What queer lives, loves and possibilities teem within suburbia’s little boxes? Moving beyond the imbedded urban/rural binary, Relocations offers the first major queer cultural study of sexuality, race and representation in the suburbs. Focusing on the region humorists have referred to as “Lesser Los Angeles”—a global prototype for sprawl—Karen Tongson weaves through suburbia’s “nowhere”spaces to survey our spatial imaginaries: the aesthetic, creative and popular materials of the new suburbia.
Across southern California’s freeways, beneath its overpasses and just beyond its winding cloverleaf interchanges, Tongson explores the improvisational archives of queer suburban sociability, from multimedia artist Lynne Chan’s JJ Chinois projects and the amusement park night-clubs of 1980s Orange County to the imperial legacies of the region known as the Inland Empire. By taking a hard look at the cosmopolitanism historically considered de rigeur for queer subjects, while engaging with the so-called “New Suburbanism” that has captivated the national imaginary in everything from lifestyle trends to electoral politics, Relocations radically revises our sense of where to see and feel queer of color sociability, politics and desire.