This past Thursday, we at Revel & Riot attended a Montreal event called ‘Danger and Beauty,’ an evening with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and Vivek Shraya. Leah is a remarkable queer Sri Lankan writer, performer and teacher. She is the 2009-10 Artist in Residence and part-time professor at UC Berkeley’s June Jordan’s Poetry for the People and the co-founder and co-artistic director of Mangos With Chili, North America’s only touring cabaret of queer and trans people of color performing artists. It was an honor to see her amazing performance that night!
Vivek is a ridiculously well rounded talent – a musician, artist, activist, and writer with the release of his first book GOD LOVES HAIR. This book is a hilarious and heartbreaking collection of memories from his youth, focusing on themes of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion, and belonging – an essential read for every queer person. The book is also beautifully illustrated by Toronto artist Juliana Neufeld.
We absolutely loved his reading – we laughed, we cried! While we had already read and obviously adored his book, it was moving and magical hear the stories in his own voice. On his website, you can find more information about Vivek’s work and his book, as well as ‘Bhajans for Mom,’ eight Hindu devotional songs performed and produced by Vivek. So beautiful.