This Is What I Want 2012

This Is What I Want 2012


THEOFFCENTER is a queer performance incubator and a hybrid producer-presenter-arch collaborator, supporting work that challenges/expands definitions and approaches to queer performance, Along with co presenter SOMArts,is proud to present This Is What I Want, 2012.

This Is What I Want 2012, in its 3rd year now, is an annual live art festival about desire, intent on redefining the relationship between intimacy and performance. Conceived in 2010 by bay area artist Jesse Hewit, THIS IS WHAT I WANT has sold out both previous years, and is becoming an established event on the summer festival circuit. A showcase for some of the most interesting SF based cutting edge art makers. It is an official, bright and shiny centerpiece of the 2012 National Queer Arts Festival.

THEOFFCENTER is proud to re-stage this festival under new artistic direction, Jesse Hewit, founder and lead of this festival in past years, has step down from the artistic director role, and  Tessa Wills, an English born choreographer. Trained in Central Europe, Tessa now resides in San Francisco and is happy to   bring her superb artistic direction into this festival.  Ernesto Sopprani (founder, director of THEOFFCENTER) and Rachel Ditcher, Production Assistant for TIWIW will as in past years support Tessa in the staging of this festival.

The live arts portion of the festival will take place at SomARTS June 25-29, followed with a practicum and symposium on June 30 led by Doran George with guest speakers Joseph Kramer, Dossie Easton, Keith Hennessy and Carol Queen. Previous artists have included Xandra Ibarra, Mica Sigourney, Jess Curtis, Anna Martine Whitehead and Annie Danger.

2012 Focus

This year, in it’s third iteration, the festival is looking at the intimacy of desire through the lens of economy.

Can the reformulation of desire provide a fresh lens through which to consider the economy?  Desire has already been envisioned beyond conventional hetero-normative, but can capitalist economies be reformulated by the queering of desire?

For all artists showing in this year’s program, acts of art-making and acts of sex will collide. The result will be equal parts frank, ferocious, urgent, and of course tender.

This kind of work is always such a huge a risk. We are told–in so many ways and by so many forces–that in order for desire or sexuality to be the centerpiece of rigorous art, that it must be codified, symbolized, or in some way interpreted with cleverness or clinical language; that the feelings and mundane truths of it are not enough. THIS IS WHAT I WANT, 2012 rather awkwardly breaks this notion in half, and emerges with projects that sit squarely in the very margins between sweet transcendence and reckless confusion…just like our blessedly complicated sexualities and our so often utterly simple wants.

Come see how brave and crazy and sexy we are. Come see what we want.


Carley Hague (London) – A performance artist, dancer, stylist and designer based in London. Carley works often as a solo artist doing strange and challenging performances in nightclubs, galleries and theatres. She has also co-managed large group projects at English Festivals (Glastonbury, Latitude, Secret Garden) and done regular slots at Copenhagen ‘Grotesque Burlesque’ events. Carley have performed regularly with three bands as part of their stage shows. Alongside this she design stage outfits for artists such as Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Skunk Anansie, Bat for Lashes and numerous other artists, performers and dancers well recognised in the UK.

DavEnd (San Francisco) – DavEnd is a tender-hearted, genderqueer, costume designing, accordion weilding songwriter, performing artist and designer based in San Francisco. Ms. End has released two studio albums (How To Hold Your Own Hand, Fruits Commonly Mistaken For Vegetables) and for the past 6 years, has been touring extensively in the U.S., performing at queer teen centers, festivals, colleges, theatres and backyards. Between tours, Ms. End designs costumes, and most recently has been working on writing and producing a new musical, costume designing and dancing in production numbers for songwriter Kimya Dawson, and appearing in Taylor Mac’s epic 5 hour play, The Lily’s Revenge. DavEnd’s current project,Fabulous Artistic Guys Get Overtly Traumatized Sometimes: The Musical!,brings together the worlds of music and radical performance art in a theatrical extravaganza, exploring the effects of heterosexism and street harassment on the development of queer identity.

Dia Dear (san Francisco) – Dia Dear || Diamanda Kallas is a dragqueenmonster.

