Out-FRONT! Fest. is a new movement-based, cross-disciplinary performance festival centering the voices of LGBTQ and feminist artists.
Curated by Pioneers Go East Collective, and presented in partnership with The LGBT Community Center, the festival features the work of artists exploring bold new performance modes for a lively exchange of art and culture. Out-FRONT! Fest.features performances by Jasmine Hearn, ALEXA GRÆ, Symara Johnson, Anabella Lenzu, Pioneers Go East Collective, and Arien Wilkerson/Tnmot Aztro, films by Lindy Fines and Greyzone, Angela Schöpke Gonzalez, Cara Hagan, and Zach Rothman-Hicks, and workshops by festival artists.
Out-FRONT! Fest.will take place January 12–19, 2023, at The LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, in Manhattan. All festival events are free (donations accepted). Reservations are required and can be made here.
“We are proud to present the work of radical thinker-artists who enlighten, entertain, and promote conversations around aesthetic diversity,” said Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte, Artistic Director of Pioneers Go East Collective. “The artists participating in Out-FRONT!, curated by Hilary Brown-Istrefi, Philip Treviño, and me, are recurring artists in our Crossroads series at Judson Church. We now shape a creative space to amplify their voices and celebrate their creative journeys. With this new platform, presented during the annual arts presenters (APAP) conference in New York, we hope to broaden conversations inside and outside our community to familiarize audiences with the artists’ messages of inclusion, vulnerability, and beauty.”
Out-FRONT! Fest 2023 Schedule
Symara Johnson – The Kitchen Sink Wrangler at the Midnight Rodeo, Thursday, January 12 and Friday, January 13, at 8pm, Theatre 301
The Kitchen Sink Wrangler at the Midnight Rodeo is an exploration into the artist’s American and West Indian heritage. Formally trained in Caribbean dance techniques in Trinidad, Symara Johnson combines the methodologies of folk and modern dance to explore her family history within the United States, of which there is a limited archive. Johnson uses family lore and American cultural fantasy to create and project a persona that embodies and is in conversation with her lineage in the Wild West and the Deep South. In the piece, the rope becomes both a prop and partner as Johnson embodies her cowgirl persona. She uses the rope as a boundary, holding it taut and creating shapes for her body to deftly navigate. She surveils the land around her, responding to her surroundings with playful curiosity. When she begins to lasso, the rope transforms into a mesmerizing and dynamic sculptural accompaniment.
Pioneers Go East Collective – Electric Blue: A durational performance installation, Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14, 6–8pm, Space 101
Audience members may come and go during the hours of the performance installation.
Electric Blue is a dance-theater installation inspired by radical queer thought-provoking literary icon Allen Ginsberg. A meditation on creative agency and censorship, Electric Blue celebrates past and present LGBTQ resilience in pursuit of artistic freedom. The artists deploy personal reflections to underscore how the experiences of the individual, the artist, and their community are inevitably bound together, hinting at the potential for collective action. Taking Ginsberg’s writing defined as pornographic literature when first published, the collective examines the author’s controversial poetry reflecting on same-sex love and male bonding. Integrating artistic disciplines, the project is devised in collaboration with three solo performing artists: singer/dancer ALEXA GRÆ,dancer/storyteller Joey Kipp, and performance artist/storyteller Daniel Diaz. The installation and concept are by creative director Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte, choreographer Symara Johnson, visual artist Mark Tambella, and designer Philip Treviño.
Arien Wilkerson/Tnmot Aztro – 835 Hours of Hope & Despair, Saturday, January 14 at 8pm and Sunday, January 15 at 5.30pm, Theatre 301
Philadelphia-based artist Arien Wilkerson presents835 Hours of Hope & Despair, a multidisciplinary work reflecting on gender, labor, queerness, and the geographic boundaries that have affected creative paths for young queer Black artists. Wilkerson uses critical analysis and comedic “transposition persona” to shape dance celebrating Black, radical, “poz” trans, and nonbinary traditions to entertain, share joy, and explore self-awareness. 835 Hours of Hope & Despair features Arien Wilkerson and Chloe Newton, with collaborators working within sculpture, sound, and light/video design. Co-written by Wilkerson and Kevin Hernández Rosa. Cultural historian/dramaturge: TK Smith. Featuring text by Cedric J. Robinson, Hortense J. Spillers, Eduardo Cadava, Aaron Levy, Saidiya Hartman, Adrian Piper, and Uta Hagen. Tech and installation design by Wilkerson and Jacob Weinberg.
