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WeWanttheAirwavesQueerRebels

TranscribedbyGunjanChopra
(musicalintro)
KaliBoyce:WeareQueerRebels.I'mKB.ThisisCeleste.
CelesteChan:Hello!
KB:WecofoundedQueerRebelsin2008.Weareaperformanceprojectthatprogramsand
curatesevents
Celeste:multidisciplinaryeventsfromfilmtomusictospokenwordtoplaywritingto
experimentalperformanceart...basicallyeverything.
KB:Allqueerandtranspeopleofcolorcreatedthough.
Celeste:Right.
KB:Andwe'rereallyaboutthecreationofnewartforthefuture,aswellasthearchivingofthe
artthatqueerandtranspeopleofcolorcreatetoday,forthefuture.
Celeste:Basicallyourmissionstatementistobreakitdowndoartsforqueerandtransartistsof
colour,toconnectgenerationsandtohonorourhistorieswithartforthefuture.
KB:Soyeahthat'swhatwe'reabout.
Celeste:That'swhatQueerRebelsisabout.(laughs)Yeah.
KB:It'sourbaby,basically.
Celeste:Yeah...It'sourlovebaby.(laughs)
KB:Peopleask,"Ohareyougonnahavekids?"
(Celestelaughs)
KB:Wehavekids!Andwe'rereallyproudofthem!

NiaKing:Soyeah,forthosewhodon'tknow,youareacouple.
Celeste:Yeah!(laughs)
KB:(laughs)Wellyeah,there'sthat.Andwe'vebeentogetherlongerthanQueerRebels,butwe
recentlygotmarried,soweareactually,youknow
Celeste:official.(laughs)
KB:Yeah,official.Businessandeverythingcouple.
Nia:Congratulations.
KB:Thankyou.
Celeste:Thanks.
Nia:IthinkyoumightbethefirstQPOCpowercoupleI'vehadonthepodcast.
Celeste:Oh!(laughs)
KB:Wereapowercouple,"hun.Woohoo!
(laughter)
Nia:Doyouwannatalkalittlebitaboutwhoyouareasindividuals?Iknowyou'rebothartists
inyourownright.
KB:Ladiesfirst,babe.
Celeste:Oh,Iwasgonnasayyoufirst!(laughs)
KB:Afteryou,love.
Celeste:Afteryou.

KB:Allright!WellIamthe
Celeste:Talkaboutyourpunkdays!(laughs)
KB:Mypunkdays.I'vebeenanartist,musician,writer,filmmaker,allthiskindastuff,allmy
life.SoI'mreallyblessedinthatregard.
Nia:DidyoubothgrowupintheBay?
KB:IgrewupinBrooklyn,NewYork.InfactIwasinNewYork.WhenIwasateenager,Iwas
songwriter/frontpersonforabandcalledNastyFacts.Wewereapunkband.Soweputalittle
recordoutbackinthedayandIwouldrunaroundplayingitatCBGB'sandatMax'sKansas
Cityandjointslikethat.
Nia:Andthiswould'vebeenapproximatelywhen?
KB:Thiswouldbearound1978.
Nia:Ohwow.
Celeste:InNewYork.
KB:InNewYork,duringthat.Sothatwasmyupbringing.Ialsomanagedthatband.Iwasthe
frontperson,manager,Iwrotethesongs
Celeste:gotgigs...
KB:Igotusgigs.AndIdidn'tthinkanythingaboutit.Itwasjustlikenatural,itwasjustwhatI
wantedtodo.Ijustwantedtomakeithappen.
Nia:Ihavesomanymorequestions!(laughs)Maybesomedaywecandoapart2,justtalk
aboutpunkrock.(laughs)
KB:Iwouldloveto.Becausethatwassomethatwasacrazytime.Rightwhenithappened!I
wasateenagerandIwasout,Iwasgay,andIwastryingtofigureout...Iwasprobably15,Iwas
16whenwegotsigned.Wegotsignedandputoutalittlerecord.

Nia:Whosignedyou?
KB:AnindielabelcalledJimboco.
Nia:Okay.
KB:YoucanactuallystillfindThebandwascalledNastyFacts,onework.Andyoucangoogle
usandyou'llseepicturesofmewithmy
Celeste:stillhasthesamestyle!(laughs)
KB:Ikindastillwearthem...
Nia:Samestylefashionwiseormusicwise?
KB:Morefashionwise.
Celeste:Thespiritofpunk
KB:Thespiritofpunkisinme.I'vecalledmyselfaqueerbluesmusiciannow.Iqueertheblues.
I'vebeendoingthatsincelike2006.
Nia:Andyouhavethebluehairtomatch.(laughs)Whichtheycan'tsee.
KB:Yeah.ThatattitudeandDIYanddon'tthinkaboutwhatotherpeoplearesayingaboutyou
kindaattitudethatIgotfrombeingayoungpunkhasnevereverleftme.
Nia:Yeah.I'mreallygladyoubroughtthatup.BecauseIfeellike,I'mapersonofcolorwho
waspoliticizedwithinpunkrockandanarchapunkactivism,andmybeingbrownandbeing
punktherearecertainthingsthatI'vehadto...like,onesortofdetractsfromtheother.
KB:Right.
Nia:ButtheDIYethictotallystickswithyouandalsoissupercrucialtogettingshitdonewith
verylittleresources.
(*snaps*)

