Category Archives: Uncategorized

Queer Memoir 5th Anniversary!


Yup, we can’t believe it either. It’s our fifth anniversary and we’re having a Very Special Show.


Bowery Poetry Club

308 Bowery NYC

Sunday February at 3.30 PM (we’re starting on time)

With our amazing storytellers:

M. Taueret Davis

Sarah Schulman

Erica Cardwell

Elana Lancaster

Robin Cloud

J Mase III

Drae Campbell

Vivien J Rotundo

Kelli Dunham, co creator of Queer Memoir, will be hosting!




We’ll also have health insurance navigators present from Callen-Lorde to provide free help with applying for health insurance and obtaining financial assistance to help pay for it. Get covered before Open Enrollment ends on Feb 15th.

Queer Memoir is New York’s first and longest running LGBT storytelling series; giving voice to our collective queer experience and preserving and documenting our complex queer history. Every month, we host some of Queer New York’s best known performers, and folks who have never been on a stage in their lives and bring them together to celebrate the ritual and community building value of storytelling.

Queer Memoir was founded by comic storyteller Kelli Dunham and playwright Genne Murphy in January 2010. In four years they have created more than 75 events, drawing in over 7200 audience members and 365 different storytellers. Queer Memoir has collaborated with 13 arts organizations in four states, conducted almost a dozen storytelling workshops and used dozens of venues including the MTA, sharing stories on both the A and Q Trains.


Queer Memoir: SECOND THOUGHTS (this time in PHILLY!)


We’re really looking forward to our matinee showing of Queer Memoir: SECOND THOUGHTS in Philly!

Sunday September 28 at 3 pm

William Way Community Center

1315 Spruce Street

Philly, PA

(BTW, you can get last minute updates and RSVP on our facebook event)

Queer Memoir is a storytelling series for all of the LGBT community; giving voice to our collective queer experience and preserving and documenting our complex queer history. At every event, Queer Memoir hosts some of the queer world’s well known performers, and folks who have never been on a stage in their lives, bring them together to celebrate the ritual and community building value of storytelling.

This event’s storytellers:
Robin FM
Cassendre Xavier
Colleen O’Connell & Connie Youkon
R. Eric Thomas
Debra D’Alessandro
Susan DiPronio
Wesley Garis & Kelli Dunham

5-15 bucks sliding scale, no one turned away! If you don’t have the cash, please just show up, no worries, we want you there!

Queer Memoir was founded by comic storyteller Kelli Dunham and playwright Genne Murphy in January 2010. In four years they have created more than 85 Queer Memoir events, drawing in over 7200 audience members and 365 different storytellers. Queer Memoir has collaborated with 13 arts organizations in four states, conducted almost a dozen storytelling workshops and used nearly a hundred venues including the MTA, sharing stories on both the A and Q Trains.

More about our storytellers:
R. Eric Thomas, a playwright and stand-up dramedian, has been hailed as “one of the best storytellers in Philly” by the Philadelphia Weekly. His plays include Will You Accept This Friend Request?, Always the Bridesmaid, and The Spectator. His play When You Put It Like That It Just Sounds Ridiculous was a finalist for the 2014 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting. Eric has performed throughout the country, can be heard on the wildly successful RISK! and Soundtrack Series podcasts, and gave a talk at the 2011 TEDxPhilly conference. He is currently the host of The Moth in Philadelphia.

Robin is a teacher, writer, mother, wife, and great lover of the almighty Candy Crush. She drives a Prius, yet regularly wastes paper and sometimes forgets to recycle.

