Kevin Aviance, Linda Simpson & More to be Featured in LA MAMA'S SQUIRTS

La MaMa’s Squirts plays The Downstairs at La MaMa June 9, 10 and 11, 2023.

By: Jun. 02, 2023
Kevin Aviance, Linda Simpson & More to be Featured in LA MAMA'S SQUIRTS

Each year, La MaMa’s Squirts gathers the most exciting voices from New York City’s queer performance world across the generations. This year, confronting the nationwide legislative assault on trans people and drag performance, Squirts puts a heavy concentration into NYC’s drag and nightlife scenes from the 90s to today. 
Performance artist and playwright Paris Alexander has curated La MaMa’s Squirts since 2020, presenting work by the likes of Jeremy O. Harris, Daniel Alexander Jones, Starr Busby, K8 Hardy, Arewa, Pamela Sneed, Linda La, Tahtianna Fermin, STEFA*, Gara Lonning, Qween Jean, Richard Perez, Daniel Alexander Jones, SYNEAD, Ty Defoe, and Kyle Carrero Lopez to name a few.  La MaMa’s Squirts was originally founded by playwright Dan Fishback in conjunction with La MaMa and the Helix Queer Performance Network in 2012, with its first production in 2013.


The Brooklyn drag collective Haus of Quench (est 2020) collaborate on an homage to the Blacklips Performance Cult (est 1992-1995), starring Klondyke, Spawn, Vague Static, Angel Kitten, and Polyester, with works by Lily of the Valley Lost Forever and Flloyd, featuring a special appearance from Claywoman, and a post-performance conversation with Michael Cavadias. 
The Blacklips performance cult was a group of alternative experimental queer performance artists who presented plays and happenings together every Monday night at the Pyramid Club. Blacklips features such illustrious artists as ANOHNI, Michael Cavadias, Johanna Constantine, Kabuki Starshine, Flloyd, Poison Eve, Lost Forever, Herr Klunch, James F. Murphy, Ebony Jett, RuPaul (a few times), Kembra Pfahler (a few times), Hattie Hathaway, and many more. In Blacklips: Her Life and Her Many, Many Deaths, ANOHNI is mentioned referring to “a family tree of transvestism in the avant-garde,” consisting of The Cockettes, Angels of Light, Bloolips, Hot Peaches, Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam, and the Theater of the Ridiculous. Blacklips is a part of that lineage.


Squirts looks into generations of drag, with performances from drag artists of varied ages, styles, and expressions, featuring performances by Glenn Marla, Voxigma Lo and Untitled Queen, Egyptt Labeija, Xaddy Addy, and more guests to be announced. Hosted by Linda Simpson and Brenda.


Performances and conversation between legendary queer staple Kevin Aviance, and up-and-coming legend in the making Julie J.
Kevin Aviance is known for his iconic DJ sets, live performances, and contribution to queer culture with his hits like Din Da Daa, and Cunty, recently placed with reverence in Beyonce’s Renaissance track Pure/Honey. In Jose Esteban Munoz’s seminal book Cruising Utopia, Kevin Aviance is referred to as  “something of a deity in the cosmology of gay nightlife,” and “a beacon that displays and channels worlds of queer pain and pleasure.” 
Julie J is a multidisciplinary performance artist and activist. In May of 2019, Julie J was named one of La MaMa Theater’s Next Generation Artists and received a residency through the Centro Umbro Residenze Artistiche where she developed her solo show IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMING I WOULD HAVE WORN EYESHADOW. She performs in produces co-produces projects such as all-black experimental drag review Sylvester, film series Faulty Defense Mechanisms, the PROJECT series at 3 Dollar Bill, and drag benefit Stand Up NYC, which recently raised over $25,000 to fight anti-drag and anti-trans legislation. 
La MaMa’s Squirts plays The Downstairs at La MaMa June 9, 10 and 11, 2023. Doors open at 8pm and performances begin at 8:30pm each night.  All tickets are pay-what-you-can from $11 - $61 (no additional fees) and are now on sale at Click Here.


