Afternoon panel (left to right): Actor Michael Kearns, Chorus Director Joe Naddeau, Visual Artist Karla Leopold, Filmmaker and alum, Katherine Kearns.
Gay Men’s Chorus Of Los Angeles Director, Dr. Joseph Naddeau.
Dancer and Activist, Kai Hazelwood
Our annual Symposium is driven by a belief in the power of art to transform individuals, communities, and social structures. You can read more about our sense of purpose and underlying motivations here.
The theme of this year’s symposium is Gender Fluidity. Gender fluidity conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and behaviors that may even change from day to day. Gender fluid people do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of women and men. For some people, gender fluidity extends beyond behavior and interests, and actually serves to specifically define their gender identity. In other words, a person may feel they are more female on some days and more male on others, or possibly feel that neither term describes them accurately. Their identity is seen as being gender fluid. As civilized society continues to evolve there is a movement towards understanding what it means to be male or female, a man or a woman. This is particularly evident as the female role in civilized society continues to take on more “masculine” sensibilities. For decades now women have been able to wear trousers, once considered an exclusively masculine way of dressing. Along the same lines, women have become heads of household, leaders of industry, and heads of state. Meanwhile, the male in civilized society has leaned towards less masculine endeavors not only in the way they dress (hair coloring, for example, once considered an exclusively feminine endeavor is now common among men – not only darkening to appear younger, but also a multitude of colors for fun and self expression). So gender fluidity is not exclusively relegated to sexual preference but refers to a blurring of what is acceptable and what was once “an issue” is now a non issue. In growing numbers, men and women are refusing the binary construct and choosing to not define themselves as one gender or another. The question remains: Is this leading towards greater equality between genders or greater confusion? The Art In Society Symposium’s carefully selected panelists will explore and answer these questions in detail, and hopefully raise some even more significant questions and create more avenues for exploration.
At the heart of the event were world-class guest artists who share our belief in the transformative power of creative expression. The 2017 discussion panel features the following distinguished guests:
Michael Kearns is a Los Angeles-based theatre artist who has gained international recognition as a solo performer. His works, including intimacies, more intimacies, Rock, Attachments, and Make Love Not War, have been produced throughout the United States and abroad. Kearns has also written a number of plays, including Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee?, Mijo, and Myron. His most recent play, Bang Bang, premiered in the spring of 2015 at Highways Performance Space.
While serving as Artistic Director of Artists Confronting AIDS, Kearns directed the landmark productions of AIDS/US and AIDS/US II, docudramas featuring the true-life stories of people affected by the plague. He has also directed the world premieres of Eric Bentley’s Round Two, Robert Chesley’s Jerker, and Clark Carlton’s Self Help.
As an actor, he has appeared in all mediums but is most proud of his award-winning theater performances in James Carroll Pickett’s Dream Man, Charles Ludlam’s Camille, and Robert Harders’ Bill and Eddie. He is the author of numerous theatre books published by Heinemann including T-Cells & Sympathy, Acting = Life, Getting Your Solo Act Together and The Drama of AIDS. His autobiography, The Truth Is Bad Enough, was published in 2012.
Karla Leopold has been an active member of the LBGT community and Human Rights Campaign member since 1995. Her husband Bill Leopold was voted HRC man of the year award for his organization of the concert against anti-hate crimes in Washington DC and support for the community. She has witness and been a part of the many victories of the LBGT community over the last twenty years and continues to support the many changes as they move forward.
As an artist, Karla is an internationally acclaimed award-winning artist and proud member of the 127 year-old Association of Women Artists. Her work has an underpinning of the psychological significations of the people and issues she has had the privilege of touching their lives. She feels it is her responsibility to create art that can bring issues like childhood traumas, untimely death and loss, shelter living and gender identity to visual forms to give the viewers a deeper understanding and different ways to see these important subjects.
Katherine Kearns graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy in 2012. She went on to study filmmaking at the prestigious Bournemouth Arts College in the UK. While at IAA Katherine made the Dean’s List and was voted “Most Likely To Succeed.” The film she completed while at IAA, “A Family Like Mine,” chronicles the story of several children brought up in same-sex households. The twenty-three minute documentary enjoyed wide acclaim, aired on KCET-TV, and screened at Palm Springs ShortFest. In recognition of her “contribution to the advancement of civil rights in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities,” Katherine was awarded a scholarship from Project 10 and a Certificate of Recognition from the City of West Hollywood.
