8

RFD 154 Summer 2013


Ezekial Plumber

“Three of Swords”

RFD 154 Summer 2013 9


10 RFD 154 Summer 2013


Once Upon a Time There Was a Forest By Frank Susa / Sunbeam

T

his is the story of a forest. It was a magical place like never seen before, in which all manner of creatures—visual artists, performers, political activists, storytellers, sex workers, techno-witches, kitchen wizards and radical faeries—came together to collaborate in a kind of temporary autonomous zone they had built for themselves and their communities. The organizers and artists who created the forest had a decidedly queer intention with respect to the legends it would reference and the legacies it would engender. They built it as a symbolic space in which to nurture a cultural shift in the perception and construction of gender itself. Everyone who entered was invited to sew seeds of trans-formation within their own hearts, minds and bodies, and to cultivate in themselves a commitment to tranifest a radically better world for all people. This was their collective dream of “what a queer future might look like.” Sadly, like too many dreams, the forest didn’t last forever. But to keep the memory of it alive, I asked Quito Zeigler and Bizzy Barefoot—two of the most principal artist-activists in this story—to tell us about it in their own words. What was The Forest of the Future, I asked, and what was its significance? Bizzy Barefoot: It never was quite the same thing from the very first moment to its last moment. But, from conception to end, it was a place of community deepening and coalescing. It was a forest in which we could truly curl up and find our heartspace with one other. Quito Zeigler: It started out as a dream. It was a vision rooted in different experiences and impulses of mine towards building communities, towards drawing different people and things together, towards creating space for artists to just create and be without the pressures of finances or time. In that way, it was also a gift. It was a gift of resources that was given to me that I wanted to give to my community. FS: There was a moment when we were sitting around together in the space and Bizzy said, “We are inside Quito’s dream.” I knew what you meant. I knew that I was also inside my own dream at the same time. And I was obviously somehow also inside yours as well, Bizzy. How was that for you, knowing that there were all these people inside your

dream and dreaming along with you? QZ: I’ve never wanted to be alone in my process of dreaming. Never. How lonely and boring is that? That’s part of the thing I love about the Faeries. Finding faerie community a couple years ago was like the ability to start dreaming collectively with people who want to play along. BB: It was mostly such a beautiful joy, as dreaming usually is. It’s always a beautiful joy to make love through art. It is one of my favorite ways to make love with my friends. That’s not to say there weren’t hard parts. I struggle with ego in art. I’m trying to have very little of it if at all possible, especially in collective projects I’m involved in. It’s hard, though, when you’re also “in charge.” It’s easy to get really irritated when people are like, “How come you didn’t make that choice,” with your whatever. That becomes very upsetting. But, on the day we were going to open and everybody was feeling the stress of being an art rock-star—under the pressure of being against a hard deadline, wanting to get it done, wanting it to be badass, wanting to be seen as real, legitimate artists—I got to be the one to say, let’s let go of that art-ego-stress and remember this is a community building project. Let’s remember, this is a labor of love. FS: How was the creation of this forest a labor of queer love? QZ: This wasn’t about just imagining the future given the current systems that we’re stuck in right now. We were asking specifically what could a queer future look like? How could we do things differently if we actually want to live in the world that we dream of? In a queer future, our relationship structures will not be the way that they are in the dominant society now. The way we make decisions will be different. The way we take care of each other will be in a queer way. The way we feed each other, the way that we find rest and sustenance in each other, the way we create and build and work together, and grow and learn and transform together. There’s an ecosystem to all this, in that every single organism has its place and it contributes something to the whole, and there’s this whole circle of life. An ecosystem is there to create and sustain

Photographs by Ricardo Nelson www.ricardonelson.com

RFD 154 Summer 2013 11


life. A queer ecosystem creates queer life and sustains it queerly in some way. FS: What part did the Ancestor Tree play within this queer ecosystem? BB: The world I came up in was disconnected from my own history, as was the case for most queer people. We were robbed of knowledge, guidance, inspiration, support, understanding. I wasted time growing up because no one was there to tell me that the person I was becoming was not a gay person at all. Nobody was there to say, “You are something else and you don’t have to settle for the suburbanpleasure-bunker dream-package.” No one was there to tell me that my parents were lying. No one was there to tell me it’s going to be okay. QZ: This is how I’ve been telling my own story for a couple of years now. Growing up, I had no queer mentors. I didn’t even know I was queer. I’m not a lesbian in the typical sense of the word. My tastes are more about the energy of the other person and not about their gender. But, I didn’t have a language for any of that. I didn’t have a model for any of that. BB: Because people don’t know things about their history, they don’t know things about their present. I think of kids today who have HIV at the ripe old age of 20, and they act like they don’t have a care in the world. They don’t care because they can get their meds and their disability check, and that’s all there is to it. Not a thought is given about why they might get to live and who made that possible. Not a thought is given when they get online and start saying the most disgusting possible things about people who are older than them, making their elders feel completely unvalued, unattractive and disenfranchised. It never occurs to these young kids

that the people they’re disparaging went to war, and they suffered and they almost all died. These kids would be dead if it wasn’t for their bravery. QZ: There’s no way to really look forward without understanding where we’ve come from, because we’re all part of a long continuum of things. If we want to move forward as a community, it’s important to remember where we’ve been. And that ultimately is what our little forest was all about. FS: Did any particular visions of the future come to you through this project? BB: The best vision I had was of us sleeping on the floor in our own space and feeling safe, able to find intimacy with each other because the door was closed and the magic was set. This was something we’ve already created in the past, and we intend to create again. By we, I mean Radical Faeries. If there’s a future, we’re it, because we’re trying to reconcile who we truly are—fags, dykes, trans-folk, two-spirits, same-gender-loving freaks, whatever you want to call us—with some of the most institutionalized traps of the past—the traps of heterosexual culture and the traps of Capitalism. And we’re great at it! This has been happening in Radical Faerie sanctuary spaces for years, and it will continue for years to come. That’s the only future I’m even bucking for—one that looks a whole lot like us being our truest selves, unabashedly, without criticism or obstruction. FS: So a queer future is one of safety? BB: The safety of sanctuary is the future. w

12 RFD 154 Summer 2013

Photographs by Ricardo Nelson www.ricardonelson.com

Frank Susa, a.k.a. Sunbeam, is a writer, organizer, and fundraiser living in New York City. Photos by Ricardo Nelson. To learn more about The Forest of the Future, visit forestofthefuture.org.


