GSV 2017 Fall Conference
Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider
September 21 – 24, 2017
The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC
4 Days / 3 Nights: $405.65 (conference only, all inclusive)
5 Days / 4 Nights: $496.39 (arrive a day early + conference)
* Prices include taxes and program fee. *
Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider
As a tribe, gay men are no strangers to the pain of outcast status. The thorns of alienation have pierced us all. We are more than casually familiar with the sting of loneliness and despair. At certain times and in certain places we have been obligated to hide our lives, our love, and our gifts behind a tangle of strategic illusions – or suffer the consequences.
Thrown as we’ve been into this briar patch, we’ve had the uncomfortable privilege of cultivating extraordinary lives of otherness and vision. We have taken long, meandering tours of Neverland and Oz and returned with souvenirs and insight. We have been down stranger rabbit holes than Alice ever imagined, and Spirit has cordially invited us to develop alternative gifts – some as personal (and useful) as gaydar, resilience, and empathy, others as grand as music, literature, and culture itself. How can we not celebrate?
Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider will be both an acknowledgment of the burdensome nature of our gifts and a celebration of the queer joys of exile. Over the course of the conference, we will consider the gifts, obvious and subtle, that have flowed to us due to our outsider status. We will cultivate gratitude for these sometimes-challenging gifts. We will seek out opportunities to share our gifts with others, and we will discuss ways of assisting and defending those who may not yet see exile for the gift that it is.
We will gather together in a magical place atop The Mountain to take stock of the gifts that have flowed to us while we have walked the path of otherness. In our exile, we have become poets and warriors, firekeepers and shamans, faeries and philosophers, dancers and dreamers, tricksters and healers, explorers and mentors.
How can we not celebrate?
Bring garb for the “Talent” Show.
Bring garb (and drums) for the Drum Circle.
Bring garb to dazzle and seduce!
As you prepare to come to The Mountain, please keep in mind the Silent Auction that benefits GSV’s Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. It is as helpful as it is simple: Bring items of value that you no longer need, and come prepared to bid on the treasures that speak to your spirit that were brought by others. All proceeds help facilitate the presence of men who otherwise wouldn’t be able to join us due to lack of funds.
Sister Unity, a drag nun since December 1995, is a founding member of the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. In her 22 years in bright orange habit, she has manifested in six states plus the District of Columbia, has exorcised and blessed the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Office of AIDS Policy, and the Dolby Theater, home of the Oscars. She has performed seven weddings including one on the first day marriage became legal in California in June of 2008. She and the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence subsequently led many of the protests against the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage until it was overturned. She has performed and lectured at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, and Wesleyan University. Her 10 years of YouTube contributions feature over 80 videos with content including Hindu mythology, LGBT fairy tales, humor, philosophy, spirituality, and LGBT rights and activism. Sister Unity has practiced Hinduism and meditation since before becoming a drag nun and derives her name from Sanskrit.
Bennett Schneider: As a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, Bennett has written hundreds of rituals, blessings, exorcisms, and performances. He teaches by combining ritual, spirituality, gay history, queer theory and theater in a variety of contexts that have included: UCLA, the Lee Strasburg Theater Institute, Radical Fairy gatherings, the California Men’s Gathering, and Highways Performance Space. He studied meditation, yoga, and philosophy at ashrams in India, New York, and California. Being born to a Shakespeare teacher and Bozo the Clown made him a lifelong theater practitioner performing with the queer theater company “Fabulous Monsters” as well as onstage with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in various television shows, music videos, and commercials. This summer he was invited to teach meditation in Nida, Lithuania.
Watch for Part II in our next post. In the meantime, register now!
Nightshade (Kraig Blackwelder)
2017 Fall Conference Convener