April 3, 2014

The LA Woman Project: S-Z

category: Projects











“Sometimes to get to the light you gotta type in the dark. . .”

Job description: works words, conjures vision/ on cultural arts, Black history, wellness.  “I have not known rape or/ drunk uncles with unlicensed hands/ or fathers who f’d their generations/ These eyes have not witnessed murder/ and I want you to know this. . .”    Born to a poet-singer, taught to bake bread and iron a pillow case without a cat face by a hot-comb wielding, classical singing grandmother/joined at the hip to a child of slaves, great-grandfather / train for radio & TV production at BGSU before color television exists / long detour / return to radio around 2005 via NPR commentaries and essays  and some Pacifica Radio moments / “I write soft songs/ hard poems / 3rd eye music . . . “    Bite from the Big Apple, arriving ’64, naïve Ohio flower discovering the real world/independence, living solo, finding voice/ copy writer for TV Guide/ one of many turning  Johnson’s Poverty Program into NYC’s vibrant Black Arts Movement/ study under novelist-essayist John Oliver Killens/ poet-ize in Harlem/learn community theatre with Al Fann and Company using Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics as an acting text/ self-publish two collections of poetry / form the group Poets & Performers/frightened substitute teacher by day, high note singer by night in Pearl Bailey’s Hello Dolly / leave B’way for first film speaking role in Gordon Parks’ The Learning Tree — the seminal experience / write first play with music, The Sistuhs, produced on both coasts / break some color lines in TV commercials /know unemployment office too well /sanity preserved (well, sort of) by writing.  “This poem will not be cut/ it will not be cast/  It does not do windows or Whoopi Goldberg imitations . . .”    Escape from subway trains to city of angels and agents in ’75  because finally there is work for Black actors in TV / female lead in Minstrel Man (CBS-TV) opposite Glynn Turman/ turn down a role in Roots/star in Hollow Image (ABC-TV), which brings only one work offer: huge bucks to star in porno film/ not! / The Donna Cheek Story,  a Wonder Woman agent, Night Cries, guest roles Knots Landing, St. Elsewhere/ Oppressed by town where main product is illusion, including inviolate illusions of Black folks/  Artivist flowers. “Are you now or have you ever been?/ searched summoned silenced subdued suppressed ?”   Co-founder, Black Anti-Defamation Coalition (BAD-C), edit its Media Matters newsletter, therefore “white listed” (with cohorts) for several years by the industry / Hush production managers who say “We didn’t know there was one” by compiling, with support of Alex Haley and friends, the first-of-its-kind 1980 Directory of Black Film/TV Technicians,West Coast / “We still write love poems/ because it heals us/ coming slow in the day/ or late in the life/bandaging pain and absence. . .”   1975, without understanding that I should understand the publishing industry, form Poets Pay Rent, Too, andpublish Robert Earl Price’s Blood Lines  and my Soft Song collections /co-founder, Lorraine Hansberry Playwrights Workshop/ Sr. editor for Juneteenth, first commercial Black audio-book company/really joking, no intention to actually write Black Women for Beginners, now in 4th printing (distrib. Random House) / Dearly Belovedfirst short story published / ”Why do you dance our death / instead of our life? / Step into the water child / let the shackles slip from your soul . . .”    Sales and P.R. gig at L.A.’s Aquarian Book Shop & Spiritual Center leads to metaphysical studies/ gain self-permission to be an artist /  “Queen Mothers gone to film school/ making messages to reach us/ during the commercial break . . .”    reality check:  more comfortable behind the camera/ Los Angeles City College, make two films on identity — Back Inside Herself, (1984), a poetic short. [View the Back Inside Herself 2009 Remix on YouTube ] and semi-animated short Picking Tribes,with art by Carlos Spivey (1988) / make first independent documentary Life Is A Saxophone on poet Kamau Daa’ood (1980) /It’s O.K. To Peek(1996) controversial women’s health video, produced with Arabella Chavers-Julien / Last film gestation is 10½ years for The Healing Passage/Voices From The Water  (2004), on healing from the present-day residuals of the trans-Atlantic slave trade [View on The Documentary Channel] / a bunch of cultural arts docs for the City of Los Angeles’ CH35:  Central Avenue Live!, Spirits of the Ancestors, L.A. to L.A., Fertile Ground: Stories From The WattsTowers Arts Center/ films get me to the Motherland 3x and Norway   ”. . . Capture the Other’s form from sacred canon/ imbue with hue howl blood and drum/ jazz riff click dip in da hip . . .”     the 90’s: focus on artistic collaboration/right-brain-left-brain weddings with musicians, dancers, visual artists, photographers: /Mixed Media Poems(1991) on stage / Typing In The Dark (1991) in print /  There’s A Brown Girl In The Ring,the essays of Beah Richards, written with Richards/ two poetry w/jazz CDs, On The Sharp Side(1995) and Higher Ground(2008) / Evolve essay with Jazz Antiqua Dance Ensemble (2010)   “ My body’s in the Fall/ My mind still thinks I’m Spring. . .”

