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Our Voices, Ourselves: Today Is International Women's Day

March 08, 2012 3:04 PM
Growing rapidly from its roots in the early 1900s, International Women's Day has become an annual, global celebration of the accomplishments of women. Originally called International Working Women's Day, celebrated in the US for the first time in 1909, the day eventually grew international traction, especially after the UN General Assembly encouraged its members to celebrate March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and World Peace.

We're sure there is a conference, gala or party near you for today -- but women's voices are prevalent every day, waiting for you to go out and hear them. This is a nowhere-near-comprehensive list of events that showcase the stories and talents of all kinds of women, via one-woman shows, poetry performance, film and more. Bonus Vagina Monologues listing at the end!

Lady-Centric Art Free-For-Alls!

Los Angeles, CA | Silver Lake's Female Festival | Friday, March 9 through Monday, April 30

The Lyric Hyperion dedicates its stage to the talented female artists of L.A. during March and April. In addition to a talented and diverse cast of women in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, the festival features a diverse lineup of film, comedy and performance.

Until the Violence Stops is a powerful film featuring playwright and activist Eve Ensler that documents how The Vagina Monologues grew into an international grassroots movement called V-Day to stop violence against women and girls. To accompany the film, the thirteen live performers from the Vagina Monologues production created a short new theater piece, Voiced!. With I'm Not From Here But My Kids Are, local performance moms Stacie Burrows and Shannon Noel (of the popular blog Lullabies for Mommy) explore the humor and the heartache of having children in LaLaLand.  The Spolin Players: Women at Play features the female members of the wildly popular troupe in a program of unscripted and unrehearsed theater, laughter, and fun, using games created by the legendary pioneer of improvisation, Viola Spolin. Babygirl is the coming of age sitcom/drama of a media-codependa-lova-HOLIC named Babygirl, a pop-culture/hopeless romantic who struggles through the growing pains of childhood, and the realization that though media might be our first love, sometimes we have to press the off button to find ourselves. The Frolic Show has become one of LA's finest alternative stand-up, sketch, and musical comedians to new audiences through a variety of unique and intimate settings that  LAist called "closer than ever to the heart of LA Alternative Comedy."

Austin, TX | Intersections of Erotic Performance Art & Pornography | Monday, March 12

Femina Potens Art Gallery is on the road! At SXSW, come join their panel of feminists, queer artists, activists, counter-culture renegades and performance artists for a night of interactive performance art, film screenings, and artist panel discussion on the Intersections of Erotic Performance Art & Pornography.

Where does conceptual performance work end and where does our libido begin? Is queer feminist pornography inherently progressive? How do queer performance artists who are also in radical pornography decipher the difference between what is art & what is porn? These are just some of the questions they will examine through film, art, and performance.

Performers include Kitty Stryker, Jiz Lee, Coral Aorta, Rozen Debowe and Dylan Ryan, with films by Madison Young, "Too Much Pussy" by Emilie Jouvet and "Tooth and Nail" by Rozen Debowe and Dylan Ryan.  Photo gallery of Maxine Holloway.  Panel hosted by Julie Gillis of BedPost Confessions.

One-Woman Shows

Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA | Oh, Yes She Did! | March 11 through April 29

Sandy Brown blazes the stage, unleashing centuries of dynamic history, blending drama, humor, music, dance & multi-media as she breathes-to-life legacies of bold Lady Pioneers who helped liberate the nation, changing the course of American History, forever.

Prepare to experience powerful events of Revolutionary War Slave-Poet Phillis Wheatley, runaway with Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad, meet World's First Woman Self-made Millionaire-Suffragette Madame CJ Walker, follow Global Superstar & War-Spy Josephine Baker, go Backstage with Jazz Legend Billie Holiday, Bus-Ride with Rosa Parks, protest with activist Angela Davis, campaign with First Democrat Woman Presidential Candidate Shirley Chisholm, and more on this critically acclaimed, innovative, theatrical ride.

San Francisco, CA | The Rita Hayworth of This Generation | March 23 through April 7

The Rita Hayworth of this Generation is the story of Carmelita Cristina Rivera, a queer Latina performer whose passion, power and heartache drive her to gamble everything and move to Las Vegas. From the transgender Black Jack King to the iconic Rita Hayworth, Tina plays the unconventional characters, real and imagined, that help Carmelita break into show business. Fate deals her access into a parallel dimension where integrity is at stake in this delightfully dramatic one-woman show.

San Francisco, CA | Fortunate Daughter | Now through April 1

This latest solo show from noted writer-performer Thao P. Nguyen tells the story of a woman torn between two families. One family -- comprised of her loving Vietnamese parents and relatives -- keeps pushing her to marry (a man). The other family -- made up of her friends in the gay community -- continually urges her to come out to her "other" family. Thao goes to great lengths to keep both parties satisfied -- and completely separate. But the stress and struggle of this emotional balancing act is taking its toll, as Fortunate Daughter traces Thao's journey from a trip to Vietnam to meet her grandmother to an anti-Prop 8 rally to a gay pride march to Thanksgiving dinner.

New York, NY | One Woman Standing - Emerging Artists New Works | Now through Sunday, March 18

Emerging Artists returns with their one-of-a-kind, once-a-year festival. Visit the theater any evening during this three-week event, and you'll find yourself enthralled by One Woman Standing, or perhaps laughing with One Man Talking, maybe even humming along to a few new Notes from a Page. Emerging Artists has always been about new works, new talents, new voices. That's never been more evident than now.

