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We’re Still Here East Coast Launch Party!

Stacked Deck August 18

  Stacked Deck Press takes Manhattan! Come to the East Coast Launch Party for We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division! Join Jeanne Thornton and Tara Madison Avery for trans comics and adult refreshments! Get your copy of this groundbreaking anthology at the Bureau! To reserve a copy [...]

Sat. Aug 18, 2018 8:00 PM


May 21, 2014

Martin Duberman: Reading and signing for Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS

From award-winning historian and activist Martin Duberman comes a poignant dual biography of two men central to activism in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill were both diagnosed with AIDS and raised awareness of the epidemic prior to the nation at large becoming aware of the disease’s existence. The year 1995 saw the release of protease inhibitors, the first effective treatment for AIDS, but it was also the year Essex Hemphill, an African American poet and performance artist, died from complications related to the disease. Michael Callen, a singer, songwriter and pioneering AIDS activist from the Midwest, had already passed away two years earlier.

Duberman documents each man’s life and work while providing readers a rare glimpse into how the United States, both at large and from within the LGBTQ community, approached the AIDS epidemic as it was unfolding. Hold Tight Gently closely examines the earlier years before U.S. culture was made more fully aware of disease; Duberman poignantly and respectfully utilizes Callen and Hemphill’s stories to explore how their disparate communities responded to the crisis in unique ways.

Hold Tight Gently is more than a moving dual biography of two unsung heroes of the pre-ACT UP period; it is essential to understanding the disease’s history and impact amidst a reality that many ignored or denied.


Photo by Raymond Adams

Photo by Raymond Adams

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the CUNY Graduate Center. The author of more than twenty books, including a highly acclaimed biography of Paul Robeson, Duberman has won a Bancroft Prize and been a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in New York City.


Praise for Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS (The New Press, 2014)

Seldom has a biographer been able to honor the doomed courage of his subjects with such redeeming insightfulness. Martin Duberman’s Hold Tight Gently is an unflinching masterpiece.
—David Levering Lewis, university professor, emeritus, New York University, and Pulitzer Prize winner for biography

We are always in danger of forgetting the past, and the huge advances we have made against HIV/AIDS often obscure the pain and the politics of the early years of the epidemic. InHold Tight Gently, Martin Duberman has brilliantly re-created this tumultuous era. Tracing these two lives through poetry and activism, Duberman captures the pain, despair, panic, heroism, and moral bravery that defined the generation of women and men who first faced this modern plague. Daringly imagined and beautifully written, Hold Tight Gently is a major work of modern history that chills us to the bone even as it moves us to tears.
—Michael Bronski, Professor of Practice in Activism and Media Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University

A dynamic people’s history of AIDS that must be read, debated, critiqued, and applauded. Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and other visionaries are revealed as complex individuals who made change but did not benefit from it. Throughout, Duberman confronts the racism at the core of the AIDS movement that became the global crisis of access to treatment. A bold work for a community that wants to understand itself.
—Sarah Schulman, author ofIsrael/Palestine and the Queer International

Martin Duberman’s work has been a continuing rescue mission to make sure that vital, but forgotten, stories from the past remain alive in our memory. With Hold Tight Gently, he has done it again and magnificently so. Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill come back to life in these pages. Funny and moving, enlightening and thoughtful, inspiring and enraging, this dual biography reveals the heartbreaking losses caused by the epidemic as well as the many ways people fought back. It can teach those who weren’t there what that first decade of AIDS was like and remind those of us who were how intense those years were. And all this through the life stories of two compelling individuals.
—John D’Emilio, professor of gender and women’s studies and history, University of Illinois at Chicago

Hold Tight Gently is a deeply moving work of largely hidden history. Martin Duberman brilliantly chronicles not only grassroots AIDS organizing in the early days of the epidemic but also the vibrant black lesbian and gay political and cultural movement that flowered during the same period. Through the lives of two remarkable men, Hold Tight Gently illuminates how race and class are inextricably linked to the struggle for sexual freedom and that against all odds people can fight for justice every day. A wonderful and important book.
—Barbara Smith, author of The Truth That Never Hurts and co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press

