Hello, my name is
Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children’s book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down. Recipient of a 2018 Whiting Award for Fiction, he was named one of the 32 Black Male Writers for Our Time by T: New York Times Style Magazine in 2018. Purnell is also the frontman for the band the Younger Lovers, the co-founder of the experimental dance group the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, the creator of the renowned cult zine Fag School, and the director of several short films, music videos, and, most recently, the documentary Unstoppable Feat: Dances of Ed Mock. Born in Triana, Alabama, he’s lived in Oakland, California, for over a decade.
Nationally and internationally touring Rock and Roll band. Recorded 3 self recorded LPs- Newest Romantic (2008), Rock Flawless (2011), and Sugar In My Pocket (2013), Young Brothers (2016)
Guitar and Dance
Nationally and internationally touring queer electronic music performance
I started writing zines when I was a teenager in the 90’s. My love for painting the naked page with words has grown considerably since then. To quote Nikki Giovanni "I write because I have to."
Graphic memoir with Janelle Hessig
Gimme Action Publishing
Rudos and Rubes (2014), Reprinted by Feminist Press (2017)
I began as a go-go boy in the SF/Oakland queer underground music scene. I split my time between dancing in nightclubs and for professional contemporary African Dance companies in Oakland. I wanted to create a new narrative for myself in dance leaning in on my traditional and abstract trajectories of the meaning of "the dance."
Directed by Brontez Purnell. A survey of the life and times of late, Black, SF based, experimental choreographer and performance artist Ed Mock. Spans from his arrival to SF in the late Sixties until his death of AIDS in 1986
Written and Directed by Brontez Purnell
A video zine feature chronicling the life of an Oakland hipster looking for sex and love. Part 2 premiered at the Whitney for ‘Day Without Art”.
Written and Directed by Brontez Purnell; filmed by Gary Gregerson
16mm black and white film “Mixtape” of various rituals, happenings, dance parties and structured improvisations presented by the Brontez Purnell Dance Company
Written and Directed by Travis Matthews
Performance by Brontez Purnell
A Modern Queer Indie Alt Porn of men looking for love in San Francisco
In performance I tend to lean into a radically open understanding of form and body to create work that combines punk rock subversion and free jazz improvisation.
California State University, East Bay
U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley CA
Pieter Performance Space Artist in Residence, Los Angeles, 2019
Tom of Finland Artist in Residence, Los Angeles, 2019
Top 32 Black Male Writers of Our Time, New York Times, 2018
The Whiting Award, Writing Award, 2018
MANNC Residency, Dance Performance Residency, 2016
Creative Work Fund, “Investing In Artists” Grantee, 2015
Kenneth Rainin Foundation, “NEW” Grantee, 2015
New York Foundation for the Arts, “Cutting Edge Art” 2015
Berkeley Art Museum, Guest Curator 2013
Curated 3 nights:
New Diaspora –performance by descendants of the African Diaspora
Other Dancers – highlighting alternative dance performance
Rock N Roll Flea Market– a Rock N Roll Show and record swap
Out Magazine, 100 Most Eligible Bachelors 2013
RADAR Lab, Juried selection queer artist residency in Akumal, Mexico 2012
Out Magazine, Hot List 2012
New York Times, Spotlight on the Gay Community 2011