Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Eye Zen Presents Announces A FABLAB QUEER ANCESTOR GATHERING CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Five Bay Area artists, Rotimi Agbabiaka, Meliza Bañales, Tiff Lin, Aléta Mascorro and Enormvs Muñoz, will invite visitors into the living legacy of cultural ancestors.

Eye Zen Presents Announces A FABLAB QUEER ANCESTOR GATHERING CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Eye Zen Presents, the boldly transdisciplinary San Francisco theater company dedicated to promoting and protecting lost LGBTQIA+ histories, has announced a free communal Celebration of Life sharing the artistic legacy of queer ancestors on Saturday June 04, 2022 from 1-4pm as an indoor/outdoor event in and around the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Galleries and Forum Building (701 Mission St/San Francisco CA/94103), produced in collaboration with Sol Vida and Latinx Mafia as a YBCA Artist Power Convening. For more information about this free event the public may visit www.eyezen.org/celebration-of-life or email info@eyezen.org

Five Bay Area artists (Rotimi Agbabiaka, Meliza Bañales, Tiff Lin, Aléta Mascorro and Enormvs Muñoz) will invite visitors into the living legacy of cultural ancestors Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, Kapaemāhū, Walter Mercado, and Guan Yin. Each artist has chosen a QTBIPOC ancestor meaningful to them who they will celebrate, educate about, and welcome audiences to directly engage with through performance and interactive creative activities. The three-hour event will begin with a playful outdoor ritual in the YBCA courtyard followed by the opportunity to explore and engage with artists at individual ancestor stations throughout the Grand Lobby. The afternoon culminates in a closing ritual of co-creating a shared altar.

The gathering brings together a community of artists who have explored these ancestors individually in the FabLab series of playshops (playful workshops) during the pandemic. After a 2021-22 fraught with isolation, June 4th will see the artists growing those individual events into a jubilant shared gathering open to visitors from all communities and identities.

"FabLab is an incubator of radical play, instigating radical joy that's critical for our health, especially in challenging times like these." says Eye Zen Presents Artistic Director Seth Eisen. "FabLab's Celebration of Life is a calling in of our ancestors and gathering with chosen family that lifts our spirits because we can't help but see the fabulousness in one another. That recognition is contagious because we know that an embodied knowledge of who and where we come from brings us joy, resilience, solace, and clearer vision of our path forward. Who doesn't want some of that?"

Rather than dictate an expressive form for the event, Eye Zen invites its artists to bring their interdisciplinary backgrounds and whole collaborative selves to the sprawling Grand Lobby space of YBCA to create a unique collective experience with multiple artistic disciplines to choose from. Celebrations will include visual art installations in the form of an altar, creative performance activities that invite audiences to dance and move, reflective and contemplative opportunities, and chances to learn about the ancestors and their legacies through live personal sharings and e-zines. Audience members will be free to wander between ancestor stations, choose engagements from individual artist menus, and let their personal curiosity shape their own flexible experience at their own pace within the immersive environment of offerings.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS AND ANCESTORS

Rotimi Agbabiaka (all pronouns) is an actor, writer, director, and teacher who uses humor, glamor, and drama to upset the status quo, with artistic credits at Cal Shakes, Magic Theater, SF Mime Troupe, Playwrights Horizons, and Yale Rep. He chose ancestor James Baldwin, the novelist, playwright, essayist, poet and activist whose vivid words, insightful commentary, and fiery activism gave voice to the experience of being Black and queer in America and who has inspired generations of people all over the world to insist on the dignity and liberty of all humans.

Aléta Mascorro (she/her) is a multi-hyphenate theater artist, instructor, and astrologer of the Xicana trans experience. She will celebrate ancestor Walter Mercado, the Puerto Rican astrologer, actor, dancer, and writer known for his bejeweled capes and his wildly creative and love-centered daily televised horoscope readings.

Meliza Bañales (she/they) is an author, advocate, teaching artist, and Oakland Grand Slam Poetry Champion who will celebrate her personal friend and cultural ancestor Gloria Anzaldúa, a Chicana- Tejana- Lesbian, feminist poet, activist, theorist and fiction writer known for her book Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza.

Tiff Lin (they/them) is a 1.5 gen Taiwanese American, queer, nonbinary, Yang Earth Dragon, Chinese Astrology practitioner, pleasure + intimacy activist, kinesthetic storyteller, and facilitator of API community healing who chose ancestor Guan Yin (Kuan Yin), a 5th century Chinese Bodhisattva known for taking 33 different forms across gender boundaries to effectively reach those who call for them in times of fear, despair, and uncertainty.

Enormvs Muñoz (he/him) is an educator, actor, dancer, clown, writer, director, & burlesque performer who calls New York, Hawaiʻi, & California "Home." He chose ancestor Kapaemāhū, a 15th century māhū healer from Tahiti and Hawai'i, who embodied both female and male gender traits and was renowned for their healing gifts, experience, and wisdom.

