Thank you to Puma Perl for writing this excellent article on Queer Art Organics!

See the original article on Chelsea Now HERE   by PUMA PERL 


Aimee Herman, a performance poet, writer, and educator, is very clear about her reasons for founding Queer Art Organics, a monthly series held at Dixon Place.

“I wanted to create a space specifically for LGBTQ writers and performers, and to celebrate the immense range of talent in this city,” she told me. “We’ve had new writers and established ones as well. I wanted this series to be less about one’s bio and more about having an encouraging space to share work with a welcoming audience. I started going to open mics at age 18, and I still remember how it felt to be given three minutes to untangle my soul onstage.”

As host and curator, she selects people she’s seen perform, but also responds to queries from people wanting to be featured, and to recommendations by friends and participants. Some of the artists are as new to her as they are to the audience. “Amazingly,” she told me, “I have never been disappointed.”

The stripped-down, one-hour show, which Herman calls “a beautiful teaser of infinite talent,” consists of three or four performers, and does not limit itself to poets. Storytellers, comics, musicians, and performance artists of all kinds — including belly dancers and sword balancers — have been featured. My recent visit to the series demonstrated Herman’s success in presenting performers who vary widely in their experience. One of the artists, Charlotte Marchand, was reading in public for the first time. She enjoyed great support from the friends she had brought along and from the listeners, as she read excerpts from letters written by her late father. The prose piece was titled, appropriately, “Coming Out to My Dead Father,” and referenced the author’s experience in the women’s movement of the late ’60s and with the Weatherman, two topics that don’t often arise at readings.


Trae Durica, another of the night’s features, describes himself as “genderqueer masculine.” Although he’s had some experience reading in public, Durica said he still feels like “a ball of anxiety and introversion wherever I read. But I do like reading in a queer, safe space, since I often write about my big queer life. I feel so much support in these spaces, where my story resonates with many others.”

Trae Durica reading from his 2014 chapbook, “Cacophony Worth Remembering.” Photo by Linda Rizzo.

Accompanied by Herman on ukulele for the first few poems, Durica’s reading included work from his 2014 chapbook, “Cacophony Worth Remembering.” I was particularly moved by one of what he calls his “Decisions” pieces, in which he asked the questions “normal” people never get asked. “When did you decide you were straight?” it began. “When did you decide you were the same gender as what’s on your birth certificate? When did you decide to wear clothes that make you look straight?”

“I feel that we need to keep creating these queer spaces where it’s safe for us to tell our stories for as long as it’s unsafe to be queer anywhere in the United States,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I want to read in any space where people are paying attention to performers instead of their cellphones.” 

The third feature of the evening, John J. Trause, opened his set by announcing, in a deadpan tone, that he wished to pay homage to Sappho — then, in a hilarious high-pitched voice, recited one of her poems in the original ancient Greek Aeolic dialect.


“I’m a performance poet,” Trause told me, “but I hate being labeled that way. I am also a visual poet, a conceptual poet, a metrical poet, a spiritual poet.” Trause is the Director of New Jersey’s Oradell Public Library and his list of writing credits and published books is long. On this evening, he read some pieces from his brand new book, “Exercises in High Treason,” (great weather for MEDIA, 2016). He describes it as “a work of fictive translations, found poems, and manipulated texts.”

Sappho tribute artist John J. Trause, with his latest book. Photo by Puma Perl.

In keeping with his self-description, the book is playfully arranged with a highly visual and conceptual appeal. “Even though I am a writer and librarian,” he said, “I love to reveal how words betray us. Since I have some real and some fake translation in my book, as well as other verbal transformations, I am committing high treason.”

Queer Art Organics started at Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon in October of 2014, and moved to Dixon Place in February of 2015. “Dixon Place, which is all-encompassing, is my favorite New York City venue,” Herman declared, “because of its resiliency and incredible support to the queer community and to artists in general. I love that they offer free and low-cost shows.”

Charlotte Marchand’s “Coming Out to My Dead Father” referenced her experience in the women’s movement of the ’60s and the Weatherman. Photo by Linda Rizzo.


This summer, the HOT! Festival, which is the world’s longest-running LGBTQ festival, returns to Dixon Place — and Herman is thrilled to have the series included in it. As usual, Queer Art Organics will offer what she describes as “a myriad of language.”

“I want to continue to be inclusive and never feel elite in any way,” Herman said. “Any queer humans out there reading this who would like to perform are welcome to contact me by email: Sometimes the very best are the ones who’ve never taken the stage before. That’s so often when the magic happens.”

