Archival Intimacies: Evening of Song and Poetry

Saturday, May 14, 2022
5:30pm - 8:00pm
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007


5.30 - 6.30 Readings and conversation with Fatimah Asghar, Jhani Randhawa, and Christine Imperial
7.00 - 8.00 Performance by Bitter Party with Prima Jalichandra Sakuntabhai

Please RSVP here

One of the key elements in Satrang’s history was the "Coming Out, Coming Home" writing workshop first held in 2006 and led by D’Lo. It was a transformative experience for many of the attendees who were guided to write about their coming out experience and share it. In this spirit of writing and performance, this night of song and poetry recognizes the potentiality of writing and literature as key to queer community making, building, and joy. Recognizing diasporic makers and writers from the Queer South/East Asian diaspora whose words and voices nourish and sustain us, please join us for this celebration and meditation on history, care, intimacy, and togetherness.

Three poets and writers, Fatimah Asghar, Jhani Randhawa, and Christine Imperial will share some of their work and writings in the garden. This reading will take place outside. There will be chairs but please feel free to also bring blankets to sit on the grass. Literature plays a central role in the exhibition as well. The novels of Satrang member Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla and a bookshelf of curated South/East Asian books both fiction and scholarship are an integral part of the exhibition.

For the night’s second feature, Bitter Party and Prima Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai will perform a concert. For their collaboration, they trace Asian diasporic histories in San Pedro, California through a selection of songs with themes related to seaside longing and war-era separation. An outcome of their collaboration, this performance presents one new composition and new versions of Bitter Party’s tracks from their 2019 album Ghost Pop, with live readings, field recordings, and overhead projections that animate the running motifs from Prima’s works included in Archival Intimacies.

Bios

Fatimah Asghar is an artist whose work spans different genres and themes. A poet, a fiction writer, and a filmmaker, Fatimah cares less about genre and instead prioritizes the story that needs to be told and finds the best vehicle to tell it. Play is critical in the development of her work, as is intentionally building relationship and authentic collaboration. Her first book of poems, If They Come For Us, explored themes of orphaning, family, Partition, borders, shifting identity, and violence. Along with Safia Elhillo, she co-edited Halal If You Hear Me, an anthology for Muslim people who are also women, trans, gender non-conforming, and/ or queer. The anthology was built around the radical idea that there are as many ways of being Muslim as there are Muslim people in the world. She also wrote and co-created Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendship among women of color. Currently, she is working on a lyrical novel that explores sisterhood, orphaning, and alternate family building. While these projects approach storytelling through various mediums and tones, at the heart of all of them is Fatimah’s unique voice, insistence on creating alternate possibilities of identity, relationships, and humanity from the ones that society would box us into, and a deep play and joy embedded in the craft.   
 
Jhani Randhawa (they/them) is a Kenyan-Punjabi/Anglo-American multidisciplinary maker whose work is concerned with spectral inheritances, anti-imperialism, dreams, interdependency, queer longing, and the feral. Jhani Randhawa is the author of Time Regime (Gaudy Boy, 2022), and is currently a Deborah Anne McNeely writer-in-residence at Writers House Pittsburgh. With Teo Rivera-Dundas, Jhani is a co-founding editor of rivulet, an experimental journal dedicated to investigations of the interstitial.
 
Christine Imperial is a Filipino-American writer. She is an incoming PhD Cultural Studies student and Dean's Distinguished Graduate Fellow at UC Davis. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts where she won the Emi Kuriyama Thesis Award. Her book, Mistaken for an Empire, will be published by Ohio State University Press as the 2021 Gournay Prize recipient. Her poetry has been published in POETRY, TLDTD, and Inverted Syntax, among others.
 
Bitter Party is a Los-Angeles-based ghost pop band inspired by war-era music and the melancholy of life. Immersing themselves in the rich repertoire of folk, pop, and obscure tunes from Asia, their performance references the music in each of their pasts through dusty tapes, songbooks, vinyls, and YouTube channels. They re-animate these transmigrated sounds with megaphones, sanshin, and chiptune aesthetics. They are interested in genres including pinball disco, electro enka, and postcolonial ethnographic pop. 

The performative lectures and site-specific installations of Prima Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai address the structures of Eurocentric masculine power in space and architecture and take apart the physical and structural tools of the Western academic. Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai was a recipient of the SOMA Summer Award in Mexico City in 2016 and the emi kuriyama spirit award in 2020.

Aziz Sohail (emcee) is an art curator, writer, and researcher. Since 2020, with The Many Headed Hydra collective, he has been co-leading kal, a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word and a trans*oceanic platform supporting practices enacting queer pasts/futures and decolonial ecologies. His current research is a meditation on the longue-durée intersections of sexuality and colonialism with migration, law, and identity.