Queen's Circle • PARKEOLOGY



Image credit: Rafa Ríos-Mathioudakis


“Queen's Circle” is a Parkeology oral history project and live event about the lost art of cruising in public space. Online platforms have replaced this brick-and-mortar social form and the subtle physical gestures that accompany it. I wanted to chronicle these codes while it's inventors were still alive, and to create a live experience where a younger generation could feel their stories instead of encountering them through the dry pages of text.

Over two years, and with support from Lambda LGBTQ Archives, I have interviewed drag queens, dykes, madames, leather daddies, police officers, defense lawyers, health officials, adult actors, politicians, and park rangers about their relationship to the surveillance, management, and celebration of hookup culture in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. Most cities have their special make-out spots, or at least rumors of their bygone days. Though the tales I heard were specific to San Diego, they spoke of a larger social pattern that emerged from when it was illegal to be gay in the U.S.

With the storyteller's consent, I edit these hour-long audio recordings into 10 minute loops. These stories are then staged as a live installation. In a large parking lot at the edge of Balboa Park (known by the initiated as "The Fruit Loop")  20 parked, unlocked cars play a different story on their sound system. In the dark of the night, visitors hop in and out of the cars, listening to tales of brushing shoulders with strangers while experiencing it in real time. Sometimes you sit in an empty car only to smell it's former occupant.

Queen's Circle is an ongoing project. Season I of stories was staged 4.30.2016, and Season II of new stories was staged 2.24.2017


Kate Clark, Creative Director, interviewer and story editor
Walter Meyer, interview liaison
Angela Risi, story editor
Camille Laut, story editor
Samuel Dunscombe, audio post production
Marina Grize, Creative Advising + Marketing
Lissa Corona, table host
Diana Benavidez, lead production assistant
Alena Vasquez, project support
Jeremy Raab, project support
Ashley Moy, project support
Celia Gold, project support
Jeszi McPeak, project support
Peter Chen, project support
Rafa Ríos-Mathioudakis, photography
Todd Moellenberg, Parkeology Artist in Residence: Fruit Loop Correspondent
Nick Lesley, Technical Support
San Diego Art Institute PR support
Parker Bray, equipment support
Ren Ebel, Channel Parkeology Video, Editing, Direction

Lambda Archives Support
Walter Meyer, Office Manager
Ken Selnick, Digital Archivist
Steve Wroblewski, Lambda Board Member and Oral History Interviewer
Jen LaBarbera, Head Archivist

Parks and Recreation Administration Support
Senior Park Ranger Ryan Robertson
Park Ranger Carina Weber
Park Ranger Kim Duclo
Senior Park Ranger Jon Anderson

Anonymous Charlie
Nicole Ramirez Murray, San Diego Human Relations Commission Chair
Bill West, Former Porn Actor/Masseur
Chris Shaw, Bar Owner
John Graham, Retired City of San Diego Police Officer
John Lockhart, Frontrunners marathon runner
Susan Jester, San Diego Sheriff’s LGBT Advisory Council Member
Kim Duclo, Park Ranger
Wendy Sue Biegeleisen, Lesbian Activist
Terry Cunningham, HIV Health Services Planning Council Chair
Oliver Cleary, San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer
Carla Coshow, Hillcrest resident since 1975, Owner of The Flame lesbian bar
Big Mike, Bartender, Photographer, LGBT activist, and community fundraiser
Rick Ford, Adult Industry Entrepreneur
Charles David, A Letter to the People of San Diego, read by Walter Meyer
J Marcus Newman, Photographer
Erik Trayvon Benson, Event Planner
Giselle de la Rosa, Activist
Jim Hurtado, ESL teacher
Alberto R. Cortés, Mama’s Kitchen Executive Director
Todd Moellenberg, Fruit Loop Field Correspondent, Path Poem

Car Donors
Gabrielle Ramlow
Esther Valenzuela
Joseph Swift
Joe Yorty
Minxuan Lin
Kate Clark
Todd Moellenberg
Rafa Rios- Mathioudakis
Jeremy Raab
Ryan Hand
Lucas Spenser
Ren Ebel
Dr. Joel Trambley
Peter Chen
Jason Crane
Sarah Schwartz
Maria Rios- Mathioudakis
Ken Selnick
Angela Risi
Dominic Paul Miller
Alena Vasquez
Brianna Rigg
Nichole Speciale
Samuel Dunscombe
Todd Moellenberg
Ken Selnick
Melinda Guillen
Sara Solaimani
Joe Yorty
Seth Ferris
Stephanie Sherman
Briana Schoner
Parker Bray
Ren Ebel