Friday, April 5, 2019

Gender Trouble or Not Enough Trouble in New York City? at House of Yes, with JD, the #Releasethereport demo and Marie's Crisis #releasethereport

Voguing at House of Yes!!!!

BS by kenschles

Sing Out, LouiseKen KiddMark Leydorf, et al. Photo nerd note: I avoid using zoom lenses or telephotos in these situations because I'm interested in the expressions and gestures that convey something about an event, gathering, or crowd. I especially love unexpected gestures, like the one in this frame. That's Benjamin Heim Shepard, holding his camera and pointing, on the right of the frame. photo and caption by 
George De Castro Day

Activists in New York City joined a nationwide protest in Times Square on April 4, 2019, calling on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive steps to make the findings of the Mueller investigation public. (Photo and caption by Erik McGregor)

Piano bar-ing it with Ben. Defying gravity and all that. I had a dream... — Brian Griffin with Benjamin Heim Shepard at Marie's Crisis.

In the  preface to Gender Trouble, Judith Butler writes:

“Contemporary feminist debates over the meanings of gender lead time and  time again to certain a certain sense of  trouble, as if the indeterminacy of gender  might eventually culminate in the failure of feminism.  Perhaps trouble need not carry such a negative valence.  To make trouble was, within the reigning discourse of my childhood, something one should never do precisely that would get one in trouble.  The rebellion and its reprimand seemed to be caught up in the same terms, a phenomenon that gave rise to my first critical insight into the  subtle ruse of power: The prevailing law threatened one with trouble, even put one in trouble,  all to keep one out of trouble..  Hence I concluded that trouble is inevitable and the task , how best  to make it,  what way  to  be in it.”   P. ix

But maybe we should be getting into more trouble?

Maybe we should be taking  a few  more chances?

The kids are walking out of school – risking  getting in  trouble.
“Our house is on fire,”  Greta warns,  
pushing for leaders to act on climate.

We need to  cause more  trouble.

The activists are speaking out, demanding Mueller release the report.

And in the academy, we’re having a conversation about gender  and sex,
the outside world seeping into this.
Although I’m  not sure we’re  up for seeing  it.
Or contributing.
At least sometimes it feels  that way.

A decade ago I wrote  a paper about bridging  a divide between queer theory and anarchism.
In the last decade the divide has only become more  and  more  pronounced.

I  certainly felt that divide sitting at the panel at my college. 

People put up signs and  messages at  the Grace Gallery at our college.

As people sat writing notes,  I wondered about where debates  about sex and  gender have  evolved on our campus as we cope with both regimes of the normal and the austere, 
Inequalities expanding and resources dwindling for our students,
Who continue to ask questions about race and  sex,  gender  and violence,
Their lives and experience, struggles against transphobia, the police, state violence, deportation,  ICE, the state, the courts, betraying simple categorization.

At times the conversation seemed  to  take the general and apply it to the specific lived experience of our college. But it doesn't always apply.
We all come to  this work from different spaces.

We believe survivors and  speak across identities,
Expanding ideas of solidarity every day.

Finishing  the panel, I rode  my bike through the park, 
Across Brooklyn to meet my friend JD,
An AIDS activist I’ve known for  years, through arrests,
Activism, harm reduction trainings, and oral histories.
JD Davids is a writer

On World AIDS Day JD wrote:
I woke up this morning with a sense of love. I'm not sure why. But if I've learned anything in the past two years, it's that moments of love and connection are precious and not to be turned away.
And even though it's a few hours later now, and the despair is creeping back in, I'll take this as my cue to try to stay focused on that which sustains and inspires me.”

A dialectic of connection  and separation runs throughout.
Day after day,
We feel connected and estranged,
Connected to the earth, 
Separated  from  the sky.
But a part of all of it.
At least  it feels like it riding  through the park, 
Stretching through yoga.
Three times.
Chatting with JD.
Gabbing with the kids.
The teenager playing Hole songs on the base,
Reggae riffs.
Meeting Laura and Greg at House of Yes.

 “Amateur Burlesque Night
Free All Night!

TAKE IT OFF! Everyone can get almost-naked on stage, and now you can too… in front of an audience, under the spotlight, on the House of Yes stage!
Come see the hilarious brilliance of first timers and emerging artists taking off their clothes and showing off their moves just for you!
Games. Prizes. Burlesque Babes of All Genders.
FREE ENTRY! Donations at the door go straight to performers!

All night people danced, roared, applauded each other,  and remembered that consent requires a yes, not just the absence of a no.

The flaming creatures shine the light for those huddled in fear, Micah preached,
Screaming with joy,
Not out of fear.
Each performance opens a space for the next, extending into a different kind of story,
A new kind of reality,
And dare I say trouble.

Yet, are we causing enough of it?
That was on my mind riding to Times  Square. 
“I worry that Trump is going to get elected again. 
The left is going to have the Bernie Bros and the Hillaries blow it again,” groused my friend  George.

“Fuck the NRA,” vented someone else.
“This is it, we should be rioting,” one of the elders demanded at  the
#releasethereport demo at Times Square on Thursday.

The people  have to force this.
We have to take it, noted another activist.

We were there because the long awaited Mueller report findings are being buried within an imperial, precedent-setting presidency.

“Attorney General William Barr's 4-page, partisan summary of the Mueller report is totally unacceptable. The people deserve to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller's hundreds of pages of findings in full- and as much of the underlying evidence as possible.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and five other Committee Chairs have given the Attorney General a deadline of midnight April 2nd to turn over the report to Congress. If he fails to do so, we will join a national call for demonstrations on Thursday, April 4th to demand the Department of Justice release the full Mueller report.

… no one stands above the law- not even the President. Meet us in Times Square near 42nd and Broadway, and our group will spread out from there! Share this event on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag

No one is above the law.

We sang along with Sing Out Eloise,  aspiring for something else,  laughing in the face of the chaos.

Greeting friends.

I hate speak-outs, noted Diane. 
We need to march.

I guess its up to us to us to create more trouble.

“...that trouble is inevitable and the task , how best  to make it,  what way  to  be in it.”

Hopefully we do.

The question is what kind?

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