Cassendre Xavier is a Leeway Transformation Award-winning multi-media artist based in Philadelphia. She coined the term “renaissance negresse” in 2002 to describe her work as a musician, writer, fine artist, and actress. As a member of Philly’s LGBTQI community she has worked at Giovanni’s Room bookstore, produced events and support groups at the William Way Community Center, participated in the Lesbian Visibility Project, performed at many wimmin’s venues including Miriam’s Tambourine and SisterSpace Weekend, and shared the stage with openly lesbian performers Pat Humphries (of emma’s revolution), Tret Fure, Toshi Reagon, Alix Dobkin, and Lucie Blue Tremblay, among others. She worked for Labyrinth: The Philadelphia Women’s Newspaper (Editor/Journalist/Poet circa 1990-1994), is the author of the former Black/Out column of Philadelphia Gay News, and her writing has also been published widely including Dykes with Baggage: A Lighter Side of Lesbians in Therapy (ed. Riggin Waugh/Alyson Publications), We’Moon: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn 1999 & 2001, respectively (Mother Tongue Ink), The Butch Cook Book (Ed. Lee Lynch, Nel Ward & Sue Hardesty, TRP Cookbooks, June 2008), and The SandMUtopian Guardian: A Journal of BDSM Realities. Cassendre is a proud longtime subscriber and contributor to the Lesbian Connection magazine as well as a winner of Go Magazine’s “100 Women We Love Class of 2010”. Visit Cassendre at

Connie and Colleen will celebrate 31 years in August. Over that time they’ve: Held twelve jobs; owned eight cars; parented five cats; lived in four neighborhoods; owned three couches and two beds; started one business apiece; were civil-unioned (a/k/a a New Jersey marriage); and still express undying love and affection for one another.

Debra D’Alessandro is host and producer of Amazon Country (airing Sundays at 11pm on WXPN 88.5 FM and live streaming at . Founded in 1974 (and led by Debra since 1996), Amazon Country is the nation’s longest running lesbian/feminist radio program. For five seasons ending in 2005, she hosted weekly call-in TV talk shows, “Philly LIVE: Your Gay and Lesbian Community Connection” and “OutLoud” on WYBE public television. The two-time Emmy-nominated “Philly Live” was America’s first live gay-themed television talk show.Debra’s ‘day job’ is as a public health program manager at a local non-profit.

Susan DiPronio lives in Philadelphia and founded Pink Hanger Presents a project dedicated to giving voice to the unique life experiences of women, transgender and genderqueer individuals.Susan’s poetry recently appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Corset Magazine, The Avocet, Defenestration and Spillway Literary Journal. Their memoir “Laurel” was included in the memoir chapbook from First Person Arts and their personal essay: “Damaged:A journey of healing from sexual assault” is included in the book “The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse.” Susan was a 2013 recipient of The Transformation Award from the Leeway Foundation.

Wesley lives in Philadelphia, where he’s currently studying to become a teacher. He’s an avid gamer, comic book reader, sci-fi enthusiast, and all-around super nerd. He writes for several online gaming publications, including the award-winning start-up Hardcore Games


Sunday August 10th at 3.30 PM

Bowery Poetry Club  308 Bowery

5-15 bucks, no one turned away, RSVP on facebook

Remember those days of August in childhood when you just couldn’t stop reading THAT book that made your little queer heart SING? Queer Memoir’s August event is all about telling stories about the stories that made us who we are…

With our amazing cast of storytellers:
Kathleen Warnock,
Kyle Lukoff
Morgan Goode
Erica Cardwell
Karalyn Jeanne
Leah Strock
Sophia Vazquez-Pazos
AND NOW, Red Durkin!

Kathleen Warnock is a NYC-based playwright & editor. She was editor of Best Lesbian Erotica for five years, and had a lot of fun with it. She hosts the Drunken! Careening! Writers! reading series at KGB Bar the third Thursday of every month (since 2004). Her plays have been seen in New York, London, Dublin (Ireland and Georgia), and regionally. Currently, “Some Are People” is running at Philly Gayfest through August 23. She is curator of the Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwrights Project for TOSOS and Ambassador of Love for North America for the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, and by day she is Googly.

