By Sara Warner
Acts of Gaiety explores the mirthful modes of political functionality by way of LGBT artists, activists, and collectives that experience encouraged and sustained lethal severe struggles for innovative swap. The booklet explores antics reminiscent of camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap activities, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades along extra generic sorts of "legitimate theater." opposed to queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a countrywide schedule that urges homosexuals to give up excitement in the event that they are looking to be taken heavily by way of mainstream society, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political price for LGBT activism.
The e-book mines the data of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s-70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety that lay on the heart of the social and theatrical performances of the period and uncovering unique files lengthy considered misplaced. Juxtaposing old figures equivalent to Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with more moderen performers and activists (including Hothead Paisan, complain & Animal, and the 5 Lesbian Brothers), Warner indicates how reclaiming this principally discarded and disavowed prior elucidates chances for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the jointly informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, besides the centrality of liveliness to queer functionality and protest.
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Extra info for Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure
In New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, they created underground networks where gay was used as an adjective to describe homosexual behavior, queer aesthetics, and same-sex events. A woman writing under the name Lisa Ben, an anagram for lesbian, wrote and self-published Vice Versa: America’s Gayest Magazine in 1947–48 while working as a secretary at a Hollywood movie studio. She also wrote and sang what she called “gay” parodies in queer bars in Southern California, including the Flamingo, which, as Ben recalls in an interview with historian Eric Marcus, “used to have Sunday afternoon tea dances there for just the gay kids.
This affective history of gaiety underscores the centrality of liveliness to LGBT cultures, and it shows us the folly of sober and straightlaced struggles for “full and equal rights” that sentimentalize homonormativity as a mode of political equality, sexual liberation, and domestic bliss. As other struggles for social justice make painfully clear, the best that this pragmatic approach can hope to achieve is a compromised form of citizenship. Affective histories involve ways of knowing and showing that are lived in and through moments of acute corporeal sensation.
Pride has fueled the struggle for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the demand for legislation granting protection of civil liberties. It has been the impetus for the establishment of LGBT studies in universities and colleges, as well as the proliferation of gay art and cultural festivals, most of which take place during the month of June. Since 1969 the gay and lesbian movement has made incredible progress toward the goal of sexual liberation, resulting in unprecedented and, for many veteran activists, almost unimaginable political change.
Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure by Sara Warner