 Queer Art Organics is held at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.), usually on the second Wed. of every month. It is a free one-hour event and starts at 7:30pm. The next show is Tues., July 19, as part of the HOT! Festival (which runs July 5Aug. 6). The series skips Aug. and returns in Sept. For more info, visit Recent work by Aimee Herman and John J. Trause can be purchased at

a rainbow reflection

in honor of Pride…..

I knew when everyone around me was talking about boys and all I could think about were her eyelashes. And the way they were like dancers, diving from lid to cheek. And when they mentioned the way the boys’ baby beards felt against them, I thought about her fingers, so soft, nails painted but chipping, tracing my veins and scars. The tiny hairs left alone on upper thigh that tickled. When they spoke about the smell of thick cologne left on them like a time stamp, I thought about her tincture of cigarettes and fabric softener. We inhaled all the stars given to us that night and grew drunk from their dust. I knew when they talked about how much it hurt, that they bled a little after but that was all part of it. When I could still feel the pattern of her knuckles inside me. No pain, just relief. I knew when that boy put his dick inside my mouth, and my teeth crumbled. And my tongue tore itself out. And all of my taste buds threw up their placards with misspelled words of criticism. Then, that first kiss from a girl. Eighteen years of my body misunderstanding itself and finally feeling free of question marks (for the moment). I knew when my limbs just leapt around her, not needing a voiceover or instructional manual to instruct me how. To remind me this is how it is supposed to be. I knew when it felt like home.

LUMEN Festival!!! Saturday, June 25th!!!

SATURDAY, JUNE 25th:  a festival of performance art at Staten Island Arts’ 7th Annual LUMEN! located at Atlantic Salt Company 561 Richmond Terrace

BUY TICKETS!  Come and support local artists celebrating performance art!

I will be performing a movement/textual piece called: CUT/Gender, which explores the ways in which we wear gender through text and textures. The evening begins at 7pm and goes through midnight. I will be performing with Lys Obsidian Presents! Performing Gender: A Kala Lolo Sideshow. The line-up:

7:30 Lesbian Under Ground: “Hair”,  An exploration of gender identity and expression
8:15 Oglesby the Clown
8:45 Rachel Therres featuring Lys Obsidian: “Hatchet”, A poetry performance of feminine nature
9:15 Crux Rhodes: “Moon Childe”, Birthing of a Cross-Gender Seasonal Entity
9:45 Aimee Herman: Challenging the various versions of gender through body and  language. What it means to be human, pressed into boxes, pushed down and the sound of (re)emergence.
10:15 Obsidian Absurd: “Femme as in F*ck You”, a burlesque
10:45 Sincerely Yours: “Beauty Queen Deconstruction”, a raw performance art piece addressing gender issues and expectations women face
11:15 Lesbian Under Ground: “Daily Target”, A performance addressing persecution of femininity



Also Tonight: EMOTIVE FRUITION Pride Edition

Two of my poems will be featured in tonight’s show read by incredibly talented actors!


A live poetry event that celebrates 
our lives, our bodies, our love.


Performed by a cast that includes
Michael Potts & Jason C. Brown
Directed by Thomas Dooley
Thursday, June 23 @ 7:30pm
Botanic Lab, 86 Orchard Street, NYC

Featuring the poems of Rickey Laurentiis, Jason Schneiderman, Julia Guez, Jerome Murphy, Zef Lisowski, David Groff, Jee Leong Koh, Mason Bolton, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Aimee Herman, G. David Ramirez, Sarah Sala, Thomas March, Justin Bond, Ryan Dzelzkalns, Diana Roffman, Brandon Menke, and Brad Vogel.

About Us

Lambda Literary believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read.
Emotive Fruition is a downtown reading series that brings actors to the stage to interpret new page poetry written by New York poets. 

TONIGHT! Small Press LOVE Fest


Tonight, I’m looking forward to performing with some great poets and writers at Hell Phone located at 247 Varet Street in Brooklyn from 7pm to 9pm.

I will be reading some new work: a loose ode to a certain squirrel, sing a love song with uke about dating in NYC and who knows what else will happen!!!

Readers include:
Elizabeth Ribar, Abigail Welhouse, Steve Castro, Stephanie Dickinson, Julie Bentsen, Craig Kite, Aimee Herman, and Puma Perl.

Co-hosted by New York based: great weather for MEDIA and NYSAI Press, bi-coastal Nomadic Press, and San Francisco based Rivet Journal.