Sophia Vazquez-Pazos is a contradiction on just about every expectation. An introvert that plays on social media (nycphoenix on twitter). A non-writer with professional publications, a now silent blog and notebooks of angsty poetry. An infertile from a community known for its fecundity. A sober drunk for the past seventeen years. A sexy fat girl in a world of size 4 supermodels. A married bisexual queer girl who loves drag, disco, show tunes and classic Hollywood and goes to church more often than Pride events. A radical social worker playing nice with the system for now. Sophia lives with these contradictions quite happily in Washington Heights with her butch husband Maribelle and her two kittehs, Florencio and Talula.This will be her third time at Queer Memoir and she is still nervous.

Kyle Lukoff still has the first book he ever read independently, with his name and the date inscribed in the front cover (Old Hat, New Hat, starring the Berenstain Bears, August of 1989). He started working at Barnes and Noble as a summer job soon after he turned sixteen, and continued to work at different locations for a decade, during and after college. In 2009 he realized that library school existed, and he received his Masters of Library Science in 2011. He is now the librarian at a private elementary school in Chelsea, and spends most of his working hours talking about books to young children.

Morgan Goode is a storyteller and photographer living in Brooklyn. The video of her story “Sugar and Spice,” which tells the tale of her middle school adventures with a squiggle wiggle writer, has over 4,000 views on YouTube. She’s an editor at large at and is currently working on a nonfiction novel, a black comedy about the aftermath of her father’s suicide, to be released this fall on Topside Signature Press.

Leah left her childhood home in Yonkers in the summer of ’76 to share a summer sublet in the East Village with three friends. She was in her last year of high school, eager, underage and ready to explore all that the city had to offer.
Her adventures included being chased by Lesbian Feminist Separatists when she tried to tear down their “cocksucking causes cancer” banner at the Gay Pride March… hitchhiking her way down 2nd avenue from chic lesbian lounges on the Upper East Side… hanging out at Bonnie & Clydes in the West Village and ending up later that evening in a full fledged orgy. The summer of ‘76 was a wild ride… and with it came Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown.

Karalyn hails from the working class suburbs of NYC and has lived in Brooklyn for fifteen years. As a cross-cultural adoptee and orphan, she writes and ruminates on issues of attachment; as a social worker, she is captivated and humbled by our ability to make meaning from trauma and loss. After flunking out of college in 1996, she worked as a burger flipper, closet designer, mural painter and executive recruiter before completing her BS in Experimental Psychology through CUNY’s adult degree program in 2007. She earned her MSW in 2009.

Erica Cardwell is a queer romantic, educator, and activist. . Her essays and reviews have been featured in The Paper, The Feminist Wire, Ikons Magazine, and the upcoming edition of Black Queer. Throughout the city, she has shared her work at La Galleria, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Brecht Forum, Raw Fiction reading series, In The Flesh, and, post Hurricane Sandy in Kelly’s apartment for Queer Memoir: Awkward. Her webseries, Prints, was a part of Alternative Realities a black lesbian reading series WOW Cafe Theater in December of 2013. Currently, she oversees the art, culture, and women’s programming at The Hetrick-Martin Institute. Erica lives in the land of make believe in Astoria, Queens. You can read more of her work

Upcoming: Queer Memoir LEATHER

Queer Memoir: LEATHER

Sunday July 13th at 3.30 PM

Bowery Poetry Club

308 Bowery, NYC 


Tickets 5-15 bucks sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds

With our storytellers:

Sassafras Lowrey (co-curating this event)

William Johnson

Ashley Young

Victor Tobar

Karen Taylor

Nayland Blake


Sassafras Lowrey got hir start writing as a punk zinester in Portland, Oregon. Ze is the editor of  Leather Ever After a finalist for the National Leather Association Writing Award, and the two time American Library Association honored & Lambda Literary Finalist Kicked Out anthology. Hir leather focused debut novel Roving Pack ( was honored by the American Library Association and is a Rainbow Book Award winner (2nd place) for Transgender Fiction. Sassafras is the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Berzon Emerging Writer Award. Ze lives and writes in Brooklyn with hir Daddy, two dogs of dramatically different sizes, two bossy cats, and a kitten.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the online editor of Lambda Literary. He is also the editor and publisher of Mary Literary, a literary journal dedicated to publishing gay writing of artist merit and a contributing arts and culture writer for CrushFanazine.

