OCTOBER WRAP UP: Feat. Sara Jaffe, Robin Coste Lewis, Allison Moon and Elizabeth Beier

Obligatory RADAR Productions selfie at the October Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library. This series is offered monthly and free to the public.

Obligatory RADAR Productions selfie at the October Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library. This series is offered monthly and free to the public.


Do you need some new books this wintumn—that brief-clutching-to-the-sun-moment between autumn and winter—books you can devour while simultaneously nesting hard with your lover and listening to the new Adele single of repeat? Us too!  Good thing that four incredible literary voices graced RADAR’s October Reading Series this past month and added some fresh material to our never-ending reading list. Keep an eye out for the complete version of RADAR Production’s Autumn Book List. If you don’t already own these books, we highly recommend surprise buying one for your bestie with every intention to read and write all over the margins of the copy before handing it off.


First on the list is Sara Jaffe’s novel Dryland. This book is exactly the kind of book you want keep safe in the inside pocket of your denim jacket until you hole up in a coffee shop and emerge two entire days later a better human for it. Dryland is a sensory experience. Jaffe makes a new mark on the literary scene with her first novel, stating, “I don’t hate anything more than I hate a writer getting up in front of a room and saying the inspiration just struck me—in fact, it’s detrimental.”


The point is: writing takes work. And it’s exactly this type of tenacity and resolve that produces groundbreaking works such as Robin Coste Lewis’ Voyage of the Sable Venus.

51DPw4VczEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_During the Q&A Robin Coste Lewis talks us through her process—giving the run down on exactly hours she spent studying, working multiple jobs, paying for childcare all while raising her daughter on her own. Lewis remarks, “I’m being so thorough and detailed here, so indulge me, because it’s important to remember our feminist politics while we discuss such things.” Let it also be known that Voyage of the Sable Venus just received the 2015 National Book Award. If you haven’t yet brought this one up to your bookclub, the time is now.


The process of sharing—sharing other writers’ works, sharing our own—is what RADAR’s Monthly Reading Series is all about. When writers get together and find courage to share their words and stories, its not vain or selfish; it’s community building, it’s opening the world up.

downloadAllison Moon fiercely believes in this when she states that, “you should make the art that you want to see in the world.” That was the exact motivation behind the creation of Girl Sex 101. The easy to understand format of this book makes it possible for Moon, as a sex educator, to access communities of young people who need this type of information. But the anchor of

lex_3the night was undoubtedly Elizabeth Beier’s comic We Belong: Collected Stories and Portraits from the Lexington Club. The ghost of the Lexington is alive and well in the heartwarming stories Beier recorded of her time drawing in the corner of the bar. And let it be known that if anyone of you has a couple of million dollars lying around you want to invest in a new dyke bar, hit up Juliana Delgado Lopera to make that shit happen. Make sure to show your face at our next reading series on December 8th at 6pm in the basement of the SF Public Library.



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Mud Howard is a queer trans poet with a lot of feelings who fiercely believes in the healing power of the selfie. Mud is a recent graduate of the IPRC’s low-res MFA Poetry Program and recently moved to the Bay Area for big, new dreamy things. Gemini Rising/Cancer Sun/Libra Moon.

HELLA CLOSE: Stories of Queer Intimacy


Hella Close: Stories of Queer Intimacy is a three-part series of RADAR’s Queering the Castro Project at Magnet Men’s Health Clinic. This series is offered Autumn 2015- on October 26th and again on November 17th.

By Mud Howard, Radar Editorial Intern

This night was the first of a three-part series of Queer Intimacy readings, part of RADAR’s “Queering the Castro” program—a yearlong sneak-attack project designed to inject the Castro with some much-needed queer sass. This was evident as the space filled up with people squeezing into chairs, huddled in corners, and sitting against the wall. In the buzzing minutes before the reading began, no one’s wandering eyes could miss the multitude of psychedelic gay male erotica artwork lining the walls—a thousand dicks spinning. It’s quite possible that the Castro hasn’t seen this many dykes and PoC in one place since…before it was gentrified!

“So many people didn’t want this, but we want it,” Juliana Delgado Lopera notes as she takes stage in her black lipstick to introduce the readers for the night. Amongst them is the hilarious Nikki Darling, fierce Jezebel Delilah X, lovely Roberto Santiago and show-stopper Ben McCoy.

