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Five Must-See Performances At Queer New York International Arts Festival


These queer performances will challenge your perceptions of art, gender, and sexuality.

Queer New York International Festival 2015 kicks off for another year of beautiful, provocative, and powerful performances. There are over 40 participating artists from all over the world (Bulgaria to Croatia, Switzerland to the US, and more). Here's a list of five works on our to-see list, but make sure to check out the full performance schedule here. Enjoy!

kiss me just once more | Michael Breslin | Friday, September 25 at 8pm


kiss me just once more is a solo theatre piece that investigates the relationship between a queer son and his straight mother(s) in literature, drama, and theory. Using the "Goodnight Kiss" passage from Marcel Proust's Swann's Way, Breslin explores questions about the "nat - ural" and the "deviant" and this binary's relationship to queer failure, psycho-sexual identification, and ritual. Like Proust's prose, kiss me just once more manipulates linear time and plot structure to explore philosophy and psychology--unearthing the personal journey of discovering one's own gender and sexual queerness under patriarchal forces. Photo courtesy of Anna Watts

Know What Smokes | Lorene Bouboushian & Kaia Gilje | Wednesday, September 23 at 9pm


Know What Smokes is a performance piece that embraces the simplest way there is to learn about something: to hit your head against the thing repeatedly. Or to shove your fingers up a nose, or jiggle a pair of breasts until your fingers ache. If we close our eyes and feel what we are pressed against, what do we learn? Lorene Bouboushian and Kaia Gilje attempt to activate sensation through different types of touch--tender, sensual, surprising, painful, mundane, and absurd. Working with closed eyes, they submit to each other's touch. At times this touch serves as a guide to a deeper sensory experience and at times becomes distracting, invasive, or even a violent element to be defended against. The performative focus of the work arises from commitment to the emotional arcs, the deep fears, and the extreme sensations that their own actions conjure. How do guilt and betrayal function in a world where logic is warped and sensation is central? Photo courtesy of Laura Bartczak

The Good Daughter | Max Stelle | Sunday, September 20 at 8pm


The Good Daughter is a solo cabaret/music performance examining the relationship between queer identity, power, and gender. Max Steele utilizes pop music, punk rock, and performance art to reverse-engineer drag performance, performing songs written by women about female identity, and articulating a female voice against a culture of late-capitalist, globalist white-supremacist patriarchy. Between songs, he deconstructs his maleness, revealing the aggression in "fag art" as empty. His performance aims to exhaust the rage of being a gay person now, when history has already happened and the future seems foreclosed. Photo courtesy of Ingo Lamm

Facebook Theater | Ivo Dimchev | Thursday, September 17 at 8pm


After the well-received performance at last year's QNYIA Festival, Bulgarian artist Ivo Dimchev returns to the festival with his new performance Facebook Theater. This interactive theatrical experiment has actors articulate a text simultaneously created by a Facebook audience. Ever trying out and exploiting new formats and ways of doing, thinking, or writing theater, Dimchev sees social networks as potentially inexhaustible sources of dramaturgical material. Asking himself whether people's accustomed experience in dealing with them can be transposed to a theatrical context, he has invented Facebook Theater as an opportunity for the audience to create the performance text. Photo courtesy of Stefan Galibov Photography

Shades of a Queen | Mmakgosi Kgabi | Monday, September 21 at 8pm

qaf-5Shades of a Queen is a coming-of-age, coming-to-self, coming-out piece exploring the identity constructs of an African Queer child. The creative process was based on personal experiences and challenges in the journey to coming out both literally and metaphorically. Her Majesty the Queen (a.k.a. Mmakgosi, which translates to ''The Mother of the Chief") battles with stepping out of the house and out of the closet. She confronts her self in all her majestic glory, and the demons and counter-masks that reveal themselves as identity constructs come into being from mundane interactions with the world. Photo courtesy of Thomas Aurin

Check out the full schedule for more details and a complete list of all performances.

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