Your Queer Guide to SXSW
Keeping things kweer in 2018
By Sarah Marloff,
12:45PM, Fri. Mar. 2, 2018
Just like that, SXSW returns (March 9-18) to take over Downtown Austin. From free parties to great bands, loads of outta town talent and a never-ending barrage of social media updates on what to see where – it’s straight chaos. But that doesn't mean it has to be straight.
Believe it or not, SXSW actually hosts a plethora of queer talent. In fact, this year, the fest took it one step further by (finally) creating an LGBTQ Track to better find what's queer on their site. And then there's all the unofficial – i.e. no badge required – events. Read on for our most comprehensive list of all the good queer fun to be had at SXSW 2018. Stock up on Red Bulls and transportable snacks cuz it’s going to be a wild ride.
Friday, March 9
RompHims and Boyfriend Jeans: Ungendering Fashion, 3:30-4:30pm, Four Seasons, Badge Required
dapperQ, the queer/nonbinary fashion site, returns to SX for its third year to queer up fashion talks. This year, Anita Dolce Vita (dapperQ’s EIC) joins panelists Danielle A. Cooper (She's a Gent), writer and producer Jacob Tobia, and Chaka Bachmann (The Defiant Femme) to discuss mainstream fashion's current obsession with gender neutral style and how the industry and society “can truly ungender fashion as a means of intersectional resistance and liberation.”
Gaysha Presents: A Queer Riot Festival, 5-11pm, One World Theater
If you’re looking for the festival feel, but want to avoid downtown – take note. This fest put on by Juno Black offers a fam friendly vibe, queer (and queer-allied) bands, and art vendors. Black tells us, it was actually last year’s Bathroom Bill battle that inspired her to create this event to “instigate union and acceptance instead of discord, rejection, and fear” in the LGBTQI community.
Narcissister Organ Player, 6-7:30pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Maybe you remember her from OUTsider Fest, but now Narcissister has taken her act on camera. She tells “Gay Place” this is a “hybrid performance/documentary film that explores how ancestral data is stored in our bodies, impacting the lives we lead.” But it’s not all high level, it’s also personal. Narcissister says the doc also “investigates” how her family history “compelled her to create the masked, erotic performance character.”
1985, 6:30-7:55pm, Zach Theater, Badge Required
Local filmmaker Yen Tan pulls no punches with this beautifully shot and written film tackling the Eighties AIDS crisis from a new angle. It’s subtle, hopeful, and heart wrenching. Look for my (p)review in our March 9 issue and bring tissues.
Manivald, 6:45-8:25pm, Rollins Theatre, Badge required
Chintis Lundgren animated short is the gay love story between a fox and a wolf. And you thought we were gonna say hound.
Come & Take It, Vimeo Theater, 8:30-10pm, Badge required
A short film, co-directed by local love PJ Raval and Ellen Spiro, that tells the story of the anti-gun violence movement #CocksNotGlocks created by UT student Jessica Jin. Extra bonus? Former GP intern (and all-around badass) Neha Aziz worked as an associate producer on the film.
GTZ Records Showcase, 9pm, Cheer Up Charlies, Free
Peep some Sailor Poon in this lineup.
Saturday, March 10
Queer Filmmaker’s Brunch, Iron BearOnce again, aGLIFF hosts a brunch mixer for queer SXSW filmmakers.
On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Noni and Papi, 11am-12:40pm, Rollins Theatre, Badge required
A documentary on two married Holocaust survivors – one of whom comes out at 95.
We Forgot to Break Up, 11:45am-1:30pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
We’re not talking lovers, we’re talking bandmates. By Canadian director Chandler Levack.
They: Gender Nonconformity Meet Up, 12:30-1:30pm, JW Marriott, Badge required
Meet, greet, mingle. Co-hosted by genderqueer writer/director Stuart Getty and Kai Tillman, trans/genderqueer cinematographer/director.
After Pulse: Creating an LGBTQ Alliance in Orlando, 12:30-1:30pm, Westin, Badge required
Several folks from the One Orlando Alliance share the lessons their community learned in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub massacre that left 49 dead.
