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    Pride Spotlight: FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL of Trans and Queer Performance

    It’s back! The nation’s most celebrated trans/queer performance festival returns to San Francisco’s Z Space this June 14–16. A transgender superhero rock opera, world champion gay ballroom, award-winning queer disabled dance pioneers, gender-bending dance-theater and trans comedy all hit the stage at the 2018 FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL (

    The FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL features edgy and exquisite extraordinary dance, theater and live music … and a cornucopia of regional and world premieres. These award-winning artists offer loving, bold and beautiful artistry in creative defiance of ongoing attacks on our LGBTQ communities.

    Artistic Director Sean Dorsey curated this year’s special lineup and told the San Francisco Bay Times: “The 2018 FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL is a loving declaration that trans and queer people of color, disabled queers, Black trans artists, elders and gender-non-conforming artists are brilliant and wise. These artists light the way through the mire of Republican hate and show us the way to a glorious future where all of us can love and live as our full authentic selves.”

    More than that: the art is good—really, really good. This year’s lineup reads like a “who’s who” of all stars: queer bachata by Jahaira Fajardo & Angelica Medina; queer disabled dance superstars Alice Sheppard & Laurel Lawson (Oakland/New York); singer-songwriter legend Blackberri; opera by Breanna Sinclairé; side-splitting comedy by Charlotte Tate; trans poet Elena Rose; In Lak’ech Dance Academy bachata team Quisqueya; Same-Sex Ballroom champions Robbie Tristan & Ernesto Palma (New York); Anthemic Americana singer-songwriter Shawna Virago; trans/queer trailblazers Sean Dorsey Dance; contemporary R&B and Soul by Tajah J, Bomba dance and music by Taller Bombalele; trans superhero rock opera The Red Shades; queer, nonbinary-trans disabled dancer Toby MacNutt (Vermont) and emcee Annalise Ophelian.

    Festival artist Shawna Virago informed the San Francisco Bay Times that “people travel from all across the country to attend the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL. And no wonder. It’s not just extraordinary art; it’s a giant party! It’s an extraordinary gathering and celebration of community.”

    Emcee Annalise Ophelian added, “I look forward to these three nights all year long. This event is unparalleled anywhere in the country. It is food for my heart and my soul—and this is the Pride event to attend!”

    Every night features a full evening of performances, plus a lobby after-party featuring drinks, go-go dancers and sets by DJ Frida Ibarra who said, “I’m excited to DJ because I get to set the soundscape of one of the most important trans and queer arts festivals that has ever existed.”

    The FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL is the only event of its kind in North America—and is celebrated for its world-class artistry and sold-out crowds. The FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL’s transgender focus and leadership is especially powerful this year, in the face of anti-transgender bills and backlash across the U.S.

    Acclaimed bomba music and dance ensemble Taller Bombalele returns to the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL this year with Afro Puerto Rican bomba music and dance, a tradition rooted in resistance and spiritual connection to home. Directors Denise Solis and Julia Cepeda explained, “This year we are presenting songs that speak to complicated love and celebrate our diversity as a group. We are so happy to be part of the Fresh Meat Festival celebrating queer and trans performance.”

    Adrienne Price, writer and director of The Red Shades rock opera described their set as “an energetic collision of musical theater and a rock concert.”

    Award-winning disabled artists Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson will present the West Coast premiere of excerpts from DESCENT—a highly-physical duet for two queer disabled women tracing the arc of relationship.

    Festival favorites Robbie Tristan and Ernesto Palma shared, “We are making the world premiere of a new piece created for the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL featuring same-sex Latin Ballroom dance. The number represents being true to oneself and embracing one’s uniqueness, even through hardship and struggle.”

    And Festival founder and Artistic Director Sean Dorsey will be performing with his company, Sean Dorsey Dance. The group will perform excerpts of their powerful new show BOYS IN TROUBLE before it hits the road on a 20-city tour. Advance tickets are recommended for this very popular event. Z Space is wheelchair accessible and has all-gender restrooms. ASL interpretation will be provided on Friday, June 15.

    If you go (and we clearly recommend that you do!):

    FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL of transgender & queer performance

    Thursday–Saturday, June 14–16

    Z Space, SF (450 Florida Street)

    ASL interpretation provided on Friday, June 15

    Tickets: $15–30 sliding scale (Saturday Gala $20+)

    For more info and to purchase tickets: