For their first program as 2018 Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow, Queer Trash is delighted to present Brutal Measures (Lydia Lunch + Weasel Walter), Keijaun Thomas, and Straight Panic. Queer Trash cruises in relentless pursuit of bodily disruptions and sonic deviance against avant-normativity; the collective promises an evening of unhinged sound, linguistic onslaught, and remorseless rupture of the structures of power and subjugation in which everyone is implicated.
Straight Panic is the queer nihilist power electronics project of Thomas Boettner, formerly from Minneapolis, MN and now based in New Orleans, LA. Against assimilation, against ease, Straight Panic matches the intensity of queer rage and desire to richly layered sound, drawing on sources such as the writing of Dennis Cooper to the atrocities of the current “gay purge” in Chechneya.
In her performances, Brooklyn-based Keijaun Thomas embodies a multitude of persona in careful manipulations of objects and sound. Like a priestess of the marginalized, she inverts the social order to center and uphold the denigrated lives and labor on which our society depends. With powerful transformations of seemingly ordinary materials, Keijaun’s performances are saturated with meaning. In her words, she is “reimagining, reworking, and reconstructing notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized, and marginalized representations of blackness in relation to disposable labor, domestic service, and notions of thingness amongst materials.”
Brutal Measures is a collaboration between Lydia Lunch and Weasel Walter, two innovators of the most challenging, aggressive, and uncompromising nether regions of no wave, free jazz, electroacoustic composition, and spoken word. Lydia’s body of work has always been confrontational, from the band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks formed in 1976 to the current group Retrovirus, her Cinema of Transgression collaborations with Richard Kern in the 1980’s, to her longstanding history of infamous spoken word performances. Lydia serves an acerbic and viciously uncompromising assault on patriarchy, sexuality, perversity, and the status quo.
Weasel Walter’s body of work is no less uncompromising, with over twenty years of dedication to the most extreme forms of sonic expression. Walter’s projects include the legendary skronk/punk/no-wave band The Flying Luttenbachers, Cellular Chaos, To Live and Shave in LA, and intense free jazz collaborations with Roscoe Mitchell, John Butcher, Peter Evans, and countless others.
Together, these three performances cut across time, space, and dimensions of interrelated social realities. As the world continues to collapse, economically, politically, environmentally, and in ways yet to be seen, it remains crucial to make space for creative amplification of critical dissent. Queer Trash takes pleasure in the reorientation of discomfort, in the celebration of desire, in the collapse of hetero-patriarchy. In the words of Lydia Lunch, “Pleasure is the ultimate rebellion. The first thing they steal from us as women is pleasure at the brink of the apocalypse, pleasure at the mouth of the volcano. Pleasure. And that’s why we create.”
Lydia Lunch is passionate, confrontational and bold. Whether attacking the patriarchy and their pornographic war mongering, turning the sexual into the political or whispering a love song to the broken hearted, her fierce energy and rapid fire delivery lend testament to her warrior nature. Queen of No Wave, muse of The Cinema of Transgression, writer, musician, poet, spoken word artist and photographer, she has released too many musical projects to tally, has been on tour for decades, has published dozens of articles, half a dozen books and simply refuses to just shut up. Brooklyn’s own Akashic Books have published her anthology, Will Work For Drugs, as well as her outrageous memoir of sexual insanity Paradoxia, A Predator's Diary, which has been translated into seven languages. She performs in a variety of mediums, is a rabid collaborator and continues to release new music as well as reissuing classic material such as her spoken word indictment against patriarchal idiocy, The Conspiracy of Women through Nicolas Jaar’s label Other People.
Weasel Walter is a Brooklyn, New York based multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser best known for leading the seminal punk-jazz/no- wave/brutal-prog band The Flying Luttenbachers between 1991 and 2007 on 16 full-length releases. Seamlessly uniting the intensity and abstraction of improvised music with the nihilist aesthetics of extreme rock forms, Walter is committed to violent momentum, idiomatic unpredictability and rapid articulation.
Expert in the underground music scene of the late 1970’s, Walter has lectured at various Universities including Bard, San Francisco Art Institute, University of Chicago in Paris, and penned the introduction for Marc Masters book NO WAVE, seen as the definitive history of the New York movement from which Lydia Lunch emerged in 1977 with her first group Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. In 2012, Weasel Walter began working with Lydia Lunch as musical coordinator and lead guitarist for RETROVIRUS, a retrospective, which spanned the spectrum of her musical legacy from No Wave Skronk to bludgeoning Hard Rock and sleazy Jazz Noir to propulsive Psychedlia. RETROVIRUS has just released their second full length LP URGE TO KILL in the USA, Europe and South America.
Straight Panic is the primary solo project of artist Thomas Boettner. Straight Panic queers all that it touches; from release artwork, to subject matter, to blatantly homosexual subject matter, proving that—as always—Industrial music is protest music. Where earlier albums were self-released on the artist's (now defunct) Fuck Mtn. Ltd. Release imprint, more recent titles have been handled by Breathing Problem Productions, Petite Soles, Invocation Films, and Phage Tapes. Though originally based out of Minneapolis, MN, he currently resides in New Orleans, LA, with his husband and three dogs.
Keijaun Thomas creates live performance and multimedia installations that oscillate between movement and materials that function as tools, objects and structures, as well as a visual language that can be read, observed, and repeated within spatial, temporal, and sensorial environments. Her work investigates the histories, symbols, and images that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood. Thomas is reimagining, reworking, and reconstructing notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized, and marginalized representations of blackness in relation to disposable labor, domestic service, and notions of thingness amongst materials. Thomas earned their Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thomas has shown work nationally and internationally in Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; Portland, ME; Chicago, IL; Saugatuck, MI; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Miami, FL; and Taipei, Taiwan; Paris, France; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; Istanbul, Turkey; Beirut, Lebanon; Saskatchewan and Vancouver, Canada; and the United Kingdom.
Queer Trash was founded by Michael Foster and Richard Kamerman in spring 2016. Active participants in experimental music scenes in New York City, Foster and Kamerman created Queer Trash in response to a lack of a dedicated queer platform within their communities. Queer Trash has hosted eight events at seven different locations throughout New York City, presenting both local and touring artists from as far as Mexico and Sweden working across experimental aesthetics and practices. A participant in the fifth Queer Trash, Eames Armstrong joined Queer Trash in July 2017 as the third curator of the series after six years of organizing visual and performance art in Washington, D.C..
Photo: Keijaun Thomas, Distance is Not Separation, HOMOCCULT 2.0 at Centro Cultural del México Contemporaneo, México City, 2016. Photo by Antonio Zaragoza, Produced by S+S Projects and Perras de Museo