This is What I Want: A Call for Submissions for SF Performance of Art and sex

As many of you know, I have a background in the San Francisco Arts scene as a performer and arts administrator, and later as a web consultant and site developer for many non-profits, small businesses and artists.

My path to porn was for the most part developed through sexually explicit performance art (through twincest and sex-positive performance events) and I consider my explorations in pornography to be an extension of my interest in sex, art and gender. And for those of you familiar with my experimental pornographic philanthropy project “Karma Pervs“, you know that I am playing with ways to creatively meld my interests in art, sex, and non-profit organizations to the benefit of a sex-positive culture supportive of queers.

Now, I’m blending even further my involvement in the arts scene through working as a curator for an upcoming performance that will be an official event of the 2011 National Queer Arts Festival here in San Francisco, CA (June 29-30), called This Is What I Want (2010).

Jesse Hewit - This is what I want

As a curator, I am also spreading a call for submissions. If you think this performance may apply to you, or you know someone who might be turned on by the idea, I encourage you to submit! Otherwise, please help me spread the word by posting this (or copying and pasting it) on any tumblr, facebook, or other website you have access to. Thanks in advance!




*an official event of the 2011 National Queer Arts Festival


Dear Artists:

Last summer, THIS IS WHAT I WANT 2010 brought together 17 Bay Area performing artists and dared them to stage their sexual desires… or something like that.

From the first release of the curatorial statement and call for artists, this project was charged. Within this theme (and within the consideration of performing this theme) there is density, trigger, confusion, risk, trickery, lying, and some telling of some serious truths. As curator, I stumbled through extensive discourse about this event; fielding complex and perhaps impossible questions about the intent and social necessity of such a project. Though I was repeatedly confronted by the possibility that a show about staging sexual desires was tired or had been done, I always came back around to a steady notion of ” yes… it’s been done… but not like this.”

This event exists within an implicit understanding that the sexual is both constructed and essential; that the way we fuck or don’t fuck is based on how much money we have, who we are afraid of, which taboos we hurl ourselves toward and why, what feels good, what makes us feel dead and like nothing, what our friends like, what our parents fear, what we want our children to become, what we need RIGHT NOW. In this discourse, we confront our contradictions and do whatever they demand that we do.

Last year, the participating artists engaged at various levels through meet-ups, online forums, and also a whole lot of very personally sought silence. It was weird and it was sprawling, but there was something very sharp and very clear about the indisputable urgency driving the whole thing. We completely sold out both shows, garnered featured press in the SF Chronicle, and all walked away knowing some things we hadn’t known before about ourselves, about eachother, and about how this topic still resonates, terrifies, inspires, and frees us up. We are planning for a repeat occurrance.

This year, integrating our sexualities and sexual wants into our lived identities is becoming more and more necessary for many of us… and it is fucking hard. Sexually speaking, we are all at a strange and shape-shifting moment in our collective histories. Our lived choices are still constantly weighed in on by current trends in sexual self-expression, legislation, risk factors, gender-fucking, new drugs, new media, and a pervasive and very American push to know and answer to our selves, and therefore, we have some distinct questions on the table. So…THIS IS WHAT I WANT is back on the table too. And the prompt is simple.

Once again: we invite you to stage your desires, engage with the choice to perform sexuality, and in some way, just show us what you want.

Some catalyst thoughts and questions tossed around by past artists have been:

  • How/Why do we externalize our desires?
  • How do we want our sexual bodies to be seen? And, of course, do we? and Why or why not?
  • How do we live with and incorporate time/trauma/past into our sexualities and what of sexualizing past non-consentual sex acts or other traumas?
  • What is intimacy and does it augment or prove barrier to sexuality?
  • Whose sexualities/desires do we mirror our own after and how do those portrayals and stories affect us?
  • Is making performance work about sexuality dead? Cliche? Potent? Where do these judgments come from? Is the general canon full of work that is not rigorous enough?
  • How do systems of oppression working on queers, sex workers, people of color, poor folks, and folks who are differently abled (and the media misrepresentation therein) serve to empower those sexualities? How do they become challenged or fractured by such forces?
  • How (if at all) have trans bodies and transgendered-centered sexualities and desires been cast to represent a more progressive, colorful and imaginative world of sex acts and experiences? How does this nurture or do damage to these bodies and sexualities?
  • How do we come to be ghosts in our own sexualities; haunted by them, but not in them?
  • What are our sexual memory crutches and why do we long for our youth so often in our lived sexualities?
  • What does it take to performatively undo a sexual taboo?
  • Sexually speaking, what are we ashamed of and why?
  • Why do we often want specifically what we cannot have?
  • In what ways are our sexual profiles formed by our socio-economic histories?
  • How does sex heal?

THIS IS WHAT I WANT 2011 is an official bright and shiny centerpiece of the 2011 National Queer Arts Festival, and will take place on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, June 29th and 30th at 8pm at the Garage at 975 Howard. It will be produced by Jesse Hewit, Rachael Dichter, and THEOFFCENTER. The technical director will be Wolfgang Wachalovsky and the marketing director/publicity designer will be Ernesto Sopprani.

This years festival will be curated local queer literary queen Michelle Tea, porn trailblazer and political visionary Jiz Lee, choreographer and dance community teacher and guru Amara Tabor-Smith, and Bessie Award-winning dance and performance artist Keith Hennessy.

We are looking for performance work in whatever form YOU make it, ie: dancing, reading, reciting, reporting, researching, laying down, crying, singing, etc.

Submissions for THIS IS WHAT I WANT 2011 will be hungrily accepted Jan 18th through February 15th, and our decisions will be sent out by March 1st.

All submissions (or questions) should be sent to by February 15th at 5pm.

We are asking each submission to consist of the following:

  1. piece description…which can, of course, change over he course of your process (no more than 500 words)
  2. artist bio (no more than 500 words)
  3. expected duration (we are looking for works between 10 and 30 minutes long…but push us if need be)
  4. why you are applying (no more than 500 words)

We encourage the making of new works for this series, and once again, we are looking for works that stage your desires, engage with the choice to perform sexuality, and in some way, show us what you want.

You can be as specific or vague as you like. We think that there are benefits to both approaches, especially as we are encouraging the making of new work that may be in developmental stages.

Lastly, if you would like to be considered for this year’s festival, please be ready for discourse. We are curating far fewer pieces this year, in order to focus more on the development of the work, organize work-in-progress showings, give artists the opportunity to make longer works, and to enhance the structure and focus on the post-show discussions, which will now be 50% of each evening’s happenings. There will be a small stipend offered to each participating artist.

Thanks for reading, considering, and SUBMITTING.

In the spirit of doing things,

Jesse, Rachael, and THEOFFCENTER

One Comment

  • Gina de Vries

    Jiz, I was thrilled to get this CFS, and thrilled to see that you’re on the curatorial team. I’m really excited for this show, and I’m definitely submitting something.
    Many hugs!

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