KB:Thankyouuu.
Nia:WhichiswhatsomuchofQPOCandQPOCartactivisminparticulararedoing.
KB:Areabout.That'swhatwehavetobeabout.Right.Well,QueerRebelscomesfromCeleste
andIfeelingliketherewerenotenoughspacesforqueerandtransartistsofcolortoa)getany
gigs,b)getanyrespect,andc)getpaid!Getrecognizedforcreatingthisincredibleartthatwe
create.Wecannothelpit.That'swhatwedowecreate.
Celeste:Especiallythosewhoaredoingexperimentalworkorthosewhoaredoingworksthat
arechallengingorprovocative.Orworksthatreallytieintohistory.
KB:SowecameupwiththeideaofQueerRebelstocreatespace,tocreateaplatform,tocreate
anopeningforqueerandtransartistsintheworld.Becauseyoulookaround,youjustdon'tsee
it.It'snotlikewe'rebrandnew.It'slike,youknow,queerartistsofcolorhavebeenaround
forever.WhatinspiredusinitiallywastheHarlemRenaissanceandtheenergythattheLGBT
communitybroughttothatmovement,reallysparkedustostartwithQueerRebelsoftheHarlem
Renaissance.Ourprojecthasgrownsincethen.Butthatissoimportantforfolkstoknowthe
history.Weneedtoknowaboutourhistory.Especiallywithallthestuffthat'sgoingdownright
now.
Celeste:Oh,yeah.
KB:Weallneedtorealizeandrecognizethatwe'vebeenthroughThisisastrugglethatis
ongoing.It'sbeenhappeningalongtime.Butwe'vealwaysbeenthereintheforefront.Withart.
Andit'sreallyneededduringthesetimesofstruggle.Weneedtobeabletoleanbackon
somethingthatwe'vecreated,andwhatwe'resayingtoourcommunity.That'swhat's...
Anyway,that'swherewe'reat,istryingtogetthatpointacross.Andjusttryingtogetourartout
there.Notjustforus,butforthecommunity.TherearesomanyartistswhoareSOtalented,and
folksneedtoknowthat.Andthat'swherewe'reat.Gettingthewordoutthere.
Nia:Doyouwanttotalkalittlebitaboutyourworkasanindividualartist?
Celeste:Oh,sure.Yeah.IgrewupinSeattle.RiotGrrlwasalittlebitbeforemytime,but
definitelyinfluencedme.MovedtoOlympiaandfinishedschoolatEvergreenStateCollege.So
wasaroundalotofwhatwashappeningthere,likethesecretcafes,orallthedragshows,and

rockoperas,andthingsthatwerehappening
KB:Whatsthetimeframe?
Celeste:Oh,timeframe.Late90's,early2000's.Roughly.Sothingshaddefinitelyshifted.ButI
thinkdefinitelyI'malsoinspiredbytheDIYethos.Notwaitingaroundforsomethingtohappen
butgoinginandmakingithappen.Regardlessofwhatkindofresourcesyouhaveordon'thave.
Orwhatkindofsupportyouhaveordon'thave.(laughs)
Let'ssee,whatelsecanItellyou.Yeah,soatEvergreen,Igotmystartinvideoandwriting
there.Basicallywehadunlimitedaccesstotheeditingsuitesandtocamerasandtoallofthat,
whichIreallymiss!Ireallywishyoucouldhavethatatanyotherschool.Youdidn'thavetobea
filmmajortogetthatkindofaccess.That'sreallywhatgotmestartedinfilm,havingthat
freedomtousetheequipmentandtoexperiment.ImoveddowntotheBayArea...Myparents
actuallymetintheBayAreaandlivedhereduringthe60'sand70's...
Nia:AretheylikewhatyouwouldimagineacouplelivingintheBayareaatthattimewouldbe
like?
Celeste:(laughs)Well...let'ssee.HowdoIdescribe...?
KB:They'reasweet,mixedracecouple.
Celeste:Yeah...Theywerescholarshipstudents.Mydad'sChinesefromMalaysia,mymom's
JewishfromtheBronx.Andgosh,theywere...HowcanIdescribethem?
Nia:AshkenaziJewishor?
Celeste:Yeah,yeah.EasternEuropean.Sotheseareallinfluences.
Nia:IthinkImreallytryingtoaskiftheyarehippies.
Celeste:Oh,gotcha.WellI'llputitthisway.Mydadsaidhewasaparttimehippie.(laughs)If
thatmakessensetoyou.Theyweregoingtofreespeechmovementprotests,andJoanBaezand
BobDylanconcerts,andHendrixconcertsbeforehegotbig.Mydadwaslike,Hewasreally
downtoearth,youcouldjustsitdownandtalktohim.It'slike,whoa,thatmust'vebeenbefore
he

