• For Immediate Release:

    Highways Celebrates 30th Birthday During
    Highways’ Queer Fest 2019 May–June
    Its Annual Theatre Arts Festival
    Presenting Performance, Dance, Spoken Word,
    Theatre, Multi-media and more
    Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, CA
    May 3 Through June 30, 2019

    SANTA MONICA, CA – April 16, 2019 – Highways turns 30! The performance space presents Behold! Highways’ Queer Fest 2019 May–June, its annual queer performance arts festival, which appropriately collides with the enduring creative space’s 30th birthday. From May 3rd through June 30, 2019, two months of new LGBTQIA work will be presented by Highways’ extended family of artists, writers and performers such as solo-theatre legend Tim Miller (a founder and original co-artistic director), eminent artist-activist Michael Kearns, the nation’s first out transgender modern dance choreographer Sean Dorsey, and Black Lives Matter Co-founder Patrisse Cullors. Look for specific Dirty 30 anniversary events that bookend the festival (5/3, 5/4 and 6/29). Behold! will also feature such emerging performance artists and curators as Tyler Matthew Oyer, Marval A Rex, Celeste XXX, Moises Josue Michel, Kyoko Takenaka and Shruti Purkayastha. Highways Performance Space is located at the 18th Street Arts Center (1651 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404). Tickets for all performances are available online at www.highwaysperformance.org.

    “Our vision is to celebrate the LGBTQIA community that launched Highways in 1989, states Highways’ Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly. “Inspired by Highways’ original queer fest, Ecce Lesbo-Ecce Homo Festival, BEHOLD! is a two-month-long series of new LGBTQ performance, dance, spoken word, theatre, multi-media, and ritual.”
    During the two-month festival, a diverse array of events will be intersperse for maximum reflection on Highways to honor and celebrate its rich 30-year history of significant contributions to the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. Highways’ DIRTY 30 Birthday celebration launches the festival on Friday, May 3rd, which will include a pre-show Meet the Behold! Artists Reception.

    Leo Garcia, Executive Director Highways explains, “Since this celebration, our 30th, serves to present new artists who pay homage to the art of early Highways, Dirty 30 on May 3rd is a down and dirty event to celebrate and toast the past and move into the future. Our second evening of Tim Miller’s new performance work on Saturday, May 4th, remains true to our mission of presenting new works and social justice works. At the same time, Miller’s event serves to reminisce and honor our past. Our third and final Dirty 30 event on Saturday, June 29th, Rainbow Fashion Show, will be an audience participation fashion show (free for Rainbow Fashionistas who do the walk down the Rainbow Runway) celebrating the history and meaning of the Rainbow Pride Flag (in partnership with California LGBT Arts Alliance).”

    Garcia continues, “The LGBTQIA community and its liberation movements of the ‘80s and early ‘90s is inextricably entwined with Highway’s founding and mission, particularly the space’s organizational leadership in the fight against AIDS.

    Highways’ intention is to develop and present a diverse yet clear program that reflects the complexity of the community and its history while expressing a range of aesthetic techniques – from visual-arts based performance installation to spoken word narrative.”

    Behold! Highways’ Queer Fest 2019 May-June Schedule:

    Fri. May 3 [8:30pm]
    Dirty 30

    You’re Invited to Highways’ 30th Birthday! Join us for a pre-show Meet the Behold! Artists Reception followed by performances curated by Highways with Marval A Rex.
     Bully Fae Collins https://vimeo.com/user4735017
     Celeste XXX  https://soundcloud.com/b0y_eater13
    • Marval A Rex and Oscar David Alvarez as fagpussytool http://marvalarex.com/dildo-tech-tonics-2017–ongoing
     Reagan Holiday  https://www.instagram.com/reaganholiday

    • DJ’s: Latex Lucifer and Lisa Gambletron
    • Dancers: Pinche Queer and Jayk
    $30 [$25 for students/seniors]


    Sat. May 4 [8:30pm]
    A Body in the O: Performances and Stories

    A new performance (and book) by Performer Tim Miller

    Come celebrate Highways 30th birthday and climb along with performer Tim Miller inside the giant “O” of the Hollywood sign – or as Shakespeare called it “the wooden O” of the theatre – as Miller performs a new work created from his brand new book of performances and stories A Body in the O: Performances and Stories.

