We Want the Airwaves #32: An Interview with Manish of Peacock Rebellion

Nia: Welcome to We Want the Airwaves, my name is Nia King. This week on the podcast I
interviewed Manish, artistic director of Peacock Rebellion, a Bay Area-based queer and trans
people of color arts organization. Manish and I were best friends for about five years, and then
sort of had a falling out, which we talk about in this episode, and now we’re working together
again.

This episode was recorded the day after my queer and trans people of color art activism panel at
the National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference, which he was on. Now we’re working
together on something called Brouhaha: QTPOC Activism Comics Rise Up, which is social
justice comedy class, and then there are going to be two shows as part of the National Queer Arts
Festival. They’re going to be on June 5
th
at the African American Arts and Culture Complex in
San Francisco at 7 PM and 9 PM. You can get your tickets online.

He, as I mentioned, is the artistic director of the organization, Jezebel Delilah X has been
running this particular program, and then Micia Mosely, my boss, is teaching the class, and I’ve
been sort of assisting her in various capacities. There’s also an indiegogo campaign, which we
would love for you to support, (so I can get paid). If you go to indiegogo and look up Brouhaha
or QTPOC you’ll find it. Come out to the shows on June 5
th
. Thanks! Without further ado, here’s
Manish.

[Musical interlude]

Nia: (laughing) Do you want to tell this story first?

Manish: Well, Nia! I think it would be exciting for you as the interviewer to share. ―Okay, now
you share!‖ and we’ll see what happens.

Nia: Okay, I guess the way that things went down in my mind, you were starting this
organization, and we have very similar interests and similar goals around both queer and trans
people of color, our activism and comedy specifically. I think you took me to see W. Kamau Bell
for the first time, whom I’ve now been a fan of for many years, and that’s probably where my
passion for social justice comedy started.

So you were starting this organization, Peacock Rebellion, and producing I think the first event, I
think a show called Agen(c)y, with parentheses around the ―C‖ like in 501(c)(3), about – it’s a
cabaret about the nonprofit industrial complex, and I was so excited about it and I really wanted
to be a part of it but I was still extremely burnt out from my nonprofit job which I think I had just
left. I feel like I tried to wedge myself into a leadership role in this project, which you were
pretty much running by yourself at that point, and then realized I didn’t have the capacity to
follow through on any of the things I said I was going to do. And so I know that left you in a
difficult place, and at the same time I felt almost like I was relieving you, because we were not
really working that well together. (laughing)

Manish: I agree.

(both laughing)

Manish: And you know, I think it was also super layered right? Like I’m – so Peacock Rebellion
is basically my life dream, so… and I put everything on the line for it. Any money I had in my
account? Peacock Rebellion. Currently our intergalactic headquarters is my studio apartment.
Our phone line is my cell phone. Our ―income‖ is my credit card. However. Also I think this part
of the dream is – when a dream, when I’m so focused on a dream that I’m not really noticing the
ways I’m showing up are impacting a relationship with, like, my BFF (laughing), that’s a
problem.

So there’s that. In terms of working with you, I think I was like, ―Yes, there’s someone there for
my dream,‖ and then I also was like, ―Nia is not following through, and that must mean she
doesn’t love me.‖ You know, like, I was just like, ―Why didn’t you hug me when I was five?!‖
Like… what? Nia and I didn’t know each other when we were five, P.S.

Nia: (laughing) We have known each other for a really long time, though.

Manish: A really long time.

Nia: You were my boss. You were my supervisor when I was a GIFT [Grassroots Institute for
Fundraising Training] intern, which would have been like 2007, 2008?

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: So this friendship is now like six, seven years old?

Manish: Oh my gosh!

Nia: That’s longer than I’ve known a lot of people. (laughing)

Manish: Yeah, it’s like in the second grade or something.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So, which makes sense since that’s kind of how I treated you, as if we were in second
grade.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: Because also I think the thing around like, I have also been told – I was told explicitly
or conditioned – not to speak. So for me to actually go out on stage and perform was really hard,
actually, at first. And I didn’t believe I would ever, for example, get into Mangos with Chili. At
the time, that was my dream. So I got in on a fluke, kind of. So, this is how I’m reading it: I took
this workshop at Kearny Street Workshop, this amazing place that cultivates Asian-American
writers and artists. So I took this workshop and then the person who taught the workshop told
someone in Mangos with Chili, and that’s run by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms.
Cherry Galette, and then… yeah. Then I was invited to submit work and then I did this piece,
and that first time I did the piece, as soon as I was getting on stage, the piece was about – and
Nia, you’ve seen this piece probably a bunch, I think –

Nia: Is it the Mr. Potato Head piece?

Manish: It is the Mr. Potato Head piece. So the deal is, for listeners, it’s three love letters. And it
was for Mangos with Chili’s show called ―Whipped: QTPOC Recipes for Love, Sex, and
Disaster,‖ which I call our Bitter Jaded Love Show. And I’m talking about things like Christian
hegemony and you know, about like, the lovers we lose. I’m talking about a letter to my first
boyfriend who I was like, ―I miss fucking you in the men’s bathroom stall at temple.‖ You know,
―before we went to run the youth group meetings‖ kind of way. You know, I love you in a ―build
the community, smash the state‖ kind of way, except I don’t like the word ―smash‖ as much as
―lovingly make irrelevant.‖ You know? So I’m trying to be really playful and talk about really
intense things.

Nia: I feel like when you talk about Christian hegemony, you talk about it through the story of
having sex with a priest.

Manish: Yes, there’s that. (laughing) At an Amnesty International conference.

(both laughing)

Manish: I like conferences. (laughing) Talk about the nonprofit industrial complex. It has, it
really has, gotten me laid, though. And in other ways, fucked. So…

Nia: (laughing) Touché.

Manish: (laughing) Yeah, and I think about our relationship. Look, I’ve burned a lot of bridges
with a lot of people. There’s some – I think, I’m still learning both how to produce, how to lead
this organization, and also just how to show up. Just, in so many ways, as a cis male, as a, you
know, all of these things. I think I’m a perpetual work in progress. I still think I have to hold
myself to a lot higher standard than a lot of the people who were my nonprofit bosses, for
example.

Yeah, so I was so grateful when you approached me, actually, to have a conversation. You kind
of started, like, we’re at this meeting, and I actually had no idea what the fuck we were – like, I
was like, ―Oh, Nia’s going to hand me my ass‖ is what’s going to happen.

Nia: You thought I waited a year to hand you your ass? (laughing)

Manish: Yeah! Because people have done that to me before. People have ripped through me, in
really horrific ways, and it isn’t just me. It’s that before I started Peacock, I interviewed all these
QTPOC arts producers just to figure out – current and former QTPOC arts producers – and I kept
hearing from people [that] the main reason they burned out was how they were treated in
community. That they were treated in such shitty ways, so much so that a lot of folks were like,
―I don’t want to leave the house. I don’t want to go to QTPOC stuff anymore, I don’t have
community here.‖ Like, all these things. And I’m like, ―Okay.‖ So one of the reasons I started
Peacock, [was because] I was like, ―Okay. Folks are tearing each other apart.‖ And, I said at this
event Nia organized recently, that I felt like I was a lot more effective on stage with a
microphone than I was at a rally or at a demo or a protest with a megaphone.

So I come out of this background of totally like, activism, community organizing, a lot of
nonprofit program stuff. A lot of fundraising. I wanted to do something that was using art around
healing, around healing from trauma, and trying to connect QTPOC together, and talk about big,
structural violence stuff, and also how the ways we treat each other can shift. Like you know, the
whole ―Blah blah, prefigurative politics‖ thing. Like how we treat each other can make better art
and also make a better world.

So it’s interesting that that first project we just kind of like. (vocalizing explosion noise) That
just all went to shit.

(both laughing)

Nia: What is – you used the term, ―prefigurative politics‖?

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: What is that?

Manish: Living… thank you for asking; I’m like hella jargon-y. So that piece about how we
show up and treat each other, is how we want the world to be, like we can build that world right
now.

Nia: ―Build the change you wish to see in the world‖?

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: ―Be the change.‖ Is that what that is?

Manish: Be the change!

Nia: Be the change. (laughing)

Manish: Yes.

Nia: Well I feel like we already touched on a number of different topics which I’d like to come
back to, and get into deeper, but… sometimes I try to figure out what went wrong (laughing)
when we were trying to organize together. I feel like some of it was me being burnt out and not
understanding how limited my capacity was, for sure. I think some of it was different organizing
styles and maybe just really different personalities? But I also think there was some level of ego
on both sides involved where like, I feel the sort of breaking point was – I was supposed to have
a piece of visual art in the show, and I think you had asked me to make some changes to it, and I
didn’t get back to you in a timely manner. I feel like you kind of got really nasty with me.
(laughing) Like, via e-mail, to the point where I kind of stepped back and was like, ―You can’t
talk to me like that.‖ (laughing) Like, ―I’m no longer invested in being part of this project
because I don’t like the way I’m being treated.‖ And so I just stopped responding to your e-
mails, which was perhaps not the most mature way to handle the situation, but also I was just
like, ―I don’t even know how to engage at this point.‖

Manish: Yeah, so… what’s fascinating to me is: one, I don’t remember that.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So clearly, I did some fucked up shit that had an impact on you.

Nia: This was back in like 2012, I think?

Manish: Whoa.

Nia: Right?

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: Wasn’t that when Agen(c)y happened, or is it…?

Manish: Yeah! 2012.

Nia: Okay.

Manish: So instead of being like, ―Hey, I’m feeling… you know, this is actually what I need,
and I feel hurt about this‖ apparently I sent this nasty e-mail. I operated, what it sounds like, is I
operated from this triggered place of being – I think I attached this thing of like… So for me, I
think a lot of folks – this is one way to look at it – I think a lot of folks are relationship-oriented,
a lot of folks are task-oriented, and a lot of folks are process-oriented. And then there’s some like
combinations or whatever. And I think for me, I focused so much on the task. And what I did
was I was like okay Nia, about like, what I mentioned before like, ―Oh, if Nia’s not getting this
thing done, that means she doesn’t love me. How dare she? How can she destroy my project?‖
Which, it didn’t destroy the project, it didn’t mean that you didn’t care about me. It’s just – I
went to this place, and then I fucking sent an e-mail from this place, which is a terrible idea! And
rather than taking responsibility for my feelings… it’s so much harder to just be like, ―I feel
hurt.‖ But that’s the most – that’s so much more courageous – and that is so much more, also,
trusting in a relationship, which is really scary, and also really sad that I didn’t.

Nia: I mean I think it’s also… I feel like what I’m seeing more in QTPOC communities recently
is people feeling okay saying, ―I’m being hurt‖ or, ―I feel hurt.‖ But then the question’s like, how
do we get – like, everybody’s hurt, right? – so, how do we get shit done? (laughing)

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: Do you want to speak on that?

Manish: (sighing)

Nia: This is no longer talking specifically about the Peacock situation.

Manish: Yeah. Well, what I’m used to seeing is, okay, someone being like, ―I feel hurt,‖ maybe
not necessarily saying it to the person, but saying it to –

Nia: Behind their back?

Manish: Yeah, behind their back, or in a public call-out, or something, or… and I was like,
―Well, this is on tumblr.‖

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: You know? Whatever!

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: Ha. I think the – so how do folks work together? I think it’s so rare. And I think the
thing is, one of the things is, I was shocked that you approached me, and were like, ―Hey, let’s
have a conversation –― or whatever ―— figure out if we can work together.‖

Nia: I feel like I need to disclose that at this point Micia totally put me up to it. (laughing)

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: She was like, ―I just got asked to teach this comedy class by Manish. Do you know him? He
seems like someone you would know.‖ And I was like, ―Yeah. Yeah, I know Manish.‖
(laughing) I don’t think I said ―we used to be best friends and now we don’t talk,‖ but, ―We used
to work together, and now we don’t.‖ I think she was basically like, ―Well, I need you to be
adults and deal with this, because the community is too small for us to not work together,‖ and
also like, ―I don’t have time for your bullshit‖ basically. (laughing)

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: Yeah, I would love to say I was inspired all my own to try and offer the olive branch, but
that is not actually true. (laughing)

Manish: You know, sometimes… the community is too small!

(both laughing)

Manish: That’s just what it is. So it’s like, yes, sometimes people leave the room, but to be
willing to come back? Is amazing, when it’s so much easier to be like, ―Fuck all y’all‖ you
know, or whatever, ―I’m done with you.‖ And the Bay is this interesting place where it’s, you
know, I think to folks outside the Bay, it can feel really big, and to me it feels very small.

Nia: Mhm.

Manish: So it feels like a lot of people – for me, it’s in this world where I think it’s small enough
that a lot of people know each other, and know each other as like chisme or like gossip or
whatever. And it’s big enough that there are a lot of opportunities where people can actually be
like, ―Fuck this person, I’m never going to work with them again.‖

Nia: Yeah, and then actually not work with them again.

Manish: Yeah, legitimately not work with them again. And then it’s also scary because [in] the
Bay area, given gentrification and a lot of other shit, the turnover is so high, that a lot of people
have no idea who I am or the work – a lot people now know me for art stuff, and have no idea all
the shit I was doing in the mid-2000’s here, which was completely different – and [they] like
don’t know a lot of the movement history in the mid-2000’s. That’s really scary to me.

