We believe in artists. They have the power to make change. We also believe that everyone has the ability to be creative, and therefore creative opportunities should be available for everyone. Creativity helps us explore. Helps us dream. Helps us find a way back to ourselves. Or discover who we are. Something people LGBTQ+ identified need. In a world that often taught us we didn’t fit, discovering ourselves can take that much more.
Our mission at Andro and Eve is to bring the community together to celebrate queer culture. The COVID-19 crisis has given us an opportunity to adapt our offer and find new ways to reach our community.
CENTRE is one such way to connect our community with one another, in a year in which everyone has been in some way affected by the global pandemic. Okocha has curated and designed this unique collection of stories, poems and creative works, bringing voice to a range of LGBTQ+ people living in the North of England.
We also believe Black Lives Matter, and stand in solidarity with those who fight against the structural racism here in the UK and across the world. CENTRE contains a piece by Stop the Scandal, a grassroots campaign to stop the use of mobile fingerprint scanning linked to immigration databases by police. We’ve also connected with our friends at LASS (Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield) to bring you an interview with one of their members. 50% of all profits made from sales of CENTRE will be donated to Yorkshire’s Racial Justice Network, who bring together over thirty organisations in the West Yorkshire region to proactively promote racial justice.
The stories, poems and creative works in CENTRE are about things chosen by LGBTQ+ people living in the North of England that matter most to them. Andro and Eve, as a queer arts organisation based in South Yorkshire, is proud to serve and represent ‘Northern’ voices and we hope you will enjoy reading CENTRE.
Our thanks in producing this zine go to organisers from LASS, Stop the Scandal and Racial Justice Network. A huge thank you to Okocha Obasi for his creative vision and hard work, and to the artists and members of the Andro and Eve community who have contributed their work to CENTRE.
Ready to get a copy? Order from our shop here. And celebrate its launch with our special online party, A REYT QUEER NIGHT IN, on 10th October. We’re bringing the party direct to your front room! We hope that we’ll connect with you online soon.
Katherine Warman. Creative Producer / CEO Andro and Eve. September 2020.
This zine has been made possible through Arts Council England’s emergency funding in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
What exactly is a zine? As the Zine (pronounced zeen) becomes more and more a part of mainstream art and culture, and ahead of our new Zine, CENTRE, we decided it was well worth answering the question many of you may have been pondering quietly, but never dared ask aloud: “Just what exactly is a Zine?”
Is it a cheap way of displaying and disseminating art, a vehicle for the distribution of political ideas, maybe a glossy collection of photos in a trendy indie bookshop, or perhaps an important format of 20th and 21st century art? Are they handmade, each one unique, printed in small circulation or in bulk quantities? Are they ‘high-art’ or punk?
The not so simple answer, (you’ll be pleased to know) is nowadays people use ‘Zine’ to refer to any, and all of the above. This may seem like a bit of a contradiction, and that’s because it very much is.
In order to understand this contradiction, it’s helpful to have a very brief history of Zine-making. It’s hard to pinpoint a particular time or instance of The First Zine, but there are a few pretty good examples throughout the 20th century of the format, for instance, Sci-fi fan literature and ‘fanzines’ from the 1930s onwards. Fans of existing Sci-fi literature used the format to discuss published stories and share theories/fanfiction amongst themselves, bypassing the need for controlling or selective editors and publishers.
The format also became popular amongst hardcore fans of different music genres, including Rock ‘n Roll, Punk, and paving the way for commercially successful publications like Dazed, Vice, and NME. Latterly Zines were used as a way of disseminating political ideas and organising political thought, like the Queercore and the Riot Grrrl movement of the 80s/90s. These zines were characterised by a Do-It-Yourself aesthetic, and at their root was a desire to centre marginalised voices (although Riot Grrrl as a movement was fairly white and heteronormative), to subvert and challenge unequal power structures, and to foster a sense of community in shared experiences. (woo)
Unfortunately as with most things, as the Zine has become increasingly popular, it has also begun to be appropriated by corporations. (boo) For example, that expensive glossy photo-book in the trendy indie bookshop that we mentioned earlier. The Zine DIY aesthetic is also one that corporations have attempted to appropriate. Despite this, and the introduction of the internet, the Zine as a physical object, continues to be an important format for contemporary activists and creatives.
