The Helix Queer Performance Network is a collaboration between La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, seeking to nurture emerging queer performers, unite diverse queer communities, and celebrate the legacy and lineage of queer performance in New York City.
Through educational initiatives, innovative stage productions and challenging public conversations that prioritize diversity across age, race, class and gender, Helix aims to foster an inter-generational, multi-racial, multi-gender performance community where artists can document a broad spectrum of queer experience in the context of a rich artistic history.
Each of Helix’s three partner institutions hosts an HQPN flagship program, directed by performance artist Dan Fishback. With La MaMa, we present La MaMa’s SQUIRTS, a series that showcases emerging performers, with guest appearances by legends of the queer performance world. With BAX, we run NEEDING IT: Performance & Queer Community, an eight-week workshop, in which students create their own original pieces while studying the history of queer performance in NYC. And with the Hemispheric Institute, we curate an ongoing series of Long Table discussions using Lois Weaver’s template of informal conversation to generate dynamic new ideas to improve our communities, and to answer the perennial question, “What does queer performance want?”
Why Helix? The word helix implies the double-helix of DNA, and while many seek to define queerness in terms of genetics, the Helix Queer Performance Network is much more interested in new forms of lineage — queer forms of lineage. We are interested in the artistic and cultural legacy that young queer people inherit from their elders, and in the revolutionary ideas that our youth can contribute to a rich tradition. The Helix is a curved line, moving forward but always twisting; and this is how we see queer culture — always careening into the future, but not in a straight line. It spirals around a center that it never reaches. The Helix Queer Performance Network is committed to celebrating the radical, unique ways in which we relate to and learn from each other, and seeks to articulate these relationships with a mix of new and old language, new and old ideas, and new and old wisdom.
LA MAMA EXPERIMENTAL THEATER CLUB
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing daring work in theatre, dance, performance art, and music that defies form and transcends boundaries of language, race, and culture; a global organization with creative partners and dedicated audiences around the world. La MaMa’s programming is culturally diverse, cross-disciplinary and draws audiences from all walks of life. Founded in 1961 by theatre pioneer and legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is a vital part of the fabric of cultural life in New York City. The anchor for the East Village theatre, dance, and performance art scene, La MaMa has presented more than 3,500 productions in its 52-year history and supported more than 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. La MaMa has been honored with over 30 Obie Awards, dozens of Drama Desk Awards, Bessie Awards, and Villager Awards. Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, La MaMa is home to three theaters, an art gallery, a six-story rehearsal studio building, a visiting artists’ dormitory, and an extensive archive documenting the history of off-off Broadway. www.lamama.org
HEMISPHERIC INSTITUTE OF PERFORMANCE & POLITICS
The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics is a collaborative, multilingual and interdisciplinary network of institutions, artists, scholars and activists throughout the Americas. Working at the intersection of scholarship, artistic expression and politics, the organization explores embodied practice – performance – as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory and identity. Anchored in its geographical focus on the Americas (thus “hemispheric”) and in three working languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese), the Institute’s goal is to promote vibrant interactions and collaborations at the level of scholarship, art practice and pedagogy among practitioners interested in the relationship between performance and politics in the hemisphere. www.hemisphericinstitute.org
BAX | BROOKLYN ARTS EXCHANGE
BAX is honored to partner with these venerable institutions to help fulfill HELIX’s mission. We are an artist services organization located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, dedicated to supporting Artists In Progress by providing a nurturing, year-round, performance, rehearsal and educational venue in that encourages artistic risk-taking and stimulates dialogue among diverse constituencies. artistservices.bax.org
DAN FISHBACK, Director of the Helix Queer Performance Network
Dan Fishback has been writing and performing in New York City since 2003. His play “The Material World,” was called “one of the best downtown musicals in years” by Time Out New York (Top Ten of 2012). Major works also include “thirtynothing” (2011) and “You Will Experience Silence” (2012), all directed by Stephen Brackett at Dixon Place. Other work has been performed at the New Museum, Joe’s Pub, P.S. 122 and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange. He has enjoyed residencies at Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania (2012-2013), the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics (2012), BAX (2010-2012), Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He has received grants from the Franklin Furnace Fund (2010) and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists (2007-2009). Also a performing songwriter, Fishback got his start 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. As a solo artist, Fishback has released several recordings, including “Sweet Chastity” (2005, produced by César Alvarez of The Lisps), and his latest “The Mammal Years” (2012, produced by Casey Holford). Fishback is currently writing a book about AIDS and the gay generation gap based on his solo show “thirtynothing.”