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Obligatory blurry RADAR selfie of the audience during Hella Close Pt. I at Magnet Men’s Health Clinic, taken by Juliana Delgado Lopera.

Nikki Darling brought the night into focus by reading a long, hilarious and heartfelt story about a girl who “grew up nestled in the armpit of other people’s luxury.”
“I just took a Sudafed so it’s gonna be an adventure for all of us,” Darling confesses before diving into her story. The crowd waxed and waned with each of the performers as they revealed stories full of the tender failures and bittersweet successes of queer intimacy.

Jezebel Delilah X read next, with a performance that can be best described as the embodiment the cry-laugh. She is an explosion of intimacy from the moment she opens her mouth—confessing that, “As a writer (and hopeless romantic) I always feel like when I date people I should make them sign a contract.” Delilah’s work is all about her uncompromising delivery, with a voice and jovial tonality that makes me wish every bad news I ever received could be relayed back to me through the words of Jezebel Delilah.

Robert Santiago took the stage third, doing the audience a favor with his outfit choice, a red cardigan draped elegantly over his shoulder. He decided to take that big risk that poets constantly avoid all the while knowing it is crucial for our survival as writers—reading new shit. His poem “Becoming Turquoise” was a beautiful and translucent account of a young boy coming into his own.

But the moment that truly sealed the Queer Intimacy chamber of our hearts was the unexpected and vulnerable performance that Ben McCoy gave as the last reader of the night. She stole the air out of the room with the raw story she shared of her father, his illness, and the undying love and fight he inculcated in her throughout her adolescence.

I’m telling you…do yourself and the Castro a solid and come to Hella Close Pt. II on October 26th at Magnet. If you’re looking for a place to accidentally run into your Tinder crush IRL, trust me, this is the place for you.

Click Here for RADAR’s Upcoming Events




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Mud Howard is a queer trans poet with a lot of feelings who fiercely believes in the healing power of the selfie. Mud is a recent graduate of the IPRC’s low-res MFA Poetry Program and recently moved to the Bay Area for big, new dreamy things. Gemini Rising/Cancer Sun/Libra Moon.

SEPTEMBER WRAP-UP: Feat. Nomy Lamm, Daphne Gottlieb, Diego Gomez & Carolyn Ho


Diego Gomez read at September’s Radar Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library. This series is offered monthly and is free to the public.

By Mud Howard, Radar Editorial Intern

What’s a better way to spend a Tuesday evening than refusing to witness how much earlier the sun sets in autumn, going to the basement room in the San Francisco Main Library and getting your queer lit fix instead? This month featured the four distinct San Francisco voices of writers Nomy Lamm, Daphne Gottlieb, Carolyn Ho and writer/illustrator Diego Gómez. Each artist stepped into the pink corner of the room to read from their respective novels, new projects, elusive manuscripts and uncovered dissertations.

Nomy Lamm first took the stage, unwrapping a scarf from which the only copy of her experimental novel 515 Clues emerges. The thick leather bound cover looks as if it holds behind it all the esoteric magic and self-revelation one could ask for. Lamm reminds us in her writing, just how close to queerness God really is, as the young girl in the novel “sits naked on the dining room table, waiting for Jesus to enter her.”

“Did I break it yet?” Daphne Gottlieb coolly asked after unapologetically clanging through a microphone adjustment. This charisma and force was a presence in the room as she read aloud from her surreal collection of short stories, Pretty Much Dead. She charged the audience with her sharp, lyrical cadence describing the cyclical conditions of transient life in San Francisco. These stories might have broken something in the room, but it certainly wasn’t the microphone.


Q&A with artists after the reading. From left to right: Diego Gomez, Daphne Gottlieb, Nomy Lamm and Carolyn Ho. Part of our monthly Radar Reading Series, the Artist Q&A includes the cookie tradition started by Michelle Tea – if you ask a question you get a cookie. Comments don’t count!

