Queer Love Stories

QLS GRN blgIt seems like a lifetime ago, but it has really only been about two months since we partnered with our friends at the Milwaukee Zine Fest and The Milwaukee Rep to produce a zine from their Queer Love Stories event.  Just as things were ramping up here with the COVID-19 preperations and prior to the Safer At Home orders, we got copies of the community made QLS zine from our local.  That was three weeks ago (it's 13 April, 2020, a Monday, as we post this.) Since the production of this was funded through the partnership and our initial intent was to make them available during the Milwaukee Zine Fest, we thought we'd do that minus the fest. 

If you would like a copy, all you have to do is send us 3 First Class U.S. stamps.

Queer Love Stories c/o QZAP
2935 N. Fratney Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212

Please be sure to include your name and address.

If you are not in the U.S. and would like a copy, please contact us.

Please take care of each other.

Love,

QZAP

In The Maw of the Great White Rabbit

Panel from Howard Cruise's aclaimed graphic novel Stuck Rubber BabyWe honor the legacy of gay comics artist Howard Cruse, who died on November 26, 2019, and share our condolences with his husband, daughter, and chosen family. 

Howard's work began during a time of tremendous social change in the US in the early 1970s, when he utilized the energy of the underground comix movement to create gay characters and stories with love, laughter, and poignant drama. He was an early editor of Gay Comix, and his breakout work, Stuck Rubber Baby, explored queerness and racial justice through a Southern lens. Perhaps his most well known character, Wendel, represented a bit of Howard himself, with optimistic, simple charms.

Most importantly, Howard worked at a time where he established the frameworks of gay comic storytelling himself, truly a pioneer where few visual artists were creating work by, for, and about queer people. To meet him in person, you would encounter a gentle soul, a very kind and thoughtful human being, in some ways an 'anti-celebrity' of sorts. He was candid about how drug use sparked his creativity, and he told human stories in ways that made them universally relatable.

Thank you, Howard, for the path you created, the artists that you inspired to create their own queer work, and for leaving the world with a rich legacy of queer visual stories. Your memory is a blessing.

 

On The Radio

Chris and Milo were interviewed on the local NPR affiliate a few weeks ago, and the pieces aired today.

Here's the news story, and the long form piece will be on Lake Effect radio

By Any Means Necessary

P-Form #23 coverIn 1992, the drag queen Joan Jett Blakk ran for presidential office with backing from Queer Nation. Using the slogan “Lick Bush in ‘92,” Blakk’s campaign brought national attention to issues impacting queer communities, particularly the AIDS epidemic that the federal government was completely ignoring1. In the midst of the campaign, Terence Smith, the activist who performs as Blakk, penned an article for the performance art zine P-Form. Smith writes that drag carries a politics of “invulnerability,” providing a means of protection for Smith on both the stage and the streets. “No one can ‘harm’ me in drag,” writes Smith, “Because part of me is hidden underneath a Maybelline shell.” The article is a beautiful illustration of drag as a queer political force—a form of gender-fuckery that according to Smith “stomps out” the signifiers of masculinity and femininity.

Smith’s article is one of many articles on drag performance in this special issue of P-Form. The Randolph Street Gallery ran the zine from 1986 to 1999 and covered the performance art scene in Chicago. (Note: Blakk also ran for mayor of Chicago in 1991.) P-Form regularly highlights the work of queer and feminist artists. In the case of this issue, the majority of the articles are written by the artists themselves, who describe their performance practice as well as the difficulty of surviving and sustaining life as a queer performer.

JJBPIn an article entitled “Every Breathing Moment,” Michael Palmer describes the institutional violence enacted against trans bodies. Palmer writes about endless visits to doctors who challenged his identity as a trans man and refused to provide top surgery. He writes that “listening” to doctors or family would have meant turning toward death. Palmer describes breathing as a radical act—an assertion of life in institutional spaces that negate trans lives.

P-Form also provides reviews of other artistic forms, including painting cinema. In accordance with the drag performance theme, this 1991 issue includes a brief review of Jennie Livingston’s documentary Paris is Burning, which had been released the previous year. The review reads like a collage of interviews and pull-quotes, featuring press statements made by Livingston as well as iconic lines from drag performers such as Dorian Corey and Venus Extravaganza. “The balls used to be about what you could create,” says Corey, “Now they’re about what you could acquire.” Corey notes that theft was not uncommon among the economically struggling performers on the ball circuit. The statement is a strong illustration of how the Harlem ball circuit served as a space of queer of color fabulosity that also gestured toward the precarity of queer life. Performance is a means of sustaining queer life, and it depends on radical forms of resistance to institutional oppression.


 1 Goodman, Elyssa. “The Drag Queen Who Ran For President in 1992.” Them, 20 Apr. 2018, https://www.them.us/story/joan-jett-blakk-drag-queen-president. Accessed 13 June 2019.


Jacob Carter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2019 with a master’s degree in English. He is interested in queer cinema and performance art and plans to apply for a PhD in performance studies later this year. He has previously presented his research at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference.