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2014 Queer New York International Arts Festival

2014 Queer New York International Arts Festival


Queer New York International Arts Festival


Throughout NYC


Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 8:00pm
Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 5:00pm

Queer New York International Arts Festival

2014 Queer New York International Arts Festival

Featuring 12 U.S. premieres and new performance works by artists from around the world at five New York City venues

September 17–28, 2014


New York, NY, August 15, 2014 — The Queer New York International Arts Festival (QNYIA) a€• a festival of contemporary performance that explores and broadens the concept of queer (in) art a€• returns for a third year with a diverse slate of performances by international artists, many presenting their work in New York City for the first time.

“QNYIA expands the parameters of what queer performance can be and means. The exclusive reading of queer(ness) through sexuality and gender prisms too often neglects other aspects like social status and background, race and ethnicity, geography and other norms that influence positioning of queer in society and art. QNYIA deliberately opens other areas of investigating queer that go beyond identity art,” says Zvonimir DobroviA‡, QNYIA curator and producer. “During the festival’s intensely paced twelve days, audiences will have the opportunity to experience a range of performances that challenge heteronorms and the status quo on various levels by artists who are working in different performing art formats and redefining the margins of their expressive forms.”

QNYIA will present the U.S. premieres of Croatian theater director Branko Brezovec’s Confusions; Bulgarian performance artist Ivo Dimchev’s I CURE; New York-based interdisciplinary artist Marissa Perel’s More Than Just a Piece of Sky; U.S. and India-based choreographer Sujata Goel’s Dancing Girl; Spanish interdisciplinary artist Abel Azcona’s Someone Else; two new interpretations of Croatian choreographer Bruno IsakoviA‡’s work Denuded, created in collaboration with other dancers; and American expat dance artists Jeremy Wade (Berlin) and Mark Tompkins’s (France) collaborative work Stardust.

This year’s festival also includes a Dutch Focus platform featuring some of the most prominent names in the Dutch dance scene, including Jan Martens, who will present his two most recent works, Ode to attempt and The Dog Days Are Over, both U.S. premieres; Israeli-born choreographer Mor Shani with the U.S. premiere of Love-ism; and the experimental dance company T.R.A.S.H.

The 2014 edition also features a showcase of performance/installation/happenings by artists from Croatia and New York at Grace Exhibition Space; a weeklong project, Queer Climate Chautauqua + Queer Planet Installation, organized and curated by Earl Dax; and three evenings of “Duos” at La MaMa featuring DarkMatter (Janani Balasubramanian & Alok Vaid-Menon), Untitled Queen & Merrie Cherry, and Jack Waters & Peter Cramer.

In addition to the performances, the festival will offer workshops, lectures, and post-performance discussions with artists participating in the festival, as well as international and local U.S. curators.

QNYIA is curated and produced by Zvonimir DobroviA‡ (artistic director, Queer Zagreb and Perforations festivals, Croatia), and presented in partnership with Abrons Arts Center, the festival hub, with additional performances at The Chocolate Factory Theater, Grace Exhibition Space & Gallery, La MaMa, and the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

The QNYIA Festival is supported by Alphawood Foundation, The Netherlands Consulate General in New York, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Paddle8, Ministry of Culture of Croatia, Zagreb Office for Culture, Domino, and Abrons Art Center.

A schedule of performances and events follows. A press release with artist bios and a performance calendar is attached. For more information about the festival, visit www.queerny.org.




Schedule of Performances

Marissa Perel (U.S.)

More Than Just a Piece of Sky (U.S. Premiere)


Wednesday, September 17–Saturday, September 20, 8 pm

The Chocolate Factory Theater

$15 / chocolatefactorytheater.org


More Than Just a Piece of Sky mines personal and cultural exile as a site for exploring gender and sexuality, knowledge and power, ability and disability. Through the mythology of Yentl, largely based on Barbra Streisand’s 1983 movie musical and the story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Marissa Perel and the performers examine their relationships to oppressive cultural constructs and their inherited religious and nationalist narratives. Perel deconstructs the narrative of Yentl to tell a new story, one where difference can create new terms and ways of seeing self and other. The performance is directed by Marissa Perel, and performed by Perel, Jumatatu Poe, and Lindsay Reuter; with music by Perel, Miguel Gutierrez and guest composers; and video by Perel with Nicholas Steindorf and Kristiana Weseloh.