    Jumping off from a day in 1984 when Miller scrambled up inside of the “O” of the Hollywood sign and imagined the performance space tree house of his dreams (Highways), A Body in the O journeys through the hoops of the Department of Homeland Security, a queer boy choking in L.A., the human heart’s mysterious Os and finally a wedding day as Miller imagines the full possibility of performance that changes the world inside these wooden Os!
    “For an entire generation of queer artists working in the experimental theater world—including me—Tim Miller led the way. His imagination, daring and vision continue to inspire us.”—Moisés Kaufman, author of The Laramie Project.
    Tim Miller is an internationally acclaimed solo performer. Hailed for its humor and passion, Miller’s solo theater works have been presented all over North America, Australia, and Europe at such prestigious venues as Yale Repertory Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is the author of the books Shirts & Skins, Body Blows and 1001 Beds, which won the 2007 literary prize for best Drama-Theater book from Lambda Literary Foundation. Miller has taught performance in the theater departments at UCLA and at Cal State L.A. He is a founder of two of the most influential performance spaces in the United States: Performance Space 122 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, CA. He can be reached at his website:
    *Post show book sales and signing


    Fri. & Sat., May 10 & 11 [8:30-10:30pm]
    Co-Presented and curated by Moises Josue Michel
    QUEER / Sweat Dance Festival

    A weekend dedicated to celebrating and giving space to queer choreographers based in Los Angeles. Allowing room for Unapologetic Exploration of Self, Queerness, and Existence.

    5 new works to be presented in two nights followed by a talk-back with the choreographers each evening.

     COLD|sweat – Friday, May 10th [8:30pm]

     Luke Dakota Zender

    WARM|sweat – Saturday, May 11th [8:30pm]
     Bernard Brown/bbmoves
     Cacia LaCount
    $40 – Both nights


    Tue. May 14 [7:00pm]
    María Irene Fornés: MAESTRA: A Remembrance for Friends and Loved Ones
    Playwright María Irene Fornés, the recipient of nine Obie Awards and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, passed away at age 88 October 30th in Manhattan.
    Born in Cuba May 14, 1930, Fornés came to New York City in 1945 at the age of 15. She was at the forefront of the Off-Off-Broadway experimental theatre movement of the 1960s. Known to many as “Mother Avant-Garde,” she wrote and directed over 40 plays throughout her prolific career, was an inspirational teacher to many, and the director of the Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Laboratory at INTAR in New York City.
    Her first play, Tango Palace, was produced in 1963. Among her works were Letters From Cuba; Dr. Kheal; A Vietnamese Wedding; Tango Palace; Molly’s Dream; The Conduct of Life; Mud; Drowning; The Danube; Balseros; Fefu and Her Friends; The Successful Life of 3; and And What of the Night?, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1990. Her play The Office, featuring music by Robert Prince and direction by Jerome Robbins was seen on Broadway in 1966.
    Fornés left her mark on some of the most formidable playwrights in American history, including Paula Vogel, John Guard, and Edward Albee.
    In his book María Irene Fornés, scholar Scott T. Cummings drew on her body of work, personal research, and over two decades of interviews to make the case for Fornés as the most influential female American dramatist of the 20th century. After starting her career as a painter, the book also details her “accidental” path to writing.
    As told in Cummings’ book, Fornés and writer Susan Sontag were together one evening and Sontag complained about her struggles with a novel she was writing. Fornés decided they would not go out but stay in and write. “As if to prove how simple it was, Fornés sat down to write as well. With no experience and no idea how to start, she opened up a cookbook at random and started a short story using the first word of each sentence on the page,” he wrote. Fornés claims: “I might never have thought of writing if I hadn’t pretended I was going to show Susan how easy it was.”
    In addition to nine Obies (including a Sustained Achievement award), Fornés was also the recipient of a Distinguished Artists Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation grants, a Guggenheim grant, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Literary Award, and a New York State Governor’s Arts Award. In addition to directing most of her own plays, Fornés directed plays by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, and many more.
    Fornés was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame at The 48th Annual Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater Induction Ceremony, November 12, 2018 at the Gershwin Theatre.
    Courtesy of Playbill. Edited.
    This a free event.
    Fri. & Sat., May 17 & 18 [8:30-10:00pm]
    Sean Dorsey Dance
    Boys in Trouble

    Pioneering transgender choreographer Sean Dorsey and his award-winning namesake company, Sean Dorsey Dance—now celebrating its 15th year—return to the Highways stage with the Los Angeles premiere of Boys in Trouble, an urgent and timely commentary on toxic masculinity that places a trans and queer lens onto intersectional questions of embodiment, violence, black queer love, whiteness, shame and posturing.


    [Editor Note: performance includes profanity and some themes of violence.]
    Performed with stark honesty, raw emotion, irreverent humor and exquisite queer partnering, Boys in Trouble moves seamlessly between Dorsey’s signature precision athleticism, full-throttle dancing, breathtaking original dance work, live speaking and intimate storytelling.
    Dorsey created Boys in Trouble over a two-year period, after visiting communities across the country where he hosted forums on masculinity, recorded interviews, and taught free movement workshops for transgender, gender non-conforming, cisgender, gay, bi, and queer people on the masculine spectrum.
    Boys in Trouble is performed by the multi-generational Sean Dorsey Dance ensemble (Sean Dorsey, Brian Fisher, ArVejon Jones, Nol Simonse, Will Woodward). Original Music composed by Alex Kelly, Ben Kessler, Anomie Belle,LD Brown and Jesse Olsen Bay. Sound Engineering by Grace Coleman and Laura Dean. Lighting Design by Clyde Sheets. Costume Design by Tiffany Amundson. Technical Direction by Emily Paulson.
    Dorsey is celebrated as the nation’s first acclaimed transgender modern dance choreographer. His works have been praised as “exquisite…poignant and important” (BalletTanz), “trailblazing” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “evocative, compelling, elegant” (LA Weekly).
    $25 [$20 for students/seniors]


    Fri. & Sat., May 24 & 25 [8:30-10:00pm]
    Kyoko – Jinjabrew presents:
    Asian America: The Future Is Now
    Asians in America stand inside a future that has already arrived.
    Through dance, movement, and meditation, using sound, poetry, spiritual tools, and healing foods, we invite you to join us for an evening where we stand in our collective power and honor the future that lives inside of each of us.
    Together, we are weaving the songs of our mothers and motherlands.
    We are singing the stories of migration that live in our bodies.
    We are looking within to fully actualize these present moments.
    We are seeking freedom from past.
    We are claiming our seats of power for the transformational changes we’re calling in.
    • Directed by Kyoko Takenaka
    • Creative & Spiritual Consultant: Kyoko Nakamaru
    • Producer: Jennelle Fong
    Creative Collaborators:

    Gunita Collective, Charlotte Nguyen, Jenevieve Ting, Mitsuko Brooks, Gingee, Ally Vega, Paru Frances, Farrah Su, Genevieve Erin O’ Brien, Jenny San Angel, kyoko nakamaru, Jennelle Fong, + more.

    $25 [$15 for students/seniors]


