This fall I joined the AIDS Activist History Project (AAHP) team as a Research Associate. Working with the co-researchers for the project, Gary Kinsman and Alexis Shotwell, I’ve had the opportunity to research Canadian AIDS activist video culminating in a feature piece about Michael Smith’s 1990 performance Person Livid With AIDS for the 2016 Day With(out) Art / World AIDS Day. I also introduced a program of John Greyson’s shorts at the ByTowne Theatre in Ottawa as a kickoff event for World AIDS Awareness Week with the AAHP and the AIDS Committee of Ottawa.
Eight students from my AIDS Film and Video course screened their work as part of an exhibition at VAV Gallery in Montreal. Generations invites viewers to reflect on the changing contexts of HIV/AIDS, thinking through how the pandemic, the discourses which surround it, and the communities it impacts have developed since the onset of the AIDS crisis. The student work was mounted in dialog with a restored projection of Stuart Marshall‘s 1991 video Robert Marshall and I co-hosted a workshop with artist/curator Conal McStravick on intergenerational communication, queer cultural production, and HIV/AIDS at the gallery.
Other Day With(out) Art / World AIDS day projects or writing that I wasn’t a part of, but are worth checking out are: Jean Carlomusto, Alexandra Juhasz, and Hugh Ryan’s Compulsive Practice for Visual AIDS; Matthew Hays’ interview with Gaétan Dugas friend reflecting on his memory; Ted Kerr’s reflection on this year’s new works for Poster/Virus;
The College Art Association’s annual conference is coming up February 15-18 2017. Joe Madura and I will co-host a panel on AIDS and Cultural Activism on Friday the 17th with Avram Finkelstein, LJ Roberts, Aleksandra Gajowy, and Thibault Boulvain. I’m also going to check out the panel hosted by Robert Summers called Queer(ing) Art History? the day before!
Decolonizing Sexualities Network launched their new anthology in October 2016. This collection titled Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions is now available from Counterpress and includes a contribution co-authored by Karma Chávez, Yasmin Nair, and myself about Against Equality. Our chapter is based on our book tour talk from 2014/2015. There are also a bunch of amazing contributors so be sure to check it out!
This summer I helped coordinate two film screenings as part of the annual Pervers/cité festival in Montreal, our ten year old alternative anti-capitalist pride festival. With the help of many we hosted the Quebec premiere of the feature documentary Oriented (2015) followed by a panel discussion with four brilliant activists and scholars who responded to the film (Ray, Natalie, Rachel, and Gabriel!). The next day p/c co-hosted director Richard Fung and held the Quebec premiere of his new documentary Re:Orientations (2016) that looks back at the subjects from his 1984 documentary on gay asians living in Canada.
On September 7th Drain: A Journal of Contemporary Art & Culture held its Toronto launch for their newest issue “AIDS & Memory” in which I have published a chapter of my dissertation on AIDS activist art practices in the US and the ubiquitous circulation of genocide metaphors in such works. The issue was edited by Ricky Varghese and features a host of wonderful writers like Alex Juhasz, Ted Kerr, Cait McKinney, and Jordan Arsenault amongst many others. The launch party also included the premiere of Vincent Chevalier‘s beautiful new experimental short video À Vancouver, a must see!
The forum on HIV criminalization I edited for QED Journal should be coming out this fall and includes contributions from Alison Duke, Cyd Nova, David Oscar Harvey, Demian DinéYazhi’, and Michael Johnson. In this forum the voices of artists, activists, and those directly affected by HIV criminalization are amplified instead of social scientists, public health experts, and public policy wonks who currently monopolize conversations addressing the criminalization of HIV. Links will be posted once it becomes available online.
This winter I have two events in the works. As part of World AIDS Day / Day With(out) Art I will be co-hosting a workshop for students with Conal McStravick as well as curating a selection of videos created by students in my AIDS Film and Video course last year to be screened in a joint exhibition with Conal’s work. These events are also taking place as part of the 24th annual Concordia Community Lecture Series on HIV/AIDS. I’m also co-organizing a panel at the College Art Association’s annual conference in New York in February 2017 with Joe Madura on “AIDS and Cultural Activism” featuring presentations from Avram Finkelstein, LJ Roberts, Aleksandra Gajowy, and Thibault Boulvain.
Otherwise I’m just finishing my dissertation and looking forward to being unemployable in the near future.
