October 5, 2022 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

GAY LA: The Return of Killjoy’s Kastle

The WeHo lesbian haunted house is back, this time in book form. 

Back in the day, when LGBT+ folks had to contend with illegal identities, certain aspects of the community were a lot less complicated to hash out. Who could have predicted, back in the 1950s or even the 1970s, that a community that fought together to establish basic rights and freedoms would become so divided by the new Millenium? 

Today, with so many different identities living under the same LGBTQ+ umbrella, the question we find ourselves asking isn’t “how do we make change happen?” More often, it’s “how much do we all really have in common?”

The LGBTQ+ community is not, and has never been, a monolith. But even within the tiny enclave of L.A. gays, there are enough seeds of dissent sewn around to create more than our fair share of tempests in teapots. The simple labels of “butch” and “femme” have made way for more complicated associations (see: soft butch, futch, diesel dykes, bois, and sporty femmes) and as the generational gap grows, we’re seeing more and more dissidence within a community that used to find itself banning together against all odds. 

Enter “Killjoy’s Kastle,” a 2015 performance art piece that came to West Hollywood’s ONE Archives in 2015. The experience–half haunted house, half immersive art piece–was a response to all the different ways in which queer women have been turned against each other over the years. From TERFs to gender-critical feminists, every type of assumption about lesbian identity was taken on, skewered, and dissected for a willing audience. Now a book of essays related to the installation, “Killjoy Kastle” takes on an even bigger variety of whipping girls (and bois) through essays. Like the original KillJoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House, the book “is designed to pervert, not convert.” 

Toronto based-artists Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell advised viewers to “follow your demented women’s studies tour guide through the glorious and grisly KillJoy’s Kastle.” In essay form, all the same stereotypes, old tropes, and misguided assumptions about lesbian life come back to wreak intellectual havoc once again on readers. The response, fittingly, hasn’t been unmixed.

“Killjoy’s Kastle was the subject of debate, derision, and disgust, both inside and outside of queer communities,” writes Alexis Clements for LARB. “Within queer communities, it was criticized by some for being too white, too cisgender, too demanding for those working on it, too scary, and too focused on genitalia and essentialist ideas about genitalia and gender.”

It makes sense that a potentially polarizing book based on a potentially polarizing art piece would still wield the power to polarize, especially in the current climate. Not everyone believes that staring down stereotypes and taking on harmful tropes is part of the work we need to be doing at this moment. As such, no one can quite agree on what’s “scary” about a lesbian feminist haunted house. Is it the fact that it seems like it’s making fun of past queer pain? The fact that it’s gleefully irreverent? Or perhaps the feeling that within this over-the-top world, someone might find the exact kind of twisted queer utopia we all see in our dreams: imperfect, yet beautiful. 

Related Posts

California Trans Child Molester Gets 2 Years In Juvenile Facility

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A Los Angeles County judge ordered Hannah Tubbs, a transgender California woman, to serve two years in a juvenile facility...

Homeless Initiative Meeting In West Hollywood

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative works to address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response. It’s estimated that...

WeHo Premieres the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood announces the premiere of the Moving Image Media Art (MIMA) program and the worldwide debut...

LA Street Will Potentially Be Named After Anti-LGBTQ Singer

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A portion of Bailey Street may be renamed to the late Mexican Mariachi singer ” Vicente Fernandez Street’ – a...

WeHo Spreads Word About Free Covid Testing

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood is reminding residents that free COVID-19 testing is available for them.  Demand for COVID-19 testing...

Green Qween New Queer-Owned Cannabis Shop Will Open Downtown

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

Green Qween, a new queer-owned and queer-driven cannabis shop, will open in downtown on April 20th.  The shops owners, Andrés...

2022 ‘WeHo Reads’ Series Celebrates the ‘Road to Joy’

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to celebrate literature and local authors with its 2022 WeHo Reads literary...

New CA Law Helps With Transgender Deadnames

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

A new California law requires public colleges to update diplomas and records for transgender students who have changed their names....

MJ Rodriguez, 1st Openly Transgender Actress to Win Golden Globe

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Michaela Jae “MJ” Rodriguez has made history by becoming the first openly transgender person to win a Golden Globe.  The...

Animal Shelter Donations In Honor Of Betty White

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Animal shelter donations have increased exponentially in honor of late actress gay icon and animal lover Betty White. Over the...

AIDS/LifeCycle 2022 Needs More Volunteers

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

AIDS LifeCycle is back with more than $4 million raised so far for the 2022 ride benefitting the HIV/AIDS-related services...

Long Beach Named One of the Best LGBTQ Cities

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

For the 10th year in a row Long Beach has been named one of the best cities in the nation...

Gay Wedding At Dodger Stadium

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Eric Braverman and Jonathan Cottrell will exchange vows at Dodger Stadium. Showing the progress the LA Dodgers have made as...

LGBTQ Haven in Long Beach

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Long Beach is quickly becoming more and more of a safe haven for LGBTQ individuals with its queer spaces exploding...

Gerrie Schipske Enters Long Beach Mayoral Race

January 6, 2022

January 6, 2022

Gerrie Schipske announced on Thursday, December 30th that she would run for Mayor of Long Beach this year. The second-term...