Q-STAGE Feature: Pedro Pablo Lander & Noche Bomba

Q-STAGE Feature: Pedro Pablo Lander & Noche Bomba

Where did the ideas for your Q-STAGE show come from?

Noche Bomba is my latest accumulated research looking at my gender and sexuality evolution in relationship to my latinx Venezuelan upbringing. The work began as an exploration of my relationship with my mother; then developed into a solo that I presented at Exposition: Queer Performance and Conversation curated by Marcel Michelle-Mobama and 20% Theatre. As I dug deeper and got rid of the unnecessary, I developed a solo, a trio, and a duet, which I performed at the Walker, Fresh Oysters, and Lush.

I am working with social dances, drag, text, and expression through movement. The complexities of my experiences develop and dissolve through these forms in Noche Bomba. I am interested in driving the audience in an emotional ride as the work unfolds in the performance.
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Why do you feel it is important to share the stories of your performance with the community?

My experiences are pretty specific to me, though I have encountered plenty of folks who connect on a personal level to moments in my work: whether it’s a still image, a movement phrase, a sound, the collection of images. The cathartic nature of the work in Noche Bomba, and my work in general, stirs up the performers’ bodies and energizes the space in particular ways. I want to share the emotional, physical, and mental boundaries I continuously shattered growing up.

What is this performance about for you on a personal level?

This is about wrestling with the demons, getting down in the mud, digging, excavating. It is about eruption of the infected, disposing the gangrene parts that I stored in my body and consciousness. Noche Bomba is exposing my body and my identities, revealing, sharing, digesting on stage. This is my experience. This is my life.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production?

I am a performance artist, a teacher, maker. I focus on movement, how the body can generate precious materials and information. I am also a drag queen–the genderfuckery and ecstasy of drag, framed within the history of femme-identified folks in Venezuela. I work with text as well; sounds and words are also parts of the human experience and hold lots of context.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform the art you create?

I teach different arts curriculum for kids, toddlers, folks with disabilities of all ages, and elders, of all ethnicities, backgrounds, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Equity through my teaching, representation, visibility, exposure [is important to the me]. My communities keep me grounded as I venture into art-making. The practice of being a teacher truly makes me a better person every single day. I make work about the inequities I have faced as a queer, brown, immigrant, latinx artist. I am driven by the challenges the folks I encounter every day face on a regular basis.

What artists or performances have inspired you over the years?

I am inspired by the incredible people around me and by the wonderful makers I have had the chance to work with in the last seven years, when I moved to the US and began my performance journey. I am inspired by character, tenacity, endlessly curious artists, artmakers who surprise me, honest, honest performance work. Among the people I have worked with I look up to many folks. Currently, I am very much moved by the team of artists across departments at Pillsbury House–Emily Zimmer, Pramila Vasudevan, Masanari Kawahara, Siddeeqah Shabazz, Jen Scott, Mike Hoyt, Molly VanAvery, among many others; also, by the talented and ferocious queer/trans drag and burlesque performers in the Twin Cities.

Are you working on any other projects presently or coming up in the future?

Drag Story Hour every month!! I create performances for kids, with other artists; we read stories, dance, lip-sync, etc. Next one is May 26th from 10:30-11:30am at the Pillsbury House Theatre.

I am working with Judith Howard and a stellar team of performers for ICON SAM: Temple Dances, June 14-17th and 21-24th.

I will also join Pramila Vasudevan in the fall for a parking ramp performance project to be performed September 28 & 29th.

Much more to come <3

Describe your pre-performance ritual if you have one.  

Getting my head underneath my pelvis for a long time, oxygenating the hamstrings, the joints, finding mobility in my joints, putting weight in my hands, rolling on the floor a bunch, making sounds, putting makeup on. (It varies immensely whether I am doing a 50-minute exhausting work, or a 7-minute piece, or a drag story hour, or a performance installation.)

When you’re not deep in Q-STAGE rehearsal and development, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies or passions in life?

I am passionate about making empanadas and arepas, passionate about eating them too. I love going out dancing, biking to most of my destinations, spending time outside, teaching all sorts of people. My schedule is pretty different from week to week, which I love! I love dancing too. I get a kick out of having several different activities in one day that require different things of me. I am passionate about making dance, about performing. I love hanging with people that love me and care about me.