My AIDS Film and Video course at Concordia University is coming to an end in a few short weeks and I am looking forward to students’ final projects. During the semester I participated in the McGill University conference Why We Remember: HIV/AIDS Media Now, a two day symposium filled with panels, performances, and discussions. I presented alongside Karen Herland where we discussed the pedagogical challenges of teaching HIV/AIDS to undergraduate students outside of a public health or social work framework. Hopefully we’ll both have the time to reflect more on this question and possibly co-author something in the near future.
Looking to the future, I have a number of articles in process focused on HIV/AIDS, gay marriage, and immigration in the works along with a number of conferences. I will be at L’Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) annual conference from May 9-11th presenting as part of the colloquium Cultures du témoignage organized by Nengeh Mensah at University of Quebec à Montréal. I will also be at the National Women’s Studies Association’s annual conference November 10-13th at the Palais des Congrès in Montréal co-presenting a paper with Melissa Autumn White.
But in the even nearer future there are two public events in which I will be participating. On March 24th I will be presenting a public lecture at the Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law as part of the Feminist Legal Supplement series. My talk, American Injustice: A Queer Cautionary Tale is at 6pm in the Weldon Law Building, room 104. Following soon after on April 30th, I’ll be moderating a panel on the politics of creating, collecting and using material culture in examining LGBTQ history as part of a day long symposium at the University of Southern Maine’s Sampson Center for Diversity. As part of this symposium I will also be collecting photographs and doing archival research for my upcoming book, LBGTQ Maine: Portland and Beyond due out on Aracadia Publishing in the summer of 2017. More details about that project forthcoming!
My new course, AIDS Film & Video begins in January and the syllabus is now available for those that are curious to know about what I am teaching next semester. The thirteen week course will be a whirlwind of screenings and discussions, I only wish there was more time to include more stuff! Also speaking of AIDS Film & Video, there will be a two day HIV/AIDS Media Archives symposium at McGill University in Montreal February 12-13 in which I will participate. Details forthcoming!
Little Joe Issue #5 is finally available for order online and there will be a Toronto launch party for the new issue from 15-17h on the 16th of January at Art Metropole (1490 Dundas W). Tom Waugh and I have a great piece in the issue using the Queer Film Classics series that he co-edits as a jumping off point for an intergenerational dialog about queer film, friendship, and faggotry.
My piece b.1983 from 2008 has been included in Rock Hushka and Jonathan David Katz’s year long touring exhibition Art AIDS America. The show seems quite impressive based on the exhibition catalog as I have yet to see the show in person, but the lack of black artists (only 4 of over 100 artists included) has been a stunning disappointment with the reality of the large over representation of black americans in HIV incidence, prevalence, and death. I am deeply sympathetic to the criticism and ongoing demonstrations against the disappearance of black voices in this exhibition and hopeful that the museums where this show tours in the future will be receptive to the need for serious changes laid out by black artists/activists.
QUEER: Documents in Contemporary Art by David Getsy is due out in late January and includes a collaboratively written piece I worked on from the exhibition catalog for Est-ce que ca vous dérange?. “Rather than a book of queer theory for artists, this is a book of artists’ queer tactics and infectious concepts” suggests the publisher description for the book. With an all-star roster of queer artists, I’m really looking forward to checking this collection out myself!
I also have a piece in the forthcoming issue of the Gay and Lesbian Review. The thematic issue reflects on the the old essentialist vs constructionist arguments in relations to sexuality and gender. I take the opportunity to reflect on Pink Tank’s 2005 ‘zine that includes the short manifesto Your Genes Will Not Protect You, using it as a jumping off point for exploring the history of biomedical etiology studies of homosexuality. In short, it’s a history of science piece that points out the flawed logic of biologic essentialism as a basis for claiming right to non-discrimination protections and situates the science within its social, economic, and political context of the violently homophobic 1990s.
This month Against Equality turns six years old! We have a publishing update on our website about our book Against Equality: QueerRevolution Not Mere Inclusion for those that are interested, but the short and quick of it is that we distributed over 5,000 copies of our new book since it came out a year and a half ago on AK Press and we very happy with that!
A few months ago I also signed a book contract with Arcadia Publishing for a new book titled LGBTQ Maine: Portland & Beyond as part of their Images from Modern America series. This full color photo history book will showcase queer history in Maine since the 1970s with a focus on Maine’s largest city (and queer hub) Portland while not neglecting the importance of people, places, and events from Caribou to Lewiston. This project wouldn’t be possible without the generous help of the folks like Susie Bock at the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine who maintain the LGBT Special Collection (amongst other great collections). This project is set to wrap up in time for a launch at Pride in 2017.
