1. QUEER, ILL, & OKAY is an annual multidisciplinary performance series exploring, challenging, and reinventing narratives about the lives of queer individuals living with HIV and other forms of mental and chronic illness. In December 2012 Joseph Varisco, Creative Director of JRV MAJESTY Productions was diagnosed with HIV. In a search for understanding and community Varisco turned to queer artists of Chicago to independently develop QIO.

    QIO first appeared for Poonie's Cabaret at Links Hall in October 2013 and at Defibrillator Performing Arts Gallery in July 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign to a sold out run. Educational workshops and community conversations were added in partnership with Howard Brown Health Center at places such as DePaul University, School of the Art Institute-Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Beauty & Brawn Gallery. This programming continues to provide information and resources about living with chronic illness. Since first appearing QIO has reached over 1500 artists and audience members.

    In 2015 QIO was awarded grants from Visual AIDS and, with the support of Links Hall fiscal sponsorship, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to introduce a third year of new original work.


    # vimeo.com/124651272 Uploaded 104 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  2. This video is about QIO II - NIC Kay

    Uploaded 3 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  3. An excerpt from Home Again by Joe Varisco. First performed for Dance Union: In the Name of Lunge.

    Home Again is a story about being diagnosed positive, going home, and disclosing to family. It was the impetus for the QUEER, ILL, & OKAY project.

    # vimeo.com/96508448 Uploaded 135 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  4. Queer, Ill, & Okay is an experimental performing arts series exploring queer artists relationships with chronic illness.

    Queer, Ill, & Okay is a experimental and emerging performance series featuring queer artists living with chronic illness and was started shortly after my own HIV diagnosis in 2012. Queer, Ill, & Okay first appeared at Links Hall for Poonie's Cabaret. It was born out of my search for creative works about living with a chronic illness that resonated with my experience. I decided to turn toward my community as I have often done in the past to find understanding. I have worked with a wide array of Chicago's LGBTQIA & Gender Non-Conforming community members and performance artists over the past few years and there the idea found life!

    The experiences of queer identified people living with HIV and other forms of chronic illness (Parkinson's disease, Crohn's disease, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Mental Health diagnosis, to name a few) comes with a complex set of issues in navigating the everyday world. How our bodies move through space, how they challenge us, betray us, celebrate us, and how the world outside of our illness relates to us as co-workers, family members, lovers, and community members create a mosaic that is often underrepresented. It is 2014 and we can easily observe significant changes to how illness is visible and how treatments have advanced. Yet, stigma remains.

    Through ballet, drag, spoken word, film, music, poetry, burlesque, puppetry, rap and the ever emerging fields of performance 10 artists take stories from their lives to reveal the intersection of queerness and living with chronic illness. This is a CELEBRATION of the body, mind, spirit and the relationships we form with the world around us. Artist's such as the WHAT'S THE T? writer and former About Face Theatre Education Director, Sara Kerastas, Center on Halsted's Director of Youth Programming and author of Red Dirt Revival, Tim'm West, Neo-Futurist alumni and host of PBS' Quilty, Mary Fons, and Northwestern University's Queergasm Featured Artist Dirty Grits as well as dance artist Christopher Knowlton, national burlesque performer Cruel Valentine and writer Patrick Gill. These artists have created completely original works, never seen before, to share captivating stories of their lives living with different forms of chronic illness.

    The questions and conversations posed by Queer, Ill, & Okay speak directly to the heart of stigma and prevailing issues of oppression that exist in our everyday lives. To support his work, to support these artists, and to engage an active dialogue with our audience confronts these issues and produces a vehicle toward progress.

    # vimeo.com/91988079 Uploaded 267 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  5. Work Sample

    5 Minutes
    Curational Work Sample: Queer, Ill, & Okay
    September 2013
    Links Hall Theatre

    Featuring: (in order of appearance)

    Angela Gronroos Directed by J’Sun Howard - wanderer
    Tim’m West – Peep Game
    Mister Junior – Cry Me A River
    ellie june navidson – To Breathe is Not Enough
    Ken J. Martin – Send Me Your Words

    # vimeo.com/82470020 Uploaded 41 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode


Joe Varisco / JRV MAJESTY Plus

QUEER, ILL, & OKAY a JRV MAJESTY Production is an ongoing multimedia performance series that premiered in September 2013 for Poonie's Cabaret at Links Hall.

QUEER, ILL, & OKAY explores how identifying as queer can be a complex and varied experience.

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QUEER, ILL, & OKAY a JRV MAJESTY Production is an ongoing multimedia performance series that premiered in September 2013 for Poonie's Cabaret at Links Hall.

QUEER, ILL, & OKAY explores how identifying as queer can be a complex and varied experience. To be queer and manage a chronic illness compounds this complexity. It is beautiful. It is complicated. How we engage with community, express our identity, explore relationships is a challenging and constantly evolving matrix of interactions with the world.

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