Have you been collaborating with any other artists to create this show? Who are they and how are they contributing?

The performers: Genevieve D. Johnson, Lelis Brito, Sharon Picasso, Tim Rehborg, Kim Schneider, Belize Torres Narváez–they are exquisitely generous every time they show up in rehearsals.

Joyce Liza Rada Lindsay, music composer whom I’ve worked with since 2014. Joyce truly connects with the work I make, and she interprets my emotions in a vibrant way through sound textures and compilations. Joyce lives in Chicago and is an accompanist for dance programs, as well as an independent artist and maker.

Zoe Cinel developed the visual materials for the piece last year when Noche Bomba was in its crafting stages. I will show that work in the piece. Zoe is just finishing her master’s degree from MCAD. We began working together June 2017 after performing with Aniccha Arts and Labor Camp.

Click HERE for more information and to get tickets to Q-STAGE!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Jeff Miller

thumbnail.jpg1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I am one of the actors in Andrea Broman’s Voices. 
 
2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? For a lot of the people involved in THE NAKED I, these are the first time our stories are being told by people who are actually apart of the community. For example, so often we see cis actors cast as trans characters and being praised for it while trans actors are not being cast because they “look trans” or don’t “look trans enough” (whatever that means). This is our chance to reclaim our stories. This is by us and for us.
 
3. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I’ve been performing since I was a young kid as both a musician and an actor. From putting on “concerts” using a tennis racket as a guitar and a fireplace hearth as my stage to theater performances now, I’m fortunate to have found a home with the arts. Most recently, I had the honor of being the headline performer for the Black Hills Pride Festival.

4. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? 
Accessibility with captioning. A lot of the content on the internet is not accessible for everyone. As someone who is a video content creator, I think we need to do better at providing equal access and one of the things we can do is add proper captioning so all are welcome.
 

5. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I have a 6 year old husky mix named Aspen who is my pride and joy. Outside of hanging with the coolest pupper in town, I spend a lot of my time listening to or playing music.

 

6. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when……. I let someone see me past the walls I put up.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Dua Saleh

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D?
This year, I am involved in THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D as a director/choreographer of a movement-based piece called “Miskeena”. I cast two movement artists (Lea Reed and Zealot Hamm), and I will also perform the song/lyrics live as a part of the ensemble. In addition, I am a featured performer in another piece in the show that is written and directed by Marcel Michelle called “Shopping for Carrots”.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? More often than not, the narratives of LGBTQIA+ communities are explicitly omitted and excluded from theatrical productions. If our stories are told, they are often encapsulated in a manner that is reductive and tokenizing. The stories featured in this show, however, highlight nuanced readings of identity and social placement, providing a wide array of complexity and emotional range. THE NAKED I is a radical space for exploration, where LGBTQIA+ identities are highlighted to their fullest breaths.

3. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when… I’m performing.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Dakota Lancour

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I am the backstage manager of sorts? I make sure that scene transitions happen smoothly, and that all the props are where they need to be!

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?  The stories told in THE NAKED I represent a kaleidoscope of different experiences and identities that do not always get told! And THE NAKED I makes sure to tell these stories in a respectful and honest manner that we do not often (or ever) see in mainstream media.

3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?  As I am a backstage helper, my identity as a nonbinary queer person does not really come into play on stage, but my work hopefully helps all the performers express their identities in their pieces!

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production?   I majored in Theatre/Dance with an emphasis in design.  So I have a lot of experience in all aspects of technical theatre. I am also a dance artist, though that doesn’t come into play in this particular production.

5. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? Obviously LGBTQ rights are an important issue for me.  As a bi-racial Native American, Native and enviromental issues are also extremely important to me.  I try to bring some of these issues forward when creating dance scores, and they also inform my movement research.

6. What other artists or shows have inspired you?  I have been inspired by so many artists of all different disciplines. Jennifer Tipton has inspired my love of lighting design, Martha Graham, Buffy Sainte-Marie. Most honestly my professors from college inspired me to be creative and resourceful and honest in all I create. The shows Cabaret and Spring Awakening and of course RENT have all inspired me.

7. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I spend a lot of my time moving and dancing. I also play the viola and crochet and knit. And I listen to lots of podcasts!

8. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when….. I use words to share my thoughts and feelings.

 

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Wren Hess

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I’m one of the actors in “Voices” – a piece about asexuality.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? While it’s good that there is more and more queer and trans representation in the media, I think we often get told the same gay stories and the same trans stories. This can alienate people who haven’t had that experience, not to mention those identities that don’t get much representation at all. Especially when you’re questioning an aspect of yourself, it’s amazingly helpful to see other people like you talking about the same things you’ve thought, but that you maybe never said out loud.

3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I? “Voices” is about asexuality, and I don’t identify as ace, but as a nonbinary trans person, I can relate to the doubt and confusion in the piece, and the relief of finally finding community.

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I did a lot of acting in high school, but I’ve only done one show besides this during the three years I’ve been in college. That show was called Acute Care: Performing Emotional Labors, and it was a piece put together from interviews with nurses by Beth Cleary at Macalester College, where I go to school. Acute Care told stories of people who often feel unheard, like The Naked I. Some of the nurses who came to see the show told us how meaningful it was to see us talk about their lives and work. I believe The Naked I will give people that same feeling of recognition.

5. What other artists or shows have inspired you? Would it be cheesy to say I’m inspired by all the other artists working on The Naked I? I was already wowed hearing all the pieces at our first full run-through rehearsal, and I’m really excited to watch them evolve as we get closer to performances!

6. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I do pretty much all kinds of art that I can get my hands on. I’m majoring in art and also study geography and urban studies, so I’m always in at least one studio art class, but I also try to keep drawing and painting and doing other little projects all the time. Other things I do with my time include reading books about cities, baking, watching horror movies with my housemate, and teaching myself to play guitar.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Johnnay Leenay

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I am a directing apprentice/co-directing Morning Rituals with powerhouse Lisa Marie Brimmer for the brilliant Rica De La Concha!
 
2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? Queer and Trans folks need spaces dedicated to sharing their complex lived experiences with other queer and trans folks. It is crucial for us to see other people who experience similar struggles, victories, and worries and it is equally important to be able to see the spectrum of what it means to embrace these identities today. It allows the community to be vulnerable with one another and to be critical.  Stories are most powerful when they are for us, by us, and about us and The Naked I fully commits to this.
 
3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I? My blackness and queerness. My need to be around artists who dream far beyond this world and allow me to do the same.
 
4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I have a hard time defining myself as an artist. I am just starting to feel comfortable using the word curator and convener but that is the beauty of this production. It allows you to test, and screw up, and learn, and grow. Artist have such a special place in the world and I am trying to be as inspiring as I have been inspired.
 
5. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? Some days I feel like a walking talking social issue. I am an outspoken mixed race queer feminist. All of my identities inform how I view the world and that informs how I view art. I am envisioning a world where all my identities are welcomed and embraced and art allows me to get closer and closer to this utopia that I am redefining every day.

6. What other artists or shows have inspired you?Erin Sharkey and Junauda Petrus give me goosebumps. Whatever they touch is gold. Adja Gildersleve forces me to question and embrace my blackness. Albert Conteh. His vulnerability on stage allows me to feel soft. Sun Yung Shin is my favorite person to follow on Facebook. Mackenzie Owens. If I could buy all of her work I would. I could go on and on. The Twin Cities are overflowing with talent! You aren’t paying attention if you are not inspired.

7. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? Exploring the queer art scene, gearing up for Queertopia 2018, celebrating the 14 days of Valentine’s Day, trying to find the perfect pair of thrifted overalls, facetiming with my best friends, eating ice cream, and pretending Lena Waithe is my girlfriend.

8. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when…….  I feel understood.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Allison Knauss

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I’m one of the directing apprentices for this project, and specifically I worked on Just Google It by Aubri Drake, with director Hannah Stein.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? These are stories that don’t get told anywhere else. We’re lucky in the Twin Cities to have several companies telling queer stories, but it’s merely a drop in the bucket of cis straight white stories. There is something magical in seeing something of yourself on stage, and THE NAKED I lets us see things we rarely ever see.

3. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? Most of my experience has been as a stage manager, so I generally bring an organized and precise eye to plays and projects that I’m working on. I’m excited at the opportunity to stretch my creativity through this apprentice directing role.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Esther Sandvik

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? This will be my very first time performing in a play of any kind, ever. I’m performing in a piece called “Portrait of Infertility” by M. Hendrickx.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? The Naked I tells stories for and about the LGBTQ+ community that can help make people feel seen and heard. It’s important for people to see that their feelings and experiences are more normal than maybe society or their community shows them.

3. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? Black Lives Matter. A reason I wanted to be involved is that I feel like 20% Theatre does a good job of trying to ensure that not only one type of story is told, and that they are also mindful when hiring and casting to ensure people in those stories are being represented.

4. What other artists or shows have inspired you? I have been to many pieces put on by 20% Theatre Company, and I also love going to musicals. My admiration for theatre and the different ways that artists can make one feel inspired me to try it for myself.

5. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I’m currently in the last phase of my grad program and work full-time, but whenever those aren’t taking up my time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, especially when there’s snow on the ground!

6. Finish this sentence:  I feel the most naked when… Trying something new in front of strangers! Awkward!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, TJ Carley

Wyatt and Teege1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? This is my third time performing in a Naked I production. I have collaborated with other artists, I’ve performed a piece another artist wrote, but this time I am performing my own story, Four Words.
 
2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? Stories in The Naked I are important because they are our own stories. Real life stories, not some fabrication or over-simplification of queer lives. This show gives all of us, but specifically trans and gender-nonconforming people a chance to tell their stories.


3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I? 
As an older trans guy, I wanted my piece to reflect how much my life and the world around me has changed in the 10 years I have been on testosterone. This year, I’ve added “cancer survivor” to my identity, and while it’s not something I often share, I think it’s something that people, regardless of gender, can relate to.

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? Ha, Ha, that’s funny. I don’t have a background as an artist. I make my living as a scientist, but I do have a creative writing degree. The open call for The Naked I productions allowed me to submit my writing. That writing has created opportunities for me to perform. My only artistic experiences are with The Naked I.

5. What other artists or shows have inspired you? I have met many wonderful artists and directors through each Naked I production. Each cast brings it’s own unique flavor to the production. It’s a big extended family I feel fortunate to be part of.

6. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I love to read, write, travel, take pictures, and try to keep up with two 6 month old puppies!

7. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when……. I’m uncontrollably emotional.

 

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Ayesha Adu

thumbnail1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I’m performing the monologue “Triad” by Sara Kerr – and my character is a biracial, queer triplet who is socially stereotyped by society and unaccepted by her grandmother.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? It’s important to tell these stories, because they are somebody else’s stories, too. We are not alone. The more transparent we are with our own stories, the better chance we have in the fight against inequality.

3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?  While I am not a triplet (I’m actually an only child), I am a biracial, queer individual and grew up with everyone having an opinion of how I should behave. I wasn’t black enough, I was too white, and I am non-politically queer.

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I am a filmmaker and screenwriter. This is my first acting experience. I’m bringing my skills of observation to the table as I observe what my character is going through, and I, also, observe the audience’s reactions.

5. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work?
Equality and equanimity are very important to me. I’m still learning how these inform my work. All I can say is that the message of my feature length screenplay, Stardust, that I’m writing now is all about being yourself, being transparent and authentic. It’s through these exercises that you can believe in yourself as an equal and have the presence that demands to be respected and treated this way.

6. What other artists or shows have inspired you? I perform with the Dykes Do Drag troupe, and it’s a wonderful experience. Everyone is incredibly talented. They’re like family to me. Heather Spears, the founder and producer, says we’re misfit toys here to entertain the community. It’s Minnesota’s own Saturday Night Live. You should go!

7. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? My hobby is filmmaking which I hope to make a living at some day… Otherwise, I spend time with good friends.

8. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when…….  I’m on a promising first date, or when people see or read my art for the first time.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 1-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!