Qmmunity: Party On, Queers
Jon-Erik Garcia, aka the Glitoris, talks about his own TuezGayz story, plus more queer events
When it comes to staples in queer Austin, TuezGayz at Barbarella holds a great deal of the scene's fabric together. The child of Barbs and Swan Dive co-owner Jon-Erik Garcia, better known to most as the Glitoris, this queer party serves both to celebrate queer life now and to honor all the LGBTQIA nightlife that came before.
"Austin has a queer scene that predates any of us & it's not the location or the facades that hold community," Garcia writes over email. "It's the entertainers, the influencers, the Kings Queens Dolls & Yalls that really makes up a scene. Venues will come and go as they navigate the business side of cultural offerings. So long as there is an empty warehouse, parking lot, or tunnel, the queers will party on."
And what a party! Even asking what moments he's most proud of stirs Garcia's emotions. "Oh Honey," he says, "the conflamma of this question." While big celeb sightings do stand out – such as hosting a secret SXSW wrap party for Watch What Happens Live and having RuPaul girls mingle in the Barbs masses – he also finds the weekly, consistent occurrences inspire just as much pride. Being tagged in Wednesday morning Instagram hangover selfies, hearing people scream when their favorite song comes on, all of these signs of release and excitement push Garcia to keep going harder and reaching higher every week.
"It often feels like TuezGayz is a rite of passage for transplants and queerdos to explore themselves, make lifelong friends, partners, wives, husbands," he says. "[Almost] everyone that has attended TuezGayz has what I call a 'TuezGayz Story' which is either a crazy night that happened or a release of inhibitions that solidified an emotional tie to a moment in time, facilitated by me."
Creating the perfect TuezGayz night is all about making a playlist to match the vibe. "The first song I play on a TuezGayz is like my first stroke of paint on a blank canvas," Garcia says of his process. "My last song of the night completes that painting and at the end sometimes I'm happy with what that artwork looks like. Other times I wish I could go back and re-do it." But he never takes a Tuesday night too seriously: Anyone already risking the midweek hangover knows what to expect. This dedication from his crowds and the diversity in the TuezGayz ranks are what power Garcia's curation: "Making sure the AAPI, Tejanos, Cowgirls, Twerkulators & various cohorts from all decades growing up can hear musical representation in my sets that span all genres and generations." There's also the theme nights, which spring from his love for puns. One personal favorite for Garcia is his "Homo La Flor" Selena birthday tribute night. "Selena is personal because I grew up on Tejano music in the early Nineties," he says. "Tejano music was introduced to me by my father's love for the genre, he and my uncle were in a band The Blue Shades & their love for music is the genesis of TuezGayz."
That curative eye extended to the Chronicle in 2010 with Garcia's series of top 10 song picks. Inspired by an addiction to sharing new music and an appreciation toward Kate X Messer, former "Gay Place" editor and Garcia's "Queer Austin mother," the articles detail what music topped his charts that week. His time under Messer gave Garcia a mentor and guide for his first years in the scene. "I loved her advice, love and especially her hugs," he recalls. "Kate X used her platform to shine light on happenings that went beyond a Katy Perry remix. I loved that she provided space for outsiders."
Want a taste of ye olde TuezGayz song choices? Check out Garcia's past articles for the Chron. Garcia also kindly provided Qmmunity with his current top three tunes for the week of May 8:
1) "Follow Me" by Pablo Vittar and Rina Sawayama
2) "Naked" by Michael Medrano
3) "Party" by Bad Bunny
His "Obvious Runnerz Up" are "About Damn Time" by Lizzo and "My Love" by Florence + the Machine.
2 to Do
Back in the Saddle Fat Bottom Cabaret's back in the saddle for another lovely show with the Midnight Menagerie, plus special guest Gothess Jasmine. Expect raffle prizes, new and familiar faces, and a whole lotta ass. Sat., May 14, 7-9pm. Sky Candy, 1023 Springdale Bldg. 8, 512/800-4998. $35-150. instagram.com/fatbottomcabaret.
Peach Fuzz Party Peach Fuzz, that purveyor of pornographic print prose, pictures, and other such paraphernalia, is putting out their 26th issue and wants to celebrate with y'all at Cheer Ups. Expect good times, hot babes, and great music. Sat., May 14, 8pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $5. instagram.com/peachfuzzmag.
Trans, Enby, Intersex & Queer Swim Look for the Pride flag and rainbow lights at the south side of the deep end. Thu., May 12, 8-10pm. Barton Springs Pool, 2131 William Barton Dr. $5. fb.com/queerswimatx.
Keep Austin Queer'd Austin Gay Men's Chorus keeps the aural landscape of Austin queer with their spring concert. May 14-15. Sat., 8pm; Sun., 4pm. First Baptist Church of Austin, 901 Trinity. $20-45. fb.com/austingaymenschorus.
Vixens After Dark The Vixens of Volstead bring the XXX-factor at their monthly Saturday show. Sat., May 14, 8pm. Volstead Lounge, 1500 E. Sixth, 512/680-0532. instagram.com/vixensofvolstead.
Queer Trivia: Pop Queens Round up four friends and compete for the queer trivia throne. Tue., May 17, 7:30pm. Wanderlust Wine Co., 702 Shady. instagram.com/thelittlegayshop.
TuezGayz See above. Tuesdays, 10pm. Barbarella, 615 Red River. $5 after 10:30. instagram.com/barbarella_atx.
Queerbomb General Meeting Get involved in Austin's radically inclusive Pride march and rally. Wednesdays, 7pm. Virtual. fb.com/queerbomb.
Divina: Noche Drag Latinx Hostess Tatiana Cholula and special guests serve an evening of Latinx queerness. Every other Wednesday, 9-11pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. fb.com/divinaaustintx.