RFD 154 Summer 2013 13


Queer Is An Attitude By Cuz’n / Keith Hennessy

Q

ueer performance is an attitude, an attitude towards the body, especially its sex and gender, and how that body is or is not resonant with social norms and rules. Queer performance is also a historical marker, describing a wave of theatrical action, on stage and off, that emerged symbiotically to the massive action/visibility/struggle/celebration of queerness during the gay male AIDS times, from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s. Queer is also a weave of historical performance legacy, with no beginning and no end. Queer is an alchemical détournement of insult and slander, of violence and rejection. That means magical transformation and recycling of the master’s tools. To perform queer is to embody, shamelessly, the shadows of a culture so colonized, it can’t recognize it’s own losses and failures. Queer embraces social disruption in favor of sexual liberation, and that includes in the theater, as well as in the streets, the family, the school and beyond. My work is queer because I found my performance voice in the 80’s and was deeply influenced and inspired by the cultural explosion of that gay old time. My work continues to be queer because it celebrates &/or investigates the in between and not-yet and yes-she-did, and that includes faggotry, lesbian theory, camp, desire, shame, abjection, loss, laughter, butt sex, genderfuck, and LGBTIQQ/TS solidarity. I’m always on the lookout to wrestle images of misogyny, heterosexism, white supremacy, capitalism and other deeply embedded and embodied shit that makes us less free. Queer performance is a utopian phantasia. It fails, but it fails fabulously. w

14 RFD 154 Summer 2013


“Turbulence” (a dance about the economy). A collaborative failure choreographed by Keith Hennessy. Photo by Robbie Sweeny, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Oct 2013, San Francisco. Performers: Ruairí Donovan, Brontez Purnell, Julie Phelps, Jassem Hindi, Empress Jupiter, Jorge de Hoyos.

RFD 154 Summer 2013 15


Jombi Supastar www.jombisupastar.com

I

’ve been enraptured by painting ever since my father took me to see work by Henri Mattisse at the Philadelphia Museum of Art when I was a boy of twelve. I still love Matisse and I still like going to museums. Seeing works by Bosch, Blake and Basquiat in museums or galleries is vastly more wonderful for me than seeing them in reproduction. Even work you would think would reproduce well, like Walker’s or Haring’s, I find far more compelling in the original. I’ve been painting myself for over two decades now quite simply because I love to paint. I feel the most grounded and joyful when creating works of art. In that sense, my art is good for me. I like to think it can be good for others as well. I want to

16 RFD 154 Summer 2013

bring a sense of magic and a touch of humor to this sometimes troubling world— beauty, too. My work is often narrative in nature, exploring the realms of the subconscious, the nether worlds and the sphere of the nature spirits. I think of my art as an expression of the multi-dimensionality of perception, and of the many layered nature of my spirituality and sexuality. Recently my work has itself become layered with collage. I want to make it dense and complicated and spectacular, like life. Just because I call myself a painter, I see no reason to limit myself to paint alone. I take a child’s delight in glittery, shiny objects. They excite me. I want my work to communicate that sense of excitement, and to create excitement of its own. w

“Chilled Delirium”, 2008, 24x24”, mixed medium on canvas


“Coronation”, 2012, 11x7”, mixed medium on paper

RFD 154 Summer 2013 17


William Paul Plumlee

I

started writing poetry very young, just kind of scribbling in notebooks not knowing that I was expressing my unconscious poetically. I’ve always dabbled at expressing in images, but not until very recently did I discover a medium through which I could more clearly express my inner poetry and prose without words. I love digital imaging. I would have never made a traditional college artist. The finger cramps from the scissors alone were enough to dampen the fire of expression for me, but with digital manipulation I relax and the creative process flows. It has a rhythm for me that somehow matches my natural cadence similarly to the way my synapses fire when I write well. When I find or capture an image that inspires me I feel like my visual cortex is being tickled, and a spiritual thing happens for me in which I blend emotionally with what I perceive. I experience it like the sensation of energy being exchanged, and also

18 RFD 154 Summer 2013

at times sensually. At times the transliteration of that process occurs quickly, and within a few hours I have a finished iteration. Other times I will archive an image for years to be drawn back to it synchronically, and like a firestorm have a finished product, while some finished images take days or weeks for me to completely translate and express. I love the sensuality of color and the sensorial experience of light, depth, and texture. The grace and beauty of the male nude is often my inspiration, and I do not shy away from making blatant sexual statements in my work. Sometimes the energy I feel is what I try to express, as opposed to interpreting form in a literal system as metaphor or parody; often though, the opposite is true. In the end my goal is to produce images that produce a visceral, and then perhaps an intellectual response based on the subtext I see in the originating image or images. w

“Faeries of the Wood”


John Butler

“Phallic Bird and Green Wolfe”

RFD 154 Summer 2013 19


Max-Carlos Martinez www.wooloo.org/numberbypainting

I

remember that dust, it fell, Mom’s spring cleaning, near the end of that first year in school, kindergarten, Miss Brown brought out finger paints. As I dipped my little fingers in that Dixie cup, I knew. That summer my uncles came home from house painting, a side gig, paint spackled, sweaty, t-shirts pulled up slowly, armpits, the desert heat, the smell of a young men, paint. So much said and done in between, time, juices flowing, stories of cousin’s first cum, my first wet dream, a female nurse who gave me head. Three urges in life between then and now, men, love and paint. I became obviously Queer early, not only Gay, but a freak. I was different, maybe it was my desire, perhaps it was my drive to make art. We were poor as fuck, every teacher in school cared, there were many student compatriots and there were many

20 RFD 154 Summer 2013

budding bullies. Junior high was like walking into a worse case scenario, a bully would wait around every corner till graduating from high school. Life was shit and you never told on anyone, just endure. My dream of being an artist saved me, really. I discovered my private world, sure it was lonely and I longed for what my friends were experiencing, but I would develop a studio practice. This outsider status, the one who sits in the back of the room, maybe had a plan, escape, leave this sleepy bullshit town, my art, my passion born before I understood what hate meant, this desire that descended along with that dust settling. I have never stopped since and will not. Sure I could have done things differently, but why? I am an artist, I am loved by my friends, my work is good, I am still here and I am still Gay and I am still an artist. w

