"By representing artists that are underrepresented, Transmodern becomes an alternative space where people don't just come to interact with the artwork; they interact with each other," explained Nagle.
There are many different events to enjoy at the festival. Highlights include projections on buildings, a prosthetics fashion show, a love parade, and an innovative dinner theater (F.E.A.S.T.).
F.E.A.S.T. Dinner Theater will run for three nights. According to Nagle, it will be "an evening of food-based performances and performance-based food." Artists are making the food and then performing along with the food. Foodies and art-lovers are sure to enjoy this innovative performance. The artists have constructed a massive table that will act as both a stage and serving space. There will be video, experimental music, and servers in costume. Charm City Cakes has even donated cakes for this event. Each night 100 people will eat together at this event, and though participants will enjoy the food, they will also enjoy the sense of community as they dine with so many other people. Nagle describes F.E.A.S.T. as a "big crazy ritual" that asks participants to question the role of the diner, server, and performer.
With a focus on audience participation, street art, and performance, other aspects of the festival also push participants to analyze the role of the artist versus the role of the audience. There are also some fairly new artists who will be participating alongside renowned artists.
"We present some established and nationally well-known artists, but the festival also has a place for local artists," said Nagle.
The diversity of the artists is comparable to the diversity of the audience. According to Nagle, the event usually attracts many different types of people. In the past, the festival has welcomed many young people, some older people, and even families (especially on Sundays). Each year more people find out about the festival and it grows. The crowd that the event attracts has grown exponentially, and the number of artists has grown as well.
Though the Transmodern Performance Festival attracts a very diverse crowd, queers and queer-lovers have a special place at this festival.
Carl Marx, a former Baltimorian, will give a lecture on bear culture; he will also be participating in the dinner theater (expect a jump-roping performance). Michael Farley is a participating artist who dances and performs drag. Suzanna Cook is a butch Argentinean whose performance plays with and pokes fun at masculinity.
The event has always had queer organizers and artists. Baltimore's queer community has contributed to Transmodern and helped to shape it. According to Nagle, "Transmodern is a place where the art scene and the queer community hang out together." ■
May 17-20 • Various times • $8-31
Alley Oooops • between Franklin & Saratoga Sts.
14Karat Cabaret • 218 W. Saratoga St.
Current Gallery • 421 N. Howard St.