The Austin Chronicle

P1nkstar and Y2K Roll Out the Queerdo Carpet for CYBERBABES

By Beth Sullivan, March 8, 2019, 11:50am, Qmmunity

Are you ready to kiki, SX qweeahs? Of course you are. We always are.

Qmmunity, of course, has got you covered with our SXSW guide for when you want to go where everybody knows you’re queer (which, if we’re being real, is all the time), but what about those looking for their Fest to enter an alternate universe of early Aughties alien vibes and Paris Hilton-pink pop?

Fear not, my Lisa Frank-lovin’ queerdos. This Sunday, March 10, performer/artist Y2K and “ur fav electronic popstar” p1nkstar will host CYBERBABES, an all-queer showcase featuring music, drag, performance art, and vendors at – and beyond – the intersection of queerness and femmeness. What’s more, the often paired together duo have teamed up with BossBabes Austin for their first SX event curation spotlighting local and national performers.

When conceptualizing the event, p1nkstar and Y2K sought out CYBERBABES who, like them, thought of “pop in terms of futurity.” They explain, “We believe pop music is a mechanism through which artists can imagine and build their own worlds that work differently from our reality.” Inspired by artists like Dorian Electra, who creates an “alternate universe” via their art, the duo believes such universes are a “proposal of what the world can be,” and wanted to showcase these powerful pieces of the art to others. And pop – which they believe is “inherently, and historically, linked to queerness” because of its flamboyant aesthetics – is pretty dang queer. According to the pair, the genre “ultimately serves as a way in which queer and femme artists can be proud of their intersectional identities and celebrate them.”

Still, anyone can be a CYBERBABE, the pair assures Qmmunity, if they’re “independent, creative and empowered, and use technology and digital spaces to amplify their practice.” And these babes abound with Sunday’s lineup, which includes performances by yer hostesses with the mostesses, (p1nkstar promises a preview of brand-spankin’-new multimedia set), in addition to Hentaii and Tatiana Cholula serving their spooky lewks. Plus, gender nonconforming performance artist, writer, and educator Alok V. Menon (who’s also presenting a SX panel Saturday, btw) will give a poetry reading. While p1nkstar and Y2K are excited for all of the performers, they say they’re especially excited to feature Menon. “We think they embody everything that we believe in,” they explain, adding it’s also thrilling to feature a poet at such a music-heavy event.

Local vendors such as Keep Austin Queer and “Space Creatress” TK Tunchez of Fuego ATX, the monthly QTPOC dance party-cum-artists’ market, will be slinging their goods alongside WORMHOLE, selling ceramics, drawings, custom fashion pieces, and prints by the “wonderful Fifi Mar and No_body.” And for anybody looking to dole out some smooches for a good cause, the duo reveals they can get their mack on at the on-site kissing booth that will be raising funds for their friend’s gender affirmation surgery.

Supporting and showcasing queer artists is essential year-round, but with SXSW drawing in tens of thousands of attendees, Y2K and p1nkstar argue spotlighting local and regional queer and femme performers is doubly important as the Fest allows for increased exposure and potential new fans. Unofficial SX events are especially important to the pair, who say they’re often produced by local artists and event creators outside of the “cishet-centered institution that is SX,” and who “know what the city needs the most.”

Better yet, free shows like CYBERBABES prove a win-win for everyone, both on and off the stage. “They give people a chance to experience art for free and also give artists a greater chance of showing their work to more people,” the performers explain. At Sunday’s event, p1nkstar and Y2K hope attendees and performers will find a safe space to mingle with their fellow queers and femmes. “We’d like for people to be able to listen to what our artists are trying to say through their art and leave thinking about queer futurity and what our world could be.”

The future is queer af, qweeahs.

CYBERBABES: The 2019 Queer and Femme Showcase goes down this Sun., March 10, 6pm-2am, at Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. Free, but RSVP is required.

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