QUEER, ILL, & OKAY Mini-Doc
QUEER, ILL, + OKAY (2014)
QUEER, ILL, + OKAY in 2014 launched to a higher state of production and expanded opportunity for programming.
JRV MAJESTY Productions conducted multiple fundraiser events with the help of The Ribcage Chicago, Jyl Fehrenkamp's BIG DADDY, and Salonathon as well as an overwhelmingly successful crowdsourcing campaign through Kickstarter. Partners and supporters donated extensively to the growth and production of the show held over two nights at Defibrillator Gallery in Chicago's Noble Square.
The donation-only show brought in artists from around the city with an incredible range of backgrounds and experience. Reaching capacity and standing room only friends, colleagues, and community members became part of the shows experience in a more intimately powerful way and inspired a series of reviews, interviews with participating artists, and invitations to workshops.
The success of QIO in 2014 led to a committment of transforming this program into an annual series with continued opportunities for artists to conduct educational workshops (School of the Art Institute-Chicago, DePaul University, Northwerstern University) in collaboration with Howard Brown Health Center.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Tim'm West is a poet, scholar, rapper, and youth activist who was born in Cincinnati, OH and raised primarily in rural Arkansas. He owns the title of Renaissance man; being a featured voice in many documentaries about Hip-Hop and masculinity because of his ground-breaking work as a gay-identified Hip-Hop artist, AIDS activist, Youth advocate, among other affiliations. He is author of several books, is heavily anthologized, and has also produced and released nearly 10 Hip-Hop albums-- the first few with iconic queer rap group Deep Dickollective (DDC). || www.reddirt.biz
Christopher Knowlton is a dancer, performer and scientist working an advanced degree in biomechanics. Recently, Chris's dance film was a finalist in Science Magazine's international online Dance Your Ph.D. contest. Chris was invited create a performance for TEDxWindyCity, the 2013 independently organized TED talks in Chicago, as well as Illinois One State Together in the Arts, a biennial arts conference hosted by the Illinois Arts Council and Arts Alliance Illinois. Chris is currently artistic director of The Dance Team. He has also toured internationally as a collaborative performer for Chicago-based artists Erica Mott, Silvita Diaz Brown and Atom-r.
Mary Fons is a writer who grew up under a quilt. Today, Mary co-hosts "Love of Quilting" on PBS alongside her mom, popular quilter and educator Marianne Fons. In 2010, Mary created Quilty, a weekly online program for the beginner quilter (New Track Media); Quilty is now a bi-monthly magazine, available nationwide at bookstores, quilt shops, and via auto-ship and digital subscription at heyquilty.com and fonsandporter.com. Mary's quilts are frequently featured in Love of Quilting Magazine, Quilty, and others. She lectures and leads workshops across the country, has been blogging since 2006, and Her first book, will be published by C&T/Stash Books in the spring of 2014. || www.maryfons.com
Dirty Grits is the conceptual catalyst of a dancer, choreographer, wordplay fanatic and powerhouse performance artist. Bringing together the immediacy of intersections in race, gender, class, sexuality and faith, Dirty Grits is ready to spit in the eye of traditional performance, while rolling out a red carpet to invite it inside. They are a dreamer and a believer and through their work they will make you one too.
A life long singer, actor, dancer poet, artist, and all around queer, "Chicago's Own Community Chest", Cruel Valentine has spent the past several years performing her way across the United States and even overseas. She has featured and headlined at countless premiere burlesque and performance art events and festivals, racking up multiple awards and honors. She's an independent performer, producer and teacher of burlesque, an alternative pin up model on Zivity.com, as well as co-founder of SuadelaIntimates.com, your go-to for custom pasties, vintage pin up couture and other titillating burlesque accessories. A bender of expectations and a creative risk-taker, she is never afraid to go there, or to make a mess with her art. You can find out more about what she's got up her sleeve (or lack thereof) at || www.CruelValentine.com.
Patrick Gill is a writer and performer in Chicago, originally from the West Coast. His work has been published in Boys, an Anthology and 580 Split, the literary magazine for Mills College; as well as online at HeaveMedia, the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and In Our Words: An Online Salon for Queers and Co. (for which he was co-founder and editor). He has performed at Story Club, Write Club, with the Sarcatic Squad, as well as All The Writers I Know and Word Is Out-- shows he helped produce.
NIC Kay is a performer, teacher, organizer, and visual artist born and raised in the Bronx, New York. They are a founding member of 3rd Language a Queer art collective based in Chicago. NIC’s visual and performance works have been seen in galleries and on stages in both New York and Chicago. Nic was recently awarded the Chances Dances -2014 Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant.
S. Kerastas is a queer theater artist and activist based in Chicago. They served as the Education Director at About Face Theatre from 2009 – 2013 where they directed QUEERTOPIA: The Anti-Violence Project and wrote WHAT’S THE T in collaboration with an ensemble of fierce queer young people. During their time at AFT, SK received a Windy City Times 30-Under-30 Award and a TCG Global Connections Grant to lead the first-ever International Queer Youth Theatre exchange. They are a founding member of Pride Youth Theatre Alliance and of the queer performance collective GOLDMINE. Recently, they played the role of PEG in The Inconvenience’s reprisal of Hit the Wall and also became a recipient of the 2014 TCG Leadership [U] Grant. They are so grateful to participate in Queer, Ill & Okay and to contribute to community.