100 Women We Love: Class Of 2019

Sacha Yanow

Sacha YanowPhoto by Allison Michael Orenstein

New York City-based performance artist and actor Sacha Yanow started acting as “a way to escape the melancholy and isolation” she felt growing up in a small town. Little did she know that, as a grown-up creative person, she’d be creating solo shows about princes, vampires, dads, and Yiddish bird grandmothers. Yanow shifted from acting to performance art because she wanted to “tell stories that I wasn’t seeing—ones that celebrate our weirdness and queerness both in form and content, [and] roles that expressed gender more expansively,” she says. Her performance projects oftentimes use personal and familial experience as a jumping-off point for discussing social and political questions. Her show “Cherie Dre,” which she performed at Danspace Project, reveals an intimate history of the Jewish Borscht Belt through the complicated romance between her grandmother and an enigmatic showgirl. Similarly, in “Dad Band,” another intimate and psychological portrait, she covers and lip syncs to her dad’s favorite songs from the 1950s and ‘60s, and shares footage of his 1970s winning appearance of a popular game show. Her father becomes more than just a guy who happened to create her existence—he is a symbol of the patriarchy and her own “internalized dad.” She’s also an integral contributor to the live lesbian soap opera “Room for Cream,” which was recently commissioned by the New Museum. —AE

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