Through his probing and insightful chronicle of the lives of two very different gay men who were early voices in the fight against AIDS, Martin Duberman has again brought light to shine in a personal way on the role of progressives in LGBT struggles and the importance of addressing how race, class, and gender impact this epidemic and who survives it. Sadly, these perspectives are still urgently needed in today’s world, where those facing the devastation of AIDS are often invisible to mainstream politics. A poignant and politically potent tribute to those who have died from AIDS and who fought to make a difference even as their lives were cut short.
—Charlotte Bunch, Distinguished Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University

Hold Tight Gently is an absorbing read. It’s a necessary introduction to the uninitiated and a profound challenge to the collective amnesia concerning the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, one that shimmers with insights and lessons about race, sexuality, and class. Duberman’s take on these seminal figures illuminates their singular and collective triumphs and struggles and how the pandemic profoundly impacted political and social organizing by gays in the ’80s and ’90s. The biographer renders Hemphill and Callen with respect and grace—just the way they should be.
—Steven G. Fullwood, co-editor of Black Gay Genius

Martin Duberman’s profoundly moving reconsideration of Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill is much needed now, as AIDS continues to ravage so much of our world. This marvelous book, filled with surprising connections, will be read by activists everywhere and empower the future.
—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt


cover story for A&U

starred PW review

excerpt on Advocate.com



Start: May 21, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 21, 2014 9:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

May 18, 2014

DEADLINE: Works-in-Progress from Cutting-edge Queer Artists. featuring Ariel Speedwagon, Sabrina Chap, Anna Hovhannessian, Elizabeth Whitney and Zach Wager Scholl

Post-Clown Disaster, Ariel Federow and Cabaret Idiot, Sabrina Chap bring you this new works-in-progress series featuring new work from cutting edge queer artists.  Built on the notion that there’s no greater inspiration than a deadline, this series forces renegade artists to bring new and developing work to an audience for the first time.  Part experimentation + part guaranteed failure = 100% awesomeness. 

Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow will be workshopping the second two installments of “Lavender Valley,” the world’s preeminent powerpoint lesbian soap opera.


Sabrina Chap will be performing the first half of her electric guitar radio musical, ‘Postcards from Nevermore’, visually scored by a projection from Anna Hovhannessian.


Tricia Clayton Biltmore is everyone’s favorite lesbian ally and Elizabeth Whitney’s alter ego. Hailing from Bainbridge, GA, she is the woman Elizabeth might have been if she had never left Tallahassee.


Sisters,” Zachary Wager Scholl’s newest writing, is a work-in-progress ode to the baby gay adventure of discovery and friendship. Set to the backdrop of a working class suburb, “Sisters” is part raunch/ part tender, glimmering under the light of a gas station by the highway.



Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow’s work has been seen on Broadway, Lafayette, Houston, Chrystie, Fulton, N 6th, and other streets and avenue in NYC and beyond. Her stories, slideshows and slapstick have been seen places like LaMama ETC, Dixon Place, the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, Pussy Faggot, and Hey Queen! Company member: the Ballez and Butch Burlesque.


Deemed, ‘Rousing!’ by the New Yorker, Sabrina Chap is a writer, musician, cabaret artist and all around dilettante. Her latest album, the anthemic queer bonanza ‘We Are the Parade’ was deemed, ‘Joyous’ by the Advocate.  She also edited the book, ‘Live Through This- On Creativity and Self-Destruction’, now with an intro by Amanda Palmer and essays by Nan Goldin, bell hooks, Swoon, Kate Bornstein and more.  sabrinachap.com


Anna Hovhannessian is a filmmaker and editor.  TV credits include a lot of sensationalistic murder shows and some talk show nonsense.   Her film credits include in the documentaries ‘Bully’ (Tribeca premiere), ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’ (Boston Independent Film) and the short film ‘Happy Hour’.  Her performance videography was featured in the dance production of ‘Echoes and Dreams’ (NYC Fringe Festival).


Elizabeth Whitney‘s recent projects include playing a closeted New Jersey housewife in Madeleine Olnek’s The Foxy Merkins (Sundance 2014), a feminist TedX lecturer in the popular web series High Maintenance, and being a member of alt-country trio Menage A Twang (www.menageatwang.com). She teaches in the City University of New York. www.elizabethjwhitney.com


Zachary Wager Scholl is a performer and writer. He most recently performed in Angry Women Revisited, with J. Dellecave and company. Long-term projects include: his work with the Man Meat Collective; playing with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra; and creating transgressivepolitical queer Purimshpiln with the Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee.


