QUEER MEMOIR is NYC’s community based queer storytelling event. We’ll be hearing stories on the theme: DEAD from an amazing lineup of storytellers:
Kelly Bedwell is a vocalist. She writes in her journal. Usually about the same subjects over and over. These writings have never been published, she has won no awards. Kelli Dunham made her do this performance.
Cheryl Stewart is a sculptor and scenic artist living in Red Hook, Brooklyn with her two delightful cats. She’s a founding member of the NYC Sirens Women’s Motorcycle Club, and the founder of the New York Motorcycle and Scooter Task Force. Cheryl was thrilled to celebrate her 50th birthday in July.
Bryn Kelly is all about the story. She has shared her written work at NYC-based performance series Gayety!, Low Standards, and Queer Memoir; and in Original Plumbing magazine; and in the forthcoming anthology, Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love and Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary. She was a cofounder of Theater Transgression, a multimedia performance collective, and has appeared in Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival and in Shakespeare at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. She hosts The Gay Ole Opry, an annual country music showcase, and lives in Brooklyn.
Maribelle Vazquez is a Puerto Rican born in the Bronx and grew up in the age of disco, dancing and drugs. Having sown her wild oats within the Bronx lesbian community, Maribelle settled into middle class respectability in Washington Heights, working in business, collecting vinyl, and being active in Metropolitan Community Church of New York. Maribelle channels her love for the written word in poetry, letters, greeting cards, reading, and writing love notes and to do lists to her fiancee Sophia Pazos.
Sophia Pazos is a first generation New Yorker of Ecuadorian immigrants. Sophia has written something or other since seventh grade and has published in the Journal of Lesbian and Gay Social Services and Sojourner, the Women’s Journal. Sophia gets paid to be a social work supervisor and spends her free time working her recovery program, writing, reading, knitting and ignoring the to do lists written by her fiancee Maribelle Vazquez.
Karalyn Shimmyo is a social worker and organizer who lives with her partner, Ali, and their feline progeny in Brooklyn. She is the former Executive Director of the New York State Coalition of LMSWs, the most ass-kicking social work organization you’ve never heard of. Karalyn has served as a volunteer and board member for community-based nonprofits and is involved in prison justice/abolition efforts, most recently with formerly incarcerated HIV+ adults. A self-identified orphan, she writes and reflects and ruminates on issues of attachment and loss. She is the founder of The Queer Commons, and is passionate about supporting community projects that recognize the interconnectedness of queer issues with those of disability, immigration, race, prison justice, poverty and health care. Karalyn facilitates social work-y workshops such as incorporating a social justice model into clinical work, queer criminalization and incarceration, the impact of poverty on LGBTQ communities and others, and she’s available for consulting and coffee dates.
Linda is 59 year old Butch who came of age in the 70′s when people did not speak about gay issues. When she was 15 she kissed a girl at school and told her mother who said that all girls do that before marriage so they can’t get pregnant. She has had only long term relationships,and was “married” in 1985 to Vicki Sarafino who was killed by a car in 2003. Because they had no legal standing she was denied all rights, she was not even allowed to see her until her sister came as I was not her next of kin. She is now now happily married, legally this time to her beautiful Femme wife, Kellie Kinsman-Saegert. Being a Gemini, she has had many careers, she was an RN, a Social Worker, a Chef and she is now in restaurant sales. Her mother was gay as well, but did not tell Linda until she was 85 years old and dying.
Marc Vera lives in Boston. He doesn’t like it. He used to work at Entertainment Weekly. He used to own a brilliant modern lifestyle store in Rochester, NY … until the recession smashed it to bits. It was called nook. He’s currently working on a memoir about the past few years of his life and will soon have a degree that’s useful. The first two were flukes.
From Danielle Abrams’ bubbies, tummlers, and Southern ancestors, emerge a hybrid blend of personae and crossbred stories. Abrams has performed nationally at museums, festivals, and performance spaces. She has received support from the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Abrams currently teaches in Art and English Departments at the City University of New York.
Even as LGBT characters and “out” celebrities become more common in pop culture and mainstream media, the richness and complexity of real queer lives is still undervalued and often invisible. Queer Memoir attempts to provide an avenue to share queer lives and celebrate the ritual and community-building value of storytelling.
QUEER MEMOIR: DOCUMENTING QUEER STORIES, CELEBRATING QUEER LIVE