My Good Judy Residents

2019/2020 Season

Danya Aletebi

Danya Aletebi was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and migrated to Durango, Colorado with her mother and sister in the 90’s. Aletebi began creating upon arrival to the states and built kingdoms of magic and light both on paper and outdoors. The insatiable urge to create did not cease, but grew into a romance that leads her throughout every step of her journey.

Aletebi moved to San Francisco at the age of seventeen to study her passion at the California College of Arts, where she received her BFA. The Bay Area (emphasis Oakland) fed her needs; graffiti, the beauty in decay and chaos, struggle, the occult, loneliness, and culture. Many nights were spent in train yards and her art studio in SF, where happiness always floats through her blood. Aletebi’s street and fine art has included solo and group shows in Williamsburg, Minneapolis, Colorado, SF, and Berkeley (home to her art collective for two years), Germany, Spain, and murals throughout the West and East coasts.

Aletebi is an avid participant in the women of color/minority empowerment movement, street art, DIY, sustainable living/urban improvement, radical femme, alternative/modified, and self-love visionaries and families. She has recently returned to Colorado to continue painting, tattooing, passionately working, and following train tracks. The next part of Aletebi’s journey is unknown, however, it is guaranteed that her hunger for color and movement will follow wherever she lands.

Jovelyn Richards

Jovelyn D. Richards is an African-American/Native American writer/director/teacher and performance artist living in Oakland, CA. She has done solo performances at The Marsh, Afro Solo, and La Peña in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as at the Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival, the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, and other venues. She has also published short stories and a novel, and is the host of a radio show on KPFA that explores racial and other divisions in our society.

Her work often focuses on the dignity, wisdom, and resilience of people of color as they struggle with systemic racism. Her novel, Tulips for Evening, deals with race relations in the South immediately after the Civil War. Her solo performance piece, Come Home, dealt with Negro soldiers from rural Arkansas returning home after World War II, and Miz Pat’s House presents stories about diverse women in a mid-20th century brothel run by an African-American woman.

Her current play, 9-1-1: What’s Your Emergency? explores the racist fears that drive white women to call the police when they see people of color in their neighborhoods. 9-1-1 is being created in collaboration with Showing Up for Racial Justice, a national organization dedicated to fighting white supremacy.

Richards has also directed theatre residencies at the San Francisco Sex Workers Theater and Film Festival, at Bennett College, and Central Eastern University in Budapest, Hungary. She is currently an artist-in-residence at La Peña Cultural Center in Oakland, CA.

Read Toya’s recent interview with Judy Grahn published at 580 Split, Mills College, Oakland.

Toya Groves

Toya Groves is an MFA student in the Creative Writing program at Mills College. She currently holds an MA in Women’s Spirituality and a BA in African American Studies from U.C. Berkeley. Her creativity as a social justice advocate inspires her work in education and community organizing.

She has worked in public schools as a high school teacher and at community based organizations as a counselor and program manager. In 2010, she cofounded one of the first African American cannabis organizations, The Forty Acres Medical Marijuana Collective, and was Vice Chair of the City of Berkeley’s Cannabis Commission where she campaigned for racial and gender equity in the bay area cannabis movement. Motivated by racial inequities in school suspension and expulsion rates, she ran for BUSD school board. Currently she is a housing specialist at The Berkeley Drop in Center where she strives to find housing for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations, the homeless.

As a writer and poet she studies, interprets, and expresses the role “Mama’s Magic” plays in surviving systemic racism, sexism, and ableism. She attributes her own personal growth as an artist to Judy Grahn and is eager and honored to add to the spirit of the Divine Feminine through the My Good Judy residency at the Commonality Institute.