Nia: Scary in what way?

Manish: I think it’s scary when: one, because we are targeted. We are targeted by a lot of
policing groups, and I think it’s really important to know what has happened before. Like, they
have information-gathering stuff, and like, have their shit together and in place.

Nia: So you’re saying the FBI has better institutional memory than we do?

Manish: (laughing) Yes! And then I also think like, just in terms of things that people have tried,
like, there are actually a lot of elders here. How many of us are actually talking with them, you
know, and like, supporting folks? That kind of thing. That’s scary to me. And like, the different
tactics and strategies that have been attempted before, instead of reinventing the wheel. That’s
one of the things that I’m excited about, this Bay Area – so, Peacock, one of our programs is a
Bay Area QTPOC co-producers round table. And what it was, is I was like, ―Hey, I don’t know
what the fuck I’m doing.‖ A lot of people helped build Peacock Rebellion, like helped talk with
me, gave advice, and I was like, ―You know what would be really great? If we all just talked to
each other.‖

So like, it’s housed in Peacock. It’s like Peacock Rebellion, Mangos with Chili, Queer Rebels,
were the first folks who came, and now we’re expanding it, like, Sins Invalid. And Sins Invalid –
like, Patty Berne has had my back so much, and now, our office – because our office is my
laptop – our office is moving into Sins Invalid. So I’ll be there a couple days a week, basically in
part because Patty was like, ―Hey, let’s like, don’t be isolated.‖ Because I’m also chronically,
multiply disabled, I’m severely depressed, and I have multiple chemical sensitivity. So, I can’t
go a lot of places. Or I’m often like, in bed working. And Sins Invalid is actually a place where I
can go. And they’ve been in it a long time, they’ve been at it for more than ten years, so they,
you know.

Nia: Yeah, and disability justice is, I was going to say a huge part of what they do, but really like
the core of what they do is like – how would you explain their work for folks who aren’t familiar
with the organization?

Manish: Sins Invalid, I think, looks at the intersection between disability and sexuality. And we
are having conversations, even right now there’s a crew of us talking about what is disability
justice really, versus what’s kind of just out there. What is it in practice, and how do we build it
into practice across the groups and networks we’re part of? But they have this core show and
because of this whole thing that folks with disabilities are often either an exotic fetish or are seen
as completely asexual or disgusting or whatever, and Sins Invalid fucking brings it hard. They’re
like, ―Well, let’s actually really look at this‖.

Nia: I guess I’d also like to talk about cultural norms in QTPOC organizing, specifically like – I
guess I’ve been thinking a lot about – okay, I’m just going to say what I want to say. (laughing)

Manish: Mhm.

Nia: I feel like it’s really important when you work with queer and trans people of color to be
flexible. And I don’t mean important, I mean like, extremely necessary.

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: Because – and I’ll share a little backstory which I’ve already told you – the panel that we
did yesterday originally had three people on it. Two of them had to drop out, one of them was
able to come back, but at the time where my panel went from three people to one person, I sent
e-mails to pretty much everyone and their mom seeing who could be on this panel because a one-
person panel is not going to work, and that’s how we ended up with six panelists. And I’m so
glad that everyone came through and that we had this big panel, and that we had more people in
the audience than on the panel, but I feel like emergency planning, or like backup planning is
really crucial. When you’re working with people in marginalized communities, you just have to
accept that people are going to have crises, people are going to – I don’t even want to call it
flaking – but they’re just going to have to back out because of circumstances, like getting jobs,
losing jobs, losing housing, I mean it could be anything from a mental health breakdown to
incarceration. That’s just the reality of the work that we’re doing. Even though I feel like that a
lot of the people that I work with have some of access to class privilege, or have been to college,
they are still dealing with really real shit that sometimes prevents them from showing up in the
ways that they might want to.

Yeah that’s what I want to put out there. I feel like you might have thoughts on this subject as
well.

Manish: (laughing) There’s a point where I can’t realistically do a show if someone turns in
their work the night before a show. That’s hard for me because I have a responsibility to our
communities to make sure that that shit is not fucked up. That there isn’t something that’s super
harmful, and that we’re doing high-quality work, that we need to run the technical stuff. But then
there’s the other part about flexibility – like, look, people run late to meetings, people – we
adapt. And sometimes someone can’t be in a show because they got deported. This is real shit.
This isn’t even like a, you know, things that have happened with our shows and programs, major
crisis in all of them, with all folks. Because these are our lives, our lives are an emergency, that’s
just—

Nia: More often than we would like.

Manish: For sure, more often than we would like, and of course, that’s part of the system. That’s
part of the structure, [is] to keep us frantic.

Nia: Yeah. I think for me, one of the strategies I’ve developed in terms of dealing with that is
like – I don’t want to say overcompensating, but like overbooking. I don’t want to say
overbooked yesterday but just like – potentially we could have had eight panelists (laughing) if
everyone – I don’t even know if that’s everyone that I invited, but if everyone had responded to
invites, there would have been a lot of people there. So I feel like the way that I deal with
knowing that people are going to have to bail, is by making sure that my bases are covered
anyway.

Manish: Mhm.

Nia: I’m curious if you have other strategies for that. The other thing I found through editing this
book is and running the podcast, is that like it’s really challenging to balance the desire to be
accountable and the desire to get shit done.

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: Do you want to talk about that?

Manish: (laughing) For sure. So, for example, the first Agen(c)y show, the date changed, like I
pushed it back like two or three times, right? We pushed it back at some points, too. I pushed
back a lot of programs and cut things out because for me, I’m – I also have to know that I can’t
keep giving so much of myself, because one: it’s like, yes, it’s passionate, like I’m very
passionate about it, and some days I’m like ―Oh my gosh,‖ I’ll be typing, I’ll be typing, or I’ll be
writing or whatever, and I’ll be like, ―Oh, it’s sixteen hours later. I really should have peed
several times by now.‖

Nia: Yeah, or eaten.

Manish: Or eaten! Right. I think this whole community care thing, like, I think I really
appreciate in Askari’s interview, about the differences between self-care as another task or thing
to do, like totally externalizes or puts it on folks who are already carrying a lot, carrying so much
more. How can we shift what we do, and have the process be as important as the product? So, for
me, I’m like – okay, this Brouhaha [social justice comedy class] event, or series, it’s like I’m not
making promises to people [that] I don’t think I can keep. There are things in the works for the
future of this program that I have not pitched until I know that I can, for example, get some funds
together to really actually say what we have. Or like, I haven’t promised the workshop
participants transportation stipends and stuff, but I’ve put it in the budget and I’m trying to get it
in to make that happen.

