We are Donnie Jochum and Greg Newton, the founders of the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, a queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space.
NYC lost two important queer resources when A Different Light closed in 2001 and Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop closed in 2009. These closings inspired us to create a space where queers could not only find books by and about ourselves, but also find each other, share ideas, exhibit art, perform, listen to each other, inspire and encourage one another, and enjoy each other’s work and company.
We launched the Bureau on November 15, 2012 at Strange Loop Gallery on the Lower East Side of New York City, where we remained through the end of August.
Cage is now hosting the Bureau for the months of September and October, while we continue to raise funds and seek a permanent space. Cage is located at 83A Hester Street, between Orchard and Hester Streets.
From the outset our aim has been to foster a community invested in the values of mindfulness, intellectual curiosity, justice, compassion, and playfulness. We have sought to excite and educate a self-confident, sex-positive, and supportive queer community by offering books, publications, and art and by hosting readings, performances, film screenings, lectures, reading groups, and workshops. Since we opened we have provided local and visiting queers and friends with an open and inclusive space for dialogue and socializing. We are thrilled with people’s enthusiastic responses to this project!
What We’ve Done
Since November 15th, 2012 we have hosted over 100 free or donation-supported events with such significant members of the queer community as Sarah Schulman, Edmund White, Martin Duberman, Christopher Bram, Pamela Sneed, Laurie Weeks, Charles-Rice Gonzalez, Cynthia Carr, Penny Arcade, Filip Noterdaeme, Daniel Isengart, Bruce Benderson, Eileen Myles, Annie Lanzillotto, Thomas Glave, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
In May Tim Trace Peterson, co-editor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, presented contributors to this anthology, including Aimee Herman, Ariel Goldberg, EC Crandall, Eileen Myles, Ely Shipley, Jaime Shearn Coan, Jake Pam Dick, Joy Ladin, and Kit Yan.
In June we presented an evening of readings by 2013 nominees for Lambda Literary Awards, including Stephen S. Mills, Barry Webster, William Sterling Walker, Sarah Schulman, Tom Cardamone, Rae Spoon and several contributors to The Collection: Short Fiction From The Transgender Vanguard: Ryka Aoki, Red Durkin, Adam Halwitz, Casey Plett, and Carter Sickels.
We’ve collaborated with several small independent presses in showcasing their authors, including Publication Studio, Sibling Rivalry Press, Papercut Press, Lethe Press, Chelsea Station Editions, and Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs.
The Bureau has also hosted events with emerging talents such as Max Steele, Ella Boureau, Stephen Boyer, Lonely Christopher, Andrew Durbin, Ariel Speedwagon, Shane Shane, Gio Black Peter, and Susan Hwang's Bushwick Book Club, to name just a few.
We have exhibited art works by Scott Hug, Eve Fowler, Joe Mama-Nitzberg, Chris Bogia, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Sam Gordon, Robert Melee, A.K. Burns, Thomas Engel Hart, Nathan Vincent and many others.
The Bureau collaborates with community organizations such as Visual AIDS, the AIDS activist organization, which worked with us twice to present important works about AIDS by artists that it supports. In April we hosted a benefit organized by Paul VanDeCarr for Silvia’s Place, an emergency shelter for LGBTQ homeless youth. The Bureau has also contributed to fundraising campaigns for the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing to homeless LGBT youth, and to Geeks OUT, promoters of the queer geek community. We plan to expand our involvement in the many queer communities in NYC and beyond by forming mutually supportive relationships with individuals and organizations alike.
This summer the Bureau and Peter M. Hargrove, President of Hargrove Entertainment, Inc., presented Queer Film Summer Camp, a series devoted to queer films or films viewed queerly. An exciting array of film critics and historians along with other queer and queer-friendly NYC-based arts professionals introduces each film with a brief lecture. These include Tony Phillips, Shade Rupe, David Noh, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
- New York Magazine's "Best of New York" issue (March 2013)
- Time Out New York's "50 Reasons Why NYC Is the Greatest City in the World" issue (March 2013)
- Time Out New York’s "100 Best Shops in New York" issue (April 2013)
- MetroSource, June 2013
Next Magazine gave the Bureau a great plug in its August 29th issue. Will Pulos wrote that giving the Bureau a permanent home would be one of five things that he’d like mayoral candidates to promise in order to earn his vote! Thanks, Will!
In his own words:
- GAYLETTER interview with the Bureau posted on September 11, 2013
What We Need
In order for this vital queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space to continue serving you we need to raise $50,000 in 50 days. We will use this money to secure a rental storefront on the Lower East Side, build the store, purchase necessary equipment and furniture, launch a small café, and establish an e-commerce page on our website. The addition of a café and an e-commerce page on our website will play a crucial role in making the Bureau a sustainable project by providing additional revenue. But we cannot achieve these goals without your financial contributions to our Indiegogo campaign.
UPDATE (9/11/13): Many people have asked us what we will do if we don't reach our original goal of $50K. This is our answer. Our primary goal is to keep the Bureau going, and our fundamental requirement is space. We are seeking a a 450 to 500 sqare foot space on the Lower East Side with a monthly rent of approximately $3,000. We will need three months rent up front to take the space off the market and the first month's rent. At this point we seem to have that covered given that we've received $15,585 as of this posting at 6:20 on 9/11/13. But we will also need some money to fix the space up, purchase signage, and get the space ready for business and events. We estimate that we'll need about $5K or $6K for that. So our revised goal is $18K. If we reach this, then we can at least move forward in our own space.
Of course, we very much hope that we will exceed $18K. Receiving the funds to add a cafe and an e-commerce page to our website would help to make the Bureau more financially stable--so we don't have to keep begging you for money! But if those projects have to wait, so be it. And we can always receive donations through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas, even after our Indiegogo campaign ends on Friday at noon. Our goal is simply to make the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division a stable project that continues to provide a much-needed space for queer books, periodicals, zines, art, performers, authors, poets, artists, activists, scholars, readers, and audiences.
So please donate today in order to put the Bureau on firm ground!
BGSQD is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Bureau of General Services—Queer Division must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
What You Get
You will get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to secure the future of the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division’s own space so that we may continue to serve you. In addition, many of the Bureau’s friends have offered their time, writings, art, books, and other gifts so that we can reward you for your generous donations.
Art works have been donated by Gio Black Peter, Paul Mpagi Sepuya (sold out), Goodyn Green (sold out), Carlos Motta, Nathan Vincent and Bryan Raughton(sold out), Kevin Killian, Eve Fowler, Wayne Koestenbaum, Thomas Engel Hart, Bryson Rand, Lee Brozgol, Alesia Exum, Sam Gordon, Bryson Rand, Ethan Shoshan, and Larry Krone.
Donated books include James Saslow’s Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts (sold out), Annie Lanzillotto’s L Is for Lion and Schistong, and Visual AIDS’s Not Over: 25 Years of Visual AIDS (sold out).
Donors of $50 and up can select perks that include a book that the Bureau will publish with Publication Studio featuring contributions by Andrew Durbin (who will edit the book), Lonely Christopher, Stephen Boyer, Max Steele,Pamela Sneed, Gio Black Peter, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Alex Dimitrov, Kevin Killian, Scott Hug, Wayne Koestenbaum, Ed Halter, Cooper Union Occupiers, Stephen Motika, Carlos Motta, Adam Fitzgerald, Jennifer Tamayo, Juliana Huxtable, Clark Stoeckley, Buzz Slutzky, Bruce Hainley, Justin Allen, Yulan Grant, and Brandon Owen of BAD GRAMMAR zine, Felix Bernstein and Gabe Hoot, Penny Arcade, Laurie Weeks, Eileen Myles, Ted Kerr, and Tim Trace Peterson. What a line-up!
Other ways you can support the Bureau
If you prefer not to donate online you can mail a check to the address listed below. Please note that checks must be made payable to Fractured Atlas, listing Bureau of General Services—Queer Division in the memo line.
83A Hester St.
NY, NY 10002
There are many other ways you can help this campaign succeed in addition to donating. You can spread the word about the Bureau and our fundraising campaign both online and in real time and space. Please let people know why this project is important to you and share the link to this page:
Please visit the store, come to our events, and bring friends to the Bureau at Cage: 83A Hester St. betweeen Orchard and Allen. Take the F to East Broadway or the B or D to Grand St.
If you can donate some time to distribute flyers to queer venues and events, we would greatly appreciate it. If you have other ideas of how you might help please don't be shy.
Thank you for your support--in whatever form it may take!!!