Adventures, LGBT, Other, Theatre

We made a Fun Palace!

Fun Palaces:

  • is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy
  • promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture, making the most of local spaces and local skills, empowering people to create
  • is led by local people for local people – which is what makes it all so different! There’s no central theme, no central idea, nothing that everyone does the same

About a month after the second Fun Palaces weekend, Stella Duffy came to talk to the students at my school about it. I went along, and was delighted to see how interested and focused the students were. I wanted to get involved, but wasn’t really sure how. So, for a while, I watched people making Fun Palaces all over the place, doing all kinds of things, and told people about it, and I waited.

Fast forward four years, and I’ve just made a Fun Palace! My friend Megan came down from Manchester to join in, too, which was truly wonderful. I was very much an accessory – writer and theatre-maker Amie Taylor was the genius behind it – but I think I was useful and I definitely had a wonderful time. Our Fun Palace was hosted by the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, and although many many makers are queer, and it’s a queer phenomenon in many ways,ours was the first specifically LGBTQ Fun Palace. We had workshops on creative writing, mental health, activism, and burlesque, and drop in sessions to write poetry, decorate biscuits, dress up, and make drag queen/king puppets. Everyone – makers and the people who joined us – wore pronoun badges. I helped with the puppet-making and I really enjoyed helping people – mostly children, but some adults too – have a play with making something that I had only tried myself that day. It felt shared and special, even though – or perhaps because – it was so far out of my comfort zone.

I have been involved in something huge and important. I spend so much time deferring to other people, people who know better, when it comes to creating something new, that I find it hard to identify what I can do. I’m already thinking about what I can do next year, how I can improve on what I brought to the day.

I feel empowered, and I feel hopeful, and I feel a strength in my community that I didn’t really know I’d been missing.

Books, LGBT, Theatre

A theatre review, by me!

 

I reviewed A Curmudgeon’s Guide To Christmas Round Robin Letters for The LGBTQ Arts Review last week. I really enjoyed the play (letters! lesbians! audience participation in a good way! hats! a small cry!), the venue is fantastic, and I felt all Christmassy and wonderful afterwards.

Read my review and get yourself a ticket – it’s on until 23rd December at the Hope Theatre in Islington.

Books, LGBT, Recommendations

Ask The Passengers, and coming out

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Ask The Passengers, by A S King

When my friend returned this to the library and discovered that I hadn’t read it, I asked her to convince me. This involved no more than the words “school”, “America” and “gay”, and the assurance that she’d loved it. I am easily swayed. I took it home with me that afternoon, and read it in two days. I was that annoying person walking down the road with a book because I just didn’t want to stop reading. Continue reading “Ask The Passengers, and coming out”

Books, LGBT

Queer: A Graphic History – Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele

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Activist-academic Meg John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. A kaleidoscope of characters from the diverse worlds of pop-culture, film, activism and academia guide us on a journey through the ideas, people and events that have shaped ‘queer theory’. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged. Continue reading “Queer: A Graphic History – Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele”

Books, LGBT, Recommendations

An accidental book haul for the new school year

The new school year started last week, so I’m back in central London after spending most of the holidays away. And, with that, comes the temptation of bookshops. I’m usually pretty good these days, but sometimes there’s a new release that I just can’t wait for. This week, there have been two such releases, leading to a rather substantial accidental haul.
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Continue reading “An accidental book haul for the new school year”

LGBT, Other

I’m sick of dead lesbians

Let’s play a game.

  1. Think of a lesbian character on TV or in film.
  2. Did she get to live?
  3. If yes, did her partner get to live?
  4. If yes, did they get a happy ending?

I doubt you got as far as 4. If you did, can you name another? Continue reading “I’m sick of dead lesbians”

LGBT, Other

Flung out of space

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What do they say makes a play a classic, Therese?’

‘A classic -‘ Her voice sounded tight and stifled. ‘A classic is something with a basic human situation.’ Continue reading “Flung out of space”

LGBT, Other

On bisexuality

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way and not necessarily to the same degree.” Robyn Ochs

I’m deviating slightly from my usual book theme today, and talking about something that is very close to my heart: bisexuality. Continue reading “On bisexuality”