#we

#we - Edwardian Script 250 inverted blk


a talk and performance series of queer perspectives

On November 28, 2018, I started #we, a bi-monthly talk and reading series of queer perspectives in Oakland, CA. Through 2019, #we featured queer writers, and starting in January, 2020, we feature other kinds of performers as well – musicians, performance artists, and others.

Each installment features two presenters from various segments of the queer spectrum, who each give a prepared talk on their perspective on or experience of queerness, followed by a reading or performance of their creative work. This is a long-form event, meaning that each presenter is given up to half an hour to go into depth about their lives and into their writing. The presentations are followed by a Q&A and chat time.

Absolutely all are welcome to this respectful and inclusive sharing of perspectives. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and ASL translation for the deaf is available on request, with a two-week notice preferred.

These are our lives we’re talking about.

#we wishes to thank The Octopus Literary Salon for graciously hosting us through our first four events. The closing of the Octopus in August 2019 was a great loss to the literary and music communities of the Bay Area. Following that, in the fall of 2019, Wolfman Books gave us a warm and temporary home in downtown Oakland. In 2020, we’ve started a our second full year at a new and excellent venue, Pro Arts Gallery, right off of Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, and just a few feet away from Awaken Cafe on Broadway. Please join us there!

.

#we : queer perspectives

.

COMING UP

eighth event

in which

poet Shilpa Kamat will speak on “Walking Between Worlds” and will read some relevant verse

and

stand-up comic and biologist Nina Maryn will present a piece titled “Fuck it, it’s 2020: Navigating the Gender Landscape of the 21st Century”, mixing comedy with her discussion.

Q&A and chat time will follow.

Hosted by Richard Loranger

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
7 – 9 pm

ProArts Gallery & Commons  (MAP)
150 Frank Ogawa Plaza
(around the corner from Awaken Café)
Oakland, CA

.

Shilpa Kamat is a writer, educator, and healing arts practitioner with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She was a finalist for the 2018 Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and her chapbook, Saraswati Takes Back the Alphabet, was published by Newfound in 2019. Her writing is informed by ecology, global mythologies, and her diverse/intersecting identities; centralizes in-between and underrepresented experiences; and has an orientation towards healing and connectivity.

.

.

Nina Maryn is a queer stand-up comic, storyteller, and UC Berkeley PhD student from New York City. Her stand-up mostly comprises loving anecdotes highlighting the contradictions and irony of cosmopolitan liberalism. She’s performed at the Broadway Comedy Club in NYC, and White Horse Inn and Welcome to Queer Mountain since moving to the Bay Area. She’ll be telling the story of moving from New York to Berkeley and navigating the differences in dating cultures on the East and West Coast, being queer and single in your 20s in the 2020s, and following with a discussion on how we define sexual orientation in an era when we’re renegotiating gender identity.

.

.

#we

a talk and performance series of queer perspectives

seventh event

in which

Chinese-American vocalist, musician, and composer Sidney Chen will speak on expressing gayness in two cultures and languages in his talk “Mother Tongues: Reclaiming a Discarded Self”, and perform vocally as well as play us a few of his handmade music box pieces

and

non-binary singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rybree Tree will give a talk titled “In Between: Visions from the Outskirts & People People” and regale us with their amazing and joyous voice and music.

Q&A and chat time will follow.

Hosted by Richard Loranger

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
7 – 9 pm

NEW LOCATION:

ProArts Gallery & Commons
150 Frank Ogawa Plaza
(around the corner from Awaken Café)
Oakland, CA

Singer and performance artist Sidney Chen specializes in the creation of new works for voice. He is fascinated by the voice’s infinite capacity to communicate, both with and without words. In recent seasons he has toured with composer/choreographer Meredith Monk as a member of her Vocal Ensemble, and as a guest musical artist with ODC/Dance. Current projects include Anne Hege’s The Furies, a laptOpera with SLOrk (Stanford Laptop Orchestra); Brian Baumbusch’s The Pressure, with a large ensemble of custom metallophones; Ryan Brown’s medical oratorio Mortal Lessons; and solo work with DIY music boxes.

Rybree Tree is a transient genderfull singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from San Diego, CA. They move with the seasons and have come home to Oakland for the past 11 years. They have played a number of tours in the continental US, both solo and in groups such as Belligerence and This Body Wants To Live!. Currently, they play here and there in the Bay Area while working toward some life goals, musical and otherwise. They are a child care provider on some days and unemployed on others. They love people, animals, and plants and are striving toward a balanced way of life in harmony with our planet and all that is. You can support their music here: https://rybreetree.bandcamp.com/releases

.

.

#we

a talk and reading series of queer perspectives

.sixth event

in which

Pushcart-nominated writer and queer disability activist Hilary Brown will give a talk titled “I’m a Mover and a Shaker: Thoughts From an Epileptiqueer”, and will read a variety of relevant work

and

trans poet Natasha Dennerstein will give a talk titled “Rebel, rebel, you’ve torn your dress”, along with reading from Seahorse, her Nomadic Press chapbook about her years of trans prostitution and transition in a harsher time of the 1980s.