So what content actually goes into a zine then?
So we’ve covered where Zine’s come from, now what’s in them…This time the answer is pretty simple…anything goes! Just some examples of things might be; stories, poetry, prose, collage, photos, drawings, visual art, recipes, scanned objects/items, song lyrics, reviews, letters, articles, research, infographics, political manifestos…the list goes on!
Feeling intrigued and inspired? Check out our open submission to have your work printed in CENTRE Zine in collaboration with RACE ZINE and Okocha Obasi.
Image credit: Race Zine, 2019, courtesy of the artist, Okocha Obasi.
Ahead of the launch of our new zine, Centre, we caught up with RACEZINE founder, recent graduate and our latest collaborator, Okocha Obasi (he/him).
Okocha is a graphic designer and recent graduate from Leeds Arts University. In the past three years, he has created an array of projects, characterised by bold designs and themes that are socially engaged and conscious. Obasi is the creator of the RACEZINE whose aim is to platform creatives of colour, and Okocha has produced many projects including a non-profit zine, performance events and colourful and infamous club night TONGUE N TEETH. (All whilst completing his Bachelors degree – crazy right!?)
Q: So, Kocha, what can you tell us about your previous projects?
Okocha: I do a range of different projects ranging from styling, art direction to speculative focused critical design. I use whatever medium is needed to prove or communicate an idea. I like to blur the lines between different practices in order to create visually cathartic pieces of work, hence why I see myself more as artist, than ‘graphic designer’. Whether it’s a poster, club night, event, motion graphic or textile design, all my projects have purpose and direction for impact. For example, my brand RACEZINE COLLECTIVE was made out of the pain of being the Othered my entire life. I created a zine publication known as RACEZINE to share the voices of creatives of colours who tend to go unnoticed in the white dominated Northern art-spaces. Other projects include TONGUE N TEETH, a club night which welcomes those othered, in a temporary carnival-like space, offering moments of escape.
Q: When did you get into zines, and what is it you like about them?
Okocha: I have always been into zines, and since I was young have enjoyed looking through independent bookstores or zine libraries up and down the country. I like how they can take any form, style and narrative, allowing less-heard voices to become physically achieved and known. There’s something very timeless about how zines represent certain eras, highlighting different the social issues of different periods, provide commentary and can be a form of liberation or rebellion. I like the power of self-publishing things, which bigger establishments might view as too
‘risky’. Zines themselves are forms of protest against what is allowed or expected, which naturally makes them an expression of punk. And punk, has always been political and pushing the boat where’s it’s never been and that’s very exciting.
Q: What do you like about living in West Yorkshire/Leeds?
Okocha: What I love about Leeds is the definitely the club nights, as I have had many good (and messy) nights out! I also love that many people are very down to earth and genuine, it feels like you can breathe more so than London at times. There’s definitely been a surge in creative collectives which is always inspiring. I love the D.I.Y attitude that comes with these collectives, that often comes with being thoughtful about who and why they are creating spaces. On a personal level, I grew a lot in Leeds as well for a range of different reasons, which I will always thanks the city for. Overall as a creative it’s a good place to fail, learn and succeed, as it cheap and accessible for many different things.
Q: What do you find challenging about living in Leeds?
Okocha: I think there are a lot of white dominated spaces, which can feel very suffocating as PoC. I think also the mass amount of students made me very anxious as some people views definitely did not align with my own. I wish there were more regular art shows which are not inherently fine art and white. I think it’s great a lot of different art spaces are created by DIY collectives, but I wish there were more radical exhibitions and shows, led by established art organisations & spaces.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with Centre?
Okocha: I hope to represent all the voices meaningfully and create a loud, bold and visually cathartic zine publication. One which will be cherished by all those who get a copy. I definitely want it to be completely different to all my past work in regards to style….just expect every page to be visual ecstasy….that’s all I’m going to give away for now 😉
Q: Can you share with us someone that inspires you?
