San Francisco International Arts Festival Presents LGBT Voices Journeying On The Path to Democracy

The theme for this year's San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) is The Path to Democracy. Artists from the Bay Area and 12 countries will gather at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture to present work that speaks to issues of democracy and the incremental steps of getting there...including in the United States.

The 2019 program includes a number projects led by artists whose work represents different facets of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender communities. Festival director Andrew Wood commented on the LGBT Voices speaking out as part of this year's program. "As we give thanks for the shield of tolerance that we has evolved here in the Bay Area," he noted, "we do not have to look far to see how LGBT rights can be easily trampled in other parts of the world. News from places like Zimbabwe is distressing and the word out of Brunei is outright diabolical. But even in the United States there are worrying signs. GLAAD's annual Accelerating Acceptance report noted a downward trend for the first time."

According to the report, "Acceptance of LGBTQ people is slipping, and discrimination is increasing, in the face of attacks, bias, and erasure by the Trump administration."

SFIAF presents LGBT voices operating within this contrary, shifting and potentially dangerous paradigm.

One show that speaks clearly to this is Wishes Before the Apocalypse by Joe Landini where audience members are invited to witness and participate in rituals that gather and remember moments in the LGBT struggle.

An interesting juxtaposition is Dead Weight by Steamroller Dance Company that reflects on the survivors of the AIDS epidemic and poses the question about how we remember a life - or an era - with the passage of time. Is it a somber wake or a somber celebration?

pateldanceworks and Oomph Dance Theater present a double bill that explores issues around femininity and safety with all the things we will never be and femmes refusal, respectively.

On the more exuberant side Maestra Cigarra (aka Marcia Treidler) leads her ABADA Capoiera San Francisco ensemble in Spirit of Brazil 2019 that celebrates the acceptance and appreciation of LGBT leadership and role models in combatting hate speech, prejudice and bigotry.

Lucia August also focuses on acceptance with her assertion that Everybody Can Dance in her internationally travelled work, Speaking from the Body that features queer (and not so queer) storytelling in movement and spoken word.

The full list of artists from the LGBT Community presenting work at the Festival this year (with links to their respective web pages for more information) is as follows:

Amy Lewis / Agnes Szelag (USA)
ANIMA MAGNETA (World Premiere) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Firehouse. Friday May 24, 9:30pm; Saturday May 25, 9:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $25
Experience a surrogate reality where seemingly disparate ideas and dimensions suddenly coexist. ANIMA MAGNETA, by choreographer Amy Lewis and sound artist Agnes Szelag, transforms sensory awareness through the interweaving of dance, video, and sound. Get ready for time to shift and other worlds to appear.

Joe Landini (USA)
Wishes Before the Apocalypse (50 mins. no intermission)
Chapel, Friday May 24, 9:30pm. Tix: $15 - $28
Joe Landini is a San Francisco-based choreographer/curator and is the co-director of Dog & Pony. He has presented his work at Resolution! Festival (London), International Contemporary Dance Festival (Mexico City) and SFIAF, as well as festivals in Sacramento, Laguna Beach, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin. Locally, he has presented his work at the ODC Theater, Z Space, Dance Mission and the Cowell Theater.

Tango Con*Fusion with The Redwood Tango Ensemble (Argentina & USA)
Tango Night (2019, World Premiere) (45 minutes, followed by a Milonga Dance Party)
Gallery 308. Saturday May 25, 8:00pm. Tickets: $20 - $100
Tango Night - This is not your mother's tango! In this groundbreaking performance, Tango Con*Fusion, San Francisco's all women company, dances to original music composed by Charles Gorzynski and his Redwood Tango Ensemble. Both groups push the traditional boundaries of the genre. Following the performance, guests are invited to stay for a milonga.

Oomph Dance Theater (USA)
femmes refusal (35 minutes, no intermission)
Shared bill with pateldanceworks
Chapel. Thursday May 30, 7:00pm; Saturday June 1, 3:30pm; Sunday June 2, 4:30pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
Femme's refusal is a reimagining of The Rite of Spring by OOMPH Dance Theater's Zackary Forcum. This solo interdisciplinary work examines how society asks men to sacrifice the feminine within themselves for cultural renewal and stability. OOMPH is proud to share a festival program with pateldanceworks, as the two company's different approaches to work concerning queer femme identity provides distinct voices to stories too often dismissed and erased.

pateldanceworks (USA)
all the things we'll never be (35 minutes, no intermission)
Shared bill with Oomph Dance Theater
Chapel. Thursday May 30, 7:00pm; Saturday June 1, 3:30pm; Sunday June 2, 4:30pm.
Tickets: $15 - $28
all the things we'll never be is a work that explores femininity, femmephobia and the collective safety that queer women seek in one another as a means of solace for the grief that they feel as people who believe in equity and justice. It is a fully immersive, meditation on the versions of themselves that they will never be.

ABADÃ Capoeira San Francisco (USA & Brazil)
Spirit of Brazil 2019 (2019, World Premiere) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Gallery 308. Friday May 31, 7:00pm; Sunday June 2, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $38
ABADÃ Capoeira San Francisco's Spirit of Brazil 201919 presents the artistic elements of Capoeira through a fusion of contemporary and traditional music, dance, and martial arts from Brazil. Presented by an international cast, the dynamic acrobatic and athletic movements, history and tradition, and heart-thumping rhythms will leave you inspired!

Dead Weight (World Première) (60 minutes, no intermission)
Chapel. Saturday June 1, 6:00pm and Sunday June 2, 7:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
Dead Weight is a performance that explores temporality and legacy. What if you could attend your own funeral? What would people remember about your life? Would it be a somber wake or joyful celebration? How would you want to be commemorated? Using archival choreography, the performance is framed as a eulogy for STEAMROLLER founding choreographer Jesselito Bie.

Lucia August/Everybody Can Dance (USA)
Speaking From The Body (50 minutes, without intermission)
Firehouse. Sunday June 2, 4:30pm. Tickets: $15 - $28
"A dancer of tremendous joy"**** (Edinburgh Fringe Festival Magazine, August 2014). The Award-winning show features new elements and old favorites! Intimate queer and not-so queer storytelling in movement and spoken word. Expand your ideas of who can beautifully dance, regardless of age or size!

Conspiracy of Venus (USA)
The Sixth Extinction? Songs of Lament and Celebration (90 Minutes with intermission)
Chapel. Sunday June 2, 2:00pm. Tickets: $15 - $28.
Conspiracy of Venus women's vocal ensemble sings songs by Joni Mitchell, the Pixies and many others, and original compositions by Joyce Todd McBride.

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