The Walker Art Center presents the 15th and final
celebration, curated by Eleanor Savage and featuring new work by legendary queer performers, on Friday-Sunday, June 24-26 at 8 pm, in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. Superstar femme diva Lois Weaver dons her vivacious performance persona, Tammy WhyNot, as Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. Peggy Shaw and Vivien Stoll, reprising their iconic and freewheeling To My Chagrin, move through aggressive, nostalgic, and tender idealism in a call-and-response work mixing R&B, soul, pop music, and lyrical storytelling. Sonja Perryman, together with special guests Aimee Bryant and Sonja Parks, presents Sharon Bridgforth’s acclaimed performance novel love conjure/blues, a polyrhythmic paean to juke-joint sinners and carnal lust in which the artists call on the spirits of jazz and blues to reimagine the possibilities of gender expression and love. Dance duo HIJACK teams up with Karyn & Sharyn and a cast of thousands for a madcap voyage into wedding bell hell! The Saturday performance is ASL-interpreted.
Since its inception in 1990, Dyke Night has played an important, timely role and the Walker celebrates the platform it has provided for artists whose work was rebuffed by the mainstream while acknowledging that it is time to move on from the current format. Feedback from artists and audiences informed the Walker’s decision that there might be other, more inclusive, programmatic approaches that better serve the current times. Many artists, locally and nationally, no longer feel the need to identify themselves solely by sexual identity, preferring to be viewed simply as great artists. Integrating gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender performers across and throughout the Walker’s season of programs is also a holistic, inclusive approach and will continue to be supportive of a wide range of lesbian artists in the visual, performing, and media arts.
In the future, curator/performer Eleanor Savage will be channeling her energies to further a broader social and human rights agenda.
The Walker is proud that Dyke Night has played an important, courageous role in our community and looks forward to remaining a very active part of Pride Weekend celebrations.
Actor, playwright, and producer Peggy Shaw has received three OBIE Awards for her work with the lesbian theater company Split Britches, which she founded with Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin in 1980. She won OBIE Awards for her performances in Dress Suits To Hire, a collaboration with Holly Hughes, Belle Reprieve, a collaboration with the London-based theater troupe BlooLips, and Menopausal Gentleman, directed by Rebecca Taichman. Split Britches: Lesbian Practice, Feminist Performance (Routledge 1996), edited by Sue Ellen Case, includes seven plays by the Split Britches group.
Lois Weaver was co-founder of Spiderwoman Theatre and the WOW Theatre in New York and Artistic Director of Gay Sweatshop Theatre in London. She has been a performer, director, and writer with the Split Britches Company since 1980 and has taught at Queen Mary (London) since 1997. She is currently developing a guerilla video performance entitled Dirty Laundry commissioned by Franklin Furnace in New York. She has edited and directed Peggy Shaw’s To My Chagrin and directed Holly Hughes in Preaching to the Perverted. She is involved in ‘Staging Human Rights,’ a People’s Palace Project initiative that uses performance practice to explore human rights in women’s prisons in Brazil and the UK. In collaboration with Holly Hughes and Eleanor Savage, she is currently developing a new performance, What Tammy Needs to Know. This work has been commissioned by the New York State Council on the Arts and supported by the Arts Council of England.
Aimee K. Bryant
Singer/actor Aimee K. Bryant is originally from Detroit and received her bachelor of fine arts from Howard University. She has been performing in the Twin Cities for the past eight years in everything from Black Nativity with Penumbra to The Tempest with 10,000 Things Theater Company. She is also a founding member of Congo Square Theater in Chicago.
Sharon Bridgforth is the Anchor Artist for The Austin Project (sponsored by The Center for African and African American Studies, University of Texas-Austin). Bridgforth, the Lambda Award-winning author of the bull-jean stories and love conjure/blues (both by RedBone Press) has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Playwright-in-Residence Program.
Sonja Perryman is thrilled to once again be a part of her mother Sharon Bridgforth’s work. She is a recent honors graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Perryman resides in New York City and was last seen in La Mama Theater’s Iphigenia as the title character who is sacrificed in the name of war.
Sonja Parks, a native Texan, has performed in many shows in the Twin Cities, including the title role of the Children’s Theater Company’s groundbreaking production of Antigone, Snapshot Silhouettes, and Splash Hatch On The E Going Down; Pillsbury House Theater’s productions of Bel Canto and The Story; as well as appearances on the stages of the Guthrie and Penumbra theaters.
HIJACK is the Minneapolis-based choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder. Now in its 12th year, HIJACK has created dozens of events and dances. Specializing in the inappropriate, HIJACK inserts dance performance where it is least expected. HIJACK is best known for its “short-shorts”: pop song-length miniatures designed to deliver a sharp shock and their football field-scaled spectacles for 15-50 performers. HIJACK has taught and performed in Japan, Russia, Central America, Ottawa, Chicago, Colorado, New Orleans, New York, and at Bates Dance Festival. City Pages awarded them “Best Choreographer 2004” and they have received support from Bush, Jerome and McKnight Foundations, and Forecast Public ArtWorks.
Karyn & Sharyn (Molly Van Avery and Margot Bassett)
Karyn & Sharyn are personalities developed by performance artists Molly Van Avery and Margot Bassett. This upbeat pair claim to be local folk legends responsible for bringing both feminism and folk music to the continental U.S. When they are not conversing with the Goddess through ritual and song, they enjoy burning incense, drinking tea, reading each other’s tarot cards, and planning the next episode of their cable access television show, Karyn and Sharyn’s Care N’ Share Show (don’t spend too much time looking for this on the air!). Though they are not partners in the romantic sense (having pledged celibacy), they are deeply committed to their partnership.
Tickets to Dyke Night 15 are $16 ($13 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.