Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DANCIN' FEATS Nora Sharp on their work, 'Small Boobs'
by Joanna Furnans
2018-05-30

This article shared 2688 times since Wed May 30, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


"Sometimes I'm just sitting in the barber shop reading GQ Magazine and I'm really into it," said Nora Sharp in a recent interview with Windy City Times. "I look at myself looking at Armie Hammer and it's the whole 'do I want you or want to be you?' thing" Sharp said with a smile.

Many of us have had similar moments in our journey toward a queer sense-of-self but to fully appreciate the humorous complexity of this remark, it would be wise to attend the premiere of Sharp's latest dance/performance, entitled Small Boobs, at Links Hall opening tomorrow night. Sharp—who ascribes to a "dealers choice" use of pronouns ( Windy City Times using "they/their" )— has been cultivating a solo performance practice over the last couple of years that is a hybrid of open-mic-style comedy, karaoke, cabaret and contemporary dance. Let's just say the genre is as perfectly queer as Sharp is.

The themes that they have been ruminating on for Small Boobs have to do with a connection between one's desire to understand and claim a gender identity—and how difficult that can be—and the desire to find and sustain an intimate relationship. Sharp's exploration is about the similarities of those struggles and the question of one's safety—given the vulnerability of desire— along the way.

"I feel like people suffer in similar ways when we strive to accomplish this thing that is gender and when we strive to accomplish this thing that is attachment and relationship. Especially when the possibility of finding security or safety gets wrapped up in the striving for that thing. And when that gets mixed up with desire, it just gets really crazy" Sharp explained.

This thesis is both profound and simple. Perhaps that's why it can be kind of funny. There is also a through-line of failure woven into this narrative that lends itself to a relatable and self-deprecating sense of humor. After all, how many of us have tried and failed, at some point in our lives, to live up to hetero-normative standards both in relationship and in gender presentation? And how many of us have laughed and cried along the way?

"For a long time in my life I was trying to date men" Sharp explained. "And that feels conflated for me, in retrospect, with this understanding that I would be 'okay' if some dude loved me. That was something I learned before I was even conscious practically. But at some point I was like, 'Oh, I'm gay. This is amazing!' I was always failing at getting this thing to work out and then I realized that I didn't even want it. Great!" Sharp said with a laugh.

"But then I realized that it wasn't just about being gay. I mean, news flash: gender and sexuality are not the same thing! I noticed," Sharp continued, "that femininity and femaleness was also a space where I felt not only like a failure, but also unsafe. And I've sort of found myself at this masc end of what we now realize is a socialized spectrum anyway. I feel better being there. Like 'the sculpture has reveled itself out of the stone' or something like that."

Then there's the title of the work. "Boobs are this manifestation of femininity that I don't have much to show for and it just feels like this really humorous and literal representation of my feeling of failure over something I'm not sure I ever wanted in the first place. Whether I wanted it or not, this is what I got. So what are we going to do with it?"

"Also, LOL. [Note: Sharp actually said "LOL."] It's awesome to have a show called 'Small Boobs.'"

"I think," Sharp added, "that feelings around how we want to be seen, how we want to present and who we want to be are messy and contradictory and complicated. When you look at that it's quite fascinating… I'm interested in reaching into whatever's digestible and turning it inside out to see all the other complicated stuff. Its kinda fun to look at the complicated messiness of it."

Sometimes the ambiguity and "messiness" of these themes is best expressed in abstract forms like dance and contemporary performance. These genres lend themselves to a multiplicity of meaning as the rules on stage bend at the will of their creator, especially when the creator is talented. Seemingly concrete objects like pieces of clothing, cable cords and microphones take on new significance from the gaze of a queer imagination. The logic of Sharp's world in "Small Boobs" makes sense from their point of view and it will resonate with audiences if we allow ourselves to see the art as we would a queer identity: with creative minds and expansive hearts. That said, die-hard dance/performance lovers should feel equally impressed with this work as Sharp is a mature and nuanced performer toggling seamlessly between improvised comedy, music, and movement.

But Sharp is not really interested in abstract pretension or becoming a master at 'the form.' "I'm doing this thing and I've got some deep feels about it but I'm also not trying to force grandiosity. … I have an impatience with preciousness while also holding the fact that we are making performance because there is a lot of real stuff that we want to be dealing with" Sharp said.

A community-minded ethos is central to their creative process and performance ideology. And like many artists, Sharp questions the necessity and value of the art form altogether given our current state of political and cultural affairs.

"I think that creative process spaces and creative communities are really fruitful places for researching the human experience and to practice building the world we want to live in… I want to be in spaces with people where you practice active listening and non-violent communication and talk about the shit we are dealing with outside the studio and also maybe move and sing together. Who cares if we make a cool looking dance in the end?"

