The Dancing Queen

Meet Liz Tymus, the mind behind Madison's iQ

Tell us about yourself. I’m from Racine County, and came to Madison for undergrad. Have since received my degree, moved to the Czech Republic, moved back to Madison and am now managing a coffee shop on State St. After 7 years here, I started iQ (indiequeer.com).

What is iQ? iQ is indie Queer. It’s how I identify, it’s how my closest friends identify. It’s the music I choose to rock out to, the way I dress and carry myself. It’s the party I throw for my community. It’s my social scene and my personal self.

And how did it all get started? I wanted to open a downtown niteclub but didn’t have the money or credit to do it. So my friend Bob (who was managing Mickey’s Tavern at the time) and I decided to start a queer night for east side queers. It all evolved out of that one December night and my friendship with Bob. It’s really all about ‘who you know’ and we realized that collectively we knew enough people to get iQ going.

And has it become now? iQ nights have become the best dance parties on the Isthmus. Originally I wanted to move the party around town, but the need for a place for queers to dance downtown and the abundance of radical indie dance music has evolved into monthly dance nights at the King Club. We’ve had some live music with bands from Baltimore, Austin and Madison. But overwhelmingly what I’ve seen is that Queers just want to dance. So we’ll stick with that.

You just threw Madison’s biggest LGBT Halloween party—HalloQueen. How’d you pull that off?
It evolved out of a Craigslist posting in September before the Majestic theatre had reopened. They were looking for people to help promote events, I decided I wanted to throw an event there. I was tired of throwing mid-week parties and was ready for a Saturday party, and it just so happened they had the Saturday of Halloween weekend open. Perfect. I threw an indie Queer costume ball. Nick Nice was more than thrilled to DJ and the Real Jaguar has been involved with iQ on a few events. WORT and the Isthmus co-sponsored the event which brought even more threads of our community together. I am still exhausted but I cannot wait to do this all over again. Watching the theatre fill up with queers from all over the Midwest was the most fulfilling iQ moment yet, all of the late nights and early morning planning was worth it to see the spectacle that was HalloQueen.

What other moments have felt that good? iQ’s Alterna Prom in April, raising money for GSA for Safe Schools and watching queers get down in their prom gowns. The iQ ACT 5 Aids Ride benefit for Team Caffeine in June was pretty awesome. And just seeing folks from the community show up at iQ night as a ‘thing’ to do in Madison. Most importantly, eavesdropping on people asking one another if they’re going to the next iQ.

…And are they? As long as they are, I’m gonna keep organizing bigger and hotter events for the queers!