gyula muskovics

Between Certain Death and a Possible Future

Blacklips Performance Cult’s Post-Apocalyptic Queer Futurity

Howie Pyro and Kabuki Starshine in Frankenstein, 1993. Photo: Marti Wilkerson

Borrowing its title from Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s anthology about the experience of growing up with the AIDS crisis, the following text provides a glimpse into New York City’s experimental drag scene and late-night culture in the early 1990s. It introduces the work of Blacklips Performance Cult, a group founded by ANOHNI, Johanna Constantine, and Psychotic Eve in 1992, and presents their gory, monster camp plays as a form of worldmaking in response to the cosmic grief of mass queer death in the wake of the epidemic that decimated the East Village arts community in the preceding decade.

This is a revised version of my text published in Maska Journal, Volume XXXVIII., issue 217-218 (Winter 2023), edited by Pia Brezavšček.

To access the full text, please click on the folder below.

between certain death and a possible future