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Unraveling And Reveling At The Queer Arts Festival

Have pride - don’t hide. Oh-nine finds the 12th National Queer Arts Festival doing just dandy: “Threads” is this year’s theme, a unifying leitmotif running through the warp, woof, and weave of San Francisco’s all-out queer communities. Rally the kids and Prop. 8 be damned - it’s a wild, wonderfully varied crazy quilt of an event, with comedy, dance, film and video, readings and spoken word, music, visual art, and performance at Artists’ Television Access, Femina Potens Art Gallery, CounterPulse, Dolores Park, Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory and the GLBT Historical Society, among other hot spots.

Though you might have slacked and missed the sixth San Francisco Sex Worker Film, Art and Music Festival (May 30-June 7) and the “monkeys that swing both ways” of “Nature Is So Gay!” (June 4), there’s still mucho provocation, sick artistry, and to-die-for style to take in, including “Fresh Meat in the Gallery VI: Defying Gravities,” an annual gathering of international transgender and gender-variant visual artists who are waxing defiant in the face of global instability. The exhibit at the SF LGBT Center through July 15 is free, free, free.

I’d mark my datebook and check it thrice for “Rebel Girl: A Riot Grrrl Nostalgia Show” June 11 at the Garage: Gina de Vries presents feminist fire-starters and DIY damsels at this look back at the punk-bred musical-cultural political movement. Also intriguing: the free “Into the Streets!” – June 11-12 at SOMArts – which will see queer literary luminaries like Eileen Myles, Justin Chin, Keith Hennessy and Michelle Tea raiding the GLBT Historical Society archives and reimagining instances of queer street protest.

The secret lives of sex toys? That’s just one of the tales told at the free fifth annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival June 12-14 at Brava Theater. Meanwhile “seedball slingers,” “film-farm-makers” and “greywater installers” will venture queer utopias at SOMArts’ “Dirt Star” June 13. On a brighter, blighted note, Meliza Banales will spin a multimedia yarn about “One Bad Year” – complete with hula-hoops, murder, divorce, and “really, really good hair” - at the Garage June 14-15.

June’s climax just might arrive in all its screaming glory with the “Fresh Meat Festival,” June 18-21 at Project Artaud Theater. Expect hip-hop, taiko, theater, and modern dance transgender and queer performers like the drastically talented Sean Dorsey, Mind Over Matter and the Barbary Coast Cloggers.

But wait, that’s not all that’s on the ball: the fun-loving queer and trans players of Mangos with Chili kick out “QPOCalypse Now!” at SOMArts June 20. Veterans of SF’s legendary dyke punk combo Tribe 8, Lynn Breedlove and Silas Howard set it off with a multimedia outing of dueling solo performances titled “Mighty Real” at the Garage June 21-22. And don’t neglect the annual Pride concert with the Gay Men’s Chorus, Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band at the First Unitarian Universalist Church June 25-26; hometown homo heroine Marga Gomez with “Barely Legal Comedy – Marga & the Boys” at the LGBT Center June 26; and “Konig, King of Boylesque,” a show-stopping pageant of vaudeville, musical theater and circus aesthetics with live music at SOMArts June 27. Of course, you must make the scene at the Trans March June 26, the Dyke March June 27, and le Pride Celebration June 28-29. And you don’t stop…

For the 12th annual National Queer Arts Festival’s complete schedule and details, go to www.queerculturalcenter.org.