“Girls will be boys and boys will be girls It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world.” Lola, The Kinks
Just Like a Woman is a two-day programme for City of Women Festival 2013 of lectures, shows, readings, installations, screenings, workshops and debates looking at the performance of identity – the ways femininity can be 'performed' and representations of gender can be queered through performance.
Just Like A Woman features a dazzling array of UK based artists – women performing women, women performing men, men performing women, and artists who go beyond the limits of gender altogether. With Lois Weaver, George Chakravarthi, The Girls, Dickie Beau, Nando Messias, Lucy Hutson, Laura Bridgeman & Serge Nicholson, and David Hoyle.
Just Like A Woman is part of the Live Art Development Agency’s Restock, Rethink, Reflect 3: Live Art and Feminism initiative, mapping and marking the impact of performance on feminist histories and the contribution of artists to discourses around contemporary gender politics.
Full programme and booking details: www.cityofwomen.org
The Girls, Diamonds and Toads (2011)
Friday 11 October, 21:30 – 23:30, Alkatraz Gallery
A tableau vivant that sits somewhere between self-portraiture and performance and invokes the ill-fated heroines of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson whilst alluding to contemporary concerns of voyeurism and female objectification.
“The Girls do not speak or move. It is as though they have been trapped here for decades in these bodies, Havisham-esque, bed ridden and beginning slightly to smell… It’s a parody of feminine beauty and a metaphor for the dangers of the double edged sword of passive objectification.” Beverley Knowles, FAD, 2013
George Chakravarthi, Barflies (2002)
Saturday 12 October, 16:00 – 20:00, Aksioma – Project Space
A three-screen video installation that offers representations of the different investments in femininities embodied by Transvestites/Cross dressers: the pleasures, fears and dangers of being in public ‘en femme’ and the particular dialectic relationship they have with the heterosexual male. Unedited and filmed in real bars, pubs and clubs in real-time, Barflies follows the adventures of three distinct characteristics of feminine identities. Surveillance footage of each and the interactions they encounter reveal our perceptions, excitements and fears about indefinite gender identities.
George Chakravarthi, Andhaka (2013)
Saturday 12 October, 20:00 – 00:00, Club Tiffany – AKC Metelkova
A one-to-one performance experience of the feared divine female and deliverance. Kali, the feminine force, is the Hindu goddess of destruction and creation, and an archetype of the non-conformist female figure across many religions and cultures, including Lilith in Jewish mythology, Sheela Na Gig in Paganism and Nephthys of ancient Egypt. This new intimate and immersive durational work seeks to determine the various notions of fear and epiphany, the demise of the external with the ignition of the internal and the construct of these fierce feminine metaphors in historic, mythological and cultural manuscripts seated in the subconscious mind. A ten-minute experience for one audience member at a time.
Lois Weaver, What Tammy Found Out … About Being Femme (2013)
Friday 11 October, 18:10 – 19:10, Glej Theatre
Since the early 1980s, Lois Weaver and other ultra femmes have been making performances that celebrate the drag queen in all of us. Resisting and challenging expectations of what it means to be female, they are the women who impersonate women. Lois’s long-term partner in this is Tammy WhyNot, who took up residence in Lois’ body in the 1970s. Arriving fully formed like Venus on a Tour Bus, dressed in pink and orange chiffon, Tammy claims to be a trailer park survivor who gave up a career in country music to become a lesbian performance artist and has now become a university professor.
In this performance lecture Tammy will be offering a frontline report on her favorite subject: the importance of being femme, being seen and being seen as a femme. She will be drawing from the development of FeMUSEum, a collaborative project with Bird la Bird, Amy Lamé and Carmelita Tropicana for Performance Matters (2011) that celebrates feminine lineage and legacy, but she will also talk about what she and Lois have found out about femme visibility from over 63 years of collective research.
Nando Messias, Walking Failure (2008)
Friday 11 October, 18:00 – 18.10 Glej Theatre
Nando Messias engages with representations of effeminate men and the queer body. He explores its visibility, invisibility and hyper-visibility and connects this with the way his ‘sissy’ body has been derided, ridiculed, punished, but also celebrated. Walking Failure looks at his inability and unwillingness to ‘walk like a man’ and the potentially devastating consequences of walking with a swish.
