Buffet Flats merges elements of the local food and farming movements with queer culture and history to present an edible cooking show with wild cabaret acts, visual art, and keynote speakers.
Buffet Flats builds healthier communities through an intimate series of events in the homes of local residents and at cultural centers. We are interested in creating a safe and healthy space for diverse audiences to investigate the ideas of nourishment, home, and sanctuary as they learn about growing and accessing local food and sharing diverse culinary approaches.
At Buffet Flats we are interested in healing the racial divide in the queer community. We are reviving the history of the Pansy Craze and Buffet Flats of the 1920s & 30s, two underground community gathering tactics that flourished in the early part of the 20th century.
The Pansy Craze was the name given to the movement of outrageous queer performers who entertained in speakeasies during the Prohibition Era. They performed transgressive gender identities despite laws prohibiting them. Performing in speakeasies across the country, they broke through to mainstream audiences with their outrageous mix of camp wit, androgynous poise and savior faire.
Buffet Flats was the name of the alternative food and lodging provided by black Harlemites for black travelers who were sometimes not permitted to get lodging in segregated hotels. Later these apartments evolved into renowned venues, serving up an exuberant mix of artistic risk to satisfy a variety of subversive tastes and pleasures. Diverse audiences came from all over to eat, drink, sing, dance, and participate in the creative revelry.
The Pansy Craze and the Buffet Flats happened simultaneously but were, for the most part, divided along racial lines. However, Jean Malin, grande dame of the Pansy Craze, acted forcefully to try to integrate Pansy Craze culture. Seth Eisen will invoke the spirit of Jean Malin and in his persona act as co-host to all of our Buffet Flat events. His revolving co-hosts will revive the spirit of the Buffet Flats.
In the intimate setting of San Francisco homes and small public garden plots, we re/imagine the creative possibilities when we access, grow and cook local food together. We share diverse culinary approaches, food, and wisdom, creating safe spaces for a diverse and healthy community. Cooking what we grow. Sewing what is torn and reap what we know.
AT BUFFET FLATS WE:
RAISE awareness about how to grow and access local food.
UNITE queer culture with the discourse about food and sustainability.
PROVIDE a forum for learning about local food sources and sharing diverse culinary approaches.
CONNECT communities of art, performance, cuisine, local history and eco literacy.
LINK the flourishing performance and foodie cultures and the places they intersect.
ENCOURAGE collaborations /cross-pollination between food activist and artists.
Seth Eisen’s work is a hybrid of visual art and live performance expanding the dialogue between various disciplines. In 1994 he developed the company Eye Zen Art as an umbrella for curating exhibits, producing performance, visual art projects and installations featured in the US and abroad. He performed with Harupin–Ha and Ink Boat (1994-1999) and with Keith Hennessy and Circo Zero touring in the US and Europe (2000-2010). Seth’s critically acclaimed solo show, Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas, sold out two San Francisco runs.
Kym Hawkins is a community-based artist and art event producer whose work is concerned with arts accessibility to marginalized communities and mapping the art process to demystify art making. She received her MA in Transformative Arts focusing her studies on Community Arts at John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) in 2007. Kym designed & facilitated community art projects with the Women-in-Progress group, exhibited at the JFKU Arts & Consciousness Gallery andwith Meridian Gallery’s Youth Interns, performed at Crissy Fields Center. In 2008 and 2010, Kym collaborated with Seth Eisen to produce his sold-out solo performance, Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory. She is currently the production assisant for the MicroClimate Curators seasonal, one-night art events (Eidolon, Everything Must Go!, Hypnogogia, & Unseen Unsaid) at the Climate Theater.
m.a. brooks creates textured landscapes of movement/gestire/text and is interested in reconstructing cultural memories from black, queer and colonized histories. In SF m.a. has been dancing with aerial dance company Fly Away Productions since 2009. She has been a recipient of Djerassi and Headlands Center For the Arts artists residencies as well as numerous grants. She is a co-curator/organizer of Dirtstar (2009-11) featuring radical perspectives on queer sustainability. m.a is also an eco educator with Pie Ranch.
Sylvie McClelland is a San Francisco based artist and designer, originally from San Diego, CA. She created the design for Buffet Flats – Pink Moon’s marketing material, including the original poster, postcard and affiliated signs and banners for website and print. Sylvie also worked as preparator and production assistant on the Buffet Flats Series as well as Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory.
Jayson “Frisk” Jaynes is an artist, designer, and amateur chef with a passion for serving up delicious meals from sustainable ingredients. He started cooking at an early age, learning soul food at the heels of his mother and grandmother. He is interested in the intersection of slow, local food and our increasingly hectic urban lifestyles. He’s the founder of Busy Urban Professionals Can Cook (BUrPs Can Cook), which seeks to find time-saving tips and methods to bring locally grown foods to the tables of even the overworked.
Markos Major is a Queer Urban Farmer. Whether digging beds on Treasure Island, Golden Gate Park or Alemany Farm, Urban Farm Educator Markos Major has worked with youth and adults alike to build cultures of sustainability in San Francisco and beyond. Climate Action, Sidewalk Gardening, Perennial Food Production and Youth Empowerment are the foci his current work at the SFBotanical Garden and SFDepartment of Public Works. Markos also consults with schools and individuals interested in creating sustainable organic gardens as well as native habitat restoration. Markos is a founding member of the Rainbow Chard Alliance.
Ernesto Sopprani coordinates location-specific and primarily community-based performance projects. His work is geared towards investigating innovative and self-sustainable models of presenting art and performance, specifically queer work, which expands upon the common definition of Queer and challenges his and his community’s relationship to live performance. As Director of THEOFFCENTER, Ernesto has oversaw the production, curation and execution of dozens of site-specific, research-based art interventions, a number of large scale performance festivals, multiple performer centered art programs both at presenting houses. Ernesto was participant of the 2011 YBCA’s Bay Area Now 6 program as well as Director of Community Engagement for SF/BA Emerging Arts Professionals.
Our community partners: LisaRuth Elliot/Lovin' from the Oven, Katie Gilmartin/Queer Ancestors Project, Pie Ranch, Whole Foods Market Noe Valley, Happy Boy Farms, Orchid's Organics, The Free Farm, 49 Farms, Permaculture San Francisco, Hayes Valley Farm, Alemany Farm, Tenderloin National Forest/The Luggage Store/509 Cultural Center and Found Fruit.
Buffet Flats was made possible with generous support by The Zellerbach Family Foundation, The Queer Cultural Center/ Healthy Communities Arts Program and The Luggage Store/509 Cultural Center.