Jasmine Hearn – salt and Spirit, Tuesday, January 17 at 7pm and Thursday, January 19 at 8pm, Theatre 301
salt and Spirit is a new work by Jasmine Hearn in collaboration with interdisciplinary artists Nora Alami, Angie Pittman, Myssi Robinson, and others. The piece includes a dance of many myths and a song for stilling as it continues the nonlinear stories of N I L E and Trinity. Original sound by Hearn and Pittman with garments made in collaboration with Athena Kokoronis, salt and Spirit is a layering of remembered recipes, unkempt stories, and forgotten adornments.
ALEXA GRÆ – COLLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR – transfiguration, Tuesday, January 17 and Wednesday, January 18 at 8pm, Theatre 301
COLLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR – transfiguration, by interdisciplinary artist and composer ALEXA GRÆ, is a surrealist multimedia opera engaging stories manifested through body evolutions. It is a place where messages of trans and queer identity, spiritual downloads, ADHD, Blackness, and magic interact. A rediscovery of personal power adjacent to movement by way of running. Where internal truths collide with external myths and reverberate with the body as the messenger. Negotiating the singular and collective rage, the work opens up Afrofuturistic visions, justice strategies, and fantastical thoughts tethered by escapism to self-regulate. Vocalized joy poems bend genres and arias of longing evoke a grand opera thrust into the multiverse.
Anabella Lenzu – Listen to your Mother, Wednesday, January 18 and Thursday, January 19 at 7pm, Space 101
Choreographed and performed by Anabella Lenzu, Listen to your Mother is redefining the place of mothers, artists, and immigrants in the United States. The work is part of a research/choreographic art project by Lenzu to capture histories, testimonials, and experiences of mothers who are also immigrants and artists living and working in New York City to create dialogue, appreciation, and social support. Music landscape, technology advising, and multimedia by Todd Carroll. Creative collaborator: Fernando Santiago.Mask design and makeup by Lenzu.
Daylong Film Screening, Thursday, January 19, 12–6pm, Gallery
RIFT by Lindy Fines and Greyzone
Cygnus by Cara Hagan
40 Gestures to Remind You, You’re Still Here by Cara Hagan
Sandia by Angela Schöpke Gonzalez in collaboration with Mario Vircha
Digital Intimacy by Zach Rothman-Hicks
NEXT! Engagement Workshops
NEXT! Workshops are a creative engagement program by Pioneers Go East Collective. Designed for multigenerational participants, these creative workshops focus on performance and storytelling techniques, including movement practices, creative writing, and interview-based acting. The goal is to create a nurturing learning environment and build stronger bonds within the participants’ communities.
NEXT! Workshop with Arien Wilkerson
Friday, January 13, at 6pm, Theatre 301
NEXT! Workshop with Jasmine Hearn
Wednesday, January 18 at 6pm, Theatre 301
About Pioneers Go East Collective
Pioneers Go East Collective is an award-winning ensemble of artists and activists in residence at La MaMa and Judson Church. Pioneering new pathways to interconnect with its community, it is a laboratory collective working within live arts and multimedia. The collective connects with trailblazer social and creative thinkers. Its radical performance and video art group is run collectively. It emphasizes responsibility over hierarchy. It collaborates across disciplines to create a lively exchange of queer art and pop culture. It also creates platforms of inclusion that link audiences throughout all of New York to celebrate LGBTQ and feminist artists. Engaging with more than 1850 audiences each year, its creative platforms include performance and film, curated series, and educational programs for social change.
About The LGBT Community Center
Established in 1983 as a result of the AIDS crisis, New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has grown and evolved over the last four decades, creating and delivering services that empower people to lead healthy, successful lives. We currently operate in-person and virtually, providing recovery and wellness programs, economic advancement initiatives, family and youth support, advocacy, arts and cultural events, and space for community organizing and connection. For more information, please visit www.gaycenter.org.
Follow Pioneers Go East Collective on Facebook at PioneersGoEast and follow on Twitter and Instagram: @PioneersGoEast.