Esmé Rodríguez is an east coast transplant to Portland. He is a Trans*-masculine, queer-identified, Latino artist, educator, and activist, originally from NYC & Morelos, Mexico. He has a Master’s Degree from Boston College and he studied his PhD (ABD) at the University of Minnesota. She is also a self-taught seamstress and designer. Much of Esmé’s academic and creative work exhibits themes of non-binary gender identities, the deconstructions of femininities and masculinities, and innovations of gender through histories and pop culture and the creation of possibility spaces. His personal and professional goals are to form coalitions which aid in the breakdown of patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonization; meta-systems which maintain and control oppression, violence, and inequality. She has taught Gender Studies and Latin American Literature at the university level for 12 years and is currently touring national colleges with her “Gender Show and Tell Program,” which engages in intersectional discussions surrounding the performance of gender identity, and gender expression from non-traditional cultural perspectives.
By day, and in boi clothes, Esmé was the Programs Director for Soulforce.org, a national non-profit that works for social, racial, and economic equality for LGBTQ people. Soulforce intervenes where religion is used to oppress people. By night and in feathers, Esmé is the director and producer of a variety of drag cabaret shows. She also performs in a variety of state wide and national venues. Highlights of her 13 year drag and design career include regular performances in San Francisco and Amsterdam, working with Peaches Christ for the Minneapolis Premiere of “All About Evil” in 2010, as well as being chosen to work as an invited artist at The Walker Art Center in 2008 in conjunction with the FRIDA Kahlo exhibit.
Esmé also enjoys vegetarian sushi, downhill skiing, and NFL football- of which, THE BRONCOS are his FAVORITE TEAM! Ask her about “her #18 ink story!”
Elena Rose, a Filipina-Ashkenazic trans lesbian mestiza, rode stories out of rural Oregon and hasn’t stopped writing since. A sweet-talking monster at the microphone, she travels the country as a preacher and poet; writes online as “Little Light;” co-curates and headlines the five-years-running National Queer Arts Festival performance series “Girl Talk,” about healing the relationships between cis and trans women in queer communities; organizes international interfaith education work for post-colonial queer and trans liberation; and was a charter member of the Speak! Radical Women of Color Media Collective. Committed to justice for those who live at the edges, Rose is currently finishing both seminary and her first book in the San Francisco Bay Area and is more than ready to come home to the Northwest.
Mah is a trans houseless youth residing in Portland. In 2011, Mah auditioned in Portland for American Idol and their talent took them all the way to Hollywood to perform. Mah was recently featured in the May edition of Portland Queer Monthly. Mah was recently a finalist in the August Wilson Monologue competition and performed in the 2014 Versalandia high school poetry slam. Mah created a documentary about their life on the streets of Portland with Northwest film and is excited about it airing in the fall.
More performers to be announced soon!
To purchase tickets for Front and Center, taking place on Thursday, July 31st at Artists Repertory Theatre – please click here. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7:00. $15-20 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds. ADA Accessible, Gender Neutral Bathrooms