The night wouldn’t have been complete without Carolyn Ho’s undying sardonic brilliance paired with Diego Gómez’s thoughtful, intricate artwork. “I tend to write about dogs and my mother in obscene ways,” Ho confessed as she shared her visceral poems. Gómez took the stage last, and by took I mean stole, with their curated drag persona Trangela Lansbury in full garb. Imagine Disney’s Little Mermaid with a full glitter beard and mustache taking some serious style tips from Mystique in the X-Men (or rather, Ex-Men as Gómez sees it). Gomez’s comic “”EX-MEN ’63: The Feminine Mystique” chronicles a history of injustice and identity politics wrapped in American cultural snapshots of the 1960’s.

The reading ended with a hot tray of fresh baked cookies. Each cookie is a powerful bargaining chip, an incentive for the audience to ask questions and propel us through the nail-biting silence that is the first sixty seconds of every Q&A. Everyone was curious about the physical forms of these authors’ work. In the age of rising digital availability, those of us who go to readings still want to get our hands on a copy of our favorite writers’ work. When asked why she keeps writing, even when the economic prospects of poetry are slim-to-none, Carolyn Ho puts it simply: “I write because my therapist tells me to. Plus, there are so many things to get angry about.” And let’s be honest, getting angry about these things always feels better when we do it together. So come out to RADAR’s rad events and let’s do it together!

See all Radar Productions updates at:





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Mud Howard is a queer trans* poet with a lot of feelings who fiercely believes in the healing power of the selfie. Mud is a recent graduate of the IPRC’s low-res MFA Poetry Program and recently moved to the Bay Area for big, new dreamy things. Gemini Rising/Cancer Sun/Libra Moon.

5 Reasons to Support Queer Lit on May 21!







May 21 is National GiveOUT Day, a day that mobilizes thousands of individual donors across the country during a 24-hour period to give in support of LGBT nonprofits. And we are here today to give you 5 reasons to give to Radar (you can find our page by clicking here & searching for “Radar Productions”) come Thursday!

1. We give you cookies

Where else can you hear 4 incredible artists followed by an intimate Q&A where your inquisitiveness is rewarded with a fresh home made cookie? Literally NOWHERE except our monthly Radar Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library.

2. We talk about failure

Unlike most respectable literary non-profits, we are not afraid to broach complex and uncomfortable subjects.. like FAILURE. In fact, we have an entire festival dedicated to the topic called #QUEERFAIL, happening in San Francisco June 15-21 and featuring amazing artists and intellectuals like Jack Halberstam, Dynasty Handbag, Maggie Nelson and CA Conrad.

3. We offer an ungodly amount of free and super cheap programming

We get that you’re broke and that you were hit hardest by the global economic collapse. We’re here to help you save those precious dollars on the hoop earrings you need for self care with our 50+ events a year, most of which are free or under $20.

4. We love you

Yeah, it’s kinda early to commit to such a bold statement, but we’re ready to be co-dependent if you are.

5. We’re doing something really amazing in a city with a shrinking queer lit scene AND WE’RE COMMITTED TO STAYING

It’s increasingly difficult for artists and even art administrators to remain in San Francisco, but we love the Bay Area and we’re in it for the long haul. Help us keep this work local.

So, yeah, give us $10 or $100 on National GiveOUT Day and then tell us you did at the next free/cheap literary event you come to and we’ll smile at you and give you a cookie.


A Letter from Michelle Tea on 12 Years at Radar

Michelle Tea will be leaving her post as Artistic Director of Radar Productions after 12 amazing/weird/amazing years. Radar welcomes a new Artistic Director, Juliana Delgado Lopera, as of July 1, 2015. Here’s some words from Michelle: 


