Opentoe Peepshow #19: Rudy Ramirez, Leah James, Mars Hobrecker, Candice Iloh, Mariam B., and Alejandro Rodriguez

leahandmarsLeah James and Mars Hobrecker are transgender artists who use performance to explore the concepts of family and radical marriage. They incorporate ritual and healing into their works, which take instruments that have historically been used by institutions to dissect and quantify to instead create bonds that will bring queer bodies closer together, and test the limits of the physical form. They are currently learning how to inhabit their bodies and earning their BFAs at the School of Visual Arts.

leah1Leah James II is a photographic, video, and performance artist based in New York City. Her work is primarily focused on the importance of representation, as well as the deconstruction and disillusionment of societal concepts. Her still works function as a type of mark making which often refer back to and attempt to rewrite history. Meanwhile her video and performance work, like puzzle pieces, fill in the blanks to speak about the contemporary complexities of her experiences and identity as a trans woman.

rudyrRUDY RAMIREZ is a director, writer and performer living in Austin, Texas. He is Associate Artistic Director of The VORTEX Repertory Company and has directed for the Austin Bike Zoo, Sky Candy Aerial Theatre, Shrewd Productions and The University of Texas at Austin. As of about noon on Tuesday, Oct 28th he became a paid New York theatre director after receiving $5 from the Lark. He has written two full length autobiographical performances–Promised Land: A Radical Queer Revival and Footnotes for People Who Don’t Speak Spanish–and has created two devised pieces on topics ranging from queerness and Greek mythology (Sing Muse) to astrophysics and pasta (Cosmicomics). He is about to begin work on his third devised show, Emma When You Need Her, which will connect the life of anarchist and feminist revolutionary Emma Goldman to the work of activists today.

candice-MXPark HSCandice Iloh is an emerging writer, poet, and artist educator now residing in Brooklyn, New York. She is a 2009 National Underground Spoken Word & Poetry Award Best Book nominee for her first release, Catalyst, and a Voices of our Nation Arts Foundation alum, where she studied poetry under Ruth Forman at the University of Berkeley in California. She is published in various arts magazines such as Insight Magazine and Blackberry Magazine. Candice released her third independent collection of poems, Break Fast From Her Skin, in August of this year. When not writing or facilitating workshops with youth, she dances. 
mariam open toeMariam Bazeed is an Egyptian living in Brooklyn, which is > an English man in New York. She has been trying to leave the country since they changed the dictionary definition of the word “literally” to mean both “literally” and “figuratively,” and is now accepting international job offers. She blogs occasionally at, has been an almost-not-quite recipient of enough writer’s residencies and fellowships that you should definitely be impressed and buy her a drink, and is a singer of classical Arabic music from the era when things were last good.

QuesaAlejandro Rodríguez AKA Lady Quesa’Dilla  — Alejandro is a native Tejan@ from the El Paso and Ciudad Juárez border. Their work is at the intersection of cultural identity, drag, and community. “The Brown Queen,” an autobiographical solo performance about growing up queer in the southwest, premiered at HERE Arts Center in the spring of 2010. Most recent solo performances include “My Tia Lupe” and “The Faggot in the Pink House”. Alejandro has performed in New York City, El Paso, Texas, Chiapas, Mexico, and Montreal, Canada. Alejandro is a member of The  House of Bushwig, as Lady Quesa’Dilla, duties include Volunteer Coordinator for the annual Bushwig Festival. Lady Quesa’Dilla is the reigning Miss Coney Island Queen of Drag.

Alejandro can also be found as an Information and Referral Specialist at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan; and as a Teaching Artist in The Bronx and Brooklyn. Alejandro holds a BA in Theater from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, and a MA in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and is an alum of The Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics.

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