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    Queer Cultural Center Brings Together Generations in June Programming Lineup

    aging2With so much media (and social media) focused on the millennials, senior LGBTQ people seldom get to see our lives, cultures, and concerns represented in the arts—on stage, screen, or in literature—much less to see this work developed by, and coming from, our own senior communities.

    As a co-founder and artistic director for the Queer Cultural Center (Qcc), an African American lesbian, and a senior, I know the power of seeing our lives accurately portrayed through art. I know how hearing and seeing our own stories in a play, a film, or a reading breaks our isolation and improves our health and well-being. Sharing our individual histories is to examine our vast community’s history.

    Since our inception in 1994, Qcc has worked with hundreds of artists to bring those histories alive for new generations. This month, in our National Queer Arts Festival, Qcc is presenting some great programs that bring together generations while retaining a focus on senior contributions and lives. I invite you to join us!

    agingStill Here – June 11: For three years, Still Here has been telling stories of what it was like for young people to come out at the height of the AIDS epidemic in SF. Curators Natalia Vigil and Cristina Mitra have a compelling vision that is resonating deeply across generations: “As younger queers of color, we both come from cultures that carry a deep respect for our elders and naturally have brought that reverence and care to Still Here. Ever since we started Still Here, we’ve seen this project as a way to create community around San Francisco history, space, and time, both past and present. We can’t pretend to know what it was like to be out in 1980’s San Francisco, so bringing elders into the center of our project in 2015 brings the authentic voices we’re looking for. In curating this year’s show, we’ve found that elders are thinking about legacy and what is being left behind, while our generation is thinking about inheritance. This year we have the very special opportunity to bring us all together, to reach for each other in the here and now.”

    The Fresh Meat Festival – June 18–20: Curator/choreographer Sean Dorsey brings together transgender and queer performance artists in the nation’s premier transgender and queer performance festival. The lineup includes segments from Sean Dorsey Dance’s newest dance work, The Missing Generation, a tribute to the individuals lost to AIDS.

    aging3Glitter Bomb – June 20: Qcc’s art exhibition at SOMArts features international and intergenerational work exploring the idea of physical, social, political, and historical connections. The popular walk-through is your chance to meet some of the artists and curators and hear them discuss their work. The exhibit is open until June 27.

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    Pants: The Musical! – June 23–24: If musicals are your cup of tea, you’ll get a kick out of this one. Written and scored by J. Althea, Pants follows a lesbian life. Ellie, our lesbian, is played by seven actors of different ages and ethnicities as she goes through puberty and matures into her senior years. Pants is a One-Act Musical Theatre pro-duction featuring Karen Ripley, Amy Meyers, J. Althea and 13 other actors, singers and musicians. “Seniors of any gender identification are largely invisible in the arts when it comes to love stories,” says Althea. “We think it’s important to show that love still abounds in senior lesbians!” A Graceland Girls production, the show is followed by a dance party at the African American Art & Culture Complex.

    In addition to presenting the National Queer Arts Festival in June each year, Qcc collaborates with artists year-round. In August, Katie Gilmartin’s Chrysalis Studio’s Queer Ancestors exhibition will showcase gorgeous prints throughout the LGBT Community Center. Katie trains young adults in various styles of printmaking while asking them to research individuals and incidents of recent history that resonate with them. These young printmakers celebrate those heroes and milestones of Queer History.

    The Queer Cultural Center is committed to representing the voices of elders in all of our communities and to removing barriers to their participation in the arts. Our programs are always “No One Turned Away for Lack of Funds,” so that they are accessible to all. Please visit www.qcc2.org to learn more about the National Queer Arts Festival (including ticket information) and our year-round programming,

    Pamela Peniston is the Artistic Director of the Qcc The Center for LGBT Art & Culture (aka Queer Cultural Center). She is also a set designer and photographer whose sets and images have been seen extensively throughout the Bay Area.

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    Dr. Marcy Adelman oversees the Aging in Community column. For her summary of current LGBT senior challenges and opportunities, please go to: sfbaytimes.com/challenges-and-opportunties