|THE FLEA THEATER CELEBRATES A NEW MISSION, VISION & MOVEMENT WITH 2ND ANNUAL HOUSE PARTY|
|Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 10:26 am EDT 09/27/22|
|Posted by: Official_Press_Release 10:22 am EDT 09/27/22|
|THE FLEA THEATER
IS HAVING A COMING OUT PARTY!
CELEBRATING A NEW MISSION, VISION & MOVEMENT,
CENTERING BIPOC & QUEER ARTISTS
PLUS, TONY AWARD WINNING ACTRESS LACHANZE
WILL SHARE IN THE JOY
The Flea Theater is proud to present its 2nd Annual House Party entitled Blooming: A Flea Shindiggity, a coming out celebration, presenting to the world a new found vision for the future of experimental art created by Black, Brown and queer artists. After navigating an awesome challenge of reimagining a justice forward organization, truly dedicated to the liberation and equality of systematically oppressed artists, The Flea is refocused and rejuvenated with a clear new mission, vision and operating model to achieve a more equitable world through the arts.
"I am really excited to join a team that is intentionally working to create a space for Black, Brown and queer creatives to be safe, to create and to share with the world authentically and unfiltered," says Interim Executive Director, Renee K. Smith. "This work allows for those who have been marginalized or othered to feel at home in a central space. The Flea is that space and a key resource for these artists. It is our goal to transform the theater into a multidisciplinary arts hub where the community can come and share, grow and be together."
Blooming anew is a transformative process that challenges, molds and eventually rebirths. The Flea is excited to present to the world a cohort of revolutionary artists that are creating works, which in many ways, respond to our society's longing for an evolved human consciousness. As they navigate their fractured realities and bounce between worlds imagined, they will challenge audiences to sojourn to new realms where constructs of culture, race and gender become muted relics of a painful past.
"The Flea will be teeming with talent and expression at this year's House Party," says The Flea's Artistic Director, Niegel Smith. "Guests will be greeted with immersive performances all over our three-story performing arts complex with deeply resonant dance, singing, drag performances, acting, painting and DJing from incredible Black and queer artists in The Flea community. This is a party like no other – a get down shindiggity true to the aesthetic highs of all Flea events. I can't wait to turn a look and celebrate with everyone in attendance."
Blooming: A Flea Shindiggity will be supported by Flea Champion and Tony Award winner, LaChanze. Attendees will enjoy multidisciplinary art experiences from Jack Fuller, Mur, Paris L'Hommie, Chanon Judson, Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women, James Scruggs, Zora Howard, O'Neil Scott, Nickolas Vaughn, Yonatan Gebeyehu, Amara Granderson and renowned artist The Flea's very own Board co-chair, Nona Hendryx. The party will feature the sounds curated by DJ Jon Ali, open bar and classic Jamaican cuisine from Miss Lily's, silent and live bidding and dancing.
What: Blooming: A Flea Shindiggity
Where: The Flea, 20 Thomas Street, NY NY 10007
When: Thursday, Sept. 29, 7:30pm until Midnight
ABOUT THE FLEA
The Flea Theater is a prolific NYC-based company founded in 1996 by three downtown artists who set out to "raise a joyful hell in a small space." In 2021, The Flea refounded itself with a new mission and core values through collaborative efforts with CJAM. Our new operational model exemplifies our investment in artists and social equity and embraces our experimental, downtown NYC artistic heritage.
Our work with CJAM included a restorative partnership design process with 13 of The Flea's former resident artists; DEI training for our Board of Directors, Executive Leadership and Board development; and a visioning process that helped to collaboratively design The Flea's new organizational model and mission. The Flea's new mission is: To invest in experimental art by Black, Brown, and queer folks. We provide space, financial support and producing partnership so that they may develop and share their vision in community with audiences.
The Flea is committed to programs and operations that are Human centered; Anti-Racist & Anti-oppressive; Collaborative; Innovative; Sustainable; and Transparent.
