BY ALEXANDRA BARROWS
My name is Alex and this week I am a guest contributor for the eventseeker blog! I am a queer femme lady and longtime dweller (twenty-six years!) of the Bay Area. And I absolutely LIVE for the San Francisco Pride Month.
Every year, it’s always the same. The moment I spot the first rainbow flag on Market street, my stomach fills with a sense of glee. Much like Bing Crosby’s feelings about bells in “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas,” or Little Pete Wrigley’s joy at first spotting Mr. Frosty at the start of summer in the “Adventures of Pete and Pete,” I am straight-up jubilated when I get this first hint that Pride is approaching. Pride: it’s like Christmas and summer at the same time!
Pride is a momentous occasion in San Francisco. It is the time when glitter covers the streets and talented queer artists, filmmakers and performers fill the city’s venues to deliver flawless and inspiring works. Regardless of their gender presentation or sexual orientation, denizens of our fine city are quick to partake in these festivities and everyone puts on their Sunday best.
If you think Pride is simply a four-hour, sponsored Parade, you are tragically misguided, honey. In fact, you might as well just stay home! I mostly celebrate all month and skip out the actual day of the parade to re-hydrate and recover. Here are my picks for the month:
–June 3rd–Transparent Trap with Dynasty Handbag at the Garage (Part of the month-long National Queer Arts Festival)
–June 5th, Radar Superstar at the SF Public Library (Part of National Queer Arts Festival).
–June 9th: Stories of the Queer Diaspora, MCCLA, SF (Part of National Queer Arts Festival)
–June 16th: Out Here: A Queer Farmer Film Project, Victoria Theatre, SF (Part of Frameline Film Festival)
–June 28th: White Lies- AAACC, SF (Part of National Queer Arts Festival)
–June 21st: Valencia: The Movie/s World Premiere! Castro Theater, SF (Part of Frameline Film Festival)
–June 28th– Transmarch, Dolores Park, SF
–June 29th– Dyke March, Dolores Park, SF
This week, I had the delightful opportunity to interview Jibz Cameron, an artist, videomaker and actor currently based in New York City. Jibz is also the brain (and beauty!) behind the fated, flamboyant and ever-fashionable Dynasty Handbag, who has graced the likes of The New Museum, The Kitchen, MOMA PS, SXSW, the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, among other venues. In addition to her work as Dynasty Handbag, Jibz Cameron is also an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch and has worked withThe Wooster Group, The Residents, Theater of the 2-Headed Calf, Kalup Linzy and many more! She also is a frequent character on Tim Harrington’s web-series “Song of the Wild,” produced by David Cross. She premiered her latest work, “Eternal Quadrangle” on MOCAtv in May; the piece takes the shape of a dating game, featuring a cosmically-wounded dog, the grim reaper, a disembodied brain and a golfer as the potential bachelors (and like all of Jibz’ creations, it is trippy, tragic and frickin’ hilarious). Cameron also credits herself as being one of the pioneers of camel-toe humor. All in all, she is an accomplished and inspiring individual!
Though I have distant and blacked-out memory of seeing Jibz (or Dynasty?) holding it down on-stage at a bar in the early 2000s (when camel-toe was just starting to get big), I re-discovered her when I was sizing up the lineup for the RADAR Superstar. You see, RADAR Productions is one of my absolute favorite organisations in the city: focusing on “queer and underground literature,” RADAR not only features a free monthly reading series at the San Francisco Public Library (not to be missed!), but a multitude of other dreamy events throughout the Bay Area which have led me to my favorite new authors, poets and artists. Alongside Maryam Rostami, Brian Freeman and Thomas Page McBee, Jibz will undoubtedly dazzle and scare us. And if that isn’t enough (it’s not), she will also be performing at the Garage on June 2nd and 3rd, where you can catch of glimpse of “Eternal Quadrangle” as well as “Cosmic Top,” a piece that combines “mutilated reworking and vast extended remix of the 80‘s Janet Jackson classic that involves a car accident and a rigorous human piano solo.” You had me at Janet Jackson, Jibz! You can buy tickets for her show (June 2nd, June 3rd) at the Garage here.
If you have a head-injury and are somehow unconvinced (cuz, that’s the only excuse I’ll accept), watch some of her videos below and change your mind quickly!
Interview with Jibz Cameron, aka Dynasty Handbag:
A: Rumor has it that you are from the Bay Area (so am I!). Can you confirm or deny this information? If not, no pressure.
If so, how has the Bay Area influenced your work?
J: yes I am! I grew up in Mendocino County in the woods until I was about 14, then moved to the bay area and lived more or less around there till I was 29. San Francisco and its sister cities were kind to me indeed in supporting whatever experimentalisms me and my colleagues were up to. Its an easy place to be creative and have fun. There is no pressure to “make it” because you kinda can’t there anyway. I loved that people play music and do performance there just because they want to and its fun. I miss that. NYC is ambitious, which can be inspiring but also very annoying and stressful.
A: Your on-stage and video personality Dynasty Handbag is so dreamy and hilarious! I think they are my femme role model. Could you tell me a bit more about Dynasty, or, as the old colloquial saying goes, a/s/l? How did you come up with that character?
J: Thank you! what is a/s/l? like esl but american as a second language? Regardless, DH was born out of pain and heartbreak and bad fashion choices. I was married and it was not going so well. I started writing these songs about my issues, and then talking to myself in between, commenting on myself, etc. I was so ashamed that I was going to be a 25 year old devorcee, so sad that it was not working, but I also thought it was funny, so I made DH sort of a parody of a fucked up, bitter and lonely old lady. (my mom? ummm…) Then she just morphed into a vessel through which I could express all kinds of mental ills, etc. I like to think of her as a vessel. A vessel in a leotard with camel toe. I know camel toe and jokes about camel toe is kind early 2000s but I have been into it for a long time, way before it was popular.
A: One of my favorite videos is “The Quiet Storm.” I especially like the part where Dynasty Handbag is tempted to break their vow of silence because one of their friends’ calls them up and offers them Prince tickets, among other things. Dynasty is hella resilient! Which band or event would make you break your vow of silence, if you were hypothetically taking one?
J: All my work is essentially autobiographical, so all those mentioned in the movie would get me to break a silence vow. Mozart in a castle. James Brown live at the apollo 1964. Prince anytime anywhere. Also, otis redding. andy kauffman. gilda radner. MJ (rip). a paris salon with lezzies in male drag.
A: We are gearing up for the National Queer Arts Festival and pride month! Is there any particular event you are excited about?
J: well MY shows naturally. I am so excited to see what I will do! Then congratulate myself and revel in my fame. And I don’t know anything else going on and I don’t care.
A: Is there any little ritual or tradition that you like to perform during pride festivities?
J: I make sure I am extra gay on stage, talk about the importance of famous out homosexuals such as George Clooney and Alicia Keys.
A: What are your upcoming projects? Where can we find them? Where can we see you??
J: Welllll….I will be in the Netherlands (noooo….not a vagina silly!) at the end of June. Then in July I have a video being released on MOCAtv, and a big show at the Redcat in Los Angeles. Where I will be premiering one music video and a documentary about my touring life, entitled A Dream Is Not A Life, based on Beyonce’s wretched and vapid expose film, Life is But A Dream. Also I am doing something SO AWESOME in October in LA but I am not allowed to talk about it yet to the press, because its truly that awesome.
Dynasty Handbag Official Website
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