Miami New Times interviews Neil de la Flor about Reading Queer: Poetry In A Time of Chaos, a new anthology he co-editedwith Maureen Seaton.
Excerpt: “As Miami’s cultural landscape boomed in the past decade — with the influx of major art fairs, new museums, and local galleries opening in up-and-coming neighborhoods — the city’s queer culture was in flux. Reading Queer, a Knight Foundation-sponsored cultural organization, is looking to change that fact by highlighting voices from a community that remains fractured between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Recently, the group announced a publication deal for a paperback anthology of poetry from local bards and internationally recognized queer writers.”
“’I think it’s the first Miami-based anthology of queer voices,” says founder Neil de la Flor, who has also contributed to New Times. ‘Poetry has had a resurgence because of the political climate and the need to huddle together and connect. Queer writers have an ever greater need to reach each other through every means,’ he says, including social media and poetry.'”
“Thanks to Reading Queer, Miami’s LGBTQ community has had a forum that gives voice to underrepresented stories. It’s badly needed in a city whose queer culture was split in two after the gentrification of South Beach.”
Read the full article here.
I wrote about visionary gallerist Bernice Steinbaum for the Miami New Times. Here’s an excerpt:
“Above the entrance to the gallery space hangs a neon sign that reads “Know BS,” a slogan Steinbaum has used in the past that cheekily references her initials. But in this space, the command takes on a solemn meaning: To “know BS” here is to understand culture. Inside Steinbaum’s home, the past, present, and future are transformed into a seamless tapestry composed of countless threads and seams. Steinbaum slips us inside that rarified world, allowing us to see ourselves, our hands, and those of our ancestors, weaving the threads that bind us all together.”
Read the entire article here.
Egos are fragile. The words we speak and the actions we take impact how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive the world. Sometimes the impact is negligible. Sometimes not.
Today, I convinced one of our creative writing/digital storytelling interns to perform one of her original songs. I had heard her quietly singing off stage behind the black curtains in our temporary home at The Lightbox at The Goldman Warehouse. She’s shy, not shy. She has that kind of voice that fights against her nature to be quiet.
Before her performance, we spoke about our projects and the progress that we’ve made. Progress sometimes means limiting ourselves. Cutting out what we can’t do down to what we can. Time is a creative force that pushes the the megaphone in our face. Or not. We just have to decide if we’re going to speak or remain silent.
Today, the interns of the creative writing/digital storytelling cohort are finishing their individual projects–a new blog, a series of new blog entries, the first draft of a new novel, a collection of short stories, an audio book, a short documentary film, a performative book of dance poetry.
We won’t finish everything, which is fine. The unfinished will give them something to nag at them when I’m gone–a quiet force in the back of their minds reminding them there’s something left to finish.
Herb Sosa interviewed me for Ambiente Magazine.
“Have you ever been at a loss for words? Maybe searched for people that think & express themselves in ways you can relate to, or make you think? Did you think you had to leave the comfort of your beach chair and fly up north to find some Queer culture? Neil de La Flor is changing all that, one word at a time….
Read more of the interview > here.
For KnightBlog, I wrote about the old independent film center Alliance Cinema (South Beach), my first encounter with Javier Bardem and its connection to Queer Screens: LGBTQ Film Series, a new film series co-presented by Reading Queer and O Cinema. It was a difficult, but formative period of my life. The Alliance Cinema made coming out in the early 1990s and the horrors of the AIDS epidemic palpable. It was the first time I felt I had a community, that I fit in, that I mattered even though I was always the one kind of hiding in a dark corner.
Here’s an excerpt from the article: “In the 1990s, the Alliance Cinema was the pulse of South Beach–a center for independent film culture and, most importantly for me, a safe space for a burgeoning queer community. It’s where I met Javier Bardem….
In that dark, single-screen, six-row theater, I felt safe watching films that revealed the multitudes of being and becoming queer, with my community sitting next to me. It would pull me out of darkness more than once.”
Read more > here.
Raised in the Oriente Province of Cuba in the 1940s, Arenas began his life-long love of the sea and water. Leaving home as a young adolescent, he moves to Havana where he finds himself swept up in the revolutionary spirit and joins a circle of writers and artists. His first novel, “Singing from the Well,” is published in Cuba, but as Castro’s oppressive regime gathers force, Arenas’ homosexuality and political writing make him a target. After being falsely accused of molestation, Arenas is arrested and imprisoned at El Morro. Eventually released from prison after dehumanizing treatment, Arenas flees Cuba in the 1980 Mariel Harbor boatlift. After moving to New York with his friend Lazaro Gomez Carilles, Arenas’ hopes for a new life are destroyed by AIDS, and he dies in 1993, at the age of 45.