Above: “Sunset People” Right: “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”, 22x15”, acrylic on paper


RFD 154 Summer 2013 21


Quasimoda de Folleterre

22 RFD 154 Summer 2013

Series: “Walnut Inks”


RFD 154 Summer 2013 23


24 RFD 154 Summer 2013


Jai Sheronda

M

oving to Short Mountain Sanctuary 15 years ago is what fostered and encouraged my artistic development. I had just started working with gourds when I arrived. The faeries were supportive and saw in me the artist I wanted to be. Sanctuary life allowed me the chance to explore thru art, and getting faerie feedback, positive, negative or non-existent, always propelled me farther down my path. When I announced my intentions to create the new gourd tarot, my community made it seem like it was the natural and right thing to do. And when I started drawing portraits, having a willing model at the ready, plucked from the kitchen couch (or nearby), made it all possible. As the drawing circle became a big part of my daily life, more and more faeries participated as models and artists, and now 11 years later, drawing circle continues to enrich us providing an intimate arena for self expression. What I am trying to say here is that my faerie community and the amazing artistic fellow beings who populate it have been the biggest influence in my life as an artist. I love that we are this for each other. I don’t know how else to express this other than to continue to make art while full of gratitude of all that the faeries do for each other. I love showing the world there is an alternate to living an artist life, one lived by so many faerie friends. w

Left: “Espirito Santo”, gourd lamp. Top: “Justin Vivian Bond”; Bottom: “Sean

RFD 154 Summer 2013 25


Virgo Paraiso www.virgoparaiso.com

P

aradise, Metamorphoses and Hybridism are re-ocurring themes that appear throughout the worlds in my paintings. These scenes mainly focus in the connection between nature and human kind. A connection that awakens sensation, enlightenment and spirituality, transforming its inhabitants into nature itself. These visions are of lush green rainforests, tropical oceans, and waterfalls, exotic and ancient cultures, fairytales and fantastic dreamscapes. A virgin paradise without human destruction. My ancestors, the Nahua people from

26 RFD 154 Summer 2013

ancient Mexico, believed that a person’s fate was determined by their “Nagual” or animal twin spirirt, which some had the power to transform themselves into. They also believed that we are born with a physical heart and face, yet we must create a deified heart to shine through our face before our features become reliable reflections of ourselves. If we are unable to do so, we are merely vagrants on the face of this earth. w “Let the beauty we love be what we do…Don’t go back to sleep.” —Rumi 13th century

“Transformation”, 2003, 12x9”, oil on wood


“Grotto of the Siren”, 2003, 9x12”, oil on wood

RFD 154 Summer 2013 27


28 RFD 154 Summer 2013


“Guardian of the Dark Forest” by Krys Fox

RFD 154 Summer 2013 29


Krys Fox

B

eing Qweer has been a big influence on every aspect of my life, from my career, my art, my life choices on down to how I name my dogs. As far as my art goes, it’s funny. I’ve always felt being a qweer artist was a double edged sword of sorts, in some ways it is quite helpful, it opens you up to a community of people, subjects to work with, a built-in audience, and a language to allow your work to speak with, and all these things are invaluable. On the other hand, I’ve always winced at being called a “gay artist” or a “queer artist”, mostly for the sake of wanting to be simply called an Artist, with no prefix, no label. I never related to the qweer community as a youth, felt too odd, too different, too dark or rockn-roll. However, the older I get, the more I identify and bond and congeal with my community, all the while feeling more and more accepted by them (and proud to be part of them). My work tends to veer on the side of surrealism, abstract sexiness, perverse pleasures, kink with humor, homage with a tongue firmly planted in the cheek—and maybe the world has changed, or maybe the community has evolved or maybe my work has grown up—but it seems the gay/qweer community finally has a taste for what I do. I think part of my newfound acceptance is New York herself. I grew up in Southern California, by the beach, in the land of silicone and plastic and bland perfection. My art was often seen as weird or dark or edgy, and dismissed as fetish. Almost immediately upon moving to the East Coast three years ago, all those perceptions and labels changed. I was called whimsical, humorous, dreamlike and most often, Queer. I now love that word the most. I feel I’ve always been a queer artist, I just had to fall in love with a different city and a different pocket of life. My influences as an artist are varied. Ironically, most of my favorite artists are female, many

30 RFD 154 Summer 2013

of whom queer themselves. My biggest influence is Frida Kahlo, her work made me want to create things I could see and feel in my mind, but couldn’t touch. To make an image that makes people think and more importantly pause and feel. Only I use a camera instead of a brush. I am also very fond of Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Cindy Sherman and countless others. Often the most influential push I feel comes from other artists, my friends, my contemporaries, my peers.. I love collaborating with other artists, trading photos for paintings or having an “art day,” just creating with another passionate person who HAS to wake up and make something like I do. I often am inspired and indulged by Scooter LaForge, Stanley Stellar, Alan Cumming, Barnaby Whitfield, Johnny Rozsa and other arty, queer NYC artist buddies of mine. We feed one another. We feed the community and little by little—the world. Nowhere in the world is the effect of art as apparent as here in NYC. You see it everywhere, feel it in the air. I like to say we are the future revolution of art. In a place where much of the community likes to reminisce about the days gone by, the great late artists this city has seen, the harder times, the free-er times: I find it refreshing that there is such a deep well of talent all around me. I think people will look back at his time as a renaissance of sorts. This is the most visible the queer community has been in a long time (maybe ever?), and by making art and creating a visual feast that tells our own stories (real or imaginary) we are ensuring that what we are and who we were will live on forever. Visual stories often have no wrong endings, just more questions and more stories, and creating that dialog for the future is so very inspiring. And I’m honored to be part of the tale. Hope that answers the questions? Or maybe I hope it leads to more questions. ;-) w

Top: “Minotaur” Bottom: Portraits


RFD 154 Summer 2013 31


Tino Rodriguez www.tinorodriguez.com

M

y work is my search for a spiritual philosophy that transcends simple duality. Western religions often set up simplistic dualities: Good and evil, heaven and hell, spirit and body, etc. I am fascinated by the complexity of human sexuality, transformation, longing and transgression. I represent our human exuberance and decadence. I show the reverse alchemical process of putrefaction and rebirth, the total abandonment of rationality. I want to continue creating a syncretic universe in which all is integrated, whether it be good or evil. w

