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Rocky and Rhoda's Lesbian Past


Rocky and Rhoda's Lesbian Past

Rocky and Rhoda’s Lesbian Past

Rocky and Rhoda’s Lesbian Past is a multimedia play that uses comedy, musical numbers, and acrobatic dance to explore issues of nostalgia, conflict, and love in queer and lesbian communities, ancestry, and history. 


Engaging the queer present with the LGBT past, the show introduces the audience to Rocky and Rhoda, the world’s longest-touring lesbian performance artists, midway through their most recent tour. As pressure mounts and gigs start falling through, they descend into lezpocalyptic dreamscapes, haunted by their ideas of where they come from, the looming possibility of being forgotten, and the challenges of working in a community often fractured by intergenerational infighting.

Rocky and Rhoda’s Lesbian Past is written and performed by Ariel Speedwagon (SJNN, Ballez, AOMC) and Damien Luxe (Heels on Wheels), two renowned New York City theatre performers and queer artists with 25 years of performance experience between them. It has been presented at Dixon Place (NYC), JACK (Brooklyn), and community venues in the Northeast.

“The best lesbian comedy duo since Abbott & Costello.” -- BRIC TV, Brooklyn.

Multimedia: The show has an easy to run tightly-designed multimedia element in PowerPoint, incorporating images-as-backdrops, music and sound cues, animated transitions, past show posters, as well as five musical numbers using keyboard, voice, and song track playback. 

Technical Needs: Projector, sound playback with ⅛” input, lighting, stage, dressing room/area, dedicated person to set up sound, lights, and run simple cues in PowerPoint. Tech script provided.

Timing: The show is 70 minutes. One 2-hour tech rehearsal ending at least one hour before the show is highly recommended. The performers need to arrive the evening before the show.

Rocky & Rhoda’s Lesbian Past -- Performance Add-Ons

Artist Q&A

The live event itself can extend for up to 45 minutes as the performing artists host a 30-minute Q&A/talkback afterwards, with a 10-minute break needed after the show before the talk begins.

Technical Needs: chairs.  

Timing: day of show, 30 minutes

Queer Trivia

Join Rocky and Rhoda, America’s longest-touring and most-beloved lesbian performance artists, for a romp through LGBTQQIA+ history, herstory, queerstory, and more! Perfect for a large group event like a departmental mixer or pizza or pub night, teams compete for prizes and bragging rights. Three rounds of 10 questions of varying levels of difficulty test audience members’ knowledge of queer arts, culture, celebrities, politics, and more. Full game is approximately 1.5 hours but can be scaled as needed. 

Technical Needs: Projector, microphone, room with tables and chairs, sound playback, institutional assistance with fun PRIZES! Max participants: ~80


Workshop: Conflict, Herstory, and Ancestry: Where Are You From? 

How does our past influence our future? How can we envision a future revolution based on the questions still holding us down today? In this workshop, students have an opportunity to use theater and writing exercises to explore their particular cultural ancestry/ies, the conflicts they experience or have felt, and imagine bright new worlds. 

Technical Needs: tables, chairs. Max students: 25.   Timing: day before or day of show, 1.5-2 hours



Damien Luxe is a multimedia artist who creates solo and troupe performance and digital resistance. She’s toured the US and Canada since 2004 with feminist live art work. She is co-founder of Heels on Wheels, a working-class-led, multi-racial queer femme performance troupe which produces an annual national literary tour. Damien is co-editor of the recent Lambda Literary-nominated queer performance anthology Glitter & Grit. She works as an archival catalog builder by day: www.femmetech.org. Weird videos, radical narratives, and a feminist, dystopic, science fiction novel can be found online at: damienluxe.com / tw: @hadassahdamien / ig: @ladydluxe


Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow is an interdisciplinary performing artist, emcee, and itinerant reporter. She’s worked with the Ballez, the AO Movement Collective, and Butch Burlesque; choreographed genital puppets for dyke marches; performed street vaudeville about tenant’s rights, and tap danced for liberation. Her own work and collaborations have been seen at LaMama ETC, Dixon Place, the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, Everybooty, Pussy Faggot, Hey Queen!. Host of The World is a Terrible Place, a weekly news radio show, on Radio Free Brooklyn. 2012 Hemispheric Institute Affiliated Emerging Artist. Miss JewSA 5772. Bingo host. Clown about town. www.arielspeedwagon.com

Rocky and Rhoda's Lesbian Past premeired July 2015 at JACK in Brooklyn, and is going up in a new format March 16, 2016 at Dixon Place in NYC.