KB:Yourdadknowsquiteabitaboutmusic.He'stalkedtomeaboutbluesstuff,really
interestingcat.
Celeste:Yeah.Iknow,it'ssointeresting.Ourparentshadtheselivesbeforewewerebornthat
wedon'tknow.(laughs)Who'dathunk?There'salotthere.Soactuallythisinterestinhistory
partlycamefrommyownfamilyandwantingtoknowmoreaboutwhatwerethesehistoriesin
myfamily.Aswellasthehistoriesofqueerandtranspeopleofcolor,artistsofcolorthathave
reallybeenhiddenormarginalized.
Nia:AndwhenI'veseenyouperform,Ithinkit'smostlybeenasadancer.Isthatyourprimary
modeofartisticexpression?
[Therewasalongpauseherethatgoteditedout.]
KB:IfImightjumpin,Ithinkyourprimarymodeisyourwriting.Yourwritingisincredibly
strongandpowerful.
Celeste:Ithinkit'satiebetweenwritingandfilmvideo.AndthenIhaveabackgroundindance,
so.
Nia:IknewyouwereawriterbecauseIsawyoudidsomekindofLambdaLiterary...
something?
Celeste:Yeah.IattendedaLambdaLiteraryretreatearlierthissummerwhichwasamazing.
Highlyrecommendit.AndVONA.WhichIwouldalsohighlyrecommend.
Nia:IdidVONAtoo.
Celeste:Oh,okay.
Nia:WhichVONAtrackwereyouon?
Celeste:Iwasin,mostrecently,withFaithAdieleinTravelWriting.Whichwasreally[focused
on]placeandmemoir.Iwouldhighlyrecommendworkingwithher.She'sawesome.
Nia:That'ssocool.ShetaughtatMillsbutInevergottotakeaclasswithher.
Celeste:Oh,cool.

Nia:Okay,sogoingbacktotheHarlemRenaissance.Whatmadeyoudecideonthatasa
jumpingoffpoint?Thatwasyourfirstshow,right?
KB:Thatwasourfirstattemptatdoingashow.Wehadnoideathatitwasgoingtotakeoff,and
thatwewouldwindupdoingityearafteryearafteryear.We'rereallyblessedthatthathappened.
WhatmadeusstartwithHarlem...?
Celeste:Ithinkitreallygrewoutofyourperformances,KB.Yourperformancesasdragkingof
theblues,andasacrossdressingbluesperformer.
KB:Thatandbeinginspiredbyknowingthatthereweresomanygayfolksduringthattime
period.Andthatnotenoughpeopleknewaboutthat.Andthattheywerehappening,theywent
throughtheGreatDepression...Whenwewerecomingupwiththeseideasofwhattodo,we
weregoingthroughtherewasthebigeconomicdownturn,anditjustfeltsolike,wow,we've
seenthisbefore.AndhowdidtheseartistsbackintheHarlemtimes,howdidtheydealwiththis
stuff?
Justtalkingaboutthatandthinkingaboutitinspiredustocreatethishomageproductionto
highlightthatqueerenergythatmorepeopleneedtoknowabout,andreallyjustinspiredusas
wewerecomingupwithit,aswe'recreatingthiswholeshow.Sothat'skindofwherethatcame
from.Andthere'ssomuchinspirationthereandmorepeopleneededtoknow.Andapparently,
wewereright!Itreallytookoff.
Nia:Yeah.IfeelliketheHarlemRenaissanceisthefirstBlackqueerhistorythatIreallyknow
about.AndIknowthatBlackqueerhistorygoesbackfurtherthanthat,but
KB:Sohardtofind,though.Sohardtofindanything.
Nia:Right.It'sliketheHarlemRenaissanceseemslikethefirsttimewhereitwasreally
documented.Andalso,itseemslikealotofpeoplethatwereinvolvedwereIdon'tknowif
theywerequeerontheDL,orifitjustwasn'tdocumented...likequeernesssomehowescapedthe
historybooks.
KB:Escapedisn'ttheword.Ithinkthat'sthekindofstuffthattheytrytoerase.
Nia:Right.
KB:Theyjustdon'twanttoadmitthattheyweregay.Orwhatever.Thefamilyofcertainpeople

afterthey'vepassedislike,youknow,youdon'thavetotalkaboutthatpart.Orwhatever.So
there'salotofthat.AndthatIthinkispartofwhatdroveustocreateQueerRebelsofthe
HarlemRenaissance.AlthoughpeopledoknowabitabouttheHarlemRenaissancehavingsome
gayenergy,thisandthat,Oh,Langston,theyknowthatname.Butthat'saboutit.Andthere's
somuchmore.Ifyoucandigdeeperandfindit.Andthat'sthething,it'sreallyhardtofindthat
infoandhistories.
Nia:Doyouwanttodropsomenamesforpeople?Youwanttogivepeoplesomehomework?
Celeste:Ohyeah.(laughs)
KB:Sure.
Celeste:DefinitelyfolkslikeGladysBentley,EthelWaters...
KB:RichardBruceNugent...
Celeste:ClaudeMcKay,A'leliaWalker...[WhoI]actuallydon'tthinkwasanartistbutwas
famousforherparties.
KB:Yeah.Parties,andshewasIthinkher
Nia:What'sgayerthanbeingfamousforyourparties?
(laughter)
KB:Heyyy!
KB:Shewasalsoamogul.IbelieveshewasoneofthefirstAfricanAmericanwomenwhoI
thinkitwasinthehairproducts...
Nia:AlotofthefirstBlackwomenmakinglotsofmoneywere
KB:Inhaircare.Yup.
Nia:Yeah.Specificallylikestraighteningproducts.
KB:Yeah,unfortunately.Itiscomplex.Isn'titcomplicated!Ugh.Butthat'swhat'sreal.It's
history.Andweallneedtoreallyreachbackandknowourhistorysohistorydoesnothaveto

