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 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 2379 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 2379 times since Wed May 30, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

About Face to run immersive comedy about climate-change activism
2022-05-27
About Face Theatre brings its 27th season to a close with a world premiere comedy created by and starring the About Face Youth Theatre ensemble. Gayme Changers will run June 18-24 at The Den Theater, 1331 ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf's gay-themed 'Choir Boy' to run June 16-July 24
2022-05-26
Steppenwolf Theatre Company will run the Tony-nominated play Choir Boy. by Oscar-winning Steppenwolf ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), on June 16-July 24. Directed by Kent Gash, the production features ...


Gay News

DANCE Cerqua Rivera's 'Mood Swing' on May 28
2022-05-25
On Saturday, May 28, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre will host "Inside/Out with Mood Swing" at 7:30 p.m. at Dovetail Studios, 2853 W. Montrose Ave. Mood Swing is described as Cerqua Rivera's "suite of passionate responses to ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Seagull
2022-05-25
Title: Seagull. Playwright: Anton Chekhov At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; Steppenwolf.org Tickets: $20-$88. Runs through: June 12 The final test of success for any undertaking lies in how well it accomplishes its intended purpose. ...


Gay News

THEATER Lesbian-cruise drama 'Seven Days at Sea' running thru June 5
2022-05-25
Light and Sound Productions is running the world premiere of Seven Days at Sea, written by Martha Hansen and directed by Margaret Knapp, through Sunday, June 5, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. The performance ...


Gay News

THEATER Musical 'Get Out Alive' running July 8-Aug. 7
2022-05-23
Haven will continue its 2021-22 season with Nikki Lynette's multidisciplinary afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, co-directed by Roger Ellis and Lucky Stiff, which features the writer and her personal journey with mental health. The production will ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Theater
2022-05-23
"Well, thanks Colin. That's the end of my career. Because you know, that role really should have been mine."—Rupert Everett tells Piers Morgan his reaction when he heard Colin Firth would play the lead in Tom ...


Gay News

PREVIEW Here comes the sun: Summer plays are blooming indoors and outside
2022-05-22
There were times when we thought that the sunshine would never return, but despite climate change and contagion, there's no stopping summer—and while we usually associate expanded daylight hours with outdoor activities, a number of theaters ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, JoJo Siwa, WEHO Pride, 'Jurassic World,' Madonna
2022-05-22
The Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City have extended the current mask requirement for audiences through at least June 30, Playbill noted. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Chinese Lady
2022-05-22
It began in 1834 as an advertising gimmick: In order to promote sales of their Far East Oriental imported goods, the Carnes Brothers procured their company a real-life spokesperson. This was the teenage Afong Moy, known ...


Gay News

THEATER Season of Concern to present 'Jerry's Girls' on June 27
2022-05-21
"Jerry's Girls: A Benefit for Season of Concern" will take place Monday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Season of Concern Chicago is dedicated to providing financial assistance to ...


Gay News

Quiz program 'Wait, Wait' to start taping June 16 at the Studebaker
2022-05-16
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program, will resume live audience recordings Thursday, June 16, in a new Chicago home: the historic Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building, 401 S. Michigan Ave. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer playwright, LGBTQ+ films, BMI Pop Awards, new superhero
2022-05-15
Jeremy O. Harris, the queer Tony-nominated author of Slave Play, has been named the presiding playwright for the 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize—one of the theater world's most prestigious playwriting honors, Deadline noted. Harris joins the ...


Gay News

Dance for Life returns to Auditorium
2022-05-12
-- From a press release - Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community, announces the program for its 31st annual fundraiser, Dance for Life 2022, which takes place Saturday, August 13 at 6 p.m. ...


Gay News

THEATER 'The Secretaries: A Parable' running through June 11
2022-05-12
First Floor Theater returns to live production with the world premiere of company member Omer Abbas Salem's The Secretaries: A Parable following the script's 2021 development as part of Goodman Theatre's Future Labs. The production will ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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
Sponsor
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.