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National Queer Theater and Dixon Place Delay Opening of CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL in Support of BLM

National Queer Theater and Dixon Place Delay Opening of CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL in Support of BLM

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National Queer Theater and Dixon Place Delay Opening of CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL in Support of BLM

In support of the Black Lives Matters movement, National Queer Theater and Dixon Place, in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and NYC Pride, have announced the delay of the second annual Criminal Queerness Festival. The festival will now open on June 13, instead of June 9, and continue through the previously announced closing date of June 29, 2020.

Adam Odsess-Rubin, Artistic Director of National Queer Theater said, "We are making space for the Black Lives Matter movement and pausing Criminal Queerness Festival to honor the lives of Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. Pride is, and always should be, a time of protest for racial, sexual, and gender equity, and National Queer Theater and Dixon Place join other LGBTQ+ organizations in taking action to re-center Pride on the activism that sparked the Stonewall uprising and the first Pride marches. We'll resume the start of our festival on Saturday, June 13."

The Criminal Queerness Festival is a one-of-a-kind event that showcases queer and trans artists from countries that criminalize or censor LGBTQ+ communities. The festival, an official event of NYC Pride, builds a global queer community rooted in activism and dedicated to the equitable treatment of LGBTQ+ people around the world. Through a dozen online performances, conversations, and master classes, the Criminal Queerness Festival brings together queer artists, activists, and audiences to address global homophobia and transphobia. All events are free.

Originally curated as a live theater festival, the second annual Criminal Queerness Festival has been modified in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The programming centers on the work of four international queer artists whose new plays were scheduled to premiere at Dixon Place in June. They are Migguel Anggelo, a Venezuelan-born, Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist; Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Winner; Amahl Khouri, a queer transgender Jordanian playwright and theater maker based in Berlin; and Omer Abbas Salem, a Chicago-based actor and playwright originally from Syria and Turkey.

An updated list of programming and participants can be found below. Additional information can be found at

Criminal Queerness Festival Programming:

June 13 at 2pm

Creative Conversations: The Syrian Civil War and LGBTQ+ communities with Omer Abbas Salem, Danny Ramadan, Noor Hamdi, and Commissioner Bitta Mostofi, Moderated by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh.

This panel, moderated by Festival Dramaturg Adam Ashraf Elsayigh, explores the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and trends in LGBTQ+ rights in Syria, before and during the country's unrest. Featuring playwright Omar Abbas Salem and actor Noor Hamdi, as well as activists from Syria and the MENA region, some of the themes discussed will include queer and trans migration as well as the politics of queer Arab identity and representation in the diaspora. Join us to learn more about many organizations exerting advocacy and capacity building efforts to better the lives of queer people locally.

June 16 at 12pm

Creative Conversations: Queer transnational activism in the Middle East, moderated by Sivan Battat with Amahl Khouri and Hashem Hashem

A panel with activists from across the Middle East and North Africa region to discuss transgender and transnational Activism. What does queer and transgender activism look like in this region? In conversation around Amahl Raphael Khouri's documentary play She He Me, following the true stories of three Arab characters who challenge gender norms, we will explore queer experience in the region, activism on the ground, and how the Middle Eastern and North African Diaspora can support this work.

June 18 at 2pm

Master Class with Amahl Khouri on giving testimony, In partnership with New York Transgender Advocacy Group

Join She He Me playwright Amahl Khouri and actor Samy Nour Figaredo for a workshop in partnership with New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG). Attendees will receive storytelling tips, on camera training & how-to's for writing personal testimony surrounding their identities as they relate to current legislation surrounding transgender rights in the US.

June 19 at 8pm (previously scheduled on June 11)

Reading of Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem with talkback, moderated by director Sharifa Yasmin and starring Noor Hamdi, Connor Bryant, Rula Gardenier, Bahar Beihaghi, and Martin Zebari.
Mosque4Mosque is a comedy about a normal Muslim American family that asks us to wrestle with what we believe normal to be. In the play, Ibrahim is an average 30-something Arab American Muslim who is constantly being reminded of how unmarried he is by his relentlessly caring immigrant mother, Sara. Having helped raise his smart, popular, hijabi cheerleading younger sister Lena, Ibrahim has always been comfortable sinking into the background. Normal job, quiet life, easy men. But on the precipice of finding what could be his first real relationship, Sara feels compelled to take Ibrahim's future into her own hands by attempting to arrange her son's Big Gay Muslim Wedding all on her own.

