Surprisingly, no plays about the joy of wearing a burqa.
A play about food stamps, a performance by a San Francisco drag queen, and the production of Cocked, the tale of two anti-gun lesbians, each made the list of projects backed by the taxpayer-funded National Endowment of the Arts.
The agency announced its first round of grants for fiscal year 2016 last week. Projects include “sustainable” housing for struggling artists and a mural by an artist who painted portraits for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
Taxpayers were billed $10,000 to support the “world premiere” of Cocked, a play by Sarah Gubbins.
“The play follows the relationship between a Caucasian woman from rural Iowa and her African-American girlfriend, who are staunchly opposed to gun ownership,” the description for the project reads. “When a family member arrives unexpectedly to stay in their Chicago condominium, their position corrodes as new discoveries surface and the lines between safety and protection are blurred.”
Gubbins’s previous works include I Am Bradley Manning and The Kid Thing, which examined the “effect on two lesbian couples of one couple’s pregnancy” and premiered at the fifth annual “Summer Pride Festival of LGBT performances” in Randolph, Vt.
Part of a $30,000 grant is going to the ODC Theater in San Francisco for a mini-series entitled “Gender in Transition” by the drag queen Monique Jenkinson.
Jenkinson’s alter ego is “Fauxnique,” who was “born out of the scene at Trannyshack.”
“Jenkinson emerged out of a feminist, postmodern, improvisational dance and choreographic lineage at Bennington College, but grew toward a tradition of radical queer performance that uses glamour, excess, and drag to entertain, transcend and horrify,” according to her website. A clip from a past show can be viewed here.
Struggling artists in San Francisco can look forward to government-subsidized housing through another grant from the agency. The San Francisco Arts Commission received $35,000 for “Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities for San Francisco Artists.”
A play entitled #therevolution by Kristoffer Diaz in Philadelphia received $20,000 to “offer a portrait of a revolution that is rife with vision, solidarity, and passion yet searches for practical, actionable solutions for a new world order.”
The New York City premiere of Smart People, a play set in a Harvard faculty lounge, is costing taxpayers $30,000.