Nomadic Press supports and provides venues for artwork across all media and disciplines by both emerging and established artists. Nomadic Press’s goal is to guide writers and artists through a supportive and connective process and to offer each artist the opportunity to have his or her work(s) presented in carefully edited and curated publications and events. We strive to juxtapose myriad voices and visions in ways that are surprising and complementary. Nomadic Press has offices in Oakland, CA, and Brooklyn, NY.

Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks is the online literary magazine from Red Bridge Press. Rivet publishes the genre-bending and unclassifiable; the unexpected and delightful. Founded in San Francisco, we feature emerging and established writers from around the world. Our editorial team members hail from around the country. This will be our first show in New York!

Founded in January 2012, great weather for MEDIA focuses on the unpredictable, the fearless, the bright, the dark, and the innovative… We are based in New York City and showcase both national and international writers in solo poetry collections and a yearly anthology. As well as publishing the highest quality poetry and prose, we organize numerous readings and performances in New York City and across the country. Find us every Sunday 4:00pm at the Parkside Lounge, 317 East Houston St, for our reading series, great weather presents Spoken Word Sundays.

NYSAI Press publishes Staten Island based literary journals featuring artists and writers with distinct voices in a borough forgotten. We are city, we are suburbia; we are deformed, we are beautiful; we are America, and we are forever cut from the mainland. We are NYSAI Press and pledge to present it all, break it down, fuck it up, and move it forward.

how to walk into rooms

It is easy to remember certain things.

I remember to brush my teeth after coffee, in the morning. And after my final bite, in the late evening.

I remember to bathe–or at least listen to the alert of my skin beckoning for a wash.

I remember to eat and drink water.

I remember to go to work. To walk dog. To check emails. To wash hands.

But lately, it’s like I’ve forgotten how to exist. How to walk into rooms. How to speak to others. How to breathe without panic pushing on my lungs.

I am thinking about Orlando. I am thinking of all those young people dancing, celebrating their queerness, the ability to move their bodies and be with each other. I am thinking about that moment in the earliest hours of day or latest of night when they were bombarded with a human so full of hate, and what they were all thinking in those final moments.

I’ve forgotten how to feel safe. Armed police with guns as long as their bodies stand in front of buildings. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be protected. To me, guns are guns are guns are guns.

I’ve forgotten how to sit. To read in peace without the howl of my organs, anxiously shaking me. I’ve forgotten how to enter buildings without obsessing over EXIT signs.

I remember young me in rainbow gear, wanting everyone to know how GAY I am. Proud of being OUTOUTOUT. I’ve forgotten how to wave my flags. They are at permanent half-staff now.

I remember how I used to see strangers as just a few words away from being future friends. I’ve forgotten how to trust people.

I was sitting outside, in a triangular park, with water and people on their phones and a dog trying to catch flies and giant white flowers that are called lilies or maybe something else. And I grabbed one of the petals because I needed something to hold onto that came from earth. Something that came from earth that wouldn’t hurt me. That would just let me cry into it. And so I sat in this park, amongst unaware new yorkers and I cried for the ones who got taken. And I cried because I gave up drugs and God and diet soda years ago and needed something to believe in. Something to ingest that would take me away.

I called my friend, Rebel, who wears wings only I can see. And I asked her what she saw and she told me trees. And she told me she’s writing poems again.

I remember the first pride parade I ever went to. I was draped in rainbows. I felt high on homosexuality.

I’ve forgotten how it feels to rainbow. How it feels to show my colors. How it feels to walk without fear.

How to walk into rooms. Breathe again. Easily. Tell me. How.

Summer NYC Performances!!