2018/2019 Season

Raja Gemini

Raja Gemini is an American makeup artist and drag performer best known as the winner of Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her alter ego Sutan Amrull served as makeup artist for nine cycles (4 through 12) of America’s Next Top Model. Amrull’s clients include Dita Von Teese, Pamela Anderson, Paulina Porizkova, Iman, Tyra Banks, Iggy Azalea, and Twiggy. Amrull has also served as makeup artist to Adam Lambert for print media, live U.S. appearances, and Lambert’s international 2010 Glam Nation Tour.

For their My Good Judy residency, Raja created and staged a one-woman show of songs and memoir storytelling tracing their life from being a child in Indonesia to becoming one of the best know drag performers in the world.

Quin de la Mer

Quin de la Mer is a mixed-media visual artist in San Francisco, CA. She is also a master fresco and plaster expert, work that provides a contextual lineage and foundation for her visual art. It is Quin’s intention to create transgressive work through the path of beauty.

Her work has been exhibited at the SF Women’s Gallery, Funeral Gallery and New Orleans Healing Center. Internationally she was a featured artist with Blacklisted art magazine in Denmark, has exhibited at Panourgias in Athens, Greece, and online with All the Sins in the UK. de la Mer has been an artist in residence in Athens and Leonidio, Greece, Palm Desert, CA, and New Orleans, LA.

“The installation I created during the My Good Judy Residency in New Orleans (Oct 2018) involved local community in direct relationship and response to my work. Involving myself and my art as action for social justice in this way was an evolutionary step for me. Through those interactions people had the freedom to sit and talk, and to ask questions about the artwork. But what I found most interesting was that sitting next to me while my hands were working invoked in them a desire to tell their stories. I was the listener who was folding cranes. And each person who sat down made a comment about handwork; a memory that sparked a story. I loved that this interaction had no requirement for anyone, not me, not the folks who sat down, no one. The folding of 1000 cranes is a hope for healing.”

Julie R. Enszer

Julie R. Enszer is a scholar and poet. Her scholarship is at the intersection of U.S. history and literature with particular attention to twentieth century U.S. feminist and lesbian histories, literatures, and cultures. By examining lesbian print culture with the tools of history and literary studies, she reconsiders histories of the Women’s Liberation Movement and gay liberation. Her book manuscript, A Fine Bind: Lesbian-Feminist Publishing from 1969 through 2009, tells stories of a dozen lesbian-feminist publishers to consider the meaning of the theoretical and political formations of lesbian-feminism, separatism, and cultural feminism. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Cultures, Journal of Lesbian Studies, American Periodicals, WSQ, Frontiers, and other journals.

Enszer is the author of four collections of poetry, Avowed (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016), Lilith’s Demons (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2015), Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013), and Handmade Love (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010). She is editor of The Complete Works of Pat Parker (Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2016) and Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2011). Milk & Honey was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She is the editor of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the Lambda Book Report and Calyx. Enszer has her MFA and PhD from the University of Maryland. Photo Credit: Steffan Declue.

Jose Guzman Colon

I love working with everyone from beginners to well-known individuals – whether they be reality television, drag stars, famous club personalities or trans-culture based artists – and deconstructing society’s views of those persons through photography. By taking subjects out of their comfort zones at times, challenging how others or even how they see themselves, the result is a re-imagining of a public persona and a transformation of the traditional portrait.

My photography has yielded iconic images of some of the most legendary drag personalities, Showboys and Showgirls of our time, including Alyssa Edwards, Amanda Lepore, Chi Chi LaRue, Coco Peru, Heklina, Joey Arias, Latrice Royale, Peaches Christ, Raja, Sherry Vine, Trixxie Mattel, Veronica Klaus and Vinsantos to name a few. 

Teaching and sharing my experience in creativity whether it be the art of transformation, tips on how to prepare for a photoshoot, movement and mostly the responsibility each individual has in the bigger picture. My wish is to inspire and be inspired in the art of creative image making.

Nicole Lynn Fox

Nicole Lynn Foxx is a singer and performance artist based in Chicago. A graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Foxx is returning to New Orleans to create and perform a one woman show about the struggles of queer POC artists from the South.

