Deja K. Taylor - SUPERBAD (feat KING)
Deja K. Taylor - SUPERBAD (feat KING)
HOW A QUEER ZINE CHANGED MY LIFE
It was a lazy summer afternoon when I walked into Quimby’s, my favorite bookstore in Chicago. Quimby’s is a prime location for finding underground literature like independent comics and zines, knick knacks like plastic cake-topping brides, and newly published fiction, poetry, politics and more.
I usually peruse the “gay smut” section first. Sometimes it’s a little too phallocentric and I move on to my second favorite area in the store—labeled “made in Chicago.” That’s where I found the first issue of Chicago IRL, advertising itself as “a queer Chicago collaboration of culture and class(lessness).” Seeing the words queer and Chicago next to each other instantly convinced me to pick up the white, glossy, and sleek looking publication. The neon green price tag said it cost twenty dollars, which seemed a bit steep but I couldn’t resist. This was exactly what I was searching for—a space where queer artists in Chicago could come together in print.
I took it home and couldn’t stop looking at it. I knew there was potential in its pages but also felt like there were voices and bodies missing. There were a lot of butts and chest hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those two things—I am a fan of both. I wanted more balance. I enjoyed Daviel Shy’s comic, Rebecca Kling’s writing, and Jesus Plazas’ photographs. I still desired an even broader range of experiences from trans and gender nonconforming people, women, feminine, and femme identified individuals, and people of color. These are the representations lacking in mainstream queer culture at large. Chicago IRL became more inclusive with every issue. I took the advice on the back cover and submitted to the next issue number two. Luckily, my work was accepted into the second and later fourth Chicago IRL, which would be the final one.
When I first looked through the different issues of Chicago IRL, I did not know one person who was featured in its pages. All these writers, artists, performers, and creative people were complete strangers to me. I moved back to Chicago just in time to attend the release party for issue four. The party took place at Beauty Bar—one of many bars in Chicago where queer people take over a few nights out of the month for events like Salonathon and Queerer Park.
As I walked up to Beauty Bar, Joe Varisco (co-founder of Chicago IRL along with Topher McCulloch) was standing outside smoking a cigarette. We recognized each other from the internet and he greeted me with a hug. I gave him a copy of Cuntfessions, my latest poetry collection at the time. I performed several poems at the release party, alongside Jesus Plaza, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Wes Perry, Janie Stamm, and many others. Nico Lang was in the audience. Mar Curran was there. The real question is: who wasn’t there? After the performances were over, many people came up to say hello, to introduce themselves, give me a hug, a compliment. I knew I’d found home.
Even though Chicago IRL is no longer in production, the community that surrounded it is still very much alive. It is constantly evolving, expanding, and taking care of itself. Jesus does my hair. Kiam took an author photo for my latest book SIRvival in the Second City. I performed at Wes Perry’s monthly event Making Out. Janie is my partner. Nico wrote about me for Windy City Times and publishes my work. Mar makes tea for me when I’m sick and shares the same birthday. These are the people who keep me alive. Who understand me or are willing to ask when they don’t. These are the people who I write about. My writing is about the people, events, and places that make up this beautiful community, as well as our flaws, conflicts, and contradictions. Joe helped me understand the need to document our performances, our writing, our art, our loves, and our own lives. If we don’t document ourselves, who will?
If you are looking for another publication featuring creative Chicago queers, check out 3rd Language.
My long overdue order of Chicago IRL brought the extra surprise of seeing photographs from Simon M’s beautiful A KID AGAIN project. I finished the issue with enormous esteem for the talented and adorable Chicago folk.
Hey here’s a thing I am in for One Billion Rising with Rolderik and Kokumo. Watch it and go and share and participate and stuff.
Boosting for Chicago people. And solidarity.
826CHI is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
826CHI’s dedication to self-publishing:
At 826CHI, we are proud to publish our students’ writing. Each student is challenged to produce their finest pieces, knowing that their words will have the opportunity to be read, laughed at, wept over, or deeply pondered by their family, friends and folks they may not, themselves, know.
As in year’s past, the Chicago Zine Fest Exhibitor’s Reading will take place at 826CHI. 826CHI’s sponsorship has also found CZF a place for our Bingo Fundraising event and our volunteer sign making party.
A solo exhibition by Janie Stamm.
Friday, January 18th
1513 N. WesternChicago, IL
7-10 PMAll Ages!
Works on paper featuring relics, specimens, and curiosities from travels to islands within the deep folds of the mind.
Come experience an interactive imagined exhibit
Archipelago: The Lost Islands of the Atlantic, the first in a series of interactive experiences for exceptional gallery participants. Grab a map at the door and find your way to treasured delights for your private collections.
Beer, wine, and light refreshments will be provided.
This is an all ages show!
Gallery is not ADA accessible.
For more info on the artist visit http://janiestamm.com/
<3 this woman. Can’t wait to see the show.
The Great Refusal: Videos Taking On New Queer Aesthetics
Mon, Nov 5 8pm
Public Installation, Paris, France
Simon M. and Alejandro Soto
Love Map is a project between collaborators Simon M. and Alejandro Soto. Paris is often amicably described as both “gay Paris,” and as a mythical city of love; ironically, this love overwhelmingly follows a heterosexual narrative in its artistic and cinematic portrayals. As queer foreigners in this space, we wanted add our relationships to its history of love—both good and bad ones. So we each wrote 4 love-letters in our intimate voices (in English for Simon, and Spanish for Alejandro, our native tongues) in order to create a map of queer love to insert into Paris’ narrative and then wheat-pasted them in the locations where the interactions took place (the walls across from their apartment buildings, and in one case, the wall of a Parisian bath house). Included on each poster is a map of all the letters in Paris, so any passer-by could take a tour of our love-lives. We wanted to be intimate and tender with Paris, but also to take up queer space in the City of Love’s public sphere.
Some words on the process of this installation:
Love Map started for me as a way to express the things that I was left with after the end of a big-love relationship; in early 2012 I had broken up with a monogamous partner with whom I was very much in love because, amongst other reasons, I wasn’t sure I wanted monogamy, much less a stable partner. The experience left me questioning what I had learned to want and value in a relationship: a traditional, monogamous, steady, forever-partner. So I actively sought out new modes of intimacy with multiple lovers. When writing, I started with the things that were hard: anger, unrequited love, and negotiating HIV-stigma in the gay community. Though I was sometimes ashamed of what I wrote, to be honest about my feelings was more important than judging them. Writing the 4 letters helped me to discover what I value in a human rapport, but also to recognize and honor what different forms love and intimacy can take. It also helped, of course, to excise those things, cathart, and grow.
At the end of 2009, I decided to stop the string of monogamous relationships that my life had become. It wasn’t the anonymous sex that attracted me (at least not totally), but the political dimension lying in the sexual-emotional bonding and intimacy with more than one person. That moment coincided, more or less, with my arrival in Paris. The four addressees that I chose illustrate a point the spectrum of bodies with which I have connected. From the 46 year-old writer to the threesome I had on New Year’s Eve, 2011, my experience up to now has shown me how my fantasy of polyamorous ties is much more difficult to build than I thought.
Paris, September 25th, 2012
Check out this excellent new project from issue four contributor Simon M. and collaborator Alejandro Soto.
omg, my package from Chicago IRL came today!!! zines and stickers and prints and a tote and a jockstrap! oh my! cannot wait to get to reading!!!