Ben Rimalower

Ben Rimalower

Ben Rimalower’s addiction to spending beyond his means has driven him to extreme lengths all his life. In BAD WITH MONEY he charts his sometimes hilarious, sometimes harrowing struggle to overcome his problem—or get rich trying. Written and performed by Ben Rimalower and directed by Aaron Mark, BAD WITH MONEY premieres at The Duplex (61 Christopher Street at Seventh Avenue) from September 4 through November 6


Rimalower's first solo show, the long-running hit Patti Issues, explored his obsession with Broadway diva Patti LuPone and his relationship with his troubled gay father. Bad with Money delves into even deeper personal territory with the story of his struggle with debt—a journey that takes him through drug addiction, prostitution, fraud and multiple betrayals.

In this gripping play-by-play of some his biggest mistakes and their consequences, Rimalower offers a no-holds-barred self-portrait of an addict, and casts light on one of the last societal taboos. “People tend to be familiar now with alcohol and drug addiction—and I've got those too,” the writer-performer says. “But spending money I don’t have is really my drug of choice. And considering how many people suffer from the same problem, it’s staggering how seldom it’s discussed.”

When Ben’s debut play Patti Issues opened in 2012, it became a must-see show in the downtown theater scene, ultimately running for 14 months and garnering praise from attendees such as Alan Cumming, Tony Kushner, Michael Kors, Justin Vivian Bond, Perez Hilton and Ms. LuPone herself. (“The show’s fantastic,” she said. “It’s really wonderful. I was moved.”) The New York Times praisedPatti Issues for its “well-honed script with an engagingly spontaneous delivery and a nose for sharp, observational comedy.” It was hailed as “endearing, drolly written and performed with heaps of charisma” (The New Yorker) and “meticulously scripted and executed, with poignant punch lines that deliver laughs, emotion and insight” (Time Out New York). Rimalower has performed Patti Issues in Australia, Germany and Great Britain, as well as across the country in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Miami Beach, Provincetown, Fire Island and more.

Ben ruminates about his gay dad.

BEN RIMALOWER and his LuPonophilia

By Alan Cumming, a PSA for the treatment of "Patti Issues" to promote Off-Broadway/Touring Solo Play PATTI ISSUES, written and performed by Ben Rimalower, directed by Aaron Mark. PattiIssues.com "Do You Have Patti Issues?" PSA produced by Ben Rimalower, Aaron Mark and John Hill. Featuring Alan Cumming, Bridget Everett, Patti LuPone, Tyler Maynard, Ian Scott McGregor, Tonya Pinkins, Ben Rimalower, Agent Maxwell Smart and Ned Van Zandt.

BEN RIMALOWER is the author and star of Off-Off-Broadway’s long-running, critically acclaimed smash hit solo play Patti Issues (M.A.C. and Bistro Awards, Official Selection: Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Summer Conference), which he continues to perform on land and at sea all around the world, while two-time Tony nominee Robin De Jesus played “Ben Rimalower” in Patti Issues in New York and the Virginia’s Richmond Triangle Players mounted the monodrama’s recent regional premiere. His “Do You Have Patti Issues?” PSA with Alan Cumming and Patti LuPone was a homepage selection on FunnyOrDie. He writes for Playbill and The Huffington Post and his short story, Little Old Sam, was published as part of The Rex Factor.

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Rob Nash

Rob Nash

A Virtuoso Actor/Writer! At the tender age of 11, Rob Nash began his performing career Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, the largest musical production company in the US outside New York and Los Angeles.  While still in college at The University of Texas at Austin, Rob became the first ever out-gay standup comic to tour the club circuit. He was one of the first out standups to perform on television when he was on Rosie O’Donnell’s VH1 Standup Spotlight and on Comedy Central’s Out There in Hollywood.  A veteran of the college circuit, Rob still manages to maintain a cutting-edge perspective on society and culture.  He’s also, “Laugh-out-loud, God-that’s-me funny!”-Austin Chronicle.

