The News: Fresh, Queer Performance

What: The News, an evening of queer performance

When: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 7:30–9pm, house opens at 7pm

Where: 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)

How Much: $5 admission. Advance tickets:

The News is the new place to see fresh, queer performance by Bay Area artists. On the first Tuesday of each month The News will spotlight performance pieces, experiments, and works in progress by pre-selected solo artists, groups, or troupes. An informal session for artist-led critical feedback follows the performances.

This May The Queer Cultural Center (QCC) collaborates with The News to preview four upcoming shows to be held at various locations as part of the 16th National Queer Arts Festival in June 2013: “GUAVA: Performing African Truths” with Yvonne “Fly” Onakeme Etaghene, “SHAFTED: The Blaqxsploitation Project” with Anthony Julius Williams, “Still Here” with Cristina Mitra and Natalia Vigil, and “Topsy Turvy: A Queer Circus Extravaganza” with Indi McCasey and JD Carmona. For more information about these shows, visit

Creator & host of The News Kolmel WithLove adds to the performer lineup Ryan Rebekah Erev performing with Chook-a-chook, and Lyra Wallace. Kevin Seaman of QCC joins WithLove as the evening’s co-host.

QCC is the fifth of six guest curators enlisted by WithLove to bring fresh performances and curatorial flair to The News in the coming months. Future hosting guest curators include Peter Max Lawrence with Philip Huang on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.


JD Carmona is a California born queer mom and circus artist. Specializing in trapeze, stilts, and acro, Carmona has performed with the social justice circus theater company Wise Fool New Mexico and toured with their Coup de Cirque show in Canada.

Ryan Rebekah Erev is a recent transplant to Oakland from Olympia, WA, who works mainly as a visual artist. Her day job is teaching art to aspiring adults. By night she is a conjurer of beauty, witchery and dance. A night crawler whose moves haven’t seen the likes of a lit audience for a decade, she’s moving out of the dark.

Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene is an Ijaw and Urhobo Nigerian dyke performance activist, poet, dancer, essayist, playwright, actress, video blogger and mixed media visual artist who was born with a mouth full of dynamite and sugarcane. She uses her poetry to chisel a verbal sculpture of her soul for listeners while addressing issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, war, imperialism, love, self-esteem and family. Etaghene has self-published three collections of poetry, toured nationally and performed in over 30 U.S. cities. She was interviewed by and was a contributing writer to “None on Record: Stories of Queer Africa,” a sound documentary project that collects the stories of LGBTQ Africans from the African continent and the diaspora. She has toured nationally with her multimedia one-woman show, “Volcano’s Birthright{s}.” Etaghene is a mixed-media visual artist who has produced 4 solo art exhibitions. In June 2012, Etaghene founded Sugarcane, an LGBTQ person of color writing workshop based in the principles of June Jordan’s “Poetry for the People.”

Chook-a-chook worked with several dance companies in Portland before relocating to Oakland in 2009. Gilbert does not do interpretive dance. Gilbert’s most recent performance involved puppetry using life sized puppets, and this has become a new passion— to be a mover in disguise.

Indi McCasey believes in the transformative power of the arts and is a circus performer and arts educator who loves to make fabulous things happen. As a former artistic member of Wise Fool New Mexico and founding member of the Santa Fe Gender Offenders, McCasey has infused gender performance with physical theater and circus arts for seven years. McCasey has brought performances that are comical and vulnerable, provocative and poignant to queer cultural events in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Portland, Seattle, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Vancouver, Tucson, and Oakland. “Topsy Turvy” fulfills a dream for McCasey to create a space where circus ideals of strength and beauty are re-framed by innovative queer artists.

Cristina Mitra is happiest when dancing. A trained dancer since age 6, she has performed ballet, modern/contemporary, experimental, and cultural pieces at Smith College, Bates College Dance Festival, the American College Dance Festival at Boston University, Bindlestiff Theater’s Bakla Show, and most recently, in Aimee Suzara’s work-in-progress, “A History of the Body.” Multidisciplinary to the core, this mixed heritage Chicana/Pinay has also dabbled in video production as one of the earliest participants of QWOCMAP and as a film curator in Kearny Street Workshop’s “APAture” in 2005.

Born at UCSF and raised in San Francisco’s Mission and Excelsior districts, she is the 3rd generation of her Mexican-Filipino immigrant family to call this city home. A passionate advocate for youth, you can find her performing weekly in front of young audiences where she inspires imaginations through storytelling, singing, music, and movement as a children’s librarian in Bayview-Hunters Point. She currently calls Bernal Heights home with her fiancée, artist and youth arts administrator, Aimee Espiritu. She is thrilled beyond belief to bring “Still Here” to life with her high school homie since age 14, Natalia Vigil.