32 RFD 154 Summer 2013


“First Breath of Spring”, 2004, 15x30”, oil on wood

RFD 154 Summer 2013 33


34 RFD 154 Summer 2013

“Dreamweaver”, 2010, 16x10”, oil on wood


Top: “Spleen & Ideal”, 2010, 18x24”, oil on wood

Bottom: “Eternal Lovers”, 2011, 18x24”, oil on wood

RFD 154 Summer 2013 35


Keith Gemereck / Fussy Lo Mein

36 RFD 154 Summer 2013

“Huck with Pan under tulle”


“Huck naked with crown”

RFD 154 Summer 2013 37


Tate

38 RFD 154 Summer 2013

“Night”


Untitled

RFD 154 Summer 2013 39


Imaginary

40 RFD 154 Summer 2013


RFD 154 Summer 2013 41


Dragon

42 RFD 154 Summer 2013

“Green Man”


“Eros”

RFD 154 Summer 2013 43


Donald Engstrom-Reese

44 RFD 154 Summer 2013

Top: “Venus Smiles Upon Queer Love” Bottom: “Queer Pleasures”


Tommy

Photographs

RFD 154 Summer 2013 45


Mitcho

www.GrendelGravenstein.com • www.theshamanastary.com • www.pansgate.com

A

s a queer artist and activist, my work is based upon the self-construction of my many queer identities, as well as the socially constructed identities of myself created by others. Did you get that? I always get so lost there. I am my art, mainly just by being fabulous, but I am also a “camp follower.” I speak to you as an artist and social critic, who chooses to use camp as a tactic of subversion and a tool of disclosure. I think it’s fun too. Since I do not feel bound to the traditional rules of any particular media, it is often hard for others to discern just what category certain works of mine fit into. However one would divide them, they all are interdisciplinary in nature. Examples of my work would include performances including Personas and their shoes. I work with text; I paint Multimedia Paintings, such as my Pen & Ink & Watercolor Erotica. I use Phytomagic, Shamanic Creativity, and my connection to this Earth in my work as much as I use paintbrushes. Perhaps Life Art truly, after all of these years, still describes what I do best. Through my life/art, I promote a re-establishment of art to a position of importance. When I suggest the merging of life and art, I do not intend to bring art to the level of everyday life (the goal of Kaprow and the anti-art movements of the 70’s and 80’s), but rather to elevate life, or at the very least; segments of life, to the important position of art. The goal is the intentional increase in, and heightening of, one’s awareness of magic of living. We are all artists. Let us dispense of the myth of “The Artist” as genius, but give art back the sacred spirit that conformity and progress have stolen. We can all possess this form of magic. Most faeries I know do. I believe, there is a cultural movement, an “anticamp agenda” among art historians, academics, and critics promoting the cultural and academic devaluing of an artist, an artwork, or a political movement because it is considered by such people to be camp. I call this the phenomena the “Liberace Effect.” The Liberace Effect was obviously named after the brilliant pianist (and snappy dresser), Liberace, whose talents and achievements were and still are downplayed by the cultural elite as trivial and slight. Was this because of his blatant extravagant camping—a

46 RFD 154 Summer 2013

strangely successful attempt to hide his homosexuality with a glamour of ultra-fabulousness? He acts so gay; he couldn’t be sort of thing. Campaphobia still runs deep in art and culture. We often see the Liberace Effect when the conservative cultural regime feels threatened by blatant camping, thus underscoring their fear and their lack of understanding. It’s hard not getting the jokes, even when your listening to stardust memories. Humor with an underlying seriousness will usually decrease the value or perceived importance of a work of art. Humor and wit, which is far more difficult to produce, then an angst filled angry work, is considered insipid, or unworthy of inspection. Perhaps as stated earlier, these well-crafted and quite subversive works are simply unreadable by those who do not know the codes. The Liberace Effect; just as we were blinded by the rhinestone capes and dazzling hair from seeing the fag, so does the blatant camp, the laugh, close our eyes to the inner legitimacy of the art. WE faeries are masters of social criticism through the manipulation of the Liberace Effect! Considering the shamanic aspects of my art and my life, perhaps I should point out the use of camp as a strategy to express ideas may be traced back even further to various shaman in many cultures. There are many aspects of shamanism that use similar tactics of inversion to reconstruct an altered state of being. If late nineteenth and early twentieth century records of shamanic practices by indigenous cultures are indicative of earlier practices, as I believe them to be, prehistoric indigenous shamans incorporated camp elements into much of their rituals. Even today, an intentional use of camp is most Shamanic and very Faerie. In my visual mixed media works, I draw upon history, mythology, archetypal imagery, and autobiographical experience to reconstruct my own modern interpretation of those archetypes that have influenced me most. I have done this in works ranging from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the feminine archetype of Lillith, and of course, in the creation of my own queer mythos. I also like to paint hot guys getting it on. But I also like to play –watercolors can contain such random yet controlled beautiful mishaps. w


Top: “Rose, Oak, Madrone”

Bottom Left: “Bay Tree”; Bottom Right: “Dendrophilia”

RFD 154 Summer 2013 47


artboydancing Interview by Franklin Abbott

What is it like to be a faerie of color working as an artist in Berlin? Well, I never thought about being a faerie of color as I grew up multi-culture background where color wasn’t a issue and I feel this same grace with my fellow male and female Faeries. All I see is rainbow of love, compassion, and togetherness. When did you first start making art and what were your inspirations? I’ve been making art or as I like to say “ Being Creative” every since I was able to hold a crayon. Creating is something I do because it is a big part of who I am. It’s my way of expression; it’s my life. My inspirations, well, it’s quite simple. It’s life. Every moment of every day there is an experience to be felt and learned about. It’s all about letting yourself see and feel these energies. They are all around us just waiting to be interactive with. For me I just open myself up and like to flow. How does being fey influence your art? Hmm, that’s a tough question because being fey is such a part of who I am so perhaps it makes me look at things or creative things with more an esoteric feel. Many of your images have appeared in RFD. You work in different styles. Can you talk about some of your RFD images and how you developed the series they are taken from? Yeah, there have been many images of my work in RFD. Some images are from different project