repeatitself,youknow.Wereallyneedtopayattentiontoalotofstuff,justbecauseofwhat's
goingon.
Celeste:Absolutely.Ithinktherewasthisrealpushforhistoricalamnesiaforlike,Ohslavery
wassolongago,thatdoesn'tmatter.Butofcourseitdoes.Lookatwhat'shappening.
KB:Anditwasn'tthatlongago...
Celeste:No.Itreallywasn'tthatlongago.
KB:Andthey'repullingthesamestuffagain!It'sjust,comeonnow!Butanyway.Alotgoing
on.
Celeste:Definitely.AllofthisstateviolenceandpoliceshootingsagainstBlackpeoplethat
reallyserveaslynchings,youknow.
KB:Modernday.
Celeste:Yeah.
Nia:Andjustforcontextnotthatanyone'sgoingtoforgetthismassmovementwe'reinthe
middleofbutaswe'rerecordingthis,there'sahugedemonstrationhappeningindowntown
Oakland.Today'sthedayoftheMillionsMarch,isthatwhatit'sbeingcalled?Andit'snottoo
longafterthefailuretoindictboththekillerofEricGarnerandthekillerofMikeBrown.
KB:Intensetimes,rightnow.
Nia:Yeah...It'shardtotransitionfromthat.
KB:Right?It'sjustsomuch.Somuch.I'vebeenfeelingit.Ijustamfeelingdrained.AlthoughI
wanttobepositive,andjustwantourarttogetoutthere,Ijustwanttobesupportingthecrowds
whoareout.Theyneedsupport.Inthesixties,therewerealwaysmusiciansandartistsoutthere
supportingthemovement.Andthat'swhereIfeellikequeerandtransartistsofcolorfitintothis
wholescenario.Weallneedtobeoutthereshowingthatwe'rehere.
Celeste:Right.Thisartthatismakingchange.There'sdefinitelysuchastronglegacyofprotest
artthat'sspecificallyBlack.Ithinkdefinitelywewanttotieintothat.Ithinkwe'reawful
interestedIknowwe'vementionedQueerRebelsfestwe'reinterestedinexaminingthespaces

oftensionandsolidaritybetweendifferentcommunitiesofcolor.
KB:Yes.
Celeste:Imean'causewe'reallunderthis"QTPOC"umbrellabutreallylookingat
KB:Thatworksforsomefolksandthatdoesn'tworkforothers.
Celeste:Yeah.AndhowdoAAPIs[AsianAmericansandPacificIslanders]showupand
supportBlackcommunities.QueerBlackcommunities.Howdowefunctiontogether?We're
reallyinterestedinlookingatthatand
KB:Openingthatdialogue.Continuingthatdialogue,rather.
Nia:Thebigshowsthatyou'vedonehistoricallyhavebeenfocusedwetalkedaboutthisbefore
eitherspecificallyBlackqueerart,orAsianqueerart,andaswe'lltalkaboutalittlebitlater,
you'reworkingonmergingthosethingstogether.
KB:Well,withourexperimentalfilms,we'vealwaysmerged.
Celeste:Yeah,that'strue.
KB:Theartfilmprogramshavealwaystriedtodrawfromasmanypartsofourcommunitiesas
wecan,asqueerfilmmakers.We'resimplytryingtobringthatmoretotherestoftheartthat
we'repromoting,andtieitalltogether.Andtalkabouthowweworktogether.Andhowwe
createtogether,andhowwearetogetherintheworld.Andhow...youknow,helpmeouthere
Celeste:(laughs)Yeah.Definitely.It'sinteresting,IthinkIwastellingsomeone,maybeitwas
Pam,thatwithQueerRebels,ouroriginiscoalitional.Like,youandIareacoalition.
KB:Yeah.
Celeste:Andwe'retryingtocreatethisarttogether.
KB:Andwe'reintergenerational!
Celeste:Yes,coalitionalandintergenerational!(laughs)That'strue.

KB:Somebodyoncesaidtous,"Wow,youareyourmissionstatement."
Celeste:(laughs)Iknow!
KB:Like,well,yeah...
Celeste:We'reconnectinggenerations.(laughs)
Nia:Oh!Iwantedtoaskyouaboutsomethingyousaid.YousaidQTPOCisanacronymthat
worksforsomefolksanddoesn'tworkforothers.Iwouldloveifyoucouldsayalittlebitmore
aboutthat.
Celeste:TherearerealdifferencesinthehistoryofantiBlackracisminthiscountryversusthe
experienceofAsianAmericans,ortheexperienceofLatinos.Wearefacingdifferentvariations
ofracism.Itdoesn'tlookthesame.Thehistoryisn'tthesameeither.
KB:No,butwe'reallgoingthroughthisoppression,differenttypesofoppressions,andifyou
reallykindofbreakitdowntotheroots,andwhereit'scomingfrom,it'snotfromeachother,
youknow.Anywaywe'retryingtocreatespaceswherewecangathertogetherinwaysthatare
notjustinabar.Wherefolkscangettogetherandthinkandseesomebeautifulartandconnect.
That'sbeenpeoplefromallacrossgenerations,ethnicities,whatever,wejustwanttopullit
together.Andourwayofdoingthatisart.Becausethat'swhatwe'reokayatdoing.Kindasorta.
(laughs)Sowetryto,youknow,stickwithwhatweknow.Andweknowart.Andweknow
love.
Celeste:'Weknowart,andweknowlove.(laughs)IloveyouKB.
KB:See?
Nia:CanwetalkalittlebitaboutSpirit,andtheintentionsbehindthat?First,canyouexplain
whatitisandthenwe'llgofromthere.
Celeste:Okay.Spiritis...Welauncheditin2013.Soitexistedin2013and2014.Anditwasa
celebrationofqueerAsian,Arab,andPacificIslanderartivism.
KB:Queerandtrans.
Celeste:Queerandtrans,forsure.IthinkourfirstyearwefocusedmorespecificallyonAsian,

andthesecondyear,wefocusedmoreonbeingabroaderbridge,andbeingAsian,Arab,and
PacificIslander.Wantingtolookatcontemporaryartandalsoourdifferenthistories.Imeanit's
interesting'causehereintheUSwe'rereallylumpedtogetherunderthatumbrella,butthere'sso
manydifferencesbetweenthegroupsthat
Nia:Ifeellikeit'sactuallyfairlyunusualtohear"Arab"lumpedinwithAsian/PacificIslander.
Thatseemskindofuniquetotheshow.Doyoudisagree?
Celeste:Oh,no.Iunderstand.FrommyperspectiveI'mdefinitelyinterestedinwherewe
intersect,andweareallfacingOrientalism,orwe'realltogetherinthislens.Andmanyofour
countrieshaveknownwar,fromthewarinthePhilippines,toVietnam,toKorea,tothemany
warsintheMiddleEast,inIraq...Iwasreallyinterestedinbringingthoseexperiencestogether,
somehow,withoutflatteningthemout.
Nia:Doyoubothplayanequalcuratorialroleinbothoftheseshows?Orisit,oneofyoudoes
moreHarlemRenaissance,oneofyoudoesmoreSpirit?
KB:IthinkwehelpeachotherasQueerRebelProductions.Wekindofareblessedinthatwe
workreallywelltogether,andwecanplayoffofoneanother.Idon'treallyfeellikeIcantake
[credit],like,"Ohyes,Harlemismybaby!"Likeinaway,theHarlemshowismybabyandthen
SpiritisCeleste's,butIthinkwehelpeachother.I'mmorecomfortablewithsayingit'saQueer
Rebelthing,thanIamwith,reallysayingthatoneortheother...Butit'suptoyou,whatdoyou
think?
Celeste:Ithinkit'sboth.Ithinkit'sboth.It'sboththatQueerHarlemreallygrewoutofyour
performances,andIammorecomfortableplayingasupportiveroleinthat,andI'mtryingto
supportthecommunitybutnotbelike,"Oh,letmetellyouwhattodo"asanoutsider.
KB:Right.AndIabsolutelyfeelthatwayabouttheSpiriteventaswell.Butwealsobothbring
differentaspectstothetablewhenwearecreatingevents.We'vecomefromdifferent
backgrounds,wehavedifferentexperience,anddifferentlevelsofexperience.Sowebring
differentelements.Thewaythatweworkitouttogetherseemstoworkout.Itseemstobeokay.
Celeste:Yeah.(laughter)
KB:It'saaawriiight.
Nia:It'sanimpressiverosterofartiststhatyouguyshaveworkedwith.Iwaslookingatitjust

beforeyoucamehere.Somearefolkswhohavebeenonthepodcast,I'mhappytosay.
Celeste:Oh,yay.
Nia:RykaAoki;TinaTakemotoItoldyouIjustinterviewed;Manish.
Celeste:Ohyeah,yeah.(laughs)
Nia:Howdoyoumakecuratorialdecisionsaboutbothwhoyouwanttoworkwith,andwhat
kindofpiecesyouwanttoincludeinparticularshows?
KB:Well...
Celeste:Well.
KB:Wetendtogooutandscouttalent.
Celeste:Yeah.Wereallylikedoingthat.Weliketoseewhatpeople'sperformancesarelike,or
KB:howthey'reconnectingwiththeiraudience.Howtheyaregettingtheirartacross.When
performersreallytouchus,we'relike,"Oh,weshouldgetthem!"
Celeste:Yeah!(laughs)
KB:It'sjustsomethingyoufeel,youknow,like"Oh,yes!Iamfeelingthem."
Celeste:(laughs)Andthenyoumakethatface.
KB:Yes!
Celeste:Webothdo.(laughs)
Nia:YoutwoarebothbasedinSanFrancisco.ButSpiritwasnotjustalocalartistshow.You
hadpeoplefromallover.AndmaybethatwastrueforHarlemRenaissanceaswell?
KB:We'vepulledafewfolksfortheHarlemshowaswell.Butwedotrywhenweareoutand
about,andwhenwedocollegeeventsorwhenwedomixNewYorkCitytogoaswell,tosee
events,toseeperformerswhenwecan.Wetrytojustfindqueerandtranspeopleofcolorartists,

