Queen's Circle: Cruising Oral Histories of Balboa Park
Edited by Samantha Alberts and Kate Clark
After two years of conducting interviews with San Diego’s drag queens, dykes, madames, leather daddies, police officers, defense lawyers, health officials, adult actors, politicians, and park rangers about cruising culture in Balboa Park, we are now transforming Queen’s Circle stories into a book!
We are working closely with designer and artist Marina Grize to produce a text that sensitively transcribes the stories of the surveillance, management, and celebration of brick and mortar LGBTQ hookup culture. We feel this project is important because though Queen’s Circle stories are rooted in Balboa Park, San Diego, they speak to larger social patterns of the joys and challenges of finding intimacy when it was illegal to be gay in the U.S.
Today, hookup apps coordinate relationships and casual sex. Yet some remember how restrooms, greenery, and parking lots aided the lost art of cruising. Since the 50’s, Balboa Park has been a meeting place for San Diego's LGBTQ community.
Over two years, we interviewed dragqueens, dykes, madames, leather daddies, police officers, defense lawyers, health officials, adult actors, politicians, and park rangers about their relationship to the surveillance, management, and celebration of hookup culture in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. Many tales speak of a larger social patterns of the joys and challenges of finding intimacy when it was illegal to be gay in the U.S.
These stories are staged as a live audio installation called Queen’s Circle. In a large parking lot at the edge of Balboa Park (known by the initiated as “The Fruit Loop”) 20 parked unlocked cars play a different story on their sound system. In the dark of the night, visitors hop in and out of the cars, listening to tales of brushing shoulders with strangers while experiencing it in real time.
Paperback, 78 pages, 5.25" x 8.25"