TransMilitary, 1:45-3:20pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge Required
A doc following four trans troops during the era of military bans and Trump.
The Things You Think I’m Thinking, 2:45-4:15pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
The tale of two men, one able-bodied, the other a burn-survivor and amputee, attempt a first date and end up battling some serious personal demons.
LGBTQIA+ Meet Up, 3:30-4:30pm, JW Marriott, Badge required
Like speed-dating but for networking.
Anchor and Hope, 4:45-6:40pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Two queer women ask their guy friend to be their surrogate. Hijinks ensue.
Couples Who Eat, Sleep & Build Businesses Together, 5-6pm, Westin, Badge required
The (gay) couples behind Austin’s delicious Lick ice cream and lifestyle influencers Beekman 1802 dish some dirt on how to be partners who partner a biz together.
Tooth and Nail, 5:15-6:45pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
A dysfunctional family comedy about coming out and grappling with cancer.
1985, 6:30-7:55pm, Satellite Location: AFS Cinema, Badge Required
dapperQ Official Post-Panel Mixer and Dance Party, 8pm-2am, Sellers Underground, Free
Can’t attend Friday’s panel? No worries – meet the panelists at this ultra queer after party brought to you by Lesbutante and the Boss.
Y'All Or Nothing: A SXSW Showcase Celebrating Female and Queer Musicians, 10pm, Cheer Up Charlies, No badge required
Mouthfeel and Young Creature bring back their annual showcase for its sixth edition. Covering sounds from dance, avant garde pop, and experimental, this lineup will make you howl. Chi-town DJ Eris Drew headlines, with House of Kenzo, Lachane, Father Figure, and more.
This is not your store-brand meow mix. Dubbed a “multi-sensory experience blacklight rave,” this party moves to it’s own beat. Dressing in catsuits is highly encouraged.
What Keeps You Alive, 11:55pm-1:33am, Alamo Ritz, Badge required
Gotta love those late night movies that give ya the hebejebes. This scary tale tells the story of an anniversary getaway gone horribly wrong. BTW, the couple, they’re queer women.
Sunday, March 11
Ladies Eat Free Present: The Buffet; 11am-5pm, Latchkey, Free (RSVP)For the lady-lovin’ crowd. Queer film screenings and loads of comedic talent including Austin’s own jokester Arielle Norman. All served with a side of tacos and tequila. Yeehaw.
Diversity in Tech: It’s Not Just a Gender Problem, 11am-noon, Westin, Badge required
No duh. A discussion on how tech overlooks women, queers, and POC workers.
TransMilitary, 11am-12:30pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge Required
Vida (premiere of a new series), 1-2:30pm, Vimeo Theater, Badge required
Peep the premiere of Starz's new drama series “on two Mexican-American sisters... who couldn't be more different ... force[d] to return to their old neighborhood, they are confronted by the past and surprising truth about their mother’s identity.” Sure, “queer” might be missing from the synopsis, but we’re willing to bet we already know the big reveal. Also it’s part of SX’s new LGBTQ track.
We Forgot to Break Up, 2:15-4pm, Rollins Theatre, Badge required
An Afternoon with the Boys of Beekman 1802 & Lick Honest Ice Creams, 3-5pm, Tom’s, Free
Slurp some (gay made) Lick Honest Ice Creams and pick up a signed copy of Beekman 1802's newest cookbook.
Pitch Black: The Future is Female, 4-6:30pm, JW Marriott, Badge or Day Pass Required
An SX Diversity partner event featuring 10 black women entrepreneurs pitching their unique biz plans to judges. Winner takes away $10k. This VC firm supports new companies led by women, POC, and LGBTQ founders
The Gospel of Eureka, 4:15-6pm, Alamo Ritz, Badge required
Justin Vivian Bond narrates the tale of love, faith, and civil rights. Evangelical Christians and drag queens unite to dismantle stereotypes. Catch the world premiere here!
LGBTQ Representation in Cinema, 5-6pm, Westin, Badge required
A panel discussion on how Hollywood has or has not dealt with societal restrictions on queer stories and same-sex love. From folks at Turner Classic Movies and FilmStruck.
