Saturday, June 1, 2019

Taking Pride! La MaMa's Squirts Festival




Congratulations to Dan Fishback (Director of Helix Queer Performance Network) for another evening of exceeding already high expectations with his annual La MaMa's Squirts festival of queer performance. Fishback, a valiant writer and performer, says the standard Pride Month hooplah--magnified this year with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion--makes him a bit queasy. But he found his happy place at La MaMa in these gatherings of some of our community's most scintillating talents.

"This," he declares now, "is the queer world I always wanted to live in."

Convened by a sharp team of invited curators, Squirts performers span performance genres, generations, races and cultures; this year, it is, says Fishback, "100% curated by transwomen!" Also new this year: 100% free admission. And, honey, you get a lot for that nice price.

Last evening's weekend opener was curated and hosted with unmatched charm by storyteller, actress and health activist Cecilia Gentili. Her sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous entr'acte patter both introduced us to her personal story--living under dictatorship in her native Argentina; embracing the freedom in New York she had envied from afar; learning hard lessons about the dangers transwomen face in the U.S.--while smoothly ushering in one after another of her performers. Most compelling on the bill were Linda LaBeija, delivering spoken word, and Afro-Latin rapper Auset Bennu, each representing Bronx aesthetics in their own commanding, sharp-edged way.

Squirts curators mean business. (I know. I was one last year.) So, I suggest you find out what's up this evening (curated by Charlene Incarnate) and Sunday evening (curated by Mizz June).

One note of caution: The weather outside might be warmish this weekend, but take a sweater and maybe even a cap. La MaMa, for reasons I could not fathom, A/C'ed its theater like a meat locker. Chilled to the bone, I finally, reluctantly and most regretfully fled before the show ended. Still recovering from a wicked cold that had knocked me out since the previous (holiday!) weekend, I was in no shape to withstand La MaMa's deep freeze.

La MaMa's Squirts continues tonight and tomorrow with performances at 7pm. Click here for information and tickets.

La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), Manhattan

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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