Nia: That’s really smart, to be working for that stuff but not promising it, because then, if it
comes through, it’s like it’s not an extra, because you’re always planning for it, but it’s like an
extra for the people that are receiving it, like ―Oh wow, they’ve really thought about my needs.‖

Manish: Mhm.

Nia: As opposed to like, ―Oh fuck, how am I gonna get there?‖ (laughing)

Manish: Yeah! And like, we did this show, Tenderfest, for example, and at first, we, um. Oh, I
should maybe back up and say what Peacock Rebellion is.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So, Peacock Rebellion is, it’s a crew of queer and trans people of color. We’re activists,
community organizers, artists, cultural workers, and healers. So everybody in our artistic core
has to have a background in all of them. So that’s a piece that’s really important to me. And then
the other – we have a set of criteria. So right now we’re recruiting new people to the artistic core.
And right now the artistic core – it’s myself, it’s Q. Quintero, Jen-Mei Wu, Leah-Lakshmi
Piepzna-Samarasinha, Vanessa Rochelle Lewis whose performance name is Jezebel Delilah X,
so that’s five. So we’re recruiting more folks to our artistic core, and part of the criteria is that we
have to have witnessed the folks be humble in practice. So we’re actively looking for people who
are like, actively not shit-talkers. We’re actually even more interested in that than a long
performance career, or a long artistic career. And frankly sometimes having a long performance
and artistic career means that is like a building of ego.

Nia: Well that’s interesting that you say that because I feel like you can’t have a long artistic
career if you’re constantly talking shit, and I might be wrong, I’m sure there are a lot of people
that are an exception to the rule, but eventually you run out of people who are willing to work
with you it seems.

Manish: Mm.

Nia: Is that, have you found that to be true or not true?

Manish: Well, I have found… I actually still believe that I’m pretty new, because I first
performed with Mangos with Chili in 2010. So for me, yeah. It still feels somewhat new. I think
one thing that I heard Juba say, and Juba is – have you interviewed Juba Kalamka?

Nia: Yeah.

Manish: Okay, he was like, ―Why do I keep getting performance gigs? It’s like, I show up on
time, I do good work, I’m really nice to people…‖ and there was a fourth thing that I can’t
remember, but it was probably like ―be a good listener‖ or something and I was just ignoring it.

(both laughing)

Manish: You know, and I think that’s the thing, like yeah, I would rather work with someone
whose artistic craft could use a little more support and development, than someone who can
bring a hundred people to a show, but is just mean. And I’ve learned really hard lessons.

Nia: I guess for me I feel like sometimes you don’t know people are going to be difficult to work
with until it’s too late. Have you figured out anything useful in terms of how to screen folks for
who will be good to work with and who might be more challenging?

Manish: Honestly, if I don’t know the person, if none of us, in our collective, or in the artistic
core, knows the person and their work, we typically ask other co-producers, anybody who has
worked with them. That’s typically the thing, and it’s tricky because who knows, you know?

Nia: That seems like it would make it harder to discover new talent.

Manish: Yeah, that’s the other piece, because we’re constantly trying to find like, we’re going to
all these shows, and trying to find new folks. So the other thing that we’re testing out is, having
craft development. So with Brouhaha, we’re training folks before they go on stage. They gotta
work some shit out together and learn, and in that five-week workshop series and stuff, we’ll get
a really good sense of: are there people there who we can pull into other projects, are there
people there we want to recruit into the collective? I think that’s something that’s been, that I’ve
been excited about testing out. We have a project like The Sock World, it’s a web reality series
featuring awkward activist QTPOC sock puppets. And we have this season that’s planned to
come out this summer, because the thing is like, Peacock Rebellion, we don’t just do comedy,
but we center comedy.

Nia: Has that always been the plan?

Manish: To center comedy? Yeah. That’s what I really wanted to bring. I think other folks do
some things so well, or like – we want to actually support this larger QTPOC arts world. Our
thing is like we want to focus on social justice, and focus on healing, healing from trauma, and
comedy is just a really beautiful way to do that. There aren’t a lot of QTPOC groups that like, I
think it’s really useful to build that into a, um, that’s something that I think I’m a lot better with
with comedy than with dramatic pieces, so yeah. That’s been helpful, to focus on that.

Nia: You keep coming back to the organizational structure, and you mentioned a couple times
that you’re looking to recruit new members to the core. That was one of the things that I wanted
to talk about, because I feel like that was one of the conflicts we had too when we were working
together, is that maybe I think I was like, ―I’m not interested in being part of Peacock Rebellion,
I just want to help produce this one show.‖ And I think you were looking for someone who was
able to commit on a deeper level. And so I’m interested – I’m interested because did you – I
think you pulled in another co-producer after I left, right?

Manish: Mhm.

Nia: I guess I’m curious: One, did you bump head with other people you were organizing with,
or was it just like, I don’t know, because of our history that we had trouble. And the other
question is like, yeah, how does organizing structure work? How do you share power and
responsibility in a way that feels good and sustainable, or do you…?

Manish: I think it works really well because I’m the Supreme Overlord. No, jk.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So, I… when I first started in these interviews with some folks, when I was thinking of
recruiting folks, I wanted it to start as a collective at the very beginning.

Nia: But it started as just you.

Manish: But it started as just me. So one person was like, ―I don’t want to sit in a room for six
months to wordsmith a mission statement. I want you to build something, and I want to know
what I’m signing up for. I want to see how it happens in community.‖ And, you know, whatever.
And, and so then it’s really clear.

Nia: I feel like I might’ve said something really similar. Like, what am I signing up for exactly?

Manish: Yeah. And for me, I think I’m more of – while, I’m still a logistics person, like I think
I’m also a big-picture – I have a plan for where I want Peacock to be ten years from now. So I’m
working toward that. And I think the people – and I did, you know, I think that was one of the
things that like, I wanted to recruit people to build something together, that I didn’t know at the
time was going be. I was like, ―Oh, we’re going to creatively imagine what it’s going to be
together!‖ You know, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s tagline is, ―Liberation is a collective
process.‖ So I was just like, ―Yes, and together it’s going to be wonderful! And somehow, we
will be conflict-free! And whatever!‖ You know. And… and it just didn’t go down like that. Like
I think – the co-producer I worked with, Maya [Chapina], is epic – not that you’re not epic –

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: But I pulled her in twelve weeks before the show. That is a ridiculous amount of work
to put on, for someone. So I was really clear about like, this is what we, you know, and we
adapted. We figured out how to make things work. And I learned a lot from that, too, because
one of the – I was running fundraising, I was running promotions, I was also running production,
and she took on a lot of production stuff. So I was doing that, I was working with artists, I was
launching the organization, I was dealing with stuff with the IRS, I was dealing with stuff with
out fiscal sponsor, I was trying to hustle any funds I could.