Dear World,

At the end of June I will be leaving my position at RADAR Productions. RADAR is probably the best thing I’ve ever made in my life, with the exception of my son, and he’s the main reason I’m leaving. How in the world did I think I would be able to have a baby and run a non-profit and be a writer and have a social life / spend time with my wife and not lose my mind? Running a non-profit is hard, even with the support of so many amazing organizations over the years. Realizing I cannot be present for my son and prioritize my writing and do a good job at RADAR, I am leaving the organization in the inspiring hands of Virgie Tovar, who will continue on as Managing Director, and Juliana Delgado Lopera, who will step into the Executive Director role come July 1st. If you know Juliana you know why I asked if she would take over RADAR, and if you don’t know her you’re psyched because you’re about to familiarize yourself with a fantastic writer and literary organizer. Juliana had been coming to RADAR to years, but I met her at a queer book club hosted by the writer Rhiannon Argo. Rhiannon hissed to me, You should put Juliana in RADAR, she’s really good. And I did, and she was! Really, really good! The more I learned about Juliana the more my respect and admiration grew (and continues to grow). She edited 14 Hills while getting her masters at State. Her oral history of queers who immigrated to San Francisco from Latin America in the 80s is amazing and crucial. Maybe you caught it on the cover of SF Weekly a few years ago or maybe you went to the sold-out party for the book, Cuantemelo! Juliana organized that event and it was one of the best and best attended of that year’s National Queer Arts Festival. She works at the GLBT Historical Society Museum in the Castro, and has experience doing grant and project management and community-based non-profits. And she’s queer! I could not be happier that RADAR is moving into her hands, and I’m excited to see what she does with it.

This is the second version of this letter; the first ran seven pages long because I went cuckoo trying to thank all the people who have made this organization happen over the past decade-plus. Guess what? It was boring and a little megalomaniacal. I hope I’ve expressed my gratitude through the years to everyone who has helped, volunteered, funded, supported, read with, came to, worked for, collaborated with, donated to RADAR. It is really astounding, the hundreds and hundreds of people who helped me do this thing!

Listen. Please continue to support RADAR. It is a triumph to be able to hand over a healthy, queer literary non-profit to the next generation. RADAR will continue existing programs such as The RADAR Reading Series and the Sister Spit tours, and it will surely introduce new programming as well. Please stick by its side, come to events, promote shows you think your people might want to know about, make a donation when the metaphorical hat is passed around. Even with the foundational support, running a non-profit will always be a labor of love, and all contributions really make a significant difference. And, if you’re a writer who has read at RADAR events (or would like to) please friend Juliana on Facebook (and like RADAR while you’re at it!) and reach out to her at info@radarproductions.org and introduce yourself.

Okay that’s about it. I’m going to bed.



Sassafras Lowrey, author of Lost Boi, Reads May 5 at Radar Reading Series!

Photo Credit Sarah Deragon












Sassafras Lowrey is the author of the new book Lost Boi (Arsenal Pulp Press), described as a “gorgeously subversive queer punk novel reimagines the classic Peter Pan story.” Sassafras will be reading at the Radar Reading Series on May 5 at the San Francisco Public Library (100 Larkin Street, Latino/Hispanic Rooms on the basement level of the library). This reading is FREE and begins at 6pm. We decided to chat with them about the book, the internet, and their dog Charlotte.

Radar: Why a retelling of the Peter Pan story? 

SL: It’s hard to NOT fall in love with the idea of a boi who refuses to grow up, who lives in a world of his own imagining with a gang of lost bois who do what he says…. Or at least it is for me. Seriously though, JM Barrie’s Peter Pan was already so dark it just lent itself so naturally  to the queer/punk/kinky retelling that I was dreaming of.

Radar: On an entirely unrelated note, is the internet ruining the world? 

SL: I actually think the Internet is making the world a whole lot better! Sometimes I feel like I have the minority opinion, but I think all the benefits of online community far outweigh any negatives. I’m an introvert at heart and the Internet helps me to stay connected to people I care about  without having to leave my house, it’s also how I’ve met and formed friendships with so many incredible queers from around the world. I love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, fetlife – come be my friend!

Radar: Tell me about one person or experience that inspired you in the last 7 days.

SL: My dog Charlotte, last weekend when my partner and I took her out to the beach and she dug a giant deep hole that fit about half her body. There was no reason for digging the hole, other than it was fun and she did so with incredible enthusiasm. She’s a very special needs rescue, but one of the things about her that always inspires me is the way that she so completely and joyfully lives in every moment. It’s so easy to get hung up on worrying or being anxious about things, but I am inspired to take her lead and just play more!

Radar: Can you give one important piece of advice for artists/writer? 

SL: The best piece of advice I  can give to writers is to ignore your inner critic and  always write the most dangerous stories you can imagine.