Mabel Negrete (Los Angeles) – Mabel Negrete is a performance-research based artist and activist, whose work is constantly challenging how we define our bodies in relation to the intangible and menacing qualities of our built environment. She is currently living in Philadelphia and conducting a series of artistic research with the Counter Narrative Society to understand the historical institutions of social control that give birth to social, spatial and modern democratic concepts of justice, incarceration and penitence. She holds a Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is also a recipient of several recognitions including MIT Presidential Award 2009 and MIT Architecture Department Fellowship 2009-2011, Zellerbach Family Foundation & W.A. Gerbode Foundation 2006, and Osher Memorial Merit Scholarship – San Francisco Art Institute 2003-2006. Her work has been presented in a variety of public spaces and cultural institutions: Alcatraz Island, CA; Boston City Hall, MA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA; Art Of This gallery, MI; De Young Museum, CA; The Intersection for the Arts, CA; Galleria de la Raza, CA; Primo Piano LivinGallery, Lecce Italy; Southern Exposure, CA; New College of California, CA; San Francisco World Affairs Counsel, CA; and the USF-University of San Francisco, CA.

Mica Sigourney (San Francisco) – Mica Sigourney- As student of theater and performance for 25 years, Sigourney has specialized in physical theater, improvisation and site specific performance. 6 years ago he fled the proscenium stage and traditional venues and refocused his energies on go-go performance installations and the populace stages of the nightlife. 2 years ago he created drag persona VivvyAnne ForeverMORE! and since has performed on stages and festivals in San Francisco, L.A. New York, and London, and in the deYoung, the New Museum (nyc) and Yerba Buena Center for the arts.  Sigourney also produces the WORK MORE! series, a twice a year drag production featuring nightlife performers presented in a “real” theater context, where their processes are exposed, and their boundaries pushed. As a writer his work has been featured as part of the Radar Reading series alongside San Francisco’s Poet Laureate.

Nick Duran / Jmy James Kidd (Los Angeles) – Nick Duran is a native of southern California. He began his dance studies at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and holds a MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Duran has worked with Brian Brooks, Seán Curran, Neil Greenberg, Fiona Marcotty, Victoria Marks, Mark Morris, Dušan Týnek, and Johannes Wieland, and as choreographic assistant to Sara Hook, Jennifer Monson, and Tere O’Connor. His choreography has been presented by Dance Theatre Workshop, MGM Grand, 3rd Ward Brooklyn Creative, DanceNow/NYC, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theatre (REDCAT), and Pieter Performance Art Space Dance. He has taught at the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, New York University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, California State University, Long Beach, and presently at Pomona College and in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.

Jmy James Kidd (Los Angeles) (b. 1979, San Francisco) works out of her studio in Los Angeles, Pieter. She has danced for Stanley Love Performance Group, luciana achugar, Nancy Meehan, Sarah Michelson, Neil Greenberg, Walter Dundervill, The Mel Wong Dance Company and apprenticed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She has made work with Elizabeth Ward, Amy Granat and Eleanor Hullihan. She is part of the trio MGM Grand, which has been presented by Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Creative Time at Miami Art Basel, The Kitchen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Theater Department, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Highways and PaceWildenstien as well as many private homes, galleries, gardens and garages. They are represented by Callicoon Fine Arts. Her solo work has been presented at LACE, La Live Arts, Joshua Tree Art Tours and Pieter. She is 2012 CHIME Southern California recipient, mentee to Julie Tolentino. She makes dancer-wear and dance costumes under the label James Kidd and designed for John Jasperse, Melanie Rios, Rebecca Bruno, Dawn Kasper, Sarah Michelson, Neil Greenberg, Anna Sperber and Ben Asriel. In NYC she started AUNTS, a performance platform and CLASSCLASSCLASS, an organization in support of emerging dance teachers

Rafael Esparza (Los Angeles) – Rafael Esparza is a mutli-disciplinary artist living and working out of Los Angeles. Using predominantly performance as his current line of inquiry he interacts with installations to investigate moments in time inaccessible to him. Rafa uses his work, a site, as a means to re-identity (with) pre-existing and non-existent myths related to historical and cultural representations of the body. He recently earned his B.A. in Art at UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture, and has performed and exhibited his work in various galleries and public sites throughout L.A. such as REDCAT, Los Angelels Contemporary Exhibitions, and UCLA’s New Wight Gallery.

Sara Kraft (San Francisco) -SARA KRAFT is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, director, writer, songwriter/vocalist, producer and educator who creates original work drawing from a broad background in the live arts, performance, film/video, music, installation and site specific work. Deemed by American Theatre Magazine as “a  doyenne of San Francisco’s avant-garde theatre scene,” her award winning work has gained acclaim for its integration of live media and performance, fusing form and content in ground breaking ways and weaving disparate mediums and non-linear narratives into evening length works. She also gained acclaim for her work as part of the multimedia performance collaborative Kraft + Purver. Her work has been seen in the US and Europe at venues including YBCA, The MCA Chicago, ODC, EMPAC, the Ontological- Hysteric, HERE American Living Room Festival, and SF International Arts Festival. Her last evening length project was commissioned by YBCA, CounterPULSE, Z Space & Magic Theater New Works Initiative, and presented by YBCA in 2010.  Her work has been supported byvarious residencies, as well as grants including Zellerbach Family Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, SFAC IAC, and TBA CASH. TIWIW will be one of Kraft’s first public performances in the bay area after a 2 year hiatus.

Taisha Paggett (Los Angeles) – Taisha Paggett makes things and is interested in what bodies do. She believes language is tricky, thoughts are powerful, and that people are most beautiful when looking up. Her work and collaborations for the stage, gallery and public sphere have been presented locally, nationally and internationally. Her work includes individual and collaborative investigations into questions of the body, agency and the phenomenology of race. In addition to her group choreographies and solo durational pieces, she has worked collaboratively, toured with and made significant creative contributions to the projects of Meg Wolfe, Victoria Marks, David Roussève, Cid Pearlman, Cheng-Chieh Yu, Baker-Tarpaga Projects, Kelly Nipper and Rebecca Alson-Milkman. She is a past member of Ultra-red and maintains an ongoing collaborative project with visual artist Ashley Hunt, “On movement, thought and politics,” which has taken form as workshop, performance, video and mixed media installation. In 2006 she co-instigated itch dance journal. She holds an MFA from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and is currently a member of the Dance Faculty of Columbia College in Chicago.


Curatorial Team 

Anna Martine Whitehead uses video, sound, and movement to address themes of displacement, memory, melancholia, and desire. A large portion of this piece is based on the dance form known as “cakewalk,” which originated with black slaves in the American South but by the end of the 20th century was well known through minstrelsy and had become primarily a white social dance. Relying heavily on audience voyeurism and performance art practices of improvisational collaboration, the piece charts the experience of the sexualized black body in the realm of the spectacle.

Doran George is an artist, dancer, writer, and curator. His “live art” work has been staged across Europe and the United States and has ranged from him being encased in brick for a working day to having a sexual relationship as an art practice. He has been supported by the London Arts Board; The Arts Council of England; The British Council; Chisenhale Dance Space; Arnolfini, Artsadmin; The Finnish Arts Council; The Arts Council of North Savo (Finland); Stichting Fonds De Trut (The Netherlands); and others. He has curated for ?he International Transgender Film Video Festival (U.K. and The Netherlands), ?ital Signs Festival (U.K.) (interfaces between disability politics and contemporary art), and Chisenhale Dance Space. He regularly contributes to symposia and is published in print and on the web in dance, film, and performance art journals and art publications. Doran has a B.A. in experimental dance and choreography and an M.A. in Feminist Performance. He teaches in universities in he United States, Britain, and Central Europe.

Jesse Hewit is a San Francisco and Brooklyn based artist and performer. He holds a BFA from NYU/Tisch/Experimental Theater Wing, under the training of Steve Wangh, Mary Overlie, and Raina Fernandez-Von Waldenburg. His work is also heavily influenced by his graduate studies in sociology, and he holds an MA in Human Sexuality Studies from SFSU, where he worked primarily under the mentorship of Rita Melendez and Amy Sueyoshi. Since his move west, Jesse has had the rich privilege of collaborating on work with Jorge De Hoyos, Miguel Gutierrez, Jess Curtis/Gravity, Catherine Galasso,  the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, Monique Jenkinson/Fauxnique, Keith Hennessy/Circo Zero, Sara Kraft/Kraftywork, Taylor Mac, and Big Art Group. His original work has been curated and produced in the Bay Area by numerous spaces and presenters including CounterPULSE, Kunst-Stoff, Dance Mission Theater, Z Space, and YBCA. He has held residencies at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory (Summer 2009 Resident Artist), and CounterPULSE (Summer 2010 Artist Residency Commissioning Program), and is currently working in a technical residency at Z Space, where he will premiere Strong Behavior’s newest work, Dog, in December of this year. As a curator, he co-produced and facilitated for Dancer’s Group/CounterPULSE’s 2nd Sundays monthly choreographer’s salon for two years, and is in his 2nd year of curating various dance and performance events for the National Queer Arts Festival, including his acclaimed THIS IS WHAT I WANT. This year, Jesse was proud to be selected as a YBCA Bay Area Now 2011 artist, a recipient of the New Stages For Dance pilot season, and the winner of the SFBG Goldie Award for Performance.


Slow Sex Symposium 

Over the course of a day, three events will encourage the symposium audience to make a connection between their own desires and performance that is influenced by alternative participatory sexual-practice.

The first panel “practicing radical pleasure, focuses on the movement to structure desire in a way that resists conventional models of attraction and play. With its richly diverse cultural make-up, and distinct history of sex and gender movements, San Francisco has historically been home to one of the strongest radical pleasure communities in the world. Joseph Kramer, Dossie Easton and Xandra Ibarra will present their respective work in the development of lifestyles and the synthesis of identities that have been part of the Bay Area milieu. Each of the panelists has either influenced or been directly involved in the world of performance, and San Francisco boasts a unique relationship between experimental sexual practice and art.

The second panel “performing critical desire, brings together the artists that have presented in the 2012 festival “This Is What I Want, to discuss how their work does or doesn’t connect with the legacy of alternative sexual practice. Contributors will discuss how their critique of dominant models of desire connects to their identity, lifestyle or artistic perspective, and how the festival theme provided them with a context to create new work or restage and bring a particular lens to an existing work. They will also reflect upon the influences on queer perspectives in their work more generally, and take questions that arise for the audience.

This Is What YOU Want

Participatory performance “This is What YOU Want,scheduled for June 30th,after symposium, will offer attendants the opportunity to explore and express their own desires using the language and ideas that were staged during the festival and have been further developed over the course of the day. Working with highly skilled facilitators, the audience for the participatory performance will have the opportunity to design and taste their own unique interface of alternative sexual practice and performance.

This piece is an invitation for the audience of this is what you want 2012.
An audience bombarded and inspired by artists grappling with desire

What is it that YOU want?  Do you know?  Does it matter?
What happens when you share it with others?

What sort of people do you want to share it with? (lover? friend? priest? teacher? student?)
What if you confessed a fake desire?  Or…someone else’s desire?

What is the value of speaking what you desire?
Do you want to make it valuable?(OR How valuable is your desire to you?)  Can you profit from speaking it?

What if you had to pay to say it to others?  Would you say it with passion? What if you said it indifferently?  What would you do if your desire could be fulfilled?

This is What YOU Want is a piece that provides us with a framework to explore these and other questions around an economy of desire.

As the culmination of TIWIW2012, Center or Sex and Culture hosts a participatory exploration conceived by Tessa Wills and Directed by TT Baum, developed with assistance from artists and Bay Area luminaries:  Kirk Read, Christraper, Ian Waisler, Minax, Annie Danger, Captain Snowden, and Carol Queen.


Production Team 

Tessa Wills, Artistic Direction, Curator  – Tessa Wills is a live artist and choreographer with a background in music. She is from England, trained in central Europe and now lives in San Francisco. Her work elevates flaws and wounds as portals, ways of staging humanity, and often integrates eroticism to charge the pieces, which happen primarily on stage and video. Choreographically she is interested in habitual organising principles; human power structures, notions of dominance and genius, and intuitive patterns of flocking in animals. She often investigates those in performances referencing ritual.

