Femmes of Power

Femmes of Power began as a form of resistance to the ways in which masculinity has been and continues to be valorized and exalted, at the expense of femininity and the many ways it can be expressed. In this book Dr Ulrika Dahl and I explore the universe as populated by self identified femmes of power and try to explode a few mythologies along the way. 

Dr Ulrika Dahl, a gender scholar and queer femme-nist in Stockholm  and I traveled to as many queer urban centres in the USA and Europe as our self powered budgets  and Leoinine charm could take us. Along with main texts and interviews by Ulrika Dahl there are essays by other queer femme icons, like filmmaker Pratibha Parmar,  and queer theatre goddess Lois Weaver. 

There is much to think about now, ten years almost since it was published but I will leave it here  and open for your own interpretation. 


Sex Works

Del LaGrace Volcano 1978-2005
(essay by Paul B (Beatriz) Preciado)
Konkursbuchverlag, 2005

Sex Works is a collection of work made with friends and sometimes the friends that those friends have brought along. People who want to see themselves as sexy and sexual subjects in their own right, on their own terms and not as props for heteronormative fantasy factories. 

Sex as a subject,  has in actual fact, always been something of a sideline, rather than a maincourse for me. Sex as in the sexual practices of human beings. I am still interested but no longer 'entralled', to borrow a term from a dear departed friend. 

This is not a book you leave on the coffee table for your children unless you are prepared to talk with them quite openly about sex and what it can look like when put it is put into practice.  I am not quite ready for that conversation yet with mine. But I do think about how best to put these bodies and the times created into a context that makes the terrain a bit easier to navigate.   
Not just for kids but for anyone who wants to truly understand a community, a culture's past and make sure it too gets included in the archive. 


sublime mutations

Del LaGrace Volcano
Essay by Dr Jay Prosser English/German
Konkursbuchverlag, 2000

Extract from review by Allegra McLeod:
Sublime Mutations, a photographic retrospective of Del LaGrace Volcano's work produced over the course of the last ten years, visually remaps the political and theoretical cutting edge of the queer avantgarde. Throughout this beautiful and moving collection, LaGrace Volcano returns to the materiality of the body in order to trouble the conventional in a forceful challenge to both biological essentialism and theories of transgression.

While all of my other books are somewhat singular subjects, from Lesbian/Queer/Trans Sex Culture to Drag Kings and Exploding Femininities,  SUBLIME MUTATIONS dives much deeper and stays a bit longer. One of the few books still available at:

Drag king Book

Del LaGrace Volcano and Judith Jack Halberstam, Serpents Tail, London  1999
It is impossible to separate my personal relationship with facial hair from my hermstory with the Drag King scene that erupted in London and around the globe in the mid 1990s. The thought of coming out as a bearded lesbian was terrifying and it was only when I hooked up with Simo Maronati that I found the courage to let it all hang out, consequences be damned! I was also due to compete in the first Drag King contest ever at the London Lesbian & Gay Film festival during the spring of 1996. I thought that possibly having a beard of my own might give me a much needed edge....since I was well aware that I did not possess an iota of 'authentic' masculinity.  As it happened I was the biggest loser. My leather daddy stripper  persona was a bit too genderqueer in an era where ‘realness’ was the currency. But from that one event a new queer time and place began that included Drag King clubs, lots of mainstream press, including a faux exhibition of my work on Sex & The City and a free trip through the Channel Tunnel to Paris for a gaggle of Drag Kings.  The biggest bonus by far though was that Judith Jack Halberstam, (an academic already writing about Female Masculinity and one of the contest judges) and I became friends and went on to produce THE DRAG KING BOOK together over the next five years. ¨

Now that more than twenty years have passed a new generation of Kings are in the spot light, although they are still given far less space than there sister Drag Queens.  Many of the Kings I photographed in the 90s now live their lives as men or trans after finding the performance of masculinity a better fit than the options they had been living. As for myself, I continue to believe that dis-obedience, dis-ruption and defiance of gender norms and ALL norms are the cornerstones of queer cultural production.  

Love Bites


I think it must have been in 1980 that I become a lesbian.  In fact, I am sure of it and I know precisely who I was with and why I mark that Big O moment as the birthplace of Della Disgrace. I just wish I could remember exactly when. Knowing myself as I do I would probably chart the moment. Astrologically that is.

It didn't take long to realize I did not belong to the mainstream "Lesbian Nation" when I found a second home at Scott's Bar in San Francisco. A working class dyke bar populated by high femme sex workers and their super butch girlfriends. It was my refuge from my other life as a scholarship student at the San Francisco Art Institute, a place populated by over privileged trust fund babies and a few amazing artists who would go on to make a big impact.
I realize this is turning into a long story. So to cut it short. I was in art school, living in San Francisco, in a studio at The Goodman Building (An Artists-Societal Reject Hotel) in the very room Janis Joplin shared with her Jewish lesbian lover!), on rent strike from the city, working as a motorcycle Funeral Escort for Chinese funerals at Green Street Mortuary, (with Punk Rock legend Olga De Volga). I needed to make some work and so I did what I always did. I photographed what was happening in my life. I stuck close to my heart and my politics. I photographed what was around me, what I desired, what I wanted to be. But it is hard to be what you never see.
The photographs in the book were mostly the result of my involvement in a late 80s-early 90s lesbian club, Chain Reaction. We ran the club collectively and our motto was "Permission to Play".  We often went outside the club to play, to scale tall buildings, to create a sensation and send ripples of fascinated revulsion into the hearts of the ‘normals’! 
Although creating social disruption and fomenting dissention in the ranks of the high (but  never truly) mighty was nought but a side dish. The main course was that we finally got to see and be seen being seen on our own terms. 
Del LaGrace Volcano
20 April 2017