Nia: Did you already have a fiscal sponsor at that point?

Manish: We had a fiscal sponsor – at the time of the show, yeah. By November, we had a fiscal
sponsor. We had one, we got one at like the end of August, and it was basically like this group in
New York that was pretty hands-off.

Nia: Was it like Fractured Atlas?

Manish: Yeah, Fractured Atlas. And we switched since then. It’s now Queer Cultural Center,
and they’re actually teaching me a lot more, connecting me with a lot more folks, too.

Nia: Yeah. Probably helps that they’re local.

Manish: Yeah. It totally helps that they’re local. I was doing so much. And I think I tried to
cultivate relationships with folks and I didn’t necessarily – you know, there’s some folks I
learned from the first show I don’t particularly – I think we don’t work well together, or and
there’s some other folks I’m like, ―I think you’d be great at this thing, but not this thing over
here.‖

And so now with Brouhaha, Vanessa Rochelle Lewis is officially the project director. We’re
doing it together, but she’s running – she’s doing a ton. We talk about like, ―Hey, is this
working? Is this working for this skillset? Is this working for this time? Is this working for, for
example, where my mental health might be?‖ or whatever, and we started working like last fall
for a series that’s starting in April, so we gave ourselves a lot more time, and even still, we could
be doing a lot better, about communicating with like Micia and you, for example.

So we’re getting better, I think.

Nia: So how do you share leadership within the organization?

Manish: I think the iron fist works really well… I should take that joke out for folks who are of
a particular political framework.

Nia: I feel like the more times you make that joke, the easier it’ll be for people to tell that it’s not
really a joke.

Manish: Ok, that’s fair.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So yeah, this thing about being artistic director – we just had our first artistic core
meeting a couple months ago. So we’ve operating – basically what it’s been is that I’ve been
having one-on-one conversations with people because folks have completely different schedules,
in different capacities at different times and my job as like, running shit and whatever, is to
adapt. Adapt, adapt, adapt, show up for people, like, support. So I’m trying this coaching style of
leadership. At our first artistic core meeting a couple months ago, I asked a series of questions. I
was like: What are your biggest dreams for your artwork, also for Peacock Rebellion? What are
your skillsets? What are you most excited about? What do you not want to do?

And I asked, ―What does the world need Peacock Rebellion to be?‖ So those are like some of the
things. Some of these questions are things I’ve asked them as we’re discussing whether to join
the collective, but I wanted people to talk together about it. It’s fucking amazing, the things
we’ve taken off our plate, the things that we’ve added because of that, and so I also put out like a
budget. I was like, ―Hey, you all! So, this is like a draft budget for this year. So, what do you
think about it?‖ whatever. And I think it took a little bit. Some folks were like, ―Okay yeah, take
that out, change this, da da da. That’s cool.‖ And other folks – people have different skillsets and
experience with that kind of stuff, so we had conversations. And other folks were like, ―Oh,
don’t you decide this?‖ and I’m like, ―No. Not anymore.‖

Nia: (laughing) Okay I just want to say, I feel like that was another reason we had conflict, is
because you had fundraising goals. You had a lot more fundraising experience than I did, or I do,
and I felt like your fundraising goals were really ambitious, and I think my telling you that made
you feel really unsupported, but whatever the number was, you were like, ―Oh, we can raise this,
no problem.‖ And I was like, ―Whoaaa, dude. I don’t know if I can commit to helping you raise
that much because I don’t even know what that looks like. I’ve never done that before.‖

Manish: Yeah, I think it was like a twelve thousand dollar goal, something like that.

Nia: Something like that.

Manish: Surprise! We didn’t raise that goal.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: We raised four grand, basically with very little work. Like, very little.

Nia: What’s ―very little work‖ to you?

Manish: To me? Yeah, that’s fair because I’m a workaholic. So, I did put together a team of, I
don’t know, sixteen people or something. And I said I was going to give them regular coaching
and e-mail and help them with calls. I didn’t do any of that. I did like a couple e-mails. Some
people did their, you know, sent the e-mails out and stuff, or shared it on Facebook or whatever,
and some people didn’t, which is standard for a campaign. And I put together the perks, and
mailed the stuff off, and like, ordered t-shirts and a lot of the perks at the end of the campaign
happened after the show. So yeah, I did that.

And I – excuse me – I recorded the videos, recorded and edited the videos myself in iMovie, they
were tacky, but they got the job done. Yeah, but in terms of a campaign that I think is really
successful, now we’re learning what we need to put in place to have a really successful campaign
and part of that is the sustainability so I don’t burn out.

Nia: Yeah, that seems like it would be a huge part.

Manish: Yeah, I think a lot of folks think like, ―Oh, I’m just gonna put a campaign up, or a page
up, on Indiegogo, and magically the QTPOC unicorn will – ―

Nia: Will just appear!

Manish: Yeah. No, it’s a lot of work. For me, it’s like, ―What’s the long term relationship that
we’re building for this?‖ because it ain’t just about the show, it’s about how are we building that
world that we want to live in? So, in terms of other things around power, so for example with the
choosing who was going to be in Brouhaha, in the workshops, so Micia, Vanessa, and I decided
together. We each had our nominations, and then if there was any question, or any hesitation,
from any of us about anyone, we’d bring it up in the three of us, and then if there was a larger
hesitation after that, it went to Peacock Rebellion’s artistic core.

Nia: And did that actually end up happening?

Manish: Yeah, that’s what happened. And I think it’s great. For example, there was at least one
situation where there was – I had strong disagreement with the rest of the artistic core. I had this
moment where I was, ―Oh my gosh, I get to shut the fuck up!‖

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: That’s it! I can say the thing and we decide together and it’s consensus. My response to
that was, ―So we’re agreed then, right?‖ And it felt so good! Because even though I had strong
disagreement, the larger thing is the process, like why people had the thing. I was just like, ―Oh
my gosh, we’re actually, like seriously, it isn’t just me.‖ That felt really good.

Yeah, and I’ve also been told things like cutting things out of the budget. Because I’m usually
being like, ―Okay, we need to have everybody’s meals and transportation, and we need to buy
them a car! We need to…‖ whatever. People have been like, ―Manish, you have five grand on
your credit card right now. We cannot.‖ It’s irresponsible, also to our community, because folks
don’t know how much we’re spending on – people are not raining money down from the sky,
foundations are not raining money on us. I am on some shit list because our first show was on the
nonprofit industrial complex and I really thought there wasn’t a shit list… until I found out I was
on it.

