Jamaican-Born, Brooklyn-Living, Woman-Loving, Writer/Poet, Political Activist and Performance Artist. Single Mama.
Jamaican-born Staceyann Chin is a writer and activist best known as a co-writer and original performer in Russell Simmons’ Tony Award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, for which she received a 2003 Drama Desk award. She is currently the Poet-in-Residence at The Culture Project. She has spoken and performed at universities across the country including NYU, Princeton University, Harvard University, Cornell University, Yale University, UC San Diego, and The University of the West Indies. She has also had her work featured around the world, including in Sweden, London, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, and Jamaica.
Chin’s first one-woman show, Hands Afire, ran for ten weeks in 2000 at the Bleecker Theater, where she also performed her second show, Unspeakable Things, in 2001. In 2005, her show Border/Clash opened to rave reviews from The New York Timesand ran for three months.
In 2009, Scribner published her memoir The Other Side of Paradise. Her work has also been in ESSENCE, Jane, The New York Times, The South African Times, and many other publications. Her poetry has been included in numerous anthologies, including Skyscrapers, Taxis, and Tampons, Poetry Slam, and Bullets and Butterflies. Staceyann was the recipient of the 2009 New York State Senate Special Human Rights Award, the 2008 Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality, the 2008 Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project, and the 2007 Power of the Voice Award from the Human Rights Campaign. In 2006, she was nominated for the GLAAD award for Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway and Off Broadway, and in 2007 she was selected by the Center for Women and Gender at Dartmouth College for the Visionary-in-Residence Award. In December 2015, she opened MotherStruck! at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project. The Off Broadway show was written by Staceyann and directed by Cynthia Nixon. Author of The Memoir: The Other Side Of Paradise“watch me lose my acquired manners see me run wild woman loose skin stop asking me to be still kill me if you will I intend to run circles round this tight white drawers you have put me in” – staceyann chin
Elvira Kurt, comedy legend, gay icon and freakin’ national treasure, is a multiple award-winning (Cannes Film Festival / Canadian Screen Award / Canadian Comedy Award / Toronto Fringe Festival Patron’s Pick / NOW Magazine Top 5 / World Film Fest: Gold), sold out solo show performing (Funny AF, Fearless, Homosexual Panic, Fired Up) stand-up comic and Second City veteran whose credits as star, host, guest, writer and or talent director are simply far too many to mention. Except for these: Baroness Von Sketch Show, Iron Chef Canada, The Great Canadian Baking Show, Master Chef Canada, SpinOff, Nick Night Out NYC, The Debaters, Degrassi, YTV’s The Game, Popcultured with Elvira Kurt, The Gayest Show Ever, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Ellen DeGeneres’ HBO special, Just For Laughs, Winnipeg, Halifax, Sydney and Melbourne Comedy Festivals and, of course, Elvira’s unforgettable stint on both of CBC Radio’s hit show, ‘Q’ and, ‘q’.
Bitch (from Bitch and Animal, Shortbus) is back with a new collection of songs, including an epic video for her pop single, “New Year,” released in January 2019. Armed with her unusual instrumentation of violins (acoustic and electric), key tar, ukulele and bass, Bitch’s live show combines epic dance-y tunes as well as tender, intimate, stripped-down songs.
Bitch is no stranger to the stage. As on half of the duo Bitch and Animal, she released 3 albums (including two on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records). After going solo, she put out an album via Kill Rock Stars, three on her own imprint (Short Story Records), and also starred as herself in Shortbus (the 2006 feature film from Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s John Cameron Mitchell). Bitch has collaborated with her elder and folk idol Ferron, producing two of the singer’s albums. She has co-written a song with Margaret Cho, and before starting her own career, studied fiddle with Andrew Bird.
It’s rare for an artist to bridge the divide between critical acclaim and dedicated fan engagement. Chris Pureka is a Portland-based singer-songwriter whose body of work has resonated deeply with these seemingly disparate milieus. Her bold vulnerability in processing the intimacies of her life in song has long appealed to those listeners who crave authenticity. Now, five years coming, she shares with us another powerful entry in her life’s work, her sixth release, the aptly titled, Back in the Ring.
Chris’s elegant emotionality as a vocalist, and her flair and immediacy as a lyricist have garnered her favorable comparisons to Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, and Patty Griffin. She’s earned accolades from such distinguished taste-making outlets as The New York Times, Paste, Magnet, Billboard.com, and The AllMusic Guide. She’s shared the stage with such diverse and esteemed artists as Dar Williams, The Lumineers, The Cowboy Junkies, Gregory Alan Isakov, Martin Sexton, and Ani DiFranco. Along the way, Chris has remained fiercely independent, selling nearly 50,000 albums through her own label, Sad Rabbit Records.
Chris’s journey in music mirrors her path toward self-discovery. At 16, writing songs became a way of journaling. “I was shy and introverted, and songwriting was a very personal process. I never had any intention of performing,” she shares. Post high school, she went on to complete a biology degree at Wesleyan University, and afterwards, worked in a microbiology research lab at Smith College. Meanwhile, she established a music career parallel to her biology work through touring and issuing a clutch of well-received indie releases. In 2006, when Chris found herself turning down too many opportunities as a musician, she shifted her priorities to become a full-time artist.
Her latest album, Back in the Ring, is Chris’s first studio full length since 2010’s critically acclaimed How I Learned to See in the Dark. “I’m not interested in releasing songs I can’t get behind or records I don’t love,” she says of the five-year span between albums. The title of her latest playfully suggests something of an artistic comeback, but it also references the album’s themes of relationship conflict and making the decision to fight back against dark inner demons.
“My music is the outward expression of the work I’m doing internally. What I do comes from my experiences, and I strive to express these experiences authentically. Speaking my truth, and being myself, is the way that I connect with people,” Chris confides. Her rise as an esteemed artist with captivating emotional integrity has been organic and always on her own terms. For someone who never had an intention of being a professional musician, it’s been a life of far-reaching changes and unexpected rewards.
There are no upcoming events at this time.