    Fri. & Sat., May 31 & June 1 [7:30pm: pre-show in lobby; 8:00pm: show]
    [Also: Mon. June 3 – a workshop; see below]
    Shruti Purkayastha, Curator
    Femmecestor Journies
    A time to honor our spectrum of femme ancestors. Known consciously or intuitively, we are carrying their journeys through our own. We recreate their stories through our healing. This is for the part of each of us that honors femme wisdom. The knowledge in the unknown, the black space, the ways we will heal in a spiral formation, the ways we create breaks in the ground for truth to flourish like a tree.
    Part mythology, part vibrational testimony, part processional, we weave a collective legacy of Femme Freedom. Full circles growing, we witness each other. A time to recognize the truth of survival through beauty and mess. Featuring an excerpt of Shruti Bala’s new work smoky counsel, they are joined by the incredible artistsDavia Spain and Edxie Betts. Attend this night to honor queer and trans black and brown femmes for a night of performance to ascend into the past/present/future.
    Shruti Bala Purkayastha is a theater artist, poet, songstress/vocalist, deep roots healer, spirit worker, femme, dream heart warrior, oracle, tree lover, mysoginy slayer and organizer with midwestern roots based in Los Angeles/Tongva Land. Their work is guided by ancestors and love spirits, encouraging us to break cycles, pay reparations and heal deeper to move closer to collective liberation. Their current projects include a solo show called smokey counsel exploring femme labor, healing fire rituals, reclaiming voice/breaking silence, and the impacts of casteism. They are working with modes of intuitive and energy healing with a decolonizing lens, through their practice, Bala Mandala Healing. They are so grateful to support ancestors to continue to support new legacies of living her on our home planet Earth. IG: @shrutibalap
    Edxie is a Black, Blackfoot, Filipinx, Disabled (Neuro-divergent),Trans Femme multi media insurrectionary artist, cultural worker and autonomous organizer. They do direct support for queer and trans political prisoners. Their art and cultural work is aimed at inspiring healing, uplifting and encouraging critical thought by using dialogue and direct actions. https://justseeds.org/product/stop-the-violence-against-trans/ ; https://www.tdor.co/edxie-betts
    Davia Spain is a dynamic performing artist, transformative presenter, informed educator, and filmmaker who uses her various platforms as opportunities to speak truth to power. Through her work, she taps into the healing abilities that performance art offers both on and off stage. She believes that by utilizing the radical potential of movement and song as vehicles for change we can reach a destination of collective rejuvenation and transformation. Her understanding of our world has been shaped by her unique positionality as a Black Trans Woman, rooting her in the understanding that change is only possible when a shift in power structures occurs. And this is where her work lies, as a relayer of information about how this change can happen in ways that sustainably uplift disenfranchised peoples – namely black trans femmes. Due to the intense adversity she faces, Davia is deeply invested in offering her skills and knowledge to the efforts of creating more opportunities for people like her to be given revered positions of power in our society.
    $25 [$20 for students/seniors]
    $10 Discount price (For trans and non-binary femmes of color with a code)
    Mon. June 3 – Night
    Femmecestor Workshop Ceremony
    A ceremonial style workshop to engage in healing with femme ancestors. This workshop is for self-identified trans, queer and non-binary femmes who are interested in expanding an ancestral healing practice. Black, Indigenous, People of Color space.
    $5-20 – Sliding scale [no one turned away for lack of funds]


    Sat. June 8 [8:30-10:00pm]
    Tyler Matthew Oyer performs
    Roy Cohn / Jack Smith / Ron Vawter
    A reimagining of Ron Vawter’s 1992 performance Roy Cohn / Jack Smith. In his one-man show, Vawter presents sharply edged portraits of two gay Americans who achieved a certain notoriety before each died of AIDS in the 1980s. While attorney and right-wing activist Roy Cohn and avant-garde film and theatre artist Jack Smith had little in common, Vawter postulates that both their lives were shaped—one might say warped—by the small-minded, homophobic society they lived in. The piece is an indirect indictment of that society and a look at two bizarrely fascinating gay individuals. This adaptation features archival material of Vawter speaking about his production and is the first re-staging of the work since his death in 1994.
    Credits, Collaborators:
    • Written by Gary Indiana and Jack Smith.
    • This performance is based off of Roy Cohn / Jack Smith; conceived by Ron Vawter and directed by Gregory Mehrten.
    Called an “interdisciplinary gospel immortalist” by Kembra Pfahler of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Tyler Matthew Oyer is an artist, writer, organizer, and educator based in Los Angeles. By researching diverse modalities of activism (ACT UP, ridiculous/queer theatre, Brechtian theatre, surrealism, and underground music) his performance works generate an intergenerational dialogue around politics, seeking new ways of articulating the connection between various systems of oppression from the past and the present in an attempt to grapple with our collective political future. He has performed at MoMA PS1, REDCAT, The Getty Museum, dOCUMENTA (13), Hammer Museum, Kunstnernes Hus Oslo, Munch Museum, Art Basel Miami Beach, Bergen Kunstall, Rogaland Kunstsenter, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, High Desert Test Sites, Highways Performance Space, Human Resources LA, Silencio Paris, MIX NYC, and the Orange County Museum of Art. He has written works of performance including CALLING ALL DIVAS, GONE FOR GOLD, Shimmy Shake Earthquake, La Bola Negra, and 100 Years of Noise: Beyoncé is ready to receive you now. Oyer is the founder of tir journal, an online platform for queer, feminist, and underrepresented voices. He received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2012.
    $20 [$15 for students/seniors]

    Fri. & Sat., June 21 & 22 [8:30-10:00pm]
    Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors
    Respite, Reprieve and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing
    with Foremost creating visual art 
    Under this current administration the lives of people at the margins are most impacted. It’s our job to continue to recognize the danger so we can be closely connected to the resilience. This series is looking at the ways we are all deeply impacted by harm and how we show up despite it.
    $20 [$15 for students/seniors]


    Wed. June 26 [8:00pm]
    Highways’ Behold! & Planet Queer Present

    A sexy short film festival.

