Notebook — Daughters of a Riot

Bobby Barnaby, LOL McFiercen, and Travis Santell Rowlands in Daughters of a Riot, 2016 at Brava Theater. Photo: Robbie Sweeny.

Editors’ Note: We asked the writer and curator James Fleming to attend each of the live moments in the Limited Edition program and create short, visceral responses in conversation with the performances. This is the sixth, written after seeing Daughters of a Riot, performed March 14–15 as part of the CounterPulse Festival.


 

History that cannot be said will be sung
The rest will be known by our cunning weave
Our loosening tongue of desire.

The streetlot bloomed into violet tiaras, gem-encrusted necklines, ruby lipped with coruscating tresses in dizzying pursuit, dresses swelling through glim and shade into powdered ravishments of flowering paint such that jailed queers across the street felt their just hearts light and fair as flame: the nelly queens had come.

All of them aloft in absolute beauty, our fair ladies as knights, our sacred camp, ennobled inventions turned first to nature, then to Veils of Isis as the vanguard poured out the door of Compton’s: dishes, chairs, shattered windows, jets of coffee showering down the advance of brutish blue devils.

As much war cry as dirge we charged,
sisters in arms at the helm, into the Tenderloin,
our song enlivening legends in the wake.

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