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Swagger Like Us

 Swagger Like Us founders DavO and Kelly Lovemonster

Swagger Like Us founders DavO and Kelly Lovemonster

 
 

The Bay Area's roving Swagger Like Us party is a place for some of the most exciting dance, theater, performance art and a continuation of a history of queering that is felt widely around the world. It’s a space for intersectionality, fluidity, openness and celebration of manifold identities.

The performative nature of gender gets deconstructed joyfully with all of it's paradox and enigma. Fun, wild and celebratory, the atmosphere is one of kindness and inclusivity. Especially needed in the current context of this administration and it’s open hostility towards those seen as Other. 

 
 Musician Star Amerasu 

Musician Star Amerasu 

 
 
 DJ Cali Rose

DJ Cali Rose

 
 
 From Cali Roses instagram @nintendo.ts: Gothic chola mermaid barbie

From Cali Roses instagram @nintendo.ts: Gothic chola mermaid barbie

 
 
 
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I came to the party as a friend of one of the performers, Saturn Rising, who I met some years ago at Afropunk in New York.  We stayed in touch and I would go see their performances when I could.  Saturn Rising recently moved to Los Angeles, a not uncommon move for upstate artists who grow to a certain point and feel limited. They had returned to play a Swagger Like Us party in Bay Area on the weekend before halloween with the headliner Azalea Banks- a provocative New York artist involved in recent controversies regarding homophobia, racism and skin bleaching. While having a conversation backstage about her invitation to perform an openly queer party, another performer said, 'she does’t really mean it, she’s a hurt black girl and we can give her the space to grow beyond that.'  

 
 
 
 Performer Saturn Rising

Performer Saturn Rising

 
 
 

Iphone footage of Saturn Rising and friends. Soundtrack by DJ Total Freedom

 
 
 Yocheved and their wife Perl

Yocheved and their wife Perl

 
 
 
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The parties organizers, Kelly Lovemonster and DavO laughed when I said I don’t really have the vocabulary to describe this scene. This lag between aesthetics and vocabulary feels increasingly common in the context of accelerating visual culture. Kelly offered 'it's kind of hard to talk about something that you live in that way, it's just your life.' And continued, 'the word queer comes up a lot and it's really important for me to expand the definition of that word way beyond one's sexual preferences.'

 
 Outside San Francisco's Club Mezzanine 

Outside San Francisco's Club Mezzanine 

 
 
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 Artist and clothing designer Malcolm Stuart

Artist and clothing designer Malcolm Stuart

 

I remember my club kid days in NYC in the mid aughts and things seemed less political then. Less taxonomy and division. The fun parties had a deep diversity about them. A wildness, inherently anti normative and queer.  

 
 Dancer / performer Jocquese

Dancer / performer Jocquese

 
 
 Azealia Banks' makeup artist

Azealia Banks' makeup artist

 
 
 Musician Aima Paule dressed as Iris Apfel

Musician Aima Paule dressed as Iris Apfel

 
 
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 Kelly Lovemonster

Kelly Lovemonster

 
 From Kellys Instagram @girlwhereyouat Change is the only constant, Lovemonster 2011 📷  @robbiesweeny

From Kellys Instagram @girlwhereyouat Change is the only constant, Lovemonster 2011 📷 @robbiesweeny

 
 Perl

Perl

 
 Perl and Yocheved

Perl and Yocheved