Cascadia Composers present
FIERCE, FABULOUS AND FULLY COIFFED
Friday, December 10, 2021 * Live show at 7PM (PST)
at the historic Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
Drag queens! Rants! Jazz! Tragedy! Comedy! Confetti! Double entendres! More wigs and sequins than you’d ever thought could be gathered into one place! Join us for a fantabulous romp celebrating the undeniable gloriousness of the multifaceted contributions that the LGBTQ+ community has made to world culture since the dawn of entertainment!
Co-produced by the composer-performer trio of Jennifer Wright, Nicholas Yandell, and Timothy Arliss O’Brien in partnership with Cascadia Composers, “Fierce” combines new music and drag in a glorious extravaganza for all to take pride in! “Fierce” features a glittering group of local drag icons, classical musicians, and performance artists in a show bubbling over with fresh interpretations of queer art forms in all their diversity and magnificence. Exploring themes of gender and identity in a variety of styles, this rainbow-drenched explosion of expression celebrates the local and global LGBTQ+ community in style.
And it’s super fun for straights too! Fans of art music, drag, dance, song, comedy, fashion, spectacle, pixelated 80s videos, witty storytelling, and audience participation will all find lots to love. LGBTQ+ listeners can enjoy a safe and joyful space to enjoy the arts and take pride in their cultural heritage. Suitable for audiences ages 13 and older.
The Lineup: Local drag pianist/icon Saint Syndrome (a.k.a. Marshall Cuffe) is featured on several pieces, including their luscious, lounge-y original “What Makes a Man a Man?”
Bonnie Miksch’s soulful “Misguided” for unaccompanied voice and live-controlled electronics is, in the composer’s words, a call to “live our lives authentically, and refuse to be willing participants of racist, classist, ableist, sexist, and heterosexist systems or rhetoric.”
Recognizing that anyone can be a woman these days, Jennifer Wright (appearing as drag personality Tartie FaLouze) has a few choice words to share with anyone thinking of giving it a go in her bluesy “Rant”.
The tongue-in-cheek “A Musical Lecture” by Nicholas Yandell (appearing as drag personality The Midnight Maestro) uses everything from a theramin to a keytar to show how music can help you find yourself!
Linda Woody’s setting of Filipino-American queer artist Regie Cabico’s poem “A Queerification” features the multi-talented Zeloszelos Marchandt singing while suspended in midair, a position well-suited to considering thorny topics at the intersection of gender and identity.
Guest composer Lucas Marshall Smith from Ohio contributes “Always Meeting Ourselves”, which presents a deliciously ambiguous original text that can lean in any number of ways while performers consider their reflections in a multitude of mirrors.
Timothy Arliss O’Brien, appearing as drag personality Tabitha Acidz, tackles some heavy stuff head-on with solo guitar and spoken (and sometimes shouted) word in “Tabitha’s Poetry Slam”.
The grand finale is Jennifer Wright’s hilarious memoir of her cringe-worthy youthful attempts to form a coherent identity growing up in the 1980s while surrounded by a barrage of confusing and colorful pop culture influences, entitled “(Do Ya Like My) Unicorn Trapper Keeper (Extra-Extra Extended Dance Remix)”. There will be line dancing, multiple keytars, retro pixelated video and, of course, Trapper Keepers galore!
All together, “Fierce” is a night you won’t soon forget!
Tickets: $20 general admission; $10 students, free beverage and popcorn for anyone wearing a costume!
Tickets available at: https://fiercefabulous.brownpapertickets.com
Generously funded in part by an “Arts Builds Communities” grant from the Oregon Arts Commission.
About the artists
Composer-performer chameleon Jennifer Wright
Jennifer Wright has been described as “a real force of nature” (FearNoMusic artistic director Kenji Bunch) and “[One] of [Cascadia Composers’] most creative producer/composers” (Brett Campbell, Oregon Arts Watch). She is a performer, composer, educator, graphic/multidisciplinary artist, event producer, and culture-maker. She holds two degrees in piano performance (M.M., Trinity College of Music, London, England; B.M., Hartt School of Music, Connecticut) and studied for two years at the Music Conservatory in Stuttgart, Germany. She teaches piano at Reed College and in her private piano studio in Portland, Oregon.
Jennifer’s eclectic compositions include acoustic, electroacoustic, fixed media, and found-sound works for solo instruments, voice, mixed ensembles, choir, dance, experimental instruments, and film. Much of her work features alternative keyed instruments like typewriters, toy pianos, prepared piano, amplified harpsichords, and her deconstructed creations “The Skeleton Piano” and “Chimaera”.
Jennifer’s compositions have been performed across the U.S., England, Finland and Cuba and on KGW TV and Cuban National TV by herself, FearNoMusic, Resonance Ensemble, Delgani Quartet, The Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan Orchestra, Ensemble Interactivo de la Habana, 20 Digitus piano duo, CORVUS, and Free Marz String Trio, among others. jenniferwrightpianostudio.com & skeletonpiano.com
Nicholas Yandell is a Portland, Oregon based composer, musician, writer, & visual artist. Musically, he specializes in composing contemporary classical concert works, film scores, post-rock, and electronic music. He has composed or collaborated on a number of scores for short films and film projects and has had the pleasure of having works performed by such artists as the Delgani String Quartet, cellist Marilyn De Olivera, the Iridescence Piano Flute Duo, the Madrona Viola Duo, and pianist Dianne Davies, as well as numerous other performances through Cascadia Composers.
In 2019, he had the honor of being one of the four composers commissioned by 45th Parallel to set the poetry of Micah Fletcher to music and performed with the Pyxis Quartet and percussionist Sergio Carreno at their “I Spat in the Eye of Hate and Lived” concert. He holds a Masters of Music Composition and a Bachelor of Music from Five Towns College in Dix Hills, NY, and was named the 2020 Composer of the Year by the Oregon Music Teachers Association.
In all his creative works, he delves deeply into subjects such as mental health, psychology, spirituality and perseverance, with an ultimately hopeful outlook, woven into strongly comprehensible narratives. As a queer person, he also uses creativity to express his struggles with identity and sexuality as well as his own personal journey to acceptance.
Married composers couple Nicholas Yandell and Timothy Arliss O’Brien
Timothy Arliss O’Brien is an interdisciplinary artist in music composition, writing, and visual arts. His goal is to connect people to accessible new music that showcases virtuosic abilities without losing touch of authentic emotions. He has premiered music with The Astoria Music Festival, Cascadia Composers, Sound of Late’s 48 hour Composition Competition and ENAensemble’s Serial Opera Project.
He also wants to produce writing that connects the reader to themselves in a way that promotes wonder and self realization. He has self published several novels (Dear God I’m a Faggot, They), and has written for Look Up Records (Seattle), Our Bible App, and Deep Overstock: The Bookseller’s Journal. His full discography, Where Are WE?, Piano Memories, Fear Sides and Soundbath, on all streaming platforms. Website: timothyarlissobrien.com Instagram: @adorableinpdx @tabithaacidz @thepoetheroic