About

Cheek to Cheek

A dandelion blows herself a wish for no more 80-hour nonprofit workweeks.
2012 Agen(c)y show. Pic of Cheek to Cheek by Jean Melesaine

 

We’re an SF Bay Area -based, queer + trans people of color crew of artist-activist-healers. We make sassy sexy art to help build a culture of social justice, with an emphasis on healing justice.

We think you’re cute.


How We Started:

Devi was burning out hard from unsustainable roles in social justice movements. All their friends were, too. They asked around for tips and ended up with tons of stories from activists and organizers about what INCITE called the nonprofit industrial complex, or as Dylan Rodríguez wrote in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded“the managed control of dissent.”

Devi also noticed they were way more effective at reaching people’s hearts and minds on stage with a microphone than at a demo with a megaphone. They wanted to help build social justice culture that thrives on:

  • collaboration, not competition
  • courageous conversations, not shit-talking
  • healing from trauma, not perpetuating it
  • joy, fun, humor, play, sexiness and sass, not dull, drab, doom-and-gloom, “I’m better than you,” and “don’t talk about sex” tones

So after talking with beloveds connected to Critical Resistance, Dignidad Rebelde, INCITE, Mangos With Chili, POOR Magazine, Queer Rebels, QWOCMAP, Sins Invalid and others, they recruited a dream team of long-time activists, organizers, artists, cultural workers and healers to launch Peacock Rebellion. Our first cabaret show, Agen(c)y: Nonprofit Dreams + Disasters, debuted in Fall 2012.

 

How We Do the Thing:

We amp the voices and experiences of queer and trans folks of color. Our message is serious, but we center comedy in our work, through:

OUR PROGRAMS

Peacock Institute for Social Transformation (PIST)
trains QTPOC activists, community organizers, and the cutie down the block as cultural organizers for collective liberation

  • Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Comedy Storytelling
    a comedy-based storytelling workshop series and show that gets a long-overdue mic to trans women of color activists and mic checks the rest of us
  • Brouhaha: QTPOC  Stand-Up Comedy
    a stand-up comedy workshop series and show that’s building a corps of activist-comedians who get positive, life-affirming social justice messages to people who aren’t already at the march or rally
  • Rapid Response Safety + Healing Clinics
    free gatherings held after devastating acts of violence such as the PULSE shooting and the election of Trump. free name and gender ID change consults with lawyers, free healing services, art-making and self-defense tools and more
  • STAY: An Oakland QTPOC Resilience Festival
    trainings on dance, theater, DJing, meditation, herbal medicine, building community-based safety teams, radical mental health, and more, all for social justice
  • Trans Peer Advocacy Training Program
    with support from Transgender Law Center, equips trans fam, primarily trans folks of color, with tools, resources, and a support network to build collective power for trans liberation

 

Peacock Productions
live shows in cute spaces. contact us to bring us to your school/town/hamlet.

  • Agen(c)y: Nonprofit Dreams + Disasters
    a cabaret show to dream life after nonprofit control
    burlesque stripping out of office drag * stand-up comedy on activist burnout * storytelling on movements that move
  • Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Storytelling
    performances by our Brouhaha TWOC Comedy Storytelling graduates
  • Brouhaha: QTPOC Stand-Up Comedy
    performances by our Brouhaha Stand-Up Comedy graduates
  • Tenderfest: A Queer People of Color Community Love Extravaganza
    a cabaret show and healers’ fair to practice the space between call-out culture and call-in culture
    video work on drama at the activist co-op * stand-up comedy on organizing w/ your ex * spoken word on sweetness

Liberating Ourselves Locally
a queer and trans people of color -centered Maker Space for social justice

  • Monthly Maker Days
    free/donation-based space with tools + support to make visual/literary/digital/craft/media/textile/performing arts  


Peacock Games
Coming soon! Online and in-person role-playing games to help QTPOC heal from trauma and embody collective liberation

Peacock Online Media
Coming soon! Webcast series

  • The Sock World
    a web comedy not at all based on anyone we’ve ever dated, about the ridiculous adventures of activist sock puppets who live in a co-op in Berkeley

 

Bay Area QTPOC Arts Alliance
a confidential space for QTPOC arts producers committed to social justice to give and get tips, tools, and support to run our groups better, and plan collective action for more money and power for QTPOC arts

 

RESOURCES

QTPOC Low-Cost Mental Health Services Directory
folks kept asking us for referrals, and we couldn’t find a directory like this, so we just made one


Ghost Ship Resources
In response to the Ghost Ship fire in our neighborhood

Thanksgiving talking points
For those awkward “Did Trump really just get elected?” dinnertime convos

QTPOC Semi-Pride Survival Guide
a quick guide to fresh QTPOC activist art in the Bay

Ferguson Response Guide
because the freedom of a queer/trans person anywhere depends on the freedom of Black folks everywhere

 

SPEAKING GIGS + WERKSHOPS

We emcee, keynote and perform at conferences and events, and we do arts-based workshops on the themes from our shows.

