Helix Queer Performance Network

The Helix Queer Performance Network is a collaboration between La MaMa Experimental Theater ClubBAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, seeking to nurture emerging queer performers, unite diverse queer communities, and celebrate the legacy and lineage of queer performance in New York City. Through educational initiatives, innovative stage productions and challenging public conversations that prioritize diversity across age, race, class and gender, Helix aims to foster an inter-generational, multi-racial, multi-gender performance community where artists can document a broad spectrum of queer experience in the context of a rich artistic history.


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Helix Programs

Each of Helix’s three partner institutions hosts an HQPN flagship program, directed by performance artist Dan Fishback. With La MaMa, we present La MaMa’s SQUIRTS, a series that showcases emerging performers, with guest appearances by legends of the queer performance world. With BAX, we run NEEDING IT: Performance & Queer Community, an eight-week workshop in which students create their own original pieces while studying the history of queer performance in NYC. And with the Hemispheric Institute, we offer an Artist Residency and curate an ongoing series of Long Table discussions, using Lois Weaver’s template of informal conversation to generate dynamic new ideas to improve our communities, and to answer the perennial question, “What does queer performance want?”

Why Helix?

The word helix implies the double-helix of DNA, and while many seek to define queerness in terms of genetics, the Helix Queer Performance Network is much more interested in new forms of lineage -- queer forms of lineage.  We are interested in the artistic and cultural legacy that young queer people inherit from their elders, and in the revolutionary ideas that our youth can contribute to a rich tradition.  The Helix is a curved line, moving forward but always twisting; and this is how we see queer culture -- always careening into the future, but not in a straight line.  It spirals around a center that it never reaches.  The Helix Queer Performance Network is committed to celebrating the radical, unique ways in which we relate to and learn from each other, and seeks to articulate these relationships with a mix of new and old language, new and old ideas, and new and old wisdom.

Our Inaugural Long Table Conversation:

Race & the Colonial Impulse: Queer Performance Practices with Performance Artists Dan Fishback and M. Lamar

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 7 – 9pm

Performance artists M. Lamar and Dan Fishback host a Long Table conversation reflecting on the contributions of people of color (POC) in various queer performance communities, and examining the presentation of those performance practices. This discussion will explore ways in which the colonial impulse may exist in queer artists and presenters alike. From the appropriation of queer POC by white queer culture, to racially exclusive booking practices, to why queer people of color are exploited for artistic innovation but unrewarded within predominantly white institutions, this discussion will also explore how POC are empowering themselves outside of these institutions. Whose legacies are whose to claim in terms of appropriation or influence?  How can arts institutions better support queer artists of color? How can NYC's queer arts landscape become more integrated while maintaining the integrity of safe POC space and avoiding easy traps of tokenization and orientalization? Conceived by performance artist Lois Weaver, The Long Table format experiments with participation and public engagement by re-appropriating a dinner table atmosphere as a public forum, and encouraging informal conversations on serious topics. It is literally a very long table set up with chairs, where anyone and everyone is welcome to come to the table, ask questions, make statements, leave comments, or simply sit, listen and watch.

Joining our conversation will be Susana Cook, Arthur Aviles, Juliana Huxtable, Kia Labeija, V.S. Tobar, Erica Caldwell, and more...

icon Hemi NY: Long Table Etiquette (348.95 kB)

Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10003

This event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings.


The Helix Queer Performance Network was developed out of the Hemispheric New York Performance Network (HNYPN), a cross-institutional collaboration made possible in 2012-2013 by the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund. The success of the relationships forged between the three organizations allowed for further innovation and to the organic continuation of our work together.