My interview with Nico Lang for the Windy City Times is live online! It sums up quite succinctly a lot of what has brought me to where I am today, and what influences the work I make.
"Jerry Blossom Brigade," the piece I’ll be performing (alongside some amazing artists and queer community members) this Friday for December First Fridays: Summoning a New Queer Reality is a manifestation of my history, politics, and personal experience as a genderqueer, Filipino, US Navy veteran, visual and performance artist.
Although Junio explained that they already felt like they’d been performing for different people, it was the character of Jerry Blossom that allowed Junio’s interest in the medium to flourish. “It began just as a name,” Junio explained, but Jerry started to grow into a manifestation of my suppressed behaviors, cultural signifiers slapped up against white privilege and color. This performance had the potential to become a vehicle to discuss these kinds of issues.” For Junio, Jerry Blossom is an act of resistance. “I think a lot about the invisibility of Filipino bodies in space, performance and art,” Junio said. “Filipinos are the second most populous Asian population, but we’re nowhere to be seen on TV. Our experience is not represented.”
Who’s that girl that you dream of? #jerryblossom #fulldrag #gender #performance
Check out this interview I did with Nia King, a Bay Area artist/activist.
"Veteran. Fashion Designer. Yoga Instructor. This interview investigates the many lives of Kiam Marcelo Junio, world-traveler and former resident of the Philippines, Japan, and Spain. I sat down with him in Chicago to find out how he explores themes of colonialism, assimilation, and nostalgia through performance, queer "drag", and fashion. Highlights include:
- how his experience in the US Navy informs his critique of US imperialism,
- why being Filipino on stage is a political act, and
- when to intentionally shut out your audience.
Stay tuned until the end to hear Kiam’s attempts to explain the role of jockstraps in gay male sexual culture to me (to no avail).”
A transcript is also available in the link if you don’t feel like playing the audio file :)
My piece “National Anthem/Unpretty” is a declaration of sorts, an embodiment of the colonized body, and a rejection of normativity.
Featuring collaborators Collin Pressler and Joshua Roginsky from my performance collective, Anatomy/Gift/Association.
Please watch, share, comment and like. Discussions/critiques are always welcome. Thank you!
Chances Dances - Kiam Marcelo Junio - February 2013
Kiam Marcelo Junio served seven years in the US Navy as a gay man during the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell era. He was born in the Manila and has lived in the US, Japan, and Spain (all former occupying forces in the Philippines). Kiam is the current recipient of the Chances Dances Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant, a microgrant awarded to Chicago area, queer-identified, feminine-spectrum artists of color. He is often seen performing around Chicago at Beauty Bar for Salonathon Presents, at Upstairs Gallery for Making Out with Wes Perry, and was recently invited to perform during the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.
Chances Dances — monthly sister-parties for the LezBiGayTransIntersexQueer communities of Chicago — and the people who love them/us.
CHANCES: Third Mondays at Subterranean - 2011 W North - 10pm-2am - FREE
Jan. 21st with Lady Miss Navy Pier and John Twatters / Perfomances TBA
Hosted by MC Vajaqueque
This is considered the largest wooden structure in the world, last time I checked. It’s in Sevilla, about 30 mins from Rota, a small village where I was stationed with the US Navy in Spain for 3.5 years.
I went to my storage unit today and pulled out a bunch of Polaroids which I’m installing and selling for 2nd Friday at the Greenhouse. A lot of the photos are from my time in Europe, and I got nostalgic for that period in my life.
There was an innocence about that time. I was blessed with youth and a paycheck twice a month. I traveled anywhere in Europe as I pleased. If I wanted to go to London for the weekend, I could. I visited Paris and Barcelona at least 4 times each. The friends I kept around me were wonderful and supportive, for the most part, and also loved to travel.
Nevertheless, there was a prying dissatisfaction, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be there in the military, that every fiber of my being was telling me I needed to be making art and being around more like-minded people. It felt suffocating. The first quarter of 2011 was a long waiting game for my separation on May of that year.
During my last year in the military (and consequently, my last year in Spain), I took on a project in which I photographed my life with Polaroid cameras. I called it Placer Instantáneo (Instant Pleasure). Each day I designated a Polaroid photo for that day. Today, I went through some of those photos, looking at a life I lived so long ago. It feels like a lifetime has passed. I’m not that person anymore. I still have similar hopes, dreams, but I’m much more affirmed of my place in life. Though times are harder now (I rarely travel, as I’m just barely getting by with rent and food and art supplies), I’m much more confident in my skin, I feel much better supported and loved by family, friends and lovers, and so much happier in every sense.
Been playing around with potential iPhone cases, and possibly selling my work like so.
Rossy de Palma, Spanish actress, style icon.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Pedro Almodovar, 1988
Jerry Blossom, for my new series, Model Minority, which explores and complicates intersections of colonialism, privilege, standards of beauty, westernization, and the performativity of race and gender, specifically from a Filipino American immigrant perspective.
About a year ago, I left my little town of Rota, Spain, where I lived for over 3 years.
I can’t believe a year has already passed. I am so thankful to have gotten the chance to live overseas, learn and live in a different culture, and meet such amazing people. Living in Spain was truly living each day to the fullest. The days were long and open to be enjoyed, with work only a distant necessity for living.
Granted, I was in a position of privilege, working for the US Navy, an occupying foreign force in the country, so my experience was a bit skewed. Spain (especially the province of Andalucia where I lived) is still plagued with unemployment, economic, and political unrest. But the friends I made, and the lifestyle I encountered and surrounded myself with always seemed to see the better, easier side of life. Even with all of life’s negativities, you’re still alive, there’s still the sun, and the beach. When you live that close to the water, I think the social attitude just changes.
I can honestly say that Spain has changed me, even now a year after leaving the country.
Memento Momento en El Boletín, Abril 2011 (Rota, Sanlúcar, Chipiona, Trebujena).
My upcoming exhibit, featured in the region’s main monthly cultural guide.
Upon arriving in Spain, one of my goals was for my photography to be featured in a Spanish publication. So here it is, finally, on my last month here!
Thanksgiving Weekend 2010