Contact devi [at] peacockrebellion [dot] org to bring us to your school / town / community space.

 

 


Programs + Admin Team:

 

Devi Peacock (Founder and Executive Director) is a sixteenth-generation storyteller and a comedy writer covering social justice issues like global warming and Beyoncé albums. A 2017 Best of the East Bay winner for “Best QTPOC Performance Activist and Status Quo Challenger” and 2017 recipient of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Soma Award, they’re a certified life, career and wellness coach; a member of the steering committee of Liberating Ourselves Locally, a queer and trans people of color -centered, gender-fabulous maker space in East Oakland that is now a program of Peacock; and a writer who’s shared their snarky tender social justice emo raunch across the US and in Canada, most often as part of the QTPOC cabaret Mangos With Chili. They’ve served as Director of Community Engagement at the Queer Cultural Center, home of the National Queer Arts Festival; Co-Editor of lolzculturalequity, a super-fun tumblr on racism in the Bay Area arts scene; a Cultural Equity Fellow with Emerging Arts Professionals, and co-coordinator of the South Asian anti-violence group ASATA. They’ve featured at the National Queer Arts Festival, the United States of Asian America Festival, the United States Social Forum, APAture, LitCrawl, the Fresh Meat Festival, SFinExile, and elsewhere. Their writing appears in Ghadar, the Hyphen blog, Fierce HungerBody Image/nation, and POOR Magazine’s Poverty Skolarship 101 – A Peoples Text: Words, Art, Theory & Tears on Decolonization. After getting a swift kick in the pens at VONA and at The Gardarev Center, their coaching book How to Fly: A Field Guide for Intergalactivists and their first poetry collection Love Poems for Haters debut soon.

Katherin Canton (Liberating Ourselves Locally Coordinator)

 

Lexi Adsit (Managing Director) is a fierce and femme TransLatina woman, trouble maker, and ground-breaker. Lexi has been a part of many groundbreaking projects including but not limited to: Founding the Queer Yo Mind Conference at San Francisco State University, Producing Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Comedy-Based Storytelling, and Co-Founding and Co-Coordinating the International Trans Women of Color Network Gathering. Lexi has also been featured on Autostraddle for her article “24 Things You NEED To Do To Help Trans Women of Color Survive” and Salon for her article “Stonewall is in Our Blood”. Lexi is excited to build the capacity of Peacock to bring laughter, light, and healing shows to the world!

Lisa Evans (Artistic Director) is a black non-binary actor, poet, and cultural worker who has worked most recently as the California Shakespeare Theater’s Associate Director of Artistic Engagement. They are a 2016 YBCA Fellow and co-founded both the How Spirit Moves Us Project, a healing arts project focused on using performance art to celebrate the struggles, resistance and resiliene of Black Queer and Trans folks, and the #BreakingtheBinary Project, an initiative that works with theater arts organizations across the United States to create sustainable practices for TGNCNB2-S (trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary, Two Spirit) inclusion. Lisa was the founding Queers&Allies Coordinator at Youth Uprising, an Adult Ally Organizer with the QT Network of Alameda County, a Mentor Artist with Destiny Arts Center’s Queer Emerging Artist Residency, and a graduate and lead sketch comedy trainer for Peacock Rebellion’s Brouhaha program. They can be seen in award-winning filmmaker Cheryl Dunye’s short film Black is Blue.

Luna Merbruja (Media Intern) is a Mexican-Athabaskan writer and multimedia artist. They are the author of Trauma Queen and the forthcoming poetry book Heal Your Love, with writings featured in Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic, Everyday Feminism, Autostraddle, and other publications. This city-raised, small town -loving video gamer is also a filmmaker book editor at biyuti publishing, and Project Advisor at Mirror Memoirs.

Q Quintero (Media Director) is a multi-media artist, filmmaker, musician and counselor who sees documentary based art and creative expression as a way to create change and support healing on a personal and community level. He directs, edits, illustrates and designs props for our videos,  including The Sock World, our web series about awkward activist sock puppets who live in a co-op in Berkeley; serves as Technical Director for our live shows; and brings out Counselor Q to ease our tender hearts when haters pull some trifling bullshit.