Okocha: My mother’s strength runs through my blood. Being completely resilient to any downfall what comes her way has always made me realise even in the darkest times we can rise. My mum taught me how to survive independently and warned me about every bad wolf in the world from a young age. I think that’s why I see the world the way it is and with that, find strength in using light to reveal the dark.
Q: I think it’s only fair to finish by asking you the same question we’re asking of all the artists who submit a response to Centre. Can you tell us, in 50 words or less, what matters most to you?
Okocha: Being unapologetic. I am young but feel like I’ve lived a long life due to a range of experiences, good and bad that have shaped who I am today. I have grown, broken myself and grown again, which has taught me now, more than ever, to be completely unapologetic in everything I do.
You can see more examples of Okocha’s work, and follow him on Instagram, here.
Title image credit: Okocha Obasi, photographed by @undinemarkus.
This summer we’re very aware that many LGBTQ+ people will be missing the annual Pride celebrations, places where communities can come together and feel free, standing up for what matters to them.
We’re also aware that as event organisers, we can’t physically bring people together. That is why we are collaborating with artist Okocha Obasi to create a zine. Obasi is a graphic designer and recent graduate from Leeds Arts University, and the creator of the RACEZINE COLLECTIVE whose aim is to platform creatives of colour. RACEZINE COLLECTIVE has produced projects include a non-profit zine, performance events and infamous club night TONGUE N TEETH.
Through our collaboration we’re launching the new zine ‘Centre’. The hope is that this can act as method to connect folx across the North of England and provide visibility and a voice to our queer community, particularly those often marginalised.
So with that in mind, here’s what you need to know about our latest project!
CENTRE: A new zine
What’s at your centre? What matters most? What are your hopes for the future, and how is this informed by who you are?
CENTRE is about centering untold stories. We want responses from all ages, and all walks of life, but are particularly interesting in hearing and documenting Queer and QTIBPOC stories in the North of England. We’re also keen to hear from LGBTQIA folx identifying as neurodiverse, deaf or disabled.
We’re looking for responses in the form of: Letters, personals stories, personal historical materials, recipes, interviews, art, comics, drawings, prints, paintings, spoken word, intergenerational collaborations, short stories and anything else that you want to share with the world.
To submit something all you need to do is complete our Google form and attach your submission there. If you have any issues using tech, or need extra support, drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help you.
To continue our Birthday celebrations, vegan blogger and baker, Kat of Kelham Island Kitchen has created this special celebration cake recipe exclusively for us.
Its just the sort of treat you’d expect to find at one of our events. For now, while we’re all staying home to keep ourselves and our community safe, we thought we’d share this gorgeous recipe with you in the hope you might want to get baking and create something truly scrumptious!
Kat says,.. ‘Enjoy a slice of this wonderfully summery Vegan Elderflower and Berry Cake. Making the most of seasonal ingredients,this cake is perfect for enjoying outside with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine). The elderflower gives a subtle floral flavour while the berries add freshness and cut through the sweetness of the cake’
If you do bake your own, tag us in any pics, we’d love to see! Enjoy! (If this recipe is a bit ambititous for you, check out Kat’s Vegan Banana Bread recipe instead; its pretty simple and also totally delicious!)
400g Self raising flour
200g Caster sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
400ml Plant Milk
160ml Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
5 tbsp Elderflower Cordial, plus extra for brushing the cake
100g Vegan Butter softened
200g Icing Sugar
150g berries, I used frozen raspberries
Pre-heat oven to 160’C (fan)
Grease and line two cake tins
Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a mixing bowl
Add the milk, oil, vanilla and elderflower cordial to the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter
Fold in half the berries then split the batter evenly between the two tins
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre
Allow the cakes to cool in the tins before moving to a cooling rack
Brush the top of the cakes with some elderflower syrup
To make the icing. Put the rest of the berries in a small saucepan with a splash of water
Cook on a low heat until the berries are really soft and you have a compote consistency
Strain the berries through a sieve. Keeping the liquid to add to the buttercream
For the buttercream beat together the butter and icing sugar until you have a smooth, fluffy icing
Once the berry sauce has cooled, add to the buttercream
To assemble the cake put half the icing in the middle of the sponges, then the rest on top.
