GLITTERfesto:  An Open Call in Trinity Formation For A Revolutionary Movement Of Activist Performance Based On The Premise That Social Justice is Fabulous

by T.L. Cowan

GLITTERfesto Part I

GLITTER does not stand for anything, although you are welcome to turn it into an acronym of your own devising. It is utopian. It believes in faeries in so far as many of us are not human.

GLITTER, once you’ve been implicated, is impossible to shake; it marks you well into the future and requires that you wear it on your person, even unintentionally. It is a public declaration of affinity.

GLITTER is a demonstration. It will happen anywhere it can and many places it can’t.

GLITTER is a rental. GLITTER is on the ground with dog shit and other garbage. GLITTER is a strong clear voice. GLITTER is in bad taste and has bad credit. GLITTER is excessive, loud, large, clever, exuberant, open, loving, angry, sharp, indignant, melodramatic, pragmatic, absurd, illegitimate, too-tight as well as baggy as well as over-exposed. GLITTER succeeds from time to time. The success of GLITTER is determined by GLITTER’s own criteria and idea of itself, which is always changing and relative.

GLITTER is an aestheticized politics of action. GLITTER risks being obvious.

GLITTER has no membership list; we are a loose affinity of shiny demons.

GLITTER takes on hard topics and strives for incoherence. GLITTER is the simultaneous expression of contradictory feelings and knowledges. GLITTER simply revels in complexity.

GLITTER is inspired by millions of genius artists and activists who may or may not know who they are, and who may or may not identify with or as GLITTER.

GLITTERfesto Part II: Guidelines for GLITTER-based performance

1. There must be GLITTER in some form on the performers or in the performance space, or the ESSENCE OF GLITTER in the form of innovative curses, everyday swearing, glamour, fancy dancing, self-deprecating humour, jibes or other kinds of jokes, voice alterations and instrumentation through, for example, beat-boxing or electronic magic, jigs, any form of contortionism, delight, high-kicks, or GLITTER REPLACEMENTS such as breakfast cereals, beads, grains, feathers, tinsel, tassels, stickers, bubbles, candy, or elaborate hats or masks.

2. GLITTER-based performance is disorienting; its goal is to transform public space into a funhouse mirror room full of tiny disco balls. GLITTER-based performance is most effective when it emulates a room full of disco balls—it spins madly, twinkles, makes people want to dance or vomit, encourages people to think of the past and future simultaneously, and to think of themselves and their personal effects through variations on a kaleidoscope.

3. GLITTER-based performance incriminates the audience via any of the following modes: direct interaction, call-and-response, thoughtfully-arranged and chaotically rearranged tables and chairs, throwing GLITTER on the audience, encouraging the audience to FEEL strongly and to LOVE each other, while also providing a reassuring sense of shame, guilt, or illicit pleasure, all of which can be powerful motivating forces of mutual recognition, and thus have revolutionary potential. In the same way that GLITTER sticks, the intense FEELINGS should be almost impossible to shake, even if that intense FEELING is a shared boredom.

4. GLITTER-based performance revels in uncertainty but practices its tricks.

5. GLITTER-based performance recognizes performance as labour and aims to pay performers; GLITTER seeks ethical private patronage.

6. GLITTER-based performance is not concerned with reality, except to transform it into something more fair and fabulous.

7. GLITTER-based performance participates in sliding-scale, pay-what-you-can (PWYC) or volunteer-and-get-in-for-free (VAGIFF) and other forms of anti-capitalist economies.

8. GLITTER-based performance pays artists for their work.

9. GLITTER-based performance is as queer as can be and aims to create a queer space where white supremacy and male supremacy are rendered ridiculous.

10. GLITTER-based performance is feminists and trans and sex workers and border hoppers and stowaways in brilliant coalition.

11. GLITTER-based performance acknowledges outright that organized religion almost always screws with people. GLITTER-based performance works to reverse or at least neutralize the negative effects of organized religion through the power of GLITTER.