youknow.
Celeste:Andwe'reinterestedinbringingabalancebetweenfolkswhoareprettyestablishedand
folkswhoareemerging,andalloverthespectrum,really.Wereallywanttopullfromallover.
KB:Yeah.
Celeste:Ithinkhavingthatmixtureisreallybeautiful.Havingpeopleinteractatdifferentlevels
oftheircareersisimportant.
KB:LikehavingaYouthSpeakstypekid,likeJoshuaMerchantandthen
Celeste:He'sincrediblytalented.
KB:Heisamazing!Forsomeonewho'ssoyoung.Amazingandsosincere.ThenhavingJewelle
Gomezandgettingtoseetwopeoplelikethatinteractbackstage.It'slittlethingslikethatthat
meanalottouswithQueerRebels.Becauseitisgettingtheartouttotheaudience,butit'salso
connectingtheartistcommunity.Thegenerationsdon'thavethatmanyspaceswherewecanbe
inthesameroomjusthangingoutinamellowway.Likebackstage,everyone'sputtingmakeup
on,orwhatever...
Celeste:Totally!
KB:Youknow,it'sjustabeautifulthing.Itfeelslikeit'sreallyimportant.
KB:Yeah.Weallknowoneanotherorhaveworkedtogetherandprobablywillworktogether
againinthefuture.It'sjustanamazingtimetobearound.WhenIwasinmytwenties,therewas
nothinglikethis!Therewasnothinglikethishappening.
Nia:EveninNewYork?
KB:Yeah.Ididn'tknowanyotherqueerofcolorpunks,period.Ididnotknownotone,other
thanme.Thatwasit.Itmakesmehappythatwecanbeheredoingthisnow.Iwishtherewas
somethinglikethiswhenIwasyounger,buttherewasn't,soI'mveryveryexcitedtobeapartof
this.
Nia:Makingupforlosttime

KB:Yeah.AndputtingstuffouttherethatIwould'vekilledfor.
Celeste:(laughs)Iknow!Ithinkthat'spartofthevision,right.That'spartoftryingtofillthat
void,andtryingtocreatetheseintergenerationalspaces;thesespacesforQTPOC
experimentationandworkthatisyouknow,wewantworkthat'ssucharange.That'snotafraid
tobefreakyrawornonlinear.
KB:Yeah,we'redownwiththat.
Nia:Wouldyousaythatyouhaveanemphasisonexperimentalartandvideo?
Celeste:Yes.
KB:Inourhearts,forsure.
Celeste:Forsure.
Nia:Soyourpersonaltasteismore
Celeste:Forsure,forsure.
KB:Thehistoricalcontextiskey.It'shellaimportant.But,alsothefreedomthatcomeswith
experimentation,howinspiring.
Celeste:Andthatitispartofourtradition.
KB:Itisatraditionthatgoeswayback.Imean,wayback.Juststepbackamomentandthink
aboutSunRa,butgoevenwayfurtherback,withexperimentalAfricanAmericanstuff,or
Africaningeneral.Ifeellikeit'simportantthatfolksknowthat.Especiallyintheartworld,Ifeel
likethere'sverylittlespaceforexperimentationwhenit'speopleofcolorartists.Ijustthinkthat's
bullshit.
Celeste:Yeah.Right,right.Peopleneedtoknowthatwehavethesehistories.Thatit'snotjusta
whitethingto
Nia:thatwecanbeweirdtoo.
KB:Notjustthatwecanbeweirdtoo,butthatwehavebeencreatingthisexperimentalstuff

Celeste:Thatwe'vebeeninnovating.
KB:thatisreallyamazingandtouchesyou.Wehaveahistoryofexperimentalworksthat
actuallyhavesubstanceandhavesomekindofspine,andhavesomethinggoingon.
Celeste:We'repushingbothgenresandformatandcontentandpushingallofthat,makingwork
that'sequallyexperimentalandurgent.
KB:Exactly.
Celeste:That'ssociallypoliticallyurgentatthistime.Ithinkgoingbacktoourownstoriesand
backgrounds,wehavethesehistoriesthatneedtobetold.Queerandtransartistsofcolor,we've
forsolongbeenerasedorbeenmadeillegible.We'rereallywantingtouncoverthat.We'rereally
wantingtoshinealightonnewartistsandalsolookbackatthesehistoriesthat,it'slikethese
artisticlineagesthatweareconnectedto,whetherweknowitornot.
Nia:Ireallyappreciatewhatyousaidabouttheworkbeingbothexperimentalandurgent.That
wordchoiceinparticular.Ipersonallyhaveahardtimewiththingsthatareabstract.(laughs)I
likethingstobesuperconcrete,that'smyaestheticpreference,Iguess.Ithinksometimes
becauseofthelackofurgencythatIsometimesperceivefromwhiteperformanceart,Iinterpret
itasnonsense(laughs)orselfindulgent,butwhatyou'retalkingaboutisverydifferent,andis
explicitlypoliticalwhileatthesametimebeingexperimental.
Celeste:FromlookingbackatourancestorsonAngelIslandduringtheChineseExclusionAct
tolookingbackateldersinHarlemduringthe1920's,andeverythingbetween.Thesefilms
lookedatourcurrentqueerofcolorlivesandourhistories.Anditwasreally,really
tremendouslywellreceivedinNewYork.
KB:Yeah,theytreatedusrealnicely.
Celeste:Ithinkpeoplewerehungryforit.Ithinkbecausethereisn'tmuchofaspaceforqueer
andtransartistofcolordoingexperimentalwork.Orthereisn'tmuchofaknowledgeofthat
either.
KB:Right.Right.Eventhoughthatpremiereatthe25thMIXwasrightaftersuperstormSandy...
Celeste:Ohyeah,therewerestillsubwaystationsshutdown.Likeyou'dgetupthereandyou're

