Hot, heavy, humid, slippery, sweaty greetings to you, my dearest and darlingest, here in the depths of my summer in the city. Perhaps you are enjoying (or weathering) our current taste of Hades from a lake, mountain, river or field, in which case please have a roll in the hay (or the cool clover) for me, would you? I am in the process of moving and distracting myself from my troubles with a parade of art, music and comedy to keep me from climbing into a box myself. What’s keeping me off the ledge and engaged with queer and trans culture recently? Read on, here at Queer Culture Catch-Up.
Comedy has often been a minefield for LGBTQ2S+ people, and recent events featuring certain notably trans-antagonist comedians whose names may or may not rhyme with Shmave Schmapelle haven’t solved that problem at all, so let me take this opportunity to hype delightful queer comedian Brandon Ash-Mohammed, whom you may have seen at Funny That Way, Just For Laughs, or other CanCom (get it?) events, is appearing at several live events through the summer and is donating all proceeds from his album Capricornication, to a truly righteous trifecta of orgs: Black Lives Matter Toronto, SOY Toronto’s Black Queer Youth group and 2Spirits! Howl & Roar, an amazing comedy brand that focuses on women, queer folks and people of colour, is also matching his donations, so here’s a rare opportunity to have that elusive win/win/win. Ash-Mohammed is very funny, the organizations he’s choosing to support do critical justice work and I’m always excited to point out Howl & Roar doing their very solid curatorial work.
The View from Somewhere: A Podcast About Journalism With a Purpose, Lewis Raven Wallace
While I have never pretended to be objective around here on Queer Culture Catch-Up, I certainly do other more journalistic journalism that expects an even tone and considerably fewer editorial comments. Even still, I think we are all aware that journalists do have biases, and we choose our sources and framing around stories based at least somewhat on those. Trans writer Lewis Raven Wallace has produced a riveting 14-episode podcast, The View from Somewhere: A Podcast About Journalism With a Purpose, which explores, in depth and with extensive supplementary material, different ways the myth of “journalistic objectivity” is a whole myth (to say nothing of a mess). Transcripts are available for each episode, which cover topics including extractive journalism, AIDS, lynching, Vietnam, policing and more in just the right amount of detail. When I finished each episode, I felt informed and knowledgeable, but I never reached the zoned-out-for-a-while information overload moment, which I deeply appreciated.
To the surprise of no one, especially my very excellent editor, I am a queer with ADHD and I know for sure that I am not alone among artists and cultural workers in this regard. Are you perhaps a person who would like to be making more work, and who is struggling to figure out the part where all of your very good ideas (so many ideas!) turn into actual things you release into the world? Are you hoping for some neurodivergent community or resources that don’t rely on heteronormative benchmarks to determine your success? The fine folks over at Queer ADHD, founded by Sarah Dopp, have a variety of free and paid resources to access, including live group sessions, articles, resources for working through your process at home and of course cute memes to help you stop battling your own very nice, if somewhat particular, brain for control of the day.
Trans Freedom Summer School
The University of British Columbia’s SOGI (sexual orientation gender identity) programme is convening Trans Freedom Summer School: a free, youth-friendly series of talks by notable trans smartypantses including Transgender Law Center attorney Dale Melchert and University of Toronto professor Dr. Qui Alexander. The series invites GIaNT (gender independent, non-binary and trans) kids and youth to learn from and ask questions of heavy hitters with specialty knowledge in trans topics, as well as receive micro-syllabi on each for further reading. While these sessions are also open to families and educators, the focus is on young people and their questions about legal rights, police abolition, framing their narratives and other critical tools for activists.
X, by Davey Davis
I finished X by Davey Davis on a plane, on the way to Los Angeles a few weeks ago, and rarely has a book made me want to run outside and stand in the sunshine until my breathing calmed down more than this one. It’s unquestionably hot, with smutty passages that gave rise to several further filthy ideas, simultaneously searing in its indictment of the U.S. government and its deep and sharp hostility to immigrants, and also warm in the ways mutual aid is rendered and received (plus Davis’s writing is by turns warm and wet as a fresh wound and then cold and unyielding as a crystal ball). Is a dystopian political queer romance thriller a thing? Some readers may want to sip this book, and others will undoubtedly gulp in down, but either way it burns in the best possible way (for an interview with the author, see Nour Abi Nakhoul’s piece here at Xtra).
Ah, too soon, my creamsicles and bomb pops, freezies and softest serves, we reach the end of my recommendations, but not, I assure you, my affection for you all or this task. Tune in next time for some recommendations from the vaults of my bookshelves and the remains of my CD collection, and in the meantime I hope you are enjoying some sort of a treat and that it is dripping a little, unruly and delicious. As always, drop me an email or DM if you’re making something new and queer—I love to hear your news.