Roanoke, VA | Feet First in the Water with a Baby in my Teeth | Thursday, July 19

She's read all the books. Bookmarked all the blogs. She should totally have this parenting thing down, right? So why has she locked herself in her bathroom with the "Dora the Explorer" soundtrack muffling her tears? Megan Gogerty returns to Synchronicity following her 2010 hit Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant. Her "whopper" son is now the size of a frozen turkey and is presenting new challenges as she tries to solve the Jenga puzzle that is her life as mother, career woman and feminist. Gogerty will have you laughing until you cry (or maybe wet yourself).

Poetry and Performance

Berkeley, CA | Climbing Poetree | March 20

Climbing PoeTree's acclaimed performance 'UpRising' is composed dual-voice poems that explore diverse themes, including: healing from state and personal violence, environmental justice, civil rights, spirituality, global politics, and woman's empowerment. Alixa and Naima are touring with excerpts from "Hurricane Season: the hidden messages in water," their widely-celebrated multi-media two-woman show that seeks not to captivate audiences, but to liberate them. Through a tapestry of spoken-word poetry accompanied by stunning video projection, these soul-sisters weave together their voices to draw vital connections between shared struggles and common solutions in a critical moment in human history. Both tragic and triumphant, the poetry Alixa and Naima deliver challenges its listeners to acknowledge their own humanity, dissolves apathy with hope, and helps heal the inner trauma so that we as people may begin to cope with issues facing our communities.

Oakland, CA and Portland, OR | Sister Spit | Sunday, April 8 and Tuesday, April 10

The legendary, raucous, rowdy performance gang, Sister Spit, comes to your town with a vanload of multimedia, queer-centric brilliance! Don't miss this multimedia explosion of taste-makers, novelists, luminaries, chanteuses, performance artists, poets and filmmakers.

Featuring your host Michelle Tea (Best Music Writing 2010, Chelsea Whistle, Valencia, Rent Girl), legendary author Dorothy Allison* (Bastard Out of Carolina, Two or Three Things I know for Sure, Cavedweller), writer and musician Brontez Purnell (FAG School, Younger Lovers, Gravy Train!!!), genius performer and playwright Erin Markey (Green Eyes, Puppy Love: A Stripper's Tail), comic artist and writer Cassie J Sneider (Fine Fine Music) and nationally-ranking slam poet and Mr Transman 2010 Kit Yan!


Los Angeles, CA | Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles | Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15

From Janus Films: In a small apartment in Brussels lives Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig), a middle-aged widow, mother, homemaker, and prostitute whose existence is dominated by routine  the preparation of meals, the running of errands, visits from her clients, and evenings with her teenage son Sylvain (Jan Decorte)  until the cracks start to show. As towering a cinematic landmark as L'avventura or Weekend, Jeanne Dielman is a singular blend of feminism, modernism, and the avant-garde whose hypnotic rhythms and rigorous attention to detail make for a riveting, unforgettable experience. Janus Films is proud to present this masterpiece in a new 35mm print. Written and directed by Chantal Akerman.

San Francisco, CA | San Francisco Women's Film Festival | Friday, April 13 through Sunday, April 15

On April 13th, the Women's Film Institute will present the 8th Annual San Francisco International Women's Film Festival (SFIWFF), a comprehensive three-day celebration of films directed by women. The 2012 selection of diverse films celebrates the exceptional contributions of women in the world of cinema and represents a convergence of excellence in filmmaking from around the globe.

Women's Film Institute was established to address the under representation of women in the film and media industries. The institute supports its mission by presenting the annual San Francisco International Women's Film Festival, Women's Film Institute Shorts Tour, Generation HERstory filmmaking training program for young women (ages 12-19), and a variety of film screenings and educational programs.


Pittsburgh, PA | SUNSTAR Music Series 2012 | Friday, March 9, 23, and 30

Diverse and vibrant, the SUNSTAR Music Series celebrates the best female emerging and established music makers through concerts, storytelling, and parties.

South Haven, MI | Genghis Barbie | Friday, June 8

Genghis Barbie, the leading post post-feminist feminist all-female horn experience, is the most innovative and energizing chamber ensemble of its generation and beyond. With a combined 24 years of conservatory training, GB delivers to you a visceral and unadulterated musical adventure. Performing arrangements of pop music from the past 40 years, GB is the most versatile and expansive group on NYC's classical/pop/rock/jazz/indie/alternative/punk/electro-acoustic scene.

Vagina Monologues

Want to see Eve Ensler's acclaimed collection of women's stories -- or a variation of them? Here's a whole batch of them available on our site.

Austin, TX - Vday Austin - Now through March 10

Atlanta, GA - M.PoWer Productions - Friday, March 16 through Sunday, March 18

Philadelphia, PA - V-Day Campaign Philadelphia - Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18

Dallas, TX - Mujeres de Arcadia - Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 (In Spanish!)

Berkeley, CA - Brosh Productions - Sunday, March 25 (In Hebrew!)

San Francisco, CA - Yoni Ki Baat Preview Fundraiser - Friday, March 30

Yoni Ki Baat translates to "Talks of the Vagina" and is inspired by Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. The South Asian Sisters will present their eighth production with a brand new script that is hilarious, raw and moving.

Tempe, AZ - ASU VDay - Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31

New York, NY - V-Day Harlem - Saturday, March 31

Denver, CO - VDay Denver - Sunday, April 1 and Monday, April 2

Sedona, AZ - V-Day Sedona - Friday, April 13

Detroit, MI - Shawn P Entertainment - Sunday, March 25

What are you doing to celebrate International Women's Day, or women in general? Leave it in the comments!

Photo by Gaelx on Flickr

Posted by Sarah

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