Common Ground#728

Pioneers Go East Collective

Featuring Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte, Hilary Brown-Istrefi, Jo Wiegandt, Philip Treviño, Daniel Diaz, Joey Kipp, Anabella Lenzu, and Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, with reed rushes


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Lead artists for the Pioneers Go East Collective join Rail Editor-at-Large Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by reed rushes.

In this talk

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Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte

Photo of Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte
Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte (he/they) is a creative director, writer & filmmaker, and currently sits on the BESSIE Selection Committee. A NYSCA Artist recipient (2019), Foundation for Contemporary Arts recipient (2019-21); he was finalist for the Jerome Foundation’s Fellowship (2019-20); and LMCC’s Process Space Residency fellow. Gian Marco Riccardo is a Gay immigrant of Italian/Middle Eastern descent, and a NYC-based writer, director and filmmaker dedicated to performance and installations that reflect queer perspectives and vulnerability. An artist in residence with Pioneers Go East Collective at La MaMa and Judson Church, Gian Marco Riccardo’s film and performance work has shown at BRIC ARTS MEDIA, Center for Performance Research, Alvin Ailey, and elsewhere.

Daniel Diaz

Photo of Daniel Diaz
Daniel Diaz (he/ they) is a Black/Puerto Rican Gay performance artist and writer with the collective since 2014. Daniel is a NYSCA Individual Artist recipient (2022), and creates works from a queer black male perspective to inform audiences on social-political injustices through storytelling, burlesque, choreography and video projects. With a focus on modern and interpretive dance, Daniel has performed at various New York City venues including La MaMa, BRIC ARTS MEDIA, Center for Performance Research, and others, as well as various nightlife spots up and down the east coast. In 2023, Daniel Diaz will perform at Lumberyard (Catskill, NY); and Collar Works gallery (Troy, NY).

Philip Treviño

Photo of Philip Treviño
Philip Treviño has been artist-in-residence and curator with Pioneers Go East Collective since 2016. Philip is a Latinx LGBTQ artist, NYSCA individual artist (2021 & 2023), a 2010 BESSIE recipient for design, and a 2014 Outstanding Production BESSIE for Camille A. Brown’s Mr. Tol E. Rance. Credits: Catherine Cabeen, Brian Brooks Moving Company, and Pam Tanowitz. His work has toured nationally, internationally, and at venues including BAM, The Joyce/Joyce Soho, DTW, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Kitchen, New York City Center, and Jacob’s Pillow. Upcoming project with the collective include Lumberyard (Catskill, NY); Collar Works gallery (Troy, NY).

Hilary Brown-Istrefi

Photo of Hilary Brown-Istrefi
Hilary Brown-Istrefi (she/her) is a Canadian-American director, choreographer, performer, curator, and educator, who is currently the Director of Development at Pioneers Go East Collective, and was the former Development Manager at Movement Research. Originally from Toronto, now living in Far Rockaway, NY, she is a graduate of École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, and over the last decade has performed in the works of many notable dance and visual artists. In 2013 she co-founded the award-winning performance collective, Same As Sister (S.A.S.), with her twin Briana Brown-Tipley. Their interdisciplinary commissions have been presented internationally. Hilary initiated HB² PROJECTS in 2017, as a choreographic platform to expand her collaborations in performance.

Joey Kipp

Photo of Joey Kipp
Joey Kipp is a Queer Afro-Latinx-Brazilian Brooklyn-based artist. Joey collaborates with Cynthia Madansky, Ani Taj, and Rachel Klein, among others. Joey was featured in The New York Times and their online project Speaking in Dance for Biba Bell, Stacy Grossfield, and Jody Oberfelder. Theater credits Opera WOW: AN OPERA (BRIC), THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN (Progressive Theater), SOCIAL! (Park Avenue Armory), & LUCKY STAR 0.3 (Pioneers Go East Collective). Joey is a writer who has shared work with TELL: A Queer Storytelling, Occupy City Hall, & JUNETEENTH at Grand Army Plaza. Joey is a resident-artist and teaching artist with Pioneers Go East Collective since 2020.

Anabella Lenzu

Photo of Anabella Lenzu
Anabella Lenzu (she/her) is currently on the BESSIE Selection Committee, and has been a resident artist with Pioneers Go East Collective since 2018. Originally from Argentina, Lenzu is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and teacher with over 30 years of experience, working South America, Europe, the US. Lenzu has presented 390 performances, created 14 choreographic works and performed at 100 venues. As a choreographer, she has been commissioned worldwide for opera, TV programs, theater productions, and by many dance companies. She has produced and directed several award-winning short dance films and screened her work in over 70 festivals both nationally and internationally. She has been on faculty at Peridance, NYU, and Wagner College.

Agosto Machado

Photo of Agosto Machado
Agosto Machado is an artist, activist, and witness best known for his work with Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa ETC, and his association with Jack Smith, Mario Montez, Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Marsha P. Johnson, Ronald and Harvey Tavel, Ethyl Eichelberger, and Peter Hujar. Machado has appeared in over 30 Off-Off-Broadway plays by Ken Bernard, Jackie Curtis, Al Carmines, Harvey Fierstein, H. M. Koutoukas, Megan Terry, and Jeff Weiss, and John Vaccaro’s Playhouse of the Ridiculous. Agosto is artist-in-residence with Pioneers Go East Collective since 2017 and was featured in the collective’s projects presented at JACK, Ars Nova, Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, La MaMa, BRIC ARTS MEDIA, and Judson Church.

Jo Wiegandt

Photo of  Jo Wiegandt
Jo Wiegandt (they/them) is a creative director, producer, and stage manager working with Pioneers Go East Collective. They have been involved in projects at BRIC Arts Media, Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, Atlantic Acting School, Dixon Place, and more. Projects with Pioneers Go East Collective include My Name’Sound (film and installation), Crossroads, and Out-Front Festival in addition to their work as the Community Outreach and Programming Liaison.

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

A photo of Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Community builder Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper served as Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church from 2006 to 2021. She was formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, and teaches leadership at the Hartford Seminary. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well-prepared for all they have to face. She has written over 35 books including Approaching End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (2015), Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems, Solving Everything (2013), to her most recent book I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer (2016), among many others. She is an Editor-at-Large at the Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have reed rushes reading.

reed rushes

A portrait of reed rushes
reed rushes is a performance artist living and working in Queens NYC. Their performances are committed to the subconscious, using choreography, sound, video and installation to explore folklore and myth combined with autobiography. Their own drag personas intermingle with ecological research to create surprising situations and relations which blur the edges between human bodies, affect, technology and objects. reed rushes has been commissioned by The Yard Theatre London, SPILL Festival National Platform and they’ve been supported by Arts Council England. They hold an MFA from Bard College, and in 2021 they were a Teaching Fellow at Al-Quds Bard College, Palestine.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.