I have two collaborative pieces coming out online and in print over the next little bit. I participated in roundtable discussion focused on transnational queer politics and organizing put together by Karma Chávez for the Scholar & Feminist and I am currently organizing a forum on HIV criminalization with a bunch of great folks for QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. Keep an eye out for those forthcoming!
This fall I also began working with Melissa Autumn White on her research project titled Stranger Intimacies which focuses on the privatization of the refugee claims process in Canada since the 1970s and particularly the launch of the Rainbow Refugee pilot program by the government of Canada in 2011. Future publications are in the works under Melissa’s leadership. She will be presenting some initial findings at the upcoming American Studies Association Conference in Toronto where I will also be presenting a separate paper on AIDS art and checking out the premiere of Kami Chisholm‘s new documentary Pride Denied: Homonationalism & the Future of Queer Politics that I was interviewed for (amongst other brilliant thinkers and activists)!
Lastly, I’ve also done a couple interviews lately, one rather snarky, and the other rather sincere. My VICE interview with my Concordia University colleague Matt Hays deals with gay life after Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage. My Q5 interview with Brendan Kieran who co-coordinates the New England Archivists’ LGBTQ Issues Roundtable, focuses on my current dissertation research and against equality.
I recently sent off proofs to curators of the upcoming touring exhibition Art AIDS America, which will include my piece b.1983 amongst hundreds of other artists. As described online, this exhibition “examines 30 years of artistic production made in response to the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Surveying the early 1980s to the present, this exhibition reintroduces and explores a spectrum of artistic responses to HIV/AIDS from the politically outspoken to the quietly mournful, considering how the disease shifted the development of American art away from the conceptual foundations of postmodernism and toward a more insistently political and autobiographical voice.” The exhibition’s touring schedule is as follows:
- Tacoma Art Museum, WA, October 3, 2015 – January 10, 2016
- Zuckerman Museum of Art Kennesaw State University, GA, February 9 – May 21, 2016
- The Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY, June 23 – September 11, 2016
Most of this summer I’ve been hanging out at the Special Collections Archives at the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. I’ve be digitizing the entire run of a bunch of Maine-based LGBTQ newspapers (10%, Apex, Community Pride Reporter, Fast Times, and Our Paper) from the 80s and 90s. Excited to be thinking about affect & trauma as it relates to the pre-protease inhibitor AIDS crisis days outside of major urban north american gay centers and how Maine’s mutli-year failed non-discrimination ordinances intersect with this history.
My short film things are different now… showed at the Outside the Frame Festival, a Queers for Palestine film festival and a creative alternative to Frameline’s pinkwashing, on June 21st. I pulled this film from the Frameline Film Festival a few years ago and was happy to have it re-screened at this vibrant, ethically sound, alternative put together by a great group of local activists in the San Francisco Bay area.
There’s also a piece in the upcoming issue of WSQ: The 1970s I co-wrote with Karma Chávez and Yasmin Nair reflecting on the stalled Equal Rights Amendment. We approach the topic through our own work writing critically about equality rhetoric and gay rights legislation with Against Equality.
I was interviewed by the folks at the Gay & Lesbian Review for their spring 2015 issue as mentioned in the last update. The full interview can be read here as a pdf for those that don’t have a subscription. It’s one of the best interviews I’ve done for Against Equality over that project’s lifetime.
I’ve just returned home from a book tour to support Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion in Australia and New Zealand. The tour passed through Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin over seven weeks. I was hosted by amazing folks from student groups and bookshops that were inspiring and rejuvenating. A full tour recap is available on the AE website.
From April 15th-17th I will head out on a short three day book tour in upstate New York stopping in Poughkeepsie, Buffalo, and Rochester. Thanks to the Queer Coalition of Vassar College, Burning Books, and Rochester Red & Black for hosting and Jake Allen for bottom lining so much of the organizing. Click here for event details!
While in Australia I also gave a public lecture at the University of Melbourne and a master class at LaTrobe University focusing on my paper, Revisiting AIDS and Its Metaphors. Many thanks to Fran Martin and Carol D’Cruz for their gracious support and inviting me to their respective universities.
While I hope to cut down on future travel this year, I will still be going to The Canadian Sexuality Studies Association conference as part of the 2015 Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences from June 1st-3rd in Ottawa. Along side collective members Karma Chávez and Yasmin Nair, I will be presenting on Against Equality’s work.