like,it'sflooded.
KB:nopower...
Celeste:Yeah,RedHookhadnopower.
KB:Wedidn'tknowiftheMIXwasreallygoingtohappen.Buttheyweredeterminedandthey
madeithappen.Andwealsodidn'tthinkwe'dgetanyfolksbecausetheygaveusaWednesday
eveningrightaftersuperstormSandy.
Celeste:Andwe'refromoutoftown...
KB:Itwasourfirsttime!
Celeste:Whoknowswhoweare?
KB:Nobodyknew.Butbecausethereissuchavoid,andthereisanaudienceforqueer
experimentalart,wepackedtheplace.Itwasfull.
Nia:Soyouhadyourownnight.AnditwasmarketedasbeingspecificallyQPOC.
KB:Yes.Absolutely.IthinkitwasoneofthefirstofQTPOCnightsthatMIXhadventured.I
thinkitwasoneofthefirst.
Celeste:No,theyhadsomepasthistories...
KB:Yeah,offilmshereandthere.Hmmm.MaybeAnywaywewereveryexcitedthatitwent
offthewayitdid,consideringthestorm,andconsideringthestateofNewYorkatthatmoment.
Nia:Yeah,it'samazingthatyouhadapackedhouse.
KB:Butitmakessense!Thistouchesus!Whatwedomeansalottous.Andit'snotjustus.It's
notjustyouandme.
Celeste:Mmmhm.
KB:There'sanaudiencethat'shungryforart.

Nia:AndnotjustintheBay.
KB:That'swhywewanttogetthisoutthere,youknow.
Nia:ThenyouhadamorerecentfilmprojectoreventcalledAncientFuture.
Celeste:Yes.WedebuteditinNewYorkatMIXagain.
KB:MIX27.
Celeste:Yes,MIX27.Andanotherpackedandpositivehouse.We'rebringingitbackheretothe
BayareaonWednesday.Thenwe'realsobringingittoOutsiderFestinAustininFebruary.
Reallyexcitedbecausethat'sthefirstOutsiderFestthat'shappening.Andit'smultiartsqueer
andtransart.
Nia:Oh,verycool.
KB:We'reexcitedtobeapartofthat.Sotellallyourfriends!
Celeste:Yeah!
Nia:That'sFebruary18thtothe22nd?
Celeste:Yeah.
Nia:YoualsohaveaBayshowcomingupinlatespring,aspartoftheNationalQueerArts
festival,whichIthoughtusuallystartsinJune,butyousaidyoureventisinlateMay.
Celeste:Yeah.TheveryendofMay.28thand29th,Ibelieve.
Nia:Hopefullythat'llbebeforeeverythinggetstoocrazy!(laughs)
Celeste:(laughs)Ihopesotoo!
Nia:IalwaysgetsooverwhelmedatthetheNationalQueerArtsfestival,there'ssomuchstuffI
wanttogoto.

KB:There'ssomuchhappening.
Celeste:Yeah,it'salot.
KB:ButIbelieveweareopeningthefestivalandwe'llbeopeningthefestivalwithourdebutof
theQueerRebelFest.
Celeste:Yeah!Reallyexcitedaboutthat.
KB:Firsttimetryingtodothis!TwodaysofQueerRebels.
Celeste:(laughs)
KB:We'regoingtotrytorolleverythingintotwodays.
Celeste:Ithinkit'sreallyexciting.I'mreallyexcitedtolookatwhatarethosespacesof
separationandsolidaritywithqueerandtranspeopleofcolor.
KB:Absolutely.
Celeste:Imean,wheredoourhistoriesconnect,wheredotheydiverge,inwhatways
historicallyhavewebeenpittedagainsteachother.Becausethey'reallreallyimportantthingsto
lookat.
KB:Andhowtoworktogethernow.That'swhatwe'regoingtotryanddo.
Nia:SoIthinkthismighthavebeenbeforeIstartedrecording,butIthinkyoudescribedQueer
RebelsFestascombiningtheeventsthatyou'vealreadydone,beingQueerRebelsoftheHarlem
Renaissance,Spirit,andexperimental
Celeste:experimentalfilms,ExplodingLineage...
Nia:ButalsomovingfromworkthatfocuseslargelyonBlackqueerandAsianqueerarttoa
morepanethnicQTPOCtypeofthing
Celeste:(laughs)Thatmouthful,yes.

