Needing It

Solo Performance in Queer Community

with Dan Fishback






Participants will develop solo performances based on their personal obsessions and political impulses, all the while exploring the recent history of queer performance in New York City. Performance artist and instructor Dan Fishback will work closely with students to move beyond conventional notions of “self-expression” and “autobiography” to something more primal and satisfying. Using traditional queer performance forms as a reference point, students will be encouraged to find new artistic language to stage their most vital urges. While students will be developing solo pieces, we will be discussing the interplay between the individual artist and a broader sense of collectivity, especially as it relates to queer community struggles against racism, misogyny and transphobia. Each student will also be assigned to meet and interview a different established queer performance artist. The final session of this eight-week class will be a fully-produced, public performance of completed student work.


This class is ideal for people just starting out in performance, looking to transition to a new mode of performance, or looking to meld their performances with a new sense of political awareness. Students of ALL races, genders, ages and sizes are encouraged to apply. Students MUST be prepared to work extensively and rigorously on assignments outside of class. All students MUST attend every session. Students do not have to identify as queer, as long as they identify as being part of a queer community.


Please write an email to the instructor, Dan Fishback. Explain why you want to take this class, and give a brief history of your artistic pursuits, and/or queer community pursuits. Please include links to any documentation of previous work if you have it, although such documentation is not necessary if you don’t have it. You will not be judged by the quantity or stature of your achievements. If you do not identify as queer, please explain how you relate to queer community or queer performance tradition. Be SPECIFIC, be HONEST. Ideal applicants will use this introductory email to prove (and not just claim) that they NEED IT. Ten students will be selected for the class.

Please include your PHONE NUMBER.

Send your email to with the subject heading “Application for NEEDING IT 2016.”

Do NOT attach your letter as a separate document.  Your letter MUST NOT EXCEED 500 WORDS.

Application Due: March 1, 2016


Dan Fishback has been writing and performing in New York City since 2003. He is the director of the Helix Queer Performance Network, a collaboration between La MaMa Experimental Theater, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics. Time Out New York called his play The Material World one of the “top ten plays of 2012.”  Fishback curates and hosts the queer performance series La MaMa’s SQUIRTS. Also a performing songwriter, Fishback began his music career in the East Village’s anti-folk scene; his band, Cheese On Bread, has toured Europe and North America in support of their two full-length albums, “Maybe Maybe Maybe Baby” (2004) and “The Search for Colonel Mustard” (2007). As a solo artist, Fishback has released several recordings, including his latest, “The Mammal Years” (2012). He was a member of the movement troupe Underthrust, which collaborated with songwriter Kimya Dawson on performances and videos. He has received artist residencies from the University of Pennsylvania, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Hemispheric Institute and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and has received grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, the Franklin Furnace Fund and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists.


The Helix Queer Performance Network is a collaboration between La MaMa Experimental Theater, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, seeking to nurture queer performing artists, empower queer communities, and celebrate the legacy and lineage of queer performance in NYC. Major programs include La MaMa’s Squirts, our inter-generational performance festival; Submerge, our celebration of the artistic achievements of queer and trans people of color; and NEEDING IT: Solo Performance in Queer Community, our free, two month educational workshop.

BAX is located on the second and third floors and does not have an elevator. If you need assistance or have further questions regarding the BAX Building, please email