The Gay Place Guide to a Kweer SX

LGBTQIA SXSW and why queering SXSW is a big f-ing deal

In just a few days, South By Southwest will once again unleash its unshakable grip over Austin. Time will warp and everyone – both local and out-of-towners – will be plunged into the black hole that is the 10-day long festival.

Here at The Gay Place we couldn’t help noticing, however, how much gayer SX has grown. From actual celebrities (Ellen Page is giving a keynote), to the gaymous – “unconventionally masculine” – website, DapperQ, who’s hosting an interactive panel on queer fashion; plus loads of DIY and official LGBTQIA musical showcases, this certainly feels like the year we kweer’d SXSW.

Queer Fashion from DapperQ (Flyer by Colorcoded)

For 2016, in place of a Pro Tips (check out Kate Messer and Andy Campbell’s 2015 guide if this your first rodeo), we’ve got the 4-1-1 and the inside scoop from the QTs behind this year’s extraordinary Q-tastic lineup. Because, as Cheer Up Charlies’ owner Tamara Hoover, breaks it down: “It's glaringly obvious that the best parties are where the queers are.”

Though Music always seems to catch the biggest headlines, both Film and Interactive have caught the queer spark as well. Queer plotlines are featured in festival films such as These C*cksucking Tears and Loev. Directed by Sudhanshu Saria, the latter offers a glimpse into the lives of two Indian men attempting to navigate a their increasingly complicated relationship.

Yet Saria, whose own sexuality is a bit ambiguous, feels that his film is only revolutionary on the small scale. “In the selfish space of my own life? Hell yeah! [Loev screening at SXSW] Blew my mind, changed my world. But in the larger scheme of things, probably not,” explains Saria. “We live in a temperamental world that seems to be spinning too fast for my taste – I hope good sense prevails and love wins over hatred. That would probably qualify more easily as being revolutionary.”

On the other hand, DapperQ’s Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief Anita Dolce Vita considers her site’s panel, Queer Style: Visual Activism & Fashion’s Frontier, to be quite political. “Queer style has its own revolutionary roots, but is also part of a rich legacy of style as visual activism, including the symbolic political resistance of the flapper dress, Zoot suit, and hip hop style,” says Dolce Vita. “We can still be discriminated against in housing, healthcare, education, and employment; can still be bullied and harassed; and can be raped and murdered for the clothing that we wear.”

As the first ever queer fashion panel at SXSW, DapperQ has curated an impressive lineup of gender non-conforming designers and style icons. “LGBTQ individuals are on the forefront of a social movement, leveraging style to create positive social change that extends far beyond members of our own community,” adds Dolce Vita. “We [also] hope to not just call out the mainstream fashion industry for their role in creating harmful, unrealistic beauty norms, but call them in so that industry influencers can be more inclusive, competent, and just.”

Parties will be starting just as soon as the rest and the music will be flowing faster than the Colorado river after a Texas-sized rainstorm. Mouthfeel, aka Jeremy von Stilb is hosting several events this SXSW, including his returning showcase Y’all or Nothing, which he co-throws with Tisha Sparks. “SXSW is the biggest music event in Austin, and while queer events have been happening during SX for years, now there are events focused on LGBTQ performers happening every single night,” says von Stilb on this year’s queer-filled lineup. “Many of these shows are official capacity and others are totally DIY. I think it's a breakthrough moment.”

Unofficial Showcase, Y'all or Nothing (Photo courtesy of Mouthfeel)

Von Stilb moved to Austin five years ago, as a fledgling event producer and DJ. After nearly half a decade he’s not only perfected his craft, he’s also dedicated to helping other queer newbies get their start. In fact, Y’all or Nothing places a “strong focus on female, POC, and other ‘others,’” explains Sparks. “It’s a fun, collaborative space for artists creating outside of the mainstream to share their work and experience magical moments with friends and fans.”

“Creatively, queer people are often the vanguards of dance music, particularly in Austin, but little credit is given to us,” von Stilb summarizes. “Having our events happen on a larger scale at SXSW perhaps means we can get exposure for the ideas we are pushing.”

San Antonio’s qpoc art collective, HouseofKenzo has also joined the lineup for an official party featuring Ben Aqua on Saturday, March 19. The collective will include their house DJ, as well as performance and installation art. So what are they most excited about? Diversity. “Too often, modern identity politics limits the true meaning of diversity. We are not talking about skin color, or gender, we are talking about diversity of thoughts and ideas,” says HouseofKenzo. “There is no reason that we should all think the same. We should encourage arguments and discussion because they fuel innovation. Diversity matters.”

Though SXSW is more than a queer festival, we can’t help but admit: Seeing it this gayly glittered warms our queer hearts to the core. For a complete lineup of all things LGBTQIAetc see below and don’t forget to check out the Gay Place listings. If we missed anything, please email [email protected]

“Isn't there no better time to wave your freak flag then when thousands of people are in your hometown for a brief moment?” asks Hoover. “Isn't being queer about being true to yourself without apology? During SXSW, there are people from all over, looking for that cultural plug in – it wouldn't be right to not have queer features. As a matter of fact, it would be boring without them.”