12.GLITTER strategically pretends like everything is okay. This is a survival strategy. GLITTER knows that everything is not okay.

13. GLITTER-based performance is informed and motivated by love, but is not necessarily happy. GLITTER-based performance is, in many instances, characterized by rage. In fact, GLITTER-based performance is, in many instances, epitomized in the form of a pissed-off drag queen.

14. GLITTER-based performance ensures that a lot of things are going on at once. For this reason, collaboration, multimedia presentations, costume changes, stripping, crowd surfing, mechanical devices, displays of sexual intimacy or sexual alienation (solo or in a group), displays of virtuosity, radical actions that inspire resolute feelings of agitated resistance, lipsynching, gyrating, etc. are all encouraged.

15. GLITTER-based performance provokes, but not for the sake of provocation alone; the limits of GLITTER-based performance are always changing. Risk is necessary.

16. GLITTER-based performance is game, regardless of what anyone thinks or what time it is.

GLITTERfesto PART III: A collaborative list in progress

GLITTER is feminist by way of being in pursuit of social justice for all.

GLITTER is anyone who wants to be and who is willing to improvise and rehearse. Both improvisation and rehearsal are necessary for GLITTER to thrive.

GLITTER is fabulous and will not be diminished. GLITTER claims frivolity as a badge of honour.

GLITTER is millions of tiny mirrors that show our best and worst selves. GLITTER helps us share our best selves and change our worst selves. Sometimes we are on our knees.

GLITTER gets everywhere; it cannot be contained.

GLITTER is glory and shame, flipsides. GLITTER resists indifference.

GLITTER revels in the effeminate. GLITTER rivals bold.

GLITTER is glam. GLITTER is cheap.

GLITTER is sparkle. GLITTER is magnificent.

GLITTER, unlike chalk, does not wash away. GLITTER identifies.

GLITTER is for all ages. GLITTER transcends confetti.

GLITTER reminds. GLITTER takes a hit.

GLITTER takes over. GLITTER is a transformational politic.

GLITTER is carnival. GLITTER keeps going long after the safety valve has blown.

GLITTER grabs and resists. GLITTER is in the spotlight.

GLITTER is juvenile, is arrested development. GLITTER curses.

GLITTER is more or less gem. GLITTER is BYOEverything.

GLITTER does not distinguish between the everyday and every other day. GLITTER marks you.

GLITTER does not assimilate. GLITTER is donated and given away.

GLITTER is a clown, a mime, a dancer, a revolutionary. GLITTER is love.

GLITTER is rage. GLITTER is on wheels.

GLITTER limps and lisps.  GLITTER has many rhyming cheers and a few hymns.

GLITTER is the show going on and on. GLITTER is wheat paste, graffiti, and unlawful use of space.

GLITTER is without permit. GLITTER has an intergenerational memory.

GLITTER is right now, today. GLITTER is sexy, obviously.

GLITTER looks good on every body. GLITTER does not worry about authenticity.

GLITTER is its own variation on the truth. GLITTER is a composite of characters.

GLITTER is something you made at home. GLITTER is finding fairly-made and traded GLITTER.

GLITTER is a set of values without a system.  GLITTER is an escape.

GLITTER is a world. GLITTER is below and above. GLITTER is decolonizing.

GLITTER is triumphant. GLITTER has its own moral code that no one can put their finger on.

GLITTER is resistance. GLITTER is in-progress. GLITTER recognizes that most of us are on stolen land.

GLITTER is intentional and accidental. GLITTER is ludic, usually.

GLITTER is lucid, barely. GLITTER is showgirls.

GLITTER is the entertainer. GLITTER is an evening gown.

GLITTER is the magician’s waistcoat. GLITTER is for everyday as a special occasion.

GLITTER is shiny dirt.


The GLITTERfesto project is an ongoing collaboration. Check out this GLITTERfesto-inspired video from an intervention in New York City in March 2012.

See The Lonely Gay’s blog post about us.

If you want to get involved, find us @GLITTERfesto on Twitter and on Facebook.