Clement Hil Goldberg is a multidisciplinary artist primarily working in film, sculpture, and animation to create a fabulous extinction aesthetic. Goldberg recently created the stop motion animated web series The Deer Inbetween and produced the 20-filmmaker collaborative experimental feature film Valencia. Valencia won Jury Awards for Best Experimental Feature at the Polari Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at Chicago Reeling in 2013. In 2016 Clement received their MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. Their current project Our Future Ends was awarded a 2016 visual arts Creative Work Fund grant in collaboration with CounterPulse in San Francisco.
Goldberg’s work has been exhibited at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive and the Worth Ryder Art Gallery; Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, SOMArts, Luggage Store Gallery, Artists Television Access, all in San Francisco; and over 50 international film and arts festivals including Frameline, Outfest, MIX NYC, Hamburg International Queer Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival.
Steven Reigns is a Los Angeles-based poet, educator, and was appointed the first City Poet of West Hollywood in October of 2014. Alongside over a dozen chapbooks, he has published the collections Inheritance (Sibling Rivalry, 2011) and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat (Burning Page Press, 2001). He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, and is a ten-time recipient of Los Angeles City’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ Artist in Residency Grant program. He edited My Life is Poetry, featuring his students in the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBT seniors, and has taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youth and people living with HIV. Currently he is touring The Gay Rub, an exhibition of rubbings from LGBT landmarks, and is at work on a new collection of poetry.
ANNA JOY SPRINGER, is a queer visual artist, performer, and cross-genre writer who investigates the weird intersections of sacredness, perversity, and interbeing. She is the author of The Vicious Red Relic, Love (Jaded Ibis, 2011), an illustrated fabulist memoir with soundscape, and The Birdwisher, A Murder Mystery for Very Old Young Adults (Birds of Lace, 2009). Her other work appears in anthologies, journals, and zines, as well as on several records. An Associate Professor of Literature at UC San Diego, she teaches experimental writing, feminist literature & graphic texts. She’s played in punk and dyke punk bands Blatz, The Gr’ups, and Cypher in the Snow, touring the U.S. and Europe in these bands and in Sister Spit, the infamous group of raucous feminist literary performers. She is the winner of an Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award (2010) and a recipient of UCSD Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Award .(2013).
Joe Nadeau is the artistic director and conductor of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Joe came to Los Angeles in 2013, after serving fifteen years as artistic director of Heartland Men’s Chorus in Kansas City, Missouri. Starting as a singer in the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Joe has been actively involved in GALA Choruses for over twenty-two years. In addition to his work with men’s choruses, Joe has also served as conductor for Kansas City Women’s Chorus, and has worked with two LGBT youth performing ensembles: PerformOut KC and Outside Voices (Los Angeles). Joe is also currently serving as the GALA Choruses 411 Artistic Advisor.
Joe has a master’s degree from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and a doctoral degree from the University of Kansas in choral conducting. He is regularly sought after as guest speaker, presenter, clinician, and conductor for regional, state, and national conferences and music festivals. He has taught at every educational level from pre-K through college. Joe is passionate about the mission of GALA Choruses and strongly believes in the power of the LGBT choral movement to make this world a better place for everyone.
Kai Hazelwood is a choreographer, performer and educator with over 25 years of experience in contemporary, modern, ballet, performance art and dance theater. Her training includes a BFA in Dance with a focus on body mechanics from UCLA, six years at the San Francisco Ballet School, summer programs at Dance Theater of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey School of Dance, and intensive training at the Kirov Ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
After a season with the Oakland Ballet Company, Kai relocated to Los Angeles to complete her degree at UCLA. She has been mentored by and worked with local artists including, Victoria Marks and Christine Suarez. She has collaborated with performance artist Allison Wyper since 2010, touring the artist’s piece “Witness” to festivals and art exhibitions in Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Calgary, Alberta and Montreal, Quebec. Kai’s choreographic work includes “Assemble” and “Exagoge” performed by Theatre Dybbuk, an original evening length work entitled “Color Outside the Lines” addressing race in America, and inVISIBLE and evening length pARTy celebrating the bisexual community.