Past Artistic Core Members:

* Elokin Orton-Cheung
* Jen-Mei Wu
* Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
* Ryan Li Dahlstrom
* Vanessa Rochelle Lewis

 

 

Advisory Board (elders who advise us, drop wisdom on us, and believe in us):

* Cherry
(Mangos With Chili / National Performance Network)

* Jen-Mei
(Comrade Lover / Liberating Ourselves Locally / Indiegogo)

* Kebo
(QWOCMAP: Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project)

Leah
(Mangos With Chili / Lambda Award -winning writer of Love Cake, Dirty River, and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home)

micha
(Co-author, Trans Desire / Affective Cyborgs, and game designer, UNSTOPPABLE)

* Pam
(Queer Cultural Center / National Queer Arts Festival)

 

 

 

 

Supercrew (our team of past and present trainers and producers):

Vanessa (Producer, Brouhaha: QTPOC Stand-Up Comedy) is a queer, fat, Black femme performance artist, writer, filmmaker, educator, and Faerie Queen Mermaid Gangsta for the revolution. She is co- Managing Editor of Everyday Feminism, co-host of East Bay Open Mic, Culture Fuck, former Senior Editor of Black Girl Dangerous, and one of the founding members of Deviant Type Press. She has been published in As/Us JournalThe Womynist, Full of Crow, and Black Girl Dangerous, has written/directed/produced two films that have screened in the Queer Women Of Color Film Festival, performed in a wide variety of Queer and Queer People Of Color theatre projects and cabarets, and been a featured reader at literary events all over the Bay Area.

 

 

Motor City native Karinda (Guest Faculty, Brouhaha: QTPOC Stand-Up Comedy) was born into a politically active family of skilled storytellers and sharp wits. Her worldview was shaped by their accounts of protest, civil rights and empowerment, subjects that were always leavened with humor. To date, she has appeared at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival; featured at Bay Area comedy clubs the Punch Line and Cobb’s; opened for Greg Proops, Trevor Noah and toured with W. Kamau Bell. Karinda made her primetime national television debut on Coast-to-Coast Episode 1 on NickMom Night Out. She served as guest faculty for our Fall 2014 Brouhaha training.

 

 

Lexi (Producer, Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Comedy Storytelling and Brouhaha: QTPOC Comedy Extravaganza) is the Managing Director of Peacock Rebellion. She has performed at The News @ SOMArts, Ships in the Night @ The New Parish, and elsewhere, and keynoted the Philly Trans Health Conference. Scroll up for more info about Lexi in her other Peacock bio.

Maya (Producer, Agen(c)y: Nonprofit Dreams and Disasters)

 

Nava (Producer, Brouhaha: QTPOC Comedy Extravaganza) is a trans Latina from Mexico City and San Antonio, Texas. She’s funny, she’s bright, and she’s been telling stories since she could speak. She is currently a Bilingual Program Coordinator at Community United Against Violence (CUAV) in San Francisco, where her work includes peer counseling and facilitating an arts-based wellness support group for surivovors of violence. Her long-term goal is to bolster the stories of intersectionally marginalized people in order to expand their representation and access to resources.

 

 

 

Nia (Trainer, Brouhaha: QTPOC Stand-Up Comedy) is the author of Queer and Trans Artists of Color. She is also the host and producer of We Want the Airwaves podcast. She taught Brouhaha with Micia for the first year of the program.

 

 

 

Luna (Trainer, Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Comedy Storytelling) is the author of Trauma Queen, a member of the 2014 Trans 100 List, international performance artist, and community healer. She’s currently working toward her career as a sex and trauma therapist.

 

 

Devi (Artistic Director, Brouhaha 2014-2017; Trainer, Brouhaha stand-up 2017) is the founder and the Artistic and Executive Director of Peacock Rebellion. They have shared their snarky tender social justice emo raunch across the US and in Canada, most often as part of the QTPOC cabaret Mangos With Chili. They’ve featured at the National Queer Arts Festival, the United States of Asian America Festival, the United States Social Forum, APAture, LitCrawl, the Fresh Meat Festival, SFinExile, and elsewhere. Scroll up for more info about Devi in their other Peacock bio.

Micia (Trainer, Brouhaha: QTPOC Stand-Up Comedy), comedian, actress, and educator, has been praised by newyorktheatre.com as “smart, timely and…downright hilarious.” This bi-coastal black lesbian and socio-political performer earned her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley and has kept audiences laughing in a variety of contexts and venues. Micia wrote and starred her one-woman show, Where My Girls At?, an off-Broadway comedy about Black lesbians (produced by Nursha Project, directed by Tamilla Woodard). WMGA? was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award (Best Solo Performance). Since 2008 she’s toured her standup comedy across the nation, including performances in San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, the DC Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, and New York City. In 2013, Micia debuted Survivor Hampshire: The Social Justice edition. She is currently working on her new play X-Marks the Spot.