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Ryan Crowder
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Jess Young
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A week-long performance festival that examines the intimacy of desire through the lens of economy
as part of the National Queer Arts Festival

SAN FRANCISCO, and Calif. May 1, prostate 2012— THIS IS WHAT I WANT, Wednesday–Saturday, June 27–30, is an annual performance festival produced by queer performance incubator THEOFFCENTER and presented in conjunction with San Francisco’s SOMArts Cultural Center, Center for Sex and Culture and the Queer Cultural Center. A centerpiece of the National Queer Arts Festival and timed to follow San Francisco’s legendary Pride celebration. THIS IS WHAT I WANT is a 3 year old project originally conceived by 2011 Goldie recipient Jesse Hewit, attempts to redefine the relationship between intimacy and performance. The festival features four nights of newly commissioned, multidisciplinary performance-based works centered around the locus of queer desire, in direct dialogue with economies of value and perception.

The San Francisco economy is in a state of flux; tech companies are changing the make-up of the city and San Franciscans are changing alongside with it. Queer populations are no exception. It is in the middle of these changes that THIS IS WHAT I WANT constructs work with the economy of desire as a main focus. Artistic Director Tessa Wills declares, “To say what you really want is a formational act of passion and promise. It’s an act of identification that has personal, social and economic significance.” Sold out crowds for last year’s THIS IS WHAT I WANT encouraged festival producer and director of THEOFFCENTER Ernesto Sopprani to better support this year’s curatorial team, Anna-Martine Whitehead, Doran George, Jesse Hewit, Tessa Wills, and Rachael Dichter, by expanding the 2012 festival to include two new events, a symposia and in-depth audience participatory experience, which assist audiences and performers in further exploring the themes raised by the festival’s performances and curatorial concept.

“THIS IS WHAT I WANT commissions highly skilled performance makers to “come out” and share their very personal desires on stage. Year after year what we are offered in return is a type of performance generosity that challenges, exalts, and leaves audiences celebrating queer desire’s full potential,” said THEOFFCENTER Executive Director, Ernesto Sopprani. “For artists, the private and personal mix together in a display of fragility and indulgence, creating a performative moment that I, as a 3 year veteran audience member, have learned to hunger for; that moment when something cracks open and the room achieves a feeling of collective communion.”


About This Is What I Want Performance Festival

San Francisco based artists participating in the festival include singer-songwriter DavEnd, Trannyshack Star Search 2012 winner Dia Dear, performance artist and drag queen Mica Sigourney (VivvyAnne ForeverMORE), and mixed-media artist Sara Kraft. Los Angeles based artists Mabel Negrete, Nick Duran/Jmy James Kidd, Rafael Esparza and Taisha Paggett will also debut new work.  The addition of Los Angeles based performers to the bill this year highlights one of the festival’s goals: to establish the west coast as a hub for queer performance and to create a cross-pollination of ideas between performers from the Bay Area and beyond.


About “Slow Sex Symposium”

Slow Sex Symposium: Queer Exit Strategies from Capitalist Economies of Attraction and Performance is presented in collaboration with Center for Sex and Culture’s Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence, and under rigorous curatorial direction by Los Angeles based London scholar and practicing performance maker Doran George. “Slow Sex” includes two facilitated discussions about desire. The first, “Practicing Radical Pleasure,” facilitated by renowned sexologist Carol Queen, will engage sexual activist Joseph Kramer; psychotherapist & author Dossie Easton; and ecdysiast, performance-maker, and community organizer Xandra Ibarra to look at whether performing queer desire does create exit strategies from capitalism. The second discussion, “Performing Critical Desire,” will gather festival artists to discuss how their critique of dominant models of desire connect to their identity, lifestyle and artistic perspective.


About Audience exploration “This Is What YOU Want”

As the culminating event of the week-long festival, “This Is What YOU Want,” conceived by festival’s Artistic Director Tessa Wills and directed by San Francisco artist and sexuality activist TT Baum, is an experience that looks to value the individual process of stating one’s desire. Working with skilled facilitators, audiences will have the opportunity to design and taste their own unique mix of alternative sexual practice and performance.

Calendar Listings:

Calendar editors, please note: THIS IS WHAT I WANT includes four nights of performance featuring two different bills at SOMArts Cultural Center, and two additional events at Center for Sex and Culture.

THIS IS WHAT I WANT Performances
Tue.–Fri., June 26–29, 8pm
SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)
Admission is $20 each night. Advance tickets highly recommended

Slow Sex Symposium
Sat. June 30, 2–6pm
Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St SF, CA 94103
Free admission

This is What YOU Want – (Participatory experience)
Sat. June 30, 8pm
Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St SF, CA 94103
$25 admission, or $15 with proof of performance festival ticket purchase


Tickets and Other Links

To purchase tickets for the festival 

More information about festival events:;;    

Artist biographies and press images:
To review artist bios

To download hi-res images visit:



About the presenting organizations:

THEOFFCENTER – THEOFFCENTER’s objective is to research Queer sensibilities as a lens for contemporary thought, art, action, and community. By providing a multi-disciplinary forum we look to question issues around gender, race, resilience, identity, engagement, and evolution. Our focus is to provide resources and provocation to emerging and established art-makers who are dedicated to the intentional negotiation of concepts, modalities and/or voices of a Queer lens. Furthermore, we seek to contextualize ourselves, our programming and our mission within contemporary realities, historical wisdom, and global intelligence.

SOMArts Cultural Center – SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services) was founded in1979 and operates the South of Market Cultural Center, one of four city-owned cultural facilities in San Francisco. SOMArts supports exhibitions, performances, classes and other collaborations that serve its mission: to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures.

SOMArts programs are supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Community Arts and Education Program, with funding from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and The San Francisco Foundation. For more information about upcoming events, space rentals and technical services, visit or call 415-863-1414.

Center for Sex and Culture – The Mission of the Center for Sex & Culture is to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health.

Queer Cultural Center – Founded in 1993, Qcc is a multiracial community-building organization that fosters the artistic, economic and cultural development of San Francisco’s LGBT community. We implement our mission by operating programs that commission and present Queer artists, that promote the development of culturally diverse Queer arts organizations and that document significant Queer arts events taking place in San Francisco.