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A public art project and performance taking place at the grounds of a historic ballroom in Harlem, by Sara Jordeno and Twiggy Garcon.

THE REINCARNATION OF ROCKLAND PALACE

The Rockland Palace was a famous event hall at the corner of 155th street and Frederick Douglass Avenues in Harlem, where political rallies, sport events, concerts, and elaborate dragballs were held during the Harlem Renaissance. It was torn down in the 1960’s and is now a parking lot.

On Sunday July 15st, 2012 we plan to re-occupy this historic and epic site for a multifaceted Kiki ball event, offering an imaginative display of creativity and a reconnection with LGBTQ history. THE REINCARNATION OF ROCKLAND PALACE will be featured in an exhibition at the KITCHEN (June 27 – August 17, 2012). Titled Matter Out of Place and curated by Lumi Tan, presents new work by artists who observe, represent, and activate public sites, generating alternative relationships to such strictly defined spaces as the housing project and park.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION?

The NYC House|Ballroom community burst into public consciousness in 1989 - 1991 with the Jennie Livingston documentary “Paris is Burning” and the music video for Madonna’s “Vogue”. A unique collaboration with an outsider, Swedish born visual artist Sara Jordenö, and an insider, community health specialist and founder of the Kiki house of PUCCI Twiggy Pucci Garcon, “The Reincarnation of Rockland Palace” marks the first time the young ballroom "Kiki" scene is presented to the general public. Emerging out of the NYC House|Ballroom community, the Kiki scene is a highly organized and youth-led, pro-social movement. Forming their own Kiki houses, the members of the Kiki scene is characterized by a high level of organization, with bodies such as the Kiki Coalition and the Kiki Parent’s Council, highlighting and enhancing self-motivating and well-informed plans and decisions around health, personal and professional development and community leadership. At the center of the underground Kiki scene are the Kiki balls, where creativity is executed at its best and with targeted HIV, STD, and substance abuse prevention and harm reduction in mind. If that isn’t inspirational, what is?

PROJECT VOICES

Check out these short video portraits to get a deeper understanding of the project. We will add new videos each week, so make sure to check in often!

In this video, East Coast Mother Gia Juicy Couture explains what it means to "Break The Room"!

Curious what a Kiki ball performance looks like? Take a look at this footage from the Legendary House of Juicy Couture's Ball, A Night Around The World.

WHO ARE THE CREATIVE FORCES BEHIND THE PROJECT?

Sara Jordenö is a NYC based Swedish visual artist and documentary filmmaker interested in issues of authorship, labor, real and imaginary queer spaces and the habitual acts of everyday life. While being a resident at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program in 2010-2011 she started to collaborate on a series of projects about urban life in New York City, which in turn led her to meet Twiggy Pucci Garçon. Twiggy is a Virginia-born, NYC-based house/ballroom runway performer, the NYC Princess of the House of Comme des Garçon, and a community health specialist and organizer at FACES NY, Inc. He is also the founder of the Kiki scene’s largest international house, the Opulent Haus of PUCCI.

We are proud to call many talented people our collaborators: cinematographer Lucas Millard, DJ MikeQ, choreographers Matthew Pasterisa and Arturo Lyons and many others!

WHY SUPPORT US?

For the members of the Kiki subculture, Kiki balls not only allow a safe space for creative expression and outlet, but also a connection with necessary prevention and treatment services from various community-based organizations. These competitive balls and other organizational efforts respond to the adversities this young demographic (composed primarily of African American and Latino LGBTQ individuals between the ages of 14 - 25) face. A 65% percentage of the proceeds from this campaign will fund building the set & stage - recreating Rockland Palace - and purchasing trophies and prizes of the competition.

By SUPPORTING US, you donate to capturing footage and giving exposure to this underground youth LGBTQ subculture. A 35% percentage of the proceeds will fund film and crew to caption this LIVE event, which will displayed during the remainder of the Matter Out of Place exhibit at the KITCHEN.

By SUPPORTING US, you also contribute to affording the Kiki scene the opportunity to reconnect with their own LGBTQ history. The site owners plan to develop a shopping center in the very place Rockland Palace stood decades ago so its NOW OR NEVER! Help us reach this goal!

WE HAVE GREAT REWARDS!

We have crowd sourced all the creativity from within the community! With rewards like collectible buttons, custom program playbills from the performance itself, or an EXCLUSIVE CD from House/Ballroom DJ Mike Q , who wouldn't want to be a part? The support within the Kiki scene is phenomenal and several members have donated their talent! For example, pledge $75 and get a DANCE LESSON with talented choreographer Matthew Pasterisa, see video below, along with other great incentives! We will release new awards over the next weeks, so check in often!

In this video, you will discover the sense of community support that exists in the Kiki scene. During Spring 2012, they lost one of their very own, Travis "Fetch PUCCI" Veada at age 22. The Opening Act of the performance is a tribute in his honor. 

UPDATE JUNE 11, 2012 - MORE PROJECT VOICES!

A short excerpt from an honest and insightful interview with the lovely Princess Precious Old Navy!

 Ed Stevenson, the manager of J&L Parking, who has granted us the opportunity to bring back the old Rockland Palace for one night, talks about his night at a beauty pageant at the Apollo Theater back in the day!

Interview with Symba, the president of the NYC Kiki scene, about gay families, support and representation!

FAQ

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    ICON: Pledge $500 dollars or more and get your name announced live at the ball + a performance playbill with your name listed inside + your name listed on the website +your name listed in the credits at the exhibition at The Kitchen + a "REINCARNATE ROCKLAND" button + 1 Editioned Photograph from the performance + 15 Track EXCLUSIVELY ORIGINAL CD feat. House/Ballroom DJ Mike Q.

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Funding period

- (16 days)