X-aMEN-ing Masculinities: LA Freewaves’ Artistic Extravaganza Features CalArts Alums

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On Thursday, Oct. 6, LA Freewaves will present its carnivalesque multimedia experience X-aMEN-ing Masculinities at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The free event features artists of many different mediums and perspectives, including Asher Hartman (Art MFA 03) and Cassils (Art-IM MFA 02). 

X-aMEN-ing Masculinities serves as a multifaceted exploration of masculinity in 2022 through multiple lenses. The event allows for conversation around tropes associated with masculinity, examining patriarchal power structures, the paradigms within masculinity, and the spectrum of inclusion of the term. 

The event showcases a half-mile circular promenade of art, including stationary and roving, durational and scheduled, performance art, spoken word, visual art, and video art. Performance art and installations include works by Hartman, Paul Donald, rafa esparza, d. Sabela grimes, Sarah Johnson, Sean Milan, Phranc, José Guadalupe Sanchez, Austin Young, and the LA Parmelettes Drumline. Videos and visual art are from Cassils, Patty Chang, Tony Cokes, Shaun Leonardo, and Kenneth Tam. The evening also includes the MASC4MASK House Ball, featuring competing masculine identifying performers and music by DJ Ben Xtraveganza. 

Cassils will premiere their 14-hour film As It Is, a documentary-style performance marking the dissolution of their 14-year marriage. They describe it as a “meditation on grief, loss, powerlessness, acceptance and the clear-eyed and embodied practice of learning to see things as they really are, not as I wish them to be.”

Hartman, the director and founder of Gawdafful National Theater, collaborates with Time Reid, Brian Getnick, and Arne Gjelten to interpret four poems and present the result through The Lost Privilege Company. Their performance responds to John Cassavetes’ film Husbands, described on Hartman’s Instagram as “thinking about desire, transgression, and violence, the permeability of bodies, privilege, rank, and loss.”

Curated by Anne Bray, Marcus-Kuiland Nazario, and Anuradha Vikram, the event is in partnership with LA State Historic Park and Feminist Creative Center for Work. 

“Prior to 2001, the Los Angeles State Historic Park was a railroad brownfield, where the surrounding communities fought hard for a park and neighborhood amenities,” Bray said. “This event continues their efforts in more social spheres.” 

This interactive performance is one of many in a series from LA Freewaves investigating gender, diversity, and transition. With both online and in-person events, X-aMENing Masculinities follows Ain’t I A Womxn? in 2018 and Love &/Or Fear in 2019.

—by Ishika Muchhal

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