L.A. Parmelettes kick off the evening with an energetic drum-line at the entrance of the park. Each member is clad in varying shades of pink, faces covered up with sunglasses and ski masks. Some hold drumsticks that colorfully light up each time they bang on the drumhead. The group assembles in a circle and starts off in synchronous movement, then takes turns performing solos, highlighting each member’s role in the collective. This celebratory performance offers a visual and sonic disruption, a loud convening, that signals the start of the festival and gathers the audience. They then march into the park, guiding everyone in. The procession moves throughout the field, marking the distinct locations of the evening’s upcoming performances. L.A. Parmelettes is an open-enrollment group that works with people of all ages regardless of their experience in music. Learn more about L.A. Parmelettes here: www.parmelettes.com
The Los Angeles Parmelettes was originally established in 1970, by the lovely Ms. Taylor. and later headed by Director LaKeisha Mack in 1990. The goal is for youth involvement in the drum line to obtain self-discipline, teamwork, leadership and maintain integrity along with supporting our community values. We urge each student to achieve extraordinary levels of excellence and personal greatness while they enjoy using their unique talents and determination to increase their skills.
Shaun Leonardo’s performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn-based, arts nonprofit Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.
Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, and recently profiled in the New York Times and CNN. His solo exhibition, The Breath of Empty Space, was recently presented at MICA, MASS MoCA and The Bronx Museum. And his first major public art commission, Between Four Freedoms, recently premiered at Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.
Leonardo recently joined Recess as Co-Director, helping guide the organization's continuous evolution as an engine of social change.
- is a Los Angeles based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural projects and impacted subjectivities. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of California, San Diego, Chang moved to New York and became a fixture in the performance scene. Influenced by performance artists like Marina Abramovic and Ana Mendieta, as well as filmmakers such as Jean Coctaeu, Chang’s art utilizes her own body in feats of endurance, captured on film or in photographs, and creates surrealist films that have been shown in film festivals around the world. Chang acts as a protagonist in many of her own works: either overtly highlighted in live or recorded performance or as in her film “Shangri-La,” omnipresent despite limited screen time. Her museum exhibition and book The Wandering Lake investigates the landscapes impacted by large scale human-engineered water projects such as the Soviet mission to irrigate the waters from the Aral Sea, as well as the longest aqueduct in the world, the North to South Water Diversion Project in China. Her most recent multichannel video project Milk Debt combines the act of lactation with people’s unspoken fears. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.
- (b. 1956), is a visual artist. His artwork concerns popular culture and mass entertainment. In the 1990s, he was part of the band X-PRZ. His videos often take the form of essays in which Cokes displays fragments of found texts on brightly-colored backgrounds, set to popular music. He is known to combine quotes from a range of texts from critical theory, cultural studies, art criticism, and news reports. His sources include Louis Althusser, Malcolm X, Public Enemy, and William Burroughs. Cokes now teaches at Brown University and lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. He received a B.A. from Goddard College, Vermont, participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, and gained an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. He has received grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Getty Research Institute.
CASSILS (Los Angeles/ Toronto) is a Canadian transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances. Cassils' art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle and empowerment. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils' work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment.
Cassils has upcoming solo exhibitions in 2023 will be at Walter Phillips Gallery) Banff Center for Arts and Creativity (AB); California Museum of Photography (CA) and SITE Santa Fe (NM). Cassils has had recent solo exhibitions at HOME Manchester (UK); Station Museum of Contemporary Art (TX);, Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts(AU); Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (NYC); Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts (PA); School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MA); Bemis Center (OH); MU Eindhoven, (NL).
Cassils’s work has been featured at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, AZ; Oakland Museum of California, CA; Kunstpalais, Erlangen, Germany; MUCEM, Marseille, France; Deutsches Historisches Museum and the Schwules Museum, Berlin, Germany; MUCA Roma, Mexico City, Mexico; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA; and Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica. Cassils’s performances have been featured at The Broad, Los Angeles, CA; The National Theatre, London, UK; ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria; Dark Mofo, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania; and Queer Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. Cassils’s films have premiered at Sundance International Film Festival, Park City, UT; OUTFest, Los Angeles, CA; Institute for Contemporary Art, London, UK; Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, Brazil; International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands; M+, at West Kowloon, Hong Kong, China; and Outsider Festival, Austin, TX for Early Career Retrospective: Cassils.
