Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of by Sara Warner

By Sara Warner

Acts of Gaiety explores the mirthful modes of political functionality by means of LGBT artists, activists, and collectives that experience encouraged and sustained lethal critical struggles for progressive swap. The booklet explores antics comparable to camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap activities, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades along extra wide-spread different types of "legitimate theater." opposed to queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a countrywide schedule that urges homosexuals to give up excitement in the event that they are looking to be taken heavily via mainstream society, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political price for LGBT activism.

The e-book mines the information of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s-70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety that lay on the heart of the social and theatrical performances of the period and uncovering unique records lengthy regarded as misplaced. Juxtaposing ancient figures corresponding to Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with more moderen performers and activists (including Hothead Paisan, complain & Animal, and the 5 Lesbian Brothers), Warner indicates how reclaiming this principally discarded and disavowed previous elucidates probabilities for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the at the same time informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, in addition to the centrality of liveliness to queer functionality and protest.

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Extra info for Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure

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Surrounded by several hundred demonstrators who assailed them with coins, beer cans, and bricks from a nearby construction yard, the officers retreated and barricaded themselves inside the bar. Uprooting a parking meter, some of the demonstrators smashed through the plate glass window. As protesters seized the police, the officers drew their guns and threatened to shoot. Someone set the bar on fire, and within seconds the room was engulfed in flames. Reinforcements arrived and tried to reestablish order.

Not all feminists, however, took an earnest approach to women’s history or to trauma. When Miguel left the Open Theater, she started a collective with her two (heterosexual) sisters, Gloria Miguel and Lisa Mayo. Drawing on their cultural heritage as members of the Kuna and Rappahannock nations, they called their troupe Spiderwoman Theater. Spiderwoman refers to the goddess of weaving, and the practice of story weaving is the foundation of the collective’s feminist aesthetic. Their first performance was a comedy titled Women in Violence (1975), and it addressed violence against women and among women, as well as self-­inflected abuse.

Lesbian feminists began producing adult videos, unionizing strip clubs like the Lusty Lady in San Francisco, and reclaiming the art of burlesque. The desire to counter the 24 Acts of Gaiety moralizing practices of antipornography activists prompted women in the 1980s to renew their commitment to gaiety. The WOW Café, an off-­off-­Broadway performance space and social club, took root in New York’s East Village in the midst of the sex wars and became a laboratory for the exploration of lesbian feminist gaiety.

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