Marry the Night: Nightlife, Performance, and Queer World Making

full name / name of organization: 
LGBTQ Focus Group, Association for Theater in Higher Education

August 1, 2012, Washington, D.C. Location, TBA.

What is nightlife? What possibilities do queer night worlds afford? How to speak about the relationship between nightlife and (queer) theater and performance? How are LGBTQ identities created, maintained and performed at night? How are alternative sexualities negotiated through the praxis of the queer night? And in what ways do race, desire, and nightlife intersect?

MARRY THE NIGHT, a one-day Pre-Conference that will bridge the gap between scholarship, theater practice, popular culture, and public scholarship, aims to bring scholars and practitioners of queer night worlds together for a day of panels, performances, and embodied listening. The story of nightlife in America is the story of changes in social mores, the story of changing attitudes towards race, gender, and sexuality—not to mention of the experimentation with and censorship of sex. It is also the story of fashion and self-presentation, and how bodies style themselves to be read.

As a global, multi-billion dollar industry, nightlife has always played an extensive role in American culture. Yet paradoxically, nightlife is frequently the target of urban reform. The sale of alcohol, club closing time, the location of bars, whether or not it is legal to dance and even whether it was legal to have gay clubs in the first place reveal the anxieties of reform that circulate around queer nightlife. Yet queer night worlds have continually been a major source of community building, a space for negotiating and resisting identity, and a space for creating innovative performance traditions such as underground dance music and the black and latino queer art of vogueing. It is no accident that the so-called beginnings of queer liberation revolved around the contested space of a bar—Stonewall in 1969.

Building out of recent scholarship in theater and performance studies by scholars such as Shane Vogel, José Muñoz, and Fiona Buckland, MARRY THE NIGHT interrogates the ways in which queer bodies experience the night. We seek 15-minute talks on an aspect of queer nightlife broadly defined, and we especially welcome papers that bring a certain historical perspective. Papers should not be limited by geography or time period.

Please submit a brief CV and a 350-word abstract to only.

Submissions due by Sunday, April 22 2012.

Email madison moore for specific questions about the conference at:

Paper topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

Strip clubs
18+ nights
Splash (NYC), Cobalt (DC), Town (DC), Hydrate (Chicago), Rhonda (LA), Machine (Boston). Drag performance
Voguing and house ball culture
Alternative queer nightlife
Gay clones
Queer fashion and nightlife
Lesbian bars
Gay neighborhoods
Race, desire, and gay night world making
Gay nightlife in historical perspective
Cabaret culture
Nightlife as theater
Policing queer nightlife
Queer night worlds and urban zoning
Disco divas
Electronic dance music and remix culture
Circuit parties
The "down low"
John Sex, RuPaul, Divine, Leigh Bowery, James St. James
The Mattachine Society
Cabaret Laws
Red light districts
Gay nightlife and gentrification
Literary representations of gay nightlife
Nightlife and possibility
Rural/suburban/small town gay night worlds (eg. non-big city)