drop first name ‘cause it don’t sound good to the ear /claim the pearl / learning eldership / bringing Water From The Well with performances and workshops that merge the literary and healing arts./

LA Woman Documentary:

S. Pearl Sharp – “On ‘A Healing Passage'”


More Clips of S. Pearl Sharp from the LA Woman Documentary:

“Make Them Feel”

“Little White Gloves”

“I Would Own Bowling Green”

“I Would Own 2”



Main Site – A Sharp Show

Articles, Commentaries, and Essays Broadcast on NPR’S “The Tavis Smiley Show”, “News and Notes”, “Tell Me More”, etc

Poetry with Jazz Performance YouTube Clips

Documentary Site – The Healing Passage/Voices from the Water

The Author’s Guild Site with Literary Listings and Clips – S.PearlSharp.com




Simone Forti is a dancer/choreographer/writer. In 1955 she began dancing with Anna Halprin who was doing pioneering work in dance improvisation in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In 1960 Simone moved to New York City, where she studied composition at the Merce Cunningham Studio with musicologist/dance educator Robert Dunn who was introducing dancers to the work of John Cage. There she met choreographers including Tricia Brown, Steve Paxton and Lucinda Childs, and became a pivotal figure in the Judson Dance Theater community that revolutionized dance in NY in the 1060s and 70s. Over the years her work has evolved through various approaches. During the past several years she has been developing Logomotion, an improvisational dance narrative form wherein movement and language spontaneously weave together to explore thoughts and feelings about the world. This performance practice, and her writing, inform each other.

Forti’s Handbook in Motion: an ongoing personal discourse and its manifestations in dance was published in 1974 by The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  Her book, Oh, Tongue, published in 2003 by Beyond Baroque Books (temporarily out of print), is a varied collection of writings including experimental essays, transcripts of News Animation improvisations and articles about dance.

Simone Forti is the recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship for dance and a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts.

LA Woman Documentary:

Simone Forti – “The Next Wave”


LA Woman Documentary:

Simone Forti – “Simone’s Invention of Somatic Component of Thought”


More Clips of Simone Forti from the LA Woman Documentary:

“Reaction Against Michelangelo”

“Peace of Mind at 75”

“John Cage Needs To Just Hear Sound, Simone To Just See Bodies”

“Breaking Away with Anna Halprin”

“Art Can Change”




Strawn Bovee  created and hosted two original programs and broadcast live on KPFK FM radio for over twenty years:  FutureWatch, which tracked evolving concepts in science and religion, and Ritual Life, which explored the creation of meaning through the connectivity of ritual in personal, civic, and spiritual life.

In the late 70s, Strawn was one of the core group of artists who helped John Dorr found EZTV, an early video group that modeled the seismic technological shift in contemporary popular culture. She performed in many betamax videos and produced others.  In the 80s, she created and performed an installation-based interdisciplinary performance series, An Astral Tea Party, at the EZTV Video Gallery. ATP featured interactive encounters among non-performers and performers that focused around specific conundrums. The series brought together such disparate practitioners as: physicists, engineers, priests, professors, psychoanalysts, Japanese Tea Masters, jugglers, comedians, magicians, musicians, video artists, actors and, importantly, audience, within an immersive fantasy space.