Ashley Young is a black queer feminist writer and poet working as an editor in New York City. She received her BA from Hampshire College, where she studied education and theater and is earning a certification in copyediting at New York University. She is a 2010 Voices of Our Nations Art Foundation Poetry Fellow and a 2011 Lambda Literary Foundation Creative Nonfiction Fellow. Her feminist poetry and prose have been published in Elixher magazine, Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal, Autostraddle, Her Circle magazine, and more. She authored a chapter in Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion (2012) and is working on her first novel, an Audre Lorde–inspired biomythography.

Victor Tobar is a Queer, gender non-conforming Latin@ writer,performer, artist, activist, and sex- and kink-educator. They are a life-long New Yorker and have been part of the NYC writing and performance scene for the past 15 years (seriously)! He’s also been a member of the NYC public BDSM scene for over a decade. Victor started performing as a teenager, and represented New York as part of the Brave New Voices Youth Slam team in 2000. They helped develop and mentor QQ&A, a creative writing workshop series for Queer and Questioning youth with Urban Word NYC. As part of Mangos with Chili, he’s toured the northeast and Canada. Most recently he curated Ruckus, a monthly performance series that featured Queer and Trans artists of color. The work Victor generates feels like a multi-layered tapestry of nostalgia, desire, struggle, and survival. They are, above all, a story-teller, and they’re honored to have you bear witness.

Karen Taylor first started writing queer erotica to attract the attention of BDSM author Laura Antoniou, in the hopes of getting a hot date. The tactic worked; they celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary last fall. Karen’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies, most recently in “Leather Ever After,” edited by Sassafras Lowrey, “The Love That Never Dies: Erotic Encounters with the Undead,” edited by M. Christian, and the upcoming “She Who Must Be Obeyed: Femme Dominant Lesbian Erotica.” She’ll be reading an excerpt from her piece in “First Person Queer: Who We Are So Far,” a Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology of first-person queer experience, edited by Lawrence Schimel and Richard Labonte.

Nayland Blake is an artist, educator and instigator. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, SFMoMA, and many others. He has taught and lectured on art queer topics at numerous schools including Harvard, Yale, Bard College, The San Francisco Art Institute and The New School. In 1995 he co-curated “In A Different Light” the first major museum exhibition to examine the impact of Queer Art and Artists in the 20th Century. In 2005 he was named International Pipe Bear.

Co-curated and co-hosted by Queer Memoir co-founder (whoa that’s a lot of co!) Kelli Dunham; Kelli Dunham is everyone’s favorite ex-nun genderqueer comic; Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queers of 2011 and was named to the 2012 Campus Pride Hotlist. She was also given the The Fresh Fruit Festival Award for Distinction in stand-up comedy, although Kelli has never before or since been called distinguished. Kelli is a registered nurse and the author of five books of humorous non-fiction, including two children’s books being used by Sonlight conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. Kelli’s fifth book, Freak of Nurture, a collection is humorous essays that none other than lesbian comedy godmother Kate Clinton called “laugh out loud outrageous storytelling” is just out from Topside Press and caused author Barbara Carellas to give Kelli the moniker “the David Sedaris of the genderqueer dyke world”

Kelli has three released four comedy CDs: “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” “Almost Pretty” “Why Is the Fat One Always Angry”  and “Trigger Warning” all which are on regular rotation on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s Rawdog Comedy Station and Pandora’s Margaret Cho Comedy Station.

