OUT LOUD Art Festival in LB Examines the Queer Future

Photos: Courtesy OUT LOUD. Founder David Russo on stage at last year’s OUT LOUD Festival.

What does the Queer Future look like? A simply, yet vastly complicated question. The exact query that the OUT LOUD arts festival in Long Beach looks to tackle this weekend. 

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“Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people have historically been leading lights in the arts,” OUT LOUD Founder David Russo said in an interview with the Pride LA. “Yet, finding forums that focus on us has become increasingly difficult. In our pursuit of social and political equality, we need to fully harness the power of the arts to create social change.”

OUT LOUD: A Cultural Evolution, a not-for-profit community arts organization, will present their second annual LGBTQ+ arts festival on June 29, 2019. The main theatre performance, featuring singers, dancers, poets, and more, will take place from 1:30-4 p.m. at The Art Theatre of Long Beach. A social reception will follow from 4-6 p.m. across the street at The Hangout, featuring a curated art display of more than 20 artists and additional performances. This event is free and open to the public.

“As we entered 2019, political and social factors made us wonder what the future would hold: would we regress, be forced to refight battles we thought we had won,” Russo said. “How would we protect our rights and our artistic expression, particularly in a world that seemed all too willing to take a few steps backward. Our queer futures—what will it look like? I believe that we are the authors of our own history, and of our own future. A group of us got together to brainstorm, and this is what came out of it.”

The theme for this year’s festival is Queer Futures. A driving question of the festival is: What do queer futures look like, and how do we create them? Anyone from the LGBTQ+ community was invited to submit work during an open submissions call.

“OUT LOUD began as a vague notion in my head, a restlessness born of the scarcity of local work that reflected my own life and experiences,” Russo said. “I wanted to create a space for queer artists to be seen and heard, to connect with and inspire each other.”

Singer Angel Bonilla will be headlining the festival this year. 

Singer Angel Bonilla will be headlining the festival. Originally from the Philippines, she recently made history as the first transgender contestant on NBC’s The Voice. A choral orchestra called United Voices was assembled specifically to perform at OUT LOUD. Dancers from California State University, Long Beach, will perform original choreography. Poets and writers will share their words with the audience, and queer anthropology professor Gregory Mattson will make a brief address to couch the artistic performances in social context. 

“…While there are other wonderful queer festivals, focused around one discipline such as film or music, OUT LOUD is ambitious: we house a variety of artistic and cultural disciplines under one roof in one day—music, dance, comedy, poetry, essay, culinary, and more,” Russo said. “We want to show both the depth and the breadth of the creative queer community, offering an immersive cultural experience to our community.” 

At the Hangout, visual and performing artists will continue the celebration. A typewriter poet will be writing poems for guests live. The reception will feature a curated art display, as well as other musical performances, hosted by “queer liberated puppet,” Dirty Patti. Food and drinks will be available. A licensed therapist will be on hand to provide free counseling.

“OUT LOUD is committed to providing a venue for creatives to show their work,” Russo said. “It offers, in one place, a multi-media experience that brings together a population that has often been marginalized, demonized and ignored. We show the world not just what we are, but who we are, building bridges even as we exercise our talents. This helps create understanding and compassion.” 

The goal of this festival is to educate and motivate, even while entertaining, and to recognize the creative power of the queer community. OUT LOUD aims to celebrate diversity, foster appreciation for marginalized groups, and expand an atmosphere of inclusion for all. 


Date: Saturday, June 29, 2019


1:30-4 p.m. (Doors open 1:30)

Art Theatre Long Beach

2025 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814


4-6 p.m.smm

The Hangout

2122 E. 4th St., Long Beach, CA 90814

PARKING: Street parking is available around the area. We are able to offer a limited number of parking spots at Burbank Elementary School for $5 on a first-come basis. This is a highly trafficked area, so carpooling, biking, or ridesharing is highly recommended!

Admission is FREE. We believe that no one should have to pay to access their own culture.

Link for event details and to RSVP: https://queerfutures.eventbrite.com

Link to donate: https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/out-loud-a-cultural-evolution

Website: http://outloudlb.com/