BETTER FUTURE: JOY + WELLNESS
We’ve all been through a lot this year. That’s why this January and February, C1 and The Theater Offensive will dedicate our energy toward making space for health, relaxation, and artistically-fueled joy, with virtual, participatory workshops as varied as our community: from Drag Story Hour to skin care consultations, from trivia nights to social justice embroidery circles. You’ve kept us going through the pandemic, and we want to be there for you too.
WORKSHOP LEADER BIOS
Maisha Najuma Aza (she/her) meaning, “Powerful Life, Abounding in Joy”, wholeheartedly embodies her name. Her wanderlust personality has taken Maisha from New York, to Atlanta, to Seattle, New England, to Chicago, Perú, before she finally decided to call Atlanta GA, where she was raised, home again. Simultaneously building her healing practice and attending Smith College School for Social Work, Maisha obtained her master’s degree in Social Work, vastly increasing her knowledge of mental health and trauma, which informs her healing practice. A natural progression from her massage therapy background, and a kundalini awakening experience that connected her to her ancestral wisdom, Maisha jumped headfirst into sacred sexuality work. This is the place her soul had always known. With this revelation, Maisha intensified her spiritual and healing bodywork, a practice she began in 1996. This renewal of her spiritual healing lead her down the Tantric Shaman path, inspiring her to share her gifts with the world through launching Black Girl Tantra, LLC.
Jessie Baxter (she/her) is a Boston-based dramaturg specializing in new work and nerdery of all kinds, and is a believer in the meditative properties of crafting. Jessie graduated from Emerson College, where she studied dramaturgy, directing, and gender studies. She is currently the Business Manager and Creative Producer at Company One Theatre, and the Literary Director and Co-Founder of Fresh Ink Theatre, a small company specializing in developing new work by New England-based playwrights. When she’s not working on plays, Jessie can be found eating pastry, watching PBS, and road tripping with her family.
Phil Berman (he/him) is a singer-songwriter and educator in Somerville, MA. His queer Americana Broadway folk band Phil and the Flying Leap is poised to release their debut album Play the Part in early 2021. Phil is the music director for Rock and Roll Daycare and is the co-founder of Fiddlefox, a children’s publishing startup celebrating music and storytelling traditions from around the world. Phil has worked as an actor, musician, and puppeteer in Astro Boy and the God of Comics (Company One), Brundibar and But the Giraffe! (Central Square Theater), The Embryos (Fresh Ink Theater), and Floyd Collins (Moonbox Productions). His original puppetry series for young children, Puppet Playtime, ran weekly at Puppet Showplace Theater for four years. During the pandemic, he’s been spending lots of time writing with friends on zoom, playing D&D, and cooking with his fiance, Josh. www.philandtheflyingleap.com, www.fiddlefoxmusic.com
A Brooklyn Queen with a Boston attitude, Neon Calypso (she/they) is a drag artist who presents the struggles of intersectionality and what it means to be queer, black, and femme with performances reflecting on life experiences through song, dance, and spoke word. You can catch her in NightGowns with Sasha Velour, a new digital docuseries on the streaming app Quibi, exploring the process of producing a live NightGowns show and a behind the scenes introduction to the core cast.
Ally Dawson (she/her) is an Actor turned Aesthetician with over 10 years experience in both the spa and medical field. As a multi-ethnic, and multi-racial practitioner, she is passionate about creating a business that champions the intersectionalities of all her clients. Whether it be a virtual consultation, or an in person facial, Ally focuses on creating a safe space where her clients can relax, laugh, and work towards their skin goals. Skin education is the cornerstone for all of her work and you will leave every session equipped with the tools you need to create lasting change.
Chanelle John (she/her) is a healer, organizer and artist based in Boston, MA. In 2014, Chanelle and her sister Simone founded Hive Soul Yoga, a community wellness business bringing holistic healing to Boston’s communities of color. Hive Soul’s classes strive to make yoga accessible to people of all shades, sizes, ages, abilities, + identities. Chanelle has taught POC Practice, Boston’s first hip hop yoga class for people of color, since 2015. In addition to teaching Hive Soul’s signature classes, Chanelle speaks and writes professionally about yoga, diversity, and social justice. When not teaching or mentoring yoga teachers, Chanelle can be found organizing with Stinging Nettles Brujx Collective and the We Want Freedom Collective. Follow her @hivesoulyoga and https://linktr.ee/hivesoulyoga.
Shan Moten (they/them) is originally from PG County, MD by way of the South. They identify as a Black, transmasculine troublemaker and when they are not diving into speculative fiction or breaking a sweat with Trans Boxing , they spend their days as a Youth Worker/Educator/Coach. Shan has over ten years of experience specializing in Tennis, weightlifting, and facilitation. They believe there needs to be more queer and trans people of color decolonizing fitness and contextualizing wellness and movement in a way that is affirming of various body types and acknowledges systemic barriers to wellness.
Yune (Yu-nee) Neptune (she/her) is an ethereal, charismatic, passionate and crazy af. She’s been doing drag for 11 years, hustling from daytime jobs to drag gigs. Since the pandemic, she’s been like everybody else. A potato coach and munchin a lot. She’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but when you sip her jussssssttttt right, she’s a whole experience and vibe. She daydreams the night sky away, with a crazy dream to conquer, so we hope you’re in for a crazy ride. You can find all her social media handles @Yuneneptune.
Julian Saporiti (he/him) is a musician and scholar who studied at Berklee College of Music and earned his MA in American Studies from Wyoming and is currently finishing a PhD in American Studies at Brown University. His multimedia project No-No Boy which NPR has called “an act of revisionist subversion” blends songs, archival imagery and storytelling into a unique work. No-No Boy has received national critical acclaim for its blend of scholarship and art and has been performed everywhere from rural bars and churches to Lincoln Center. The project’s latest album is due out on Smithsonian Folkways spring 2021.
KaMani Sutra (All pronouns with respect) is a South Asian (teluGAY) gender queer bearded drag artist from Washington DC who transcends western drag expectations by their performance repertoire and their aesthetic senses. #telugay
Trap Beat Tranny (TBT) (they series and she series) is a rapper, wordsmith, and performer. Her recent local credits include NOSFERATU, THE VAMPYR (Harker, Sparkhaven Theatre), DEAL ME OUT (Lucien, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), DAEMONOLOGIE: SMOKE & MIRRORS (Delphine Levesque, Intramersive Media), and GREATER GOOD (Kyle, Company One/American Repertory Theater). Post onset of COVID-19 and the uprising, TBT has been working on music, taking virtual theatre, poetry, and music gigs when they manifest, and trying to keep herself intact while doing what is necessary. Purchase “The Preview” on Bandcamp, proceeds go to directly supporting Black trans/GNC folks!
Fen Tung (she/her) is a co-founder and Fitness Director of BollyX – The Bollywood Workout. Alongside her co-founders who have a background in Bollywood dancing, they created BollyX by combining authentic South Asian dance moves with HIIT (high intensity interval training) principles for an exhilarating and effective cardio workout that anyone can do! Fen began her fitness career as a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer in 2003. A year later, she got her AFAA Group Fitness Instructor Certification and began teaching exercise classes. In 2010, Fen became a Master Trainer for ISCA leading certification trainings in Kickboxing and Primary Mat Pilates. Additionally, she is certified in ISCA Kettlebell and Boxing. Other formats she is certified to teach include STOTT Pilates & Totalbarre, Zumba, Les Mills BodyPump and BodyCombat. Fen graduated from MIT with a Biology degree.