48 RFD 154 Summer 2013

series and others are solo images. I normally submit images to RFD depending on the theme of the issue. The thought and design process depends on what I’m working on. If I’m just letting myself create than that’s the process. I don’t hold myself back by thinking consciously. I just act and react to the making. If I’m working on a project which has a theme then I’m first thinking of what is moving me to want to create that theme, then I do research which involves reading and look at other works which have some possible bearing on what I’m contemplating. I would start to make drawings and thumbnail sketches of how I want a piece to look in the finished form. Then I might begin next by collecting material. It might be old books and magazines for cutting up. I might start to photograph people in order generate forms and figures. Then I begin laying things out to compose the final finished piece. Again, even this varies depending on what’s happening. Ideas and designs change sometime while in the process, but when it’s all said and done the point of having what you feel best expresses what the theme or project is, that’s what it’s all about. Where are you on your creative journey now and where do you think your imagination will take you? My journey is open and I’m not sure where it will take me. All I can really say is that I’ll keep creating and letting myself express what comes to me. w

Photo by artboydancing


Being in the Woods by Jenks Farmer

I

was always aware, even as a little boy, that I was a part of it. The people around me let me, and my buddies, swim naked in giant mud puddles, climb trees sculpted by salty winds and sand dunes, play in deep erosion ditches, dig things up, catch things in green swamps and be in it all, part of it all. They encouraged us to bring those plants, frog eggs, snakes and vines home. To nurture them, to have them near. Later all that being in the wild induced hard-ons in black water streams and orgasms on top of moving trailers of hay bales. Sky, hay, cum. Meadows and jeans, sun and sweat, rainstorms and slick skin and mud channel the energy: stimulate, feed body, soul and soil. In my attempt to fit into college culture, somehow it all got changed from magic to industry. Choose a career; an outdoor career yes but chase cash instead of cum. Make a living. The compromise was to study horticulture. Make gardens and get dirty with the fellas. A way to stay close to them, her, dirt, us. An intersection of feral fun, science, art and industry. I don’t know why exactly, maybe for all these reasons, gardening has been a haven for homosexual men for centuries. A place where men connected with earth and with art can meet. I arrived, fresh from the farm, at the waning of a golden era. Worldly, cultivated men taught me design and garden history and showmanship. They opened their homes and gardens and bookshelves. Friends and I were happy to travel the world, seeing their worlds, reading their books, learning their ways with wine, music and getting their massages. Some were connected to the earth—to the real reason I gardened— and some to the art, some the pretense; something I learned, so that people would want to look at and pay for at what I had to show off. The drive is to honor the cycles—the mother and the men of earth, who taught me to have fun with plants and peter—is stronger than the career though. And it’s bigger than only my connection. I’m compelled to share it, to show people who are busy doing things I can’t, like raising children, making medicine, selling stocks, see what I see. I want to focus the lens, so that when they have a minute to look, they can see how dirty and beautiful and sublime it all is. And so they can know we have to love it; we are it. We are a part of the cycle; dirt, plants,

Photo by Jenks Farmer

food, body, dirt. If they aren’t in it, can they be it? We can’t help but talk to ourselves; I love you, I use you, I eat you, I swim in you, I bath you, I cultivate you. I put my trash in you, I hurt us a little, just by being in this modern world.

Is It Art? I can only speak for me. Garden design is sometimes industry, sometimes hobby, sometimes art. I engage in it in all of those ways. But mostly, I do it with the intention to show other people what I see—the joyful, gritty, sexual energy of plants, water, bugs, mud and mushrooms. Sometimes, I make things quickly, like a trellis made of old vines and dry sticks. Sometimes, I make things that take planning and coaxing and years of that nurturing, helping them grow to become the intended ‘picture.’ Either way, my body, and the other things that come out of the earth, become paints and brushes, my way of indulging, of speaking and channelling what she and all those he’s let me see. w RFD 154 Summer 2013 49


Michael Hemes / Lorna Dune

T

he colored pencil drawings I have done for decades are born out of a passion for sensuality of form -existing or imagined, richness of color and compositions that often suggest movement or metamorphosis. Two types of work evolve through two very different approaches. Most of my colored pencil drawings evolve out of a stream of consciousness-based process. For these works, I rarely have a preconceived idea of the image I want to create; choice of paper, first colors, and first marks on the blank sheet are entirely intuitive. More marks reveal a shape. A swath of shading might then begin the gradual metamorphosis from a 2-dimensional shape to three-dimensional form.

50 RFD 154 Summer 2013

The drawing evolves organically, and figure/ground relationships may become clarified…or remain ambiguous. These abstract images tend to share a visceral, sensual, or even erotic feel. Since colored pencil is essentially unerasable, every mark I make is permanent, and changes can only be made by adding more pigment, so each mark represents a tiny leap of faith that some unidentified muse is silently guiding my hand. More recently I’ve been exploring more representational work, including compositions that include the human body, and more traditional still-lifes of fruit and vegetables and other plant material. Drawing actual objects requires the discipline of focused observation and some initial sketching/outlining.

“Hatching”, 2009, 8x12”, colored pencil on paper


But sacrificing a bit of spontaneity, has allowed me to enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of accurately rendering the beauty of the natural world. Colored pencil has allowed me to indulge in my love of color and my delight in chiaroscuro – the technique of rendering three-dimensionality through highlight and shadow. Whether abstract or representational, it is a joy to witness my images come to life as highlights, shadow and color shifts become more refined. Often the last step in the drawing is adding cast shadows, visually ‘locking in’ the spatial relationship of the various elements to each other and the implied light source. I know I’ve been directly influenced by the

“Pomegranets”, 2011, 5x7”, colored pencil on paper

sensual works of Georgia O’Keefe, the illustrations of the bizarre natural world by Ernst Haeckel, the saturated colors of Wayne Thiebaud, and the tactilely sensual sculptures of Isamu Noguchi. As a gardener/landscaper, I daily witness/appreciate the beauty of plants and other natural forms and this rich palette surely, consciously or unconsciously, inspires much of my work. As queer folk have always been known for their appreciation of the sensual, and share the experience of the evolution of our queer identities, I hope members of our tribe are directly or subliminally inspired by my work. And I believe whatever is inspiring is intrinsically nourishing and healing. w

RFD 154 Summer 2013 51


Seeds of Truth by Finger

A

s a deaf faerie, I have been looking for a home for a long time. The heterosexual and hearing society, including my biological family, has forced bitter seeds down my throat, hoping that I would bloom forth the flowery words they wanted to hear, as in: “Yes, I want to be able to hear just like you.” “Yes, I want to speak clearly like you.” “Yes, I think sign language is bad.” “Yes, I want to marry a woman just like you.” “Yes, I want kids.” “Yes, I want to raise them in the Catholic faith.” “Yes, I want to be ashamed and embarrassed about sex, so my kids will feel the same way.” “Yes, I want to perpetuate the cycle of shame and ignorance that surrounds sex and art with everyone I meet.” Society says honesty is always best, but society prefers that I lie. It is no wonder that so many of us faeries often feel orphaned within our own families. Like many of us, I find that creating art no matter what form, medium, or genre it takes is a strong antidote to the hypocrisy and discrimination that I’ve experienced as a deaf gay man growing up. Knowing that such hypocrisy and discrimination won’t disappear overnight has enabled me to create things that I hope are honest and real. Sappy Hallmark cards do not exist in my universe. Creating art in words and images is my way of saying no and saying yes to everything that is truthful and beautiful, no matter how occasionally painful the process may be. From the seeds of a confusing childhood, I grew into an awkward sapling, feeling constantly uprooted from one place to another. I would like one day to feel strong as an oak tree and burrow my roots deep into the ground, but like the poet Rainer Maria Rilke in A Letter To a Young Poet, I must learn to love the questions. This is hard because I feel that as an artist, I am constantly seeking answers one way or another to the big questions of my life. This is odd because I know there are no single answers, only suggestions, and yet I insist on seeking. These days, as I explore what it means to be a new faerie, I realize that the body is a big part of what we faeries are. Yes, there’s definitely a spiritual aspect to all we do, but it’s clear to me that celebrating the body is a huge part of it. The body that I reside in has forced me to reconsider what it means 52 RFD 154 Summer 2013

to be naked in the face of desire and intimacy. I want so much not to be ashamed of my body’s many flaws, and yet I ache for lasting moments of closeness, nakedly, with a man. My favorite part of sex is not so much the orgasm itself but its aftermath where we don’t treat each other just like the remnants of another hookup; we bask in the glow of having had welcomed each other sexually and physically into ourselves. In that moment nothing else matters. In the heat of passion, we are allowing ourselves to be in touch with the very things that embarrass us or sound silly in hindsight. Through sex without inhibitions, we tap into the certain strength of what makes us wholly unique illuminates what we need not be ashamed of what makes us orgasmic. It is what it is, and our bodies are what they are. Art operates the same way, except that they document the snapshots from deep within our brains taken at any given moment. Great art, like great sex, is always truthful like an erection needing a little attention. It is my hope that I will one day be as proud of my own imperfect body as I am of my own art. Which is why I have been working on a new novel that attempts to answer the question of what it means when our bodies are divine. Maybe my readers will discover answers that I hadn’t realized were in my work all along. When I write, I aim to record truth, no matter what its flavor or emotion, especially in my fiction and poetry. There is so much truth to be found in fiction and poetry, usually more than in the socalled nonfiction side of things. Such truths can’t always be neatly summarized in 25 words or less, as is often required of fiction. Art is truth in many


disguises. The true estimation of a society is not found so much in its honesty but in the level of comfort it has with lying about such basic truths about themselves. When any truth is forced out into the open, it is considered a scandal. This is probably why society gets quite upset over certain stories and artworks. Who can forget the infamous Robert Mapplethorpe photograph of a black man’s humongous penis hanging out of a business suit? You can’t summarize its mythic power at all because it so swiftly punctures the balloon of lies we may’ve constructed to tell ourselves about race, sex, and capitalism; in so many words, power. Great art will always spear through the fortress defenses we’ve constructed around ourselves in order to lie. Artists are the unsung bearers of truth. And gay people are the unsung heroes of sex because we are the ones who demonstrate the lack of absolutes in sex. Let us plant seeds of truth everywhere we shoot so each one of us can embrace the sun and bloom more magnificently in each other’s presence. Perhaps, then, I’ll find a real home of my own. w “Rose” by Finger

RFD 154 Summer 2013 53


Vincent / lucius

M

y musical persona has always operated in mostly gay milieus, beginning in Pyramid Club circles around Avenue A during the 80’s. I have always been influenced more by street theatre, club personae, social justice, and the Internet than by TV. I have been inspired by experimental living utopias and continue to be. I’ve been inspired by : Egon Schiele Breugel, Ofilli, Jean Genet, Bowie, Andy Warhol, Dorothy Dean, Herbert Huncke, Hibiscus, Ondine, Edie Sedgewick, Allen Ginsberg, John Waters, Rupaul, Judy Garland, Tammy Tyrel, Mae West, Rabelais, Noel Coward, Frieda Kahlo, Alice Neel, George Tooker, Robert Graves,

54 RFD 154 Summer 2013

Harry Hay, Irving Rosenthal, Ani Difranco, Joni Mitchell, Petronia, Robert Crumb, Zadie Smith, Sly & Cynthia on the throne. As for my pictorial work; it really begins with pastels of idealized Indian Squaws in Kindergarten all the way through lower school and it didn’t contain explicitly priapic content or homo-eroticism until well after college, in doodles. Then came a series of drawings depicting my angst being a gay black man in San Francisco 90’s with line drawings of bitchy white bartendresses and dreamy men. The main body of my pictorial work has been primarily self-portraiture and fantasy drawing. I was interested in seeing how people reacted to how I saw and portrayed myself. I used to paint but I mostly doodle now. w

“Bichat”


Alwyn de Wally

I

’ve thought of myself as an artist for almost as long as I could think. Queer identity came much later. I didn’t have sex with another person (a woman in her early twenties) until I was in my late teens. My first sex with another guy came a couple years later. After that I thought of myself as openminded, worldly, sophisticated, but I didn’t identify as queer until I stopped having sex with women in

my late thirties. Nonetheless, I can see now that my queerness informed my art from the beginning. No matter who I slept with, I saw the world I lived in from an outsider’s perspective. That gave my art a camp quality at first, then an earnestness, and now (I hope) a sympathetic quality. Ironically, I now see my queerness as the foundation of my identity as an artist. w

Tragedy and comedy masks, 2013, clay, approximately 12” tall.