The Flea has produced more than 160 world premieres in its 25-year history, earning many awards including two Obies and a Special Drama Desk. Previous Flea productions that have become part of the theatrical canon include Ellen McLaughlin's The Trojan Women, Will Eno's Oh, the Humanity, Thomas Bradshaw's Fulfillment, Edward Iskandar's The Mysteries and NSangou Njikam's Syncing Ink.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Nona Hendryx tackles social issues, love and politics with a smoky vocal tessitura somewhere between funk and the end of the stratosphere. Hendryx's legendary career spans six decades of sound and style evolution. Fans know her as a founding member of the girl group, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles (with Sarah Dash, Cindy Birdsong and Patti LaBelle), known as "the Sweethearts of the Apollo Theater" and inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame in 1999. In the 70s, the group morphed into the Rock & Funk Glam Diva's ‘Labelle' with the no. 1 record, "Lady Marmalade." Nona Hendryx emerged as the chief songwriter of the group's socially conscious and illuminating messaged songs. Hendryx then became the revolutionary art-rock, new-wave goddess embarked upon her own impressive solo career, which spanned eight studio albums and engaged her with an impressive line-up of collaborators (Prince, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Bono and Cameo), resulting in top ten hits and a Grammy nomination.
Nona is the Ambassador for Artistry in Music at Berklee College of Music in Boston and co-chair of The Flea's Board of Directors.
LaChanze won a Tony Award for her performance as Celie in The Color Purple, originated the role of Ti Moune in Once on This Island (Tony Award nomination), and upheld her commitment to artistic excellence this past season as Wiletta in Alice Childress' historic play, Trouble In Mind (Tony Award nomination). Other notable stage performances include roles in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (Tony Award nomination), A Christmas Carol, The Secret Life of Bees, If/Then, The Wiz, Ragtime, Uptown… It's Hot! and Dreamgirls.
Flea Champion LaCanze will be in attendance at this event.
Mur is a New York City based visual and performance artist with a focus in music composition. Mur has exhibited and performed solo works in collaboration with La MaMa, National Sawdust, Le Poisson Rouge, Justin Vivian Bond, Alan Cumming, Illesteva, New York Fashion Week, Nordstrom, and Soho House. Earlier this month, Mur made their debut at the Guggenheim with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Mur's original musicals include "Shopgirl The Musical," "Vagina Town The Musical," "Mary Ann (A Psychotherapy Musical)", "REQUIEM (A Musical To Mourn My Failed Marriage)," "Susan Alexandra The Musical," and "TREES The Musical." This year, Mur was featured in New York Magazine's The CUT. Follow Mur at @murnewyork
Zora Howard is a Harlem-bred writer and performer. Plays include STEW (2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist; P73), THE MASTER'S TOOLS (WTF), BUST (2022 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist), HANG TIME (2022 Creative Capital Award Finalist) and GOOD FAITH. In 2020, her film Premature (2020 Film Independent John Cassavetes Award nominee), which she co-wrote with director Rashaad Ernesto Green, opened in theaters following its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Zora is the inaugural Judith Champion Fellow at MTC, a 2022 Lilly Award and Helen Merrill Award recipient and is currently under commission from Seattle Rep, MTC, and Wessex Grove.
Jack Fuller is an artist born and raised in Harlem NYC's Sugar Hill. They studied at Harlem School of the Arts and LaGuardia High School as a vocalist, instrumentalist, actor, arranger, & songwriter. As a queer child in Harlem, adversity was no stranger. Always misunderstood, always different they reach for communication through their work- to understand their art is to understand them. The two spirited/two headed creative force has 2 albums out the latest of which is "The Build". They are currently developing a new experimental opera, Thoughts and Involuntary Mantras.
Chanon Judson joined the critically acclaimed Urban Bush Women in 2001. She has had the privilege of serving the company as rehearsal director, Director for UB2 – Urban Bush Women's performing apprentice ensemble, and now furthers her work with UBW as Co-Artistic Director and Co-Director of BOLD (Builders Organizers and Leaders through Dance). Chanon and Samantha are choreographic directors for UBW's new evening-length work, "Hair and Other Stories," in collaboration with Raelle Myrick-Hodges.
Chanon is a recipient of the APAP Leadership Fellowship Cohort II and Director's Lab Chicago Fellowship 2018. Additional credits include Taylor Mac's 24-Hour Spectacular, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Cotton Club Parade (Warren Carlyle), Prophecy Dance Company (Kwame Ross), and the Tony Award-winning musical Fela! (Bill T. Jones). Her commercial credits include Victoria's Secret Live, L'Oreal Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Apple Watch and the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert.
