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Meet Harry Gawdmother

Today we’d like to introduce you to Harry Gawdmother.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Harry. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started producing events and hosting parties for Queer, Femme, and BIPOC audiences as Harry Gawdmother in 2019, but in reality, I have been developing this persona my entire life. I was a Queer, thick, white presenting, Chicanx child from the Sonoran desert and it was abundantly clear to me that I didn’t fit perfectly in any boxes. Creating has always been my escape–drawing, painting, acting, creating spoofs on commercials and music videos for the fun of it. I took refuge in Selena, Sailor Moon, and John Waters. Living outside of my physical limitations has always been the therapy I needed to get by. I continued creating as an adult, acting in productions at the University of Arizona, Live Theatre Workshop, and producing shows independently with my long-time collaborators. After interning for the Chain Theatre in New York City, my career in arts administration began. I spent a few years fundraising for non-profit arts organizations and recruiting collegiate talent however, my creativity was no longer satiated.

After working in LA for a few years, I wanted to get back on the stage and in front of the camera but my dilemma of not fitting the mold came back to the forefront of my life. What was my “type”? I thought that I was too fat to play young, too white to play Hispanic, too burley to play gay, and working too many jobs to rehearse the way I did in my theatre days. Necessity breeds invention and Harry Gawdmother was born to create spaces where the artists who don’t fit the mold can still find a place to thrive. So I started producing the Queer Bust Variety Show at the Boulevard Bar in Pasadena along with virtual events on my social media channels and queer dating apps like GROWLr.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest challenges have always been internal. Humans have a way of pinning themselves down, and as a Piceasan who wallows in his emotions, I am no different. I’m here because my community didn’t give up on me. I put myself around people who stuck with me through failure and helped me to harness my dreams and turn them into goals. I dreamt of traveling, so I applied and auditioned to be a USA representative and cast member in a non-profit called Up with People that focuses on unifying international communities through performance and community service.

During my year of travel, I met many “Road Warriors” who would help me find strength as new challenges arose: grief, finding balance in my health, and starting a career in the arts–one which most people thought was “too niche” to be possible. My advice to young creatives who have obstacles in their life is to set a goal, know you’re worthy, and form a tribe composed of all kinds of people who inspire you.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Something that makes Harry Gawdmother events so unique is that my team and I make spaces for all queer identities and art forms to be seen and heard. So many gay bars are dedicated to a “scene” and subsequently, our community is segregated more than mainstream culture realizes. I think there is a lot of power in spaces where we can be our selves, but I think we are unstoppable when different kinds of people can be themselves under one roof. I will always produce projects that bring together different kinds of racial, gender, or sexual identities and I am always interested in new and interesting forms of art and entertainment. Currently, I am focusing on getting involved in Black Lives Matter, being a better advocate for marginalized communities, and sharing my own process on YouTube and IGTV.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Harry Gawdmother is a full fantasy experience, and everything I do needs a sprinkling of “Harry Dust”–but I can’t do it alone! Dominique Williams is a local producer and engineer that has graced me with her talents from the very beginning. She manages our live sound and has elevated our production quality significantly. My partner, Ryan Lawson is my stylist, and for the first time, we have been able to collaborate on looks together. Outside of my wardrobe, he works hand in hand with Dominique on show day to make the production a smashing success. I have been able to meet so many artists that have donated their time and talent to my live and virtual shows. Building these friendships and a creative network easily constitutes our hard work. On that note, I also have to give it up to one of my closest friends, and Nashville based photographer, Jessica Amerson who has been seeing me in my best light for 13 years. She is responsible for all of these interview photos, and I am just so glad that we are still making magic together today. Check out her work on Instagram @jessica_amerson.

Moving to Los Angeles and becoming a part of a local scene can be daunting, so my advice to emerging talent is to find your own slice of the city and treat it well. My soul lives in east side neighborhoods in LA, and I stumbled on the Boulevard Bar after moving from Los Feliz to Pasadena. This spot is a no-nonsense neighborhood bar with a small stage and more heart than anywhere else. Owner, Steve Terradot has worked at the bar for over 20 years and has given many queer artists a place to launch themselves as entertainers. The Boulevard is the only gay bar between Silverlake and the Inland Empire and has held its place in Pasadena since 1981. Find your slice of the city and show up. Tip and promote the people who inspire you, and let them know they are making a difference in your life–I promise you will organically make friends and find fans who appreciate what you are creating.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jessica Amerson, Photography, Ryan Lawson, Styling; Matthew Jones, PA

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