Nia: So you thought you were going to make this show criticizing the NPIC and not have any
trouble, or hard feelings, from anyone in the Bay Area?

Manish: (laughing) No, I knew that that would happen, but I didn’t realize just how many jobs
would be shut to me. That, I didn’t expect. Like I thought that people would be like, ―Oh,
whatever.‖ Or that we wouldn’t get foundation money, or that kind of thing, but I really did not
expect – because I was so used to being tokenized, for one, I was like –

Nia: You were like, ―This is going to last forever!‖

Manish: Yeah! I was like, ―I am a queer person of color with disabilities, who can raise a gob-
ton of money.‖ Like, I was recruited constantly in the past, until I did this show. So that was
really surprising to me.

Nia: I feel like it’s worth mentioning for folks who might not know, that nonprofits are like a
pretty huge source of employment – in the Bay area – but specifically for young queer and trans
people of color. And so having this show was both really crucial and like, it makes sense to me
that people would be scared to put their names on it.

Manish: Yeah, and I was surprised also – just randomly, we were featured in the Guardian UK,
online. Random, right? The places we’re getting press – the San Francisco Chronicle, like all
these places I didn’t necessarily expect, would call us. There is a lot of visibility and a lot of risk.
Part of the thing for me about Peacock Rebellion is like, it is about risk. Our lives are very risky,
but how can we have some kind of shield? Because then it’s influencing the work.

Nia: If no one can get jobs?

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: (laughing) Which is already hard enough.

Manish: Right.

Nia: So does that make you feel more inclined to bite your tongue, or just make you want to go
harder?

Manish: It makes me want to go harder. It makes me want to build a world where people don’t
have to worry about that kind of thing, not worry about being able to get a job because they’re
speaking their truths about the realities of this horrible structure of violence that is the nonprofit
industrial complex. And to name it as violence, I’m really excited – so one person said to me,
―Why does Incite! [Women of Color Against Violence] have this conference, this group, and
why are they doing all this work around the nonprofit industrial complex when they’re an anti-
violence group?‖ And I was like, ―I feel like you answered your own question.‖

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: Okay, that was inside voice. Outside voice was like, ―Oh, well. Maybe there’s some
answers in the book [The Revolution Will Not Be Funded]!‖ and a former boss said that.

Nia: So I asked you this before, but I’m gonna try to ask it again in a different way. I guess I’m
really interested in – I feel like I’m not super knowledgeable in disability justice. I think that it’s
something I’ve only recently become knowledgeable at all about. I’m really interested in trying
to balance providing everyone’s access needs and getting shit done. Do those things get into
conflict with each other, and if so, how do you deal with it? Does that make sense?

Manish: Yeah, so I think the Bay – here’s the thing, and this is gonna be a snarky observation,
and I’m really being honest and it’s rooted in some pain for me. I have noticed a lot of people
throwing around the phrase ―access needs‖ to talk about wants. And I think it is very – one of the
things about, for me, about disability justice, is like it’s no fucking joke. For example, for this
interview, for listeners, Nia asked me, like we tried to figure out, ―Are stairs okay?‖ like that
kind of stuff. So yes, there’s access needs, but it’s also about the, ―I witness you.‖ There’s
something there for me about like, there’s so many spaces I can’t even go into.

So, when things come into conflict – there’s this, not an arts group, but there’s this ongoing
conversation, for example – oh, I’ll give one concrete example at Peacock. So, for our Brouhaha
workshop series, we had a statement around being fragrance-free. And I was really careful about
how I wrote that particular statement. And I didn’t say, ―Oh, please be fragrance-free, here’s a
link.‖ And I didn’t say – you know, there’s a lot of things I’m so used to reading. But what I
wanted, I was just like, ―Look. Some people in this program have an illness that is caused by
environmental racism, that is caused by colonizers’ wars, and that disproportionately affects and
impacts communities of color. So we’re asking you as a statement of solidarity with other folks
of color to be able to do this.‖ But then I also had, ―To be fragrance-free, here’s how. Here’s
products specific to POC.‖ But then I also wanted to acknowledge communities of color use
products that make other folks sick. So like my grandmother’s rose oil that she uses in her hair
that’s been part of our lineage for a long time, will make me sick. That kind of stuff.

I think it can play out as, with fragrance-free stuff, some folks being like, ―Oh, I need essential
oils as part of my commitment against white supremacy to honor my tradition.‖ And other folks
being like, ―Look, I could have a seizure.‖ Communities of color have had to learn to adapt for
survival to support ourselves and each other. So how do we actually build new traditions and
reimagine these spaces? Part of it is like, for me, a person’s life is worth doing that for.

We are building in – we asked in our application form for Brouhaha, we left it actually blank.
We were like, ―Put your access needs here.‖ Like, we gave some examples where like,
―Childcare. Fragrance-free requests.‖ We put a couple things as like, you know. And then we got
information that way. If someone put in like, ―Hey, I’m neuroatypical‖, for example, I have a lot
of learning I need to do around that. I need to know, and that we would have had to build into the
curriculum planning. So that’s the kind of shit we have to, we need to, be able to do, and I’m still
learning how to do it. So it’s a lot easier for me to be like, ―Okay, all of our programs are at
spaces that are wheelchair-accessible.‖ We work really hard to have spaces that are fragrance-
free, and that’s really hard. The venue that we’re using for our workshops happens to be a place
where they’re actually really knowledgeable around fragrance-free stuff.

Nia: That’s awesome. So I had a pretty big wake-up call on tour. I had a number of big wake-up
calls when I was on tour with Mangos with Chili. One of them is that I have chronic pain, and I
have structured my whole life around it without actually acknowledging that that’s what I was
doing, or realizing that’s that was what I was doing. So we did have a conversation at the
beginning of tour, like, what are everyone’s access needs. And I feel like everyone shared
something, and a lot of people shared a lot, but even just figuring out what your access needs are
is a whole process in itself I think, which I did not know at the beginning of tour, what my access
needs are, and I have a much better idea now.

Manish: I mean, we’re planning a fall tour right now.

Nia: Oh, wow.

Manish: So that’s a mini-tour. We’re planning this show on the academic industrial complex.
So, right now –

Nia: I feel like that’s a super academic term in and of itself.

Manish: I agree!

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So what we’re looking at, we’re doing a show that looks at how school and school
systems reinforce violence, different types of violence, whether it’s Catholic school, or student
loan debt, or schools as extensions of ICE, or the school-to-prison pipeline, or the alarm bell
system, or like, metal detectors in schools and stuff, privatized police forces that are now in high
schools.

Nia: So are you looking to have high school students actually in the show and on the tour?