Branko Brezovec (Croatia)

Confusions (U.S. Premiere)


Wednesday, September 17, 9pm

Thursday, September 18 and Friday, September 19, 9:30pm

Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, 8pm

Abrons Arts Center Playhouse

$15 / abronsartscenter.org


Confusions was conceived as a radical theater experiment created collaboratively between different departments of the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. Branko Brezovec, the highly innovative Croatian theater director, and a professor at the Academy, engaged students in staging Austrian writer Robert Musil’s 1906 novel, The Confusions of Young Törless. The novel follows the vicissitudes of young military school student Törless, whose confused moral complicity with his classmates via brutality such as torture and rape reveals the dark side of homoerotic relationships. The work examines mechanisms of desire, the incomprehensibility of the other, and the pathology of normality. The work was born from a workshop process utilizing the gestus language of both Bertolt Brecht and Robert Wilson. The performance is in two parts, with Part I set against the 39-minute-long 2nd Symphony by Peteris Vasks, and Part II set against Act III, Scene III, of Richard Wagner’s opera Siegfried.



Ivo Dimchev (Bulgaria)



Friday, September 19, 8pm

Abrons Arts Center Experimental

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


“If healing is a choice then why not make this choice while being in the theatre? Why should we waste another hour trying to be more ‘cultural,’ when we can use it for being ‘healthier’?” In his newest work, I CURE, which premiered at ImPulsTanz in Vienna in August 2014, Ivo Dimchev offers the audience a collective therapeutic session. Taking catharsis to a new level, Dimchev claims that the performance will not only heal specific physical or psychological difficulties, but also all of them simultaneously. This is theater as “universal remedy” as only Dimchev can deliver it.



Group Showcase


Saturday, September 20, 8pm

Grace Exhibition Space & Gallery

$10 suggested donation / grace-exhibition-space.com


This will be a site-specific event where the artists are invited to create projects that reflect their unique artistic universes in innovative ways that are a departure from their usual form or media. There will be artists from Croatia selected by Zvonimir DobroviA‡, and artists from the U.S. selected by the Grace Gallery. During the course of an evening, the artists will present their work with each performance/installation/intervention/happening starting in consecutive intervals, and lasting from several minutes to several hours.



Queer Climate Chautauqua + Queer Planet Installation

Lead Organizer and Curator: Earl Dax

Installation: Bizzy Barefoot and Quito Ziegler

Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21

Abrons Arts Center Experimental

Suggested Sliding Scale Donation: $1 - $10 / abronsartscenter.org

Drawing inspiration from the Chautauqua movement of the early 20th century and converging with the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21, the Queer Climate Chautauqua is designed to mobilize and inspire queer participation in the March, an unprecedented mobilization to address the climate crisis. The weeklong project begins with community workshops in puppet building and other participatory activities leading to the creation of "Queer Planet," a temporary public installation in the Experimental Theater at Abrons created by Bizzy Barefoot, Quito Zieglar and dozens of volunteers. On Saturday, September 20, the public is invited to visit Queer Planet to make signs, props, and puppets for the March. Live performances, teach-ins, and video screenings will occur throughout the day and into the evening, and people are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag and spend the night. On Sunday, September 21, participants will leave from Abrons as a group to join the People's Climate March. Please visit the Abrons Arts Center website for an up-to-date schedule of activities and participating artists.

This project was commissioned by Queer New York International through the 2014 André von Ah research and development grant.

In 2013 the festival established the André von Ah research and development grant for queer art, in honor of the work of the late co-founder and curator of Queer New York International Arts Festival, André von Ah (1987–2013).  The grant supports artists and curators in the U.S. whose work challenges conventions of queer art.



Bruno IsakoviA‡ / Ana VnuAec (Croatia)

Denuded (U.S. Premiere)


Tuesday, September 23, 8pm

Abrons Arts Center Underground

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


A constantly evolving piece, Denuded was created by choreographer and dancer Bruno IsakoviA‡ in 2013, and performed by him in last year’s festival. This new version is interpreted and performed by dancer Ana VnuAec. Denuded is about the body, movement and stillness, breathing and, most importantly, about a constant contact with the audience. The confrontation of the naked body and the gaze is the work’s driving force. IsakoviA‡’s collaboration with VnuAec broadens the original work by taking into account the female body together with a different performing experience, at the same time playing with and emphasizing stereotypes and clichés that arise therein.



T.R.A.S.H. (The Netherlands)

T†Bernadette (U.S. Premiere)


Part of Dutch Focus

Wednesday, September 24, 8pm

Abrons Arts Center Experimental

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


On the stage with a washing machine, several wigs, and lots of costumes, a man and a woman live out their relationship. This emotional dance-duet exposes ecstasy as a precondition for the merging of the two people, who are soon each wandering in their own world, losing themselves and each other. Through the daze of desire they encounter the dark, unknown sides of their personalities.


