A Resource for Performing Artists, Scholars and Audiences.
Maryam Farnaz Rostami is a San Francisco based drag queen and contemporary performance artist from Texas. Her work deals with the complexities of the modern condition through the lens of an overachieving child of model minorities. Trained as an architect, Maryam exacerbates and collides her many hats when making performance, and engages audiences on a visual, intellectual and emotional level. She is dedicated to artistic engagement as an invitation for thinking about, looking at and talking to one another differently. Her drag persona, Mona G. Hawd, uses lipsync, movement, narrative and dance and an exaggerated high femme medium to question ownership of images in our culture.
While in architecture school at the University of Texas at Austin, Maryam joined a group of dancers performing Iranian folk dance, and co-choreographed and performed traditional dances with a modern twist on and off campus. During this time, as president of the Iranian Students Academic and Cultural Organization, she presented culturally relevant performing arts including works that challenged status quo perceptions about Iranian-Americans in cabaret-style shows that consistently sold out. Since living in San Francisco, Maryam has collaborated and performed in popular movement-based theater pieces (Total Facts Known, Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, Fall 2009, Tell Them that You Saw Me, CounterPULSE, Summer 2010), and presented original work in well-attended or sold out venues (This is What I Want 2010 NQAF, WORK HARD). Her piece, Bordi Az Yadam (Taken From My Memory) shown at The Garage last July for This is What I Want re-appropriated the exoticized image of a veiled woman, pushing back on the notion that such a woman is marked by passivity. A dance using just her eyelids gave way to a durational display of auto-eroticism. At TOO MUCH! A Queer Performance Marathon 2010, Maryam choreographed a queered line dance (Right Down the Line) drawing from her Texan upbringing as well as her drag performance influences. Just this past January, at this year’s TOO MUCH!, Maryam and Ryan Crowder performed a durational crochet score in which they created outfits for one another over the course of the festival.
Maryam’s drag persona, Mona G. Hawd is necessarily political in nature. Drawing from exoticized notions of femininity, especially situated in highly oppressed conditions, Mona shoves away at status quo notions of what a proper Middle Eastern lady ought to be. To boot, Mona uses camp as well as high drag to spark imaginations for possibilities toward all sorts of liberation.
Maryam is honored to be supported by the communities in which she participates actively in San Francisco and the East Bay: the queer nightlife community in which she is a drag queen, the queer performance art community in she collaborates with dancers, art makers in movement, costuming and makeup design, the Middle Eastern performing arts community, as well as the Bay Area community of architects and architectural designers, of which Maryam is also a part.
Guess what y'all? I'm producing my own solo this summer in San Francisco-- at a MAGICAL place called CounterPULSE. The world premiere of Persepolis, Texas: FOBspring to Drag Queen in One Generation will be on the 15th, 16th and 17th of July, and you can get tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/177123
GET IT!!! xxoox