Martyr, 5-6:30pm, Alamo Ritz, Badge required
An Arabic drama from filmmaker Mazen Khaled. A story of loss, love, queerness, and youth on the Beirut coast.
Monday, March 12
QueerWOC, 9:30-10:30a, Fairmont, Badge required
Y’all! The folks from QueerWOC: The Podcast are coming to SX for a live podcast. Money and Neekta will be joined by “womanist race nerds” Queen and J of the Tea with Queen and J podcast to talk dating, nerd things, and Black womanhood.
Narcissister Organ Player, 11:30am-1pm, Alamo Ritz, Badge required
Tooth and Nail, 11:30am-1pm, Rollins Theatre, Badge required
On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Noni and Papi, 12-1:40pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Pride in Interfaith Communities, 3:30-4:30pm, Westin, Badge required
Austin’s Pride Interfaith Partnership leaders discuss diversity of beliefs and making room for queers in faith communities and vice versa.
Founding an LGBTQ Nonprofit, 5-6pm, Hilton, Badge required
The founders of London’s Series Q offer advice on starting a queer nonprofit. Bring yer biz cards, bbs.
The Things You Think I’m Thinking, 5-6:30pm, Rollins Theatre, Badge required
Manivald, 5:30-7:10pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
The Gospel of Eureka, 5:45pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Anchor and Hope, 7:30-9:30pm, Alamo Ritz, Badge required
Come & Take It, AFS Cinema, 8-9:30pm, Badge required
Hyperreal Film Club Presents Dream Dates, 9pm, Cheer Up Charlies, Free
VHS Zine Release and Sweetheart's Ball with DJs Mouthfeel and Perfect Impasse.
What Keeps You Alive, 10:45pm-12:30am, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Tuesday, March 13
We’re Still Here, 11am-6pm, JW Marriott, Badge required
An interactive film experience using a short documentary on Aiden ShortCloud, a Two-Spirit artist and historian in Boise, ID.
Hey Jellie, 4pm, Hotel Vegas (inside stage), Free
Catch Ellie Erickson and Jenny Hoyston – of Erase Errata fame – rocking out with their new futuristic act Hey Jellie.
1985, 7:15-8:40pm, Rollins Theatre, Badge Required
Anchor and Hope, 7:45-9:40pm, AFS Cinema, Badge required
Unbounded Presents: conVERGEnce, 8pm-2am, North DoorAustin’s Anita Obasi is using SXSW to host an epic launch party for her baby creative agency Unbounded, which caters to queer, POC, and QTPOC creatives. SX festivities include performances by House of Kenzo, B. Ames, Beanz and Rice, and more.
Martyr, 8-9:30pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Audible Impact, 9-11pm, Moody Theatre, Badge required
A music and comedy benefit to support the Ally Coalition, dedicated to LGBTQ equality.
Thunderpussy, 1-1:50am, BD Rileys, Badge required
If the name didn't make you stop then we don't know what's wrong with you. But if you reading: Catch this Seattle-based quartet (aka Molly Sides, Whitney Petty, Leah Julius, and Ruby Dunphy) putting the thunder back into rock ‘n’ roll.
Elle Exxe, 1-1:50am, Iron Bear, Badge required
This Edinburgh-based babe is bringing her special kinda dirty pop to town.
Wednesday, March 14
We’re Still Here, 11am-6pm, JW Marriott, Badge required
What Keeps You Alive, 11am-12:40pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
TransMilitary, 12-1:35pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge Required
Narcissister Organ Player, 1:30-3pm, Alamo Ritz, Badge required
Rock Your Package VI, 2-8pm, Package Menswear, Free
Heat up your SX with this live underwear showcase. Bands such as Pleasure Venom will be playing in their chones. Alcoholic libations will be served.
Fade: A Queer Meet Up, 3-5pm, Secret location, Free
Her Philly Moves – a Philly-based collective for queer and trans womxn of color – is headed to SXSW for a queer pop-up kinda hang out with performances by THEakasha, Zhé Aqueen, and Honey Child. Free drinks, chill vibes. RSVP for location.