RFD 154 Summer 2013 55


56 RFD 154 Summer 2013

“Egglandia”


Paul Wirhun / Rosie Delcious

I

have worked on eggshells since I was a child, learning the traditional Ukrainian art of pysanky from my mother. Every Spring I’d find refuge and joy in being me creating these Easter eggs, especially as being a young sissy meant being different. These feelings as outsider grew especially strong in Junior High with its bloom of sexuality, a subject left untouched in my family. I was left feeling weird internally and socially ostracized externally. The bullying I experienced from classmates did not help = I felt very alone with little self-esteem. The liberating effect of coming out as qweer after years studying in seminary and my own sexual repression upended my whole worldview. It freed me to rethink everything I was taught, allowing me to pursue my own path in life. Strangely, it led me back to working on eggshells, one area where I had sense of accomplishment. The return to this art form was now informed by life experience, as well as an understanding of the transformative powers available in this ancient art form, and how my qweerness could work within it. Pysanky are traditionally “women’s work,” the creation of talismans within a magickal act of setting intention in the drawing of symbols on eggs, being not only the most universal symbol of new life, but if fertile, having the potential for new life. As a faerie, I began to understand eggs as subjects, the shells on which I worked as memories of sexual expression. By engaging the feminine within, I could experience myself as a two-spirit practicing the ancient culture of my ancestors, setting intention with my creations that would be relevant to the contemporary times, with its needs, desires and worldview. In order to infuse new life into this art form, I manipulated traditional processes with innovative dyeing & brush techniques, and etching, to forge a new visual language to write on this versatile, organic sphere. Each egg is a spherical space, a continuously turning pictorial plane around which images distort, challenging common perceptions, not unlike my qweer perspective.

“Brooklyn Bridge”, eggshell painting on found wood

I also create collages from broken eggshells; destroying the intensely controlled process of carefully scripted design on the shell and turning studio detritus into stories. Through using broken shells and adhering them to a flat surface plane, I have

reconfigured my preconceived worldview by playing in an unknown field of shattered illusions. Each type of eggshell affords me unique opportunities for expression due to the variations of texture, color and size. I endeavor to combine these properties to create a new art, a synthesis of ancient design toward a new worldview. w

RFD 154 Summer 2013 57


Praxis: Drawing Game by Rosie Delicious

S

imilar to the “Exquisite Corpse” process championed by the Surrealists, the Drawing Game uses a participatory process to create drawings within a circle gathered around one table. As few as three can play this game, though the more the merrier! As someone who has facilitated this process over the years, I have witnessed with amazement how the Drawing Game creates images that surpass the imagination of a single artist, can be profound in visual impact, as well as sheer fun for all involved. Technical ability does not impede participation, making this art process available to anyone interested. Each participant both gives directions, as well as draws images based on directions given to them, on top of and/or along side of what was drawn in the previous round(s). Within this process, the images that emerge cause reflections about one’s feelings about the drawings being created, to self-revelations of deep-seated feelings conjured by how someone else interpreted one’s directions. This becomes an engagement of mind and heart through the co-creation of art. The visuals created move beyond what any one individual can imagine and thus can provide insight into collective action as a window into consciousness itself. The rules for the Drawing Game are simple. Each participant brings their own drawing pad and media to share. In the first round each person passes their pad to the left and gives directions to their right of what to draw. There are no limits to these directions: they could be anything from an object, a scene, or an emotion. Then all engage in drawing images based on the directions each received, interpreting the directions given as they desire. All directions would be recorded on a separate sheet of paper that would be attached to each drawing to allow future viewers insight into why each finished piece had the elements encoded in that drawing. Once all have finished their drawing (usually 10-15 minutes), all pass the drawings to the left, but in the second round - each participant gives directions to the second person to their right. Again, there are no rules as to what one gives as directions, it could be based on what was already drawn, or not = it could be something totally different. All interpret the directions given on top of and/ or around the drawing that preceded. This process continues until each person receives their own pad back with which they began, and the last round is open, meaning each person completes the drawing as they desire, with no directions given. ENJOY!!! The images to the left are from circles done in Fall/ Winter 2011-12 in Provincetown, MA, by a gaggle of friends who’d meet every Sunday eve to draw. w

58 RFD 154 Summer 2013


Prison Pages Edited by Myrlin

A

s I prepared to write this column I was pleasantly surprised to hear the verdict relative to the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judge who received kickbacks for sentencing youth to long prison terms in a private prison. It sort of speaks to the whole problem of greed and profits in these prisons. “Disgraced Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella Jr has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for conspiring with private prisons to sentence juvenile offenders to maximum sentences for bribes and kickbacks which totaled millions of dollars. He was also ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution. In the private prison industry the more time an inmate spends in a facility, the more of a profit is reaped from the state. Ciavearella was a figurehead in a conspiracy in the state of Pennsylvania which saw thousands of young men and women unjustly punished and penalized in the name of corporate profit.� From an article in Crime and Courts, April 29, 2013. By: Lou Colagiovanni. Unfortunately, situations such as this are not rare. It seems the whole purpose of prison has changed from corrections or rehabilitation to pure profits. It is within systems such as this that many if not all of those writing to us at Brothers Behind Bars come from. Medical care continues to become less and less, adequacy of meals continue to decline and more and more inmates are in isolation as it takes less man power to monitor people locked in their cells than out in general population. It is out of conditions such as this that those listing ads in our quarterly lists place ads seeking friendship, love and intimacy. Many write and tell us about how difficult it is to just find a receptive ear to hear their hearts as they try to understand the conflicting

sexual feelings they may be having, dealing with the loss of a parent or loved one who has passed and the inmate having no hope of being present for the burial rites and to grieve with family and friends. Often it is the pen friend that becomes the means of dealing with the loneliness and depression that may follow. One example was receiving a letter from an inmate in Louisiana who had lost his entire family in Hurricane Katrina. Another letter came recently from Donald Harrell who is currently in the final stages of lung cancer. An example of his artwork is included here.

Some of the men you will meet in BBB.

