Writer and performance artist Ron Athey invites crucial queer figures of the 1970s and 1980s counterculture to TOM House in Los Angeles.
I was born in 1961. I was fucking in the ’70s! I was aware of the cultural movements that had made me possible, but I look backwards. I never contemplated attending a Pride celebration without thinking about its catalyst, the Stonewall Riots of 1969. And being raised in a primarily black area of Pomona, I am sufficiently aware of the Black Panther Party to be able to appreciate the antecedents for today’s Black Lives Matters (not to mention the style and gestures offered up in a recent Beyoncé video). There were separatist movements for women, gays, and people of color. This was the era of the commune and the safe space, a time when the cruising space became affirmative in a pre-AIDS reality. For this issue of Out, I brought together a group of figures who were not only present, but also key organizers of the seminal events spanning four decades, to recall their experiences.
The participants include:
Toro Castaño, author and co-curator of a recent show at the ONE Institute about the early-’90s phenomenon, Club Fuck!
Durk Dehner, cofounder and president of Tom of Finland Foundation
Fayette Hauser, member of San Francisco’s legendary Cockettes, and most recently involved in the Hippie Modernism show at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
Amelia Jones, professor in art and design at USC and author of many books, including Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts
Bruce LaBruce, Canadian filmmaker and artist whose films include Hustler White and L.A. Zombie
Glen Meadmore, artist and musician, who collaborated with Vaginal Davis in the thrash-metal concept project PME
Sheree Rose, performance artist and photographer who documented the BDSM scene of the 1980s