By Sara Warner
Acts of Gaiety explores the mirthful modes of political functionality via LGBT artists, activists, and collectives that experience encouraged and sustained lethal critical struggles for progressive swap. The publication explores antics comparable to camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap activities, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades along extra typical varieties of "legitimate theater." opposed to queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a countrywide time table that urges homosexuals to give up excitement in the event that they are looking to be taken heavily via mainstream society, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political worth for LGBT activism.
The publication mines the records of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s-70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety that lay on the middle of the social and theatrical performances of the period and uncovering unique records lengthy considered misplaced. Juxtaposing historic figures equivalent to Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with newer performers and activists (including Hothead Paisan, whinge & Animal, and the 5 Lesbian Brothers), Warner exhibits how reclaiming this mostly discarded and disavowed previous elucidates chances for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the at the same time informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, in addition to 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
Ludic rites such as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March (later renamed Gay Pride) that GLF organized to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising served as a ribald retort to a homophobic society (it was actually a demonstration not a float-filled procession sponsored by corporate conglomerates seeking to cash in on a niche market as it is today). Gay pageants, protests, and performances served as ambient environs in which deviant subjects could fend off some of the bad feelings associated with being gay in a straight world.
35 Gay began to take on overt political connotations in the mid-1940s, when, in the wake of World War II, sexual subcultures began to form in urban areas across the United States. Members of these enclaves began to view sexuality as an important rubric for understanding themselves as social subjects and minority citizens in relation to the dominant culture. 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.
Playing as it does on and with the multiple registers of gay, the naming of GLF is itself an act of gaiety. To call oneself gay in 1969 was a defiant gesture and a bold expression of non-normative desires. More than a sexual identity, gay denoted a revolutionary attitude and a collective aspiration for a more just world. ”52 Gay and lesbian liberationists argued that heterosexuality and homosexuality are artificial categories propagated by a sexist society, not fixed or immutable essences. In a more enlightened world, these radicals reasoned, the need for such nomenclature would disappear.