freedom? is a series of site-specific performances instigated by Keith Hennessy in collaboration with Bay Area artists Annie Danger, Gerald Casel, and J Jha. Performances will be generated from collaboration, experimentation, and a queer troubling of the mythical relationships between dancing and freedom, democracy and public space, art and the commons.
Queer Migrants :: November 10, 2018
Sharing stories that cross borders, generations, bodies, and cultures.
A free street performance by J Jha and Keith Hennessy. Jha (India) and Hennessy (Canada), combine movement, ritual, and storytelling to reflect on personal and structural aspects of queer migration to the Bay Area. Hennessy, who is a gay white cis-male, migrated to SF from a mining town in Canada in the early 80s while Jha is a transgender asylee from India who moved to the Bay 4 years ago.
DATES & TIMES
Saturday November 10th
Two shows: 1:00pm & 4:00pm
Begins at the corner of Washington & Battery in downtown San Francisco.
Here is a link to the exact spot on a map: https://goo.gl/maps/51JWE6EmSY12
Performance lasts one hour and involves a short walk. We will have 10 chairs available for people who need/want to sit. The entire route is accessible by wheelchair.
LETTERS FROM THE ARTISTS
Letter from J
7 years ago I left the shores of India as a gay man in the closet of patriarchy, misogyny, heteronormativity and flat out denial.
Imagination awakened, heart emboldened, truth revealing and living relearned I stand before you a trans asylee who embraces all aspects of non conformity in gender.
I am an ungapatch, khichri, a challenge.
I am GNC. I am me.
And now it’s my job to keep telling stories of those left behind. This is the first such telling. Come listen.
Let your senses live what you will never be.
May not be you and me but it is trans destiny.
Let’s just pay attention for a bit. Shall we?
Letter from Keith
Thanks to the magic of theater, two people met and slowly began to feel and trust each other. Grounded in shared commitments to live performance and queer life we started to work. Our first agreement: No Stress. Intimacy and power are simultaneously complicated and simple. Hierarchy and asymmetry are everywhere. What is difference? Can privilege be negotiated? How can we heal, soften, or correct the antagonisms of diaspora and stolen land? With deep respect for the ancestors of this place, Yelamu/San Francisco, and for our families/ancestors by both blood and affinity, we offer this performance.
Queer Migrants is the third in a series of free public site performances engaging queer collaboration across lines of gender, race, and citizenship. Huge thanks to my 3 collaborators Annie Danger, Gerald Casel, J Jha and to Alley Wilde for walking this road with me.
Queer Migrants premiered May 11-12, 2018, was restaged Nov 10, 2019, and the project continues to evolve.
Gerald + Keith :: November 18-19, 2017
A dance on the beach by Gerald Casel + Keith Hennessy
Exploring themes of collaboration, equity, and difference
Sat-Sun November 18-19, 2017 @ 2pm
Ocean Beach @ Sloat Blvd, San Francisco
Click here to join the Facebook event
At the end of Sloat Boulevard, where the street meets the beach, there is a parking lot. From that parking lot, look to the right for a platform covered in graffitti. We'll be next to that, it's about a 1 minute walk.
Gerald + Keith premiered November 18-19, and was also presented at FRESH Festival, Jan 12-13, 2018, and at Seedbed: A Soil Symposium at UC Santa Cruz, April 26, 2018.
Hex for the Future :: October 31, 2017
Instigated by Keith Hennessy & Annie Danger
with the generous contributions of the Two Spirit, transwomen, and genderqueer ritualists-witches-brujas-activists
Aja Archuleta, Cookie Divine, Europa Baker, Eva Alexander, Janetta Johnson, Javier Stell-Fresquez, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Nicola, Santos LaRose, and Snowflake Towers.
4:00pm gather Civic Center Plaza across the street from City Hall
4:30pm the hex begins!
On this night of thin veils we will open the gates to a just future and a broad, deep, liberated political imagination:
Free of prisons and jails.
Free of police.
Housing for all.
Justice for the ancestors and the children and us all.
Power to the people.
Costume: Witch drag. Wear black or mostly black. We've got the witch hats for you!
Keep everything else simple: we're going into City Hall for photo op and other activities (witching!) To enter City Hall we will have to walk through metal detectors and have bags scanned. Leave your broom & athame at home.
We will be documenting the witchery for the web, so come up to us at the start of the event and let us know if you don't want to be on camera.