Manish: We are looking at the liability issues right now.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: Um.

Nia: I wouldn’t even know how to start researching liability issues.

Manish: With… well. Really, it’s calling insurance, like liability insurance companies who work
with artists, first, and being like, ―Hey, what are the things we need to think about?‖ and also
folks who’ve done this before. The other piece is, with folks under eighteen, I don’t plan on
touring with them. What I want, what I hope is, we gotta figure out as a collective, that we work
with local – that each place we go, there are local young folks we are already building with, who
are performing, so that also we have some money that is going to local folks. So that’s part of it,
and also, really, I’m not trying to be sued for transporting a minor from state to state or whatever.

Nia: Is that illegal?

Manish: No, I don’t think it’s – I didn’t phrase it properly. I’m afraid that we’re like, a queer and
trans people of color organization. We talk about sex a lot. Yeah, there’s just stuff, you know?

Nia: How do you tour ethically when you have people that have all these different risks and
needs? Just being a group of queer and trans folks of color traveling the country, you’re already a
target in a lot of ways. I was saying, I feel like we have a lot of things we have to sort of plan for,
like dealing with border control – or, patrol? Patrol, that’s the word I’m looking for. Dealing
with border patrol. I don’t know if there’s other arts organizations, like non-QTPOC, non-
disability justice organizations, that deal with or think about this stuff. I feel like that’s why
we’re always, not recreating the wheel, but just like, figuring stuff out for the first time, all the
time. (laughing)

Manish: Mhm. Yeah. In part because they’re changing the rules all the time.

Nia: Who?

Manish: I think the people who make the rules. Right, like there are these restrictions, like
there’s a new way of control. Like, it’s interesting that you said border ―control‖. It’s control of a
lot of borders, and binaries, and walls). So yeah, we do have to think about this shit, and I wish
that more of us thought about this shit more intentionally, and I think that it’s hard, because for
me, there’s a part of me that I don’t want to necessarily plan sixteen months out for shit. I don’t
know what’s gonna happen in my life! I might be dead in sixteen months out. These are – our
lives are so precious. I was going to say… tentative.

Yeah, it frustrates me that we live in a world where not everybody is thinking about this shit, and
it also frustrates me that we have to. And I wish I had answers to it. I wish I knew how to
responsibly tour with undocumented folks. Because the first thing that comes up for me is being
like this parental figure, being like, ―Don’t fuck up, documented folks! Don’t do anything that
puts people at risk!‖ And trying to figure out a way of having that conversation, over and over
again, because I know that when I’ve been on tour, and what I’ve heard from every QTPOC
producer who’s talked about folks being on tour, being like ―Yeah, a lot of people wild out.‖
People wanna go, ―Woo, I’m on tour!‖ and it’s like, ―Actually, put the weed away.‖

Nia: Don’t have the weed on the fucking bus.

Manish: Yes! Don’t have the weed on the fucking bus! Why would you think that we would not
get stopped? We got to figure out a way, and it’s not about sucking it up. I think it’s not about
sacrifice, it’s about, again, reimagining how we’re showing up and stuff, and being like, ―This is
a good thing! This is a good thing that we’re caring for each other, and that we’re thinking about
this stuff, like how to have each other’s backs.‖

Nia: So tell me about what you have coming up.

Manish: Everything at Peacock is a response to something, so we’re trying to focus on solutions.
So I started this thing after years of burning out on – I was like, working for my idol in D.C., I
was like, working on this big march, I was working in the field or whatever. It was six weeks, a
different city every day, I was basically – my time off was 2am to 6am, which is when I was like
sleeping. I finally, I was just burning out so badly, and then I started writing a musical comedy
about the nonprofit industrial complex, and as I started more stories, or as I started telling more
people I was collecting more stories from people, so then I had, I dunno, thousands by the time I
– I was also working at this fundraising center – so years later I got to hear a lot of nonprofit
stories across different issues and movements.

So the first show Peacock did was called Agen(c)y: Nonprofit Dreams and Disasters. Yeah, we
talked about it, the nonprofit industrial complex show. And we’re doing a smaller version of it at
the Allied Media Conference.

Nia: Which I’m very excited for.

Manish: The conference?

Nia: Both. This is the first year that I’m going, but I’m excited to see Agen(c)y when I get there.

Manish: Hey! Yeah, it’ll be a very scaled back version, but then we have a workshop attached to
it, where folks are going to create their own media around the nonprofit industrial complex. And
then the next round of that, we are launching – actually, it’s a secret project, but something huge.
And then our second thing that we did, and we didn’t say it was a Peacock Rebellion project at
first, because we were afraid we were gonna get sued, it was called – so what was happening
was, last summer, all the stuff around anti-black racism in Oakland, a lot of stuff I think was
coming to a head, even though it’s been visible for, you know?

Nia: Could you be a little more specific about how?

Manish: Yes. So what I was noticing with a lot of my friends was, Fruitvale Station just came
out, there’s the Zimmerman case, there were one or two other things around police brutality and
something else, that were going down. And particularly in Oakland, I was hearing a lot of
trauma. Yeah, I was like, ―Oh, shit. Like, things are really hard. You know, a lot of folks are
really hurting.‖ And some stuff around femmephobia, and whatever, other things were going
down that I was hearing about. So I put together this show called Tenderfest. Tenderfest: A
Queer People of Color Community Love Extravaganza. I was like, ―Okay, a lot of folks aren’t
necessarily going to want to come to a workshop, but will come to a show.‖ So we again, we had
a show, we packed the house, which was cool. It was a smaller house, but it was at the Living
Room Project, and we had things like people asking for consent, and getting consent around
things like hugging, and like dapping, like a lot of different things. Like, an herbal tincture bar,
and yoga postures that are like disability justice-focused around when folks are triggered, and
stuff. And it went really well! So it was QPOC only, so we did run the risk of getting sued,
actually. So we said first that it was a ―private fundraiser‖ for Peacock Rebellion. And folks have
asked us actually to make a second version of it, and make it a two or three-day festival, so both
the cabaret piece and the workshops, so I was like, cool, that actually opens space.

And then next is this academic industrial complex show. What we want to do is use that as a
launchpad for kind of an anti-MFA program, so people shouldn’t have to saddle themselves with
loan debt or whatever to get the skills, resources, connections. So I’m trying to roll out this
Peacock Institute for Social Transformation, PIST. I think there are a lot of QTPOC groups that
do… there aren’t actually. There aren’t a lot of QTPOC groups.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: But in terms of QTPOC arts groups, I think it would be really cool to have a group that
focuses on craft development for QTPOC who want to use their work for social justice, and that
they shouldn’t have to go to an MFA program for this. I think it would be great if any listener
happens to know anyone who can, for example, teach around podcasting, I think that would be
really –

Nia: You know you can just ask me, right? You brought this up yesterday, too.