Working as dramaturge for dance theater with choreographer Rudy Perez, Strawn crafted text from news reports, literary sources, science, prayer and her original writing and, on the traditional stage, she has appeared in leading and supporting roles in dozens of plays ranging from classical to contemporary theater. She worked with founder of the downtown LA performance-art scene, Scott Kelman, and served on his board. Her most recent stage appearance was for playwright, Murray Mednick. Strawn has also appeared in television, commercials, interactive games, and Hollywood and Independent films. Her next performance will be with video artist Bill Viola.

LA Woman Documentary:

Strawn Bovee – “What Acting Is: Hiding In Plain Sight”


More Clips of Strawn Bovee from the LA Woman Documentary:

“The Possibility to Remake Yourself”

“Bovee on the Radio”

“An Astral Tea Party”





LA Woman Documentary:

Susanna B. Dakin – “The Presidency as Performance Art”


LA Woman Documentary:

Susanna B. Dakin – “The Advantage of the Disadvantaged”


More Clips of Susanna B. Dakin from the LA Woman Documentary:

“Systems Sculpture”

“No Word For Art”


“An Artist For President”



LA Woman Documentary:

Tiffany Trenda – “Woman’s Body and Art”


Tiffany Trenda is a video installation performance artist based out of Malibu, CA. She received her BFA from Art Center College of Design and her MFA from UCLA Design and Media Arts. She has exhibited at Robert Berman, Farmani Gallery, Photo San Francisco, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, LACE, Korean Cultural Center, Highways, and Track 16. In 2009, she created an artist installation for Photo Los Angeles and performed live. Later that year she performed “Entropy” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Trenda won the prize of The Artist of the Year at the London Creative Awards in 2008 and 2009. Recently, she performed at the World Fair, Shanghai, China and premiered her first short film at the A&D Museum.

Her process is to take technology (LCDs, video projectors, cameras, etc.) and create a digital environment with an embodied performance that simulates the human psyche.  Her work is an investigation of how we are defined and redefined through the integration of technology. Trenda amalgamates LCD screens and her body making her identity interchangeable.  In retrospect, the viewer associates the screen as being human.  She questions how far can this loss of the human body be substituted until it loses all human connectivity.  In Trenda’s work the viewer is physically and visually immersed in how the psyche evolves to relate and survive with the machine.  She states that we are not only dealing with issues of machine-implemented bodies but our identities and human connection is through a screen.  This will change how we see others and ourselves with the assemblage of new technology.  This disconnection is a result of our desire for a total state of pure sensualism.

Solo Exhibitions

11/7/2009 – 01/17/2010 “Specular” Frank Pictures Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA


9/16/2005 Farmani Gallery Beverly Hills, CA “Electric” Solo Exhibit showing lightbox documentation pieces


5/2004 Gallery 4016 Los Angeles, CA “Plastic Rape” performance


Special Awards and Recognitions

Winner of the London International Creative Competition


”Artist of the Year” Winner of the London International Creative Competition


Selected Exhibitions

08/04/2011 LACE Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Urban Devotion performance, Los Angeles, CA

07/23/2011 – 08/25/2011 Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Bergomot Station, Santa Monica, CA

07/09/2011 – 9/02/2011 Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA) Urban Devotion performance, Los Angeles, CA

06/21/2011 Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Benefit at GUESS? Clothing Store Santa Monica, CA

05/12/2011 – 05/23/2011 UCLA Design and Media Arts, Broad Art Center, Wright Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

04/2011 – 05/2011 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA

04/20/2011 Trenda performed in Luigi Ontani’s AmenHammerAmeno, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA

03/05/2011 Body Study 1 premiere Young Director’s Night Los Angels County Museum of Art, LACMA MUSE, Los Angeles, CA



10/30/2010 “Urban Devotion” performance Los Angels County Museum of Art, LACMA MUSE, Los Angeles, CA

10/14/2010 – 10/20/2010 I Am Here Now, UCLA, The New Wright Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

09/16/2010 Nine Show, West Los Angeles College, Los Angeles, CA

09/09/2010 “Feed_Back” performance, Digital Art LA and Downtown LA Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA

07/30/2010 “Terrarium” performance, Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Perform Now, Los Angeles, CA

07/08/2010 – 07/24/2010 “Feed_Back” Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA

06/17/2010 Shanghai World Expo, UK Pavilion, Shanghai, China, “Face Me” performance

04/03/2010 Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA), Samuel Freeman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

