Before We Were Named

beforewewere June 15 & 16
Before We Were Named
The Lab
Tickets: $12-$20
Buy Tickets on-line:
Pictured: Carlos Oxford, Nia Witherspoon, Irina Contreras, Cherry Galette, Samia Abou-Samra
Photo: Nico Dacumos
Before We Were Named invites you to take part in interactive scenes chronicling our spectacular existence via histories of violence, displacement, migration, revolt and spirit. BWWN takes its audiences on a journey through multiple lands and traditions to discover new QTPOC histories and futures. Featuring a multi-talented cast telling stories through music, dance, media, performance and ritual, this world premiere event stars Irina Contreras, Nico Dacumos, Cherry Galette, Juba Kalamka, Gaston Mazó, Carlos Oxford & SoliRose.  Before We Were Named invites you to take part in scenes of myth, fable and fairytale to discover new QTPOC histories and futures. Told through music, dance, media, performance and ritual, this world premiere event stars Irina Contreras, Nico Dacumos, Cherry Galette, Juba Kalamka, Gaston Mazó, Carlos Oxford & SoliRose.


Irina Contreras is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Her individual and collaborative projects change form and medium but ultimately stem from a personal reflection of collective experiences. Her writing will appear in the upcoming anthology Beyond Walls and Cages in 2011, with past writing and editorial work in the anthology Nobody Passes, make/shift Magazine and LOUDmouth Magazine. Her curatorial work looks at mostly queer experimental video and has ranged from Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, FUSION to Coopers Doughnuts at Artists Television Access. In November of 2008, she was a resident artist at PA 61 in DF/Mexico City and just finished a residency at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley where she continued to hone in on research around queer histories and immigration. In April 2010 she co-showcased The Miracle Bookmobile at the 2nd Open Engagement Conference at Portland State University and will return to DF in the fall to participate in Ibero-Americano 2010.

Nico Dacumos is a producer, performer, poet, writer, and high school teacher. Most recently he presented a scholarly lecture on “Interracial Dating 101” as his alter ego, Dr. Eugenio Amador during the February 2010 production of “Whipped: QTPOC Recipes for Love, Sex, and Disaster.” Since 2008, he has regularly performed with the Mangos with Chili queer and trans people of color crew, including the MWC Queer Borderlands 2008 tour, traveling through 11 cities in the Southwest United States. In June 2008 he received a Creating Queer Community Grant to produce his first play, “Translations,” which debuted at the 2009 National Queer Arts Festival (NQAF) and was collaboratively written by Dewayne Dickerson, Natalia Vigil, and Dacumos. He has also performed in six NQAF productions since 2007. His written work appears in Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and the forthcoming anthology, Beyond Walls and Cages: Bridging Immigrant Justice and Anti-Prison Organizing in the United States.

Cherry Galette. Photo: Aimee Espiritu

Born into a family of migrant music makers, Cherry Galette is a Chicana and Moroccan  interdisciplinary movement artist fusing dance, burlesque, text, theater and more to create post-colonial fairy tales of modern resistance that celebrate queer desires, histories, survivals, migrations, and revolutions. Cherry has captivated, delighted, roused and stunned audiences as a solo artist in renowned, alternative, and underground theaters, festivals, cabarets, clubs, and varied stages across North America. Drawing on strong dance technique of the Arabic and Latin diaspora, and with a burlesque repertoire ranging from classic glamor to comedy to the ethereal, she has earned recognition for expanding the genre of burlesque to explore narratives of race, power, empire, and queer bodies in diaspora, and for presenting genre pushing work based in sultry, sacred, and profane fusions of traditional dance forms with story, burlesque and ultra-gay cabaret. Over the past 5 years, Cherry has produced and curated more than 60 productions for audiences across North America as both solo producer, and as Co-Director of Mangos With Chili, North America’s only traveling QTPOC Road Show. Cherry has danced with some of the Bay Area’s most noted world dance ensembles including MaraReggae, the award winning Hot Pink Feathers, and the legendary Shabnam. Although Cherry most appreciates performing in makeshift performance spaces and in living rooms, her work has been featured at notable venues such as the Palace of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Brava Theater, The Regency (SF), Buddies in Bad Times Theater (Toronto), Juste Por Rire (Montreal), Columbia City Theater, (Seattle), Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, Bowery Poetry Club, WOW (New York), Casa 0101, El Cid (Los Angeles), MondoHomo, The Spring Center, Moxie Cabaret (Atlanta), La UNEAC, Teatro el Sotano (La Habana, Cuba), and universities such as Brown, Oberlin, Amherst, Smith, Reed, Berkeley, Mt. Holyoke, Swarthmore, and more.

Juba Kalamka. Photo: Othear Kinney

Juba Kalamka is most recognized as co-founder of “homohop” crew Deep Dickollective. He has been a speaker, panelist, and curator for numerous activist concerns, receiving a 2005 Creating Change Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Kalamka served as director of the PeaceOUT World HomoHop Festival, which marked its seventh and final year in 2007 and featured in the documentary Pick Up The Mic. He later appeared in Good Vibrations’ G Marks the Spot (2003), Orgasm!: Faces of Ecstasy (2004) and toured with the 2006 Sex Workers Art Show. His second solo recording, Ooogabooga Under Fascism, will be released in Fall 2010 concurrent to his feature in the lyric compendium The Yale Anthology of Rap (Yale University Press). He lives in Oakland with his primary partner of seven years, their daughter, a neurotic standard poodle and a lovemongering lesbian cat. He practices polyamory both locally and globally.

Gaston Mazó is an Argentinian dancer, choreographer, and circus performer. He started his career at the age of 6 in Buenos Aires. Trained in Argentinian folk dance, fitness and personal training, he performed as part of many companies in Argentina. He was a dancer, backup singer, circus performer and percussionist in “La Malamaña” Art Group, a San Francisco performing troupe that performed for two years. Currently, he is performing as dancer/acrobat with local bands such as Rupa & the April Fishes, LoCura, Makru. Now he is experimenting with the magic of Flamenco dancing and drag queen impersonation.

Carlos Oxford is a musician, aerialist, circus performer, and artist. He has performed as part of “La Malamaña” Art Group, a San Francisco performing troupe that performed for two years. He recently performed with the Mangos with Chili production, Whipped: QTPOC Recipes for Love, Sex, and Disaster.

SoliRose, whose core members are Samia Abou-Samra and Nia Witherspoon, is an emerging ceremonial-music venture which seeks to enact home/culture-making in Diaspora by calling on the power of the ancestral lines, and the lands that shaped them. With explicit influences from Lebanon/the Levant, Turkey, North and West Africa, and Flamenco. SoliRose, named after our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, seeks to recombine the diversity of musical styles in a way that organically reflects their actual crossings, in both the old world and in the new. SoliRose has most recently had the pleasure of performing in Mujeres de Maiz in Los Angeles, Beloved: A Requiem for our Dead, produced by Mangos with Chili in the Bay, and at the LaRed Benefit, performing at BibiSF’s LOVE Party, sharing the stage with Adelina Anthony and Cherrie Moraga.