Oakland Halloween party
aims to be 'Scary Queer'
by Elliot Owen
Get a kick out of a case of the creeps? Do you like your blood turning cold? Goosebumps? Maybe having a good, ear-splitting scream? If so, this upcoming event presented by Black Girl Dangerous, a literary and activist blog for queer and transgender people of color, should knock your socks right off. It's called "Scary Queer: A Halloween Storytelling Event" that's taking place Thursday, October 18 at the Living Room Project in Oakland.
From 7:30 to 9 p.m., some of the Bay Area's most talented writers and performers will be sharing their literary and musical interpretations of what "scary" and "queer" mean together. Mia McKenzie, a queer black femme nerd and founder of Black Girl Dangerous, has already set the tone for the event in promoting it with witty and provocative wording that both foreshadows the quirkiness of the evening and is also representative of her narrative talent.
"We're continuing the age-old traditions of queer scary storytelling," McKenzie, 36, said, "started by fierce cave people who on dark nights sat around the fire in woolly mammoth furs and glitter lipstick, regaling each other with tales of vampire dandies and ghost butches and scaring the Lord's prayer out of each other."
"All these millennia later," she continued, "there may still be a fire, there will almost certainly be glitter lipstick, plus we're throwing in the devil's music, spiked cocoa, and plenty of debauchery."
McKenzie herself will be reading a piece centering around secrecy and a ghostly queer return from the grave. Other featured artists include Yosimar Reyes, a poet and performer raised hearing stories about buried treasure in Mexico, La Llorona, and El Cucuy. His piece incorporates a scary story and fun pop song. Cherry Galette, a burlesque and performance artist who's previously been quiet about her acclaimed writing ability, will be sharing a creepy circus-themed story that takes place around the turn of the century.
Nico Dacumos, a producer, performer, poet, writer, and high school teacher, will be reading from his young adult queer vampire novel and KB TuffNStuff, a Two-Spirit musician and co-director of Queer Rebel Productions, will be performing haunting blues sounds under eerie low-lighting.
Emceeing the event is Jezebel Delilah X, a performance artist, writer, filmmaker, and teacher who's interactive and fiery emceeing style is known in the community for its engaging, entertaining and creative flow.
While Scary Queer will be light and fun, McKenzie intends for attendees to reflect on what it means to "queer" Halloween for the community.
"The season of the dead is upon us," she said. "This season brings up hard stuff around the way that a life lived queer can end and the way we as queer people deal with death and remembrance. Honoring our dead and the people who didn't have the freedom to come out is definitely an element to the event. We need to name that and own that."
Drinks and food will be available and the cover at the door is sliding scale $7 to $12. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. All proceeds will go to the performers. Attendees are asked to arrive fragrance free.
"Bring a blanket so you can be nice and cozy when we scare the holy bejeezus out of you," McKenzie said. "Fun!"
The Living Room Project is located at 1919 Market Street in Oakland. To purchase tickets online, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/281895.