Qmmunity: Editor Beth Sullivan's Queer Goodbye

Closing the chapter with OUTsider Fest and more queer events

Being my queer-AF, trucker hat-wearing self at NYC Pride 2019 (Courtesy of Kate Sullivan)

Every writer knows writing the lead is the hardest part. It's even harder when you're trying to write a beginning about an ending. So I'll cut straight to the chase: My time as Qmmunity and assistant News editor at the Chronicle has come to a close.

My final issue is a bittersweet finale, though, because it also entails some exciting, personal news. As a handful of you, dear readers, might already know, my now-wife and I eloped in a South Austin backyard on a balmy Saturday afternoon not long ago. The next chapter of our life is in Memphis, Tennessee, which we'll soon call home alongside our snaggletooth pup, Binky.

How do I begin to describe my four years at the Chronicle? Woof. First, thank you to the "corner office" – Editor-in-Chief Kimberley Jones and Managing Editor James Renovitch – for your patience with a first-time editor; Chronicle Publisher Nick Barbaro; former Q editor and associate News Editor Sarah Marloff; Art Director Zeke Barbaro, for always making sure Qmmunity (and Civics!) looks great on paper; Culture Editor Richard Whittaker for his unwavering support while I was Special Screenings editor; all of the proofing team – James Scott, Jasmine Lane, and Lina Fisher – for saving me from embarrassing goofs and gaffes; Community listings and Special Screenings Editor Katherine McNevins for being a great friend and colleague since my earliest Chron days as a part-time proofer; and Q contributors, past and present – James, A. Micah Mills, and Lilli Hime – for your dedication to queer stories. I also want to especially thank the News department – Editor Mike Clark-Madison, staff writer Austin Sanders, and contributors Brant Bingamon, Lina, and Morgan O'Hanlon. It'd be an understatement to call these last two years one helluva time to be working in a newsroom, and I am proud to have been in the trenches beside all of you.

About these last two years: I, like everyone else, could have never imagined that a global pandemic would unfold in March 2020, only a few weeks after I published my first column as Q editor. A lot – like a lot – has happened since then, from the ugly – like the Texas Legislature's latest attack on trans rights – to the inspiring, such as Austin's historic LGBTQIA Quality of Life Study. This space has borne witness to the spectrum that is Austin's LGBTQIA spectrum and our community's many experiences. I'll always be proud of that.

It wasn't easy arriving at this decision, but there was no doubt in my mind that anybody else besides James Scott should take over Qmmunity. I first met James in 2018 when he came on to the Chron team as a proofer. Since then, we've shared laughs, X-Files rants, and some much-appreciated socially distanced walks around Austin. And boy howdy, can James write. If his hilarious and thoughtful writing for Qmmunity and Film is a sign of what's to come once he assumes the Q helm, then I can promise y'all are in for an absolute delight. James, I am so excited for you. You're a writer who I'll be proud to say I knew early in his career.

I can't help but think the timing of my departure has been sprinkled with some queer magic. My first-ever article as a Q intern in 2017 was an interview with cabaret legend Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, and lo and behold, she's receiving the Legacy Award of this week's OUTsider Festival for her work as one half of Kiki & Herb. Kinda uncanny, huh?

Above all, I owe my thanks to the Chronicle and Qmmunity readers that this space exists for first and foremost. Hang in there, y'all. Austin queers, keep showing up for each other, calling bullsh!t when you see it, and looking so damn good while doing it. Over and out.

2 to Do

OUTsider Festival Austin's beloved queer transmedia arts fest returns in person at the Vortex. This year's Legacy Award honors cabaret duo Kiki and Herb, aka Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman. Find the complete lineup, badges, and the fest's COVID-19 policy online. Through Feb. 20. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282. $49-89. outsider2022.cargo.site.

DJ Jenny Hoyston Jenny Hoyston of Hey Jellie and Erase Errata serves up international disco, no-wave funk, and off-kilter dance. Fea and Prom Threat take the stage beginning at 9pm. Tue., Feb. 22, 8pm. Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. Sixth, 512/524-1584. $7 cover. texashotelvegas.com.

Q'd Up

Let Them Eat Cake Austin's all-trans femme and genderqueer burlesque troupe celebrates the decadence of 18th century Versailles. Featuring performances by Louisianna Purchase, Jinxy Deviate, Marley Belle, Chanel Andrews, and special guests. Thu., Feb. 17, 9pm. Elysium, 705 Red River, 512/478-8385. $20-100. fb.com/bizarreburlesque.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Watch Party Watch this season's contestants battle it out for the title of America's next drag superstar. Through April 8. Fridays, 7-8pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Kingdom Behold the majestic sights and sounds of drag royals Brigitte Bandit and Channing Ate'Em at this happy hour sensation hosted by Alexander the Great. Fridays, 9-10:30pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. No cover. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

ATXGFL Onesie Charity Party Don your favorite onesie as Austin's queer football league raises money for Out Youth and ASHWell Clinic. Sat., Feb. 19, 7-10pm. Rain on 4th, 217 W. Fourth, 512/494-1150. $10 suggested donation. fb.com/atxgfl.

Gear Night Lumberjack-themed misbehavin'. Sat., Feb. 19, 9:45pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. No cover.

Stardust Burlesque Party Striptease artists shimmy and shake. Sat., Feb. 19, 10pm. High Noon, 2000 E. Cesar Chavez. $5. joliegoodnight.com.

TheleMagick Strange and out-of-this-world performances. Sat., Feb. 19, 10:30pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $6.99. thelemagick.com.

"Shagadelic" Market Eastside Pop Up and Lone Star Queer present a groovy handcrafted and vintage market. Sun., Feb. 20, noon-4pm. Shag Salon, 2203 S. Lamar. Free.

New Year, Queer Me Share what sort of wellness programming you'd be interested in seeing from allgo. Tue., Feb. 22, 6-7:30pm. Online. fb.com/allgoqpoc.

Tacón Tuesday Tacos, drink specials, and drag. Tue., Feb. 22, 7:30-10pm. Pueblo Viejo Riverside, 2410 E. Riverside Ste. H-8. $5.99. thelemagick.com.

Queeraoke Belt out your favorite jams. Tuesdays, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5.

Being BeBe Screening of the doc about drag performer Marshall Ngwa (aka BeBe Zahara Bene). Wed., Feb. 23, 7pm. Galaxy Highland 10, 6700 Middle Fiskville. agliff.org.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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