Kelli was recently the expert on “What Is Normal” in Twist Magazine (known as Tiger Beat’s little sister magazine), on a page facing a full color poster of Justin Beiber. There isn’t even an ironic statement to match that, it’s just strangely true.

Next event? Sunday August 10th at 3.30 Queer Memoir: WHAT I READ THAT SUMMER also at BPC. 

Coming soon: Queer Memoir NYC Apartment


So here’s the dealio: a year ago we had accidentally had a Queer Memoir based in a New York apartment because Hurricane Sandy knocked out the power to all of Manhattan, including the venue where we had planned to do Queer Memoir: AWKWARD. Well Kelli asked the queers on facebook if they’d like to have a replacement Queer Memoir in her apartment the response was immediate and enthusiastic YES YES YES YES! So every year in October we’ll be having a Queer Memoir in a NYC apartment. Our first one is in the group house called Queer Study Hall Library Remix. It’s happening Saturday October 26th at 8 pm and the theme is, no surprise here, QUEER MEMOIR: NYC APARTMENT.

We’re still in the process of booking storytellers, but rumor has it that there will be a duet of storytellers using a flannelgraph to craft their narrative.

The important details

Queer Memoir: NYC Apartment

Saturday October 28th at 8 pm

Queer Study Hall II  15 Westminster Road Apt 2K BK NY 11218

Catch all the up to the minute details on the facebook event.

Looking to buy tickets for Queer Memoir: What Is Tuz

You’ve come to the right place!



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
Bryn Kelly
Maribelle Vazquez & Sophia Pazos

Marc Vera
Karalyn Shimmyo
Anne Grip
Cheryl Stewart
Danielle Abrams
Linda Kinsman-Saegert

Kelly Bedwell
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 Kinsman-Saegert
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: NERD

QUEER MEMOIR is NYC’s community based queer storytelling event. This month we’ll be hearing from a bunch of really fascinating folks with amazing stories, all on the theme of NERD. Please join us. The suggested donation is 5-10 bucks to cover costs, but if you want to come and and don’t have the cash PLEASE just come anyway. No one ever turned away.


Alexis Clements

Calvin S. Cato
Everett Maroon
Laura Duncan
M.Taueret Davis

With hosts:

Genne Murphy (one night only from San Francisco)
Kelli Dunham

Alexis Clements is a playwright and journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a Fellow at the Cultural Strategies Initiative. Her creative work has been produced and published in both the US and the UK. She is the co-editor of the two-volume anthology of performance texts by women titled, Out of Time & Place, which includes her performance piece, Conversation. Her articles, essays, and interviews have appeared in publications such as Bitch Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Nature, and Aesthetica. She regularly writes about art and performance for both Hyperallergic and The L Magazine.

Calvin S. Cato got his comedic start with the Wesleyan University stand-up comedy troupe Punchline, then transferred his unique brand of humor to New York City in 2006. He’s performed in comedy clubs, off-Broadway theaters, coffee houses, the backs of bars, and even a beauty salon. He appeared on the Game Show Network, showcased on QPTV, performed on the critically acclaimed Naked Comedy Show, and produced an unemployment/recession-themed comedy show at Comix Comedy Club from 2008 to 2010. He has also been favorably reviewed in The Examiner, The Collared Sheep and Inside New York. In 2011, he was a featured act in the North Carolina Comedy Arts festival and was a warm-up comic for the 1st Annual Funny Girls in Film Festival. He was a part of the 2012 Out of Bounds Festival in Austin, Texas. Come catch a high-energy act that promises to never be the same show twice!