Monica Azteca

Patrick Holzer

Timothy Ross

Sammy Sanchez RFD 154 Summer 2013 59


In the reverse, my correspondence with some inmates have provided me the ear I needed in dealing with a loss of my own or in dealing with some very trying and painful situations. So the benefits of writing inmates are on both sides of the equation. This is why I encourage the readers of RFD Magazine to consider writing and requesting a copy of the Quarterly pen-pal list, Brothers Behind Bars. We ask a $3.00 to $10.00 donation per copy to cover postage and printing costs. It is important to note that we answer all letters coming in from inmates which ads up to a considerable amount at the current price of postage. So generosity is asked. Each issue contains over 300 separate ads. Please request your copy of the list by writing BBB, PO Box 68, Liberty, TN 37095. As the editor of the list, I am also requesting assistance in finding someone who might be interested in assisting me by either taking on the project or helping to do some of the work. Currently the project involves the use of an Access Database in conjunction with Word. If you are interested please drop a line. It is unfortunate that space does not allow inclusion of all of the poems received or to share all of the fine artwork I receive during the quarter. Each entry reveals some of the inner beauties of the people who rightly or wrongly are imprisoned behind the walls. So let me just share an example or two. w How How do you ask for love From someone you don’t know? How do you learn to trust Those who refuse to grow? How do you learn to care about those who caused you pain? How do you ask the Gods to help you To stop seeking revenge in vain? How do you reveal who you really are if ridicule is all you receive from your fellow man? receiving pain without relief, Knocking you down where you stand? Hope and faith are all that remain To lonely ones such as I. As I stand out in the rain; or lay my head down at night and cry. Thoughts of suicides often contemplated until I found the path that was right for me, and having a loving Mother. 60 RFD 154 Summer 2013

who stood beside me even when I told her I was gay. I don’t understand the hatred others express toward those such as I, or maybe it’s realty their fear they’re trying to hide that they may actually be gay like me and have to explain why! The threats I receive in prison, Coming from the mouths, Reveal the true depts. Of their barbarity and the stifling degree of fear and hatred that men possess deep within. How long will it take before I can be who I truly am? without fear of harassment or ridicule until other accept me as a man who is equal to them? —Robert Paul Lowe, AKA Lonely and in need of love. Lynaugh Unit 1098 S. Hwy 2037 Ft. Stockton, TX 79735 “Inside a Bottle” I find that my heart has been encased inside a bottle. Though it seems for more than a thousand years slowly drifting in the sea of mist that is filled with loneliness, heartache and despair, awaiting for something or should I say someone that can release my heart from its imprisonment of so many years of suffering. Yes there are some, but only a chosen few to whom I have ever released my heart from its incarnation of emotional nothingness. Yet within time they would find confusion/misunderstanding for something they only knew a li’l bit of, therefore leading my heart astray once again. Thou I can, it feels as if no one can hear me bcuzz they have y et to reach out a hand of comfort/love. Thus I pray thee to my Father, “What have I done for thee to forsake me?”. Though I know dat at times my eagerness leads me on the wrong path in which you have bestowed upon me. So please tell me Father what can I do to relinquish the suffering/pain of this poor man’s heart? Dat has been so much but yet knows nothing. Will I be made to grovel as I plead this one question, “Will my heart continue to be locked for eternity inside this bottle? James R. Perry #344592/G3215-1 Suwannee Correctional Institution – Main Unit 5964 US Hwy 90 Live Oak, FL 32060


RFD 154 Summer 2013 61


62 RFD 154 Summer 2013


ALL of BIG JOY ...in the palm of your hand!

From White Crane Books & Amazon.com www.whitecranebooks.org Also available in e-book download

Natural Bed & Breakfast Retreat Tantric Erotic Massage Have fun in the Arizona Sun! Call Marc 1-888-295-8500 bleu55@gmail.com

RFD 154 Summer 2013 63


Land for Living Land for Loving

Financing Available

A diffEREnt AppRoAcH to MonEy wEllnEss Build a financial world that works for you and those you love, for Radical Faeries and their friends.

HAMMER

Homes, Cabins, Land in the Zuni Mountains of NM

terrypcavanagh@gmail.com terrycavanagh.net

New Mexico Earth & Sky Realty www.PropertiesInNewMexico.com (505) 567-0499

Advertise in RFD It really helps keep this magazine in production! We offer affordable rates and a growing subscriber base. If you have questions about advertising, please contact Bambi at submissions@rfdmag.org or visit our website at www.rfdmag.org/advertise.php.

64 RFD 154 Summer 2013

Back Issue Sale!

20% off for Five or More

www.rfdmag.org


X O

Issue 156 / Winter 2013

RELATIONSHIPS

X X O OXO XO X Submission Deadline: October 21, 2013 www.rfdmag.org/upload

As we go to press with the Summer issue, we are aware that Gay people across America are awaiting news of the decisions to be announced by the Supreme Court regarding the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. This news will coincide with PRIDE events in late June and will have real affect as to the legal restrictions—or not—that our relationships face, especially regarding marital rights that are usually only afforded heterosexuals in this country. As we’ve been preparing this issue, we’ve also seen marital rights extended to gays and lesbians in Rhode Island and Minnesota. So this got us thinking about how we gay folks create relationships and want to dedicate an issue to multiple ways in which we bond, form relationships, and settle into domestic co-habitations. We are asking for your experiences through time about the significant others with whom you are co-habitating, have done so and the various ways these have occurred. Who is important to you? How did you meet? How has that relationship moved you toward domestic bliss (or drama); and what have you learned about yourself and our community in the process? We are looking for the multi-valent ways gay people inter-relate: families (with or without children), triads, polyamory, monogamy, daddy/boy, Master/slave, and intentional communal intimacies. Who is significant to you? Why? AND, when these relationships meet a point of no return, how and why do they break-up? What have we learned through these decades of Queer Liberation—which espoused the re-creation of significant others, but now is showing up looking more like hetero-normative marriages. Where are we going and what does this mean for us as a community in the future?

RFD 154 Summer 2013 65


a reader created gay quarterly celebrating queer diversity

RFD Vol 39 No 4 #154 $9.95

66 RFD 154 Summer 2013

RFD 154 Summer 2013  
RFD 154 Summer 2013  

"Representing Fey Dexterity" Qweer Arts Issue

Advertisement