Smooth the buttercream on top of the cake then use a pallet knife to create a simple flower pattern on top of the cake.
We know life is incredibly tough for so many people right now. Not least LGBT+ people isolated from supportive friends and networks that can be a lifeline. We know we’ve been missing our queer community and queer life in Sheffield during lockdown. We’ve been working hard to bring you some content that might prove useful, or bring joy. Our Instagram Stories and Twitter feed are full of news, resources and online events that can help members of the LGBT+ community during this pandemic.
Today we’re sharing something tasty. If you’ve been to one of our events you’ll know how important a feature our cakes are, and we’re missing them. Over the coming week we’re celebrating 4 years since our first event in Sheffield (a cosy screening of Jamie Babbit’sBut I’m a Cheerleader, at which a giant cheerleader skirt cake made a splash!)
So what better way to mark 4 years of Andro & Eve than by sharing a recipe from our very own baker, Kat, otherwise know as Kelham Island Kitchen. Her blog is full of delicious vegan cooking, and her cakes are a staple of Andro & Eve events. Fun fact – Kat was the very first volunteer for Andro & Eve, back in 2016!
This cake was featured at our January screening of SILVANA at Yellow Arch Studios. Its proper comfort food, ideal for coping with lockdown life, and not too expensive to make either. We know how hard it is to make ends meet for a lot of folx right now. It may be a quarantine cliche, but an easy banana bread, may be just the tonic. (I certainly enjoyed baking and eating this last week as a test – Katherine). Enjoy!
(And if you do bake this, please tag us @androandeve in any pics. We’d love to see!
Why not chuck in some dark chocolate chips, peanut butter or toast a slice with some coconut yoghurt for breakfast?
‘I struggled to find a community that would really support me in my drag journey’
For years, I’ve been interested in becoming a drag king – partly because of my theatre degree and fascination with gender as performance – but I’ve struggled to find a community that would really support me in my drag journey. So, when I saw a poster advertising Andro and Eve’s Drag King Workshop in November 2019, I simply knew I had to sign up for it.
Before the big weekend, I was buzzing with anticipation, but there was also a fraction of performance anxiety, as the practical workshops, especially comedy and character development, sounded challenging. On the second day of skills workshops, brilliantly facilitated by Katherine and Natalie, I found myself literally crawling on the floor whilst performing my first ever comedy improvisation that made my audience laugh. This wasn’t just confidence-boosting, it really made me realise I could “do” things, if only I was brave enough to take the plunge.
The talent within our group is incredible. Some are charismatic performers, there are actors, singers, musicians and dancers, but everyone is warm and supportive. Our little community thrives on WhatsApp and some of us have met up at local events, such as Andro and Eve’s own Reyt Queer Do. The friendships forged at the workshop are proving an invaluable source of positive energy and inspiration during these strange times. I admit I can’t wait until I see the other Kings again on the other side of lockdown.
Developing Tristan – my drag king alter-ego – brings me a lot of joy. He still hasn’t quite found himself but he started his own life on social media and I’m looking at developing more comedy material, especially bad poetry. I’m truly grateful to Andro and Eve for giving me the tools to this wonderful, creative outlet and helping me find my place within the queer arts community.
It has come to our attention that, SHOCK HORROR, some folk don’t KNOW what a drag king cabaret is? Hold our redbush tea while we gently explain the lowdown on the glorious and rare beast that is a cabaret night dedicated solely to DRAG KINGS.
Firstly, some of you, (gasp) may not know what a drag king is, but we think you *may* have heard of drag queens. So, a drag king, instead of performing femininity like most queens, will perform a version of masculinity. This can include use of makeup, facial hair, body transformation, and just like a queen, a wholly formed persona to amuse an audience. But ‘blokes are not as exciting to look at as the trappings of a woman’ we hear some dissenters mouth.. HOLD UP! Have you seen Spikey Van Dykey? Adam All?Christian Adore?Oedipussi? The latter three kings have all performed at our very own drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come. No one with working eyesight could accuse these kings of not dazzling the heck out of audiences with their OTT looks.
