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.
On March 3rd Lisa Ganser, Gentry McShane and Lorin Murphy of Periwinkle Cinema guest curate short movies with live soundtracks for The News. The evening will include new work by Annah Anti-Palindrome, Aja Archuleta, Beast Nest (Sharmi Basu), Lisa Ganser, Peter Max Lawrence with Chainsaw Jane, Sofia Moreno and Julie Thi Underhill. McShane & Ganser MC the evening.
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.
Annah Anti-Palindrome is a Bay Area based musician/Optical Sound-Smith, writer, and queer/femme antagonist who hails from the working-class craters at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Annah performs using a variety of different mediums including a Line 6 (DL4) looping system, kitchen utensils, gas-masks, raw eggs, blood pressure cuffs, found objects, her body (mostly her throat), and more! Anti-Palindrome presents at The News, “a brand new video for this song I wrote, about the ways in which we consume each others stories, witness each others lives, and regurgitate each others experiences back through our individual art and art-making processes. I wanna explore how being inspired and influenced by each others work is, in and of itself, an act of participating in a living-breathing-growing, contemporary queer archive.” Anti-Palindrome is an established artist and new to creating videos/movies. annahantipalindrome.com
Aja Archuleta is an electronic musician and video artist living in Richmond, CA. After moving to Oakland in 2009, Archuleta began making music with Kim Lindale as a member of Believe and helped found Showga classes incorporating live ambient music and meditation. Ze went on to live and work at the West Oakland performance space East Nile, gaining a deeper knowledge into the world of sound synthesis. In 2012 Archuleta composed and performed a live score to Alison O’Daniel’s film “Night Sky” at Krowswork Gallery in collaboration with the musical group Some Ember. The audio from that performance was stolen and is forever lost. In 2013 Archuleta was accepted to perform in Rhys Chatham’s “A Secret Rose” symphony for 100 electric guitars, a literal dream come true. Since then ze has been performing live and recording under the name Aja Vision with longtime collaborator and visionary Valerie Franz. Ze currently works at the Oakland Museum of California as an Audio/Video technician.
Archuleta’s Artist Statement: “Damage and Confusion” is an attempt to translate the trauma of experience and the power of memory(loss), where words have repeatedly fallen short. How does one describe pain when you believe you might be dreaming? Is language alone capable of externalizing the internal? To purge experience and filter it through variables of time and space will not only act as a direct connection into this fractured mind and body, but also as a therapy beyond language, actualizing the events of one night into sound and video. It is often that the memories from the deepest caverns of our existence ask to be let out and join this three dimensional space of the living and now is their time.
Beast Nest is Sharmi Basu’s primary performing project. Basu is a queer South Asian woman of color creating experimental music as a means of decolonizing our musical language. She attempts to catalyze a political, yet ethereal aesthetic by combining her anti-colonial and anti-imperialist politics with a commitment to spirituality within the arts. Beast Nest utilizes an unwavering depression and restrained horror to channel left-eyed spirits. While simultaneously clearing and entering, the sewage pipes of the body and the patriarchy congeal into watery soundscapes as a vehicle for achieving liberation through the darkest of fears. sharmi.infosoundcloud.com/olgadagod
Lisa Ganser is an artist, activist and odd jobber that lives in San Francisco with mental illness and brain injury. They are an established filmmaker, youth media enabler and film & video curator that strives for accessibility in all things, putting the crayons back in people’s hands. Ganser provides Access Support for Periwinkle Cinema and the Idriss Stelley Foundation and identifies as a genderqueer crip. ganserlamm.bandcamp.com/
Ganser’s Artist Statement: “Stars Out” by Lisa Ganser (trt 4:30) is a song by ganser/lamm (the musical duo of Lisa Ganser and Nomy Lamm) and is performed live vocally by Ganser. “Stars Out” is a meditative reflection about the trauma that happens when the people we trust abuse their power. It is about surviving. It is a healing circle for those who have lost Loved Ones to police violence. This song is dedicated to Kat Espinosa and Mesha Irizarry, while verses are sung directly to their sons Asa Sullivan and Idriss Stelley. The visuals have been created specifically for this performance at The News and include images from the Amor for Alex/Justice 4 Alex Nieto movement. This is the first time this song is ever performed live and is in preparation for a Sins Invalid performance March 9th at UC Berkeley. Credits: Ganser would like to thank Nomy Lamm who wrote, performed and recorded the music/backing vocals; lyrics by Ganser.