Start: May 18, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 18, 2014 11:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

May 17, 2014

SCORCHER Issue #7 Release Party

Celebrating the release of Scorcher issue #7 (“Valedictorian”), published by Birdsong Micropress, please join Max Steele at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division for an evening of readings by: Max Steele, Tommy PicoAnthony Thornton, Kayla Morse, and Sam McKinniss.

Cover drawing of Scorcher issue #7 (“Valedictorian”) by Julia Norton.


Tommy “Teebs” Pico is the founder and editor in chief of birdsong, an antiracist/queer-positive collective, small press, and zine that publishes art and writing, and the author of Absent Mindr—the first chapbook app published for iOS mobile/tablet devices (VERBALVISUAL, 2014). He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, and has been published in BOMB, [PANK], and the Best American Poetry blog. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn.


Anthony Thornton is an American poet living and working in New York. He has read at numerous venues (CULTUREfix, Envoy Enterprises, The Spectrum, the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division, Starr Space) and private salons, and is editing his forthcoming second poetry collection, New Directions.


Kayla Morse is settling into that kind of cool, level-headed maturity that women of a certain age enjoy.  PSYCH.


Max Steele is a performer and writer living in Brooklyn. He has presented work at Dixon Place, the New Museum, Deitch Projects, BAM, Joe’s Pub, Envoy Enterprises, PPOW Gallery, UPenn’s Kelly Writers’ House, the Afterglow Festival and the Queens Museum of Art. He writes the psychedelic porno poetry zine Scorcher, and his writing has been featured in Dossier Journal, Spank, East Village Boys, Birdsong, Vice, Noisey, and Best Gay Stories 2014. He has been an Artist in Residence at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange since 2012.


Sam McKinniss is an artist and writer in New York. His paintings have been on view recently at envoy enterprises and Good Work Gallery in New York as well as at Galerie Thomas Fuchs in Stuttgart. His writing has appeared in Adult Magazine, DIS Magazine, the Library at Dirty Looks NYC and Pastelegram.org.





Start: May 17, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 17, 2014 10:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

May 16, 2014

A one-night stand with Evripidis and his Tragedies and special guests Dane Terry and Dalin

An introduction to the world of Evripidis Sabatis AKA Evripidis and his Tragedies, where music, writing and drawing intertwine to picture a world of love, lust and loss.

Evripidis will perform an acoustic concert and present an exhibition of his original artwork and his illustrated book “El Calamor y otros mitos de la intimidad” (Spanish only).

Musicians Dane Terry and Dalin will also perform.


Photo by Nicholas Prakas

Photo by Nicholas Prakas

Evripidis and his Tragedies is the alter ego of Evripidis Sabatis. This classically trained Athenian pianist, visual artist and writer shares not only his name with the great tragedian Euripides of antiquity but to some extent, his eye for storytelling, painted by splashes of tragic realism but also humor, that celebrates heroes who are overwhelmed by their passions and end up burning brightly.

In Evripidis and his Tragedies´songs, lovers ride the tidal waves in vain, teeth fall out one by one, summers are long and lazy and full of song (or are utterly blue), stray dogs are irresistible and treacherous, nights are sleepless and scary, little sisters grow up to be stronger than their brothers, lights are out, hearts are not pure, weddings turn into riots, ghosts take the living for car rides, death dances in the shadows of a hospital room, nightlife takes legendary proportions, homesickness is a necessary consequence of a life on the run, Sunday mornings are haunting, funerals are celebrated as parties, the sky is red above the harbour, the worst enemy and torturer is one´s self and pain comes in healthy doses. Evripidis worships what is no longer here, what has left just a scar. His world is a melancholy love affair where romanticism never died, where harmony is created with a intelligent view on contemporary life, for winners and losers, victims and victors, heroes and villains.

One Journalist stated that in Evripidis and his Tragedies’ music there are echoes of all kinds of western popular music from the last 120 years: classical impressionism, cabaret, 20´s, 30´s and 40´s American songs, musicals, folk, soundtracks and most of all, pop from the late 50´s until now. Add to this mix some touches of baroque music, an unconditional love for the 60´s, the indie pop and some unique, maverick songwriters, and Evripidis´ own distinctive piano-playing and you have a project that escapes a clear definition. The best way to understand it is to just listen to it.