I have forthcoming interviews in the Gay & Lesbian Review and Hysteria about Against Equality this Spring/Summer. Keep an eye out!
Little Joe Magazine will be publishing a dialogue between myself and Montréal queer film scholar Thomas Waugh in their next spring issue. We use his co-curated Queer Film Classics book series as a jumping off point to discuss queer film, history, pedagogy, and intergenerational queer friendship. There will likely be a launch for the issue in Montréal come spring, details forthcoming.
For February and March I will be travelling throughout Australia and New Zealand, doing a book launch here and there for Against Equality: Queer Revolution Not Mere Inclusion. Most excitedly I will be returning to Hares & Hyenas in Melbourne three years after our first event there. Other events will be listed shortly on Against Equality’s event page.
I’ve received a small research grant to do archival work at the University of Southern Maine’s LGBT Special Collections for my dissertation. I will be digitizing the entire collection of community newspapers from the late 80s and 90s, focusing specifically on Our Paper and Apex. I will be in Portland, Maine for the majority of the summer doing this work and sharing updates as I go. When my research concludes, all issues of these papers should be available for browsing online.
For the 2014 International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th I designed a series of posters for APAQ demanding that both conservatives and carceral feminists back off their support for criminalizing sex work (bill C-36 in Canada), which only endangers the lives of those doing sex work.
Against Equality will also do a short write up reflecting on the Equal Rights Amendment for WSQ‘s special issue on the 1970s edited by Shelly Eversley and Michelle Habell-Pallán. The issue is forthcoming in the Fall of 2015.
Lastly, despite the year of unemployment I have to look forward in 2015, it was just confirmed that I will be teaching a new AIDS Film and Video course at Concordia University in Montréal in the Winter of 2016! I will make the syllabus available online next year.
Today begins another semester in the wonderful world of adjunct university teaching for me. I’ll be giving an interdisciplinary fine arts/arts and sciences research methods course through the lens of sexuality research. You can check out the course syllabus here if you’re curious.
Earlier this past spring my article on the changing sex work laws in Canada and the potential impact they might have on US northern border states like Maine was published in the Portland Phoenix. The Future of Sex Work is available online for your reading pleasure. Surprisingly I have received very little hate mail after its publication which I can only attribute to the fact that no one reads long form journalism—or the Phoenix—anymore.
On September 27th I will be doing a small talk and Q&A at the Baltimore Book Festival discussing the new Against Equality anthology, Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion. There are no other firm touring dates this fall for Against Equality, but in February and March I will be touring across Australia and New Zealand spreading the anti-assimilationist, anti-capitalist queer gospel that is Against Equality. Dates for this down under tour will be posted sometime in the next few months on the AE events page.
I’m also working on a few forthcoming journal articles and book chapters including a historical overview and analysis of the MIXNYC experimental queer film festival, an editorial about why I’m not a #truvadawhore, and a co-authored Against Equality piece for the UK-based Decolonizing Sexualities Network’s forthcoming anthology. There are a couple short film projects in the works as well!
Tomorrow I am leaving to go on tour with the new Against Equality anthology, Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion which just came out for AK Press in March. I will be bouncing from the northeast to the southwest in about four weeks doing lectures, panels, and book launches. Full details of the tour can be found here and you can order the book directly from AK Press here.
I’ve also published my third editorial in the quarterly gay paper Out in Maine which will be available online soon. “You Must Marry!” asks now that the campaign for gay marriage in Maine are over with and done, could we can all be a bit more honest with our ambivalence about marriage and our criticism of the campaigns to win such a right? And what can we do to address the new pressures that exists on queer and trans people to get married, as if that is what we are supposed to do now just because we can? This will be up on my publications page where you can check out all my articles, chapters, and books to date.
The short film Rituel Queers that I collaborated on with REB screened at The Boston Faerie Cabaret in February and was warmly received. With any luck the film will have its European premiere at Entzaubert—my favorite DIY queer/trans film festival in Europe—this July.
My old friend Jessy Kendall of S/H/A/R/P/S and I collaborated on a track on his new album Shit Show that just came out. This track is a remix of Micahel Callen’s track “Home” on the 1994 album Purple Heart. I’m also working on another similar audio/video remix of 90s talk shows, HIV/AIDS, satanic cults, televangelists, gay porn, and the boy scouts due out this summer.