Everett Maroon is a memoirist, humorist, pop culture commentator, and fiction writer. He has a B.A. in English from Syracuse University and went through an English literature master’s program there. He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association and was a finalist in their 2010 literary contest for memoir. Everett is the author of a memoir, Bumbling into Body Hair, published by Booktrope Editions, and has a short story, “Cursed,” in the anthology The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard, forthcoming from Topside Press. He has written for Bitch Magazine,, RH RealityCheck, and Remedy Quarterly. He will be writing for Original Plumbing in 2012 on popular culture and trans civil rights. He has had short stories published by SPLIT Quarterly and Twisted Dreams Magazine. Everett lives in Walla Walla, Washington, with his partner and baby son. He is originally from Hightstown, New Jersey, graduating from McCorristin Catholic High School.

Laura G. Duncan is a lecturer and researcher whose work focuses on issues of stigma and social inequity within medicine. She has taught sexual health education in a variety of venues and for the last three years has performed a multimedia research presentation about the intersection of robotics and issues of sexuality and the body. She currently works in clinical substance abuse research and serves as a full-spectrum doula with The Doula Project. .

M Tauret Davis
M.Taueret Davis is a Brooklyn-based artist, performer, and queer femme body liberationist.

Kelli Dunham
Kelli Dunham ( is everyone’s favorite ex-nun genderqueer nerd comic. Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011 and author of four books of humorous non-fiction, including two children’s books being used by Sonlight conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. Her brand new comedy show Cats, Sex & Therapy: A Few Of My Favorite Things debuts October 2nd in NYC.

Genne Murphy
Genne Murphy is a San Francisco based playwright and co founder, with Kelli Dunham, of Queer Memoir.

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.


The Seven Traditions of Queer Memoir

Genne and I [Queer Memoir co-founder Genne Murphy] have been trying to figure out what has made Queer Memoir so popular. Queer Memoir evolved in a city where EVERYONE. IS. ALWAYS. LOOKING.FOR.THE.NEXT.BIG. EXCITING. THING:

“Look, it’s a bear doing burlesque juggling cupcakes covered in glitter with a spoken sorry music video starring a Laverne and Shirley drag duo playing in an all harp band.”

Yet, Queer Memoir is about one person standing alone on a stage (mostly without a stage present) and saying “I have a story I’d like to tell” and people come out, in droves, and stay out, and put up with our temperamental venue heating and sitting on horrible five buck bucket chairs from Ikea (not to discourage you, we do actually have regular seats as well). Perhaps it’s because while we Respect The Glitter, we are not glittery, not at all.

What has evolved over these past two and a half years is an event with certain characteristics we’ve started calling the Queer Memoir Traditions. We’ll probably add to this over time, but for right now they are…

#1. We always start the show with “welcome storytellers.” Sometimes we try and do it in unison (when Genne’s in town, that is) and sometimes we say it one at a time. Stage awkwardness aside, we start begin each event this way because we want to remind the audience that truly, we are all storytellers.

#2 We introduce each storyteller by first name only. Because we want to hear a range of voices, we don’t discriminate against the Well Connected And Well Accomplished Queers, but everyone gets the same intro. “And now, we’ll hear from [insert first name here] After storytellers share, we encourage them to tell us all about their latest project, book, show, pet or whatever it is they’d like the audience to know about.

#3 We don’t do “trigger warnings.” We don’t ask our performers to give any kind of special advance notice about the content of their stories. Our performers share first person, true stories in other words, stuff that really happened to them. Sometimes these are intense, sad, scary and sometimes they’re funny and oftentimes they’re both. Sometimes these stories can make those of us listening uncomfortable and we think that’s AWESOME because it’s at the edge of discomfort that healing and change can happen.

As for a story itself serving as an actual clinical trigger of a post traumatic experience, we are assuming that folks who attend Queer Memoir are adults in charge of their own emotional health. We encourage stepping out of the venue if things become overwhelming and there are always folks present to talk with afterwords if you need support.

#4. We trust our audiences to support our storytellers. Just say “I’m nervous” and you’ll see what we mean! (edited July 2017 to add: we recently found out that our friend Bevin Branlandingham borrowed this “I’m nervous (they say awkward) ” + participant applause for her Fat Kid Dance Party video that has over a million hits!).