Recently Tessa showed a triptich of her solo performances at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits. This year, Tessa has worked primarily in the Theater Counterpulse, staging her piece “reception” a quartet on four men in the summer, and creating a new piece with Mica Sigourney called “Masterwork”. Tessa is currently working on a video commission from the UK music ensemble Jetsam, working with the drag artist Diamanda Kallas. Last year, she received a distinction in her masters in choreography for work including the 22 minute solo “bird and person dying”, a commission for Meridian Gallery, (Union Square San Francisco) about death called “flicker/follow”, and an 11 minute dance film for the British Council called “mine/scratch/mine”. For more information:

Tessa has a background in arts and community leadership. In 2004, she founded the organisation Streetsoul (, a non profit dance organisation for young women, and has been arts leader for a community festival “nowhere” for the last seven years, instigating international exchanges between groups of European artists with funding from the British Council and private donations. In San Francisco, she is a leading member of THE OFFCENTER (, and has founded the organisation Lilly Ally, a business resource for sex workers.

Rachael Dichter, Production Assitant, Curator  
Rachael Dichter is a San Francisco based dancer, performer and curator. She grew up in and around the Bay Area, training and performing as a classical ballerina and majoring in Dance and Art History at Mills College. She then studied performance and classical techniques in New York and India before spending a year in Minneapolis dancing with the Dylan Skybrook Dance Company, and three years living and dancing in Brussels Belgium with Fougere Dance. Since returning stateside she has had the pleasure of performing with a number of folks, and she currently works with Laura Arrington and Mica Sigourney and assistant produces the live arts festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT.

Ernesto Sopprani, Executive Producer [THEOFFCENTER]
Ernesto coordinates location-specific and primarily community-based performance projects. Whether as an artist or as an arch-collaborator, his work is geared towards investigating innovative and self- sustainable models of presenting art and performance, specifically queer work, which expands upon the common definition of Queer and challenges his and his community’s relationship to live performance.

As founder and director of THEOFFCENTER, Ernesto has overseen the production, curation and execution of dozens of site-specific, research-based art interventions, a number of large scale performance festivals, multiple performer centered art programs both at presenting houses (YBCA, Mission Cultural Center, Mission Dance, The Magic Theatre, SOMArts and others) as well as public spaces (BART trains, city streets, and a privately owned boxing ring).

Ernesto is currently chair of community engagement for Emerging Arts Professionals, was selected participant of the 2011 Yerba Buena Center for the Art’s “Bay Area Now 6 Program”. Ernesto has recently been awarded Dancers Group 2012 Dancers Choice Award, an award that recognizes “incredible contributions” that have impacted dance in San Francsico.


SOMArts – The mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. Founded in 1979, SOMArts embraces the entire spectrum of arts practice and cultural identity, and it is beloved in San Francisco as a truly multicultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms.

Center for Sex and Culture The Mission of the Center for Sex & Culture is to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health.

Queer Cultural Center –  Founded in 1993, Qcc is a multiracial community-building organization that fosters the artistic, economic and cultural development of San Francisco’s LGBT community. We implement our mission by operating programs that commission and present Queer artists, that promote the development of culturally diverse Queer arts organizations and that document significant Queer arts events taking place in San Francisco.

THEOFFCENTER – TOC’s objective is to research Queer sensibilities as a lens for contemporary thought, art, action, and community.  By providing a multi-disciplinary forum we look to question issues around gender, race, resilience, identity, engagement, and evolution. Our focus is to provide resources and provocation to emerging and established art-makers who are dedicated to the intentional negotiation of concepts, modalities and/or voices of a Queer lens. Furthermore, we seek to contextualize ourselves, our programming and our mission within contemporary realities, historical wisdom, and global intelligence.



THIS IS WHAT I WANT is one of THEOFFCENTER core events, and runs, like most other TOC events, almost entirely on volunteer work. “This year we hope to expand, we want to continue to pay artists and want to raise the production values so that the work can be showcased appropriately. We also want to fill our larger venue with new audience”. shares Tessa Wills, Festival Artistic Director.


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