Photo Flash: Pioneers Go East's VIRGO STAR At La MaMa
Tony Award-winning La MaMa is currently presenting the world premiere of VIRGO STAR, an intimate interactive performance, written and devised by the Pioneers Go East Collective - Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte and Daniel Diaz, in collaboration with Philip Treviño, Anabella Lenzu and Agosto Machado, and directed by Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte.
VIRGO STAR runs through December 1, 2019 at La MaMa's Downstairs Lounge, located at 66 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery in New York City.
Queering the cinematic tropes of classic western films, VIRGO STAR explores and explodes the myth of the American Cowboy, examining same-sex intimacy, self-awareness and the fear of being marginalized in a fictional West. Devised and performed by a collective of LGBTQ and feminist artists, this thought-provoking performance fuses personal storytelling, movement and video projections. You've never seen the West this wild!
Featured performance artists include Bree Breeden, Daniel Diaz, Anabella Lenzu, Alessandro Magania, songwriter Chris Riffle, and activist and drag performance artist Agosto Machado (appearing via video-interviews), best known for his work in association with legendary downtown performer Jackie Curtis and Playhouse of the Ridiculous.
The production team includes Beth Graczyk (Choreography), Hao Bai (Video Design), Jon Burklund (Cinematography), Philip Treviño (Set & Lighting Design), Gavin Price (Sound Design), Daniel Diaz (Costume Design) and Dmitri Barcomi (Stage Manager).
Remaining performances are Friday, Nov 22 at 10pm, Saturday, Nov 23 at 5pm, Sunday, Nov 24 at 7pm, Tuesday, Nov 26 at 7pm, Saturday, Nov 30 at 5pm and Sunday, December 1 at 7pm. Tickets are $26 and $21 for students and seniors. Purchase online at http://lamama.org or by calling 212-352-3101. A limited number of $10 tickets are available for each show. Running time is approximately 75 minutes.
New York City award-winning ensemble Pioneers Go East Collective is a laboratory collective of multimedia and performance works in residence at two historical downtown venues: La MaMa and Judson Church. Since 2010, the collective has created high-energy and interactive performances to celebrate a multigenerational collective of queer artists. By connecting with our community's history, they deepen their understanding of social justice, civil rights and human rights. The collective has developed 11 original works, collaborated with over 400 art-makers, and through performance, video, and curated series, the collective creates platforms of inclusion which link audiences throughout all of New York to celebrate LGBTQ and Feminist artists. Under the leadership of Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte, Daniel Diaz, Beth Graczyk and Philip Treviño, the collective merges storytelling and interview-based documentary to expose the realities of queer identity and otherness to provoke understanding and promote social justice. Inspired by Walt Whitman's poem "O Pioneers!", an homage to the pioneers' search for a brighter future - the collective is comprised of artists who explore stories of collective courage and conviction. For info visit https://pioneersgoeast.org.
Pioneers Go East Collective's shows have been called "adrenalizing and dramatic" (Backstage), "wondrous and strange" (Culturebot) and "beautiful and touching" (Maxamoo). Their production of Hildegard Vision was a Time Out NY Critics' Pick.
Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte is a NYSCA 2019 recipient and a NYC-based writer and director dedicated to performance and video installations that reflect queer perspectives and vulnerability. He founded Pioneers Go East Collective in 2010 - a company in residence at La MaMa and Judson Church. His projects have been presented in NYC at La MaMa, Dixon Place, Galapagos, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Chez Bushwick, Ars Nova, The Exponential Festival, JACK, Incubator Arts Project/Ontological Hysterical, HERE, Governors Island/LMCC, Art on Air - Clock Tower Gallery, and he's collaborated with The Foundry, Great Jones Repertory and Ellen Stewart. He designed at the Biennale of Venice and toured in Europe.
Daniel Diaz creates performance works from a queer male perspective to inform audiences and bring clarity on social-political injustices through storytelling, burlesque, choreography and video projects. Daniel joined Pioneers Go East Collective in 2013. With a focus on modern and interpretive dance, Daniel has performed at various New York City venues including La MaMa, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, PS1 MoMa, Brooklyn Museum, The Coney Island Sideshow, Joe's Pub, Dixon Place and Performance Mix/New Dance Alliance.
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa's 58th season celebrates the centennial of its founder, Ellen Stewart, whose vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when she first opened the doors in 1961. La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities. Cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on their stages. Here, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration, and audiences are part of the development of an artist's work over time.
A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, and 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, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Photo Credit: Carlos Cardena and Jon Burklund/Zanni Productions
Anabella Lenzu and Bree Breeden
Anabella Lenzu and Bree Breeden
Daniel Diaz & Alessandro Magania
Alessandro Magania and Daniel Diaz, background Anabella Lenzu