Starting to get an understanding? Okay. Now. Just don’t say ‘so its a woman dressed as a man right?’ This is because many kings identify as non binary, trans-masculine or as men. That said, some kings do go about daily life as women, just please ask before assuming this. Misgendering folk is never a good look and we really don’t want our community feeling less than damn brilliant. Got it? Champion.
So what does a drag king do? Glad you asked. They usually perform a 5 – 10 minute act in which they may dance, strut, pose, sing, lipsync or clown but always with the intention of entertaining an audience. Many kings use their performances to deconstruct and play with the idea of masculinity, using props, humour and audience interaction to give audiences a rollicking thrill ride of fun, while potentially also blowing your mind with a different perspective. Even if that perspective is that you didn’t know the macarena could be performed *that* fast, (cheers Oedipussi), or you now have a taste for a dick in a box (thanks Louis Von Dini)!
And a drag king cabaret such as The Kingdom Come? Well we put 5 of these kings on a massive stage, in the historic surroundings of old 1920’s cinema, Abbeydale Picture House in Sheffield, and get them to perform for 200 – 350 people. They usually perform 2 different acts each with an interval in between. Its a room full of queer joy, community and the feeling that for 3 hours, we can come together and just celebrate. We also transform the space with decorations, a dedicated lighting designer, stage crew, and a team of amazing volunteers are on hand to support our community throughout (and sell some of the best vegan cake in Sheffield).
We do this because often, female bodied and trans performers are marginalised, because its the turn of the kings to get the recognition they deserve, with scene stalwarts like Boi Box having helped develop the careers of so many wonderful kings, and because Northern cities like Sheffield deserve some of the finest entertainment the UK has to offer! (And like so many cities, are lacking in dedicated LGBTQ+ venues). We want to put Sheffield on the map for queer arts and culture.
Now you may have a better understanding of what The Kingdom Come is, we hope you can join us for a future edition. Because of the scale of these shows (the largest drag king show outside of London), we only do them once or twice a year. Our next is on the 21st March and you can get a ticket here, with sliding scale prices so all can enjoy a night of queer joy!
Happy LGBT+ History Month! Its been very busy the last 6 months at Andro & Eve, so we thought it was high time we gave you all an update on what’s been going on!
In November we hosted our first Drag King Workshop Weekend in collaboration with award winning drag king Louis Cyfer, and founder of the Women’s Comedy Network, Natalie Diddams at our partner venue, Theatre Deli Sheffield. (Sidenote: Go support their fundraiser to support this brilliant indie arts space!)
13 participants from across the North of England and the Midlands joined us to learn skills in makeup, character development, gender as performance and creating comedic material, with an informal sharing at the end of the weekend. Feedback from participants was very positive, and we gained a lot of insight into what worked, and where we could push this talent development further. Comments from participants included;
‘I liked the thought, love and organisation that went into the weekend, it was wonderful. I felt very safe and cared for’.
‘I learnt it’s okay to take time and to take up space’.
A few days after our Drag King Weekender we headed over to Cast in Doncaster for our first Donny event, A Reyt Northern edition of queer cabaret, A Reyt Queer Do. Louis Cyfer was back for hosting duties with performances by House of Ghetto’s Jason Andrew, and up and coming talents, Ding Frisby, Spent Reznor and Donny Lad. An audience of 60 people turned out and we were thrilled with the support, and to meet so many new faces. There was a lot of laughter in the room that night, and the 6 weeks of outreach work in the run up to the event clearly paid off. Thanks to Cast for their support in developing our audience! Doncaster folk commented
‘Thanks for an amazing night, it made hump day bright and beautiful’.
