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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Queer performers bring anguish to stage

By Maya Rajamani
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Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Krya Traber performed personal poetry about her family and her life as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Sargenta G. does a lyrical performance as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Nyna reads her screen play on how she meet her first love as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Sheila Maldonado reads from her book ‘One-Bedroom Solo’ as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Skye Cabrera performance her poetry in a line up of female poets at the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Yalini Dream dances during her story telling of her coming out to her family as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Yalini Dream dances during her story telling of her coming out to her family as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Yalini Dream dances during her story telling of her coming out to her family as part of the 2014 BAAD! ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Yalini Dream dances during her story telling of her coming out to her family as part of the 2014 BAAD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance Home of Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and The Bronx Dance Coalition at it’s new location 2474 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.
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At the Bronx Academy of Art and Dance’s (BAAD!) new space, performance artist Yalini Dream recalled the summer day when she told her mother she was in love with a woman.

“That is not true. You’re just friends. This is against God. This is against your ancestors,” she said in her mother’s voice for a performance featuring Ms. Dream as herself, her parent and her aunt.

Later on in the performance, Ms. Dream’s aunt believes her sister is
crying over Ms. Dream’s partially-dyed hair, but Ms. Dream knows the real reason.

“I’ve had wild hair my whole life. I don’t think my Amma was crying about my hair last summer,” the actress said.

Ms. Dream, a Sri Lankan performer born in Manchester, England, raised in Texas and based in Brooklyn, was among eight female poets who shared their stories through poetry, song, dance and video at BAAD’s Lit Night, part of the organization’s annual BAAD!ASS Women Festival which began on March 8 and concludes at the end of this week.

Before the festival became an annual event, BAAD! executive director Charles Rice-Gonzales said the organization found it hard to promote individual female performance artists, especially the queer women and women of color it hoped to support. So Mr. Rice-Gonzales devised a solution.

“Why don’t we put them together as a festival?” he said.

Edgy Name

The event’s edgy name’s comes from a Donna Summer song called “Bad Girl.” Mr. Rice-Gonzales said he and artistic director Arthur Aviles toyed with the title until they came up with BAAD!ASS Women, which stuck.

Like Ms. Dream, many of the artists performing at Lit Night identify as queer. They expounded on self-discovery, often related to sexuality, and the impact of their journeys on themselves and those around them.

Filmmaker and musician Nyna read an excerpt from her screenplay called Feels Like a Woman, which focuses on her own coming-out story.

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