By Sara Warner
Acts of Gaiety explores the mirthful modes of political functionality by means of LGBT artists, activists, and collectives that experience encouraged and sustained lethal severe struggles for innovative swap. The ebook explores antics similar to camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap activities, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades along extra frequent varieties of "legitimate theater." opposed to queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a countrywide time table that urges homosexuals to give up excitement in the event that they are looking to be taken heavily by way of mainstream society, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political worth for LGBT activism.
The ebook mines the records of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s-70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety that lay on the middle of the social and theatrical performances of the period and uncovering unique files lengthy considered misplaced. Juxtaposing historic figures comparable to Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with newer performers and activists (including Hothead Paisan, whinge & Animal, and the 5 Lesbian Brothers), Warner exhibits how reclaiming this principally discarded and disavowed earlier elucidates percentages for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the together informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, besides the centrality of liveliness to queer functionality and protest.
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Additional info for Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure
It takes as its subject good feelings, positive affects that involve pleasurable sensations and foster jubilant practices of life, art, and activism. Central to my thesis, however, is the notion that affective binaries fail to adequately capture or categorize the emotional dynamics of sexual politics and that trafficking in this dichotomous logic contributes, if not directly to the rise of homoliberalism, then certainly to a sense of amnesia about LGBT history that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to combat the mainstreaming of the movement.
It is a site of yearning and fantasy, a liminal world where almost anything is possible. Desire, including same-sex eroticism, serves as a driving force in the theater, motivating characters and audiences alike. Unconventional liaisons, aberrant behaviors, lax morals, and powerful emotions are the keystones of dramaturgy. Trafficking in magic and metamorphosis, glitter and glamour, which is to say in the possibility of transformation, the theater provides both a respite and a resource for society’s maligned and marginalized.
The new focus would be on proving that same- sex desire was normal and that homosexuals were just like everyone else. By adopting a politics of respectability promoting the moral and material achievements of dignified, middle-class citizens, members hoped to demonstrate their normalcy and worthiness by distancing themselves from decadent and debauched characters like Hay. 41 As the name of the periodical suggests, the emphasis was on progress and uplift, not gaiety or good times. ”43 Not surprisingly, a shroud of secrecy permeated the meetings.
Acts of Gaiety: LGBT Performance and the Politics of Pleasure by Sara Warner