My MA thesis is complete! Fancy title: “Unleashing Power in Yiddishland and Faerieland: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience.” Want to read it? Here’s a link to the PDF that’s password-protected – let me know if you’d like to access it. (ezra dot nepon at gmail)
Here’s the abstract:
This research identifies transformative theatrical strategies in the work of two contemporary radical theater artists: a troupe of queer satirists from rural Tennessee called The Eggplant Faerie Players, and New Yiddish Theater-maker Jenny Romaine of New York City. Through oral history interviews, archival research, observer-participation, and in the context of their shared era, this study identifies and explores strategies that are common to both artists: Rehearsing Resistance, Re-Mixing History, and Dazzle Camouflage. Referencing Gloria Anzaldúa’s theory of “borderlands,” this work uses Yiddishland and Faerieland as frameworks that acknowledge the material and metaphorical spaces that are conjured through folk arts and culture. This thesis contributes creative new stories, ideas, insights, and critical analysis. It will benefit a wide community of historians, theater artists, culture-makers, and social justice activists who work to build resilience and resistance, toward personal and social transformation.
I’m speaking on a panel at this upcoming conference:
Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues: Dilemmas of the Nonprofit Tradition in LGBT Politics
October 4-5, 2013
Jerome Greene Hall, Columbia Law School
Panel Description: Funding the Unpopular: Innovative Models of Funding Social Justice.
Funding work that is with populations not in the mainstream or that are marginalized and stigmatized in multiple ways remains a challenge. Activists and organizers have to use creative strategies to address this dynamic. What innovative approaches to fundraising have been attempted by groups working with such populations? Do online and grassroots fundraising strategies offer hope to LGBT movement organizations?
Moderator: Dean Spade, Columbia Law School.
Presenters: Andre Banks, ALL OUT; Ezra Berkley Nepon, Writer and Fundraising Consultant; Andrea Ritchie, Streetwise & Safe; Shira Hassan, Consultant and former director, Young Women’s Empowerment Project.
Updating to add link to recordings of the many panels: https://echo.law.columbia.edu:8443/ess/portal/section/c5c7d5ae-4bd9-4afc-94a1-42bc07c889a6
In 2007, the members of Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) formed a committee to
investigate how to add new dimensions to SRLP’s membership structure. We aimed to
intentionally create more points of entry for community members whose ongoing
experiences of state violence, poverty, ableism, racism, and transphobia produced
obstacles for them to consistently participate in community organizations. We set out to
learn the following:
- What are other organizations doing to build and sustain their membership models?
- How can we create organizational models that build skills and leadership within community members?
- What organizational models support grassroots fundraising of organizations?
- How might we best utilize ally energy?
- How can we address the common obstacles that come up in doing radical work to fight oppression while also facing oppression?
The result is From the Bottom Up: Strategies and Practices for Membership-Based Organizations. I was honored to work on this project as a staff and collective member of SRLP, and very excited that it is now available for public distribution. Please share!
Very excited that I received a $350 grant from Feyboy Arts Grants for a Queerer Tomorrow to digitize VHS and Hi-8 movies of Eggplant Faerie Player shows and other events from Idyll Dandy Arts (IDA). The theme of the grant funding cycle was “Through the Past, A Queerer Tomorrow, Today” and they gave away a total of $1,810. What a fabulous example of queer collective resourcefulness! I’m especially honored to be a co-grantee with Tommy Avicoli Mecca, author of Smash the Church, Smash the State! The Early Years of Gay Liberation.
This round of grants was dedicated to Larry Mitchell, author of The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions.
Thank you to the Leeway Foundation for including me in their Featured Artist video series – what an awesome group of Philly artists committed to social justice!
World-traveling child star Little Orphan Gender Revolutionary Annie is getting ready to frolic at the Amsterdam Transgender Film Festival: Transcreen on May 10th and the Translations/Seattle Transgender Film Festival on May 11th!
Jewish Voice for Peace will use my book for a reading/discussion group at their upcoming Northeast Regional Leadership Development Institute. I will attend the institute Nov 16-18th to lead a conversation about the book. Thanks, JVP – can’t wait to dig in together!
This weekend – the Transformative Language Arts Network‘s annual conference called “The Power of Words,” in which TLA practitioners, teachers, and those interested in exploring, all gather to explore how we can use our words — written, spoken or sung — to make community, deepen healing, witness one another, wake ourselves up, and foster empowerment and transformation. (more info here)
Leeway Foundation is offering a special workshop led by Ezra Berkley Nepon (ACG ’07) and Yaba Amgborale Blay (ACG ’10) on September 30, 2:00pm-4:30pm in our office (1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832). Venue is wheelchair accessible. ASL interpretation provided by request.
This workshop is FREE but pre-registration is required. RSVP here.