Though united by an acronym, the Boston LGBTQ community can find itself segregated. Evan Greer, a singer/songwriter and community organizer, has taken a step to unify with Break the Chains, a semi-monthly radically inclusive dance party featuring nationally touring queer and transgender performers.
“The name ‘Break the Chains’ is about reclaiming queer spaces as political spaces,” says Greer, who organizes the events with local singer/songwriter and activist Myriam Ortiz and activist and former political prisoner Kazi Toure. “This dance party is about breaking down the systems that oppress and divide us and having a ton of fun while doing it … This is not a gay dance party or a lesbian night. It’s an event for people of all genders and sexualities to come together around awesome music, social justice, and community.”
The event kicked off in a Jamaica Plain residence back in September, and has since extended to the beloved multipurpose cooperative workspace Make Shift Boston. January’s installment features the funky Afro-Latin, reggae, and rock fusion sounds of Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde, with support from youth singer/songwriter Qusharia Perry and Puerto Rican singer/activist Marta Rodgruez, as well as the house band of Greer and her co-organizers Ortiz and Toure. The February 21 party, also at Make Shift, will feature Jewish rockers The Shondes, and in March, Break The Chains invites Defiance, Ohio, Hi Dive, and Purple 7m to the Spontaneous Celebrations stage.
“I wanted to create something more cohesive,” says Greer of her mission, “where people will know that almost every month there’s an awesome performer coming to their town, and they are willing to throw down to help make it happen. I also wanted to create a space where I could pair up–and-coming local performers with well-known touring acts to just generally support the development of queer and marginalized musicians who are taking their craft seriously and getting out there in the world.”
Not only bridging a systematic gap—as well as ensuring frequent and fairly paid gigs for emerging and established touring LGBTQ musicians—Break the Chains is an anti-racist, inter-generational space as well. “As a queer parent in the Boston area,” Greer says, “I can attest to a need for more events like this. I don’t want to be apart from the rest of the queer community and only attend LGBTQ ‘parenting’ events. I want to go to kickin’ dance parties, and sometimes even bring my kid. We’ve always had at least a few toddlers running around during the first few hours at the last few events and it’s been awesome.”
She continues: “I think if you asked most people what their favorite dance party they’d ever been to was, most would tell you it was a party at a friend’s house, not some 21+ club. Break the Chains is about bringing that magical feeling of a radical queer house party into spaces that are accessible for more people and where different segments of LGBTQ and activist communities can come together and party down.”
BREAK THE CHAINS FEATURING TAINA ASILI Y LA BANDA REBELDE w/ MYRIAM ORTIZ + KAZI TOURE + EVAN GREER + QUSHARIA PERRY + MARTA RODRIGUEZ. MAKE SHIFT BOSTON, 549 COLUMBUS AVE., BOSTON. 6PM – 10PM/ALL AGES/$10 – 20 SUGGESTED DONATION, $5 FOR YOUTH / LOW INCOME. FOR FULL EVENT DETAILS, VISIT THE EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE.