May 19, 2020

Café La MaMa Live: Cope-ah-Pandemic

Hosted by Karen Finley and George Emilio Sanchez

a black arrow pointing downward

Weekly live performances that experiment with form.  Responding to calls for social isolation, Café La MaMa Live brings La MaMa’s 1960s café aesthetic to a virtual platform that links performers and audiences in real time across distance. Guest curators each week give artists a digital platform to share their work with the world.


Hosted by Karen Finley and George Emilio Sanchez

Featuring JD Davids, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, Viva Ruiz, John Sims, Dusty Childers, Pamela Sneed

Dusty Childers (Dusty Shoulders/@duddylynn)  is a multi-disciplinary artist/educator/ writer who directs, dramaturges, curates, hosts, costumes, and speaks their truth in front of audiences. Dusty’s body and body of work has graced the likes of The Guggenheim, St. Anne’s Warehouse, The Whitney, BAM, Parsons New School, Pratt Institute, The International Center of Photography, Signature Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Town Hall, Joe’s Pub, Abrons Art Center, NY Live Arts, The Wild Project, Dixon Place, Club Cumming, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Soho Playhouse, LaMaMa & Irving Plaza among others. He has worked alongside MacArthur genius Taylor Mac, writer/performer Justin Sayre, costumer Machine Dazzle, artist Nayland Blake, pop star/DJ Ana Matronic, director Silas Howard, drag artist Charlene Incarnate, choreographer/ singer Miguel Gutierrez,  choreographer/director Raja Feather Kelly and burlesque star World Famous *BOB*, among others.

JD Davids is a chronically-ill and disabled transmasculine writer, organizer and possibilitist in Brooklyn NY.  He’s writing the Cranky Queer Guide to Chronic Illness and you can find him @TheCrankyQueer.  Back in March, he wrote How to Have Sex in the COVID-19 Pandemic and he still means it.  For quite some time now, he’s been deep in world-changing protests & intersectional organizing in HIV & queer movements, working alongside people living with HIV & BIPOC comrades, doing research advocacy, dabbling in digital health media work, enjoying a bevy of queer pleasures, raising an awesome kid and more. He’s committed to sharing information and unique approaches to living well with illness, driven by his passion for better, real-world information about health, sexuality, justice and crafting a queer and trans life that didn’t fit any scripted roles.

Karen Finley is an artist, author and performer. She has performed and exhibited internationally.  Finley was the named plaintiff with 3 other artists ( Fleck, Hughes and Miller) in a case with the US Supreme Court National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, 524 U.S. 569 (1998) regarding censorship, applying standards of decency and government funding. Her raw and transgressive performances have provoked controversy and debate. The author of eight books, most recently Grabbing Pussy (2018) OR Books and the 25th edition of Shock Treatment (1990 & 2015) City Lights. Finley has appeared in the film, Philadelphia directed by Jonathon Demme, posed for Playboy and as commentator in Politically Incorrect with Bill Mahr. She has presented her work internationally in Documenta in Athens, Greece, La Pietra, Florence, Italy, The Barbican Centre, London. Lincoln Center, NYC and REDCAT LA to name a few.  She has designed site specific works and installations; most recently Artist Anonymous – a meeting for those addicted to art, Written in Sand, a performance of her poetic writings on AIDS, Open Heart, a Holocaust memorial at Camp Gusen, Austria; Unicorn, Gratitude Mystery a solo performance which explores power in American election politics; and Sext Me if You Can, where Finley creates commissioned portraits inspired by “sexts” received from the public. A recipient of many awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is an arts professor in Art and Public Policy at New York University. Instagram @the_yam_mam

Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad is a Philadelphia born writer, organizer and cofounder of the Black and Brown Workers Co-op. In their work they often trouble ideas of medical surveillance, bodily autonomy and Blackness. Recently they released a poetry project A Flower Left To Wilt, a project that works through intimacy, desire and grief.

Viva Ruiz is the queer Latinx progeny of Ecuadorian immigrants and a community and nightlife educated advocate and artist from and based in New York. The underlying thrust of all mediums is to dismantle white supremacy and exorcise the colonial / colonized mindset. Highlights include programming sex education and practical spirituality workshops as an invited curator for the New Museum’s “Scamming the Patriarchy” youth event and “ProAbortion Shakira: A Thank God For Abortion Introspective” a 5 week solo show at Participant Inc showing collected works and hosting conversations within the multimedia abortion destigmatization experiment THANK GOD FOR ABORTION.

George Emilio Sanchez is a performance artist, writer and social justice activist.  He is also the Performance Director of Emergenyc.  He is currently working on a series titled, “Performing the Constitution”.  He is also a Social Practice Artist-in-Residence at Abrons Arts Center.  He teaches for the City University of New York at the College of Staten Island.  

John Sims, a Detroit native, conceptual/multimedia artist, writer, activist creates art and curatorial projects spanning the areas of installation, performance, text, music, film, and large-scale activism, informed by mathematics, design, the politics of white supremacy, sacred symbols/anniversaries, and poetic/political text. For 20 years he has been working on the forefront of contemporary mathematical art and leading the national pushback on Confederate iconography.  His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC News, USA Today, NPR, The Guardian, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera, Art in America, Sculpture, Science News, Nature and Scientific American. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, Guernica Magazine, and The Rumpus and TheGrio.

Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer and visual artist, author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery, KONG and Other Works, Sweet Dreams and two chaplets, Gift by Belladonna and Black Panther. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Art Forum, Hyperallergic and on the cover of New York Magazine. She is online faculty in SAIC’s low res MFA teaching Human Rights and Writing Art and has also been a Visiting Artist at SAIC in the program for 4 consecutive years. She has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project , MCA, The High Line , New Museum and Toronto Biennale. She delivered the closing keynote for Artist, Designers, Citizens Conference/a North American component of the Venice Biennale at SAIC. She appears in Nikki Giovanni’s, “The 100 Best African American Poems.” In 2018, she was nominated for two PushCart Prizes in poetry. She will publish a poetry and prose manuscript Funeral Diva with City Lights in Fall 2020.

Online Happenings


Presented by La MaMa and CultureHub, La MaMa is exploring ways to respond creatively to a situation that is potentially changing how we gather as a community in our theatres. La MaMa is working with CultureHub to provide online streaming of select productions and events on Howlround Theatre Commons.

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