QUEER NIGHTLIFE

a co-edited book with kareem khubchandani and ramón rivera-servera

What does it mean to get your life at night?

 

The July 2016 shooting at a queer Latin Night at Pulse in Orlando, Florida has cultivated a public conversation about access to pleasure and selfhood within conditions of colonization, violence, and negation. The co-edited volume Queer Nightlife responds to this conversation by centering queer and trans people of color who apprehend the risky medium of the night to explore, know, and stage their bodies, genders, and sexualities in the face of systemic and social negation. In essays, poetic forms, interviews, and photoessays, the book focuses on nightlife contexts that have important subcultural value for sexual and gender dissidents: house parties, nightclubs, and bars that offer improvisatory conditions, possibilities for “stranger intimacies,” and privilege music, dance, and sexual/gender expressions. Queer Nightlife extends the breadth of research on “everynight life” that has emerged from a variety of disciplines, but primarily in performance studies.

The first section, “Before,” captures the preparation toward the night: how do DJs source their sounds, what does it take to travel there, who promotes nightlife, what do we wear? Section two, “Inside,” explores the socialities of nightclubs: how are social dance practices introduced and taught, how is the price for sex negotiated, what styles do people adopt to feel and present as desirable? Section three, “Show,” examines the staging and spectacle of the night: how do drag artists confound and celebrate gender, how are spaces designed to create the sensation of spectacularity, whose bodies become a spectacle already? “After,” our last section, looks to the ways the night continues beyond the walls of a club and after sunrise: what kinds of intimacies and gestures remain after club, how do we go back to the club after Orlando?