February is an exciting time for reflection on all things LGBT+ as we celebrate communities past and present. Heterosexist society has meant that the great contributions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Asexual, Non-Binary and Intersex individuals have been systematically down-played, or entirely erased. LGBT+ History Month is a fantastic opportunity to combat this, sparking discussion and opening powerful conversations.
With the celebrations in full swing, the Bush Staff seized the opportunity to share with you our favourite queer artists.
I Extend My Arms, by Claude Cahun
I’ve always loved this artwork, and have never quite been sure why. It just feels very true to a mood/state of being I’ve sometimes found myself in.
1931 or 1932
It’s like the woman is trying to escape or shake off her own body, and I’ve definitely found myself wanting to escape who I am and become someone different. But at the same time it also looks like the woman is wearing the rock/her body, and it is such a beautiful and iconic body, and perhaps she isn’t escaping it. She could almost be dancing in it. I like that it could be either.
There’s this band called The Internet and it’s lead by a woman who identifies as Gay. This song is a sexy little love song to a woman.
Ifrah Ismail, Literary Assistant
Postcard from Kashmir, by Agha Shahid Ali
What I love about this poem is how it neatly captures ideas of exile, memory and the loss of home. The shrunken image of Kashmir, as the image of a lost past, has always felt very powerful to me.
“Kashmir shrinks into my mailbox,
my home a neat four by six inches.I always loved neatness. Now I hold
the half-inch Himalayas in my hand.
This is home. And this the closest
I’ll ever be to home. When I return,
the colors won’t be so brilliant,
the Jhelum’s waters so clean,
so ultramarine. My love
And my memory will be a little
out of focus, in it
a giant negative, black
and white, still undeveloped.”
Yasmin Hafesji, Community Assistant
The Teaches of Peaches
My favourite thing by an LGBT artist is the album The Teaches of Peaches by the incredible artist & musician Peaches, with a (predictable) special mention to the song Fuck the Pain Away.
Whenever I’ve seen Peaches perform, the combination of sexual empowerment, defiance and outrageous theatricality have felt transformative. Her work always serves as a reminder of the importance of being playful and political in the face of a temptation to be passive and palatable.
Ingrid Marvin, Assistant Producer
The Drag King Book, by Del LaGrace Volcano
So my favourite queer artist, (apart from St. Vincent) is Del LaGrace Volcano and their publication The Drag King Book. This artist is intersex but was raised and presented as a woman for 37 years, but now lives as both a man and a woman.
They are a brilliant photographer, studying gender queerness and female masculinity, challenging every gender stereotype. They present a world of gender expression that we all need to experience and know; they’ve certainly helped me break the shackles of the gender binary and learn about the wonderful spectrum of human expression. The Drag King Book is a wonderful collection of photos of drag kings from around the globe. A drag king myself, I find it hugely inspiring!
Emily Aboud, Project 2036 Director
Hoe Diaries, By Karnage Kills
My favourite thing by an LGBT Artist is Hoe Diaries by Karnage Kills. I love this song and music video because it was a feminine presenting gay man being care-free whilst also being an amazing rapper.
It was the first song I’d ever heard by Karnage Kills and immediately I became a fan of him, his attitude and his talent. In 2017, I had the pleasure of producing my first event, AZ Mag Live, and this song was the closing performance and got the crowd so hype so it has a nostalgic feeling for me. The lyrics, although vulgar, are very liberating and sex positive and I just cant resist screaming ‘be a hoe, be a hoe bitch!’ every time I hear it.
Vanessa Anaman, Marketing and Sales Officer
Get involved with the conversation and tell us your top LGBT+ artists! Tweet us @Bushtheatre