Qmmunity: Booked and Busy

Pride in Black ATX starts a book club, and a new queer comedy competition gets funded

Contemplate what love is this February with the Black Queer Book Club (image via Getty Images)

Take a Look; It’s in a Book

Celebrating Black queer Austin is a task taken on by a fair number of local orgs but not nearly enough to fully emphasize the contributions Black LGBTQ folks make to the city's scene. Having noticed the gap themselves, members from several Austin-based groups including What’s in the Mirror, allgo, and Kind Clinic came together in 2023 to create Pride in Black ATX. The objective, as stated jointly by Kind Clinic's Joe Anderson Jr. and South by Southwest’s Sonita Haynes, was to "create something new and fresh that was centered around Blackness and Queerness and creating safe spaces in ATX."

From a week of Black queer functions last Austin Pride to an ode to queer hip-hop during November 2023, Pride in Black ATX has drawn from Austin’s well of Black talent for their events. This month, however, they’ll be kicking off a new venture: the Black Queer Book Club. Originating from conversations shared during Thanksgiving, Anderson Jr. and Haynes say the idea came around because of the book club’s first pick: bell hooks’ All About Love: New Visions.

As the first volume in hooks’ trilogy “Love Song to the Nation,” the book explores what love is and how its misapplication has led to a polarized society. Appropriate for February both for its subject and its author, Haynes and Anderson Jr. point to hooks’ newest work as “the perfect way to start” the book club. “We wanted to start with a Black Queer woman,” they say, “and essentially we were all reading it or interested in reading it.”

Future lit picks will continue the trend of highlighting Black queer authors, and suggestions from book club participants will be happily noted, according to Anderson Jr. and Haynes. Focusing on contemporary writers, they say, will bring the texts into readers’ own stories and experiences – a commingling of art and real life. Attendees may sign up for the book club through Pride in Black ATX’s Instagram (@prideinblackatx) and should be sure to bring their most authentic selves to the discussion. “Ultimately,” Anderson Jr. and Haynes say, “we want people to feel comfortable diving into the intersections of their identities through fun, fellowship and family.”

Cheek Gets a Check

Hilarious gay people take note: Tongue in Cheek, that local queer open mic comedy night at Swan Dive, received a grant from the city of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division. Utilizing the Elevate Grant, host Ivy Le has opened up submissions for a new LGBTQIA comedy face off: the Cheekiest Comic Competition.

“Tongue in Cheek’s audience has been growing just by word of mouth now for two years,” Le remarks over email, “and it’s just an open mic!” With that growth as proof of concept, the Cheekiest Comic aims to answer the call for more comedy that doesn’t tilt toward misogyny, homophobia, or transphobia. “[We’re] channeling that demand into cash prizes, high quality video footage, and other goodies to help the funniest [LGBTQIA] comics we can find advance their careers and find their audiences,” Le says.

Consider yourself among the funniest queer comics in Austin? Submissions to the competition opened as of Feb. 1, so you’ve got until March 8 to drop your video audition into the hat. On-time subs are $10, with latecomers getting a bumped-up rate of $35. Find submission links, guidelines, and more at cheekiestcomic.com, and make sure to pop in on May 16 to see the finalists.

Daddy’s Happy Hour

Friday 9, Daddy’s Barbershop

A pre-Valentine's jubilation thrown by the folks of Daddy’s and ASHwell, where you can get complimentary "Wake Up Call" mini facials or ear/eyebrow waxing to go with yer mimosas.

Drag Queen Bingo

Saturday 10, the Lawn

Touch grass and win prizes at this bingo blitz hosted by Tiffany Epiphany and her special guest co-hosts. Plus: Shop the local food and retail vendors of the Lawn to the tunes of DJ Symply Courtney.

Mutiny Market

Saturday 10, Hotel Vegas/Volstead Lounge

Find finery for your sweetheart or a little trinket for ya-self at this market featuring chainmail jewelry, apparel, cookies, used books, and much more.

Sapphics After Dark: Leather and Lace

Sunday 11, the Austin Eagle

Set your sapphic self free at this V-Day party full of kinky energy. Expect a paddling booth, go-go dancers, drink specials, Valentine’s grams, and a vendor market.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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LGBTQ, Pride in Black ATX, bell hooks, Austin Black Pride, Tongue in Cheek, Ivy Le, Cheekiest Comic Competition

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