Holy Cross…!

(a one-man comedy)


An astoundingly prolific writer, fifteen of Rob’s twenty-two plays are solo comedies. Best known for his excruciatingly funny and poignant one-man comedy, Holy Cross Sucks! (Rebranded Holy Cross Rocks! for Christian schools and universities), Rob received “Top Ten Broadway/off-Broadway Plays” from Time Out New York Magazine and rave reviews from 14 New York area publications.  Directed by Tony Award Nominated director, Jeff Calhoun. Rob was the keynote performer at the historic 1st LGBT conference for Jesuit universities. 

Rob plays 39 multi-aged, multi-ethnic, multi-gendered, and multi-sexual orientation characters in this coming of age story which tackles such topics as: early LGBT rights and AIDS issues, date rape, gay bashing, sexuality and sexual identity. 


HOLY CROSS…! Rob Nash's infectious solo show… mines the 1980's for pop-culture references and for John Hughes-style narrative devices. But the nostalgia goes deeper than Izod and Purple Rain in this unexpectedly rich coming-of-age tale, made all the warmer by Mr. Nash's cool, unflappable demeanor. -New York Times

Rob offers two versions of HCS! One is the scaled down “scenes from” which requires minimal tech, the other is the off-Broadway version complete with 100 sound cues and 100 light cues.

Nash clearly loves his wannabe rebels. As a performer and writer, his virtuosic peaks come when the boys share private moments, and he flickers between them with impeccable precision. Holy Cross…! may be the perfect vehicle for Nash's undeniable acting talent…Nash… up there alone, displaying his prowess to the world. -Variety

12 Steps to a More Dysfunctional Family

(a one-man comedy)

Rob also offers a 20 year retrospective on the Pop Psychology and the Recovery Movement in his 12 Steps to a More Dysfunctional Family described as a 1-man, 6 character play spanning 3 generations of an infinitely loving/loveable and infinitely dysfunctionally functioning American family.

Ashley purges, Matt runs away, Fred contemplates bankruptcy, Margot excels in Divinity School, Windsong gets in touch with her colon…. and somehow Mildred manages to keep the whole family together-- again.

This award winning family tragicomedy hits you in that deep, warm, open/guarded and love/hate-filled family place in your heart.

Witness the unbearable intimacy that is family!

Come laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh again!

A must for anyone who’s been anywhere near a 12 Step program!

Dysfunctional has played The First Annual New York Fringe Festival, The Edinburgh Scotland Festival Fringe, The HBO Workspace in Los Angeles, The Straz Center in Tampa, STAGES Repertory Theatre in Houston, and The Carolina Theatre in Durham.

"Rather a find."                                                -Julia Reid, THE SCOTSMAN

"A genuine artist."                                   -Charles Whaley, DRAMA LOGUE

"Laugh-out-loud, God-that's-me funny"                      -Robert Faires, AUSTIN CHRONICLE

"Nothing short of brilliant as a writer and an actor."          -Glenna Bell, PUBLIC NEWS

"How do you do that?"                                                    -Ann Richards, TEXAS GOVERNOR

Workshop: Flying Solo

(Your Voice, Your Creation)

a workshop scaleable to any organization’s needs

You are enough.

You’re are compelling.  Your own story has depth and meaning.  Spice it up, add and combine characters, up the stakes, (lie a little) and voila you got art!!!

Everyone should feel what it’s like to perform before an audience and receive applause for your work.

Get your WRITING out of your head and onto the page!

Get your MESSAGE out of your heart and on to the stage!

Flying Solo helps writer/actors/lay people no matter what their experience level to develop and refine their comedic and dramatic talents.  If you do it alone, on stage, in front of an audience, this is where you belong! Let's explore and perfect it! Let's surprise ourselves and our audience!

Workshop: Skit 4 Brains

(An Improv and Sketch Comedy Class)

a workshop scaleable to any organization’s needs

“From improv to sketch.”