James Scruggs is a writer, performer, producer, teacher, speaker and arts administrator who creates large scale, topical, theatrical, multi-media work usually focused on inequity or gender politics. He is currently working with Rattlestick Theater to produce BRAVADO, a transmedia piece that will be experienced virtually, exploring viruses, mortality and 9/11. His work in progress version of A Voluptuary Life was a solo performance work about one man musing same gender loving lives across the ages. It was shown at HERE Arts Centerin March, 2019. MELT ! was a site specific, fully immersive work with actors, musicians and radical audience participation. It was commissioned and performed for one day on The High Line in NYC. His piece, 3/Fifths SupremacyLand was a "Must See" production in The NY Times; Timeout stated: "The insidious brilliance of SupremacyLand lies in the way that Scruggs, co-opts the conventions of immersive theater to deliver a powerful message." He conceived, wrote and produced the fully interactive 3/Fifths, which enlisted over 30 collaborators, 23 actors, 46 channels of video, spread over 5 performance spaces spanning over 10,000 square feet. Previous theatrical works include Touchscape, An Emotional Striptease; Tickets To Manhood and Deepest Man, an experimental work with a 3D holographic projection surface exploring freediving as a cure for grief produced by and premiered at 3LD Art &Technology Center. He is currently a Fieldwork facilitator for The Field and a Professional Development Program facilitator for Creative Capital. James Scruggs has a BFA in Film from School of Visual Arts.
DJ Jon Ali- NYC-based tastemaker Jon Ali is a longtime music journalist who has interviewed some of the best acts in music such as Lady Gaga, Robyn, JoJo, Little Mix, Dua Lipa, Jazmine Sullivan, VINCINT, and the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. He's notably known for his work in highlighting queer musicians with his monthly playlists such as Queer Necessities. Currently, Jon Ali contributes to InTheKnow.com regularly and is celebrated as a DJ in queer nightlife all around New York City.
O'Neil Scott is a Pennsylvania based representational oil painter. Captivated by portraiture and its capacity to impart complexities that comprise the human condition his work is designed to give a voice to marginalized communities. His paintings convey contemporary subject matter and look to give the viewer a way to understand and relate across social boundaries. He had his third solo show in 2022 and has been in numerous publications including Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, American Art Collector Magazine, and Artist Magazine. His work is in private collections across the United States and Internationally.
Nickolas Vaughan is a multi-hyphenate creative artist who combines visual, performing, musical and digital art to tell stories. At The Flea, he recently presented a process showing of his one-man show: Project Nick Vaughan. He is currently a producer for the upcoming documentary television series, Swiping America and HBO's Emmy Award winning series, We're Here. In 2019 his one-man show, 'Til You Make It, was selected for the TAG Solo Show Festival at The Actor's Group Studio in Los Angeles, California. As an actor, Nickolas has performed extensively in the Washington, DC area, working at prominent theaters including The Kennedy Center, Ford's Theatre, Signature Theatre and Studio Theatre, among others. Nickolas is the Co-Creative Director of Show:UP!, a pop-up, immersive ,theatrical dining experience based in New York.
Paris L'Hommie is an alien superstar, a French fashion Illustration come to life, a supermodel, a triple threat, and an amalgamation of black trans beauty, lineage, and art. Paris is known for their incredible presence and their ability to create stunning visual performing art pieces. She is also known for her unique and sultry burlesque numbers. As a rebellious artist, burlesque has been a way for her to display her black trans body for those to see in a glamorous light as opposed to how media often portrays black trans people. Paris is also the mother of the Brooklyn Drag/Art Collective Haus of Quench.
Yonatan Gebeyehu is a Brooklyn based actor/musician. Acting credits include: OFF- BROADWAY: TFANA: Timon of Athens, Bedlam Theater: Persuasion, New Georges/The Tank: I Thought I Would Die, But I Didn't. REGIONAL: Shakespeare Theater Company: Timon of Athens, Everybody, Montana Rep: Go. Please. Go, Chautauqua Theater Company: Noises Off, Romeo and Juliet, Portland Stage Company: A Christmas Carol, UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse: Revolt. She said. Revolt Again., Strange Men TV: Prodigal Son (FOX), Elementary, Madame Secretary (CBS). DIGITAL: Vineyard Theater: Lessons in Survival, Series: 86'd (Bric Arts). TRAINING: University of California San Diego: MFA in Acting.
Amara Granderson is a multidisciplinary performer last scene in her Broadway debut in the 2022 Tony-nominated revival of for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.
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