Manish: Oh! Yeah, I’m thinking of it partially as a joke to kind of see your responses.

Nia: I pitched a ―How to Podcast‖ workshop for the Allied Media Conference. So yes, I would
be happy to teach one, especially if there’s money attached to it. We could talk about that later.

Manish: What a great idea.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So in the sense of like, so I’m really optimistic about the potential. We have a huge
program this spring. It’s called Brouhaha: Queer and Trans People of Color Activist Comics of
Color Rise Up. So what it was, is I was noticing a lot of stand-up comics who were doing,
focusing on social justice and a ton of comics using stand-up comedy to say horrible things!
Racist, sexist, transphobic, fatphobic, you know, you name it, things.

Nia: I also feel like that’s how most comics start out. What’s the lowest-hanging fruit? ―I know.
I’ll kick someone who’s already down!‖ And then, I don’t know, I’ve heard that’s why open-mic
nights are so brutal. I’ve never been to one, and hopefully I never will.

Manish: Oof, yeah. So I started making this list of stand-up comics I was really excited about.
And then, Jezebel Delilah X wrote this post on Black Girl Dangerous about stand up comedians
who she thought really did work for social justice, and who weren’t fucked up, and she named
me as one of them, which was hilarious because I’ve never trained as a stand-up comedian. And
she misspelled my name, but that’s okay.

(both laughing)

Manish: So, I thought, ―Oh gosh. She would be fantastic to run this program.‖ And then we
hustled Micia Mosely! I was like, ―I’ll just e-mail Micia Mosely!‖ Oh no, and then I ran into her
at the Meditation Center, of course. Of course. At POC Meditation Night.

Nia: She has a comedy bit about Meditation Night.

Manish: Does she? (laughing) Yeah, I gotta listen to that. Yeah, so I just ran into her and I was
like, ―Hey, Micia Mosely, I’ve seen you at SF WAR [Women Against Rape] things, like we’re
doing this thing!‖ I can’t believe we got Micia Mosely to teach this thing, so what the thing is, is
a five-week intensive on the craft of writing and performing stand-up comedy for social justice.
So it’s great that it’s not just comedy-writing craft, but it’s also grounded in social justice, and
not just the people who are involved in the training are social justice-oriented. I thought we
would be scrambling for applications. We did very little promo, and we got triple the number of
applications I thought we would get, and we whittled down the list to about eleven people, who
are gonna go through this program of the workshops, of like work in progress, and have two
shows at the National Queer and Arts Festival, so we are hooking them up to get this big debut,
and we’re working on other things for them, too. So, pretty excited about that. And I’m hoping –
yeah?

Nia: When are the shows?

Manish: When? So Brouhaha shows, please save the date, if you listen to this before June 2014,
they are Thursday June 5
th
, 2014 at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San
Francisco. And we only have four hundred seats, so if we’re gonna go a scarcity model on that
shit, get your ticket.

Nia: (laughing) That’s for each show, four hundred?

Manish: That’s pretty chill?

Nia: I said that’s for each show, versus like two hundred and two hundred?

Manish: Oh no, it’s two hundred each. So total, we can only… yeah. Every show we’ve had so
far has been sold out and have had to turn people away, so definitely get on that. To do that, you
can go to PeacockRebellion.org, or facebook.com/PeacockRebellion, or
Brouhaha2014.tumblr.com.

If you’re a queer and/or trans person of color, and want to be involved in our work, just go to
PeacockRebellion.org and send us an e-mail. Ideally, if you’re not in the Bay area, e-mail us and
bring us to your town! Especially, we’re hella broke, it’s all on our credit card, my credit card,
actually.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: So that’d be so great, particularly if you have connections to a school, that’s great for
us because if we get a school to pay for us, then we can also do a community show, so that
would be great.

Nia: Yeah, so that was another thing I realized on tour, how much schools are really who funds
artists and that’s really where money comes from. I mean, there’s crowdfunding, but honestly I
think the way a lot of artists survive is through gigs at colleges. So if you’re a student, you might
think you don’t have that much power, but you do actually have power to put food in our fridge
[by bringing us to your campus], so please do.

Manish: Even QTPOC artists who are famous, or like gay-mous, don’t make a lot of money.
Like people who have all these awards and books out and stuff don’t make a lot of money, so we
actually really legitimately like, that could help pay for someone’s root canal, you know? That’s
real.

Nia: Yeah, yeah. There’s this weird like – in the system that we have now, exposure does not
mean money, and so it’s really – I don’t want to say it’s really easy to have exposure, but – it’s
much easier to get exposure than it is to get paid.

Like I feel like there’s this false – like, Kortney Ryan Ziegler talked about this a little bit, too –
that there’s this false illusion that oh, if you’re in a magazine you must be making money and it’s
like, ―No. I got interviewed, and people don’t pay for interviews, usually.‖

Manish: Mhm. Yeah.

Nia: I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. Exposure does not equal rolling in cash. (laughing)

Manish: It’s true. In terms of like, ―being the change,‖ or being part of the solution… No, but
really, if you know folks who can hook a QPOC up, hook us up. E-mail us.

Nia: Yeah.

Manish: Yeah.

Nia: You are continuing to do some really amazing work that I hope that someday I can figure
out a way to be a part of without us wanting to kill each other.

Manish: That would be lovely!

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: I feel – and the thing is, Nia, we have talked for quite a bit. My butt has made a
permanent indentation on your couch, and we are not – I’ll speak for myself – I do not want to
kill you –

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: – and I think another world is possible. It’s happening. Right here, in the relationships
we can build together, so I hope folks, if there’s anyone you’ve been like, ―Aw, I miss booface‖
or like, there may not be a person who can be like, ―Get your shit together, because have to, I
want to work with this person,‖ you might have to be that person.

Nia: You might have to be your own Micia Mosely.

Manish: You might have to be your own Micia Mosely! Yeah, channel your inner Micia
Mosely, and like, reach out to someone you’ve been wanting to connect with, or reconnect with.

Nia: Yeah, well, I’m glad you don’t want to kill me because I’m your ride home.

Manish: Oh yeah, that’s true. That’d be awkward.

Nia: (laughing)

Manish: Because we’d both go careening into some, I mean, you’d already be dead, but I mean
for practical –

Nia: (laughing) Okay, this just took a really dark turn.

Manish: (laughing) I don’t know if the listeners get my humor.

Nia: (laughing) Alright, everyone, be sure to check out PeacockRebellion.org. I’ll see you next
month.

Manish: (laughing) Okay, thanks! Thanks, Nia!