Friday, March 11

Queer Style: Visual Activism & Fashion’s Frontier – For the first time ever SXSW tries on queer fashion. Anita Dolce Vita of dapperQ; Sonny Oram of Qwear; Leon Wu of Sharpe Suiting, and Aja Aguirre of Fit for a Femme will discuss q-style as a movement, a thriving economy, and a mainstay. 3:30-4:30pm. The Westin, Interactive, Gold, Platinum Badges.

2016 #BigGayKickOffParty – The AGLCC, Frot Vodka, and Oilcan’s invite you to kickoff yer SXSW experience with the biggest of #BigGayKickoffs. 6-10pm. Oilcan Harry's. Free w/RSVP.

DapperQ Post SXStyle Panel Mixer – An evening of impeccable queer style to commemorate SXSW's first ever queer style panel led and produced by the well-dressed QTs of DapperQ. Girls With Flair! co-hosts. 8pm-12mid. The Nook, $5 in advance, $10 at door.

L&B + Lesbians Who Tech Present the Unofficial SXSW Interactive Kick-Off Party – Lesbutante and the Boss join forces with Lesbians Who Tech for an unofficial dance party meets SXSW Interactive Kickoff. No badges required. 9pm-2am. Highland Lounge, Free.

Pulp Friction: Unofficial SXSW Edition – DJ's Daddie Dearest and Jessica Rabbet join magical 90s forces with Zane Zena, Louisanna Purchase,and Franzia Blackout to turn back the clock to 1995. 10pm. Elysium, $3 in 90s garb, $5 otherwise.

Saturday, March 12

Gaycation’s Ellen Page And Ian Daniel SXSW Keynote – Millennial lez icon, Ellen Page and her BFF, Ian Daniels, get yappy about their new Viceland docu-series, Gaycation, as well as their careers, and the fight for real LGBTQIA equality. 11am. Vimeo Theater at Austin Convention Center. Interactive, Gold, Platinum, and Film Badges.

These C*cksucking Tears – A documentary short on the first gay-themed country album. Penned and sung by Pat Haggert, this film catches up with the man behind Lavender Country. See details for additional show times/location. 11am. Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center. Film Badge, Gold Badge, Platinum Badge, Film Festival Wristband.

aGLIFF Filmmakers Brunch – wine and dine with aGLIFF, Austin's fab LGBTQIA film festival, at their annual filmmaker bruncheon. 11am-2pm. The Iron Bear, Free.

Photo courtesy of aGLIFF
Trans Athletes: The New Frontier of Sports – An Official SXSW panel on making space, protecting, and propelling trans athletes. Boundary breaking triathlete Chris Mosier will be speaking. 12:30om. Four Seasons. Film Badge, Interactive Badge, Gold Badge, Platinum Badge.

Girls with Flair! Productions Presents God Made Man Wrap Party – God Made Man's creators, Kayla Olson and Nate Locklear, plus the cast and crew of the upcoming film get down and dirty in celebration of the movie's wrap. 2-5pm. The Nook, Free w/RSVP.

Loev – A film about two friends who realize their bond might run deeper than friendship. A subtle, sad love story about gay men in India. 7pm; (Mon., March 14, 7:30pm; Fri., March 18), 1:30pm. Film Badge, Gold Badge, Platinum Badge, Film Festival Wristband.

BILF Nights Presents Bulge – A no-pants required party. Dance in yer chones while DJ Todd does the DJ thing, with the BILF Box Dancers and Tapelenders. 10pm. The Iron Bear, Free.

BPM+GRINDR Saturday – Grindr joins Highland's BPM dance party for a hot night with DJ Bigface playin the bump 'n grindr. Consider this a SX special. 9pm. Highland Lounge, Free before 2am.

Sunday, March 13

Meet Up for LGBTQ Filmmakers – An official SXSW meetup, this one is designed and inclined to help queer movie makers get to know one another and also get to know OutFest. 5pm, JW Marriott, Film Badge, Interactive Badge, Gold Badge, Platinum Badge.

Friends With Benefits: A Queer Vodka + Music SXSW Mixer – With their powers combined DJ Divorcée, Glastonbury’s The Spook School, and social app, Hornet will be the bestest of Friends with Benefits. Frot Vodka will be slinging drinks. 4:30pm. The Iron Bear. Free

Marriage Material: Stand up with Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher – a SXSW exclusive sneak peek of Cameron’s latest, Marriage Material. Trust us, she’s comedy’s most hilarious queer. Or maybe just most hilarious. 7pm. The Hideout. Film Badge, Interactive Badge, Gold Badge, Platinum Badge.

Monday, March 14

Pi, Steaks, and Blowjobs: A SXSW Warm Up Party – Celebrate pie, or meatz, with Invisible Sister, DJ Daddie Dearest, DJ Nymble Digitz and more. 3pm. (See Facebook for location).

