Narcissister is a Brooklyn-based artist and performer. Her formative training took place at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Among her professional highlights was being selected to perform with the Ailey Company in Memoria, one of Ailey’s seminal pieces. In addition to performance work, Narcissister does collage, sculpture, video art, and photography. Her studio residencies include The Whitney Museum IS Program, The Woodstock Center for Photography AIR Program, and the Art in General Eastern European Residency Program. Narcissister has also worked extensively as a commercial artist, designing window displays and working as a stylist and art director.
The Narcissister performance project integrates her prior experience as a professional dancer with her current visual and commercial art practices. Her art film “The Self-Gratifier” won an award for “Best Use of a Sex Toy” at The 2008 Good Vibrations Erotic Film Festival. In April 2009 she was awarded a Backstage Magazine “Bistro Award” for Outstanding Vaudeville/Burlesque Performance, a category created especially to honor Narcissister’s performance work.
A featured performer at The Box NYC, Narcissister has also presented work at The New Museum, Deitch Projects, Joe’s Pub, in the Weimar New York and Tingle Tangle shows, and has starred in and curated performance shows at Santos Party House and The Zipper Factory. Narcissister is also developing an international following. In Spring 2009 she was invited to present her first evening length solo show as part of the Music Biennale in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Fall 2009 she presented work at Chicks on Speed’s Girl Monster Festival in Hamburg, Germany, and at “The Festival of Women” in Ljubljana, Slovania. She also presented work at Warehouse 09, Copenhagen’s first live art festival, and at “Bordel Des Arts,” a performance series at Lucas Carrieri gallery in Berlin.
In Spring 2010, Narcissister was a re-performer of Marina Abramovic’s ”Luminosity” piece as part of the groundbreaking retrospective “The Artist is Present” at MoMA and presented an evening-length show, “This Masquerade,” at The Kitchen in New York.
Miss Orchid Mei gracefully combines traditional Chinese dance with influences from classic burlesque femme fatales. Favored for her class and grace, but notorious for her costumes, Orchid takes the stage draped in hand made vintage glamour inspired costumes that are meticulously inlaid with Swarovski rhinestones from the inside out. Winning the title “Most Beautiful 2007” and “Most Classic 2010” at the Boston Burlesque Exposition, being featured in Jane Briggeman’s second book dedicated tothe legends of burlesque; “BURLESQUE: A Living History”, and having done shows for Cointreau, Mumm, and the Dresden Dolls, Miss Orchid has left audiences agape internationally, from coast to coast, and back up a mile high.
An aerialist of supreme elegance and true excellence, Veronica Blair has studied with some of the most celebrated and prominent artists in her field. From greats like LaNorma Fox and Pamela Hernandez, who bears the distinction of being the very first African-American aerialist to perform with Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus; in addition to the renowned “God Father of the Tissu” Gerard Fasoli of Ecole Supérieure des Arts du Cirque, Belgium.
Veronica started her acrobatic career at the age of 14 with Make*A*Circus, a community based circus. She also trained Chinese Acrobatics at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. Her first professional performance was at the age of 17, making her one of the youngest professional African-American trapeze artists in the U.S. Shortly after, Veronica was personally selected by Cedric Walker, the founder of The Universoul Circus, as a single trapeze artist, Under Mr. Walker’s supervision; Veronica rapidly developed as an aerialist, and was the shows resident aerialist for 5 years.
After her stint in the circus, Veronica performed with world-renowned performance groups in various productions around the world including AntiGravity, Universal Studios Japan, and AFRIKA! AFRIKA! the most successful circus show in Germany.
From local bars to amphitheaters, lip syncing to live singing, solos to productions, black boas to Pink Martini, Aleksa Manila has traveled as an outspoken advocate, performance artist and community leader across North America. Aleksa Manila is known in Seattle and beyond as a stellar drag artist, consummate host and community activist. She is a beloved panelist and speaker at various LGBTQIA [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Allies], youth, people of color and political/activism workshops, trainings and conferences.
When not in face, ‘he’ educates the community and counsels clients about the harms of crystal methamphetamine with Project NEON, a program of Seattle Counseling Service. For many years, he tested for and counseled about HIV & STD with Public Health – Seattle & King County; and served as Honorable Commissioner with the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities with the City of Seattle – Office of Civil Rights, advising the Mayor of Seattle, City Council & City Departments on LGBTQI equal rights. Catch up with her viawww.ALEKSAMANILA.com.
Sydni Deveraux “Miss Yum Yum Give Me Some” and “The Golden Glamazon” hails from Seattle, Washington. Burlesque peeler, producer, teacher, and chanteuse, Sydni has a tendency to pull her audiences into her glamorous land, only to show them that sometimes glamour is twisted, flamboyant and thoughtful. Towering at 6’1″ and sometimes 6’6″ in her heels, Ms. Deveraux’s ass is like a metronome and smile is like a beacon. With Sydni Deveraux you’ll see a burlesque artist who takes the work of being sexy and fun (and funny) seriously. It doesn’t look like work while she dances and entertains you, and it shouldn’t, but she didn’t settle for natural talent, she continues to find ways to give to the art form and … to the audience. Yum.
