MondoHomo, Atlanta’s alternative queer arts festival, returns Memorial Day weekend to rock your face off with music, art and queer consciousness. But perhaps you’ve been too intimidated to attend in the past or are not sure what to expect. We interviewed organizer Jesse Morgan for a few tips and insights for those who want to experience MondoHomo but were too afraid to ask.
Here’s what you need to know:
What exactly is a “radical queer arts and music festival?” What do you mean by radical or queer? Isn’t it bad to be called queer?
Both radical and queer mean different things for different people. That’s the beauty of it. When we think of radical, we think of being true to your “political self” and working towards complete social justice. Everything from picking up a protest poster to being gay as ever!
The queer identity is all about reclaiming. We see the term as being inclusive and challenging all kinds of boundaries. We LOVE to push buttons! Queers are everyone! It is an umbrella term that embraces all kinds of different people — working class and upper class, gays, lesbians, transfolk, femmes, genderqueers, dykes, bisexuals, quadrasexuals (OK, we made that up), black, white, Asian, Latino and all races.
Put all that together with fabulous art and music and you get MondoHomo. It’s a festival that is dedicated to providing space for people who make and art and music that is fundamentally political.
And by political, please don’t get us twisted. We are not about preachy information and telling you what you “need to do.” We recognize that a festival dedicated to queerness and all of its identities is inherently political. Being queer is beautiful and FUN AS HELL at MondoHomo! Think: dancing, flirting, bad-ass music, and fabulous art!
I like to wear khaki shorts and polo shirts. Am I still welcome?
Of course you’re welcome! Wear those khaki shorts and polo proud! We want you to be proud of your identity. Party, get political, and dance in those khakis! You might find some us in glitter hot-pants, others in girlie dresses, and some of us in jeans and a sexy tee. But — be you.
I love music, all kinds of music. What’s on tap for this year’s festival? Will there be girls with guitars?
We love all kinds of music, too! There are so many delicious tunes headed your way for this year’s festival. Double Duchess is bringing queer electro hop from San Francisco down to the Dirty South (think shaking your ass, hard). Glitterlust from Washington, D.C., adds a new layer of sparkle to the lineup with their glam dance rock revival (go ahead and jump and shake). ATL’S own KIN4LIFE, The Sexual Side Effects, The Lamentations, and The Back Pockets are all scheduled to bring their queerest and biggest performances ever to MondoHomo.
These are just a few of the amazing groups scheduled to perform. Be sure to check our webpage and Facebook for the most current list. As far as any “girls” with guitars goes, it all depends on what socially constructed view of the word you have. One thing’s for sure — there will be artists (with or without guitars) that leave you saying “Girl, get it!”
Is this festival like Atlanta Gay Pride but smaller? What are the major similarities and/or differences?
We are different than Atlanta Gay Pride and also share some similarities. For starters, both of the festivals are created as a welcoming space for queer/LGBT people. Express yourself, gurl! And both festivals exhibit many colors of our community — bears, girlie girls, twinks, and more, all coming together.
Though, we do have some differences. One main difference is the way in which we access donations to make our festival. Atlanta Pride has structured itself around marketing towards corporations for festival funds. At MondoHomo, we strive to challenge capitalism to our best ability and with that we don’t readily accept corporate funds. We like keeping it in the community by accepting support from small businesses and returning the favor with fabulous visibility.
Do I have to have tons of tattoos in order to go and feel comfortable? Why does everyone at the fest have so many tattoos?
You will be tattooed when you walk in. It’s mandatory. WE KID! Yes, some us have tattoos. Some of us don’t. Tattoos are clearly a way that people choose to express themselves — we will call it body art. We strive to create a space that is welcoming for everyone. Maybe you will see someone with a tattoo that inspires you to get one. Maybe you will see someone with no tattoos that inspires you not to get one. We are a colorful bunch. But like we said, we are all different. And we WANT you to be as fabulous as you truly are.
I love to drink alcohol at festivals and wonder what kind of booze will be available? Corona? Amstel Light?
During this year’s festival, we are excited to reach out to a range of ages and welcome 18+ for our events. We believe at MondoHomo you don’t have to indulge in drinking to party and have a good time. We have plenty of music, art, performances, and dancing for that. Though, we are happy to provide a full stocked bar with yummy beers, refreshing cocktails, and delicious wine. And don’t forget our MondoPosse tradition — jello shots! They will make you gayer than a pair of twinks at Jungle. We are simultaneously excited to invest in party politics as well as the safety of our sober folk. So, come enjoy a beverage with your fellow queers or play it cool. We promise to not disappoint.
Will I be able to buy art such as the kind for sale at the Dogwood Fest or Inman Park Fest?
The art at MondoHomo is meant to be experienced, not taken home in a gift bag. The four-day exhibition incorporates everything from painting and sculpture to video projection and performance. There will also be a collection of vintage queer zines from the Queer Zine Archive on display. We’re hoping the exhibition will give a look back at our history as queer community, while looking towards where we will go in the future! It’s all about experiencing culture. Come get ya’ some!
What are things I should and should NOT say when speaking to other MondoHomo regulars? Can we talk politics and religion?
