Each year, La MaMa’s Squirts gathers the most exciting voices from New York City’s queer performance world, across the generations. This year, Squirts puts a heavy concentration into the drag and nightlife scenes of the 90s into now.
A note from the curator: A few months ago , I got into a lengthy argument with a friend and curator who claimed that drag is not art, which happened right around the same time as the drag ban took effect in Tennessee, and continuous legislation has been pushed that criminalizes drag artists and trans and gnc people. As a drag and nightlife artist myself, who has incorporated drag into my performance and life long before I started doing drag shows, I have often found the lack of institutional/art world support for drag to be baffling, especially when drag encompasses so many different forms of art into one.
Also around this time, I got the opportunity to see a retrospective exhibition at Participant Inc. of 29 plays by Blacklips Performance Cult, and was blown away. The plays were raw, visceral, witty and grotesque; deep, sometimes under-rehearsed, but always captivating. Only one group today could make me think of the world that Blacklips crafted, and that is the Haus of Quench–a collective of queer artists in Brooklyn who are constantly throwing their work in new and unexpected directions, full of life, originality, talent and camp, and just as raw (and sometimes messy) as the performances I saw in the exhibition. While I was at the show, I learned that many of the former Blacklips members are present and still making art to this day; so an attempt at connecting the two worlds of Quench and Blacklips was inevitable, especially when I found out 500 million years old Squirts alumnus Claywoman was a member!
Squirts this year is about the persistence of queer nightlife, and drag performers of varied generations who have forged communities and beautiful art in spite of the oppressive forces that bind. This year is also the beginning of a greater attempt towards uplifting drag as fine art, and towards putting the puzzle pieces together that connect us–the queer artists in The Bushwick scene of today with the East Village scene of yesterday. Today is very different from yesterday, but history repeats itself in peculiar ways, and so does art."
On Friday June 9, the Brooklyn drag collective Haus of Quench (est 2020) collaborate on an homage to the Blacklips Performance Cult (est 1992-1995) entitled PRXM NIGHT: BLACKLIPS. Featuring a special appearance from Claywoman, and a post-performance conversation with Michael Cavadias
The Blacklips performance cult was a group of alternative experimental queer performance artists who presented plays and happenings together every Monday night at the Pyramid Club. Blacklips features such illustrious artists as ANOHNI, Michael Cavadias, Johanna Constantine, Kabuki Starshine, Flloyd, Poison Eve, Lost Forever, Herr Klunch, Ebony Jett, RuPaul (a few times), Kembra Pfahler (a few times), Hattie Hathaway, and many more.
On Saturday, June 10, Squirts looks into generations of drag, with a variety of performances from drag artists with a range of expression and style. With performances by Glenn Marla, Voxigma Lo and Untitled Queen, Egyptt Labeija, and more guests TBA.
On Sunday, June 11, we take a look into the lives of a legendary New York staple to the scene, Kevin Aviance, and legend in the making, Julie J,as they sit down for a one-on-one conversation."
Original Poster Image Shot and Edited by MTHR TRSA.
Poster Modeled, Conceived and Designed by Paris
Curated by Paris Alexander
Starring: Members of the Haus of Quench: Klondyke, Polyester, Angel Kitten, Vague Static, and Spawn, Once Members of The Blacklips Performance Cult: Flloyd and Michael Cavadias, Glenn Marla, Egyptt Labeija, Untitled Queen, Voxigma Lo, Xaddy Addy, Brenda, Linda Simpson, Julie J, Kevin Aviance
Paris Alexander is a multidisciplinary visual performance artist who acts, writes plays, does drag, conceptual standup, and whatever they want. Paris' work often has many aspects of reference and reverence for the past, as a way to look into the future. Their unofficial secret drag name is Nostalgia. With Voxigma Lo and Julie J, they host and produce Sylvester, a monthly black experimental drag review presented at Purgatory in Brooklyn. Their work has been presented for Ars Nova, JACK, Carnegie Hall, The Park Avenue Armory, and Grace Exhibition Space, among other places.
Some favorite projects from the last year include Bullshit (May 2022) Designed by Paris, and written and performed in collaboration with Hannah Kallenbach at Ars Nova, curated by Machel Ross, and a liminal performance for Karen Finley's Kitty Kaleidoscope Disco at The Park Avenue Armory. A favorite piece to perform is Ancestral Invocation, where they lip sync and sing along to tracks from their late grandmother's New Age album "Ceremony" that includes a song with a plea for Papa Legba to open the gates to the spirit world.
This is their 3rd time curating Squirts and they are honored to be at it again. IG: @parishiltonals
BUFFY (Production Manager, Associate and Creative Producer, Liason)
Buffy is an artist and writer producing and researching performance and digital media. She reads and writes about sex, production, science, fiction, dance, music, and language. She composes and assembles music, dance, video, image, and installation. Her performance work examines embodied experiences of movement, light, and sound in procedural settings, horror, and medical technology, usually with a spatter or a gush or transsexual glamour and gore. buffytheslut.com
GIGI (Stage Manager/TD)
Gineiris Garcia is a Bronx-born-and-based creative freelancer. She is currently one of the Artistic Producers of the Dominican Artists Collective and the Programs Associate for The Latiné Musical Theatre Lab. To learn more about her projects, visit www.gineiris.com.