Q&A and chat time will follow.

Hosted by Richard Loranger

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
7 – 9 pm

NEW LOCATION:

Wolfman Books
410 – 13th Street
Oakland, CA

Hilary Brown is a Pushcart-nominated writer and queer disability activist living in Oakland, California. Their chapbook, When She Woke She Was an Open Field (Headmistress Press), was a finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize. Their work appears or is forthcoming in Queerly, APT, The Ocotillo Review, The South Carolina Review, and A Disabled Woman’s Reader. They enjoy reading their work around the Bay Area.

 .

Natasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a psychiatric nurse which gave her an interesting perspective on the human condition. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University. Natasha has had poetry published in many journals including Landfall, Shenandoah, Bloom, Red Light Lit, Spoon River Poetry Review, Foglifter and North American Review. Her collections Anatomize (2015), Triptych Caliform (2016) and her novella-in-verse About a Girl (2017) were published by Norfolk Press in San Francisco. Her trans chapbook Seahorse (2017) was published by Nomadic Press in Oakland. She collaborated on a book with visual artist Kaye Freeman Turn and Face the Strange (2019). She lives in Oakland, California, where she is an editor at Nomadic Press and works at St James Infirmary, a clinic for sex-workers in San Francisco. She was a 2018 Fellow of the Lambda Literary Writer’s Retreat.

.

.

#we

a talk and reading series of queer perspectives

fifth event

in which

poet and editor Dena Rod will deliver a talk titled “Following the Breadcrumbs: Searching for Iranian Queer Culture”, and read poetry based on their research sifting through academic sources, ephemera, and anonymous newsletters from the SF Public Library’s James C Hormel Center

and

African American bisexual artist and activist Juba Kalamka will give a talk titled “Nguzo Sabatage: Intersecting My Margins”, and read some relevant creative work.

Q&A and chat time will follow.

Hosted by Richard Loranger

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

NOTE: Dena Rod was unable to attend and will be rescheduled for a later date.

NEW DATE:

Thursday, September 26, 2019
7 – 9 pm

NEW LOCATION:

Wolfman Books
410 – 13th Street
Oakland, CA

Dena Rod is the Assistant Creative Nonfiction editor for homology lit, a writer, and a poet. A graduate of San Francisco State University, they have an M.A. in English Literature. Described by the Bold Italic as a “verbose advocate,” Dena works to illuminate their diasporic experiences of Iranian American heritage and queer identity, combating negative stereotypes of their intersecting identities in the mainstream media.

.

Bisexual artist/activist Juba Kalamka is most recognized for his work with performance troupes Sins Invalid and Mangos With Chili, and as cofounder of the queer hip hop group Deep Dickollective (D/DC), and produced the annual East Bay Pride sponsored PeaceOUT World Homo Hop Festival from 2002-2007. His essays and creative writing appear in numerous journals and anthologies including Working Sex:Sex Workers Write About A Changing Industry (2007), The Yale Anthology of Rap (2010) and Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men (2014). His first collection of poetry, Son Of Byford, will be published by Imagination Fury Arts in 2017. He lives in Oakland, with his primary partner of 13 years, their daughter, a neurotic standard poodle, and an enthusiastically territorial rescue dog. He practices polyamory both locally and globally. Buy his music (or listen for free) at http://jubakalamka.bandcamp.com/.

.

.

#we

a talk and reading series of queer perspectives

fourth event

featuring

beautifully experimental non-binary wordsmith Julian Mithra, who will deliver a talk titled “Hybrid Gender & Genre”, and read selections of whatever they see fit

and

beyond fabulous poet Marvin R. Hiemstra, who will present his upcoming memoir, Raven Knows: Your Smile Is Unique, detailing his amorous evolution through much of the 20th Century both extemporaneously and through passages

Hosted by Richard Loranger

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
7 – 9 pm

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster Street
Oakland, CA

PERFORMER BIOS

pic - Julian Mithra

Julian née Sara Mithra writes about things that haven’t happened and never could happen. If the Color Is Fugitive (Nomadic Press) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry. Read more experiments in The Lifted Brow, Meow Meow Pow Pow, Birds Fall Silent in the Mechanical Sea, Storm Cellar, Name and None, and inside bags of Nomadic Coffee.

pic - Marvin R. Hiemstra (photo by Mark Hart) (cropped)Founding Editor-in-Chief of Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review for eight years Marvin R. Hiemstra has published satires and poetic humor in North American Review, The Satirist, Amsterdam Quarterly, Caveat Lector, and elsewhere.  Dana Gioia called Marvin’s performance DVD, French Kiss Destiny, “superb work.”  The Tower Journal defined Poet Wrangler: Droll Poems: “Marvin R. Hiemstra, profound humor and double-entendre, offers sheer joy.”  “What I hold closest to my heart is Marvin’s constant reminder of the importance of human affection in this totally terrifying 21st Century!”  Shawn Pittard in The Great American PinupLibrary Journal reported, “Whimsical poet/humorist Hiemstra is a very agreeable addition to contemporary American literature.”  Leslie Hills at The Scotsman noted, “Marvin R. Hiemstra’s A Turquoise Coyote Under Your Pillow is intense, refreshing theatre.”   RAVEN KNOWS: YOUR SMILE IS UNIQUE   is Marvin’s book of anecdotes that will appear in 2020.

