"Starting a Queer Art (Man)ifesto" by Emmett Ramstad, Sinan Goknur, and Kelley Meister
A year after the debut of Pleasure Rebel, curator Nastalie Bogira is revving things up with two nights of new queer performance this Wednesday and Thursday at Bryant-Lake Bowl. The artists -- including Karen Sherman, Miré Regulus, Emmett Ramstad, Sinan Goknur, Kelley Meister, and Pussy & Bonehound -- are for the most part in the middle-stages of development for their pieces. They'll be using the Pleasure Rebel show, Borgira says, as a way to take their work to the next level.
The artists presenting this week are people whose work Bogira has seen before. "They're all artists I really love and respect," she says. All of the pieces have been shown already in some other version. "In most cases, it's still in mid-process," she says. "They are planning on developing the work even more."
Karen Sherman is showing a piece that she will present later this year on the east coast. "It's really heady smut," says Bogira. "She's playing with language in interesting ways."
Meanwhile, Kelly Meister, Emmett Ramstad, and Sinan Goknur are making a work about queer art and the queer art scene. "They're looking at some of the energy that has been stirred up in the last year -- from the Occupy movement to CeCe McDonald to Arab Spring -- and looking at that energy and how they can inject that into the people here," she says. The piece involves a sound installation created by Bogira.
Then there's Bonehound, which is "one of the campiest pieces Pleasure Rebel has shown so far," says Bogira. "It's hot and sexy and silly."
Finally, Miré Regulus is presenting a piece that was performed in an earlier stage at the Pillsbury House Late Nite Series. "It's about memories and mythology. There will be lots of fruit onstage," Bogira says.
Bogira plans to continue Pleasure Rebel next year at BLB, but she plans to reduce the number of shows to three times a year rather than four in order to give artists more time to develop the work. She's also debating whether she will continue to present the series two nights after this week.
Bogira has learned a lot from producing Pleasure Rebel the past year. "This was my first time taking on a major project as curator and producer," she says. One of the things she's discovered is how to balance a show. "Sometimes similar artists together is really interesting, but sometimes you want something a little different," she says.
In the coming year, Bogira hopes to continue to push the experimental aspect of the series. "It's a queer series as well, but it's important that the artists are playing with form and expectations of genre," she says. She also hopes to bring artists in from other places, and experiment with the format, where one national artist might present a whole evening of work. "The queer performance community in particular is really geographically spread out," she says. And while the Twin Cities has a strong queer community here, she looks forward to bringing in artists working at a national level and introduce them to a Twin Cities audience.
When Bogira began the series, she wanted to provide a platform for artists to develop work that was longer than many cabaret-style evenings allow. She wanted to give artists the chance to create work that was slower, where they didn't need to worry about entertaining people and could delve into the process. She also wanted to see how audiences would respond to work that wasn't trying to please them. People have responded by saying it's refreshing to see that kind of work. "I hear from audience members that they don't need to be catered to," she says. "Artists can do what they find interesting. The audience will go there with them. You don't have to make work for the audience. They can meet the artist there."