June 20 at 1pm

A Livestream performance of excerpts from Amahl Khouri's She He Me as part of the LGBTQ Digital Pride and Migration 2020 festival.

She He Me is the first Arab transgender play. It follows the true stories of three Arab characters who challenge gender norms. Randa is an Algerian transwoman who is expelled under the threat of death from her homeland because of her LGBT activism there. Omar is a Jordanian gay man, who rather than body dysphoria, suffers social dysphoria when it comes to the strict codes of masculinity imposed and expected of him by both the heterosexual and gay community around him. Rok is a Lebanese transman. His main challenge is convincing his very conservative religious mother that her daughter is actually a boy. Through humor and horror, the three characters come up against the state, society, the family, but also themselves.

June 21 at 4pm

Facebook Live performance of She He Me by Amahl Khouri followed by a talkback with Khouri moderated by director Sivan Battat, starring Pooya Mohseni, Samy Nour Younes, and Louis Sallan

See She He Me description above.

June 21 at 7pm (previously scheduled on June 9)

Master Class with playwright Omer Abbas Salem and Tarab NYC
Join playwright Omer Abbas Salem for a playwriting workshop where attendees will explore telling their own stories through theater using the multitudes of their identities at the forefront.

June 22 at 8pm

The House of Joy: A Tent Revival for the Legendary Quarantined Children Short with Roger Q. Mason and Ianne Fields Stewart
We might be apart but now, but we are ALWAYS going to be a community. Join theatre artists and thought leaders Roger Q. Mason and Ianne Fields Stewart on an evening of art-based connection and queer community building. In the House of Joy, you will be lead through a series of exercises culminating in an open discussion about how we, as queer people, will not just survive this pandemic but thrive.

June 23 at 7pm

Panel on LGBTQ+ human rights in Latin America, moderated by Marlene Ramirez-Cancio Panel, with multidisciplinary artist Migguel Anggelo and Immigration Equality.

Join the Hemispheric Institute's Marlène Ramírez-Cancio for an hourlong conversation with acclaimed performance and drag artist Migguel Anggelo on LGBTQ+ pride and struggles in Latin America, and how the arts can transform society.

June 25 at 7pm

Queering Trauma into Fabulousness: Master Class with J. Julian Christopher in partnership with The LGBT Center

Through a series of exercises, students will learn how to create stunningly beautiful Queer narratives. Through imagery, rhyme schemes, and playwriting madlibs, students will re-center the trauma of Queer lives into triumphs of the human spirit... All you need is yourself, imagination, and a little bit of sparkle.

June 26 at 7pm

Live screening of vichitra: an anthology of queer dreams, directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury with video by Kameron Neal and sound design by Jeremy S. Bloom. Post-show discussion with Shayok Misha Chowdhury.

In this audiovisual patchwork, LGBTQ+ folx of South Asian origin recall the queer logic of their dreams: good and bad, vivid and blurry, ordinary and extraordinary.

June 28 at 7pm

Maid in America: an original video from Migguel Anggelo with a screenplay by J. Julian Christoper, musical direction by Jaime Lozano, and directed and developed by Sr?'a Vasiljević.

Inspired by true life experience, Migguel Anggelo is a hotel maid with hopes of performing on the grand stage in this original, short film premiering at the 2020 Criminal Queerness Festival. As he cleans and sings his heart out, he reflects on the promise of the American Dream. Can it actually be achieved or is it a figment of an immigrant's imagination?

June 29 at 3pm

Master Class with Mashuq Mushtaq Deen and Kalakars

Join playwright Master Mushtaq Deen for a playwriting workshop where attendees will be able to craft personal stories surrounding experiences in the LGBTQ+ South Asian Diaspora.

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