On the first Tuesday of each month The News, presented by SOMArts Cultural Center, features new, queer work by Bay Area artists. The News is a monthly cabaret evening that spotlights 10-minute or less performance pieces, experiments, and works in progress by pre-selected solo artists, groups, or troupes.
February’s The News marks the 3 year anniversary of the series. Curator Kolmel WithLove is joined by special guest & high school sweetheart Peter Max Lawrence. The evening will include new work by Jeremy Kirshbaum, Cassie Thornton, Kaš, Khalil Sullivan and Jezebel Delilah X.
The nature of The News is to give artists access to critical space for risk-taking in performance. In addition to artists selected by a guest curator, a “wild card” performer or two appears in each line-up at The News. “Wild cards” are artists who may not have been selected by the guest curators, but join in the evening to share new work. Artists interested in performing as a “wild card” at The News can find more information here.
CURATOR & HOST BIOGRAPHIES
Peter Max Lawrence is an artist, filmmaker and instigator/investigator. Born in Topeka; adopted soon thereafter and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, he currently lives and works in Lucas, Kansas. Over the course of his life, he has created a large and diverse body of work, exploring a wide variety of approaches, media and themes. Lawrence’s visual art, performances and videos have been presented internationally in venues ranging from basement bathrooms to major museums. Currently he is the curator for The One and ‘one2one’ as well as developing a slew of collaborations with other musicians, artists and writers. petermaxlawrence.com
Kolmel Withlove is part event producer part artist, and the creator of The News. Their work is rooted in archetypes, drag, the romance of history and the role of humor. Their films have screened in a variety of settings including Frameline Film Festival, Seattle Center of Contemporary Art, MIX Mexico, Southern Exposure and in the book & DVD project “Strange Attractors.” They’ve performed in venues ranging from SOMArts Cultural Center to leather bars. kolmelwithlove.com
Jeremy Kirshbaum is really glad to meet you. He wonders what makes you get up in the morning. He wonders why in the world you came to see “The News” at this venue when there is all kinds of news to be had elsewhere. He would like to offer you a cup of coffee sometime if you wouldn’t mind talking more about what you love to do. Poetry and coffee are two of Jeremy’s greatest loves. Another is coffee. Jeremy loves doing art that meshes performance, production, and participation. For his day job he washes time machines at the Institute for the Future (iff.org), a future forecasting think tank in Palo Alto. He also works on the Ghana Clinic Project with riseupghana.org.
Cassie Thornton is an artist who investigates and reveals the impact of governmental and economic systems on public affect, behavior, and unconscious, with a focus on debt and security. Cassie’s recent works offer regular people an alternate route to find ‘financial success’ by making opportunities for them to develop and honor complex personal narratives that replace credit scores, for dreams to weigh heavier than data, and for value to stand up and divorce that nasty cheating money. These opportunities are meant for the privileged and the poor, demonstrating how living is not a financial instrument.
Kaš is a street Butoh performer who recently moved to West Oakland from Brooklyn, NY. After training with Vangeline Theater for two years in NYC, he decided to take to the streets and present “queer Butoh” to the public. Since, Kaš has performed at gallery openings, memorial services, performance art soirees, queer parties and rooftop get-togethers. Through his work he is interested in the transmission of affect via kinesthetic empathy, and the ways in which a body can work without identity or particular forms of representation to allow for projections of trauma, shame, memory, loss. He also enjoys how Butoh embodies and disseminates so many tenets of critical queer theory through simple movement (or lack thereof).
Khalil Sullivan is a PhD candidate in English at University of California, Berkeley where he is currently working on a dissertation on the problems of authenticity in contemporary queer music performance in the San Francisco Bay Area. While attending Princeton University, where he graduated with honors, Sullivan received awards for his playwriting, direction, and music composition for his original full length play, “Playing in the Dark,” which premiered at the Roger S. Berlind Theater at the McCarther Theater Complex in Princeton, NJ in May 2004. From 2008–2009 he worked alongside SF Bay Area performance artist, UC Berkeley alum Philip Huang to develop and direct three full-length performances for the Dana Street Theater. That work later inspired Huang to found the International Home Theater Festival, which encourages artists to use social media and community engagement to form their own audiences for avant-garde, independent work within their own homes. Since 2011 Sullivan has worked as a composer with performance scholar Dr. Amma Ghartey Tagoe-Khootin and playwright Joshua Williams to develop the archival-based musical, At Buffalo, which has enjoyed workshop performances at UC Berkeley’s Durham Studio Theater (May 2011) and Colorado University in Boulder’s ATLAS Black Box Theater (December 2014) and mostly recently a reading at the New York Musical Theater Festival (July 2014).
Jezebel Delilah X is a queer, lush-bodied, Black, femme performance artist, writer, actress, filmmaker, educator, and Faerie Queen Mermaid Gangsta for The Revolution. She loves to flirt, laugh, perform, crack corny jokes, and insert Octavia Butler and Harry Potter references into every conversation. She is currently the Senior Editor for Black Girl Dangerous; Director of Training at Peacock Rebellion (QTPOC Activist-Artist-Healers); co-host of the queer/feminist Open Mic, Culture Fuck; Director of queer, Black, multi-disciplinary performance troupe, Congregation of Liberation (formerly known as Griot Noir and recently awarded a QCC grant for the upcoming musical, Black Don’t Crack), one of the founding members of Deviant Type Press, and an adjunct Community College English Instructor. She has performed in a wide variety of Queer and Queer People Of Color theatre projects and cabarets, and been a featured reader at literary events all over the Bay Area. She uses a combination of memoir, poetry, theatre, and feminist storytelling to advance her politix of radical love, socioeconomic justice, anti-racism, community accountability, critical reflection, love, healing, and liberation. She holds a MFA Degree in Creative Writing from Mills College where she focused on Young Adult Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction.
Khalil Sullivan performing at Berkeley Pride 2014, photo by Russell Kelly-Gordon