Come meet Sassafras on Tuesday, May 5 at the San Francisco Public Library and hear a reading from Lost Boi as well as readings by Rina Ayuyang, Maya Chinchilla and Sarah Fontaine. Radar holds a monthly reading series at the Library that features four of our favorite artists. 

Charlotte digging inspiring hole

Nia King Interviews Ryka Aoki – See Them BOTH On February 12!











If you haven’t heard that Nia King edited a book called Queer & Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives, well, then you’ve been failing at life. From the book’s description:

Mixed-race queer art activist Nia King left a full-time job in an effort to center her life around making art. Grappling with questions of purpose, survival, and compromise, she started a podcast called We Want the Airwaves in order to pick the brains of fellow queer and trans artists of color about their work, their lives, and “making it” – both in terms of success and in terms of survival. In this collection of interviews, Nia discusses fat burlesque with Magnoliah Black, queer fashion with Kiam Marcelo Junio, interning at Playboy with Janet Mock, dating gay Latino Republicans with Julio Salgado, intellectual hazing with Kortney Ryan Ziegler, gay gentrification with Van Binfa, getting a book deal with Virgie Tovar, the politics of black drag with Micia Mosely, evading deportation with Yosimar Reyes, weird science with Ryka Aoki, gay public sex in Africa with Nick Mwaluko, thin privilege with Fabian Romero, the tyranny of “self-care” with Lovemme Corazón, “selling out” with Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik, the self-employed art activist hustle with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha, and much, much more.

Nia is revolutionizing the archive, y’all! Below is an excerpt from the book, featuring the interview Nia did with novelist, Ryka Aoki. See them both on February 12 at the Radar Reading Series -San Francisco Public Library – Main Branch – 100 Larkin Street in San Francisco – Latino/Hispanic Rooms A&B (basement level) – 6pm – FREE – Hosted by Virgie Tovar – Artist Q&A featuring REAL LIVE COOKIES to follow reading. Click here to view the Facebook invite

Here’s the excerpt:

Ryka: I don’t see myself as a warrior. I see myself as a teacher. When there’s somebody who’s my adversary, I don’t think of that person as an obstacle. I think of that person as a learning experience. I’m going to sometimes be the student; I’m going to sometimes be the teacher. But we’re going to get through this, and we’re each going to become wiser for the encounter. I’m not a fighter. I love learning, I love teaching. Why can’t we use that, and have social justice in a way where there doesn’t have to be a winner or loser, where we all become more aware?

Nia: Yeah. I feel like you’re describing utopia.

Ryka: Yeah, but the person who says, “We’re going to kill all our enemies so we’re going to be the only ones who are strong and we’re going to take justice back”—really, is that any more realistic?

Nia: I mean, I don’t know if that’s justice—

Ryka: That’s not justice. When you hear people going, “We’ve got to struggle against the man,” to me, that’s purgatory. You’re going to spend the rest of your life struggling against the man. You dream of purgatory, I’ll dream of utopia, and together we’re still going to work with each other. I’m not going to invalidate you; it’s just that I can’t see where you’re coming from and you can’t see where I’m coming from, but you know what? The heart can’t see the brain, but they work together.

Nia: Yeah, I really admire and kind of envy your wisdom and how… at peace with all of this you seem.

Ryka: I love what I do! I love to write! I love my teaching! You know, I teach on my birthday sometimes, and I tell my students, “My birthday wish for all of you is to have a job that you love enough that you want to come on your birthday and go do it!”

Nia: I’m getting emotional!

Ryka: Aww!

Nia: No, that’s really sweet! You just have this amazing spirit of kindness and generosity. I think it’s hard to maintain that. Often being in social justice makes people jaded and bitter, and you just don’t seem to have any of that at all!

Ryka: No. It’s like, every day that I can look out and see that tree and see how beautiful the light is off of it, I win.

Nia: Yeah. I feel like I look out that window and see the American flag and think about war and nationalism and—

Ryka: Sometimes it’s good to see the symbols. Sometimes it’s good to see the colors. The funny thing about being jaded is that people think that’s the end state; you start from innocent, and you become jaded. It’s like being a butterfly. You look at the monarch butterfly, and it looks like it’s jaded, but actually what’s going on there under the hard shell is a transformation. I think that if you just stay with the process, eventually you realize this sort of “jaded” covering is simply holding your wings back. Break through it, and you’ll be fine.

