Fiona Anderson: Cruising the Dead River Book Launch

New York in the late 1970s was a city on fire: ruined, dangerous, almost bankrupt, but the setting for an explosion of experimental music, art, poetry, film, and queer world-making. Existing on its fringes, Manhattan’s waterfront was a forgotten zone of abandoned warehouses and ruined piers. Though many saw only blight, the derelict neighbourhood was alive with queer people forging new intimacies through cruising. In her new book Cruising the Dead River: David Wojnarowicz and New York’s Ruined Waterfront, CRUSEV UK team member Fiona Anderson tells the story of the piers in the 1970s and 1980s through art, film, music, and poetry, as gentrification swept New York and before the AIDS crisis, unearthing buried histories of violence, regeneration, and LGBTQ+ activism that developed in and around the cruising scene.

The launch of Cruising the Dead River took place on October 30, 2019 at Colbalt Studios in Newcastle with an evening of music, readings, and performances by Giles Bailey, Laura Guy, Aleksandra Gajowy, Sarah Grundy, and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay.

Photos by Giles Bailey.

There is no keynote: a polyphonic retreat

CRUSEV UK team member Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay presented a performative keynote address at the Imagine Queer: Exploring the Radical Potential of Queerness Now conference at Newcastle University on October 13, 2018. The conference, organised by CRUSEV comrade Aleksandra Gajowy, considered interdisciplinary approaches to the transgressive potential of queerness today. Nemerofsky’s presentation questioned the appropriateness of the keynote position in a conference concerned with radical queerness, instead proposing a redistribution of the power afforded him through a participatory performance involving collective recitations of texts and flower arranging.