Tuesday, March 15

Homoground Live at SXSW – Homoground, the website that airs queer music podcasts and mixtapes, is headed to SXSW. Catch their panel on keeping Austin’s music scene, featuring some fab local QTs including GirlFriend, GayBi's Hazey Fairless, Mouthfeel, and Gay Place's very own Sarah Marloff. Part of Dropbox's Podcast Salon Sessions. 5:30pm. Lustre Pearl.

Homoground Live in Austin March 15 (Photo courtesy of Homoground)

Glitterbeard Unofficial SXSW Showcase – Queer music lovers rejoice – this unofficial showcase promises a sparkly mess of facial hair. And some bands too. If you're into that. 9:30pm, Swan Dive.

Tuezgays SXSW Style – Once again, Sir Glitoris offers up a Tuesgayz served over SXSW. Complete with two rounds of drag shows and the most fabulous qweens. 9pm, Barbarella.

Wednesday, March 16

4th Annual Rock Your Package Music Showcase – Tapelenders is bringing the sexy back to SXSW. Catch all the bands – L.A.'s Bur Gur and Leggy, Austin's Pollen RX and Prom Threat, etc. – performing in their undies, only. Free adult beverages for the 21+. 12pm. Tapelenders Video

Stargayzer Presents: William from RuPaul’s Drag RaceDrag Race's Willam comes to SXSW for a dragtastic good time. Big Dipper DJs, with additional performances by TT The Artist, Will Sheridan, Abdu Ali, Louisianna Purchase, and more! Sabel Scities hosts, but ya gotta be 18 or old to ride this pony. 7pm. Rain on 4th.

TheRepubliqFest 2016 – Music Bear, Tony Banks, Kristen Ford, Felix and the Futuree, Violet and the Undercurrents, and wayyy more invite you to their play-date. No wristbands, badges, or RSVP's required. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oilcan Harry's, Free w/RSVP.

Thursday, March 17

CatVsOwl Showcase – Queer lady, singer-songwriter Kristen Ford lands herself smack dab in the middle of Cherrywood's all-ages SX showcase. Find the full lineup online. 12-10pm. Cherrywood Coffeehouse, Free.

SXSW She Shreds X Punctum Records – She shreds sea shells on the sea shore. Except these grrrls are shredding on guitars not seascapes. See Facebook for daily lineups. Sponsored by Adelbert's Brewery. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Studium,

Y’all Or Nothing Presented by Stargayzer, Young Creature, Mouthfeel – Y'all or Nothing returns with Big Dipper, F Virtue, Witch Hazel, Fee Lion, and Cap'n Tits queering SXSW to the Nth degree. 8pm. Rain on 4th, Free for 21+.

Friday, March 18

South By North Lamar: Celebrating the Power of Women in Music – Jan Seides hosts a night of women in music. The annual showcase features Stacy Lieder, Andrea Dawson, Ally Means and more. Proceeds go to Bookwoman. See Facebook for full lineup. 6pm. BookWoman.

Austin Pride During SXSW – The gays behind Pride bring you a night of queertastic music. Big Dipper, Katey Red, Jwl B of Yo Majesty, Hot House Gruv, Fresh The Kidd, Sea Battle, MC Markeyth, and Joc get jiggy with it. Rawk Show's Nathan James hosts. 7pm. Highland Lounge

Photo courtesy of Loev

Saturday, March 19

#FEELINGS Official SXSW Showcase ft. HouseofKenzo – San Antonio q-art collective heads to SXSW for an officially official showcase with Ben Aqua and Yfynyt Scroll. Kenzo offers two performances – live and installation – with spankin' new songs from their very own DJ LeDef. 8:30pm. Barcelona,

Deep Inside: Official SXSW Showcase – DJs Mouthfeel and Dylan Reese bring the return of the rush with visuals to blow yer mind by La Roncha. Cyra hosts and look for Pleasure Escape, Ariel Zetina, and Javi to be playing with tempo too. 8pm-2am. The Iron Bear.

Field Daze: Unofficial SXSW Showcase – Drop it down and wrap it up. SX that is, with good bands, a chill mood, and free Austin Beerworks. See Facebook for the lineup. 11am.

Stargayzer SXSW 2016 Official Showcase – Austin's very own queer music fest hosts a special SXSW Showcase complete with the dirty dirty acts of Christeene, Katey Red, Dai Burger, Yo! Majesty, Fee Lion, and a Big Dipper DJ set. The always klassy, Louisianna Purchase hosts. 7pm. The North Door. Open to the public.

Sunday, March 20

Lesbian Wedding SXSW Edition – Instead of mourning the death of GayBiGayGay, Hazey and Beth invite you to say I do to Lesbian Wedding. Performers TBD, but this party is always 100%. 2pm. The Sahara Lounge, Free.

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SXSW 2016, Queer Austin, DapperQ, Ellen Page, Gaycation, MouthFeel, Cheer Up Charlies, House of Kenzo, Stargayzer, Homoground

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