    In honor of Highways’ 30th Anniversary, Planet Queer presents NSFW Fest! We will screen queer video content that is normally banned by social media and online outlets. NSFW Fest combines art, adult films, and amateur videos in an artistic context including pieces such as: erotic art films, onlyfans, private vids, short films and more.

    This is a creative community action addressing queerphobic sex shaming by internet policies that often target LGBTQ+ content.

    Join us for an evening of NSFW film work!
    The night will also feature a NSFW Photo Booth by erotic dancer Jayk Knight and a special post-screening interactive group performance in the backroom.
    $10 all night


    Fri. June 28 [8:30-10:30pm]
    AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman (2018)
    Documentary film on the late AIDS Activist and LGBTQ media spokesperson, Connie Norman
    A special fundraiser screening of this 2018 documentary on the late AIDS Activist and LGBTQ media spokesperson, Connie Norman.

    As the self-appointed “AIDS DIVA” and ACT UP/LA spokesperson in early 90’s Los Angeles, Connie Norman stood proudly in her multiple, fluid and evolving LGBTQ identities. Both beloved and confrontational, Connie’s soulful and salty rantings and intersectional politics were heard widely through her newspaper column, and pioneering radio and cable TV talk shows. Serving as a bridge in both gender and politics, and modeling “wokeness” in an early era of crisis, Connie’s piercing and compassionate voice urges us again into action, to fully engage with our lives and our world.
    Sat. June 29 [8:30-10:30pm]
    Official 30th Birthday event:


    Celebrating the History and Meaning of the Rainbow Pride Flag. Sissy your walk and come ‘on, walk the Rainbow Runway.
    Prizes, Scandalous Hosts, Surprise Guests, Rainbow Runway, Pop-Up Performance
    Co-Presenters: California LGBT Arts Alliance

    Free for Rainbow Fashionistas who do the walk down the Rainbow Runway.



    Sun. June 30 [5:00 – 7:00pm]
    Michael Kearns
    Wet Hankies
    Sometimes they soak up more than your tears. 
    Written & Performed by Michael Kearns
    Directed and Staged by Mark Bringelson
    With Special Guests scheduled to appear:
     Wanda-Lee Evans
     Dean Howell
    Tim Miller
     Dave Trudell
    • Leo Garcia
    • Ron Dennis
    Dale Raoul
    Michael Kearns has assembled a cast of Los Angeles stalwarts to summon the diverse stories that Wet Hankies will enliven —Wanda-Lee Evans, Dean Howell, Dale Raoul, Dave Trudell—stories from Kearns’ canon as well as from work that Kearns has directed at Highways. In addition to selections from his greatest hits (Intimacies, Robert’s Memorial), Kearns’ will premiere new monologues that attempt to link his artistic development over three decades on the Highways stage to the roller coaster politics of LGBTQ America—“without once using the word ‘journey,’” he promises.
    This autobiographical piece celebrates Kearn’s thirty year engagement at Highways. Included in the opening season of Highways was Intimacies, Kearns’ landmark theatrical outpouring of HIV/AIDS’ secrets told by a cast of six outliers. Michael Kearns and company close Highways’ two-month long festival and birthday celebration.
    $20 [$15 for students/seniors]

    Highways Performance Space celebrates its 30th year as Southern California’s boldest center for new performance, promoting the development of contemporary, socially involved artists and art forms from diverse local, national and international communities. Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly with Executive Director Leo Garcia continue to affirm Highways mission of developing and presenting innovative performance.

    • Highways Twitter – https://twitter.com/highwaysps
    • Highways Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/highwaysps


    For more information, photos, to schedule an interview or request press passes, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

    Posted on April 16th, 2019 lynn-hasty No comments

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