A playwright/musician/actress, Gina created SORORITY based on the want for something more “community-based” than the more solitary plays and musicals she usually writes every year.
“I was interested in recreating some aspects of the queer feminist performance scene that I came up in in New York City,” Gina said, “which was kind of gritty and dirty and sometimes sloppy, but always very smart. LA has wonderful things going on—it’s really an exciting time to live here—but I felt like something was missing, so I decided we needed to create it.”
The name SORORITY comes directly from Gina’s “fascination with certain aspects of culture that always felt denied to me when I was younger.”
“Like sports culture, as a theater geek, and sorority/fraternity culture, as a generally antisocial queer feminist,” Gina said, “those worlds seemed so alien to me—so weird, even though they were the mainstream. I perceived them as elitist, as keeping out people who were different—but that can happen anywhere, even in the queer scene.”
Gina sees SORORITY as being about a community of women celebrating one another; a sisterhood—“except our idea of sisterhood is very expansive and very broad.” Every SORORITY show features different performers who range in genre, style, background and gender identity, but are all unified by a theme. The Hammer’s special events will have the themes The Woods (“Hippies, witches, lumberjacks, womyn’s music festivals, globalization and climate change… Are we out of the woods? Or are we not even close?”) and The Internet (“Pick-up artists, the comments section, it goes down in the DM, #notallmen and trolls, trolls, trolls… What’s it like to be a woman on the internet? It’s the wild f***ing west.”)
“The artists are wildly diverse, but they’re all queer or feminist-identified, and they’re all people that I think understand the intersectional, interdisciplinary vibe that we’re going for,” Gina said. “I consider SORORITY a theater project, even though some of the artists are based in dance or music, or are just people with something to say that I’m dragging up onstage, who might not consider themselves performers at all. Maybe above all we are unified by our warmth and our openness; it’s a place where new work is supported, and creativity and difference are appreciated.
Performers at this weekend’s shows include Amanda-Faye Jimenez, Jade Phoenix Martinez, Candy Pain, Raquel Gutierrez, Martin Matamoros, Genevieve Erin O’Brien/Sugar Rebels, Marissa Schneiderman, Bailey Hikawa, Katie Liederman, Linda Ravenswood, Erin Pike, Jasmine Nyende, Romy Hoffman, Karolyn Gehrig, Kristina Wong, Rich Yap, Sarah Gail Armstrong, Provvidenza Catalano and Kait Schuster. Talents will vary from storytelling to musical performance to dance to theater, all with variations on the themes.
“These performers are some of my favorite artists working in L.A. today,” Gina said. “They have a lot to say. And I’m really excited to have a bigger audience, drawn from more parts of the city.”
SORORITY usually takes place at the Lyric-Hyperion Theater in Silverlake on Los Angeles’s east side, but the move to the Hammer will take the show to the other side of town to Westwood, close to UCLA’s campus, as part of their winter programming under their Bureau of Feminism Initiative. What’s also different is the shows will take place during the day.
“It will be very different from our usual late-night, wine-soaked explorations in a tiny black box theater,” Gina said. “We’ve made some amazing memories in that space and have developed a bit of a cult following, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the daylight, with a bigger audience.”
SORORITY is at The Hammer Museum on Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4. Tickets are free and available from the box office the day of.