01/14 – 01/17/2010 Photo Los Angeles, Frank Pictures Gallery, Santa Monica, CA



09/17/2009 Autumn Lights LA, Pershing Square

08/28/2009 Malibu Annual Contemporary Art Fair “Entropy” performance

08/13 – 08/15/2009 Digital Art LA apart of the Los Angeles Film Festival “Entropy” performance

05/30/2009 Los County Museum of Art, LACMA MUSE, curated by Philip Blaine, Los Angeles, CA “Entropy” performance

04/18/2009 – 04/19/2009 Brewery Art Walk, Los Angeles, CA

01/08/2009 – 01/11/2009 Photo Los Angeles, Artist Installation for Art Fairs Inc. Barker Hanger, Santa Monica, CA



11/01/2008 – 11/02/2008 Brewery Art Walk, Los Angeles, CA

09/20/2008 – 10/04/2008 The Museum of Hyperreal Art, Malibu, CA

08/14/2008 – 08/16/2008 Digital Art LA, LACDA, Los Angeles, CA

07/10/2008 – 07/31/2008 Where The Girls Are, The Continental Building, Los Angeles, CA

04/05/2008 – 04/06/08 Brewery Art Walk, Los Angeles, CA



11/22/2007 – 23/2007 The Museum of Hyperreal Art, Malibu, CA

10/05/2007 Tarfest, Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA

2/2007-03/2007 LACDA (Los Angeles Center For Digital Art) Los Angeles, CA

1/19/2007 – 1/21/2007 Photo Los Angeles, Santa Monica, CA



4/21- 5/13/2006 Berman/Turner Projects, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA

3/4/2006- 4/4/2006 Hive Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2/4/2006 Lick’s Private Gallery Show, Weird Fix, curated and exhibited, Los Angeles, CA



12/31/2005 Sea of Dreams at Los Angeles Theatre Los Angeles, CA “A Written Dream” performance

12/14/2005 Pool Trade Show Private Event Los Feliz, CA “A Written Dream” performance

12/08/2005 FAR (Fine Art Resources) Los Angeles, CA “A Written Dream” performance

12/03/2005 Homeless Benefit, “Dark Holiday,” curated and exhibited, Los Angeles, CA

11/19/2005 Bergamot Station Track 16 Los Angeles, CA “A Condemned Opera” performance

9/24/2005 Lightspace Gallery Los Angeles, CA

7/22/2005 Photo San Francisco, Brown Bag Contemp. San Francisco, CA

”I Can’t Predict the Future of a Past I Never Lived” performance

6/11/2005 Bluespace Hollywood, CA “I Can’t Predict the Future of a Past I Never Lived” performance

02/05/2005 Bluespace Hollywood, CA



12/4/2004 Artist Bound at Soho Gallery Studio City, CA “Stressed dessertS” performance

8/2004 Tom of Finland Foundation Art Fair West Hollywood, CA

7/2004 Beau Damon Richard’s Gallery San Pedro, CA

6/2004 Lifestyles Convention 2004 & Xart Gallery Los Angeles, CA

6/2004 Erotic Museum LA Xposed Los Angeles, CA

4/2004 Tom of Finland Foundation Art Fair Silver Lake, CA

4/2004 Artist Bound Private Exhibit Redondo Beach, CA “RAWWAR” performance

1/16/04 Hanger 1018, Cannibal Flower Los Angeles, CA “RAWWAR” performance



12/7/03 Artist Bound at Soho Gallery Studio City, CA “Breathe of Life” performance

9/2003 Brewery Art Walk Los Angeles, CA

8/2003 Fine Artist’s Factory “Skin” Show Pasadena, CA

8/2003 Lifestyles Convention 2003 & Xart Gallery Las Vegas, NV

7/14/03 Outfest Film Festival, Platinum Oasis Event Hollywood, CA “Atomic Dreams” performance



12/17/2002 Highways Santa Monica, CA “Silent Nightmare” collaborative performance with Peter Schroff

12/2002 Artist Bound, Winter Fling Event Los Angeles, CA

7/14/2002 Outfest Film Festival, Platinum Oasis Hollywood, CA “A Salo Symphony” performance



6/27/01 Bergamot Station, Track 16 Santa Monica, CA “Dancing on a Rainbow” collaborative performance with Peter Schroff