Nia:Doyouwanttotalkalittlebitaboutthat?Andhowandwhyyoumadethatdecision?
Celeste:Ithinksinceourinception,wewereinterestedindoingsomethingofthelike,doing
somethingthatwascrossQTPOCartisticexploration...doesthatmakesense?It'ssucha
mouthful.(laughs)We'vealwayswantedtocombineourevents.Ithinkalsoadesirefor
exploringwhatdoesQTPOCmean?It'sacoalitionalterm,buthowcanwebeabetter
coalition?ImeanwealloccupydifferentspacesinAmerica'sracialhierarchy,andwehave
differenthistoricalcontextshere.We'rereallyinterestedinlookingathowdowesupporteach
other?HowdowecritiqueantiBlackracismwithinQTPOCspaces?Howdowelookatthe
erasureorinvisibilityofqueerAAPI'sandqueerArabpeople?
Oh,wejustwroteanarticle!WejustwroteanarticlethatwasforAda,thejournaloffeminism,
mediastudies,andnewtechnology.Itwascalled"WelcometotheQueerRebellion"anditwas
actuallyonhackingtheblackwhiteracialbinary.Initweweretryingtotalkbothaboutthe
especiallygivenwhat'shappeningintheworldtheviolenceanddeadlinessofantiBlack
racism,andwantingtoacknowledgeandresistthatandtosimultaneouslycelebratequeerBlack
brilliance.Andtoalsohackthisracialbinarythatsayssomeofusdonotexist.Howdowedo
that?Howdowecarveoutmorespacesforallofus?
Nia:Doyouhaveanswers?
Celeste:(laughs)Morequestionsthananswers!Waymorequestionsthananswers.It'ssucha
both/andsituation.Eveninsaying"hackingtheblackwhiteracialbinary"wehavetolookat
[how]deadlyantiBlackracismis.Letmejustsaythis,mydadgrewupinacolonizedcountry,
survivedawar,WorldWarII,wheretheJapaneseoccupiedsoutheastAsiaandputpeopleinto
internmentcamps,andallofthat,cametoCanadainthe60's,andhasbeenthroughthat,andis
like,"Yeah,theUStreatsBlackpeopletheworst."
KB:Andhe'sseenalot.
Celeste:Yeah.
KB:We'reatapointnowwheremorepeopleareabletoacknowledgethat,andseeitforwhatit
is.Andhearusinwhatwe'vebeencomplainingaboutandsayinghasbeenhappeningtous,
forever.Soyouknow,we'rejustatthispointwhereweallneedtobegentleandlisteningtoone
anotherandworkingtogether.Ifeellikethat'swherewe'reat.

Nia:Isthereanythingelsethatyouwanttoplugorfinalthoughtsthatyouwanttorapon?
KB:JustthatI'mreallyblessedandproudandexcitedtobeworkingwithCelestebecauseshe's
oneofthe
Celeste:Awwww!(laughs)
KB:herworkethic...she'sgorgeous!
Celeste:Oh,what!(laughs)
KB:Andsofreakingsmart.It'sjustamazing.
Celeste:Awwww.
KB:I'maproudpapa.
Celeste:I'mblessedtoworkwithyou,KB.
KB:Well,thankyou.
(laughter)
Nia:Idontknowifyoucouldhearthat,butCelestejustkissedKBonthecheekanditwas
adorable.
Celeste:(laughs)Awww!Ithinkwereallyplayoffeachotherwell.ImeanbecauseKBhasthe
vision,andhasseensomuch,andjusthasalotofwisdom,hasalotofknowledge,thatIthink
we'reenrichingeachother.OurteamworktogetheronthisisenrichingwhatQueerRebelsis.
KB:Seriously.IcouldnotdothiswithoutCeleste.
Celeste:Icouldn'tdoitwithoutyou!(laughs)
KB:Thechemistrytogethermakesthislittlecompanywork.Makesithappen.
Celeste:Yeah.Ithinkit'sasharedvisionandseeingthesamevoidsthatwewanttofill.

KB:Andhavingthewillingnesstoputthatworkin,thatittakestomakethingshappen.
Celeste:Ohyeah.Iwouldhavetosay,it'saconstanthustle.
KB:Itisconstant!Nonstop.
Celeste:Itiscalledhustlehard.
KB:Allthetime.
Celeste:That'scalled...WewerejustinNewYorkpresentingAncientFuturefilms,andwewere
alsoworkingonthreegrantdeadlines.Andwealsosawfamily!
KB:andmyfamily'sinNewYorkso
Celeste:andwealsosawawholefestival.
KB:Sixdaysoffilms,threedeadlines,andmyfamily,and
Celeste:Ohheyyyy!
KB:Butyouknow.Itfeelssogoodwhenitworks,thatweputtheworkin.Becauseit'sworthit.
It'sreallyworthit.
Celeste:Ithinkinalotofwayswe'resoblessed.Welovegoingandpresentingthisart,welove
goingandtalkingatcolleges,especiallyinthemiddleofnowhere!Especiallywhereit'satotal
cultureshock.Andit'slike,ohmygod!Thisisnexttoasundowntown...ohLord!
(laughter)
KB:Butthecollegekidsarealwayssogladthatwemadeitoutthere.It'sjustworthit.It'sworth
itandreallyimportant.
Celeste:Itreallyis.
KB:Ifeellikewe'redoingsomeimportantstuff,andthatjustreallyfeelsgoodtome.

Celeste:Ilovethatwe'reartistsandwe'recreatingourownworkandwe'resupportingothers
andcarvingoutaplatformforqueerandtransartistsofcolor.We'veprobablyworkedwithmore
thanfiftyfivedifferentfolks.
KB:Oh,definitely.
Celeste:Probablyhigherthanthat.Andjustwantingtogettheseworksoutthere,getthemseen,
andgetaplatformforthem,forallofus.Becauseweneedit!