What A Wonderful World: The Return of Nicole Lynn Foxx brings to the stage songs and stories by this beloved New Orleans Drag Supreme.

Queenie O’Hart

Queenie O’Hart has been bringing “musical theatre with tits” and body positivity to burlesque stages around the world since 2012. Ms. O’Hart has performed throughout the Pacific Northwest, New Orleans and the European burlesque scene.

My time in New Orleans will be debuting and refining a new act called “Please Don’t Touch Me” (from Young Frankenstein). This act is a statement about how fat women are told that they should be grateful for any attention they are given no matter how repulsive or unwarranted it is. I will also be bringing “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” (from Hairspray) which debuted at the Best Of Burlesque George Square Gardens for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This act is an unapologetic reclamation of fat female sexuality encouraging fat women everywhere to love and embrace every curve.

My approach to bringing body positivity to burlesque has been 7 years of visibility and many acts that feature a large body in roles not meant for fat people. In society there is a division of what bodies can be found appealing, only thin bodies are found sexual or are allowed to populate mainstream media. In burlesque the body positive movement has been focused on “Slim thick” or a socially acceptable plus size, but it still denies visibility and opportunities to larger bodies. I have heard from so many people that burlesque reeled them in with promises of self love a glory for all shapes and sizes and has fallen vastly short of its perceived image.

2017/2018 Season

Timothy Cummings

Timothy Cummings was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1968 where he grew up in the midst of Spanish Catholic and Native American culture, fertile with religious imagery and iconography in the churches. Murals and retablos he saw depicting death, martyrdom, and Day of the Dead imagery influenced him. Cummings is completely self-taught.

For their residency, Cummings created and exhibited ‘Maison de la Lune,’ a series of paintings exploring ritual dress and Judy Grahn’s idea of cosmetikos in relation to and inspired by the French Quarter location of the residency. They also collaborated with the Tennessee Williams Festival to produce imagery for the festival posters and program.

While most of Cummings’s paintings are dream-like fantasies filled with myriad detail and discovery, each has a figure or figures. Much of Cummings’s work addresses the issue of youthful turmoil, of that awkward moment between childhood and adulthood, of identity, and of gender.

David Hatfield Sparks

David’s work has appeared in various scholarly journals and anthologies. They are the co-author of the indispensable “Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Lore” and the groundbreaking ethnographic study “Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Participation in African-Inspired Traditions in the Americas.” Their poetry book, “Princes and Pumpkins,” recently was awarded 1st Prize by Writer’s Digest.

During their residency, David worked on indexing the forthcoming second edition of the “Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit.” They also presented a lecture on the role of blood rituals and the work of Judy Grahn in queer consciousness.

Polly Wood

Polly Wood is a mother, artist, dancer, songwriter/drummer and independent scholar whose creative works are devoted to the preservation of the Sacred Feminine. Wood’s work explores the economic implications of a metaformic world view. Working within the women’s spirituality community, Wood has presented and performed to an international audience to teach and share Grahn’s work to center women as well as men in the story of the creation of culture.

Wood’s residency was a vision quest to develop a framework to incorporate Metaformic consciousness into daily life, business and relationships.

Joshua Grannell (Peaches Christ)

In the world of cult cinema, drag icon Joshua Grannell may very well be the Queen of Cult. Based in San Francisco, his day job is really more of a night job—entertaining followers of his “Midnight Mass” screenings of cult classics. Their priestess: Joshua’s alter ego drag queen Peaches Christ. Along with showing fan-obsessed films like Showgirls and Welcome To The Dollhouse, Peaches and her team put on theatrical performances filled with audience participation and often-times feature guest appearances from cult icons like John Waters and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.

For their residency, Grannell produced and presented a screening and meet the director event for their film All About Evil, starring Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black), Mink Stole (of John Water’s fame), and Thomas Dekker (John Connor from Terminator).

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