The author of Eating Fire: My LIfe as a Lesbian Avenger, Kelly Cogswell set out from Kentucky armed only with an electric typewriter, a stack of poems, and willingness to do the bare minimum as a maid, dishwasher, prep cook and temporary secretary.

In New York, following an unscheduled (and naked) performance that stunned the NYU Department of Performance Studies, she decided to put her Medusa-like powers to good use, first as a lesbian activist, and later, as an independent journalist and monger of extremely underground art.

Co-founder and co-editor of The Gully online magazine (2000-2006), her work has appeared in a range of venues including the International Herald Tribune, Louisville's Courier-Journal, and THIS WAY OUT: the international lesbian & gay radio magazine. Her column in New York's Gay City Newshas been recognized by the New York Press Association. She was awarded the Joan Heller-Diane Bernard Fellowship for her project documenting the Lesbian Avengers.

She taps into her Southern Baptist roots as a passionate, practically evangelical, speaker about the importance of direct action, art, media, and civic participation of all kinds.

New York, following an unscheduled (and naked) performance that stunned the NYU Department of Performance Studies, she decided to put her Medusa-like powers to good use, first as a lesbian activist, and later, as an independent journalist and monger of extremely underground art.

Co-founder and co-editor of The Gully online magazine (2000-2006), her work has appeared in a range of venues including the International Herald Tribune, Louisville's Courier-Journal, and THIS WAY OUT: the international lesbian & gay radio magazine. Her column in New York's Gay City Newshas been recognized by the New York Press Association. She was awarded the Joan Heller-Diane Bernard Fellowship for her project documenting the Lesbian Avengers.

She taps into her Southern Baptist roots as a passionate, practically evangelical, speaker about the importance of direct action, art, media, and civic participation of all kinds.


Reviews 

"A great success. The Dana Room was standing-room-only. Cogswell herself was mesmerizing in a quiet-confidence type of way, and the film she showed was engaging and educational and funny and inspiring."

"Her talk was so inspiring -- I really still vividly remember the looks on my students' faces."

Programs

The Art of Being A Lesbian Avenger
A look at their groundbreaking work, shaped by the East Village crucible of queer art, queer activism, and queer identity.

Direct Action: What Is it good for?
The LGBT community has a long history of street activism. Do these types of protests still make sense? When are they effective? Discussion and workshop.

Resistance Is Futile—Unless it's on YouTube
Social change, resistance, and the importance of DIY media. An essential and eclectic overview.

Having the Last Word
A conversation or workshop about writing by and for the downtrodden, vengeful, and impatient. Includes memoir, journalism, fiction.

Film Showing: Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire Too(1993)
Rare footage of dyke actions, plus interviews offering insight into the group that inspired a global movement. Film showing, Q & A.

Eating Fire: My Life As a Lesbian Avenger
A look at one activist's life spanning the twenty years from the Culture Wars through the War on Terror. Reading. Q & A.

Immigrant Experience
Close observations of the immigrant experience, seen inside and out. Plus homophobia as a machine of exile.

Activism and Immigrant Ideas
Considering the Lesbian Avengers as a global queer project, affected by and affecting other movements worldwide.

In this excerpt, writer and activist Kelly Cogswell examines the different roles activists and institutions play in social change, and why it's still important to take to the street. From her March 21, 2014 appearance at HRC's Equality Forum in DC.



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