A few months ago, I got into a lengthy argument with a friend and curator who claimed that drag is not art, which happened right around the same time as the drag ban took effect in Tennessee, and continuous legislation has been pushed that criminalizes drag artists and trans and gnc people. As a drag and nightlife artist myself, who has incorporated drag into my performance and life long before I started doing drag shows, I have often found the lack of institutional/art world support for drag to be baffling, especially when drag encompasses so many different forms of art into one.
Also around this time, I got the opportunity to see a retrospective exhibition at Participant Inc. of 29 plays by Blacklips Performance Cult, and was blown away. The plays were raw, visceral, witty and grotesque; deep, sometimes under-rehearsed, but always captivating. Only one group today could make me think of the world that Blacklips crafted, and that is the Haus of Quench–a collective of queer artists in Brooklyn who are constantly throwing their work in new and unexpected directions, full of life, originality, talent and camp, and just as raw (and sometimes messy) as the performances I saw in the exhibition. While I was at the show, I learned that many of the former Blacklips members are present and still making art to this day; so an attempt at connecting the two worlds of Quench and Blacklips was inevitable, especially when I found out 500 million years old Squirts alumnus Claywoman was a Blacklips member!
Squirts this year is about the persistence of queer nightlife, and drag performers of varied generations who have forged communities and beautiful art in spite of the oppressive forces that bind. This year is also the beginning of a greater attempt towards uplifting drag as fine art, and towards putting the puzzle pieces together that connect us–the queer artists in The Bushwick scene of today with the East Village scene of yesterday. Today is very different from yesterday, but history repeats itself in peculiar ways, and so does art.


Paris has been performing and creating work in the city for the last 8 years. Initially an Arizona transplant to the Wooster Group Summer Institute in 2014-2015, Paris’ early performances saw them working with the likes of Jeff Weiss in a revival of And That’s How The Rent Gets Paid at The Kitchen, and Dean Moss’ johnbrown. They acted for Jeremy O. Harris in The Feels: KMS and Watersports, in a River Ramirez special (Pervert Everything) on Adult Swim, and in Pulitzer Prize nominee Will Arbery’s Wheelchair. Their first work as a curator was at the Invisible Dog Arts Center with an evening of performances that included Squirts alumnus Jordan Martin, and the Pulitzer Winner Michael R. Jackson singing songs from A Strange Loop.
 As a writer, Paris’ plays include 

“Bad Play” (Dixon Place), “Suzanne” (La MaMa) and other works presented at Ars Nova (Cancer Cancer Cancer, BULLSHIT), the Wild Project (Girls on Film) JACK, and The New Ohio Theater. In the last few years Paris’ forms have grown to include drag and solo performance. Their storytelling drag hybrid Ancestral Invocation was presented by Carnegie Hall for the New Visions Fellowship in 2021, with continued iterations. They host and co-produce the monthly, all-black experimental drag review Sylvester. 


La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa’s 61st “Remake A World” Season believes in the power of art to bring sustainable change over time and transform our cultural narrative.  At La MaMa, new work is created from a multiplicity of perspectives, experiences, and disciplines, influencing how we think about and experience art. The flexibility of our spaces, specifically the newly reimagined building at 74 East 4th Street (La MaMa’s original permanent home), gives our local and remote communities access to expanded daytime programming. The digital tools embedded in the space allow artists to collaborate remotely, and audiences worldwide to participate in La MaMa’s programming. 
A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, and resident companies, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Bette Midler, Ed Bullins, Ping Chong, Jackie Curtis, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Playhouse of the Ridiculous, Tom Eyen, Pan Asian Rep, Spiderwoman Theater, Tadeusz Kantor, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Mabou Mines, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Tom O'Horgan, and Andy Warhol.  La MaMa's vision of nurturing new artists and new work from all nations, cultures, races and identities remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961. 


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