Queer Rebels: Intergenerational QTPOC Art for the Future
Need some inspiration for a queer-rebellious weekend? Look no further than the Queer Rebels themselves, KB Boyce and Celeste Chan.
From their bios:
“KB Boyce is a Two-Spirit musician whose adventures have brought them from teenage punk band appearances at CBGBs in NY, to B-grade horror movies in LA, and on to solo Drag King blues performance as ‘TuffNStuff’ in San Francisco. S/he pays homage to African-American and Indigenous legacies of resistance through art. With a performance/production history that spans 30+ years and two coasts, KB is a lifelong artist.
Celeste Chan is an experimental artist, writer, and organizer, schooled by DIY and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx, NY. A VONA and Lambda Literary fellow, her writing can be found in As/us journal, Feminist Wire, and Hyphen. Her films have screened in CAAMFest, Digital Desperados, Entzaubert, Heels on Wheels, Frameline, MIX NYC, National Queer Arts Festival, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, and more.”
If Queer Rebels is the answer, what is the question?
The question is: who gets to be an artist? Who has artistic freedom, voice, and legacy? Whose history gets recorded? What are the official vs. unofficial or hidden histories?
We conceived Queer Rebels in 2008 to break down doors for queer and trans artists of color, connect generations, and honor our histories with art for the future. We are part of a larger QTPOC (queer and trans people of color movement). We are asking questions such as — who is honoring our queer ancestors? Who is creating and showcasing new work by and for QTPOC?
What are the joys/challenges/any interesting space-time dimensions of intraPOC collaboration and artmaking?
Thank you for asking! The joys: we work to create alliances. We center queer and trans artists of color. We are artists who love artists. We aim to build cross-racial solidarity. We ask many questions. How do we address the violence and trauma of anti-Black racism –- while acknowledging and giving space to queer Black brilliance? How do we hack the Black/White racial binary? How do we address the invisibility and erasure of Asian Americans, Arabs, Pacific Islanders? How do we build with and center Latinos and Native Americans?
QTPOC is a vast ocean of identity. We claim “queer and trans people of color” as a term of coalition, with the knowledge that we have very divergent experiences (within and between communities) and that we occupy different spaces in America’s racial hierarchy. And these are the challenges too. We are so often pitted against each other, competing for airtime, resources, and support. We create space for our communities to come together. We want to build together.
What would you write on your postcard to queer ancestors? And queer futurenauts?
Dear ancestors – We miss you. You will not be forgotten. You were unapologetic and queer. You created so much. Paved the way with queerness and through pain. You made bodies of work, queer archives. Thank you for leaving your legacy for us.
Dear future ones – Be unashamed and free. You will not be co-opted. History comes in waves. Things get better and they get worse. We are all broken. Pick up the pieces and make art. Let the future begin.
KB and Celeste
What upcoming projects are exciting you?
We’re excited about many things!
Coming up on October 10, we have a Queer Rebels show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Featuring Ronaldo V. Wilson, Lambert Moss, Persia, MOON RAY RA, and TuffNStuff: Drag King of the Blues.
We are also screening Femme LOVE at the FEMME HIVE: Berlin Femme / Queer Feminine Konferenz on October 10-12. Filmmakers include Indira Allegra, Celeste Chan, and Jeepneys.
On November 11 in Brooklyn we’ll be bringing Queer Rebels experimental films to MIX NYC: NY Queer Experimental Film Festival, for the third year in a row! Artists to be announced shortly.
Queer Rebels is the lovechild of artists KB Boyce and Celeste Chan. We have some new programs coming up in 2015! Look out for Queer Rebels Fest. We wanna make magic with you!
Photo Credit: Tinker Coalescing