Nia King

Banned Book Club: Carol Queen on Sexology, Journaling & the Trouble with the Interwebz








This Friday Radar will be at the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco (1349 Mission Street, between 9th and 10th) at 8pm for the Banned Book Book Club! We’re featuring an all-star perv lineup that will heat your cold little Grinch heart right up. $10 admission! Click here for the Facebook event details. 

Carol Queen will be breathing new and sexy life into Judy Blume’s work! She’ll be joined by La Chica Boom/Xandra Ibarra, Jiz Lee,  Lil Miss Hot Mess, Dodie Belamie, and Aya de Leon. We asked Carol a bunch of questions and wanted to share her infinite wisdoms with you:

Beside perhaps “artist” or “writer,” talk about another identity that matters to you.

I’m choosing “sexologist” as my alt ID; I’m doing so because so many people are studying sexology and trying to make lives as sex educators today, unimaginably many more than when I was a pup, and the culture has not kept up and made work for all of us. Sexology is still sort of a bastard child, professionally and academically, but the fact is, it is one of the most interdisciplinary fields anyone could ever tackle: everything from medicine to law to sociology to arts and literature live within its purview, because what isn’t relevant to sex?

Is the internet ruining the world? Why or why not.

Yes! Sorta. Here’s why I say this: When I turn to the Internet to research something, anything, I very often find that ‘Net-available information dries up by about the year 1998. I want to check something that happened earlier in my life, or get the kind of historical perspective I used to go to the library for, and I very often come up short. The Internet is information overload, of course. But it is vastly wide but not deep. Of course I could still go to the library, but not everything makes it into a book or journal; the Web promises us all knowledge, in a way, but a lot of the time it delivers us blogs and lists. Oh, and cats! And porn. Which people today apparently often mistake for sex education. (Oh, plus? Apparently libraries are getting rid of lots of books and teaching librarians to search the Internet. Sigh.)

Give us one piece of advice you want to share with artists – about life, bills, process, editing, brainstorming, anything.

I’m going to give advice I wish someone had given me. Back before I was ever published, I journaled––I journaled all the time, for many years every single day. Since I’ve been writing for publication, I abandoned that practice––when I thought about it at all, I’d say I stopped because I was pouring whatever I wanted to process and address into my fiction or essays. Maybe, but I really regret now not continuing that part of my writing practice. It gave me something in the way of introspective and processual opportunity that no other kind of writing does; also, it allowed me to document things that now I wish I’d documented throughout the ensuing 25 years. Keep up your journal, and don’t do it as a blog that everyone else can read––unless you will truly disclose everything in that format. In my experience, most people don’t, and that means a big segment of our generational truth is left on the cutting-room floor. We need that history.

Dr. Carol Queen [www.carolqueen.com] is a writer and cultural sexologist and is the co-founder of the Center for Sex & Culture [www.sexandculture.org] in San Francisco. She is a noted erotic writer and essayist whose work has appeared in dozens of anthologies. She’s written three books: the essay collection Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture; erotic novel The Leather Daddy and the Femme; and Exhibitionism for the Shy, which explores issues of erotic self-esteem and enhancement. She’s also edited several volumes of erotica and essays. Queen works as staff sexologist and Company Historian at Good Vibrations, the women-founded sex shop, where she has worked since 1990. She has been speaking publicly about sexuality for over 30 years. Her perspective in addressing sexual diversity incorporates personal experience, accurate sex information, and informed cultural commentary. She has addressed many conferences, including the International Condom Conference, the International Conference on Prostitution, and the International Conference on Pornography; she frequently addresses college as well as general and specialized audiences. Five years ago she debated the question of promiscuity (“Virtue or vice?”) for the Oxford Union at Oxford University, England.

Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom On Lesbionic Men, Boob Juice & Cockroaches

When you watch Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom perform you know that you are witnessing a spectacle (or as she would call it, a “spictacle”) unprecedented in terms of its grandiosity, brilliance, and perversity. Chica Boom will be reading at the Banned Book Book Club: Sex Edition at the Center for Sex & Culture on December 12 at 8pm. We asked Chica Boom some questions about her influences, fantasy date and advice for artists. Here’s what she said:

Who influences your work? 

