We Were There: Phresh Cutz Pop-Up Barbershop Chopped Some Locks

PHRESH CUTZ hosted So Phresh, So Clean, a (Formal) Queer Pop-Up Barbershop and Dance Party! on Saturday, January 19, and we told you to go. The event was fanfuckingtastic as anticipated. Now you can read Autostraddle’s own Katrina KC Danger’s reflections on how PHRESH CUTZ came into existence and what it means to her and to all of us. Then, when you’re done feeling All The Feelings, you can scroll through an incredible gallery and appreciate the humans, the community, the sexiness and the perfection that is a PHRESH CUTZ event.

We did it because we wanted to, and we thought maybe some other people might want to, also. It seemed simple: a party where people could get their hair cut, for queers, by queers. We felt safe with each other, and we wanted to spread that feeling to others. We cut our own hair, and we figured we could probably cut other people’s hair too. We liked how the way that we looked made us feel, and we wanted other people to look and feel that way too, without shyness or apology. We wanted to drink and dance late into the summer. And we wanted to do it for as little money as possible.

And so PHRESH CUTZ was born. It wasn’t the simplest thing ever, but it also wasn’t too hard. There wasn’t much adversity involved. No one told us we couldn’t, no one tried to stop us. Friends took us into their homes, they put their heads in our hands. Time passed, and the crowds grew, our staff expanded, the buzz rang louder, and this little idea we toyed around with became a full-fledged, regular, well…thing.

We never felt luckier.

But luck is a funny thing. It implies that the tides could change, that things come and go — both of which are true — but it also implies that the success we’ve had is pure coincidence, and it’s not. One of the hopes that built PHRESH CUTZ was the idea that you could spontaneously create space, but often what appears to be spontaneity is actually the result of extensive planning. And that’s what it was. A labor of love that started as a conversation, that stretched across networks, that engaged people with so much talent and so much enthusiasm, that it did in fact seem – even to us – that it had built itself from the ground up.

And in a way, that’s luck. When I think of the talented, passionate, beautiful people I work with, I feel infinitely fortunate that I didn’t have to go far to find them: they’re my best friends.

We didn’t see it coming, the way this little project went from zero to 60 in just four months. But in retrospect, I guess can’t say that we were too surprised. Why don’t the things we want deserve a little spotlight? Why shouldn’t we expect to see our queer experiences reflected back at us? We found love (in a hopeless place), it seems, by giving the people what they wanted — because it’s what we wanted too.

It gets weird to talk about after a while. We get so immersed in it that it can get to the point where it’s sometimes like, “Yeah, it’s a party, and we cut hair,” but it’s also something I actually never get tired thinking of or talking about or sharing with people: “Yeah, it’s a party! And we cut hair!”

And we love it. We love you, in every moment. We love giving someone their first queer cut while their partner stands smiling on the sidelines, camera phone poised to capture the moment. We love dancing with you: on the floor, on the benches, screaming the words to every song. We love the last-minute rush, setting the stage — lights, camera, scissors — and filling an ordinary space with the potential for transformation. We love the diversity that exists, from the newly out queers to the couple who came to PHRESH CUTZ to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary.

That being said, we could always do better. We could always be bigger, brighter, we could push the edge forward, challenging our own imaginations and reaching farther out. We could always do better, yep, and we plan on it, too. The next few months have a lot in store. With each party, we’re looking for more space, more barbers, more haircuts. And soon we’ll have a Kickstarter video to really get us off the ground. Scout, one of our barbers, and Ronika, our head photographer, are both coming to A-Camp (which influenced PHRESH CUTZ in a big, big way), and maybe we’ll spread the PC love.

The future is as bright as it is long, and one day, we hope to set up shop for real.

Thanks for your support, for making this possible. Never forget that you’re as complicit in our future as we are, and that that’s no small thing. For us, for now: all we can do is grind harder, reach farther, and speak louder, because we’ve found that the more we insist on putting our voices out there, the more clearly we’re being heard. We did a thing, and people are paying attention, because we deserve it like that. And more importantly: so do you.

You can find PHRESH CUTZ on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter.

Photographs © Ronika McClain, Julieta Salgado, and Vanessa Friedman 2013.

Autostraddle received all images from the photographers — if you see a photo of yourself here that you do not want on the Internet, please email carrie [at] autostraddle [dot] com so we can remove it.

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phoenix has written 64 articles for us.


  1. it seems kind of silly for me to put extra words at the bottom of this, but post script: everyone is so foine

  2. We should do some kind of survey to see how many straddlers are waiting for camp to get their hair cut by Katrina.

  3. So proud to be part of this. So overjoyed to see everyone’s happy, hawt faces and phresh-ass cuts. All of the ghey feelings. All of them.

  4. You guys should do a world tour, by which I mean you should come to the UK so that I can go to a haircut party full of lesbians.

  5. Are these monthly parties the only times you awesome ladies cut hair? This New York kid needs an affordable queer cut. And salons around here are the opposite of affordable.

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