The Queens Theatre will be holding free virtual events on Thursday nights in June and July honoring the legacy of Stonewall, the 1960s uprising that led to the gay liberation movement.
The virtual shows will be led by LGBTQIA+ artists who will share art and experiences and create a safe space for conversations about the Stonewall riots.
After time in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers felt that holding these events was necessary.
“Queer art and queer spaces have been threatened and diminished during the time of COVID,” Queens Theatre’s Director of Community Engagement Dominic D’Andrea said. “Holding space for queer art and uplifting the artists is essential right now.”
The Stonewall Legacy Project includes five free events every Thursday at 7 p.m. from June 17 to July 15. Each event will include a discussion with the artist after their show.
Guests can RSVP tickets for each event at queenstheatre.org/the-stonewall-legacy-project.
Ava Davis, a Black trans artist and activist, said that queer space has always been important, but is more so now coming out of isolation.
“We need these safe spaces for healing, for growing, for reconnecting, and for creating amongst those with whom we share similar queer experiences,” Davis said. “At the start of the pandemic, I consoled myself with the fact that there would be an explosion of creativity once we started to return, and we are beginning to see that, and it is beautiful.”
On Thursday, June 17, Davis will showcase her film, “The Duchess of Grant Park,” a story about finding your purpose in life.
“The Duchess of Grant Park pays homage to Marsha P. Johnson’s lasting work (after throwing that first brick) with STAR and the support of queer homeless youth,” Davis said. “The support of LGBTQ youth has become my own life’s mission, as Her Grace, the Duchess of Grant Park.”
The Stonewall Legacy Digital Drag Project on Thursday, June 24, will include a 90-minute drag performance featuring Wanda Whatever, Prinx Silver, Vagenesis, Nancy Nogood, Boudoir LeFleur and China Moon. The video shows filmed performances created during COVID-19 isolation.
“For many queer people, including drag artists, these venues are not only financial lifelines, but lifelines of mental health, community, being seen, feeling validated,” said Jordan Stovall, also known as Wanda Whatever. “The very art of drag shows others out there that they are not alone.”
“Invisibility: A Journey of Pasta, Prayer, Protest & Peru” on July 1 will showcase a live Zoom solo from Richard Cardillo. This show takes viewers through Cardillo’s childhood growing up in an Italian-American family and his experience coming out as a gay man.
Cardillo also sees the urgency in reviving spaces for queer artists and voices.
“As we have seen more isolation than ever, it is incumbent on queer artists to re-ignite the spirit of Stonewall, recommit to elevating the voices of our queer family, and give witness to the power that our queer community possesses,” Cardillo said. “My sincere hope is that ‘Invisibility’ can be a catalyst for increased visibility and the celebration of ourselves.”
Second Helping on July 8 will feature Kelly Dunham, and the last event on July 15 will showcase award-winning Queer Latinx short films.
For more details and social media information about presenters, visit Queens Theatre’s website.