There are ELEVEN plays opening this weekend, many of them involving LGBTQ+ characters or storylines, and many more coming down the hatch this February and early March. This is in addition to the plethora of other performing arts events; spoken word is especially prolific this time of year. That’s fantastic, and I’m always so proud of how the live arts community takes advantage of a known dead time for movie releases. That being said, other than the pieces I’m reviewing for you later this month (get excited!) there’s one duo of events that stands above the rest as being a must-see for the LGBTQ+ community; DarkMatter is coming to town and bringing their latest project — a performance art piece called #ItGetsBitter in early March and I am beside myself with giddy anticipation of this show.
DarkMatter has been on the radar for poetry fans or those who go out of their way to support genderqueer and transgender artists for awhile, and as they picked up steam and began putting entire performance art pieces together, I eagerly waited for news of a trip to Minneapolis. DarkMatter turns poetry into a different art form altogether by playing with theatrical formats, using fashion as a political statement, and incorporating unbelievably witty humor into even their darkest pieces.
They unapologetically feature their transgender and genderqueer identities in their work, they question white supremacy from a South Asian viewpoint, and they call attention to direly important social justice issues with their winning, unique combination of style and substance.
I was not disappointed when the news that they were coming dropped. The news that #ItGetsBitter was coming to town prompted immediate response from the Twin Cities. Wanting to keep their art accessible and being hired by Augsburg to come in allowed for free tickets to the originally planned show at Augsburg College on March 3rd. They filled up almost immediately based on excitement, popularity of their poetry, and the show description.
From their Facebook event and website:
#ItGetsBitter is an interruption: a hybrid mixture of art and activism, poetry and polemic, giggles and gasps. #ItGetsBitter is a remix of spoken word, stand up comedy, fashion, and nursery rhymes. DarkMatter shares stories of navigating the world in all of its ordinariness and peculiarity as trans South Asians, taking the audience on an emotional roller coaster all of the way from the personal to the political. Join us for an evening of poetry and healing as we not only critique – but imagine new ways of being and resisting together.
After hearing they were a hit here in Minneapolis, DarkMatter announced a second show, this time at Bedlam Theater’s space in Lowertown St. Paul. They’re truly outdoing themselves with this show — local artist and activist Andrea Jenkins is opening for them, and while tickets are being sold for a (very modest, affordable) fee, the money is being donated to CeCe McDonald — a transgender activist who’s unjust imprisonment set on fire the transgender rights movement here in the Twin Cities. Donating to CeCe not only helps her get and stay on her feet, but is likely going towards her upcoming activism and speaking tour where countless transgender people will get to be empowered and called to action. In true Bedlam Theater fashion, tickets to this show also include an afterparty at Bedlam.
Both shows are March 3rd. If you manage to snag tickets to the Augsburg show (which is pretty tricky at this point), those details can be found here. To support both DarkMatter and Cece McDonald, buy a ticket here for just $10 to the 10:00 P.M. Show and afterparty. The afterparty is brought to us by Qvntessa. To find out more about DarkMatter, visit their website or check out the Facebook Event page.