Kevin Seaman is a multimedia artist that fuses DIY and internet meme-based aesthetics with his queer identity and community mindset, resulting in performance, video and visual art that engages, excites and amuses audiences. Kevin was a founding member of The Living Room, a live/work art collective in South Berkeley that specialized in curating immersive artistic experiences. His short film “SILENCE=FILTH,” a sex education video featuring four mimes, was presented at FRAMELINE35 and has been featured on several LGBTQ blogs. His persona Dr. Zebrovski, a dance psychic, has generated over 26,000 hits on YouTube and “Dr. Zebrovski’s HOUR OF POWER,” a live performance exploring commercialism and the occult, recently played at The Garage to capacity audiences. His drag persona, LOL McFiercen, was crowned Miss Some Thing Has Talent 2012 as well as Corn Dog Queen 2013. He has been commissioned by THEOFFCENTER and RADAR Productions and was a recipient of Endeavor Foundation for the Arts’ inaugural grantmaking cycle. Kevin has led community workshops in grantseeking and collaborative creation for the National Queer Arts Festival and brought Bay Area queer arts to the attention of national funders by co-facilitating “Queering the Arts: Aesthetics and Economies” at the Grantmakers in the Arts 2011 conference. For more information, visit

Natalia Vigil is the oldest of five sisters and a little brother, and a proud Chicana born and raised in San Francisco with stints in Hayward and Oakland. She is inspired by the resiliency and complexity of her loved ones and community and captures this in her multi-genre writing. She is a proud alumna of the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Writing Workshop, Intergenerational Writer’s Lab at Intersection for the Arts and Mills College, MFA. Her work has appeared in numerous shows around the Bay Area including “AMATE: Women Painting Stories Annual Reading,” the National Queer Arts Festival, “Know the Names of Things Anthology,” “Curbside Splendor” and more. She loves collaborative projects, including her latest, “Still Here” and “Activist Daughter.” For the past two years she co-curated “Gathering the Embers: A Día de los Muertos Tribute Show” at SOMArts with her sister, Amanda Vigil, and is proud to bring “Still Here” to life with her high school bestie, Cristina Mitra. Though you may soon find her cozying up to the start of a novel, her writing career began in first grade when she wrote the poem, “You Make Me Glitter Up,” for her teacher, Mrs. Kahn.

Lyra Wallace spent the early years of her life in a Buddhist temple in France. Her mother was a dancer and her father a pianist and composer. As a child she lived on a bus touring with her parents’ company and because of her roots always feels the need to have art and artists in her life. Lyra attended professional dance school from the time she was young. Her life path changed when she experienced a physical trauma that made her partially paralyzed at age 17. Slowly she recovered and learned new ways of moving her body. Lyra has been in San Francisco for 15 years surrounded by talented artists and has always wanted to work together to integrate live music, dance and visual work. Lyra is ready to face her fears and get on stage. She is currently working on a collaborative piece “Question” with Mike G, Simone Grudzen, Olivia Parriott, Alexa Shae and Abby Tuttle.

Anthony Julius Williams is Artistic Director of The Iruke Project, a multimedia theater production company devoted to exposing and exploring issues of human potential and social justice. Iruke’s first project, “Blood Is Mere Decoration: A Ritual for Liberation,” integrated interactive ritual, butoh dance, electronic music and video projections to examine the social consequences of mass incarceration. Iruke’s second endeavor, “Shafted: The Blaqxsploitation Project,” is a year-long exploration of 1970’s black cinema that includes a series of community film screenings, performance workshops, a fundraiser and a multimedia theater production. “Shafted” reclaims blaxploitation films for America’s queer heritage even as it examines “urban renewal” and calls for black self-love. Most recently, Anthony directed the sold-out run of

“The Witch House,” a new play by Morgan Bassichis, at The Garage in San Francisco.

Kolmel WithLove is the creator of The News. WithLove curates, builds cameras and costumes, collaborates with other artists, makes films, and performs. Her films have screened in a variety of settings including Frameline Film Festival, MIX Mexico, Seattle Center of Contemporary Art, RAID Projects and in the book and DVD project “Strange Attractors.”

WithLove has performed in venues including SOMArts Cultural Center, CounterPULSE, Highways Performance Space, The Velaslavasay Panorama Theatre, The Garage, various galleries, a few living rooms, two very nice leather bars, and a piano lounge.

Four performances for The News on May 7, 2013 showcase work by artists who are part QCC’s Creating Queer Community program, which gives artists fundraising, marketing and development support and commissions to create new work for the annual National Queer Arts Festival and year-round Healthy Communities programs. If you would like to learn more about QCC or the Creating Queer Community program, please visit

Pictured above: “Topsy Turvy: A Queer Circus Extravaganza, photo by Miki Vargas Photography