BYO: Criminal Queers
Thursday, April 25
Film Screening and Discussion with Chris Vargas & Eric Stanley
Two current Supreme Court cases—Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. U.S.—have turned the national spotlight on marriage equality, making 2013 a potentially watershed year in the history of gay rights. And yet, some ask whether the struggle for marriage equality represents a true advance for queer people everywhere, regardless of race, gender identity, and class. Has achieving respectability come at the expense of other strands of queer politics: grassroots activism, trans-queer solidarity, punk nonconformism or even camp humor? In Criminal Queers, directors Eric A. Stanley and Chris Vargas raise these questions and more while also bringing back DIY/punk filmmaking to queer cinema. They envision a radical trans/queer struggle against the prison industrial complex and toward a world without walls. Follow protagonists Yoshi, Joy, Susan and Lucy as they fiercely read everything from the Human Rights Campaign and hate crimes legislation to the non-profitization of social movements. Featuring a cameo by Angela Davis, Criminal Queers offers a biting critique of the gay rights movement laced with pitch-perfect deadpan humor. Post-screening discussion with directors Stanley and Vargas, moderated by Stephen Vider.
Co-sponsored by the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities, the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Open Gate Fund, Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and Black and Pink.
Chris E. Vargas is a queer-trans-feminist film and video maker from Los Angeles, currently living in Oakland, CA. He has screened work extensively in queer, transgender, POC and feminist film festivals, galleries, and community spaces in the US and internationally. He is currently preparing video and media work for Transforming Justice, and CR10: Critical Resistance 10th anniversary conference. Along with Greg Youmans, Chis collaborates on the queer relationship sitcom-satire Falling In Love…with Chris and Greg. Chris can be reached at email@example.com
Eric A. Stanley works at the intersections of radical trans/queer aesthetics, theories of state violence, and anti-coloniality. Eric is currently visiting faculty in Critical Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and along with Chris Vargas, directed the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2012). A coeditor of the anthology Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011), Eric’s other writing can be found in the journals Social Text, American Quarterly, and Women and Performance as well as in numerous collections. Eric, a formerly homeless youth from Richmond, VA, now lives in San Francisco, CA and continues to collectively organize with Gay Shame and Critical Resistance to abolish prisons and build worlds we all can inhabit.
Stephen Vider is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Harvard University. His dissertation No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982 explores the development of gay male domestic spaces and their representation in American culture. Before coming to Harvard, he worked as a freelance journalist and assistant editor at Nextbook.org, an online magazine about Jewish culture. He has published academic articles and reviews in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Transition, and Journal of the History of Sexuality. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice, Newsday, and the New York Times.
Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.