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: Weird videos, radical narratives, and a feminist, dystopic, science fiction novel can be found online at: / 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.

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.