“I’m looking for homoerotic,” says Britt Dunn, who has volunteered with MondoHomo for three years, as he snips out an image of a bare-chested man.
Now in its fourth year, MondoHomo is a place for queers staying in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend — and some who live outside metro Atlanta and even Georgia — to experience an event that is different than the city’s traditional gay parties.
“What feels most gratifying is it pulls together the community, the DIY, freaky, off-the-beaten path queers,” says Carr, cofounder of the festival.
For Dunn, an Atlanta native, finding out about MondoHomo was a blessing.
“I grew up in Atlanta and I like experiencing different queer spaces. But there was a lack of a radical queer network. There was a gay presence in Atlanta, but it’s very mainstream,” he says.
When he saw a flyer for MondoHomo in the Aurora Coffee shop in Little Five Points a few years ago, he knew the radical space he was seeking in his hometown had “finally arrived.”
“It’s the joy of the creative,” Dunn says of MondoHomo.
Making a unique program guide for guests, for example, is do-it-yourself, creative, and bringing friends together on a Saturday afternoon to talk and share ideas. Kind of what MondoHomo is all about.
“Knowledge sharing is part of community building, too,” says Andre Keichian, a first-year volunteer.
This year, Carr is organizing a Queer Atlanta People’s Assembly. The idea for such an assembly originated with the upcoming U.S. Social Forum to be held June 22-26 in Detroit.
However, recent efforts in Atlanta to gauge the LGBT community’s desire and need for a world-class community center are likely to dominate the conversation, Carr says.
“We definitely need to bring in more voices in this conversation,” she says.
Of course, there’s the music. The spoken word. The art show. The park play day. Political workshops.
And did we mention the music?
In the past, MondoHomo separated its music over two nights. This year, all music will be performed on one night with such favorites as Athens Boys Choir and 8 Inch Betsy. Queer hip-hop is also on tap, and Carr is excited Atlanta will experience music that originated in New Orleans and is called Sissy Bounce.
Carr describes the music as a “queer, trans, hip-hop phenomenon.” Headlining the Mondo Musico night on May 29 is Sissy Nobby, one of the top Sissy Bounce performers in New Orleans.
“Bounce music is for everyone,” he says. “It’s feel-good music from New Orleans that makes you want to shake your booty.”
Sissy Bounce, considered underground at one time, is making it to the mainstream, with articles about it appearing recently in Vanity Fair. The hypersexual dancing and explicit lyrics and audience participation make it truly an experience to behold.
“The fact Sissy Bounce is crossing over to mainstream is really encouraging and inspiring to everyone,” Carr says.
There will also be time for craft making, art workshops, and sharing the history of queer Atlanta, Carr says. All of these things combined help make a community.
“Having a history is part of having a culture. It’s essential for history and shared arts to be in communion together,” Carr says. “[MondoHomo] is a way to develop a network of people that function politically as well — this way is a gentler and natural way to educate people.”
Check out a video of the ‘Sissy Bounce’ below:
May 27-May 31 Eyedrum Gallery 290 Martin Luther King Junior Drive SE Atlanta, GA 30312 www.mondohomo.com All events at Eyedrum unless otherwise noted Festival pass $25
Thursday, May 27 6 p.m.-10 p.m. — Free grand opening with spoken word and juried art opening. Dance party after at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
Friday, May 28
Mondo Cabaret 9 p.m., $10 Ms. Bea Haven Cruel Valentine Queerella Tim Monteith Krystal Woods Evil Sarah Molotov Cocktease Luster Dela Virgion STUD Butch Steele Mackin’ King Jaeveon The Mockingcocks Vagina Jenkins “Gay: The Ride,” a play by Adam Fair, directed by Bridget Fancher
Saturday, May 29 Mondo Musico 2 p.m., $15 Dangerous Ponies 8 Inch Betsy Spooky Q’s Athens Boys Choir Drew Mason Nefertiti MC Invincible Le Sex o Flex Ms. Teary Cat Eyez Diamond Lil Band Dirty Excuse Sissy Nobby
Sunday, May 30 Queer Atlanta People’s Assembly Noon to 6 p.m., free Mondo Screen 8 p.m.-11 p.m., $5 Queer short films
Monday, May 31 Free Mondo Day Camp Noon to 3 p.m. Cabbagetown Park Corner of Tye and Kirkwood Streets
Top photo: Above: Kiki Carr (left), Britt Dunn and Andre Keichian work on the MondoHomo 2010 program. (By Dyana Bagby)