EYE ZEN PRESENTS, founded by Seth Eisen in 2007, is a San Francisco-based transdisciplinary theater company working to unearth and elevate the stories of our queer ancestors. The organization promotes social change by preserving and disseminating 2SLGBTQIA+ stories and traditions in danger of obsolescence. Eye Zen's productions engender an experimental aesthetic that blends performance and the visual arts: puppetry and live drawing is fused with contemporary dance, drag, live music, physical theater and video. Its critically acclaimed works include Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas (2007), Buffet Flats: Queering Slow Food (2011-12), Homo File: Chronicling the Life of Samuel Steward (2012) and Rainbow Logic: Arm in Arm with Remy Charlip. The first chapter of its performance-driven San Francisco queer history tours, OUT of Site: North Beach, premiered in 2018, followed by OUT of Site: SOMA in 2019 and 2020 and OUT of Site: Haight-Ashbury in 2021. For more information visit eyezen.org.

Eye Zen has received generous support from SF Grants for the Arts, California Arts Council, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as well as individual donors. The YBCA Power Convening Grant supports the expansion of the FabLab program to include a Celebration of Life gathering in 2022. This event will provide a platform for participants to share their art and build relationships with other QTBIPOC artists in the community. The Celebrations will raise the bar on opportunities to educate the public about QTBIPOC histories with creative activities by the artists and participants that will have an enduring ripple effect.

LATINX MAFIA is a collective of diverse Latinx/e identified artists. The group was born out of a need to address our collective experiences with racist, problematic and misunderstood casting and storytelling practices of Latinx/e stories in a white-dominated media space. We come together in community to advocate for our radically accurate representation, to provide support and resources for Latinx-identified artists and to uplift our talent. Our mission is to empower and support Latinx teatristas by reclaiming, demystifying and recreating Latinx representation in theatre/media and ensuring that Latinx representation in theatre and media radically and accurately embraces historically marginalized communities including but not limited to: the LGBTQiA2 community, indigenous and Afro-Latinx people, differently-able folks, migrants regardless of immigration status, and the many linguistic backgrounds in Latin America.

SOL VIDA is shifting normalcy from systemic oppression to radical freedom utilizing dance and expressive arts as tools for personal transformation, collective liberation and embodied healing justice. We are dedicated to preserving Afro-Diasporic cultural traditions, creating progressive, multigenerational dance communities, and affinity spaces for education, empowerment, leadership and advocacy. To provide safe spaces for Queer, Trans, Black and Indigenous People of Culture (QTBIPoC and BIPoC) as well as Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, trans, queer, intersex, aesexual and gender expansive identities (2SPLGBTQIA+ ). We are a global movement company that uses dance and expressive arts to release people from feeling traumatized, isolated, stressed out, ashamed, shut down, afraid and insecure and give them safe, sacred inclusive havens to express themselves fully, restoring confidence, sparking life creativity and sharing tools to disrupt and break down the oppressive systems in society.

(Acronyms defined:

2SPLGBTQIA+ Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Plus.

QTBIPOC- Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Culture * POC formerly utilized as "people of color"; we are strategically using the term "People Of Culture" because we would like to address the issues of colorism implicit in the term "color".)

ABOUT FABLAB

FabLab is a series of playshops that provide a vital space for QTBIPOC culture bearers to conjure and celebrate the legacies of queer ancestors, igniting a fabulous re-telling of queer history facilitated by the fiercest QTBIPOC creative voices. Each month's facilitators introduce participants to one queer ancestor as inspiration for the creation of fresh new work exploring dance, performance, visual art, video, music, and spoken word.

FabLab connects Bay Area residents to the lives and legacies of QTBIPOC ancestors that have been omitted from our mainstream media and cultural knowledge. Historically, many QTBIPOC ancestral stories have remained silent, hidden, or lost. Many factors have created this historical void: queers practicing silence as self-defense during oppressive times, failures of academia, AIDS, and the general racial-, gender-, and hetero-normativity of dominant cultures steeped in the voices of settler colonialism. Originally launched by Eye Zen Presents in 2014 and grown through a partnership with April Axé Charmaine and SOL VIDA starting in 2019 and in collaboration with Latinx Mafia since 2020 to provide an interactive communal experience to learn about our QTBIPOC ancestors. For more on FabLab and the FabLab team: https://www.eyezen.org/fablab22

ABOUT YBCA ARTIST POWER CONVENINGS

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is undertaking a series of Artist Power Convenings, a new community investment strategy to build the capacity of artists and artist-led organizations in service of their communities. With the Artist Power Convenings, YBCA wants to support artists getting together, virtually or in-person, to imagine, create, and lift up each other across our region. As the first initiative of its kind at YBCA, the program will continue to evolve in order to better serve Bay Area artists and artist-led organizations. Artist Power Convenings were made possible by $400,000 in funding from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. More at https://ybca.org/artist-power-convenings/



Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories


More Hot Stories For You