#5. Queer Memoir is cheap and, if possible, free. Most of our events are 5-10 bucks sliding scale to cover expenses, but no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. Sometimes when we have a collaboration with another arts org, we don’t have this flexibility, but if you want to come and don’t have the cash, always email us. We’ll make something happen.

#6. Queer Memoir doesn’t happen in a bar.

#7. Queer Memoir is an event of deep honesty. That doesn’t mean you’ll always hear dramatic or traumatic stories, although sometimes that might be the case. It just means you’ll be hearing people sharing just a level or two deeper than they normally might and that the audience supports our storytellers in this. And it almost always means you’ll be actually LOLing at some point, since humans seem to be funnier the more honest they are!

Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years


In this Queer Memoir Presents, we’ll be hearing stories from butch/stud identified people of from different queer generations, including a special reading from West Coast’s Jeanne Cordova and her award-winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws. Keep checking for updates and RSVP on facebook.

Pioneering rebel activist Jeanne Cordova is a founder of the West Coast LGBTQ movement. Her new book When We Were Outlaws just won the prestigious Publishing Triangle Lesbian Non-fiction award, and is a ‘Lammy’ award finalist.
Cordova chaired the Butch Voices LA Conference in 2010, and co-founded Butch Nation in 2011. Currently her band of guerilla activists–LEX (the Lesbian Exploratorium)– creates political, art and history events, including “GenderPlay in Lesbian Culture.” Cordova published The Lesbian Tide and her journalism continues with essays in award-winning anthologies like Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, Lesbian Nuns: Breaking the Silence and Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader.

Lea Robinson is a multi-talented butch. You may recognize her as the emcee for Boxers Off! An Evening of Butch Burlesque, L Boogie of L Boogie Productions, or from New York’s Butch Voices conference ( You may have also seen her as “Officer Ruffins” in the lesbian serial ROOM FOR CREAM at La MaMa, as “Alma” in BUTCH MAMAS at WOW Cafe, “JT” in LET THEM EAT CAKE AT Dixon Place, or in the Bulldyke Chronicles at Dixon Place. Robinson was also featured in GO Magazine’s 2009 Edition of 100 Women We Love. In her former life, Robinson was a baller and played in a final four, which has led to her ongoing work with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and It Takes a Team! on homophobia and transphobia in athletics. Robinson is a gay for pay at a local university and very happy to be here with you this evening! Robinson and director Elizabeth Whitney also collaborate on The Miscegenations Project (, an educational theatre project on intersections of identity.

Sinclair Sexsmith writes the award-winning personal online project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at She has contributed to more than a dozen anthologies, including four Best Lesbian Erotica collections, Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica, Visible: A Femmethology Volume II, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, and Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, and writes regularly for,, and Mr. Sexsmith is on the board of the Lesbian Sex Mafia in New York City, joined the board of the BUTCH Voices conference as Media Chair in 2012, and serves the Body Electric School as a coordinator. She is the guest editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 and editor of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, both from Cleis Press. More information about her events, workshops, and projects at

Ryann Makenzi Holmes, 26, Bed Stuy, Bk, NY — entrepreneur, student, biker, skater, DJ boi — was born in Washington, DC and raised primarily in Largo, Maryland. She currently attends Baruch College in New York, working tirelessly towards the “coveted” MBA. She resides in Brooklyn, where she attributes the inspiration for her first entrepreneurial endeavor, bklyn boihood, a community organization dedicated to the empowerment and visibility of masculine presenting queer and trans folks of color.

KELLI DUNHAM is a ex-nun, genderqueerious stand-up nerd comic, one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011 and author of four books of humorous non-fiction, including two children’s books being used by Sonlight conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. She has two comedy CDs “I am NOT a 12 Year Old Boy” and “Almost Pretty” to her credit, both of which are in frequent rotation on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Rawdog Station. She is the co-founder, with Genne Murphy, of Queer Memoir.