Beyond “Diversity”: a conversation among artists, activists and neighbors about the dreams, divisions and direction of Jackson Heights
Saturday October 25, 2014, 5 to 7 pm, Queens Pride House, 76-11 37th Ave #206, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. Beyond “Diversity” was made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Ranging from a superficial buzzword to a valued concept, the word “diversity” represents complex dynamics in Jackson Heights that aren’t always voiced, involving core social issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age, and physicality. Diversity is a factor in how Jackson Heights residents understand themselves and “others”, conduct their daily lives, and share space. With recent economic changes, Jackson Heights’ accessibility to immigrant populations and its affordability to working New Yorkers have been altered.
Nancy Agabian read a personal essay observing the neighborhood’s diversity in culture as reflected in its historical housing stock. Writer/organizer Amy Paul read a story about a dinner party filled with political tensions. Artist/advocates Beatriz Gil and Carlos Martinez of Hibridos Collective revealed the results of their Jackson Heights DiverCity Map, which asks newcomers and long-time residents to participate in the creation of an asset and resource map. Pauline Park, acting executive director of Queens Pride House will share the results of her DiverCity mapmaking activities through her photo-essays.
Read the preview article in the Queens Tribune here.
“Cultural Consonance: A reading of cross-cultural literature between Queens and the world”
Greater Astoria Historical Society, Astoria, Queens, June 30, 2012. Funded in part by the Queens Council on the Arts and Poets & Writers Inc, with public funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. With Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran, Joseph O. Legaspi, Margarita Soto and Sweta Srivastava Vikram.
Five diverse writers whose work is centered in Queens, NYC and one other location, consider how words can express the experience of traversing worlds. Reading fiction, poetry and nonfiction that crosses borders, cultures and ideologies, they also discussed their experience of incorporating history — personal, cultural, and/or geographical — as part of the writing process.
“Family Returning Blows”
Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan, Italy. January 10, 2011.
“Family Returning Blows” is a solo performance about domestic violence which combines personal narratives, news reports, Facebook images and Armenian idioms to explore the power dynamics among genders and within the world order. Taking place between New York City and Yerevan, between the private and the public, between male and female, a story simultaneously evolves and destructs. Writer/performer Nancy Agabian creates an insular world with movement, voice, projected images, and homemade props to investigate intimacy — sexual, technological, and familial — and finds meaning in tinderboxes of violence, from the upstairs neighbors to presidential policies.
Photos: Marco Carloni.
“Water and Wine”
January 13, 2009. Theatre St. Gervais, Geneva, Switzerland. With Anne-Shlomit Deonna.
Dealing specifically with the refusal of the Armenian Apostolic Church to ordain female priests, “Water and Wine” is composed of narratives of maternal history, memories of experiences in the Church, snippets of conversations with members of the Armenian-American community, and self invented rituals, including cross-dressing.
Photo credit: Utopiana
WANT. Glaxa Studios, Silverlake, CA, 1997
A solo performance on the intersecting manifestations of desire, spirituality and family.
Photo credit: Jack Gould
Guitar Boy ca. 1999 Guitar Boy ca. 1998
Hundreds of people watch Guitar Boy at “A Wonder Cabinet”, curated by Remsen Bird Artist in Residence Lawrence Weschler, in Thorne Hall at Occidental College on Saturday, April 24, 2010. (Photo by Marc Campos, Occidental College Photographer)