John Giorno Octopus Series – Ballroom Has Something To Say: An Ode To Black Queer Men
- Neilma Sidney Theatre
- May 25 | 7pm
Performers and Presenters: Michael Roberson, Icon Pony Zion, Rev. Ken Alston Jr., Ricky Tucker, Legendary Kaos Lanvin, and Brad Walrond.
WHAT IS PERFORMANCE? Does it have a politic? Does it have a theology? What are the conditions in which performance opens up spaces of freedom? Tonight we will explore these propositions through the history and narrative of the house/ball ballroom community, an intentional kinship structure that has it’s roots stemming from the Harlem Renaissance, created through the ethos of black trans-women and today has globalized across the world. We will examine this community’s pains, it’s struggles, it’s joys, it’s triumphs, it’s cultural productions, beyond 1990’s documentary PARIS IS BURNING, and Madonna’s vogue song/video, and even beyond the FX television show “POSE” and HBO/MAX’S “LEGENDARY.” We will do this through dialogue, through the black poetics, through the written text, and through the ballroom signature dance form vogue; all through the lens and hermeneutics of the black queer/gay man, an ode to his perseverance, his strengths, his resilience in the face of both struggles and catastrophe. It is a true sentiment, that ballroom really has something to say, to teach the world over about what it means to be human, and the struggle for freedom, in the face of catastrophe.
Using the Octopus’s decentralized nervous system as an inspiration for Performance Space New York’s curatorial practice, the John Giorno Octopus Series invites artists and guest curators to organize an evening-length program with several artists working in any number of disciplines. The series is named after legendary performance poet, John Giorno, and continues Performance Space’s legacy of artist-centric programming and creating space for risk-taking.