Art Direction – Photography – Book Design & Content Curation
SAFE is a visual anthology that show us the world of queer performance in London and reflects on the power of provocation. It features performers, Dave Lynn, David Hoyle, Fauxnique, Gareth Chambers, Good Ness Gracious, Goodtime Mama Jojo, Latrice Royal. Lavina Co-Op, The Lipsinkers, Mysti Vine and Oozing Gloop, as well as interviews with Apple Derrieres, Ebony Rose Dark, johnsmith, Pi the Mime, Rubyyy Jones, Victoria Sin, Theodora van der Beek.
SAFE has been published in partnership with Stonewall UK and 20% of the profit from the sales goes directly the charity that do amazing work for LGBT-rights. To support them, volunteer or find out more, go to: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/
From the preface:
SAFE gives a glimpse into the realm of queer performance in London, and what it means to perform and embody a wide range of genders. Here, gender is repeatedly deconstructed and reconstructed in new ways – without fear of consequences. Included are various performers’ thoughts about gender and performing on stage, notes on my own and other’s personal experience of being in a queer space and being “The Other” outside of it, as well as photos from performances. In sum, bits and pieces from a vibrant scene are used to create a collection and commentary on the queer space as a place to challenge, perform and explore gender variations.
This Cabaret environment is part of a club scene and bar culture that offers a different framework for the performers from that of the traditional theatre. It is a much more intimate environment makes the audience impressionable and places them closer to the stage. The performers are approachable and often part of the queer community for which they perform. This makes for a unique setting where the audience and performer are in constant interaction and start their conversation with a certain familiarity.
Questioning your own identity and presentation, on or off stage, seems to be closely tied to living a queer life. Within a society in which there is still a very real threat of violence for queer and gender non-conforming people, a queer bar or a queer space is not just a space for entertainment but also functions as a safe space – safe for those within it, but a threat to the outsiders who even deny its existence. I am curious as to why these performances translate so differently to the outside of the queer safe space and how an act can be simultaneously a reassurance and a threat.
SAFE has been put together with a deep admiration for the brave and generous people that get up on the stage. I explore it from the side lines; for someone who generally avoids the stage, my everyday presentation is enough performance work to handle. On stage you have the power to change perceptions, to entertain, shock, and scare the viewer – off stage you have the chance to live it and both are valuable to change our aspirations, give us new ideas and understanding about who we are and how we can live.