'Mo-Wave: The Queers Are Coming

Apr 5, 2013
Posted by: gaycity

I discovered the ‘Mo-Wave festival through a poster on a telephone pole I’d seen on the hill, and learned a little more about it later after reading a blog post on CHS. As a queer person interested in both music and the arts, I obviously couldn’t help but be intrigued by a Queer Music & Art Festival.

'Mo-Wave is being organized by Marcus Wilson of Pony, Jodi Ecklund of Chop Suey, and Seth Garrison and Barret Anspach of Night Cadet, all of whom felt a need for a “punk gay pride party". It started out 6 years ago when Jodi and Marcus took creative control of an event called A Gayass Party at The Funhouse. There was a positive reaction right away from both the queer community and the bar’s regulars. When The Funhouse was shut down, the organizers were not willing to let the community event die. Thus, 'Mo-Wave was born.

I arranged to meet the event organizers at the Wildrose. Right away we got to talking about the event. The mood was friendly. We were able to exchange jokes and laugh but it was obvious that they meant business, too. It’s a good quality for someone who’s going to organize a festival to have.

I started by asking the gang what it meant to them to call ‘Mo-Wave a queer festival.

“It is very important to us that this is, as much as it can be, an all inclusive queer festival,” offered Marcus. “Whether you identify as gay, lesbian, bi, trans or whatever. All these people are working together to make art and create entertainment. It’s not just a gay male thing, it won’t only appeal to lesbians.”

‘Mo-Wave is not setting requirements for it’s attendants, and doesn’t make claim to any groups. Part of their goal is to inspire diversity. They hope there is something for everyone.

We kept up the discussion of what being queer, gay or lesbian might mean in modern society.

“When you’re queer you’re comfortable with and proud of the fact that you are different, and that being different is good thing,” said Marcus. “Having a different point of view. There is nothing wrong with singularity or difference.”

The event is an expression of difference. Or as Seth put it, “providing visibility to a different kind of queerness.” ‘Mo-Wave can almost be seen as an extension of the people running it. They felt the need for a different type of pride, and they created it. The organizers hand-picked all the acts for this event, and they chose carefully. Feeling boxed in by stereotypes, these four strived to create something that they felt represented themselves.

Jodi commented about how she never felt like she fit in as a stereotypical lesbian.

“This is an awesome opportunity for me to express the things I really enjoy,” she explains. “Through our benefit shows, we found that there is a lot of others just like me.”

What interest me about ‘Mo-Wave, is that all these amazing musicians and artists are coming together for a common purpose. Part of that purpose is to break down certain stereotypes around queer culture. There are lots of facets of being queer, and they are all acceptable for ‘Mo-Wave.

“I get pigeon-holed all the time. If you’re gay you have to like so and so, if you’re gay you have to like fashion design. You don’t have to be super campy to be gay. You don’t have to be butch to be a lesbian. You can be all kinds of things. In popular gay culture those things get really relegated.” Seth Garrison had to say, “There is all these rules, even within gay culture there are rules. The less rules the better.”

It’s easy to relate to Seth on this. These rules are very present in gay culture. They may represent a small population of the community. They are not true for the community as a whole. We pressed on about boundaries queers were set in. The group all agreed they were tired of being typecasted because of their sexuality. Again, its easy to relate to.

“We’re not defined by who we have sex with, we’re defined by the work we make because of the kind of culture we’re put in.” Seth conveyed.

I was curious to see who or what inspired the four of them. They have such a strong goal and cause with ‘Mo-Wave, I was interested to see what sparked the fire.

Marcus mentioned Derek Jarman, a filmmaker and artist, as one of his major inspirations.

Team Dresch, who will be playing ‘Mo-Wave on April 13 at Chop Suey, was an inspiration for Jodi. They changed her ideas of gender and music. “These were girls who played like dudes, girls who rocked.” she said.

Seth and Barret’s inspirations were a little different. Philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell’s revolutionary work was a real influence on their personal lives. They even drew inspiration from the father of modern computing, Alan Turing.

It became clear to me that what inspired ‘Mo-Wave was the struggle, of queer people, against heteronormative social mores. These were all powerful figures of history in their own right, but they weren’t accepted by their peers or society because of their queerness. Their differences, or what sets them apart, is what ‘Mo-Wave is celebrating.

‘Mo-Wave, will take over the hill from April 7th until the 14th. Happening on the 7th is Deviance in Motion, a queer dance exhibit. Followed by the Polari Exhibit at the True Love Gallery on April 11th. Then on Friday the real party kicks off and continues on throughout the weekend with music and comedy at Chop Suey, Wildrose and Pony. For a full line up of the events, check out ‘Mo-Wave’s website here. This is the last weekend you can purchase 3-day passes for ‘Mo-Wave’s venues. Three amazing days of music, all for under $50. Don’t miss out on this big gayass party.

By Joe Valley, Gay City intern

Category: Pride