MemesSaturday, June 27, 2015
2:00 PM
MAK Center Schindler House

Join Les Figues Press for Memes: a Queer Nation panel and sticker-making workshop!

Memes will convene former Los Angeles Queer Nationals to talk about the group’s historic use of slogans and stickers as a form of social protest and aesthetic intervention. The panel discussion will be followed by a sticker-making workshop.

Participating Los Angeles Queer Nation activists and authors include: Michael du Plessis, Kathleen Chapman, Judy Ornelas Sisneros. HIV/AIDS activist-scholar  Jih-Fei Cheng of Scripps College will also participate on the panel. The discussion will be moderated by USC gender studies professor Karen Tongson. Following the discussion, the participatory sticker-making workshop will engage and encourage brainstorming for the future of queer activism in Los Angeles.

The event, hosted at the MAK Center Schindler House in West Hollywood, will focus on HIV/AIDS, art, literature, ephemera, protest, and Los Angeles LGBT history in order to honor queer activism and the diversity of protest expressions—underscoring queer history in our past, present, and future.

Les Figues was co-founded in 2005 by Teresa Carmody, an organizer of the first Ladyfest in Olympia, Washington, and Vanessa Place, a former member of Queer Nation Los Angeles. Memes is the first of two related but discrete Les Figues events this year that focus on using language to make social and artistic change while providing audience engagement through creative workshops. The second event, Manifestos, will feature artists and writers in the forthcoming Les Figues title TrenchArt Monographs: hurry up please its time.

Both events are sponsored by the City of West Hollywood through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission. For more information on WeHo Arts programming please visit or follow on social media @WeHoArts. Memes is also held in conjunction with the 2015 One City one Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, the exhibition [email protected]: Art AIDS WeHo,” opening June 6, 2015 at the West Hollywood Library, ONE Archives and MOCA PDC. The events are being curated by the 2015 Les Figues Kathy Acker Fellow, Margaret Rhee.

Memes is free and open to the public.

Join the Facebook page here.

Location: MAK Center Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Rd. West Hollywood, CA, 90069

Date: Saturday, June 27, 2015

2:00 – 3:30 – Panel discussion and Q & A
3:30 – 4:00 – Break
4:00 – 5:30 – Sticker-making workshop

About the Participants:

Michael du Plessis


Michael du Plessis is the author of The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker (Los Angeles: Les Figues, 2012) and the chapbook Songs Dead Soldiers Sing (Chicago: Transparent Tiger Press, 2007). With Janice Lee, du Plessis is collaborating on a book of ekphrastic poetry, A Book of Decapitations, sections of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Fanzine, Plinth, P-Queue, and Faultline.

Judy Ornelas Sisneros


Judy Sisneros is a native Californian, a resident of Los Angeles since 1988 and was a member of Queer Nation Los Angeles from fall 1990 to late April 1992. Her path into Queer Nation LA was via ACT UP LA (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), the AIDS street activist organization, which was preceded by clinic defense during the heavy street activist confrontations with Operation Rescue’s attempts to close family planning clinics. 

Sisneros’ activities in Queer Nation LA included participation in many of the AB101 protests of fall 1991, and participation in the Hollywood Homophobia Committee. The committee’s mission was to fight stereotypical negative representation of the LGBT community in Hollywood movies and the committee’s largest impact was organizing the protest by the LGBT community outside of the 1992 Academy Awards. This protest generated national and international press coverage and can be credited with helping to change in a positive direction queer representation in film.

After Sisneros’ departure from QNLA, she was part of a national network of ACT UP womens’ caucus members that organized the National Dyke March which took place on the eve of the 1993 National LGBT March on Washington. Estimates of attendance of the dyke march were in excess of 40,000 women.

In 1994 she co-founded the Los Angeles Dyke March and continued participating in the organizing committee until 1997. In 2005 she became a member of Tongues, the latina lesbian arts organization, and traveled with the group when they participated in the 2006 Marcha Lesbica in Mexico City.

These days Sisneros prefers to work solo in a photography, it’s less stressful and shoots whatever pleases her mood at the time the camera is in hand.

Kathleen Chapman

Kathleen Chapman teaches art history at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in modernism and the history of the poster. She has published articles about German Expressionist art and translations of essays by Heinrich Wölfflin.

Jih-Fei Cheng

Cheng, Jih-Fei

Jih-Fei Cheng is Assistant Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Scripps College. He earned his MA in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and his PhD in American Studies and Ethnicity, with emphasis in Visual Studies, at the University of Southern California. Prior to returning to academia, he worked in HIV/AIDS social services, managed a cultural center, was involved in arts and media production and curation, and participated in several queer of color grassroots organizations in New York City and Los Angeles, including the Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment! (FIERCE!). His organizing work has addressed the issues of queer and transgender health, immigration, gentrification, youth homelessness, police harassment and brutality, and prison abolition. His book project, AIDS and its Afterlives: Race, Gender, and the Queer Radical Imagination, examines how experimental videos produced by AIDS activists during the U.S. AIDS “crisis” period (1980s to mid-1990s) continue to politically intervene into contemporary popular media and social movements through their adaptations in recent AIDS activist documentary films, New Queer Cinema, and online HIV prevention campaigns.

About the Moderator:

Karen Tongson


Karen Tongson is Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at University of Southern California, and the author of Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (NYU Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in numerous venues in print and online, including Public Culture, Social Text, GLQ, and Novel: A Forum on Fiction. She is currently the series editor for Postmillennial Pop at NYU Press, and an associate editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies. Her current book project, Empty Orchestra: Karaoke. Critical. Apparatus., critiques prevailing paradigms of imitation in contemporary aesthetics and critical theory, while offering a genealogy of karaoke technologies, techniques, and desires.

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