Tag Archives: the moth

Queer Memoir 50+ (with intergenerational speed friending!)

QUEER MEMOIR 50 PLUS 2 PT 0Queer Memoir is New York’s community based LGBT storytelling multi-venue series. This month’s theme is 50+ guest and this special event is being curated by Ryn Hodez and Stephanie Schroeder.

In addition to our storytelling, we’re adding something very special to this event: intergenerational speed friending, where LGBT people of one age can meet LGBT of a much different age, with the hopes of starting some lifelong friendships!

THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAILS

Queer Memoir 50+ YWCA OF BROOKLYN
30 THIRD AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NY
SUNDAY OCTOBER 6TH AT 5 PM
LET US KNOW YOU’RE COMING AND GET LAST MINUTE DETAILS ON OUR FACEBOOK EVENT.

WITH OUR STORYTELLERS: (BIOS BELOW)

DOMINIC AMBROSE
LISA E DAVIS
RYN HODES
CARY ALAN JOHNSON
BRENDA JONES
EVA KOLLISCH
NAOMI REPLANSKY
NANCY RODRIGO
STEPHANIE SHROEDER
CHE VILLANUEVA

PLUS INTERGENERATIONAL SPEED FRIENDING!

DOMINIC AMBROSE was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1950. He is the author of two gay themed novels Nickel Fare, set in New York City in the 1970s and The Shriek and the Rattle of Trains, set in Romania in the 1990s. During his lifetime he has spent 14 years in Europe, living and working in such places as Berlin, Bucharest, Trieste and Paris. However, no matter where he has lived, he has always felt a member of the New York community and a part of its invisible diaspora. Presently, he lives in Staten Island, just above the harbor, and is dedicated to his writing and photography, and to working with other lgbt writers on memoir projects.

LISA E. DAVIS has lived in Greenwich Village for many years and loves to write about it. With a PhD in Comparative Literature, she worked for years in SUNY and CUNY, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, NYU. Her essays in North American, Latin American and European journals, and lectures in the US and abroad, explored diverse topics. Lately, her writing has appeared in anthologies and periodicals dedicated to LGBTQ culture, i.e., “The Butch as Drag Artiste: Greenwich Village in the Roaring Forties” in “The Persistent Desire. A Femme-Butch Reader” (Alyson, 1992), “Camp Good News,” in “Early Embraces II” (Alyson, 1999), and “Chagrin d’Amour,” in “Gazebo Connection” (Vancouver, BC, 2006). Her historical novel Under the Mink (Alyson, 2001), about drag queens and kings who worked in Village mafia-owned nightclubs of the 1940s, grew out of her long-time friendship with many of them. Her latest project is a non-fiction book with the working title The FBI’s Lesbian: Angela Calomiris in the American Communist Party, the true story of a notorious Village lesbian who worked undercover for the FBI in the CPUSA and testified at the first federal trial (1949) of the Party leadership.

RYN HODES is a late-blooming 56-year old Femme, third-generation New York lefty Jew, mother, lover, domestic violence advocate, martial artist, teacher, and survivor. She has been writing a memoir for ten years, and sends much appreciation to her writer’s group –Anne, Ilana, Judy, and Danielle.

CARY ALAN JOHNSON is an author and human rights activist, born and raised in Brooklyn. Cary has been active in LGBTQ politics since 1975, when at the age of 15 he joined Gay Youth of NYC. During the eighties he was instrumental in the founding of the Committee of Black Gay Men (CBGM), the Blackheart Collective, Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) and Other Countries: Black Gay Expressions. Cary’s work has appeared in Other Countries, the Road Before Us, the Greatest Taboo, In this Village, Gay Travels, the James White Review, the Agni Review, Changing Men, and Joseph Beam’s Brother to Brother. He is currently at work on a memoir.

BRENDA JONES has been a member of The Center for Anti-Violence Education in Brooklyn, NY since 1981, where she has been a student, volunteer, board member, karate and self-defense instructor, staff member, and member of various committees and anti-oppression groups. Currently, she is a senior self-defense instructor with “Power, Action, Change for Teens,” as well asworking at Safe Horizon Brooklyn Community Program. In her not-so-spare time she sews her own clothes, participates in various fat, queer, & POC activist movements and listens to Joe Jackson music (no, not the father of Michael!) while hanging with her cat, Ms. Liberation Jones (aka Libby).

EVA KOLLISCH was born in Vienna and is an American writer, literary scholar and specialist in German, as well as pacifist and feminist. In July 1939, she fled on a Kindertransport to the UK. In New York, Kollisch was active in the 1940s in the Workers Party. She studied German literature and science at Brooklyn College and later at Columbia University. Then she led, together with Gerda Lerner and Joan Kelly, a course for women’s studies at Sarah Lawrence College where she eventually became a professor and taught English, German, and comparative women literature. Kollisch published her first autobiographical novel in 2000: Girl in Movement. She is the 2012 winner of the Theodor Kramer Prize for her second autobiographical novel, The Ground Under My Feet.

NAOMI REPLANSKY is the author of Ring Song (1952), a nominee for the National Book Award; Twenty-One Poems, Old and New; and The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934–1994. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies including No More Masks!, Against Infinity: An Anthology of Contemporary Mathematical Poetry, Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust; Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies; and Poets of the Non-Existent City: Los Angeles in the McCarthy Era. Replansky’s recent Collected Poems won the 2013 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

NANCY RODRIGO: I’m a visual artist, queer, feminist activist, social worker, and mom. My son Jonathan is 28, now. Taking care of my own health has been the focus of my energy since I became permanently disabled in 2001 with the auto immune disorders. I’m happy and grateful for each day. I’m a proud Latina and Jewish-Buddhist butch lesbian, native New Yorker, domestic violence survivor, fierce proponent of universal health care and legalizing marijuana. I live with my partner, Janice and our cat Molly.

STEPHANIE SCHROEDER is a lesbian-feminist writer and activist based in Brooklyn. She is the author of the memoir, Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide. Her work has been anthologized in the classic queer anthology That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation as well as Up All Night: Adventures in Lesbian Sex, Hot & Bothered: Short, Short Fiction on Lesbian Desire (volumes 3 & 4) and other erotic anthologies. She was also an original reviewer for Erotic New York: The Best Sex in the City and has an essay included in the 2012 Lambda Literary nominated anthology, Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage.

CHE VILLANUEVA is the author of Bulletproof Butches and Jessie’s Song. Hys work has also been published in numerous anthologies. Much of hys writing is based on people, places, and situations in hys life. Che is 61 and lives in Philadelphia, PA.

As we celebrate the vibrant lives, stories, and voices of queers over 50, we also acknowledge ageism, ableism, looksism, and other discriminatory ideas and practices that silence elders and often render older LGBTQ individuals and communities invisible.

5-10 sliding scale donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

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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!