We rounded off November with a big queer party and cabaret back at Theatre Deli with A Reyt Queer Do 5. This ‘Shine Like a Diamond’ edition was hosted by non – binary rapper Bad Lay Dee with performances by poet Maz Hedgehog, theatre maker Victoria Firth and drag kings Sveto Slava and Dickhead Dave Debonair. DJ Chardine Taylor – Stone from punk band Big Joanie ensured everyone got a chance to raise the roof once the performances were done.
In January we collaborated with DocFest to produce a cosy film screening at Yellow Arch. We chose to screen the brilliant documentary SILVANA, about Swedish rapper Silvana Imam, after seeing this film at Doc/Fest in 2018. The film follows Imam’s rise to fame, her experience as an immigrant in Sweden and new romance with Swedish lesbian pop star, Beatrice Eli. Cake and cosy vibes were enjoyed by all, and we think it’s is fair to say most of the audience fell hard for this lesbian power duo!
In between running all these events we successfully recruited a new Assistant Producer, Emma, who brings with her a wealth of marketing and event experience. We’ve also had some fab new volunteers join the team and been recruiting a new board of directors (more news on that coming soon) and planning our events for 2020.
Currently, Andro & Eve is featured in a new exhibition to celebrate LGBT+ History Month at Sheffield’s Central Library. It’s great to see this sort of visibility and recognition, especially at a time when mainstream media seems intent on sowing division between different communities.
We’re also gearing up for our biggest drag king cabaret to date, The Kingdom Come on 21st March at Abbeydale Picture House. It’s going to be a special Under the Sea Edition! Hosted by star on the rise Christian Adore and featuring a line up of ridiculously hot and talented drag kings, its going to be a night to remember.
We’re forever grateful for those in our community who have gone before, making space for the LGBT+ community to come together, and are proud to be continuing this work. But we know only too well how precarious the creation of queer friendly spaces are. Want to support your LGBT+ community now and help us continue this work? Then nab a ticket and come feel the mer love at The Kingdom Come! See you then!
A special thanks to all those who continue to support our work, giving their time, money or expertise to help us grow, and Arts Council England for funding much of the work of the last 6 months.
Andro and Eve is all about bringing our community together, and one of the ways we do that is by working with a wonderful team of volunteers who give their time to help make our events happen. We’re looking to expand our volunteer team and would love to hear from you if you’ve got some time and energy to help out.
We’re looking for folks who can be at events, interact with members of the public, are happy handling money and love a spot of decorating. (If you’ve been to one of our events, you’ll know our approach to decor is more is more!) Some of our volunteers also help out with stage management and sound. We’re also keen to hear from people who would be up for distributing our posters and flyers, this is an important part of helping us reach new people.
Typically, we ask volunteers wanting to help with events to work with us on evenings and weekends, and for shifts of 6 – 8 hours. We always provide food, breaks and plenty of support for our team, and as a volunteer, of course you’ll get to see behind the Andro and Eve scenes. We also organise socials for our team and offer event training throughout the year.
Here’s what some of our volunteers have said about working with us…
‘After feeling like a lost queer in Sheffield during my time as a student, volunteering for Andro & Eve was one of the best things I could have done for myself, whilst also contributing to the local community. Meeting younger and older LGBTQ+ people who were all so vibrant and positive opened me up to a whole new world and I feel so much more connected to my queer identity. If you feel like you are in a similar state of mind to how I was, or simply want to have fun and contribute your time to some of the best queer events this planet has seen – volunteer for Andro and Eve! Without them and the caring people who dedicate their time there, I’d still be looking for my queer identity’.
‘Being part of Andro and Eve is like having a fabulous queer family. I’ve volunteered now for a number of their events and have loved every minute, we always have such a laugh and I love that its supporting and developing a strong queer presence in the Steel City’….. Laura.
‘Getting involved with Andro and Eve has been a great decision. There’s something really powerful about coming together and putting on these fabulous events to celebrate aspects of our queer culture. The team are so friendly, and its been a pleasure to meet so many new friends from those involved’.
We’d love to hear from folks who are available on the 13th and 30th November for our events in Sheffield and Doncaster, and for dates after this too. If the above sounds good to you, and you have some availability then drop us a line using the contact form here. Thanks!
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