Tickets: $16, $10, $5 (pay what you will)
Featuring performances by Taja Lindley, marikiscrycry/Malik Nashad Sharpe, Mette LouLou von Kohl, coda wei, Mieke D, Katherine Marie and Salome Asega, a reading of "Permitted" by Kirya Traber, a pop-up installation and performance by the Free Black Women's Library, and Femmepremacy - a party crafted by Shayna Janelle
"I want to celebrate black femmes," writes Submerge curator Naimonu James. "I want to sit next to someone who looks like me and talk about displacement and this constant yearning we seem to have, those of us committed to the work of loving ourselves and taking care of people." For the Helix Queer Performance Network's third Submerge festival-an annual celebration of queer and trans artists of color-James has assembled an electric program of performance, theater, video, dance and installation at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange. While the featured performers embody a spectrum of identities, this year's festival, titled "will you?," centers black femme artists, black femme politics and black femme space. Toward that goal of creating space, "will you?" will also feature an installation and performance by the Free Black Women's Library, and will co-present event producer Shayna Janelle's "Femmepremacy" party at Minka Brooklyn. Exploring home, safety, sameness and difference, James' "will you?" asks:
"will you be able to access self-love just a bit easier? will you remember to light that candle and thank your ancestors? will you turn toward your lover one more time? will you finally turn toward yourself? will you refuse that white man? His money? His power? (Lord.) will you start doing some of your own work and taking care of your own mess? will you?"
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, November 11
8pm: marikiscrycry/Malik Nashad Sharpe, Mette LouLou von Kohl & Salome Asega
Saturday, November 12
8pm: coda wei, Mieke D, Katherine Marie & Salome Asega
11pm: Femmepremacy (off-site at Minka Brooklyn, ticketed separately)
Sunday, November 13
Noon - 4pm: Free Black Women's Library, open to public (free of charge)
6pm: A reading of "Permitted" by Kirya Traber
Stage Managed by Angelica Rivera // SUBMERGE is funded in large part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
will you? celebrates Black femme magic and the spectacular. Over four days, 16 artists co-create space for healing, transformation, feels, joy, the divine feminine and much, much more. Artists across different identities have gathered not only share their own work but also to create new ways of developing their crafts. I am appreciative to have been involved in supporting many different works with many different people. will you? is imbued with Black femme subjectivities, politics and perspectives, and I feel this energetic quality has nourished them as it has nourished me in my own life.
will you? opens with a one-woman show by Taja Lindley, who is glorious and takes an entire night of the festival to herself, fitting for a performer who takes my breath away. A week later on November 11th, Malik Nashad Sharpe/marikiscrycry and Mette Loulou von Kohl each present solo work that deals at the intersections of identity, self, community and other. That same night,Salome Asega presents an alternate world for the audience to immerse themselves in, a world I do not think the festival could do without. After my first conversation with Malik, in which we both danced around each other's queerness (the challenge of curating a queer performance festival and not wanting to ask "are you queer?" to someone you've never met before!) but were able to talk Black joy, Blackness, movement, among other things. I was intrigued first by the conversation and was swooning by the time I got through Malik's vimeo profile.
I met LouLou when I got the chance to stage manage her work at La MaMa's Squirts, and knew immediately she was destined to be important to many, many people. Palestine is not heard enough, seen enough or thought about enough and Loulou's devotion to remedying that erasure is exceptional. Squirts was also where I met Mieke D, who performs a deliciously cringeworthy piece on displacement and queer apathy the next night on November 12th. That night, we party.Femmepremacy will takeover Minka Brooklyn after a full night of performance at BAX, and I expect to dance with all the cute femmes. No one creates space like Shayna Janelle can, and she makes it so folks can get their life as safely as possible. Before the party coda wei performs an experimental work, and just afterwards, I try my hand at directing the work of Katherine Mariewhile Chahney Hinds and Malik Nashad Sharpe bring it to life in strange and beautiful ways. On a recent job interview I was asked, "Who's a great thinker you know?" and "coda wei" was the only response that made sense. They blow my mind, and this audience is fortunate to be in their presence for 20 minutes. Katherine and I went to school together, and I am so glad we got the chance to reconnect and honor each other the way two Black femmes should. Katherine is brilliant and her work is deeply challenging to me, it will make people pause and that is what I like best about it. Sunday November 13th, the archive is celebrated. At noon the Free Black Women's Library will open free to the public for people to lounge, read, and trade books. There will be a special performance while the library is up as well. Just after, the festival concludes with a reading of "Permitted" a play written by Kirya Traber whose awareness of the archive is rare and her ability to craft contemporary works with it extraordinary.
will you be able to access self-love just a bit easier? will you remember to light that candle and thank your ancestors? will you turn toward your lover one more time? will you finally turn toward yourself? will you refuse that white man? His money? His power? (Lord.) will you start doing some of your own work and taking care of your own mess? will you?
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Naimonu James is a curator, writer & digital strategist with visions of a 4th house made of wood. They have curated shows at Dixon Place, The Charles Hamilton Institute for Race and Justice, and Harvard College, where they graduated from in 2014. They have been on the production team of several Helix Queer Performance Network productions over the past two years.