For more than 10 years, amazingly talented queer artists from across America have gathered once a year for the annual National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco. This year’s artists are no exception, featuring many of the art world’s finest and exhibits anyone would be thrilled to see all in one city.
San Fran’s Queer Cultural Center organizes the event, which started May 31, with many exhibits and performances running through July 11. With more than 400 artists in 70 events and 18 venues throughout the city, there is no shortage of stuff to check out.
Out author, artist, every woman Michelle Tea curated several events at the festival, including one that runs through Friday titled “Into the Streets!” Those involved in the piece went through the GLBT Historical Society archives to “re-imagine or re-visit a moment of queer street protest.”
Tea, along with Eileen Myles, Ali Liebegott, Annie Danger, Myriam Gurba, Meliza Bañales, Justin Chin, Jewelle Gomez and Keith Hennessy chose to tackle 90s AIDS activism, the riot at Compron’s Cafeteria, Viet Nam and Gay Sunshine Press, BDSM, Queer Nation + Basic Instinct, the Rodney King Riots and other “moments of public uprising.”
If you are lucky enough to be in San Francisco this weekend, you should definitely check out the 5th annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival which is part of the NQAF. The festival includes about 30 films by queer women of color that tackle everything from sex toys to immigration and includes speakers and Q & A sessions with filmmakers. San Francisco playwright and filmmaker Maria Breaux, winner of the “Best Emerging Filmmaker Award” at the 2008 San Francisco Women’s Film Festival Jennifer Lin and a plethora of other talented queer filmmaking ladies will be there screening their latest works.
From Jennifer Lin’s “Look Again”
Other high profile queer artists are showcasing their work as part of the “Fresh Meat” exhibit at NQAF, titled “Fresh Meat in the Gallery VI: Defying Gravities.” The exhibit is presented in conjunction with NQAF’s annual festival of transgender and queer performances. Out artist Jen Rosenstein got plenty of attention for her “Transformational Project” last year and her intimate portraits of trans men and women are included in the Fresh Meat exhibit.
From the Transformational Project
San Francisco is an amazing place. During one drunken night at The Lex, I managed to meet plenty of queer women who were doing what they love in any capacity. Between meeting part of the “best of The Bay” queer burlesque troop, The Twilight Vixen Review and another woman whose band was part of a documentary about trans musicians , I realized quickly that San Francisco was the place to be for upcoming queer artists.
Check out the full festival schedule here, but be warned — it may have you booking an impulse vacation to the City by the Bay.