Words are energy. Words are magic. Words create vibrational shifts, creating spells every time we utter them.
– Niki Gee
Pride Films and Plays invites you to come out and have a gay old time at LezFest, a presentation
and celebration of queer female and non-binary performance artists.
Sunday, December 16, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.
Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
At LezFest, our performers won’t give you the old song-and-dance. They’ll give you all-new
material in this scintillating showcase of song, dance, stand-up, storytelling, and spoken word.
Audiences can expect an evening of introspection and intersection, audacity and authenticity, and
a riveting reflection on “the gayest meet-cute of all time,” all told with L-oquence—though not
to the exclusion of all other letters.
In fact, regardless of how you identify (or ident-defy), and even if your identity isn’t queer-cut,
you will feel welcome at LezFest.
The LezFestivities will commence at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, 2018, at Pride
Arts Center, located at 4139 N. Broadway in Chicago.
Tickets for this sell-out shindig are $11 and can be purchased here:
Proceeds from LezFest will fund future programming by, for, and about our queer community.
Produced by Allison Fradkin in collaboration with Iris Sowlat and hosted by Lihy Epstein,
LezFest touts the talents of Niki Gee, Breyanna McDaniel, Nire Nah, Jessica Martin, Ada Cheng,
Khloe Janel, Jyreika Guest, Alexia Jasmene, Jacqui Jaurena, Ren Morris, and Cat Hepler.
Lihy Epstein is the co-producer of Risqué Business, a performance event showcasing queer
women, gender nonconformists, and non-binary folks. Lihy is business by day, community by
night—when she isn’t focused on keeping the family business going, you can find her slamming,
storytelling, or dragging across Chicago.
Niki Gee is a peaceful, loving, and puzzling presence who pens and performs poetic prose that
presses upon her earthly siblings the need for peace, love, joy…and of course sex. Niki Gee
reigns from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood but has graced stages all over the country,
appearing in Strip Joker, WeFest, Collaboraction Theatre’s Peacebook, Homolatte, Salonathon,
Beast Women Rising, Global Girls Anniversary Celebration, Foreplay, and Punany Poets. She is
also the president of Quare Square, a collective for queer artists of color.
Breyanna N. McDaniel, artist name PROPHECY, lives in Dolton, IL, and has always had a
keen interest in music and spoken word. Breyanna has been writing for eleven years and is proud
to be LGBT as well as a spoken word artist.
Nire Nah is a singer-songwriter and visual artist whose work explores identity, philosophy, and
survival. Her songs invite listeners on a winding journey through mental illness and addiction,
ultimately expressing a message of hope, encouragement, and triumph. Her debut album, Coeur
Age, was released in April of 2018.
Jessica L. Martin is a dancer, choreographer, and artist of the written word. They have
experience in dance, ballet, modern, contemporary, and contact improvisation. They have
performed at many venues in the Chicagoland area, often with Momenta Dance Company. They
have produced their own show called Exploration, a project for all people of all abilities and all
Ada Cheng is a professor turned storyteller and performing artist. She is the producer and host
of Am I Man Enough?, a storytelling/podcasting show that critically examines the culture of
toxic masculinity and the construction of masculinity and manhood, as well as Talk Stories, an
Asian-American/Asian Diaspora storytelling show. She has appeared onstage in Breaking Rules,
Broken Hearts: Loving Across Borders and Not Quite: Asian-American by Law, Asian Woman
by Desire and on the page in Standing Up: From Renegade Professor to Middle-Aged Comic and
Collegial Indecency: Sexual Assault in the Ivory Tower.
Khloe Janel is an actor, poet, and singer from Little Rock, Arkansas. They recently graduated
from Columbia College Chicago with a B.A in Acting. They have performed all around Chicago as an actor and a poet and have appeared on the television shows Chicago Fire, The Chi, Easy,
and Empire. They are currently working on their first poetry book, set to release in 2019.
Jyreika “J.Evelyn” Guest moved to Chicago five years ago. Recently seen onstage in The Fly
Honey Show and Remy Bumppo’s Frankenstein, she has been featured in several festivals in the
Chicagoland area: as dancer, poet, and storyteller at Ravenswood Art Walk; in Chicago’s own
Beast Women: All-Female Cabaret for two seasons; and with Still Point Theatre Collective’s
Strong Women, a play created from poetry written by the women of Cook County Jail. She uses
her poetry, movement, and storytelling to help motivate and inspire others to realize their voices.
In 2012, Ms. Guest opened for Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis, reciting an original piece
entitled Courage. She treasures the opportunity to tell stories and to help others searching for
their voice to find it, use it, and share it.
Alexia Jasmene is a trans actor/musician/comedian/poet who uses her various storytelling tools
to plant seeds to change hearts and minds. By playing strong women, both cisgender and
transgender, she uses representation as the hoe that breaks the soil for herself and others in order
for those seeds to grow. She regularly performs acting, music, comedy, and poetry throughout
the Chicagoland area and nationally.
Jacqui Jaurena is an actor who can’t seem to kick her comedy habit. A recent grad from
Columbia College Chicago, she is excited to be working with Pride Films & Plays for the first
time. She had the opportunity in college to work under the direction of Andrea Diamond
on Hecuba and under Steve Scott on Melancholy Play. Her Chicago credits so far include work
with Porchlight Music Theatre as well as several projects with Ricardo Bouyett Films.
Ren Morris has a degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas with a
concentration in piano and voice, and is a recent graduate of Northwestern Law. Ren currently
practices employment law at Proskauer Rose, LLP, and pretends to be a singer-songwriter in
their spare time.
Catherine (Cat) Hepler is originally from Oakland, CA, where she began dancing at age three
and gained a rich and varied dance foundation. Her background includes ballet, modern
(Horton), contemporary, jazz, Bharata Natyam, Polynesian dance (hula and ori), and contact
improvisation. In Chicago, she has danced as a company member with Renegade Dance
Architects, BodyCompass Dance Project, Synapse Arts, and, most recently, Is/Land: A
Performance Collaborative. Independently, Catherine is interested in the embodiment of
concepts and the expression of emotion and social messages within dance works. She loves
being part of freelance dance projects that explore those themes. One such project was
Exploration: An Evening of Dance, Discovery, Creativity, and Fun with Jessica L. Martin.