My project Crip Ecstasy is an immersive nightlife experience that centers accessibility and disability culture from the ground up. Working with a cast of disabled and non-disabled performance artists, DJs, ASL interpreters and Audio Describers, this installation will transform San Francisco’s Counterpuls into an environment where multiple forms of access intersect to conjure a new blueprint for what a club space can be.
As the audience enters the venue, they are greeted with several different ways to engage with the space. In the main theater, music from a live DJ is simultaneously described on projectors for the D/deaf community. ASL interpreters translate lyrics alongside go-go dancers and performers with diverse disabilities, while an MC audio-describes movement in headphones for blind audiences. A chill-out space on the lower level invites those with neurodiverse experiences to unwind, lie down and/or stim in a sensorily welcoming environment. Multiple forms of seating are placed throughout the venue, including day-beds for reclined dancing. This event will require proof of vaccination and masks for Covid safety, with masks available for those who don’t have them at the door.
As an artist with a physical impairment, many queer nightlife spaces in the Bay Area have been difficult to access for a multitude of reasons. Instead of waiting for a space to provide the accommodations that I need, I feel compelled to create an environment where myself and my community can truly thrive.
As these various offerings for access and artistry live together in the space, how can we make sure that they don’t interfere with the various accommodations they provide? How can access be both a tool for equity as well as an intentional aesthetic choice? I look forward to exploring these questions with care, humility and a commitment to learning alongside the Bay Area’s rich disability arts community.
Funded by San Francisco, CA (April 2023)