20 RUE JACOB: Années Folles
Directors and Producers: Charli Brissey & Courtney Harris
Assistant Producer: Sarah Greenbaum
June 30 & July 1, 2017
ReCreative Spaces // Washington DC
Illinois and Virginia-based artists and curators, Charli Brissey and Courtney Harris, present 20 Rue Jacob: Années Folles, a mobile immersive queer art salon that integrates live performance through dance, drag, readings, music, and philosophy. Premiered in Richmond in 2015, the event develops in and through the communities that it engages, building upon location-specific partnerships and spaces, while also inviting discourse into a dynamic understanding of “queerness.” 20 Rue Jacob’s next iteration is rooted in the history and politics of the nation’s capitol, specifically curated to invite the voices of DC-based and east coast artists. Engaged with themes regarding the relationship between the legislation of bodies and economic currency at the expense of disenfranchised groups, each performer reveals individual disruptions to the current social, cultural, and political project of American civilization. The project asks: In what ways can collective interrogation that is situated inside of queer spaces make visible the myth of American democracy? Thus, 20 Rue Jacob: Années Folles is a series of divertissement performances that culminates as protest, responding to mandated and sanctioned acts of oppression, while also celebrating the resilience of queer joy as a radical act of resistance.
Matthew Cumbie and Dance Exchange
20 RUE JACOB: The Original
Inspired by the life and work of early twentieth century painter Romaine Brooks, 20 Rue Jacob reimagines the famous queer salons of the Left Bank of Paris through contemporary dance, video and sound installations, sculpture, poetry and literary writings, burleqsue, and immersive theater. Romaine Brooks, an American ex-patriot referred to in texts as both a lesbian and bisexual, was a painter most famous for her androgynous portraitures of lesbians, masculine women, and female dandies. Her paintings not only reveal non-normative qualities of gender performance and identity that are substantial in present Western culture, but expose traces of the underground lifestyle of these rogue women, like Gertrude Stein, Una Troubridge, Radclyffe Hall, Colette, Natalie Barney, and Ida Rubenstein. Transgressing the social mandates of their time through self-actualized utopias, these women met secretly in private bars and homes, making deliberate choices to dress, flirt, and act in rebellion to the social mores of their time. Brooks' ability to capture and memorialize some of these individuals serves as the driving motivation for this piece, as well as archetypes for the cast of performers. Accordingly, this project aims to recognize and honor queer voices of the past, while re-contextualizing their sexuality and gender through the lens of current migratory identities.
DESIGN & PERFORMANCE COLLABORATORS:
Michael J. Morris
Christina Carlotti Kolb