I am influenced by everything. Maybe I am gullible; maybe I let in too much. Don’t care. I am influenced by my mom’s humor, the mushroom jazz in my panties, the interactions between animals, ‘Nordic track’ behavior, the catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the rigor of cockroaches. Ugly things, color, sound, movement and lots and lots of feelings influence me. My zodiac sign is cancer; yup I feel, I feel you, but mostly I feel me. I am also influenced by my own obsessions whether they make sense or not. I perform them, photograph them, act them out or seek to experience them in some way or another. Fortunately or unfortunately my obsessions are always about sex and race and the multitude of ways that these two things work. I imagine the ways they work together in an alternate universe. I make boob juice or agua calientes, have you heard?

You get to have an epic dream date with anyone dead or alive: who are they and where do you go on your date?  

I would meet a 35-year-old Lacan in Mexico City at a dirty strip club called “Wawis” in the 1920s in the early afternoon. We would tip the dancers too much and get drunk. Then we would go drunk shopping for plants and street food to put in our new apartment. You see, he would become a lesbionic man and want to u-haul into my life. I would like it. He would love it.

One piece of advice you want to share with artists – about life, bills, process, editing, brainstorming, anything.

Being broke sucks. Learn to do lots of things porque nunca sabes cuando lo vas a necesitar.

Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom is an Oakland-based performance and video artist from the El Paso/Juarez border who performs and works under the alias of La Chica Boom. La Chica Boom is a performance art project that uses hyper-raciality/sexuality/gender as an expericne based mode of inquiry into her relationship with coloniality, compulsory whiteness and Mexicanidad. Ibarra uses video, objects, photography and sex acts to evoke comedy and melancholic racial and sexual expectation. Her aim is to amplify gendered and racialized iconography and make such problematic constructions via spectacle more transparent to the spectator‚—what she calls spictacles—spectacles of degeneracy and power that are both against and engaged in the colonial gaze.

James Tracy on Octavia Butler, SF Displacement & Being an Urbanist Not a Luddite

We chatted with James Tracy, author of  “Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes From San Francisco’s Housing Wars,” a bunch of personal questions and here’s what he said. He will be reading at the San Francisco Public Library (100 Larkin Street) on Tuesday, November 4 for the Radar Reading Series. Click here for the Facebook event page.  

Who influences you & your work? 
 Even though I don’t write Science Fiction, writers like Ray Bradbury and Octavia Butler really helped shape my moral compass and concern for what is going to happen in the future. I also love the 1970s school of blue-collar tough-as nails newspaper columnists such as Jimmy Breslin and Mike Royko. For Dispatches Against Displacement, I turned to the school of radical and progressive urbanism, Mike Davis, Saskia Sassen and Andy Merrifeld to name a few. Rebecca Solnit’s masterpiece A Paradise Built in Hell was really inspirational in the way that it showed how everyday people faced down disaster. The everyday disaster of displacement can bring out some similar strengths.
Many of the authors who most influenced me were the ones running around San Francisco in the 1990s, who were part of the open-mic scenes at the Paradise Lounge and Chameleon. To name just a few: Michelle Tea, Ananda Esteva, Bucky Sinister, Bruce Jackson, Daphne Gottlieb, and Leroy Moore. Most of these people wouldn’t be able to get a start in San Francisco today thanks to the high rents.
Is the internet ruining the world? Why or why not. 
The way we use the internet is ruining the world. Today, you can use it to learn a new language for free, communicate with people across the globe, and publicize your revolution. But we chose to use it to stay in tightly knit thought bubbles. Comments without analysis and actions without strategy. We let ourselves think that online petitions are a substitute for face to face mobilization with our neighbors.
Yes, the tech industry with its massive income inequality,selfish ideology, and ties to the surveillance state are a massive part of the problem with the world. But like any industry, the trick is to try to seize the means of production, democratize it and place it in the service of everyday people.
I’m an urbanist, not a luddite.
What’s one piece of advice you want to share with artists – about life, bills, process, editing, brainstorming, anything?
You’re never too good a writer that you don’t need an editor.
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