Yes, we LOVE to talk. Ask us anything! We recognize this space as being educational — not the boring kind. but the kind where we get to talk stuff out. So, talk that talk, gerl! We know that issues mean different things for different people and strive to be as open as possible. As a loose-knit group of queers and allies, we aim to support the fight against racism, classism, ableism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia. Thus we want to share knowledge with you while simultaneously hearing your experiences and learning from you. You might find yourself in a challenging conversation, dancing to that disco beat, or checkin’ out the hottie across the room.
Will there be lots of baby strollers like there are at other festivals?
In year’s past we have not had baby strollers. We are welcoming Kelli’s Child Care Collective this year who offer free childcare to progressive spaces. Exciting! Don’t hesitate to bring your kids. But believe me, you won’t be crammed with kids and children. You will be crammed with making out, dancing, and meeting new people!
Anything else newcomers should know?
Everyone should know that this weekend will change your life. Really! Exciting additions we have include a real live Grindr! Yes, and for everyone! All genders — no discrimination. The MondoPosse will be debuting the first ever live app for ATL. We’re also excited to offer this year’s theme of “Queer Justice! Queer Beats!” It is an exciting portrayal of the southern festival for demanding space for queertastic artists, performers, and organizers.
The MondoHomo schedule:
Thursday, May 26
Events at the Arts Exchange, 750 Kalb St. SE Atlanta, GA 30312, unless otherwise noted.
7 p.m. — Queers on the New Frontier: Art show opening that will feature work by local and national artists installed around the festival site. Visitors can also view an interactive exhibition of queer zines produced in conjunction with the Queer Zine Archive Project.
8:30 p.m. — HomoSpoken: Word: A dynamic array of local and out-of-state spoken word artists. Performers include Fran Grentry, Poet On Watch, Malika Hadley Freydberg, Gabe Moses, and Ken J Martin.
9:30 p.m. — Queertastic Musical Selection with The Lamentations (ATL): Post-gospel band who sweetens crowds with reinterpretations of blues and gospel.
At 11 p.m. MondoHomo moves to Mary’s in East Atlanta for a dance party with DJ Git Em Gurl and a dance performance by Corian Ellisor.
Friday, May 27 ‘Who’s Beats? OUR Beats!’ at the Art Exchange. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Performances by: Double Duchess – theatrical and interactive electro-hop performance. GlitterLust – electro dancerock Sexual Side Effects – glamorous post-punk rock KIN4LIFE – female hip-hop
Saturday, May 28
Skills Share and Brunch from noon to 4 p.m. at the Arts Exchange. Free. Workshops include: • Sarah Ming – It Gets Different: A skill share on suicide prevention for queers • Milo Miller and Joshua Buford – Put This In My Box: Zines, Memory, and the Southern • Kung Li – Workshop and discussion: The criminalization of people of color P.O.W. (Poet On Watch) – Artistic technique and entrepreneurship for the • working artist: A workshop for queer artist success • Marla Stewart – A workshop on seduction—revolutionary style. Bring em’ out! • Bekah Ward (International Socialist Organization) – Workshop and discussion: Taking down capitalism and homophobia • Moya Bailey – Discussion and talk on Afrofuturism • LuLu Martinez (Southerners on New Ground)) – Love Without Borders: Workshop on immigration justice • Atlanta Outworlders – Discussion on queerness in science fiction, fantasy, and horror
7 p.m. — Mondo Variety Show, $15.
The evening will open with a showing of “Transdroids”, a film by local queer organizer Britt Dunn. Drag phenomenon Dax ExclamationPoint will be the evening’s emcee. The performances include: • Andre Mizrahi’s Vogue Superstars: ATL Ballroom Vogueing • Margaret Crowley and Rachel Kahn – The Society for the Preservation and Promotion of Sapphic Social Mores: A lesson in Femme Etiquette • Ace Faclor: Drag King/Queerlesque • Miss D’Lish: Dessert Burlesque • Adam Fair’s Gay The Ride: An interactive theatrical “ride” experience • Violet Chachki: Drag Queen • Dale Vigor: “Handjob from Hell,” from MASCULINE ADVENTURES FOR MEN • Devin Liquor: Drag King • Fonda Lingue, The Diamond Dame: TransBurlesque • Brigitte Bidet: Drag Queen
Music takes over after the Variety Show with:
10 p.m.— Elysian Sex Drive: Band dedicated to the queerings of acoustic, funk, and rock.
11 p.m. — The Back Pockets: Diverse musical group composed of musicians, performance artists, and dancers.
Sunday, May 28
Mondo Meadow! at the Arts Exchange from 1-5 p.m. Free.
An all-ages queer family event with tons of fun outside activities.Come and enjoy an afternoon of community love and games. This year we are excited to announce the addition of performances including:
• The Kinetic Hive – Aerialists Performances
• Snake Shark and the Broken Heart – Queertastic & heartwarming acoustic band
• Atlanta Sedition Orchestra – Radical street band dedicated to booty-shakin’ tunes
• A Stick and A Stone – Folk musical band
Mondo Sashay! at Mary’s at 8 p.m. Free.
The finale of the “queerest weekend of ATL” includes DJs Speakerfoxxx and Ree de la Vega.
MondoHomo 2012 Festival Schedule-at-a-Glance
4-day Festival Pass available for $25 online at www.mondohomo.com
Top photo: Expect a rowdy, unique queer crowd at this year’s MondoHomo festival May 24-27. (by Dyana Bagby)