Jeremy Wade (U.S./Berlin) / Mark Tompkins (U.S./France)

Stardust (U.S. Premiere)


Wednesday, September 24 and Thursday, September 25, 9pm

Abrons Arts Center Underground

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


With their personal passion, research in real time composition, and unidentified performative objects, the paths of Jeremy Wade and Mark Tompkins seemed bound to cross. It happened in 2012 at the Festival Densités where they spent the 24 hours preceding the performance telling stories, tuning and enumerating potential dances, music, costumes and states. Stardust was born. 



Abel Azcona (Spain)

Someone Else (U.S. Premiere)


Thursday, September 25, 6pm

Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

$10 suggested donation / www.leslielohman.org


Abel Azcona uses his body to illustrate personal experiences of abandonment, pain, and want of empathy. In Someone Else he shows us interpersonal relations, both sentimental and sexual, in which in a parallel way, true feelings, true love, or the true object of desire are all hidden. The artist shares different intimacies with different people, making the antagonist-guest the protagonist. He presents dreams that become true in the mind, but never in the actual body.



Mor Shani (Israel/The Netherlands)

Love-ism (U.S. Premiere)


Part of Dutch Focus

Thursday, September 25, 9pm

Abrons Arts Center Experimental

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


Love-ism is a long-term study inspired by Erich Fromm’s seminal book, The Art of Loving. With this work Mor Shani takes a close look at the human experience of intimacy, challenging the perception and liquidity of the agreed upon, the sublime, and the condemned. The concept of Love-ism emerged from Shani’s personal need to reconnect to the community after three years of working in the hermetic surroundings of the studio and the production house. It is a reaction to the growing denial of the function of the arts in society, and grew out of the wish to expand the creative process beyond the premises of the professional field to be relevant to a larger audience and share not only a product, but also the act of making.



Bruno IsakoviA‡ (Croatia)

Denuded for two dancers (U.S. Premiere)


Friday, September 26, and Saturday, September 27, at 8pm

Abrons Arts Center Experimental

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


Created as a solo performance, Denuded bases its movement quality on the relationship between breath and physical tension and the ways in which it permeates the body in each moment. It sets these two organic body functions within the performing moment and uses gradation of their interdependence to radicalize, confront, and re-neutralize them. This creates the physicality that deconstructs and translates meanings out of constant transformations of the body and its need to relax, reactivate, and be conscious. First performed by Bruno IsakoviA‡, and then adapted for a female performer, the process revealed the specificity of each body and the whole new range of meanings. Denuded for two dancers will use the same physical practices in a duet form with U.S.-based dancers. It will explore the dependence of two bodies—how two bodies understand, cooperate, or are influenced by each other during their own constant transformation. The work will be developed during a residency at Abrons Arts Center in August/September.



Jan Martens (The Netherlands)

Ode to attempt (U.S. Premiere) and

The Dog Days Are Over (U.S. Premiere)


Part of Dutch Focus

Friday, September 26, 9pm

Abrons Arts Center Playhouse

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


Ode to attempt is a humorous deconstruction of the creative process, performed by Jan Martens. The work focuses on the different stages of process and the layers that become invisible in the final stage of a work. Ode to attempt gives these stages that never reached the stage or an audience a second life, positing their imperfect quality as something of equal value to the final product. In this work, Martens thematizes the imperfect, this time not as an adjective (as in imperfect body) but as a state in itself, worth sharing and being seen.

The Dog Days Are Over is inspired by photographer Philippe Halsman’s words: “Ask someone to jump and you’ll see their true face.” After engaging and intrusive solo acts about the beauty of the imperfect body, Jan Martens now creates something completely different, a critical performance about the thin line between art and trickery. The work asks: What is the true face of dance in these uncertain times? What would we like to show, what would we like to see? The Dog Days Are Over shows the dancers giving in to one physical act: the jumpa€•a repetitive and exhausting act that asks…what? The Dog Days Are Over grew from Martens’ work pretty perfect, a coproduction by Dansateliers and Conny Janssen Danst.



Sujata Goel (U.S./India)

Dancing Girl (U.S. Premiere)


Saturday, September 27, 9pm

Abrons Arts Center Playhouse

$10 suggested donation / abronsartscenter.org


In Dancing Girl, Sujata Goel presents a fictional character version of herself, a mythical doll-like figure who reveals herself and continually morphsaۥfrom broken doll to beautiful doll to dancing doll to a lonely dollaۥfinally disappearing completely and returning to a dormant invisible state. To create In Dancing Girl, Goel clinically mapped out her physical and psychological behaviors by documenting her qualities, moods, gestures, habits, and movement patterns in order to experience herself as data, as information that could be manipulated and reorganized to take on new meanings. Dancing Girl depicts a performer who seeks to step outside of her body and confront the image of herself.