Lyrically, Evripidis lingers among hopeless romanticism, dark humor and dry cyniscism. Love, lust and loss, as well as family, friends and death. These are the recurring themes in his songs but also in his writing and his visual artwork. As he wryly puts it, “The stuff that makes my world go round”. His turn of phrase exposes his literary background and this makes his lyrics pocket dramas on their own.

Evripidis´ drawings usually consist of nightmarish chimeras, monstruous flora, dramatic landscapes and twisted allegories. Surrealism, symbolism and grotesque play a big part in his art, as well as lived experiences and traumas.

His illstrated book “El Calamor y oros mitos de la intimidad” is the perfect merging between Evripidis major artistic disciplines, featuring drawings, original texts in Spanish and lyrics in English.

Since 2007 Evripidis and his Tragedies has released two full albums and various EPs as well as music for short movies and art projects. Lately, Evripidis has been living out and about, swinging among Barcelona, Athens, London, Berlin and NYC, something that is reflected in his new material and recent collaborations. He is currently finishing his third album with some of his long-time musical partners and some new entries in this crowded, creative musical family.

He has participated in various group exhibitions and in April 2010 he presented his first solo exhibition entitled “Why do lovers break each other’s hearts?” in the gallery
6 d.o.g.s in Athens. Since then he has exhibited in Madrid, Barcelona and Berlin. This will be the first time he is exhibiting his drawings in New York.


Dane Terry Portrait Shoot, 2013. ©Andy Spessard Photography

Dane Terry is a performer and composer based in NYC. Terry’s songs act as surreal theater miniatures that range from dark to funny. Colored with Sci-Fi themes and what he terms “Frillbilly” music, his performances often take the form of bizarre vignettes of music and monologue. He has performed as part of the HOT festival of queer theater at Dixon Place 3 times, toured internationally and he continues to perform in theaters and venues all around NYC including Joes Pub, Bowery Poetry and La Mama.


Jonathan Dalin

DALIN is a pop music act making happy, heartfelt, danceable tunes. Singer/writer/producer Jonathan Dalin grew up in a musical family from Detroit with connections to the Jazz and classical scenes as well as soul and gospel music. This summer Dalin will be releasing the video and Single YOU LOOK GOOD, as well as a collection of sexy, high-energy pop songs. Stay tuned for YOU LOOK GOOD and Listen for DALIN songs on playlists at your next BBQ or while you’re rockin’ your boo.



Start: May 16, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 16, 2014 11:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

May 15, 2014

Writing Live: An Introduction to Documentary Poetics

I let my hands become weapons…and I feel prepared for the rest of my life. – David Wojnarowicz

What happens to documentary practice when we turn our hands into weapons? What happens when we start writing history with a sense of urgency, rather than a sense of detachment? A brief introduction will be offered as we read excerpts from texts by David Wojnarowicz , Juliana Spahr, Maggie Nelson, and Muriel Rukeyser. In exploring techniques these authors use, we can understand documentary writing as “writing live,” the process where we piece together various strands of personal and community history as means of searching for possible futures. The remainder of the evening will be spent on individual projects, where we will actively cut and paste together material into larger narratives.

All writing levels are welcome, as documentary poetics encompasses a variety of different interests. Since this requires active participation, please come with some previous writing, a news story, a magazine article, or other kind of ephemera you feel comfortable repurposing.

Please email Kyle at kyle.bella@gmail.com to let him know you will be attending and what your topic might be. He wants to keep the group intimate and be aware of any possible sensitive topics in advance.


Kyle Bella currently resides in Brooklyn, where he works as a Social Media Fellow at Alternet and does freelance writing. Previous work has appeared in Jacket 2, Buzzfeed LGBT, Truthout, [wherever] magazine, and nomorepotlucks. Forthcoming work is expected in hello mr. magazine and Radioactive Moat Press. His newest book project Viral Legacies, examining HIV/AIDS histories, begins in May.


Art work by David Wojnarowicz, Fuck You Faggot Fucker, 1984, black and white photographs, acrylic, and collage on masonite, 48 x 48 inches, courtesy of PPOW Gallery.





Start: May 15, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 15, 2014 9:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States
Cost: Free