“I want to draw attention to sissiphobic violence, to resist common misconceptions of gender misalignment and to reinvent the sissybody as glorious.” Nando Messias
Lucy Hutson, If you want bigger Yorkshire puddings you need a bigger tin (2013)
Saturday 12th October, 18:00 – 18.50, Glej Theatre
The making of this show has seen Lucy Hutson trying to live the life of a domestic goddess, a homemaker, and a mother figure as she searches for her femininity and explores conflicting emotions about her gender and gender expression. The show itself mixes the women in her family talking about ‘being a woman’ and autobiographical accounts of her life as ‘being a not-quite-woman’, with a splattering of transformation, a dancing doll, and some buttercream icing. Part of SPILL National Showcase 2013.
Dickie Beau, Lost in Trans (2013)
Saturday 12 October, 21:30 – 22:40, Old Factory Station – Elektro Ljubljana
Lost in Trans sees drag fabulist, performance phenomenon and gender disillusionist Dickie Beau continue his experiments with found sound, breathing new life into old audio and re-visioning the drag tradition of lip synching.
Continuing his shtick of using playback to 'channel' voices he sees as misplaced, misrepresented or misunderstood, Dickie 're-writes' audio artefacts, playing them back through his body to become a performing archive of the missing. Lost in Trans weaves a compelling web of words and images drawn from sources as varied as the film Paris is Burning and an audio love letter from the 1960s found on the floor of a commuter train in New Hampshire, culminating in an unorthodox revisioning of Echo, the Nymph who died of a broken heart and left only the sound of her voice behind.
“Phenomenal talent… a powerful and moving artist… breathtaking.” Time Out
Laura Bridgeman and Serge Nicholson, There Is No Word For It (The (Trans) Mangina Monologues) (2009) – A Reading
Friday 11 October – Saturday 12 October, 00:00 – 02:00 Menza Pri Koritu – AKC Metelkova
There Is No Word For It is a performance and publication project about the UK female to male transgender experience based on real life stories.
Inspired by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, which uses verbatim theatre to uncover taboos around female sexuality, sex and empowerment, and Calpernia Adams’ Beautiful Daughters exploring the trans female experience, There Is No Word For It unlocks histories that have never been told to explore sexuality, daily life, and finding a new language for… ‘It’ (not just our original & post-surgical plumbing but much more).
Written by Laura Bridgeman and Serge Nicholson. Directed by Lois Weaver. Visuals by Simon Croft.
Girls On Film
Friday 11 October, 22:30 – 00:00, Menza Pri Koritu – AKC Metelkova
A selection of performance documentation, performances to camera and other films curated and introduced by Aaron Wright of LADA including: Oreet Ashery, Nao Bustamante, Aleks Wojtulewicz, The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein, Harold Offeh, Qasim Riza Shaheen, Christeene, Vaginal Davis, Ursula Martinez and many more. Watch the documentation in our Study Room.
Nando Messias, Walking Workshop (2013)
Friday 11 October, 14:00 – 15:30, Klub Tiffany- AKC Metelkova
A physical exploration of gendered social codes in which participants are invited to consider, experience and experiment with ideas of masculine and feminine walking.
The workshop is for up to twenty participants, who will be expected to have some experience in movement.
The Long Table
Saturday 12 October, 14:00 – 16.00, Museum of Contemporary Arts Metelkova
Lois Weaver will host one of her celebrated Long Table events in an open invitation to all to discuss a range of issues about the performance of gender raised by the Just Like A Woman programme. Inspired by Marleen Gorris’ film Antonia's Line, The Long Table is an experimental open public forum that is a hybrid performance-installation-roundtable-discussion-dinner party designed to facilitate dialogue through the gathering together of people with common interests.
Gender Trouble with David Hoyle
Saturday 12 October, 23:00, Club Gromka – AKC Metelkova
The sensational David Hoyle presents a late night cabaret come chat show with artists from the Just Like A Woman programme and special local guests. Expect polemic, pathos, provocative politicking and high comedy.
“He is raw, sometimes a bit frightening, but also thrilling in his look-no-hands recklessness.” The Guardian
“There is nothing quite like it: bold and unique, electrifying and disarmingly humane.” Time Out
Banner image credit:
Lois Weaver, What Tammy Found Out … About Being Femme. Image: Christa Holka
Marking the impact of performance on feminist histories and contemporary gender politics
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Online Exhibition on Google Cultural InstituteRead more
A Long Table on Live Art and Feminism hosted by Lois WeaverRead more
Performance by Liz Aggiss followed by a conversation and screening of seminal works by older women artistsRead more
The Agency celebrated its tenth anniversary through a special series of projects.Read more