Abe Rybeck, Founding Director of The Theater Offensive has been pushing the boundaries of LGBTQ activism for over 30 years and I am so fortunate to have been able to interact with him over the years. We met at the National Performance Network – Annual meeting on Miami Beach at the Deauville Hotel. It was during an after party, when suddenly, hardcore Cuban salsa music started to blast into the Grand Ballroom and before I knew it we where on the dance floor “salsaing” our brains out.
Since then I have considered him a mentor, confident and source of inspiration. Here are scenes from CLIMACTS – WET! 2015. An immersive performance installation I collaborated on with The Theater Offensive staff under the Artistic/Executive leadership of Nick Bazzo, Adrian Budhu and Evelyn Francis with the super generous support of the NPN.
Here is a little excerpt of the video I created during my residency in Boston that played on the most gorgeous LED Flat screen.
were just a touch of exhilarating revelations and musings brought to the table these last couple of days. Great to hear from Rhythm Foundation and Laura Quinlan, reconnecting with Charo Oquet of Edge Zones and seeing an excerpt of Teo Castellanos latest work “Third Trinity”. Miami is alive and kicking, culturally. Take a look at “Riding Wynwood”. Let’s NEVER allow folks to say Miami is void of Culture. NEVER.
This FREE open forum has been designed to stimulate artists, teachers, managers and service providers that focus (or wish to learn more) on GLBTQ programming. The goal of this conversation is to reinvigorate and stir up a healthy conversation regarding the services South Florida is providing for it’s LGBTQ youth and adults. Please be part of this conversation with Nick Bazo, facilitated by Octavio Campos where they will introduce the work of The Theater Offensive founded by Abe Rybeck a trailblazer of GLBTQ arts and activism programming for the past 30 years. Your attendance is key to leveraging a productive conversation about how to grow our services, and education for the LGBTQ community in South Florida, as well as a time to share new energy and program management practices with other like-minded GLBTQ focused groups.
About Nick Bazo:
Nick is a native Floridian, who currently resides in Boston, MA. Even at a young age, theater played a major part in his life. First earning a diploma from The Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland, Florida and, later, a Bachelor’s degree in theatre from Rollins College and an MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences at the University of Central Florida. He is currently working as the Assistant Director of Programs and Director of True Colors: Out Youth Theater for The Theater Offensive in Boston. Here a link to a documentary being produced this year about the project. The Year We Thought About Love
TRPL Quince and The Pig Show, my last two solo projects were both works that made me look deeply at my Cuban American roots. I finally made it to Cuba this past August and September. Thanks to collaborator and dear friend, Natasha Tsakos, (Artistic Director and Visual Artist), the pioneering powerhouse Debbie Ohanian (Producer), a life long dream of mine has come true. To create a devised-music-theater project in Havana, Cuba, alongside incredible collaborators, the founder of Dansa Contemporanea and former director of the Tropicana NightClub, Santiago Alfonso and the Cuban music master, Issac Delgado. Enjoy this Research and Inspiration video for the new project “Salsa Mambo Cha Cha Cha”, bound for Broadway. Stay tuned or for an invitation to the work in progress contact me.
A performance and video installation in memory of queer academic José Esteban Muñoz by DIGITAL HOSTAGE COLLECTIVE. —————– The Miami Beach Botanical Garden will be transformed into a space of queer utopian longing. “Cruisers” like dance theater provocateur Octavio Campos and choreographer Pioneer Winter will interact with visitors, soliciting them to listen to oral histories of the queer Miami and Hialeah of the 1980s—the time of José Esteban Muñoz coming-of-age as a gay man—while soprano Celeste Fraser Delgado and tenor José Vilanova circulate the grounds, evoking the devastating impact of the AIDS pandemic with haunting arias.
The intrepid may choose to enter the Garden’s Butterfly Room, transformed by visual artist and videographer Damian Rojo into a symbolic “back room,” where an installation culled from archival film and new video evokes what Muñoz calls the “utopian longing” of the public sex scene in the 1980s. “Cruising Hialeah” and “Ghosts of Public Sex” inaugurate “Cruising Miami,” a long-term project to develop an archive of Miami’s queer lifeworld and of performance by queers of color in South Florida.
The Cruising Miami project aims to bring José home to South Florida’s queer community through a salon dedicated to his work and a performance coupled with a video installation recreating the cruising scene he missed out on in his youth, and a mural visible to young queers proclaiming the most famous quote from Cruising Utopia:
“Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of the moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds” – José E. Muñoz, Cruising Utopia —————– Born in Havana and raised in Hialeah, JOSÉ ESTEBAN MUÑOZ grounded his theoretical work in a performance and public sex archive derived mainly from New York City and Los Angeles. Also born in Cuba and raised in Hialeah at roughly the same time, DAMIAN ROJO immersed himself from an early age in the suburb’s queer culture, unknown to Muñoz, documenting much of his experience first on Super 8 film, and later on video. Though they never met, Muñoz as scholar and Rojo as artist separately explored parallel queer worlds of punk music and public sex throughout their careers.
While growing up in Hialeah, Muñoz was largely unaware of the queer culture flourishing at that time in South Florida. Although he regularly returned home to visit his Evangelical Christian parents, he never wrote about or appears to have even seen any queer performers in Miami. Likewise, the queer community in South Florida is largely unaware of his work.
ABOUT DIGITAL HOSTAGE COLLECTIVE: The Collective negotiates life, death, and sexuality in the digital age through interdisciplinary works that fuse the carnal with the virtual. Long-time collaborators singer/writer Celeste Fraser Delgado and visual artist/videographer Damian Rojo work with a shifting roster of consorts, which for Cruising Miami includes dance theater provocateur Octavio Campos, poet Neil de la Flor, dramatic tenor José Vilanova, and [choreographer Pioneer Winter.
*This performance is not suitable for minors under 18*