JVP Web Gallery Launches

Today the Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council Web Gallery site launched, after about a year of planning and design. This gallery site is a project created by members of the JVP Artist Council, intended to house an evolving archive of creative and cultural work relevant to JVP’s mission and goals. We intend these galleries to offer resources and tools for inspiration, reflection, education, and to document some of the different strategies and experiments created by artists and cultural workers in the JVP network. The galleries will be created by members of the Artist Council and by guest curators from allied organizations and social justice movements.

Defiant Archives

“Defiant Archives: Trans Histories of Existence, Resistance, and Brilliance” exhibit shares a collection of archival and personal items with a focus on the history of transgender activism in Philadelphia, curated and collected by local trans community members. Visitors will be able to watch a collection of oral history videos shared by the Trans Oral History Project, as well as the short documentary video “Transpass” about the work of Riders Against Gender Exclusion, a local activist group who won the fight to end SEPTA’s use of gendered stickers in 2013. The exhibit also invites participation, as visitors are welcomed to share their own histories on a timeline stretching from 1965 to 2015.

The Defiant Archives exhibit responds to a missing piece in the Reminder 2015 celebration. Before, during, and after the Annual Reminder Day protests (1965-69) demanded gender conformity from participants, transgender and gender nonconforming activists have mobilized for sexual and gender self-determination, social transformation, and collective liberation.

The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Charlene Arcila-Ecks.

An opening event on July 24th featured performances by Icon Ebony Fierce and legendary drag performer Les Harrison.

The full exhibit runs from July 24-September 20, and is accessible during the Center’s open hours:
MON – FRI 11am – 10pm
SAT – SUN 12pm – 5pm

G Philly: William Way Community Center Opening Trans Philadelphia Exhibit.
PGN: Acts of Defiance: Trans history on display in new exhibit.
Newsworks: In celebrating Philly LGBT history, the ‘T’ is silent — and that’s not all.

Fundraising for Direct Action: a Case Study

“Fundraising for direct action and legal defense: a case study of the 2000 RNC protests” by myself and Kris Hermes is now online at Interface: a journal for and about social movements (Volume 7 issue 1).

Click to download the article as a free PDF.

“The fundraising experience during and after the RNC 2000 protests was trial by fire. Once the crisis of mass arrests hit the national media, our capacity to fundraise was enormous. With money coming in from all over and so quickly, it was more successful than any other fundraising effort we had been a part of, and all involved were swept into a steep learning curve. We tried our hardest under tremendous pressure, and looking back we recognize that we desperately needed more structured accountability and more guidance. And still, the results were extraordinary: we got all of our people out of jail, and kept them out. We share this story with hopes for the same results for all who organize for direct action and legal defense!”

Public History Adventures

I’m co-organizing this “Defiant Archives” exhibit:

The John J. Wilcox Archives will host an exhibit titled Defiant Archives: Trans Histories of Existence, Resistance, and Brilliance from July-September 2015, with a focus on the history of Philadelphia trans activism. All transgender and gender nonconforming community members are invited to join the curation process by attending workshops which will offer participants an overview of the trans history in the archives, and invite each participant to choose a piece from the Center’s archives to exhibit in the show, or to bring a piece of their own trans history to share in the exhibit.

This exhibit responds to a missing piece in the upcoming Reminder 2015 celebration. Before, during, and after the Annual Reminder Day protests (1965-69) which demanded gender conformity from participants, transgender and gender nonconforming activists have mobilized for sexual and gender self-determination, and for liberation without assimilation.

The co-curators will be attending the April 10th Telling Untold Histories Public History Unconference at Rutgers Camden, and presenting at the April 22nd Public History Community Forum sponsored by the Center for Public History at Temple University and Rutgers Camden

Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects


The Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA) at ONE Archives
March 21 – July 11, 2015

 PHOTOS: Your 99 Transgender History Lessons

I’m so excited to be part of this exhibit, contributing a short piece of writing inspired by the brilliant work of artist Nicki Green.

Organized by the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, or MOTHA, Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects examines objects that hold significance in narrating the history of transgender communities. The project blurs the line between the real and the imaginary, the known and the unknowable, giving visibility to actual people and events that remain foundational for transgender history while embracing partial facts, rumors, and maybes.Read More

Recipient of 2014 Leeway Transformation Award!

Leeway Foundation Announces 2014 Transformation Awards

Nine women and trans* artists representing three counties in the Greater Philadelphia area have been named 2014 Leeway Transformation Awardees, the foundation announced today.

The Awards are granted annually to artists who have demonstrated a practice of art and social change for five years or more. The 2014 awards were presented to a diverse group of artists and cultural producers working in a range of disciplines including literary, media and performance arts.

“In our ninth cycle of the Transformation Award, the brilliant women and trans* award recipients we have supported are doing crucial work at a critical time,” says Program Director, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem. “In the midst of bleak times, they are creating art and impacting communities in innovative and purposeful ways. They each guide us towards the world we want to see.” Read More… 

TLA Anthology is out – including my article!

Featured imageMy article “Zamlers, Tricksters, and Queers: Re-Mixing Histories in Yiddishland and Faerieland” is included in the new anthology Transformative Language Arts in Action, from Rowman & Littlefield!

Transformative Language Arts, an emerging field and profession, calls on us to use writing, storytelling, theater, music, expressive and other arts for social change, personal growth, and culture shift. In this landmark anthology, Transformative Language Artists share their stories, scholarship and practices for a more just and peaceful world, from a Hmong storyteller and spoken word artist weaving traditions with contemporary immigrant challenges in Philadelphia, to a playwright raising awareness of AIDS/HIV prevention.

Read the stories, consider the questions raised, and find inspiration and tools in using words as a vehicle for transformation through essays on the challenge of dominant stories, public housing women writing for their lives, histories and communities at the margins, singing as political action, the convergence of theology and poetics, women’s self-leadership, embodied writing, and healing the self, others, and nature through TLA.

The anthology also includes “snapshots,” short features on transformative language artists who make their livings and lives working with people of all ages and backgrounds to speak their truths, and change their communities.


I’m singing a very tender love song (one of my most favorites, “What More Can I Say” from Falsettoland by William Finn) in this 934875_308564332679267_3420022179286076476_nupcoming cabaret!

CABARET VÉRITÉ takes the stage at The Ethical Society Building, 1906
Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, on Saturday, November 29 at 9:00 pm.

Hosted by Tom Wilson Weinberg and Andrew Crowley, CABARET VÉRITÉ also features the super-talented Philadelphia-based musicians Kathryn Bezella, V. Shayne Frederick, Alexander Kacala, Ezra Berkley Nepon, Lexi Schreiber, Dena Underwood and
Ibrahim Vicks.

Haunted Sukkah at Klez Kanada

Video highlights from the haunted sukkah we created at Klez Kanada 2014 in Jenny Romaine’s Theater Workshop! The references come from “Mayse Tishovits” by IB Singer, “Monish” by Peretz, The Last Dance of Ghenghis Cohn by Romaine Gary, and ideas about indigeneity by Thompson Highway. Also, the ethnographic expeditions and questions of Sh. Ansky and the research of Prof. Agi Legutko. Jenny Romaine and friends will next present the Haunted Suke at YIVO’s Yiddish open mic, Oct 14 in NYC.