Sandra O. Noshi-Di’n't is a one-of-a-kind female illusionist and Bay area celebutante. Though born and bred in New York City, Sandra is proud to call San Francisco her home. A vibrant member of the House of Glitter, her brash humor and flair for camp have proven to be an ideal match for one of San Francisco’s prominent drag houses. Her accolades include being crowned Miss San Francisco Hooker 2008 and a bra-bearing appearance on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. More recent accomplishments include, placing 1st Runner-Up at Trannyshack Star Search 2009. Sandra has been involved with the San Francisco Ducal Council, a 36 year old fund raising organization, and has helped to raise much needed money for local Bay Area charities. You can see Sandra on the big screen, this year, in Peaches Christ’s short film, “Children of the Popcorn”, or live, on stage, in the “All About Evil” premiere pre-shows. Her dream role would be to star opposite, Sandra Oh, in a real-life adaptation of “Sailor Moon”
Thisway/Thatway (aka Cecilio Cooper) regards fabulosity as a kind of science and sparkle as a high art. As a solo performer and collaborator, Thisway/Thatway wreaks havoc on stages across the country, including art festivals, pride celebrations, and academic conferences. They debuted a solo show entitled Laye(red) about blackness and fashion during the 2009 National Queer Arts Festival. Cooper is currently pursuing a doctorate in Performance Studies at the University of California at Davis, with an emphasis in practice-as-research. Ultimately, Thisway/Thatway is a dandified performance artist who enjoys the messy collision of glitter and theory.
Keeping alive the legacy of San Francisco’s Chinatown Golden Nightclub Era, the Grant Avenue Follies bring to the stage performances nostalgic of the 1940’s cabaret. After retirement and per the Doctor’s orders, the group began to dance for the joy and freedom of movement. Originally composed of four former professional nightclub dancers from the fifties and sixties, The Grant Avenue Follies have now expanded to twelve members. Since their group formed three years ago, they have had a robust schedule with performances all over the Bay Area. The following Grant Avenue Follies performers will be honored as Living Legends at the Kaleidoscope 2010 showcase: Cynthia Yee a former dancer of the Toy and Wing Revue and founder of the troupe; Ivy Tam of Forbidden City Nightclub who garnered fame as a dancer and was married to the Forbidden City Nightclub founder Charlie Low; Pat Chinn From the China Doll Revue Touring Company and the Chinese Sky room; Isabel Louie of Bimbo’s 365 Club and Keigo Takeuchi and Bill Lloyd productions and Chuck Gee, the former costume designer for the famed Forbidden City Nightclub. We are so excited about having them join us this year and grateful for the path they paved for performers of color today.
Felatio “B.J.” Browne (Stephfon Bartée-Smith) learned to play the piano at the age of five by listening to the radio and replicating the music that he heard. The son of singer Lula Bartée, a lounge singer and background vocalist known for her work with blues, gospel, and jazz recording artists, Stephfon began playing alongside his mother at live music venues at the age of nine. At 13, he was recruited to perform with the “Ragtime Musical Revue” at Lincoln Center, NYC after performing with his mother at the Toronto Jazz Festival
He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of the Arts, focusing on vocal performance with an emphasis in Jazz; and performed with the European tour of “The Sound of America” before being accepted to both the Juliard School at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. After graduating from the DePaul University School of Music, Stephfon toured the United States and Canada with “Smokey Joe’s Café,” and later, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Since relocating to San Francisco, Stephfon has become an active member of the arts community, performing with Theater Works, SFBoylesque, and Dark Porch Theater; and is a pianist in residency at Martuni’s and the Sheba Lounge.
Landa Lakes is a former Miss Gay Indian Nations, Miss Osage Hills, Miss Trannyshack Star Search and Grand DuchessXXXVI of San Francisco. She has been known to play all over the field from comedy to politics and has created fun spaces and groups such as the Brush Arbor Gurlz (the Native American drag troupe) and is the mother of the House of Glitter affectionately called the HoGz. Catch her every Tuesday at Divas for the Talent Tuesday and special events at Bench & Bar and Club 21 for the Glitter Train.
Named one of the “Sexiest people in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 2001, Simone de la Getto started shaking her fringe-covered behind with the San Francisco burlesque Troupe in 1996, from there she danced with the Cantankerous Lollies in 1998 for three years. Tired of being told that she was everyone’s favorite and not knowing if it was because she was Black or talented, she became the founder/artistic director of Harlem Shake Burlesque, who garner the awards “Best Burlesque Troupe” in 2004 by the San Francisco Weekly and The Miss Exotic World Pageant held in Helendale, CA. Harlem Shake Burlesque, the first Black Burlesque Troupe, was first introduced to the Neo-Burlesque scene in May 2003 and paved the way for many Black burlesque performers on the stage today. Simone has performed at various venues and shows including but not limited to: The Great American Music Hall (SF), Bimbo’s (SF), The Va Va Voom Room (SF), Margaret Cho’s “The Sensuous Woman Show (NYC/SF), Le Boudouir (Montreal), Miss Exotic World (LV), New York Burlesque Festival (NYC), Tease-o-Rama (SF), Victoria Theater (SF), Femme Conference (SEA/SF), Brown Derby (LA), Fresh Meat (SF), National Queer Arts Festival (SF), Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance (SF). When Simone is not performing you can see her walking her dog and raising her 12 year old son.
Queer Chicana Starlet Chica Boom organizes with communities of color to destabilize white heteropatriarchy by day and by night she seduces audiences with her witty ethnic drag. This El Paso/Juarez bordertown bruja has been weaving her cultural, political and sexual identity through alternative dance, theatre, performance art, burlesque, clowning and street performance across North America. Chica Boom’s provocative posturing shakes and breaks the mold of submissive mestiza. Her sexual and cultural hybridism gives voice to an intentional revolutionary style of performance that depicts her multiplicity of consciousness as a fierce queer femme/macha, Chicana organizer and performer. She is the founder of Kaleidoscope, An Annual National People of Color Cabaret and currently organizes with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence.
“Brilliant, hot and saucy!”-Annie Sprinkle
“pinata-fisting provocateur and performance phenom” – SF Weekly
“political and sexy at the same time” – Seattle Gay News
For more information about La Chica Boom, the quintessential Xicana Marimacha Mistress, visit www.lachicaboom.com