By using improvisational theatre games and our own imaginations we surprise ourselves with creative insights, original characters and active choices all of which come from somewhere inside us.  This course teaches how to use these exercises to jumpstart storytelling into the short play (a sketch or skit).  Who knows what form it can take after that?  Play, screenplay, short story, monologue.

This course opens your mind to creative interaction and problem solving.  It builds trust among team members. Essential, immediate life, workplace and university skills developed all while the group is having a blast.

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Cornelius Jones, Jr.

Cornelius Jones, Jr.


"Turn your pain into art"

An actor, writer, theater/performance artist and educator, Cornelius is living LIFE out loud and turning pain into art.  Born in Richmond, VA, he considers himself a pure-bred east coast baby; having lived in cities such as Washington, DC, Syracuse, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and New York City.

He holds an M.A. from NYU (Dramatic Writing, Educational Theater, and Performance) and a B.F.A in Theater Arts from The University of The Arts. He is a 2010 Lorraine Hansberry – Nia Award Recipient, and a Leo Bronstein Homage Award recipient and the creator of the performance piece HomoAffection and FlagBoy, an autobiographical one-man show.  FlagBoy earned him a 2008 Midtown International Theater Festival Nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Solo-Show, a Capital Fringe Festival 2009 “Best of Fest” award and has been featured on NPR.  He has also appeared in television and the Broadway stage in shows such as “Law&Order: SVU” and The Lion King.  His poems “Momma Said…(A Hard Life),” “Chicken N Shrimp Gumbo,” and “Still Swimming (I remember)” appears in the 2008, 2009, 2011 Writers Place Poetry Review, “Momma Said...(A Hard Life),” also appears in the 2011 Off The Rocks, Volume 15 anthology of GLBT writing, and his essay “pianissimo: Memoir of a Black Gay childhood” appears in the 2010 MIGHTY REAL: Anthology of African-American Same Gender Loving Writing.  Embracing all of who he is, Cornelius is featured in the Logo and Gilead sponsored PSA: “I AM LIVING MY TRUTH”, which aired on MTV’s Logo Network.   

With acting, writing, storytelling, movement, and vocal visceral support as his wings Cornelius's uses these elements in the performance space and on the page as a vessel for positive social change. Additionally he is actively involved with various non-profit organizations mobilization efforts that use the arts to allow and engender change around local and global community and youth-based issues.


LAVA- Earth Moving Performance

LAVA- Earth Moving Performance

LAVA is an Obie and Bessie award-winning performance troupe that explodes with empowerment and flows with creative invention. The women of LAVA are fierce, witty, and powerful while sharing their humanity and sincerity in work that defies gravity, convention, and all expectations.

LAVA is a troupe of artists who develop and perform artistic works that combine dance, theater and acrobatics. Founded in 2000 by Sarah East Johnson, LAVA develops original works that integrate athletic physicality, intellectual rigor, social commentary, and relationship exploration. LAVA was awarded an OBIE and a Bessie Award for their show Lava Love, in 2000. In addition to creating and performing original theatrical productions, the troupe offers classes in their unique form of acrobatics and dance at their Brooklyn Studio.

LAVA has performed in New York City at P.S. 122, The Kitchen, The Flea Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, The Joyce Theater, Movement Research at Judson Church, The New Victory Theater, Celebrate Brooklyn, Symphony Space, and Dixon Place. The troupe has received funding from the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, Bloomberg LP, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Puffin Foundation, the Heathcote Foundation, the Greater Houston Community Foundation, Bossak Heilbron Charitable Trust, Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and hundreds of individuals. 


LAVA is available for performances in theaters, schools, universities, and non-traditional venues. We adapt our selection of repertory pieces to best communicate with the specific audiences and spaces that we perform in.

