Jess Morgan, who is helping organize the festival this year, also says we need to honor sex as part of our identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.
“We’re celebrating queer radical sex. We want to show people we’re not afraid to talk about it,” he says.
There won’t be public demonstrations of sex. But there will be plenty of sexy music acts, workshops and people taking part in the slate of activities planned over four days in Castleberry, East Atlanta and Cabbagetown.
True to its mission, Mondo Homo also takes a political bent — and there is plenty that political in the sexual, Carr says. But this year the Georgia state legislature, mostly Republicans, made illegal immigration an issue and passed HB 87, a bill similar to Arizona’s stringent law.
At press time May 10, Gov. Nathan Deal had not signed the bill into law but has publicly stated he will. Among other things, the law would allow local law enforcement to stop people and ask for proof of citizenship.
Southerners on New Ground, an LGBT nonprofit serving members in the rural South, worked to stop the bill’s passage this year and will be represented at Mondo Homo, Morgan says.
“SONG will be creating banners asking the governor to veto HB 87,” he says. “We also want to start political conversations.”
Celebrating in queer spaces
Mondo Homo is most known for its music and art show as well as its “Homo Con” — a day of workshops ranging from how to make your own sex toys to an anti-racism workshop to designing your own t-shirts with silk screening.
Specific details for the festival were still being hammered out this week, but there will also be a film event with the theme “Change,” curated by Andy Ditzler of the Film Love series. The film night will be made up of film shorts, including one that shows a transgender artist allowing the public to tweeze hair off her entire body.
Last year, Mondo Homo was held at Eyedrum. However, Eyedrum is in the midst of moving and finding a place in Reynoldstown, so Mondo Homo organizers are holding the art show and spoken word opening night at the Sous Whiskey Marin gallery in Castleberry, the music acts and a burlesque show at Mary’s and My Sisters’ Room in East Atlanta, and on Sunday, May 29, park day in Cabbagetown Park.
“Acquiring the new spaces has put a nice spin on the event,” says Morgan. “We’re using queer spaces and queer bars.”
Bands on tap to play Mondo Homo this year include Katey Red of New Orleans, a transgender sissy bounce artist, as well as 8 Inch Betsy from Chicago and the Lost Bois of Washington, D.C.
Renowned drag king act the Cuntry Kings will also perform and burlesque artist Vagina Jenkins, formerly of Atlanta and now residing in Ohio, returns to the ATL to organize and perform in the fest’s cabaret party.
“We’ve got everything from burlesque to spoken word — everything will be more fagalicious this year,” says Morgan.
This year’s art show includes works from queer artists from across the country, says Donnie Reider, who is curating the event.
“This year we went to an open call for artists and we’ve got people from New York, Wisconsin as well as from Atlanta. We have a quality collection of queer artists represented from installation, sculpture, painting, photography,” he says.
Seeking less segregation
One thing Carr and Morgan say they hope to see at this year’s festival — new faces.
“Mondo Homo does an incredible job of being inclusive. Our purpose is to create a fun, radical safe space,” Morgan says. “We welcome anyone.”
Morgan became involved with Mondo Homo several years ago after not fitting in to the “typical” gay events in Atlanta.
“I think Atlanta is really hungry for something different and Mondo Homo represents that,” he says.
Carr adds that “sometimes the queer and gay communities are separated by gender, class, age.” Mondo Homo seeks to erase those lines.
“People who think Mondo Homo is not for them should definitely check us out and make up their own minds,” she says. “We want to bring all people together.”
“Mondo Homo has proven to the country that the South can put on a kick ass radical queer fest — and you can’t find many places in the world that can do that,” Carr adds.
Top photo: Chicago’s 8 Inch Betsy will be among the musical acts performing at this year’s Mondo Homo (publicity photo)