100% synthetic and completely man-made, Poly ester is a Brooklyn based drag performer and the illegitimate traggot son of David Cronenberg. With a background in experimental theater, Poly creates performances that explore the exquisite horrors and tragic comedies of their trans experience. He’s Mx. Nobody’s current reigning Mx. Congeniality and placed in the Top 6 at The Cake Boys’ competition Takes the Cake. He aims to explore the queer horror tradition of monstrosity as liberation, the grotesque as beauty, and repression as a doomsday clock through the lens of my trans masc fag identity. They can be found slinking around Brooklyn stages, stalking Prospect Park after dark, and on Instagram @p0lyesterrrrr. Thank you to Mother and Paris Alexander for the opportunity.
Claywoman is a 500 year old extra-terrestrial from the Mirillion Galaxy. She frequently visits Earth, her favorite planet, giving lectures at various events and engaging in public conversation with prominent human artists and intellectuals.
Michael Cavadias is an actor/writer and performer. Film and TV credits include Wonder Boys, All We Had, I Remember Nothing, Girls, and Difficult People. Theatre credits include Ahohni’s “She Who Saw Beautiful Things” at The Kitchen and “Star Odessey - The Pilot” at MoMA PS1. Claywoman was originally created at Blackips Performance Cult in the 90s and developed at Mabou Mines with Ruth Maleczech. More recently, The Mystery of Claywoman was presented at The New Museum, The Wild Project, Town Hall, Abrons Art Center and Howl Festival. Conversations with Claywoman was featured at The Meltdown Festival in London and continues regularly at Pangea in New York City. Michael co-wrote with John Cameron Mitchell the forthcoming scripted podcast “Cancellation Island” to be released fall 2023.
I have been performing for over 35yrs. In and out of the country. I'm the overall Godmother of the house of LaBeija. I have multiple crown holding titles in the pageantry system. I have been in several books and TV shows like pose and law and order. I have just finished a documentary with HBO. Also book called Ledges of drag. I am a manager at a hand crafted store in the Bronx called Zambo Aroma.
I am a queer Filipinx / Boricua artist based on the stolen land of Lenape Hoking (so-called Brooklyn). I am a storyteller creating deeply emotional and visceral performances while exploring what it means to be a queer millennial working artist in New York. Through an interplay of drag, installation, and drawing my work explores the growing pains and joys of queer adolescence into adulthood. I challenge and dissolve colonial notions of culture and belonging to redefine my personal engagement with success, life, happiness, and love. The language of this lived experience is an ever-growing folklore of magic wands, my Mother’s flower garden, Filipinx vampires, and sad rainbow witches.I am deeply inspired and vitalized by my given and chosen families. My Father who emigrated from the Phillipines and my Boricua Mother created a life without precedent. They made opportunities out of nothing for themselves and their children. In my DIY aesthetics and process-oriented work I pay homage to their life of the self-made and hand-crafted. My chosen family is an invigorating part of my practice and growth. My place in the Brooklyn nightlife community exemplifies how the dive bar is one of most meaningful radical sites of queer politics, intimacy, and joy.
Voxigma Lo is a Staten Island native, based in Brooklyn. Voxigma Lo (they/them) is drafting, creating and conceptualizing works that break the fourth wall, works that are shiny and cheap and works that are organic and easily digestible. They are a drag artist, producer, curator, writer, photographer and videographer who strives to introduce each medium to one another to create something innovative and thoughtful for their audience. Her works can be found on Instagram (@voxigma.lo) and bars all around Brooklyn.
Xaddy Addy (they/them) is a gender-bending Black non binary trans drag "kingthing" born and raised in NYC. Xaddy is the winner of The Cakeboys' Takes The Cake season 2, a competition that highlights the artistry of drag kings and things all throughout the city. Xaddy has performed all over the five boroughs, blending the mediums of drag, burlesque, dance, theatre, sideshow, and visual storytelling within their artistry to create showstopping work. Xaddy is thrilled to be making their La Mama debut with Squirts with the hopes to capture your minds and your hearts!
Kevin Aviance: Towering, Black, and Bald, the drag icon who conquered the '90s gay dance scene.Inspired by the likes of Grace Jones and Boy George, Kevin Aviance quickly became a fixture in New York's thriving gay scene. Affiliated with icons like Junior Vasquez, Aviance unleashed unforgettable tracks such as "Cunty" and "Rhythm Is My Bitch," earning him a well-deserved reputation. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Kevin honed his attention-grabbing skills in the basement of his house, mastering music, dance, and theater. Influenced by iconicavant-garde styles of GraceJones,Boy George,and David Bowie, Aviance's career soared after joining The House of Aviance in Washington, DC. He eventually took the nightlife capital, New York City, by storm, ruling clubs like Sound Factory, Arena, Twilo, and Roxy. Collaborating with renowned DJs and producers, Aviance delivered hits like "Alive"and "Give It Up," earning two #1 dance hits. Sharing stages with legends such as Whitney Houston, Cher, and Madonna, Kevin's star continued to rise. His influence extended to the big screen, appearing in notable films and shedding light on hate crimes after becoming a victim himself. Recognized as a living legend, Aviance received the prestigious Living Legend award and released his third studio album mixtape, "RAW." Kevin’s music continues to influence mainstream as Beyoncé spotlighted Aviance’s hit “Cunty” on her track PURE/HONEY which is a lead single on the award-winning Renaissance album. Honored with a knighthood by the Imperial Court, Kevin Aviance remains an indomitable force in the world of drag and music.
La MaMa's Squirts
La MaMa's Squirts gathers some of the most exciting voices from New York City’s queer performance world, across the generations. Over three nights, curator Paris Alexander sculpts the fabric of queer community to pose questions, honor legacies and ignite the present. Join us as we celebrate those who paved the way, and uplift new voices and perspectives from the individualistic, yet multiplistic, Gen Z lens.