Join this creative community during the Co-MISSION Festival of New Works by Nora Sharp, A.J. McClenon, Sojourner Zenobia and Courtney Mackedanz at Links Hall ( 3111 N. Western Ave. ) this Thursday-Sunday ( May 31-June 3 ) at 7 p.m. For tickets and festival schedule, visit LinksHall.org .


This article shared 2688 times since Wed May 30, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Quigley commends progress in FDA LGBTQI+ blood donation draft guidance
2023-01-27
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, released the following statement commending long-awaited updates to the FDA's blood donation guidance for LGBTQI+ ...


Gay News

Des Plaines Theater cancels anti-LGBTQ hate group event after outcry from citizens
2023-01-20
DuPage County-based Awake Illinois was set to hold an event called "Out of the Echo Chamber: Coalition for Kids" at the city-owned, but not city-operated, Des Plaines Theatre Wednesday, Feb. 8. This event has now been ...


Gay News

Theater Review: tick, tick...BOOM!
2023-01-19
One of the wonders of live theater is that old works can be revived and reinterpreted to respond to changes in culture and society. Often a new directorial approach can make tried-and-true material feel fresh and ...


Gay News

Theater Review: Princess Ivona is a dark but comic portrait of power
2023-01-19
Playwright: Witold Gombrowicz. At: Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland St. Tickets: 773-384-0494 or www.trapdoortheatre.com; $25 (two-for-one admission Thursdays) Runs through Feb. 18 Trap Door Theatre is now tackling the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Indigo Girls, LGBTQ+ films, GALECA nods, Jeremy Pope
2023-01-15
Indigo Girls will perform at an opening-night celebration for the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19 in Park City, Utah, Variety reported. The Grammy-winning lesbian folk-rock duo are debuting their new documentary, It's Only Life After All, ...


Gay News

Jordan Vasquez treats Chicago to Fosse's Chicago
2023-01-12
Actor and openly gay performer Jordan Vasquez, an Illinois native now living in New York City, is giving Chicago audiences "the old razzle dazzle" in the fabulous musical Chicago. This dynamically talented performer brings with him ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Diversity report, Dave Bautista, Leslie Jordan, greatest singers
2023-01-08
The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative's latest "Inclusion in the Director's Chair" report analyzes the gender and race/ethnicity of the directors behind last year's 100 highest-grossing movies in the country, while the San Diego State Center ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best in theater, TV, film and music; Obama's favorites; 'Glass Onion'
2022-12-31
Deadline's Broadway critic revealed his picks for the best of 2022. Leopoldstadt topped his list, but other productions included Kimberly Akimbo, Some Like It Hot, Into the Woods, Hangmen, Ain't No Mo', A Strange Loop, Topdog/Underdog, ...


Gay News

PrideArts, Chicago drag artists co-produce story of a drag family's tribulations
2022-12-22
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — PrideArts will celebrate the arrival of the year 2023 by teaming up with the Chicago drag performers Tirrany Reigns and Ramona Mirage to stage Reigns' original Queer Family Dramedy, set just after New Year's ...


Gay News

Oak Park Festival Theatre makes history with new artistic director
2022-12-20
The Oak Park Festival Theatre (OPFT)—the oldest professional classical theater in the Midwest—announced that Peter G. Andersen will be joining the company as its new artistic director in January 2023. It is the first time that a person ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best and worst films, Broadway, Adam Lambert, 'Proud Family,' women's hockey
2022-12-18
IndieWire revealed its list of the best LGBTQ+ films and TV series of 2022. Just some of the selections included Benediction, Bros, Do Revenge, Fire Island, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Inspection, Los Espookys, P-Valley, ...


Gay News

Life is a Cabaret for James Harkness these days
2022-12-14
Out performer James Harkness is one of the many performers in Cabaret ZaZou's Luminaire, the latest project from the creative team behind the successful show Teatro ZinZanni. Currently in an open run since Sept. 7, 2022, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, 'Heartstopper,' Lena Waithe, Gyllenhaal, Cher
2022-12-11
Out comedian Jerrod Carmichael will host the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Deadline reported. After a yearlong hiatus, the three-hour telecast will air on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on NBC and ...


Gay News

Theater Review: Mosque4Mosque
2022-12-09
Author: Omer Abbas Salem. At: About Face Theatre at The Den Tickets: www.thedentheatre.com; $7.50-$41.25. Runs through: Dec. 17 Sara and her children are Syrian immigrants with a nice suburban house. Sara (Rula Gardenier) is an accountant, ...


Gay News

Michael Horvich: A caregiver remembers his talented husband
2022-12-07
Michael Horvich has had many roles in his lifetime, among them teacher, photographer and author. However, one of his most important was being caregiver to Gregory Maire—Horvich's husband of 41 years, who died in 2015. Maire ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.