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Del LaGrace Volcano

This episode is in English

In this episode we talk to Del LaGrace Volcano, an artist and activist based in Sweden for 15 years. Del is best known as a still photographer and has been photographing queer scenes and queer personalities & celebrities since the 1970s, mainly in San Francisco and London. They have made several photographic monographs, including The Drag King Book in collaboration with Jack Halberstam in 1999. Del appears in the documentary Venus Boyz from 2002 and have themselves made an unknown number of short movies during their up to now 40-year artistry. In fact, SAQMI is now in the process of digitizing some of Dels’ movies and making them accessible for an audience.

Born in California 1957, Year of the Fire Rooster. Del LaGrace Volcano is a gender variant visual artist and cultural producer working with the body and gender/sexual identity notions for both social, political and personal purposes. Volcano is considered one of the pioneers of queer photography. Their work focuses on troubling the constructs of gender, sexuality and the corporeal body as a form of public intervention and antidote to heteronormative culture. Del LaGrace Volcano studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1979 – 81 eventually gaining an MA in Photography Studies at the University of Derby in 1992. As Della Grace/Del LaGrace Volcano they produced five photographic monographs: Love Bites, 1991, an exploration of lesbian sex culture. The Drag King Book, 1999, (in collaboration with Jack Halberstam) an exploration of drag king culture in both the USA and Europe, Sublime Mutations, 2000, (foreword by Jay Prosser) is a retrospective look at Volcano’s photographic work from the 1990s. Sex Works, 2005, (afterword by Beatriz Preciado) which examines the history of sexuality of queer scenes and Femmes of Power, 2008, (with Dr. Ulrika Dahl), the first photographic monograph that celebrates queer and alternative expressions of femininity in the USA and Europe.

Del LaGrace Volcano homepage

1977 – Nipomo Queen, 30 min, Super 8 documentary about my sister who ran for Elks Rodeo Queen.
Stolen when Del left SF for London 1981. 
1984 – 1984 – Year of The Rat Woman,
1998 – Pan Sexual Public Porn AKA The Adventures of Hans & Del, 12 min
1999 – A Prodigal Son, 15 min
1999 – Journey Intersex (with Cara Lavan), 25 min
2000 – The Passionate Spectator, 10 min
2005 – Gender Queer: Qu’est-Ce Que C’est? with Cara Lavan, 5:50 min
2008 – Trans Sex – Lesbian Sex Mafia, 9 min (Slide Show)

FILMS/TV by others:
2000 – Sex & The City, HBO, Photographs from The Drag King Book
2002 – Kobra, SVT1
2003 – Venuz Boys by Gabriel Baur
2011 – Embarrassing Bodies: Living with Intersex, Channel 4, UK
2012 – Malou, TV4
2017 – Raised Without Gender a Vice documentary
2018 – Pirate Boys by Pol Merchan

1992 – Love Bites – Photographs by Della Grace
1999 – The Drag King Book, together with Jack Halberstam
2000 – Sublime Mutations
2005 – Sex Works 1978-2005
2008 – Femmes of Power – Exploding Queer Femininities together with Ulrika Dahl

Credits SAQMI Play:
Producers: Anna Linder and Malin Holgersson
Design and code: Vincent Orback
Composer: Amanda Lindgren
Edited and Mixed by Malin Holgersson
Voices: Kolbrún Inga Söring and Sam Message
Publisher: Anna Linder

SAQMI Play is produced with the support from The Swedish Arts Council and the National Archivist Ingvar Andersons Fund.

Del LaGrace Volcano

00:00:00 / 00:48:00

Del LaGrace Volcano
Del LaGrace Volcano for SAQMI Play at Frigga in Gothenburg October 2 - 2020. Photo by Malin Holgersson
Debbie Wood if she Could, Santa Maria, CA 1960
Debbie Wood (middle child with red hair) with baby sister Susie and step sister and brother Pammy and David, 1962 Santa Maria, California
Del LaGrace Volcano
Photo from the lost film by Del LaGRace Volcano: Nipomo Queen, 1977, 30 min
Della Grace, San Francisco 1979
Self Portrait, Della Grace, San Francisco 1979
My sisters and mother: Toni, Jeannine, me & Pattea, Pismo Beach, CA 1981
Della Grace Selfportrait
Della Grace, The Goodman Building, San Francisco 1981 (First nude self portrait)
Della Disgrace & Tania, London 1983
Chain Reaction on the way
Della Disgrace, On the Way There, London 1988
Della Dis Grace
Della Disgrace, London 1983
Kissing Peggy Shaw, London 1994
Del with Blue Beard
Selfportrait with Blue Beard. Shot in 1995 in Dels home studio in Highbury Hill, London
Me as SIR VESUVIO, Paris 1996
My cousin Heidi, me and Howard “Tiger” Devor, from JOURNEY INTERSEX 1999
From VENUS BOYZ, Del & Mo B Dick (Mo Fischer) NYC 1999
At the after party for the film Drag Kingdom of Sweden by Åsa Ekman and Ingrid Ryberg, with Andy, Ingo and Pia 2002
Del with Nico and Mika
The Volcanos, Mika, Del & Nico, October 2020
Mika and Nico
Mika & Nico, Del LaGrace Volcano, November 2020