Join the multi-disciplinary artists JD Samson, Brontez Purnell and filmmaker Yony Leyser in a discussion on Queercore—a far-reaching cultural phenomenon that created space for a variety of unconventional LGBTQ+ voices within the punk movement and beyond. The talk centers around Leyser’s comprehensive documentary, Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution, that follows the subculture from its early days in mid 1980’s Toronto with Bruce LaBruce and GB Jones through its evolution and spread throughout the decades that followed.

Independent, influential artists Brontez Purnell and JD Samson both have multiple records, writings and artworks that span two decades, serving as both transitional and current examples of where Queercore stands today. The award-winning writer and director Yony Leyser has explored and documented outsider queer culture with William S. Burroughs: A Man Within and Desire Will Set You Free, and recently expanded his Queercore documentary into print with the book Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution: An Oral History. The three will discuss Queercore’s journey, from its unusual inception as a rebellious prank to an identity, genre and worldview.


Yony Leyser grew up in Chicago and Tel-Aviv. He studied writing, filmmaking and the dramatic arts in High School and at University. His work deals with race, gender identity, pop-culture and deviant social histories. His feature films have been shown collectively in over 150 film festivals including Slamdance, BFI London Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, IDFA, Viennale, Gothenburg International Film Festival, Mostra Sao Paulo International Film Festival,and Max-Ophüls Preis, Rio International Film Festival; theatrically and on TV throughout the world; as well as at some of the world’s most recognized art institutions including ICA London, ZKM Karlsruhe, CCC Garage Moscow, ZDB Lisbon, Cleveland Museum of Art, and MCA Chicago.

He has received critical acclaim in publications including The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Sight and Sound Magazine, and Haaretz. By the age of 18, his first short films where accepted to film festivals. He finished his first feature-length film William S. Burroughs: A Man Within by the age of 24. Traveling with just a camera and backpack he managed to include many personalities in the comprehensive documentary including Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, John Waters and Sonic Youth. It was released to huge international acclaim in 2010.  Leyser relocated to Berlin in 2010. For his most recent film Queercore, he builds on the foundations and ethos of his first two films with a more focused storytelling of the rebellious gay punk phenomena.

Brontez Purnell is an award-winning, critically accalimed author, zinester, dancer and musician who lives in Oakland, California. He is originally from Triana, Alabama. Brontez has written for various publications, including the online edition of JigsawSan Francisco Weekly, and Maximum Rock & Roll. He is the author of the books The Cruising Diaries (2014), Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger (2015), and Since I Laid My Burden Down (2017)—a 2018 Whiting Award winner—and the cult zine Fag School. 

His musical career includes frontman for his punk band The Younger Lovers, being a member of the 2000’s electroclash band Gravy Train!!!! and is the founder of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. He is also the director of several short films, music videos, and the documentary Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock.

Brontez has been named one of the 32 Black Male Writers of Our Time by The New York Times and recently was an artist-in-residence at the Tom of Finland Foundation’s TOM House in Los Angeles, California. Currently, his latest novel 100 Boyfriends is available for pre-order.

JD Samson is best known as leader of the band MEN and for being one-third of the electronic-feminist-punk band and performance project, Le Tigre. For more than a decade JD’s career as a visual artist, musician, producer and DJ has landed her at the intersection of the music, art, activism, and fashion.

During that time she has toured the world, produced songs for Grammy award winning artists, written for publications such as Huffington PostTalkhouse, and Creative Time Review, created multi-media artwork, hosted documentary programs, acted, modeled, and engaged in direct support with a wide-range of progressive social and political causes. JD is now an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. She has recently formed the band CRICKETS with MEN bandmate Michael O’Neill and Roddy Bottum of Faith No More.