Queer New York International Arts Festival Announces 2014 Lineup; Kicks Off 9/17

Queer New York International Arts Festival Announces 2014 Lineup; Kicks Off 9/17

The Queer New York International Arts Festival (QNYIA) -- a festival of contemporary performance that explores and broadens the concept of queer (in) art -- 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 Dobrovi?, 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 Isakovi?'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 Dobrovi? (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. 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 Dobrovi?, 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 Isakovi? / Ana Vnu?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 Isakovi? in 2013, and performed by him in last year's festival. This new version is interpreted and performed by dancer Ana Vnu?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. Isakovi?'s collaboration with Vnu?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)