More Clips of Tiffany Trenda from the LA Woman Documentary:

“To Be Remembered”

“Technological Body”





LA Woman Documentary:

Valerie Valazquez – “Social Entrepreneurship”


LA Woman Documentary:

Valerie Valazquez – “Reach The People Through Their Hearts”


More Clips of Valerie Valazquez from the LA Woman Documentary:


“Community Healing”

“Male/Female Perspective”

“Artists Are Activists”




Zina Bethune


Zina Bethune Founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer for Theatre Bethune and Infinite Dreams, is an accomplished performer of international prominence, having demonstrated remarkable versatility as a dancer, actress, choreographer, and singer in film, television and theatre. Having directed and choreographed over 50 plays, films, videos, and ballets, Ms. Bethune’s diverse background has served to broaden her ideas of performance to include multimedia as its own art form, making her a pioneer in the Cyber-Art movement. In 2009 Backstage West named Theatre Bethune one of the five top dance companies in Los Angeles.

Beginning her ballet training at the age of six with George Balanchine’s prestigious School of American Ballet, Ms. Bethune went on to perform as a member of the New York City Ballet and as a guest Prima Ballerina with such companies as The Royal Danish Ballet, Nevada Dance Theatre, and San Francisco Ballet Theatre. Her critically acclaimed performances have included “Swan Lake,” “Le Corsair,” “Romeo & Juliet,” “Nutcracker, ” “Black Swan,” “Giselle,” “Don Quixote,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.” Ms. Bethune is also an accomplished actress with a multitude of credits to her name, including starring roles in the primetime series “The Nurses,” Martin Scorsese’s debut film “Who’s That Knocking at My Door,” “Sunrise at Campobello,” “Grand Hotel” on Broadway and the recent film “Wings of Legacy.”

In 1969, while still based in New York, Ms. Bethune formed her first dance company, Zina Bethune and Company, where she created her first mixed media performance piece. A maverick in the belief that the worlds of multimedia/special effects and dance could forge a single art form, Ms. Bethune continued to pioneer innovative theatre/dance productions. After making a move to Los Angeles in 1980, Ms. Bethune founded Theatre Bethune, her present multimedia dance company. In 1982, Zina created Infinite Dreams, a dance and drama outreach program for children and teens with disabilities. Having struggled with her own serious physical disabilities such as scoliosis, dysplastic hips and lymphedema, Ms. Bethune fulfilled a lifelong ambition to work and create with special needs children and teens before it was fashionable or politically correct to do so. Theatre Bethune became the first professional dance company in America to create a participatory dance program for disabled children and youth. Recognized by three U.S. Presidents, four Los Angeles Mayors, LAUSD, Senators and the United Nations, her award winning INFINITE DREAMS program has impacted the lives of over 7000 special needs children and youth. Ms. Bethune has taught master classes and led seminars in arts and disability for elementary and high schools, colleges and medical institutions. Her pioneering work has made Theatre Bethune and Infinite Dreams a leader in The Arts and Disability Movement.

In 1988 a special invitation by the Chinese government brought Ms. Bethune to China to introduce the disabled children of China to Infinite Dreams. This trip was the subject of the acclaimed documentary “Infinite Dreams in China – A Portrait of Zina Bethune,” which had its world premiere at the American Film Institute. That same year, Ms. Bethune’s work with Theatre Bethune and Infinite Dreams was also the subject of the PBS special “Heart Dancing.” Ms. Bethune and “Heart Dancing” were later honored with the Media Access Award For Excellence and the Randolph Hearst Award.

For her continuing efforts, Ms. Bethune has been the recipient of numerous awards, commendations, and citations (See Awards section for list). Showing no signs of slowing down, Ms. Bethune continues to direct Theatre Bethune productions as well as oversee and teach the Infinite Dreams outreach program.

Ms. Bethune was tragically killed in 2012, when a hit and run driver struck her while she was attempting to save an injured animal on the road. Her memorial tribute video, which was screened at her memorial service, was created by EZTV’s Michael J. Masucci & Kate Johnson:


LA Woman Documentary:

Zina Bethune – “We Are All Composites of Those We’ve Known”


More Clips of Zina Bethune from the LA Woman Documentary:

“Reinvent Yourself”

“Infinite Dreams”

“Because We Can Do It”





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