Peter Max Lawrence is a content-maker. 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. Among some recent works of note are “The Battle of the Last Goodbye,” a massive installation composed of thousands of paintings, videos and sculptures situated among a collaborative two-person exhibition AT WAR with artist and poet Truong Tran, a 2012 Commons Curatorial Residency exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center. “QUEER in KANSAS” is his critically acclaimed autobiographical short film that screened at Frameline and several other international film festivals. The experimental short “de Young,” which was created while working as an artist-in-residence at the museum, was later featured on KQED’s Truly California. In addition he has also directed music videos for Carletta Sue Kay and Krystle Warren. Currently he is the curator for “The One” and “Art Thieves” as well as developing a slew of collaborations with other musicians, artists and writers. petermaxlawrence.com
Sofia Moreno was born and raised in Coahuila, Mexico. She immigrated to the US in 1994 and lived in Dallas before moving to Chicago, where she currently lives and works. Moreno is a multimedia artist whose subjects include expressions of the sacred and profane, the body, sexuality, religion and socio-political issues within contemporary culture. Moreno is currently working on the follow-up to her five-year project, P o r n A g a i n. “I’m interested in the essence of the body rather than the form itself. I paint a sexually and spiritually confused youth,” said Moreno.
Moreno’s Artist Statement: “Kake, Kake, Kake” is a performance that takes place within an immersive installation that presents the body and food as sculpture, blurring the lines between the physical, art and fetish. By working with food, I examine questions of she-male porn, fetish and the value of the female TransBody as an artistic medium. Like food, the aesthetic of the body is subjective, and the performance seeks to take back control of the perception of the TransBody as seen through popular culture and pornography and re-present it in an unapologetic, aggressive way.
Julie Thi Underhill, born to a Chăm-French refugee mother from Việt Nam and US civilian contractor father stationed in Việt Nam, inherited competing narratives about the American War, not only from her parents but also from historical and cultural accounts. Today Underhill is an artist-scholar-activist who often investigates colonialism and wars in Southeast Asia. Since media coverage of the American War in Việt Nam seemed to humanize the “enemy” for the US public while galvanizing the antiwar movement, Underhill notices that the banning of similar coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts has anesthetized the US public to the atrocities of current wars. Underhill currently teaches Native American literature at UC Berkeley, where she’s pursuing her doctoral degree with a focus on transnational Chăm history, memory, and culture. Underhill holds a BA from The Evergreen State College and an MA from UC Berkeley. For over 15 years, her creative work has incorporated film/video, photography, essay, poetry and fine art. jthiunderhill.com
Underhill’s Artist statement: “Our Exquisite Corpse” by Underhill (trt 9:28) is a haunting meditation on the creation and dehumanization of the enemy during warfare, in the moment when the living pass forcibly into the realm of the dead. In this short experimental documentary, the poetic sunprints made by trees, wind, and the annular eclipse in May 2012 are interrupted by classified cockpit footage of a July 2007 airstrike in Iraq. To “see” someone as an enemy, in warfare, relies upon both their visibility as target coordinates and their invisibility as human. And yet to “see” someone as worthy of mourning, after death, is predicated upon their humanity. Underhill performs a live soundtrack to this film, accompanied by Peter Broderick and helicopter cockpit, the audio footage of which is courtesy Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning. “Our Exquisite Corpse” invites us to consider how the recognition of the enemy’s humanity is a necessary haunting for those whose governments rely upon public complicity in order to wage war. Credits: written, produced, directed, and edited in 2013 by Julie Thi Underhill; audiovisuals provided by Underhill, Chelsea Manning, and Wikileaks; with thanks to Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek for use of music.
Images top to bottom: Sofia Moreno pictured, photo by Xara Thustra; Beast Nest (Sharmi Basu) pictured; Julie Thi Underhill pictured