madison moore is a cultural critic, dj and assistant professor of queer studies at virginia commonwealth university in richmond, virginia. he is creative director and resident dj at OPULENCE, a queer techno party and art-collective with roots in london, berlin and richmond, virginia. raised in ferguson, missouri, he holds a ph.d. in american studies from yale university and has been profiled by the face (UK), the new york times and the new york observer. in June 2019, madison was in conversation with billy porter, star of the FX series pose at the metropolitan museum of art as part of the costume institute’s blockbuster exhibition camp: notes on fashion.
madison is the author of fabulous: the rise of the beautiful eccentric, which was published by yale university press in April 2018. here, fabulousness is positioned as a radical aesthetic practice and the book takes the reader on a journey through vogue balls, instagram, nightclubs and street fashion, weaving together autobiography and cultural analysis. when it’s all said and done, fabulous is about how marginalized people turn pain and struggle into opulence. fabulous is a rich and accessible piece of pop queer theory that takes you through the WERK of fabulousness.
before joining the department of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at virginia commonwealth university in august 2018, from 2014-2018 madison was a european research council (ERC) postdoctoral research associate in the department of english at king's college london, where he was also the director of the queer@king's research centre. at king’s, madison led the queer studies reading group, organized a conference on queer performance and curated lectures by queer and trans nightlife artists kiddy smile, shaun j. wright and honey dijon. in all of this, madison works to close the gap between “theory” and “practice,” expanding who and what kinds of bodies get to be seen as “theorists.”
in 2017, with berlin-based cultural producer an.do and london-based art director jelly luise, madison launched OPULENCE, a multi-dimensional culture project that centers pleasure, queer nightlife, aesthetics, techno and experimental music, with an emphasis on DJs of color and of queer and trans experience. in just under a year, OPULENCE has gained a reputation in london for its forward-thinking music in a party space that centers queer people and femmes. and in november 2018, OPULENCE was featured in a short film released by boiler room about the value and importance queer nightlife.
as a DJ madison has a passion for bass, cinematic soundscapes and the romantic, emotive power of dark techno, with flourishes of sassy, uplifting brilliance — or, better put, a style that is severe and sickening. he has worked dance floors in london, sydney, berlin, new york, amsterdam, and the woods of pennsylvania, and aims to bring his sound to even more clubs, raves and underground dance parties in 2019-20.
his popular and scholarly writing has been published in a range of venues, from the paris review and crack magazine to interview, and from splice today, thought catalog and INTO to art in america, theater, the journal of popular music studies, among others. he lectures regularly on topics related to queerness, blackness, pop culture, music and queer nightlife.
madison is currently at work on a new book for yale university press called dance mania: a manifesto for queer nightlife, an exploration of the myth and mythology of saturday night. the book is named after the legendary dance mania record label, which was ground zero for ghetto house and one of madison’s favorite labels.
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photos by OPULENCE, unless otherwise noted.