Week 2: Embodying Solidarity
Pangea came into existence during a massive homophobic backlash in America. In fact, the year we were founded is the same year President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act. In 1996, if you were an immigrant who tested positive for HIV, you would be barred from entering the United States, and HIV-positive applicants were denied citizenship. When we looked to the queer community, we saw people exercising incredible creativity and care for one another. In our collaborations with queer artists, we saw incredible innovation, willingness to experiment, defiance of categorization, and artistic courage.
We know that while same-sex marriage has since been legalized, 2SLGBTQ community members still face enormous obstacles, and are disproportionately poor, homeless and incarcerated. We proudly stand with our Two Spirit, LGBT and queer communities, and our commitment only strengthens as we see another backlash in the massive wave of anti-trans legislation all around the country.
There are so many more artists from the Two Spirit, queer, trans and 2SLGBTQ communities that have given so much to Pangea, of their time, energy, support, and artistry. They have deeply transformed who we are as a theater and expanded how we approach our art. Without queer and trans liberation, it will never be possible to fully decolonize.
In Minneapolis, many of the institutions and spaces that served this community have been lost, such as Cafe Southside, the Trans Youth Support Network, Shades of Yellow, Intermedia Arts, and Patrick’s Cabaret. That is why we have intentionally made our space available to queer and trans artists to use for workshops, discussions, rehearsals, and shows.
Through our series Another World Is Possible, which presents artists doing grassroots-based, experimental work that responds to the urgent needs of our time, we have often intentionally reached out to queer and trans artists doing excellent work in our community.
Through the Another World Is Possible series, here are a few of the shows we have presented…
Rising from Concrete
Curated by Jenny Zander
What does it mean to rebuild, redistribute and ultimately grow amid civil & societal unrest?
Something that you believe to be concrete is now being churned and resown. Concrete is laid to restrict overgrowth and make it easier for us to move, which ultimately creates a barrier between us and the land. But plants will always slip through the cracks despite a surface designed to oppress and repel them. Through voice, movement and color we will allow our bodies to cascade, take root and then rise again from the pavement.
Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories is a celebration of black, brown, and indigenous people. A celebration of queer, gay, lesbian, intersex, transgender, non-binary, pansexual and bisexual. Celebration of womxn. A celebration and intersection of the artistry these powerful people create. Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories works to create a space of artistic abundance and meaningful connection and collaboration.
In 2012, we partnered with 20% Theatre Company and RARE Productions, and our longtime friend AP Looze to produce Minneapolis’s first ever Queer Perfomance Festival, MORPHOLOGIES.
MORPHOLOGIES: Queer Performance Festival presented performance and collaborative arts that exposed, highlighted and expanded the spectrum of queer expression and culture, and the transformative social impact it has on the world. MORPHOLOGIES promoted the lives, politics, and experiences of the queer community, both locally and nationally
Here are the shows we presented in MORPHOLOGIES…
Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps
Written & Performed by Scott Turner Schofield
Photo by Anna Min
Irreverent and dynamic, graceful and playful, Becoming A Man In 127 EASY Steps engages the deep questions and the locker room jokes about what it means to “become” a man. Moving beyond the transgender narrative that focuses on the experience of transition, Alaskan trans* artist Scott Turner Schofields’ stories explore the drama and hilarity of living a new life in the “opposite” gender. “I changed my sex. Now what?” Schofield dances, climbs, hides, and seeks in a delicate choreography of brute strength and beautiful flexibility. The show’s Choose Your Own Adventure format invites viewers to decide—live—which stories they will hear during each performance.
MORPHED: Loud & Queer Cabaret Partay
Curated by RARE Productions
Pictured: Cat Hammond, Photo by Anna Min
As part of MORPHOLOGIES we brought you a fabulous night of visual and performance art including: dance, poetry, music, burlesque and so much more, featuring local queer artists. Sweetpea, Dahlia Dulce, Cat Hammond, Suzi Gard, Josephine Belle, The Gentleman King, JamieAnn Meyers, Stacy Bowen, Pussy & BoneHound, Melissa Koch, Kyle Heger, Nicole M Smith, Nakia Lauren
In Search of Geishaghost
Written & Performed by Ryka Aoki
Photo by Anna Min
Child abuse survivor, poet, songwriter, national judo champion, vegetarian cook, goth princess, and transgender moonshining chemist, Ryka Aoki was transitioning long before her first dose of estrogen. Now she's on a journey to bring these identities together to become not a queer superhero, but a woman who can reflect and rejoice in her journey thus far. From poems to pot stills, eyeshadow to knife defenses, this show is dedicated to everyone who has ever split themselves into pieces in order to live in the worlds of others--and are trying to get all the pieces back.
Written & Performed by D’Lo
D’FunQT (pronounced defunct) is filled with D’Lo’s humorous musings, rants and stories of being a queer boy/stud/transgendered person who grew up in a strict immigrant family, trying to make it all work peacefully while radically and bizarrely challenging mindframes in choosing to exist unapologetically. This show is D’Lo’s gift to the communities D’Lo identifies with: Fierce Folks of Color, Queers, QT’s and yes, Islanders. “I want to give my people a break. A moment to exhale in peace, To celebrate in laughter, To feel accepted in all your glory amongst other good people.”
Outside the Circle
Written by Andrea Assaf & Sam Valdez
Directed by Dora Arreola
Outside the Circle examines the concept of unrequited love, from the perspective of a queer woman and a man with cerebral palsy. The play probes the depths of our human experience with love and rejection, and brings our assumptions and contradictions out into the light. Outside the Circle is not sentimental: it takes place in a Tijuana bar, where the protagonists compete with one another for the affection of a straight woman.
Shaking Our Shells: Stories from on the Wings of Wadaguga
Created and Performed by Qwo-Li Driskill
Photo by Anna Min
Shaking Our Shells: Stories from On the Wings of Wadaduga is an ongoing historiographical performance project that focuses on revising archived and embodied Cherokee Two-Spirit/GLBTQ memories. Drawing on archival research and interviews, this one-person performance shares stories from Cherokee cultural memory about 2 GLBTQ people within the context of larger tactics for decolonization and continuance.
Our #25DaysFor25Years Virtual Gala and Fundraiser is past the halfway point! We have been having so much fun sharing these memories and this work with you. As we plan what the next 25 years will look like, we invite you to join us by telling a friend about Pangea or making a contribution to support work like this.