DUOS featuring Darkmatter (Janani Balasubramanian & Alok Vaid-Menon), Untitled Queen & Merrie Cherry, and Jack Waters & Peter Cramer


Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27, 10pm

Sunday, September 28, 5pm

The Club at La MaMa

$18 / $13 students and seniors at lamama.org


These three evenings will highlight the multicultural, multi-racial diversity of the contemporary, young queer performing arts scene. The final evening will present the dual work of Jack Water and Peter Cramer, manifesting the history and lineage of queer performance, and the role of both Water and Cramer as mentors to the current generation of queer performance artists.

The program is co-curated by Nicky Paraiso and Dan Fishback. A co-presentation of La MaMa, the Queer New York International Arts Festival, and The Helix Queer Performance Network.


Friday, September 26, 10pm

Darkmatter (Janani Balasubramanian & Alok Vaid-Menon)


DarkMatter is a trans, South Asian spoken-word duo “hivemind flipping the scantron on your model minority narrative, returning that basic gayze, and spitting anti-colonial futures.” They perform regularly at universities across the country and venues in New York City. Individually, they have done social justice work at local organizations such as the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project and the Audre Lorde Project. Balasubramanian is also a writer at Black Girl Dangerous (an online forum for QTPOC).


Saturday, September 27, 10pm

Untitled Queen & Merrie Cherry


Untitled Queen is a visual artist, drag queen, and graphic designer who lives and works in Brooklyn. She was born and raised on Governors Island, New York, until its shutdown in 1996. She received her BFA from the University of Connecticut and an MFA in visual arts from Parsons The New School for Design. She hosts a drag show/underwear party called Bottoms Up every Wednesday at Sugarland Nightclub in Williamsburg.

Merrie Cherry is one of the few power queens in Brooklyn. Not stopping at being an entertainer she also plans special events such as the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards and hosts at various parties throughout the city. She sleeps during the day and throws glitter in your face at night. She can be found every third Thursday at Metropolitan Bar for DRAGnet. She performs all over Brooklyn and in select parts of Manhattan.


Sunday, September 28, 5pm

Jack Waters & Peter Cramer


Jack Waters & Peter Cramer have a long association with La MaMa from their 1986 One Night Stands cabaret performances to the more recent MIXploritorium 2011, and Visual AIDS’ 25th anniversary exhibit NOT OVER (2013), both at La MaMa Galleria. They are performers, filmmakers, founders of The Greenthumb Garden Le Petit Versailles, and the non-profit arts organization Allied Productions, Inc. They are former co-directors of ABC No Rio (1983–1990). They were artists in residence at the 2013 Emily Harvey Foundation/Venice, and are working on a multi-media musical opus entitled Pestilence that has resulted in a presentation in collaboration with Harvestworks/PASS Studio at the Emily Harvey Gallery New York. Recent publications that include their histories are Sur Rodney (Sur)'s revised chronology for Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Alternative Histories: New York Art Spaces, 1960 – 2010, edited by Lauren Rosati and Mary Anne Staniszewski (MIT Press); and Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Generation by Sarah Schulman (University of California Press).



QNYIA Curator Bio

Zvonimir DobroviA‡ is the founder and program director of the Queer Zagreb festival, which has been taking place in Croatia since 2003. Queer Zagreb has presented more than 150 artists and performing companies from all over the world. In 2009 DobroviA‡ created the Perforations Festival, a network of organizations and producers from the Balkans region with the goal of initiating and promoting regional cooperation, and creating local and international opportunities for young and emerging artists. The new commissions and productions are presented at the annual Perforations Festival that takes place in Zagreb, Rijeka and Dubrovnik, programming more than 20 new works by artists from Central and Eastern Europe. DobroviA‡ co-founded the Queer New York International Arts Festival with the late André von Ah (1987–2013) in 2012.



Venue Information


Abrons Arts Center

466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)





The Chocolate Factory Theater

5-49 49th Avenue (between Vernon Boulevard and 5th Street)

Long Island City, Queens




Grace Exhibition Space & Gallery

840 Broadway, 2nd Floor (at 13th Street)





The Club at La MaMa

74A East 4th Street, 2nd Floor

(between Bowery and Second Avenue)





Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

26 Wooster Street (between Grand and Canal Streets)




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