Saturday, June 11th:
Word Cabaret 
The BWAC exhibition space
499 Van Brunt St. Red Hook, Brooklyn
4pm (FREE!)
Featuring: Sara Fetherolf, Aimee Herman, Mike Jurcovic, Janice A. Lowe, and Michael Handler Ruby
Tuesday, June 14th:
Union Square Slam presents Thomas Fucaloro’s “Depression Cupcakes” book release!!!!
Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
208 W. 13th St. NYC
Open mic $5
Spotlight features @ 8pm
Elisabet Velasquez
Aimee Herman
Patrick Roche
Roya Marsh
Featured poet @ 8:45pm
Thomas Fucaloro
Delicious cupcakes by poet Trae Durica
Thursday, June 23rd:
Emotive Fruition: Live performance series merging actors and poets
in collaboration with Lambda Literary
Actors will be performing 2 of my poems
Botanic Lab 
86 Orchard St. NYC
Thursday, June 23rd:
Small Press Love Fest
Hell Phone 
247 Varet St, Brooklyn
A celebration of small presses with great weather for MEDIA, NYSAI press, Nomadic Press and Rivet Journal
Featuring: Elizabeth Ribar, Abigail Welhouse, Steve Castro, Stephanie Dickinson, Julie Bentsen, Craig Kite, Aimee Herman and Puma Perl
Saturday, June 25th
Staten Island Arts’ LUMEN Festival
Atlantic Salt Company
For tickets, click HERE  
I’ll be performing a movment/textual piece exploring the many versions of gender through body and language. What it means to be human, pressed into boxes, pushed down and the sound of (re)emergence.
Saturday, 23 July
Hot! Festival
Dixon Place
161 Chrystie St. NYC
Cleaning Out Our Closets featuring Trae Durica and Aimee Herman
Stories exploring the multitude of ways in which we come out to friends, lovers and ourselves.
7pm/ Show at 7:30pm
Sunday, 31 July
Governor’s Island NY Poetry Festival
I’ll be reading alongside other great poets for Big Words, Etc reading series
4pm @ The Algonquin Stage
Sunday, August 7th
BOOG Poetry Festival
Sidewalk Cafe
94 Ave A NYC
I’ll be performing my poetic play, “postulation” alongside the marvelous Trae Durica

notations from a present-day teacher and formerly-frustrated student

first published by great weather for MEDIA


  1. I thought it was because of the desks, which were never quite big enough to contain my well-read anxieties. Always entertained by the carvings of other restless minds, I frequently ran out of classrooms, cloaked in my invisibility.
  1. They call me teacher now. Professor. Mis-pronouning me, but I let them.
  1. I spent much of senior year in high school in a small classroom for other detainees with behavioral issues. They didn’t like that I chose my skin to carve instead of the gum-stuck desks. They didn’t like that I skipped gym class because I couldn’t articulate why I felt so uncomfortable in the girls’ locker room.
  1. A student shares with me a history of mental illness and a desire to keep trying to exit. I think about all the ways to convince this student to remain, knowing words are too much like band-aids: they cover up, but the wound remains. I do not share that I am a survivor of myself as well. I do not announce all the ways I tried: Kurt Vonnegut the first time, Diane Arbus more times than I could count, couldn’t bare a Hunter S. Thompson or Hemingway (but knew others who did), oven could not hold me like Sylvia, too afraid of water to Virginia, tried to Sarah Kane myself twice, too many Kurt Cobains and Brautigans that I couldn’t bare to join the list, thought about a Spalding Grey, not bold enough to Yukio Mishima, but something still keeps me here.
  1. When I got into graduate school, I thought I’d be finally be okay.
  1. These students are like notebooks with hard-to-read-but-worth-squinting-for footnotes and hidden pockets and four leaf clovers stuck into the pages.
  1. Even amongst other poets and imaginators, I had a difficult time committing to being alive.
  1. As a teacher, I think about every book on my book shelves and all the ones I still need to read and how to climb so many pages into a semester without them losing track or losing faith. So I Audre Lorde them and James Baldwin them. So I Zora Neale Hurston and Claudia Rankine them. I Gabriel Garcia Marquez their minds. I Vera Pavlova and Naomi Shihab Nye them. Give them Allen Ginsburg and Amiri Baraka. I Rilke and Junot Diaz them until they cannot breathe. Until finally, they gasp, feeling the smoke of poetry and magical prose envelope them. Changing their shape. Sweltering their minds open.
  1. I wasn’t even supposed to graduate high school. 41 days missed, sophomore year. Failed math and can’t remember going to physics. Maybe they felt sorry for me. Maybe they hoped giving me that paper would keep me from climbing further out.
  1. I fill the classroom with blank pieces of paper. Tell them: these are your boxes. Think of all the times you’ve been presented with squares and labels which do not match who you are. This is your time to fill it with your So, I watch them approach their box. Fill in with words like: human, mother, biracial, Hispanic, poor, student, wife, bisexual, alive, battered, left behind, a question mark.
  1. I memorized the offices of every guidance counselor I ever had. Ms. Lefthand. Ms. Rosenblum. Ms. Garguilo. When I would forget how to swallow all the grey in me, I’d sit and they’d hold me with their ears and eyes. And also Ms. Herkus (7th grade English teacher) and Ms Runquist/Soback (creative writing teacher) and Ken DiMaggio and and and and.
  1. They expect me to forget them. To lose faith in them. I understand how difficult it is to keep walking through doors, sitting at desks never big enough for all the handouts, putting names on things they don’t always understand. They expect me to stop caring, stop noticing them, stop coming. But. They are the ones who keep me here. Head out of ovens. I hang on now. Persist. Hoping they will to.