Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011

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Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011

Experimental performance poet Daphne Gottlieb has long been a darling of the punk rock intelligentsia. This year she co-edited Dear Dawn: Aileen Wuornos in Her Own Words, a collection of letters written from death row inmate Aileen Wuornos to her childhood friend. The book reveals the complexity of a misunderstood and maybe misguided icon, one who most of us have only known as a character played by Charlize Theron in the 2003 biopic Monster. Gottlieb also published 15 Ways to Stay Alive, a collection of postmodern cutup collages, found words, and mashups focused on survival after personal and communal disasters. In 15 Ways, she does the one thing storied poets, like Vegas magicians, never do: reveal her sources. The resulting collection is as intellectually stunning as it is pure punk catharsis.

9. Humor is the New Habit - Kelli Dunham, Comedian, Author, Ex-Nun

Kelli Dunham, a prolific writer and stand-up comedian for over a decade, spent the latter half of 2011 on tour with her latest show, “Why the Fat One is Always Angry,” which was born from the loss of her partner, Cheryl b, who died due to complications from cancer this past summer. The tragedy of this loss inspired Dunham to create the blog Grief Sucks, which, she explains, was created “as a reaction to the kitsch that passes as death /dying/ bereavement discussion in the popular/dominant culture and [which] makes [her] want to poke out [her] eye with a spoon.” Few people have the skill or depth to turn despair into side-splitting humor.

10. (We're) All About Eve - Eve Fowler, Artist, Curator

Eve began her art career as a photographer, showing in New York and then Los Angeles, where she has since made her home. Her works are in the collections of the SFMoMA, the New Museum and the Smithsonian in D.C. She has become a central figure in the LA arts scene, not only prolific in her own work but she support the arts community through Artist Curated Projects (ACP). Born out of necessity to kick-start talented yet unknown artists careers, Fowler and her artist-pal, Lucas Michael, began showing their friends works in Fowler’s apartment. Catering to the queer arts scene there are now 135 artists involved curating projects through ACP and the shows are now in spaces throughout the city. This year Eve was included in the Greater LA arts show that traveled to New York this summer and got some splashy attention from Interview Magazine. Word is Fowler is not one for stealing the spot light, so we hope she doesn’t mind that we’ve singled her out this year.

11. Cinematic Explorer - Céline Sciamma, Screenwriter, Director

Having helmed the acclaimed Water Lillies (2007) Céline Sciamma captivated audiences once again with Tomboy, which won numerous awards at LGBT film festivals across the globe this year. Similar in topic to Dee Rees’ exploration of gender in Pariah, and likewise similar to Water Lillies’ themes of exploration and self-discovery, Sciamma tenderly approaches the concept of gender through the innocent eyes of Laure, a 10 year-old “tomboy” who introduces herself to the kids in her new neighborhood as a boy named “Mikael.” Sciamma’s intention was to think about gender through a child’s eyes, she says, “because I think that in childhood experimenting goes with invention.” What the film reminds us all of is the freedom—from the rigidity of identity—of youth.

12. Commander-in-Chief - B. Cole, Community Activist, Founder of the Brown Boi Project

Comments [8]

Conlite's picture

I had forgotten about Hege

I had forgotten about Hege and Toril!  And such dyke heroes should not be forgotten!  Thanks for pulling this list together.

Tosha's picture

saw Pariah this afternoon

it was so good i wanted to stand up and cheer.  Moving, real, and real funny too.

Marcie Bianco's picture

got sidetracked the other

got sidetracked the other night but am definitely planning to see it this coming week! everyone's been raving about it! (we'll be running our own review of the film this Monday!)

Jess Glenny's picture

Good list.

I really enjoy this site, but I'd love to see more UK content in general. Do you need a UK correspondent?

Marcie Bianco's picture

Jess! yes! email me, please?

Jess! yes! email me, please? let's set this up!

Jess Glenny's picture

Will do later.

Off to teach now.

Steph's picture

Okey dokey, glad to see

Okey dokey, glad to see there's at least one Brit (that I know of) on the list!  I have mixed views on Jeantette but her memoir is a work of brilliance and she is a champion of the english language which can only be a good thing.

A belated happy christmas to everyone and here's to 2012!  Gonna be a biggie here - not only do we have the Queen's Diamond Jubliee (bring on the double bank holiday) it's also the London Olympics.  Me, gf and pooch are running off to France for the whole 2 weeks - it's gonna be hell on earth on the trains and tubes so we'll leave it for the tourists!

Marcie Bianco's picture

happy holidays, Steph! 

happy holidays, Steph!