Queer, today, is an indefinable term. But in Brooklyn, queer culture takes physical form as people unite in more than just thought – a host of events thrive day and night to celebrate all that the queer experience is and can be. These events reach beyond the “attend-to-be-seen” mentality that inflicts much of New York nightlife. The vibe is love and the energy is visceral.
Deeply routed in art and performance, these gatherings of like-minded individuals result in a positive space for the growth of community and fostering of creativity. “Ultimately, it’s important to think of creation within the context of space. Space is not just produced by a party’s desire, or an individual—though both are essential to working toward common goals,” said David Sokolowski, DJ, event producer and co-producer of queer party series Psychic Brooklyn. “I believe in temporary autonomous space that encourages people to express themselves, and that is the driving force behind making a party successful. The convergence of queer identities is what makes exploration possible.”
Sokolowski began producing events in New York in early 2012. He hosted fundraisers for the “Robin Hood Tax” and ACT UP’s 25th anniversary action to storm Wall Street. He started Hot Fruit, a Monday night party at Metropolitan Bar in Williamsburg, on the eve of the Obama/Romney election to offer comedy through chaos.
“My inspiration for bringing people together actually came from documenting queer alternatives to Pride festivals in The Midwest, West Coast and Canada, as well as interviewing people like Sarah Schulman, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and Tommi Avicolli Mecca,” said Sokolowski. “I think music and performance are important elements of teaching and preserving a unique form of social activism.”
This photo series includes images from various queer events over the last year in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The most recent, Psychic Spring, celebrated the three-year anniversary of the seasonal party series, Psychic Brooklyn. From art collective and party curators Mark Dommu and Paul Leopold (otherwise known as The Culture Whore), as well as Sokolowski, this “coming-of-consciousness” celebration has established itself as a staple art and performance event.
(Photos: James Emmerman)