• Our repertory includes works with 4 to 7 performers
• It can be done in spaces that do or do not accommodate rigging
• Our minimum playing space is 20' x 24'

"If you need proof that the human body can do miraculous and beautiful things, look no further."
- Liz Gold, 14KaratLiving.com, December 2011


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Circus Amok

Circus Amok

Gender bending subversive circus

Circus Amok is a one-of-a-kind, gender-bending, free associating, schtick driven, star-studded circus. Directed by the unstoppable "bearded lady" Jennifer Miller, this troupe of jugglers, stilt walkers, divas, and acrobats balances danger with laughter, politics with punchlines. They are fearless, funny, funky and fundamentally subversive. 

The troupe is accompanied by the blasting, percussive sounds of the 6 piece Circus Amok band, under the baton of Jenny Romaine. Playing a variety of international musical styles from klezmer to funk to folk.

The group has been together since 1989 bringing its funny, queer, caustic and sexy, political one-ring spectacles to diverse neighborhoods from East New York to the East Village as well as campus communities. The company is comprised of seven ring-performers, a 7 member live band, 3-roustabouts, and a trucker/technician extraordinaire. The performers in the ring are trained in traditional circus skills - tight rope walking, juggling, acrobatics, stilt walking, clowning - as well as experimental dance, theater, and gender-bending performance art and improvisational techniques. Over the years the traditional circus techniques have been combined with dance, life-size puppetry, music old and new, and dramatic monologues creating new meanings for circus while continuing to entertain the crowds of all ages throughout city streets, gardens, parks, playgrounds, and campus outdoor spring festivals.

Circus Amok performances prove that diverse audiences can join us in envisioning a more empowered life of community interaction while enjoying a queer celebratory spectacle. But most of all, Circus Amok brings a seventeen-act-in-59-minutes joyful extravaganza of acrobatic artistry, satiric skill, and good old-fashioned circus fun to all.

“Unlock your daughters. also your sons. Grab our cats and dogs and families and friends. Run for your lives. It’s Circus Amok!” –The Village Voice

“A double scoop of politics and play” –New York Magazine

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Heels on Wheels Glitter Roadshow

Heels on Wheels Glitter Roadshow

Queer Femme Performance

Heels on Wheels is a diverse queer femme group of interdisciplinary performing artists. We create and curate performance-based cultural works and community events that have a feminist and radical agenda, are produced from sites of femme/inine-positive queer embodiment, and reveal the power in under-represented communities. 

Our events use theatre to incite wonder, joy, critique, and dialogue; to bring visibility and complexity to diverse experiences; and to strengthen LGBTQ cultural communities in NYC and across the USA. We've presented in over 35 cities, to many universities, and to over 2000 audience members since we began in 2010.

We are a multiracial & working-class led queer organization committed to anti-oppression and activism as art, as well as in our art. The heels are led by Heather Acs, Damien Luxe, Sabina Ibarrola, Andie Glickman, and Nicole Myles, with support by Lizxnn Disaster and a long list of satellite members and performers. 

“Damien and Heather offer so much joy, inspiration and creative femme magic in this presentation. Queers, femmes, writers, trouble makers, and artists of all sorts will learn from their art, stories, questions, and fun exercises. You will leave wanting to paint, dance, go on tour, write, and share all of our collective brilliance with others.” - Haley Koch, University of North Carolina student

Community & Politics

Confronting Femmephobia and Building Femme Power; Creating a space to  examine, confront, and shift fear of femininity to celebrations of all genders and representation of femmes in your community [entire troupe]

ArtivistsArtist/Activists use various strategies to shift power. Talk about what Heels on Wheels does — and what you can do! [entire troupe]

Self-Confidence & Stage Presence

Femmepowerment! How to stand like you’re six feet tall, from the stage to the street. Our workshop we like to do with young people and folks our own age, that takes the tools of stage performance and applies them to how we see ourselves, our potential, and our important voices in everyday life. [entire troupe]

Storytelling & Writing

Stories on the Fringe: LGBTQ Histories through Performance [Heather]

Media Production

DIY New Media: Creating and Maintaining a Viable Internet Presence [Damien]

Getting Your Voice Out There: No/Low-Cost Audio Recording & Sound Art for CD, Performance and Web [Damien]

Theatre Arts

Creative Strategies for Resistance: Exploring Educational Theatre Techniques
Exploring Gender & Sexuality through Educational Theatre Techniques [Heather]
Performance Composition [Heather]