Becca Mancari, 3pm-1am, Sam’s Town Point/Where’s the Hideout, No badge required
This queer singer-songwriter has been blowing up on Rolling Stone and NPR. See her as she breezes through town with White Denim, Nikki Lane, and more.
Hearts Beat Loud, 7-8:35pm, Paramount Theatre, Badge required
A father/daughter story about music, queerness, and letting go of the past.
Stargayzer Showcase, 7pm, Rain, Free
An ultra q-tastic lineup of local and out-of-town talent, including Bebe Huxley, Fee Lion, EdgeSlayer, Tomboi, and more. See Facebook for full lineup.
Come & Take It, Zach Theatre, 7:15-8:45pm, Badge required
Thursday, March 15
We’re Still Here, 11am-6pm, JW Marriott, Badge required
Martyr, 11am-12:30pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
The Things You Think I’m Thinking, 11am-12:30pm, Stateside Theatre, Badge required
On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Noni and Papi, 1:30-3:10pm, Stateside Theatre, Badge required
Manivald, 1:45-3:25pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Tooth and Nail, 4-5:30pm, Stateside Theatre, Badge required
We Forgot to Break Up, 4:30-6:10pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
Butch County and Ian Quiet Review, 5pm-midnight, ABGB, $5 suggested donation
A HAAM benefit with yer fave rowdy locals Butch County and the gender-fluid Ian Quiet Review.
Stargayzer Showcase, 7pm, Rain, Free
Bring on night two. Rainbow beats and glitter rain from Will Sheridan, Wasi, Theo Love, House Of Kenzo, and more!
The Gospel of Eureka, 8:30pm, Alamo Lamar, Badge required
1985, 9-10:25pm, Stateside Theatre, Badge Required
Drab Majesty, 10:40-11:20pm, Hotel Vegas, Badge Required
Gender is dead. So mellow out with Deb Demure's meticulously composed lo-fi sounds.
Friday, March 16
Pink Elephant Live, 5-9pm, The Mix
A live broadcast of Pink Elephant’s new Friday night queer hip-hop showcase. Killer performances and loads more.
Colours Couture Showcase, 7:30pm, Dirty Dog Bar, Free
Ricky Rebel, formerly of the Nineties boy-band No Authority, will be there. We know. You can’t even control your excitement.
#Feelings x Range of Emotions, 8pm, Friends, Badge required
An ultra queer lineup of dance makers. Get into the groove with Range Emotion, Ben Aqua, House of Kenzo, and more.
Lesbian Divorce: SXSW Edition, 10pm, The Brixton, Free
“She's weird, she's queer, and she hopes that you'll dance with her.” Hang with DJ GirlFriend at this dance party shindig.
SXSMess, 11pm, ColdTowne, No badge required
Queer comedy for crowds looking to run from the SX crowds.
Saturday, March 17
New Fame, 7pm, The Main II, Badge/wristband required
This lady hip-hop/soul duo calls Da Nang, Vietnam home, but they hail from NYC. We hear their music brings some serious positive vibes and makes the room move.
The Color Agent, 8pm, The Market & Tap Room
A lineup that defies gender. Our very own Mama Duke, Sick of Sarah's Abisha Uhl, and Tree will be among the performers. Be ready. RSVP.
Next Level Trash, 10pm-5am, Secret Location (see Facebook), $15-20
It’s baaaack. A brilliant night of dark, sensual, angular, and rhythmic sounds curated by Nymble Digitz and Daniel Allen. It’ll be a sensory overload you won't want to miss, and you can dance 'til the sun rises. RSVP on the Face for location deets.
Elle Exxe, 1-1:40am, Friends, Badge required
Sunday, March 18
Lesbian Wedding: SXSW Edition, 2-midnight, Sahara Lounge, $5-7 (no one turned away).
When GayBi said buh-bye, Lesbian Wedding rose like a phoenix from her ashes. Though smaller in size, the epic 10-hour party is guaranteed to make you forget it falls on Sunday. Monday morning be damned. This year the musical lineup includes Tomboi, San Cha, Fee Lion, ANDY, DJ Dylan Reece, Eric Donte, and like waaaay more. Snacks and cake are free to eat as long as you promise to dance.