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THICK! DARKIE! DARK.NUDE.STORYTELLERS!

Screenshot 2015-02-24 13.53.33Writer, performer, philosopher and community organizer, The Incredible, Edible Akynos has long been challenging conservative views on sexuality and deconstructing racism and slut-shaming. We’ve attended some of her energetic programing at WOW cafe in New York City and had our minds blown. We want to share with the Kiss for Gabi community about these amazing new shows, and we want to shout all this from the rooftops too, but it is cold out there in New York City… snap up tickets to some of Akynos forthcoming shows so you can feel all warm inside.

A Kiss for GabiRecently you’ve begun a new series of performances at WOW Cafe, THICK and Dark, Nude Storytellers. What was the impetus for these new shows?

Akynos: These shows were needed in the community. Bigger body types feeling as if they are ostracized by the performance community because they don’t fit beauty ideals. Not being given a chance to shine on stage because you are fat. Or not being allowed to show your talents because promoters, producers or venues think this is not what their audiences want to see. That’s how THICK was formed. I don’t have a flat stomach, but that doesn’t mean I’m not talented or beautiful. Storytellers was important for me to start as my education in school and after graduating has taught me (now that I’m paying far more attention to Black history) that the stories of Black bodies and other people of color have been rewritten to suit the sadistic and narcissistic mentality of our conquerors. Western history books and things we see in the media will have us believing that we are just blips on this planet. No history, no involvement, just here taking up space. In fact our history is so strong, deep and great, and part of that history was through oral tradition. No one should write or tell our stories, only us. So if viewers want to hear history in all it’s honesty, no fluff, learn from those who are living it, then they come to Dark. Nude. Storytellers.

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A Kiss for GabiWhat can audiences expect when they come to the shows?

Akynos: Audiences can expect to be entertained. They can expect to see what they didn’t think they wanted to see. And fill a void they didn’t think they had.

A Kiss for Gabi: Have the shows been inspiring any media coverage of the issues you are concerned about? Or social media? Or new conversations?

Akynos: Storytellers, in particular, is often inspired by current media coverages on different issues, like the Bill Cosby fiasco, and then giving our thoughts and experiences on the matter. If you follow me on social media, you know I am no stranger to drama happening on my posts.  This especially happens when my posts take a very aggressive stance on issues surrounding sexism, rape culture and racism. People always get bent out of shape about that. Then I say to myself let’s put this in a reading, and we bring it to the stage. THICK is all about the talent. We showcase different acts every month, paying homage to the beauty style and talents of the size misfits. With these shows I am hoping to change the dialogue around race and size, because they intersect. I think, if even on a minor scale, people are talking about it. Unfortunately the buzz needs to pick up a little more pace.

A Kiss for Gabi: How else can people support your creative efforts?

Akynos: Come to the shows! All of them! And tell all your people about it. Support live entertainment. If it’s not supported it won’t be around for us to take advantage of. The next show I am producing is Darkie: Black Aesthetics and includes ripe and irreverent acts exploring the influence Black and Brown bodies have had on our culture. We will have three performances only at the WOW Cafe Theatre, Friday, February 27 at 8:30pm, Saturday, February 28 at 8:30pm and Sunday, March 1 at 3pm and we highly recommend getting advance tickets.

My other shows continue each month. The next Dark.Nude.Storytellers. is planned for the evening of Sunday March 1. Follow me on social media to find out more about the next THICK performance.

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