.

.

#we

a talk and reading series of queer perspectives

third event

featuring
Leah Gardner, speaking on “Atypical Grit: A Poetic Exploration” and performing relevant pieces of poetry
and
Elaine C. Brown a.k.a. Poet E Spoken, giving a talk titled “A Triple Dose of Being Black, Woman, & Queer” followed by a selection of poetry

Hosted by Richard Loranger

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
7 – 9 pm

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster Street
Oakland, CA

PERFORMER BIOS

pic - Leah Gardner (cropped 2)Leah Gardner grew up in New Hampshire and holds a BA in English from Trinity College of Vermont.  In her early ’20s, she discovered performance poetry at open mic nights in Burlington, Vt and was a member of Vermont’s poetry slam team in 2000.  She featured her work at poetry events across New England before moving to the Bay area in 2002.  She was asked to share her poetry at the annual pride celebration in San Francisco in 2002.  Work as a technology instructor and her current role as an accessibility quality assurance tester at Google diverts Gardner’s focus away from poetry these days, but she is excited to share her work again.  It has been described as a blend of raw insight and cutting introspection.  Gardner struggles with depression and includes the realities of this challenge in her more recent work.

pic - Elaine Brown (cropped)

.

Elaine Brown aka Poet E Spoken is the co-host of My Word Open Mic at Cafe Leila in Berkeley. She recently released her 1st CD entitled Every Knee. Her work has appeared in Porter Gulch Review in 2016 & Poetry Express Magazine in 2018. Her first book Freckle Tongue from the series Vintage Tales is a hit with her 1st grade students. She is currently working on the biography of Sema Dudum. Poet E Spoken has featured and performed at open mics across the country combining free style poetry with history to get people to not only understand what’s going on in this world, but motivate them to change mind sets!

.

 ….

#we

a new talk and reading series of queer perspectives

second event

featuring
Jan Steckel, giving a talk entitled “Bi Babes in the Woods” and reading a selection of poetry
and
Tom Odegard, speaking on “Being Intersex”, followed by a selection of poetry

Hosted by Richard Loranger

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
7 – 9 pm

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster Street
Oakland, CA

PERFORMER BIOS

pic - Jan Steckel

Jan Steckel is a former pediatrician who stopped practicing medicine because of chronic pain. Her latest poetry book is Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, December 2018). Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Bellevue Literary Review, New Verse News, November 3 Club, Assaracus and elsewhere. Her work was nominated three times each for the Pushcart and Sundress Best of the Net anthologies, won the Goodreads Poetry Contest three times, and won various other awards. She lives in Oakland, California.

pic - Tom Odegard

Tom Odegard is a gender-fluid empath, a non-binary two-spirit, builder, sailor, retired firefighter, jack of many trades and in order to remain sane, a poet.  He learned he was intersex (47 xxy/KS) when he was 65. It was a vindication for all the struggles he’d endured until then.  Since that time he has been an outspoken advocate for all intersex folk. He lives with his wife Connie in Oakland, CA and Friday Harbor, WA.

.

.

#we

a new talk and reading series of queer perspectives

first event

featuring
Julia Serano, giving a talk entitled “Queer Posers (or perhaps they aren’t actually posers?)” and reading from a novel-in-progress
and
Richard Loranger, introducing the series and speaking on “Marginalizing Marginalization,” followed by a selection of poetry

Hosted by Richard Loranger

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
7 – 9 pm

free of charge, and a hat will be passed

Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster Street
Oakland, CA

PERFORMER BIOS

Julia Serano


Julia Serano
is an Oakland-based writer, performer, biologist, and activist. She is the author of three books, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (now in second edition), Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, and Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism. Julia’s other writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and in news and media outlets such as TIME, The Guardian, Salon, The Daily Beast, Alternet.org, Ms., Out, and The Advocate. Her writings have been used as teaching materials in college courses across North America. You can read some of her work, as well as more about her, at www.juliaserano.com.

Richard Loranger


Richard Loranger
is a queer writer, performer, musician, visual artist, and all-around squeaky wheel, currently residing in Oakland, CA. He is the founder of Poetea, a monthly literary conversation group. His recent book of flash prose, Sudden Windows (Zeitgeist Press, 2016), has been warmly received. He is also the author of the Poems for Teeth, The Orange Book, and nine chapbooks, and has work in over 100 magazines and journals. He co-curates the series Babar in Exile with poet Paul Corman-Roberts, and is debuting a new queer talk and reading series, #we, in November, 2018. You can find more about his work and scandals at www.richardloranger.com.

Comments are closed.