Washington College’s Communications and Media Studies (CMS) Speaker Series presents the multi-channel video installation and live performance piece “The Diva Saga: The Legend of the Worst Drag Queen” on Sept. 20-21.
Performed by John Musser as Veronica Bleaus, and produced by Scott Andrew, the program begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Tawes Theater in the Gibson Center for the Arts. The performances are free and open to the public.
“The Diva Saga” questions constructions of sexuality, gender, and identity in a digital age and examines how Veronica Bleaus became the self-proclaimed “worst drag queen.” Lampooning normative and restrictive constructions of sex, artistic judgment, and popular culture, “The Diva Saga” draws heavily from visual and aural storytelling mediums including comic books, Japanese anime, video games, music videos, and high fantasy.
In a series of confrontations between a live Veronica and the avatars of drag—digital identities projected on stage (also played by Veronica)—the live and digital Veronicas clash in their respective interpretations, battling each other in a fantastic, campy, visual and sonic narrative.
John Musser is a performance artist and scholar from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he investigated the queerness of diva performance and the way that divas shape queer culture. His alter ego, Veronica Bleaus, has been performing in drag and collaborating with visual artists since 2005. In 2009, Bleaus developed a public performance series, “Drive By Drag,” with visual and performance artist Dani Lamorte, and in 2015 was featured in Sasha Velour’s Vym magazine (now Velour).
Scott Andrew is a multimedia artist working in video, installation, performance, and new media. Andrew has most notably exhibited with the Institute for New Feeling at MoMA’s PopRally (NYC), Recess (NYC), Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, Texas), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Black Cube (Denver, Colorado), the Hammer Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum (both in Los Angeles), as well as many regional, national, and international venues.
As an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, Andrew teaches animation, video, and performance courses. He has also conducted workshops at the Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and is a curator of TQ Live!, an annual LGBTQIA variety performance at the Andy Warhol Museum.
Dedicated to advancing discourse and learning around contemporary issues in communication and media studies across disciplinary boundaries, the CMS Speaker Series brings a diverse roster of speakers to campus to spark intellectual curiosity and engage the campus and Chestertown community in contemporary debate around a variety of issues.
For more information visit https://www.washcoll.edu/