Queer Indie Musicians Of NYC (And Where To Find Them!)
By Liz von Klemperer and Leah Bank
Queer spaces in the U.S. are under attack. From the harrowing violence of the Orlando Pulse shooting to the heartbreaking phenomenon that is “the death of the lesbian bar,” the LGBTQ community is being made palpably aware of the importance of preserving and creating safe queer spaces.
Amid this tumultuous climate, queer musicians are a source of solace; they’re serving as a means of bringing a fractured and weary community together. This gathering of humanity has proven to be immensely comforting to us two girls who love music — and each other — so we began searching for the artists who are making it happen.
Together we prowled converted garages, basement bars, and even churches to find where the queer musicians of New York City are skulking and rocking. We were welcomed into DIY venues where queers could sway, hold hands, and not be misgendered. We talked to artists. We heard their stories. We took their pictures. Here’s what we found.
Who we talked to: Emily Sprauge
“We have definitely played more shows at The Silent Barn than anywhere else ever. I used to live at the barn and I’m pretty sure I currently hold the record for most shows played upstairs and downstairs.”
Pronouns: she/her or they/them
Who we talked to: Audrey Whitesides
“Generally it just feels bad to look around a room and think, ‘No one else here looks like me.’ Even queer shows with no other trans people can feel lonely sometimes. I think most people feel good when they play songs their audiences can really hear and relate to in some ways — I definitely do.”
Last seen/scene: Silent Barn for the Pulse Orlando Benefit Show on 8/5/16
Who we talked to: Mal Blum
“My favorite kind of venue is artist focused and invested in developing a relationship with the artist. I like seeing other queer people on stage being political and visible on their own terms. I think great music is often written by people who need it to have a voice.”
Who we talked to: Christina Coleman
“I don’t find myself booking shows in places that are explicitly queer, but as a gay woman we don’t really have any spaces anywhere. They’re dying out fast. We gotta start more!”
Last seen/scene: Album Release party at Silvana on 8/27/16
Who we talked to: Anna Gothard and Kate Foster
“Queerness is about love, but it’s also about politics. I was introduced to The Judson Memorial Church via The Bailout Theatre Show, a queer friendly and secular program that has little to do with theology. Besides being a place for worship, this space also has a history of radical queer ideology and politics.” — Kate
“We love performing at The Judson Memorial Church because they attract such a diverse audience. Before I came to Judson I had a negative relationship with churches because I was queer and I grew up in a conservative hometown, but Judson Church was the first place that allowed me to see the beauty of churches.” — Anna
Pronouns: both use she/her
Last seen/scene: Anna/Kate headlined The Bailout Theatre Show at Judson Memorial Church on 9/7/16. The Bailout Theatre show takes place on the first Wednesday of each month. The program starts at 7 with a free potluck dinner, followed by music, poetry, and dance starting at 8.
All photos courtesy of the authors.