June 1 – 3
Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus presents
PARADISE: Return to Aja
Brava Theater Center
$15-45 sliding scale online
$20-45 sliding scale at the door
Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus’ 5th annual show as part of the National Queer Arts Festival blends aerial and acrobatic dance with vogue, hip hop and film all developed by a stellar cast of queer and trans performing artists of color. In PARADISE: Return to Aja, the epic journey of a fallen Angel continues as her magical world faces impending danger from an unseen force.
PARADISE is co-produced by India Davis and Indi McCasey, directed by Davis and Gabriel Christian and features Davis alongside former Cirque du Soleil performer Marshall Jarreau and Honey Mahogany from RuPaul’s drag in addition to local artists Kiebpoli Calnek, Brandon Kazen-Maddox, The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins, and Saturn Rising.
This event is sponsored by Brava Theater and Queer Cultural Center with generous support from the San Francisco Arts Council, California Arts Council, Astraea Foundation, Horizons Foundation, Left Tilt, and Dancers’ Group CA$H Grant.
India is guided by themes of multi-dimensionality, spirit, and the link between legacy, timelessness and future manifestation through the body. A trained acrobat and aerialist, India combines physical feats with dance to illustrate the breadth of her inspirations. Also skilled in moving image and theater practices, Davis has been a solo and collaborative creator of many productions including a one-woman show, a full-length queer musical, and an Afro-futuristic short film, to name a few. She is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts Professional Track program, and has been a two-time resident at the Peñasco Theater summer residency series in New Mexico. India teaches Aerial Hoop at Kinetic Arts Center, and The Mat in Oakland, as well as wildly popular weekly private pole classes for Queer and Trans People of Color and Women of Color. She is a founding member and choreographer of Body Waves, a Black Queer acrobatic dance and multidisciplinary art collective. India lives in Oakland, CA.
Indi believes in the power of the arts as a catalyst for social change. Born and raised in the South Bay Area, Indi has spent over 20 years as an educator in experiential and informal learning environments focused on public access, healthy relationships, and creative practice. They co-founded two nationally touring physical theater ensembles in addition to being a former artistic member of Wise Fool New Mexico. Indi is a former artist-in-residence at Harvard’s Project Zero and a recipient of the 2013 Endeavor Foundation for the Arts Artist Award.
A homegrown San Francisco treat, Honey Mahogany gained worldwide fame as a cast member on Season 5 of the reality television cult phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since Drag Race, Honey has been hard at work making music and making notable appearances on the theatrical stage as well as the silver screen. She was recently named San Francisco’s Best Drag Cabaret performer by the Bay Area Reporter (2016) and has become a sought after performer and emcee across the country. Honey currently hosts her own drag show and RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party at the Midnight Sun in the Castro called Mahogany Mondays.
Marshall Jarreau is a professional dancer and circus aerialist. He began his dance training in the BFA dance program at the University of Colorado in Boulder. From Colorado, he began performing around the world with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for 5 years and was also a top finalist on the first season of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. In 2010, Marshall began formal training as an aerialist at the New England Center for Circus Arts and, afterward, was featured as the Walrus character and dancer in Cirque Du Soleil’s LOVE. While in Las Vegas, he returned to school to get his certification in massage therapy and, in his spare time, took 1st place in the Men’s Divison of the 2013 Pole Expo. He is currently teaching dance, circus, and Zumba classes in the San Antonio area and performing throughout the US.
Kiebpoli “Black*Acrobat” Calnek is an actress, aerialist, and director. She is a graduate of CCNY, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and of the Actors’ Equity Association. Her works have received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astrea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. Kiebpoli is the proud founder and artistic director of Black*Acrobat, a social enterprise that seeks to empower fringe communities through the vertical world of aerial acrobatics with devised theatrical performances. Our shows tackle provocative dark subjects and re-imagine stories of the black diaspora. Fusing arts & activism by depicting what seems impossible, Black*Acrobat endeavors to educate, inspire, and sustain community (r)evolution.
Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a professional American Sign Language (ASL) interpreterandblends the linguistics of ASL, the explosive qualities of acrobatics and the technique of various styles of dance to cultivate a new form of performance art he has named American Sign Language Acrobatic Dance, or ASLAD. Brandon has performed works of ASLAD in 2014 Bay Area Deaf as well as the Black Choreographer’s Festival through his performance company, Body.Language.Productions.
The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins is a performance artist, stand up comedian, designer/seamstress/milliner, writer, burlesque sensation and organizer of note. Ms. Jenkins is the Development Associate at the Queer Cultural Center and Coordinator for the National Queer Performing Arts Summit (August 18-21.2016). From her work with The National Femme Conference, to the Mondo Homo Music Festival-Atlanta and producing her own touring and local productions, she knows her way onstage and in that crucial behind-the-scenes work.