Cassils is the recipient of the USA Artist Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2020 Fleck Residency from the Banff Center for the Arts, a Princeton Lewis Artist Fellowship finalist, a Villa Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, California Community Foundation Grant, Creative Capital Award, MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory) award, the National Creation Fund and Visual Artist Fellowship from the Canada Council of the Arts. Cassils’s work has been featured in The New York Times,Wall Street Journal, NPR, Wired, The Guardian, Art Forum, and academic journals such as Performance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Places Journal, and October. Cassils is the subject of the monograph Cassils, published by MU Eindhoven in 2015; and is the subject of a new catalog published by The Station Museum of Contemporary Art.
Cassils is an Associate Professor in Sculpture and Integrated Practices at PRATT Institute.
- is based in Queens, NY. He works in video, sculpture, installation and photography, and makes work about the performance of masculinity, physical intimacy and private ritual. His most recent work reimagines spaces and social customs for male bodies in order to reveal vulnerable moments that can exist among men. With his solo exhibition, Silent Spikes, Tam furthers this address of masculinity, while exploring intersections of race and labor economics. Tam received his BFA from the Cooper Union. He has had solo exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Art; MIT List Center for Visual Arts; the Visual Arts Center at UT Austin, Commonwealth and Council, LA; Night Gallery, LA; Queens Museum, NY, ICA LA and at Ballroom Marfa in Fall of 2022. Tam has participated in group shows at the Hammer Museum, LA; SculptureCenter, Queens and at The Shed, NY. He is a Lecturer at Princeton University, faculty at Bard’s MFA program, and was recently a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University.
Welcome to the evolution of the Butch Revolution,” the singer-songwriter proclaims. Phranc performs a hybrid spoken word-musical set with their guitar, interweaving their classic songs with coming-of-age stories. They generously recollect memories of youth, including how they carried a copy of Jill Johnson’s Lesbian Nation (1973) under their arm everyday; their encounter with the activist Jeanne Cordoba; and their participation in the many events at the Woman’s Building, a seminal place for feminist and lesbian art and culture that provided the foundation for the singer’s queer consciousness. Pairing songs and stories with projected images of their many album covers and personal photographs, they share a journey into self-understanding, a place from which, as they put it, “I was able to say I’m Phranc, a Jewish, Lesbian Folksinger.”
Phranc is a folksinger and visual artist who uses song, painting and sculpture to champion personal identities and illustrate the struggle, survival, and victory of the queer individual. An internationally acclaimed performer, Phranc integrates humor and a butch lesbian aesthetic to her work. Acknowledgment of her artistic accomplishments includes the GLAAD Media Award, the COLA Individual Artist Fellowship and the 2022 Santa Monica Artist Fellowship. The Butch Closet is her current multi-media project; a memoir spanning 40-years of her life as a folksinger and artist. Phranc lives and works in Santa Monica, California and Vancouver, BC.
Sarah Johnson and Corey Fogel perform on a hilltop with a distant glaring streetlamp illuminating their silhouettes. Fogel plays the drums as Johnson enacts a series of forceful actions that involve a deconstructed drum-set. Each part—drums, drumstick, cymbals, and stand—is connected to another with chains, forming an assemblage of clattering sounds as they move. The artist drags the instruments up the hill, throws them down, pulls them back up. All of these actions create a cacophony of clamor and clank, all jarring yet surprisingly seductive to the senses. At times the two performers seems to collaborate, such as when Johnson takes instruments off Fogel’s set, even while he is playing. Other times, they seem to be in separate worlds. Fogel plays without pause; there are prolonged moments when his foot even rests on the drumhead, putting his body in differing relations to the instrument. How might the weight of a limb effect the percussive sound? How might its vibrations resonate in the body? The duo’s improvisation creates a multisensorial space of un-disciplinarity, exploring how acts of risk and destruction (which have deeply gendered valences) can engender a space for novel meanings and unexpected questions.
Sarah Johnson is a Los Angeles based artist working in performance, video, photography, and writing. Johnson has performed internationally in galleries, theaters, cathedrals, freeway underpasses, backyards, and otherwise. An alum of NYU in Performance Studies, her work has been featured at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Canada), the TBA Festival (PDX OR), and Sub Rosa Projects (Greece).