We'd like to know who is committed to coming, please send us an email to let us know you're definitely coming or strongly considering it: firstname.lastname@example.org (You can definitely show up without RSVP, but we need to plan, so let us know if you're thinking about it.)
This promises to be a very fun time.
We have a vision:
• of mysterious queer figures appearing in unlikely public spaces, figuring out how to co-exist in a world that needs them but does not recognize them.
• of a slow process of mutual encounter, curiosity, and care that generates insights about freedom and its cousins: democracy, solidarity, liberation.
• To model ethical, egalitarian collaboration across lines of racial and gender difference during an era of increasing polarization.
• To use our queer identities, bodies, relations, and perspectives to interrogate the very USAmerican concept of freedom.
• To saturate public spaces with visual and performative poems of democracy in action.
• To provoke inquiry and insight about weak or dead metaphors: dance is freedom, public space is democratic, and queer is abject (disgusting, not natural).
• To support, creatively and financially, a small substantial team of queer artists.
Bios of primary collaborators
J Jha is a transgender asylum seeking immigrant from India who is practicing the art of story-telling while finding what their own story is. Disrupting a post MBA life in India J jumped into the MFA-Acting program at the University of Washington, graduating class of 2014. This is graduate- J’s first venture into personal storytelling. Have told other stories across the Bay : Sarah Shourd’s The Box at Z-Space, Michael Moran’s Grapes of Wrath at Ubuntu, Peter & the Starcatcher at Berkeley Playhouse, Rickshaw Girl at BACT, Eat the Runt at Altarena, among others. #Translivesmatter www.pankajkjha.com
Annie Danger is a trans woman, performing artist, tattoo artist, and organizer as well as an all-around charming gal. Her work has been performed in the National Queer Arts Festival, Keith Hennessy's Too Much queer performance marathons, Sister Spit: The Next Generation, Radar Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library, Austin, Texas' Fusebox Festival, and on stages and streets across the continent. Her current work, How To Cook A Frog, examines surveillance and social media through the eyes of a resurrected Julia Child. Keep your eyes peeled for Emily Post-Capitalism's Revolutionary Etiquette, a text on etiquette for radicals coming in 2015. Annie produced and directed The Fully Functional Cabaret, which featured a diverse cast of trans women. The cabaret was funded by SF Arts Commission, presented as part of the National Queer Arts Festival, and then toured to the East Coast. www.anniedanger.com
Philippine born Gerald Casel was raised in California where he began dancing in public school. His choreographic work complicates and provokes questions surrounding colonialism, cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power. As a teacher, he employs somatics as a way to amplify knowledge production through movement and by identifying and undoing coded systems of dance training that privilege Eurocentric canons and aesthetics. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Casel danced in the companies of Michael Clark, Stanley Love, Zvi Gotheiner, Sungsoo Ahn, Lar Lubovitch, and Stephen Petronio. Casel was awarded a ‘Bessie’ - New York Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement. Casel is an associate professor of dance at University of California, Santa Cruz and is the Artistic Director of GERALDCASELDANCE. He was a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Fellow in 2016, a Hellman Fellow in 2015, and is a Resident Arts at ODC (2015-2018). Future projects include collaborations with Keith Hennessy, Netta Yerushalmy, and Camping at Centre National de la Danse, Pantin.
Link to my webpage: http://www.geraldcasel.com
Keith Hennessy was born in a mining town in Northern Ontario, Canada, lives in San Francisco, and works regularly in Europe. He is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. Hennessy directs Circo Zero, a laboratory for live performance that plays with genre and expectation. Rooted in dance, Hennessy’s work embodies a unique hybrid of performance art, music, visual and conceptual art, circus, and ritual. Hennessy was a member of Sara Shelton Mann’s legendary Contraband (85-94), as well as the collaborative performance companies CORE (95-98) and the France-based Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard (98-02). Hennessy is a co-founder of 848 Community Space/CounterPulse a thriving performance and culture space in San Francisco. Awards include the United States Artist Kjenner Fellowship (2012), a Bilinski Fellowship (2011), a NY Bessie (2009) for Crotch, two Isadora Duncan Awards (2009), a Goldie (2007) and the Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship in Dance (2005). Hennessy has an MFA in Choreography and a PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis.
freedom? is made possible with funding by The San Francisco Arts Commission OPG Grant, California Arts Council Local Impact Grant, and The Kenneth Rainin Foundation.
Hex photos by Madrone Jack (1-5) and Jack Davis (6).
Gerald + Keith photos by Robbie Sweeney.